Republican Senator Ted Cruz got some good news today after a week of headlines showcasing his unexpectedly stiff competition in the Texas Senate race.
Cruz leads Democratic Representative Beto O’Rourke 54 percent to 45 percent among likely voters, according to a poll from Quinnipiac University. If that wasn’t good enough for Cruz, 93 percent of likely Texas voters say they’ve already made up their mind on who to support.
O’Rourke garnered increased attention after some earlier polls in the heavily Republican state showed him narrowing Cruz’s lead to just a few points, spurring Republicans to warn against complacency and President Donald Trump to plan what he promised would be a massive campaign rally in the state in October.
O’Rourke is counting on surging turnout including among new or infrequent voters who might get missed in a poll’s screening for likely voters in order to flip a Senate seat that hasn’t been held by a Democrat since 1993. O’Rourke also has proven to be an adept fundraiser. He raised $23.6 million through June, compared with the $13.2 million Cruz raised for this election cycle.
Cruz has another advantage — he’ll be running alongside a popular Republican governor (approval rating 62%) who is expected to coast to re-election. The Quinnipiac poll of 807 likely Texas voters showed Governor Greg Abbott leads former Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez 58 percent to 39 percent. The Texas poll had an error margin of plus or minus 4.1 percentage points.
While Republicans will like the Quinnipiac poll, Democrats have reason to cheer in Wisconsin, a state Trump narrowly carried in 2016. Democrat Tony Evers leads incumbent Republican Scott Walker 49 percent to 44 percent, while Democratic Senator Tammy Baldwin has expanded her lead over Republican Leah Vukmir to nine percentage points. The Sept. 12-16 survey of 614 likely voters had a margin of error of 4.4 percentage points.
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Balance of Power
Trump boasting that a “red wave” could boost Republican majorities in Congress appears to have lulled GOP voters into complacency, raising the question of whether they’ll turn up at the polls, Bloomberg Businessweek’s Joshua Green reports .
A private survey taken for the Republican National Committee and obtained by Bloomberg Businessweek shows that most Trump supporters don’t believe there’s a threat that Democrats will win back the House
If those voters don’t turn out, would be risk for Republicans hoping to hold on to control of Congress in November
EMILY’s List leader Stephanie Schriock says that the group plans to spend $37 million backing its preferred candidates in the midterms, the Hill reported .
The group, which aims is to elect Democratic women who back abortion rights, has already spent more than $14 million in the 2018 primary season, with the national number of female nominees reaching a record high this year
CA-SEN: Calif. state Sen. Kevin De Leon released a campaign ad in his bid to unseat fellow Democrat and incumbent Sen. Dianne Feinstein.
Nearly three-minute ad called “Our Time” contrasts his background as the son of an immigrant with the administration’s hard-line immigration policies and two clips of Feinstein from the 1990s, including one where she says, “the illegal immigrants who come here and commit felonies, that’s not what this nation is”
IN-SEN: Democratic Sen. Joe Donnelly, who is among this year’s most vulnerable incumbent candidates, called for a delay on a Senate confirmation vote of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh after a woman went public with a sexual assault claim.
The allegation — strongly denied by Kavanaugh — could pose an exceptionally tough political quandary for Donnelly and other Democratic candidates in states won by Trump. If the Senate votes on Kavanaugh before the Nov. 6 elections, it would be difficult for Donnelly to back the nominee while keeping his base and attracting independent voters, political observers told the Indianapolis Star
On the other hand, if Senate action is delayed until after the election, conservatives might be more energized to show up and vote for a GOP candidate seen likely as confirming Trump’s nominee
Donnelly’s GOP challenger, Mike Braun, said today he supports Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley’s decision to have his panel review the “11th hour” assault claim against Kavanaugh’s “decades of public service, sterling record on the bench, outstanding personal reputation & unequivocal denial of the allegations”
FL-SEN: Republican Gov. Rick Scott’s campaign appearance in Venice, Fla., yesterday was shut down by protesters upset about the ongoing red tide toxic algal bloom; protesters said Scott’s environmental deregulatory policies, while not responsible for the red tide, have made it worse: Sarasota Herald-Tribune .
MI-SEN: Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow, who is seeking a fourth term, is out with a new ad featuring testimonials from Michigan farmers and at least one Republican.
Her race against Republican John James, a national security consultant and veteran, is rated “Likely Democrat” by Cook Political Report
MO-SEN: Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill’s opponents are pouring millions into Senate race in effort to paint the senator as out of touch with Missourians and corrupted by her husband’s business arrangements, NYT reports .
