• IL-11: Hey, gay groups supporting GOP Rep. Judy Biggert: Maybe you'd like to get a clue, because this is who you're backing. From Wednesday night's debate with Democrat Bill Foster:
Biggert, who has long campaigned as a social moderate and fiscal conservative, said she has supported civil unions, but as a lawyer, she was concerned about the impact of same-sex marriage on such things as estate law and said it was "a matter for the state."Her remarks at a post-debate press conference were even more appalling (about 2 minutes into the video):
"Well, I think that, I think that the country is close to this. And, and I think—but there, you know—I think—let's wait and see what the courts have to say. But it is a state issue—you know, we don't have polygamy and bigamy and all of these things in, in the federal government. It's the states that take care of that."So just to be absolutely clear: Biggert says she is "close to reaching for gay marriages" but is afraid of how such marriages would affect estate law—even though, of course, it's the lack of same-sex marriage laws which prove so vexing in estate matters. She also wants to see "what the courts have to say" rather than take a stand herself. And oh yeah, she compared gay marriage to polygamy and bigamy. Some "moderate" she is. At least Foster's response was hilarious:
Foster, a former congressman who opposed same-sex marriage two years ago in one newspaper questionnaire, said he supported "marriage equality" and was "not ambiguous" on the issue.
"She has not yet evolved. So, she's crawling out of the swamp or something," said Foster, a scientist, after the debate. Asked if he, too, had evolved on the issue, Foster replied, "I'm all dry, fluffed off and happy to be a hominid."
• AZ-Sen (Rasmussen): Rich Carmona (D): 44 (41), Jeff Flake (R): 50 (47).
• CT-Sen (Gotham Research for Murphy): Chris Murphy (D): 47, Linda McMahon (R): 41.
• CT-Sen: It looks like outside Democratic groups will be staying on the air through election day in Connecticut, with the DSCC spending $1.1 million for the final two weeks and Majority PAC chipping in $900K. That would be $6.5 million in total Nutmeg State outlays between the two groups—an unfortunate but understandable expense, given Republican Linda McMahon's bottomless personal wealth.
Speaking of McMahon, this is hilarious—I love the lede:
Only Donald Trump can seemingly turn an act of charity into the plague.• IN-Sen: Poor Richard Mourdock. He's spent his whole life living in a bubble, never realizing how ugly his own beliefs are, and now he's finally been exposed to reality:
The single largest contributor to the Donald J. Trump Foundation—as listed on 990 forms filed with the Internal Revenue Service—is denying it gave $5 million to the coiffed one.
World Wrestling Entertainment, which now just goes by the WWE, distanced itself Wednesday from Trump, amid The Donald's promise to pay $5 million to the charity of President Obama's choice if the commander-in-chief releases all of his college and passport records.
An emotional Richard Mourdock told fellow Republicans here that this "has been one of the toughest days of my life" as the GOP Senate candidate acknowledged creating "quite a firestorm" from his controversial comments on rape and abortion.Amusingly, John McCain's managed to blunder his way around this whole mess, too. McCain recently campaigned with Mourdock and was then asked by CNN's Anderson Cooper on Wednesday whether he still planned to continue supporting him. Said McCain:
"Today has not been a fun day," a teary-eyed Mourdock told a private dinner meeting of the Hamilton County Republican Party. "Professionally, emotionally, it's been one of the toughest days of my life quite frankly."
"What I said last night I didn't mean obviously to be mistaken but it became a news story," he told the crowd. "For whatever reason, it seemed to further identify me in the public's mind. And if that's the way it is, that's the way it is."
I think it depends on what he does. If he apologizes and says he misspoke and he was wrong and he asks the people to forgive him, then obviously I'd be the first.Mourdock had, though, already "apologized" (even if it was a classic no-pology) earlier that day, which forced a McCain spokesman to issue a new statement on Thursday morning saying that McCain is indeed still backing Mourdock.
But oh, you dumb fucker:
Also asked if campaign gained votes after the abortion comment, Mourdock replied: "I know we did."And here we go: The DSCC just launched a new anti-Mourdock ad that of course features his "God intended that to happen" remarks. The narrator then says that "Even Mitt Romney and Mike Pence believe Richard Mourdock goes too far."
• NV-Sen (Rasmussen): Shelley Berkley (D): 45 (43), Dean Heller (R-inc): 50 (50).
• OH-Sen: After initially refusing to comment on Richard Mourdock's instantly-infamous rape remarks—even though Dave Catanese read them aloud to him—Republican Josh Mandel has now pulled a real winner out of his hat:
INGRAHAM: What's your take on that whole deal yesterday?• WI-Sen (Mason-Dixon): Tammy Baldwin (D): 47, Tommy Thompson (R): 45; Obama 48-46. Note: This poll is a week old (in the field 10/15-17), but only went up on RCP earlier this week.
