California Democrats can control this longtime GOP bastion if they win this one race

We’ll start with a look at Foley’s race for the new District 5, a coastal seat that includes Costa Mesa, Newport Beach, and part of Irvine. This constituency, according to data from Dave’s Redistricting App, would have favored Joe Biden 52-46, while he took Foley’s existing District 4 by a smaller 50-48.

However, Foley will be campaigning for a seat that’s largely new to her, as she currently represents only 30% of the new District 5. The majority is served by termed-out Republican Supervisor Lisa Bartlett, who lost the June top-two primary to challenger Democratic Rep. Mike Levin in the 49th Congressional District; the balance is held by Republican Don Wagner, who won a four-year term in 2020 and thus isn’t up this time. (The final member of the Board of Supervisors is Republican Andrew Do, who also won re-election two years ago.)

Foley herself scored a historic victory last year in a special election to succeed Republican Michelle Steel, who had just been elected to Congress by defeating Rep. Harley Rouda. Foley, who was mayor of Costa Mesa at the time, took advantage of GOP infighting to beat former Republican state Sen. John Moorlach 44-31 in a five-candidate contest where it took just a plurality to prevail. This win not only made Foley the first Democrat to represent this area on the Board of Supervisors since 1894, when Grover Cleveland was serving the second of his two non-consecutive terms as president, but it reduced the GOP’s edge on the body from 4-1 to 3-2.

This time, though, Foley needs to win a majority of the vote to secure a full four-year term, and that could be a dicey proposition. Foley took just 42% of the vote in the June nonpartisan primary, while the balance went to Bates and two other Republicans. Voice of OC wrote last week that the well-funded sheriff’s deputies union had spent $360,000 to help Foley and attack Bates, a longtime Orange County politician who is looking to return to the Board after an eight year absence. The Lincoln Club, which has long been a major GOP power player here, in turn deployed $250,000 to aid Bates.

The other two supervisor contests this year are all-Democratic affairs, but prominent Democrats are very much trying to unseat Chaffee in the new District 4. That’s because, while the former Fullerton mayor’s 2018 win made him the county’s first Democratic supervisor in 12 years, Chaffee has been anything but a loyal party member.

Chaffee last year voted with Republicans Bartlett and Do to place a local measure on the gubernatorial recall ballot that would have allowed supervisors to seek a third term by asking voters to approve a “lifetime ban after three terms.” That move drew loud and bipartisan condemnation from Foley and others, who complained that the referendum’s wording was deliberately confusing. The measure, though, soon died after the state legislature passed a law forbidding local referendums from appearing on the recall ballot.

A short time later, Chaffee and Do blocked county health officials from participating in Foley’s COVID-19 townhalls; Chaffee previously joined his GOP colleagues in opposing a mask mandate. The bad blood between Chaffee and local Democrats continued into this year when the county Democratic Party made the unusual decision to support Park, who leads Buena Park, against the incumbent in the June primary for this new 57-41 Biden seat.

Park went on to claim first place with 36%, while Chaffee only outpaced a Republican 32.4-31.8 for the second general election spot. Voice of OC notes that the sheriff’s deputies’ union is backing the supervisor’s bid for a second term, while Rep. Katie Porter and several unions are for Park.

There’s also an all-Democratic battle in District 2, which is the first majority-Latino Board seat in county history, but prominent Democrats haven’t unified behind a candidate in the contest between Santa Ana Mayor Vicente Sarmiento and Garden Grove Councilwoman Kim Bernice Nguyen. Sarmiento has the support of Gov. Gavin Newsom, Foley, and the county party, while Kim has the backing of Porter, the deputies union, and a crossparty endorsement from Do. Sarmiento in June led 35-22 in this 64-34 Biden constituency.

Fundraising

Fundraising: “Pre-general” reports, covering all fundraising activity from Oct. 1 to Oct. 19, were due at the FEC on Thursday, and as the reports for the third quarter showed, they once again find Democratic candidates for Congress dominating their Republican rivals. We’ve gathered reports for every major-party House and Senate candidate on the November ballot, since this is the last window we’ll have into their finances. (Campaigns must also file “48-hour notices” for any donations of $1,000 or more they receive in the final weeks of the race but don’t have to report further spending.)

Overall, Democrats running for the House raised $48 million during this time period while Republicans brought in $39 million, identical to the 55-45 split they enjoyed during the third quarter. The gulf was even vaster on the Senate side, with Democrats hauling in $74 million compared to $37 million for Republicans; that 66-33 divide was actually a touch wider than it was in the July-through-September timeframe.

