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October 23, 2014

Baker Surges Into Lead in Massachusetts

A new Boston Globe poll in Massachusetts finds Charlie Baker (R) has opened up a 9-point lead over Martha Coakley (D) in the race for governor, 45% to 36%.

Key finding: "The poll reflects an October surge in independent voters toward Baker's column. It was independents who provided Governor Deval Patrick with his margins of victory in 2006 and 2010."

Another Poll Shows Close Race in New Hampshire

A new American Research Group poll in New Hampshire finds Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D) barely ahead of Scott Brown (R) in the U.S. Senate race, 49% to 48%.

Lewinsky Mistreated by Authorities in Clinton Investigation

Washington Post: "When onetime White House intern Monica S. Lewinsky broke her silence with a major speech this week, one subject brought her nearly to tears. Lewinsky's voice cracked as she recalled the moment in January 1998 when she was first confronted by FBI agents and lawyers working for Kenneth W. Starr's Office of Independent Counsel, who threatened her and her mother with criminal prosecution if she did not agree to wear a wire against President Bill Clinton."

"Lewinsky, now 41, has long felt that she was mistreated by authorities in the 12-hour marathon session, which began as an ambush at the food court at the Pentagon City mall and then moved to a hotel room at the mall's adjoining Ritz-Carlton hotel."

"As it turns out, so did government lawyers who conducted a comprehensive review of the incident in 2000, two years after the encounter. Their findings are contained in a report -- recently obtained by The Washington Post -- that key players had long believed was under court-ordered seal."

Most Expensive Midterm Election Ever

Wall Street Journal: "Nearly $4 billion will have been spent on this year's midterm election, including $2.7 billion spent by candidates and parties and almost $900 million spent by outside groups... That's a stunning figure, making this election by far the most expensive midterm in history--outpacing 2010 by almost $400 million and 2006 by nearly $1.2 billion. It would also outrank the amount of money spent on congressional races in 2012, by about $330 million."

"What's even more startling is that the $4 billion figure--which also includes $315 million spent on operating costs by PACs--doesn't include the full picture of outside spending in this year's races."

Cianci Trails for Providence Mayor

A new Brown University poll in Providence, Rhode Island finds Jorge Elorza (D) leading Buddy Cianci (I) comfortably in the race for mayor, 48% to 37%.

All Tied Up in Michigan

A new Public Policy Polling survey in Michigan finds the race for governor is a dead heat with Gov. Rick Snyder (R) and challenger Mark Shauer (D) tied, 48% to 48%.

South Carolina Speaker Forced Out in Plea Deal

South Carolina Speaker Bobby Harrell (R) "pleaded guilty to six counts of use of campaign funds for personal expenses on Thursday morning and has agreed to resign immediately from his House seat," The State reports.

New York Times: "Mr. Harrell also agreed to help prosecutors and investigators in any other investigations into wrongdoing involving the Legislature or other matters. The prosecutor, David Pascoe, did not specify what those investigations involve."

Anti-Incumbent Mood is Bipartisan

Pew Research: "Voter frustration with members of Congress is currently even higher than it was 2010 or 2006. Fully 68% of registered voters say they do not want to see most members of Congress reelected - 14 points higher than in 2010 and 19 points higher than in 2006. And roughly a third (35%) say they do not want their own representative reelected, compared with 32% four years ago and 26% eight years ago."

"Yet unlike in those elections, when a single party controlled both the House and Senate, anti-incumbent sentiment now crosses party lines. Republican and Democratic voters are about equally likely to oppose the reelection of most representatives and their own member of Congress."

Extra Bonus Quote of the Day

"I mean, we suck. We really do."

-- U.S. Labor Secretary Tom Perez, quoted by Bloomberg, on the minimum wage.

Tillis Inches Ahead in North Carolina

A new Civitas Poll in North Carolina shows Thom Tillis (R) leading Sen. Kay Hagan (D) in the U.S. Senate race, 42% to 41%.

Hagan led in the previous poll by five points.

Nunn Holds Small Lead in Georgia

A new InsiderAdvantage poll in Georgia finds Michelle Nunn (D) leading David Perdue (R) in the U.S. Senate race by two points, 47% to 45%.

The race for governor is tied with Gov. Nathan Deal (R) and Jason Carter (D) both at 44%.

Orman Still Ahead in Kansas

A new Rasmussen survey in Kansas finds Greg Orman (I) still holds a five-point lead over Sen. Pat Roberts (R) in the unexpectedly competitive U.S. Senate race, 49% to 44%.

Bonus Quote of the Day

"I don't think so. If there's any lesson I've learned in the last five years, it's don't be so sure about what lies ahead. There are amazing doors that could open."

-- Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), in an interview with People, on whether she's interested in running for president.

