Down-the-ballot: Graves continues gay-baiting, Dole and Udall leading

The race in Missouri's 6th congressional district has become heated surprisingly early. Two weeks after he first aired an ad attacking his opponent's "San Fransisco values" and featuring disco dancing, Sam Graves is at it again, hitting Kay Barnes with an ad linking her to San Fransisco values for the second time. Accusing Barnes of supporting the gay agenda by using colorful pictures (whose production looks rather amateurish), the ad once again juxtaposes the video of a (San Fransisco?) party with footage of Graves walking down a suburban street with his wife and children:

For Graves to air a second ad so soon after the first despite the controversy and the strongly-worded response Barnes unleashed suggests that his campaign has at least some indication that the ad is working or that it is generating talk beneficial to the GOP. As Barnes is the former Mayor of Kansas City, tarnishing her image in the rural parts of the district could be good enough for Republicans to retain this seat.

The rest of the day's congressional news is polling-based, starting with PPP's latest release from North Carolina:

  • In the Senate race, Elizabeth Dole has stopped the bleeding and regained minimal ground, as she is ahead 47% to 39% versus 48% to 43% in the previous poll.
  • In the gubernatorial race, Beverly Perdue is barely ahead of Charlotte Mayor McCrory, 43% to 39%, in what is shaping to be one of the few competitive governor's contests of the year.
Despite the small uptick, Dole remains vulnerable as she leads by single-digits and under 50%. More importantly, the race has now caught the DSCC's attention and Democrats know they have the potential to stun Republicans in this state, guaranteeing that they will show attention and resources to Hagan's campaign. However, this poll also points out to the advantage of incumbency and being a better-funded candidate, as Dole has been airing her first ads of the cycle over the past few weeks and the adblitz might be helping her stop Hagan's momentum.

Meanwhile, SUSA released a poll from New Mexico's Senate race that confirms that this is one of the strongest pick-up opportunities for Democrats:

  • Tom Udall defeats Heather Wilson 60% to 36% and similarly crushes Steve Pearce 61% to 35%. He has been leading by such margins for months now.
  • In the primary that is taking place tomorrow, it is a fight to the finish between the two Republicans, with Wilson at 47% and Pearce at 48%.
It's hard to believe that one of those major New Mexico figures will have his or her political career ended tomorrow, when New Mexico Republicans go to the polls to select their nominee and put an end to a very hard-fought and at times brutal race. It's even harder to believe that both GOP House members gave up their seats to run for a Senate seat in which they are trailing so badly. More on tomorrow's primaries tomorrow night.

Finally, we also got two House polls today, an exciting development given those tend to be more rare. Both surveys are internal polls taken for the Democratic candidate, so take them with the appropriate grain of salt:

  • In CA-04, a Benenson poll finds toss-up contests in a Republican stronghold that is now an open seat, as Charlie Brown narrowly edges two Republicans, 38% to 34% against Dough Ose and 42% to 40% and Tom McClintock.
  • In IL-11, another GOP-held open seat that Democrats are looking to pick-up, an Anzalone-Litz poll released by the Halvorson campaign shows her to be leading 43% to 32% against Martin Ozlinga despite the presence of a green party candidate that gets 6% of the vote.
IL-11 is one of the Democrats' strongest pick-up opportunities, as the GOP had to settle on Ozlinga after their nominee dropped out after the primary and after a slate of state Senators still refused to jump in the race. Halvorson is one of the DCCC's strongest recruits and that she is so far ahead with a third-party candidate polling so strongly should comfort Democrats. In CA-04, meanwhile, Brown was favored to win the race as long as Rep. Doolittle, hit by corruption scandals, was in the race. But the district is very Republican, and Brown has a tougher shot at the open seat and at getting from 38% and 42% to a majority of the vote. McClintock and Ose are hitting at each other in an ideologically split primary, whose nastiness is one important ray of hope for the Brown campaign.

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