Major Republican super PACs have continued to outspend their Democratic counterparts, though, so this imbalance is not as pronounced as it might seem. However, given the far more favorable advertising rates available to candidates as opposed to third-party groups, Democrats have maintained their advantage on the airwaves in many key races.

Senate

AZ-Sen: Libertarian Marc Victor announced Tuesday that he was dropping out of the race and endorsing Republican Blake Masters, a move that comes after about 900,000 ballots have already been cast. A similar thing happened during the final days of the state’s 2018 Senate race when the Green Party nominee, the appropriately named Angela Green, dropped out days ahead of Election Day and backed Democrat Kyrsten Sinema. Sinema days later beat Republican Martha McSally 50-48, while Green took the balance.

GA-Sen: The Senate Leadership Fund’s new ad against Democratic incumbent Raphael Warnock utilizes 2020 police bodycam footage where his ex-wife, Ouleye Ndoye, accused him of running over her foot with his car after an argument. A different Republican super PAC, 34N22, ran a similar spot a few weeks ago, but SLF hadn’t made use of this material in its TV commercials until now.

As we previously wrote, these allegations surfaced more than two years ago during Warnock’s special election campaign. The police report said that first responders were “not able to locate any swelling, redness, or bruising or broken bones” on Ndoye’s foot, and the candidate was not charged. Warnock also told police that he’d tried to drive “slowly” away from his wife’s home that night and that he then heard her accusing him of running over her foot. Republicans highlighted the story late in the runoff campaign, but Warnock went on to unseat appointed Sen. Kelly Loeffler soon afterwards.

Polls:

AZ-Sen: BSP Research (D) and Shaw & Company Research (R) for Univision: Mark Kelly (D-inc): 44, Blake Masters (R): 40

GA-Sen: Hart Research Associates (D) for Immigrant Justice Fund: Raphael Warnock (D-inc): 48, Herschel Walker (R): 45

NC-Sen: Meredith College: Ted Budd (R): 44, Cheri Beasley (D): 43 (Sept.: 41-41 tie)

NH-Sen: Saint Anselm College: Don Bolduc (R): 48, Maggie Hassan (D-inc): 47 (Sept.: 49-43 Hassan)

NV-Sen: OH Predictive Insights (R) for the Nevada Independent: Catherine Cortez Masto (D-inc): 43, Adam Laxalt (R): 41, Barry Lindemann (L): 2 (Sept.: 45-43 Laxalt)

NV-Sen: Hart Research Associates (D) for Immigrant Justice Fund: Cortez Masto (D-inc): 47, Laxalt (R): 46

NV-Sen: Suffolk University for USA Today: Cortez Masto (D-inc): 45, Laxalt (R): 44, Scott (L): 2 (Early Oct.: 46-44 Cortez Masto)

OK-Sen-B: Ascend Action (R): Markwayne Mullin (R): 47, Kendra Horn (D): 41 (Mid-Oct.: 50-39 Mullin)

PA-Sen: Hart Research Associates (D) for Immigrant Justice Fund: John Fetterman (D): 46, Mehmet Oz (R): 44

UT-Sen: Hill Research Consultants (R) for Put Utah First (pro-McMullin): Mike Lee (R-inc): 47, Evan McMullin (I): 46 (Mid-Oct.: 49-43 McMullin)

UT-Sen: OH Predictive Insights (R): Lee (R-inc): 53, McMullin (I): 34 (Early Oct.: 47-32 Lee)

Hart Research Associates: This firm also polled Arizona and Wisconsin more than two weeks ago, which makes them quite stale for this point in the race. As it is, some of these numbers are fairly old: The Pennsylvania poll, for instance, was completed Oct. 19, almost a week before the high-profile Oct. 25 debate.

NH-Sen: This is the first survey we’ve seen showing Bolduc ahead. The Senate Leadership Fund triaged this race on Oct. 21 in an apparent vote of no confidence in Bolduc’s prospects, though his continuing refusal to support Mitch McConnell for leader likely didn’t help things.

NV-Sen: OH Predictive Insights also asked the 10% of respondents who said they were undecided which major party candidate they leaned towards, but it found 83% remained uncommitted when pushed: Laxalt took another 13% of that tiny sample of 58 people, while 4% said they leaned towards Cortez Masto.

OK-Sen-B: A 6-point victory for Mullin would make this the first single-digit federal election contest in Oklahoma since 1996, when Republican Bob Dole beat President Bill Clinton 48-40 here. It’s more likely, though, that this sample, which also favored Democrat Joy Hofmeister 48-45 over GOP Gov. Kevin Stitt, is just too blue for this very Republican state.

