• Weather: Forecasts today call for plagues of locusts in Arizona, frogs falling from the sky in Illinois, periodic blood showers in Pennsylvania, hellfire and brimstone in Ohio. Partly sunny in California.
• AK-Sen: The rumor mill over the last few days has had the NRSC turning its attentions back to Lisa Murkowski, whom they'd once shunned, seeing her as their best plan for holding Alaska as Joe Miller seems to lag. (Of course, they may have semi-consciously been doing that for weeks, running ads hitting Scott McAdams instead of hitting Murkowski.) Miller, for his part, is dismissive, saying he didn't need them to win the primary.
DC Dems are finally showing some interest here... maybe it was a conscious decision to avoid the taint of Washington in this race, or more likely it was just being blind to the possibility of a pickup here until the last moment. Bill Clinton is robocalling on McAdams' behalf, and the DSCC finally rolled out a TV ad here over the weekend (anti-Murkowski, not anti-Miller). Here's what's probably motivated them: the final Hays Research poll, this time on behalf of the DSCC (instead of the IBEW like the last ones). Its results: Miller 27, McAdams 26, "another candidate you have to write in" 25, and undecided 21. That's close. With the specter of analyzing tens of thousands of write-in ballots for intent, and the attendant legal challenges, it will almost assuredly be weeks before we have a winner in Alaska. UPDATE: Just got late word of yet another poll here, from yet another local pollster: Dittman. I don't know who, if anyone Dittman is working for, but they're pretty Murkowski-friendly results: Murko 37, Miller 26, McAdams 22.
• DE-Sen: Despite having essentially no chance of winning, somehow Christine O'Donnell got more media coverage than any other candidate this cycle, according to a Pew study. (Thanks, Gawker!) Of course, it's hard not to, when she provides us with so much good material, as with her closing argument fail: she'd planned on 30-minute blocks of TV time on the local Fox affiliate and on public access, but somehow neither happened, owing to miscommunication and flat-out never getting around to purchasing the time on Fox. A remarkable end to a remarkable campaign.
• PA-08: I imagine you'll be hearing a lot of stories today and in the following days about voter "suppression" (from the Dems) and "fraud" (from the GOP), but we're already getting a jump on it in the 8th: both sides are alleging irregularities in absentee ballots. 8,000 ballots have been sequestered at the Bucks County courthouse already, so assuming the margin is less than that, here's another one we can already expect to find its way into court.
• AL-Gov (Univ. of S. Alabama): Ron Sparks (D) 35%, Robert Bentley (R) 48%
• CA-Sen, CA-Gov (Suffolk): Barbara Boxer (D-inc) 52%, Carly Fiorina (R) 43%; Jerry Brown (D) 50%, Meg Whitman (R) 42%
(Bonus: Kamala Harris leads Steve Cooley 35-34 in the AG race, and "no" leads "yes" on Prop 19 55-40)
• CA-Sen, CA-Gov (SurveyUSA for KABC): Barbara Boxer (D-inc) 45%, Carly Fiorina (R) 40%; Jerry Brown (D) 46%, Meg Whitman (R) 38%
(Bonus: Gavin Newsom leads Abel Maldonado 42-34 for LG, and "no" leads "yes" on Prop 19 46-44)
• CA-Sen, CA-Gov (PPP): Barbara Boxer (D-inc) 52%, Carly Fiorina (R) 43%; Jerry Brown (D) 53%, Meg Whitman (R) 42%
(Bonus: "no" leads "yes" on Prop 19 45-48)
• CA-20 (SurveyUSA for KFSN): Jim Costa (D-inc) 42%, Andy Vidak (R) 52%
(note: this poll population is 37% Hispanic, compared with 67% in reality) (also, the DCCC responded with a poll giving Costa a 47-41 lead, although they neglected to leak the pollster's name) (UPDATE: The pollster is Bennet Petts & Normington, with the sample over the same 10/21-24 period as SurveyUSA)
• CT-Sen, CT-Gov (Quinnipiac): Richard Blumenthal (D) 54% (54), Linda McMahon (R) 42% (43); Dan Malloy (D) 48% (49), Tom Foley (R) 43% (42)
• FL-08 (Susquehanna for Sunshine State News): Alan Grayson (D-inc) 41% (36), Daniel Webster (R) 48% (43), Peg Dunmire (T) 4%
• GA-Gov (InsiderAdvantage): Roy Barnes (D) 41%, Nathan Deal (R) 47%, John Monds (L) 5%
• ID-Gov, ID-Sen, ID-01, ID-02 (Mason-Dixon for Idaho newspapers): Keith Allred (D) 30%, Butch Otter (R-inc) 52%; Tom Sullivan (D) 20%, Mike Crapo (R-inc) 64%; Walt Minnick (D-inc) 44%, Raul Labrador (R) 41%; Mike Crawford (D) 17%, Mike Simpson (R-inc) 67%
• IA-Gov (Global Strategy Group for Chet Culver): Chet Culver (D-inc) 40%, Terry Branstad (R) 46%
• IL-Gov (MarketShares for Chicago Tribune): Pat Quinn (D-inc) 39% (39), Bill Brady (R) 43% (38), Scott Lee Cohen (I) 5%, Rich Whitney (G) 4%, Lex Green (L) 2%
• IL-Sen (Anzalone-Liszt for DSCC): Alexi Giannoulias (D) 38%, Mark Kirk (R) 36%, LeAlan Jones (G) 7%, Mike Labno (L) 4%
• KY-Sen (PPP): Jack Conway (D) 40%, Rand Paul (R) 53%
• KY-03 (RiverCity for Todd Lally): John Yarmuth (D-inc) 41%, Todd Lally (R) 37% (note: n = only 239, yet they claim MoE of 4.5%)
• LA-02 (Anzalone-Liszt): Cedric Richmond (D) 49%, Joe Cao (R-inc) 32%
• NY-20 (Siena): Scott Murphy (D-inc) 42% (54), Chris Gibson (R) 51% (37)
(The Murphy camp leaked an internal from Global Strategy Group today, although only saying a 3-point lead without specific toplines)
• OH-Gov, OH-Sen (Quinnipiac): Ted Strickland (D-inc) 43% (41), John Kasich (R) 49% (51); Lee Fisher (D) 36% (34), Rob Portman (R) 53% (55)
• OH-Sen (Wilson Research, not apparently on anyone's behalf): Lee Fisher (D) 38%, Rob Portman (R) 49%
• OH-Sen (Univ. of Cincinnati for Ohio newspapers): Lee Fisher (D) 39%, Rob Portman 58%
• PA-Sen, PA-Gov (Ipsos for Reuters): Joe Sestak (D) 46%, Pat Toomey (R) 46%; Dan Onorato (D) 43%, Tom Corbett (R) 49%
(Sestak leads 46-42 among RVs, and even Onorato leads 46-43 among RVs)
• PA-Sen, PA-Gov (Muhlenberg): Joe Sestak (D) 40% (42), Pat Toomey (R) 48% (47); Dan Onorato (D) 39% (41), Tom Corbett (R) 50% (49)
• PA-08 (POS for Mike Fitzpatrick): Patrick Murphy (D-inc) 40%, Mike Fitzpatrick (R) 50%
• PA-10 (Lycoming): Chris Carney (D-inc) 45%, Tom Marino (R) 39%
• SD-Gov (Neilson Brothers): Scott Heidepriem (D) 40%, Dennis Daugaard (R) 43%
• VA-09 (SurveyUSA for WDBJ): Rick Boucher (D-inc) 46%, Morgan Griffith (R) 47%
• WI-Gov (Mellman Group, not apparently on anyone's behalf): Tom Barrett (D) 45%, Scott Walker (R) 47%
• AK-Sen: The story of how his employment with the city of Fairbanks ended is one of the key reasons why Joe Miller suddenly clammed up and said he wouldn't answer questions about his personal background anymore. Now the city's former mayor, Jim Whitaker, is offering his version of the story, saying Miller is "not truthful" about it. Whitaker says Miller's use of borough resources for political purposes (namely, for gaming an online vote for state party chair in a Sarah Palin-orchestrated party coup) was a violation of borough ethics policy and it would have been a cause for termination if they hadn't been so understaffed. Miller eventually resigned in 2009 anyway, partly because his request to go elk hunting got denied.