Race is rated “toss up” by Cook Political Report; Trump won state by 19 points in 2016
TN-SEN: Marsha Blackburn, vying for the Senate seat now held by retiring fellow Republican Bob Corker, told Tennessean editorial board on Monday that a federal transportation and infrastructure bill calling to boost gas and diesel fuel taxes is “very thoughtful.”
Later, Blackburn sought to clarify her position through a spokeswoman, saying she opposes increasing the federal gas tax
How to pay for infrastructure upgrades may come up on Sept. 25, when Blackburn faces Democratic rival Phil Bredesen in a debate at Cumberland University
TX-SEN: Sen. Cruz’s re-election campaign is sending out fund-raising letters in an envelope labeled “summons enclosed,” the New York Times reports .
Some have called it misleading, but FEC spokesman Myles Martin says the practice is legal because mailing states that it is from a political campaign
O’Rourke today released his first Spanish-language TV ad, which is set air this week in eight Texas media markets, including Fort Worth, McClatchy reported
The buy comes as strategists have warned that O’Rourke needs to ramp up his outreach with Latino voters if he wants to defeat Cruz, who is one of four members of the U.S. Senate of Hispanic descent
VA-SEN: Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine leads Republican Corey Stewart 49%-30%, according to University of Mary Washington poll, Washington Post reports .
CA-39: GOP nominee Young Kim holds a slight lead over Democrat Gil Cisneros in the Golden State’s 39th Congressional District, according to a Monmouth University poll .
Kim, who has served as an aide to retiring GOP Rep. Ed Royce, drew support of 46% vs 42% for Cisneros among potential voters; 12% in the district that includes parts of Los Angeles and Orange counties said they are undecided; margin of error is +/- 5.7 ppts among likely voters
FL-26: Hillary Clinton won this south Fla. district in 2016, however incumbent Republican Rep. Carlos Curbelo maintains small lead over Democratic challenger Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, 47%-44%, with 9% undecided, a New York Times/Siena College poll found.
MA-03: Democrat Lori Trahan was declared winner of a close congressional primary in Massachusetts following a recount, AP reported.
Trahan will face Republican Rick Green and independent candidate Mike Mullen in the open Nov. 6 election; Democratic Rep. Niki Tsongas, who has represented district for more than a decade, is retiring
NY-19: A Republican attack ad against Democrat Antonio Delgado — a Harvard-educated black lawyer and former rapper known as AD the Voice — uses clips from a 2007 music video that features explicit lyrics to portray Delgado as unfit to represent the Albany-area district, according to AP .
GOP Rep. John Faso, facing Delgado in one of the country’s most competitive House races, said on Monday his campaign had no control over the ad released by the National Republican Campaign Committee
Faso also said Delgado’s “words have been an issue for some time” and a candidate should “answer for the controversial views he expressed and whether he continues to hold these views today”: AP
DCCC is up this week with an ad claiming Faso — after taking more than $100k from the health-care industry — broke a promise to a constituent with a brain tumor that he wouldn’t take away her health care
WI-01: Super-PAC supported by House Republican leaders is running a television ad against Democrat Randy Bryce that stars his brother criticizing the candidate for anti-police rhetoric, Washington Post reports .
PAC has reserved $1.5m in tv and digital ads for district of retiring Speaker Paul Ryan
Bryce’s brother says he’ll vote for Republican opponent Bryan Steil
FL-GOV: The Miami-Dade Democratic Party says Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum will appear at the group’s Blue Gala event on Sept. 29, according to Florida Politics .
Gillum will be joined by keynote speaker Julian Castro, rumored to be a possible 2020 presidential candidate, along with several other Democratic lawmakers at the annual fundraiser; tickets start at $300
State Races and Ballot Initiatives
U.S. District Judge Amy Totenberg in Atlanta on Monday denied a request to force Georgia to use paper ballots from voters who claimed the electronic system puts the election at risk of Russian-style interference.
A good-government group and several voters claimed that Georgia’s paperless system is at such great risk that the Republican-led state is violating residents’ constitutional rights by failing to fix the problem
Wis. Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch apologizes for repeating claim that Democratic LG candidate Mandela Barnes kneeled during the national anthem, AP reports; Barnes has denied doing so.
Trump’s former top economic adviser Gary Cohn said Monday that JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon would make a “phenomenal” president; Dimon, who got in spat with Trump recently, has said he’s not running.
Republicans probably won’t have a second big tax cut to tout ahead of the Nov. 6 elections because Congress isn’t likely to pass new changes to the U.S. tax code before the midterms, White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said Monday.