Governors

KS-Gov: The DGA’s Kansas Values Institute is rolling out a spot starring two Republican governors of yesteryear, Bill Graves and Mike Hayden, praising Democratic incumbent Laura Kelly as an effective bipartisan leader. The duo go on to argue that Republican Derek Schmidt would just lead to a repeat of the horrible years when Sam Brownback ran the state’s economy into the ground.

Polls:

AZ-Gov: Siena College for the New York Times: Katie Hobbs (D): 48, Kari Lake (R): 48

AZ-Gov: BSP Research (D) and Shaw & Company Research (R) for Univision: Lake (R): 42, Hobbs (D): 40

GA-Gov: Siena College for the New York Times: Brian Kemp (R-inc): 50, Stacey Abrams (D): 45, Shane Hazel (L): 1

MI-Gov: InsiderAdvantage (R) for American Greatness: Gretchen Whitmer (D-inc): 45, Tudor Dixon (R): 45, Kevin Hogan (G): 2, Mary Buzuma (L): 2 (Mid-Oct: 44-44 tie)

MI-Gov: Cygnal (R): Whitmer (D-inc): 51, Dixon (R): 45 (Late Oct.: 51-45 Whitmer)

MI-Gov: Glengariff Group for the Detroit News and WDIV: Whitmer (D-inc): 52, Dixon (R): 43 (Late Sept.: 50-32 Whitmer)

NV-Gov: OH Predictive Insights (R): Steve Sisolak (D-inc): 45, Joe Lombardo (R): 41, Edward Bridges (IAP): 3, Brandon Davis (L): 1 (Sept.: 45-42 Lombardo)

NV-Gov: Siena College for the New York Times: Lombardo (R): 49, Sisolak (D-inc): 45

NV-Gov: Suffolk University for USA Today: Sisolak (D-inc): 43, Lombardo (R): 43, Bridges (IAP): 3, Davis (L): 2 (Early Oct.: 44-43 Lombardo)

PA-Gov: Siena College for the New York Times: Josh Shapiro (D): 53, Doug Mastriano (R): 40

TX-Gov: YouGov for the University of Houston: Greg Abbott (R-inc): 53, Beto O’Rourke (D): 40 (Mid-Oct.: 54-43 Abbott)

House

AZ-02: The Congressional Leadership Fund is making its first foray against Democratic Rep. Tom O’Halleran in this redrawn 53-45 Trump seat, an offensive that comes about two weeks after Democratic groups first took to the airwaves against Republican Eli Crane. The NRCC previously spent a hefty $1.7 million here in September, but until now, conservatives seemed content that they’d weakened O’Halleran enough.

CA-34: Democratic Rep. Jimmy Gomez fended off an intra-party challenge from former prosecutor David Kim by a shockingly close 53-47 margin in the 2020 general election, and Gomez seems determined to make sure their rematch turns out very differently. While Kim is once again campaigning as an ardent progressive in this safely blue seat in downtown Los Angeles, the New York Times reports that Gomez has sent out mailers declaring he’s running “with QAnon-MAGA support.”

Gomez’ campaign argues this attack is fair because Kim two years ago received the backing of Republican Joanne Wright, a QAnon conspiracy theorist who failed to advance out of the top-two primary. The congressman’s team said that Wright’s beliefs were already public back then, while Kim has declared that Gomez is misleadingly making it sound like he’s gotten support from QAnon acolytes for 2022.

PA-12: AIPAC has launched a $1 million offensive against Democrat Summer Lee, whom it unsuccessfully tried to stop in the May primary, in what marks the first time that the hawkish pro-Israel group has attacked a candidate in a general election. The only other fall spending we’ve seen from AIPAC’s United Democracy Project is the $500,000 it spent in California’s 15th District all-Democratic contest to promote Assemblyman Kevin Mullin, who faces San Mateo County Supervisor David Canepa.

The spot against Lee slams her as a “radical” and uses a clip of her saying, “I believe in prison abolition.” The move comes around the same time that the NRCC said it would be spending six figures against the Democrat in this 59-39 Biden constituency, where Lee faces a Republican named Mike Doyle for the right to succeed retiring Democratic incumbent Mike Doyle.

House Majority PAC: House Majority PAC is airing ads for Team Blue in four Democratic-held seats that, until now, had attracted no serious outside spending from either side. The only size of the buy we have is from northern New Mexico’s 3rd District, where the National Journal says HMP is deploying $145,000 to aid Rep. Teresa Leger Fernandez against Alexis Martinez Johnson. Biden would have prevailed 54-44 here, and a recent survey from Research and Polling showed Leger Fernandez up 53-35.

