You might be sitting there thinking "Hey, didn't I see these numbers before?" and, if so, you're right... PPP polled Wisconsin's 2012 Senate race in December when the specter of a Herb Kohl retirement seemed to be looming larger than now, and their new round of polling (obviously more focused on the standoff over collective bargaining rights and the prospect of recalling Scott Walker) finds very little has changed in that race amidst the rest of the state's upheaval.
The most notable changes are that they've swapped in ex-Rep. (and 2010 GOP gubernatorial primary loser) Mark Neumann in place of Tommy Thompson, only to find he does no better than the other options... and they note a big drop in Paul Ryan's favorables, in the period since his SOTU response (the place where Republican rising stars go to die), down to 36/35 from a previous 38/30. Herb Kohl's approval is 50/30, while newbie Ron Johnson's approval (32/28) is worse than the favorables of the guy he just beat, Russ Feingold (51/39). What a difference a little presidential-year-electorate makes!
• AK-Sen: All signs are pointing to Lisa Murkowski winning this race, and joining Strom Thurmond in the won-a-Senate-write-in-race club. At the end of yesterday's counting, which took us up to nearly half of all the write-in votes analyzed, the state Division of Elections is reporting that nearly 98% of all write-ins are being successfully counted for Murkowski. Even the rate of challenges, even if they were all successful (and few of them are), is inadequate for Joe Miller to make up all the needed ground (he'd need to shave off 12%, and isn't even challenging at quite that rate). 45,132 write-ins have been analyzed so far, and only 1.52% have been successfully challenged by the Miller camp. Seemingly realizing the gap can't be made up, the Miller camp, while still harping on the spelling issue and keeping that line of argument alive, is now turning to nebulous claims of voter fraud as their next line of attack, threatening a second potential lawsuit. His team is setting up a voter fraud hotline for people to report fraud, voter intimidation, and voter bullying. (Kind of a strange angle to explore, when you're the campaign that has its own paramilitary goon force.)
• HI-Sen: The Republican bench in Hawaii basically begins and ends with outgoing Gov. Linda Lingle. As far as her running against octogenarian Dan Akaka in 2012, she says she's going to take six months off from thinking about politics, and then give the race some "serious consideration" at that point.
• IN-Sen: Baron Hill is also looking for work in a few months, and he's one of the biggest names on the Dems' bench in Indiana. However, even with his potential choice of running for the Senate, for Governor, or his old seat in 2012, it sounds like he doesn't plan on any of those.
• MO-Sen: Could we see a 2006 rematch in the 2012 Senate election in Missouri? Ex-Sen. Jim Talent seems to be prepping toward that, with GOP operatives saying he's "furthest along" of all potential challengers to Claire McCaskill, who beat him in 2006. Other potential GOP names include ex-Treasurer Sarah Steelman, Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder (who's probably likelier to run for Governor in 2012), and Ann Wagner, wealthy person (former RNC vice-chair and Ambassador to Luxembourg, the kind of goodies doled out to itinerant rich donors) and former campaign manager to Roy Blunt.
• ND-Sen: Jeremy Jacobs lists a few possible challengers for Kent Conrad, who looks vulnerable after Republicans ran up the score in North Dakota this year. Mentioned are Jack Dalrymple (the Lt. Governor, who's about to become Governor once John Hoeven resigns, although he may be likelier to run for a full term as Gov. in 2012), AG Wayne Stenehjem, and Public Service Commissioner Brian Kalk.
• Chicago mayor: And here I thought I was done with having to laboriously type out "Alexi Giannoulias" every day, like I have for the last few years. The recently vanquished Senate candidate is now at least considering the idea of pivoting over to the Chicago mayoral race, presumably under the principle of striking while the iron is hot in terms of his name recognition and donor base. He's getting urging from several anti-Rahm Emanuel aldermen. (UPDATE: OK, scratch that. A Giannoulias spokesperson now says no, he's not running for mayor.)
• DSCC: I think we've gotten closer to getting someone willing to hold the burning bag of dog doo than we have so far: Harry Reid personally asked Michael Bennet to lead the DSCC next cycle, and Bennet "didn't say yes and he didn't say no."
• DCCC: Dan Boren is moving the anti-Nancy Pelosi push to a new front: demanding that the position of DCCC chair be up for a true vote by the whole caucus, not a de facto appointment by leadership. He's being seconded in the effort by Larry Kissell, of all people (the same guy who got $1.7 million in DCCC aid this cycle after stinking it up on the fundraising front, and may be worried that another Pelosi ally might cut bait with him next time and make him catch his own fish). It's not clear who they'd rather see than likely chair Steve Israel, especially since they both had praise for departing chair Chris Van Hollen.
• Redistricting: Guess who's leading the push for Utah to switch to a independent redistricting commission, instead of it being done by the heavily Republican legislator? Democratic Rep. Jim Matheson, who may figure he'll be given an even worse version of UT-02 in 2012 than he currently has. (Interestingly, there's the possibility that a commission might give him a worse district, though; it's also possible that a GOP gerrymander might decide to concede a swing seat to him (probably the best Matheson could hope for) and go for three safe GOP seats, instead of risking a push for a 4-0 map.) Also on the redistricting front, here's a good overview from Real Clear Politics' Sean Trende, who goes state-by-state with possible outcomes.
• WATN?: Ashwin Madia (whom you probably remember for losing the MN-03 race in 2008) is taking over the helm for VoteVets for the time being while its current head, Jon Soltz, is deployed to Iraq. Also in the news is Andy Dillon, who lost the 2010 Dem gubernatorial primary after being termed-out as state House speaker. Turns out the centrist Dillon is crossing the aisle one last time: he just signed on as state Treasurer at Rick Snyder's request (it's an appointed position in Michigan).
• Money: When they write the tale of the 2010 election, the role of the Chamber of Commerce (and other third-party GOP backers, but especially the Chamber) will probably loom a lot larger in retrospect than it does right now. The Chamber spent $32 million, almost entirely on GOP candidates. The Fix also takes a look at self-funders, and calculates how much they spent per vote. The biggest fail was probably Linda McMahon, spending $97 per vote in a losing effort, outpacing Meg Whitman who spent only $57 per vote to lose by a similar margin (albeit for a much bigger price tag overall). Rick Scott spent "only" $29 per vote to win; the biggest bargain may have been Ron Johnson, who won spending only $7 per vote (although he did a lot of conventional fundraising too). In House races, Tom Ganley spent $29 per vote to lose ignominiously; the biggest spender was the victorious Scott Rigell in VA-02, at $30 per vote.
