● GA-Sen-B: Siena College is out with a new poll of the Georgia Senate special election on behalf of the New York Times that finds pastor Raphael Warnock consolidating enough support from Democratic voters to take first place in the all-party primary. The results are below, with the numbers from Siena’s late September poll in parentheses:
Pastor Raphael Warnock (D): 32 (19)
Appointed Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-inc): 23 (23)
Rep. Doug Collins (R): 17 (19)
Businessman Matt Lieberman (D): 7 (7)
Former U.S. Attorney Ed Tarver (D): 2 (4)
The sample also found a 45-45 deadlock between Donald Trump and Joe Biden.
Most other recent surveys have also put Warnock in first, though other pollsters have generally found a tighter battle between Loeffler and Collins for the second spot in an all-but-assured January runoff. Prior to the inclusion of this poll, the Daily Kos Elections polling average had Warnock in first with 34%, while Loeffler edged out Collins just 22-21 for the crucial second-place spot.
Siena also tests Warnock against both Loeffler and Collins in hypothetical runoff scenarios and finds him leading them each by an identical 45-41 spread. As we’ve noted before, though, it’s far too early to know what turnout would look like in January.
Meanwhile, Warnock is up with a commercial starring Barack Obama, who says of the candidate, “He’s a man of great moral integrity, a leader in the truest sense of the word. He’s spent his life pushing for justice, fighting to expand health care, protecting voting rights and the dignity of work.” Obama lost Georgia during both of his presidential campaigns, though the state has shifted to the left since he left the White House.
● IA-Sen: Senate Majority PAC’s newest commercial goes after Republican Sen. Joni Ernst over Social Security privatization, a topic that has been a staple of Democratic campaign ads for a long time but hasn’t come up much this cycle.
The spot stars a nurse identified as Barb who tells the audience, “Today I’m retired and I deserve my Social Security. I follow the news and I was furious when I read Joni Ernst wanted to privatize it.” Barb continues, “That’s money I paid into the system and she wants to gamble it on Wall Street? If Joni Ernst is working for the Wall Street banks, she is NOT working for me.”
● MI-Sen: Democratic Sen. Gary Peters’ new commercial features a testimonial from Barack Obama, who decisively carried Michigan during both of his presidential campaigns. Obama says that Peters was someone who had his back, continuing, “Gary was there every step of the way. Helping save the auto industry, protecting the Great Lakes, covering pre-existing conditions.”
● SC-Sen: The Orwellian-named PAC Security is Strength recently went up with a truly ugly commercial starring Greenville County Sheriff Hobart Lewis, who tells the audience, “The rioting, the looting, the chaos—if Jaime Harrison is elected to the Senate, get ready, because it’s coming.”
Lewis later told the Post & Courier that while he went directly after Harrison, who would be the first African American Democrat to represent South Carolina in the Senate, the spot was actually about “the ballot in general” and not the candidate. Lewis also said that he also wasn’t actually worried that his own department would lose funding because he knew the county government wouldn’t be making any cuts.
Harrison himself began airing a commercial of his own on Monday featuring a retired police officer named Thomas, who says of the Republican incumbent, “Lindsey Graham would have you believe that he has the support of most if not all police officers. Lindsey’s a liar.”
Thomas then affirms his support for Harrison, declaring, “I know Jaime does not support defunding the police. He never has, he never will. His own grandfather was a police officer.” He concludes, “Lindsey’s trying to divide South Carolina with the old scare tactics. Vote for Jaime Harrison, someone who’s going to protect and represent all of South Carolina.”
Harrison is also running a commercial featuring an endorsement from Barack Obama, who didn’t seriously contest the state during either of his two presidential bids. Obama tells the audience, “If you want a senator that will fight for criminal justice reform, lower college costs, and to make healthcare affordable, you’ve got to vote for my friend, Jaime Harrison.” Obama goes on to tell viewers that they have the option now to vote early or on Nov. 3, and urges them, “Make your plan, and vote for Jaime today.”
● TX-Sen: A progressive super PAC called Future Forward that’s funded by Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz and other Silicon Valley donors has released its first TV spot in support of Democrat MJ Hegar. There is no word on the size of the buy for this opening ad campaign, but there’s reason to think that there could be a lot of outside money coming in over the next two weeks to aid Hegar’s bid against GOP Sen. John Cornyn.
Vox’s Theodore Schleifer reported Tuesday that FF PAC and four other groups—Senate Majority PAC, the Strategic Victory Fund, Way to Win, and Mind the Gap—said in a donor memo last week that they planned to spend a total of $28 million to aid Hegar. The document said that about $10 million of that would come from SMP, which announced soon afterwards that it had booked $8.6 million, while Schleifer wrote that the remaining $18 million “needed to be raised as of last week for the groups to pull the trigger.”
