TPM News

The Associated Press reports that Christine O'Donnell has pulled off an almost-surprising upset over Rep. Mike Castle in the Delaware Republican primary, after receiving the conservative-coveted endorsement of Sarah Palin last week.

With 85% of precincts reporting, O'Donnell leads 54%-46%.

Her win came despite whispers among national Republicans that the three-time candidate (and two-time loser) wasn't ready for prime time given her precarious financial situation and history of somewhat extreme positions on sexuality.

[TPM SLIDESHOW: Christine O'Donnell: Anti-Masturbation Crusader. Witchcraft Dabbler. Republican Senate Nominee.]

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Former Gov. Bob Ehrlich (R-MD), who was defeated for re-election in 2006, has easily won his Republican primary tonight, for his rematch bid against Dem Gov. Martin O'Malley. And in the process, he proved that a Sarah Palin endorsement isn't everything.

With only 1% of precincts reporting, the establishment-back Ehrlich leads Tea Partier and businessman Brian Murphy by a whopping 82%-18%, and he has been projected the winner by the Associated Press.

Fun fact: In early August, Sarah Palin endorsed Murphy. So this shows that while a Palin endorsement is certainly a good thing for a candidate in a Republican primary, and could potentially provide some boost, it cannot create victory from nothing.

Fox News has released a poll of the Ohio gubernatorial race showing Republican John Kasich ahead of Democratic incumbent Ted Strickland 48%-43%.

The five-point Kasich lead is the smallest the race has been since July. There is no prior Fox News poll of this race, but this poll was conducted through an offshoot of Rasmussen, Pulse Opinion Research. The last Rasmussen poll, from Aug. 30, showed Kasich up 52%-40%.

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DailyKos is back in the polling business, having dropped the disgraced Research 2000 in favor of the team at PPP (D). And one of the new partnership's first polls shows the Democratic nominee for Senate in Kentucky, Jack Conway, struggling in the race against Republican Rand Paul.

The Kos/PPP survey of 959 likely voters in the Bluegrass State shows Paul leading 49-42. The poll has a 3.2% margin of error. Other recent polls have been all over the map, with some showing Paul with a huge lead and others showing the race essentially tied. The TPM Poll Average shows Paul ahead 47.2-41.5.

According to the Kos analysis of the new poll, internals show a tough road for Conway moving forward. Democrats say their numbers show things to be tight, and say the race is still anyone's to win.

"The Democrats' problem in Kentucky isn't the enthusiasm gap -- Rand Paul took care of that for us," pollster Tom Jensen writes at Kos. " It's because after showing some wariness earlier in the summer, when we had the race tied, the McCain voters have pretty much all gone home to Paul. In late June he was getting 70% of their votes and now for all his missteps he's getting 80% of their votes. In a state that went as strongly Republican last time as Kentucky Conway is going to have to be able to pick off more of their voters than that to have a path to victory."

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Tonight marks the last major night of the 2010 primary season. And what a wild and wacky season it's been -- and could still prove to be tonight.

This is the last multi-state primary night this year. After tonight, the only one primary left is Hawaii's this Saturday.

So let's take a look at some of tonight's races. There are Tea Party insurgents against establishment GOP moderates, Dems fighting it out to keep their jobs, and a whole lot of fun throughout.

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President Obama's aides say the White House is trying to take a step back and let Democratic leadership figure out the best way to handle the question of the Bush tax cuts.

The president made his preference clear, and he'll keep helping the Democrats on the stump with the rhetorical definition of their party versus the Republicans. A White House aide said it's possible Obama might talk about the tax cuts issue during his Cabinet meeting scheduled for tomorrow.

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Republican Senators are coalescing around a compromise on tax cut legislation that would extend all of President Bush's tax cuts -- including on the wealthiest Americans -- until at least 2012.

"We need to leave things as is [for] at least two years," said Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN), told TPM this afternoon.

He shares that view with numerous GOP colleagues, conservative and moderate, who are walking a middle path between Democratic leaders, who want to let the upper-bracket tax cuts expire, and the GOP top brass, who wants to extend all of Bush's tax cuts permanently.

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The new Fox News poll of the California gubernatorial race shows Republican former eBay CEO Meg Whitman continuing to lead the Democratic nominee, former governor and current state Attorney General Jerry Brown.

The numbers: Whitman 49%, Brown 43%. The survey of likely voters has a ±3% margin of error. There is no prior Fox News poll of this race, but this poll was conducted through an offshoot of Rasmussen, Pulse Opinion Research. The previous Rasmussen poll from last week put Whitman ahead by 48%-45%.

The TPM Poll Average gives Whitman a lead of 46.5%-44.1%.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid told reporters today that he plans to move on a tax cut package before Congress adjourns next month ahead of the November elections...but he still doesn't know what that package will call for.

Reid expects a vote on the package "before we leave," leaving Democrats little time to determine whether they'll proceed with President Obama's plan to extend all of the Bush tax cuts, except for those that benefit the wealthiest Americans.

Reid said today that he supports the President's plan, but he's still unsure whether he'll use Obama's template. House leaders, meanwhile, are leaning toward waiting on the Senate to act before they cast any tax cut votes. That leaves one big question unanswered: what happens if the Senate does nothing?

The new Fox News poll of the California Senate race gives Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer a narrow lead over Republican former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina.

The numbers: Boxer 46%, Fiorina 44%. The survey of likely voters has a ±3% margin of error. There is no prior Fox News poll of this race, but this poll was conducted through an offshoot of Rasmussen, Pulse Opinion Research. The previous Rasmussen poll from last week gave Fiorina a one-point edge of 48%-47%.

The TPM Poll Average gives Boxer a narrow lead of just 46.7%-45.1%.

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