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Leading Off:

NRSC: Looks like it's what LBJ would call "nut cuttin' time": The NRSC is starting to cancel ad time in New Mexico (where Dem Rep. Martin Heinrich remains stubbornly in the lead) and Missouri (where Todd Akin... need I say more?). Instead, they've just booked $3.1 million worth of airtime in little ol' North Dakota, which is truly a hair-on-fire move. That's a massive buy for a state that small—and one in which demographics should naturally favor them. This move may yet save them, but if the Peace Garden State is a top battleground for national Republicans, that's not a good sign for them—nor is the fact that they are apparently abandoning two other pickup opportunities, including what had very recently been their second-best bet.

Senate:

CT-Sen: The League of Conservation Voters is sending around a poll of the Connecticut Senate race they commissioned from PPP last week, perhaps as pushback against Tuesday's Quinnipiac numbers which showed Republican Linda McMahon beating Democrat Chris Murphy by three points. LCV still has Murphy on top, 48-44, though note that this poll interviewed registered voters, not likely voters. (PPP switched to LVs for its in-house polling, but for outside work, that choice is at the client's discretion.) Yet despite sticking with RVs (which tends to produce a Dem-friendlier sample), these numbers are still tighter than PPP's last CT-Sen poll from late July, which did test LVs and found Murphy up 50-42. LCV's poll also has Obama leading Romney 53-40.

IN-Sen (ad): Lt. Gov. Becky Skillman woodenly narrates this spot on behalf of fellow Republican Richard Mourdock. Skillman's funniest claim is that Mourdock will "work with Republicans and Democrats." Size of the buy: $41K on Fox News only. Weird choice of channel for touting your bipartisanship, right?

MO-Sen: Believe it if you want: Wenzel Strategies, on behalf of the Family Research Council, has Todd Akin up 45-42 over Claire McCaskill, to go along with a 44-50 favorability rating. The FRC has been one of Akin's most prominent defenders since his discourse on "legitimate rape." Meanwhile, Akin's back on the offensive, running a new ad in which he attacks McCaskill for voting for Obamacare and the stimulus.

Meanwhile, McCaskill's wisely running a new positive ad, rather than do anything to risk driving Akin's negatives up too far and thus drive him from the race altogether. The only notable detail is that she tries to distance herself from Obama, with the narrator saying she's "never afraid to stand up to anyone, including the president, on cap-and-trade, anti-business regulations, and the Keystone pipeline."

MT-Sen (ad): Dem Sen. Jon Tester says he "does what's best for Montana—always" and points to things where he's differed from most of his party, like his support for a balanced budget amendment and his efforts to delist gray wolves from the endangered species list and return management of the population to the state.

NM-Sen (ad): Martin Heinrich goes negative on GOPer Heather Wilson, attacking her for voting for the bailout and supporting tax breaks for millionaires.

VA-Sen (ad): Democrat Tim Kaine says we can fix our economy by "investing in small business and rebuilding our roads and bridges" and focusing on education.

WI-Sen (ad): Majority PAC hits Republican Tommy Thompson as an "influence peddler" who's "made millions of dollars selling his influence in Washington, DC" on behalf of big corporations.

Gubernatorial:

ND-Gov (ad): Democrat Ryan Taylor, who is running against GOP Gov. Jack Dalrymple, says in his first ad that "North Dakota's budget surplus is not what defines us. How we help those affected, and how we protect the quality of life all North Dakotans cherish will define us for generations to come."

House:

CA-07: House Majority PAC and a few allies are out with a new poll of California's 7th District, a closely-watched tossup rematch between GOP Rep. Dan Lungren and physician Ami Bera. In an initial trial heat in Garin-Hart-Yang's survey, the two deadlock at 47 apiece, while Lungren's favorability rating is just 38-36. (I'm guessing Bera's still largely unknown, despite his prior run.) The memo also includes presidential toplines: On that score, Obama is beating Romney 52-44, which is a few points ahead of his 51-46 margin over John McCain in 2008. Given California's continued blue-ward trend, I find that spread plausible.

CA-30 (ads): Two new spots from Dem Rep. Brad Sherman. One touts his work on various local issues and his opposition to the bailout; interestingly, it also mentions he was the "overwhelming choice" in the June primary (he led with 42%). The second focuses entirely on TARP, narrated by a former Reagan FDIC chair.

IL-12 (ads): Democrat Bill Enyart is out with his first ad, an introductory spot in which he mentions his service as a general in the National Guard and says "the middle class is paying more while millionaires pay less." Meanwhile, the DCCC also has an ad out here, but unlike their new spot in the neighboring 13th (see below), it doesn't seem to have gotten much attention yet. And unlike most D-Trip ads so far, it's positive, focusing largely on Enyart's time in the military (he retired just before deciding to run for Congress earlier this year).

IL-13, WI-07 (ads): The DCCC just launched two new ads, one in a district I'm not surprised to see on their early target list (WI-07), and one which is much more unexpected (IL-13). In Wisconsin, they absolutely lacerate GOP freshman Sean Duffy, using a notorious clip of him saying "I struggle to meet my bills" on his congressional salary of "just" $174,000 a year, while a very arch announcer notes he "voted against making sure our soldiers got paid" and "against increasing combat pay."

Meanwhile, in Illinois, the D-Trip dials back the clock and slams Republican Rodney Davis for his ties to notorious ex-Gov. George Ryan, currently serving a six-year sentence in federal prison for corruption. The spot flashes old news clips of Ryan and claims Davis "right in the middle of it... named on the infamous George Ryan clout list of political favors." Here's a brief summary of what exactly that "clout list" was.

NH-02 (ad): A nurse recounts Democrat Annie Kuster's bipartisan work on something called the "Medication Bridge Program" to help make prescription drugs more affordable.

NY-11: Democrat Mark Murphy has a new internal from Global Strategy Group that shows GOP Rep. Mike Grimm leading 48-36. The polling memo tries to make a big deal of the fact that Grimm is under 50, but he's awfully close. Unless some more shoes drop with regard to the criminal investigation of Grimm's extremely shady campaign finances, it doesn't seem like much of a stretch for Grimm to grab up that last 2% he needs.

Other Races:

Michigan: Good news: Michigan's Court of Appeals just ruled that a proposed amendment that would add collective bargaining rights to the state constitution must appear on the ballot this fall, overturning a decision by the state elections board that kept the measure off. However, opponents have promised to appeal to the notoriously hacktacular state supreme court, so a reversal is very possible.

TX-LG: What do sixty-something politicians do after they get upset by young upstarts as they try and fail to win higher office? They just run for re-election, of course. Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, who got his ass handed to him by Ted Cruz in the GOP Senate primary, says he "fully expect[s]" to seek another term as LG in 2014. That would make for an interesting pair of 2012 losers at the top of the ticket for Republicans if Rick Perry also runs again, as he's indicated he might.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Elections on Thu Aug 30, 2012 at 05:00 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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