• Post-mortem: If you're still feeling down about last week's losses in the House and need some rationalization about it, here are a couple pieces that don't really try to put a happy face on the results but still show how very predictable the whole thing was. Alan Abramowitz, certainly no mindless cheerleader for the Dems, points out some of the ways in which it was something of a mile-wide, inch-deep victory for the GOP. And while the teeth-gnashing that accompanies the graph is worth a read too, here's a piece built around an amazing scatterplot from John Sides that shows how Democratic House candidate performances tracked presidential preferences district by district.
• Maps: If you're tired of looking at glitzy, state-of-the-art political maps, here's an amusing look back at the New York Times' earliest attempts at mapping the nation's political geography, going back as far as 1896. (As you might expect, their graphics capacity has evolved considerably.)
• AK-Sen: As is often the case, Alaska dominates our headlines today. Perhaps biggest in its implications is a hot-off-the-grill ruling from a judge that says that the state can't provide a list of possible write-in candidates for people in the voting booth. Obviously, that hurts the cumbersome-named Lisa MukroskyMorkoskiGibr Murkowski. Also, in the good news (well, maybe not, considering how far her star has fallen in-state) column for Joe Miller: Sarah Palin will be returning to the Last Frontier to stump for him tomorrow.
On the bad news front for Miller, though, first, he had to shout "I LIE!" yet again. That's a confession from his own work e-mails, over his now-well-known reprimand for hijacking (and covering up his tracks) of co-workers' computers to rig a local Republican online straw poll. That's at the core of his Fairbanks personnel files, released last evening after he declined to appeal their release to the state supreme court. On top of that, now the Army is investigating his use of its soldiers from Fort Richardson to act as his personal paramilitary force during their off-hours; in addition to rules prohibiting active military members from involvement in political campaigns, it's unclear whether they had their commander's permission to seek outside employment.
• CA-Sen: Here's some good news; Carly Fiorina bounced back quickly from her hospitalization yesterday for an infection associated with her breast cancer recovery, and left the hospital today. She'll be back on the trail tomorrow, says her campaign.
• CO-Sen: Would you believe this is the biggest-money Senate race anywhere in the country? It is, if you go by outside group expenditures. 27 different IE groups have spent nearly $25 million in Colorado, with the NRSC leading the way. (Nevada will still probably wind up the most expensive overall, factoring in the candidates' own accounts.) Meanwhile Ken Buck is in the news for two other reasons, first, his questioning of the separation of the church and state... handled more elegantly than Christine O'Donnell's palm-to-forehead method, but still probably a liability as he seeks to downplay his extremism. And also, he's now agnostic on whether he'll support Mitch McConnell for GOP leader (Buck, of course, owes Jim DeMint big-time for getting him as far as he's gotten).
• WV-Sen: Wow, this stuff literally writes itself. John Raese, under fire from Joe Manchin and the DSCC for his Florida mansion (and, for all practical purposes, residency), is now going to have to put some spin on this. The current item on the agenda for the Palm Beach planning commission: approval for Raese to replace a six-by-eight-foot "giant dollhouse" on his property with a fourteen-by-fifteen-foot "glass conservatory," perfect for those real-life Clue re-enactments. I know that's a problem that most West Virginians grapple with on a day-to-day basis.
• AZ-Gov: Now here's an October Surprise that's pushing the envelope (close to a November Surprise). Old documents reveal that Jan Brewer, a state Senator at the time, was involved in a 1988 auto accident where she was suspected at the time of driving under the influence. While she was immune from arrest at the time because the legislature was in session, it's not clear why the case wasn't pursued after that.
• MS-04: This might provide a small boost (dozens of votes?) to Gene Taylor: the Republican who lost the primary to state Rep. Steven Palazzo threw his backing to Taylor. Joe Tegerdine, interestingly, was the Tea Party candidate in the GOP race (with Palazzo the establishment pick), and finished with 43% of the vote; Tegerdine seemed to frame his decision very much in terms of pissing off the Republican establishment, in fact.
• Dark Money: If you look at only one link today, it should be this one, where a picture is worth way more than 1,000 words. It shows the octopus tentacles linking all the various shadowy outside groups that have poured in hundreds of millions of undisclosed dollars, and how they all kind of link back to Republican leadership. It's almost worthy of Glenn Beck's blackboard (well, if it had Woodrow Wilson and Diego Rivera on there somewhere).
• DNC: To quote Don Brodka, "if I wanted smoke blown up my ass, I'd be at home with a pack of cigarettes and short length of hose." Nevertheless, the DNC is out with a memo today showing in various ways how the Republican wave hasn't materialized, at least not in the form of early voting patterns so far, that's worth a look-see (especially the graphs).
• SSP TV:
• CO-Sen: The DSCC has two spots in Colorado, both with citizens reciting the litany of why they can't vote for Ken Buck • IL-Sen: The DSCC links Mark Kirk to George W. Bush, while Alexi Giannoulias trots out the Obamas in his own ad
• MO-Sen: I seriously can't summon up anything interesting to say about the last ads from Roy Blunt and Robin Carnahan; it's been that sort of race
• NV-Sen: The DSCC finishes in Nevada by pointing out how Sharron Angle consistently brings teh crazy
• PA-Sen: The DSCC hits Pat Toomey on outsourcing yet again, while Pat Toomey goes blandly autobiographical for his closing spot
• WA-Sen: The DSCC's parting shot is to hit Dino Rossi over his web of connections to unsavory real estate and lending partners
• WI-Sen: Both candidates close by ragging on each other; Ron Johnson hits Russ Feingold for only being fake "mavericky," while Feingold asks why Johnson is being so vague and cagey about his agenda
• WV-Sen: The DSCC's newest ad hits John Raese on the Florida residency issue yet again
• ND-AL: This may be the most interesting ad of the day: Earl Pomeroy faces the camera and says "I'm not Nancy Pelosi, and I'm not Barack Obama" (yeah, that's pretty evident by looking at you); he pivots off people's anger to say they'll be even angrier, though, if Republicans go against the farm bill, Social Security, and so on
• WA-08: Suzan DelBene's last ad beats the 'change' drum, and focuses on the Seattle Times endorsement again
• IL-Sen: Alexi Giannoulias (D) 42%, Mark Kirk (R) 46%, LeAlan Jones (G) 5%
• MD-Sen: Barb Mikulski (D-inc) 56%, Eric Wargotz (R) 38%
• NV-Gov: Rory Reid (D) 35%, Brian Sandoval (R) 58%
• OR-Gov: John Kitzhaber (D) 46%, Chris Dudley (R) 49%
• WI-Gov: Tom Barrett (D) 42%, Scott Walker (R) 52%
• WV-Sen: Joe Manchin (D) 49%, John Raese (R) 46%
(ooops, time for Scotty to get in line with everyone else on this one!)
