TPM News

Tom Emmer, the Republican nominee for governor of Minnesota in the race to replace fellow Republican and current Governor Tim Pawlenty, has a new ad up. And this feel-good ad introducing Emmer and his family to the state has an interesting kicker.

"Minnesota families are struggling. WE need to pick ourselves up, create jobs and get our economy moving," Emmer says, also adding: "It's time for a new direction."

Of course, Minnesota already has a Republican governor -- which might cause some confusion about how the direction should change, though Pawlenty has been hamstrung by the Democratic legislature. What Emmer presumably means is that the state should become more conservative, of course, but there are other ways to interpret that statement.

The TPM Poll Average currently gives Democratic nominee Mark Dayton a 44.2%-33.6% lead over Emmer, plus 9.9% for Independence Party nominee Tom Horner.

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As we reported last week, one of the fiercest and most influential critics of the Cordoba House project, Dr. Richard Land, splits his time between his leadership role in the Southern Baptist Convention and as a member of the federally funded US Commission for International Religious Freedom. Mother Jones dug in a bit deeper to find that other members of the commission, in their capacities outside the USCIRF, have opposed the Islamic cultural center as well.

One John Boehner-appointed commissioner, Nina Shea, took to the National Review's website (in a post since removed and archived here) to promote the idea, common in right-wing circles, that the "mosque" could become a "tool for Islamists." She wrote:

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Carl Paladino, the right-wing businessman who's seeking the Republican nomination for governor of New York while also running on his own self-created "Tea Party" ballot line, has a new proposal to deal with welfare in New York: Provide the poor job and lifestyle training -- by putting them in prisons.

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Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL) isn't taking any chances with his re-election, attacking all of his potential opponents as they fight each other in the GOP primary. But he's saving his harshest line for his likely rival, Daniel Webster -- or, as Grayson calls him, "Taliban Dan." Why? Because in 1990, Webster sponsored and supported legislation in Florida that would have made it much more difficult for people to divorce -- a policy called "covenant marriage."

In a letter to supporters, Grayson described it like this: "Dan Webster's bill reduces the institution of marriage to a roach motel: You can check in, but you can't check out."

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A new SurveyUSA poll of the Washington Senate race shows Republican Dino Rossi leading Democratic Sen. Patty Murray, 52%-45%.

This is the first SurveyUSA poll conducted for the state's general election since April, when Rossi led 52%-42%. The new findings come on the heels of an August 18 Rasmussen poll that showed Murray up on Rossi by four-points, 50%-46%. These are the first two surveys conducted since Murray and Rossi easily advanced out of Washington's "Top Two" primary last week.

The TPM Poll Average finds Rossi with a slim advantage in the race, 48.0%-47.7%. The latest SurveyUSA poll's margin of error is ±4.0 percentage points.

For more on the race, check out TPMDC's full coverage here.

Three new polls in Florida from over the weekend suggest that tomorrow's Republican gubernatorial primary is anybody's game. But the man with the momentum is clear: everything's coming up Bill McCollum.

Uber-wealthy former hospital executive Rick Scott's not out of the race by any means, but it seems that his nasty attacks on McCollum have failed to put the establishment-backed McCollum out to pasture. Mason-Dixon's latest poll of the race, taken last week and released Saturday, shows McCollum up 45-36. A new Qunninpiac poll taken over the weekend shows McCollum up 39-35. Scott can take solace in the fact that the latest PPP (D) poll still shows him with a 7-point lead -- until he remembers that the last PPP poll of the race from July showed Scott up by 14.

Heading into the vote, it's hard to predict who'll come out on top. The TPM Poll Average shows the race to be very close, with McCollum ahead 42.1-38.2. That means McCollum could very possibly still lose. But it also means that Scott's scorched-earth campaign to defeat McCollum has fallen flat, with McCollum picking up momentum in the race's final weeks.

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An extortion indictment against former Rep. Rick Renzi (R-Ariz.) should not be thrown out because of concerns over the constitutional separation of powers, federal prosecutors told the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit.

While Renzi's case has yet to go to court, his lawyers have argued that the indictment violates the speech clause of the Constitution because prosecutors from the executive branch are intruding on Renzi's "legislative acts" reports David Ingram of the National Law Journal.

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Ron Johnson, a businessman and the likely Republican nominee against Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI), is voicing his opposition to the proposed Muslim community center near Ground Zero in New York. Furthermore, he's calling for construction workers to boycott the project if the city and state won't revisit the matter and block it.

As the Racine Journal Times reported on Friday:

"Those folks are trying to poke a stick in our eye," Johnson said. "I just hope the zoning officials and the city, the state revisit that, rezone that piece of property."

The Republican candidate for U.S. Senate continued: "If they don't do it I hope the construction workers in New York show their outrage and say we are not going to do that."

So this is what it takes for Republicans to support organized labor...

The TPM Poll Average currently gives Johnson a lead of 48.8%-46.9% over Feingold. Previously, Feingold came out strongly against the center's opponents, calling the opposition "one of the worst things I've ever seen done in politics."

A trio of new polls from the weekend show Rep. Kendrick Meek with the wind at his back heading into tomorrow's Democratic primary for Senate in Florida. The numbers show that Meek has shaken off the negative hits billionaire investor Jeff Greene has thrown his way, despite the huge amount of money Greene has poured into the race with the goal of turning Democratic voters off to the four-term Congressman.

All three polls show Meek ahead by double digits. A Mason-Dixon poll conducted last week shows Meek up 12, 42-30. A new Qunnipiac poll from the weekend shows him ahead by 10, and a PPP(D) poll taken during the same period shows Meek ahead 51-27.

As it stands less than 24 hours before the primary vote, TPM Poll Average shows Meek leading a three-way race with Greene and former Miami Mayor Maurice Ferre by a comfortable margin. The average shows Meek with 38.8% of the vote, Greene with 27.7% and Ferre with 3.7%.

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We'd been wondering when Bush administration officials were going to step forward to remind everyone who is worked in a tizzy over the proposed Islamic center near Ground Zero in New York City that the project's booster did international religious outreach for the United States.

The answer came -- sort of -- this weekend, when Karen Hughes penned a Washington Post op-ed saying that organizers should "move the mosque."

Hughes sounds many of the same notes we've heard frequently from opponents over the last few weeks. But what struck us is that Hughes failed to mention her own work with Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf as he was dispatched around the globe to discuss the Islamic faith in America on behalf of the Bush administration.

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