State by state

National

Two anti-war groups are taking on the Republican leaders of the House and Senate in new ads released Thursday.

MoveOn.org and Americans United for Change are going after Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio), respectively.

The MoveOn ad follows in its series accusing GOP leaders of “betrayal” and accuses McConnell and Senate Republicans of “obstructing” a vote on Sen. Jim Webb’s (D-Va.) and Sen. Chuck Hagel’s (R-Neb.) bill to mandate rest periods between troop deployments. The ad buy is about $100,000, and it will air in Kentucky and nationally on CNN.

The Americans United for Change ad features Boehner’s recent comments on CNN that the investment in Iraq is a “small price” to pay if the United States can stop al Qaeda, and it calls on constituents of four vulnerable members to ask them to denounce their leader.

The ads are airing in four states, focusing on the districts of Reps. Jean Schmidt (R-Ohio), Thelma Drake (R-Va.), Heather Wilson (R-N.M.) and Jon Porter (R-Nev.). The ad buy is more than $250,000, and it will also run nationally.

Republicans contend the ad is misleading. It shows a clip of CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer and Boehner’s interview but does not include Blitzer’s entire question. It omits a portion during which Blitzer asks Boehner about the financial cost of the war and includes a part where he asked about cost in loss of life. Boehner’s staff has argued Boehner was referring to the financial cost part of the question, not lives lost.

“The Democrats’ distortions are despicable, but what do you expect from people who just finished slandering a four-star general?” said Boehner spokesman Kevin Smith, referring to MoveOn’s New York Times ad accusing Gen. David Petraeus of betrayal.

— Aaron Blake



Florida

Rep. Charles Gonzalez (D-Texas) announced during a Thursday briefing that the Government Accountability Office (GAO) has finished compiling data from its investigation into the contentious results of the 2006 election in Florida’s 13th congressional district.

A report on its findings is set to be released Oct. 2. The report will summarize the GAO’s progress and determine whether further data should be gathered.

With the investigation taking much longer than he had hoped, Gonzalez said he now hopes it will be concluded by the end of the year.

Gonzalez chairs the House task force created to determine whether freshman Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-Fla.) won his seat legitimately. His Democratic opponent, Christine Jennings, is arguing that electronic voting machines malfunctioned, causing a larger than normal undervote, or ballots that didn’t include votes, in the 13th district race.

— Alex Dunn



Nebraska

Former Rep. Hal Daub (R) is going up with television ads on Monday, an opening salvo in a rapidly growing GOP Senate primary.

Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns resigned Thursday and is expected to join the race soon. The former governor enters the race as the favorite, but Daub and state Attorney General Jon Bruning have made it clear that they will not step aside.

In the ad, Daub talks about his three-month-long journey around the state building up to a Senate bid.

Daub, who entered the race early this week, also has launched radio ads. The ads are self-funded, as Daub had not been raising money prior to entering the race.

A spokeswoman declined to say how big the ad buys are.

— A.B.



New Hampshire

Democrat Katrina Swett will withdraw from the New Hampshire Senate race soon, making way for former Gov. Jeanne Shaheen (D), according to local media reports.

Swett was the top fundraiser in the field and appeared to be the biggest threat to Shaheen left in the race. Portsmouth Mayor Steve Marchand dropped out of the race soon after Shaheen’s announcement, while long shot Jay Buckey has said he will stay in the race.
Swett, the daughter of Rep. Tom Lantos (D-Calif.) and wife of former Rep. Dick Swett (D-N.H.), had raised more than $1.2 million and had more than $1 million in her campaign account as of June 30.

A Swett spokesman did not return a call seeking comment by press time.

— A.B.



North Carolina

State Rep. Rick Glazier (D) announced Thursday that he will not challenge Democrat Larry Kissell for the right to take on Rep. Robin Hayes (R) in 2008, according to The Fayetteville Observer.

Kissell has received lots of support from national Democrats after nearly pulling off a shocking upset of Hayes last year. Former Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) Chairman Rahm Emanuel (Ill.) and current DCCC Recruitment Chairman Artur Davis (Ala.) have both attended fundraisers.

Glazier told the Observer that the DCCC’s support of Kissell did not affect his decision and that the committee “hasn’t called this race right for a long time.”

— A.B.