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The midterms: The GOP interest groups' 6-1 spending edge

The AP: “Just five weeks from midterm elections, groups allied with the Republican Party and financed in part by corporations and millionaires have amassed a crushing 6-1 advantage in television spending, and now are dominating the airwaves in closely contested districts and states across the country.”

Stu Rothenberg issues this cake-is-almost-baked warning: “You’d never know it from the avalanche of TV ads, direct-mail pieces and phone calls that voters will receive in October, but most campaigns have only another week or two to change the likely outcome of their contests… A few elections will likely turn on late campaign developments, possibly an ad, a weak debate performance or an issue introduced at the last minute. And a big national news story can obviously have a significant effect on November’s results. But for most races, the die will be cast around the beginning of October. Either the early ads changed opinion or they didn’t.”

ALASKA: Sen. Lisa Murkowski is considering releasing two ads taped by late Republican Sen. Ted Stevens who was killed in a plane crash shortly before the ads were set to air, the New York Times reports.

ARIZONA: The Arizona Republic endorses Rep. Gabrielle Giffords for re-election.

“A woman was tackled outside a Senate debate in Arizona on Sunday night after she approached Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) with a sign and shouted slogans,” The Hill reports. “The woman was tackled by a member of the senator's security detail after she got close to McCain, but continued to chant while on the ground. ‘John McCain has to go,’ the woman shouted before being taken down.”

CALIFORNIA: The U.S. Chamber of Commerce releases an ad in support of Republican gubernatorial nominee Meg Whitman.

ILLINOIS: “The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has placed a $400,000 ad buy for the second week in a row in Illinois to boost Democratic nominee Alexi Giannoulias’s bid against Republican Mark Kirk,” Politico reports.

IOWA: “The National Rifle Association will urge every gun owner and hunter in Iowa to vote for Democrat Chet Culver in an endorsement that turns pro-gun politics on its ear,” the Des Moines Register writes.

NEW HAMPSHIRE: In a campaign stop for Democratic Senate candidate Paul Hodes, Vice President Joe Biden, “in his second visit to the state in about a month, blamed the Bush administration and GOP policies for putting the economy, especially the middle-class, in a ‘ditch,’ and said the Republican ‘Pledge to America’ will only return the nation to an economic crisis while cutting vital government services.

NEW YORK: “Conservative Party candidate Rick Lazio on Monday withdrew from the race for New York's governor, a decision that helps the tea party candidate who beat Lazio in the Republican primary,” the AP writes.

TEXAS: “In a surprise move, the Democratic Governors Association has decided to up the ante in Texas, with plans to launch an attack ad against Gov. Rick Perry (R ) that assails him as a career politician who has lost touch with the people of the Lone Star State,” the Washington Post reports.

A poll commissioned by large newspapers in Texas shows Perry up 46%-39%.

WISCONSIN: Neumann! You’ve heard of the “Beard of Defeat,” is this the “Beer of Defeat”? NPR reports, “Former Wisconsin Republican gubernatorial candidate Mark Neumann placed fifth out of 16 in a national beer stein holding contest. Neumann held his stein full of beer, with his arm fully extended, for nearly seven minutes. But the national winner held on for nearly nine minutes. Neumann lost the GOP primary earlier this month.” Here’s a photo from local affiliate WISN.