• CA-Sen: Best wishes to Carly Fiorina, who's temporarily off the campaign trail and in the hospital after an infection associated with reconstructive surgery that she had over the summer after recovering from breast cancer. She's says she'll be back in action soon.
• CO-Sen: The Democrats in Colorado have filed an FEC complaint with Ken Buck, alleging illegal coordination. The coordination was between Buck and Jim DeMint's Senate Conservatives Fund (which has spent $370K here so far). This doesn't look likely to get addressed before Election Day, though.
• KY-Sen: Rand Paul eventually got around, today, to cutting ties with and condemning a volunteer involved in assaulting a MoveOn activist before last night's debate, outside the venue. An activist trying to give a fake award to Paul was shoved to the ground and kicked/trampled.
• NV-Sen: Sharron Angle has always been the prime example of the GOP's apparent strategy for its more troublesome candidates (which is to have them hide from the media), but this is a little extreme: all manner of sleight-of-hand was used at a Reno appearance to keep her away from about 40 reporters who were looking for her, to the extent of using a decoy to get into her official vehicle while she left through a side door. Also, here's an interesting catch, especially since Angle supposedly has a lot of cash these days: her latest filing has nothing about salaries for her staff. Oversight, or is there more of a burn rate problem than we'd been led to believe?
• WA-Sen: This CQ article is your generic this-race-is-tight-and-important piece, but it has a few interesting tidbits buried in it: one, Patty Murray's internals have her up "around 4," although that's all we get to find out. And two, this election is already effectively more-than-half over: the state SoS's office says that 50% of all voters have submitted their ballots, on track for turnout of at least 66%, which would be third-highest non-presidential turnout ever in the state. (I assume you all know which party tends to do better in higher-turnout models.) Finally, Dino Rossi's doing a little hiding from the media himself: on a conference call with reporters, Rossi actually refused to say where he was calling from, just that he was "traveling all over right now." (Maybe we should be looking for the guy in the red and white striped shirt?)
• VT-Gov: Biden alert! Here's one election where every single vote will count (seeing as how it has fewer constituents than most House districts), and the veep is trying to roust out some votes with a Burlington appearance with Dem nominee Peter Shumlin the day before the election.
• CA-47: This was a weird election even before this, with stark racial overtones, and now it's even weirder: an independent candidate, Cecilia Iglesias, is making her presence known with a TV ad buy (although just on local cable on Univision). Who will this hurt? The GOP says it'll hurt Loretta Sanchez, because it splits the Latino vote. The Dems say it'll hurt Van Tran, since Iglesias is a "known Republican."
• CT-05: Hmm, here's a novel strategy for dealing with ads from third party groups that contain blatant lies: push back against them, and TV stations just may stop running them. That's what happened in Connecticut, where the American Action Network's ads against Chris Murphy got taken down, by Fox-CT (on cable) no less. (The ad is part of the series saying that you can go to jail for not having health insurance.)
• VA-05: This is big all around: that the President is stumping on behalf of a House candidate (albeit one within a helicopter ride away from DC), and that said House candidate in a red district is welcoming him. In case you didn't guess, it's Tom Perriello, who'll be rallying UVA students with the Prez in Charlottesville.
• American Crossroads: Here's part of the Crossroads road map for the last week: at a cost of $3 million altogether, they're moving into NC-11, NY-20, and GA-02, as well as continuing their presence in HI-01 and NY-22. They're also launching ads in CA-20, IN-02, MO-03, ND-AL, TN-04, OH-16, and TX-23.
• SSP TV:
• KY-Sen: The NRSC and Rand Paul both turn the tables on Jack Conway, saying he wants to talk about Paul's checkered past (i.e. Aqua Buddha) to avoid talking about Obama
• NV-Sen: The NRSC is out with a rather incoherent ad about how Harry Reid fancies himself a superhero, while Sharron Angle's out with another border-themed ad with menacing shadowy men who, of course, aren't actually Latino
• PA-Sen: Joe Sestak's closing argument cites his independence
• WV-Sen: Thank God for trackers... Joe Manchin's camp strings together John Raese's greatest hits at various appearances to demonstrate his "crazy" ideas
• CA-Gov: Jerry Brown wins the jujitsu black belt for his closing ad (if not the overall Zen master award for his whole campaign): unlike the very busy Manchin ad, he only needs one quote from Meg Whitman to make his own case for himself... she says she came to California 30 years ago because it back then it was a land of opportunity and it worked (uh, Meg? who was governor of California 30 years ago?)
