TPM News

A newly released poll of the South Carolina gubernatorial race supports the emerging narrative that Republican nominee Nikki Haley's once-sizable lead over Democratic state Sen. Vincent Sheheen has significantly dwindled. The findings show the Republican leading the race by a mere two points, 43%-41%.

The survey, conducted by left-leaning pollster Crantford & Associates, shows Haley's narrowest lead through recent months' polling. When the same pollster looked at the race on September 30, Haley had a slightly greater four-point lead, 45%-41%. In past polling, Sheheen was seemingly out of this race -- he trailed by double-digits in every poll before the late-September survey.

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The National Republican Senatorial Committee has a new ad in the West Virginia Senate race, accusing Democratic Gov. Joe Manchin of "camouflaging" his support for President Obama.

The ad uses a video of clip of Manchin with a hunting rifle -- but no camo gear -- lifted from Manchin's ad in which he distanced himself from national Dems by shooting a paper labeled as "Cap And Trade Bill."

"Joe Manchin is on a hunting trip -- he's hunting for votes," the announcer says. "But Manchin's camouflaging his support of President Obama's worst policies. Joe Manchin supported Obama's government takeover of health care. Joe Manchin supported Obama's stimulus bill. It wasted billions and created more debt. A good governor -- has a bad idea. Send Joe Manchin back to Charleston, and send a message to Obama."

The TPM Poll Average gives Republican nominee John Raese a lead of 46.8%-45.6%.

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A newly released poll of the Washington Senate race finds Democratic incumbent Sen. Patty Murray clinging to a one-point lead over Republican nominee Dino Rossi, 48%-47%.

This was Marist's first look at the contest, so there are no numbers available for direct comparison. An October 17 Rasmussen survey had Murray leading by three points, 49%-46%, and an October 16 PPP poll had the incumbent ahead 49%-47%.

The TPM Poll Average finds Murray with a 49.3%-45.8% advantage in the race. The latest poll's margin of error is ±4.0 percentage points.

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

The new Rasmussen poll of the West Virginia Senate race gives Republican businessman John Raese a strong lead against Democratic Gov. Joe Manchin, in the race to succeed the late Dem Sen. Robert Byrd.

The numbers: Raese 50%, Manchin 43%. The survey of likely voters has a ±4% margin of error. In the previous Rasmussen poll from last week, Raese was only ahead by 49%-46%.

Despite Manchin's high popularity, Raese has taken the lead in many polls as a result of President Obama's deep unpopularity in the state. Raese's momentum was recently blunted as a result of a fumbled ad from the National Republican Senatorial Committee, which was taped in Philadelphia using a casting call for "hicky" looking actors. But in this poll, at least, he appears to have recovered his footing.

The TPM Poll Average gives Raese a lead of 46.8%-45.6%.

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It took a couple months of chatter and a nasty ad from Jack Conway, but Rand Paul is finally opening up about that Aqua Buddha story. Sort of.

The tale, first told in GQ in August, has become the centerpiece of the Kentucky Senate race in recent days, with Democrat Conway calling on the Republican Paul to explain why a woman is accusing him of tying her up, putting her in a creek and asking her to pray to "Aqua Buddha" while both were students at Baylor University.

Since the story broke, Paul has basically ignored it, dismissing it as a tale told by an anonymous source and fomented by the Conway camp. Now, with polls tightening and the national media transfixed by Conway's ad, Paul is being forced to address the topic in national interviews.

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After federal Judge Virginia Phillips denied the government's request to continue enforcing Don't Ask, Don't Tell pending appeal, the Justice Department has made the same request to a higher court.

The government is appealing Phillips' ruling that DADT is unconstitutional to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Today, it also asked the appeals court to stay the injunction Phillips issued last week, which orders the military to stop enforcing DADT.

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The director of art galleries at a Texas university says he was asked to resign after getting into a bit of a spat with Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) in which he called the congressman a "fear monger."

Christian Cutler, who until recently ran the art galleries at the Stephen F. Austin State University, says it all began in early August, when an aide for Gohmert's office called him up and asked him to judge a high school art show. According to Cutler, the aide said the show would be held in Tyler, about an hour and a half away from the Nagodoches campus.

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Wisconsin Republican Senate hopeful Ron Johnson had a deer-in-headlights moment in a recent interview with the Green Bay Press Gazette.

Asked to explain his jobs plan, Johnson banged away at the GOP mantra: cutting spending, regulation, etc. That didn't satisfy the editors.

"There's no real jobs plan?" one interviewer asked.

"I would say bring fiscal discipline to the federal government," Johnson replied. "We've got to curb spending."

That didn't satisfy his interviewers.

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Jon Runyan, a former pro football player and now the Republican nominee against freshman Rep. John Adler (D-NJ), has added his voice to the recent constitutional jurisprudence of GOP candidates -- listing the 1857 Dred Scott v. Sanford Supreme Court decision as a recent case that he disagreed with.

As the Asbury Park Press reports, from a debate last night:

"Jon, it's a different branch of government, but can you give me an example from the last 10 or 15 years of a Supreme Court decision in which you strongly disagree?" Adler asked.

"That I strongly disagree with?" Runyan asked, pausing for a moment to consider the question. "Dred Scott."

There was some laughter in the audience.

Adler then asked the question again, pointing out that he asked for decisions in the previous 10-15 years. Runyan was reportedly unable to give an answer.

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