Welcome back to Hotline Sort. Flake debuts a hard-hitting ad against Carmona, major Senate debates in Massachusetts and Arizona, Inslee gets important help from Bill Clinton and Thaddeus McCotter is expected to testify today.
11) Thad's back: Former GOP Rep. Thad McCotter is slated to testify today in a preliminary examination of two of his former campaign staffers, the Detroit Free Press reports:
Mark Mandell, attorney for McCotter's district director Paul Seewald, said he'll call McCotter as a witness and expects to get testimony that neither McCotter nor Seewald knew of the petition scam.
"Everyone will find out that the congressman was unaware of the petition situation, and so was my client," Mandell said.
McCotter, who has stayed out of sight since he was kicked off the ballot for faulty petitions, is expected to testify in Livonia District Court today in the preliminary examination of two of his campaign staffers.
10) In Washington's gubernatorial race, former Democratic Rep. Jay Inslee released a new television ad, "The Future Business," featuring Bill Clinton touting Inslee's economic plan.
9) The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee canceled buys in Philadelphia, Boston, and Chicago, Roll Call reports.
It's the cutback in the Philadelphia market that's most significant, and bodes well for the prospects of GOP Reps. Mike Fitzpatrick, R-Pa., and Jon Runyan, R-N.J. Democrats seem unwilling to expend significant resources on those two winnable races, as they see more promising, less-expensive opportunities elsewhere on the map.
8) The National Republican Congressional Committee raised $12.4 million in September and finished the month with $29.5 million in the bank, the Washington Post's "The Fix" reports.
7) In Wisconsin's Senate contest, Republican Tommy Thompson told
the Associated Press that he's raised $2 million since the Aug. primary (after which he's said he was "broke.") No word on his exact haul for the quarter or his remaining cash going into the final stretch.
6) Two new Virginia Senate polls
, and one shows a tight race while the other has Tim Kaine
up by 7.
And new Quinnipiac University/New York Times/CBS News poll shows
a neck-and-neck Wisconsin Senate race.
5) The Democratic Senatorial Committee is ad
up with a new ad in Connecticut, accusing Linda McMahon
of wanting to end Social Security.
Meanwhile, the National Republican Senatorial Committee is up with ads in Montana
and North Dakota
, a spot that ties Democrat Heidi Heitkamp
to President Obama
4) Big day in the Arizona Senate race yesterday, as GOP Rep. Jeff Flake
and former U.S. Surgeon General Richard Carmona
sat down for their first debate. The Arizona Republic
U.S. Senate contenders Richard Carmona and Jeff Flake clashed Wednesday in their first public head-to-head appearances of the general-election season, with Flake accusing Carmona of retreating from his previously expressed support of President Barack Obama's landmark health-care-reform law and Carmona accusing Flake of flip-flopping on comprehensive immigration reform.
The two rivals also traded barbs over earmarks -- Flake's signature issue -- and bringing home federal dollars to Arizona, as well as other topics.
Flake said in the debate that he wouldn't sign the Grover Norquist anti-tax pledge -- but Norquist's group has him on the list
of members of Congress who have already signed it.
, Flake's campaign released a poll showing him up 6 and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee released one showing Carmona up 4.
Either way, it's a tight race -- a fact that was driven home with a new Flake ad out today
, a brutal spot that features Carmona's boss at HHS, who tells the story of "angry pounding" on her door in the middle of the night. "I'm a single mom," she says. "I feared for my kids and for myself. It was Richard Carmona and I was his boss. Carmona is not who he seems. He has issues with anger, with ethics and with women. I have testified to this under oath to Congress. Richard Carmona should never, ever be in the U.S. Senate."
3) Things got heated
in Massachusetts when embattled Democratic Rep. John Tierney
and GOP challenger Richard Tisei
faced off in a debate last night.
2) And Sen. Scott Brown
, R-Mass., and his Democratic opponent Elizabeth Warren
met for their third debate last night -- the only one in Western Massachusetts Here's
the Boston Globe
's Glen Johnson
As we noted last night
Senator Scott Brown and his Democratic challenger, Elizabeth Warren, had some of their most spirited debate exchanges yet on Wednesday night, but beyond the sound and fury, two simple, substantive lines of attack emerged.
Brown, the Republican incumbent, cast himself as the guardian of lunch-bucket and other middle-class voters, as he accused Warren of viewing tax increases as a panacea for all the country's ills.
For Warren, a Harvard Law School professor, her goal was to highlight votes she said broke faith not just with middle-class voters, but women in particular.
, Warren was more aggressive about tying Brown to the national GOP and Mitt Romney
during the debate than she was in the previous two.
The two have a final debate scheduled for Oct. 30.
1) And the VP debate is tonight! Here's
the New York Times
6 things to watch.