Clinton 303
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Ties 44
Trump 191
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Click for Senate
Dem 49
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Ties 1
GOP 50
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  • Strongly Dem (215)
  • Likely Dem (58)
  • Barely Dem (30)
  • Exactly tied (44)
  • Barely GOP (46)
  • Likely GOP (50)
  • Strongly GOP (95)
270 Electoral votes needed to win This date in 2012 2008
New polls: PA
Dem pickups vs. 2012: (None)
GOP pickups vs. 2012: (None)

Incumbents Triumph in Florida, Arizona

Three of the most prominent members of Congress faced moderately challenging primary battles on Tuesday night, and—as expected—all three triumphed.

Starting in Florida, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) was not noticeably harmed by his failed presidential campaign and his late decision to stand for re-election. He crushed tea partier Carlos Beruff 72% to 19%, despite the fact that the wealthy Beruff dropped $8 million on his campaign. Rubio will now face Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-FL), who also scored an easy win, trouncing left-wing firebrand Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL) 59% to 18%. Grayson was dogged by charges of corruption and spousal abuse throughout the campaign, so his defeat comes as no surprise. At the moment, polls give Rubio the lead in his matchup against Murphy, but this is going to be a very fluid contest and the outcome will likely remain in doubt until Election Day. Although Rubio has name recognition and the advantages of incumbency, Florida voters know well his disdain for the Senate and his spotty attendance record. They may also be unhappy that he refuses to say that he will finish his second term, thus making it very clear that he only wants the Senate seat for use as a launching pad for his 2020 presidential campaign. Well, that and the $174,000 salary.

Beyond the Senate contests, the other Florida race of interest was in FL-23, where former DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who battled with Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) during primary season, faced a challenge from the Sanders-backed Tim Canova. Canova made a pretty good race of it, given that he is a political newbie and Schultz is a nationally famous politician, but in the end she won with some room to spare, 57% to 43%. This is going to be framed as a defeat for Sanders, but that may not be fair. There is no politician in America whose endorsement, all by itself, can turn the outcome of an election that is as mismatched as this one was. In any case, Sanders' support or not, Schultz will no longer need to sweat, as she will cruise to victory on Election Day in her D+11 district.

On the other side of the country, Sen. John McCain passed the first test in the most difficult re-election campaign of his career, brushing aside tea partier and former state senator Kelli Ward, 53% to 38%. He will now square off against Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D-AZ), whose primary was uncontested. McCain has the lead in name recognition and in money ($5 million to $2 million), and polls currently give him a moderate lead. However, there are a number of X factors in this race that will be difficult to account for. The amount of outside money that is going to pour into Arizona is one of them. The number of Latino voters who show up on Election Day is another. But the biggest is Donald Trump, with whom McCain has been doing a very careful dance. Hold The Donald too close, and the moderate voters and Republican Latinos may be lost. Keep him at too great a distance, and the tea party/Minuteman/Joe Arpaio voters may stay home on November 8. Luckily for McCain, he'll get 12 whole hours to catch his breath before Trump shows up in Phoenix today to deliver an address on immigration.

With Tuesday night's contests in the books, there remains only one Senate primary—New Hampshire—where voters will take care of business on September 13. Barring a cataclysmic upset, Granite State voters will be advancing Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) and Gov. Maggie Hassan (D-NH) to the general election. So, for all intents and purposes, this year's Senate races are now set. Sort of.

Louisiana has a nutty jungle primary system in which the primary is held on election day, Nov. 8. No fewer than nine Republicans have signed up, including three current or former representatives. Seven Democrats, two Libertarians, and a bunch of independents are also trying to replace Sen. David Vitter (R-LA), who is retiring. The list includes an unemployed janitor, a stand-up comedian, and miscellaneous perennial candidates. Due to its strange system and large field, Louisiana is difficult to poll, but the initial indication is that State Treasurer John Neely Kennedy, a former Democrat but current Republican, might have the edge. The top two finishers, regardless of party, will meet on Dec. 3 in the runoff. It is entirely possible that they will be Kennedy and another Republican. In any case, given how red the Pelican State is, it is a safe bet that Vitter will be replaced by another Republican. (Z & V)

Trump to Meet with President of Mexico Today

On Tuesday, Donald Trump decided to accept Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto's invitation to meet in person. The Donald, accompanied by Rudy Giuliani and Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), will visit Los Pinos (the president's residence) before traveling to Phoenix for the previously announced speech on immigration.