• FL-Sen: There are so many Kennedys I really can't keep track which one is allied with who, but any time one leaves the reservation it's interesting. Robert Kennedy Jr. announced that he's backing Charlie Crist for Senate, saying that Kendrick Meek can't win and the most important thing is blocking Marco Rubio. Meanwhile, with the current race not looking very interesting anymore, PPP has its eye on 2012 (which seems like it could be close, especially if Jeb Bush gets involved). They ran two other hypotheticals, one not very likely: Bill Nelson beats Rush Limbaugh 50-36 (if Limbaugh for whatever reason decided to take the huge pay cut). More plausibly, he also beats Rep. Connie Mack IV by 42-33.
• LA-Sen: Charlie Melancon is out with an internal poll from Anzalone-Liszt. Public pollsters have generally seen this as a double-digit race, but his poll, taken over Oct. 9-12, gives David Vitter a not-overwhelming 49-42 lead. The campaign says that's a major improvement (no specific numbers, though) over their September poll.
• FL-Gov: The Florida Education Association (obviously a Democratic-leaning organization) polled the gubernatorial race, and found numbers very close to PPP's results yesterday. The poll from Tom Eldon, taken Oct. 9-12, gives Alex Sink a 47-41 lead over Rick Scott. Scott's faves are down to 33/50.
• IL-Gov: This is quite the screwup: Green candidate Rich Whitney's name will appear as "Rich Whitey" on electronic voting machines in nearly two dozen wards in Chicago (half of which are predominantly African-American). And that leads inevitably to the question (to quote the Illinois Nazi Party): "Well, what are you going to do about it, Whitey?" Apparently, he can't do much, as there isn't adequate time left to reprogram and test the machines, although he's looking into various legal options.
• AZ-07: I don't know if there's any hard evidence other than a Magellan poll and a McClung internal to prove there's a real race here, but judging by efforts by some organizations on both sides, something's going on. The Progressive Change Campaign Committee had members make 21,000 phone calls to the district to shore up Raul Grijalva, while Americans for Tax Reform is going to spend $230K on advertising in the district, hitting Grijalva with an ad for encouraging a boycott of his state in the wake of SB 1070.
• CA-44: Like CA-03, this is one offense opportunity in California that still seems to be alive and kicking. The Bill Hedrick campaign, short on cash but facing an underwhelming opponent that he nearly knocked off last time, is out with a Zata|3 internal poll showing Hedrick trailing GOP incumbent Ken Calvert by only a 48-43 margin (improved a 49-38 showing in September).
• GA-08: He made it implicit with his most recent ad (distancing himself from Nancy Pelosi, even going so far as to show 60s-era San Francisco hippies), but Jim Marshall is now explicitly joining Bobby Bright in the camp of incumbents saying they won't support Pelosi for Speaker in the next Congress (if they're there for it).
• IA-03: I didn't think I'd be saying this a few months ago, but Leonard Boswell is starting to look like he's in healthy shape for the election, thanks in large part of a variety of damaging details about Brad Zaun that went public. Boswell leads Zaun 47-38 in an internal from his campaign, taken Oct. 3-5 by Anzalone-Liszt.
• IL-10: Bob Dold sure can rake in the fundraising dollars, even if Bob Dold can't seem to come up with a lead in the polls, in what's looking like one of the Dems' few pickups this cycle. Bob Dold raised $843K in the third quarter and is sitting on $979K CoH, enough to start running two broadcast ads this week, while Bob Dold's opponent Dan Seals has yet to release any numbers. Bob Dold!
• MD-01, VA-02, VA-05: Another testament to the unpredictability of elections: even a few months ago, who'd have thought, that at this point, the DCCC would have cut loose Debbie Halvorson and Steve Kagen, but would be keeping on pumping money into the races of Frank Kratovil and Tom Perriello? Those two, along with Glenn Nye, are among the survivors of the triage process and will receive continued ad buys.
• NH-02: This race is also turning out to be close, and this can't help Charlie Bass this close to the election: questions are emerging about a stock buy (in New England Wood Pellet, his nephew-in-law's company) that he made while in Congress the previous time. He then set up a meeting between company officials and Bush administration officials, which is a potential House ethics violation.
• OH-01: Credit Steve Driehaus for having some fire in the belly. After having gotten thrown onto the bring-out-your-dead cart by the DCCC, instead of just shrugging and starting to look for a lobbying job, he's doubling down on his fundraising efforts, using it as an incentive to ask for more from his supporters. In particular, he's pissed that the DCCC let him go even while giving money to various Reps. who voted "no" on health care reform.
• OR-04: Well, here's one more race to add to the watch list. Peter DeFazio hasn't faced credible opposition in... well, ever. And he's still not facing credible opposition this year (Art Robinson is kind of a clown; his main action item seems to be the elimination of public schooling, which would kind of help him out considerably, since his day job is selling curriculum supplies for home schoolers). Nevertheless, the mysterious group Concerned Taxpayers (who've also made a six-digit ad buy against DeFazio) is out with an internal poll from Oct. 4-5 from Wilson Research showing a single-digit race, with DeFazio leading Robinson 48-42. (MoE is a hefty 5.6%.)
• PA-10: Chris Carney is on the wrong end of a Critical Insights poll of his district (which will be in our Poll Roundup later), but he's already getting out in front of it with an internal poll. The Oct. 12-13 poll from Momentum Analysis has Carney leading Tom Marino 48-41. With both candidates able to point to leads not just in internal polls but public polls too, this is quite definitely a "Tossup."
• TN-08: Whew! One last internal. Not much surprise here... GOPer Stephen Fincher has an internal out giving him a double-digit lead in the open seat race against Roy Herron, very similar to yesterday's 47-37 Penn/Hill poll. The Tarrance Group poll from Oct. 11-12 gives Fincher a 47-36 lead (with 3 to indie Donn James).
• FL-AG: This is one of the higher-profile downballot races around, and it gets a fair amount of polling attention too. This time, it's Susquehanna's turn (on behalf of Sunshine State News), and they give a lead to Republican Hillsborough Co. Prosecutor Pam Bondi, who leads state Sen. Dan Gelber 50-42.
• Money: Zata|3 is out with more of their super-helpful charts on the behind-the-scenes money game, which is where the Republicans are really winning this cycle, even more so than the polls. Compared with 2008, spending on Senate races (from both sides) has nearly doubled, and it's up more than 50% on House races. And Republican groups are leading the way: the top 5, and 8 of the top 10, outside groups, spending-wise are GOP-leaning. That starts with the cash-flush RGA ($12 mil so far), followed by the Chamber of Commerce and American Crossroads.
• Polltopia: You may have already seen the new Pew study on cellphone use, but it's a real eye-opener, one that should cast some measure of doubt on the accuracy of current polls or even the whole sense that polls can tell us anything. Pew, which in 2008 found a certain amount of pro-Republican bias in polls because of the exclusion of cellphone-only users, is out with a new round of polling showing that bias has only increased. At this point, nearly 25% of adults are "cell-only." Pew finds a 5-point Republican increase would have occurred in their most recent generic ballot test if they hadn't polled cellphones.
Also, on the polling front, Daily Kos is taking a page from PPP and asking where readers what gubernatorial and House race they'd like to see polled in the coming weeks.
