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Hotline Sort: The Chamber's California Play

September 28, 2012

Welcome back to Hotline Sort. Scott Brown attacks Warren over her Native American claims in a second straight ad, Heller and Berkley trade jabs at a debate, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce will spend in nine California House races, and Vern Buchanan's ethics problems just won't go away.

11) Andrew Beacham, an Independent candidate in Kentucky's 2nd District, is running a provocative television ad. The New York Times:

It opens with images of Hitler and Bundy as the candidate narrates. "Would you vote for a murderer?" he asks. "Would you vote for a man who paid others to murder for him? Would you vote for a man who stole from others to pay for his murders?"

Then a picture of an aborted fetus appears on screen. The candidate continues, "Well, Obama gives your money to Planned Parenthood to murder babies, and to the Muslim Brotherhood, who murders Christians and Jews."

10) In North Carolina's governor's race, Republican Pat McCrory leads Democrat Walter Dalton by a significant margin, as he has in other recent polls: 52 percent to 39 percent. The NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist poll was conducted Sept. 23-25 and surveyed 1035 likely voters, for a margin of error of plus-or-minus 3.1 percentage points.

9) Tough story for Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Fla. The Tampa Bay Times:

In a stunning development just weeks before the November election, one of U.S. Rep Vern Buchanan's longtime friends and another man pleaded guilty Thursday to making illegal campaign contributions.

Tampa developer Tim Mobley and accountant Timothy Hohl admitted breaking federal law by reimbursing employees for $84,300 in contributions to an official described in a Justice Department press release only as "an elected member of the U.S. Congress.''

That official is Buchanan, whose office quickly issued a statement saying the Sarasota Republican was "totally unaware'' of any unlawful contributions and would "disgorge'' them, almost certainly to the U.S. Treasury.

Buchanan's campaigns have long been plagued by allegations of fundraising irregularities, but this is the first time anyone has been criminally prosecuted.

8) Next, week, the AFL-CIO is sending mail to over 180,000 union families in states that have key Senate and Governor's races: See the mailers for Montana's gubernatorial race, Indiana's Senate race, Connecticut's Senate race, New Hampshire's gubernatorial race, and the Massachusetts Senate race. They'll also be sending mail in the Washington gubernatorial race.

7) Connecticut GOP Senate nominee Linda McMahon won't be attending any of the three fundraisers in her state on Sunday featuring Paul Ryan. "I'm not, only because I have scheduling conflicts," McMahon told National Journal when asked whether she'll be on hand for any of those events with the GOP vice presidential candidate.

6) Missouri GOP nominee Todd Akin not only called Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., less "ladylike" than she was in 2006, he also described her recent debate performance as a "wildcat" let out of its cage.

McCaskill is appearing on Morning Joe this morning.

5) Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass., is out with another ad that attacks Elizabeth Warren over her claims of Native American ancestry, saying she "got caught in a lie."

"I think it should affect a lot of voters and how they feel about Elizabeth Warren," says one man in the ad. "We already have enough people in Washington that will say anything. We don't need one more," says another.

4) New Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee ad hitting Virginia GOP Senate candidate George Allen on women's issues. "George Allen voted against measures to protect women from discrimination" flashes across the screen.

"George Allen is the last thing we need in Washington," says a woman in the ad.

Meanwhile, a new poll Thursday shows a dead heat in the race, with both Allen and Democratic nominee Tim Kaine in at 44 percent in the Suffolk University/WWBT-TV survey.

3) In Nevada's Senate race, GOP Sen. Dean Heller and Democratic Rep. Shelley Berkley faced off in their first televised debate. From the Las Vegas Sun write-up:

In a testy debate with a tone to match the increasingly bitter dialogue that has so far characterized the U.S. Senate fight, Republican Dean Heller accused his Democratic rival Shelley Berkley of being a liar and lacking character.

Not to be outdone, Berkley accused Heller of trying to kill Medicare and repeatedly hammered home her argument that he prioritizes big business over middle-class Nevadans.

Indeed, little new came from the first face-off between the pair at a Reno public television studio. Both candidates recycled lines from their caustic TV ads and campaign trail-worn stump speeches.

Meanwhile, Heller holds a 6-point lead over Berkley in a new poll released Thursday. Heller leads Berkley 49 percent to 43 percent in the NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist poll.

2) The U.S. Chamber of Commerce will spend $3.3 million on ads aimed at electing nine California Republican House candidates. The Chamber bought ad time in the nine districts Thursday. Most of the ads will run between Friday and Oct. 7, but in some more expensive markets the ad buys will run on cable until much later in the month. Check out district-by-district ad buy details here.

1) In a reversal, billionaire George Soros is committing $1 million to Priorities USA, the super PAC supporting President Obama.

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