- AL-Sen: Moore Information (R) for Tommy Tuberville: Tommy Tuberville (R): 55, Doug Jones (D-inc): 40 (55-38 Trump)
- AZ-Sen: Data Orbital (R): Mark Kelly (D): 48, Martha McSally (R-inc): 42 (47-42 Biden) (early Oct.: 47-42 Kelly)
- CO-Sen: RMG Research for PoliticalIQ: John Hickenlooper (D): 51, Cory Gardner (R-inc): 42 (51-43 Biden)
- GA-Sen-A: Siena College for the New York Times: David Perdue (R-inc): 43, Jon Ossoff (D): 43, Shane Hazel (L): 4 (45-45 presidential tie) (Sept.: 41-38 Perdue)
- MN-Sen: Change Research (D) for MinnPost: Tina Smith (D-inc): 48, Jason Smith (R): 44 (49-44 Biden)
- NC-Sen: Abt Associates for ABC/ The Washington Post: Cal Cunningham (D): 49, Thom Tillis (R-inc): 47 (49-48 Biden)
- NC-Sen: East Carolina University: Cunningham (D): 49, Tillis (R-inc): 47 (51-47 Biden) (early Oct.: 47-46 Tillis)
- NM-Sen: GBAO (D) for Ben Ray Luján: Ben Ray Luján (D): 52, Mark Ronchetti (R): 41, Bob Walsh (L): 5 (54-41 Biden)
- TX-Sen: Cygnal (R): John Cornyn (R-inc): 49, MJ Hegar (D): 41
- TX-Sen: Data for Progress (D) for Crooked Media/Indivisible: John Cornyn (R-inc): 44, MJ Hegar (D): 41 (47-46 Biden) (early Oct.: 45-42 Cornyn)
AL-Sen: Tommy Tuberville released this poll shortly after Sen. Doug Jones publicized his own survey from FM3, which showed the incumbent up 48-47.
MN-Sen: This poll is Jason Lewis’ best result since the start of September, when his campaign released a Harper Polling survey showing him trailing Sen. Tina Smith only 43-41. Prior to the inclusion of this Change Research poll, the Daily Kos Elections polling average had Smith ahead 46-38.
TX-Sen: Cygnal said it “is not working with any candidate or independent expenditure in the Texas U.S. Senate race.” The firm’s vice president, Brock McCleary, is currently working for the Trump campaign, which may be why this poll did not include presidential numbers.
● WI-Gov: Conservative activist Misty Polewczynski announced Monday that her group had already collected the nearly 670,000 signatures needed to place a recall question against Democratic Gov. Tony Evers and Democratic Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes on the ballot next year, but Polewczynski herself admitted on Facebook that she was not telling the truth.
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that Polewczynski said in a since-deleted message, “I would not pay attention to that number given to them!” She also wrote, “I’m going to do an interview this afternoon and will probably make up some crap to tell them. I like when they look dumb. Plus they drug my name through the mud.”
Polewczynski later insisted to the paper that she had not been lying, saying, “We under reported the number to begin with to account for what we thought would be challenged, so clearly that was no longer our number and we refuse to give the number that includes what we think will be challenged … that would make us look dumb.” Polewczynski has until Oct. 27 to turn in enough valid signatures to force a recall against Evers and Barnes, who are up for re-election in 2022.
- NC-Gov: East Carolina University: Roy Cooper (D-inc): 55, Dan Forest (R): 43 (51-47 Biden) (early Oct.: 55-41 Cooper)
- UT-Gov: RMG Research for the Deseret News/ University of Utah: Spencer Cox (R): 50, Chris Peterson (D): 26, Daniel Cottam (L): 6, Gregory Duerden (Independent American): 3 (Sept.: 52-19 Cox)
- WA-Gov: Public Policy Polling (D) for the Northwest Progressive Institute: Jay Inslee (D-inc): 56, Loren Culp (R): 40 (60-37 Biden)
● IL-14: On Tuesday, House Majority PAC became the first major outside group to air ads in the contest between freshman Democratic Rep. Lauren Underwood and Republican Jim Oberweis when it announced that it was spending $560,000 on an ad against the Republican. The narrator goes after Oberweis on healthcare and for opposing “a woman’s right to make her own health care decisions … even in cases of rape or incest.”
This historically Republican seat in Chicago’s western exurbs moved from 54-44 Romney to just 49-45 Trump, and Underwood flipped the district two years later. The new congresswoman began the cycle looking like a top GOP target, but national Republicans were very unhappy when Oberweis, a state senator with a long history of high-profile defeats, became the frontrunner for the party’s nomination. The Congressional Leadership Fund even took the very unusual step of financing a group to run negative ads against Oberweis in the primary, but it wasn’t quite enough to stop him from narrowly winning the March contest.
CLF and the NRCC have yet to air ads to help Oberweis, but HMP’s investment shows that some Democrats think this seat could still be in play.
