Primary School 8/8
the DCCC Chairman paid for a live-in personal assistant/chauffeur?
Outside $ Watch
$33K of mailers for Maxwell Frost from the Congressional Progressive Caucus PAC. Total CPC spending: $33K
$10K of staff time (based on last month’s filing, we think they mean for canvassing) for Randolph Bracy from A Better Orlando PAC. According to FEC records, it was formed by someone named Shelby Green, based in Tallahassee, back in August. Total Better Orlando spending: $19K
$256K of mailers and $6K of digital ads supporting Jared Moskowitz from Moving Broward Forward PAC. Total MBF spending: $389K
$90K in mailers and $89K in digital ads supporting Jill Tokuda from the Congressional Progressive Caucus PAC. One set of digital ads, seemingly a response to attacks from Patrick Branco about her not rebuking the NRA early in her career, focuses on her record on gun control. Total CPC spending: $179K
$235K of newspaper and internet advertising and $24K of mailers supporting Betty McCollum from Common Good Fund. While Common Good, created this year, is mostly funded by indigenous nations, it does have a few high-dollar individual donors, including billionaire medical heir Vance Opperman, who is also a key funder in Make a Difference MN05. The ads so far mainly tout her progressive endorsements and her support of the Green New Deal Total CGF spending: $274K
$4,500 of canvassing for Amane Badhasso from Take Action MN Federal Fund. Total TAMN spending: $8K
$3,500 of calls and texts for Amane Badhasso from Friends of the Earth (Action). Total FotE spending: $11K
$160K of “media” in two parts supporting Don Samuels from Make a Difference MN 05. MAD has apparently booked more than twice as much ad times as has shown up in filings so far ($358,000). The ad touches on his political biography, and takes care to mention that he opposed efforts to defund the police. Total MAD spending: $205K
$22K of canvassing for Ilhan Omar from Take Action MN Federal Fund. Total Take Action MN spending: $37K
$15K of calls and texts for Jamaal Bowman from National Nurses United for Patient Protections (NNU). Total NNU spending: $15K
$62K of mailers attacking Alessandra Biaggi from Our Hudson PAC. Our Hudson PAC is a newly created Super PAC with no donor info. Total OH spending: $31K
$32K of mailers attacking Alessandra Biaggi from the Police Benevolent Association of New York, Inc. The PBA, the largest NYPD union, doesn’t usually get involved in federal elections—the last time they made an IE in one was retaliatory billboards attacking Bill de Blasio in 2019, when he was running for president. Total PBA-NY spending: $32K
$270K of radio ads and $2K of texts for Becca Balint from the Working Families Party. Total WFP spending: $272K
$261K of TV and digital ads and $50K of mailers all supporting Becca Balint from the LGBTQ Victory Fund. The ad promises Balint will stand out in Congress, as Bernie Sanders does, and lists some of the bills she’s passed. Total Victory Fund spending: $992K
AZ Legislature: In LD-05, state Sen. Lela Alston fended off progressive challenger Sarah Tyree 57-33, and state Reps. Amish Shah (a bizarre Christian fundamentalist who spent absurd amounts of money on his campaign) and Jennifer Longdon (a normal Democrat) outpaced appointed state Rep. Sarah Liguori, DSA-backed activist Brianna Westbrook, and local school board member Aaron Márquez in the primary for the district’s two state House seats. In LD-11, Republican-endorsing socially conservative nightmare Catherine Miranda, a former state senator, managed to win the Senate seat with a plurality—but at the same time, Oscar De Los Santos, whose campaign was a high priority for progressive groups, actually finished in first in the state House primary, ahead of state Rep. Marcelino Quiñonez, who took second place and the other spot on the November ballot. In LD-18, progressives got a big victory: law professor Priya Sundareshan beat moderate state Rep. Morgan Abraham in the very hotly contested race for the Tucson-area district’s Senate seat. Teacher Nancy Gutierrez and appointed state Rep. Chris Mathis won the two House seats in LD-18. The results in LD-22 were rather muddled: moderate state Rep. Diego Espinoza narrowly beat progressive state Rep. Richard Andrade for the Senate seat and conservative termed-out state Sen. Lupe Contreras won one of the House seats, but progressive Leezah Sun won the other House seat—meaning moderate state Rep. Lorenzo Sierra, who placed third, lost reelection. LD-24 was also muddled, but better for progressives: progressive criminal justice reform activist Anna Hernandez beat centrist, business-friendly state Rep. César Chávez for the district’s Senate seat and progressive Analise Ortiz took one of the district’s House seats, while the other went to socially conservative former state Rep. Lydia Hernandez. And in LD-26, progressive state Rep. Christian Solorio Acuña lost—but his progressive running mate, Cesar Aguilar, came in first, with moderate-ish nonprofit staffer Flavio Bravo coming in second place and taking the other slot on the November ballot.