It's hard to see where the upside is here for Trump. Peña Nieto is going to have the home-field advantage, first of all, while Trump will be in an unfamiliar country, accompanied by two people who have no particular knowledge of foreign affairs. Further, Peña Nieto has no reason to make nice to Trump, and every reason to try to hurt or embarrass him. The Mexican President could use a boost in the polls, and the Mexican people—who largely despise Trump—would love to see some comeuppance. Meanwhile, Peña Nieto has surely concluded that Hillary Clinton is likely to be the next U.S. president, and knows he might be able to earn some brownie points by taking her opponent down a peg or two. So this could really blow up in Trump's face. And even if Peña Nieto keeps his thoughts to himself, The Donald could face some uncomfortable questions upon his return to the U.S., like "Did you figure out when Mexico will begin paying for the wall? Why not?"

Trump has pulled a rabbit out of his hair before, so perhaps we are in for a surprise. We shall see. What is certain, however, is that between the immigration speech and the Peña Nieto meeting, Wednesday will be a high-stakes day for the Trump campaign. (Z)

Clinton Will Use Psychological Warfare Against Trump in Debates

Hillary Clinton doesn't really have to worry about Donald Trump out-wonking her in the debates. She knows more about policy than almost everyone in the entire country, and Donald Trump knows this. So his approach will surely be to rattle her, probably in ways that would have been otherwise unthinkable. But she is planning to fight fire with fire. She has a team of people getting advice from psychologists, Trump's former co-authors, and others who know him well about how to needle him and cause him to respond in unpresidential ways. The key is to find areas in which he feels insecure, and go after them. These include his intelligence, his net worth, and his image as a successful businessman.

One of Trump's co-authors, Tony Schwartz, said Trump is simply unable to absorb complex information and won't be able to practice for the debates. He will bring nothing but bluster to the debates, use elementary-school language, and not even finish his sentences. Clinton is a polished debater, but she has to be careful not to come off as a know-it-all who turns people off.

Trump's prep sessions are completely different from Clinton's. He met with a few advisers Sunday at his golf course in New Jersey and they tossed out one liners at one another. Trump sees no need for standing at a lectern and having a mock debate with anyone, even though conservative radio host Laura Ingraham offered to play Clinton. Trump turned her down.

The zingers are going to fly in both directions. Just imagine:

Moderator: How will you bring unemployment down to 4%?

Trump: Hire people to build a wall. But the real issue is: Hillary, why does Bill prefer Monica to you? Is it her technique, or what?

Clinton: Hire people to repair our potholed roads and rusting bridges. But I won't use companies that go bankrupt over and over and over like Donald's. Bill Gates never went bankrupt. Steve Jobs never went bankrupt. Only third-rate losers with stubby fingers like Donald keep failing time and again.

Moderator: What will you do to make sure all Americans have broadband Internet?

Trump: Make great deals with AT&T and Verizon and I will order them to make sure all their email servers are secure, unlike Hillary's, so our national security is not endangered.

Clinton: I'd copy FDR's 1936 Rural Electrification Act, PL 74-605, also known as 49 STAT 1363. I certainly won't be hiring guys like Paul Manafort, who are in cahoots with the Russians, to be involved and endanger our national security.

Moderator: What is your tax policy?

Trump: My tax returns are being audited so I won't release them, but I am considering a special tax on crooked people like Hillary who make a fortune giving speeches to companies like Goldman Sachs.

Clinton: I have released my tax returns from 1977 to 2015. I would support a law requiring presidential candidates to release 30 years of tax returns so candidates like Donald couldn't claim to be rich when they are actually up to their ears in debt to China.

Moderator: What are your views on racial justice?

Trump: All Lives Matter. Some of my best friends are black and I find it disgusting that Hillary's mentor, Robert Byrd, was a member of the Ku Klux Klan.

Clinton: Black Lives Matter. Not only is Donald a bigot himself, but his top hire was Stephen Bannon, who has turned his anti-Semitism into a career.

Moderator: What is your position on torture?

Trump: If we catch ISIS fighters, I'd cut off their [bleep], put them in a blender, and force feed them to the ISIS cowards. If Hillary wins, the American people will be subjected to 4 years of torture listening to her dreadful cackle. I oppose that.

