FOLLOW THE WEEK ON FACEBOOK
August 5, 2014

Two red-state Democratic senators are in tight races for re-election, with one of them narrowly trailing and the other slightly ahead, according to a new pair of surveys from Democratic-aligned firm Public Policy Polling.

The poll of Arkansas has Republican Rep. Tom Cotton in a narrow lead with 41 percent, incumbent Democratic Sen. Mark Pryor at 39 percent, plus Green Party candidate Mark Swaney at 4 percent and Libertarian candidate Nathan LaFrance with 3 percent. The survey was conducted August 1 to 3, with a margin of error at plus or minus 3 percentage points.

From the pollster's analysis: "Every single poll PPP has done of this race has found the candidates within three points of each other. It's possible someone will break away in the closing stretch but for now it looks like it's going down to the wire."

The poll of Alaska, meanwhile, still shows incumbent Democratic Sen. Mark Begich ahead of each of his two most plausible Republican opponents.

Matched up against former state Attorney General Dan Sullivan, Begich has 43 percent, Sullivan 37 percent, plus Libertarian nominee Mark Fish at 4 percent and Alaska Independence Party candidate Vic Kohring with 3 percent. In a trial heat with Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell, Begich has 42 percent, Treadwell 38 percent, plus Fish at 5 percent and Kohring at 3 percent. The survey was conducted from July 31 to August 3, and has a margin of error of plus or minus 5.3 percent.

The Republican primary will be held in two weeks, on August 19. Eric Kleefeld

10:39 a.m. ET
NATALIA KOLESNIKOVA/AFP/Getty Images

The International Olympic Committee said Sunday that it will not completely ban Russia from competing at the Rio Olympics, Reuters reports. Instead, the IOC is putting the responsibility of deciding who can compete in the Games on the bodies that govern the individual sports.

The announcement comes after an independent report found evidence of widespread state-sponsored doping among Russian Olympic athletes. Competitors will need to meet a set of criteria to demonstrate they are clean, and anyone who has previously been caught doping will not be allowed to compete. Jessica Hullinger

9:09 a.m. ET
Johannes Simon/Getty Images

German authorities say the gunman who opened fire at a Munich shopping center on Friday, killing 9 people and injuring 35 more, planned the attack for a year. On Sunday, Robert Heimberger, president of the Bavarian state criminal police office, said 18-year-old David Sonboly left a manifesto on his computer. "He appears to have planned this act since last summer," Heimberger said. "He completely occupied himself with this act of rampage."

In planning his attack, Sonboly, who authorities say was "obsessed" with mass shootings, visited the site of a previous school shooting and took pictures, The Associated Press reports. In 2015, Sonboly spent two months as an inpatient at a mental care facility, where he was treated for depression and a fear of contact with other people. He killed himself after the attack. Jessica Hullinger

7:49 a.m. ET

On Sunday morning, Donald Trump, or whoever was running his Twitter feed, went on a rampage against Hillary Clinton's decision to pick Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) as her vice presidential nominee. Embedded amongst a flurry of exclamation points and all-caps accusations of "BAD JUDGMENT" was an error that's sure to needle grammar snobs: Where Trump should have used "their," he used "there" instead. And in the same breath — er, keystroke — instead of "waste," he used "waist."

Cringe!

Then again, what more do we expect from a presidential candidate who researchers say has the grammatical sophistication of an 11-year-old?

Update at 8:20 a.m.: The above tweet has been deleted and replaced with a corrected version. Jessica Hullinger

7:24 a.m. ET

I know, I know. You miss Game of Thrones. And the recent news that season seven won't air until summer 2017 is probably only adding to your despair. But if you need a quick fix, this is it: HBO released a blooper reel from season six, and it is delightful. Let it be known: Dothraki is hard, but the word 'benevolent' is even harder. Watch below. Jessica Hullinger

6:51 a.m. ET
JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images

Mary Commanday, the mother of U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens, who was killed in the 2012 attacks on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, has asked that the Donald Trump presidential campaign stop referencing her son in attacks on Hillary Clinton. In a letter to The New York Times, Commanday wrote, "I know for certain that Chris would not have wanted his name or memory used in that connection. I hope that there will be an immediate and permanent stop to this opportunistic and cynical use by the campaign." Clinton was secretary of state at the time of the attacks, which featured prominently at the Republican National Convention last week in speeches criticizing Clinton's leadership skills. Jessica Hullinger

6:34 a.m. ET
JUSTIN SAGLIO/AFP/Getty Images

The chief financial officer of the Democratic National Committee, Brad Marshall, apologized on Saturday after emails leaked by WikiLeaks showed the DNC had planned to attack Bernie Sanders on his religion. The emails did not mention Sanders, who is Jewish, by name, but said, "Does he believe in a God. He had skated on saying he has a Jewish heritage. I think I read he is an atheist. This could make several points difference with my peeps. My Southern Baptist peeps would draw a big difference between a Jew and an atheist."

In a Facebook post, Marshall said, "I deeply regret that my insensitive, emotional emails would cause embarrassment to the DNC, the Chairwoman, and all of the staffers who worked hard to make the primary a fair and open process. The comments expressed do not reflect my beliefs nor do they reflect the beliefs of the DNC and its employees. I apologize to those I offended." Jessica Hullinger

July 23, 2016

In an article published Saturday, The New York Times reports that presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton picked Sen. Tim Kaine as her running mate to attract more white men to her campaign:

Ultimately, Mrs. Clinton, who told PBS that she was "afflicted with the responsibility gene," avoided taking a chance with a less experienced vice-presidential candidate and declined to push the historic nature of her candidacy by adding another woman or a minority to the ticket.

Instead, the campaign, which had become concerned about its deficit with white men, focused on Mr. Kaine and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, and looked more closely at Gov. John Hickenlooper of Colorado. [The New York Times]

Among white men, Republican Donald Trump leads Clinton 56 to 25 percent, according to a national Quinnipiac survey from the end of June.

Kaine has been described as "boring" following his addition to the ticket, a trope those close to the candidate say is unfair. "I just hate it," Beau Cribbs, Kaine’s former body man, told BuzzFeed News. "I think boring is a code for white and male, frankly." Bonnie Kristian

See More Speed Reads