• GA-Gov: Nathan Deal's closing ad says Roy Barnes is too ambitious, and Deal is just a humble public servant
• TX-Gov: Bill White's new ad says 10 years is too long, playing the dread "career politician" card on Rick Perry
• MA-10: The DCCC's new ad in the 10th goes after Jeff Perry's controversial police sergeant tenure, in case anyone there was unaware of it
• OH-18: Zack Space goes after Bob Gibbs on outsourcing and immigration
• VA-05: The Sierra Club's out with an ad bolstering Tom Perriello
• CA-Init: I'm not sure I thought I'd live to see the day where there ads running in favor of the legalization of marijuana, but apparently the Yes on 19 campaign was able to scrape together enough stems and seeds for a TV buy
• Rasmussen Classic:
• CT-Gov: Dan Malloy (D) 49%, Tom Foley (R) 46%
• GA-Gov: Roy Barnes (D) 39%, Nathan Deal (R) 49%, John Monds (L) 5%
• NM-Gov: Diane Denish (D) 42%, Susana Martinez (R) 52%
• NV-Sen: Harry Reid (D-inc) 45%, Sharron Angle (R) 49%
• SC-Sen: Alvin Greene (D) 58 21%, Jim DeMint (R-inc) 21 58%, Some other 15%
• WI-Sen: Russ Feingold (D-inc) 46%, Ron Johnson (R) 53%
• New Rasmussen (aka Fox/Pulse):
• CA-Gov: Jerry Brown (D) 50%, Meg Whitman (R) 41%
• CA-Sen: Barbara Boxer (D-inc) 48%, Carly Fiorina (R) 44%
• IL-Gov: Pat Quinn (D-inc) 39%, Bill Brady (R) 44%, Scott Lee Cohen (I) 6%, Rich Whitney (G) 4%
• IL-Sen: Alexi Giannoulias (D) 41%, Mark Kirk (R) 43%, LeAlan Jones (G) 7%
• KY-Sen: Jack Conway (D) 43%, Rand Paul (R) 50%
• OH-Gov: Ted Strickland (D-inc) 43%, John Kasich (R) 47%
• WV-Sen: Joe Manchin (D) 46%, John Raese (R) 48%
• AK-Sen: I hope the Alaska journalist corps is fueled up on coffee and is ready to go on a week-long dumpster diving binge, because the mother lode just got opened up. A state superior court judge just ordered that Joe Miller's Fairbanks borough personnel records get released, saying the people's right to know trumps Miller's privacy concerns. The release won't happen until tomorrow, though, to allow time for an Alaska Supreme Court decision if necessary.
• CA-Sen: The polls can't seem to decide whether the California Senate race is tightening, loosening, or staying basically the same, but it was enough to finally get Carly Fiorina to do what the NRSC had probably hoped she would have done months ago: she put $1 million of her own money into the race. (She'd spent $5 mil of her own on the primary, but nothing since then.) On top of that, the NRSC is throwing an additional $3 million into the race for the last week, while Barbara Boxer is calling the bluff with $4 million from her account for ads of her own.
• NV-Sen: As we expected, Harry Reid's been keeping up a steady drip-drip of endorsements from prominent Republicans around Nevada. The most recent one: term-limited state Sen. Dean Rhoads, who represents almost all of the state (geographically) except Clark and Washoe Counties. (H/t LookingOver.)
• FL-Gov: Wow, Bill McCollum actually ate his own cat fud. With little time left on the clock, he swallowed any remnants of his pride and endorsed primary rival Rick Scott, the guy he swore he'd never endorse.
• RI-Gov: Interesting approach from a blue state Dem: Frank Caprio just told the President to "shove it," in reaction to Barack Obama's apparent decision not to endorse him when he was in Rhode Island today. Payback for Lincoln Chafee's Obama endorsement in '08? Or reverse payback for Caprio's reported flirting with a party switch? Or elaborate theater staged for Caprio's benefit, to help distance himself from the White House?
• OH-Gov: Obama and Biden alert! The Dynamic Duo are adding yet another campaign stop in Ohio, where saving Ted Strickland seems to be one of the White House's top priorities. On Sunday, both will appear with Strickland, and then there'll be a Biden/Strickland stop later in Toledo.
• CA-47: Um, maybe someone should tell Van Tran that taking a page from the Carl Paladino playbook isn't really a good idea right now... Tran's out with foul-smelling scratch-and-sniff mailers in the district, hitting Loretta Sanchez for the "stench of Washington."
• CO-04: Add one more body on the plague wagon: the DCCC brought out Betsy Markey on Friday. They announced that they won't be spending any more on the 4th this cycle. They'd previously drawn down their efforts here, but now they're fully pulling out. (If there's a bright spot, this is probably their last triage move... with one week left, there's really no time left to cut anyone else off.)
• FL-12: Is there a growing sense of Republican worry in this district? They shouldn't lose an R+5 district in this climate, but they have probably the most credible 3rd party Tea Party challenger anywhere here, in the form of an actual county commissioner, Randy Wilkinson, who internals polls have seen taking gobbling up double-digit vote shares. They're taking the problem seriously enough to have Newt Gingrich doing robocalling on behalf of GOP nominee Dennis Ross, suggesting that Wilkinson is a plant from next door's Alan Grayson.
• IN-02: Oooops. Jackie Walorski ran footage in a web video of a South Bend neighborhood as an example of a neighborhood "in ruin" from Democratic policies. The residents of the neighborhood are now deeply offended, saying their neighborhood is hardly ruined at all, and are demanding an apology.
• KS-03: In a more normal year, this might be enough to do some serious damage in a close race: just-released police records show that Kevin Yoder (the GOP's nominee here) refused to take a breath test during a 2009 traffic stop. He pled guilty to speeding, also received a citation for not taking the test, and it was left at that.
• MS-04: Look who's in a bit of a panic, and revealing his true stripes: Gene Taylor just let his district's voters know that he isn't one of those Demmycrats at all! Why, he even voted for John McCain in 2008, he says.
• PA-11: Bill Clinton's traveling schedule takes him to three blue-collar districts that were, in the '08 Dem primaries, some of the most die-hard Clinton districts anywhere, now all home to pitched battles. He's appearing in the 11th tomorrow in support of Paul Kanjorski (who we'd expected, a few months ago, to be the first Dem incumbent we wrote off, but who seems to still be in the thick of things). On Thursday, he also visits PA-03 and PA-15.
• VA-05: If you weren't already sold on Tom Perriello's particular brand of awesome, check out the highlight reel of some of the best clips from his most recent debate with Rob Hurt.
• WA-06: Here's an internal poll that's a real head-scratcher, that requires a bit of explanation. Rob Cloud, the same doofus who runs against Norm Dicks every cycle (four times in a row now) and gets crushed, claims to have an internal poll out giving him a four-point lead over the long-time Dem. (Well, four if you do your own math. For some reason, the poll gave actual respondent totals only, 609 to 558 with 95 undecided. If that strange method doesn't by itself set off alarm bells, the polling firm is someone called Wenzel (out of Ohio), a company I'd only heard of once, when they polled OH-Gov and OH-Sen last year on behalf of Ohio Right to Life... but (h/t to quiller) it turns out have a regular gig as WorldNetDaily's pollster and have been responsible for extremely leading-question-rife polls about Barack Obama's citizenship. And on top of all that, Dicks won the Top 2 primary (the most reliable poll possible) with 57% of the vote, with a combined GOP vote share of 43% (of which Cloud got a pathetic 29%),which shouldn't imply much vulnerability. On the other hand, Dicks' district is "only" D+5, one of the least-blue districts that isn't home to an on-the-radar race... and moreover, Dicks has seemed pretty invisible as far as I can tell, compared with next-door neighbor Adam Smith who's in a similarly D+5 district but got a polling-related wake-up call and has been working his butt off lately. So, uh... who knows?