• SSP TV:
• AK-Sen: This is actually kind of funny: Joe Miller spoofs Old Spice ads in an attempt to get voters to not write in Lisa Murkowski
• CO-Sen: Ken Buck's out with a base-rallying ad using speech footage of him getting teabaggers fired up about how they got ignored for the last two years and are now out for blood; the NRSC is also on the air, hitting Michael Bennet over his support for the stimulus
• MO-Sen: Robin Carnahan's new TV spot pushes back against various Roy Blunt negative ads, especially on the subject of an extended family member's wind farm
• PA-Sen: This may be an interesting tea leaf that those Dem internals yesterday may be showing some actual tightening: the NRSC, after letting surrogate orgs do all the work here, is finally having to step in with its own IE ad (a basic HCR/stimulus/cap-and-trade troika)
• WV-Sen: The DSCC goes after John Raese again over the minimum wage
• CA-Gov: What is this, the 80s? Meg Whitman's new ad hits Jerry Brown for being soft on crime
• TX-Gov: Bill White's newest ad goes after Rick Perry's seeming habit of steering state contracts to cronies
• AK-Sen: Scott McAdams (D) 27%, Joe Miller (R) 35%, Lisa Murkowski (WI-inc) 34%
• CA-Sen: Barbara Boxer (D-inc) 49%, Carly Fiorina (R) 46%
• IL-Gov: Pat Quinn (D-inc) 40%, Bill Brady (R) 46%, Scott Lee Cohen (I) 4%, Rich Whitney (G) 2%
• NC-Sen: Elaine Marshall (D) 38%, Richard Burr (R-inc) 52%
• PA-Sen: Joe Sestak (D) 39%, Pat Toomey (R) 49%
• WI-Gov: Tom Barrett (D) 42%, Scott Walker (R) 51%
• CO-Sen: This probably doesn't count as an October Surprise since it made a big media impression five years ago, but it's suddenly popped back into view, and making things dicier for Ken Buck, already on the wrong end of a sizable gender gap in the polls. Buck refused to prosecute a rape case as Weld Co. DA five years ago (despite the police having recommended charges), and the alleged victim is now back in the news. She has a taped recording of their meeting (transcript available at the link) in which he seems to blame the victim and suggest that the case wouldn't pass muster with a jury.
• FL-Sen: Mason-Dixon (10/4-6, likely voters, 9/20-22 in parens):
Kendrick Meek (D): 21 (23)
Marco Rubio (R): 42 (40)
Charlie Crist (I): 27 (28)
With Marco Rubio way ahead, it looks like a Kendrick Meek dropout (rumored on Friday) and a cobbling-together of some sort of Meek/Crist hybrid cyborg would be the only way for the non-Rubio forces to get an advantage in this race. However, Meek's definitely not acting like a man who's dropping out, if getting the president of the United States to cut a radio ad for you is any indication.
• WV-Sen: Remember that "hicky" ad that the NRSC ran, and then promptly got apologetic over, once the casting call instructions got leaked? (I know, that was last week, a lifetime ago in politics...) Now it sounds like it just kept running anyway, through last Friday for several days after the story broke, despite promises to take it down.
• NM-Gov: Yep, this is definitely the most over-polled, or at least over-internal-poll-leaked, race around. Today it's Diane Denish's turn to retaliate, and she's out with another poll from one of her apparently two pollsters, Third Eye Strategies, with a 46-46 tie (a little stale, taken 9/21-23). I think we get the general idea, already: Denish sees a tie, Susana Martinez sees a high-single-digits lead for herself, public pollsters see something in between. (UPDATE: That's odd... we reported this poll several weeks ago. Not sure why it's back in the news today.)
• CA-47: This is the kind of unity that Loretta Sanchez (last seen alienating her district's small but politically active Vietnamese community with an ill-advised remark) probably doesn't like to see: apparently there was a major rift with the Vietnamese Republican community that just got sealed up, as long-time Van Tran rival Janet Nguyen (an Orange County councilor) gave a late-game endorsement to Tran.
• CT-02, CT-03: Merriman River Group hits the quinella in Connecticut, with polls of the two House races in the Nutmeg State that aren't interesting. In the 2nd, despite getting some touting when she got in the race, GOPer Janet Peckinpaugh is making little impression against Joe Courtney, trailing 55-41. And in the 3rd, Rosa DeLauro is the state's safest Dem, leading Jerry Labriola 58-37.
• FL-22: Endorsements from primary challengers, especially at this stage in the game, are interesting only when they go to the guy from the other party. But that's what's happening in the 22nd, where the guy who lost to Allen West, David Brady, gave his backing to Democratic incumbent Ron Klein today. (So too did several minor-league local elected GOPers, including Palm Beach mayor Jack McDonald.) Says Brady, apparently from the sane wing of the GOP (to the extent that the Palm Beach Post endorsed him in the primary): "I ran against Allen West. I debated him and I can tell you: Allen West is too extreme for this community."
• MS-04: Dueling polls in the 4th, where everything still averages out to a Democratic lean but unfortunately this is looking like one more real race. GOP state Rep. Steven Palazzo offered a poll a few weeks ago saying incumbent Gene Taylor led by only 4, and now Taylor says, no, he's leading by 8 (without giving us any other useful information, like the toplines, let alone the pollster or dates). Hmmm, that's only a difference of four points, so why show your hand, especially in such haphazard fashion? Somehow I don't think Taylor would be a very good poker player.
• NY-22, NY-25: Bill Clinton showing up in upstate New York to stump on behalf of Dan Maffei, that's not a surprise, as this race seems to be competitive. But also Maurice Hinchey in the 22nd? We haven't gotten any smoke signals out of that district before, but that's an indication that something may bubbling under here. (It's a D+6 district, and Hinchey barely won in '94.)
• OH-01: One more unfortunate though unsurprising triage decision to report: Steve Driehaus seems to have run out of time at the DCCC, who are canceling their remaining ad buy in the Cincinnati market for the next two weeks. The deadline for reservations cancellations is coming up soon, so we'll soon know who else gets the shortest straw drawn for them.
• PA-10: After seeing a incumbent Chris Carney up by single digits in a recent public poll from Lycoming, GOP challenger Tom Marino rummaged around in his poll drawer and pulled out one from the Tarrance Group giving him a 47-42 lead on Carney. (No word from the Fix on the dates, though.)
• TN-04: One last GOP internal to throw into the mix: a POS survey (from 9/27-28) on behalf of Scott DesJarlais shows him tied with Dem incumbent Lincoln Davis, 42-42. We haven't seen any public polling of this race (and may not, as the NRCC doesn't seem to be pushing this one hard, maybe on the off chance that it's the kind of district that'll flip in a wave regardless of what they do), but Davis claimed an 11-point lead in a late August internal.
• House: If you're thinking that it seems like there are a lot more races in the "Tossup" and "Lean" categories this year, you're not alone. Nate Silver quantifies various ways in which there are way more competitive races this year than in other recent cycles, including number of races where there are polls within single-digits, where there are polls period, and where there are major financial contributions.
• Redistricting: This is an interesting, if counterintuitive, piece from HuffPo on redistricting, which proposes that we'll be in better shape in 2010 redistricting than 2000 redistricting because (based on projected gubernatorial and state legislative outcomes) we'll have more control over the process in more important states: oddly he leaves out California, but also including Florida, Illinois, Michigan, and Virginia (all states where there was a GOP trifecta last time), and Minnesota and New York (where we might get the trifecta this time)... while the states where the GOP will improve its position aren't as large (Alabama, Indiana, Tennessee... with Georgia the most significant one). The article also gets into the nitty-gritty of where the population growth within the fast-growing states has occurred (i.e. among minorities).
• Polltopia: You might have noticed that Political Wire briefly had some Senate polls up today from somebody I've never heard of before, called "TCJ Research." Those polls mysteriously vanished after Nate Silver, vanquisher of bogus pollsters, showed up on the scene with a simple tweet:
A Wordpress blog getting ~500 hits a day on posts like "October Giveaway: 32 Gigabyte Apple iPad!" suddenly commissions 5 polls? Not likely.
