• NE-Sen: Whaddya know. There's now a third recent poll showing a (very) unexpectedly close Senate race in Nebraska. The Omaha World-Herald (once again utilizing local pollster Wiese Research) finds Republican Deb Fischer edging Democrat Bob Kerrey by just a 49-46 margin—much tighter than the 56-40 spread they saw in Fischer's favor in mid-September. (New pollster Pharos had Fischer up just 48-46, and a Kerrey internal had her ahead 50-45.) Fischer tried to pre-empt the OWH news with a poll of her own (from POS), showing her ahead by a commanding 55-39 margin.
So is it possible the race is actually close? Kerrey's been hammering Fischer hard over a lawsuit her family brought against their neighbors over 104 acres of prime riverfront grazing land; the Fischers argued they were the proper owners, but a court decisively rejected those claims. Kerrey's run ads like this one, in which he says Fischer "sued her elderly neighbors to take their land," costing them $40,000 in legal fees. Fischer was sufficiently stung to run a responsive ad—one that doesn't strike me as particularly effective.
I tend to be skeptical of the notion that a single issue can transform a race, though it certainly does happen from time to time. It's also believable that Republicans have been inattentive here, figuring Fischer would win in a walk. Indeed, we were not immune to that belief, seeing as we moved this race to Safe R some time ago. But even if Kerrey's path to victory is still slim as can be, it's hard to ignore all this polling, especially the Wiese trendline, so we're switching the contest back to Likely R.
And well, well, well. Look who's showing up at the last second to bail Fischer out: That's right, Karl Rove's American Crossroads. There's no word on the size of the buy as yet, but according to The Hotline, Crossroads "is going on the air in Nebraska for the final week of the Senate campaign."
P.S. Pharos's newest poll (out on Monday) had Kerrey back just three, despite a sizable surge for Romney. See below.
• AZ-Sen: If nothing else, Rich Carmona ruined John Kyl and John McCain's weekends. Arizona's two Republican senators have cut a new ad, responding to one Carmona just released that features footage of the two praising him when he was nominated to serve as Surgeon General. Now, of course, Kyl would probably like to say his prior remarks about Carmona were "not intended to be a factual statement." A copy of the spot is not available yet, but according to Politico, here's a key part:
"Richard Carmona's latest ad is the most shameful of all—implying Jon and I support him. We don't," McCain says in the ad, appearing side by side with Kyl. "It isn't just that he supports the Obama agenda; his ads prove Carmona lacks integrity."And so all those nice things McCain and Kyl said about Carmona a decade ago—since those statements are all obviously false (according to them), doesn't that mean they lacked integrity by speaking them aloud in the first place? Sorry, guys, but you are damned either way.
Meanwhile, he Club for Growth is tossing in $320K in Arizona, and some group called American Commitment is coming in with $528K. And Now or Never PAC, which seems to be shifting gears away from IL-08, is the big kahuna with a $1 million buy. All of these purchases are aimed at stopping Carmona.
• MA-Sen (UNH): Elizabeth Warren (D): 47 (43), Scott Brown (R-inc): 47 (38). Please do not freak out about this poll. I've been telling you for years how shoddy UNH's work is. Here's a great recent example: Look at their trendlines in the NH-01 congressional race. In the last month alone, they've gone from showing Democrat Carol Shea-Porter up 9, then down 10 to GOP Rep. Frank Guinta, and now down 3. That's an absurd gyration, and it just shows you they have no quality control. But if that's not sufficient, then let me just say this: If the race really is tied at 47 apiece, how could that be good news for Scott Brown in a state as blue as Massachusetts?
