• NC-06, AL-06: Tuesday night's runoffs saw two establishment GOP figures crash and burn in two different Southern House districts. In North Carolina's 6th, Rockingham County District Attorney Phil Berger, Jr., the son of powerful state Senate President Phil Berger, Sr., fell to Baptist pastor Mark Walker by a punishing 60-40 margin. Berger led 34-25 on primary night, had a fundraising advantage, and earned the endorsement of retiring Rep. Howard Coble.
Embarrassingly, his father even managed to get the Republican State Leadership Committee—the entity tasked with helping GOP legislative candidates—to funnel $75,000 to a super PAC to help him out, but it was to no avail. (As luck would have it, pops is a past chair of the RSLC, so I'm sure their donors were thrilled to see their money wasted like this.)
Walker, however, hailed from the district's largest county, Guilford, and had a strong grassroots network thanks to his religious background. He'll still be the heavy favorite in November, given the district's strong red tilt, but Democrats are gleeful to see a family as prominent as the Bergers fail, and they also have a stronger-than-usual candidate in former college administrator Laura Fjeld. It would take a Walker implosion to put this race on the map, but given his non-traditional political profile, the possibility's always there.
Meanwhile, in Alabama's 6th Congressional District, another candidate with social conservative ties, former think tank president Gary Palmer, also cruised to victory, pounding state Rep. Paul DeMarco 64-36. Palmer had a ton of endorsements from religious right royalty, including Rick Santorum, Ralph Reed, Gary Bauer—even the Duggars. He also got a big assist from the Club for Growth, which unsuccessfully backed surgeon Chad Mathis in the primary but then decided to aim its fire at DeMarco in the runoff. (It seems these days that if you're a Republican state legislator running for Congress, you're gonna get branded a liberal pretty much no matter what.)
Palmer's win was less of a surprise than Walker's, though. DeMarco, similar to Berger in North Carolina, beat Palmer 33-20 in the primary, but an independent poll from Cygnal shortly before Election Day placed him up 60-29, very close to his eventual final margin. When DeMarco scoffed at the numbers but failed to provide any of his own—one of the biggest tells in electoral politics—you knew something was probably up. Indeed, there was, and now Palmer will waltz into Congress, given that the 6th is one of the reddest districts in the country.
But is there an overall message to be gleaned from these wins? Probably not. Just when you think you've figured out one Republican primary, the next one comes along and sends your mental model sideways. For every outsider upset, there are plenty of easy victories for establishment figures, and it's hard to predict the outcomes beforehand. Runoffs also mess with the equation, as turnout dips even lower than usual and the electorate gets quirkier. If nothing else, though, Tuesday once again shows that mainstream Republicans are always vulnerable to the forces of discontent.
KINGSTON: Not a day goes by when people don't talk to us about impeachment. I don't know what rises to that level yet, but I know that there's a mounting frustration that a lot of people are getting to and I think Congress is going to start looking at it very seriously.Unlike Ernst, though, Kingston's already a member of Congress. Why hasn't he asked John Boehner to open an investigation already?
McCREADY: Well, if this lawsuit, and I said this in the first half of the show. I'm concerned about this lawsuit because, and first of all, I agree that the president needs to be held accountable. But with this lawsuit, by the time there's any resolution in it, he'll be out of office, so is this maybe the first step to issue articles of impeachment?
KINGSTON: You know, it could go in that direction if there was a big discussion. I mean, I think it's possible, it keeps getting worse and worse. It could go in that direction.
"And that's a big difference between Senator Shaheen and me and many other people in the Massachusetts delegation, and Senator Shaheen, in particular, the president."Yes, that's one big difference, all right.
• Polls: We have a number of Senate and gubernatorial polls today:
While Beauprez may have gotten a bit of a name-recognition bump out of his recent primary victory, does anyone really believe the race has moved 10 points against Hickenlooper in the past three months? For the sake of comparison, Marist's poll this week found Hickenlooper up 49-43.
• AZ-01: This an amazing fail from state Rep. Adam Kwasman, one of three Republicans vying to take on Democratic Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick this fall. Trying to capitalize on anti-immigrant hysteria along the U.S. border with Mexico, Kwasman claimed on Twitter that he saw a school bus transporting migrant kids to the Arizona town of Oracle. Only he was badly, badly mistaken:
KWASMAN: I was able to actually see some of the children in the buses, and the fear in their faces ... this is not compassion.Nicely done, reporter man.
