Tom Kludt

Tom Kludt is a News Writer for Talking Points Memo based in New York City. A former research intern and polling fellow for TPM, Tom served as assistant polling editor for TPM Media's PollTracker during the 2012 campaign. Before joining TPM, he worked on political campaigns and wrote for various publications in Minnesota and his native South Dakota. Tom graduated summa cum laude from the University of South Dakota in May of 2010 with a B.A. in Political Science and History. He can be reached at tom@talkingpointsmemo.com.

Articles by Tom

Businessman John Brunner leads his Republican challengers in his bid to claim the party's nomination in Missouri's U.S. Senate race, a new poll released Sunday nights shows.

With Missouri Republicans set to choose their nominee on Tuesday, Brunner leads Democratic-leaning firm Public Policy Polling's final survey of the race, earning 35 percent of the support from likely primary voters.  U.S. House Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO) trails with 30 percent, while former state treasurer Sarah Steelman picks up 25 percent support.

A tea party favorite, Steelman looked poised to claim the nomination for much of the campaign.  Former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin even paid a visit to Missouri last week to stump on Steelman's behalf.  But Brunner has re-asserted himself as the front-runner thanks to support from so-called middle-of-the-road conservatives.  Self-described moderates prefer him over Steelman in PPP's latest survey, 41-29 percent.

The winner of Tuesday's primary will move on to the general election campaign to challenge Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO), who is considered one of the most vulnerable Democratic incumbents this year.  

Rep. Kristi Noem (R-SD) might have her work cut out for her in South Dakota's lone U.S. House race, according to a new poll released Friday.  

The survey, conducted by in-state firm Nielson Brothers Polling, shows the freshman Congresswoman barely leading Democratic challenger Matt Varilek among registered voters in South Dakota, 47-46 percent.  

Elected in 2010 after a bruising race against former Rep. Stephanie Herseth-Sandlin (D-SD), Noem has earned star status among fellow Republicans and the tea party faithful.  Varilek, a former staffer for Sen. Tim Johnson (D-SD), won the Democratic Party's nomination in June.  

Nielson Brothers conducted its survey July 19-23 with 541 registered voters in South Dakota.  The poll has a margin of error of 4.21 percentage points.  

Broadway marquees will be dimmed for one minute Friday evening to pay homage to writer Gore Vidal, who died Tuesday at the age of 86.  

The cast of The Best Man, the play written by Vidal, will dedicate the next week of performances to the late author.  

Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) on Thursday played down the importance of presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney's running mate.  

"There are great and talented people out there, but vice presidential candidates are interesting choices that will probably only make two or three days worth of news, unless they make some huge gaffe," Perry told CNN. "As long as it's not me, I'll be cool."


Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said Friday that the victory of tea party upstart Ted Cruz in the Texas Republican Senate runoff does not augur well for the GOP leadership or the American people.

Appearing on Morning Joe, New York's senior senator argued that some Republican members have veered out of step with the mainstream views of the American public — a category in which he placed Cruz, who Schumer suggested will cause headaches for both voters and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY).

"They don't want the America most Americans want," Schumer told the panel. "Ted Cruz's victory is a disaster for Mitch McConnell, the Republicans and America."

Cruz's victory in Tuesday's runoff has prompted speculation over how his arrival in the Senate will affect the ongoing gridlock in the chamber.  

President Barack Obama's campaign has secured a $77 million in ad time beginning Friday and running through Election Day, CNN reports.

The buy is for 30-second television ads that will air in eight battleground states, including over $19 million in Ohio, over $13 million in Florida and over $11 million in Virginia.   

Despite the enormous influence of Super PACs in the 2012 campaign, a huge majority of Americans have either heard only "a little" or "nothing at all" about the proliferation of spending by outside groups in this year's presidential election, according to a new poll released Thursday.

The poll from Pew Research, in collaboration with the Washington Post, shows that 25 percent of Americans have heard "a lot" about increased spending in this year's presidential election by outside groups unaffiliated with a candidate's campaign, known as Super PACs.  Thirty-six percent said they have heard "a little" about the spike in spending by outside groups, while 39 percent have heard "nothing at all."  Moreover, when given four choices as to what constitutes a Super PAC, 40 percent correctly identified it as "a group able to accept unlimited political donations," but 46 percent said they have no opinion.

Super PACs have already played a significant role in the 2012 presidential election.  Restore Our Future, the Super PAC supporting Mitt Romney, buried his Republican rivals with an avalanche of ads during the party's nomination contest earlier this year, and the group is poised to continue its domination on the airwaves through the November election.  

Reuters reports:

Syrian rebels turned the gun of a captured tank against government forces on Thursday, shelling a military airbase expected to be used as a staging post for army reinforcements in the battle for Aleppo.

President Bashar al-Assad's troops meanwhile bombarded the strategic Salaheddine district in Aleppo itself with tank and artillery fire while rebels tried to consolidate their hold on areas they have seized.

President Barack Obama isn't likely to duplicate his landslide 2008 victory in Connecticut this time around, a new poll released Wednesday shows.

The latest from Democratic-leaning firm Public Policy Polling (PPP) shows Obama leading Mitt Romney by a comofortable margin in Connecticut, 51-43 percent, but that's a far cry from the 22-point gap that separated the president from Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) there four years ago.  In a continuation of a nationwide trend, PPP finds that Obama continues to struggle to win over white voters, even in a typically blue state located in the heart of New England. Romney claims a narrow edge among white voters in Connecticut, 48-46 percent.  

To be sure, Obama is still the clear favorite in the Nutmeg State, which Democrats have carried in the last five presidential election cycles.   Wednesday's poll actually represents a decided improvement for Obama since PPP's previous survey of Connecticut in September, when he led Romney by only 2-points.