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Democrat Phil Angelides is way behind the California governor. Here are four keys to how he could (but probably won't) pull off a last-minute surprise
A Texas-Size Race for Governor
Thanks to an unusually crowded field, Governor Rick Perry will probably win reelection - but he may not have much to celebrate
A Republican in Trouble in Indiana
Incumbent John Hostettler has solid conservative credentials, and he voted against the Iraq war. A recipe for reelection? Think again
A Fight Over Affirmative Action in Michigan
The man behind the California racial preference ban is back at it again, this time in Michigan, where his ballot initiative could prevail over a strong, organized opposition
Courting Missouri's Moms
In one of three upper South statesthat Democrats need to win to take control of the Senate, the gender gap could make the difference
Tom DeLay's Gift to the Democrats
The controversial former House leader thought he could help the G.O.P. by getting out of this year's race. But his departure has thrown his home district into election chaos -- and very likely into the Democrats' hands
Fighting Dirty on the Net
Online political debate is not known for its subtlety--the blogosphere rewards the loudest voices and the brashest opinions...
The GOP Gets Nervous in Tennessee
In the race for the Senate, Harold Ford wasn't supposed to have much appeal outside his home base of Memphis. But now that he is in a virtual dead heat with his Republican opponent, the race is getting down and dirty
A Conservative Face-Off in Kentucky
Voters in this state's 4th congressional district have no problem with the values of Republican incumbent Geoff Davis. They have a problem with his party, and that's why his equally conservative Democratic challenger just may win
Playing the Victim in Louisiana
Democrat William Jefferson is a target of a federal corruption investigation and not welcome in his own party. But with the backing of New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, he may just win reelection
The G.O.P.'s Firewall Strategy
With the Foley scandal increasing the likelihood of a Democratic win in the House, Republicans are turning their attention -- and money -- to the Senate
No Politics is Local in Ohio
Republican incumbent Deborah Pryce faces an uphill battle in her bellwether midwestern district, a clear sign that this is a very different kind of midterm election
Running from the GOP in New Jersey
In a race that may hold the key to control of the Senate, Republican challenger Tom Kean Jr. hopes to knock off a Democratic incumbent by keeping a distance from his own party
Pork Trumps Scandal in West Virginia
Democrat Alan Mollohan was supposed to be one ethically challenged incumbent that Republicans could beat. But so far, voters don't seem to agree
On the Attack in Illinois
The Incumbent governor and his Republican challenger compete to tar each other with the sins of the state's disgraced former chief executive
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Online political debate is not known for its subtlety--the blogosphere rewards the loudest voices and the brashest opinions. So it should be no surprise that, ahead of November's elections, the Net has become home to campaign tactics and material too inflammatory or incredible for traditional channels. Example: the Republican ad deemed "too hot" for TV--a spoof depicting a clownish Madeleine Albright singing Kumbaya with Islamic terrorists--that was "obtained" by the Drudge Report and shown via YouTube. The Internet is also becoming the place for more cunning, understated forms of mudslinging. Here are some favored tactics in the efforts online to spread partisan disinformation:
The networking site Facebook has been a virtual rope line for politicians all election season long. But some candidates are finding that others are putting their faces forward for them--with unwelcome results. The president of a Maryland college Democrats group posted a snarky profile of G.O.P. Governor Bob Ehrlich--now in a tough re-election race--listing Ehrlich's favorite activities as "getting terrible haircuts" and "increasing college tuition by almost 50% in four short years." Though that profile has been taken down, Ehrlich's spokeswoman said she is confident in voters' ability to spot sham profiles. She had better hope she's right: some Facebook users quickly formed a group solely to pester the fake Ehrlich and to post more fake details. For example, "We lived together in Liza Minnelli's dressing room in 1986." Weird.
Criticism from someone we agree with is the criticism we take most seriously. That may be why staff members from two G.O.P. campaigns allegedly posed as sympathetic commentators on message boards about their rivals. In blogs covering the close race between Democratic Senator Robert Menendez and Republican challenger Tom Kean Jr., someone claiming to be "an ardent Democrat" posted comments about being troubled by the business dealings of Menendez. The posts were traced to a computer belonging to a Kean staff member. In New Hampshire, an aide to G.O.P. Congressman Charlie Bass resigned after local media reported that, using the names "IndyNH" and "indienh," he had posted messages to liberal blogs wondering if Dems should be spending "wasted effort" on Bass's opponent, as Bass was unbeatable.
YOUR ROOTS ARE SHOWING
The opposite of fake concern is fake hate--doing something reprehensible while posing as an ally of your opponent. Last month e-mail invitations went out to liberal bloggers to join a YouTube group, urging "Democrats [to] assemble here and share videos." But the videos posted were not exactly typical liberal fodder: one applauded the takeover of the Southwest by Mexico while another mocked the Marines for allowing "dwarves and women" to join. The group was soon called out as fake by liberal bloggers--and is now defunct. It's an indication of how short-lived online pranks can be. But the medium is here to stay, and the tactics are maturing--even if the mentality of the dirty tricksters clearly is not.