OVERNIGHT CAMPAIGN: Here comes the committee cavalry

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and National Republican Congressional Committee both launched their first ads of the 2014 cycle on Tuesday, putting their money where their mouths have been for months and giving the clearest sense of where the hottest races will be this fall.

If you live anywhere near a top Senate or House race, beware turning on your TV from now until Election Day. 

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The DCCC's first independent expenditure spots attack embattled Rep. Michael Grimm (R-N.Y.) and Republican candidate Tom MacArthur, who's running in the swing district being vacated by retiring Rep. Jon Runyan (R-N.J.). The NRCC takes aim at Gwen Graham (D), who's giving Rep. Steve Southerland (R-Fla.) a tough challenge in his GOP-leaning district.

The buys show the DCCC isn’t convinced Grimm’s scandal has buried him yet. Even in a district that tilts Democratic, in a midterm year coupled with Grimm’s baggage, they can’t take a win for granted. 

Meanwhile, the NRCC is worried about Graham despite the district’s conservative lean. Graham is perhaps one of the DCCC’s best recruits, and anti-incumbent sentiment will also help the challenger. 

The Senate committees are tipping their hands as well. Both the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and National Republican Senatorial Committee have been on the air in Iowa, one of the DSCC’s bigger headaches this cycle, while the NRSC has also gone on air to defend a seat in Georgia and just made a buy in Michigan, a sign they think former Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land (R) still has a good shot against Rep. Gary Peters (D-Mich.).

 

SENATE SHOWDOWN

GA-SEN (OPEN): Former charity executive Michelle Nunn (D) is on the air with her first attack ad against businessman David Perdue (R), hitting him for working for companies that outsourced jobs and laid people off. 

The National Republican Senatorial Committee is firing back with its first independent expenditure ad of the cycle, slamming Nunn as “a rubber stamp for Obama's liberal values” and playing clips of her complimenting the president. “ObamaCare, higher taxes, billions of cuts to Medicare, that's the Obama-Nunn liberal agenda,” the ad says.

HI-SEN (SCHATZ): Hawaii’s remaining two precincts will have in-person voting on Friday, state election officials announced. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa’s (D-Hawaii) campaign isn’t happy, and is looking into legal action. She trailed Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) by 1,635 votes after last Saturday’s primary.

The two precincts had to cancel voting because they were hard-hit by Hurricane Iselle, and much of the area is still without power and running water.

AK-SEN (BEGICH): Sen. Mark Begich (D-Alaska) is bringing Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards to his events to highlight his pro-abortion rights views and appeal to women voters. 

MI-SEN (OPEN): The National Republican Senatorial Committee has made a $1.5 million ad buy in Michigan, a strong signal it feels good about former Michigan Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land's (R) chances against Rep. Gary Peters (D-Mich.). The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has $5 million reserved there for this fall.

Freedom Partners, a group backed by the Koch brothers, has canceled $1 million in ads for the same period.

IA-SEN (OPEN): Rep. Bruce Braley (D-Iowa) launched a new ad highlighting his efforts to protect soldiers from sexual assault with the bipartisan Holley Lynn James Act, which he introduced in 2011. The ad features Jesse James, a veteran whose daughter, Holley, was killed by her husband in 2008 while the two served in the Army.

KY-SEN (MCCONNELL): Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell holds a 44 to 40 percent lead over Kentucky Secretary of Sate Alison Lundergan Grimes (D) in the latest survey from Public Policy Polling, released Tuesday. Of the 7 percent in favor of Libertarian David Patterson, who filed papers to run Monday, between the two major candidates McConnell is favored 44/34. McConnell’s lead is up from the last time the Democratic pollster surveyed the state.

MS-SEN (COCHRAN): Mississippi pastor Stevie Fielder says he was paid by Mississippi state Sen. Chris McDaniel's (R) campaign to give an interview to a conservative blogger in which he said Sen. Thad Cochran's (R-Miss.) campaign had asked him to pay people to vote for Cochran.

McDaniel is still pursuing an uphill challenge to Cochran’s win. Among the votes he’s seeking to challenge: his own campaign attorney and his wife.

MT-SEN (OPEN): Actor Jeff Bridges (D) ruled out a bid to run for Sen. John Walsh’s (D-Mont.) seat after an online petition encouraged him to step up. Montana Democrats will pick their nominee this Saturday.

Rep. Steve Daines (R-Mont.) isn’t waiting for an opponent to keep building up his positive image in the state, airing a new ad with a local coal union head and Democrat praising his work.

CO-SEN (UDALL): Americans for Prosperity is up with a new ad accusing Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) of “covering up for ObamaCare.”

 

BATTLE FOR THE HOUSE

AZ-1 (KIRKPATRICK): The U.S. Chamber of Commerce endorsed state House Speaker Andy Tobin on Tuesday, hoping to boost him ahead of his Aug. 26 primary against rancher Gary Kiehne (R) and state Rep. Adam Kwasman (R) for the right to take on vulnerable Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D). 

