Morning Digest: Heavyweight showdown between two 30-year incumbents will get resolved tonight

The Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest is compiled by David Nir, Jeff Singer, Stephen Wolf, Daniel Donner, and Cara Zelaya, with additional contributions from David Jarman, Steve Singiser, James Lambert, David Beard, and Arjun Jaikumar. Subscribe to The Downballot, our weekly podcast Embedded Content Leading Off ● Primary Night: The Sequel Nobody Asked For: Tuesday isn't the final primary night of the year, but it's unquestionably the biggest one left on the calendar, with the nation's third- and fourth-largest states—Florida and New York—both on the docket. In addition, Oklahoma is hosting runoffs in races where no candidate took a majority of the vote on June 28. Once again, we've previewed all of the key battles, and we'll be liveblogging at Daily Kos Elections when the first polls close in the Sunshine State starting at 7 PM ET. New York's latest primary came about rather unexpectedly, after the state courts determined that Albany lawmakers lacked the authority to draw new maps for Congress and the state Senate. As a result, the courts ordered that separate primaries be held, with contests for statewide races, the state Assembly, and local offices taking place on their regularly scheduled date at the end of June but races for the U.S. House and state Senate delayed until late August. That's left us with a summertime primary that's sure to have low participation, with many voters on vacation and no statewide contests to drive turnout. The House primaries will also be taking place on a playing field that got extremely scrambled when a Republican judge in upstate New York substituted a court-drawn map for the one that Democratic legislators had passed. That switch brought about many major changes, including the creation of a district in Manhattan that unites the Upper East Side and Upper West Side for the first time in more than a century. It's also prompted a titanic clash between two 30-year Democratic veterans in New York City, Reps. Carolyn Maloney and Jerry Nadler, both of whom are powerful committee chairs. In turn, it's led to a hotly contested open-seat race in lower Manhattan, where multiple high-powered Democrats are seeking some of the turf Nadler left behind. Florida's map also underwent considerable upheaval, but because of Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, who succeeded in ramming through a plan of his own over a docile legislature. Consequently, we have multiple competitive Republican primaries for open seats across the state—around Jacksonville, St. Petersburg, and Orlando, for starters—that were once held by Democrats but have since been gerrymandered to be much friendlier for the GOP. DeSantis, too, will find out whether his November opponent will be Rep. Charlie Crist or state Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried. Check out our preview for the straight dope on all of these races and more, and join us for our complete coverage on Tuesday night. Senate ● NV-Sen, NV-Gov: Polling on behalf of the Reno Gazette-Journal, Suffolk University finds Democratic Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto fending off Republican Adam Laxalt by 45-38, which is a significant reversal from Laxalt's 43-40 lead in the school's previous poll all the way back in April. However, Cortez Masto has narrowly led in each of the few polls released by reputable firms since then. In the governor's race, Suffolk finds Democratic incumbent Steve Sisolak with a smaller 43-40 edge over Republican Joe Lombardo, though that's also an improvement for Sisolak over their April survey, where Lombardo was ahead 39-37. Like his Democratic counterpart in the Senate race, Sisolak has also been narrowly ahead in nearly every poll from a reliable outlet in recent months, though that still only consists of a handful of polls despite the highly competitive nature of both races. ● UT-Sen: The hardline anti-tax Club for Growth is sending in the cavalry for far-right GOP Sen. Mike Lee, unveiling a $2.5 million ad buy against conservative independent challenger Evan McMullin, who is backed by the state Democratic Party. As part of that buy, the Club has launched a new ad that accuses McMullin of being a Washington insider who made $500,000 in taxpayer money when working for Republicans (when he was a senior staffer for the House GOP) before he supposedly sold out to liberals for personal profit, claiming that he founded a "liberal" nonprofit that then paid his company $600,000. The Club is likely referring to McMullin's Stand Up Republic foundation (since renamed the Renew America Movement), which brought together moderate Democrats and pro-democracy conservatives to back centrist candidates against extremists including Donald Trump. ● WI-Sen: Republicans have debuted two ads that try to portray Democrat Mandela Barnes as an extremist who threatens public safety. The first spot, from the NRSC, features a clip of Barnes giving the Working Families Party's response speech to Trump's 2019 State of the Union address where he praises progressi

Morning Digest: Heavyweight showdown between two 30-year incumbents will get resolved tonight

The Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest is compiled by David Nir, Jeff Singer, Stephen Wolf, Daniel Donner, and Cara Zelaya, with additional contributions from David Jarman, Steve Singiser, James Lambert, David Beard, and Arjun Jaikumar.

