trail mix

6 Actually Interesting Things You Missed in Thursday’s Midterm Races

The midterm elections are in 11 days, and no one cares. Just 15 percent of Americans have said they’re following the races very closely, what with Ebola now in New York City and ISIS abroad, not to mention a new season of Scandal. (Young people are even worse. Damn Instagram.)

For those without the time or untamable wonkiness necessary to track polls for, say, an Iowa Senate race, Intelligencer is rounding up the important, telling, or otherwise absurd moments from the previous long day on the campaign trail. So at least you’ll know these people’s names when they’re running our country next year.

In the Mud

Iowa Senate candidate Joni Ernst is so fond of her infamous hog castration ad that she just released another commercial shot in a pigpen:

Not everyone is a fan. On Thursda,y Des Moines Register publisher Rick Green mocked the spots after the Republican candidate abruptly canceled a scheduled endorsement interview with the editorial board. Green said they were “disappointed” by the snub. “This has been an incredibly nasty, competitive race where both sides have spent millions and aired tens of thousands of TV spots,” he said. “Undecided voters I talk to want Sen. Ernst to break through the rhetoric and cacophony of campaign ads about hogs, Obamacare and balanced budgets. It’s a time for sharing specifics.”

An Ernst campaign spokesperson said they canceled the hourlong talk because, “Recent editorials in the Des Moines Register make their position in this race perfectly clear, and it’s one that many voters across our state seem to disagree with. With less than 12 days to go, time is precious and Joni wants to spend every minute talking to undecided voters, hearing their concerns, and demonstrating why we need a change in Washington.” More pigs, please.

Carpetbaggerian Slip

Scott Brown has faced fewer carpetbagging accusations than you’d expect, considering that after losing his Senate seat, he decided to run again from a neighboring state. However, the New Hampshire Senate candidate brought the latest round of criticism on himself. In a campaign finance report filed in September, he accidentally listed his occupation as Massachusetts state senator, a position he held from 2004 to 2010. His spokesperson says it was a “clerical error.” That is one way to put it.

Allergic to Obama

A running theme in these races has been Democrats trying to awkwardly squirm away from being associated with an unpopular president. In New Hampshire Senator Jeanne Shaheen’s debate last night with Brown, the Democrat pulled the old “he’s just so busy!” in an attempt to explain why Obama hasn’t been campaigning for her.

We have a lot going on,” Shaheen insisted. “I don’t think it makes sense for the president to come to New Hampshire right now.” You know, “The fact is he’s busy in Washington. He’s dealing with the Ebola threat; he’s dealing with the threat from ISIS … I think he’s exactly where he needs to be.” As far away from her tight race as possible.

Through Gritted Teeth

Photo: Bryan Thomas/Getty Images

Andrew Cuomo has the New York governor’s race pretty much locked up, but you can’t turn down a campaign appearance with Hillary Clinton. Even if her inevitability means you won’t be running for president in 2016 as planned. “I hope she does something really, really, really big,” said Cuomo yesterday at his event, which, of course, became Clinton’s event just by virtue of her being in the building. “How much do we miss having Hillary Clinton in New York?” It was a rhetorical question.

Koch for Pot

It may seem odd that a group linked to the Koch brothers is funding ads that feature the slogan “More Weed, Less War,” but though the perky progressives in these new web spots urge young people to vote for Sean Haugh, the libertarian candidate for Senate in North Carolina, the point isn’t to get him elected. Recent polls show Democrat Kay Hagan with only a slight lead over Republican Thom Tillis, and the third-party candidate taking 5 percent of the vote. More potheads voting for Haugh means fewer potheads voting for Hagan:

Haugh told the Washington Post that he knew nothing about the ads, and “the source makes the intent obvious. However, he adds, “I’m happy when anyone promotes my message accurately and tells anyone why they should vote Libertarian.” He means weed.

At Least She’s Here

If you still find the midterms boring and confusing, Michelle Obama gets it. Earlier this month, she repeatedly called Iowa Senate candidate Bruce Braley “Bruce Bailey,” then joked, “Braley, what did I say? I’m losing it. I’m getting old.”

At a campaign stop on Thursday, the first lady got Senator Mark Udall’s name right, but she called him a “fifth-generation Coloradan.” His opponent, Cory Gardner, is the “fifth-generation Coloradan”; Udall was born and raised in Arizona.

6 Things You Missed in Thursday’s Midterm Races