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October 24, 2014

14 States Have New Voting Restrictions This Year

MSNBC: "It has been a whirlwind few weeks for the right to vote, with the Supreme Court stepping in four times to decide whether restrictions on voting can go into effect. In three out of four cases, the answer was yes. But efforts to make voting harder haven't stopped there. Voters in 14 states will face new hurdles this year for the first time in a major election... from voter ID laws to early voting cuts to other measures that impose barriers to the ballot box."

New Poll Shows Perdue Ahead in Georgia

A new Atlanta Journal Constitution poll in Georgia finds David Perdue (R) with a two-point edge over Michelle Nunn (D), 44% to 42%.

Most recent polls -- including one from CNN this morning -- have given Nunn a small lead.

In the race for governor, Gov. Nathan Deal (R) leads challenger Jason Carter (D), 46% to 41%.

Ballot Dispute in Georgia Heads to Court

"With an increasingly competitive and closely-watched Senate race on the line, an Atlanta courtroom will be the focus of a key voting rights dispute Friday that could make it harder for Democrats to pick up an open U.S. Senate seat on Election Day," the Washington Post reports.

"At issue is the fate of approximately 40,000 registration applications submitted with the help of a new voter registration group led by the state's Democratic House minority leader. She's joined in her legal battle by the NAACP and other civil rights groups, who are challenging the Republican secretary of state over whether his office has adequately processed ballot applications."

Dead Heat in Maine

A new Public Policy Polling survey in Maine finds Gov. Paul LePage (R) and Mike Michaud (D) locked in a tight battle for governor, 40% to 40%, with Eliot Cutler (I) trailing at 17%.

Ebola Isn't Helping Democrats

First Read: "With now another American testing positive for Ebola -- this time an American doctor in New York who had been treating Ebola patients in Guinea -- it's worth asking: What is the real impact of the political conversation turning, once again, to Ebola? And here's our answer: It gives Republican candidates another opportunity to nationalize their races. Democrats, as we've said before, want to localize their races and paint the portrait that their opponents are too radical... But every day that the conversation is a big national issue -- whether it's Ebola, ISIS, or something else -- Democrats lose an opportunity to make their closing argument."

Charlie Cook says "the concern surrounding Ebola is part of a continuum of problems for the administration--among which have been the Internal Revenue Service investigation of conservative groups, Benghazi, problems at the Veterans Affairs Department, and the problematic launch--rather than a new and distinct issue."

Wonk Wire: Who's to blame for the Ebola hysteria?

Shaheen Up Slightly in New Hampshire

A new UMass-Lowell poll in New Hampshire finds Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D) with a narrow lead over Scott Brown (R) in the U.S. Senate race, 49% to 46%.

How Red or Blue is Your State?

The Hill looked "at voting trends and history in all 50 states to find the most secure Republican and Democratic strongholds, and which states appear up for grabs. Factoring into the analysis are votes for president in recent elections, the breakdown of congressional delegations, the parties of the past three governors and control of the state legislatures."

Bottom line: Alabama is the most Republican, Washington is the most Democratic.

Gardner Up in Colorado

A new Quinnipiac poll in Colorado finds Cory Gardner (R) leading Sen. Mark Udall (D) by five points in the U.S. Senate race, 46% to 41%.

Conversation with Larry Sabato

Larry Sabato from the University of Virginia Center for Politics joined us on the Political Wire podcast for a look at what might happen if the 2014 midterm elections go into overtime. It's a great conversation.

Listen here:

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Special thanks to the Cook Political Report for sponsoring this episode. It's a must-read for anyone who loves politics.

Senate Control May Hinge on Iowa

"According to FiveThirtyEight's latest Senate forecast, Republicans have at least a 78 percent chance of picking off seven seats. In declining order of likelihood: Montana, West Virginia, South Dakota, Louisiana, Arkansas, Alaska and Colorado. If the GOP loses Georgia and Kansas, they're down to five."

"That's why Iowa is key. If Republicans win it, then they can afford to lose Georgia and Kansas and win the majority without pulling off an unexpected victory in New Hampshire or North Carolina."

Turnout Could Be Much Higher Than Expected in Colorado

New polling data suggests turnout in Colorado's upcoming U.S. Senate and gubernatorial races "could be significantly higher than in past midterms -- approaching the size and composition of a presidential-year electorate," NBC News reports.

Nunn Leads in Georgia

A new CNN/ORC poll in Georgia finds Michelle Nunn (D) has a slight lead over David Perdue (R) in the U.S. Senate race, 47% to 44%.

In a hypothetical runoff if neither reaches 50% on Election Day, Nunn still holds a small margin over Perdue, 51% to 47%.

Caveat: "But the poll's likely voter model can only estimate the November electorate, as a runoff election can draw a smaller and different crowd than the general election."

Are Democrats Losing Their Edge Among Women?

"In a warning flag for Democrats, recent polls suggest the party is failing to draw enough support from women in three key Senate races--in Iowa, Arkansas and Colorado--to offset the strong backing that men are giving to Republicans," the Wall Street Journal reports.

"While the situation remains fluid, an erosion in the Democrats' traditionally large advantage among women would be perilous for the party, especially in an election year in which men, who favor Republicans overall, are showing a greater enthusiasm for voting."

The Fix: "So, what do we make of this? For Democrats, a clear advantage among women in both presidential and midterm elections has just been a fact of life -- and a requirement for winning."

Bonus Quote of the Day

"I'm like the biblical David, and I have at least two Goliaths coming after me. I am armed with a slingshot of idealism."

-- Larry Pressler (I), quoted by the Sioux Falls Argus Leader, as an independent U.S. Senate candidate in last night's debate.

Palin Endorses a Democrat

Former Gov. Sarah Palin (R) is endorsing independent Bill Walker and Democrat Byron Mallott for governor and lieutenant governor of Alaska, The Hill reports.

The endorsement is a snub to the incumbent Gov. Sean Parnell (R), "who served as Palin's lieutenant governor and took over as governor in 2009, after Palin stepped down. But the two have long been at odds over the state's oil tax laws."

Quote of the Day

"My comments are never almost universally interpreted the way I mean them."

-- New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R), quoted by the New York Daily News.

Parnell Can't Get TV Air Time

Alaska Gov. Sean Parnell (R) "is locked in a late-breaking, competitive challenge to retain the governor's mansion--but you wouldn't know it from the airwaves in Anchorage or Fairbanks, where he barely has a presence," National Journal reports.

"That's because the Senate race between Sen. Mark Begich (D) and challenger Dan Sullivan (R) has eclipsed everything else in Alaska. More than 50,000 Senate ads had aired there by mid-October, compared with a paltry 170 spots for Parnell for the entire cycle. For Parnell and his allies, like the Republican Governors Association, there's almost no ad inventory left to buy (or it comes only at exorbitant rates)."

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."

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