TPM News

In the strongest possible terms, Rand Paul told voters in Kentucky today that should he become the next Republican Senator from the Bluegrass State, he'll lend his name to the list of the Senate Republican leader's supporters in Washington.

"I'm going to go up there and vote for Mitch McConnell," Paul told the crowd at a Farm Bureau candidate forum with Democratic nominee Jack Conway in Louisville, WDRB-TV reports.

Paul has run as a tea partier since the beginning of his insurgent campaign for Senate, which saw him handily defeat McConnell's choice of candidates in the Republican primary. Paul often sought to distinguish himself from his Republican opponent on the campaign trail by ripping McConnell and the Republican establishment, and suggesting he might support someone else for party leader in the Senate if he made it to Washington. Since the primary however, Paul has tempered his rhetoric quite a bit, and tried to make nice with the establishment party leaders that tried to defeat him. But as recently as two weeks ago, Paul said "maybe" when asked if he would support Kentucky's other Senator for another term as leader of the Senate GOP.

Seems that Paul has made it past "maybe" and shifted to "yes."

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Norm Coleman is contemplating another campaign against a recognized comedian. No, he's not going after Al Franken's Senate seat: he's thinking of taking on RNC chairman Michael Steele.

Politico reports that Coleman, currently the CEO of the 501(c)3 American Action Forum and its 501(c)4 political arm the American Action Network, has had several conversations with highly-placed Republican officials to suss out his prospects -- which, given Steele's tenure, might just be pretty good, even from far outside the GOP -- and will likely do more of that at the August meeting in Kansas City.

Coleman, naturally, issued a non-denial denial.

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Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) has a plan for what the Republicans should do if they win control of the House of Representatives: Spend all their time investigating the Obama administration.

"Oh, I think that's all we should do," Bachmann told the Three Fingers of Politics website. "I think that all we should do is issue subpoenas and have one hearing after another, and expose all the nonsense that has gone on. And it's very important when we come back that we have constitutional conservative leadership, because the American people's patience is about this big. So we have to make sure that we do what the people want us to do."

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Here is the new ad in the Connecticut Senate race from former Rep. Rob Simmons (R-CT), who suspended his campaign in late May but is suddenly showing a new interest in the August 10 primary.

"Today, it's important to vote with your heart and your head," Simmons says, speaking to the camera. "Bailouts and tax increases have crippled the economy and cost us jobs. Small business is our backbone. Let's help them. National security must remain strong. Put your trust in the candidate who is and will be an advocate for veterans. These issues will have a lasting effect on our children. In the Republican primary on August 10th, you do have a choice. I'm Rob Simmons, I'm still on the ballot, and I approved this message."

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Not much is known about surprise Democratic South Carolina Senate nominee Alvin Greene, but military records obtained by the Associated Press provide some insight into Greene's honorable discharge from the Air Force in 2005.

A performance review describes Greene as "unable to express thoughts clearly," and "not able to adapt to any changes to daily routine."

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Former World Wrestling Entertainment CEO and Republican Senate candidate Linda McMahon has a new ad in the Connecticut Senate race, clearly reaching out to women voters who might be turned off by her background in the raunchy entertainment world of pro-wrestling.

The ad shows two women going for a drive and talking about McMahon. One of the women says she likes what she hears about McMahon, but that the wrestling stuff is "not exactly my cup of tea." The other woman responds: "It's a soap opera...Look, she tamed the traveling show world of professional wrestling, turned it into a global company, and created 500 jobs here in Connecticut."

The first woman responds: "Alright, you think she can shake things up in Washington?" The ad ends with the women declaring an exuberant "Oh, yeah."

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Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-NY) has been charged with ethics violations, the House ethics panel announced today.

The committee did not announce the specifics of the violations.

The panel has reportedly been investigating Rangel for the four rent-controlled apartments he rents in Harlem and his fundraising efforts for a City College of New York educational center named in his honor.

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Democrats are circulating an internal polling memo out of Louisiana that finds Rep. Charlie Melancon (D-LA) in a dead heat with David Vitter in the race for Vitter's Senate seat.

"The race for Louisiana's U.S. Senate seat has undergone a fundamental shift in the past few weeks," the memo reads. "Vitter's mishandling of the [a recent scandal] and the emergence of a strong Republican primary challenger are new, dramatic hurdles to Vitter's already imperiled re-election prospects. Charlie Melancon's active role during the oil spill has provided him with a platform to demonstrate his strong leadership on behalf of Louisiana voters on a statewide platform. The head-to-head vote with Charlie Melancon is now a dead-heat, fifty percent of voters prefer someone new to another Vitter term, and voter perceptions of Vitter are tanking as the electorate continues to warm to Melancon."

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Today's Rasmussen poll of the Florida Senate race suggests that the Democrat in the contest could make a real difference -- even though neither possible Democratic nominee seems to have a great shot at actually winning.

When Democratic businessman Jeff Greene is pitted against Independent Charlie Crist and Republican Marco Rubio, Crist leads Rubio 36-34, with Greene lagging in third with 19%. But when Rep. Kendrick Meek is the Democrat in the race, Rubio tops Crist 35-33, while Meek trails with 20%.

The last Rasmussen poll -- from July 6 -- showed Rubio leading Crist and Meek 36-34-15, and leading Crist and Greene 37-33-18.

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