We’re almost there! After months of inanity, voters will go to the polls tomorrow and finally snuff out this electoral cycle once and for all. No more stories about Sharron Angle corrupting classic board games in order to demonize Mexicans! No more stories about Christine O’Donnell airing the most disgusting infomercial since that 3 a.m. show on Lifetime promoting the Ped Egg! No more candidates co-opting Morgan Freeman’s voice as if their campaign were an IMAX special! Now who’s ready for two years of level-headed governance? This is HUFFPOST HILL for Monday, November 1st, 2010:
SCHUMER & DURBIN TO APPROACH LEADERSHIP RACE WITH CAUTION – Leading tomorrow in Roll Call: “If Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid loses his re-election bid Tuesday, don’t expect his would-be successors to immediately launch campaigns for his leadership job,” writes Roll Call’s Emily Pierce in a piece set to publish tonight. “Majority Whip Dick Durbin (Ill.) and Conference Vice Chairman Charles Schumer (N.Y.) have learned from history that it’s best to stand down until it is absolutely clear that there’s a race to be had. Democratic sources said neither Durbin nor Schumer — believed to have been angling to succeed Reid for months — will begin making calls to rank-and-file Democrats for support before a Reid defeat is officially called. And if the race is close enough for a recount, it’s a safe bet that both men will hold off scouring the caucus for votes until a final ruling is made or someone concedes, sources added.” (HuffPost Hill remembers that Reid had sewn up his own majority leader race before the sun had risen over Tom Daschle’s South Dakota.)
FACEBOOK TO SPAM USERS WITH GOTV PUSH – Facebook on Tuesday will launch a massive operation aimed at reminding its tens of millions of users to vote on Election Day, the company announced. To the extent that younger voters are more likely to have a Facebook account that they check on a regular basis, the get-out-the-vote effort could boost Democrats’ prospects. The message from the company will include a link to its site that allows users to find out where their polling station. Users over 18 will also be able to click an “I voted” button and post a story to that will be displayed in their news feed, further amplifying the GOTV message.
HARRY REID NEVER SAYS GOODBYE – We know exactly what you’re looking for, and we’re here to deliver it: 8,000 words on Harry Reid. Our favorite nugget, naturally: “In September, a Huffington Post reporter bumped into Reid in the Senate reception room just off the Senate floor. Reid ribbed him about his job, and the reporter joked back that it was his task to do whatever it is Arianna Huffington tells him to do. “That’s how I feel about it, too, sometimes,” Reid quipped. Enjoy: http://huff.to/d3t4Mq
COULD SHERIFF JOE FINALLY WIND UP IN PINK UNDIES? – Maricopa Country Sheriff Joe Arpaio, the guy who puts people who can’t pay speeding tickets in a giant tent-city jail in Arizona, might be fighting for a scrap of bedding himself soon. “Maricopa County officials believe the discovery of a duplicate payroll log and database hidden in a secure computer system at the Sheriff’s Office could reveal the extent of alleged misspending in Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s agency…If proven, the misappropriation of funds could lead to criminal charges. County Manager David Smith has called for an investigation by various agencies led by the U.S. Department of Justice.” HuffPost Hill will be clinking mucho Tecates the day Sheriff Joe goes down. Arizona Republic: http://bit.ly/dB0MD4
DAILY DELANEY DOWNER – The Indiana Department of Workforce Development is beefing up its security ahead of the holidays, when officials expect a seasonal surge in unemployment claims and extra stress for long-term jobless who might miss benefits because of Congress. “There’s obviously increasing stress, especially among the long-term unemployed, and also the upcoming expiration of these federal extensions will add additional stress,” department spokesman Marc Lotter told HuffPost. http://huff.to/deBlrr
PARANOID SELF-LOATHING GOP LOBBYIST SENDS ELECTION BOAST FROM FEAR CHAMBER – Our favorite Paranoid Self-Loathing GOP Lobbyist — currently binging on Mike and Ikes and self-help tapes at the election desk deep in his man-cave (Seriously. It’s a cave. Deep in the ground.) — is giddy about a GOP House takeover. That giddiness comes, of course, with a small amount of self-hatred: “I’m a terrible winner,” he wrote in an email to HuffPost. “And it’s been 6 years since the last time I could enjoy the guilty pleasure of watching MSNBC on an awful election night for Dems. It’s like the producers inject them all with sodium penthol and by 2 a.m., their idiocy is out there for the world to see.” Thanks, PSLGOPL! PS: Wikipedia advises that the reliability of confessions induced with the help of Sodium Pentathol, aka “Truth Serum,” is dubious — but it might be good for talking heads on MSNBC: “[T]he drug tends to make subjects chatty and cooperative with interrogators, but a practiced liar or someone who has a false story firmly established could still relate the falsehood while under the influence of the drug.”
