TPM News

Carly Fiorina has money to burn. Former Rep. Tom Campbell has poll numbers. Assemblyman Chuck DeVore has neither, but he's got heart. So goes the closing arguments of the hard-fought California Republican Senate primary. Will public polls showing it's now Fiorina's race to lose, the two men who once seemed destined to keep Fiorina out of Washington are now scrambling to make in impact in the final days before the June 8 primary.

Campbell, who was once the frontrunner, has taken a spectacular fall from grace. Penniless, the man who won his party's Senate nomination ten years ago now can't afford TV ads in the primary's final days. DeVore, a Jim DeMint-backed conservative who started the race with visions of becoming the Marco Rubio to Fiorina's Charlie Crist, told me today about "keeping the fire going" among his remaining volunteers.

For her part, Fiorina has already left the primary behind. Up by double digits in the latest polls, she's turned her attention -- and considerable fortune -- to attacking Sen. Barbara Boxer. Her Republican opponents say that's the problem.

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The arrest of Jim Greer today marks the culmination of a year long scandal at the Florida Republican party that began with revelations of personal spending sprees on party credit cards and has now escalated to criminal charges of fraud and grand theft.

Greer, who spent three years as chair of the Florida GOP after being handpicked for the slot by Gov. Charlie Crist in 2007, allegedly skimmed 10% of GOP fundraising revenue for his own shell company, which had been secretly awarded a party contract by Greer. He was ousted from the party in January amid charges of financial mismanagement.

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The four candidates vying FOR the Republican nomination for governor of South Carolina have been airing a variety of interesting TV ads recently, hitting familiar themes -- bread and butter GOP issues like health care illegal immigration and the Tea Party movement, plus the quintessentially Southern theme of "states rights." And, of course, there's Sarah Palin.

Four candidates are vying the Republican nomination for governor of South Carolina, to succeed the term-limited (and scandal-plagued) GOP Gov. Mark Sanford. And all four of them have some great ads.

The candidates will meet on the ballot for the first time this Tuesday, June 8. A candidate will need to win more than 50% of the vote in order to be nominated outright. And with the polls showing all of them attracting significant support, the most likely outcome is that the the top two will meet again in a runoff on June 22. The TPM Poll average gives state Rep. Nikki Haley 28.7%, state Attorney General Henry McMaster 17.2%, Lt. Gov. André Bauer 16.7%, and Rep. Gresham Barrett 15.0%.

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As several politicians have been snared thanks to fibbing about their military records, TPM took a trip down memory lane exploring others who exaggerated service. It turns out that 12 years ago when Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) was running for Senate, the San Francisco Examiner uncovered that his Army record was in doubt.

The Examiner published in May 1998 a devastating article detailing the conflicts between Issa's public statements and public records. A focus in the story was Issa's claim he protected then-President Richard Nixon as part of an "elite Army bomb unit" at the World Series in 1971. But it turns out Nixon didn't even attend the games.

The Examiner scoured military records and concluded that Issa's service on the squad "was marred by a bad conduct rating, a demotion and allegations that he had stolen a fellow soldier's car." It cited his 1998 campaign biography saying he served in the Army nine years, even though records showed he served just over five years. He was enlisted from 1970-1972 and was in a college Army ROTC program from 1972 through 1976, the Examiner reported. It also noted that an Issa press release said he was "detailed to the Army security team" which traveled with Nixon, and quoted from a 1990 San Diego Union story that said Issa "was on a bomb disposal unit for President Nixon and got to see the 1971 World Series because Nixon wanted to go and the stadiums had to be secured."

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Artur Davis was never going to have an easy time becoming the first black governor of highly white, highly Republican Alabama. But in the end, he wasn't even able to make it past the first round, losing to Ron Sparks in last night's primary by a significant margin, after having dominated in the polls up until the eve of the election. How did such a charismatic and well-qualified pol, once considered a rising star in the Democratic party, allow his entire political career--his seat in Congress, his gubernatorial aspirations, his favor in national politics--to fizzle out?

Alabama political veterans say his major error was seeking to distance himself from Democrats--and particularly influential black organizations--at an early stage in the campaign, sacrificing principles for politics and taking for granted the very people who ultimately turned on him. Davis assumed--or took a huge gamble--that the historical promise of becoming Alabama's first black governor would be enough to rally his base--despite black leaders' endorsement of his white opponent--and that he could pre-emptively move to the right ahead of the general election in at times craven ways. He was wrong.

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