Kansas abortion referendum: In a massive victory for abortion rights, Kansas voters overwhelmingly rejected a ballot measure which would have stripped abortion protections from the state Constitution and given the (Republican-dominated) legislature the ability to restrict or ban abortion. Fueled by both a lopsided turnout from liberal Kansans and an awful lot of “no” votes from conservative ones, the Republican position on abortion was rightly rejected by nearly 60% of the electorate in Kansas, and abortion will remain legal in a state which is already an island of abortion rights, surrounded to the north, south, and east by states which either already ban abortion or likely will soon.
KS Legislature: The most watched race of the night, aside from the abortion referendum, was HD-37 in Kansas City, where incumbent Aaron Coleman barely got 10% of the vote after a series of what can very politely be called “controversies”, coming in last, with labor-backed Melissa Oropeza winning. All the rest of the contested races were in open seats. HD-35 went to Marvin Robinson II, who we know little about but at least wasn’t openly transphobic like his opponent was. In HD-36, conservative Democrat Lynn Melton easily turned away recent Republican JoAnne Gilstrap. In Topeka’s HD-53, anti-choice Kirk Haskins somehow won on the same night the referendum to remove abortion protections from the state Constitution was failing by massive margins in his district. And finally, in HD-55, former congressional nominee Tobias Schlingensiepen beat attorney Joshua Luttrell nearly 3:1.
MI-11: Centrist Rep. Haley Stevens rode a tsunami of AIPAC spending to a 19-point victory over progressive fellow Rep. Andy Levin, a depressing but unsurprising result—Stevens previously represented more of this district than Levin did, and AIPAC’s ad spending dwarfed the outside help Levin got.
MI-12: Despite hundreds of thousands of dollars in outside spending against her from centrist PACs, Rashida Tlaib cruised to reelection over Detroit City Clerk Janice Winfrey, winning 64-22.
MI-13: Truly terrible self-funding state Rep. Shri Thanedar managed to win with a weak plurality over state Sen. Adam Hollier and Michigan Civil Rights Commission Chair Portia Roberson, so get ready for at least two years of some real weird shit from the man who gave us “Shri is me” and mass dog murder in the same campaign back in 2018.
MI Legislature: Every incumbent who wasn’t facing another incumbent held on but one, despite redrawn state legislative maps that gave many suburban Democrats large chunks of unfamiliar Detroit territory and Detroit Democrats large chunks of unfamiliar suburban territory. The one exception was a race we actually cut from our primary preview: HD-12, an odd district which attaches Detroit to suburbs in Macomb County which are working-class and predominantly white, but with large Black populations. The primary broke down along racial and geographic lines: state Rep. Richard Steenland, a white former town clerk in the Macomb suburb of Roseville, did better in the whiter north, but in Detroit and the largely Black Macomb suburb of Eastpointe, voters overwhelmingly backed Kimberly Edwards, a Black social worker from Eastpointe about whom virtually no information was publicly available prior to her win, not even the fact that she is a social worker (hence us cutting it—to us, and apparently the entire Detroit-area news media, it appeared Edwards was the very definition of a paper candidate; she evidently was not.) It’s a stunning and undeniably impressive upset; Edwards’s nearly-invisible campaign spent less than $1,000 and knocked out an incumbent state representative. The other Democratic incumbent to lose, Detroit state Sen. Marshall Bullock, lost to suburban state Sen. Mallory McMorrow after his home was drawn into a district that was more McMorrow’s than his. In open state Senate races, Chamber of Commerce-backed state Rep. Mary Cavanagh won Detroit-area SD-06 over Farmington Hills Mayor Vicki Barnett despite a DUI arrest this winter, and state Rep. John Cherry easily won the nomination in Flint’s SD-27 as expected. In Detroit-area open state House races, Wayne County government employee Alabas Farhat won HD-03 as expected, progressive Berkley City Councilmember Natalie Price won