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More midterm mania

There are several ways to evaluate fundraising and spending: at the party committee level, or candidate by candidate.  USA Today reports a surge in fundraising by a bunch of top Democratic House candidates, but heavier spending on ads by the GOP House campaign committee over its Democratic counterpart.  Analysts tell the paper that the late surge in money suggests the momentum lies with Democrats. 

A Washington Post analysis finds that "Democrats spent more heavily over the summer and early autumn than their Republican rivals in pivotal House districts, leaving themselves at a disadvantage of more than 2 to 1 in money on hand." 

Former President Clinton is scheduled to headline a fundraising event in San Francisco just days before the election, where he'll raise money for House candidates in competitive races, joined by Democratic leaders Nancy Pelosi and Rahm Emanuel and singer Jackson Browne. 

Democratic Senate campaign committee chair Chuck Schumer will do an off-camera briefing for reporters at 2:30 pm.

After losing his special election a year ago, MSNBC.com examines CALIFORNIA Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's political turnaround now that he seems to be cruising to re-election.  "Analysts explain that Schwarzenegger's apparent comeback ... can be attributed to an improving state economy, his move back to the political center, and his opponent's struggling campaign.  But perhaps more than anything else, they say, it's due to his ability to learn from his mistakes.  'This isn't a guy who did a sequel to the "Last Action Hero,"' noted Jack Pitney, a professor of government at Claremont McKenna College.  'He has a very good sense of what works and what doesn't.  He doesn't repeat mistakes.'" 

The Washington Post says Democratic nominee Ned Lamont's Senate bid in CONNECTICUT is "emblematic of the pitfalls of trying to marry a political insurgency with the party establishment."  Also, Lieberman "has promised to caucus with the Democrats.  On Monday he said he wants Democrats to take control of the Senate and House." 

The Hartford Courant says GOP nominee Alan Schlesinger, in a "forceful" debate performance last night, "reminded voters, the media and possibly his own party Monday that [Lieberman] and [Lamont] are not replaying their Democratic primary" by "repeatedly asserting that he is the only Republican." 

The Miami Herald writes up FLORIDA Gov. Jeb Bush's campaign stop for Joe Negron (R), who's seeking to fill Mark Foley's House seat.  Tomorrow, the Florida Democratic party is scheduled to be in court to "stop election officials from posting signs that say a vote for Foley counts as a vote for Negron." 

Sen. John Kerry campaigns for his party's candidates in IOWA.  The Des Moines Register reports that Iowa legislative candidates have received more than $1.6 million this year from PACs formed by potential presidential candidates. 

In MARYLAND, GOP Senate nominee Michael Steele has brought in Don King to help him court African-American Democratic voters. 

Former President Clinton's appearance on behalf of MASSACHUSETTS gubernatorial nominee Deval Patrick (D) raised about $2 million for the campaign yesterday, reports the Boston Herald. Clinton "said [GOP nominee Kerry] Healey's campaign reminded him of his own battles with Republicans, who he said admitted to playing dirty."  Another Democratic rock star, Sen. Barack Obama, is expected to campaign for Patrick on Thursday. 

Healey, meanwhile, spent yesterday distancing herself from retiring Gov. Mitt Romney (R) and his appearance at the Family Research Council's Liberty Sunday event, during which Romney "ripped" the state's same-sex marriage law. The Boston Herald writes that Healey "stopped short of saying Romney's presidential ambitions have been a detriment to her gubernatorial bid." 

Sen. Joe Biden was in NEW HAMPSHIRE yesterday campaigning for a House candidate.  He warned students at the New Hampshire Technical Institute that "[w]ith no change in policy,... more soldiers will be needed in Iraq.  As it becomes more difficult to sustain an all-volunteer military, the country may find itself soon debating whether to return to a draft to maintain enlistment numbers, Biden said." 

A day after the New York Times reported that national Republicans might be decreasing their financial assistance to OHIO GOP Sen. Mike DeWine, a new Quinnipiac University poll shows DeWine trailing challenger Sherrod Brown (D) by 12 points among likely voters, 53%-41%.  

The Boston Globe examines the role Bush is playing in the RHODE ISLAND Senate race, where Democrat Sheldon Whitehouse is talking a lot more about him than is moderate GOP Sen. Lincoln Chafee. 

VIRGINIA Sen. George Allen (R) told the Washington Times in an ed board meeting that he "will be re-elected by sticking to conservative issues, even as national liberals are funneling cash to his Democratic opponent and linking the senator to an unpopular president."  Allen separated himself from Bush by saying that "No Child Left Behind Act forces Virginia to 'dumb down' its Standards of Learning, which were created when Mr. Allen was governor," and also that "he learned too late about the real cost of Mr. Bush's Medicare prescription-drug program, which he supported with the intent of helping the frail afford prescriptions." 

And the new Washington Post poll shows majority support (53%) for the gay marriage ban that's also on the ballot in Virginia in November, but some analysts say that's a surprisingly low level of support given the state's conservative reputation.