Organized labor begins $1 million ad campaign against Blanche Lincoln
1. The Service Employees International Union will launch a series of television and radio ads taking Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D) to task for her record on trade, the leading edge of a seven-figure expenditure from the union in advance of her May 18 primary showdown against Lt. Gov Bill Halter.
The SEIU television ad is a testimonial from Greg Knowles, an employee at Cooper Tires in Texarkana, who says that Lincoln has "a lot of nerve" for claiming in a television ad that she saved 1,700 jobs at the company.
"We saved our own jobs and we had to take big pay cuts to do it," said Knowles. We would not have to have done that if Miss Lincoln had not voted for all those unfair trade deals."
Knowles goes on to detail Lincoln's votes for "NAFTA, CAFTA and even a special trade deal with China".
The radio ads drive that same message -- Knowles is featured in one, the other features another Cooper Tire employee named Darrin Turner.
SEIU is one of several national groups -- Moveon.org is another -- that have targeted Lincoln for defeat next month.
A new Research 2000 poll for the liberal Daily Kos blog -- whose founder, Markos Moulitsas -- has endorsed Halter showed Lincoln with a 43 percent to 35 percent, a margin slimmed down far the double digit edge she held in past Kos surveys.
Lincoln trails all of the major Republican candidates in head to head general election. matchups.
2. In advance of this weekend's Minnesota Republican convention, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin threw her endorsement behind state Rep. Tom Emmer -- calling him a "patriotic, fiscally conservative hockey dad".
Palin announced the Emmer endorsement via Facebook -- her preferred medium to speak to her legions of conservative supporters.
The endorsement came less than 24 hours before tonight's endorsement fight between Emmer and fellow state Rep. Marty Seifert. Both men have said they will abide by the decision of the convention and not pursue a primary challenge.
(Democrats, on the other hand, will have a competitive Sept. 14 primary between state House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher who won last week's convention and self funders Matt Entenza and Mark Dayton.)
There's little question that voters most loyal to Palin -- the base of the Republican base -- are the same sort of people who attend events like the Minnesota nominating convention. It remains to be seen though whether or not Palin can tip the scales for Emmer who, of late, has been battling bad press coverage over several past DUI arrests.
An Emmer win would -- whether deserved or not -- affirm the power of Palin within the Republican party and increase her influence within the GOP in advance of 2010.
3. A new Granite State/WMUR poll shows former state Attorney General Kelly Ayotte (R) with a wide lead over Rep. Paul Hodes (D) in a hypothetical general election matchup, numbers that suggest the GOP might be better positioned than previously thought to hold the seat of retired Sen. Judd Gregg (R).
Ayotte, who has Gregg's endorsement and is the favorite of national GOPers, took 47 percent to 32 percent for Hodes in the survey, which was conducted earlier this month.
Wealthy businessman Bill Binnie (R) took 38 percent to 36 percent for Hodes while 1996 gubernatorial nominee Ovide Lamontagne (R) received 37 percent to 36 percent for Hodes.
Inexplicably, the Granite State poll did not do a Republican primary ballot test. The primary, which is set for Sept. 14, is generally seen as a two-person affair between Binnie and Ayotte.
The WMUR poll is the third straight poll to show Ayotte with a comfortable lead although the other two surveys -- Rasmussen and PPP -- are conducted via automated phone calls.
Republicans have long maintained that the idea that Ayotte is struggling, which has become accepted conventional wisdom within Washington, is simply wrong -- and these latest numbers suggest they might be right.
Still, Binnie's personal wealth -- he has donated $3 million of his own money to the campaign -- and the strong anti-establishment sentiment within the Republican party endanger Ayotte in the intraparty fight.
4. A new Quinnipiac poll in Ohio shows Democrats holding the narrowest of edges in the Senate and governors race this fall although the data also suggests that large numbers of voters remain undecided about where they will cast their vote.
On the Senate side, Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher (D), who faces a primary from Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner, took 40 percent to 37 percent for former Rep. Rob Portman (R) in the survey. Gov. Ted Strickland (D) holds a 44 percent to 38 percent edge over former Rep. John Kasich (R).
(The April data is roughly the same as a late March Q poll where Fisher held a four point edge and Strickland was up on Kasich by five.)
While Democrats were buoyed by the poll, there are signs that the Buckeye State, which has been at the center of the fight for electoral vote majorities in each of the last three presidential elections, remains very much a toss up between the parties.
Fifty percent of Ohio voters said they disapproved of the job President Obama was doing while 45 percent approved; those numbers were actually slightly worse than how the president was rated in late March.
Asked whether they would like to see the next Senator from the state support or oppose Obama's policies, 45 percent chose the former option while 48 percent chose the latter. Among independents, 55 percent want the Senator to oppose Obama's policies while just 36 percent want he or she to support those policies.
In addition to the Senate and governors races, Ohio will play host to at least five competitive House races. And, both national parties will be tracking the results closely to see what they suggest for the coming 2012 presidential race.
5. After wading through the vegetables of the week, it's time for dessert or, as we call it, the "Live Fix" chat.
From 11 to noon today we will take your questions on Charlie Crist, the Arizona immigration law, the primaries to come on Tuesday in North Carolina, Ohio and Indiana and whatever else is on your mind.
You can submit questions in advance or just follow along in real time.
So, check in at 11. And stay signed on through 2. It's a day of Fix chats. What could be better?
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