The Washington Post's Milbank does a busy-day-in-the-pre-election-life of NBC's own Charlie Cook, nonpartisan political prognosticator and publisher of the respected, nonpartisan Cook Political Report.
On the heels of the MSNBC/McClatchy polls comes a new Bloomberg/Los Angeles Times poll of five states with key Senate races that shows "Democrats with the lead in Ohio, New Jersey and Virginia. Republicans are ahead in Tennessee and Missouri. In all five contests, the margins were close enough that the advantage could change by Election Day... There's good news in the poll for the Democrats' bid to win the 15 seats they need to take over the House, as voters in all five states said they would prefer Democrats to control Congress after the Nov. 7 elections."
The Times report on the polls says that the Democratic party "is facing potentially decisive resistance from rural voters in three critical Republican-leaning states," Missouri, Tennessee and Virginia.
A busy Sen. John Kerry (D) appears with Sen. Bob Menendez in New Jersey to talk about Iraq, and does a town hall with Ned Lamont and military veterans in Connecticut. Kerry also sent an e-mail solicitation to his 3 million-person list yesterday asking for contributions for the Democratic Senate candidates in Missouri, New Jersey, Tennessee and Virginia.
The San Francisco Chronicle writes how aggressively House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has been campaigning this year. Her PAC is responsible for generating as much as $50 million for Democratic House candidates.
In CALIFORNIA, the Chronicle says, GOP Rep. Richard Pombo's re-election bid is becoming increasingly competitive. Democrats have announced they've bought TV time for the first negative ads against him. The race is expected to cost upwards of $10 million, making it one of the most expensive congressional races in California history.
Just one day after a poll showed the race tightening, FLORIDA gubernatorial candidates Charlie Crist (R) and Jim Davis (D) faced off in their first debate last night. The Miami Herald writes that "Crist balanced his sharp attacks with a cheery outlook for Florida's future, marveling at the balmy weather and referring to popular politicians -- even Democrats, including former Gov. Lawton Chiles" while "Davis dished out just about as much as he got..."
In MASSACHUSETTS, Republican Lt. Gov. Kerry Healey and Democrat Deval Patrick will square off in their fourth debate tonight. A new poll shows Patrick leading Healey, 53% to 26%. The Boston Globe writes that voters were turned off to Healey's negative campaigning, giving Patrick a boost. "Sixty-one percent of those surveyed said the tone of Healey's campaign made them less likely to vote for her, and 53 percent said they had an unfavorable view of Healey. By contrast, 60 percent of voters had a positive view of Patrick, whose lead grew from 21 to 27 percentage points this month." Healey, who has donated $600,000 her own campaign, is trying to evoke a more positive image with new campaign ads.
Healey is bringing in another face to help with her image: her mother.
With former President Clinton expected to campaign for Patrick today, the Boston Herald points out that Patrick has criticized Clinton for not supporting same-sex marriage.
The national GOP has sent mailers charging that Mary Jo Kilroy (D), who is taking on vulnerable OHIO Rep. Deborah Pryce (R), is sympathetic to the KKK. Per the Columbus Dispatch, "Kilroy was on the losing end of a 5-2 Columbus Board of Education vote encouraging the Capital Square Review and Advisory Board to deny the Klan the right to demonstrate at the Statehouse on [Martin Luther] King's birthday. At the time, she said she detests the Klan but supports its right to demonstrate."
In its profile of TEXAS gubernatorial candidate Kinky Friedman (I), the Houston Chronicle notes how the iconoclastic singer and author has a hard time why he's receiving so much scrutiny and criticism. "'I didn't expect the media to be so low,' he said… 'I thought they would go after the guy who's really stuffing money in his pants. That's (Gov. Rick) Perry. Or they would go after the hypocrisy of (Democratic candidate Chris) Bell. But no, they're going after how much do we make from the talking action figure.'"
The Chronicle also says it will be Bush versus Kerry all over again in Lone Star State's gubernatorial race -- with Bush stumping for Gov. Rick Perry (R) on November 6, while Kerry does a fundraiser for Chris Bell (D) this Friday. The Bell camp is also hoping for a visit from former President Clinton.
VIRGINIA "Senate candidate Jim Webb's last name has been cut off on part of the electronic ballot in three... cities because of a computer glitch that also affects other candidates with long names," USA Today reports. "The Democrat's full name, James H. 'Jim' Webb, appears where voters choose a candidate. The error shows up on the summary page in Alexandria, Falls Church and Charlottesville, where voters are asked to review their selections before hitting the button to record their votes. Webb's opponent, Sen. George Allen, didn't emerge unscathed - his party affiliation is cut off." (Editor's note: We doubt he minds.) The issues aren't expected to get fixed before election day.