TPM News

Chet Traylor, the Republican primary challenger to Sen. David Vitter (R-LA), appeared on the Washington Post/ABC News program "Top Line" yesterday in his first-ever television interview in support of his nascent campaign. And although the hosts tried hard to get him to tell them what the rumored newest scandal Vitter might face, Traylor was having none of it.

"Rick, the only thing I can tell is what the people have been telling me: that they want a viable alternative to vote for in this upcoming primary," he said. He added, "You guys are the ones who have been reporting the problems, and I'm sure that you all are keeping up with that a whole lot closer than I am."

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Today's thought experiment: who wins in a race between a Republican with Sarah Palin's endorsement and one who's birther-friendly and dared the federal government to stop him from deporting illegal immigrants?

Today, Republicans in the Peach State go to the polls to make their choice in the GOP runoff. The race pits former Secretary of State Karen Handel (the aforementioned Mama Grizzly) against former Rep. Nathan Deal (the one who just wanted to get to the bottom of the whole Obama birth certificate thing.) Who will win is anybody's guess -- the latest polls show the race as an absolute dead heat. Yesterday's Mason-Dixon poll showed Handel leading by five.

Indeed, the advantage likely goes to Handel, the woman who won the most votes in Georgia's July primary and stumped with Palin just yesterday.

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1||August 7, 2010: TPM is on the ground in Fancy Farm, Kentucky for the state's big political kickoff picnic -- and to enjoy some mutton barbecue.

Here, Democratic Senate nominee Jack Conway (left) greets Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (right), as Republican Senate nominee Rand Paul looks on. ||Newscom/Zuma&&

2||A Jack Conway supporter dresses as a 'NeanderPaul' at the Fancy Farm Picnic in western Kentucky.||Evan McMorris-Santoro/TPM&&

3||Jack Conway's camp rolled into Fancy Farm with a "Rand Paul's Waffle House" booth, with a menu that presents what Conway calls Paul's many flip-flops as he's tried to become slightly more mainstream during the campaign.||Evan McMorris-Santoro/TPM&&\

4||Fancy Farm attendees browse the dessert table.||Newscom/Zuma&&

5||Rand Paul.||Newscom/Zuma&&

6||Attendees peruse the buffet. ||Newscom/Zuma&&

7||Mitch McConnell.||Newscom/Zuma&&

8||A Kentucky state police trooper keeps watch as Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear speaks at the picnic.||Newscom/Zuma&&

9||Pete Thomas and his son Patrick cook at Fancy Farm. ||Newscom/Zuma&&

10||Mutton barbecue.||Evan McMorris-Santoro/TPM&&

11||Paul chats with Kentuckians at a pre-Fancy-Farm breakfast.||Evan McMorris-Santoro/TPM&&

12||More on Fancy Farm here.||Newscom/Zuma&&

Colorado Republican gubernatorial candidate Dan Maes raised eyebrows and kickstands last week, when he suggested that a Denver bicycling program supported by presumptive Democratic nominee and Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper was some kind of UN plot. Today on MSNBC, Maes was forced to try to explain. But instead of backpedaling, Maes just rode right on ahead.

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Kelly Ayotte, a candidate for the Republican Senatorial nomination in New Hampshire, is now giving her support to amending the Constitution to get rid of birthright citizenship for the children of illegal immigrants.

On the bright side, though, she is saying we should of course be cautious about the whole thing, and says the best focus now is to secure the border.

As the Huffington Post reports, Ayotte told a voter who asked about the issue:

"Well, I know that there's a number of proposals that are being brought forward right now to look at that issue. And I think that we should. Because one of the issues is we have to, obviously, when we look at our Constitution, if we're going to propose any changes to it we have to be very thoughtful and careful about that because it's a great document. But that said, we have people who are coming here just to become, to get healthcare and then leave. And they're not even being part of our society and there's something wrong with that. But fundamentally, I think the best thing we can do right now is secure our borders, enforce our existing immigration laws and English is the language of our country."

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Dave Weigel reports that Kentucky Republican Senate nominee Rand Paul's campaign is considering legal options in response to today's strange allegations in GQ that Paul was a pot-smoking kidnapper in his college days.

"We are investigating all our options -- including legal ones," Paul campaign manager Jesse Benton tells Weigel. "We will not tolerate drive-by journalism by a writer with a leftist agenda."

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Alveda King, the niece of Martin Luther King Jr. and a conservative activist, spoke at a sparsely attended National Organization for Marriage rally in Atlanta, Ga. this weekend about the scourge of gay marriage.

"It is statistically proven that the strongest institution that guarantees procreation and continuity of the generations is marriage between one man and one woman," King said.

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TPM's Evan McMorris-Santoro was on the ground in Fancy Farm, Kentucky over the weekend, and heard the best and worst of Kentucky political rhetoric while enjoying some mutton barbecue.

Here are some video highlights from the day's events -- complete with the cheers and jeers Fancy Farm is known for -- featuring Gov. Steve Beshear (D), Sen. Mitch McConnell (R), Republican Senate nominee Rand Paul, and Democratic nominee Jack Conway.

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