TPM News

A new Rasmussen poll of Arizona has yet more bad news for former Rep. J.D. Hayworth, who is challenging Sen. John McCain in the Republican primary. On the slim chance that Hayworth were to win the August 24 primary, he would in fact be the weaker GOP nominee -- and even trail the Democrat, former Tucson Councilman Rodney Glassman.

McCain leads Glassman in the general election by 53%-34%, while Glassman actually edges out Hayworth by 43%-38%. The survey of likely voters has a ±4.5% margin of error. The TPM Poll Averages for the general election matches have McCain leading Glassman by 52.3%-29.3%, and Glassman leading Hayworth by 42.2%-37.4%.

In the previous poll from mid-May, McCain led Glassman by 57%-28%, and Hayworth led Glassman by 49%-33%. Since then, of course, Hayworth has been dragged through the mud by such stories as his involvement in a 2007 infomercial promoting company's shady (and expensive) seminars on receiving "free money" from the federal government. It's not the kind of thing that would endear a candidate to swing voters.

Of course, it should be noted that the TPM Poll Average for the Republican primary puts McCain ahead of Hayworth by 53.6% 32.1%.

Rick Scott and Bill McCollum -- the two men vying for the Republican gubernatorial nomination in Florida -- met for their first debate today, appearing together at a local Univision affiliate. According to local reports of the faceoff (which won't be broadcast in Florida until later tonight), the debate exposed more of the nastiness between the two men that has characterized the campaign in the run up to the August 24 primary. Neither man seemed to emerge as a winner, which is probably good news for Scott.

The lowdown, as reported by the Palm Beach Post: McCollum "hammered" Scott "for Medicare fraud at Scott's former hospital chain" and Scott "labeled McCollum a 'career politician'" during the 45 minutes of debate.

That's in keeping with recent weeks on the campaign trail, where McCollum has tried (in vain, if the polls are to believed) to stop Scott from running away with the nomination by repeatedly smacking the billionaire over the huge fines his company paid to the federal government amid allegations of Medicare fraud in 1997. Scott has brushed off the attacks, suggesting they're the desperate cries of a losing man.

Meanwhile, the debate appeared to show Republican voters will get basically the same set of issue positions regardless of who they vote for.

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Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO) is matching Democratic challenger Andrew Romanoff's recent loan to his own campaign almost dollar for dollar. Bennet has loaned $300,000 to his campaign to provide a boost in the last days of his primary battle, according to the Associated Press. Last week, Romanoff sold his house and loaned his campaign $325,000.

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Last week, Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) was making the rounds, seeking the support of Louisiana's Sheriffs ahead of the November election. One potential problem: one of his rivals, State Rep. Ernest Wooton, is a former two-term sheriff himself.

Today, in an interview with TPMDC, Wooton suggested there may not be a Sheriff's endorsement at all this election.

"That's a win for me, if they're not going to endorse the incumbent," Wooton said. "Coming away with an endorsement would be wonderful for me...but coming away with no endorsement," would be a victory as well.

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A new survey of the Florida Senate race shows Gov. Charlie Crist (I) ahead of Marco Rubio (R) by some of the largest margins reported by any poll so far. With Democrat Jeff Greene in the race, Saturday's Florida Poll finds, Crist leads Rubio 37%-29%, while Greene takes third with 16%. When the Democrat is Kendrick Meek, Crist tops Rubio 41%-30%, while Meek trails with 12%.

With the exception of Rasmussen, which has shown a close contest between Crist and Rubio, recent polling has consistently found Crist leading Rubio. Before the latest Florida Poll, though, only one other poll -- a June 13 Cherry Communications survey -- had shown Crist leading by double digits.

With Greene in the race, the TPM Poll Average has Crist at 37.1%, Rubio at 30.7%, and Greene at 17.0%. When the Democrat is Meek, the TPM Poll Average of the race shows Crist with 37.6%, Rubio with 32.5%, and Meek with 14.5%. The margin of error of the latest Florida Poll, which was conducted along with the University of South Florida Polytechnic in Lakeland, is ±4.0 percentage points.

The primary is August 24.

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and his primary challenger, former Rep. J.D. Hayworth, have spent today touting their support from Tea Party activists in Arizona, with each claiming that they are by far the Tea Partiest Republican in the Arizona Senate race.

In a press release from the McCain campaign, Yavapai Tea Party board member Jennifer Campbell praised McCain for fighting President Obama's stimulus and health care programs -- and savaged Hayworth.

"I know Congressman Hayworth to be a good man, but during his 12 years in Washington, he requested hundreds of millions of dollars in pork barrel earmarks, and voted for billions more," said Campbell. "Congressman Hayworth also voted for Medicare Part D, a massive expansion of an already enormous government entitlement program. With that vote alone, he burdened future generations of Americans with trillions of dollars in debt. After his constituents voted him out of office, Congressman Hayworth was paid to pitch 'free government money' in a late-night television infomercial. Those aren't Tea Party values."

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The Senate is scheduled to vote tonight after 5:30 on whether to approve $1.15 billion for a discrimination settlement for African-American farmers.

The vote on the Pigford settlement will be a unanimous consent request, a spokesman for Majority Leader Harry Reid confirms to TPMmuckraker. That means it will pass unless a senator objects.

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With just over a week to go before Republicans in Georgia head back to the polls to pick their nominee for Governor in the Aug. 10 runoff election, the two candidates are stepping up their rhetoric. In a debate over the weekend, former Secretary of State Karen Handel -- one of Sarah Palin's "Mama Grizzlies" -- told her opponent, former Rep. Nathan Deal, that the attack ads of the runoff were nothing compared to what's coming when the winner of the Republican primary squares off against the Democratic nominee, former Gov. Roy Barnes.

"This is a race for governor. Things are tough. Campaigns are tough," Handel told Deal at the debate, after he called out her negative ads. "It's frankly time to put the big-boy pants on because, candidly, if you can't handle this, how are you going to handle Roy Barnes?"

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Sunday marked the first day that Christiane Amanpour hosted ABC's This Week, after Jake Tapper's extended, but temporary run. Amanpour hardly broke new ground in her debut, but she interviewed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Defense Secretary Robert Gates, two of Washington's biggest newsmakers.

But conservatives were outraged by her broadcast, and the latest swipe at her comes from Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) via Twitter.

"Anyone else miss @jaketapper yesterday?" McCain asked.

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According to police in Cumberland County, Pa., a prison guard allegedly killed a lawyer and stole his custom rifle -- part of a plan, the guard admitted, to steal guns in preparation for an armed coup.

Raymond Peake, a 64-year-old guard at the Camp Hill state prison, allegedly shot Todd Getgen to death at a local shooting range and stole Getgen's gun, a custom, silenced AR-15 rifle. He then allegedly stashed the gun with a fellow guard, Thomas Tuso, until he could put it in a storage unit.

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