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September 23, 2014

Sullivan Grabs Lead in Alaska

A new Public Policy Polling survey in Alaska finds Dan Sullivan (R) just ahead of Sen. Mark Begich (D) in the U.S. Senate race, 43% to 41%.

Key finding: "Sullivan has gained 6 points since our last poll in early August, while Begich has dropped 2. Sullivan's gain has come largely due to consolidating his support among Republican leaning voters since winning the primary last month. He now leads 75/9 among folks who voted for Mitt Romney in 2012, compared to 70/11 on the last survey."

On Wonk Wire

Some great clicks over at Wonk Wire:

Texas Man Traded Drugs for Votes

A man from Donna, Texas "will appear in federal court here next month on conspiracy and voter fraud charges for trading cocaine for votes in the 2012 school board elections," the McAllen Monitor reports.

Quote of the Day

"I have no knowledge about whether she will or won't, but my intuition tells me that she will. But that will probably not be known until, I would say, December."

-- Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA), quoted by CNN, on whether Hillary Clinton will run for president.

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Why Republicans Fight With Each Other

"In the five years since tea party came along, the Republican Party has spent a good amount of time fighting with itself. The Democratic Party, well ... has not. As much as some would love to project the GOP's infighting on to the Democratic presidential primary in 2016, it just isn't happening right now," the Washington Post notes.

"Want to know why that is? ... On four issues -- abortion, illegal immigration, government spending and gay marriage -- there are more Republicans who say their party doesn't do a good job than say it does.... On the flip side is the Democratic Party. On all four of the very same issues, more Democrats approve of their party than disapprove."

"For the GOP, the good job/bad job split averages a negative 37.5-53.5. For Democrats, it's basically the inverse, 55-36 positive."

Democrats Seek to Drive Up Female Vote

Greg Sargent: "Here's one way to understand the battle for the female vote. It's often discussed in terms of the 'gender gap,' i.e., the margin any given Democratic candidate enjoys among women. That's important, but Dems are also eying another key goal: How to drive up the share of the 2014 electorate that women represent."

"Democratic strategists familiar with the hardest fought and probably most critical Senate races -- in Colorado, Iowa, North Carolina, and Arkansas -- all tend to gravitate towards citing 53 percent as an important, if approximate, threshold. That is, they privately say that if the electorates in their states approach 53 percent women, and their candidates enjoy a reasonable advantage among them (as some polls suggest they do already), then their chances of winning improve."

GOP Moves to Scorched Earth Campaign in Kansas

"Control of the Senate is potentially at stake in Kansas, and the GOP is beginning to double down," The Hill reports.

"With a two-man race now looking all but certain, national Republicans are planning a scorched-earth offensive to frame Sen. Pat Roberts's (R-Kan.) independent opponent, Greg Orman, as a shady businessman.... Kansas Republicans say to expect more information on his business dealings to come out in the coming weeks -- likely as a systematic drip-drip of information, to keep the issue alive throughout the race."

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Family Funnels Donations Through Independent Group

"The family of Republican U.S. Senate candidate Dan Sullivan has given another $300,000 to an independent group supporting Sullivan's campaign, after donating more than $350,000 in advance of the Aug. 19 Republican Party primary," the Alaska Dispatch News reports.

Jeb Bush Kicks Off Campaign Travel

Mike Allen: "As Jeb Bush plunges into a frenzy of fall travel for Senate candidates, his allies insist a presidential campaign is becoming more of a possibility than even they thought a few months ago. He's doing a lot of under-the-radar prep, including foreign policy tutoring and meetings with tech gurus. And several of his friends think he is leaning more yes than no. The more opaque his plans, the greater the clamor - a 'Greta Garbo strategy' that has amped up demand for the former Florida governor."

Hagan Holds Edge in North Carolina

A new High Point University poll in North Carolina finds Sen. Kay Hagan (D) just ahead of challenger Thom Tillis (R) in the U.S. Senate race, 42% to 40%, with Libertarian Sean Haugh at 6%.

Peters Up in Michigan

A new Public Policy Polling survey in Michigan finds Gary Peters (D) leading Terri Lynn Land (R) in the U.S. Senate race, 47% to 40%.

In the race for governor, Gov. Rick Snyder (R) edges challenger Mark Schauer (D), 46% to 44%.

Shaheen Still Ahead in New Hampshire

A new Public Policy Polling survey in New Hampshire finds Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D) leading challenger Scott Brown (R) in the U.S. Senate race, 50% to 44%.

In the governor's race, Gov. Maggie Hassan (D) leads Walt Havenstein (R), 52% to 43%.

September 22, 2014

Bush, Palin to Stump for Roberts

Jeb Bush (R) will come to Wichita on Sept. 29 to stump for Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS) in a tight Senate race that has drawn national attention, the Wichita Eagle reports.

