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The midterms: Surpassing $2 billion in campaign spending

The Washington Post: “House and Senate candidates have already shattered fundraising records for a midterm election and are on their way to surpassing $2 billion in spending for the first time, according to new campaign finance data. To put it another way: That's the equivalent of about $4 million for every congressional seat up for grabs this year.”

“There are always concerns about voter fraud on Election Day, but this year many new groups are popping up to keep an eye on the polls. That, in turn, has some people worried that legitimate voters will be intimidated and discouraged from voting,” NPR reports. More: “Chad Dunn, general counsel for the Texas Democratic Party, says the most aggressive poll watching in early voting has been at African-American and Latino precincts, which lean Democratic. ‘These poll watchers would follow a voter after they were checked in, hover behind them, try to look over their shoulder as they're voting,’ Dunn said. ‘Sometimes misinformation was being provided to voters in terms of how they could vote or where they could vote.’ The county attorney's office and the U.S. Justice Department are now investigating, though no charges have been filed. Still, tensions are high, and the county attorney is recommending that election officials put tape on the floor to separate poll watchers and voters.”

Stu Rothenberg looks at how big the House wave could be, but: “The magnitude of the GOP victory could be evident relatively early in the evening. If Republicans defeat Democratic incumbents Joe Donnelly (Ind.) and/or Ben Chandler (Ky.), or if North Carolina Reps. McIntyre, Shuler and Etheridge fall, massive Democratic losses are likely. On the other hand, if Reps. Baron Hill (Ind.) and Jim Marshall (Ga.) pull off upsets, or if either Virginia Democrats Nye or Perriello win, it could well be a sign that the GOP wave hasn’t materialized as expected.”

CALIFORNIA: "California Attorney General Jerry Brown (D) is up with a new TV ad that uses former eBay CEO Meg Whitman's (R) own words against her," the Washington Post writes. "The ad features footage of a TV interview in which Whitman says, 'You know, thirty years ago, anything was possible in this state,' followed by words on screen that ask: 'You know who was Governor 30 years ago? Jerry Brown.'"

“The campaign to pass Proposition 19, the measure to legalize marijuana in California, will hit television sets in the Los Angeles area Tuesday with a commercial that features retired San Jose Police Chief Joseph D. McNamara endorsing the initiative,” the L.A. Times writes. “The ad is the first that the Yes on 19 campaign has put on television. Dan Newman, a spokesman, said the campaign will spend $170,000 to run it on cable channels through election day.”

“Voters across California are divided on the issue of legalizing the recreational use of marijuana, but the division is especially true for black voters throughout the state,” NPR reports. “The California NAACP is endorsing Proposition 19. But some black religious leaders fear that passing the ballot measure would only hurt already struggling communities.”

CONNECTICUT: A Quinnipiac poll shows Blumenthal up 54%-42%.

DELAWARE: Who’s God rooting for? “Delaware GOP Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell suggested Monday that the power of prayer contributed to a bump for her in the polls,” The Hill reports. This was based on a robo-Rasmussen poll showing her down 11 points.

Here's a link to that interview with O'Donnell.

ILLINOIS: “Illinois Democratic Governor Pat Quinn stole a page from the ‘Glee’ songbook in a new political ad -- which will begin airing Tuesday -- that attacks his Republican challenger, Illinois state Senator Bill Brady,” the New York Post writes. The ad mimics the FOX high school musical show’s ‘Here’s what you missed’ recap that starts each episode. ‘Too busy watching ‘Glee’ to keep up with the Governor's race. Here’s what you missed,’ the fast-talking narrator says.”

IOWA: Roll Call goes to IA-2 and finds Rep. Dave Loebsack in a tough race in a rematch for reelection.

MISSISSIPPI: Democratic Rep. Gene Taylor (MS-4) says don’t blame him, he voted for McCain. “I did not vote for Obama,” Taylor said. “I voted for Sen. McCain. Better the devil you know.” Then, how does he explain voting for Pelosi for speaker?

NEVADA: "An aide to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid repeatedly lied to federal immigration and FBI agents and submitted false federal documents to the Department of Homeland Security to cover up her illegal seven-year marriage to a Lebanese national who was the subject of an Oklahoma City Joint Terror Task Force investigation, FoxNews.com has learned," Fox News reported last night. "Diana Tejada, Reid’s Hispanic Press Secretary, admitted to receiving payment for “some of her expenses” in exchange for fraudulently marrying Bassam Mahmoud Tarhini in 2003, strictly so he could obtain permanent U.S. residency, according to court documents."

NEW YORK: If I could term back time… Mike Bloomberg who became mayor of New York for an unprecedented third term, now supports restoring the limit on New York mayors to two terms.

The New York Daily News profiles George Pataki, the former moderate governor and his shift to the right. It also notes that his Tea Party-themed group Revere America has spent about $400,000 on TV ads against Rep. John Hall in NY-19. Pataki is from Poughkeepsie, which is in the district. Revere America has spent about $2 million on ads against Democrats overall, the Daily News reports.

OHIO: A Quinnipiac poll has John Kasich (R) up 49%-43% over incumbent Ted Strickland (D) in the governor’s race among likely voters. Strickland had trailed by 10 in the Quinnipiac poll a week ago. Rob Portman (R) leads Lee Fisher (D) in the Senate race 53%-36%.

RHODE ISLAND: White House Deputy Press Secretary Bill Burton “chalked up Caprio's comments to election-time fervor. ‘We're entering the final week of the election season, and emotions are running pretty high,’ Burton said to reporters while aboard Air Force One. He added, ‘So I don't think anybody is surprised to see people feeling particularly strongly about these races,’” the Wall Street Journal reports.

RNC Chairman Michael Steele “confirmed that he'd met with Rhode Island gubernatorial candidate Frank Caprio at RNC headquarters in February, but said he didn't talk to Caprio about running as a Republican,” the Providence Journal reports. “Caprio is a lifelong Democrat, but he was viewed as more conservative than the other Democrat running for governor at the time, Attorney General Patrick C. Lynch (who dropped out in July).”

President Obama wasn’t the only national political figure in Rhode Island yesterday, the Boston Globe writes. Sen. Scott Brown stumped for Rep. John Loughlin who is running against Providence Mayor David Cicilline, for whom Obama campagined, to replace Democratic Sen. Patrick Kennedy in Congress.

TEXAS: "The Texas governor's race moved into its final full week on Monday with a new poll showing Republican incumbent Rick Perry with a 10-percentage point lead over Democratic challenger Bill White," the Fort Worth Star-Telegram writes. "The latest University of Texas/Texas Triune poll shows Perry leading White by a 50-40 percentage point margin."

WASHINGTON: “Pumping up a heavily female crowd on Monday, first lady Michelle Obama said Washington voters must send Democratic Sen. Patty Murray back to Washington, D.C., to help carry out President Barack Obama's agenda,” the AP writes. “‘This election isn't just about all that we've accomplished these past couple of years. This election is about all that we have left to do in the months and years ahead,’ Mrs. Obama said. ‘And Washington, let me just say this: My husband can't do this alone.’”

WEST VIRGINIA: “Arizona Senator and former Presidential Candidate John McCain will make a stop in West Virginia Tuesday to support Republican U.S. Senate Candidate John Raese,” West Virginia Metro News reports.