THE BIG CONVERSATION:

Is the state's hottest down-ballot race already over?

U.S. Rep. Chet Edwards, D-Waco, wouldn't have you think so, but a Capitol Hill newspaper released a poll Wednesday showing the longtime congressman running 12 points behind his Republican opponent, Bill Flores.

The news spells trouble for 10-term Edwards, who has long held off Republican challengers in CD-17, the most conservative district in the U.S. represented by a Democrat — and one for which Republicans have been clamoring for years.

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Earlier this month, Edwards touted an internal poll showing him behind Flores by 4 points, an improvement over results three weeks earlier that showed him trailing by 10 points. But the new independent poll, conducted for the newspaper by a Democratic pollster, seems to solidify Flores' lead as the race heads the final stretch.

As The Dallas Morning News notes today, the national environment may simply prove too high a hurdle this year for Edwards, whom Flores has cast as close to national Democratic leadership.

Luckily for Edwards, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has plans for an ad blitz for Edwards this week, during which they won't be competing for air time with national Republicans, who this week scrapped plans for a Flores ad buy. Democrats said the move signaled that Republicans were giving up; Republicans said they were simply pulling resources from a race they think they have in the bag.

Edwards' campaign said Wednesday that its numbers still showed the race close and noted that the new poll was conducted before a recent Flores misstep involving Social Security and a headache.

CULLED:

  • "Liberal Bill," one of Gov. Rick Perry's YouTube channels featuring spoof and attack videos targeting Bill White, was shut down Wednesday night for copyright infringement on various pop and sitcom theme songs. And the campaigns didn't waste a chance to have a little fun with this one. Perry spokesman Mark Miner to NBC in Dallas: "Some of the sitcoms didn't like the humor. They didn't have any problem with the facts in the ads." And White spokeswoman Katy Bacon: "Perry was hoping to 'Tweeter' his way to victory, but late Wednesday night encountered the biggest 'Fail Whale' of them all as his YouTube channel full of false, negative attacks was shut down in the critical days before the election."
  • Unexpectedly in the fight of his political life, U.S. Rep. Solomon Ortiz, D-Corpus Christi, is banking on controversy involving a pair of duck-print pajamas as he needles his opponent in the run-up to Nov. 2.

MUST-READ:

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