CAMPAIGN OVERNIGHT: Is 'fake news' the way of the future?

If you’re looking for House race coverage on the Web, you may have to become increasingly careful that it’s not coming from a National Republican Congressional Committee-sponsored site. 

The GOP’s House campaign arm has come under fire for its “fake news sites” — microsites designed to look like local news pages that dole out favorable information about GOP candidates and damaging information about Democrats.

Some of the skepticism comes after the NRCC was under fire earlier this year for making mock Democratic sites asking for donations. After a complaint from a watchdog group, it tweaked the design to clarify that money was going to House Republicans and not the targeted candidates.

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But this new tactic could be a savvy one for a party that’s been criticized for lagging far behind its Democratic counterparts in technology. More and more people are getting their news from partisan news sites that cater to the right and left, or even from comedy shows like "The Daily Show" and "Colbert Report." While the NRCC’s stories may end up being glorified press releases, it’s a cost-effective way to get information and ideas to voters via their most-used medium. 

Campaigns have changed. While we once might have scoffed at Web ads or online advertising, it’s becoming more and more prevalent and effective. Many of the messages Republicans are trying to get out would once have been sent by expensive, glossy direct mail pieces, but those are likely often chucked in the trash by voters. Now, if they can click or browse through information, it’s more likely to break through the clutter. 

 

SENATE SHOWDOWN

AK-SEN (BEGICH): If he loses next Tuesday’s GOP primary, 2010 Republican nominee Joe Miller is downplaying a possible third-party run, telling the AP "I don't think it would be successful.” 

CO-SEN (UDALL): Two ads this week take aim at Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) for his support of ObamaCare and a third, a Spanish-language ad, highlights his vote against the Keystone XL oil pipeline.

HI-SEN (SCHATZ): Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D-Hawaii) plans to file a lawsuit to delay a scheduled Friday vote in two precincts that were prevented from casting a ballot in the Senate primary last week because of a tropical storm. 

IA-SEN (OPEN): Iowa Senate hopefuls Rep. Bruce Braley (D) and state Sen. Joni Ernst (R) have released new television ads touting their work on behalf of U.S. service members and veterans. 

LA-SEN (LANDRIEU): Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) mistakenly used more than $3,200 in taxpayer dollars to fly to a campaign fundraiser last year, according to a report by CNN. Her Senate office paid for the 400-mile round-trip charter flight on Nov. 8 from New Orleans to Lake Charles, La. Landrieu’s campaign spokesman told CNN it was a mistake that has since been corrected. 

MA-SEN (SHAHEEN): Former presidential nominee Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) will co-host a foreign policy town hall with former Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) next Monday. Brown is currently running for Senate in New Hampshire.

NC-SEN (HAGAN): The Senate Democrats' campaign arm has launched a $9.1 million ad buy hammering North Carolina Republican nominee Thom Tillis. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee declares in its first ad in the state, released Wednesday, that Tillis cut nearly $500 million from North Carolina education funding, charging he put a "bull's-eye" on public schools. 

WV-SEN (OPEN): Secretary of State Natalie Tennant is touting her “Independent Leadership” in a $300,000 statewide cable and broadcast TV buy that began Wednesday. She details how she spearheaded a fraud investigation that put three Democratic officials in jail and cut her own budget by $3 million. “I won’t tolerate self-serving politicians of either party,” Tennant says in the ad. 

 

BATTLE FOR THE HOUSE

AZ-2 (BARBER): Rep. Ron Barber (D-Ariz.) is highlighting his role in keeping the Air Force’s venerable A-10 “Warthog” fleet flying in his latest campaign ad

FL-2 (SOUTHERLAND): Rep. Steve Southerland (R-Fla.) is out with his first ad of the 2014 campaign, a 30-second spot touting his conservative record in Congress. It comes a day after the National Republican Congressional Committee made its first independent expenditure on his behalf, a more aggressive ad tying his Democratic opponent Gwen Graham to Obama. 

MA-6 (TIERNEY): Democratic primary challenger Seth Moulton is touting his military service in his campaign against Rep. John Tierney (D) in a new ad. Moulton says he "led my platoon and always ate last, after my men. Congress should have that same ethic,” adding that members shouldn’t have been paid during the shutdown and "if they haven't passed a jobs bill, they shouldn't have the gall to raise their own pay. 

MN-6 (OPEN): Former gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer (R) won the GOP nomination Tuesday night to replace retiring Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.). Emmer, who had already won his party's endorsement in the convention, is almost certain to win the seat this fall in the heavily Republican district. 

VA-10 (OPEN): Former Sen. John Warner (R-Va.) will endorse Delegate Barbara Comstock at a September fundraiser. Since leaving the Senate in 2009, Warner has only selectively endorsed in contests — he stayed out of last year’s governor’s race and actually endorsed onetime rival incumbent Sen. Mark Warner (D) for reelection this year. 

WI-1 (RYAN): Filmmaker and gun control activist Amar Kaleka (D), the son of slain Sikh leader Kaleka Singh, lost his primary Tuesday night to face Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) this fall. Instead, Paul faces a rematch with 2012 nominee Rob Zerban (D), who he beat two years ago by double digits. 

WI-6 (OPEN): A GOP primary race in Wisconsin’s 6th Congressional District is now too close to call, The Associated Press said Wednesday, after it declared the winner the night earlier. The AP called the GOP primary race for state Sen. Glenn Grothman, but later a recount in Sheboygan County narrowed his lead over state Sen. Joe Leibham by just 214 votes. If Grothman ultimately wins the GOP nomination, Democrats could have a better chance in November at winning the Republican-leaning district thanks to his conservative, outspoken positions. 

 

2016 WATCH

PAUL: Republican Sen. Rand Paul would win his home state of Kentucky if he ran for president but half of voters there think he should stay out of the 2016 contest, according to a new automated survey from Public Policy Polling (D).

PERRY: Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s (R) new super-PAC unveiled its first ad on late Tuesday, hitting the Obama administration over the border crisis. RickPAC’s 90-second Web video highlights news reports showing Perry pressing President Obama to secure the border amid the recent influx of unaccompanied children from Central America. 

BUSH:  Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R), a possible 2016 presidential candidate, will campaign for current Gov. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) on Friday. Bush has been quiet compared to potential rivals for the Republican nomination, such as New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, who have both made recent high-profile trips to Iowa. 

 

QUOTE OF THE DAY 

“I believe the President and Secretary Clinton have had many hugs over the past few years. I suspect many of them have been caught on camera. Again, I appreciate the request, but I do think this is a private social gathering for someone’s birthday. So it’s going to be hard to bring all of you lovely people in.”

— Principal deputy White House press secretary Eric Schultz in his first briefing, denying pool coverage of the much anticipated “make-up” hug from Obama and Hillary Clinton