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Ed Gillespie’s racist new ad in Virginia goes straight into Willie Horton territory

The Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest is compiled by David Nir, Jeff Singer, Stephen Wolf, and Carolyn Fiddler, with additional contributions from David Jarman, Steve Singiser, Daniel Donner, James Lambert, David Beard, and Arjun Jaikumar.


• VA-Gov:  Republican Ed Gillespie has dropped another “anti-immigration” ad that makes his first one look positively tame by comparison (it’s still terrible, though).

Gillespie’s new spot essentially equates “dangerous illegal immigrants”—itself a racist anti-Latino trope—with MS-13, a dangerous and violent street gang that actually heavily targets undocumented Latinos. The ad further equates Democrat Ralph Northam’s vote against prohibiting “sanctuary cities” with “increasing the threat of MS-13.” It uses photos of imprisoned MS-13 members and flashes the gang’s “Kill, Rape, Control” motto across the screen in a positively Willie Horton-esque attempt to stoke racially charged fears among Virginia voters.

And here’s a fun fact about that Northam vote on “sanctuary cities”: The vote Gillespie hits Northam for in the ad was almost certainly engineered by GOP lawmakers to force Northam to break a tie in the state Senate—solely to give the Republican an anti-immigration talking point, because Virginia doesn’t technically have any “sanctuary cities” to ban in the first place.


• AL-Sen: Biden Alert! Former Vice President Joe Biden will campaign for Democrat Doug Jones in Birmingham on Oct. 3 ahead of this December’s general election.

Meanwhile, with days to go before the GOP runoff, ex-state Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore is out with another ad. While standing in front of a nondescript black screen, Moore expresses frustration with what he calls “false negative ads,” and calls for getting on with the country’s business. After he talks about repealing Obamacare and abolishing the IRS, Moore trashes the GOP establishment and tells the audience that he’s fought for them in Vietnam and on the bench, and will fight for them in the Senate “so help me God.”

• MI-Sen: GOP pollster Marketing Resource Group takes a look at the veryhypothetical matchup between Democratic Sen. Debbi Stabenow and Republican musician Robert Ritchie, better known as Kid Rock. They give Stabenow a 52-34 lead; her opponent is called “Kid Rock the Republican” in MRG’s question, even though if he ran, Ritchie would probably not be identified by his stage name on the ballot. MRG says they did the poll without a client, though they’ve agreed to work with businessman Sandy Pensler if he decides to seek the GOP nod.

Meanwhile, a different Republican officially joined the primary. Businessman John James, who served with the Army in Iraq, set up an exploratory committee over the summer, and announced he was in on Thursday. The only other declared GOP candidate is ex-state Supreme Court Justice Bob Young, though Rep. Fred Upton and others are considering.

• TN-Sen: Clay Travis, a Nashville-based host for Fox Sports Radio, told the Independent Journal Review this week that he’s interested in challenging GOP Sen. Bob Corker as an independent. However, Travis said he wouldn’t run if he had to give up his radio job. Because of equal time laws, it’s unlikely Travis could pull this off.

If Travis doesn’t run in the end, it won’t be because his ego wasn’t big enough. Travis bragged that he had “100 percent name recognition” at a University of Tennessee tailgate party, and declared that Democrats and Republicans “would kill to have the recognition in the state” he purports to have. Travis also recently told CNN anchor Brooke Baldwin that he “believe[s] in only two things completely. The First Amendment and boobs.” What a swell guy.


• IL-Gov, IL-AG: State Sen. Kwame Raoul is consistently mentioned as a Democratic candidate for higher office, and at the beginning of the year, he did not rule out a bid against GOP Gov. Bruce Rauner. But Raoul showed no other interest in that race, and last week he sounded very likely to run for attorney general after Democratic incumbent Lisa Madigan surprised the political world and announced her retirement. This week, Raoul entered the race for attorney general, though plenty of other Democrats are eyeing the job. The filing deadline is Dec. 4.

• NJ-Gov: Well, this is unusual. While almost no one is acting like Republican Kim Guadagno has any real chance to beat Democrat Phil Murphy in this fall’s race, a group backed by the Democratic Governors Association called Our New Jersey is taking to the airwaves anyway. The DGA tells us that $1 million is behind the spot, which isn’t chump change. However, the ad is only airing in the Philadelphia media market, which covers just a quarter of the state; the vast majority of Garden State viewers watch New York City TV, where ad time is very expensive. The DGA’s counterparts at the RGA also debuted a TV spot this week, though that one only runs for 15 seconds.

