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Leading Off:

FL-Sen: Now that's what I'm talking about! Majority PAC borrows Republican George LeMieux's immortal line about Connie Mack—"the Charlie Sheen of Florida politics"—and uses that to kick off a litany of just about every douchetastic fratboy antic Mack has subjected the world to over the years. It's actually really funny, because the ad keeps piling on more and more dirt, and just when you think there can't be anything else in this vein, well... "his yacht club sued him"! Also, someone at Maj PAC has a real sense of humor, because the spot itself is titled "Tiger Blood." Dare I say... winning?

And while Mack may mess around, Majority PAC sure as hell don't: The size of the buy is a hefty $719K.

Senate:

CT-Sen: Democrat Chris Murphy goes hard negative against Linda McMahon in this new ad, tying attacks on her record as CEO of World Wrestling Entertainment with criticism of her economics plans. The spot says that while she ran the WWE, McMahon tried to avoid U.S. taxes by "shift[ing] profits overseas" and now says she supports "tax cuts for the wealthy—including a seven million dollar tax cut... for herself."

IN-Sen: Republican Richard Mourdock's new ad takes a page straight from the GOP playbook ("use credible third party validators (mom or seniors)"), insisting that of course he couldn't possibly want to harm Social Security and Medicare because his parents "rely on these important programs." Of course, what did Mourdock actually say during his primary against Sen. Dick Lugar?

"I challenge you in Article I, Section 8 of the United States Constitution where those so-called enumerated powers are listed. I challenge you to find words that talk about Medicare or Medicaid or, yes, even Social Security."
I'm not even sure Sam Alito thinks Social Security is unconstitutional (though I bet he'd like to find a way to rule just that). The most amusing line, though, comes at the end, when the narrator says, "No wonder they call Donnelly 'Obama Joe.' " I'd love to meet "they"!

MT-, NV-Sen: Patriot Majority USA, one of the biggest players on the Senate front for Democrats, is putting $302K behind its latest ad attacking Denny Rehberg in Montana and another $252K to hammer Dean Heller in Nevada. We also now have the size of the buy for the DSCC's new anti-Rehberg ad (it comes to $175K), as well as the buy for the American Future Fund's new anti-Shelley Berkley ad ($472K).

NM-Sen: Dem Rep. Martin Heinrich has just released an internal from GBA Strategies which shows him leading GOP ex-Rep. Heather Wilson by a 51-44 margin, very much in line with most of the public polling of this race. Unfortunately, the memo doesn't include Obama-Romney numbers. It does offer one interesting non-polling-related tidbit, though, saying that "Wilson decided to increase her television buy to 1800 gross ratings points this week, a level she cannot sustain given that the last FEC report showed her with less cash on hand than Heinrich."

MO-Sen: Todd Akin must have really enjoyed fucking with those "party bosses" on Friday. Early in the afternoon, his campaign gave word that he'd be conducting a press conference later in the day but refused to say what Akin would talk about. That led to a new round of speculation that Akin would drop out, but no! It was just another thumb in the eye. Said Akin: "We're going to be here through the November election, and we're going to be here to win."

OH-, IN-, ND-Sen: The Dem-aligned Majority PAC's latest round of buys are definitely of the we're-not-fucking-around size: $755K against Josh Mandel in Ohio, $432K against Richard Mourdock in Indiana, and $106K against Rick Berg in North Dakota.

OH-, VA-Sen: These are some of the biggest expenditures for web ads that I've ever seen: The NRA is shelling out $232K for online advertising attacking Dem Sen. Sherrod Brown and $175K hitting Democrat Tim Kaine. If you live in Virginia or Ohio, might be time to download AdBlock Plus.

PA-Sen: Yet another snoozy poll of the Pennsylvania Senate race, this time from the Allentown Morning Call and Muhlenberg College. The numbers don't differ much from what others pollsters have found, with Dem Sen. Bob Casey up 49-30 over Republican Tom Smith. Obama also leads Romney 49-40 in the same survey.

VA-Sen: Here's a new ad from Democrat Tim Kaine, en Español (translation here). Kaine references time he spent as a missionary in Honduras, which is when he learned Spanish, and says he will "continue to invest in education and support immigration reform." As we've written about before, the Hispanic population in Virginia has exploded recently, so it makes sense that Kaine's targeting this increasingly important bloc of voters.

• WI-Sen: The mad scientists at the American Chemistry Council are, for some reason, throwing down a whopping $649K on a new television ad buy for Republican ex-Gov. Tommy Thompson. (Just a boring, generic positive spot.) Seriously, does Tammy Baldwin have something against Bunsen burners? Actually, the ACC is the trade association for the chemical industry, so you can probably guess why they'd tend to favor Republicans over Democrats.