• NRCC: Eager to maximize last-minute take-over opportunities, the party of fiscal responsibility is throwing some more debt on the pile. The NRCC just took out a $20 million line of credit to fund some more late-in-the-game advertising.
• Dark Money: Just as the actual universe's mass is mostly composed of dark energy and dark matter, so too the political universe is apparently mostly composed of dark money these days. Hotline's Jeremy Jacobs has an excellent piece that pulls together all the GOP spending by shadowy third-party groups, fleshing out the IE picture greatly, and also showing a remarkable amount of avoidance of duplication of efforts in the districts. They couldn't actually be coordinating their efforts behind-the-scenes, you think? (Not that that's illegal, as far as I know.)
• IEs: Speaking of IEs, if you haven't been following spiderdem's weekly series over in the diaries regarding the back-and-forth battle of the independent expenditures between the DCCC and NRCC, you absolutely should. It rounds all the numbers up in one handy place, and puts them in the context of the probable lay of the land.
• SSP TV:
• AK-Sen: Here's that NRSC ad mentioned late last week, where they hit Scott McAdams in a preemptive attack to keep him from shooting the gap (and here's the SOTB: $75K)
• CA-Sen: No more giddy Carlyfornia Dreaming here, with a dour ad from the Fiorina camp hitting Barbara Boxer for California's dire economic straits
• FL-Sen: Marco Rubio's closing statement is a plain talk-to-the-camera spot saying "Reclaim America!"
• WI-Sen: Russ Feingold's out with the ad that he should have run about two months ago, making fun of Ron Johnson's whiteboard and platitudes
• NM-Gov: Susana Martinez makes the Diane Denish/Bill Richardson connection about as explicit as humanly possible in her new spot
• FL-22: Ron Klein seems to have finally moved away from Allen West's homeowners association liens, with the Outlaws gang connections too juicy even for him to ignore
• ID-01: Walt Minnick cites his independence and rags on Raul Labrador for getting his own last ad pulled for its bogusness
• MN-06: Taryl Clark hits Michele Bachmann for, well, being a "celebrity"
• VA-05: Robert Hurt goes after Tom Perriello for being a Washington insider
• CA-Gov: Jerry Brown (D) 48%, Meg Whitman (R) 42%
• CA-Sen: Barbara Boxer (D-inc) 48%, Carly Fiorina (R) 46%
• CT-Sen: Richard Blumenthal (D) 56%, Linda McMahon (R) 43%
• IN-Sen: Brad Ellsworth (D) 34%, Dan Coats (R) 52%
• MD-Gov: Martin O'Malley (D-inc) 52%, Bob Ehrlich (R) 42%
• ND-Sen: Tracy Potter (D) 25%, John Hoeven (R) 72%
• PA-Gov: Dan Onorato (D) 45%, Tom Corbett (R) 50%
• PA-Sen: Joe Sestak (D) 44%, Pat Toomey (R) 48%
• RI-Gov: Frank Caprio (D) 28%, John Robitaille (R) 25%, Lincoln Chafee (I) 35%
• SD-Gov: Scott Heidepriem (D) 36%, Dennis Daugaard (R) 55%
• TX-Gov: Bill White (D) 42%, Rick Perry (R-inc) 51%
• AK-Sen: Congrats to Scott McAdams, who just cleared the McMillion hurdle with $1 million in fundraising so far. The majority of contributions were from Alaska, with 88% contributions of $200 or less.
• KY-Sen: Matt Taibbi's new Rolling Stone article as he works the Rand Paul beat is a must-read even if it doesn't have any revelations as freaky as the "Aqua Buddha" story, although there's some vague and anonymous racism from the newsletter that his snarky secret society put out. The prize-winning quote, though, deals with the Tea Partiers don't seem terribly phased by any of this:
("Well, I used to use that cologne myself," was the response of one Tea Partier to a question I posed about "Aqua Buddha")
• MO-Sen: American Crossroads has declared victory in Missouri, and is pulling out of advertising there, where Roy Blunt has a consistent but single-digit lead. (As for the actual party committees... well, it's probably not relevant, seeing as how Crossroads and its ilk have made them basically irrelevant this year.)
• NV-Sen: Harry Reid racked up a couple endorsements from the big-in-Nevada gaming industry, including PokerPAC. He also got the endorsement of the former chair of the RNC, Frank Fahrenkopf, who warned of the threat Sharron Angle (with her ties to anti-gambling Gary Bauer) might pose to the state's gaming industry.
• PA-Sen: Ah, sweet Schadenfreude. The Club for Growth is having to plug $1 million into the Pennsylvania Senate race in order to bail out their former boss, Pat Toomey.
• WI-Sen: Yet another story with Ron Johnson with his hand in the trough he so regularly decries: he says he's not quite sure how five of his employees (and 10 dependents) at his plastics firm Pacur wound up on BadgerCare, the state's health insurance program for the poor. That would seem to contradict previous statements from the Johnson camp that all Pacur full-time employees are covered by the company's plan.
• AZ-07, AZ-08: I know John McCain has refudiated all his old mavericky ways, but did he actually have to go so far as to violate his signature piece of mavericky legislation, the McCain-Feingold Act? He recently cut spots for GOP candidates in the 7th and 8th, in which he and Jon Kyl appeared, and paid for them out of Friends of John McCain (his campaign committee). Dems have filed FEC complaints against McCain, saying that if he coordinated with the Ruth McClung and Jesse Kelly campaigns, he would've been limited to $4,800 contributions to each (they'd be legal independent expenditures if there was truly no coordination).