It’s not clear what’s happening. Polls have consistently shown Murphy with a clear lead over Guadagno; even a late June poll from Guadagno had Murphy winning 42-28. This week, Fox released a survey from their usual bipartisan polling team of Democratic firm Anderson Robbins Research and the GOP group Shaw & Company Research that gave Murphy a 42-29 edge. That’s a lot closer than the 58-33 Murphy lead Quinnipiac found earlier this month, but it’s still not close. Both Donald Trump and outgoing GOP Gov. Chris Christie very unpopular here, and it’s tough to believe that Team Blue is really concerned about this contest. We’ll keep an eye out to see if national groups start advertising in the New York City media market, but until then, this Democratic ad buy is more a curiosity than a sign of alarm.

The actual ad from Our New Jersey hits the notes you’d expect. It shows a quick montage of Guadagno and Christie as the narrator asks, “After eight years of Chris Christie, is Kim Guadagno the change New Jersey really needs?” The narrator continues to tie the two Republicans together, concluding, “From the bridge to the beach, we’ve seen it all, and we’ve had enough.”

• TX-Gov: Last month, Politico reported that state Democrats, as well as Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez, were encouraging Rep. Joaquín Castro to challenge GOP Gov. Greg Abbott. Castro was asked about his interest in running this week and he just said, “My plan is to run for re-election.” When he was asked if he was ruling out a run for governor, he only laughed—so no, he’s not ruling it out. It still seems very unlikely that Castro will give up his safe House seat to undertake an extremely difficult bid against Abbott. Texas’ filing deadline is Dec. 11, so he’ll need to decide before too long.

• WY-Gov: There’s a wide-open GOP primary to succeed termed-out Republican Gov. Matt Mead… though you wouldn’t know that by how slowly it’s taking shape. The only declared candidate remains businessman Bill Dahlin, but it’s not clear if he’s a serious contender or not. The only real development of the contest came last month when ex-Rep. Cynthia Lummis reportedly announced that she wouldn’t run, and she confirmed those reports this week. Secretary of State Ed Murray and state Treasurer Mark Gordon look like the two Republicans most likely to run, and Murray recently told the Casper Star-Tribune’s Arno Rosenfeld that Lummis’ decision makes it more likely he’ll get in. Gordon also reaffirmed his interest, but neither man set a timeline for when they’ll decide.

If other Wyoming Republicans are thinking about getting in, they’re being very quiet about it. Superintendent of Public Instruction Jillian Balow explicitly didn’t rule it out when she told the Wyoming Tribune Eagle’s Joel Funk that, “I’ll never say never,” but she added that “as an educator and as a mom, it’s tough to see anything that would be more rewarding than having the opportunity to continue serving as state superintendent,” and she said she planned to seek re-election. Laramie County Republican Party Chairman Darin Smith also left the door open a crack, saying he’s watching to see “who surfaces in the race for governor” and “would never rule out anything,” but that he doesn’t think he’ll get in.

Ex-state Rep. Tim Stubson, who ran for the House last year and took a distant third place with 18 percent of the vote, also called the idea of a gubernatorial campaign “pretty unlikely.” State Auditor Cynthia Cloud said she enjoyed her job and doesn’t plan to run. None of those are quite noes, but it doesn’t sound like anyone should hold their breath waiting for any of that quartet.

Funk adds that state Sen. Leland Christensen, who lost the U.S. House primary 40-22 to Liz Cheney, has been mentioned, but Christensen did not comment on his interest. He also writes that ex-state Republican Party Chairman Matt Micheli’s name has come up too, but Micheli also didn’t respond to questions about his plans. Wyoming’s filing deadline isn’t until June 1.


• CA-07: This week, Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones endorsed businessman Andrew Grant over physician and fellow Republican Yona Barish. Last year, Jones challenged Democratic Rep. Ami Bera and lost 51-49 as this suburban Sacramento seat swung from 51-47 Obama to 52-41 Clinton. Interestingly, the Sacramento Bee recently reported that the people who ran Jones’ campaign are handling Barish’s.

