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Senate polls today: AK CA FL KY NH WA WI RSS
Dem pickups: (None) GOP pickups: AR CO IL IN ND PA WV WI PDA

PW logo Ayotte Pulls Away in New Hampshire The Power of Polling Averages
Extra Bonus Quote of the Day O'Donnell Made Oxford Claim Before
Whitman Offers to Take Polygraph Test Feingold Falls Further Behind in Wisconsin

News from the Votemaster            

Can the Tea Party Govern?     Permalink

While most of the media's attention to the tea party has focused on Senate candidates like Sharron Angle in Nevada, Rand Paul in Kentucky, and Ken Buck in Colorado, even if they are all elected, they will be backbenchers, probably in the minority. While this will give them the freedom to rant and rave about anything they want--free of the responsibility for bearing the consequences of what they are demanding--there are other races where actions, not words, will be required. In particular, there are multiple tea party candidates running for governor, and if they win, they will be forced to either scale back their rhetoric or try to carry it out. It is one thing to say you favor tax cuts, but something totally different to enact tax cuts as governor when state law requires a balanced budget and every attempt to cut some spending item is met with massive resistance from one group or another.

Among the key laboratories where we may discover how tea party candidates would govern are Minnesota, where Tom Emmer (R), an uncompromising conservative has a decent shot to succeed Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R-MN), Another is Illinois, where Bill Brady (R) wants to cut the minimum wage in a state where labor has a lot of clout and such a move would unleash strikes all over the place. Yet another testbed is Maine, where businessman and gubernatorial candidate Paul LePage (R) is raging against the federal government--in a state long dependent on the federal government for subsidies and military bases. It will be interesting to see how long the rhetoric lasts if any of these or their ideological brethren have to actually balance budgets and deal with highly uncooperative state legislatures in some cases.

California Govrnor's Race Upended by Maid     Permalink

On Tuesday, the California gubernatorial candidates Meg Whitman (R) and Jerry Brown had a televised debate. Whitman came out strongly for punishing employers who hire illegal aliens. The next day, her own former maid, Nicky Diaz Santillan held a tearful press conference saying that she has worked for Whitman for 9 years, was an illegal alien, and Whitman knew it. Whitman claimed that she didn't know that her maid was illegal until the summer of 2009, at which time she fired Diaz Santillan.

However, Diaz Santillan's attorney, Gloria Allred then said that Whitman knew the maid was illegal and she could prove it by releasing a letter from the Social Security Administration to Whitman notifying her that Diaz Santillan was illegal. Whitman responded that she never got any such letter because the maid always brought in the mail and must have kept the letter. When Allred released the letter as promised, the bombshell hit: it contained a handwritten message in her husband's handwriting telling Diaz Santillan to fix the problem. This means that Whitman's husband knew that the maid was illegal and it is hardly believable that he never mentioned this to his wife.

Whitman's response to the bombshell was to stop talking about the maid and the fact that knowingly hiring an illegal alien is a crime, but instead to attack Allred and Brown for bringing up the subject. She also offered to take a polygraph test. If she does and passes, her credibility may be restored, but if she refuses to take it or insists on using her house polygrapher, or fails the test, she is going to take a huge hit, probably enough to hand Brown the keys to the governer's mansion (again--as he was governor from 1975 to 1983).

Poll: Romney and Palin are the Early 2012 GOP Favorites     Permalink

While the midterms aren't even over yet, some forward-looking people are already interested in the 2012 presidential contest. Accordingly, Gallup ran a poll of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents asking who they wanted as their presidential nominee in 2012. Former governors did well, with Mitt Romney coming in first at 19%, Sarah Palin came in second at 16% and Mike Huckabee came in third at 12%. Following them were Newt Gingrich at 9%, Ron Paul at 7% and Haley Barbour and Tim Pawlenty tied at 3%. In the past, early polls are mostly about name recognition and don't mean a lot.

List of Wealthiest Members of Congress Published     Permalink

Many people wonder why Congress often passes laws that favor the rich but the answer is simple: large numbers of senators and congressmen are fabulously wealthy. An example is the big fight currently going on about extending the Bush tax cuts for the rich. Many in Congress care passionately about this issue because it affects their own tax bill. Roll Call has compiled a list of the richest members of Congress, the top 10 of which are given below. The information has been gleaned from disclosure forms the members are by law required to fill out. However, due to the nature of the questions, certain assets do not have to be reported, so the list is not entirely correct. For example, while members have to list the value of their stocks, bonds, and real estate, they don't have to list the value of any sports teams they happen to own, so Sen. Herb Kohl's ownership of the NBA's Milwaukee Bucks (worth $230 million) doesn't count. Nevertheless, the list is a real eye opener. The amounts in column 3 are given in millions of dollars.

Rank Member Net worth Source of the fortune
1 Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) $188 Ketchup (via wife)
2 Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) $160 Car alarms
3 Rep. Jane Harman (D-CA) $153 Audio systems (via husband)
4 Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) $81 Oil (inherited from grandfather)
5 Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX) $74 Radio (via father-in-law)
6 Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) $70 Mobile phone licenses
7 Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO) $56 Web hosting, online florist
8 Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-FL) $55 Car dealerships
9 Sen. Frak Lautenberg (D-NJ) $50 Electronic data processing
10 Sen. Dianne Feinsten (D-CA) $48 Investment banking (via husband)

Today's Polls: AK CA FL KY NH WA WI AK-AL CA-44 NJ-03     Permalink

New Senate Polls

State Democrat D-pct Republican R-pct I I-pct Start End Pollster
Alaska Scott McAdams 19% Joe Miller 30% Lisa Murkowski 41% Sep 24 Sep 25 Craciun Research
Alaska Scott McAdams 28% Joe Miller 43% Lisa Murkowski 18% Sep 23 Sep 27 Ivan Moore Research
California Barbara Boxer* 42% Carly Fiorina 35%     Sep 19 Sep 26 Public Policy Inst. of
Florida Kendrick Meek 18% Marco Rubio 46% Charlie Crist 33% Sep 23 Sep 28 Quinnipiac U.
Kentucky Jack Conway 38% Rand Paul 49%     Sep 29 Sep 29 Rasmussen
New Hampshire Paul Hodes 35% Kelly Ayotte 50%     Sep 23 Sep 29 U. of New Hampshire
Washington Patty Murray* 47% Dino Rossi 48%     Sep 28 Sep 28 Rasmussen
Wisconsin Russ Feingold* 42% Ron Johnson 54%     Sep 29 Sep 29 Rasmussen

New House Polls

Cong. Distr. Democrat D-pct Republican R-pct I I-pct Start End Pollster
AK-AL Harry Crawford 32% Don Young* 65%     Sep 23 Sep 27 Ivan Moore
CA-44 Bill Hedrick 49% Ken Calvert* 38%     Sep 24 Sep 26 PPP
NJ-03 John Adler* 42% Jon Runyan 39%     Sep 24 Sep 28 Braun Research

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