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Leading Off:

NY-01: The first of two new House polls from Siena University is very good news for Dem Rep. Tim Bishop. He holds a healthy 52-39 lead over Republican Randy Altschuler, which is almost identical to the 53-39 lead Bishop produced in an internal last month. (You know the folks down at Global Strategy Group have to be feeling pretty pleased right now.) And this is by no means a friendly sample for Bishop: Obama and Romney are tied at 47, and Republicans lead on Siena's version of the generic congressional ballot (see Q. 29) 48-47. Altschuler has an exceedingly difficult task ahead of him, not just because he'd need to persuade Bishop voters to change sides or stay home, but also because numbers like these won't make the NRCC enthusiastic about helping him out.

NY-24: The toplines of Siena's other new New York poll are less rosy for Democrats, but I still view the data overall as good news. Siena finds GOP freshman Ann Marie Buerkle tied with ex-Rep. Dan Maffei at 43 apiece, with Green Party candidate Ursula Rozum at 7. So why am I calling this tie positive? Because Obama is crushing Mitt Romney, 55-36, and Democrats also have an 11-point lead on the generic congressional ballot. Obama's lead now is actually wider than his 14-point victory in 2008, but even if you think those numbers are too gaudy, the fact still remains that the pool of uncommitted voters in the House race leans Dem. Put another way: Would you like to be a conservative Republican incumbent seeking re-election in a decidedly Obama district while sitting in the low 40s? I wouldn't.

Senate:

MI-Sen: EPIC-MRA (which was apparently Bernie Porn's second choice for naming his polling firm, after he found that Porn Research wasn't being taken seriously) is probably the most credible of the local Michigan pollsters, and their latest poll has Dem incumbent Debbie Stabenow continuing to hold Pete Hoekstra at arm's length in the state's Senate race. Stabenow leads 49-38, up from 51-44 in late August. (The presidential race is moving in a similar fashion, with Barack Obama leading 47-37, up from 49-46 last time.) (David Jarman)

NM-Sen: Local news media is reporting that the DSCC has cancelled a week's worth of ads on behalf of Democrat Martin Heinrich, following a $3 million cancellation by their Republican counterparts and a series of polls showing Heinrich in strong position to beat Heather Wilson. National Dems still reportedly have $1.8 mil in airtime reserved, but I wouldn't be surprised if they released that, too, at some point.

Ads:

FL-Sen: GOP Rep. Connie Mack contrasts his record with Dem Sen. Bill Nelson's, citing Obamacare but not, interestingly, the classic "cut $716 billion from Medicare" lie.

MA-Sen: Democrat Elizabeth Warren continues to roll out her re-tooled ad campaign, relying on surrogates to speak on behalf rather than addressing the camera herself. I really love Art Ramalho, the old boxing coach with the serious New England accent, who touts Warren here (as a fighter, of course). (You may recall that last month, boxer Micky Ward, the inspiration for the movie The Fighter, pulled his endorsement from Scott Brown after learning about Brown's views on unions and marriage equality. Ramalho's gym is where Ward trains.)

ME-Sen: A promising title for indie Angus King's newest ad: "Godzilla and The Real Angus King." It's mostly some cheesy footage from some old Godzilla flick, and Angus goofing how he's nothing like the monster his opponents want you to think he is.

MT-Sen: Whoa, nelly! AFSCME absolute shreds GOP Rep. Denny Rehberg with his own words, courtesy of a few choice clips. I'd never seen his lead-off statement before, from all the way back in '96, in which he says: "When I talk about ending Social Security as we know it, I do mean that." Whoa! That could (and probably should) serve as the basis for an entire ad, but AFSCME also throws in some clips where Rehberg fondly says he wishes he were a lobbyist.

ND-Sen: Democrat Heidi Heitkamp, standing in the very center of a soybean field, touts her independence.

NE-Sen: Republican Deb Fischer wants to repeal Obamacare and institute a balanced budget amendment.

OH-Sen: Republican Josh Mandel attacks Dem Sen. Sherrod Brown for allegedly missing votes in Congress. Brown actually has an exceptional attendance record, so it's just another lie from Mandel, the lyingest liar of the election cycle.