• SSP TV:
• IL-Sen: Two different ads from the DSCC attacking Mark Kirk, hitting him for his House voting record and also revisiting Kirk's misrememberment of his military record
• NC-Sen: Elaine Marshall's finally out with a TV spot, going after Richard Burr for helping to break the economy
• WV-Sen: While John Raese nods to the 'hick' ad semi-apologetically before changing the subject back to Washington Dems, Joe Manchin seems to be trying to out-hick the hick ad by touting his pro-gun and anti-environment credentials in one fell swoop by (I kid you not) shooting a copy of the cap-and-trade bill
• IL-Gov: The most famous Illinoisian, Barack Obama, cuts a radio spot on behalf of Pat Quinn
• RI-Gov: The DGA pounds Lincoln Chafee one more time from the right, accusing him of being a tax-hiking hippy
• FL-22: Ron Klein moves past the boring fixation on Allen West's tax liens and onto the really juicy stuff about 2nd Amendment remedies
• MN-06: Taryl Clark hits Michele Bachmann on Social Security
• PA-03: Kathy Dahlkemper touts her pro-life credentials in her new ad, explaining her siding with the Stupak bloc on health care reform
• VA-02: The DCCC's IE unit points the "hypocrite" arrow at Scott Rigell, for making hundreds of thousands of dollars off "Cash for Clunkers"
• WI-08: Ditto the DCCC ad in the 8th, where they hit Reid Ribble for making hundreds of thousands of dollars for his roofing business off stimulus projects
• CT-Gov: Dan Malloy (D) 49%, Tom Foley (R) 44%
• FL-Gov: Alex Sink (D) 47%, Rick Scott (R) 50%
• FL-Sen: Kendrick Meek (D) 19%, Marco Rubio (R) 50%, Charlie Crist (I) 25%
• GA-Gov: Roy Barnes (D) 41%, Nathan Deal (R) 50%
• GA-Sen: Michael Thurmond (D) 38%, Johnny Isakson (R-inc) 53%
• MN-Gov: Mark Dayton (D) 40%, Tom Emmer (R) 38%, Tom Horner (I) 15%
• NE-Gov: Mike Meister (D) 24%, Dave Heineman (R-inc) 66%
• NH-Sen: Paul Hodes (D) 44%, Kelly Ayotte (R) 51%
• NM-Gov: Diane Denish (D) 43%, Susana Martinez (R) 52%
• NV-Gov: Rory Reid (D) 40%, Brian Sandoval (R) 53%
• OR-Gov: John Kitzhaber (D) 48%, Chris Dudley (R) 46%
• SD-Gov: Scott Heidepriem (D) 33%, Dennis Daugaard (R) 57%
• TX-Gov: Bill White (D) 42%, Rick Perry (R-inc) 53%
• WA-Sen: Patty Murray (D-inc) 46%, Dino Rossi (R) 49%
• Angus-Reid: Some of you might have gotten excited about the California numbers offered up today by Angus-Reid (a well-established Canadian pollster, but apparently making their first foray into the States). Well, don't, because they're using an RV model, and more importantly, it's an Internet sample. (Now presumably there's some scientific selection behind it, not just a "click here!" banner ad, but we're highly skeptical nonetheless, especially since that seemed to produce notably pro-Dem results in California.)
• CA-Gov: Jerry Brown (D) 53%, Meg Whitman (R) 41%
• CA-Sen: Barbara Boxer (D-inc) 55%, Carly Fiorina (R) 39%
• OH-Gov: Ted Strickland (D-inc) 46%, John Kasich (R) 48%
• OH-Sen: Lee Fisher (D) 42%, Rob Portman (R) 53%
• AK-Sen: The Tea Party Express is reloading in Alaska, with Lisa Murkowski having popped up again as a target. They're launching a new ad blitz starting Monday, although no word on how much they plan to spend on this go-round.
• CA-Sen: It seems like the NRSC can read the handwriting on the wall in California: they've canceled a $1.9 million ad buy on Carly Fiorina's behalf for the last week before the election (probably sensing that money's more valuable in West Virginia). They're, of course, framing it as "advancing in another direction," saying they wanted to give her flexibility to spend the money "around the state and not just in one city."
• CO-Sen: Greenberg Quinlan Rosner for DSCC (9/22-26, likely voters, no trendlines):
Michael Bennet (D-inc): 48
Ken Buck (R): 46
The DSCC has the first publicly-offered poll in a while giving Michael Bennet a lead, here up 2 on Ken Buck. (The last poll with a Bennet lead seems to be that joint POS/Fairbank Maslin poll from early September, which had him up by 3.)
• DE-Sen: Wow, Christine O'Donnell's resume (on her LinkedIn profile) is falling apart like it was made out of balsa wood and chewing gum. After getting called on not having actually taken any classes at Oxford yesterday, now it turns out that she never took any classes at Claremont Graduate University. And she's offering a really strange denial, the kind of thing you might expect from a first-grader rather than a 41-year old: that Linked In profile with her name on it? Yeah, she's saying she didn't put it up and doesn't know who did.
• LA-Sen: I don't know if anyone has compared this yet to that epic-length R. Kelly video that has him hiding in closet and there's a dwarf apropos of nothing? At any rate, Charlie Melancon is out with a new ad that's not the first time he's broached the issue of David Vitter's, um, personal failings... but this one goes on for two whole minutes, chronicling the whole thing in great detail. Given its remarkable length, it should be no surprise that it's only running on cable.
• NC-Sen: Public Policy Polling (pdf) (9/23-26, likely voters, late Aug. in parentheses):
Elaine Marshall (D): 36 (38)
Richard Burr (R-inc): 49 (43)
Michael Beitler (L): (6)
Undecided: 11 (13)
The movement toward Richard Burr (thanks to his seemingly-effective advertising, paid for with his huge financial edge) shown by other pollsters is corroborated by PPP, who've tended to see a closer race here in their home state than anyone else. He leads by 13, instead of 5 like last time. One galling number, indicating this could be a real race if Elaine Marshall had any money (not forthcoming, since the DSCC is playing so much defense elsewhere), is that Marshall actually leads 47-45 among those who have an opinion of her.
• NV-Sen: Jon Ralston continues to pummel Sharron Angle, this time over her strange attempts to walk back claims that she wants to privatize the VA. "Walk back" may not even be the right word, since her seem to involve the argument that she never actually said the words that she previously said in May. Meanwhile, here's the level of message discipline they have over at Camp Angle: her own spokesperson is criticizing Angle's latest ad on immigration as "propaganda," in her side gig as chair of the Nevada Republican Hispanic Caucus!
• WA-Sen: Who's the most popular politician in America these days? Bill Clinton, believe it or not. So it's no surprise he's in demand as Democratic surrogate, and he's even coming to Washington on Patty Murray's behalf, headlining a Boeing-themed event in Everett on Oct. 18.
• CA-Gov: This story seems to be developing as the day goes on: Meg Whitman's camp has had to cop to the fact that she once employed a housekeeper who was, gasp, an illegal immigrant. The fight... which will probably determine how much of a story this becomes (if any) over the next few days... seems to be over how much Whitman personally knew about her status (although the non-matching social security number seems like it should've been a tipoff).
• CO-Gov: Wow, this might actually help Dan Maes climb his way out of polling in the low teens! Today he offers some exculpatory evidence that he did too sorta-kinda work as an undercover officer for a small-town police department in Kansas. (Of course, it also shows that he was in fact fired for leaking information about the probe to the relative of a target.)
• OH-Gov: Benenson for Campaign for the Moderate Majority (9/25-27, likely voters, no trendlines):
You might apply a little salt as this is a poll by a Dem pollster for Dem-sounding group, but this is still the first we've seen this in a long, long while... a poll with Ted Strickland in the lead. With a trio of polls in the last few days showing Strickland down by either 1 or 2, there's some definite late closing in this race. (One strange item, though, is that "other" candidates are eating up 6% of the vote here. I'd be surprised if that continues.)
