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Down the ballot: Ballot initiative watch

CALIFORNIA: Could the fact that Republicans have failed to put ballot inits on the state ballot in order to draw conservatives to the polls cause the GOP problems in some congressional races and other key state contests? "Republicans have been tripped up by mishaps and errors that have kept measures off the ballot. One leading ballot measure activist was sidelined for this November's contests after being arrested in Oklahoma on charges of violating petition rules. Some conservative strategists also blame a lack of new ideas for initiatives. They say the right, beaten down by the Republican Party's dismal rankings in the polls and its lukewarm electoral prospects, has no stomach this year for expensive initiative battles."

"'There has been a lack of funding on the right side, up and down. The right is despondent and demoralized,' said Tim Mooney, an Arizona initiative consultant. At the same time, an energized left has fought harder to keep conservative-backed measures off ballots and put their own measures on them. Although there will be ballot measure fights in several states, many will be taking place in states where there is little question about the outcome of the Barack Obama vs. John McCain contest."

MICHIGAN: Michigan congresswoman Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick is locked in a tough reelection battle, encumbered by her scandal-ridden son -- Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick. She enlisted House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) to campaign on her behalf as she prepares to face her primary challenger next week.