• MT-Sen: Ah, here's some quality ratfucking, in a race where it absolutely makes sense. You've probably noticed in Montana Senate race polls that the presence of Libertarian candidate Dan Cox—who seems to siphon off mostly Republican votes—is what's giving Jon Tester a paper-thin edge here. It looks like the Montana Hunters and Anglers Leadership Fund—a PAC that, despite its macho-sounding name, is funded by the League of Conservation Voters, and has been active in helping Tester so far—is putting some real money behind Cox. They're spending $500K (a princely sum in inexpensive Montana) for a TV ad boosting Cox. The paranoid-sounding ad, focused on Dept. of Homeland Security surveillance of federal lands, touts Cox as the "real conservative" in the race. (David Jarman)
• FL-Sen (PPP): Bill Nelson (D-inc): 50 (45), Connie Mack (R): 42 (41); Obama 49-48 (Romney 48-47).
• FL-Sen (Rasmussen): Bill Nelson (D-inc): 49 (48), Connie Mack (R): 46 (43); Romney 50-48 (51-46).
• FL-Sen (VSS): Bill Nelson (D-inc): 49, Connie Mack (R): 44; Romney 51-46.
• HI-Sen (Ward Research): Mazie Hirono (D): 57 (58), Linda Lingle (R): 35 (39).
• IN-Sen (Pharos): Joe Donnelly (D): 47 (46), Richard Mourdock: 46 (46); Romney 55-42 (51-38).
• MO-Sen (Mason-Dixon): Claire McCaskill (D-inc): 45 (50), Todd Akin (R): 43 (41); Romney 54-41 (50-43).
• MO-Sen (Kiley for McCaskill): Claire McCaskill (D-inc): 53 (52), Todd Akin (R): 39 (38).
• MT-Sen (Pharos): Jon Tester (D-inc): 48 (48), Denny Rehberg (R): 47 (46); Romney 50-43 (47-41).
• ND-Sen (Pharos): Heidi Heitkamp (D): 50 (49), Rick Berg (R): 48 (48); Romney 55-38 (49-39).
• NE-Sen (Pharos): Bob Kerrey (D): 47 (46), Deb Fischer (R): 50 (48); Romney 58-39 (51-41).
• NM-Sen (Research & Polling): Martin Heinrich (D): 50 (48), Heather Wilson (R): 42 (39); Obama 50-41 (49-39).
• NV-Sen (Grove for PNA): Shelley Berkley (D): 43, Dean Heller (R): 44; Obama 49-43.
• OH-Sen (PPP): Sherrod Brown (D-inc): 53 (49), Josh Mandel (R): 42 (44); Obama 51-47 (49-48).
• OH-Sen (Univ. of Cincinnati): Sherrod Brown (D-inc): 51 (52), Josh Mandel (R): 47 (45); Obama-Romney 49-49 (Obama 51-46).
• OH-Sen (Pharos): Sherrod Brown (D-inc): 50 (52), Josh Mandel (R): 43 (41); Obama 49-46 (50-45).
• PA-Sen (GSG/Nat'l Research): Bob Casey (D-inc): 49 (48), Tom Smith (R): 42 (38); Obama 49-43 (50-42).
• PA-Sen (Harstad for DSCC): Bob Casey (D-inc): 52 (49), Tom Smith (R): 40 (41).
• VA-Sen (WaPo): Tim Kaine (D): 51 (51), George Allen (R): 44 (43); Obama 51-47 (52-44).
• WI-Sen (Rasmussen): Tammy Baldwin (D): 47 (46), Tommy Thompson (R): 48 (48); Obama-Romney 49-49 (Obama 50-48).
• MO-Gov (Kiley for McCaskill): Jay Nixon (D-inc): 55, Dave Spence (R): 33. Is anyone else having a hard time buying such a gaudy spread for Nixon? And am I wrong to think it calls McCaskill's own numbers (see MO-Sen item above) into question?
• MT-Gov (Pharos): Steve Bullock (D): 47 (47), Rick Hill (R): 44 (45).
• NH-Gov (PPP): Maggie Hassan (D): 48 (45), Ovide Lamontagne (R): 44 (43); Obama 49-47 (Romney 49-48).
• NH-Gov (Rasmussen): Maggie Hassan (D): 46 (46), Ovide Lamontagne (R): 48 (48); Romney 50-48 (50-49).
