Dylan Scott

Dylan Scott is a reporter for Talking Points Memo. He previously reported for Governing magazine in Washington, D.C., and the Las Vegas Sun. His work has been recognized with a 2013 American Society of Business Publication Editors award for Best Feature Series and a 2010 Associated Press Society of Ohio award for Best Investigative Reporting. He can be reached at dylan@talkingpointsmemo.com.

Articles by Dylan

At the start of a final media blitz heading into Election Day, Colorado Sen. Mark Udall's campaign is going up with a new ad attacking his Republican challenger, Rep. Cory Gardner, over the issue that has been the centerpiece of Udall's campaign: women's health.

Udall's campaign is also rolling out a new ad that touts his criticism of the National Security Agency's domestic spying programs. Both ads are six-figure statewide buys and part of the campaign's plan to flood the Colorado airwaves before the election, with the race, crucial to control of the Senate, looking like it will be one of the tightest in the country.

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New polls released on Monday showed the Colorado Senate race swinging in favor of Republican challenger Cory Gardner in his race against Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO).

A SurveyUSA poll conducted for the Denver Post showed Gardner leading, 45 percent to 43 percent among likely voters. That's within the margin of error, but represents a shift toward Gardner since last month, when the same pollster found Udall leading 46 to 42 percent.

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This is the last thing Larry Pressler needs.

With opponents on the both the right and left trying to make an issue of the former Republican-senator-turned-independent's longtime presence in D.C., an old Associated Press story from the 1990s surfaced on Twitter Monday in which Pressler himself touted how long he'd lived in DC and openly pondered a run for D.C. mayor.

Pressler, whose presence in the South Dakota Senate race has disrupted that race, was weighing a Washington, D.C., mayoral bid in the AP story headlined "PRESSLER MAY RUN FOR D.C. MAYOR" and dated July 11, 1998. The uncovered press clipping follows a report from Politico last week that Pressler's primary residence is still in Washington.

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The National Organization for Marriage, the leading anti-gay marriage group, reported Monday to the Federal Election Commission that it had spent several thousand dollars on robocalls attacking openly gay Republican congressional candidates.

NOM reported it spent more than $2,000 each on calls opposing GOP candidates Carl DeMaio in the California 52nd and Richard Tisei in the Massachusetts 6th. DeMaio and Tisei are both openly gay and support same-sex marriage.

The group is also spending money on calls against Oregon GOP Senate candidate Monica Wehby, who announced her support for gay marriage last month.

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As South Dakota takes its place as possibly the most interesting Senate race in the country, a Republican polling firm has found the Democratic candidate within striking distance.

A Harper Polling survey released Monday found Democratic candidate Rick Weiland (pictured) trailing former Republican Gov. Mike Rounds, 33 percent to 37 percent. The independent candidate, former GOP Sen. Larry Pressler, whom both sides are attacking, takes 23 percent.

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Whole categories of political attacks proliferate every cycle that no one truly thinks matters, if they were honest with themselves. Not the political operatives who push them. Not the political reporters who cover them. Certainly not the candidates themselves. As for the voters, it's just white noise.

After a while, some of these attacks -- how many votes has so-and-so missed, for example -- start to seem like they're generated by some primitive computer programmed 40 years ago that no one bothered to unplug. Does anyone really care?

Every cycle has its own wrinkle on the theme: the political attack that everyone goes through the motions of treating half-seriously, even though no one anywhere gives half a damn.

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After endorsing Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO) in his initial 2008 run, the Denver Post said Friday it had decided to back his Republican challenger, Rep. Cory Gardner (R-CO) this year.

"Congress is hardly functioning these days. It can't pass legislation that is controversial and it often can't even pass legislation on which there is broad agreement," the Post's editorial board wrote. "Its reputation is abysmal, and even its members rarely dispute the popular indictment."

"It needs fresh leadership, energy and ideas," it continued, "and Cory Gardner can help provide them in the U.S. Senate.

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Everybody, even Republicans, seems to agree that Obamacare is not the electoral juggernaut it was supposed to be heading into the final weeks of the 2014 campaign. It still makes its obligatory appearances in stump speeches and debates, as well as some passing references in television ads, but the law has undoubtedly faded as other issues command the national debate.

But the last week suggests that Obamacare might still have a little life as a campaign issue in the Alaska Senate race -- meaning it could still play a role in swinging control of the Senate. The problem for incumbent Sen. Mark Begich (D-AK) is that while Republican doomsaying about skyrocketing 2015 premiums has been hugely overstated for the most part, Alaska is actually facing much higher premiums that make for easy attack ads. And big-money outside groups are seizing on it as they back Republican challenger Dan Sullivan.

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