TPM News

Rep. Joe Sestak announced he raised $758,000 in third quarter today -- and immediately began his quest to raise more by questioning the commitment of his opponent, Sen. Arlen Specter, to women's rights.

Sestak's fundraising total was dwarfed by Specter's. The long-time incumbent and short-time Democrat Specter raised $1.8 million, thanks in no small part, according to the Lehigh Valley Morning Call, to a September fundraiser for Specter hosted by President Obama. Specter announced his fundraising totals on Wednesday.

But today, Sestak made it clear he's going to keep hitting Specter hard, despite the fundraising mismatch.

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The upcoming special election in NY-23, a swing seat that had been held securely by Republican Congressman John McHugh until his appointment as President Obama's Secretary of the Army, is seriously threatening to divide the right -- and Democrats stand to benefit.

The new Siena poll finds Democrat Bill Owens taking a narrow 33%-29% lead over Republican state Rep. Dede Scozzafava -- with Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman not far behind, with 23%. Hoffman has been endorsed by the Club For Growth, Family Research Council Action PAC, Fred Thompson and other conservatives, who refuse to back Scozzafava over her various socially liberal stances.

In addition, The Hill reports that only 17 House Republicans have donated to Scozzafava.

TPM asked the NRCC whether they would commit to continue supporting Scozzafava, even if Hoffman were to overtake her as the chief opponent to Owens. They declined to comment on their strategy.

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On Monday, we told you about editor Erick Erickson's recent hyperbolic tirades, including his tweet comparing a White House health care spokeswoman to Joseph Goebbels.

But Erickson is not a no-name voice on the fringe of his party. is a well-read conservative site, for example, and Erickson was the UK Telegraph's 69 most influential American conservative in 2007.

And, as Johnathan McGinty down in Georgia points out, Erickson is even an elected official himself, serving on the city council in Macon, Ga., since 2007. He's currently campaigning to keep the police department there from unionizing, and caused a bit of a firestorm when he called union members "thugs" in an op-ed in the local paper. Local union members protested at the next city council meeting, but Erickson was nonplussed.

He called the meeting "the most fun I've had" since May of this year, when a fellow councilman proposed that they make President Obama an honorary member of the council. In response, Erickson proposed a series of amendments that referenced Jeremiah Wright, Bill Ayers and Obama's admitted cocaine use.

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More bad news for Creigh Deeds (D) came this afternoon as the gubernatorial candidates in Virginia released their fundraising totals. Deeds has been trailing in polls to Bob McDonnell (R) all summer and as the campaign enters its final 20 days, fundraising totals show Deeds raised less, and has less to spend in the sprint to the finish line.

Deeds raised $3.5 million in the last fundraising quarter, and has just over $2.7 million on hand to spend between now and Nov. 3. McDonnell leads him on both scores. The Republican raised $3.8 million in the quarter and McDonnell campaign bragged about the $4.5 million that remains in its war chest.

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White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel paid a visit to his old pals in the House of Representatives yesterday.

Emanuel, on the Hill to discuss merging two Senate health care bills, also huddled later in the afternoon with Speaker Nancy Pelosi TPMDC has learned. A former representative from Illinois, Emanuel has been in frequent contact with members.

As we reported earlier, the House isn't being included in the negotiations yet. A Hill source notes the three bills from the House are closer to each other than the two Senate bills.

Let's take a closer look at the co-author of Muslim Mafia: Inside the Secret Underworld That's Conspiring to Islamize America, just out from WND Books, and now at #16 among all books on Amazon.

That would be David Gaubatz, a former Air Force investigator and Arabic speaker, who dispatched his son Chris to grow a beard and go undercover as a Muslim to obtain an internship at the Council on American-Islamic Relations. Gaubatz, who has long warned about the threat of Islamism in the United States, has claimed that he found Saddam's long-lost WMDs while in Iraq and has labeled Obama "Muslim" and a "self-admitted 'crack head.'"

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The new Daily Kos/Research 2000 poll finds a dead heat in the 2010 Delaware Senate race -- a special election for Vice President Joe Biden's Senate -- between the likely Republican nominee, Rep. Mike Castle, and Joe Biden's son, the likely Dem nominee Beau Biden.

The numbers: Castle 46%, Biden the Younger 45%, within the ±4% margin of error. Castle has officially declared his candidacy, while Biden has said he is strongly considering it.

Other Democrats were also tested against Castle, and they did not do as well: Appointed Sen. Ted Kaufman trails by 51%-37%, former Lt. Gov. John Carney (who is running for Castle's House seat) is behind by 49%-41%, and New Castle County Executive Chris Coons trails by 51%-39%.

The poll also showed Carney leading two Republicans for the House race, though with less than 50% support: He's ahead of former state Sen. Charlie Copeland by 44%-21%, and leads state Rep. Greg Lavelle by 45%-18%.

Rep. Joseph Cao (R-LA), a freshman from the heavily Democratic New Orleans-based district, had a solid fundraising quarter of $384,113.67 -- and spent nearly all of it.

Cao spent $376,536.64 in the quarter, about 98% of his receipts, leaving him with $351,134.43 cash on hand -- practically the same as he had at the start of the quarter.

Cao's itemized disbursements show that much of the money was spent on direct mail and fundraising fees.

Cao was elected in a huge upset over the then-indicted (later convicted) Democratic Rep. Bill Jefferson, and is certain to the Democrats' top target in 2010.

The Corzine campaign has a new Spanish-language ad, promoting the governor by tying him to the Obama administration on the big issue of health care.

"Quality health care should be a right and not a privilege," the announcer says, "this is how our Governor Jon Corzine thinks."

Viewers are told how Corzine added more lower income families to state medical insurance, as part of his commitment to health care. "This is why Corzine supports President Obama in his fight for universal health care," the announcer adds.

The campaign's official English translation is available after the jump.

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