Is DeWine history? Has Harris been vindicated? Was Allen p.c.?

News from the Senate races.

Published October 17, 2006 4:45PM (EDT)

The Republican National Committee is arguing about whether it's fair to say that the GOP has given up on Sen. Mike DeWine in Ohio. A new poll out today suggests it wouldn't be such a bad idea: DeWine trails Democratic challenger Sherrod Brown by 12 points in the latest Quinnipiac University poll.

That's a dramatic shift in less than a month; on Sept. 20, Quinnipiac reported results that put the candidates in a statistical tie. The key change? Brown has surged among independent voters, moving from three points down a month ago to 24 points up today. We haven't seen DeWine ahead in any public opinion polls since June, and the GOP's recent woes -- particularly the guilty plea from Ohio Rep. Bob Ney -- haven't helped him any.

In other Senate race news:

Florida: Republican Katherine Harris is 20 or so points behind Democratic incumbent Bill Nelson, but she's still out talking with anyone who will listen to her. The Florida Times-Union asked the candidate Monday whether it's a problem that Democrats haven't forgiven her for her role in the 2000 presidential election. "I haven't found that to be the case," she said. "During the recount, so many stories were written that were outrageously false ... Democrats are shocked and upset that for six years they were made to believe a lie and they were upset over something that wasn't even true."

Virginia: Sen. George Allen, who appears to have a slim lead over Democratic challenger Jim Webb, has insisted that the N-word was never part of his "vocabulary." Now an Allen supporter is going one step further. Michael McGugan, who identifies himself as a former University of Virginia football player, says in a letter to the Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star that young George was actually an enforcer of racial sensitivity. "Not only did I not ever hear George use the n-word," McGugan says, "I heard him tell other people not to use it and especially not to use it around him."

Connecticut: Independent Joe Lieberman, up about 10 points over Democrat Ned Lamont, says he can't think of any reason not to vote in favor of confirming John Bolton as the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. "I think he's been a good negotiator and a good spokesman," Lieberman says. "He deserves to have a vote. I think he deserves to be confirmed." Lieberman sounds pretty sure of his views on Bolton. As to whether America would be better off if Democrats take control of the House in November? Not so much. "Uh, I haven't thought about that enough to give an answer," Lieberman said last week.

By Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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2006 Elections Ben Nelson D-neb. Sherrod Brown