TPM News

A new Patriot Majority/Public Policy Polling (D) survey of Nevada finds that former state Rep. Sharron Angle leads in the Republican primary for Senate, over establishment candidate and former state Sen. Sue Lowden and former UNLV basketball player Danny Tarkanian.

The numbers: Angle 29%, Lowden 26%, Tarkanian 24%, followed by state Rep. Chad Christensen and businessman John Chachas at 5% each. The poll of likely GOP primary voters has a ±3.8% margin of error.

A recent Mason-Dixon poll showed Angle surging into second place, trailing Lowden by 30%-25%, with Tarkanian at 22%. Lowden began the primary as the establishment favorite, but has stumbled as a result of her now-infamous suggestion that people use the barter system to lower their health care costs -- discussing how her grandparents' generation would bring a chicken to the doctor as payment.

(Via Jon Ralston.)

In the space of a few hours today, Rand Paul first hedged, then reversed, then, finally, repudiated his previously stated [opposition](http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2010/05/what-did-rand-paul-really-say-on-maddow-last-night.php?ref=fpb) to a key section of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

It began with the Kentucky senate candidate issuing a statement saying he would not favor repeal of the Civil Rights Act. But the statement fell short of supporting the power of the government to ban racial discrimination by private businesses.

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Controversy is swirling over Rand Paul's doctrinaire libertarian take on the civil rights legislation of the 1960s. But this is not the first time the Kentucky Republican's campaign has hit a bump in racially sensitive territory.

In December, Chris Hightower, the spokesman for Paul's senate campaign, was forced to resign after a liberal Kentucky blog discovered that his MySpace page had a comment posted around Martin Luther King Day that read: "HAPPY N***ER DAY!!!" above what appears to be a historical photo of the lynching of a black man.

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The new Rasmussen poll of the Pennsylvania Senate race shows Democratic Rep. Joe Sestak jumping into the lead over Republican former Rep. Pat Toomey, in the wake of Sestak's upset victory over incumbent Sen. Arlen Specter in Tuesday's Democratic primary.

The numbers: Sestak 46%, Toomey 42%. The poll of likely voters has a ±4.5% margin of error. Two weeks ago, Rasmussen had Toomey edging out Sestak by 42%-40%, and also had Toomey leading Specter by a much wider 50%-38%. The TPM Poll Average, composed entirely of pre-primary data except for this new survey, has Toomey ahead of Sestak by 39.6%-37.7%, with Sestak clearly gaining since March.

The pollster's analysis finds that Democratic voters are rallying around their nominee, now that the primary is over: "Support for Sestak among Democrats in Pennsylvania jumped from 64% to 80% since the Primary election. Toomey's support among GOP voters in the state has changed little over the past two weeks."

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Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) considers the passing of the Civil Rights Act one of the most important and "formative" events in his career. And that's why, a McConnell spokesperson said in a statement obtained by Ben Smith, the senator is "glad to hear" Rand Paul supports it too.

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House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-SC) appeared on MSNBC this afternoon and really laid into Kentucky Republican Senate nominee Rand Paul over his criticism of the Civil Rights Act -- and the fact that Paul held his victory party Tuesday at a country club.

"I was absolutely appalled," Clyburn said.

"I could not believe that he was holding his victory party in a private members-only club where the vast majority of the people who just finished voting for him would not even be welcome," Clyburn said. "I couldn't believe that."

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In a stunning move last night, the Staten Island GOP executive committee nominated former Rep. Vito Fossella to run for his old House seat.

Fossella, who chose not to run for re-election in 2008 after he admitted to fathering a child with his mistress, was not at the executive committee meeting. During the meeting, the committee interviewed two other candidates, Michael Allegretti and Michael Grimm, before voting overwhelmingly to nominate Fossella.

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Giddy Republicans itching to take back the House this fall should be warned by the Democratic win in Pennsylvania's 12th Congressional district, DCCC Chairman Rep. Chris Van Hollen said today.

"The hype about this being another 1994 hit the brick wall," Van Hollen (D-MD) said at a briefing with reporters today at the DNC headquarters. His argument is that the Republicans poured massive cash into the closely divided district, and lost by a wide margin despite the big effort. What's more, the GOP had boasted this would be an easy district to win and consultants were telling reporters as late as poll closing time Tuesday they thought they'd scored a victory.

"They went all in on this race ... they did a test run of their strategy and it crashed and failed," Van Hollen said. He admitted it remains a tough political year for the majority party, and declined to speculate just how many seats the Democrats would lose in November. But he said the GOP won't win back the House in part because their candidates are being pushed to the extreme right by the tea party movement.

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