MANDEL: [Some boring crap about Sen. Jim DeMint] I've gotten to know Richard because we're both state treasurers. We're treasurers in states next to each other. He's a gentleman. He's a class act. He's a thoughtful guy. He'll make a great United States senator. Yesterday he apologized for his comments and I think he was right in apologizing for them. I disagree with the comments he made, and I think he did the right thing by apologizing.
But listen. The liberal media will do everything they can to twist and turn things that conservatives say. And you know, I think Richard is a man who would make a terrific United States Senator.
• WI-Sen: In the previous digest, I said I thought Tommy Thompson would regret opening up the door on 9/11 with his grotesque ad attacking Democrat Tammy Baldwin. Now I know he is. The IAFF and the Professional Fire Fighters of Wisconsin are now out with a spot of their own just hammering the Republican. "Tommy Thompson is using 9/11 for his political gain," says the narrator. "As firefighters, we have to ask: Have you no sense of decency, sir?" Damn.
• IN-Gov: Democrat John Gregg has a new internal from Benenson showing his gap with Republican Mike Pence tightening by four points... but the bad news is that he's still down 46-40 with less than two weeks to go. In September, Gregg's previously unreleased internals had him trailing 50-40 (and 53-35 in July), but it's pretty hard to feel like there's any reason for optimism here.
• MT-Gov: A state judge in Montana has temporarily ordered Republican Rick Hill to stop spending a questionable $500,000 campaign donation and to cancel any ad buys that were paid for with this money. So what's the backstory here? How the heck could Hill land such an enormous contribution? The Missoulian explains:
[Democrat Steve] Bullock has argued that the $500,000 donation received by Hill's campaign illegally exceeds the $22,600 maximum aggregate limit that a political party can give to a candidate for governor.We mentioned that weird six-day gap in an earlier digest—and evidently, Hill was eager to exploit it, with the Montana Republican Party plowing that half a mil directly into his coffers. (Why couldn't the MT GOP just spend it themselves? They could, but Hill, as a candidate, is entitled to cheaper ad rates.) As I noted, this is not a permanent injunction, but the judge won't hear oral arguments until Monday, scarcely a week before election day. So even if Hill gets a favorable final ruling, he'll have limited time to make use of all that extra cash. And either way, he's taken a bad p.r. hit, since the ongoing abrogation of Montana's strict campaign finance laws doesn't tend to play well in a state that, until very recently, could proudly point to its efforts to keep money out of politics.
Hill disagreed. He said he legally received the donation Oct. 4 during a six-day window when state contribution limits, including the aggregate one, were struck down by a federal judge and before they were reinstated by an appeals court.
But Bullock's lawyer contended that the $22,600 aggregate limit for party donations applies for the entire campaign.
• NC-Gov (PDF): No doubt your attention, concerning the new PPP poll of North Carolina, is on the presidential numbers, which find a 48-48 tie in the supposedly-locked-down state, with a 57-42 Barack Obama lead among those who've already voted. Nevertheless, it's a full pollapalooza of the statewide offices, too. The top slot is bad news, though no surprise: GOPer Pat McCrory leads Dem Walter Dalton 50-37, though Dalton leads 49-44 among those who've already voted.
Better news for the Dems is that their incumbents are winning all the tested Council of State races, including SoS Elaine Marshall (up 43-38), Sup't of Public Instruction June Atkinson (42-40), Insurance Comm. Wayne Goodwin (45-36), and Auditor Beth Wood (45-38). (GOP incumbent Labor Comm. Cherie Berry is also winning her race; oddly, the open seat Lt. Governor's race doesn't seem to have been polled.) The Dems also lead the generic legislative ballot 46-42. (David Jarman)
• CA-10: You know how they say in politics, when you're explaining, you're losing? Well, I think when you're suing, you're losing, too. Republican Rep. Jeff Denham is howling about a new DCCC ad that claims: "With a government shutdown looming in Washington, Denham voted against a measure to guarantee our troops would still receive their pay." Denham's threatening to sue the D-Trip to get them to stop airing the ad—but that just means that local television stations are ignoring his requests to do so. (Or, weirdly, he's just trying to make a fuss in the press without even bothering to issue takedown demands.) Not a winning move, either way.
• CA-31: It sure must sting to be Bob Dutton: The former Republican state Senate minority leader is now the target of mailers sent out by his very own state party, blasting him as "big spender" in an effort to boost the fortunes of fellow Republican Rep. Gary Miller. (Thanks to CA's top-two primary, the race in the 31st is an all-GOP affair.) What makes the whole thing so priceless is that Dutton had raised tons of money for the state GOP over the years. But even better: Why the hell are Cali Republicans wasting their very limited resources on an R-vs.-R affair? We should be glad that they aren't spending on a competitive contest.
