CAMPAIGN OVERNIGHT: Nixon hopes derailed by Ferguson

The unrest in Ferguson, Mo., could mean the end of Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon’s (D) national ambitions.

Though he was a long-shot for the presidential nomination in 2016, the governor was seen as a potential Democratic vice presidential contender, because of his red-state roots and ability to appeal to populist and conservative Democrats.

Those assets are likely rendered meaningless, however, by the violent clashes between police and civilians in the small Missouri town that have riveted the nation and exposed racial wounds that still divide the state and much of the country.

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Nixon stopped into the area last Thursday to try to establish some calm, and has reassessed the law-enforcement presence there twice, on Monday deploying the National Guard to maintain order. But his response has been criticized as too little too late by Republicans, with Missouri GOP Chairman Ed Martin charging that “the failure in this, when they write the history of it, lands directly in Jay Nixon’s lap.”

Martin also dismissed Nixon’s national ambitions as “a complete farce and a joke.” And with the disturbing videos and reports of violence out of Ferguson unlikely to fade from voters’ memories anytime soon, it’s hard to see Nixon’s vice presidential prospects as anything but what might have been. 

 

SENATE SHOWDOWN

OUTSIDE SPENDING: According to a new report from the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University’s School of Law, outside groups have spent $72 million on independent expenditures in nine Senate races, a pace set to exceed the $97 million that such groups spent on 37 Senate races in the 2010 cycle.

AK-SEN (BEGICH): The underdogs in Alaska’s GOP primary each rolled out some big-name endorsements ahead of Tuesday’s primary.

Tea Party candidate and 2010 nominee Joe Miller (R) announced the backing of former Gov. Sarah Palin (R) on Friday and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R) Monday morning, while Alaska Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell (R) got the backing of former astronaut Buzz Aldrin. Still, former Department of Natural Resources head Dan Sullivan (R) is considered the favorite heading into the primary.

IA-SEN (OPEN): The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and Rep. Bruce Braley (D-Iowa) both rolled out ads on Monday. The DSCC’s ad ties Iowa state Sen. Joni Ernst (R) to former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R), who endorsed Ersnt in the primary, while Braley touts his work helping military personnel secure pay they had coming, a seeming pushback against attacks that he missed a high number of Veterans Administration hearings.

KY-SEN (MCCONNELL): Kentucky Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes went on the attack against Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) in a new ad Friday that targets the senator for increasing his own wealth while voting for harmful economic policies. "What can happen in 30 years?" a narrator asks in the ad, which launched in Kentucky last Thursday. "A senator can become a multi-millionaire in public office while voting 17 times against raising the minimum wage, three times for corporate tax breaks that send Kentucky jobs overseas and 12 times against extending unemployment benefits for laid-off workers."

LA-SEN (LANDRIEU): A Politico review of Sen. Mary Landrieu’s office expenditures turned up two trips in 2012 that may have been illegitimately billed to the Democrat's Senate office rather than her reelection campaign, intensifying scrutiny over her transportation expenditures that began last week when CNN reported Landrieu used office funds to improperly pay for a campaign trip. Her aides have said the bills were largely clerical errors, but they’ve created headaches for the senator as she faces down the challenge of her political career from Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-La.). 

NC-SEN (HAGAN): North Carolina Speaker Thom Tillis (R) touts his blue-collar roots and emphasizes his private-sector experience in a new campaign ad. "The Senate could use more people who had to sweat for a living, and fewer of the politicians who made this mess," he says in the spot.

SD-SEN (OPEN): South Dakota Democratic Senate candidate Rick Weiland hired Steve Jarding, a current lecturer at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government who has advised Sen. Tim Johnson (D-S.D.) and former Nebraska Sen. Bob Kerrey (D), as his senior campaign adviser and spokesman. Weiland remains the underdog, but a poll out last week showed him lagging Republican Mike Rounds by just eight points and Rounds underwater with voters, while Weiland remains popular.

 

BATTLE FOR THE HOUSE

House Democrats’ campaign arm raised a record $11.5 million in July, with $7 million of that coming from online donations, driven in large part by GOP attacks on President Obama. The $7 million raised by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee online in July is just $1 million less than the total raised from all sources by its GOP counterpart. 

