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More midterm mania

CALIFORNIA gubernatorial candidate Phil Angelides (D) said yesterday that if he wins, he'll immediately call on President Bush to withdraw the state's National Guard units from Iraq.  "A spokeswoman for Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's campaign, Katie Levinson, said in a statement that Angelides' remarks 'are just more of the same irresponsible political rhetoric.'" 

On Saturday, incumbent Daniel Akaka (D) defeated challenger Rep. Ed Case, 55%-45%, in HAWAII's Senate primary. 

MASSACHUSETTS gubernatorial contenders Lt. Gov. Kerry Healey (R) and Deval Patrick (D) will face off in the first of several debates tonight.  The Boston Globe says "tonight's forum could be a critical moment in the campaign... because it will be the voters' first chance to see the candidates side by side."  Healey trails Patrick in a recent poll and has "the difficult task of asserting she has the experience to be governor, yet distancing herself from Romney-Healey administration missteps and disavowing Governor Mitt Romney's recent shift to the right." 

Another participant in tonight's debate, independent candidate Christy Mihos, is running a TV ad that is "so graphic that he plans to air it only between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.," reports the Boston Globe.  The ad, entitled "The Big Dig, Explained," "depicts cartoons of Massachusetts politicians whose heads disappear between their legs when Mihos asks them a simple question: How did the Big Dig get $12 billion over budget?" 

The New York Daily News writes that some NEW JERSEY Democrats feel that Gov. Jon Corzine (D) made a mistake when he appointed Bob Menendez (D) to fill the rest of his Senate term -- now that Menendez is struggling in his race against Tom Kean Jr. (R). 

Sen. Hillary Clinton (D) campaigns with Mike Arcuri, her party's candidate for their top pick-up opportunity in NEW YORK, in Binghamton.  Laura Bush is campaigning for Arcuri's opponent Ray Meier.

Looking again at PENNSYLVANIA's Senate race between incumbent Rick Santorum (R) and Bob Casey Jr. (D), the New York Times wonders whether the GOP's cash advantage, its vaunted get-out-the-vote effort, and the White House's bully pulpit will be enough to save Santorum from defeat.  "A poll for The Philadelphia Inquirer, released yesterday, showed Mr. Casey with a 10-point lead." 

TEXAS independent gubernatorial candidate Kinky Friedman has a problem: His speeches frequently contain misstatements of facts.  "In a wide-ranging interview last week, Mr. Friedman acknowledged his tenuous grip on the basic facts of state government.  In one sense, it perfectly fits his campaign's theme" that he's a non-politician.  "But with the campaign's final weeks on the horizon and questions already raised about his history of racially insensitive comments, Mr. Friedman could have trouble showing voters he's serious about being governor and qualified for the job." 

Having barely recovered from his "macaca" comment, VIRGINIA Sen. George Allen (R) now faces a Salon.com report in which former college football teammates of Allen's say he "repeatedly used an inflammatory racial epithet and demonstrated racist attitudes toward blacks during the early 1970s."  One former teammate "told Salon that the future senator gave him the nickname 'Wizard,' because he shared a last name with Robert Shelton, who served in the 1960s as the imperial wizard of the United Klans of America."  Other former teammates say they don't recall Allen demonstrating racist views.  The article notes that efforts to obtain comment from the Allen camp were unsuccessful.