TODAY’S TERKEL TAKEDOWN – Amanda Terkel with further proof that Sharron Angle plays by her own rules by collecting $400 when she lands on “Go”: “Toymaker Hasbro has sent Sharron Angle’s Senate campaign a cease and desist letter, saying the Nevada Republican never received permission to use the rights to Monopoly for its Harry Reid Amnesty Game’ website (which still remains up and running). ‘The MONOPOLY image that you are referring to was used without permission — and our legal department sent a cease and desist letter via fax to Ms. Angle’s offices on Friday,’ said Hasbro spokesman Pat Riso.” http://huff.to/cfcoHc
OBAMA ON RYAN SEACREST SHOW TOMORROW – In what is easily the most awkward bit of Seacrest-hosted programming since William Hung’s rise to fame on American Idol, the pop culture mainstay will speak with the most powerful human being in the universe tomorrow morning. The interview will air on “On Air with Ryan Seacrest” at 10:15 am EST. NY Post: “‘Are you a fan of Justin Bieber?’ wrote Yerin Kim [On Seacrest's Facebook page], while Desaree Fraser put it more enthusiastically: ‘DO YOU HAVE BIEBER FEVER?’” http://bit.ly/9lLFAf
WH-A-A-A? – Amanda Terkel on an even more bizarre Hollywood-Washington mashup. “Actor Morgan Freeman is denying that he provided the narration for a Republican candidate’s political ad, saying that the campaign is lying when it claims he did. ‘These people are lying,’ said Freeman in a statement sent to The Huffington Post. ‘I have never recorded any campaign ads for B.J. Lawson and I do not support his candidacy. And, no one who represents me ever has ever authorized the use of my name, voice or any other likeness in support of Mr. Lawson or his candidacy.’ Lawson is running against Democratic incumbent Rep. David Price in North Carolina’s fourth congressional district. The ad in question is titled, ‘What is David Price Afraid Of?’”
Tinseltown Terkel: a beer for the reader who can guess how many TV crews have filmed Amanda Terkel at work in the past two weeks.
Take note, journos! Story Partners’ Amos Snead sends word that they will be “watching to see if Twitter is faster than MSNBC and Fox News … and to see if any journalists TWI (Tweet While Intoxicated)” at their election party tomorrow night at Gloria Dittus’ home.