Subscribe to The Downballot, our weekly podcast

Leading Off

Primary Night: The Sequel Nobody Asked For: Tuesday isn't the final primary night of the year, but it's unquestionably the biggest one left on the calendar, with the nation's third- and fourth-largest states—Florida and New York—both on the docket. In addition, Oklahoma is hosting runoffs in races where no candidate took a majority of the vote on June 28. Once again, we've previewed all of the key battles, and we'll be liveblogging at Daily Kos Elections when the first polls close in the Sunshine State starting at 7 PM ET.

New York's latest primary came about rather unexpectedly, after the state courts determined that Albany lawmakers lacked the authority to draw new maps for Congress and the state Senate. As a result, the courts ordered that separate primaries be held, with contests for statewide races, the state Assembly, and local offices taking place on their regularly scheduled date at the end of June but races for the U.S. House and state Senate delayed until late August.

That's left us with a summertime primary that's sure to have low participation, with many voters on vacation and no statewide contests to drive turnout. The House primaries will also be taking place on a playing field that got extremely scrambled when a Republican judge in upstate New York substituted a court-drawn map for the one that Democratic legislators had passed.

That switch brought about many major changes, including the creation of a district in Manhattan that unites the Upper East Side and Upper West Side for the first time in more than a century. It's also prompted a titanic clash between two 30-year Democratic veterans in New York City, Reps. Carolyn Maloney and Jerry Nadler, both of whom are powerful committee chairs. In turn, it's led to a hotly contested open-seat race in lower Manhattan, where multiple high-powered Democrats are seeking some of the turf Nadler left behind.

Florida's map also underwent considerable upheaval, but because of Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, who succeeded in ramming through a plan of his own over a docile legislature. Consequently, we have multiple competitive Republican primaries for open seats across the state—around Jacksonville, St. Petersburg, and Orlando, for starters—that were once held by Democrats but have since been gerrymandered to be much friendlier for the GOP. DeSantis, too, will find out whether his November opponent will be Rep. Charlie Crist or state Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried.

Check out our preview for the straight dope on all of these races and more, and join us for our complete coverage on Tuesday night.

Senate

NV-Sen, NV-Gov: Polling on behalf of the Reno Gazette-Journal, Suffolk University finds Democratic Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto fending off Republican Adam Laxalt by 45-38, which is a significant reversal from Laxalt's 43-40 lead in the school's previous poll all the way back in April. However, Cortez Masto has narrowly led in each of the few polls released by reputable firms since then.

In the governor's race, Suffolk finds Democratic incumbent Steve Sisolak with a smaller 43-40 edge over Republican Joe Lombardo, though that's also an improvement for Sisolak over their April survey, where Lombardo was ahead 39-37. Like his Democratic counterpart in the Senate race, Sisolak has also been narrowly ahead in nearly every poll from a reliable outlet in recent months, though that still only consists of a handful of polls despite the highly competitive nature of both races.

UT-Sen: The hardline anti-tax Club for Growth is sending in the cavalry for far-right GOP Sen. Mike Lee, unveiling a $2.5 million ad buy against conservative independent challenger Evan McMullin, who is backed by the state Democratic Party.

As part of that buy, the Club has launched a new ad that accuses McMullin of being a Washington insider who made $500,000 in taxpayer money when working for Republicans (when he was a senior staffer for the House GOP) before he supposedly sold out to liberals for personal profit, claiming that he founded a "liberal" nonprofit that then paid his company $600,000. The Club is likely referring to McMullin's Stand Up Republic foundation (since renamed the Renew America Movement), which brought together moderate Democrats and pro-democracy conservatives to back centrist candidates against extremists including Donald Trump.

WI-Sen: Republicans have debuted two ads that try to portray Democrat Mandela Barnes as an extremist who threatens public safety. The first spot, from the NRSC, features a clip of Barnes giving the Working Families Party's response speech to Trump's 2019 State of the Union address where he praises progressive Reps. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, Rashida Tlaib, and Ilhan Omar. The ad then links all four together by claiming they want to end cash bail, citing a 2016 bill Barnes sponsored when he was serving in the state Assembly.

The second ad, this time from both the NRSC and GOP Sen. Ron Johnson, more forcefully attempts to paint Barnes as an extremist by linking him to the "socialist squad" as an image of Ocasio Cortez, Omar, and Missouri Rep. Cori Bush appears on screen. The commercial then plays brief clips of Bush and Omar respectively calling for "defunding the police" and for "dismantl[ing] the Minneapolis Police Department" (left unmentioned is that Omar was backing a failed 2021 ballot measure to replace it with a new Department of Public Safety) before arguing that Barnes would join them, though it cites no evidence that Barnes himself favors defunding the police.

