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Bagels & Ballots: Counting the Days

Counting on Labor: Two candidates included in our Races to Watch are the subjects of negative union-backed ad campaigns: Pat Toomey for Pennsylvania senate, and Mark Kirk for Illinois senate, Republicans both. In Pennsylvania, the union will announce $2 million in campaign efforts, including a push for voter turnout for Democrat Joe Sestak. In Illinois, a union PAC is running an ad against Kirk. (YouTube via Politico’s Morning Score

Counterpoint: While Sestak reaps the benefits of labor’s campaign push, he’s getting hit by the Jewish right. Now, the Republican Jewish Coalition is launching a $1 million TV ad campaign, which shows Al-Qaeda operative Khalid Sheikh Mohammad while stating, “Joe Sestak wanted Khalid Sheikh Mohammed tried in a Pennsylvania courthouse,” and calling the candidate “out of touch.” (MitzVote)

Windy City, Murky Answers: Kirk and Democrat Alexi Giannoulias, Illinois senatorial candidates, duked it out in a debate — in which they dodged lots of questions: Kirk would not say for sure whether he fabricated the tale about being shot while in the military, while Giannoulias, who is now state treasurer, could not name one government program he would cut. And that’s with only two weeks left! (Chicago Sun-Times)

Tightening All Around: As election day draws closer, the polls, at large, are narrowing. Races deemed toss-ups are becoming even harder to call. Sestak, who had long been trailing Toomey, now has a small lead over him in some polls. California’s senatorial candidates, Republican Carly Fiorina, is even ahead of Democrat Barbara Boxer in one Fox PPP poll. And Wisconsin Democratic Senator Russ Feingold, who has been consistently trailing his challenger, Republican Ron Johnson by substantial margins, is now within two percentage points of him, according to a recent Wisconsin poll. (Politico Polling Center)

Happy Days Here Again? And the outcome of all this could affect the Middle-East peace process. According to Reuters, Israeli negotiators expect that the predicted loss of Democratic seats will “force him [Obama] to avoid any bruising showdowns with Israel and its supporters in the coming months for fear of further undermining his shaky electoral position.” (Reuters)]

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