AZ-2 (BARBER): Rep. Ron Barber’s (D-Ariz.) opponent, Martha McSally (R), is up with a new ad touting her fight against the Pentagon policy requiring women in the Armed forces to wear clothing in Saudi Arabia that fits local conservative Muslim norms.

FLORIDA: The state legislature has passed a new congressional map it hopes will pass muster in court. The new map makes minor changes to the districts of Reps. Dan Webster (R-Fla.) and Corrine Brown (D-Fla.) that could make Webster's GOP-leaning district slightly more competitive. It does little to shake up the whole map, however, making even smaller changes to five nearby districts. 

FL-2 (SOUTHERLAND): The National Republican Congressional Committee on Tuesday launched its first ad of the 2014 cycle, taking aim at Gwen Graham (D), who's giving Rep. Steve Southerland (R-Fla.) a tough challenge in his GOP-leaning district. The NRCC seeks to paint Graham, the daughter of the state's popular former governor and senator Bob Graham, as a two-faced liberal.

FL-26 (GARCIA): Former Rep. David Rivera (R-Fla.) isn’t gone yet. After announcing last month he was suspending his campaign, the embattled former congressman was back on the trail saying he’s still a candidate in the Aug. 26 primary. 

GA-12 (BARROW): Rep. John Barrow (D-Ga.) touts his fiscal conservatism and attacks Congress in his first ad of the 2014 campaign cycle. Barrow, the last white Democratic House member from the Deep South, criticizes Washington and never mentions his party in the ad, which features his dog. "Somebody once said if you want a friend in Washington, get a dog. Well, I wouldn't wish Washington on a dog," he says in the spot. 

NJ-3 (OPEN): The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s first ads of the 2014 election cycle include a 30-second spot accusing Republican candidate and insurance CEO Tom MacArthur of trying to profit “when disaster strikes.” MacArthur is running in the swing district being vacated by retiring Rep. Jon Runyan (R-N.J.). 

NY-11 (GRIMM): The DCCC also took aim at embattled Rep. Michael Grimm (R-N.Y.), splicing together TV coverage of his indictment on fraud charges and threats toward a local reporter.

NY-21 (OPEN): Democrat Aaron Woolf released his first TV ad Tuesday. The spot shows Woolf walking around campaigning, adding he “intends to bring his walking shoes” to walk across the aisle in Congress. He's running against former George W. Bush White House aide Elise Stefanik.

NY-23 (REED): Democratic candidate Martha Robertson released her first TV ad Tuesday, attacking Republican Rep. Tom Reed (R-N.Y.), who has run ads since June, on taxes and Social Security. “In Congress, Martha Robertson will make millionaires pay their fair share to ease the burden on the rest of us,” the ad says.

 

2016 WATCH

CLINTON: Hillary Clinton is staking out a more hawkish foreign policy stance than President Obama as she moves toward a run for the presidency in 2016. From Syria to Israel to Iran, Clinton is beginning to draw contrasts with the man she served under as secretary of State, and recently criticized Obama's approach in Syria.

Former top Obama advisor David Axelrod shot back, tweaking Clinton for her support of the Iraq invasion. “Just to clarify: 'Don't do stupid stuff' means stuff like occupying Iraq in the first place, which was a tragically bad decision,” he tweeted.

Clinton called Obama to say her comments weren’t meant as an attack on him, and a spokesman says she looks forward to “hugging it out” with Obama when she sees him later this week.

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said in an interview posted Monday that he would prefer a Democratic candidate like Hillary Clinton to run for president. He told Real Clear Politics last week in Chicago that Clinton’s “favorables are way too low for someone who is supposed to be inevitable.”

PERRY: Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) gave the most electrifying speech of the weekend to a big crowd of Iowa social conservative activists at the unofficial kickoff to the 2016 caucuses, and local GOP sources say he's riding a hot streak. Perry delivered a popular line when he scolded Obama about the border. “The message to the president of the United States is clear,” Perry said. “If you will not secure the border of our country, then the State of Texas will.”

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) also helped themselves, say Hawkeye State Republicans, while Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and the last two caucus winners, former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R), didn’t do themselves any favors.

PAUL: Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said Monday that the U.S. was fighting “both sides” in a Middle East war, and expressed "mixed feelings" about airstrikes targeting the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Paul noted that many of those who were pressing for airstrikes against ISIS had also called for the U.S. to attack Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime, which has been fighting the terror group.

Paul also looked to clarify his comments on providing aid to Israel, saying he has been “up front” that Israel is not among the countries he would cut foreign aid to. “Israel is our friend. I have never had a bill that had Israel's name in it to eliminate aid to Israel.”

JINDAL: Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) will keynote the Florida Republican Party’s annual Victory Dinner on Sept. 13 at Disney’s Grand Floridian resort in Lake Buena Vista.

 

QUOTE OF THE DAY 

“Enjoyed meeting Chris from the bachelor at the Iowa State Fair today.” –Tweet from Gov. Rick Perry (R-Texas), who posted a picture of him with Chris Soules from ABC’s “The Bachelorette.” The Iowa farmer heartthrob is rumored to be the next “Bachelor.” 

https://twitter.com/GovernorPerry/status/499224547099676672