• CO-02: Magellan (9/29, likely voters, no trendlines):
Jared Polis (D-inc): 48
Stephen Bailey (R): 36
I'm not sure why Magellan fired up their crack team of robo-dialers to test this race, not really on anyone's radar screen -- maybe they're prospecting for unusual targets. As one would expect, Jared Polis isn't in particular danger in this D+11 district, although thanks to the drag of the national climate his numbers seem softer than the district's heavy lean.
• NC-07: SurveyUSA for Civitas (pdf) (9/24-26, likely voters, no trendlines):
Mike McIntyre (D-inc): 45
Ilario Pantano (R): 46
SurveyUSA takes a look at NC-07, as part of the Civitas Institute's rotating cast of pollsters. The (not very comforting) good news is that this is SurveyUSA, which has been putting out very GOP-friendly polling in House races, especially in North Carolina. (See their NC-11 polling, compared to other sources.) The bad news is that this race is pretty low on people's watch lists, although the NRCC has started to spending some money on ads here.
• VA-02: POS for Scott Rigell (9/26-27, likely voters, no trendlines):
Glenn Nye (D-inc): 35
Scott Rigell (R): 42
Kenny Golden (I): 5
On top of the NRCC internal poll leaked yesterday (giving Scott Rigell a decent if not-awe-inspiring 45-40 lead over Glenn Nye in an Ayres McHenry poll on 9/23-26), now Rigell's out with his own internal poll from POS giving him a slightly bigger lead. There's one very strange detail here, though: the voters going for tea-flavored indie Kenny Golden seem to be coming out Glenn Nye's column, as that subsample has 59/23 Obama approvals. The MoE on that subsample is probably astronomical, but still, there seems to be some message confusion here about who's who.
• WI-07: POS for Sean Duffy (9/21-22, likely voters, no trendlines):
Julie Lassa (D): 43
Sean Duffy (R): 47
With Julie Lassa having released a poll yesterday showing her down by 1, Sean Duffy retaliated with a poll showing, well, not much difference: his poll has Lassa down by 4. This gets a little confusing, because the NRCC is out with a totally different internal poll today giving Duffy a better result (see below). At any rate, the polls taken in combination seem to give him a definite advantage here.
• NRSC: Here are some McCain Bucks that are actually worth something in the real world! Apparently feeling confident in his general (having survived a bigger challenge in his primary from J.D. Hayworth), John McCain just kicked $1 million over to the NRSC. (Alternate title: Good news! From John McCain!)
• NRCC: In addition to those couple candidate-released internals, the NRCC leaked five more internals of its own today to the Hotline, the majority of which confirm the expected trouble in three Midwestern open seats, but one showing a sleepy race is a live one and one with flat-out awful numbers for the Dem:
WI-08: Steve Kagen (D-inc) 39%, Reid Ribble (R) 57% (OnMessage, 9/15-16)
IL-17: Phil Hare (D-inc) 43%, Bobby Schilling (R) 44% (Tarrance Group, 9/23-25)
WI-07: Julie Lassa (D) 38%, Sean Duffy (R) 52% (Fabrizio, McLaughlin 9/15-16)
MI-01: Gary McDowell (D) 24%, Dan Benishek (R) 40% (Hill Research, 9/19-22) (um, no polling on Glenn Wilson?)
IN-08: Trent Van Haaften (D) 20%, Larry Buchson (R) 41% (OnMessage, 9/13-14)
• American Crossroads: Money's flowing out of American Crossroads as fast as it flows in, from their handful of billionaire donors: they're launching TV ad buys worth $724K in CO-Sen, $618K in IL-Sen, $346K in NV-Sen, $267K in PA-Sen, $492K in WA-Sen, $384K in MO-Sen, and also $247K in direct mail in FL-Sen. (Here's a peek at their WA-Sen ad.)
• NFIB: Committees? Who needs 'em? The National Federation of Independent Business is getting straight into the IE business, too, and in a big way. They have a new PA-Sen ad out (see the link). They're also starting to advertise in NC-Sen, WI-Sen, IN-08, WI-07, ND-AL, OH-16, NM-01, NV-03, FL-08, SC-05, VA-05, and WI-08.
• State legislatures: Louis Jacobson, writing for Governing magazine, updates his state legislature projections, with almost every move in the Republicans' favor. 25 of the 28 chambers "in play" are Democratic-controlled. The most alarming moves include moving the Dem-held Pennsylvania House and Ohio House to Lean Republican, and the North Carolina Senate and Colorado House to Tossup. The one remaining viable pickup opportunity for Dems is the Texas House.
• Polltopia: There isn't exactly anything new in this Politico piece from Maggie Haberman, but it does convey that professional pollsters and poll watchers in the Beltway are throwing up their hands in frustration about wildly vacillating, inconclusive polling this cycle as the rest of us are... showing that, really, nobody has much of a clue as to what's about to happen. Just to help everyone take a deep breath and keep things in perspective here...
• SSP TV:
• FL-Sen: The winning ad of the day comes from the Florida Democratic Party, on Kendrick Meek's behalf, letting Charlie Crist do all the talking about how he's really a conservative Republican
• WI-Sen: I actually agree with the Fix here that this is an effective Ron Johnson ad, letting him play the outsider in the same way that Russ Feingold did 18 years ago
• WV-Sen: The NRSC contrasts at-home Joe Manchin vs. Washington Joe Manchin
• FL-Gov: The FDP is also out with two different ads in the Governor's race, hitting Rick Scott on his Columbia/HCA tenure and contrasting that with Alex Sink's uncontroversial time at Bank of America
• MA-Gov: The RGA keeps hitting Tim Cahill (on the lottery this time), knowing full well that less Cahill means more Charlie Baker
• MD-Gov: Martin O'Malley is one politician embracing instead of fleeing Barack Obama, in a new radio ad
• FL-22: Ron Klein is out with another anti-Allen West ad, but it's back to the tax liens instead of dipping into the well of crazy
• IA-01: AFF is out with a mondo-sized ad buy against Bruce Braley in a race that no one else but them seems to be paying attention to (for $800K!) (h/t desmoinesdem)
• KS-03: Stephene Moore is finally out with her first TV spot, which is mostly an attack on Kevin Yoder (though self-narrated, which is unusual for that)
• NH-02: Ann McLane Kuster's out with an ad hitting Charlie Bass for wanting to "pick up where he left off"
• NV-03: Here's a link to that Dina Titus "peas in a pod" ad that we mentioned this morning, tying Joe Heck to Sharron Angle
• PA-12: Mark Critz's first ad talks about his own hardscrabble roots, and about outsourcing
• WI-07: As cool as it is to watch, how many more ads is Sean Duffy going to keep playing lumberjack in?
• OH-Sen: Lee Fisher (D) 42%, Rob Portman (R) 51%
• DE-Sen: One more Real World alum in the political news: that's first-season vet Eric Neis debating Christine O'Donnell in this new 90s video that's surfaced. Ooops, I'm burying the lede: the point of the video is that O'Donnell answers in the affirmative when asked if she wants to stop the whole country from having sex.
• KY-Sen: Benenson Strategy Group for DSCC (9/14-19, likely voters, early Sept. in parentheses):
Jack Conway (D): 42 (45)
Rand Paul (R): 45 (47)
Undecided: 13 (8)
The newest Benenson poll from the DSCC shows things pretty stable in the Kentucky race, with Jack Conway hanging back within striking distance of Rand Paul. They also find Conway leading 48-45 among those who actually know both candidates (and find Paul with greater name recognition: 84%, to 72% for Conway).
• MO-Sen: The DSCC is also out with an internal poll in Missouri, one of the other races where they'd like you to know they're still playing offense, courtesy of Garin Hart Yang (no mention of the dates, MoE, or any of that useful stuff, though... just a leak to the Fix). The poll has Robin Carnahan trailing Roy Blunt 45-41 (and only 41-40 without leaners). Roy Blunt, meanwhile, is engaging in typical frontrunner behavior, trying to limit debates (to avoid any grist for the negative ad mill); there will only be two debates, neither in a network TV setting.