● ME-02: Outside groups from parties have been scaling back their planned spending in this northern Maine seat as polls show freshman Democratic Rep. Jared Golden with a big lead, but House Majority PAC is still going forward with ads here. The group is spending $334,000 on a new buy attacking Republican Dale Crafts on healthcare.
● MI-03: We have dueling internals out of Michigan’s 3rd Congressional District, an open seat in the Grand Rapids area that outside groups from both sides are targeting.
DCCC Analytics finds Democrat Hillary Scholten leading Republican Peter Meijer 47-42, while respondents favor Joe Biden 47-45 in a district that Donald Trump took 52-42 in 2016. Meijer’s campaign quickly responded by sharing a National Research poll with the National Journal that shows him ahead 50-43 even though Biden also leads 48-46.
If nothing else, though, it’s bad news for Trump that even his own party shows him behind in an ancestrally red seat that Democrat Gretchen Whitmer narrowly lost even as she was winning the 2018 gubernatorial contest 53-44. (Maybe this is why more Republican poll releases don’t include presidential numbers.)
● MI-11: House Majority PAC announced Tuesday that it was launching a $200,000 ad buy against Republican Eric Esshaki, which makes it the first major Democratic group to get involved in a contest that has already attracted $2.4 million in spending from the conservative Congressional Leadership Fund. The commercial declares that Esshaki “wants to ‘fully repeal’ Obamacare,” a move that would deprive 700,000 Michiganders of their health insurance.
Esshaki is running to unseat freshman Democratic Rep. Haley Stevens in a suburban Detroit seat that backed Donald Trump 50-45 but moved hard to the left two years later. HMP’s allies at the DCCC have acted very confident about Stevens’ prospects, and in late September, Medium Buying reported that it had scaled back its TV reservations in the Detroit media market, which is home to this district; a source familiar with Democratic media buys confirmed to Daily Kos Elections that the committee had canceled its full reservation for the 11th District as well as part of its booking for another seat, the 8th District.
● PA-08: House Majority PAC launched a new $275,000 ad buy on Tuesday against Republican Jim Bognet that labels him “a Washington political bureaucrat who moved here just to run for Congress.” Right now, HMP is the only major outside group on either side that’s spending in the contest between Bognet and Democratic Rep. Matt Cartwright.
● TX-10: Republican Rep. Michael McCaul earned some negative attention earlier this month after he was photographed on a plane not wearing a facemask, and Democrat Mike Siegel is now running a commercial taking the incumbent to task. Siegel declares that representatives need to lead by example, but that so many have failed to listen to health experts. The Democrat continues, “Michael McCaul’s irresponsible failure has put the lives of so many Texans at risk.”
● TX-23: The NRCC stoked transphobia in a commercial last week that claimed that Democrat Gina Ortiz Jones wanted to “divert military money for transgender reassignment surgeries,” and it’s up with a similar spot now. This new ad also calls the candidate “Gina Jones” in an attempt to “other” her in a district with a large Hispanic population, a tactic the GOP employed against her last cycle as well.
● VA-02: Democratic Rep. Elaine Luria is once again focusing on Republican Scott Taylor’s 2018 signature fraud scandal in a new commercial that stars retired U.S. Marshall Bobby Mathieson, who is also a former Democratic state delegate. Mathieson tells the audience, “Scott Taylor knew about the effort to get a third-party spoiler candidate on the ballot. His campaign forged voter signatures, including those of deceased residents.”
Mathieson, standing in front of a courthouse, continues, “Two of Taylor’s staffers have pled guilty here.” He goes on to remind the viewer that the prosecutor said that Taylor is still under investigation before he points at the courthouse again and declares, “What’s clear to me is that Scott Taylor has a lot better chance of ending up here than back in Congress.”
● WA-03: Democrat Carolyn Long’s new ad begins with her telling the audience that they’ve probably seen Republican Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler’s ads attacking Long and her family. The audience is then treated to a montage of Herrera Beutler and her campaign saying of Long, “My opponent … whose family income,” “She’s not raising her family,” “through her husband’s account,” and, “If you don’t listen to your husband when he talks.”
The camera then goes back to Long, who says, “This is exactly why I’m running. Because when politicians lie and mislead, it undermines our trust and puts us all at risk.” She concludes, “I have spent the last 25 years right here, teaching our communities’ kids, while Kevin and I raise our own. The truth matters.”
● Honolulu, HI Mayor & Prosecuting Attorney: Mason-Dixon’s new poll for the Honolulu Star-Advertiser finds independent Rick Blangiardi leading Democrat Keith Amemiya by a large 49-36 margin in next month’s officially nonpartisan mayoral contest, which is a bit closer than the 48-28 Blangiardi advantage that MRG Research recently found.
Mason-Dixon also shows former Hawaii Circuit Court Judge Steve Alm leading his more conservative opponent, defense attorney Megan Kau, 41-33 in the contest for prosecuting attorney. MRG recently had Alm up 43-31.