• AZ-02: Ah, I'm guessing Republican Martha McSally probably shouldn't have said this:
"I resemble Gabby Giffords more than the man who worked for her, although I am grateful for his service."Giffords' husband, Mark Kelly, reacted with exactly the kind of furor you'd expect, sending an email to Rep. Ron Barber's list of supporters titled "I cannot believe this." McSally, defensive, responded that Barber "is so desperate that Martha can't even compliment Gabby Giffords for her leadership without being viciously attacked." Right, that's all you were doing—complimenting Gabby Giffords.
• CA-30: The Dem-on-Dem battle in the solidly-blue 30th may well pivot on who can do a better job of appealing to the district's few Republicans, who may provide the decisive vote here. Howard Berman—who brought fewer of his constituents to the battle with him than Brad Sherman, and has been at a disadvantage in all the polls so far—has been working that angle for quite a while now, touting endorsements from various California House GOPers. But now Sherman is getting in on the act in a big way, sending around a mailer saying "If you love these politicians, then vote for Howard Berman," and placing Bermans's head alongside those of liberal bogeymen Nancy Pelosi, Maxine Waters, and Barney Frank, all of whom have endorsed Berman. The story doesn't mention whether the mailer is going out to the whole San Fernando Valley, or just targeted to Republican households. (David Jarman)
• CA-36: GOP Rep. Mary Bono Mack continues to feel the heat over her poor relations with the Indian tribes in her district. The Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians (which hasn't made an endorsement in the race) fired back with their second statement in 10 days, after Bono Mack accused them of having been "pushed by the Democrats" into issuing a first statement in support of Democrat Raul Ruiz in the wake of her attacks on him. Said the tribe:
"The Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians has always worked hard to maintain a solid, positive relationship with Representative Mary Bono Mack, because we felt that such a relationship was not only important for members of the tribe, but for the entire community.Mack also seems to have issues with, well, women, too:
"Until recently, we thought that respect was mutual. That is why it was all the more troubling that through her words and the actions of her campaign, she chose to disrespect the Native American community in her attacks against Raul Ruiz.
"Instead of apologizing for her insensitive comments and unacceptable campaign behavior, as we hoped she would, Congresswoman Bono Mack is claiming that our concerns are politically motivated."
Let me bring up one example: the Lilly Ledbetter Act, you're going to hear this a lot again, especially in the next presidential debate. Is anyone a small business owner? Lilly Ledbetter Act—equal pay for equal work. Protecting our right to the 1964 and 1965 Civil Rights Act. What this act does is that it allows people to go back 20 years to sue their employer if they realized that they did not earn equal pay for equal work.• FL-18: The House Majority PAC is upping its FL-18 buy on behalf of Democrat Patrick Murphy by $400K, bringing their total outlay to $1.9 million. They have two new ads targeting GOP Rep. Allen West, both of which are available at the link.
I tell these small business owners, how would you like to defend a lawsuit from 20 years ago, and defend yourself against an allegation, whether right or wrong? This means that you are going to have to settle out of court because you can't afford to go all the way with these people. The War on Women is rhetoric, it is completely driven by rhetoric, and this is a perfect example. The War on Women is BS, don't buy it. Help us fight the fight.
• Illinois: We Ask America (polling arm of the conservative Illinois Manufacturers' Association) has one more batch of polls of all the competitive House races in Illinois. I doubt you put much stock in them to begin with, but now they've taken the strange step of not allowing anyone to declare themselves 'undecided,' so head-to-heads add up to 100%. At any rate, we've now got Tammy Duckworth (D) leading Joe Walsh (R) 55-45 in the 8th; Bob Dold (R) leading Brad Schneider (R) 54-46 in the 10th; a 50-50 tie between Bill Foster (D) and Judy Biggert (R) in the 11th; Bill Enyart (D) leading Jason Plummer (R) and a Green candidate 51-46-4 in the 12th; Rodney Davis (R) leading David Gill (D) and an indie 50-45-4 in the 13th; and Bobby Schilling (R) leading Cheri Bustos (D) 52-48 in the 17th. (David Jarman)
• MD-06: This is unexpected, as somewhere in late summer, Roscoe Bartlett overtook Joe Walsh as the uniform consensus most-likely-House-Republican-incumbent-to-lose. The Baltimore Sun polled the district via OpinionWorks and found the rust-covered Bartlett still losing, but only by one point (42-41) to Dem John Delaney. Did something happen to tighten up this race, or has it always been close, and just not polled frequently enough for us to know that? Or... third option... maybe it's just a screwy sample: the presidential toplines find Mitt Romney leading Barack Obama 45-42 in this district specifically reconfigured be Dem-leaning, which Obama won 56-42 in 2008.