Burke Has Edge in Wisconsin

A new Rasmussen Reports survey in Wisconsin finds Mary Burke (D) now leading Gov. Scott Walker (R) in the race for governor by one point, 49% to 48%.

Race for Colorado Governor a Toss Up

A new Quinnipiac poll in Colorado finds Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) now leads Bob Beauprez (R) in the race for governor, 45% to 44%.

Hickenlooper trailed by 10 points in a similar poll last month.

Abbott Headed for Landslide in Texas

A new University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll finds Greg Abbott (R) has a 16-point lead over Wendy Davis (D) in the closing days of the race for Texas governor, 54% to 38%.

Said pollster Jim Henson: "The drama of the outcome is not who wins, but what the margin will be. Wendy Davis has not led in a single poll in this race."

Young Says Big Government Causes Suicide

After remarks deemed insensitive to a high school where a student had killed himself, Rep. Don Young (R-AK) doubled-down saying that suicide comes from federal government largesse "saying you are not worth anything but you are going to get something for nothing," the Alaska Dispatch News reports.

He added: "When people had to work and had to provide and had to keep warm by putting participation in cutting wood and catching the fish and killing the animals, we didn't have the suicide problem."

Quote of the Day

"There's no doubt that there's a theatrical nature to the presidency that he resists. Sometimes he can be negligent in the symbolism."

-- David Axelrod, quoted by Businessweek, on President Obama's management style.

Rauner Jumps Into Lead for Illinois Governor

A new Chicago Tribune poll in Illinois finds Bruce Rauner (R) has surged ahead of Gov. Pat Quinn (D) in the race for governor, 45% to 43%.

"The findings represent a sharp turnaround from a similar survey conducted Sept. 3-12 that found Quinn with an 11 percentage point advantage over Rauner. The governor's race has tightened as voters become more focused on the campaign and both sides bombard the airwaves with tens of millions of dollars' worth of negative attack ads on television, radio and newspaper websites."

White House Plans for Staff Departures

"White House chief of staff Denis McDonough has asked senior aides to tell him if they're going to stick around for President Barack Obama's final two years in office, with a West Wing restructuring after the midterms possible," Politico reports.

"The process, which began in recent weeks, is focused on keeping people at the White House, with the expectation among senior administration officials that whoever's in place next summer would remain through the end of the presidency."

Parties Prepare for GOP Taking Control of Senate

"With Republicans looking increasingly likely to take control of the Senate, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are already considering how they will operate in the chamber if the levers of power are reversed," the Wall Street Journal reports.

"For Republicans, the prospect of controlling the Senate is sparking an early debate over whether to change the rules of the road, particularly those guiding nominations and the budget. Such rule changes are arcane but could have a big impact on legislation and who is confirmed to judicial- and executive-branch posts."

"Democrats, too, would face choices, including how much of an impediment they want to be to a GOP-run Congress and who will lead them in that fight."

New Hampshire Senate Race is Tight

A new CNN/ORC poll in New Hampshire shows Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D) barely ahead of Scott Brown (R) in the U.S. Senate race, 49% to 47%.

GOP Still Favored to Win Senate

Larry Sabato's Crystal Ball: "The blunt math: Our present ratings leave Republicans with 49 seats and Democrats with 47 seats, with four Toss-ups: Georgia and Louisiana, which both might be heading to overtime, and Colorado and Kansas, where incumbents Udall and Roberts are in deep trouble -- especially Udall -- but retain a path to victory. To claim a majority, Republicans need to win half of the Toss-up states. Democrats need to win three of them to achieve a Biden Majority (a 50-50 draw with Vice President Joe Biden's tie-breaking vote giving Democrats the edge). Given the playing field, this arithmetic certainly advantages the GOP, but there is at least some chance that Democrats might pull off the unexpected."

Ernst Leads in Iowa

A new Quinnipiac poll in Iowa finds Joni Ernst (R) just ahead of Bruce Braley (D) in the U.S. Senate race, 48% to 46%.

Said pollster Peter Brown: "Throughout the campaign, Sen. Ernst has had an edge on likability. If she makes it across the finish line first that may be the key. Her campaign theme that she is the 'farm girl next door' who made good has taken her from unknown state legislator to a serious shot at the United States Senate."

Kitzhaber Plummets in Oregon

In the wake of a scandal involving Oregon's First Lady Cylvia Hayes, a new SurveyUSA poll in Oregon finds Dennis Richardson (R) now leading Gov. John Kitzhaber (D) in the race for governor by 55% to 39% among those following the story.

Richardson was stunned, telling KXL, "It was just amazing to see that kind of a flip."

The Oregonian has a big caveat: "The methodology notes a weakness. The poll's essential question was asked of the 407 respondents who said they're following the Hayes story -- and those may or may not be likely voters."

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