TPM News

A new ad funded by the group of Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC), who is supporting Joe Miller in the Alaska Senate race, attacks Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) for her stance on abortion. "There are three Senate candidates. But only one choice to defend the unborn. Republican Joe Miller is pro-life," the ad says.

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True the Vote, the Tea Party affiliated organization that was founded explicitly to combat what they say is the widespread issue of voter fraud, posted a message on their website on Wednesday responding to allegations that poll watchers intimidated voters.

"Claims by partisan operatives and bloggers with an agenda that voter intimidation was conducted by True the Vote are false and libelous, and they should be retracted immediately," said the statement. "True the Vote has never, and will never, condone or promote voter intimidation at a polling place."

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Kentucky's Republican nominee for Senate, Rand Paul, isn't the only Paul upset over Democrat Jack Conway's notorious Aqua Buddha ad.

"I am truly shocked by Conway's ads questioning Rand's faith based on nothing more than anonymous accusations from nearly three decades ago," Kelley Paul told reporters today, according to a report from CNN's Peter Hamby.

Paul said that she and her husband have "attended a Presbyterian Church in Bowling Green for nearly two decades" and are both "devoted Christians."

She claimed that Conway's ad was an attack on her family, one she appeared to find reprehensible.

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The new CNN/Time poll of the Alaska Senate race shows a tied race between Republican nominee Joe Miller and incumbent GOP Sen. Lisa Murkowski, who is running a well-organized write-in campaign after she narrowly lost the Republican primary to the Tea Party challenger.

The numbers: Miller 37%, Murkowski 37%, and Democratic nominee Scott McAdams 23%. The survey of likely voters has a ±3% margin of error. In the previous survey from late September, Miller had 38%, Murkowski 36%, and McAdams 22%.

A caveat: This poll appears to list Murkowski's write-in bid as a choice for voters to pick. Some other pollsters have listed only Miller and McAdams while accepting Murkowski as a voluntary answer, as Murkowski's name is not on the ballot. It is not clear which approach is better for polling this unique election, but it seems important to know about.

The TPM Poll Average gives Murkowski 36.7%, Miller 36%, and McAdams 25.5%.

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Turns out that Rand Paul -- who has been incensed over Jack Conway's suggestion that Paul's college hijinks are relevant to the Kentucky Senate race -- was very recently the candidate making attack ads aimed at the decisions another man made in his college years.

Back in the hotly contested Republican primary, which pitted Paul against establishment pick Trey Grayson, Paul had a field day making an issue out of Grayson's college-age support for Bill Clinton. Grayson, the current Kentucky Secretary of State, told a group of students in 2008 that when he cast his first presidential ballot in 1992, at age 20, he cast it for Bill Clinton. Most other Kentuckians did, too -- Clinton won the state that year, and did it again four years later.

Grayson said he became a Republican later, "when he realized he agreed more often with the GOP on issues."

As our Eric Kleefeld reported back in February, Paul had a field day with the story, fielding a TV ad calling Grayson and Clinton "dangerous allies" and highlighting the fact that Grayson "admitted to voting for draft-dodger Bill Clinton."

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Businessman Ron Johnson, the Republican nominee in the Wisconsin Senate race, seems to have had another fun moment this morning -- declaring at a candidate forum that he doesn't have to have details on policy.

As WisPolitics reports:

GOP U.S. Senate candidate Ron Johnson said this morning he doesn't have specific details on how to solve the nation's issues, instead comparing himself to a promising job candidate who has the potential to learn on the job.

...

"I don't believe this election is about details. I really don't," Johnson said. "I've met with people in 60 counties and done 500 personal events, and my approach is to convey to people who I am, explain my manufacturing background, and then as honestly as I can, let people know what my philosophy is."

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At a meeting of the King Street Patriots in August, the president of the Tea Party group claimed that the fringe New Black Panther Party had set up an office in Houston, eliciting gasps from the audience.

But what was that residential looking building shown in an image displayed at the presentation in reality? The headquarters of Houston Votes, which was running a voter registration drive in minority neighborhoods.

So where did Catherine Engelbrecht, the head of the Tea Party group, come up with that connection?

"From absolutely making it up," said Jim George, a lawyer representing Houston Votes, told TPMMuckraker. "It's just like 'I understand you're a member of the Klu Klux Klan' -- simply making it up."

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A new PPP poll of the Illinois Senate race finds Republican Rep. Mark Kirk edging out Democratic state Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias, 42%-40%, with Green Party candidate LeAlan Jones earning 4% and Libertarian Mike Labno polling at 3%.

PPP last looked at this race in late- eptember, finding Kirk with a four point lead over Giannoulias, 40%-36%, while Jones pulled in a more noteworthy 8% and Labno earned 3%. When the latest survey asked respondents in a follow up question to suppose that the Republican and Democrat were the only candidates in the race, Kirk topped Giannoulias by one point, 46%-45%.

A Rasmussen poll released earlier today had the Kirk-Giannoulias-Jones matchup at 44%-40%-4%, with the Republican coming out on top.

When considering the four-candidate matchup, the TPM Poll Average shows a near deadlock between the two leading candidates: Kirk earns 41.1% versus Giannoulias's 41.0%, while Jones polls at 3.5% and Labno earns 2.6%. The margin of error for the latest survey is ±4.2 percentage points.

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

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