The Midterm Snapshot: October 18

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With a little over two weeks until Election Day, President Obama appears to be trying to scare Democratic voters about the possibility of a bloodbath for the party's candidates. In a fund-raising e-mail to supporters, Obama said he's "counting on the DSCC to win the fifteen Senate seats still up for grabs." While the Senate outlook for the Democrats probably isn't quite so dire, the Republicans definitely have a path to overtake the upper chamber. The Fix says it'll come down to California, Connecticut, and Washington, while The Wall Street Journal says the Democrats need to hold on to two of five states among California, Washington, West Virginia, Nevada, and Illinois. It's really anyone's game, folks.

Meanwhile, in a look at races around the country, Democrat Jack Conway is running an ad against Rand Paul that's upsetting liberals, one candidate slaps another in Colorado, and a tea partier is accused of Nazi ties in Arizona.

In Colorado, Democrat Ed Perlmutter lightly slapped the hand of his Republican opponent Ryan Frazier during a debate over the weekend. Frazier, chuckling, said, "Ed, don't hit me, man, come on," and Perlmutter quickly apologized:


In Kentucky, Rand Paul's Democratic opponent, Jack Conway, is getting a lot of blowback for using Paul's Aqua Buddha days in an attack ad to suggest, ominously, that he's anti-religion or anti-Christianity. Even Democrats like Missouri's Claire McCaskill ("This ad is a very dangerous ad because it reaches back to college") and notable liberal political writers, such as The New Republic's Jonathan Chait ("The trouble with Conway's ad is that it comes perilously close to saying that non-belief in Christianity is a disqualification for public office") have taken issue with the ad. Paul has responded with his own ad, in which a narrator says Conway has borne "false witness" against Paul.

And in Arizona, tea party congressional candidate Jesse Kelly is being accused by Democrats of having "Nazi ties" because he received an endorsement from an anti-immigration group, Americans for Legal Immigration PAC, that John McCain's campaign once said was "backed by white supremacists, neo-Nazis and anti-Semites," and which the Anti-Defamation League says has been promoted by "white supremacists and anti-Semites." Kelly's campaign manager, a Jew, says there is a "a special place in hell for those who propagate terrible lies in order to clench to power."