TPM News

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled today that the military can continue enforcing Don't Ask, Don't Tell, while the government appeals a decision by a lower court that the policy is unconstitutional.

Today's decision extends a temporary emergency stay the court granted on Oct. 20, which froze an injunction, issued by circuit court Judge Virginia Philips, against the military enforcing DADT.

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As we told you last week, the question of whether Iowa will retain or fire three of its Supreme Court justices has drawn hundreds of thousands of dollars from third-party groups. The Des Moines Register is now out with a poll that shows Iowans are still split on the question, with a slight edge to those who would throw the judges out.

According to the poll, 37% of likely voters said they'd vote to remove the three justices. Another 34% said they'd vote to retain them, and 10% said they'd remove at least one.

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As we head into Election Day, one thing is clear for Senate Democrats: It's going to be bad. Seriously. There's no going anywhere but down. But how far down?

It's unlikely that Democrats will manage to lose their majority outright, since they're starting at the high mark of 59 seats. But things sure look rough. Open seats in Indiana and North Dakota seem to be gone already, along with incumbent Sen. Blanche Lincoln in Arkansas. Republican seats that seemed like potential Dem pickups much earlier in the cycle -- North Carolina and open seats in Florida, Kentucky, Missouri, New Hampshire, and Ohio -- are clearly out of reach.

[TPM SLIDESHOW: Stranger Than Fiction? TPM Casts The 2010 Midterms Movie]

The few bright spots for Democrats are open seats in Connecticut and Delaware, where very weak Republican candidates Linda McMahon and Christine O'Donnell have spared the Dems from total humiliation. So with that in mind, let's take a look at some other key races to watch tomorrow.

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Yesterday, Sarah Palin lashed out after a Politico story cited anonymous "advisers to the main 2012 presidential contenders" and "other veteran Republican operatives" saying that after the midterm elections, they'll embark on a "common, if uncoordinated" mission to halt the former half-term governor's political momentum going into the 2012 presidential election.

In an e-mail to The Daily Caller today, Palin called out Politico: "I suppose I could play their immature, unprofessional, waste-of-time game, too, by claiming these reporters and politicos are homophobe, child molesting, tax evading, anti-dentite, puppy-kicking, chain smoking porn producers...really, they are... I've seen it myself...but I'll only give you the information off-the-record, on deep, deep background; attribute these 'facts' to an 'anonymous source' and I'll give you more."

Meanwhile, some 2012 president contenders and veteran Republican operatives have gone on the record rallying to Palin's support and denouncing the article and its anonymous sources.

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On the heels of a more-narrow PPP survey released this morning, SurveyUSA is out with new numbers on the California Senate and gubernatorial contests that suggest Democrats are well-positioned to take both races.

In the Senate race, Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer is found ahead of Republican former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina 46%-38%. When SurveyUSA looked at this race last week, Boxer led by five points, 45%-40%.

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Alabama Secretary of State Beth Chapman, who is up for re-election this year, announced today that her office is offering a $5,000 reward for reports of voter fraud that lead to a felony conviction.

"Alabamians are fed up with voter fraud and have decided that enough is enough. They want to protect democracy from those who are destroying it," Chapman, a Republican, said in a press release. "I hope that people with information will come forward so that justice can be served."

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A federal judge ruled on Monday that conservatives in Minnesota rallying against voter fraud will not be allowed to wear their "Please I.D. Me" buttons to polling locations, according to the Associated Press.

Minnesota Majority, one of the groups that is taking part in the Election Integrity Watch group, sued last week because of a ban on their pins at polling places. County Attorneys in two counties in Minnesota said those buttons count as campaign material. Minnesota Majority countered that their buttons were protected by the First Amendment and that the voter I.D. issue was not on the ballot -- and thus the buttons weren't a violation of electioneering laws.

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Christine O'Donnell's plan to end her campaign on a televised high note fell flat after her campaign failed to work out the right details with TV station operators in Delaware, the stations told me today.

At the end of yesterday's Tea Party Express rally in Delaware, the Republican Senate nominee announced a 30-minute closing argument video broadcast on a Newcastle County public access station and WBOC-TV, a Delaware Fox affiliate. She urged her supporters to tune in to the public access channel -- known as Channel 28 to Comcast subscribers in the area -- at a still-to-be-determined time on Sunday night, and to catch rebroadcasts of the spot on both Channel 28 and WBOC today. None of the broadcasts she promised happened. O'Donnell's campaign cried bias, while the TV stations said she and her campaign were confused.

On her campaign twitter feed, O'Donnell announced the first showing would be broadcast at 11:30 PM on Channel 28 last night. As the time came and went with no show, the campaign tweeted "Okay... this is NOT our show! Must be a programming mix up. We will get back to you..." There were no more tweets until 10 AM the next day, when the O'Donnell had said the ad would appear on Channel 28 for the second time. Again, it didn't appear. That time around, the campaign began to allege bias on the part of the operators of Channel 28.

"This isn't our show either!" the campaign tweeted. "We are told channel 28 "forgot" to air it...both times... even though we paid for the time slot last week."

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The National Republican Trust PAC has launched a 25-minute video in several key states attacking President Barack Obama and Democrats in Congress and linking them to extremist groups and opinions. The video brings up ACORN and the New Black Panther Party -- and not-so-subtlety implies Obama is a Muslim, though the group behind the video says that is not the intention.

It is running heavy in North Carolina, Iowa, Kentucky, Delaware, Alaska, and Florida, Scott Wheeler, executive director of the National Republican Trust PAC, told TPMMuckraker. It began running on television stations last week but has been online for about two weeks, he said.

The ad features Muslim chanting layered over clips of Obama speaking about Islam. "Instead of standing up for America, he bowed to the King of Saudi Arabia," the video says. But Wheeler said that ad isn't intended to imply Obama is a Muslim.

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