McCain spending tops $16 million for primary race
1. Arizona Sen. John McCain has spent more than $16 million -- including $10 million in the last three months alone -- on his primary challenge from former Rep. J.D Hayworth, a massive sum indicative of the seriousness with which the 2008 presidential nominee is taking the race.
From April 1 to June 30 McCain not only spent $10.1 million but raised $7.4 million, bringing his totals for the race to almost $18 million raised -- half of which came in the form of transfers from other committees affiliated with the Arizona Senator -- and $16 million spent.
Hayworth, by contrast, has collected $2.4 million for the Aug. 24 primary -- including $1.4 million between April 1 and June 30 -- and spent $1.5 million.
McCain's campaign has long had the look and feel of a quasi-national effort. Much of the team -- pollster Bill McInturff, media consultant Fred Davis, senior adviser Charlie Black -- that guided the Arizona Senator's presidential bid are also working on this race.
McCain, clearly wary of losses by longtime Sens. Bob Bennett (R-Utah) and Arlen Specter (R then D-Pa.), has also spent months barraging Hayworth as a big spending "huckster" (his words not ours) -- drawing particular attention to the former Congressman's role in an informercial advertising how to get free money from the federal government.
Hayworth is hoping that the hubbub over immigration in the state -- Gov. Jan Brewer (R) signed the country's most stringent immigration law this spring -- and McCain's past support for a comprehensive plan to solve the problem will be a silver bullet in the race. In a new ad, Hayworth accuses McCain of supporting "amnesty" and shows an image of the Senator and President Barack Obama hugging.
McCain has worked hard to keep Hayworth from getting to his ideological right on that issue; the Arizona Senator ran a now infamous ad where he urges "complete the danged fence."
McCain's massive spending has clearly taken its toll on Hayworth's chances. An independent poll conducted in the race earlier this month showed McCain with a whopping 64 percent to 19 percent edge over Hayworth.
While that margin will almost certainly shrink as Hayworth spends his money to match McCain on the television airwaves over the final month of the race, it's clear that the damage has been done.
2. Rep. Mary Fallin (R) and state Attorney General Drew Edmondson (D) will likely face each other in the race to become Oklahoma's next governor, and Edmondson could be a sleeper to pull the upset, according to a new Sooner Poll.
The poll shows Fallin with a 56 percent to 18 percent lead on state Sen. Randy Brogdon in advance of tomorrow's primary while Edmondson has opened up a 49 percent to 33 percent lead over Lt. Gov. Jari Askins on the Democratic side.
In the general election, both Edmondson and Askins are within single digits of Fallin -- a popular former three-term lieutenant governor; Fallin leads Edmonson 47 percent to 39
percent and Askins 46 percent to 40 percent.
If in fact those margins reflect reality, Democrats may actually have a shot at holding the seat currently held by term-limited Gov. Brad Henry (D). The previous Sooner Poll, conducted a month and a half ago, showed Fallin leading Edmondson by 15 percent and Askins 13 percent.
The gubernatorial races will be the marquee contests on primary day tomorrow although the Republican contest to replace Fallin in the strongly GOP 5th district has also drawn some attention.
3. An independent poll released over the weekend shows Rep. Roy Blunt (R) leading Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahan (D) in the open seat Missouri Senate race.
Blunt took 48 percent to Carnahan's 42 percent in the poll, which was conducted by Mason-Dixon Polling & Research. The truly bad news for Carnahan in the poll? Just 34 percent approve of the job President Obama is doing while 57 percent disapprove. Only 27 percent of independents approve of Obama's performance compared to 63 percent who disapprove. Ouchy.
The Obama factor is one that Carnahan's camp is well aware of -- she had been cautious about appearing together with the President during his previous visits to the state. However, Carnahan relented earlier this month, appearing together at a fundraiser with Obama that raised $500,000 for the secretary of state's campaign.
While Obama's declining numbers appear to be aiding Blunt, both candidates face the tricky situation of belonging to two of the most famous families in Missouri politics at a time when voters are decidedly anti-establishment. Carnahan has criticized Blunt for being "too cozy with lobbyists" and points out that he has run TV ads playing up his career in education and omitting any mention of his seven terms in Washington and time in House leadership. Blunt, in turn, often makes mention of Carnahan's prominent relatives, including her grandfather, mother, father and brother -- all of whom have been (or are) politicians at varying levels in the state.
Democrats view Carnahan as one of their top recruits in the country and Missouri as their best chance to pick up a seat currently held by a Republican. (Sen. Kit Bond is retiring.) But, Missouri is also the only state President Obama targeted in a meaningful way that he didn't win in 2008, a defeat that reveals the conservative underpinnings of the Show Me State.
4. Knoxville Mayor Bill Haslam continues to lead his rivals in the Tennessee Republican gubernatorial primary, according to a new Mason-Dixon poll.
Haslam, who was endorsed earlier this month by former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, now leads the field with 36 percent. Rep. Zach Wamp (R) trails Haslam with 25 percent, followed by Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey with 20 percent. With less than two weeks until the Aug. 5 primary, 17 percent of likely Republican primary voters remain undecided.
Both Haslam and Wamp are four points ahead of where they were in an early July Mason-Dixon poll while Ramsey has gained nine points since the previous poll.
All three Republican candidates have flooded the television airwaves in recent weeks. Last week alone, Haslam released a 60-second spot attacking Wamp for running negative ads, Wamp shot back with an ad of his own and Ramsey went on the air with an ad challenging his rivals' conservative credentials.
In a side narrative of the race, Wamp is walking back comments he made last week in which he suggested that Tennessee and other states might consider seceding from the union if things in Washington continue on their current course. It's unclear whether Wamp's remarks, which appear to have been an eleventh-hour attempt to woo conservatives, will help him or hurt him on primary day. The most recent Mason-Dixon poll was conducted in the days before Wamp's comments came to light.
Businessman Mike McWherter, son of former Gov. Ned Ray McWherter, is the solid favorite to win the Democratic gubernatorial nod but faces a tough road in the conservative-trending state this fall.
5. Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (R) has endorsed former Colorado Lt. Gov. Jane Norton in the increasingly pitched GOP primary for Senate in that Rocky Mountain State.
Brewer's endorsement has become a prized commodity since she signed Arizona's stringent new anti-illegal immigration bill into law this spring. As her own reelection has become more secure -- thanks in large part to the attention the law has drawn nationally -- and the Obama Administration has sued her state over the bill, she's begun using her national profile to affect races in other states.
In addition to Norton, Brewer has endorsed Rep. Mary Fallin (R-Okla.) in the Oklahoma governor race. (See item #2.)
Norton, considered the establishment frontrunner, is battling from behind against Weld County District proescutor Ken Buck, who has surged in the race as the insurgent, tea party candidate. (That description may not fit Buck following a news story over the weekend in which he was caught referring to Tea Party activists who question President Obama's country of birth as "dumbasses".)
"Jane will fight Barack Obama's heavy-handed and unconstitutional attempt to block Arizona's landmark immigration law," Brewer said in a statement. "She supports the right of states like Arizona and Colorado to do what the federal government hasn't -- fight back against illegal immigration -- and that's why I'm honored and excited to support Jane
With the Aug. 10 primary rapidly approaching, Norton has to hope that Brewer's endorsement helps bridge the gap between she and Buck among conservatives.
With Aaron Blake and Felicia Sonmez
July 26, 2010; 7:43 AM ET
Categories: Morning Fix
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