Clinton: I'll bet (but less than $10,000) that 50 South American monkeys were tortured when someonoe ripped off their fur to make that thing on top of Donald's head. I oppose torturing people and animals.

Informative? Probably not. Entertaining? Might well be. Presidential? No way. (V)

Trump Hired Foreign Models in Violation of U.S. Law

Three foreign models have now admitted that they worked for Donald Trump's company, Trump Model Management, without having the required work permit. Even if they were not paid, this work would have been illegal, since it took jobs away from American models. Furthermore, one of the models said that the agency told her to lie to immigration officials if questioned about why she was in the U.S.

For someone whose campaign is largely about stopping illegal immigrants who take American jobs, it seems inappropriate, to say the least, that Trump himself hired people who were not legally allowed to work in the U.S. (V)

Judge Curiel Rules that Trump University Case Can Proceed

Donald Trump once ran a school called "Trump University," which advertised that it would teach students how to get rich in real estate. The school claimed that all the instructors were experts handpicked by Trump. As it turns out, Trump knew only one of them. The material consisted primarily of infomercials about signing up for more classes. Tuition ran as high as $35,000 for the full program. Many students felt they had been misled and sued, as did the attorneys general in New York and California. This week the Indiana-born Judge Gonzalo Curiel, who Trump has argued is biased against him, made an important procedural ruling in the case. Trump tried to get the case thrown out, basically claiming it wasn't important whether his "university" was accredited or not, or whether students realized it was or was not. The judge disagreed with Trump and the case will go forward now. (V)

FBI Will Release Report of Clinton Email Investigation

The FBI will release its report on the investigation of Hillary Clinton's email server very soon, possibly even this week. There have been numerous Freedom of Information Act requests for it. Also to be released are the notes taken by the FBI agent who interviewed her. Last month, FBI Director James Comey announced that although Clinton was careless, she had not broken any laws and would not be charged with a crime. As far as Comey was concerned, the investigation was over. As far as the Republicans are concerned, it will never, ever be over.

Indeed, in a development that will surely gladden the hearts of Reince Priebus & Co., the FBI revealed on Tuesday that in the cache of Hillary Clinton emails uncovered last week there may be up to 30 previously unknown messages related to the incident in Benghazi. Thus we have two of the GOP's favorite bugaboos, Benghazi and Clinton's emails, in one tidy package. In fact, Donald Trump is already hammering Clinton over the revelation, despite the fact that we have no idea yet what the emails say.

We're also not going to learn anytime soon, as the State Dept. says it needs until the end of September to review the messages and to potentially redact classified information. It's hard to know why it would take so long, given the relatively small number of messages we're talking about, but surely the delay will hurt Clinton regardless of what the e-mails say. If they prove to be mundane, then it will still look like the Department was sandbagging for its former leader. And if they have something damaging, it's going to be unleashed a mere five weeks before Election Day. Surely, Hillary must wish she could go back and conduct all department business through some non-permanent medium. Smoke signals? Passenger pigeons? Skywriting? Flag semaphore? Navajo windtalkers? (V & Z)

Koch Brothers Pull Portman Ads

The Koch brothers had been running ads in the Ohio Senate race between Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) and former governor Ted Strickland. Now the ads have stopped. This undoubtedly means that the Koch brothers think Portman is safe, so they can turn their fire hose on other challengers to incumbent Republican senators. Obvious other senators who might need some help are Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA), Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC), Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), Marco Rubio, and Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO). Rep. Joe Heck (R-NV) could also use some help. Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) is a multimillionaire and doesn't need outside money. Besides, he is clearly dead meat at this point. (V)

U.S. Chamber of Commerce Opposes Bayh in Indiana

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is planning to spend at least $1 million to oppose Evan Bayh in his race to get back his old Indiana Senate seat. While the Chamber nearly always backs Republicans, this race has a twist. After Bayh left the Senate, the Chamber hired him as a lobbyist in 2011. Maybe the Chamber is feeling the Bern and doesn't like lobbyists. Not even their own. What is also unusual here is that Bayh has a massive warchest and a huge lead over his largely unknown opponent, Rep. Todd Young (R-IN). One could imagine that if Bayh wins, the Chamber is not going to get many favors from him. It's true that Young is more conservative than Bayh, but if the Chamber had backed Bayh, it would surely have excellent access to its former lobbyist, whereas Young is just another congressman it doesn't know. Sometimes ideology gets in the way of good business sense. (V)

Today's Presidential Polls

Once again a poll shows Clinton winning Pennsylvania, and by a substantial margin. Trump's strategy of flipping the blue Rust Belt states has to start here. If he can't win Pennsylvania, he is not going to flip the others (V).

