TPM News

For months, Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand has been knocking down potential primary challengers left and right before they even dare to get into the race for her New York Senate seat.

But now Gail Goode, a lawyer and deputy borough chief in New York City's Tort Unit, is officially in the race, and wants to know: "Who is the real Kirsten Gillibrand and what does she really believe?"

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They're not campaigning on it in earnest -- at least not yet -- but Republican leaders say that, given the power, they would like to do away with Wall Street reform much like they have already discussed repealing health care reform.

"I think it ought to be repealed," said House Minority Leader John Boehner, in response to a question from TPMDC, at his weekly press conference this morning.

One of his top lieutenants, Republican Conference Chair Mike Pence agrees. "We hope [the Senate vote] falters so we can start over," Pence told TPMDC yesterday. "I think the reason you're not hearing talk about efforts to repeal the permanent bailout authority is because the bill hasn't passed yet."

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Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) is the new, cool thing in Washington, and the model Republicans keep citing on the campaign trail as the future of the party. But the Democrats seem to be frequently asking, "What can Brown really do for you?"

Brown is a cause célèbre among conservatives, sparking spontaneous cheering from GOPers at the mere mention of his name, but it's his moderate credentials that are getting him attention these days. After all, he was elected in what had been -- until this winter -- a solidly blue state, and if he wants voters to send him back he'll need to appeal to their more liberal sensibilities. Brown reportedly raised more than $1 million in the most recent fundraising quarter, even though he's not up for reelection until 2012 -- a sign that he knows he's going to have a battle on his hands. That's one reason Brown has allowed Democrats to woo him on big domestic policy bills.

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At least one federal agency is now involved in the investigation into a mysterious list of the names of 1,300 purported illegal immigrants that was sent to state agencies and news outlets this week in Utah, TPMmuckraker has learned. But, despite the intention of the list-maker, the feds are investigating not the people on the list, but the person who generated it.

The Social Security Administration's Inspector General received a copy of the list -- which includes names, addresses, birth dates and, in 30 cases, Social Security numbers -- yesterday, according to spokesman Jonathan Lasher.

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At the end of the second quarter, Rep. Brad Ellsworth (D) holds a small cash-on-hand advantage over former Sen. Dan Coats (R) in the race to succeed the retiring Sen. Evan Bayh (D) in Indiana. Ellsworth had $1.2 million in the bank as of June 30, while the Coats campaign will report just over $1 million when its report becomes available.

Coats had the fundraising advantage in the second quarter, though his efforts to raise money in the quarter were likely buoyed by the competitive primary he faced on May 4. According to reports, Coats raised $2.1 million and spent just over $1 million between April 1 and June 30. Ellsworth raised "nearly" $1.7 million, according to reports.

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Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-AR), having survived an expensive primary fight in June, is rebuilding her campaign war chest for her general election battle with Rep. John Boozman (R). According to reports filed by her campaign yesterday, Lincoln had $1.9 million cash on hand as of June 30, and raised $2.7 million during the second quarter, which began April 1 and included the hotly-contested May 18 Democratic primary and June 8 runoff with Lt. Gov. Bill Halter.

Boozman, who won his party's nomination in the May 18 primary, has not yet released his fundraising numbers according to a report in the Arkansas News.

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Former World Wrestling Entertainment CEO Linda McMahon (R) is self-financing her way to a huge cash advantage over Democratic state Attorney General Richard Blumenthal in the Connecticut Senate race. But will it be enough?

Blumenthal raised $1.6 million in the second quarter of this year, with a total of $3.5 million raised for the whole race and $2.1 million in cash on hand. By contrast, McMahon raised a mere $19,841 in the second quarter -- and loaned her campaign another $7.5 million. She has put in a total of $21.5 million from her own money, with $22.1 million total fundraising, and has $3.2 million in cash on hand.

The TPM Poll Average currently gives Blumenthal a lead of 52.7%-37.6%, even despite Blumenthal's scandal over his past misstatements about his military record.

Democrats just overcame their last major financial reform hurdle. By a vote of 60-38, the Senate ended debate on the final Wall Street reform legislation. Moderate Republicans Olympia Snowe, Susan Collins, and Scott Brown voted with the Democrats. Liberal Democrat Russ Feingold voted with the Republicans, on the grounds that the bill won't be effective. That clears the way for a final vote on passage -- majority rules threshold -- this afternoon shortly after 2 pm. This one's as good as done.