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More midterm mania

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In CALIFORNIA, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) and challenger Phil Angelides (D) have both worn their "eco-credentials on their sleeves," per the San Francisco Chronicle.  "Being a green candidate in California is almost a necessity, as polls show overwhelming majorities favor things like banning offshore oil drilling and requiring automakers to build cleaner-burning cars." 

Some post-election reading to look forward to: The Washington Post leads its Style section profile of FLORIDA GOP Senate nominee Katherine Harris with the news that she's "writing a tell-all about the many people who have wronged her.  This includes, but is not necessarily limited to: the Republican leaders who didn't want her to run, the press that has covered her troubled campaign, and the many staffers who have quit her employ, whom she accuses of colluding with her opponent.  She is vague about what, precisely, makes her a victim, but she says she has it all documented." 

Last night's Florida gubernatorial debate was a "three-ring spectacle," including a "maverick third-party candidate and an irreverent, flame-throwing moderator," writes the Miami Herald.  Both Republican Charlie Crist and Democrat Jim Davis "were tripped up more than once -- not by each other" but by moderator Chris Matthews of MSNBC. 

Per a new Chicago Tribune poll, ILLINOIS Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D) holds a 44%-29% lead over Judy Baar Topinka (R).  Per another Tribune article, Blagojevich said yesterday "that anyone who suggests [his wife] got private real estate deals with a state contractor because he is governor is 'Neanderthal and sexist.'  The governor's comments were his first on the matter since the Tribune reported First Lady Patricia Blagojevich received more than $113,000 in real estate commissions through a woman who holds a long-standing no-bid state contract and whose banker husband has business pending before state regulators."

In the nationally watched MARYLAND Senate race, a group of prominent African-American county officials have endorsed GOP nominee Michael Steele because, they said, "Democratic leaders repeatedly have snubbed the black community and their county," and because the "Democratic ticket lacks black candidates." 

In NEVADA, where Bush rallies on Thursday, "Clark County, Nev., District Attorney David Roger said authorities have reopened an investigation into a Las Vegas cocktail waitress' claim that" GOP gubernatorial nominee Jim Gibbons "assaulted her in a parking garage after a night of drinking.  Chrissy Mazzeo accused Gibbons, 61, of pushing her against a wall Oct. 13 and propositioning her.  Mazzeo, 32, said she'd been pressured and offered cash from people linked to Gibbons' campaign to drop the complaint.  Gibbons, who is in a close race with Democratic state Sen. Dina Titus, has denied wrongdoing...  A judge set a hearing for today." 

In places like OHIO, Democrats like gubernatorial candidate Ted Strickland are incorporating religion into their campaigns.  "Democrats… have stepped up efforts to lure religious voters in states including Michigan, Pennsylvania and Tennessee.  But Mr. Strickland has capitalized more than anyone else on evangelical disaffection from the Republicans, helping to give him a lead of more than 20 percentage points in the race." 

While the Justice Department is looking at whether Rep. Curt Weldon (R) of PENNSYLVANIA helped steer $1 million in consulting contracts from a Russian energy company to a firm headed up by his daughter, the New York Times reports on Weldon's ties to an Italian military giant -- which not only won the rights to build the next Marine One helicopter, but which also employs Weldon's other daughter at one of its subsidiaries. 

The Boston Globe's Canellos dissects the importance of the VIRGINIA Senate race, which could tip the balance of the chamber.  "All this makes Webb a crucial figure to liberal hopes, which is ironic.  A former Republican who still admires Ronald Reagan -- and who features Reagan in his ads -- Webb has the odd distinction of being perhaps the only Democrat attacked from the left by a conservative Republican."