Archive: October 30, 2014

Ryan Won't Decide on White House Bid Until Next Year

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) tells the Washington Post he's in no hurry to make a decision on running for president in 2016.

Said Ryan: "I've got all the time in the world. I don't have some calendar with a red circle. I don't feel the pressure to do it any other way. I have my own timeline and I don't let stuff that's happening around me get to my head. That's dangerous."

He added: "I'm not dying to be this or that. I'm more of a cause guy. So I come at this thing from that perspective. I don't have this insatiable political ambition. But I know how to flip the switch. If you flip the switch, you flip the switch. I know how to do it and what I need to do if I choose to flip it. Right now, the switch has tape over it until 2015."

What If No One Challenges Hillary?

Peter Hamby: "Democrats of all stripes, including Clinton allies, have predicted for months that the former Secretary of State -- who was campaigning for midterm candidates in Iowa on Wednesday -- will face some kind challenge in the race for the Democratic nomination if she decides to run. The prospect of a Clinton campaign seems more likely with each passing day."

"But with the presidential race set to lurch into gear after next week's midterm elections and no clear alternative to Clinton emerging, there are questions about whether she will be the sole candidate on the ballot."

Dead Heat in New Hampshire

A new American Research Group poll in New Hampshire finds Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D) and Scott Brown (R) are tied at 49% each in the U.S. Senate race.

Bonus Quote of the Day

"The Republican Party brand sucks and so people don't want to be a Republican."

-- Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), quoted by CNN.

Arizona Democrats Promote Libertarian Candidate

Arizona Republic: "Democrats are mailing campaign fliers featuring a Libertarian candidate to conservative voters in a competitive Phoenix congressional race. The effort could help U.S. Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) stay in office."

Political Reporters Not a Factor Anymore

Joe Klein: "It may be too much to ask that we journalists stop trying to do what we do worst -- predicting the outcomes of races -- and start doing what we should do best: hounding the candidates into specific answers on difficult questions. My sense this year has been that most politicians now assume that the vexing need to deal with journalists is pretty much over, unless they commit a mouth misdemeanor or something unseemly emerges about their past."

Ad Spending Tops $1 Billion

Wesleyan Media Project: "Spending on television ads in federal and gubernatorial races in the 2013-14 election cycle has now topped $1 billion, with an estimated $1.19 billion spent from January 1, 2013 to October 23, 2014. That spending paid for over 2.2 million ad airings."

Cotton Opens Up Huge Lead in Arkansas

A new University of Arkansas poll finds Tom Cotton (R) leading Sen. Mark Pryor (D) in the U.S. Senate race by a wide margin, 49% to 36%.

Newspaper Endorses Indicted Congressman

Staten Island Advance: "On one side is the sometimes hot-headed Republican incumbent who is facing a 20-count federal indictment. On the other is a career Brooklyn Democratic pol, who, term-limited out of his high-ranking post in the City Council, thought about other city offices before he settled on the idea of the job representing in Congress a borough he knows little about, his claims of deep ties here notwithstanding."

"That's the choice voters have. And that's the choice we have in making an endorsement in a race that could not be much uglier."

"That choice for us is Michael Grimm. Surprisingly, if a choice is to be made, Mr. Grimm should be that choice, even under these circumstances."

Will Joe Biden Run in 2016?

Politico: "Most of the time, it's not so hard to tell what Biden's thinking -- he's just said it. But even his inner circle doesn't seem to know where his head is on 2016 -- whether he is actually going to get in the game or stay on the sidelines, dreaming of his glory days."

"Throughout the midterms, he has been helping out candidates all over the country. It's not clear to anyone, though, that there's been the kind of strategy to help himself he'd need if he were serious about a White House run."

Bad Sign for Democrats

Wonk Wire: Narrow edge in partisanship Is bad election sign for Democrats

Udall Trailing in Colorado

A new Quinnipiac poll in Colorado finds Cory Gardner (R) leading Sen. Mark Udall (D) by seven points in the U.S. Senate race, 46% to 39%.

Lots of Suspense Heading Into Election Day

New York Times: "Washington's bad habit these days is nail-biting as the two parties nervously execute their midterm endgames and try to navigate the path to power. But political players and election watchers might want to take a moment to savor the uncertainty."

"Five days before the 2014 election and after $4 billion in spending, we still don't know for certain what's going to happen next Tuesday - or beyond... At least six states in the struggle for control of the Senate - Alaska, Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, North Carolina and New Hampshire - remain truly up for grabs with runoffs likely in Georgia and Louisiana. Nearly a dozen governor's races are within the polling margin of error."

Graham Says He'll Help White Men as President

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), who is toying with the idea of a presidential bid, joked in a private gathering this month that "white men who are in male-only clubs are going to do great in my presidency," according to an audio recording of his comments provided to CNN.

Graham also cracked wise about Baptists, saying "they're the ones who drink and don't admit it."

Polls May Be Undercounting Democrats

Nate Cohn: "Polls show that the Republicans have an advantage in the fight for control of the Senate. They lead in enough states to win control, and they have additional opportunities in North Carolina and New Hampshire to make up for potential upsets. As Election Day nears, Democratic hopes increasingly hinge on the possibility that the polls will simply prove wrong."

"But that possibility is not far-fetched. The polls have generally underestimated Democrats in recent years, and there are reasons to think it could happen again."

Hagan Keeps Small Lead in North Carolina

A new Elon University Poll finds Sen. Kay Hagan (D) with an edge over challenger Thom Tillis (R) in the U.S. Senate race, 45% to 41%.