And speaking of rust-covered, here's a new gem from Roscoe:
"This isn't the politically correct thing to say, but when we drove the mother out of the home into the workplace and replaced her with the television set, that was not a good thing."(David Jarman & David Nir)
• NE-02: Wiese Research's poll of Nebraska's 2nd Congressional District finds GOP Rep. Lee Terry slipping badly in this under-the-radar race, clinging to a 47-43 lead over Democrat John Ewing. That's considerably tighter than the 52-39 spread they saw a month ago, and it confirms a recent DCCC internal robopoll that put Terry up just 48-44. Interestingly, Ewing's gains come as Obama's fortunes have started to fade in NE-02: The Omaha World-Herald also tested the presidential race, finding Romney ahead 49-44, up from a 44-44 tie in September. Ewing will very likely need some last-minute outside help to pull off the upset, but after spending almost $2 million, Terry only had a $206K to $115K cash advantage as of Oct. 17.
And, right like that, on Monday afternoon, the House Majority PAC announced it was jumping in on Ewing's behalf—albeit with a small $30K buy. Their spot is a pretty generic compare-and-contrast between Ewing and Terry.
• RI-01: This might explain why the NRCC and DCCC piled back into the race in Rhode Island's 1st district, which had seemed to be winding down after Dem incumbent David Cicilline showed some substantial leads in a string of DCCC polls: GOP opponent Brendan Doherty is claiming the lead in an internal from OnMessage, 45-39 (with 6 for indie David Vogel). Here's the reality check, though: Barack Obama leads Mitt Romney 55-34 in the district. That sounds like a lot, right? (Roll Call's Joshua Miller even said it "underscores the district's Democratic leanings.") Well, this district, as reconfigured for 2012, went 67-32 for Obama, so we're actually looking at a pretty GOP-friendly sample here. (David Jarman)
• TN-04: Why am I not surprised that GOP Rep. Scott DesJarlais is a serial violator of the medical ethics he vowed to uphold?
On the heels of a sex scandal involving a female patient, another woman has acknowledged having a sexual relationship with physician and U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais while she was under his medical care.Absurdly, DesJarlais (who, as you know, once exhorted another mistress/patient to have an abortion) is trying to claim that this "is not a credible story," but the Chattanooga Times Free Press says that court records from DesJarlais's divorce "confirm that the woman and DesJarlais had an affair." (The paper acknowledges, though, that the stuff about ganja and pain pills "could not be independently verified.") Seriously, if Democrats are to have any chance of pulling off a heroic upset in this seat, someone needs to make a major cash infusion on Eric Stewart's behalf posthaste.
The second woman described DesJarlais as "the nicest guy" and said he cooked dinner for her at their first get-together in 2000.
But she also said they smoked marijuana during their relationship and remembered DesJarlais prescribing her pain medication on dates at his home.
"His biggest thing that's completely unethical is him just picking up women while he's a doctor," the woman said in an interview last week. "I mean, seriously, that's his big no-no. ... He's just a hound."
And there we go: On Monday morning, House Majority PAC came out with a new ad slamming DesJarlais over his ethical transgressions, which they say is "part of a $180,000 buy" that brings their total outlay in this race to $280,000. The spot doesn't mention this latest revelation, though, which just broke over the weekend.
