AK, SC, KS-Sen, 02, 03 & NE-02: Tom Steyer's Group, NextGen America, Expands It's Target List

From The Huffington Post:

NextGen America, which focuses on turning out voters under age 35, is expanding its target list to include Senate races in Alaska and South Carolina, and House elections for Nebraska’s 2nd Congressional District and Kansas’ 2nd and 3rd Congressional districts. The group, funded almost exclusively by former Democratic presidential candidate Tom Steyer, has a $45 million budget for the 2020 election cycle.

The group is spending $200,000 on a digital ad in Alaska boosting independent Senate challenger Al Gross, who has the backing of national Democratic groups, over GOP Sen. Dan Sullivan. It will aim its volunteer army at the other states to text and call voters, encouraging them to register and vote.
Unlike many other Democratic outside groups, NextGen is typically focused on using progressive messages to turn out progressive voters. The decision to add deep red states to its target list shows how Democrats are gaining more confidence in their ability to turn 2020 into a wave election as President Donald Trump’s reelection bid continues to flail.

The timing could not be more perfect. Especially since Gross raked in a lot of money:

U.S. Senate candidate Al Gross raised a record $9.1 million since July 1 — more than he or incumbent Sen. Dan Sullivan during the first half of the year.

Gross campaign spokeswoman Julia Savel said Alaskans are demonstrating that they want to oust Sullivan, a Republican.

“This large fundraising haul just shows how much grassroots momentum there is throughout the state,” she said.

And the DSCC’s internal polling shows Harrison pulling ahead:

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And Harrison has become fundraising juggernaut:

The latest data from ActBlue, the online fundraising tool for Democrats running for office, shows that Harrison raised just over $9 million in August through the platform alone. It was the most raised by any of the Democrats running for the Senate that month.

Since the start of the election cycle, Harrison has raised $16 million, or 58%, of his funds through small dollar donors giving $200 or less, CRP data says. Meanwhile, Graham, has raised over $14 million from larger contributors. Out of state contributions have also been key for both candidates. CRP data shows that each contender has seen over 80% of their funds come from outside South Carolina.

With Harrison’s fundraising success, the Democrat has been able to spend on massive TV ad buys. Ad tracking firm Advertising Analytics said last week Harrison was spending $7.5 million on ads.  Last month, Harrison spent at least $12 million on broadcast ads running until Election Day.

And Harrison has been building up his voter base:

Harrison is trying to forge a new coalition, rooted in a historically high Black turnout but also appealing to disgruntled Republicans such as Wilkerson and the independent-minded voters in Charleston’s suburbs who two years ago backed Rep. Joe Cunningham (D).
Harrison, 44, is a veteran Washington insider — he once worked for House Majority Whip James E. Clyburn (D-S.C.) and spent eight years as a lobbyist — but he has turned the race into a referendum on Graham’s nearly 26 years in Congress.
He highlights Graham’s constant political evolution: Originally a hard-charging conservative, he turned into a moderate dealmaker who vehemently opposed Trump in 2016, only to reverse course and become a close presidential ally.

I’ll let FiveThirtyEight chime in:

Recent polls show Trump near or above 50 percent in South Carolina, but the state’s senior senator only in the mid-to-high 40s. So there is almost certainly a small bloc of South Carolinians currently backing Trump but not Graham. According to a recent Quinnipiac University poll, the senator has a -8 net negative approval rating in the state; Trump is at +0 in that poll. (So an equal number of voters had favorable and unfavorable views.) A recent Morning Consult survey found that 84 percent of South Carolina Republican voters backed Graham, compared to 93 percent who supported the president. Similarly, according to a recent Data for Progress poll, 95 percent of South Carolina Republicans supported Trump, compared to 89 percent who backed Graham.4 A recent CBS News/YouGov poll found that 88 percent of self-identified conservative voters were backing Trump, compared to 76 percent supporting Graham.

We are talking about fairly small differences here, so I don’t think there is a clear and obvious explanation for why Graham is running behind Trump. But here is some semi-informed speculation about why some Republicans and conservative-leaning independents who like Trump might be wary of Graham. In the past, Graham has aligned himself with decidedly un-Trumpy causes and people, from Graham’s close relationship with the late Sen. John McCain to his pre-Trump call for the GOP to adopt more lenient policies toward undocumented immigrants. Having served in Congress since 1995, Graham at this point is the definition of a Washington insider. Also, Graham spent much of the 2016 campaign blasting Trump in very harsh terms, including calling him a “complete idiot.” (Graham ran for president himself, remember.) So Republican voters might remember those comments and not trust Graham’s post-2016 conversion to Trump diehard.

Indeed, Jordan Ragusa, a political science professor at the College of Charleston, said that some voters skeptical of Graham, including Republicans, might view him as an “opportunist.”

Steyer’s money would also be a big help in the Kansas U.S. Senate race where the Democrats are also investing a lot of money in:

A top Democratic super PAC is investing $7.5 million in the Kansas Senate race in the final four weeks of the election, an additional sign Democrats have expanded their offensive opportunities as they aim to reclaim control of the Senate.

The spending from Duty and Country, a super PAC affiliated with Senate Majority PAC and run by allies of Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, is for the race between GOP Rep. Roger Marshall and Democratic state Sen. Barbara Bollier. Duty and Country is spending $5.5 million on TV and $2 million on digital advertising, starting Tuesday and running through Election Day, according to details shared first with POLITICO. It is the first spending in the race from any of the affiliated organizations since the August primary.

Democrats' move comes on the heels of Senate Leadership Fund, a Republican super PAC run by allies of Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, investing $7.2 million in the race for October.

Let’s keep up the momentum to flip all these seats blue. Click below to donate and get involved with Biden and his fellow down ballot Democrats campaigns:

Biden-Harris

Alaska:

Al Gross

Alyse Galvin

South Carolina:

Jaime Harrison

Joe Cunningham

Adair Ford Boroughs

Kansas:

Barbara Bollier

Michelle De La Isla

Sharice Davids

Kansas Democratic Party

Nebraska:

Kara Eastman