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Political Notebook

Democrats put scuffle at Paul rally in TV ad

October 29, 2010

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Democrats are replaying the high-profile scuffle involving Rand Paul supporters and a liberal activist in a TV ad that argues the Republican Senate hopeful is “stomping on Kentucky.’’

The 60-second ad, called “The Rand Paul Stomp,’’ contains video of Lauren Valle, a Massachusetts native and MoveOn.org activist, being pulled to the ground and then stepped on by a Paul supporter before a debate Monday night between the Republican and Jack Conway, his Democratic opponent.

The ad’s airing comes as Conway tries to make inroads with female voters. During a campaign stop yesterday, Conway called fallout from the skirmish a potential game changer in the vitriolic race and accused Paul’s campaign of not being forceful enough in condemning the attack.

Paul’s campaign, which denounced the attack and disassociated itself from the supporter this week, said the ad was a sign of desperation by Democrats not eager to discuss the bad economy.

Paul, a Bowling Green eye doctor and Tea Party favorite, and Conway, the state’s attorney general and a former Louisville lawyer, are vying for the seat held by US Senator Jim Bunning, who is retiring. Paul is the son of US Representative Ron Paul, a Texas Republican who ran for president in 2008.

The Kentucky Democratic Party is spending $4,000 to air the ad in the Lexington and Bowling Green markets starting tonight, but it might be run in other markets, too, said a party spokesman, Matt Erwin.

— Associated Press

Whitman spending heavily in race for Calif. governor
PASADENA, Calif. — It’s hard to turn off Meg Whitman.

The most expensive campaign for governor in US history — about $162 million and counting — is inundating California voters with an unprecedented array of TV and radio ads, glossy magazines, smartphone messages, Facebook videos, postcards, and phone calls that will test how far a Republican dollar can go in a state Democrats often dominate.

A typical TV viewer in Los Angeles will see 23 of her commercials this week alone, many roughing up Democrat Jerry Brown, according to Democrats tracking her ad buys.

It costs about $3 million for a candidate to blanket California with TV ads for one week, but from Oct. 10 to Oct. 17, Whitman’s campaign spent $4.6 million, underscoring the urgency of the effort and pushing her message from Spanish-speaking households near Los Angeles to rural areas on the Oregon border.

Still, it might not be enough. Brown, after being outspent 6-1 through mid-October, opened up a slight edge in recent polls.

— Associated Press

Clinton urged Fla. Democrat to drop bid for US Senate
WASHINGTON — Bill Clinton tried to persuade Democratic Representative Kendrick Meek to drop out of the Florida Senate race, telling Meek that he could make a greater impact if he quit the three-way race and endorsed Governor Charlie Crist, a Republican who is running as an independent, a Clinton official confirmed late yesterday.

The former president, a longtime friend of Meek’s, first worked through his senior adviser, Doug Band, to make the deal, the spokesman, Matt McKenna, confirmed.

The exchange was first reported by Politico.

Meek seemed amenable, and on two occasions nearly went through with it, McKenna said. But he ultimately changed his mind.

Meek has been running a consistent third in Florida polls of the Senate race, behind both Crist and the front-runner, Republican Marco Rubio.

— Washington Post