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Latest Updates on N.J., Va. and N.Y. Campaigns

As Election Day nears next week in Virginia, New Jersey and New York, here's a look at the latest news on the races, as compiled by CBS News Political Director Steve Chaggaris. A portion of this appeared in this morning's Politics Today,'s inside look at the key stories driving the day in politics:
New Jersey Governor: "Rudy Giuliani yesterday jumped into the nasty political fight across the Hudson -- calling New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine a 'failure' and urging an independent candidate to withdraw and clear the way for Republican Chris Christie," reports the New York Post's Jennifer Fermino.

"Giuliani said he wants independent hopeful Chris Daggett to quit and lend his support to Christie, whose poll numbers have dropped amid rising support for the third-party candidate.

"'I would think he [Daggett] would not want to be the reason why New Jersey has someone like Jon Corzine for governor for the next four years, who wants to raise taxes, raise fees and basically cave in to special interests,' the former mayor told The Post.

"Giuliani is stumping for Christie today and tomorrow in Jersey."

New York Times' David M. Halbfinger and David Kocieniewski, "A Rivalry as Strained as New Jersey's Finances": "In separate interviews in recent days with The New York Times, the two rivals made no apologies for the ugly tone of the campaign, offered markedly different visions for how to shape the state's highest court, complained about their depictions in each other's commercials, and made it clear that they shared little mutual respect or admiration.

"Mr. Corzine said he rued having supported Mr. Christie's nomination for United States attorney when he was a senator because, he contended, Mr. Christie politicized the job and used it as a launching pad. 'New information, new conclusion,' he said.

"Mr. Christie, somewhat theatrically, struggled for several moments to name three things the governor had done right. 'Let me think,' he said. 'Um ... I would probably say I think over all his prosecutorial appointments have been good.'"

Virginia Governor: "With the final days of campaigning underway in the Virginia governor's race, Republican Bob McDonnell hopes to hold on a lead that polls show he has, while Democrat Creigh Deeds hopes a letter from the president will bring out young voters," reports WTOP's Hank Silverberg.

"More than 330,000 Virginians will get the letter from President Barack Obama over the next few days.

George Mason University Political analyst Steve Farnsworth says these surge voters are under 30 and 'very Democratic in their loyalties. They voted about 2 to 1 for Obama.'

"The letters also will target Democrats who are African American.

"'If Deeds can get those voters to the poll, with perhaps Obama's help, the numbers could look very different on election day,' Farnsworth says.

"A Roanoke College survey finds McDonnell leading by 17 points."

Washington Times' Sarah Abruzzese, "Money, missteps cost Deeds in polls for gubernatorial race": "Virginia state Sen. R. Creigh Deeds defeated better-funded, better-known rivals in the Democratic gubernatorial primary and led his Republican challenger, Robert F. McDonnell, in early polls.

"But since the unofficial start of the campaign season on Labor Day, Mr. Deeds has trailed Mr. McDonnell by as many as 18 percentage points in a recent survey - prompting the question 'What happened?'

"'It's money and how they spent it,' said Deeds spokesman Mike Gehrke. 'Bob McDonnell has run more negative ads in the past several weeks than we've run ads in total.'

"According to the Virginia Public Access Project, Mr. Deeds spent $10 million on radio and television ads this year, including the $1 million spent during the primary. Mr. McDonnell, who did not have a primary opponent, spent $9.6 million."

LA Times' Faye Fiore, "A governor's race that has nothing – and everything – to do with Obama": "In Virginia, Democrats who came out in droves for Obama seem disinclined to vote Tuesday. Republicans, whose candidate is poised to win, see the election as a referendum on his first year in office."

NY-23 Special Election: "The Republican showed her experience, the Conservative compared himself to Ronald Reagan, and the Democrat said he won't be influenced by special interests in the first debate among all three candidates in New York's 23rd Congressional race," writes the Associated Press' Valerie Bauman.

"Conservative Doug Hoffman and Democratic nominee Bill Owens had missed several debates and candidate forums before Thursday's debate at WSYR-TV studios in Syracuse. Republican Dierdre Scozzafava attended all of them.

"Republican registration outnumbers Democrats by 45,000 in the sprawling, upstate, 11-county district, but President Barack Obama carried it by 5 points in 2008. The issues, rather than party labels, may ultimately decide the race."

"The House Republican leadership is prepared to welcome Doug Hoffman into its ranks, National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Pete Sessions (R-Texas) said Thursday, a sign that the GOP establishment is recalibrating its approach toward the contentious New York special election and the Conservative Party nominee whose candidacy has divided the party," write Politico's Alex Isenstadt and Josh Kraushaar.

"'He would be very welcome, with open arms,' Sessions told POLITICO in an interview off the House floor.

"Sessions's comments came as polls showed Hoffman surging in the Nov. 3 special election against Republican nominee Dede Scozzafava, a moderate who supports abortion rights and gay marriage, and Democratic attorney Bill Owens. Nearly a dozen rank-and-file Republican members announced their endorsements of Hoffman Thursday.

"While the NRCC–along with House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) and House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.)—have all thrown their backing to Scozzafava, grassroots conservatives have revolted against the GOP nominee, asserting that she is too liberal for them to support. Some have even called for conservatives to withhold donations from the NRCC in protest."

"The recent rash of endorsements in New York's special election is putting Republican members of Congress between their conservative base and their party," add The Hill's Aaron Blake and Molly K. Hooper.

"The recent rash of endorsements in New York's special election is putting Republican members of Congress in a tough spot between their conservative base and their party.

"Some are taking the chance to assert their ideological bona fides by backing Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman, while others are trying to score political points within their caucus by sticking with left-leaning Republican Dede Scozzafava.

"But for most, it's a situation they'd rather avoid."

For more on the 2009 races and what they might mean for future campaigns, check out this analysis by Steve Chaggaris: Off-Year Elections: Just Like Preseason Games

Click here for the rest of Politics Today: The Battle Over the Stimulus

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