The Midterm Snapshot: October 22

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How confident are Democratic leaders that they'll retain control of the House come November 3? We'd say somewhere between "somewhat" and "not." If you listen to them closely, as CQ Politics points out, you'll hear them already starting to blame outside money for their defeat — er, possible defeat. Take Maryland congressman Chris Van Hollen, the chairman of the DCCC, who, after noting the "huge amount of secret money coming down on the Republican side" yesterday, said, “I’m confident the day after the election, we at the DCCC will be able to say we did everything possible to hold on to the majority." And then there's Vice-President Joe Biden, who told Bloomberg's Al Hunt, "The only caveat I'd put in terms of [keeping control of] the House is how much impact" outside spending against Democratic candidates will have. These are the words of men downplaying expectations.

Meanwhile, in races around the country, xenophobe Tom Tancredo could actually become governor of Colorado, Pennsylvania Senate candidate Pat Toomey tries to not evade Sarah Palin questions, and Barney Frank is gay.

• In the Kentucky Senate race, The Atlantic's Josh Green reports, "Aqua Buddha" remains a very big deal. In fact, it's all anyone talks about. But apparently, voters are more concerned about Rand Paul's evasiveness on the incident than about the incident itself. This might explain why, after backing out of next Monday's debate with Jack Conway because he resented Conway's focus on Paul's Aqua Buddha days, Paul has reversed course and decided to debate after all.

• In the race for Colorado governor, as unbelievable as it seems, American Constitution Party nominee Tom Tancredo has gone from third-party spoiler to essentially tied with Democratic nominee and current Denver mayor John Hickenlooper. This is according to a poll by a Republican-friendly pollster, but other polls have shown Hickenlooper's lead falling to single digits as Republican nominee Dan Maes fades away. And it's not helping Hickenlooper that a year-old comment he made about "backwards thinking in the kind of rural Western areas" of Colorado have just been unearthed by National Review.

• In the Pennsylvania Senate race, as Democrat Joe Sestak closes the gap with Republican Pat Toomey, Toomey has been downplaying an endorsement from Sarah Palin, and, like many people, dodging opportunities to endorse her.


Asked again on Friday whether Palin was qualified to serve in the nation's highest office, Toomey said, "I don't decide who's qualified for office — the voters decide.

"If she gets elected to office, that means she's qualified, and that's the case with anyone else running for office," he added.

Nice. Toomey leads by less than 2 percent, according to Pollster.com.

• In Massachusetts, Democratic congressman Barney Frank's tea-party opponent Sean Bielat released a web ad in which Frank dances flamboyantly alongside disco balls. Oh, because he's gay. The latest poll has Frank up by twelve points.

• In the Alaska Senate race, a police report shows that, mysteriously enough, nobody was able to identify which of Joe Miller's private security guards was allegedly pushed by Alaskan reporter Tony Hopfinger before he was handcuffed — not even the security guards themselves. Miller is leading Lisa Murkowski by 1.5 percent in Pollster.com's polling average.