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The midterms: DCCC plays defense

The New York Times’ Jeff Zeleny writes, “The Democrats’ strategy to preserve their House majority became clearer Thursday as the party made a $28 million investment in television advertising for the final weeks of the fall campaign, a plan meant to build a defensive firewall to protect freshmen and some vulnerable longtime incumbents… The list of at-risk Democrats also contains well-established members, including John M. Spratt Jr. of South Carolina, chairman of the Budget Committee; Ike Skelton of Missouri, chairman of the Armed Services Committee; and Paul E. Kanjorski of Pennsylvania, a senior member of the Financial Services Committee. None of the 40 districts are held by Republicans, a signal that the Democratic plan is rooted in defense.”

The New York Times also reports on the “Great Recession paradox”… “Even as voters express outrage at the insider culture of big bailouts and bonuses, their search for political saviors has led them to this: a growing crowd of über-rich candidates, comfortable in boardrooms and country clubs, spending a fortune to remake themselves into populist insurgents.” The Times’ top example: Florida Senate candidate Jeff Greene.

ARIZONA: Republican Senate candidate J.D. Hayworth is calling for Sen. John McCain to take down a campaign ad featuring the endorsement of a sheriff who recently appeared on a talk show that identifies itself as "pro-White." According to the Arizona Republic blog AZ Central, "Brian Rogers, a McCain campaign spokesman, noted Babeu has already said he regrets calling into this radio show and was 'unaware of its hosts' repugnant views.'"

COLORADO: President Obama started sending robo-calls out for Sen. Michael Bennett yesterday.

"Former GOP congressman Tom Tancredo is negotiating with the American Constitution Party to run for Colorado governor and replace their candidate on the ballot," AP writes. "The move would give Tancredo a way to get on the November ballot without running as a Republican. Tancredo had raised the possibility of running unaffiliated or for a third party because he doesn't believe the two GOP candidates in the Aug. 10 primary can win against Democratic Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper."

The Denver Post: "Tancredo demanded [yesterday] that the two GOP gubernatorial candidates drop out of the race. If they don’t, he said he will run for governor as an American Constitution Candidate, a move likely to split the Republican Party in November’s general election. 'There’s nothing left to split. The reality is that with the two candidates we have, we will lose the general election,' Tancredo said in an interview."

Tancredo is a hard-liner on immigration, and approximately 20% of Colorado’s population is Hispanic.

CONNECTICUT: Oh, those are just PSAs... "Former Rep. Rob Simmons (R-Conn.) insists he is not campaigning for a Senate seat, except for the TV ads he’s running and the occasional campaign appearances he’s making," The Hill reports, adding, "In an interview with The Hill, Simmons said he thinks of the ads more as 'public service announcements.'"

INDIANA: A sheriff by any other name still enforces law… “Indiana voters might get the idea that Democratic Rep. Brad Ellsworth was a sheriff for 25 years from his recent campaign ads for U.S. Senate,” AP writes. “Ellsworth says so himself in the two ads. But he was sheriff for only eight years. He was a deputy for the other 17. The campaign said Thursday that the ads refer to the congressman's 25 years with the sheriff's department and were not meant to mislead.” Is there really a there there with this story? Ellsworth was a "sheriff" and a "deputy sheriff" before that. The article also criticizes Ellsworth for not mentioning his Washington ties, but breezes by Republican Dan Coats' much lengthier Washington ties, including nearly three decades as a member of Congress, Senator, and lobbyist.

IOWA: The Des Moines Register on the negative tone and wide scope of this year’s governor’s race: “Gov. Chet Culver and Republican challenger Terry Branstad have already spent more than $1.2 million on advertising in the early weeks of the general election campaign, most of it attacking each other,” the Register writes. “The pace and volume of advertising at this point are far ahead of those in any other Iowa campaign for governor and 10 times the levels of four years ago. The aggressiveness and critical tone most closely resemble the conditions of the 2002 campaign, when then-Gov. Tom Vilsack stood for re-election during difficult economic times.”

LOUISIANA: "Sen. David Vitter continues to be one of the luckiest men in politics," the Times-Picayune writes. First came the revelation that former state Supreme Court Justice Chet Traylor was married to the late ex-wife of his former friend, state Rep. Noble Ellington, and that Traylor was "significantly involved" in the Ellingtons' divorce. And there was the news that Traylor is "romantically involved with the estranged wife of his stepson Ryan Ellington. Ryan Ellington and his brother are also suing Traylor for access to various records related to their mother's estate."

NEVADA: Playing off Sen. Harry Reid's tagline, "No one can do more," Sharron Angle has a new ad out today in which she speaks to a group of voters, telling them that he's done more to raise unemployment, foreclosure rates and bankruptcy than anyone else.

TEXAS: “Last year, [Democratic gubernatorial nominee Bill] White bought a newspaper ad picturing him with Obama under the headline ‘The Dream. The Hope. The Change. ’On Wednesday, White took pains to underscore his differences with the president on federal spending and climate and energy legislation -- at one point mirroring the anti-Washington theme that Perry capitalized on in the Republican primary.”

WEST VIRGINIA: "Ten Republicans on Thursday entered the race for the U.S. Senate seat held by the late Robert C. Byrd, joining a field where West Virginia's popular Democratic governor is seen as the front-runner," the AP writes. "John Raese, an industrialist and media owner, and recent U.S. House candidate Mac Warner are the best known among the GOP hopefuls. Gov. Joe Manchin and two other Democrats filed their paperwork earlier this week."