the midterm snapshot

The Midterm Snapshot: October 14

The past 24 hours have been a mixed blessing for the Democrats, as far as electoral prognostications are concerned. While FiveThirtyEight’s Nate Silver slightly lowered the likelihood of a GOP takeover of the Senate, from 24 percent to 18 percent, as far as the House goes, the Cook Political Report calculates that “Democrats’ chances of losing at least 50 seats are now greater than their chances of holding losses under 45 seats.” In other words, a landslide. Nothing, however, is set in stone. With that in mind, here’s a look at what’s happening in races around the country today: Raul Grivalja’s mustache, Meg Whitman’s alleged whorishness, and Alaska’s exciting three-way tie.

In Arizona, a cartoonish depiction of Democratic congressman Raul Grijalva’s mustache is the centerpiece of a state GOP mailer. “It’s certainly not about the fact that he’s Hispanic,” a spokesperson for his Republican opponent, Ruth McClung, says. “His campaign signs feature that exact same mustache.” Well, no, not the exact same. “It’s exaggerated and meant to create an image of evil and something sinister,” Grijalva insists.

In Alaska, GOP Senate nominee Joe Miller may want to spend less time picking out office furniture for his Senate office and more time worrying about the write-in campaign of Lisa Murkowski, the Republican incumbent whom he vanquished in the primary, and Scott McAdams, the Democrat who hasn’t really been getting a lot of attention. A new poll out today shows the race is really anyone’s to win, with Miller at 33 percent, Murkowski at 31 percent, and McAdams at 27 percent. Granted, the poll only measured 400 likely voters, but then again, Alaska doesn’t have that many people.

In California, the president of the state’s chapter of NOW, the National Organization for Women, does not seem to have a problem with Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jerry Brown (and his wife) calling Republican candidate Meg Whitman a “whore.” “Meg Whitman could be described as ‘a political whore.’ Yes, that’s an accurate statement,” she tells TPM. For its part, NOW has backed off a demand that Brown fire whomever used the word “whore.”

In West Virginia, the National Republican Senatorial Committee has fired the vendor that it determined was responsible for a casting call for a campaign ad that sought “hicky”-looking actors. DNC chairman Tim Kaine, meanwhile, is “not wild” about Democrat Joe Manchin’s ad, in which the Senate candidate criticizes “Obamacare” and literally shoots cap-and-trade with a gun. And an environmental advocate from the Mountain Party might act as a Democratic spoiler.

And in Nevada, tea partier Sharron Angle and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid face off in a debate on C-SPAN at 9 p.m, tonight. In what is essentially the closest Senate race in the country, any slip-up or gaffe could be a deciding factor.

The Midterm Snapshot: October 14