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The midterms: Dems' air wars.

“Democratic candidates across the country are opening a fierce offensive of negative advertisements against Republicans, using lawsuits, tax filings, reports from the Better Business Bureau and even divorce proceedings to try to discredit their opponents and save their Congressional majority,” the New York Times’ Zeleny writes. http://nyti.ms/dAWk6j

Democrats are deploying negative ads “far earlier than ever before,” the New York Times writes, “using lawsuits, tax filings, reports from the Better Business Bureau and even divorce proceedings to try to discredit their opponents and save their Congressional majority.”

“Mitt Romney called out President Obama yesterday at a state GOP convention where Republicans vowed to capitalize on voter anger and take back the state and nation,” the New Hampshire Union Leader writes of Romney’s trip to the presidential bellwether state this weekend. “Romney, a 2008 presidential contender sounding like the 2012 candidate most political observers expect him to be, said Obama is at war with private enterprise in America.”

CALIFORNIA: “Democrat Jerry Brown has moved into a narrow lead over Republican Meg Whitman [49%-44%] in their fractious contest for governor, while his party colleague Barbara Boxer has opened a wider margin over GOP nominee Carly Fiorina [51%-43%] in the race for U.S. Senate, a new Los Angeles Times/USC poll has found,” the L.A. Times writes.

CONNECTICUT: The New York Times magazine pinpoints why political newcomers like Linda McMahon have a chance at winning, even, in McMahon’s case, in an especially institution-friendly state like Connecticut: voters’ newfound lack of faith in the establishment. “It is something McMahon, having built a megaentertainment business without the imprimatur of cultural arbiters, intuitively understood about politics. The more her party’s leadership tried to write her off, the more Democrats scoffed at her candidacy, the more viable she became.”

FLORIDA: “A new poll indicates that no-party candidate Gov. Charlie Crist has faded in the state's three-way Senate race, allowing Republican Marco Rubio to extend his lead,” the Tampa Tribune writes. “It shows Rubio with a 12-point lead – 40 percent to 28 percent for Crist, 23 percent for Meek and 9 percent undecided.”

KENTUCKY: The campaign strategies of Republican Rand Paul, who rails against Washington and Democrat Jack Conway, who touts his work within the state, are an example of the dynamic between candidates of different parties across the country, the Washington Post writes. Kentucky “represent[s] perhaps the starkest divide in the country on these divergent approaches.”

MASSACHUSETTS: “The latest poll on the Massachusetts governor’s race shows Republican Charles Baker and incumbent Democrat Gov. Deval Patrick in a statistical tie for first place,” local radio station WBUR writes. Patrick has 35% support and Baker has 34%.

NEW YORK: The Times profiles GOP gubernatorial nominee Carl Paladino. Paladino, the papers says, “seemed to emerge from nowhere to capture the Republican nomination for governor, a political unknown who became a vessel for Tea Party-tinged anger against insiders and incumbents. But for decades he has been an outsize, impulsive and often outrageous figure: polarizing in his politics, relentless in amassing his real estate empire and irrepressible in seeking to impose his will on civic life.”

“Interviews with dozens of people who know him — friends, relatives, admirers and adversaries — revealed a highly emotional man who oscillates between cursing his enemies and crying over his friends’ sorrows, who believes in elbows-out confrontation no matter the cost and whose lifelong dealings with the government have fueled his enormous wealth and his bottomless rage.”

NEVADA: “Democrat Rory Reid continues to chisel away at Republican Brian Sandoval's lead in the Nevada governor's race,” the Las Vegas Review-Journal reports, noting that Reid’s deficit with Sandoval has decreased from 52%-36% to 53%-13%.

NEW MEXICO: “Democrat Diane Denish has picked up speed in the race for governor of New Mexico and has surged into a tie with Republican Susana Martinez, according to a poll taken for Vote New Mexico PAC by Third Eye Strategies,” Politico writes. *** UPDATE *** An operative for Martinez casts doubt on the veracity of this poll, noting Denish released a poll less than a week ago from her own pollster, Stan Greenberg, that showed her down 5.