• CA-49: Politico reports that Sara Jacobs, who served as a policy adviser for Hillary Clinton’s presidential bid and also has help portions at the United Nations and in the State Department, is considering joining the Democratic field to face GOP Rep. Darrell Issa. They add that Jacobs has also caught the attention of EMILY’s List, a group that helps pro-choice Democratic women win elected office. However, while Jacobs is a San Diego native, she currently runs a non-profit in New York. This suburban San Diego seat swing from 52-46 Romney to 51-43 Clinton, but Issa narrowly won re-election in an unexpectedly expensive contest.

• IN-09: A few months ago, orthodontist Tod Curtis, who has the distinction of owning a copy of every Nintendo game ever made, entered the Democratic primary to face GOP Rep. Trey Hollingsworth. Curtis recently dropped out of the race; at least we know he won’t be bored.

• MD-06On Wednesday, state House Majority Leader Bill Frick announced that he was dropping out of the Democratic primary for Congress and would run for Montgomery County executive instead. Several other Democrats are seeking this open 55-40 Clinton seat, though there’s a crowded race for county executive as well.

• PA-15: While ex-state Rep. Jennifer Mann reportedly has been considering a bid for this open Lehigh Valley seat, she told PoliticsPA this week that she won’t run.


• WA State Senate: Control of the Washington state Senate rests on the Nov. 7 special election for SD-45 in suburban Seattle, and the Democratic pollster Myers Research & Strategic Services gives Team Blue some good news. They find Democrat Manka Dhingra with a 55-41 lead over Republican Jinyoung Englund with likely voters; no client was identified.

Dhingra led Englund 51-43 in the August top-two primary for this seat; unlike in California, Washington top-two primary results tend to do a good job forecasting which party will win in November. If Dhingra prevails this fall, Democrats will have full control of the state government for the first time since two Democratic legislators voted to put the GOP minority in power in late 2012. This seat backed Clinton 65-28, though the area is more friendly to the GOP down-ballot.

Grab Bag

• Statehouse Action: This Week in Statehouse Action: Sine Die of the Dead edition features even more racism from Virginia Republicans, real fake news, possibly unconstitutional Wisconsin GOP shenanigans, and more!

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on this day 9/22 1862 – U.S. President Lincoln issued the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation. It stated that all slaves held within rebel states would be free as of January 1, 1863.

221789 – The U.S. Congress authorized the office of Postmaster General.

1792 – The French Republic was proclaimed.

1862 – U.S. President Lincoln issued the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation. It stated that all slaves held within rebel states would be free as of January 1, 1863.

1903 – Italo Marchiony was granted a patent for the ice cream cone.

1914 – Three British cruisers were sunk by one German submarine in the North Sea. 1,400 British sailors were killed. This event alerted the British to the effectiveness of the submarine.

1927 – In Chicago, IL, Gene Tunney successfully defended his heavyweight boxing title against Jack Dempsey in the famous “long-count” fight.

1949 – The Soviet Union exploded its first atomic bomb successfully.

1955 – Commercial television began in Great Britain. The rules said that only six minutes of ads were allowed each hour and there was no Sunday morning TV permitted.

1961 – U.S. President John F. Kennedy signed a congressional act that established the Peace Corps.

1964 – “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.” debuted on NBC-TV.

1966 – The U.S. lunar probe Surveyor 2 crashed into the moon.

1969 – Willie Mays hit his 600th career home run.

1980 – A border conflict between Iran and Iraq developed into a full-scale war.

1986 – U.S. President Ronald Reagan addressed the U.N. General Assembly and voiced a new hope for arms control. He also criticized the Soviet Union for arresting U.S. journalist Nicholas Daniloff.

1988 – Canada’s government apologized for the internment of Japanese-Canadian’s during World War II. They also promised compensation.

1990 – Saudi Arabia expelled most of the Yememin and Jordanian envoys in Riyadh. The Saudi accusations were unspecific.

1991 – An article in the London newspaper “The Mail” revealed that John Cairncross admitted to being the “fifth man” in the Soviet Union’s British spy ring.

1992 – The U.N. General Assembly expelled Yugoslavia for its role in the war between Bosnia and Herzegovina.

1994 – The U.S. upgraded its military control in Haiti.

1998 – The U.S. and Russia signed two agreements. One was to privatize Russia’s nuclear program and the other was to stop plutonium stockpiles and nuclear scientists from leaving the country.

1998 – U.S. President Clinton addressed the United Nations and told world leaders to “end all nuclear tests for all time”. He then sent the long-delayed global test-ban treaty to the U.S. Senate.

1998 – Keely Smith received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

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