• NC-Sen: National Research for Civitas (9/15-17, likely voters, 7/19-21 in parentheses):
Elaine Marshall (D): 29 (37)
Richard Burr (R-inc): 49 (44)
Mike Beitler (L): 3 (3)
Undecided: 17 (15)
Thanks to a big lead with unaffiliateds (48-21), Richard Burr has a big lead in North Carolina. With a big financial disparity, unless there's some outside assistance, that lead's probably going to continue (although I'd be surprised if it's actually a full 20 points). One other interesting note: Civitas hires out third-party pollsters, and this is their first poll since they switched to Republican internal pollster National Research.
• NV-Sen, NV-Gov: The only evidence we have of this poll is a Jon Ralston tweet, but apparently there's a poll rumbling around behind the scenes from a reputable Republican pollster that gives a 5-point lead to Harry Reid, 42-37 (among RVs). That's quite plausible; the real shock here, though, is that it also finds Rory Reid trailing only by 6 in the governor's race.
• WV-Sen: The big news here is probably that the NRSC is plowing $1.2 million into this race, hoping for the upset (as this race seems to be increasingly taking the place of Washington and California) or at least to pull DSCC fire away from elsewhere. That's just to run one new ad, tying Joe Manchin to Barack Obama; part of the expense is that the ad is running in the DC market, so it can reach the Panhandle. (You can see the IE filing here.)
One more plus, though, for Joe Manchin, is that he's getting the NRA's endorsement (one more in a seemingly endless parade of ConservaDems getting backed this week). Also, some details about John Raese are surfacing that may lead to ads that write themselves: photos of his marble-driveway Florida mansion, where it turns out his family lives full-time (presumably because of Florida's big juicy homestead exemption, but also because of the schools, as he wants a school system he "believes in")... and Raese's own description, in a radio interview yesterday, of how hard he worked for his riches:
RAESE: I made my money the old-fashioned way, I inherited it. I think that's a great thing to do. I hope more people in this country have that opportunity as soon as we abolish inheritance tax in this country, which is a key part of my program.
• AZ-Gov: Here's a look at the financial situation in Arizona, where both gubernatorial candidates are relying on clean elections public financing in their bids. Dem Terry Goddard has about $1 million left to spend, while Jan Brewer has $860K left. Goddard also spent more in the last reporting period, spending $477K to Brewer's $291K.
• MA-Gov: If you're shedding your main campaign strategist with 40 days to go, that's probably a sign that you're not going to win. That's what happened with the Tim Cahill camp, who said goodbye to John Weaver. Having seen Cahill's share plunge into the single digits, Weaver said (in a parting shot) at this point, Cahill's candidacy is just hurting Charlie Baker's chances.
• NY-Gov: Marist (9/14-19, likely voters, no trendlines):
Andrew Cuomo (D): 53 (67)
Carl Paladino (R): 34 (22)
Rick Lazio (C) : 9 (NA)
Undecided: 6 (11)
I don't know if the Marist poll exactly qualifies as a tie-breaker in the New York gubernatorial race, but it's a likely voter poll (instead of an RV poll, like Siena), and it doesn't have that outlier-ish whiff that Quinnipiac had. Also adding to its potential credibility: it's about halfway between the two, if erring somewhat on the side of Andrew Cuomo's safety. (It looks like they'll release Senate numbers later, separately.)
• CA-47: This is the first time I've ever used the scary all-caps to put words in the mouth of a Democratic candidate, but Loretta Sanchez just sent up the alarm that THE VIETNAMESE ARE COMING FOR HER SEAT!!!1!! Not just Van Tran, but apparently all of them!!! I suppose that's a dog-whistle of sorts to her Latino base in this seat that has a Latino majority (though not a lot of actual voters among them) and a politically active Asian minority, where her Republican challenger is Vietnamese. Kind of a faceplant moment for Sanchez, who has had good outreach to the Vietnamese community in the past (up until now, I'd imagine) and has relied on their votes to stay in office.
• MI-01: Greenberg Quinlan Rosner for Gary McDowell (9/21-22, likely voters, no trendlines):
Gary McDowell (D): 38
Dan Benishek (R): 41
Glenn Wilson (I): 12
Here are some not-bad numbers from an internal for Gary McDowell, showing this is one of the few Republican-leaning open seats where we're still in fighting shape right now. McDowell's offering some pushback against a Dan Benishek internal that gave Benishek a 39-25 lead in a race that also includes wealthy independent Glenn Wilson.
• MI-07: It's a little late in the game for ex-Rep. Tim Walberg to be jumping on the birther train (that's so 2009...) but he just said that he doesn't know if Obama was born in the U.S. Meanwhile, his incumbent Dem opponent, Mark Schauer, is out with an internal poll in response to the Rossman Group poll that gave a 4-point lead to Walberg. Schauer's poll, taken 9/21-22 by Myers Research, finds a mirror-image 4-point lead for Schauer, 49-45 (or if you'd prefer inclusion of all third-party candidates, he's up 45-43).
• NRCC: The NRCC is wading into six more districts that they haven't been in before, with IE ad buys. Most (except for WA-03) of these districts feel like "Lean Dem" districts right now, but where the GOP thinks it can make some inroads: Ike Skelton's MO-04, Chris Carney's PA-10, Steve Kagen's WI-08, Martin Heinrich's NM-01, and the open seats in MA-10 and WA-03.
• AFF: The financially-disadvantaged NRCC can't win this all on its own, so AFF is keeping up its IEs, too. They're going on the air in four new districts, two of which overlap the above list. They're hitting SD-AL ($360K), TX-17 ($117K), NM-01 ($290K), and WA-03 ($875K).
• SSP TV:
• CO-Sen: The softer side of Ken Buck? He's out with a positive ad with testimonials from senior citizens
• FL-Sen: Charlie Crist simultaneously hits both his opponents on corruption issues in one ad, hitting Kendrick Meek's real estate dealing and Marco Rubio's enthusiastic use of RPOF credit cards
• NC-Sen: It seemed to work well the first time for Richard Burr, so the rocking chair guys are back for another round
• NV-Sen: The newest ad from Harry Reid hits Sharron Angle for not supporting requiring health insurers to cover mammograms and colonoscopies
• NY-Sen-A: Chuck Schumer's running his first ad of the cycle, a bio spot, on local cable
• PA-Sen: Pat Toomey's newest ad is a hard negative one linking Joe Sestak to Barack Obama; interestingly, it's not running in the Philadelphia market
• WA-Sen: Dem group Commonsense Ten is out with an anti-Dino Rossi ad throwing the kitchen sink at him, including the foreclosure seminars
• CA-Gov: The latest Meg Whitman opus attacks Jerry Brown over Oakland schools during his tenure as mayor
• CA-47: Loretta Sanchez launches a negative ad against Van Tran, featuring him asleep on the job (during an Assembly budget all-nighter)
• LA-03: Bet you'd forgotten there's still one race where the field isn't set? (There's still a GOP runoff here.) Anyway, Hunt Downer is out with an ad full of adorable babies... to make the point that Jeff Landry is insufficiently pro-life
• PA-03: Kathy Dahlkemper engages in some fat-cat bashing, tying Mike Kelly to Wall Street
• FL-Gov: Alex Sink (D) 44%, Rick Scott (R) 50%
• FL-Sen: Kendrick Meek (D) 21%, Marco Rubio (R) 40%, Charlie Crist (I) 31%
• MN-Gov: Mark Dayton (D) 41%, Tom Emmer (R) 42%, Tom Horner (I) 9%
• OK-Gov: Jari Askins (D) 34%, Mary Fallin (R) 60%
• SC-Gov: Vincent Sheheen (D) 33%, Nikki Haley (R) 50%
• TX-Gov: Bill White (D) 42%, Rick Perry (R-inc) 48%
• AK-Sen: Wasn't that Lisa Murkowski announcement about whether she was going to pursue a write-in bid supposed to be yesterday? It never materialized, but we did get some statements from local gadfly and Murkowski ally Andrew Halcro that make it sound pretty likely.