HD-06, Hazel Park City Councilmember and establishment favorite Mike McFall won HD-08, progressive Harper Woods City Councilmember Veronica Paiz appeared to narrowly win HD-11, progressive-and-establishment-backed candidate Donavan McKinney won HD-14, moderate establishment favorite and Dearborn City Council President Pro Tem Erin Byrnes defeated progressive Bilal Hammoud 62-35 in HD-15, Southfield City Councilor Jason Hoskins beat progressive-ish former congressional staffer Caprice Jackson in HD-18, establishment favorite and Michigan Democratic Jewish Caucus founder Noah Arbit beat his underwhelming opponents in HD-20, progressive labor organizer Dylan Wegela won HD-26, and university administrator Sharon MacDonell beat weirdo conservative repeat candidate and school board member Cyndi Peltonen in HD-56. In the Ann Arbor area, labor-backed Ypsilanti Township Trustee Jimmie Wilson Jr. won HD-32 and progressive nonprofit director Carrie Rheingans (of more populous Ann Arbor) beat progressive union organizer James Johnson Jr. (of less populous and more Republican Jackson County) in HD-47. In the Flint area, congressional staffer Jasper Martus beat conservative teacher Jennifer Almassy in HD-69. In the Lansing area, hardcore centrist Penelope Tsernoglou beat normal Democrat Emily Stivers in HD-75, and bookstore owner and unwilling candidate Emily Dievendorf leads Chamber of Commerce-backed Bernie donor and former pro basketball player Jon Horford in HD-77 by just 25 votes. In the Grand Rapids area, Kent County Commissioner Phil Skaggs narrowly beat former state House nominee Lily Cheng-Schulting in the new HD-80, and progressive Grand Rapids Board of Education member Kristian Grant narrowly beat Kent County Commissioner Robert Womack in HD-82. Finally, in Muskegon, moderate state legislative staffer Will Snyder beat progressive former Muskegon City Commissioner Debra Warren in HD-87.
MO-01: Cori Bush steamrolled state Sen. Steve Roberts, an alleged serial rapist backed by Lacy Clay, with roughly 70% of the vote. Despite some rumblings early on that Roberts might be competitive, his campaign clearly fizzled out once voters and the press began to focus on the multiple allegations of sexual assault.
MO Legislature: Incumbents had a rockier time in Missouri. While state Reps. Ingrid Burnett and Steve Butz fended off serious progressive challengers in Kansas City and St. Louis, respectively, each city sent another incumbent packing. Moderate state Rep. Annette Turnbaugh lost to union lawyer and former congressional staffer Anthony Ealy, who was running as a progressive, in Kansas City’s HD-32, and controversial state Rep. Wiley Price, who was censured by the state House after sleeping with a staffer and lying to investigators about it, lost to military veteran Del Taylor in St. Louis’s HD-84. State Rep. Raychel Proudie also defeated fellow state Rep. Mike Person after the two were drawn into the same district, HD-72, and party machine-backed local politician Yolanda Fountain-Henderson beat progressive repeat candidate Yolonda “Yonnee” Fortson in the state’s only open Democratic state legislative primary of note.
OH Legislature: In the state’s only state Senate contest, Republican-friendly ex-state Rep. John Barnes Jr. proved he was a spent electoral force by losing 62-38 to state Rep. Kent Smith in SD-23. In the state House, incumbents generally got reelected. Dontavius Jarrells (HD-01), Terrence Upchurch (HD-20), and Juanita Brent (HD-22) all got at least 65% of the vote. The only incumbent to lose was Monique Smith, who did so to fellow incumbent Bride Rose Sweeney in HD-16. In the open seats, party choice Elliot Forhan beat his more conservative opponent Jonathan Holody in HD-21, Dani Isaacsohn easily blocked nightmare conservative Dale Mallory’s comeback attempt in Cincinnati’s HD-24, Rachel Baker harvested the power of the suburbs to defeat recent Cincinnati mayoral candidate Gavi Begtrup in HD-27, and Toledo City Councilor Michele Grim easily defeated Daniel Ortiz in an unexpectedly nasty race in HD-43. However, one race remains uncalled. In Columbus’s HD-03, lawyer Ismail Mohamed leads Columbus Building Trades Council Outreach Director Kelly Harrop by just 37 votes. While a recount hasn’t been requested yet, Harrop very much could request one.
