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Daily Kos Elections weekly open thread: What races are you interested in? (October 24, 2014, 07:40 PM)

Limahl -- "Never Ending Story"

Daily Kos Elections ad roundup: Bob Beauprez's pro-secession past returns to haunt him (October 24, 2014, 05:06 PM)

Leading Off:

? CO-Gov: The DGA has two spots (here and here). The first attacks Republican Bob Beauprez over secession, which is not something you see every day. The narrator reads a Beauprez quote, where the candidate supports several conservative counties quest to form their own state.

Last year five counties voted to secede from Colorado, while six voted against it. The whole thing was symbolic since there was no way Congress and the Colorado Legislature would ever actually approve the creation of a new state as the Constitution requires. Since Beauprez announced his campaign for governor of the still-united state of Colorado he's been a lot less vocal about the idea, but the pro-secession quote in the ad is completely real.

The second Democratic spot goes after Beauprez in Spanish, while praising Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper.

Head below the fold for a roundup of campaign ads from races across the country.

Scott Brown can see Ebola from his porch (October 24, 2014, 02:39 PM)

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) and former Sen. Scott Brown, during Brown's Senate campaign in NH.
The GOP's Ebola braintrust
Goal Thermometer
Scott Brown is not going to let being totally embarrassed on statewide television by Wolf Blitzer stop him from making even more totally ridiculous statements about Ebola. No, he's on a roll, and he wants all of New Hampshire to share his panic. The Republican Senate candidate is sounding the alarm about "mass infection."
"The way to stop mass infection is by swift and decisive action, including a travel ban and quarantining health workers returning from countries where Ebola is prevalent," Brown said in a statement. "This is not a time for political correctness; it's a time for common-sense prevention mechanisms." [?]

"Ebola has now spread to New York City, the largest city in the United States and less than 300 miles from New Hampshire," Brown said. "The person who brought it there passed through enhanced screening at the airport and exposed himself to countless other people by riding the subway, taking a taxi and going bowling. Still, Senator Shaheen is waffling on a travel ban."

You guys!!!! Ebola is LESS THAN 300 MILES AWAY!!! MASS EPIDEMIC!!! Never mind that it's only been half a dozen people in the U.S. and that only one person has died and that most of them, including one of the nurses who took care of the one person who died, have gotten better.

It's almost enough to make Sen. Rand Paul's "cocktail party Ebola" sound like a reasonable fear in comparison.

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Oh, and that travel ban? It's not a matter of political correctness. It's a matter of the experts (who Brown may or may not believe in, he apparently hasn't decided yet) who uniformly say the travel ban would do more harm than good at this point. But Scott Brown has a script. It's far too much to ask him to learn a new one that makes sense.

Daily Kos Elections Early Voting Report: Florida and North Carolina Democrats seeing what they need (October 24, 2014, 01:44 PM)

Former U.S. president Bill Clinton greets the audience with Charlie Crist at a campaign rally at the JW Marriott Marquis, Miami, Florida, September 5, 2014.  REUTERS/Zachary Fagenson  (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS) - RTR456YF
Democrat Charlie Crist
Goal Thermometer

In-person voting started in North Carolina on Thursday, while Democrats are preparing for a big get-out-the-vote operation on Sunday in Florida. For now, Democrats are seeing what they need to see in both states?something that can absolutely not be said about Nevada.

? Florida: Since it started on Monday, in-person voting has helped Democrats make up some of the deficit they faced among mail voting. They have narrowed the GOP's advantage among all voters who have already cast their ballot by 1-percentage point each of the past two days. As of Friday, Republicans have an advantage of 9.8 percentage points among the 1.5 million early voters.

During the last midterms, Florida Republicans ended up with an advantage of 14 percentage points among all early voters. And this year's gap should continue to shrink as more Floridians vote in-person and offset absentee ballots. In fact, Florida Democrats have historically turned out at a higher pace over weekends thanks to their ?souls to the polls? Sunday push, so stay tuned for Monday's report.

Republican Gov. Rick Scott and Democrat Charlie Crist's campaigns each wrote memos this week arguing that their side is doing great among early voters. As you can see, while Crist's memo primarily compares the current numbers to the 2010 cycle, Scott's memo primarily compares them to 2012. There is no denying that Democrats had a banner year in early voting in Florida thanks to Barack Obama's operation, but we also don't need this to tell us that Democrats face a turnout gap in midterm elections.

