Democratic poll: Massachusetts Senate race tied

at 05:20 PM ET, 05/22/2012

Democratic polling has Massachusetts tied up, the S.C. AFL-CIO turned Nikki Haley into a pinata, Colin Powell isn’t ready to endorse, and Joe Biden says private equity is about as relevant to being president as plumbing.

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WHAT YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED:

* The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has released a new poll showing the Massachusetts Senate race as a tie between Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) and Harvard Law Professor Elizabeth Warren (D) at 46 percent. The survey was conducted by Harstad Strategic Research based upon 502 likely voters from May 8 to 10, so it’s a little dated.

* The outgoing president of the South Carolina AFL-CIO bashed a pinata with the face of Gov. Nikki Haley (R) on it at a staff retreat this past weekend. The incident was captured on video; Donna Dewitt told ABC News that there was “no ill intent” in her beating of the Haley pinata. AFL-CIO spokewsoman Allison Omens said in a statement that that there is “absolutely no place for that kind of joke” in our discourse and that the pinata was inappropriate.

* Former Secretary of State Colin Powell has declined to renew his endorsement of President Obama, whom he backed in 2008. The George W. Bush administration official told NBC’s “Today” show that he’s “still listening” to Republicans and that “I always keep my powder dry, as they say in the military.”

* Vice President Joe Biden today defended attacks on former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney’s Bain Capital work, saying that “private equity guys” aren’t necessarily “bad guys” but that the experience “no more qualifies you to be president than being a plumber.” Naturally, Joe the Plumber is offended.

* Romney has assembled his education advisory group, which includes former education secretary Rod Paige and other top appointees from the Bush administration. In 2004, Paige labeled the National Education Association a “terrorist organization.”

WHAT YOU SHOULDN’T MISS:

* A week out from the Texas Senate primary, former state solicitor general Ted Cruz is out with a new ad featuring Sarah Palin. “Fighter” closes with the former Alaska governor’s voice saying "I'm Sarah Palin. Join me. Choose Cruz for Senate.” Cruz is hoping to keep Lt. Governor David Dewhurst below 50 percent in the primary, sparking a runoff.

* DSCC Executive Director Guy Cecil told the Huffington Post that his party has a 50/50 chance of keeping the Senate this fall. “Our allies need to wake up,” he said. “Our allies need to understand that the majority in the Senate is in danger.” Democrats are outspending Republicans on Senate races, but GOP outside groups are spending far more than Democratic outside groups.

* Former Rep. Ric Keller (R-Fla.) has endorsed Craig Miller in the primary for Florida’s new 6th congressional district. Keller was beaten by former Rep. Alan Grayson (D) in 2008. Miller, the former CEO of Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse, faces a crowded primary field for the GOP-leaning seat.

* The League of Conservation Voters launched a $100,000 television ad campaign hitting former Rep. Ciro Rodriguez for his votes against President Obama’s energy policies. The group is backing state Rep. Pete Gallego against Rodriguez in the the May 29 Democratic primary for Texas’s 23rd congressional district. Rodriquez lost his seat in 2010. The ad will run May 22 to 28 in the San Antonio media market.

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