Don’t be bashful: Send tips/stories/photos/events/fundraisers/job movement/juicy miscellanea to firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow us on Twitter – @HuffPostHill
GOP POISED TO TAKE HOUSE, DEMS LIKELY MAINTAIN SENATE – Mark Blumenthal: “Right now, the probabilities produced by our House model show Republicans leading in enough of the marginal seats to bring their total to 213 seats to 194 for the Democrats with 28 seats still on our toss-up category. As of this hour, if we allocate the toss-ups based on the candidate our model considers most probable to win in each district (regardless of the margin), we would project 226 seats for the Republicans and 209 seats for the Democrats — representing a net gain of 48 seats for the Republicans.” http://huff.to/bShy7T
Charlie Cook: “The Cook Political Report’s pre-election House outlook is a Democratic net loss of 50 to 60 seats, with higher losses possible…The Cook Political Report is adjusting its current [Senate] outlook to reflect a net gain for Republicans of 6 to 8 seats, down from 7 to 9 seats.” National Journal: http://bit.ly/cU6BOp
God bless ya, lad: “Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Chris Van Hollen predicted Monday morning that ‘the voters are going to surprise all these Washington pollsters’ and retain control of the House in Tuesday’s election.” CQ: http://bit.ly/9UZWBv
HuffPost Hill’s forecast: Democrats will hold on to the House and gain 45 seats, causing 10 coconut cream pies to magically appear and smack John Boehner in the face. (Why? Because there’s no penalty in Washington for being wrong, so we might as well be the only ones other than CVH calling it.)
If things don’t go their way, the Democrats are going to wake up Wednesday morning and feel like anyone who has ever ordered bottle service only to wake up by themselves the next day — still wearing a $2,000 suit — hungover like never before. Sam Stein: “[W]hen you add the operating costs of the DNC, in addition to other expenditures it made on non-election related activities, the total price tag for the last two years ends up being $187,306,290, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. The final number seems destined to be above $200 million.” For that number you’d think the electorate could at least give the Democratic Party a goodnight kiss or write something flattering on its Facebook wall, or something. Then again, it was the people’s money to begin with. http://huff.to/c9OiDx
There’s a good chance some of the contests won’t be over on election night. AP: “The campaign for some candidates won’t end with Tuesday’s election, and could be taken over by lawyers who already are preparing for possible recount battles. The large number of too-close-to-call congressional races in states like Colorado, Nevada, Illinois and West Virginia has some observers predicting more contested elections and recounts this year. At the very least, a slow count of ballots in states like Washington and Alaska is expected to keep many voters in suspense. ‘I’m sure Democrats will say the same thing, but Republican campaigns are prepared for the reality that many of their races will not be decided on Election Day,’ said Paul Lindsay, a National Republican Congressional Committee spokesman.” http://huff.to/duShmv
NEVADA – Polls of Nevada at this point are meaningless, as it’s all about turnout, but, fwiw, the latest one from Fox has Angle up 48 percent to 45 percent for Reid. Blumenthal: “Democrats could breath much easier if Harry Reid rebounds against Sharon Angle in Nevada. Our current trend estimate gives Angle lead just big enough (49.1% to 46.1%) — a “toss-up” for the moment, but barely — while the final PPP survey released this morning shows Angle leading by just a single percentage point (47% to 46%).” http://huff.to/bShy7T
