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A second poll in a month's time shows Democratic challenger Betsy Markey leading incumbent Republican Marilyn Musgrave in Colorado's 4th CD. Last month SUSA had Markey leading by 7 points, this month it's Grove Associates with a 9 point difference.

Grove Insight for EMILY's List. 9/8-10. Likely voters. MoE 4.9% (SUSA 8/22-24 results)

Markey (D) 47 (50)
Musgrave (R) 38 (43)

This is the third bad poll for Musgrave, with an internal Markey poll from the beginning of summer showing Musgrave trailing by 6 points. To top that off, the incumbent is coming off a bad fundraising quarter, with Markey raising more than any other previous Musgrave opponent.

Mad Marilyn struck back against all this bad news with attack ads claiming that Markey used her influence while working as an aide to Sen. Ken Salazar to secure federal contracts for her family's business, a dubious, at best, claim:

The Musgrave campaign has offered no evidence to substantiate that charge other than to note that contracts for the company, Syscom Services, went up while Markey worked for Salazar between 2005 and 2007. A Coloradoan review of federal contracting records showed companies providing similar services to the federal government saw similar increases to Syscom in that period.

Salazar joined in in condemning the attack:

"Marilyn Musgrave's ad is absolutely false in every way," said Sen. Salazar. "In Colorado, knowingly making false statements against your political opponent is a violation of the law. Marilyn Musgrave's false accusations should be thoroughly and fully investigated by the authorities, and Marilyn Musgrave and her campaign should comply with that investigation. Marilyn Musgrave should also immediately pull this false ad from the air and apologize to the people of Colorado who she is supposed to be representing.  Dishonesty of this kind should have no place in the halls of Congress."

Nasty campaigning is part and parcel of Musgrave's style, however, and I imagine Salazar and Markey aren't holding their breath while waiting for that apology from Musgrave. For those who haven't been following her career, she's as wingnutty as it gets. Most famous for declaring outlawing gay marriage "the most important issue that we face today," Musgrave has been on a relentless campaign in her whole time in public office to legislate morality. Before the 2006 election, Rolling Stone declared her the 10th worst congressperson in the country.

Musgrave has made regulating the bedroom behavior of her fellow Americans the focus of her entire career. An evangelical Christian who married her Bible-camp sweetheart, Musgrave does not believe in the separation of church and state. She entered politics in 1990, running for her local school board on a crusade to end sex education as part of the curriculum. By the time her tenure was over, the schools taught "abstinence only" -- and offending passages in health textbooks had been blacked out. During her eight years in the Colorado legislature, Musgrave continued her moralizing, overcoming two vetoes by the governor to pass a state ban on gay marriage.

Once in Congress, Musgrave introduced a constitutional amendment to outlaw gay marriage -- which she calls "the most important issue that we face today" -- nearly a year before a Massachusetts court approved civil unions. "She doesn't like the idea of one gay person," says Rep. Barney Frank of Massachusetts. "So obviously the idea of two of us hanging out makes her very unhappy." For her opposition to gay marriage -- as well as her push to legalize concealed weapons -- Musgrave received an endorsement from the KKK in May.

Believe it or not, Musgrave has joined her Republican colleages like Gordon Smith and Dave Reichert in running against Bush in this election. Somehow I don't think Coloradans are likely to buy that one. Nonetheless, the cash-strapped NRCC is playing defense in this race, committing a whopping $1 million to shore up their poster girl for wingnuttery.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Fri Sep 19, 2008 at 12:40 PM PDT.

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