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Lt. Russell and Murtha Appear Tied Going in Today

November 4, 2008

If we lose the big one, this is going to be one of our few consolences. Mark Hemingway reports from the Corner:

  • The Russell campaign’s internal polls had them tied(!) at 46 percent Saturday night.
  • Murtha has raised a fortune in the last days of the campaign now that he’s in trouble — but it’s largely for naught. All of the air time in the district in Western Pennsylvania is already bought up, so he can’t spend the money on ads.
  • Because they can’t spend money on ads, they’re hitting the robocalls against Russell pretty hard. Many of the calls are below the belt and untrue, though obviously they have no evidence the Murtha campaign is behind the more unsavory calls. The scurrilous calls are accusing Russell, a retired Army Lt. Col. and Iraq war veteran, of being forced into early retirement from the military because of some unspecified scandal.
  • The Murtha campaign is hitting the carpetbagger theme pretty hard, though it’s not quite fair. Russell moved to the district after he retired from the army, and during his 28 year career in the military his family had no real permanent home. He’d pretty much be a carpet bagger no matter where he went. Nonetheless, the Russell campaign thinks that if anything has hurt them it’s this. In fact, when Murtha angrily denounced Russell as a “G-d damn carpetbagger” he may have looked like a crazy old man from the outside, it actually may have actually may have resonated somewhat as righteous indignation in the district.  
  • Bill Clinton was in the district for a Murtha rally Monday. They don’t think it had much of an impact, Clinton only drew a crowd of 1,400. In contrast, Palin’s rally in the district a few weeks ago drew over 5,000.
  • My source says the Russell campaign can’t keep signs, stickers t-shirts in stock and it “just feels like winning campaign.” The bottom line is that if a 34 year incumbent can’t break 50 percent 72 hours before election day, that’s really bad news for him.
  • Finally, he says that Russell is running ahead of McCain in the state. Murtha’s district is the home of the country’s largest coal reserves and the Russell campaign has been pushing the heck out of Obama’s coal comments. If McCain somehow wins Pennsylvania by a narrow margin, Russell’s impact in Western Pennsylvania might end up being a very significant contributing factor.
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