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September 16, 2014

Roberts Trails in Kansas

A new Public Policy Polling survey in Kansas finds Greg Orman (I) leading Sen. Pat Roberts (R) in the Senate race, 41% to 34%, with another 6% still choosing Chad Taylor (D) even though he's ended his campaign.

What Could Go Wrong for Republicans?

Charlie Cook: "Two things may be keeping Republican strategists up at night: money and the Democratic ground game. Perhaps the biggest untold story of this election is how so many Republican and conservative donors, at least those whose last name isn't Koch, have kept their checkbooks relatively closed... Many Republican and conservative donors appear to be somewhat demoralized after 2012. They feel that they were misled about the GOP's chances in both the presidential and senatorial races that year, and/or their money was not well spent. In short, they are giving less if at all, and it has put Republican candidates in a bind in a number of places."

"Another reason things might not turn out for Republicans is if the highly touted Democratic Senate ground game comes together. Clearly the Obama campaign and Democratic allies had a superior voter-identification and get-out-the-vote operation two years ago... In midterm elections, if Democrats can crank up the turnout among young, female, and minority voters, then their chances of success this year increase."

The Power Broker Turns 40

Forty years ago today, Robert Caro's magisterial 1,296-page life of New York master builder Robert Moses rewrote the rules of biography, the Daily Beast reports.

It's one of the greatest books ever written on power and politics.

Democrats Rebound Slightly in Senate Forecast

Nate Silver says his Senate forecast "is pretty darned close."

"As you can see, there hasn't been an across-the-board shift. Republicans' odds have improved in several important races since the launch of our model. Democrats' odds have improved in several others. But the two states with the largest shifts have been Colorado and North Carolina -- in both cases, the movement has been in Democrats' direction. That accounts for most of the difference in the forecast."

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Scandal-Plagued Lawmakers Bounce Back

"For the bad boys of Congress, 2014 is shaping up to be an awfully good year," Politico reports.

"As they endure humiliating headlines, damaging federal investigations and tough scrutiny of their personal lives, scandal-tarred lawmakers aren't just surviving this midterm year. In many cases, they're thriving. By any traditional standard of acceptable behavior for politicians, they should be dead men walking."

Cameron Warns Scotland Ahead of Vote

British Prime Minister David Cameron warned Scotland that citzens vote for independence on Thursday "there's no going back from this, no rerun," the New York Times reports.

Said Cameron: "If Scotland votes yes, the U.K. will split, and we will go our separate ways forever. Independence would not be a trial separation, it would be a painful divorce."

Meanwhile, the leaders of the three main British political parties renewed a pledge to grant Scots "extensive new powers" if they reject secession.

Quote of the Day

"If I could have just melted in tears, I would have. But I had to just sit there and talk to him and I switched the subject and I didn't hear another word he said, but I wasn't in a place where I could tell him to go fuck himself."

-- Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), in an interview on HuffPost Live, on a labor leader who told her she was too fat to win a statewide election.

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Pryor Holds Lead in Arkansas

A new Answers Unlimited poll in Arkansas finds Sen. Mark Pryor (D) leads challenger Tom Cotton (R) in the U.S. Senate race, 46% to 42%.

September 15, 2014

Diversity Gap in the House Widens

David Wasserman points out that "89 percent of House Republicans are white men, compared to just 47 percent of House Democrats. For some context, according to 2013 Census estimates just 31 percent of U.S. residents are non-Hispanic white males."

"Even in the last two years, the demographic chasm between the parties has widened. Eight members of the 113th House of Representatives have been elected in special elections since 2012. All six Republican winners have been white men, five of whom prevailed over women in their primaries. Both Democratic winners have been women who prevailed over men in their primaries."

Extra Bonus Quote of the Day

"This president needs to rise to the occasion before we all get killed back here at home."

-- Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), quoted by the Huffington Post, on the threat posed by ISIS.

GOP Lawmaker Claims ISIS is on the Border

Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ) says ISIS "currently is or has operated on the U.S. border in the past couple weeks," BuzzFeed reports.

Said Franks: "It is true, that we know that ISIS is present in Ciudad Juarez or they were within the last few weeks. So there's no question that they have designs on trying to come into Arizona. The comment that I've made is that if unaccompanied minors can cross the border then certainly trained terrorists probably can to. It is something that is real."

Bonus Quote of the Day

"They're trying to get you to check your brain at the door, start foaming at the mouth. The last thing they want you to do is think."

