TPM News

Well, that didn't take long.

With the news out that David Vitter's primary challenger, former Louisiana Supreme Court Justice Chet Traylor, is ready to rumble, Vitter's taking a preemptive trying to convince voters that Traylor is secretly a Democrat.

"Nearly a week ago, my so-called Republican opponent was spotted meeting with two former Democrat elected officials and current trial lawyers in North Louisiana," reads an email Vitter sent to supporters.

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Well, that didn't take long. Less than three weeks after resigning from the Tea Party Express "to free the tea party movement from any more distraction based on my personal comments or blogs," Mark Williams is back at the helm of a tea party group.

As former TPMer Zachary Roth reports, Williams is a leader of the newly-founded "Citizens for Constitutional Liberty," a PAC "that plans to support conservative candidates and promote grassroots activism among Tea Partiers."

Williams, of course, is one of the few tea party leaders to come under direct criticism from other tea partiers. His blog posts and public statements, which tea partiers have endeavored to separate themselves from of late, led to his public grilling for a week following the "satirical" blog post about the NAACP that led to his resignation.

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The Gay Republican group GOProud will host its Homocon 2010 convention in New York City on September 25. Headlining this bash will be none other than "the right-wing Judy Garland" and conservative author Ann Coulter.

"Our gays are more macho than their straights!" the event invitation declares, apparently comparing gay Republicans to straight Democrats.

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A new Rasmussen poll of the California gubernatorial race shows Democratic state Attorney General and ex-Governor Jerry Brown holding a slight edge over Republican nominee and former eBay CEO Meg Whitman. Rasmussen's latest numbers show Brown leading 43%-41%. However, given the poll's ±4.0 margin of error, the race appears to remain up for grabs.

When Rasmussen last looked at the race on July 12, Whitman led Brown 47%-46%. On July 25, a PPP poll painted a slightly different picture, giving Brown a 46%-40 lead. While surveys conducted within the last few months have varied on the race's leader, the point differential has remained slight.

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Louisiana Senate hopeful Chet Traylor is finally ready to start taking a few swings at incumbent David Vitter, just ahead of their August 28 primary.

Traylor, according to his campaign chief Roy Fletcher, will have at least $500,000 on hand by Sunday, when the current fundraising period ends.

But that leaves him precious little time to close an enormous gap in the polls. Traylor, a business-connected conservative and former Louisiana Supreme Court justice, entered the primary at the last possible moment, prompting speculation that Vitter may have a fight on his hands.

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The two men vying for the Republican nomination for governor in Florida, Rick Scott and Bill McCollum, took their nasty campaign face-to-face in a televised debate last night. According to reports out of Florida, the debate was predictably brutal, with McCollum -- on the ropes after Scott's TV ad onslaught -- attempting to tear down the frontrunner. For his part, Scott continued to rip at McCollum's past, offering the same kind of rhetoric that has served him so well in his nearly $30 million ad campaign.

McCollum "was more aggressive than ever" in attacking Scott "for the Medicaid/Medicare fraud scandal during his time as CEO of the Columbia/HCA hospital corporation," the AP reports.

Scott "took 'responsibility' for the fraud but stopped short of implicating himself," the Miami Herald reports. Meanwhile the wealthy political outsider attacked McCollum's political career, claiming his decades as an elected official have amounted to McCollum, in Scott's words, "living off taxpayers and bringing nothing new to the table."

All in all, the Herald reports, the debate "was largely an hour-long version" of each candidate's TV ads.

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Meet Ray Griggs, a California conservative who wants to stop government spending through the magic of claymation. Conservatives will probably be hopping on Fandango this fall to get tickets to see Griggs' Michael Moore-style documentary billing itself a "controversial look at government spending" and featuring an animated boxing match between President Obama and Ronald Reagan.

I Want Your Money, which will land in theaters this October, aims to contrast the "two paths" the United States could take -- Obama's approach or Reagan's. The promotional site tells visitors that $182 million is spent during the span of one viewing of the 90-minute film.

Today TPM interviewed Griggs, who said one third of his flick is animated to "make it entertaining for a younger audience." (It includes claymation and 3-D computer animation.)

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Sharron Angle sure has some interesting political associations. As Jon Ralston reports, Nevada's Republican nominee for Senate will be headlining a Tea Party event Saturday in San Diego promoted by a far-right doctors group -- a group that has itself promoted all sorts of wild conspiracy theories.

The event this Saturday, the National Doctors Tea Party, is promoted by a group called the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons. Among the AAPS's greatest hits: They have stated that the establishment of Medicare in 1965 was "evil" and "immoral"; They have denied the link between HIV and AIDS; they have dabbled in birtherism; they have argued that President Obama may have used "covert hypnosis" to rally his crowds; and have suggested that the Food and Drug Administration is unconstitutional.

Ralston notes that Angle has been trying to deal with attacks from the Reid campaign that she is "just too extreme." This event might not help her in that effort.

The TPM Poll Average currently gives Reid a lead of 45.1%-42.7%.

Michael Steele introduced a new fashion accessory at today's Republican National Committee meeting in Kansas City, when, like almost everyone in the audience, the RNC Chairman donned a bright-red "Fire Pelosi" cap. It was something of a theme at the event. And a "Fire Nancy Pelosi" bus tour will begin this fall.

"The American people have been very clear from the pool halls and the church halls, to the diners and the donut shops, in the red-hot Arizona sun and on the cool-blue California beaches, at the Liberty Bell and the Charleston Harbor, they're all saying one thing: Fire Nancy Pelosi! Retire Harry Reid!" Steele said, according to his prepared remarks.

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