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Apparently Confident, NRSC Scaling Back Ads in S.C.

The National Republican Senatorial Committee drastically scaled back its independent expenditure ad campaign on behalf of Rep. Jim DeMint (R) Tuesday, just days after announcing that it planned to spend more than $1 million on the open-seat Senate race.

The NRSC went up on television Tuesday but will only run a week of ads, three weeks less than originally planned, according to informed sources.

Neither the DeMint campaign nor the NRSC would comment on the decision at press time.

But the NRSC’s independent expenditure program did release a poll Tuesday that showed DeMint with a 46 percent to 36 percent lead over state Superintendent of Education Inez Tenenbaum (D).

That is the third poll in as many days that shows the Republican with a double-digit edge.

Even so, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee continues to pour millions of dollars into South Carolina, attacking DeMint for his support of a 23 percent national sales tax.

Tenenbaum’s campaign believes the attacks are working, and recently put out a survey of their own that showed the Democrat with a 3-point edge over DeMint.
— Chris Cillizza

New Democrat Network Airs Battleground Ads

Seeking to expand its sphere of influence, the New Democrat Network on Tuesday launched new ads in Colorado, Oklahoma and Alaska, all of which are hosting competitive Senate contests.

The ads document job losses in those three states, though they make no mention of the Senate races.

“For eight years, America enjoyed the strongest economy in history,” says the ad’s narrator. “In the last four, Republicans in Washington have given us the worst in a generation.”

The ads are being paid for with soft-money contributions from individuals collected by NDN’s 527 arm.
— C.C.

Frost: Sessions’ Votes Hurt War on Terrorism

Rep. Martin Frost (D) is bringing out the big guns in his battle with Rep. Pete Sessions (R) in a new ad that alleges the GOP Member has undercut the war on terrorism with his votes since Sept. 11, 2001.

With “Amazing Grace” playing in the background and images of the World Trade Center in flames on-screen, a narrator details Sessions’ votes against allowing federal marshals on planes, among other homeland security issues.

“Protect America. Say no to Sessions,” the narrator adds.

The commercials began running Tuesday in this North Texas district created in the 2003 re-redistricting by the Republican state Legislature.

Both sides have been sniping at one another for months, but this ad is a significant ramping-up of the rhetoric.

The new 32nd district takes in much of the Dallas suburbs and is overwhelmingly Republican despite the fact that minorities make up roughly 40 percent of the population.

The Sessions-Frost battle is expected to be the most expensive House race in the country. Sessions had $2.6 million in the bank at the end of June; Frost had roughly $1 million less.
— C.C.


Ex-Governor Endorses Open-Primary Measure

Former Gov. Pete Wilson (R) has bucked the state’s political establishment and come out in favor of a ballot measure to re-establish the state’s open primary.

“Candidates are inclined to be very partisan in order to win a [partisan] primary and then be very partisan” after they take office, Wilson told the Los Angeles Times this week. “I’ve seen them play a lot of partisan games.”

The state’s major political parties and most establishment politicians are opposing the ballot measure, known as Proposition 62. It would create a Louisiana-style primary system in which the top two vote getters, regardless of party, would advance to the general election.

State legislators have put another measure on the November ballot, known as Proposition 60, which would maintain the state’s current system of closed partisan primaries.

Wilson cited his own Los Angeles neighborhood as a reason to support the open primary. It is a heavily Democratic area represented by Rep. Henry Waxman (D) in Congress, and as a Republican, Wilson feels disenfranchised voting for a GOP candidate who is a sure loser. “With my vote and with other Republican votes, we might get a less ideological Democrat,” he said.

A mid-September poll by the Public Policy Institute of California found that likely voters supported Proposition 62, 49 percent to 33 percent. If both Proposition 60 and 62 pass, the one with the greater vote total becomes law. — Josh Kurtz

Officials Will Change Wording on Initiative

State officials will reword and reprint all ballots for the Nov. 2 election in compliance with a judge’s recent order.

An Anchorage Superior Court judge sided with Trust the People, a group formed to fight for an initiative changing the way U.S. Senate vacancies are filled in the state, and agreed that the old summary explaining the initiative was biased, The Associated Press reported.

Although it will take 15 days and $295,000 to comply with the order, Lt. Gov. Loren Leman (R) said the state would not challenge the ruling, the AP said.

The judge’s ruling is the latest development in the legal wrangling over bringing the initiative to the ballot.

The Alaska Supreme Court ordered Leman to put the issue before voters after he determined the GOP-controlled state Legislature had passed a sufficiently similar law to render the initiative redundant.

Alaska Republicans tried in vain to spare Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R) the indignity of sharing a ballot with a measure that questions how she got her job in the first place — but to no avail. Murkowski was appointed to the Senate by her father, Gov. Frank Murkowski (R), to finish his fourth Senate term after he was elected governor in 2002. She faces former Gov. Tony Knowles (D) in a tight race.

Democratic legislators led a petition drive to ask Alaskan voters Nov. 2 if they want governors to have the right to fill Senate vacancies or if they would prefer special elections in such instances.
— Nicole Duran

NRCC Pulls Disputed Ad From One Station

The National Republican Congressional Committee has voluntarily pulled a disputed ad from the Spokane Fox affiliate after Democratic complaints prompted the station to request more information about the old one.

The ad dealt with a failed partnership between Democratic 5th district candidate Don Barbieri’s family business and the Spokane Transit Authority. The NRCC ad claimed the aborted deal cost the transit authority $900,000; the Barbieri campaign says that, at most, the deal cost the city $300,000. Either way, the NRCC decided to pull the ad from KAYU-TV and shift the weeklong buy to the other three affiliates, spokesman Carl Forti said Tuesday.

“If the other stations believed it was inaccurate, they would’ve pulled it,” Forti said. “It was easier for us to just cancel the buy than argue … about what the law is.”

Forti noted that the station manager, Jon Rand, has donated $250 to the presidential campaign of Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.). Rand said he finds Forti’s assertion that his donation had anything to do with his request for proof of the ad’s veracity “a little silly.”

Rand said he suspended the ad Monday until the NRCC could provide documentation about the $900,000. Forti disputes that the ad was suspended. He said the buy was not set to begin until Tuesday night.

— N.D.

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