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Ellison’s Election Tip Sheet

Ellison Barber election tip sheet
• July 11, 2014 12:00 pm

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SENATE: LOUISIANA

Sen. Mary Landrieu (D.), one of the vulnerable incumbents this cycle, has a slight lead over, Rep. Bill Cassidy, who is considered the top Republican.

Rasmussen found:

Incumbent Democrat Mary Landrieu now has a narrow edge over Republican Congressman Bill Cassidy in Louisiana’s U.S. Senate race. Landrieu picks up 46 percent of the vote to Cassidy’s 43 percent, according to a new Rasmussen Reports statewide telephone survey of Likely Louisiana Voters. Five percent (5%) like some other candidate in the race, while six percent (6%) are undecided.

Louisiana has an open primary, so everyone will show up on the ballot together, and James Carville recently contended that one reason we should be paying attention to this race is because of another Republican: Rob Maness.

Carville writes:

Republicans could be faced with a Chris McDaniel type of situation. Although the news has yet to penetrate the Beltway, where it is believed that United States Congressman Bill Cassidy (R.) will surely face Landrieu in the Louisiana runoff, a former Air Force colonel, Rob Maness, has started to stir the pot. Maness, who has the coveted endorsement of former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R.), is using his "Contract with Louisiana" as the foundation for his platform. And although Maness is currently running in third, I know of no reason that Louisiana Republicans are any less prone to hard-right messaging than Mississippi Republicans were with McDaniel in his contentious race against the incumbent Sen. Thad Cochran.

This race is already plenty interesting, the possibility of an upset like Maness just adds to the interest.

SENATE: KENTUCKY

Sen. Mitch McConnell’s (R.) opponent Alison Lundergan Grimes has dodged questions and refused to take a position on President Obama’s request for emergency funding to deal with the influx of unaccompanied minors crossing the border.

The Lexington Hearld Leader reports:

When asked four times if she would vote for the supplemental funding that Obama requested from Congress on Tuesday, Grimes focused her answers on criticizing her opponent, U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Grimes, who is Kentucky's secretary of state, said she was for securing the border and an "earned pathway to citizenship." But in her answers to questions about Obama's supplemental request, she repeatedly referenced McConnell's opposition to an immigration reform bill the Senate approved last year.

The crisis on the border has dictated much of the news cycle this week, and rightfully so. Obama is seeking $3.7 billion from Congress to deal with the issue, and this discussion, while about a specific problem—spurs a broader debate about immigration. It’s incredibly important to know where a candidate stands on this issue and Grimes should tell her constituents what her position is.

SENATE: NEW HAMPSHIRE

Scott Brown (R.) has fallen behind Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D.) by double digits, and this week we also learned that Shaheen outraised him by $800,000 between April and June.

Huffington Post reports:

Scott Brown's long-shot bid in the New Hampshire Senate race appears to be going in the wrong direction.

A new WMUR/University of New Hampshire poll released Tuesday shows Democratic incumbent Sen. Jeanne Shaheen doubling her lead over the Republican former Massachusetts senator with a little less than four months before Election Day. Shaheen leads Brown by 12 percentage points, 50 percent to 38 percent—6 points more than the lead she had in the April poll from WMUR/University of New Hampshire.

To make matters worse for Brown, who lost to Elizabeth Warren in Massachusetts in 2012, Shaheen's popularity is growing with Granite State voters. Fifty-seven percent of those surveyed have a favorable opinion of the job she is doing, compared with 29 percent who said they have an unfavorable opinion.

The race is still rated as leaning Democratic, rather than likely or safely Democratic, but Brown does not look great right now. These poll numbers, coupled with Shaheen’s growing popularity make this race look like it’s growing farther and farther apart.

The former Massachusetts senator was considered an exciting challenger, but Shaheen is very established in New Hampshire politics and she never was going to be easily to topple. The challenge is getting greater.

Perhaps something to brighten Brown’s campaign: his daughter is getting married this weekend and Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R., N.H.) is officiating the service—which is the story I really wanted to write about.