GOP UP IN PENNSYLVANIA – Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: “The latest Quinnipiac University poll says Republican and former Congressman Pat Toomey holds a 50-45 percent lead over Democratic U.S Rep. Joe Sestak in the race to be Pennsylvania’s U.S. senate seat. Tom Corbett, the state’s attorney general, has a 52-42 percent lead over Democrat Dan Onorato, the Allegheny County executive, in the race for governor. Mr. Toomey leads Mr. Sestak among independents, 52-39 percent, and Mr. Corbett leads 53-34 percent among independent voters.” http://bit.ly/bzlSz9
A TOSS-UP IN WASHINGTON STATE – A somewhat sudden reversal of fortune for Patty Murray as a new PPP survey has Dino Rossey leading 50 percent to 48 percent. “The most worrisome number for Murray within the poll, beyond her small overall disadvantage, is that among voters who say they’ve already returned their ballots Rossi’s advantage is wider at 52-47. Murray’s ability to keep the race close is predicated on the 24% of respondents who have not yet done so returning their ballots. That group supports her by a 51-45 margin.” If outside corporate money can knock off a popular Democrat in a blue state, then, well, we don’t know… PPP: http://bit.ly/bW4NOB
Fox has Murray leading 49 percent to 47 percent http://fxn.ws/b0lXfu
MANCHIN HOLDS LEAD IN WEST VIRGINIA – Despite favorability numbers that would make the hybrid of a Chilean miner and Care Bear blush, Joe Manchin isn’t really holding what we would call a “comfortable” lead, besting John Raese 51 percent to 46 percent in PPP’s survey. Seriously, prepare to have your mind blown as if you were a cap-and-trade bill staring down the barrel of Manchin’s gun: “Manchin is the most popular politician we’ve polled on anywhere in the country this year and it’s by a wide margin. On this final poll his approval rating hit the 70% mark with only 22% disapproving of him. Usually you would expect someone with those kinds of numbers to have an easy time of it but Manchin’s been hampered by efforts to tie him to Barack Obama and national Democrats. Obama’s approval rating in the state is only 31% with 61% of voters disapproving of him.” PPP: http://bit.ly/99Nq2f
The Connecticut gubernatorial race might yield a surprise victory for the Republicans. A Rasmussen survey finds that Tom Foley leads his Democratic opponent Dan Malloy 48 percent to 46 percent, the first time since April Foley has commanded a lead. http://bit.ly/bngTdA
Richard Blumenthal still has a healthy lead in (and during!) the Connecticut Senate race against Linda McMahon. A Quinnipiac survey out today has the Nutmeg State AG leading the former WWE executive 54 to 42. http://bit.ly/9FLqYR
FLORIDA GOV RACE NECK-AND-NECK, RUBIO WAY OUT FRONT – “Quinnipiac University’s final pre-election poll, which wrapped up Sunday night, shows Republican Marco Rubio with a 45-to-31 percent lead over indie Charlie Crist in the U.S. Senate race, with Democrat Kendrick Meek at 18 percent. The governor’s race is too close to call, with Democrat Alex Sink up 44-to-43 percent over Republican Rick Scott in an Oct. 25-31 poll of 925 likely voters that has a 3.5 percent margin of error.” Palm Beach Post: http://bit.ly/cAmDJT
@HotlineJeremy: A sign of Marco Rubio’s upcoming stardom: 232 media outlets have requested creds for his Election Night party http://bit.ly/cy4S4K
BEHIND THE CLINTON-MEEK DANCE – Politico’s Maggie Haberman and Jonathan Allen have the tick-tock behind Clinton’s effort to get Meek to drop out. White House aides are involved: http://politi.co/dzGXOd
Ohio’s gubernatorial contest is Republican John Kasich’s to lose. He leads Ted Strickland 52 percent to 48 percent according to a survey conducted by the University of Cincinnati and 48 percent to 44 percent according to Fox, but he’s HuffPollster Blumenthal’s surprise pick for Tuesday night. http://huff.to/9DZm2S
COLORADO – Is that all she mumbled for Michael Bennet? Ken Buck leads Bennet in the latest Fox survey 50 percent to 46 percent and in a PPP poll he leads 49 percent to 48 percent. Will Governor Tancredo outlaw semi-colons because they look at him funny? PPP has Hickenlooper leading Tancredo 48 percent to 43 percent while Fox has Hickenlooper up 47 percent to 44 percent. http://huff.to/9DZm2S