"It's going to be the kind of campaign you should have seen in the primary," said Andrew Halcro, an Alaska political consultant who is a longtime friend of the senator. "It's going to be no-holds-barred, pedal-to-the-metal stuff."
• DE-Sen: After putting out a public wish for real Sarah Palin backing instead of just a cryptic retweet, Christine O'Donnell finally got her wish yesterday. O'Donnell got added to the gigantic list of Mama Grizzlies yesterday during a Palin appearance on Sean Hannity's show. The real question, though, is it too little too late? It might help raise some funds this weekend, but it smells a little like Palin's 5 pm-on-Tuesday endorsement of "Angela McGowen." Meanwhile, O'Donnell seems to be doing everything she can to dance right up to the edge of calling Castle gay without going over it: she just blasted his campaign tactics as "unmanly" and also telling him "get your man-pants on."
• ME-Sen: PPP's poll of Maine has some buried details that should lead to some soul-searching for Olympia Snowe, who could be headed down Arlen Specter Boulevard if the right-wing decides to wade into her 2012 GOP primary. (Or she might take the opportunity to retire.) Overall, she's fairly popular at 50/40, but that's based on 59/29 among Democrats. She's only at 40/51 among Republicans, and by a 50-37 margin, Republicans say she really should be a Democrat. Susan Collins sports similar numbers, although she has until 2014 to deal with that, by which point the Tea Party thing may be a footnote in AP US History textbooks. PPP says they'll have 2012 hypothetical Senate matchups out on Monday. (One other note: they find opinions on gay marriage basically unchanged since last November's referendum: 43 in favor, 49 against.)
• NH-Sen: Once he got the Manchester Union-Leader's backing, that led to a lot of speculation that Ovide Lamontagne (as he did in the 1996 GOP gubernatorial primary) would close fast. It looks like that's happening: he's out with an internal poll showing himself only 10 points behind Kelly Ayotte. He trails Ayotte 34-24, with Bill Binnie (considered the real threat to Ayotte until the last couple weeks) tied at 12 with Jim Bender. It's very close to the Magellan poll that came out last week giving Ayotte a 13-point lead. I wonder if Lamontagne would actually be able to pull out the upset if the Tea Party Express had decided to weigh in here for Lamontagne, instead of in their likely-futile efforts in Delaware?
• NV-Sen: Ralston smash! The intrepid political reporter is on a rampage across the twittersphere today, after Sharron Angle previously said on Jon Ralston's TV program "Face to Face" that she wanted to debate Harry Reid there, then arranged the debate, and then yesterday abruptly canceled the Oct. 21 shindig. The two will still meet in an Oct. 14 debate, which should be one of the most popcorn-worthy events of the year.
• OH-Sen: Who let the Big Dog out? Bill Clinton, who'll be in Ohio soon shoring up Ted Strickland's gubernatorial bid, will also hold a fundraiser on behalf of another long-time ally, Lee Fisher.
• MI-Gov: Another day, another poll showing the Michigan gubernatorial race looking DOA. The newest poll by the Glengariff Group for the Detroit News gives Republican Rick Snyder a 56-36 lead over Virg Bernero.
• VT-Gov: With the numbers having barely budged after the recount in the Democratic primary (the gap between Peter Shumlin and runner-up Doug Racine widened by 6 votes, all the way up to a whopping 203-vote margin), Racine conceded today. Shumlin, the state Senate president pro tem, will face GOP Lt. Governor Brian Dubie in the general.
• CO-04: I'm tempted to put this in the "good news" file, inasmuch as she isn't getting blown out as conventional wisdom would assume: the Betsy Markey campaign rolled out an internal poll, from Bennett, Petts, and Normington, that shows her in a 38-38 tie with Republican Cory Gardner (with 7% going to assorted third-party candidates). However, feeling like you need to release your own internal that's a tie doesn't exactly seem like a big sign of confidence...
• IA-01, IA-02, IA-03: On the other hand, here's a poll, considering the source, that's pretty clear "good news" for Leonard Boswell. A poll for the conservative American Future Fund (who commissioned that avalanche of Whit Ayers polls), this time by Voter/Consumer Research, found Boswell leading Brad Zaun 48-39. That's a complete reversal from Zaun's couple of internals. Still, they have numbers from the 1st and 2nd that show that we need to keep at least one wary eye on these sleepy races: Bruce Braley leads Ben Lange 50-39 in the 1st, while David Loebsack leads Mariannette Miller-Meeks 47-39 in the 2nd (not far off from the one internal that MMM leaked).
• NH-01: This is interesting: the state Democratic party is out with two different mailers in the 1st, attacking Sean Mahoney. There's just one catch... Mahoney isn't the GOP nominee yet, and we won't know if he is or not until Tuesday, when he faces off with ex-Manchester mayor Frank Guinta. It's unclear whether they have info leading them to believe Mahoney has the nomination locked down, or if they'd trying to sandbag Mahoney pre-primary so that the heavily-baggage-laden Guinta (about whom the ads write themselves) wins.
• NY-13: With a lot of people in local GOP circles still holding ex-Rep. Vito Fossella in high esteem (despite his boo-hoo-funny fall from grace), this is one endorsement that may carry a lot of weight as we race toward the conclusion of the GOP primary in the 13th. Fossella gave his backing to Michael Allegretti. That sets up a showdown with the other big power behind the throne in this district: Staten Island borough president Guy Molinari is backing Michael Grimm.
• OK-02: If we have to worry about this race, geez, better start making camel reservations for our 40 years in the desert. On the other hand, it's pretty clear that we don't have to worry about this race. Dan Boren is out with an internal poll, via Myers Research, that gives a jumbo-sized 34-point lead over little-known GOPer Charles Thompson: 65-31.
• Mayors: In sharp contrast to yesterday's We Ask America poll of the Chicago mayoral race, today's Sun-Times poll finds Rahm Emanuel just one of the crowd, in high single digits. This poll finds Cook Co. Sheriff Tom Dart leading at 12, with state Sen. James Meeks at 10. Luis Gutierrez is at 9, Jesse Jackson Jr. is at 8, and Emanuel is at 7. "Don't know" led the way at 35.
• DSCC: Jeremy Jacobs, the man who always seems to know the Size Of The Buy, is out with a helpful breakdown of where the DSCC has made its $18 million worth of reservations so far. Right now, it's $1.6 million in Kentucky, $5.1 million in Missouri, $5.2 million in Pennsylvania, $4 million in Colorado, and $2 million in Washington.
• NRCC: The NRCC, currently only running independent expenditures ads in one district (IN-02), rolled out a list of ten more districts where it'll start paying for ads. They're staying on the air there, plus adding AL-02, AZ-01, CA-11, FL-02, KY-06, MS-01, TN-08, TX-17, VA-05, and WI-07. (The only "surprise," inasmuch as it wasn't on the NRCC's big list of 40 districts from last month, is AZ-01.)
• SSP TV:
• IL-Sen: Not one but two ads from Mark Kirk, one touting his independence and the other attacking Alexi Giannoulias on taxes, but maybe more importantly, trying to lash him to the increasingly-anchor-like Pat Quinn
• CA-Gov: Meg Whitman's new anti-Jerry Brown ad cleverly lets Bill Clinton do most of the talking, with highlights from the 1992 Democratic presidential primary campaign
• WI-Gov: Tom Barrett, who's been fairly modest so far about having gotten badly beaten while intervening in a domestic dispute last year, is finally playing the "hero card" with his new ad
• NM-01: Anti-Martin Heinrich ad from American Future Fund, focusing on the Pelosi boogeyman; it's the first IE in the district and a $250K buy for four weeks
• TN-08: Dueling ads in the 8th, with two Roy Herron ads out (one a positive bio spot, the other an anti-Stephen Fincher spot aimed at his campaign finance disclosure foibles... together they're a "six-figure" buy for the next week), and an anti-Herron ad from the 60 Plus Association (the AARP's anti-HCR doppelganger), who're spending $500K on the buy.