• CO-03, CO-04: The gang-that-couldn't-shoot-straight strikes twice, in two different neighboring Old West districts. In the 3rd, an anti-abortion group has been hitting the airwaves attacking Ken Salazar. That's fine, but Ken Salazar is the Secretary of Interior. His brother (the one with the mustache) is John Salazar, the Rep. from the 3rd. OK, understandable, since they're brothers... but how do you explain the confusion in the 4th, where not just some outside group but the Cory Gardner campaign mixed up Betsy Markey with Massachusetts Rep. Ed Markey? They accused her of voting for the Obama budget, which she didn't; that was the other Markey.
• FL-25: I don't know how far this will get, but give local Dems in south Florida credit for audaciousness. A Joe Garcia backer filed a lawsuit trying to get David Rivera removed from the ballot. The suit alleges that Rivera should be removed because of state election finance disclosure irregularities, concerning Rivera's mysterious claims of being a contractor to USAID despite USAID saying he wasn't. While they cite a comparable case where a state senate candidate was recently stricken from the ballot from similar problems, I'm wondering if it may be too late to do anything about that even if it succeeds on the merits (although if it only serves to move the USAID deception into the spotlight, that's good too).
• MO-04: More triage news... on the Republican side? Despite news of a Vicky Hartzler internal poll yesterday that showed a tied race, the NRCC is packing up, at least from the Kansas City market. I wonder if that has more to do with feeling neighboring KS-03 is locked down, as there are other smaller media markets in the 4th where they might still spend, but I think this has to count as at least a partial pullout.
• SD-AL: This is an interesting counterpoint to the anti-Pelosi (or at least Pelosi-skeptical) tide that seems to be rising among threatened Blue Dogs, including Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (who's in the skeptic camp): GOP challenger Kristi Noem is saying that if she wins her race, she's not sold yet on John Boehner as Republican leader, but would like to see who else might run. Recall that Noem previously politely told Sarah Palin to stay far away from her race, so this isn't the first time she's pantomimed independence.
• Early voting: There's been some buzz today about a CBS News story that says that Dems are doing better than expected in early voting, although it's kind of shy on actual numbers. It mentions that Dems have outpaced GOPers in early voting in Iowa, Maryland, North Carolina, and Clark Co., Nevada, while there's a Republican edge in Florida and Colorado. Jon Ralston, of course, has more data on Nevada, while Politico has some Iowa tidbits, involving early ballot requests in IA-03 (where 50% of requests are from Dems, but where Dems are 36% of the electorate) and IA-02 (51% of the requests, 38% of the electorate).
• SSP TV:
• CO-Sen: Women's Voices Women Vote Action Fund is out with a "high six-figure" buy in Colorado, with the first TV ad to take on Ken Buck's failure to prosecute that 2005 rape case (the "buyer's remorse" incident)
• KY-Sen: The DSCC hits Rand Paul on his support for the 23% sales (aka "fair") tax
• NV-Sen: Sharron Angle wonders how Harry Reid made all that money in her new ad (helpful fact from Jon Ralston: he was a millionaire even before he was in the House)
• WV-Sen: Outsourcing seems to be the hot button issue coming out of focus groups that works for the Dems these days, as the DSCC keeps hitting John Raese on it with their new spot
• AZ-03: Jon Hulburd has another TV ad against Ben Quayle, poking at his values and overall maturity
• HI-01: Colleen Hanabusa's new ad has a special guest star in the form of Barack Obama
• IN-09: The SEIU goes after Todd Young on Social Security privatization
• NH-01: Carol Shea-Porter, in her own ad, also works the SSP angle against Frank Guinta
• VA-05: Is the DCCC trying to drive up indie teabagger Jeffrey Clark's numbers? They're out with a spot hitting Robert Hurt for all the tax-raising he did in the state legislature
• IL-Gov: Pat Quinn (D-inc) 37%, Bill Brady (R) 45%, Rich Whit(n)ey (G) 2%, Scott Lee Cohen (I) 6%
• MO-Sen: Robin Carnahan (D) 43%, Roy Blunt (R) 52%
• ND-AL: Earl Pomeroy (D-inc) 42%, Rick Berg (R) 52%
• NY-Sen-B: Kirsten Gillibrand (D-inc) 54%, Joe DioGuardi (R) 33%
• SC-Gov: Vincent Sheheen (D) 38%, Nikki Haley (R) 47%
• WI-Sen, WI-Gov: Russ Feingold and Tom Barrett are both out with internal polls today, both from the same pollster (Fairbanks Maslin), both showing tied races. The Senate poll (Oct. 7, and 10-11) shows Russ Feingold and Ron Johnson tied at 48-48. The gubernatorial poll was an entirely separate sample, Oct. 5-7, showing Tom Barrett and Scott Walker are at 47-47.
• GA-Gov: InsiderAdvantage (10/10, likely voters, 9/27 in parens):
Roy Barnes (D): 41 (37)
Nathan Deal (R): 49 (45)
John Monds (L): 3 (5)
Undecided: 7 (13)
If you're wondering about downballot races, IA also has GOPer Casey Cagle leading Carol Porter in the LG race, 50-36, and GOPer Sam Olen leading Ken Hodges in the AG race, 50-40. Also, if you're wondering how Nathan Deal seemed to regain his footing after a few rocky weeks where the race was seemingly tied, a lot of that seems to have to do with the RGA pouring money into this race ($3.2 million worth), as they've tacitly made this race one of their top priorities.
• AZ-05: Although this is an internal poll that has the GOPer leading the incumbent Dem, it's a little on the lackluster side. David Schweikert responds to the DCCC internal giving Harry Mitchell an 7-point lead with his own poll showing him up by only 2, 45-43. (The poll was taken 10/5-6 by National Research.) An incumbent at 43% is no good, of course, but averaging the two polls out (for whatever that's worth) gives Mitchell a small edge.
• NY-20, TN-08: What do these two races (one with a Blue Dog incumbent who seems in control of his race, the other an open seat with an aspiring Blue Dog not likely to win) have in common? In both races, the Dem said he wouldn't support Nancy Pelosi for Speaker. Scott Murphy's decision (granted, he's more of a waffle than a flat-out "no") is much more surprising than Roy Herron's; we'll have to see if this becomes more of a trend in the closing weeks.
