Mitchell Reports | October 15, 2012
>>> in today's "politico briefing," the third-party libertarian candidates running in a few key senate races could still play a decisive role in determining which party ends up controlling the upper chamber next january. politico senior congressional reporter manu raju joins me now. let's talk about which races we think this could be most important in, and let's start with missouri.
>> yeah, missouri.
>> claire mccaskill and akin, and there is a libertarian candidate.
>> that's right. he's pulling in about 9% according to a public policy polling survey from earlier this month. that's a democratic firm that found that, you know, the support that he's pulling in is coming about a quarter of which is coming from conservatives which, of course, is his largest voting bloc and one that would presumably go for todd akin , the republican candidate, in that race. now, that same poll had akin down by six points. and the question is whether or not some of those voters who may be registering a protest vote and someone who's not -- people who are not willing to support akin may eventually come home. the democrats, claire mccaskill , either want dine to participate in a thursday debate, that is something that the akin camp does not want, and it's a question whether or not him and as well as these other states, these other libertarian candidates, can pull off another conservative voters, people who can really tilt the election in some of these cliff-hanger races that could determine the senate majority.
>> another race where this could be important with a third-party candidate is arizona, richard carmona making a big run against congressman flake.
>> that's right. mark victor , libertarian candidate there, got to participate in last week's debate and really went after jeff flake , the republican, on the issue of earmarks. now, that is an issue that flake has basically based his campaign on, cutting government waste, and the libertarian is running to the right of him. of course, that is a western state in which small government is a big issue, and that's something in which, you know, victor and the libertarians believe that they can pull off at least a small fraction of the vote. and one in which if carmona, the democrat, keeps this a close race, could make a difference at the end of the day . republicans in washington believe that flake will eventually one away, but right now the polls are showing that race to be exceedingly tight.
>> and finally, montana, john tester versus reberg.
>> dan cox, the libertarian candidate there, got to participate in a debate last night and took aim at both parties, criticized danny reberg on the issue of spending, and that's something that reberg has been going after tester about. so likewise there, the democrats want cox to be involved in these debates because they see them as pulling out some crucial support. now, the big caveat in all of this and including in montana is that a lot of these libertarian candidates do pull from democrats as well. a lot of college-age voters, a lot of people who support issues that libertarians support such as the legalization of marijuana. those are things that do pull support from some of those more liberal voters. whether or not, you know, at the end of the day it's a wash remains to be seen, but at least right now democrats hope that it's enough to tilt the senate majority in a few weeks.
>> manu, thank you very much for our "politico briefing."