• CT-05: We have dueling internals in Connecticut's 5th. Republican Andrew Roraback went first, saying that National Research has him up 45-39 over Elizabeth Esty. In early September, the margin was similar, 42-35. Esty responded with numbers from Garin-Hart-Yang that instead had her on top, 46-42. Both surveys also showed very different numbers in the presidential race: Roraback sees it tied at 46, while Esty has a 53-42 edge for Obama. I feel like the truth is somewhere in between, seeing as the president won here 56-42 in 2008 but has definitely seen his fortunes slip statewide this year.
• MA-06: Does Dem Rep. John Tierney still have a shot? Even though he apparently went dark a couple of weeks ago, and even though his campaign never responded to a devastating internal poll for Republican Richard Tisei that had him trailing by 17, the House Majority PAC is out with a new ad running on Boston TV that's "part of a $320,000 buy" on Tierney's behalf.
• MI-11: I'm not sure quite what to make of pollster FMW/B—their latest presidential poll in Michigan, for instance, has the race tied at 47 apiece, which sounds basically impossible. But here they are with the first survey of the bizarre vacant-seat race in MI-11, finding Republican Kerry Bentivolio up 47-39 over Democrat Syed Taj. The survey contains a lot of things I wouldn't include in a normal public poll (like negative message tests!), and even asks about ex-Rep. Thad McCotter's "petition signature scandal" before getting to the horserace question, so I'm not sold on any of this. Oh, and there are no presidential toplines... but I wouldn't be inclined to trust those anyway.
• NV-03: SurveyUSA, on behalf of the Las Vegas Review-Journal and 8NewsNow, finds GOP Rep. Joe Heck leading Democrat John Oceguera 50-40, their first poll of the race. There are no presidential toplines, but here's a big red flag: Hispanics are supporting Heck by a 53-36 margin. They only make up 10% of respondents, so this sub-sample is very small (~50), but this is a problem SUSA's had in prior Nevada polling.
• AK-St. Sen: One of the most interesting, but easily forgotten, state legislatures is in Alaska, where the state Senate for a number of years has been controlled by a coalition of Democrats and pro-public-works establishment Republicans, with a handful of libertarian and social con-type GOPers deep in the minority. That may change this year, as there's a lot of outside money flowing into Senate races this year, as groups like Alaska Family Action try to take out four of the Senate's Democrats
It's not clear, however, how that would break the coalition entirely—out of the 20 seats in the Senate, 16 are currently held by coalition members—but it's a start, especially since one of the GOP coalition members, Linda Menard, who represents Wasilla, was defeated by a right-winger in the primary. While they're using social issues as a wedge, this may come down to (as do all things in Alaska) oil, as the right wing is looking for more votes to back up Gov. Sean Parnell's planned oil tax cuts. (David Jarman)
• PA-St. Sen: The easiest pickup for Dems in the Pennsylvania State Senate is looking like a done deal, at this point; in an internal poll from 39th St. Strategies, Democratic candidate Sean Wiley is claiming a 19-point lead, 57-38, over GOPer Janet Anderson in this GOP-held open seat in Erie that leans blue at the presidential level. For the Dems to draw even in the Senate, though, would require four more pickups, which would mean running the table on every race that's even remotely competitive. (David Jarman)
• AAN/CLF: The two-headed cyborg known as the American Action Network and the Congressional Leadership Fund are unleashing another $4.5 million in TV advertising spread across 13 districts. The Fix has the full list (as well as the breakdowns for each buy) at the link.
• DCCC: You're going to want to tear through this: It's the DCCC's latest independent expenditure report, detailing $9.4 million in spending across a ton of races. Meanwhile, I wouldn't try looking for any tea leaves in this move—it's really just standard operating procedure. The Washington Post reports that the DCCC just borrowed $17 million to support its efforts in the final stretch run—a move the committee has made pretty much every cycle for many years. So given how common such loans are, I don't think you can say that this signals either optimism or desperation. If anything, I suspect that this borrowing was planned long ago as part of the D-Trip's expected 2012 budget.
• NRSC: And finally, here's the NRSC with its own hefty $4.5 million report.
• Polltopia: Poll respondents are not representative of voters in general, at least prior to the final weeks of the election, so we haven't really been able to tell who the general electorate wanted to vote for. (Historically, polling in the final weeks has been fairly accurate, though.) Instead, the polls have been tracking how much partisan voters want to answer polls. All we know for sure is that the race is fairly close, and always has been. And that's why dreaminonempty thinks there was probably no debate bounce, and no convention bounce, either—at least, not in the way those terms are traditionally used. Click through to see what he means, and the evidence he's using to buttress this theory.
• MN-Sen: C-SPAN's Howard Mortman reminds us that Thursday was the tenth anniversary (or what Jews would call the yahrtzeit) of Paul Wellstone's tragic death in an airplane crash just weeks before the 2002 elections. Sen. Al Franken, who now occupies the same seat Wellstone once held and was a great friend of the deceased, also has an especially moving memoriam to the late senator.