The evidence this second ad does cite includes another reference to Barnes' opposition to cash bail after showing a picture from 2018 of him holding up an "Abolish ICE" t-shirt. Barnes has since said, "I am not a part of the Abolish ICE movement because no one slogan can capture all the work we have to do."

NRSC: Following the startling news that the NRSC had slashed at least $13 million from TV ad reservations for Senate races in key battlegrounds, the Washington Post's Isaac Arnsdorf delves into the sorry finances that forced the committee to make these cuts. You'll enjoy the many anonymous quotes from Republican operatives savaging the NRSC and its leader, Florida Sen. Rick Scott, but the starkest news came out a day after the article first appeared on Friday.

On Saturday, the committee was required to file its monthly fundraising report with the FEC, which revealed that it had just $23 million on hand at the end of July. By contrast, the DSCC finished the month with $54 million in the bank. Of course, this deficit doesn't take into account the massive sums pouring in from dark money groups, where the GOP may yet have an advantage: Its top Senate super PAC, the Senate Leadership Fund, had $105 million in its coffers as of June 30, for example, while its Democratic counterpart, the Senate Majority PAC, had $66 million. (SMP, which files reports monthly, saw its cash jump to $73 million by July 31; SLF only files quarterly.)

Still, for a party that began the cycle all but certain it would easily pick up the lone seat it needs to reclaim the majority, it's a humbling state of affairs. And while the party that controls the White House almost always loses seats in the House in midterm years, it bears noting that the same pattern holds true much less often in the Senate thanks largely to which particular seats are up each year. In fact, the most recent midterm is a valuable case in point: Even though Democrats flipped 41 House seats in 2018, Republicans netted two in the Senate.

Governors

FL-Gov: St. Pete Polls has released its final poll of Tuesday's Democratic primary for governor, and it finds Rep. Charlie Crist with a huge 59-30 lead over state Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, which is similar to Crist's 56-24 advantage in St. Pete's prior poll from early August. Crist has led in nearly every poll this year by varying margins, though St. Pete has long been more bullish for Crist than any other pollster.

Whoever wins Tuesday's primary, though, will be starting off with an enormous financial deficit against Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, who had more than $132 million in his war chest following the fundraising period ending Aug. 18. By contrast, both Democrats have largely exhausted their more modest fundraising hauls, leaving Crist with only $1.5 million on hand and Fried with a mere $393,000 in the bank.

House

CA-09: Democratic Rep. Josh Harder is airing his first ad of the cycle, which features the candidate standing in his orchard touting his family's roots in local agriculture and his support for local water rights. Harder says "hell no" to shipping more of the Central Valley region's water down to Los Angeles and points to his work fighting the "Delta Tunnel Project" recently unveiled by Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom, who goes unmentioned, while Harder highlights his work with both parties to "build the valley's first water storage project in 50 years."

FL-10: A last-minute poll from the Democratic firm Data for Progress finds gun safety activist Maxell Alejandro Frost leading state Sen. Randolph Bracy 34-18 for the Democratic nomination in Florida's open 10th District, with former Rep. Alan Grayson at 14% and former Rep. Corrine Brown at 6%; all others were in the low single digits and 15% were undecided.

FL-14: A state appeals court ruled on Friday that the Florida Democratic Party and two voters lacked standing to challenge self-funding businessman Jerry Torres's appearance on Tuesday's Republican primary ballot. The decision reverses a trial court ruling, which the appeals court had already stayed pending Torres' appeal, that had deemed him ineligible because was in Africa when a Mississippi notary claimed he'd been physically present when signing a candidate oath required to file for office. The plaintiffs have yet to say whether they will appeal this latest ruling.

Torres has previously vowed to self-fund up to $15 million on his uphill campaign against Democratic Rep. Kathy Castor in this 59-40 Biden seat in Tampa and St. Petersburg.

IN-02: Republican leaders in Indiana's 2nd Congressional District selected businessman Rudy Yakym to replace the late Rep. Jackie Walorski on the November ballot in a gathering on Saturday, choosing him over other alternatives in the first round of voting. The state GOP chair did not release how many votes Yakym won, but he was also nominated for the simultaneous special election for the final two months of Walorski's term by acclamation.

Yakym had served as Walorski's finance director a decade ago and had also earned an endorsement from the congresswoman's husband, Dean Swihart. He will now be the heavy favorite against Democrat Paul Steury in this conservative district in north-central Indiana, which changed minimally in redistricting.

Ad Roundup

Dollar amounts reflect the reported size of ad buys and may be larger.