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News from the Votemaster

How Can the Republican Party Pressure Akin to Leave the Race?

The entire Republican leadership wants Todd Akin to withdraw from the Missouri Senate race. There are several ways they can make their point to him. First, cut off his money supply. The NRSC has canceled a $5 million ad buy for him. Second, Akin is not well known statewide and now no established Republican will campaign with him. Third, they will deny him coveted slots at national events, such as next week's Republican National Convention. Fourth, they will make it known to anti-abortion groups that elephants never forget and any support or funding they provide Akin will be duly noted and thrown back in their faces next time they want something from the party. Fifth, they will deny him use of the Republican infrastructure, including the use of phone banks and get-out-the-vote workers. It is also possible that they have a carrot or two for him if he goes gracefully. These could include paying off his campaign debts (if any) and getting him a good job in politics or with a Republican think tank.

Why all the sticks and carrots? Because a likely Republican pickup is now in doubt. Nonpartisan election guru Charlie Cook has changed his rating on the race from tossup to likely Democratic and Stu Rothenberg has changed his from tossup/tilt Republican to pure tossup.

Republican Platform Committee Adopts Plank Banning All Abortions

Despite the furor over Missouri Republican Senate nominee Todd Akin's absolute stand on abortion, the Republican Platform Committee has adopted a plank that in essence is the same as what Akin has supported all along. While virtually every powerful Republican from Mitt Romney on down has called on Akin to resign his nomination, now the platform committee is committed to exactly the same thing Akin proposed. This makes it quite clear that they aren't actually against what he said, just the way he worded it. With another day gone by and no sign of Akin backing down, at this point it looks like he really will stay in the race. This puts Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), chairman of the NRSC in a pickle. He can continue to attack Akin and possibly lose a seat he was hoping to win, or he can wait a few weeks until everyone has forgotten what happened this week, bite the bullet, and fund the guy he asked to resign. He will probably play this one by ear, waiting to see how much Akin remains in the news in order to judge how damaging it would be to put money into Akin's campaign after the entire Republican leadership has attacked him and called for him to quit.

Hurricane Might Hit Tampa During Republican National Convention

Tropical storm Isaac is picking up steam and heading toward Florida. It might make landfall there during the Republican National Convention that starts Monday in Tampa. If it does, it will be up to Gov. Rick Scott (R-FL) to decide what happens next. He could order an evacuation, for example. In that case the convention could, in principle, be diverted to another city, but finding a suitable venue and sufficient hotel space with only a day or two of warning would be tricky.

This would not be the first time the Republicans were given a good scare though. In 2008, Hurricane Gustav came barreling through Louisiana just as the GOP convention was starting in Minneapolis. It caused them to cancel several opening-day events and forced then-President George Bush to stay in D.C. and address the delegates by satellite.

Both Parties Announce Convention Speakers

Both the Democrats and the Republicans have announced the names of the people who will speak at their respective conventions. Both parties have a mix of established politicians and rising stars. For the Republicans, Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ), former Florida governor Jeb Bush, and former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee are among the best-known speakers. The rising stars include a number of women, such as Gov. Susana Martinez (R-NM), Gov. Nikki Haley (R-SC), and Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH).

The Democrats also have some big names lined up, including Bill Clinton, Massachusetts Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren, and former Virginia governor and current Senate candidate Tim Kaine. In addition, they also have some rising stars, such as San Antonio mayor Julian Castro, Gov. John Hickenlooper (D-CO), and California Attorney General Kamala Harris.

Obama To Campaign in Swing States During Republican Convention

While Joe Biden is breaking with tradition and going to Tampa to campaign there during the Republican convention, President Obama is going to be less controversial and visit Colorado, Iowa, and Virginia. He is hoping to draw some of the focus away from the convention, of course. One bit of bad news for the Republicans comes from a different source, however: the television networks. Most will not cover Monday night, when Ann Romney will speak to the delegates.

Today's Presidential Polls

State Obama Romney   Start End Pollster
Massachusetts 55% 39%   Aug 16 Aug 19 PPP
Montana 38% 55%   Aug 20 Aug 20 Rasmussen
New Mexico 52% 38%   Aug 21 Aug 21 Rasmussen
Nevada 47% 45%   Aug 16 Aug 21 SurveyUSA
Wisconsin 49% 46%   Aug 16 Aug 19 Marquette Law School

Today's Senate Polls

State Democrat D % Republican R % I I % Start End Pollster
Connecticut Chris Murphy 46% Linda McMahon 49%     Aug 21 Aug 21 Rasmussen
Nevada Shelley Berkley 39% Dean Heller* 44%     Aug 16 Aug 21 SurveyUSA
Wisconsin Tammy Baldwin 41% Tommy Thompson 50%     Aug 16 Aug 19 Marquette Law School
Wisconsin Tammy Baldwin 44% Tommy Thompson 49%     Aug 16 Aug 19 PPP

* Denotes incumbent