TPM News

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.

Former Rep. Rob Simmons (R-CT), who seemingly quit the Republican primary for Senate back in late May after he lost the state party convention's endorsement against former World Wrestling Entertainment CEO Linda McMahon, is now making noise about getting back in.

"I haven't made any final decisions," Simmons told the Hartford Courant. "I'm getting a lot of phone calls from people. Six weeks ago the convention was over and I was very disappointed. My staff was despondent. My family was stunned." He also added: "I've been sitting on it now. People do come up to me, say, 'Gosh I wish you were still in.'"

Simmons still has $1 million in the bank, and his name remains on the primary ballot. In late June, McMahon publicly accused Simmons of continuing to run a stealth campaign against her. The primary will be held on August 10. The TPM Poll Average for the general election shows McMahon trailing the presumptive Democratic nominee, state Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, by a margin of 52.7%-37.6%, despite Blumenthal's scandal involving past misstatements about his military record.

Rep. Kendrick Meek may not have the smooth path to the Democratic nomination in the Florida Senate race he once did, but at least he still has his friends by his side. According to the St. Petersburg Times, Bill Clinton will make a trip down to Florida on Meek's behalf in the run up to the August 24 primary, yet another appearance for Meek by the popular former President.

Clinton's early public support for Meek at the beginning of the cycle was seen as a big help in essentially clearing the early primary field. Clinton has held multiple fundraisers for Meek, who endorsed his wife Hillary in the 2008 presidential contest.

Meek is probably hoping Clinton's return will help again. Meek was running essentially unopposed for the Democratic nomination until April 30, when wealthy investor Jeff Greene kicked off his own self-funded campaign for the nomination. Greene has spent millions on ads, and is running neck-and-neck with Meek in recent polls. Clinton's popularity could put Meek back in the lead in the homestretch of the primary.

The new Rasmussen poll of the Georgia Republican gubernatorial primary shows a close race going into this Tuesday's first-round primary, which is likely headed to a runoff in August.

The numbers: Former Rep. Nathan Deal 25%, former Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel 25%, state Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine 20%, and former state Senate President Pro Tem Eric Johnson 13%. The survey of likely voters has a ±3% margin of error. In the previous Rasmussen poll, from all the way back in December 2009, Oxendine had 28%, Handel 14%, Deal 13%, and Johnson 2%.

A runoff between Deal and Handel should be interesting -- Deal has demanded to see President Obama's birth certificate, and Handel has been endorsed by Sarah Palin.

1||July 14, 2010: APEC holds its 2011 Launch Reception at the Willard Hotel in Washington, D.C. It is the first official event held by the committee, which is preparing for next year's Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit, which will be held in Honolulu. It's the first time since 1993 that the U.S. will have chaired the forum.

Here, Ronald "Ron" Kirk, the United States trade representative, Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT), and Craig Mundie, Chairman of APEC 2011 USA Committee.||Photo by Jeff Malet/

2||Dr. Elliot J. Feldman of Baker Hostetler, and Angelito A. Nayan, Economic Officer for the Embassy of the Philippines.||Photo by Jeff Malet/

3||APEC Vice President Alex D. Parle and Eric Holloway, Representative of the Office of US Trade.||Photo by Jeff Malet/

4||Barbara Wanner, Senior Projects Coordinator at U.S. Asia Pacific Council, East-West Center; Jeff Skeer, Coordinator for Multilateral Activities at U.S. Department of Energy; and Jay Sweeney, of Levi Strauss & Co.||Photo by Jeff Malet/

5||GE Vice President and Ambassador Karan K. Bhatia; Dorothy Dwoskin, Senior Director of Global Trade Policy and Strategy at Microsoft Corporation; and Ronald "Ron" Kirk, the 16th United States trade representative.||Photo by Jeff Malet/

6||Randolph Dove, Executive Director of Government Relations at Hewlett-Packard, and William Kelly of the National Foreign Trade Council.||Photo by Jeff Malet/

7||Craig Mundie, Chairman of APEC 2011 USA Committee.||Photo by Jeff Malet/

8||Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT).||Photo by Jeff Malet/

9||Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) and Fred Bergsten, director of the Peterson Institute for International Economics. ||Photo by Jeff Malet/

10||Robert Hormats, Under Secretary of State for Economic, Energy and Agricultural Affairs, and Greg Slater, Director of Global Trade and Competition Policy at Intel Corporation.||Photo by Jeff Malet/

11||Robert Hormats, Under Secretary of State for Economic, Energy and Agricultural Affairs; Ronald "Ron" Kirk, the United States trade representative; and Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT).||Photo by Jeff Malet/

12||Jim Wallar, Sr. Vice President of International Development at Nathan Associates, and former Ambassador Thomas Hubbard, senior director at Kissinger McLarty Associates.||Photo by Jeff Malet/

13||Robert Hormats, Under Secretary of State for Economic, Energy and Agricultural Affairs.||Photo by Jeff Malet/

You have to give Tom Emmer credit. When the presumptive Republican nominee for governor of Minnesota held a town hall meeting with waiters on Wednesday -- as part of a damage control effort after he publicly complained that they were making over $100,000 per year in tips and hurting their employers -- his campaign clearly was not screening the attendees.

The event Wednesday was supposed to last for an hour and a half. Instead, it ended a half-hour early, as the Star Tribune reports: "An hour later, he walked out after a bag of 2,000 pennies was dumped inches from his face by a man exclaiming, 'I have a tip for you too, Emmer!' as cascading pennies bounced in every direction and the crowd at a Roseville restaurant erupted into chaos."

Check out some truly amazing photos.

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Sen. Arlen Specter was a wild card when it came to Elena Kagan's nomination to the Supreme Court, but today said he'll support her even though the confirmation hearings this month were a "charade." It's a change of heart for Specter, who voted against her February 2009 nomination to the solicitor general post when he was still a Republican. He was the most likely Democrat to oppose her, but Specter's support clears the way for a smooth confirmation vote next week in the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Specter (D-PA) announced today that Kagan did "just enough" to win him over.

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