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Head over the fold for a look at early voting in Iowa, Nevada, and North Carolina.

Casino magnate to the rescue for Republicans in New Hampshire (October 24, 2014, 12:35 PM)

Las Vegas Sands Chairman and CEO Sheldon Adelson
Sheldon Adelson, John Boehner's sugar daddy
Goal Thermometer
Not content with just having a healthy enough majority to make sure that absolutely nothing happens in Congress, Republicans are trying to claim a historic victory in the House for 2014. So of course, casino magnate Sheldon Adelson steps up with a massive donation to a Super PAC tied to House Speaker John Boehner, targeting Democratic Rep. Carol Shea Porter in New Hampshire.
Adelson's donation helped the Congressional Leadership Fund collect nearly $6.8 million during the first two weeks of October?nearly double what the group raised during the previous three-month period. [?]

In all, the Congressional Leadership Fund, which has ties to House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, has spent nearly $7.3 million against Democrats in recent weeks, according to a tally by the non-partisan Center for Responsive Politics.

Their top targets include Rep. Carol Shea-Porter, D-N.H., and Rep. Ron Barber, D-Ariz., both of whom are facing rematches against Republicans in close contests.

Polling on Shea-Porter's rematch with ex. Rep. Frank Guinta is all over the place. (Guinta beat Shea-Porter in 2010 and lost to her by a narrow margin in 2012.) But most observers call this one 50-50.
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This is a grudge match as much as anything on Boehner and Adelson's part. They had that seat?held by a dyed-in-the-wool teabagger in Guinta?and want it back. They don't need it, but they want it. And they'll spend anything to get it.

A new poll confirms it: Mike Michaud needs our help to win (October 24, 2014, 11:56 AM)

Mike Michaud speaking at campaign kick-off rally.
Democrat Mike Michaud
Goal Thermometer

On behalf of the League of Conservation Voters, PPP takes another look at the Pine Tree State's gubernatorial contest and finds what most recent polls have found: A close and unpredictable contest between Republican Gov. Paul LePage and Democrat Mike Michaud. PPP finds the two deadlocked 40-40, with left-leaning independent Eliot Cutler taking 17.

LePage is not popular: PPP finds him with an upside down 43-53 favorability rating. Michaud and his allies have been running ads reminding voters why they dislike LePage so much: One ad describes how, among other things, LePage twice compared the IRS to the Nazis and told the NAACP to kiss his butt. Another spot features LePage's infamous remark,  "If you want a good education, go to private schools. If you can't afford it, tough luck."

The problem is that national Republicans have been hitting Michaud on the airwaves, arguing that he wants to help undocumented immigrants at the expense of the middle class. PPP finds Michaud with a 47-46 rating, better than LePage but not where he wants to be. By comparison, Cutler has a 39-38 rating.

Back in 2010 Cutler came very close to beating LePage, but there's no doubt that he's holding Michaud back. In a two-way race, Michaud would lead LePage by a more comfortable 49-44. The good news for Democrats is that Cutler has all but stopped running ads, and if he fades Michaud should benefit. The bad news is that Cutler is too well known to completely crater, and he can still take enough votes to give LePage a second term. The Republicans are well aware of this, and they've been sending mailers to Democratic voters to boost Cutler and Michaud's expense. Right now it looks like Cutler's decline could give Michaud some much-needed room to grow, but in a race like this nothing is certain at all.

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Let's make sure LePage's days as governor are numbered. Please give today.

Good news for Scott Brown, one more debate is done. Bad news? There's still one more. (October 24, 2014, 11:50 AM)

Split screen of Sen. Jeanne Shaheen and Sen. Scott Brown in NH Senate debate, 10/23/2014.
Sen. Shaheen can't believe her ears, either.
Goal Thermometer
This has been a rough week for Scott Brown on the debate front. On Tuesday, he had to try to explain why he thinks ISIS is poised at the border with Mexico, ready to attack. He failed. He also brought down the house, and not in a supportive way, when he tried to claim native New Hampshire cred. But to truly appreciate how much Scottie's campaign manager fears Scottie opening his mouth, you have to consider Thursday night with Wolf Blitzer on Ebola.