PA-Sen: Republican Tom Smith dings Dem Sen. Bob Casey for not getting any bills passed, then touts his own agenda ("simplify the tax code," etc.).

VA-Sen: For some reason, Democrat Tim Kaine filmed this ad touting Virginia's energy sector while riding on a helicopter.

WI-Sen: Majority PAC and SEIU use some clever visuals to hammer Republican Tommy Thompson. As the narrator intones, "If Wisconsin families were all big corporations, we could pay Tommy Thompson to cut our taxes," the camera pans across buildings that look like corporate headquarters but feature logos like "The Anders Family" and "Joe & Linda Cobb."

Gubernatorial:

FL-Gov: Must click through for photo:

A few hours after expressing a desire to meet the Fort Pierce pizza parlor owner who hugged and lifted President Obama on Sunday, Crist showed up at Van Duzer's business this afternoon and, according to Van Duzer, said "You know what I'm here for."

Van Duzer obliged by lifting Crist off the floor.

MT-Gov, MT-Sen: PPP finds something very odd in their newest Montana sample... a view of the Governor's race that doesn't have it tied! And the news is pretty good: Democratic AG Steve Bullock is up 5 points on GOP ex-Rep. Rick Hill, leading 44-39, thanks to a 41-34 edge among indies. (PPP's previous two looks at the poll were a 39-all tie in April and a 1-pt. Hill lead in last November.) Even if this turns out to be slightly Dem-friendly sample (they had Barack Obama trailing by only 5), it still finds Bullock's position no worse than a pure tossup.

They also look ahead to the 2014 Senate race, where outgoing Gov. Brian Schweitzer leads incumbent Max Baucus in a hypothetical Dem primary, 40-36. (Schweitzer has huge leads among liberals, while Baucus dominates moderates.) They perform about equally well against Generic Republican, with Schweitzer winning 50-42 and Baucus winning 48-42. Both the primary and general numbers are definite improvements for Baucus since previous polls, perhaps as his handling of health care reform in 2009 fades down the memory hole. (They also find the state's "corporations are not people" initiative passing easily, 53-24.) (David Jarman)

Ads:

NH-Gov: Both the DGA and the RGA are up with attack ads, just days after New Hampshire's gubernatorial primary. The RGA (through a vehicle called "Live Free PAC") accuses Democrat Maggie Hassan of being a tax-hiker, which just goes to show that taking the anti-tax "pledge," as Hassan did, does nothing to inoculate you. In response, the DGA (via the New Hampshire Freedom Fund) pegs Republican Ovide Lamontagne as a "lawyer lobbyist" for "big tobacco."

WA-Gov: I sure hope the DGA is saving their best attacks on Republican Rob McKenna for later, cuz this one ain't it. After a whole bunch of throat-clearing, some average Joe (who just happens to have a lot of facts at his fingertips) attacks McKenna for trying to increase his own salary and, supposedly, for trying to block an increase in the minimum wage in his capacity as attorney general. Maybe this polls well, I dunno, but I'm not super-impressed.

House:

Ads:

AZ-01: A narrator touts Democrat Ann Kirkpatrick's top agenda items (including one local issue of note, "fighting uranium mining at the Grand Canyon"), while Kirkpatrick makes a point of driving around this super-sprawling district because "she knows Arizonans want a representative they can meet face to face."

AZ-02: Republican Martha McSally goes for pure platitudes about leadership and "pioneering spirit." She does have an amazing biography as the first woman combat pilot in US military history, but that's merely flashed on screen for a few seconds in the middle, with just next, no audio.

IA-04: Democrat Christie Vilsack finally goes negative on a man who so richly deserves it, GOP Rep. Steve King. The narrator smacks King for saying that "jobless benefits create a 'nation of slackers,' " and for wanting to raise the retirement age to 74.

IL-12: Democrat Bill Enyart focuses heavily on his bio—in particular his military background, and his service in uniform for "thirty-five years," until he retired this spring with the rank of Maj. Gen. I'm guessing this is pushback against bullshit GOP ads which have tried to paint him as a "millionaire lawyer." (The ad does mention his law degree from a local school.)