• OH-13: Tom Ganley has pulled his broadcast television advertising for the remaining weeks of the campaign, although he will be focusing on less-expensive cable and radio buys instead of going dark completely. He says that's how he's going to "cut through the clutter," but somehow methinks the self-funder (savvy businessman that he is) realized that he shouldn't throw his own money down the hole in a race that just got considerably more difficult once sex assault accusations started to fly. (H/t LookingOver.)
• PA-13: Here's an unremarkable internal from a race where we shouldn't even have to be looking at one: Allyson Schwartz, in the D+7 NE Philly district, leads Dee Adcock 57-32 in a 10/5-6 poll from Cooper & Secrest. Apparently this was released to combat rumors of a Republican internal showing it a single-digit race.
• SD-AL: This was the day's big fundraising story until Sharron Angle showed up: the reason Kristi "Leadfoot" Noem was driving so fast was because she had to get to so many different donors' houses. She raised $1.1 million for the quarter, compared to $550K for Stephanie Herseth Sandlin. That actually gives Noem the CoH edge, $770K to $500K.
• TN-03: Here's one more place I wouldn't think I'd be seeing an internal, considering that this GOP-held open seat in a dark-red district should be a slam-dunk this year, but I guess Chuck Fleischmann feels like he needs to look busy. The GOP nominee is leading Dem nominee John Wolfe by a 50-20 margin, in a poll (no dates) by Wilson Research.
• DCCC: More news on the triage front, on what's apparently the last day to cancel ad reservations without taking a big financial hit. Having thrown Steve Driehaus overboard yesterday, the DCCC followed up today with Kathy Dahlkemper in PA-03 and Suzanne Kosmas in FL-24, who won't get any more ad cover according to the NYT. Aaron Blake also tweets that open seats KS-03, IN-08, and TN-08 got the axe.
• AGs: You probably know Louis Jacobson of Governing magazine for his handicapping of state legislative chambers, but he also works the state AG beat (that's often short for "Aspiring Governor," so it's a key bench-building step), and is out with handicapping for all the Attorney General races up this year. As you might expect, Dems should brace for some losses, especially in open seats.
• Gerrymandering: If there's any place where people would be psyched to sit down and watch a movie about gerrymandering, it's here at SSP. The movie's creator is up with a diary here that lists all the theaters where it's opening over the next month (including where he'll be hosting Q&As). Some of them are one-night engagements, starting as early as tonight, so check out the listings ASAP!
• SSP TV:
• CO-Sen: The DSCC hits Ken Buck for his craptastic tenure working for the local US Attorney's office
• KY-Sen: The DSCC goes back to the $2,000 Medicare deductible issue yet again to hit Rand Paul
• WA-Sen: I'm not sure why Washington Dems always wait until the last minute to remind voters that Dino Rossi is pro-life (that's what happened in both gube races) -- maybe they figure it's their trump card -- but they're doing it again; meanwhile, the American Action Network hits Patty Murray by whipping up a second version of that weird Fred Davis ad with the tennis shoes walking on people
• WI-Sen: One of Russ Feingold's myriad problems is that Ron Johnson actually comes up with some effective ads: this one's a bio spot
• GA-Gov: Nathan Deal's new ad hits Roy Barnes for having once said that "Mexican workers were good for Georgia"
• SC-Gov: The suddenly resurgent Vince Sheheen's out with another spot, this one equating Nikki Haley to protégé Mark Sanford
• TX-Gov: Lone Star First (a DGA-backed group) hits Rick Perry on the HPV vaccine and links to Big Pharma
• OH-13: EMILY's List steers clear of the sex assault allegations of Tom Ganley, going with a humorous spot on outsourcing and his 400 civil lawsuits at his car dealerships
• IL-Sen: Alexi Giannoulias (D) 44%, Mark Kirk (R) 43%, LeAlan Jones (G) 4%
• OH-Sen: Lee Fisher (D) 34%, Rob Portman (R) 57%
• TN-Gov: Mike McWherter (D) 31%, Bill Haslam (R) 59%
• WI-Sen: Russ Feingold (D-inc) 45%, Ron Johnson (R) 52%
• Rasmussen (as Fox/Pulse):
• CT-Gov: Dan Malloy (D) 45%, Tom Foley (R) 41%
• CT-Sen: Richard Blumenthal (D) 49%, Linda McMahon (R) 43%
• DE-Sen: Chris Coons (D) 54%, Christine O'Donnell (R) 38%
• NV-Sen: Harry Reid (D-inc) 47%, Sharron Angle (R) 49%
• OH-Gov: Ted Strickland (D-inc) 42%, John Kasich (R) 47%
• OH-Sen: Lee Fisher (D) 35%, Rob Portman (R) 52%
• WA-Sen: Patty Murray (D-inc) 46%, Dino Rossi (R) 47%
• Angus-Reid: Another reason to be suspicious of Angus-Reid in addition to their Dem-friendly internet samples: they seem to have neglected to poll the actually interesting Senate race in New York...
• NY-Gov: Andrew Cuomo (D) 63%, Carl Paladino (R) 32%
• NY-Sen: Charles Schumer (D) 67%, Jay Townsend (R) 27%
One more poll for the pile with a high-single-digits lead for Barbara Boxer, this time from the very trustworthy PPIC. They also look at the Governor's race (see below) and a few initiatives: they find Prop 19 (pot) passing 52-41 and Prop 25 (simple majority budget) passing 48-35, but also finding Prop 23 (suspending greenhouse gas limits) passing 43-42.
• IN-Sen: We'd speculated that this was a possibility back around the time of the Indiana GOP primary, when Dan Coats (an unusually tepid gun supporter as far as GOPers go) won. The NRA today endorsed his Democratic opponent, Brad Ellsworth, who's pretty much walked the pro-gun line in his red House district. (I know we'd said we'd shut up about NRA endorsements of conservaDems, but this one actually has the potential to move some votes in a key race.)
• PA-Sen: Susquehanna for Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (9/23-26, likely voters, no trendlines):
Joe Sestak (D): 42
Pat Toomey (R): 45
I wish this had come out in time for our monstrous Pennsylvania wrapup from early this morning, as it's an interesting post-script. Susquehanna (a Republican pollster, but one who've demonstrated that they know what they're doing in Pennsylvania; for instance, they got the PA-12 special pretty close to right) sees it as a surprisingly close race, finding Sestak within 3. Is this the first sign of Sestak closing, or is this just the optimistic edge of the stable mid-single-digits band that the race has usually been pegged at?