First there's this nugget:

Brown criticized President Barack Obama for hiring an "Ebola czar" who is not a medical doctor. [?]

Brown said part of the problem is that Obama has been providing inconsistent answers on the issue and said a travel ban should be in place to and from West Africa, where Ebola has killed about 4,500 people.

"We don't need to be experts to deal with this issue," Brown said. "It's common sense."

We don't need to be experts to deal with it but Obama needs to have an expert to deal with it. That's common sense only if you're Scott Brown. But the best part, oh, the best part, is this exchange about Brown's assertion that Ebola would ever have come to the U.S. if Mitt Romney were president.
BLITZER: You said "I guarantee we would not be worrying about Ebola right now had Mitt Romney been president of the United States." Do you stand by that?

BROWN: With all respect, what I said, we were talking about many different issues. We were talking about Obamacare. We were talking about him being right on Russia. And I said and I'll say it again. Had he been in charge, we would have a clear, concise policy as to what we're going to do, where we're going, and how we can help, and with regard to immigration?.

BLITZER: Let me interrupt, Senator. You also said, "we would not be worrying about Ebola right now" if Romney had been president.

BROWN: No, that's taken out of context?.

BLITZER: It's not taken out of context. This was in the Fox News interview last Friday.

BROWN: Once again, it was taken out of context. If you take the whole answer, when we talked about obviously him being right on Obamacare, him being right on Russia, and that he, that we would not be in this situation with regard to the economy?.

BLITZER: Let me read to you exactly what you said. You said, "Mitt was great. Can you imagine if Mitt was president right now?  He was right on Russia, he was right on Obamacare, he was right on the economy, and I guarantee you we would not be worrying about Ebola right now or worrying about our foreign policy screw-ups."

BROWN: Thank you for repeating it for the fourth time.

Yes, thank you Wolf, for repeating it four times. Because it is pure gold.
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The next debate is next Thursday, with George Stephanopoulos of ABC News as a moderator along with WMUR?s Josh McElveen. I, for one, can't wait to find out what comic relief Scottie is going to bring to that one.

100 percent vote-by-mail makes Colorado extra unpredictable (October 24, 2014, 11:42 AM)

Colorado Sen. Mark Udall, at what appears to be a committee hearing
Colorado Sen. Mark Udal could benefit significantly from his state's 100 percent vote-by-mail.
Goal ThermometerCurrent Colorado polling has Democrats narrowly leading the governor's race, and narrowly trailing the Senate race. Now pollsters have traditionally undercounted the Democratic vote in Colorado, in large part because of the difficulty in polling the state's large Latino population. For example, the polling aggregate had President Barack Obama winning the state in 2012 by a 2-point 49-47 margin. He won it comfortably by over five points.

That, in itself, doesn't mean current Colorado polling is understating Democratic support. If the undercount is due to Latino voters, and Latino voters don't turn out this year, then it would have little effect on the numbers. But there's something else at play that suggests that pollsters are driving blind?Colorado is now a 100 percent vote-by-mail state. That means that people don't have to drag themselves to the polls to vote; they'll be getting their ballots in the mail. Thus, any effort to model turnout based on a 2010 electorate isn't just wrong because this isn't 2010, but because the dynamics of voting have dramatically changed in these last four years.

I'm in the school that says we'll hold on to the two key races in Colorado. But at this point, that's just an educated guess. Or is it? Project New America has some intriguing data:

There are 1 million active registered voters in Colorado who voted in 2012 but didn't vote in 2010 or registered after 2012. They were sent a ballot last week. In our survey, 83 percent say they have already voted or plan on voting. According to Catalist voter file returns from Oct 23, 2014, 89,000 have already voted (making these Presidential Survey voters 21 percent of votes cast already).
The details of the poll, which remember, only covers irregular or new post-2012 voters (the kind that wouldn't pass a traditional "likely voter" screen).
* 82 percent received a ballot in the mail
* 83 percent of these Presidential Surge Voters have already voted or plan to vote
* 22 percent have already voted in the survey. The voter file shows 90,446 of them have already cast a ballot, comprising 21 percent of all votes cast through Wednesday
* Senator Udall leads 48-34 percent among these Presidential Surge Voters
* 55-36 among those who already voted
* 48-36 among whites, 56-29 among Hispanics
* 44-40 among men, 52-29 among women
* 53-27 among cell phone voters, but Gardner leads 44-42 among landline
* Governor Hickenlooper leads 49-32 percent with slightly higher margins across subgroups
In Colorado, we have endorsed in the secretary of state race, you can donate for this critical race here. You can also donate to Mark Udall at his website here, and John Hickenlooper at his website here.