I'll also bet DesJarlais didn't think he'd have to be releasing internal polls at this point in the race, but he did manage to scrape one up to try and counter the sense that this has turned into a serious contest. He's out with an internal from Republican pollster POS, which gives him a 49-36 lead over Stewart. The polling dates were Oct. 22-23, so that's after the initial round of mistress allegations surfaced. (This is in response to a recent Stewart poll that had him down only 49-44.) (David Nir & David Jarman)
• MN-08 (PPP for CREDO): Rick Nolan (D): 48, Chip Cravaack (R-inc): 44.
• MN-08 (OnMessage for Cravaack): Rick Nolan (D): 40, Chip Cravaack (R-inc): 50. Romney is up 50-44, in a district Obama won 53-45. That would be a 14-point drop for the POTUS.
• MT-AL (Pharos): Steve Daines (R): 52 (47), Kim Gillan (D): 45 (41).
• ND-AL (Pharos): Pam Gulleson (D): 55, Kevin Cramer (R): 41.
• NY-19 (POS for Gibson): Julian Schreibman (D): 39 (39), Chris Gibson (R-inc): 49 (50). No presidential toplines are provided. Siena College will have a new poll of this race on Tuesday.
• MD Ballot: A Baltimore Sun poll, taken by OpinionWorks, finds that Maryland's presidential and Senate campaigns are the furthest thing from competitive (Barack Obama leads Mitt Romney 55-36, and Dem Sen. Ben Cardin leads Dan Bongino and independent Rob Sobhani 50-24-14).
The real meat in Maryland is in the ballot measures, starting with their same-sex marriage proposal, which the Sun finds is now failing 47-46. That's quite the reversal from their previous poll last month, where it was passing 49-39; they attribute that to a new influx in advertising from the Maryland Marriage Alliance, targeted toward African-American voters (who in this poll oppose same-sex marriage 50-42). However, the poll finds the state's congressional redistricting map poised to survive the challenge to it, 36-33, albeit with a lot of undecideds. The state-level DREAM Act is also passing, 47-45. (David Jarman)
• PA-St. Sen: Another Dem internal poll of a state Senate race in Pennsylvania shows the Dems on track to pick up another seat in that body, this time in SD-37, a GOP-held open seat in Pittsburgh's southern suburbs. 39th St. Strategies finds Dem state Rep. Matt Smith leading D. Raja 53-40. Factor in SD-49, where the Dem is posting even bigger leads, and that's a two-seat pickup, though short of the five Dems would need to tie the chamber. (David Jarman)
• San Diego Mayor: Some more support for the idea that the San Diego mayoral race has tightened in the closing weeks comes from Probolsky Research, on behalf of someone called SD Metro: They find the race a 41-41 tie between Dem Rep. Bob Filner and Republican city councilor Carl DeMaio. (Bear in mind, though, that Probolsky is a firm that does work for Republican candidates, including the odd Gary DeLong polling fiasco from this summer.) (David Jarman)
• Contests: We'll be running our own election prediction contest here at DKE (stay tuned!), but our friends at Anzalone Liszt are conduct their own contest as well. They're offering a pretty hefty cash prize ($1,000!) to the winner, so click through and make your best guesses!
• DCCC, NRCC: The D-Trip filed a $7.5 million IE report on Monday, but this time, Greg Giroux has done us all a wonderful favor and organized the entire buy into a helpful race-by-race chart. Note that a few days earlier, the DCCC also reported a separate $1.3 million in expenditures. The NRCC, meanwhile, has $6.6 million in new buys, all available at the link above.
• DSCC, NRSC: Senate Dems outraised Republicans during the pre-general reporting period (Oct. 1-17), just like their House counterparts did. The DSCC pulled in $7.3 million compared with $6 mil for the NRSC.
• Polltopia: It's the obligatory biannual takedown of Rasmussen Reports by professor Alan Abramowitz! His analysis of Rasmussen's state-level polling finds them putting out results that are three points more Republican than the overall average, ranging from +1 in Nevada to +5 in Colorado. (David Jarman)