POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 10/19

Walker Leads Barrett for Wisconsin Governor

A new Wisconsin Public Radio poll shows Scott Walker (R) with a 9-point lead over Tom Barrett (D) in the race for governor, 50% to 41%.

Whitey No More

Chicago election officials say crews will work overtime to reprogram thousands of electronic voting machines that mistakenly list a gubernatorial candidate’s name as “Rich Whitey” instead of Rich Whitney, the Chicago Tribune reports.

The mistake in the Green Party candidate’s name was found last week.

Rubio, Sink Maintain Leads in Florida

A new Suffolk University poll in Florida shows Marco Rubio (R) leading Gov. Charlie Crist (I) in the U.S. Senate race, 39% to 31%, followed by Rep. Kendrick Meek at 22%.

In the race for governor, Alex Sink (D) leads Rick Scott (R), 45% to 38%.

Said pollster David Paleologos: “Florida may be deploying one party to Washington and another party to Tallahassee. Rubio’s biggest ally in the U.S. Senate race is his Democratic opponent who is preventing Independent Crist from overtaking Rubio. In the governor’s race Sink’s biggest ally is her opponent’s negative ads against her. They are turning voters off and turning voters away from Scott.”

 

Republicans Maintain Big Lead in Generic Ballot

The latest Gallup tracking poll finds Republicans lead by five points among registered voters and by either 11 or 17 points among likely voters, depending on turnout.

Interesting: “Gallup polling from the prior four midterm elections shows that significant movement can, but does not always, occur in the final month before Election Day. This was most pronounced in 2006, when the Democrats’ 23-point early October leads among both registered and likely voters dwindled to 11-point and 7-point leads, respectively, by the final pre-election week.”

Most Awkward C-SPAN Panel Ever?

Alex Pareene: “Normally, one would not expect great entertainment from a panel discussion, aired on C-SPAN2, made up of contributors to a new Jonah Goldberg-edited collection of essays by young conservative writers. But great entertainment is just what Book TV’s six viewers got when panelist Todd Seavey leveled bizarre accusations against — and unloaded years worth of simmering resentment on — his co-panelist and ex-girlfriend Helen Rittelmeyer.”

See more…

Reid’s Ambition

The New Yorker has a fascinating profile of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) noting he doesn’t have great oratorical skills, lacks retail political skills, and is prone to making “crassly impolitic remarks.”

“It is a mistake, though, to regard Reid as ineffectual. He is obsessive in his work habits. Everybody in Nevada politics has a story about the brusque telephone calls he makes at all hours. He’ll check in as often as several times a day, for five minutes, two minutes, thirty seconds. You’ll be saying something and it will dawn on you that he has hung up without saying goodbye. Once, Reid recruited a candidate to run for an important state office, and during a phone call she complained about fund-raising difficulties: click. Reid doesn’t like whiners. He found another candidate.”

Missouri Senate Race Tightens

A new Public Policy Polling survey in Missouri finds Robin Carnahan (D) pulling within five points of Roy Blunt (R) and now trails 46% to 41%.

In August, a similar poll showed Carnhan trailing by seven points.

The difference? “As is happening across the country Democratic voters are getting more interested in this year’s election as the big day comes closer. In August only 33% of those describing themselves as likely to vote in November were Democrats, while 38% were Republicans. Now the likely voter pool is composed of 36% Democrats and 35% Republicans.”

Update: This poll was paid for by Carnahan.

Murray Clings to Narrow Lead in Washington

A new Rasmussen survey has Sen. Patty Murray (D) leading Dino Rossi (R) by three points, 49% to 46%, among likely voters in Washington’s U.S. Senate race.

The last Rasmussen poll showed Rossi leading by three points.

When Rivals Annoy

Note to candidates: No matter how annoying your opponent may be, don’t slap them.

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Still a Close Race in Nevada

A new Rasmussen survey in Nevada — the first since their debate last week — shows Sharron Angle (R) edging Sen. Harry Reid (D) in the U.S. Senate race, 50% to 47%.

In seven of eight surveys prior to this one since July, Reid and Angle have been three points apart or less. Both have hit the 50% mark one time.

Not Christian Enough

Jonathan Chait thinks Kentucky U.S. Senate candidate Jack Conway (D) may now be running the “ugliest, most illiberal political ad of the year.”

See more…

Bonus Quote of the Day

“So that’s what we want is a secure and sovereign nation and, you know, I don’t know that all of you are Latino. Some of you look a little more Asian to me. I don’t know that.”