State Clinton Trump Johnson Start End Pollster
Pennsylvania 48% 40% 6% Aug 26 Aug 29 Monmouth U.

Today's Senate Polls

It is the battle of the colleges. Yesterday we had a poll from Emerson college showing Katie McGinty trailing Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) by 7 points. Today Monmouth says she is 4 points ahead. It looks to be a close race, and we are probably going to see it go back and forth all year. If Clinton wins Pennsylvania in a landslide, which is entirely possible, then she is going to pull McGinty in with her. Absent a landslide, it could be close. (V)

State Democrat D % Republican R % Start End Pollster
Pennsylvania Katie McGinty 45% Pat Toomey* 41% Aug 26 Aug 29 Monmouth U.

* Denotes incumbent

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---The Votemaster and Zenger
Aug30 Election Security, Already a Contentious Issue, Is Getting Worse
Aug30 Today's Trump Campaign Management Drama
Aug30 The Trump-GOP Long Game
Aug30 Why Trump Would Hate the Presidency
Aug30 It Is Debate or Bust for Johnson
Aug30 McCain Is Fighting for His Political Life
Aug30 Could the U.S. Adopt a Multiparty System?
Aug30 Abedin, Weiner Split
Aug30 Election Security, Already a Contentious Issue, Is Getting Worse
Aug30 Today's Trump Campaign Management Drama
Aug30 The Trump-GOP Long Game
Aug30 Why Trump Would Hate the Presidency
Aug30 It Is Debate or Bust for Johnson
Aug30 McCain Is Fighting for His Political Life
Aug30 Could the U.S. Adopt a Multiparty System?
Aug30 Abedin, Wiener Split
Aug29 Trump's Feud with the Pope is Starting to Pay Dividends--to Clinton
Aug29 College Republicans Have a Real Problem
Aug29 Trump Blasted for Wade Tweet
Aug29 Was He Raised by Wolves?
Aug29 Is There Precedent for a Trump Comeback?
Aug29 Trump Immigration Speech Is Back On
Aug29 Trump Hires Bill Stepien
Aug29 Debbie Wasserman Schultz's Future Is on the Line Tomorrow
Aug29 Helping People Leave the Country Has Become a Cottage Industry
Aug28 Trump Has a Long History of Racial Discrimination
Aug28 Who is the KKK Candidate?
Aug28 The Candidates' Debate Prep Styles Couldn't Be More Different
Aug28 In New Ad, Clinton Attacks Trump for Making His Merchandise Overseas
Aug28 Pence Is Fulfilling His Attack Dog Role Well
Aug28 Republican Strategists Look Beyond Trump
Aug28 How Will Gary Johnson Do on Election Day?
Aug28 Holton's Job Is to Make People Like Hillary Clinton
Aug28 Old Polls Added to the Database
Aug27 Trump Doubles Down on Calling Clinton a Bigot
Aug27 Bannon Registered to Vote in an Empty House
Aug27 Bannon May Have Made Anti-Semitic Remarks
Aug27 Teamsters Back Clinton
Aug27 Trump's Doctor Wrote Health Report in 5 Minutes
Aug27 Clinton Foundation Causing Headaches from All Sides for Hillary
Aug27 Hillary Clinton's First Term Was Peaceful
Aug27 Johnson Is Running Radio Ads in Swing States
Aug27 LePage Seems to Be Unclear What 'Racist' Means
Aug26 Trump's Pitch To Black Voters Is Really to White Voters
Aug26 Clinton's Alt-Right Speech Also Aimed at Wavering Republicans
Aug26 More Republicans Are Registering to Vote than Democrats
Aug26 Clinton Raised $19 Million in Three Days
Aug26 Majority of Republicans Say Trump Should Release His Tax Returns
Aug26 Trump Under Attack for Immigration Flip-Flopping
Aug26 Trump Still Ignoring Data Operation