CAMPAIGN OVERNIGHT: Virginia pols punt on Redskins name

Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) and his Republican opponent, Ed Gillespie, want no part in the dispute over the Washington Redskins's controversial name.

Both candidates punted on the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office's ruling that the name is "disparaging" and that it will lose its trademark.

Whether or not the football team's name is racist is a hotly debated issue in Northern Virginia and throughout the commonwealth. Taking a strong stand for or against the name risks alienating otherwise sympathetic voters.

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Warner’s office pointed to a month-old statement saying “it’s not for Congress to dictate what the league does” and that “over time, team names will change to reflect the times.” Gillespie’s campaign was similarly ambivalent, saying the ruling “will work its way through the courts” and that senators shouldn’t waste their time “telling private team owners what they should or shouldn't call their teams.”

Neither wants to touch this political football and risk alienating their base or angering centrists.

 

SENATE SHOWDOWN

AR-SEN (PRYOR): A new internal poll from Rep. Tom Cotton’s (R-Ark.) campaign first shared with The Hill shows him leading Sen. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) by 7 percentage points. Though polls in late April had found Pryor in the lead, Cotton’s internal poll is in line with other Republican polls released since Memorial Day and comes after his campaign’s increased spending on positive ads. 

As Talk Business points out, the polling memo indicates that Cotton first polled his standing against Pryor in February 2013, just a month after the freshman was sworn into Congress.

IA-SEN (OPEN): Rep. Bruce Braley (D-Iowa) has a slight lead over Iowa state Sen. Joni Ernst (R ), according to a new poll from Quinnipiac University. The live-caller poll has Braley leading Ernst by 44 to 40 percent.

CO-SEN (UDALL): Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) and Rep. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) battled it out Tuesday in a series of video ads. Udall ran an attack ad in which he speaks directly to the camera, slamming Gardner for his “beyond troubling” positions on birth control and abortion. In response, Gardner stars in a video of his own, explaining that he changed his mind on a personhood initiative that could have led to the banning of certain birth controls after listening to voters, something he says Udall and President Obama “refuse” to do. 

GA-SEN (OPEN): Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Ga.) has the momentum against businessman David Perdue (R) and is close to giving Republicans the Senate nominee they’ve long wanted. 

But questions about shady campaign donations could still roil the race ahead of the July 22 runoff and November general election.

Perdue released a new ad attacking Kingston for “22 years of liberal spending” and hails Perdue as the “true conservative” who will “take on career politicians and the Washington establishment.” Kingston is set to debut an ad attacking Perdue for his involvement with companies and boards that support immigration reform and took stimulus money.

NH-SEN (SHAHEEN): Republican Senate candidate Scott Brown released a new ad featuring his sister, LeeAnn Riley, who tells viewers how Brown protected her and her mother from physical abuse during their childhood. The ad, which will begin airing Thursday, ends with a statement praising Brown’s character: “When people ask me what kind of man he is, I tell them he’ll be there for you, like he has been for me.”

AK-SEN (BEGICH): Alaska Senate candidate and GOP front-runner Dan Sullivan released an ad featuring small-businessmen praising Sullivan for the creation of 1,200 jobs while accusing Sen. Mark Begich (D-Alaska) for being “all about Mark Begich.”  

The VoteVets.org Action Fund slammed Sullivan with an ad of its own, attacking him for supporting a land-permitting plan while he was state Natural Resources commissioner that veterans in the ad claim would keep Alaskans out of the conversation involving fishing and hunting rights. 

RedState.com Editor-in-chief Erick Erickson, meanwhile, endorsed Alaska Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell's (R) Senate campaign, giving the underdog a potential boost on the right against Sullivan.

LA-SEN (LANDRIEU): Generation Opportunity, a youth group backed by billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch, hits Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) with an ad accusing her, and Washington in general, of a “spending problem.” The ad features a Landrieu look-alike greedily packing a shopping cart full of groceries and attempting to leave a young woman with the $800,000 bill. The woman tells the look-alike to “pay for it herself,” as the ad urges viewers to Landrieu to “stop wasting” their money.

Landrieu also gets slammed by the National Republican Senate Committee, who released an ad Wednesday featuring a compilation of clips questioning her influence as chairwoman of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, a position of power Landrieu has cited as a reason to keep her in office. 

MS-SEN (COCHRAN): The U.S. Chamber of Congress brings in the support of NFL legend Brett Favre in its newest ad for Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) released Wednesday. Favre, a Mississippi native, encourages viewers to stand with Cochran, a leader who “always delivers, just like he did during Katrina.” 

 

BATTLE FOR THE HOUSE

AZ-7 (OPEN): A judge ruled Tuesday to remove an Arizona congressional candidate who legally changed his name to Cesar Chavez from the ballot for the Democratic primary race. Chavez, formerly Scott Fistler, needed 1,039 signatures to qualify for the Aug. 26 primary ballot but ended up 295 short after Judge John Rea ruled that half of the roughly 1,500 signatures he collected were invalid.  

LA-5 (MCALLISTER): Rep. Vance McAllister (R-La.) said in a brief interview Tuesday that he is “leaning 55 to 45 percent for running” for the 5th District seat again. The “kissing congressman,” who earned his nickname after being caught on tape kissing a staffer, said he expects to make his decision in the next few weeks. The deadline to enter the ballot is Aug. 22.

VA-7 (OPEN): A political firm set out to discover just what went wrong in House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s (R-Va.) shocking primary loss. Silver Bullet LLC released a survey of 7th District primary voters Wednesday that revealed much of Dave Brat’s (R) support came from unaffiliated voters who were “less likely to have seen advertisements from Brat.” In addition, the poll found that Cantor’s stance on immigration was the deciding factor for only 12 percent of Brat’s supporters.

WV-3 (RAHALL): Americans for Prosperity released an ad Wednesday sharply criticizing Rep. Nick Rahall (D-W.Va.) and President Obama for supporting coal regulations. The ad features the testimonial of a West Virginia coal miner’s wife, who charges that Rahall “let coal mining families down” by not defending the state’s coal industry against Environmental Protection Agency regulations. 

 

2016 WATCH

CLINTON: A new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll found that while 55 percent of voters consider Hillary Clinton capable of being president, only 38 percent feel that she is “honest and straightforward.” Despite these qualms about her trustworthiness, Clinton has gained approval among Democrats since 2008. According to the poll, Clinton experienced a 20 percentage point increase among Democrats who share her positions on political issues.

JINDAL: Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) announced plans for an executive order aimed at pulling his state out of the Common Core educational standards in Louisiana. Jindal once supported the plan but it’s since become a Tea Party lightning rod. His executive order comes because Louisiana’s GOP-controlled legislature refused to back him in the effort.

 

QUOTE OF THE DAY

“Unless the ticket is 4 a Poetry Slam at Rutgers then no - Biden rocks at Spoken Word.” - Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), responding to a tweet asking about a possible “Biden/Booker 2016 ticket”