CA-7 (BERA), CA-10 (DENHAM), CA-21 (VALADAO): Voters don't hear the words “climate change” when Democrats in competitive races in California explain what's causing the worst drought in the state’s history. President Obama has repeatedly blamed global warming for episodes of severe weather, including wildfires and droughts in the Golden State, but Democrats seeking to unseat Republicans in the hard-hit Central Valley region are balking at that argument. The drought is an issue in three of the five closest House races in California, but Democrats are opting against drawing a direct link between the drought and climate change. 

FL-2 (SOUTHERLAND): The newest ad from Gwen Graham's campaign looks to show the Democrat's willingness to work in a bipartisan fashion on issues such as jobs, the economy, education and healthcare. Graham is challenging Rep. Steve Southerland (R-Fla.) in the GOP-leaning district.

FL-26 (GARCIA): Embattled former Rep. David Garcia (R) didn’t appear at a GOP primary debate for his old seat. Instead, the Miami Herald reports, “he was patched in from outside the West Dade Regional Library early-voting site — purportedly because he was there meeting voters.” But the debate cohost tweeted afterwards that he didn’t end up campaigning at the site after all. 

NH-2 (KUSTER): The GOPAC Election Fund started airing a 30-second ad Monday for New Hampshire state Rep. Marilinda Garcia (R). "Conservatives are rallying around Marilinda Garcia for Congress. She knows the best way to create jobs is to make government regulations fair," the ad says. A banner reads, "She may not be what you expect but she's exactly what we need." The $50,000 ad buy runs through Aug. 27. Garcia is running in the GOP primary Sept. 9 for a chance to take on incumbent Rep. Ann Kuster (D-N.H.). 

NY-19 (GIBSON): Rep. Chris Gibson (R-N.Y). nabbed the endorsement of the New York State United Teachers (NYSUT) over Democratic rival Sean Eldridge. The AFL-CIO also passed on endorsing Eldridge. 

MA-6 (TIERNEY): Rep. John Tierney’s (D-Mass.) Democratic primary challenger, Seth Moulton, goes on the attack against Tierney in a new ad that charges he passed only one bill during his 18-year tenure in Congress, “missed more votes than most other members of Congress” and “was fined $83,000 for illegal campaign activities.”

WV-2 (OPEN): Nick Casey's campaign released its first ad touting the Democratic attorney's "conservative financial management" of only buying used cars and black socks and shoes, and resoling his shoes. "Washington needs to spend less and live within its means," Casey says in the ad. He is running against GOP nominee Alex Mooney to succeed Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R), who's running for Senate. 

WV-3 (RAHALL): Crossroads GPS is targeting Rep. Nick Rahall (D-W.Va.) in a new ad over President Obama's carbon pollution regulations on power plants. The group’s 30-second ad claims Rahall "endorsed" Obama's climate agenda by backing a carbon tax.

 

2016 WATCH

CLINTON: Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will make her high-profile return to Iowa for retiring Sen. Tom Harkin’s (D-Iowa) annual steak fry, her first appearance in the early-voting state in years and the latest big sign she’s gearing up for a 2016 campaign. She’ll also headline a fundraiser for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee alongside House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) in San Francisco in October.

When she travels, she stays in luxury. The potential 2016 presidential contender has requested to stay in the "presidential suite" for her fundraising speech at a University of Nevada, Las Vegas Foundation event Oct. 13, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported over the weekend.

PERRY: Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) said Monday on conservative commentator Sean Hannity’s radio show that he was going to “fight with everything I have” against his indictment by a grand jury, which he and his supporters are labeling an abuse of the court system for political gain.

Meanwhile, Republican Governors Association Chairman Chris Christie (R-N.J.) on Monday became the latest potential presidential opponent to lend his support to Perry in the wake of the indictment, saying in a statement, “I have complete faith and confidence in Governor Perry's honesty and integrity. And I'm sure that will be confirmed over time.”

Perry’s gotten support from most of his more prominent potential 2016 opponents, except for one notably silent possible contender: Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.). But Paul’s father, former Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), weighed in in support of the Texas governor on Monday, saying that while he’s a “disaster” on some issues, the indictment is “a joke.”

CHRISTIE: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, as head of the Republican Governors Association, named the “top six” incumbent Republican governors he will campaign for heading into November: Tom Corbett in Pennsylvania, John Kasich in Ohio, Rick Snyder in Michigan, Scott Walker in Wisconsin, Rick Scott in Florida and Paul LePage in Maine. 

 

QUOTE OF THE DAY

WMUR headline: “Chicken suit-wearing NHGOP staffer charged with disorderly conduct”