ILLINOIS TILTING RED – We look forward to Mark Kirk’s claim that he dodged Iraqi anti-aircraft guns on the way to his polling station. PPP: “Mark Kirk is ahead of Alexi Giannoulias 46-42 for the state’s open Senate seat and Bill Brady is ahead of Pat Quinn 45-40 for Governor…Independents are leaning strongly toward the GOP. Kirk leads Giannoulias 46-31 with them and Brady has a 45-27 advantage over Quinn with them. Republican voters are much more unified around their candidates this year than Democrats are. 87% of GOP identifiers are planning to vote for Kirk while only 78% of Democrats are planning to vote for Giannoulias. In the Governor’s race 86% of Republicans support Brady while Quinn’s only getting 75% support from his party. Republican voters are much more likely to head to the polls this year than Democrats.” http://bit.ly/cQ80xo
The best the DSCC can muster is an internal poll showing Kirk up 39 percent to 37 percent http://bit.ly/ahRQC7
BARBARA BOXER STILL LEADS – The California senator, best known to John McCain for regularly changing the Senate thermostat to levels most disagreeable to him (see here: http://bit.ly/c3F2Fl), has seen her lead over Carly Fiorina dwindle somewhat according to one poll. Chronicle: “The California Senate race is showing a volatility not seen in the governor’s contest, with a new Democratic poll now showing Republican Carly Fiorina behind by just four points, in line with a Rassmussen poll last week that showed her back by three. These followed a more comprehensive Field Poll that showed incumbent Democrat Barbara Boxer with a comfortable eight point lead and a wide advantage among independents,women and Latinos. Fiorina still has an outside chance and is barnstorming the state in a late blitz trying to prevail against a strong blue headwind.” http://bit.ly/9myLEY
SurveyUSA has Boxer up 46 percent to 38 percent http://bit.ly/aSdI6U
CHRISTINE O’DONNELL FUMBLES TV INFOMERCIAL – Seriously, this attempt at watered-down news programming couldn’t have been more bungled if O’Donnell had stomped on a bucket filled with grapes and the platform caved in. ABC News: “Delaware U.S. Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell appears to be having some technical difficulties getting a 24-minute documentary-style TV ad on the air before Tuesday’s vote. O’Donnell announced the premier of her elaborately produced video on Twitter Sunday night, telling followers to tune in to local Delaware cable access channel 28 for a ‘look at the unconventional campaign touching Delawareans like no other.’ But when the 11:30 pm time slot arrived, no O’Donnell. ‘Okay… this is NOT our show! Must be a programming mix up. We will get back to you…’ she tweeted. The campaign sent out a press release Monday morning heralding a second attempt to air the video at 11 am and plans to re-run it at 3pm and again on Tuesday.” http://bit.ly/aKrI8r
TPM’s Evan McMorris-Santoro: “No one forgot anything at Channel 28, station operator Tim Qualls told me today. He said the O’Donnell campaign worked out a deal to broadcast the 30-minute spot five times before election day (at a cost of $2,500) but didn’t get a Channel 28 staffer the tape of the video ‘until 11 PM on Saturday night.’ That wasn’t enough time for Qualls and his small staff to encode the video properly for broadcast by 11:30 Sunday or, apparently, 10 AM today.” http://bit.ly/aa5H9i
BECAUSE YOU’VE READ THIS FAR – Here’s a dog playing Yahtzee. http://bit.ly/cd2Dxc
A Halloween message of note: “Sorry we are not home tonight. We got called away to an emergency meeting of the Delaware Witches Association. One of the members keeps saying ‘I am not a witch,’ and we are having a vote to decide whether she should be thrown out of the association. See you next year.” NYT’s Freakonomics: http://nyti.ms/90fGa9
@fixfelicia: Murkowski goes trick-or-treating with her three young nephews dressed as .. yep.. security guards http://bit.ly/cSNgFo
Almost as bad as Chuck Brown denouncing Ben’s Chili Bowl: “For those who thought they’d see hell a bottle of Ciroc freeze over before they’d see a Diddy-less Howard Homecoming, well, it actually happened. Mr. Combs wasn’t in D.C. this weekend, but he had a fine excuse.” TBD: http://tbd.ly/amjsIJ