HMP is also getting involved to help two Illinois incumbents, 6th District Rep. Sean Casten and 14th District Rep. Lauren Underwood, whose suburban Chicago seats Biden would have won 55-44 and 55-43, respectively. Finally, HMP is running a spot in New York’s open 4th District on Long Island, where Democrat Laura Gillen is going up against Republican Anthony D’Esposito. Biden would have carried this seat 57-42, and just like in the two Illinois districts, we haven’t seen any polling here.

Polls:

IA-03: Moore Information (R) for Zach Nunn: Zach Nunn (R): 46, Cindy Axne (D-inc): 44 (Sept.: 46-44 Nunn)

NH-01: Saint Anselm College: Karoline Leavitt (R): 51, Chris Pappas (D-inc): 45 (Sept.: 49-41 Pappas)

NH-02: Saint Anselm College: Annie Kuster (D-inc): 50, Bob Burns (R): 42 (Sept.: 49-35 Kuster)

IA-03: We haven’t seen any other surveys in the month between these two Nunn internals, which gave him identical 46-44 leads in a seat Trump would have narrowly taken.

Attorneys General and Secretaries of State

Polls:

AZ-SoS: Siena College for the New York Times: Adrian Fontes (D): 47, Mark Finchem (R): 40

MI-AG: Glengariff Group for the Detroit News and WDIV: Dana Nessel (D-inc): 44, Matthew DePerno (R): 43 (Sept.: 43-30 Nessel)

MI-AG: Cygnal (R): Nessel (D-inc): 47, DePerno (R): 42 (Late Oct.: 46-43 Nessel)

MI-SoS: Glengariff Group for the Detroit News and WDIV: Jocelyn Benson (D-inc): 49, Kristina Karamo (R): 39 (Sept.: 47-29 Benson)

MI-SoS: Cygnal (R): Benson (D-inc): 50, Karamo (R): 40 (Late Oct.: 50-40 Benson)

NV-AG: OH Predictive Insights (R): Aaron Ford (D-inc): 43, Sigal Chattah (R): 35, John Kennedy (L): 4 (Sept.: 39-37 Chattah)

NV-SoS: OH Predictive Insights (R): Cisco Aguilar (D): 43, Jim Marchant (R): 41, Janine Hansen (IAP): 4, Ross Crane (L): 2 (Sept.: 39-31 Marchant)

NV-SoS: Siena College for the New York Times: Aguilar (D): 44, Marchant (R): 41

NV Treasurer: OH Predictive Insights (R): Zach Conine (D-inc): 38, Michele Fiore (R): 35 Margaret Hendrickson (IAP): 4, Bryan Elliott (L): 4 (Sept.: 38-30 Fiore)

TX-AG: YouGov for the University of Houston: Ken Paxton (R-inc): 49, Rochelle Garza (D): 37 (Mid-Oct.: 51-37 Paxton)

Ballot Measures

MI Ballot: The Glengariff Group’s new survey for the Detroit News and WDIV shows Proposal 3, which would enshrine the right to an abortion into the Michigan state constitution, ahead 55-41, which is a drop from 62-24 a month ago.

Mayors

Chicago, IL Mayor: Rep. Chuy Garcia has publicized a survey from Public Policy Polling that argues that, should he run, he’d be the candidate best positioned to beat his fellow Democrat, incumbent Lori Lightfoot. Garcia himself says he’d only get in if his party lost the House majority next week, though he’s already gathering petitions ahead of the Nov. 28 filing deadline.

PPP shows Lightfoot taking 22% in the February nonpartisan primary as Garcia narrowly edges out wealthy perennial candidate Willie Wilson 14-12 for second, with former Chicago Public Schools CEO Paul Vallas taking 8%. In a hypothetical April general election, though, Garcia leads Lightfoot 43-34 while the other tested contenders trail the mayor.  

Grab Bag

Babka: It’s that time of year, friends: The annual Daily Kos Elections prediction contest is back, and once again, the one-of-a-kind Green’s Bakery is generously sponsoring us! Submit your guesses on a host of key midterm elections for a chance at one of four delectable gift bundles that include babka and a whole host of other assorted goodies. You have until 5 PM ET on Election Day to enter, so get to it. Babka—and bragging rights—are at stake!

Ad Roundup

Readers and ad watchers, the 2022 Ad Roundup is over. We hope you all enjoyed yourselves, and we’ll see you all again in 2024!



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