IN-02: I knew I was right to be skeptical of that bogus-sounding ad Republican Jackie Walorski released about a week ago. What Walorski claimed was a "series of candid street interviews" actually involved her own staffers!

KY-06: Dem Rep. Ben Chandler goes negative on Andy Barr, calling his Medicare attacks "a pants on fire lie" (citing PolitiFact, of course) and attacking Barr in detail over what the Ryan plan would do to Medicare.

MN-08: Ah, I really dig this humorous spot from the House Majority PAC, dinging GOP Rep. Chip Cravaack with surprising firmness because he was "supposed to take Minnesota values to Washington, not the other way around." The visuals all work very well, and I'll say something I pretty much never say about an ad, but—you should click through and watch this one.

NC-07: Eric Cantor's YG Action Fund is reportedly re-upping its ad buy targeting Dem Rep. Mike McIntyre to the tune of $200K. That takes their total buy to an amazing $734K. If McIntyre can somehow weather this assault, I'll be very impressed. (McIntyre's also now running a minute-long version of that ad where the deacon touts his conservative values.)

NY-18: Hah! I like the visuals in this new ad from Democrat Sean Maloney, his first. While the narrator explains that GOP Rep. Nan Hayworth's "gone Tea Party on us—and it's not pretty," various folks try sipping cups of evidently bitter tea that cause them to pucker up and make faces of disgust.

OH-10: Democrat Sharen Neuhardt introduces herself to voters, with the narrator talking about her bio and her priorities.

PA-12: Republican Keith Rothfus pushes back against a weak DCCC claim about some supposed connection to China: "The closest Keith Rothfus has been with China is when he's ordered takeout for his family." The narrator goes on to attack Dem Rep. Mark Critz, claiming that because of his votes "jobs are being outsources." The spot doesn't even bother to flash any support for that statement in agate type.

RI-01: Fresh off winning the Democratic primary on Tuesday, Dem Rep. David Cicilline (with some help from the DCCC) is going negative on his Republican opponent, Brendan Doherty. The ad gives you a sense of just how unusual this race is—and how blue this district is—since it hits themes you almost never see in a general election. Specifically, the narrator hits Doherty for wanting to "repeal America's new healthcare law," which suggests that Obamacare in general polls pretty well in RI-01. And at the end, Cicilline says, "It's Democrats who are on your side." Given his own woes, Cicilline is the rare lawmaker whose party might be more popular than he is.

Other Races:

PA-St. Sen: PoliticsPA follows up their preview of the Pennsylvania state House from Wednesday with a preview of the state Senate, where Dems are currently down 30-20. The 5 most competitive races up in November are all GOP-held, meaning the Dems could actually tie the chamber if they manage a remarkable feat of table-running. (Note that we've already seen internals with the Dems leading in two of these races, but the following three are all stretches.) (David Jarman)

Grab Bag:

NRCC: Rather unexpectedly, GOP Rep. Pete Sessions just told Politico that he might run for a third term as chair of the National Republican Congressional Committee. This suggests he feels very confident about his party's chances for holding the House this fall (he says he's having "so much fun"), but it also complicates internal GOP politics. That's because up-and-coming Oregon Rep. Greg Walden had previously made clear that he was interested in the NRCC chairmanship—and no one seemed keen on challenging him for the post. But if Walden gets blocked from moving up the House ranks, could he do a serious 180 and run for governor or senator back in his home state? Democrats have to hope he doesn't, since he represents pretty much the entirety of the GOP bench in Oregon.

Redistricting Roundup:

OH Redistricting: Big news! The Ohio Supreme Court just struck down condensed summary language for a ballot measure which would create an independent redistricting commission for the state, saying it contains "material omissions and factual inaccuracies." That's good news for commission proponents, who were unhappy with the summary as written. (Indeed, new polling from PPP suggested that the wording depressed support for the measure.) Unfortunately, the court kicked the can back to the elections board which wrote up the description in the first place, so we could still wind up with something pretty weak (or even wind up back in court). But we're definitely in a better situation now.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Elections on Fri Sep 14, 2012 at 05:00 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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