HUFFINGTON POST BANNED IN NEPAL – They came first for the Lindsay Lohan sideshows, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Lindsay Lohan fan. Then they came for the all-caps adjectives in the headlines, and I didn’t speak up because I don’t need reading glasses. Then they came for Jason Linkins, and, well, whatever. Then they came for me, and by that time there were no 40-point font splashes to speak up. Nepali Times: http://bit.ly/dArbEw
JEREMY THE INTERN’S WEATHER REPORT – Tonight: Brrr!! The teeth will chatter, and hot chocolate will be in strong demand. We’ll be lucky if it gets up to the 40s. And yes, there’s a small chance that things will freeze. Tomorrow: Were you cold today? Did you like it? If you were and you did, you’ll love tomorrow, which will see the same thing as today. Beautiful arctic air, eh? Thanks, JB
Election Weather Preview: We’re hitting up the big races. Nevada: Dry, mid-70s (jealous?) California: Dry, mid-to-high-70s in the south, high-60s in the north. Clear, sunny skies all over the state. Pennsylvania: Low 50s during the day falling to freezing at night, so vote early (and yes, I’m accounting both western and eastern Penn.) Chicago: High-50s, falling quickly at night to freezing. Mid-60s in downstate Illinois. Kentucky: Mid-60s and sunny. Seattle/Washington: Surprisingly, sunny, with only a 20% chance of rain (most likely in the morning). Highs in the low-50s. You’re a public servant, JB!
- Hipster Batmobile? This dude lit his bicycle tires on fire and went for a spin. http://bit.ly/d8G4AR
- Cat plays fetch. We’ll keep you abreast of any fissures in the space-time continuum. http://bit.ly/bnqhls
- A Dunkin’ Donuts franchise is abandoning pennies. http://n.pr/atne74
The Rally to Restore Fear and/or Sanity, auto-tuned. http://bit.ly/9yfF0o
- Even if you couldn’t hear anything at the Rally to Restore Fear and/or Sanity, here’s an infographic to make you feel better. http://bzfd.it/aAltf5
- In belated commemoration of Halloween, a series of cereal commercials featuring monsters from the past to the present. http://bit.ly/bGWXxs
- Whoever said math was the universal language clearly didn’t consider irony. A Tweeting cat is taking Chile (Chi-Chi Le! Le!) by storm. http://aol.it/dySD1K
- A short film, using mostly cardboard, illustrating some bad things that can happen. http://bit.ly/9vO1ey
- This weatherman fed his microphone to a bunch of polar bears. Looks like SOMEONE isn’t going to cover the local Thanksgiving parade. http://bit.ly/cCOB3H
- A dating website for ugly people is celebrating its first engagement. Sometimes Humanity should really just sit in the corner and think about what it’s done. http://bit.ly/aZ8g3X
@pourmecoffee: Forecast calls for increasing weather disaster election metaphors followed by geologic ones.
@borowitzreport: Every Election Day, the majority of us put aside our differences and don’t vote at all. #USA
@Johngcole: After Feingold loses tomorrow, who will be the first blog to beg him to primary Obama in 2012?
TONIGHT: Chris Van Hollen and Donna Edwards try to make lemonade on Hardball. James Clyburn, Dick Durbin and Raul Grijalva try to keep their jobs on The Ed Show. Our own Howard Fineman talks polls on Countdown. Scott McAdams, Marsha Blackburn and Ed Rendel are on Last Word. TOMORROW: Tim Kaine, Bob McDonnell and Haley Barbour stop by Morning Joe.
6:30 pm – 8:30 pm: National Journal, in what surely must be their last relaunch event, hosts a bourbon tasting lead by Major Garrett. Oh man. [600 New Hampshire Avenue NW].
7:00 pm – 11:00 pm: The PR firm Story Partners, still in its infancy, hosts its first election-night party in Kalorama Heights [Home of Gloria Dittus].
8:30 pm: The NRCC hosts a midterm soiree. John Boehner, Pete Sessions and Haley Barbour will be on hand. Expect lots of statements about America being taken back and about how that process begins “tonight.” [Grand Hyatt Washington, 1000 H Street, NW].
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