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More midterm mania

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Roll Call's Stuart Rothenberg predicts a wave bigger than what we saw in 1994 based on the latest NBC/Wall Street Journal poll and the fact that "the problems hounding Republican Congressional candidates... are far more challenging than anything Democratic Congressional candidates faced in 1994."

The Washington Post defines a wave election as when "citizens in disparate parts of the country decide in the same year to reject an unusually large number of candidates for Congress from one party and to replace them with candidates from the other party." 

The San Francisco Chronicle notes how both CALIFORNIA Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) and opponent Phil Angelides (D) have pounced on a GOP House candidate's threatening letter telling Latinos to stay home on election day.  Schwarzenegger, who has been criticized in the past for making racially insensitive remarks, called the action a "hate crime" and called for the candidate's resignation from the race.  Angelides, meanwhile, made statements to the press from the steps of a courthouse, flanked by Latino activist and officials.  

The FLORIDA governor's race might be falling into the "toss-up" category, according to a new poll that shows Democrat Jim Davis behind Republican rival Charlie Crist by just 2 points.  "Nearly every other poll has showed a double-digit gap," reports the Miami Herald

The New York Times examines this rarity for the midterms: the few vulnerable Democrats, like GEORGIA Reps. Jim Marshall and John Barrow, who are trying to hold onto their jobs.  

In IOWA's competitive open House race, the GOP House campaign committee's spending has plummeted, the Des Moines Register writes.  The paper doesn't say why, but it's possible that national Republicans are giving up on the seat. 

The Washington Post front-pages a long profile of the anti-Washington, Washington native MARYLAND GOP Senate nominee Michael Steele.  Also, Michael J. Fox has cut a TV ad promoting embryonic stem cell research for Steele's Democratic opponent, Ben Cardin.  The ad "bears witness to the actor's unmistakable decline and harnesses that physical degeneration into a political message."

The Chicago Tribune notes how Fox is endorsing Democrats across the country. 

The Wall Street Journal looks at how the MASSACHUSETTS governor's race reflects retiring GOP incumbent Mitt Romney's fledgling presidential bid. 

Could the race be turning -- dare we say -- positive?  Lt. Gov Kerry Healey (R) has chided campaign volunteers for picketing outside the home of Deval Patrick (D) and has launched a positive ad.  "The tone is in sharp contrast to the attack ad that her campaign began airing last week, which uses dark images and grainy footage showing a woman walking in a dark garage to her car.  The voice-over describes Patrick's past support of a convicted rapist...  Healey's apology for the demonstrators and her new ad, coupled with an upcoming poll expected to show Patrick in a solid lead, has prompted speculation among political strategists and elected officials that Healey and her advisers are seeking to tone down the harsh rhetoric and buff up her image." 

NEW YORK GOP Senate nominee John Spencer told MSNBC yesterday that contrary to what the New York Daily News reported, he never called Sen. Hillary Clinton (D) "ugly."

The Columbus Dispatch notes that outside groups have spent nearly twice as much on the Senate and House races in OHIO than in any other state.  "Federal Election Commission totals through Thursday show that the national political parties and independent organizations have financed a $25.2 million advertising blitz in Ohio's federal races." 

In PENNSYLVANIA, Terri Schiavo's former husband blasted Bob Casey (D) for using his wife's death as a weapon against Sen. Rick Santorum (R), who objected to removing Schiavo's feeding tube.  "'What gives Casey the right to use my wife's case against Santorum when he would have voted the same way?' asked Schiavo."  More: "Schiavo made clear that he was no fan of Santorum's, saying the senator came 'down to the hospice in his limousine' to attract attention." 

The RNC's TV ad criticizing Democratic Senate nominee Harold Ford in TENNESSEE, which hints at interracial dating,  "is drawing charges of race-baiting, with critics saying it contradicts" Republican National Committee chair Ken Mehlman's apology to the NAACP last year for the party's Southern strategy.  Ford's GOP rival has called for the ad to be pulled.  "But the ad has continued to run - and on Monday the [RNC] was unapologetic." 

The Republican congressional candidate Laura Bush campaigns for today in WISCONSIN faces a Democrat who's now in trouble for using a slur against Native Americans.