— Nevada U.S. Senate candidate Sharron Angle (R), quoted by the Las Vegas Sun, speaking to the Hispanic Student Union at Rancho High School.

Oklahoma Gets Redder

The Oklahoma Election Board says Republicans “have seen a net increase of 28,599 registered voters since Jan. 15, compared to a net increase of 313 for Democrats,” Tulsa World reports.

Election Underway in Nearly Half the Country

CNN notes early voting gets underway today in Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, North Dakota, Texas, and the District of Columbia. That brings to 23 states where early or state-wide absentee voting is underway in the November 2 midterm elections.

Time to Manage Expectations

Mark Halperin: “In the past week, there’s been a subtle but perceptible change in the relative way the two parties are playing the expectations game. Republicans, cautiously hopeful for months, are now flexing muscle and making taunts: We have the issues, the money, the momentum, and there’s nothing the impotent President can do about it. The GOP’s strategy is unlikely to change: From now to Election Day — from Fox News to Rush Limbaugh to the party’s elected leaders and shogun surrogates like Sarah Palin — expect exultant chest-thumping. You can’t stop us now.”

“Democrats face a more complicated situation. Ever since White House press secretary Robert Gibbs created an intraparty uproar in July by speculating that Democrats theoretically could lose majority control of the House of Representatives, the party has had trouble finding the balance between brash conviction (which might seem deluded now and foolish on Nov. 3) and wistful realism, leavened by some can-do optimism, in order to get dispirited Democrats engaged to vote.”

Two Weeks to Go

First Read: “With two weeks to go, you get the sense that both Democrats (at least the White House) and Republicans want to get this election over with — right now. For Democrats, President Obama was hoarse while campaigning in Ohio last night, and you can bet Dems want to end this midterm storyline ASAP and simply move on to the ‘how will Republicans govern?’ narrative that they believe they’ll win and the ‘what’s the White House going to do now?’ story. On the other hand, Republicans probably wish Election Day was today, because they’re unsure if some of their candidates — Joe Miller (whose security guards detained an Alaska reporter), Ken Buck (who compared homosexuality with alcoholism on Meet the Press), Rand Paul (who refused to shake opponent Jack Conway’s hand after Conway question his religion), and Florida House candidate Allen West (who NBC’s Lisa Myers reported has ties to an outlaw motorcycle gang, which West denies) — can survive another two weeks. Both sides are biting their fingernails right now…”

Big Money Scandal Inevitable

Al Hunt has a prediction: “The U.S. is due for a huge scandal involving big money, bribery and politicians. Not the small fry that dominates the ethics fights in Washington; really big stuff; think Watergate.”

“It is axiomatic in politics that without accountability there is abuse. This year, there is a massive infusion of special-interest money into U.S. politics that is secret, not reported. Corporations and other interests will spend more than $250 million of undisclosed funds to affect the outcome of the Nov. 2 national elections.”

Quote of the Day

“As the attorney general of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, I’m always amused to get a lecture on constitutional law from a self-certified ophthalmologist.”

— Kentucky U.S. Senate candidate Jack Conway (D), quoted by the Cincinnati Enquirer, in a debate with rival Rand Paul (R).

Miller Guards Handcuffed Journalist

Security guards for Alaska U.S. Senate candidate Joe Miller (R) handcuffed and detained the editor of the Alaska Dispatch at a campaign event in Anchorage, theAnchorage Daily News reports.

Tony Hopfinger was handcuffed by the guards and detained in a hallway at a school until Anchorage police came and told the guards to release him.

Miller’s statement: “While I’ve gotten used to the blog Alaska Dispatch’s assault on me and my family, I never thought that it would lead to a physical assault. It’s too bad that this blogger would take advantage of a Town Hall meeting to create a publicity stunt just two weeks before the election.”

Will the Senate Flip?

“Since 1930, party control of the House has flipped seven times. And each time, Senate control has also switched,” Chris Cillizza observes.

“The reason is simple: Wave elections are, well, wave-y. If the voting public wants to send a message to the majority party, it tends to send it across the board, not just in a single chamber.”

Republicans need to turn 10 Democratic seats to take control and the Wall Street Journal notes the GOP “clearly leads in Arkansas, North Dakota, Indiana, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. That’s five.”

“Republicans would have to find the other five among these eight states: Illinois, Colorado, Nevada, Connecticut, California, Washington, Delaware and West Virginia.”

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