WA-09: It looks like Rep. Adam Smith will narrowly avoid a November matchup with fellow Democrat Stephanie Gallardo, a DSA-backed teachers’ union leader; Gallardo trails by nearly 7,000 votes, too much for the usual leftward lean of late-counted mail ballots Washington to overcome.
WA Legislature: Washington’s top-two primaries can produce a lot of “beauty pageant” primaries—races where only two candidates in the first round have a real chance of advancing to November anyway. We’ll return to those in November. In non-beauty pageant races, progressive former state Rep. Beth Doglio was the only Democrat to advance in her old LD-22’s second House seat in Olympia, and state Rep. Steve Tharinger was the only Democrat to advance in LD-24’s second House seat on the Olympic Peninsula (shutting out centrist Democrat Darren Corcoran.) In Tacoma’s LD-29, progressive incumbent Melanie Morgan and progressive repeat candidate Sharlett Mena were the only Democrats to advance in LD-29’s two House races. In the Seattle suburbs, former state Rep. Kristine Reeves was the only Democrat to advance in LD-30’s second House seat, moderate state Sen. Jesse Solomon and progressive challenger Patricia Weber both advanced in LD-32’s Senate race, and, hilariously, both mainstream Democrat Chris Stearns and progressive Shukri Olow advanced in LD-47’s second House seat, which Republicans had made noises about contesting despite its blue lean. It’s not yet clear whether progressive former state Sen. Claudia Kauffman or more moderate Kent City Councilmember Satwinder Kaur will advance in LD-47’s Senate race; Kauffman currently leads Kaur by 64 votes for second place (the lone Republican candidate is in first.) In Seattle itself, there were three non-beauty pageant races—though in one of them, LD-36’s first House seat, Obama administration staffer Julia Reed got a stunning outright majority despite facing four serious opponents. She’ll face administrative law judge Jeff Manson in November, but RIP in advance to him. In LD-37’s second House seat, rent control-supporting landlord Chipalo Street and community advocate Emijah Smith advanced out of a crowded field of Democrats who all seemed fairly progressive, and in LD-46’s second House seat, progressive disability rights advocate Darya Farivar and hardcore moderate pediatrician Lelach Rave advanced to November.
Montgomery County, Maryland: County Executive Marc Elrich won his primary over David Blair last cycle by just 77 votes. He took all those jokes about how close the race was, meditated on them, internalized their power, and decided to show the world what he was capable of: an even closer win against David Blair. Against all odds, and against all common sense, it appears that a county of over one million people has chosen their next Executive by a margin of voters that could fit in a high school gym, once again. Elrich, at the moment, leads 55,473 to 55,431, a margin of just 42 votes. There are, finally, no more ballots left to count from the July 19 primary, but there will be a recount, just as there was in 2018. Elrich has declared victory, pointing out that the last recount only moved the margin from 79 votes to 77 votes. Or, in his words: “Recounbt wont change ahmnything. It chan ged 2. Votes in 2018” We have no idea if that was the result of drunk tweeting or not, but if it was, good for him.
End Citizens United endorsed Maxwell Alejandro Frost; the fact that it happened 3 days after crypto billionaire Sam Bankman-Fried dropped close to $1 million on ads for Frost is just funny. In less funny, more impactful endorsement news, the AFL-CIO and the Florida Education Association also endorsed Frost.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez endorsed Rep. Kai Kahele’s longshot gubernatorial bid. Kahele’s been struggling to gain traction against Lt. Gov. Josh Green, and this is the first shot of good news he’s had in months aside from some smaller union endorsements.
As this contest enters its final days, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune endorsed Don Samuels over Ilhan Omar. This doesn't come as a surprise—they also endorsed her challenger in 2020—but it is the latest confirmation that all the opposition to her 2020 reelection is still in place. Adding to the late Samuels endorsement is Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey. Frey stayed out of the 2020 contest, and it's possible that this endorsement is retaliation for Omar getting so involved in the 2021 city elections, including supporting both of the candidates running against him. Frey's endorsement was part of a collection of mayors endorsing Samuels, which led to a back-and-forth between the campaigns where each listed all of their endorsements, and both of them mentioned someone who was, in fact, staying neutral.
