Top of the ballot: The TV ad edition

There's an air war happening in Hawaii, Rep. Joe Sestak (D-Pa.) is gearing up the attack machine and President Obama makes some Midwestern travel plans.

Air Hawaii

Honolulu City Councilman Charles Djou (R) takes aim squarely at his Democratic opponents and their "insider friends from Washington" in his latest spot.

"The only special interest I care about is yours," Djou says at the end of the 30-second TV ad, which went up Tuesday. It's a quick response to the two attack ads the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has been running against him.

The DCCC went up Tuesday with its second spot attacking Djou on jobs and his support for "cutting thousands of teachers." The 30-second ad is airing in the Honolulu media market, which covers the entire state.

Djou faces Democrats Colleen Hanabusa and Ed Case in the special House election set for May 22, and things are likely to get nastier as the vote approaches.

Reporting for duty

On the same day that Sestak dropped his minute-long bio ad, Sen. Arlen Specter’s (D-Pa.) campaign released a spot questioning his military record. Trailing as he is in the polls, Sestak will have no choice but to go negative on Specter if he wants to win the Democratic Senate primary.

And he plans to, he told the New York Times. The paper reported, "When asked whether his next round of TV ads would include a negative one against the  senator, Mr. Sestak said he would keep pointing out that until recently, Mr. Specter had voted more often with Republicans, and with President George W. Bush, than with the Democrats."

Pennsylvania Democrats are bracing for a war of attrition.

Down on Main Street

Obama will travel to Missouri, Iowa and Illinois next week as part of a three-state swing to talk to real voters about real issues, according to several reports.

It'll be his second trip to Iowa in almost a month and Democrats sound happy about it.

"I've talked about the need for him to get out and talk to people about what concerns them in the heartland," Rep. Bruce Braley (D-Iowa) told the Des Moines Register. "I'm just excited to see that he's coming out here and expressing interest in discussing these things."

Other updates

Obama will return to California in May for another fundraiser for Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and Republicans smell blood. Former Rep. Tom Campbell (R-Calif.) is up with a new TV spot that doesn't attack his primary opponents but the Democratic incumbent.

Campbell's ad uses footage from a Senate hearing last summer wherein Boxer insisted Brig. Gen. Michael Walsh, with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, call her "senator" and not "ma'am." Campbell calls it a "sign of arrogance." His campaign told the Sacramento Bee that the new ad is running on cable stations statewide. Campbell has to get past the June 8th primary before he can face Boxer.