-- Bill Clinton, quoted by The Hill, on the Republican party.

Bevin Likely to Run for Kentucky Governor

"A bruising primary challenge to Sen. Mitch McConnell (R) left Matt Bevin (R) with two things: A loss at the ballot box and $5 million worth of name recognition. Now the Louisville businessman is hoping to cash in some of that political legwork in another high profile race: Kentucky governor," the AP reports.

Said Bevin: "I have not ruled it out. If anything, it is more likely."

Iowa is a True Toss Up

According to a Smart Politics analysis of U.S. Senate race ratings, the odds of a pick-up in Iowa's contest between Rep. Bruce Braley (D) and Joni Ernst (R) are closer to 50-50 than any other contest in the country, with Alaska close behind.

Franken Holds Big Lead in Minnesota

A new Minneapolis Star Tribune Minnesota Poll finds Sen. Al Franken (D) leads challenger Mike McFadden (R) by double digits, 49% to 36%.

In the race for governor, Gov. Mark Dayton (D) leads challenger Jeff Johnson (R), 45% to 33%.

Sanders Sounds Serious About White House Bid

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) told Meet the Press that he is thinking about running for president in 2016 as either a Democrat or an independent.

Said Sanders: "I think anybody who speaks to the needs of the working class and the middle class of this country and shows the courage to take on the billionaire class, I think that candidate will do pretty well."

First Read: "He seemed to be leaning toward running as a Democrat (instead of his current status as an independent), but it's worth asking if that will fly with Democratic voters in a Democratic primary."

Obamacare Critic Won't Say How She's Covered

New Hampshire congressional candidate Marilinda Garcia (R), one of the most avid critics of Obamacare, declined to tell New Hampshire Public Radio to say how she gets her own health insurance coverage.

Dead Heat in New Hampshire

A new CNN poll shows New Hampshire's U.S. Senate contest in a dead heat with Sen. Jeanne Shaheen and challenger Scott Brown (R) tied, 48% to 48%.

Democrats also released an internal poll claiming Shaheen had an eight point lead, 51% to 43%.

Kasich Headed for Landslide Win in Ohio

A new Columbus Dispatch poll in Ohio finds Gov. John Kasich (R) leading challenger Ed FitzGerald (D) in the race for governor by a 2-to-1 ratio, 59% to 29%.

Grimes Shoots

Alison Lundergran Grimes (D) has a new ad out featuring her skeet shooting and chastising Sen. Mitch McConnell (R) by saying, "Mitch, that's not how you hold a gun."

See more...

The Senate's Secret Book of Rules

USA Today: "The U.S. Senate has for years lived by a secret book of rules that governs everything from how many sheets of paper and potted plants each Senate office is allotted to when Senators can use taxpayer money to charter planes or boats. The document has never been available to the public -- until now."

U.S. Senate Handbook:

GOP Official Resigns Over Sterilization Remarks

Russell Pearce, who has recently served as the Arizona Republican Party's first vice chair, resigned his post in the wake of criticism over his comments about contraception, the Arizona Republic reports.

Said Pearce: "You put me in charge of Medicaid, the first thing I'd do is get Norplant, birth-control implants, or tubal ligations...Then we'll test recipients for drugs and alcohol, and if you want to [reproduce] or use drugs or alcohol, then get a job."

Hagan Widens Lead in North Carolina

A new American Insights poll in North Carolina finds Sen. Kay Hagan (D) with a nine point lead over challenger Thom Tillis (R) in the U.S. Senate race, 43% to 34%.

A new Elon University poll shows Hagan ahead by four points, 45% to 41%.

Quote of the Day

"In the art of politics he's Michelangelo, and in the science of politics he is Einstein. He follows political results like a baseball junkie follows box scores. Because he has campaigned in so many places, he has absorbed and integrated millions of data points, yet can assemble them into a narrative that folks can follow."

-- Paul Begala, quoted by Businessweek, on Bill Clinton.

Bayh Will Not Run for Indiana Governor

Former Indiana Gov. Evan Bayh (D) told the Indianapolis Star that he won't try to win back his old job in 2016 was a "governing decision, not a political decision."

Said Bayh: "I didn't want to be a symbolic governor. I didn't want to just have the job for the title or for my ego. If I was going to run for governor and be governor, it was going to be because I had a realistic belief that I could get big, good things done for the people of Indiana. In the current political and legislative climate that was going to be problematic."

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