REPORTER: That fear on the faces of migrant children Kwasman told me he saw in Oracle. There's just one problem. Those weren't migrant children on the yellow school bus. They were YMCA campers from the Marana school district.
REPORTER: Do you know that was a bus with YMCA kids?
KWASMAN: That's ... they were sad too!
REPORTER: (Reporters on the scene saw the children laughing and taking pictures on their iPhones.)
KWASMAN: I apologize, I didn't know. I was leaving when I saw them.
• HI-01: Oy vey. EMILY's List has gone ahead and endorsed state Senate President Donna Mercado Kim for Congress, despite the fact that she notoriously voted against legalizing same-sex marriage last year even as it passed the legislature by wide margins. And in a 2012 survey seeking the endorsement of the conservative Hawaii Family Forum, Kim said she was "undecided" on whether she would "vote to include a conscience exemption in laws requiring all Hawaii hospitals to provide abortifacient medication to sex assault victims." In other words, she couldn't bring herself to say she believed that rape victims have a right to emergency contraception. She even recently said she wants Hawaii to obtain an exemption from Obamacare! And this is someone EMILY trusts on reproductive rights?
• Michigan: As luck would have it, we've got polls of four different House primaries in Michigan today:
Amash has consistently held wide leads in all the public polling to date, and Bentivolio has never made it out of the low 30s, though this is the first survey to find him getting crushed. (Trott's been self-funding heavily ahead of the Aug. 5 primary.) The 14th is a little harder to figure, as EPIC has almost the same margin as a Clarke internal from late May, but a Lawrence poll from early June put her ahead 8. However, EPIC has an electorate that's 47 percent white and just 34 percent black; the district is actually 56 percent black and 32 percent white, so I wouldn't trust these numbers.
The most interesting result of all, though, is out of the 4th District, where the Republican establishment has united behind state Sen. John Moolenaar; indeed, outgoing Rep. Dave Camp even endorsed him as his successor. But Paul Mitchell, a former state GOP finance chair, has loaned himself a ton of money and has unloaded on Moolenaar with negative ads. (And in a change from the usual routine of conservative candidates firing guns, Mitchell's introductory spot featured him shooting a crossbow.) Despite his party connections, Mitchell has sought to portray himself as an outsider. That, plus his cash, might just do the trick.
Ads (Jeff Singer):
• AK-Sen: Democratic Sen. Mark Begich's new spot features a veteran praising him for withholding a general's promotion until Begich got answers about a proposed military relocation from the Fairbanks area. Begich also has a radio ad where he touts his co-operation with Republican colleague Lisa Murkowski. The spot drew complaints from none other than Murkowski herself.
• IA-Sen: Senate Majority PAC goes after Republican state Sen. Joni Ernst for favoring millionaires' interests over regular people's. American Crossroads hits Democratic Rep. Bruce Braley as a litigious, sexist chicken-hater. And of course the "farmer from Iowa" gaffe makes an appearance.
• KY-Sen: Kentucky Opportunity Coalition praises Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell on jobs. NARAL attacks him for opposing equal pay for women and invokes the recent Hobby Lobby decision regarding birth control.
• MI-Sen: Republican former Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land has an ad that seems to never bother getting around to telling the viewer anything about Terri Lynn Land or why they should vote for her.
There's plenty to chew over, but here are a few totals worth noting: In FL-18, Democratic Rep. Patrick Murphy continues to pulverize his multitude of foes. In VA-10, Republican Del. Barbara Comstock continues to raise well, but she spent almost as much as she took in in the last quarter. And in WI-06, Democrats hoped that Winnebago County Executive Mark Harris could make this a race, but he turned in an anemic quarter. But there's much, much more to see at the link. (Jeff Singer)
• Netroots Nation: A reminder: The Daily Kos Elections team, plus the amazing Carolyn Fiddler, will be hosting our annual horserace Q&A panel this Saturday at 11 AM ET at Netroots Nation in Detroit. No presentations, no PowerPoints, no speeches—just your questions! So if you're attending, drop by and ask us about any race in the nation. And if you'll be there, please let us know.