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The midterms: Debate night

Media research firm Kantar Media predicts that political ad spending is “on track to approach $3 billion” this year, according to AdAge. “Spending so far on political and issue TV ads is $864 million, $50 million more than 2008, and $185 million ahead of 2006 at the same period of time,” said Kantar’s Evan Tracey.

ARIZONA: Not surprisingly, last night’s debate between Gov. Jan Brewer (R) and Democrat Terry Goddard focused on the issue of immigration and the state’s anti-immigration law. "Illegal immigration and Senate Bill 1070 dominated the first 20 minutes of the hourlong debate, with Goddard saying the tough new immigration law will do little to secure the border. He touted his work as attorney general in going after drug and smuggling cartels... Even after the debate moderator tried to turn the discussion to the economy, the two leading candidates still found a way to tie the issues together and spar over immigration.”

More: Goddard "said the governor had driven economic development away by saying in June that local law enforcement had found headless bodies in the Arizona desert, part of increased violence along the border with Mexico. 'You need to stop saying things that are untrue, that defame our state, like there are beheadings in the desert,' Goddard said. 'Our men and women of law enforcement have done a great job, and it's time we recognize and thank them rather than tear them down.' After the debate, reporters asked Brewer whether she would take back her statement about the beheadings. She refused to answer and left the studio without taking any more questions."

ARKANSAS: “Former President Bill Clinton is coming to the aid of endangered Democratic Sen. Blanche Lincoln,” the AP writes. Clinton will headline an event celebrating Lincoln’s one-year anniversary as Senate Agriculture Committee chairwoman next week.

CALIFORNIA: The San Francisco Chronicle on last night’s Barbara Boxer-vs.-Carly Fiorina debate: “Democratic U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer and Republican challenger Carly Fiorina agreed on one thing Wednesday during their hourlong televised debate at St. Mary's College in Moraga: California voters have a clear choice between the two very different candidates from opposite ends of the political spectrum. They sparred over how best to produce jobs and protect the environment, and about their records in business and government. Their first face-to-face debate was pointed, its tone mirroring the bare-knuckled exchanges the candidates have been trading from afar since winning their primaries in June.”

Here's NBC's Los Angeles affiliate: "Republican challenger Carly Fiorina took aim at the nation's troubled economy Wednesday night during her first debate with Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer, blaming the incumbent for policies 'that are devastating the state.'... Boxer, 69, fired back at Fiorina, criticizing her for shipping 30,000 jobs overseas during her time as CEO of Hewlett-Packard Co. She said Fiorina fights not for average Americans but for billionaires, millionaires and companies that outsource jobs."

The L.A. Times adds, “For much of the hourlong debate, Boxer kept her opponent on the defensive by steering her answers into scathing critiques of Fiorina's record as chief executive at Hewlett-Packard, where she fired more than 30,000 workers before she was dismissed in 2005… For much of the hourlong debate, Boxer kept her opponent on the defensive by steering her answers into scathing critiques of Fiorina's record as chief executive at Hewlett-Packard, where she fired more than 30,000 workers before she was dismissed in 2005.”

COLORADO: At a campaign breakfast yesterday, Ken Buck and Jane Norton -- whom Buck defeated in the primary -- shared a stage for the first time since primary night on Aug. 10. "The fact that we don't hold a unity rally and hold hands and sing 'Kumbaya' like the Democrats doesn't mean we're not unified," Buck was quoted as saying. http://bit.ly/c4a5eY

FLORIDA: “Independent candidate Bud Chiles confirmed Wednesday he would drop out of Florida’s race for governor and back Democratic nominee Alex Sink,” Politico writes.

ILLINOIS: “Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani headlines a fund-raiser for Rep. Mark Kirk's Illinois Senate campaign Sept. 13 in Chicago,” the Chicago Sun-Times reports.