On Thursday Roberts will be joined by a special guest. A source close to the campaign confirmed that guest is Sarah Palin.

Treasury Announces Rules on Corporate Inversions

Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew "announced new rules aiming to make it more difficult for United States companies to relocate overseas to lower their tax bills and wipe out the benefits for those that do. It is the administration's latest move to sidestep a paralyzed Congress and tackle a politically charged element of President Obama's agenda," the New York Times reports.

Said Obama: "While there's no substitute for congressional action, my administration will act wherever we can to protect the progress the American people have worked so hard to bring about."

Wall Street Journal: "Some experts have questioned how much authority the Treasury Department actually has in the area, and legal challenges to Monday's actions remain a possibility."

Most Americans Say Global Warming Caused by Humans

"While few Americans regard the environment as the nation's foremost challenge, most say it should be a priority, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll. And more than half say global warming is caused by human behavior, the highest level ever recorded by the national poll."

Kissing Congressman's New Ad Features His Wife

Rep. Vance McAllister (R-LA), the married lawmaker who was caught on camera earlier this year kissing a congressional staffer, is airing a new forgiveness-themed TV ad featuring his wife, NBC News reports.

In the 30-second spot, the McAllisters sit side by side as the congressman's wife Kelly says that she is "blessed to have a husband who owns up to his mistakes."

See more...

Pence Draws Presidential Attention

The Wall Street Journal looks at Indiana Gov. Mike Pence (R) as a possible 2016 presidential candidate.

"The Hoosier chief executive isn't as well known nationally, and some will question whether his record is too far right to be a plausible general-election candidate. But he's generating a small groundswell, particularly among GOP social-policy activists, some of whom think Mr. Pence hits the sweet spot for 2016."

"He is reliably conservative on fiscal and social policies, and rose to a position of power in Washington, where he led the conservative Republican Study Group in the House of Representatives and helped found the tea-party caucus. Yet he deployed a more soothing style and wasn't as polarizing as some House conservatives... Now, as a heartland governor for the last two years, he has a record outside of Washington, in a state that's surging economically."

Congress on Track to be Least Productive in 60 Years

"Say this about the 113th Congress: It's managed to live down to low expectations," Roll Call reports.

"With only a lame-duck, post-Election Day mop-up session left before a new Congress takes office in January, the 113th is on track to be one of the least productive congresses -- in terms of laws passed and signed by the president -- in 60 years."

Creepiest Political Ad of the Year?

The nominee is titled "Dating Profile" and was put out by a Republican-affiliated Americans for Shared Prosperity.

Nia-Malika Henderson: "So yes, this ad is, um, strange. Probably sexist too -- but mainly it's just weird and bad. Very, very bad."

See more...

He For She

Emma Watson, of the Harry Potter movies, gave an impassioned speech on feminism at the U.N. Headquarters in New York over the weekend to launch the "HeForShe" campaign.

It's definitely worth watching.

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Clinton's Next Stop is New Hampshire

Hillary Clinton "will attend a fund-raiser later this month for a prominent New Hampshire Democrat, the latest indication that the former secretary of state is laying the groundwork for a second presidential run," CNN reports.

Extra Bonus Quote of the Day

"Politics has become too personal."

-- Vice President Joe Biden, quoted by the New York Times, on why Washington doesn't work well anymore.

Control of Congress Matters to Most

A new Gallup Poll finds that 40% of Americans say the specific party that controls Congress matters a great deal to them, while 29% say it matters a moderate amount and another 30% say it generally doesn't matter to them.

Outside Spending Sets New Midterm Record

Morning Line: "Back in April, we wrote that outside spending was on a record-breaking pace. Well, on this first day of fall -- and with 43 days still to go until Election Day -- outside spending has now surpassed the mark for most money ever spent in a midterm election. In fact, the $228 million (and climbing) spent by outside interest groups is not only the most ever spent in a midterm, but it's also more spent in any election except the 2012 presidential election... The fact is: this is a whole new world. There should be a red line drawn on anyone's timeline when reporting on election spending to signify Jan. 21, 2010, the date the Citizens United Supreme Court ruling was handed down, opening up unlimited money to flow into elections from unions and corporations."

An Unstable Senate

Ron Brownstein: "If Democrats lose their majority this year, it will extend a striking pattern: Since 1980, neither party has controlled the Senate for more than eight consecutive years. That persistent volatility marks a distinct change from most of the 20th century. Given the underlying trends in voting behavior, it's likely the Senate will continue to experience fragile and fleeting majorities. And that points toward both more partisan conflict and mounting pressure to rewrite Senate rules--like the filibuster--in ways that strengthen the majority."

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