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Those voters aren't counted in much of the public polling, either because they're hard to reach (cellphone only) or because they don't pass through tough "likely voter" screens (didn't vote in 2010 or, for younger voters, 2012). In Colorado, Democrats don't need to figure out a way to drag these irregular voters to the polls, they just need them to mail back the ballot?a much lighter and easier lift.

McConnell boasts of 2005 effort to create private Social Security accounts (October 24, 2014, 11:37 AM)

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) makes a point about his meeting with President Barack Obama regarding the country's debt ceiling, during a news conference at the Capitol in Washington May 12, 2011.   REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst   (UNITED STA
This is how much you should trust Mitch on Social Security
Goal Thermometer
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, handing Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes yet another golden issue in her campaign to thwart McConnell's sixth term in the U.S. Senate during a Thursday speech at the Louisville Rotary Club:
Though he hasn?t mentioned it much on the campaign trail over the past year, McConnell specifically touted his effort to push President George W. Bush?s plans to reform Social Security in 2005, which would have set up private accounts for retirees.

?After Bush was re-elected in 2004 he wanted us to try to fix Social Security,? said McConnell. ?I spent a year trying to get any Democrat in the Senate ? even those most reasonable Democrat of all, Joe Lieberman ? to help us.?

Another way of looking at what happened is this: Bush's scheme for private Social Security accounts was so deeply unpopular that not even Joe Lieberman, who would go on to leave the Democratic Party and endorse John McCain in 2008, could support it. It was so unpopular that Republicans, even though they controlled the White House and both chambers of Congress, couldn't push it through.
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And yet here we are in 2014, with Mitch McConnell bragging about his failed effort to push it through. Of course, this is Mitch McConnell, so he stopped short of saying he'd try to do it again, instead refusing to tell Insider Louisville's Joe Sonka what his plans would be:
Insider Louisville asked McConnell after the event if he would make a push for such reforms to Social Security if he was elected Senate Majority Leader and could set the agenda, but he declined to reveal if he would do so.

?I?m not announcing what the agenda would be in advance,? said McConnell. ?We?re not in the majority yet. We?ll have more to say about that later,? assumedly meaning at some point after the election in 12 days.

It's worth remembering that before the 2004 election, President Bush also refused to say whether he'd try to create private Social Security accounts. Of course, that's exactly what he ended up doing, so the mere fact that McConnell?like Bush before him?is being slippery about his agenda shouldn't stop Grimes from pouncing.

Scott Walker and the RGA are afraid, very afraid (October 24, 2014, 10:28 AM)

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker
Panic mode.
Goal Thermometer
The Republican Governor's Association is parachuting in to Wisconsin to save a faltering Scott Walker, upping their original $900,000 budget for the last days of the campaign to $2 million.
The decision comes amid a flurry of concern in GOP ranks that Walker is underfunded and at risk of losing.

The RGA, chaired by Gov. Christie (R-N.J.), has been under pressure in recent days to do more to help Walker, a tea party favorite who rocketed to political stardom after he curbed bargaining rights for most public workers in his state.

The Weekly Standard reported Thursday that there were brewing suspicions on the right that Christie, as RGA chairman, has been "undercutting" Walker, his potential rival for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination.

Gee, why would anyone think Christie would do that? The Weekly Standard also suggests that they'll be "scrutinizing" the FEC reports at the end of the election to make sure that the RGA does indeed fulfill its promise. Walker himself seems to be feeding this narrative, and whined this weekend that the RGA?which has put $6 million into his campaign already?was just going to need to step up with a cash infusion: "Hopefully that comes through. [?] We are always looking for more help. Our main help has to be the RGA."
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Walker makes no attempt to hide that he is in panic mode, and for good reason. The polls are as tight as can be. This one is Mary Burke's to win.

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