• IE tracker:
• DE-Sen: Tea Party Express spending $72K on media buys, direct mail, and e-mail blast for Christine O'Donnell
• MO-Sen: AFSCME spending $43K on anti-Roy Blunt mailer
• NV-Sen: Patriot Majority spending $309K on new ad against Sharron Angle
• NV-Sen: Patriot Majority spending another $49K on another anti-Sharron Angle ad titled "Oye, Sharron" (a Spanish-language market ad, maybe?)
• CT-Sen: Richard Blumenthal (D) 53%, Linda McMahon (R) 44%
• NC-Sen: Elaine Marshall (D) 38%, Richard Burr (R-inc) 54%
• OR-Gov: John Kitzhaber (D) 44%, Chris Dudley (R) 49%
• SD-AL: Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (D-inc) 47%, Kristi Noem (R) 45%
Elaine Marshall (D): 38 (37)
Richard Burr (R-inc): 43 (39)
Michael Beitler (L): 6 (7)
Undecided: 13 (17)
Things are looking pretty stable in the North Carolina Senate race according to PPP. Richard Burr has put a little distance between him and Elaine Marshall, with most of the movement to Burr coming out of the undecided column, as it seems like he's finally getting better acquainted with his constituents (he's up to only 20% "no opinion," a Paris Hilton level of celebrity compared to where he was a year and a half ago; he has 38/42 approvals). Marshall is still laboring in obscurity by comparison, although she's at least in positive territory, with 24/21 favorables.
The move from a 2-point Burr lead to a 5-point lead may seem like bad news, but Burr's leads were 5, 7, and 1 in previous PPP polls, so it's all routine movement within a narrow band. The overall regression lines are showing some mild tightening; the question is whether there's enough time and money for Marshall to make her case in the next few months, or whether Burr can ride the national environment to another term.
• CT-Sen: Linda McMahon's gotta be wondering why all those former employees couldn't wait until after the November election to up and die. With the death two weeks ago of Lance McNaught still in the news, another WWE star, Luna Vachon, died over the weekend. An autopsy is scheduled, but the WWE paid for rehab for substance abuse for Vachon last year.
• KY-Sen: Democrat Jack Conway's out with his first TV ad for the general election. The ad buy, touting Conway's work against prescription drug abuse and child pornography as AG, is for about $150K. Meanwhile, Rep. Ron Paul is out with a doozy of a legislative proposal: to audit the nation's gold reserves. As with many things that come out of the gray area between ultra-libertarianism and black helicopters-territory, the "huh? why?" part is best answered by reading the comments on the article, which apparently suggest that our nation's gold supply actually been given away as collateral on all our debt to commercial banks/our Chinese overlords/the UN/the Bavarian Illuminati. Why is this getting filed under KY-Sen? Partly because those reserves are (allegedly!!!!1!) in Kentucky at Fort Knox, but also because at some point Rand Paul is going to inevitably get called on the carpet to say whether he agrees with dad's latest scheme.
• NC-Sen: Civitas is out with a new poll of the Senate race in the Tar Heel State, but it's an odd little critter, only polling "unaffiliated" voters. They seem to mirror the larger split statewide, with Richard Burr leading Elaine Marshall 39-32 (with 7 for Libertarian Michael Beitler). 34% of respondents had still never heard of Marshall. Burr is also out with his first TV ad of the cycle, focusing on his down-home-ness, presumably to ward off the "gone Washington" problem that sank Elizabeth Dole two years ago. The buy is for $578K (click the link to see the breakdown among the state's many media markets).
• NH-Sen: Ovide Lamontagne just got a big score: the endorsement of the Manchester Union-Leader, the state's largest newspaper and also one of the most consistently right-wing editorial pages anywhere. Newspaper endorsements can usually be shrugged off, but the Union-Leader's endorsement of Lamontagne in the 1996 GOP gubernatorial primary helped him pull of the surprise upset of Rep. Bill Zeliff. Can this help him in a four-way split, though, instead of just a two-way, especially when Kelly Ayotte and Bill Binnie have dramatically outspent him so far? Lamontagne is also finally hitting the airwaves with his first TV ad, with the primary approaching in just a couple weeks. (No dollar figure given, but it's only a one-week cable buy.)
• NV-Sen: Sharron Angle just keeps handing gift after gift to Harry Reid, this time unfortunately timed to coincide with Katrina's 5th anniversary: video has surfaced from Angle's 2006 NV-02 bid in which she says she would have voted against Katrina relief funds. One other minor Nevada point, also courtesy of Jon Ralston: Clark County's GOP chair just resigned, leaving more disarray in the local Republican hierarchy as far as staying organized and disciplined for November.
• OH-Sen: The national Chamber of Commerce is out with a new positive ad touting Rob Portman, which is odd since Portman has enough money in the bank that he can pay his own way and then some. (The establishment, free-tradin' Portman is definitely their kind of guy, though, much more so than the teabaggers cluttering a number of other close Senate races.) NWOTSOTB.
• AL-05: Republican Mo Brooks (who blew out party-switching Parker Griffith in the GOP primary) has a decent, but not overwhelming, lead over Dem Steve Raby, at least according to his own internal courtesy of POS. Brooks leads 48-37; taking into consideration that it's an internal, this race isn't a likely pickup but certainly still on the table.
• KY-06: One other ad to consider today: Ben Chandler's out with another spot, this time going negative against local attorney Andy Barr, hitting him on the issue of the bad kind of SSP (social security privatization).
• MI-01, MI-03, MI-07: We Ask America is out with a trio of House district polls in Michigan. As is their usual modus operandi, the Republicans are in the lead. In the Dem-held open seat 1st, Dan Benishek leads Gary McDowell 45-29 (even WAA admits they expect that to tighten a lot, based on Benishek's name being in the news from the ultra-close GOP primary). In the reddish open-seat 3rd being vacated by GOPer Vern Ehlers, Justin Amash leads Patrick Miles 51-30. And the state's most vulnerable Dem incumbent, Mark Schauer trails ex-Rep. Tim Walberg in a rematch, 45-37.
• OH-17: "Trafican't" just got turned into "Trafican." Although there's no official word, supporters of ex-con ex-Rep. Jim Traficant are saying that re-canvassing of petitions has yielded enough valid signatures to get him on the ballot as an independent. He was only 20 shy, and they've found at least 27 new valid signatures. Traficant isn't likely to be much of a factor against incumbent Rep. Tim Ryan in this solidly blue district, though.
• AGs: I know I can rely on Louis Jacobson to go even deeper into the weeds than we here at SSP ever will. Writing for Governing magazine, he handicaps and encapsulates the nation's many state Attorney General races. He finds the Dems (who currenly have a 32-18 edge in AG positions) in danger of losing at least six seats this year, including Dem-held open seats in California, Arizona, and Georgia. One of the Dems' best (if only) offensive opportunities is Bill McCollum's old post in Florida. The St. Petersburg Times has a deeper profile of the race between Democratic state Sen. Dan Gelber, and the Sarah Palin-backed Hillsborough Co. prosecutor Pam Bondi.
• Mayors: Here's a second poll in a week's time showing current Washington, DC mayor Adrian Fenty significantly trailing in his bid for re-election, against Democratic primary opponent Vincent Gray. The Washington Post finds Gray leading Fenty 53-36 among likely voters, or 49-36 among registered voters.
• AZ-Gov: Terry Goddard (D) 38%, Jan Brewer (R-inc) 57%
• CO-Sen: Michael Bennet (D-inc) 44%, Ken Buck (R) 47%
• OK-Gov: Jari Askins (D) 37%, Mary Fallin (R) 52%
• OK-Sen: Jim Rogers (D) 24%, Tom Coburn (R-inc) 67%
• SC-Sen: Alvin Greene (D) 19%, Jim DeMint (R) 63%
• WV-Sen: Joe Manchin (D) 48%, John Raese (R) 42%