One of the many groups in crypto billionaire Sam Bankman-Fried’s arsenal of political influence, Guarding Against Pandemics, endorsed Laura Gillen, a potential prelude to spending on Gillen’s behalf by Protect Our Future, Bankman-Fried’s main personal super PAC. Guarding Against Pandemics endorsed Gillen along with another Long Island candidate, Joshua Lafazan, in the neighboring NY-03 (which we have stopped covering because it is now a swing district.) Lafazan shortly got $498,000 in positive TV ads from Protect Our Future. Gillen was also endorsed by 32BJ SEIU, one of the most influential unions in NYC politics; this district consists entirely of Long Island suburbs immediately east of NYC.
What a mess. Once again, the race for this newly-created Brooklyn-to-Manhattan district gave us an absurd amount of news to report; we’ll try to keep it manageable to the extent we can. First, our polling update: an internal poll for Dan Goldman’s campaign has Goldman leading with 18%, with Assemb. Yuh-Line Niou in second with 16% and NYC Council Member Carlina Rivera in third with 14%. NY-17 Rep. Mondaire Jones, former Rep. Elizabeth Holtzman, and Assemb. Jo Anne Simon have 10%, 9%, and 7%, respectively. This confirms the basic state of play other polls have found—Goldman, Niou, and Rivera are in the top tier of candidates, with some space between them and the rest of the pack. (Previous polls have had Rivera and Niou in front by small margins.)
Rivera, Jones, and Holtzman each landed a major endorsement. Rivera got the League of Conservation Voters, which semi-regularly makes independent expenditures for its endorsed candidates. Jones got Nancy Pelosi, who surely appreciates Jones’s decision to abandon his current suburban district, NY-17, for this newly-created district in downtown Manhattan and brownstone Brooklyn, to make way for DCCC Chair Sean Patrick Maloney’s move from his own slightly swingier NY-18. And Holtzman got the New York Daily News, which holds a lot of sway with older, more moderate Democrats in the city. Holtzman did get her first bad press—she has gotten a lot of bewildered press, because nobody really knows what to make of a Nixon-era congresswoman-turned-DA-turned-Comptroller coming out of retirement nearly thirty years after retiring from politics, but not truly negative press—in the form of a Politico investigation which found that Holtzman (and Goldman) fled NYC during the height of the pandemic. (Jones was also not in the city, but that’s because he was living full-time in his suburban Rockland-and-Westchester district an hour’s drive north of the city.)
Goldman, though, got an avalanche of bad press. In addition to fleeing the city, financial disclosures showed that Goldman, who in addition to being a former House impeachment counsel is a Levi Strauss heir, is absolutely loaded, worth potentially as much as $250 million. He got into it with LGBTQ groups about whether it was okay for him to have never attended Pride his whole life, running against a field of opponents including an LGBT member of Congress in the district home to the Stonewall Inn. And he fired his Trump-supporting Orthodox voter outreach director after City and State found tweets from him calling members of Congress “retarted.” His response to all this? Giving at least $1 million of his own money to his campaign after the pre-primary filing deadline. (We’ll find out if he self-funded even more when the pre-primary reports are due to the FEC.) Buying a seat in Congress by drowning out your opponents in a flood of generic ads is a time-honored tradition of rich people with nothing better to do than run for Congress, and it seems Goldman is going that route.
A new poll shows Rep. Jerry Nadler leading fellow Rep. Carolyn Maloney in the new district both are running for. In a survey of 1,000 likely Democratic primary voters conducted last week by Emerson College for The Hill, 40% of respondents supported Nadler, 31% of respondents supported Maloney, and 11% supported Suraj Patel, who previously challenged Maloney in 2018 and 2020. We also got a new bit of old polling information: a poll conducted for Suraj Patel’s campaign back in June had Jerry Nadler leading Carolyn Maloney 28% to 26%, with Patel way back at 11%. Together the polls paint a bad picture for Maloney: despite currently representing significantly more of the new district than Nadler, the race started as a near-tie and only got worse for her as voters tuned in.
32BJ SEIU, one of the most influential unions in NYC politics, released its first round of endorsements for the August congressional primary. The union stayed out of seriously contested primaries in blue districts for the most part, ignoring the open race in NY-10 and the Nadler-Maloney duel in NY-12, but it endorsed Squad member Jamaal Bowman, who faces a credible centrist challenge from Westchester County Legislator Vedat Gashi. (Bowman is also being challenged by Westchester County Legislator Catherine Parker, but Gashi is his main opponent.)
