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Midterm Roundup: Joni Ernst’s Flip-Flop-Flip

Here are some interesting stories on the midterm campaigns that you may have missed on Thursday, October 16:

• As other Republican candidates try to distance themselves as far as possible from their past support for fetal personhood bills, Iowa Senate candidate Joni Ernst is making the opposite play. On Wednesday, she told the Sioux City Journal editorial board that “I will continue to stand by” a pledge to support a personhood bill if she is elected to the Senate. As MSNBC’s Steve Benen points out, this amounts to a flip-flop-flip on the issue (although Benen suspects that Ernst may not fully understand the controversial policy). Ernst continues to lead Democrat Bruce Braley by 2 percent in the Real Clear Politics poll average.

• Colorado Senate candidate Cory Gardner is also struggling with his past support for personhood. Democratic incumbent Mark Udall’s campaign has been circulating this brutal clip from the candidates’ last debate, in which the moderator tells the Republican congressman that “a charitable interpretation would be that you have a difficult time admitting when you’re wrong, and a less charitable interpretation would be that you’re not telling us the truth.” Still, polls continue to show Gardner building on his narrow lead, and he now holds a 3 percent advantage in the poll average.

• Another poll suggests that Democrats have a real chance in Georgia’s tight gubernatorial and senatorial elections. The new survey from WRBL finds Republican governor Nathan Deal tied with Democratic challenger Jason Carter at 44 percent. In the Senate contest, Democrat Michelle Nunn leads Republican David Perdue 46 to 45 percent, within the poll’s margin of error. Deal and Perdue’s leads in the poll average are down to 2 percent and 1.2 percent, respectively, and a runoff appears increasingly likely in both races.

• Mayday PAC, the outside group that seeks to limit the influence of money in politics, released a new ad touting South Dakota Senate candidate Rick Weiland’s support for expanding Social Security. The ad is likely meant to contrast the Democrat with Independent candidate Larry Pressler, who is struggling with his past support for cutting Social Security benefits.

• And new polling suggests that Democrats may have an ace in the hole to save them in several tight races: raising the federal minimum wage.

Photo: Monica de Argentina via Flickr

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Midterm Roundup: Deadlocked In Georgia

Here are some interesting stories on the midterm campaigns that you may have missed on Monday, October 13:

• As early voting begins in Georgia, a new poll has the Peach State’s top races dead even. The Landmark Communications poll finds Democrat Michelle Nunn and Republican David Perdue tied at 46 percent in the state’s contentious Senate election. In the gubernatorial race, Democrat James Carter and Republican incumbent Nathan Deal are tied at 45 percent. Perdue leads by 2.7 percent and Deal leads by 3.2 percent in the Real Clear Politics poll averages, but it appears increasingly likely that both races could be headed for a January runoff.

• Another poll has found South Dakota’s Senate race getting tighter. The new survey, from GOP firm Harper Polling, shows Republican Mike Rounds hanging on to the lead with 37 percent of the vote, followed by Democrat Rick Weiland at 33 percent, and Independent Larry Pressler at 23 percent. Rounds’ lead has dipped into single digits in the poll average, and given the unpredictable nature of three-way races, it’s still anybody’s game.

• Polls of North Carolina’s Senate race have consistently shown Democratic incumbent Kay Hagan with a narrow lead, but the National Republican Senatorial Committee clearly believes that Republican challenger Thom Tillis still has a chance. On Monday, the group announced that it is buying an additional $6 million in airtime on his behalf.

• Republican Joni Ernst is clinging to a narrow lead in Iowa’s Senate race, according to a Rasmussen poll released Monday. It finds her ahead of Democrat Bruce Braley, 48 to 46 percent, with 5 percent still undecided. Ernst leads by just 1.2 percent in the poll average.

• And Senator Pat Roberts (R-KS) may not be finished yet in Kansas’ wild Senate race. He trails Independent Greg Orman by just 3 percent in the latest Public Policy Polling survey, down from 10 points in the group’s previous poll. Orman now leads by less than 1 percent in the poll average.

Photo: Heather Kennedy via Flickr

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Midterm Roundup: The Worst Attack Ad Of The Year?

Here are some interesting stories on the midterm campaigns that you may have missed on Thursday, October 9:

• If Democrat Wendy Davis is going to lose Texas’ gubernatorial election, she’s going to lose ugly. On Friday, her campaign released a vicious ad invoking Republican nominee Greg Abbott’s partial paralysis to attack him as a hypocrite, causing Abbott’s campaign to angrily accuse Davis of reaching a “historic low.” Abbott leads by 11.3 percent in the Real Clear Politics poll average.

• A new set of New York Times/CBS News/YouGov polls finds that Democrats are making gains in gubernatorial races across the country. Democratic candidates now lead the races in Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Maine — all of which currently have Republican governors — and are within striking distance in several other states, including Wisconsin.

• Iowa’s Senate race remains one of the closest in the nation. A new Lukens Company poll finds Democrat Bruce Braley barely leading Republican Joni Ernst, 39 to 38 percent; 21 percent remain undecided, suggesting that the race could still tip either way. Ernst leads by 1.5 percent in the poll average.

• For the past week, New Hampshire’s Senate race has been dominated by debate over Democratic senator Jeanne Shaheen’s claim that her Republican opponent, Scott Brown, “co-sponsored legislation to let employers deny women coverage for birth control.” Brown has vociferously denied the charge, leading PolitiFact to weigh in on the claim. Their verdict: True.

• And how can you tell that Independent candidate Larry Pressler is a legitimate force in South Dakota’s unpredictable Senate race? Both Democrats and Republicans are suddenly lashing out at his longshot campaign.

Screenshot: YouTube

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Midterm Roundup: A New Frontrunner In Florida?

Here are some interesting stories on the midterm campaigns that you may have missed on Thursday, October 9:

• Another survey of Florida’s gubernatorial race suggests that Democrat Charlie Crist is close to reclaiming his old job. The University of North Florida poll, released Thursday, shows Crist with a 5-point lead over incumbent Republican Rick Scott. Crist only leads by 1.4 percent in the Real Clear Politics poll average, but Tampa Bay Times political editor Adam C. Smith has seen enough to declare that “Crist may have become the clear frontrunner.”

• Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) continues to lead Republican challenger Scott Brown in New Hampshire’s Senate race. A new WMUR Granite State Poll finds Shaheen up 47 to 41 percent. Democrats’ strategy of aggressively attacking Brown appears to be paying off; his net favorability rating has plummeted to a startling negative-19 percent, down from negative-2 percent in August. Shaheen now leads by 6.5 percent in the poll average, and Brown’s odds of a comeback appear increasingly long.

• A CNN/ORC poll released Thursday shows Republican Dan Sullivan leading Democratic senator Mark Begich, 50 to 44 percent, in Alaska’s Senate race. Sullivan is now up 4.8 percent in the poll average, although it must be noted that polling in Alaska is notoriously unreliable.

• Larry Pressler, whose surging Independent campaign has turned South Dakota’s Senate race upside down, won’t say which party he’d caucus with if he scores an upset victory. But he did tell The Hill that he’d be a “friend of Obama” if he wins, creating another headache for Republican nominee Mike Rounds.

• And Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA) continues to dominate the tailgate scene in Louisiana. After helping a fan do a kegstand at LSU two weeks ago, video has now emerged of Landrieu doing the wobble at a Southern University tailgate. The campaign trail isn’t all fun for the Democratic incumbent, however; she trails Republican Bill Cassidy by 5.6 percent in the poll average, and on Thursday she replaced her campaign manager — a move that bodes poorly so late in the race.

Photo: Mike Cohen via Flickr

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