• CA-Gov: PPIC (9/19-26, likely voters, 7/6-20 in parentheses):
Jerry Brown (D): 37 (46)
Meg Whitman (R): 38 (40)
Other: 7 (-)
Undecided: 18 (14)
Unfortunately, this poll closes out the end of a run of remarkable luck for Jerry Brown of polls showing him spiking into the lead (although there's a lot of movement from both candidates to "Other," though I'm not sure who that would be). Importantly, though, the polling period ended before Meg Whitman's illegal housekeeper problem burst into public view. The SEIU is doing its part to keep the issue front and center, pumping $5 million into a Latino outreach effort that's largely field efforts but also includes an ad starting in a few days hitting Whitman on the housekeeper issue. Whitman's also doing her part to keep it in the news, saying she'll employ the scoundrel's last refuge -- a polygraph test -- to prove she was unaware.
• NY-Gov: Marist (9/27-29, likely voters, 9/14-19 in parentheses):
Andrew Cuomo (D): 53 (52)
Carl Paladino (R): 38 (33)
Rick Lazio (C): - (9)
Undecided: 8 (6)
Marist strikes back quickly with another poll following up on the news that Rick Lazio is no longer a candidate, preferring to enjoy the great prestige that comes with a trial court judgeship in the Bronx. At any rate, they don't see anything changing other than what you'd expect: most of Lazio's voters from the Conservative line gravitated over to GOP nominee Carl Paladino, with a few, unappetized by the bombastic Paladino, joining the ranks of the undecided.
• OR-Gov: One major explanation for how Chris Dudley has made a major race out of what looked like an easy Dem pickup hold a year ago is... money. (As with so many other races this year...) Dudley has raised $5.6 million all cycle long, as of Tuesday's reporting deadline, more than doubling up on John Kitzhaber's $2.6 million, the largest disparity between the two parties ever seen in an Oregon gubernatorial race. (The SEIU has been running ads on Kitzhaber's behalf, and the DGA has $750K ready to go, but that's still a big deficit.)
• RI-Gov: Fleming & Associates for WPRI-TV (9/22-26, likely voters, no trendlines):
Frank Caprio (D): 33
John Robitaille (R): 19
Lincoln Chafee (I): 30
There's been a general trend in the last month or two toward the Democrat, Frank Caprio, in this race. But the newest poll (apparently the first of this race from Fleming & Associates), on behalf of local TV stations, shows a much closer race, with Caprio up only 3 on his indie opponent, Lincoln Chafee.
• GA-08: American Viewpoint for Austin Scott (9/26-27, likely voters, late July in parentheses):
Jim Marshall (D-inc): 38 (44)
Austin Scott (R): 46 (39)
Undecided: 13 (14)
Well, there's only one alarming GOP House internal poll today, unlike yesterday's onslaught. (Also, note the hypertrophied margin of error, based on an n of 300.) Still, this is another race that's tended to be on the "Lean D" or at least "Tilt D" side of the equation, and one more juggling ball that the DCCC is going to have to keep in the air.
• ME-01, ME-02: Critical Insights, like last time, included both Maine House districts as part of their poll, so we actually have some trendlines now. In the 1st, Chellie Pingree is expanding her lead over Dean Scontras, 54-26. However, in the 2nd, Mike Michaud's lead over Jason Levesque is a little smaller, down to 44-32 (from 48-28). (In a way, that's reassuring, because that's evidence that Critical Insights didn't just stumble into a much Dem-friendlier batch, and that the flight from Paul LePage seems real.)
• DSCC: The DSCC is having to put some money into Connecticut, a race they probably thought they could avoid spending on when Richard Blumenthal got into the race. They're starting with a smallish $250K, though. Other DSCC outlays today include $720K in CO-Sen, $464K in IL-Sen, $362K in MO-Sen, and $386K in WV-Sen.
• NARAL: NARAL rolled out endorsements of twenty different Dems running in House races, almost all of whom received $5K each. You can click for the full list, but it includes Cedric Richmond, Steve Pougnet, John Hulburd, and Joe Garcia on offense (the rest are defensive picks).
• SSP TV:
• AK-Sen: Lisa Murkowski's out with two different ads, one hitting Joe Miller as outsider, the other a PSA-type ad that verrrry slowly and carefully explains to people how to vote for her
• KY-Sen: Here's a powerful new ad from Jack Conway hitting Rand Paul on the drug issue yet again, complete with tombstone and tagline "He doesn't know us" (interestingly, though, the DSCC is following the NRSC's lead here with an ad buy cancellation for the week of the 5th) (UPDATE: Looks like the DS un-cancelled)
• MO-Sen: Roy Blunt hits Robin Carnahan over the stimulus, pointing out that another member of the extended Carnahan clan got money for his wind farm
• WI-Sen: Russ Feingold tries going back to firing up the base, running an ad based on the merits of health care reform
• MI-01: The NRCC weighs in with an ad in the 1st, an endless circle of meta wherein Dan Benishek attacks Gary McDowell for attacking
• WI-07: Julie Lassa goes back to the theme of Sean Duffy having prematurely abandoned his day job as DA to run for the House
• AJS: Americans for Job Security tries again in VA-09 (remember that's where their previous ad got bounced for being too egregious), as well as in CO-03 and NY-24
• CO-Sen: Michael Bennet (D-inc) 43%, Ken Buck (R) 51%
• FL-Sen: Kendrick Meek (D) 21%, Marco Rubio (R) 41%, Charlie Crist (I) 30%
• IA-Sen: Roxanne Conlin (D) 37%, Charles Grassley (R-inc) 55%
• KY-Sen: Jack Conway (D) 38%, Rand Paul (R) 49%
• MA-Gov: Deval Patrick (D-inc) 47%, Charlie Baker (R) 42%, Tim Cahill (I) 6%
• NV-Gov: Rory Reid (D) 40%, Brian Sandoval (R) 53%
• NV-Sen: Harry Reid (D-inc) 48%, Sharron Angle (R) 47%
• OH-Gov: Ted Strickland (D-inc) 42%, John Kasich (R) 50%
• WA-Sen: Patty Murray (D-inc) 47%, Dino Rossi (R) 48%
• WI-Sen: Russ Feingold (D-inc) 42%, Ron Johnson 54%