House:

AZ-09: Hmm. Just days ahead of Tuesday's Democratic primary, Andrei Cherny donated $130K to his campaign. A close race, or a desperation heave?

NV-03: Sheesh, seriously? Dem state Sen. John Oceguera got lacerated by local press during a round of interviews back in May when he refused to take stands on important issues, leading Jon Ralston to call his appearance "arguably one of the worst, most vacuous performances" in the history of Ralston's talk show. Now, many months later, Oceguera is still refusing to say whether he'd have voted for the Affordable Care Act. Could it really be possible that his polling is telling him he's better off vacillating than taking a position one way or the other?

OH-16: Well, if you subscribe to the theory that Libertarian candidates disproportionately siphon votes from Republicans, then this development is pretty sucky Democrats. Jeffrey Blevins, who snared 7 percent of the vote in 2010 as a Libertarian candidate, and had been polling in double digits in private polling for Democratic Rep. Betty Sutton, will petition to withdraw his name from the November ballot. This leaves an incumbent-on-incumbent battle, as Sutton battles freshman Rep. Jim Renacci in a district which, on paper, leans slightly to the GOP. Democrats, however, have released multiple unanswered polls showing her in a surprisingly strong position. (Steve Singiser)

UT-04: You sort of had to figure that 2010 primary race would eventually bite him Jim Matheson in the ass. Spurred on by an unexpectedly vigorous (if penniless) challenge from the left, Matheson was forced to deliver a speech at the state party convention in which he actually admitted to being a Democrat—and went as far as praising the stimulus bill, which he voted for. Matheson escaped with a relatively narrow 55-45 win over teacher Claudia Wright at the convention and later won the primary by a wider margin, before going on to a much tighter-than-expected victory in November. But now the NRCC is all too happy to use a video clip from that 2010 address of Matheson touting his support for the stimulus in their newest attack ad.

Other Races:

CA-Init: A new poll (albeit of the online variety) from a consortium of pollsters on behalf of USC finds that, as other polls have shown, Gov. Jerry Brown's tax measure (Prop. 30) is still polling better than a competing measure sponsored by wealthy attorney Molly Munger (Prop. 38). Brown's measure led in a ballot test by a 55-36 margin, while Munger's proposal actually trails (40-48). This could be dire news for both measures, though. Since the tiebreaker for competing ballot measures is simple (the measure with the most votes is the one that is made into law), Munger has to simply do more than win—she needs to see support eroded from Brown's measure. This might inspire a bit of a scorched earth approach (which some supporters of the governor are already furious about), which could doom both measures.

The poll also included presidential numbers, which showed the president staked to a quite plausible 56-33 lead over Mitt Romney. (Steve Singiser)

MI-Init: That new Glengariff poll also included some questions on various Michigan ballot measures. They find that the effort to repeal the state's emergency manager law is failing, 53-33, a much wider margin than the 41-31 PPP recently found in favor. They also find a much bigger majority in favor of a scary new proposal that would require a two-thirds majority of the legislature for any tax increases, 68-25. The only good news is that a constitutional amendment which would guarantee collective bargaining rights is passing 55-36.

Grab Bag:

Hotline: National Journal, the Beltway publishing colossus, is temporarily lifting its paywall for The Hotline for the next two weeks, during the Republican and Democratic conventions. You're probably familiar with the free HotlineOnCall blog, but the full Hotline is a much vaster publication and is full of plenty of catnip for horserace junkies. Click the link to check it out.

NRCC: The NRCC is launching a new round of TV buys, targeting three new districts (MI-01 for a $56K buy; NY-24: $69K; UT-04: $214K) in addition to the four it's already playing in (GA-12: $85K; KY-06: $59K; PA-12: $106K; NC-07: $24K). They don't appear to have uploaded all the ads yet, though an enterprising soul posted the UT-04 spot, which you can find up above in this Digest.

Race Ratings: We just changed ratings on a dozen races (one gubernatorial, 11 House), 10 of which are in favor of Republicans and two of which favor Democrats. Click through for our writeups explaining our rationale behind each change.

State Parties: The New York Times has an interesting roundup of spending by state-level Democratic and Republican Party organizations in eight key swing states, five of which are also host to competitive Senate races. The totals are dwarfed by the sums regularly thrown around by the Obama and Romney campaigns, but in every state except for Florida, Democrats actually have the edge, often considerably so. Click through for the full data.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Elections on Mon Aug 27, 2012 at 05:00 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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