Politics & Policy

Monday Senate Scan

• The Democratic National Committee will report raising $16 million in September, its biggest monthly haul of the 2010 cycle. The DNC does not have to release that figure until later this month, but is obviously eager to promote its success:

“Demonstrating the increased energy we’ve seen in the polls and among our grass roots activists, more than 80 percent of the more than $16 million we raised in September came from low dollar donors online and in the mail,” Brad Woodhouse, a DNC spokesman, said in an e-mail. “We’ve found that our supporters are now focused on the election, are responding to the President’s message laying out the choice and understand the stakes.”

Of the $16 million, more than 80 percent came from online and direct-mail donors, indicating strong support from the party’s base. On a conference call Sunday, White House communications director Dan Pfeiffer said the large turnout (more than 26,000) at President Obama’s rally at the University of Wisconsin-Madison “showed that we are beginning to make up the enthusiasm gap…Democrats are coming home.” However, the data is yet to reflect that:

While Democrats have made some marginal improvements in things like the generic ballot test, there does still appear to be a somewhat significant enthusiasm gap present in the data.

A late September Gallup poll showed 48 percent of Republicans describing themselves as very enthusiastic about voting in the 2010 midterms while 28 percent of self-identified Democrats said the same.

Still, the DNC’s ramped-up fundraising will allow the committee to exert considerably more influence than the RNC can over the final weeks of the campaign. The DNC has already transferred several million dollars to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, as well as to a number of state parties that are hosting competitive gubernatorial races.

The Republican National Committee has not released it’s figures yet — they are due Oct. 20.

New Hampshire: An editorial in the Union Leader trashes President Obama and many Democrats’ (including Rep. Paul Hodes) assertions that the health-care reform bill will allow Americans to keep their current health coverage:

President Obama is still peddling the deception that everyone can keep their current health insurance under the new health-care law.

“There’s nothing in the bill that says you have to change the health insurance you’ve got right now,” he said in Iowa last week. Not true.

The latest polling shows Rep. Hodes trailing GOP nominee Kelly Ayotte by 15 points.

Wisconsin: Perhaps in preparation for their first debate on Friday, Sen. Russ Feingold (D) and Republican Ron Johnson are having a war of words about the success (or lack thereof) of the federal stimulus package, which Feingold supported:

“It has definitely been successful in helping prevent a Great Depression,” Feingold said. “Had we followed Mr. Johnson’s advice, we may very well have gone into a Depression.”

But Johnson says government spending makes him depressed.

Johnson adds that, just days before the stimulus bill passed, Feingold claimed the bill would create 2.4 million jobs in the first year and 9 million jobs over three years.

“Instead of creating new jobs, our nation has lost over 2.5 million jobs and unemployment remains near double digits,” Johnson said on the campaign trail.

“If I could wave a magic wand, I would take the entire Obama agenda and reverse it,” said Johnson, who wants the rest of the stimulus money to remain unspent.

Washington: Dino Rossi has a new television ad out asking “Which Washington does Patty Murray work for?” This comes on the heels of revelations that Sen. Murray — who sits on the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee — had steered millions in earmarks to the clients of lobbying firms that employ her former staffers.

Andrew StilesAndrew Stiles is a political reporter for National Review Online. He previously worked at the Washington Free Beacon, and was an intern at The Hill newspaper. Stiles is a 2009 ...

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