Gashi got endorsements from former Reps. Eliot Engel and Nita Lowey; between Engel’s district and Lowey’s district, the pair represented the entirety of Bowman’s new district until 2020, when Bowman beat Engel and Lowey retired in the face of a strong primary challenge from eventual winner Mondaire Jones.
DCCC Chair Sean Patrick Maloney briefly looked like he was going to get away with his selfish adoption of Mondaire Jones’s NY-17, where Maloney lived but which Jones mostly represented, leaving behind NY-18, which he largely represented, because the new NY-17 was very slightly bluer than the new NY-18 (even though the new NY-18 is still bluer than the old NY-18, which Maloney represented for a full decade.) Then state Sen. Alessandra Biaggi, who had been running for a Long Island-and-Westchester district before the final redistricting scrambled New York’s congressional map once more, announced she’d take on Maloney in NY-17 instead. That’s given the press plenty of reason to cover Maloney ahead of his primary, and the local spotlight hasn’t been kind to him. The New York Post had previously found Maloney lied for years about his role in tech company Kiodex, falsely claiming to have co-founded the company. Now, the Post finds that Maloney has been using campaign funds on a full-time “body man”...who his husband met during a vacation in Florida and who subsequently lived on his property for years. While a body man is a legitimate campaign job—it’s basically the candidate’s personal assistant—your husband meeting him on vacation in Miami and subsequently hiring him to be a live-in campaign staffer at a house on the same property as your own home in the Hudson Valley? That’s…unusual.
Even without Maloney’s personal scandals, the race between Biaggi and Maloney is heating up. The Working Families Party, which is backing Biaggi, debuted an ad attacking Maloney for voting to undermine the ACA in numerous House floor votes on amendments to major legislation. The ad includes a clip of Maloney, at a debate with former Rep. Nan Hayworth (the Republican he unseated in 2012 and beat again in 2014), saying, “Of course I have voted against the Affordable Care Act repeatedly—45% of the time, I think, against my own president.” Just days later at a debate, Maloney responded to Biaggi and the WFP’s healthcare attacks by attacking Biaggi for supporting Medicare for All. And the NYC Police Benevolent Association, which almost never gets involved in federal elections, started spending to attack Biaggi, dropping $29,000 on mailers and $3,400 on text-banking.
Rhode Island Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea released (the toplines of) another internal poll showing her leading Gov. Dan McKee 27% to 22%, with CVS executive Helena Foulkes at 14% and progressive former SoS Matt Brown at 7%. This is in line with other publicly-released polling of the race, which has largely shown a race between Gorbea and McKee, with Foulkes not far behind, and Brown quite far behind.
Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza, former U.S. Rep. Patrick Kennedy, state Sen. Maryellen Goodwin, and former state Rep. Joseph Almeida endorsed Foulkes. Foulkes, as alluded to above, has been fighting to break into that top tier, and support from the mayor of the state’s largest city could help her do that. (What might not help her do that? Scrutiny of her time at CVS, as the company faces numerous lawsuits over its role in the opioid crisis, including a new lawsuit filed by the Attorney General of New Hampshire.)
Gorbea has been struggling to break McKee’s stranglehold on organized labor in this race. She caught a big break this week—one of RI’s two main teachers’ unions, the Rhode Island Federation of Teachers, endorsed her, splitting from the other major teachers’ union, the Rhode Island chapter of the National Educators Association. However, AFSCME Rhode Island Council 94, the state’s largest government employees’ union, endorsed McKee, continuing his streak of union endorsements.
Last week, we discussed the first public poll of the race in months: UNH had found progressive state Senate President Becca Balint leading moderate Lt. Gov. Molly Gray by a stunning margin: 63% to 21%. As much as we loved to see it, we were skeptical the lead could be that large. Luckily, there is now a second public poll to compare it against, and it confirms that things are indeed dire for Gray. Data For Progress has Balint leading Gray 59% to 27%, which is, yes, a better margin for Gray, but still stunningly bad for her considering she and not Balint has actually won a statewide elction before. The only help she’s getting from anyone in the last few weeks of this race comes from outgoing Sen. Patrick Leahy, who, though he isn’t willing to make a public endorsement, says he voted for Gray. The other Senator, Bernie Sanders, found time to do a three-rally circuit with Becca Balint this week.