MASSACHUSETTS: "Tonight, [Martha] Coakley faces a major test as she squares off against her three Democratic opponents in the first televised debate of the campaign, a potentially game-changing event that will give all the candidates broad statewide media exposure for the first time," The Boston Globe reports. "Each of Coakley's competitors has his first major chance to make a dent. 'It's Coakley's to lose,' said John Berg, chairman of the government studies department at Suffolk University. 'She is running like a front-runner, and she wants to maintain that.'"
NEW JERSEY: On Saturday, Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell and Newark Mayor Cory Booker stumped for Jon Corzine in Asbury Park, NJ. Like Corzine, Rendell's approval ratings are low, in his case 39%. PolitickerNJ writes that he "consequently sympathizes with Corzine. 'I think Jon Corzine was saddled with several decades of missteps,' said the Pennsylvania governor. "But understand, what New Jersey has is a highly skilled and educated work force. Jon Corzine understands that, unlike his opponent." Booker warned against the effect of a Corzine loss on the national scale: "If Jon Corzine doesn't win, a victory by Republicans in New Jersey will embolden the president's enemies," Booker said.
Corzine received the endorsements of the Trenton Times and Bergen Record, while opponent Chris Christie received the backing of The Press of Atlantic City, the Asbury Park Press and the Cherry Hill Courier-Post. Corzine's endorsement from the Trenton Times was mixed; though it praised his "keen mind, financial expertise," and "grasp of the state's problems," it added that his "charisma deficiency, his unapologetic use of his personal fortune to advance his political ambitions, and the collapse of his well-intentioned but flawed plan to raise highway tolls" have kept him neck-and-neck with Christie.
NEW YORK: "Newly released campaign records show the mayor [Bloomberg], as of Friday, had spent $85 million on his latest re-election campaign, and is on pace to spend between $110 million and $140 million before the election on Nov. 3.That means Mr. Bloomberg, in his three bids for mayor, will have easily burned through more than $250 million -- the equivalent of what Warner Brothers spent on the latest Harry Potter movie," The New York Times reports. The sum easily surpasses what other titans of business have spent to seek state or federal office. New Jersey's Jon S. Corzine has plunked down a total of $130 million in two races for governor and one for United States Senate. Steve Forbes poured $114 million into his two bids for president. And Ross Perot spent $65 million in his quest for the White House in 1992 and $10 million four years later."
In a New York Post op-ed yesterday, NY-23 Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman, wrote of his split with the mainstream Republican Party: "I didn't leave the Republican Party, the party left me."
The New York Post's Dicker reports that "Andrew Cuomo has secretly notified Rudy Giuliani that he will run for governor next year, The Post has learned… Insiders said Cuomo, while convinced he would win, wants to avoid a costly and exhausting campaign against Giuliani, who polls show is popular in the suburbs and upstate but not in New York City."
VIRGINIA: Many Virginia newspapers also announced their endorsements this weekend. Creigh Deeds got nods from the Roanoke Times and Norfolk Virginian-Pilot, while Bob McDonnell was endorsed by the Richmond Times-Dispatch, the Bristol Herald Courier, the Fredricksburg Free Lance-star, and the Culpeper Star-Exponent.
Deeds made stops at about a dozen Baptist churches on Saturday, touring the Hampton Roads area with Delegate Lionell Spruill, "well-known state lawmaker known for driving voter turnout through his connections to a network of African-American churches that draw huge crowds on Sundays" who came with a pocket "full of envelopes stuffed with tickets" to see President Obama stump for Deeds tomorrow at Old Dominion University. At one church, Bishop K.W. Brown implored his congregation to vote: "Not voting is a sin. Government is on the shoulders of Jesus Christ," he said.
McDonnell was also in Hampton Roads this weekend, stumping at a local restaurant, and some Democratic voters said they weren't dead set on Deeds. Ken Daly, an Old Dominion University art professor, said he wasn't sure he could pronounce Deeds' first name, "I think Deeds has run a terrible campaign," Daly said. "Nobody knows him."