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A new poll from the right-wing Club For Growth, which is supporting Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman in the NY-23 special election, says that Hoffman is ahead in the three-way race -- and moderate Republican Dede Scozzafava in third place.

The numbers: Hoffman 31%, Democrat Bill Owens 27%, and Scozzafava 20%. The margin of error is ±5.66%.

This is contrary to other polls that have shown Owens in front, Scozzafava second, and Hoffman third. The Club points out that no information about the candidates was given before the ballot question, meaning that they did not try to prime the pump for Hoffman in the lead-up to asking people for their preferences.

From the pollster's analysis: "Hoffman now has a wide lead among both Republicans and Independents, while Owens has a wide lead among Democrats. Dede Scozzafava's support continues to collapse, making this essentially a two-candidate race between Hoffman and Owens in the final week."

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid may have some answers for hungry reporters, and anxious activists sooner than expected. The Nevada Democrat will be holding a press conference today at 3:15 p.m. to discuss his progress merging two competing health care bills.

We'll, of course, be there, and will pass on updates as quickly as possible.

Democratic Gov. Jon Corzine is increasingly relying on President Obama's popularity to carry him across the finish line in Dem-leaning New Jersey, with both a radio ad and a TV spot featuring the president's endorsement.

One of Corzine's biggest needs in this close race is to make sure that core Democratic groups, such as the young and minority voters, turn out to the polls in an off-year election. And Obama's ads seem tailor-made towards that end.

Here's the radio ad:



This is on top of a TV ad, which featured Obama speaking in both English and Spanish.

The Republican National Committee released a Spanish-language radio ad today criticizing President Obama and Vice President Biden for the stimulus and health care reform, just ahead of their visits to Miami to attend Democratic fundraisers.

In a press release announcing the ad, chairman Michael Steele said the White House is pushing a "reckless health care experiment."

"Despite the jam-packed fundraising schedule the president and vice president have during their Miami visit, they should find some time to explain to Florida's Hispanic-Americans the real consequences that the Democrats' plan will have on their community," Steele said. "Americans deserve answers to their questions," he said.

Those questions include:

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It looks like Doug Hoffman, the Conservative Party candidate in the three-way NY-23 special election, doesn't actually know much about the district's local issues, the Watertown Daily Times reports.

Hoffman is opposing Democratic nominee Bill Owens and moderate Republican Dede Scozzafava on issues like abortion, gay rights, the stimulus bill, and other national hot-button topics. But at a Daily Times editorial board meeting, he couldn't answer questions about local transportation projects and other economic issues.

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Grover Norquist's Americans for Tax Reform is targeting Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE) on health care with a national cable television ad that also will air in Nebraska.

Norquist, who has made a career of holding local, state and federal lawmakers accountable to signing a pledge with his group about not raising taxes, provides supporters a copy of the Nelson pledge in an ATR blog post today.

"He is bound by that Pledge for the duration of his career as a senator," ATR wrote, blasting the health care bill.

What's more, they are pressuring Nelson - already being hammered by the left on this issue - to filibuster the procedural motion to move forward on health care debate, suggesting a vote for what is known as cloture is a violation of the pledge.

"Now is the time where Senator Nelson must follow through on the promise he made to get elected," ATR wrote.

The ad after the jump.

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Michele Bachmann may be raising outlandish fears about the Census -- but Michael Steele's operation seems to be more than happy to associate its political efforts with the national survey.

The Republican National Committee is sending a mailer to GOP voters that aims to gather information and raise money. Nothing wrong with that. But the mailer appears clearly designed to mislead recipients into thinking that it's an official Census Bureau survey, which people are required by law to fill out.

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Rep. Kendrick Meek's senate campaign says today's visit to Florida by President Obama will likely include "face to face" meetings between Meek and Obama along with the political fundraising and presidential speeches Obama has announced for the day.

"[Meek] was asked to be on the tarmac to greet Obama when he lands in Miami so that's big," camp spokesperson Adam Sharon told TPMDC this morning. "I am sure there will be opportunities for face to face."

The DSCC confirmed it is helping set up the meetings.

Sharon said Meek has been in discussions with White House advisers about some personal time with Obama, and said he expects "much of the meetings will be fleshed out late today or be arranged on the spot tonight" at the DSCC fundraiser Obama is headlining in Miami beach tonight.

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Former Iowa First Lady Christie Vilsack has announced that she will not run for Senate against five-term incumbent republican Chuck Grassley in 2010, the Des Moines Register reports.

A
recent Daily Kos/Research 2000 poll had shown Vilsack trailing Grassley by a margin of 51%-40% -- which was actually pretty good, considering that Grassley has never been re-elected with less than 66% of the vote.

Vilsack said in her statement: "Committing to a campaign for the US Senate next year requires more than the confidence that I have the right experience, the necessary support and the resources to be successful. It must come with an understanding that it is the best way for me serve our State and my fellow Iowans in the most effective way possible at this time."

In a speech to the Center for American Progress today, Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers Christina Romer will make the economic case for health care reform.

"Some view health insurance reform as something we should do before or after tackling the deficit. My plea today is to view it as the most significant act we could take to tackle the deficit," Romer says in her prepared remarks.

She also says a public option "would serve as a competitive, alternative choice, constraining the ability of insurers to raise premiums, and thus containing the growth rate of costs."

More excerpts, released by the White House, after the jump.

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