Peters Headed for Big Win in Michigan

A new EPIC-MRA poll in Michigan finds Gary Peters (D) opening a wide lead over Terri Lynn Land (R), 50% to 35%.

"It is Peters' best margin in any EPIC-MRA poll to date and, significantly, it shows him not only with a 20-point lead among women voters but a 10-point lead among men, who had been trending toward Land in earlier polls."

Crist Moves Ahead in Florida

A new Quinnipiac University poll in Florida finds Charlie Crist (D) inching in front of his Gov. Rick Scott (R) in the gubernatorial race, 43% to 40%.

Quote of the Day

"It's not so much about what could be passed but setting the agenda and debate for the next presidential race."

-- Rep. Steve King (R-IA), quoted by the Daily Beast, on the advantage of the GOP taking control of the U.S. Senate.

Bet on a GOP Majority

Larry Sabato's Crystal Ball: "While many races remain close, it's just getting harder and harder to envision a plausible path for the Democrats to retain control of the Senate. Ultimately, with just a few days to go before the election, the safe bet would be on Republicans eventually taking control of the upper chamber."

"We say eventually because there's a decent chance we won't know who wins the Senate on Election Night. Louisiana is guaranteed to go to a runoff, and Georgia seems likelier than not to do the same."

Democratic Ads in South Focus on Race

"In the final days before the election, Democrats in the closest Senate races across the South are turning to racially charged messages -- invoking Trayvon Martin's death, the unrest in Ferguson, Mo., and Jim Crow-era segregation -- to jolt African-Americans into voting and stop a Republican takeover in Washington," the New York Times reports.

"The images and words they are using are striking for how overtly they play on fears of intimidation and repression. And their source is surprising. The effort is being led by national Democrats and their state party organizations -- not, in most instances, by the shadowy and often untraceable political action committees that typically employ such provocative messages."

Governor's Race Still Close in Michigan

A new EPIC-MRA poll in Michigan finds Gov. Rick Snyder (R) has only a two-point lead over challenger Mark Schauer (D), 45% to 43%.

With undecideds put into the mix, the race is a 46% to 46% tie.

Intrade Founders Launch New Prediction Market

Wall Street Journal: "Founders of political wagering site Intrade are back with a new forum for electoral prognosticating, minus one big thing: the wagering."

"Pivit, a web and mobile application, is launching prediction markets this week for the midterm U.S. elections... Pivit's contracts are based in percentages, not dollars. Participating doesn't require any money or pay out any rewards. Instead, the new market aims to attract people with rankings of the best predictors."

Archive: October 29, 2014

Walker Builds Lead in Wisconsin

A new Marquette University Law School Poll in Wisconsin finds Gov. Scott Walker (R) opening a lead over challenger Mary Burke (D) among likely voters, 50% to 43%.

The previous poll found the race tied at 47%.

Obama First Since JFK to Sleep in Rhode Island

When President Obama "overnights in the Providence area this week, it will be the first time in more than 50 years that a sitting president has slept in the nation's smallest state," the AP reports.

New Poll Shows Perdue Solidly Ahead in Georgia

A new Monmouth University poll in Georgia finds David Perdue (R) leading Michelle Nunn (D) by a solid margin, 49% to 41%.

In the race for governor, Gov. Nathan Deal (R) leads challenger Jason Carter (D), 48% to 42%.

Investigator in Secret Service Scandal Has Own Sex Scandal

"The investigator who led the Department of Homeland Security's internal review of the Secret Service's 2012 prostitution scandal quietly resigned in August after he was implicated in his own incident involving a prostitute," the New York Times reports.

Young Voters Abandoning Democrats

A new Harvard IOP poll finds that 51% of young Americans who say they will "definitely be voting" in November prefer a Republican-run Congress with 47% favoring Democrat control - a significant departure from IOP polling findings before the last midterm elections.

Quote of the Day

"I'm not like really freaking out about this decision, to be honest with you."

-- Jeb Bush, quoted by the Tennessean, on running for president in 2016.

Does Edwin Edwards Have a Chance to Win?

New Orleans Times-Picayune: "Political observers say even if he never bothered to leave his house in Gonzales, the inclusion of 'Edwin Edwards' on the ballot in such a crowded field of Republicans with low-to-moderate name recognition would propel the ex-governor and former federal inmate into the runoff for Senate candidate Rep. Bill Cassidy's seat."

"But Edwards hasn't stayed home. He's been on the road at voter doorways, shaking hands with restaurant patrons on the way to his table, dropping one-liners and platform ideas at candidate debates and popping by council chambers and church fairs with regularity."

Will Cutler Drop Out In Maine?

Maine candidate for governor Eliot Cutler (I) will hold a press conference this morning to address his chances in the race, the Portland Press Herald reports.

"The independent, who narrowly lost to Gov. Paul LePage four years ago, has been unable to make any gains in public polls to date and also has scaled back on advertising in recent weeks. Supporters of Democrat Mike Michaud have been calling on Cutler to drop out of the race for weeks over fear that he will only help re-elect LePage if he stays in."

Public Policy Polling: "The biggest factor in this race remaining so close is that Cutler, consistently in a distant third place, is continuing to siphon off enough of the anti-LePage vote to keep the contest in toss-up range."

Souls to the Polls

"Early voting on Sundays has been one of the biggest fronts in the voting wars of recent years. Some of this past Sunday's early voting numbers make the reason quite clear," the New York Times reports.

"'Souls to the Polls' drives are a big part of the explanation. Black churches often promote voting after services, sometimes even taking church members directly to the polls. Such drives are traditionally most popular on the Sunday before an election, when black turnout might be even higher than it was on Sunday. A good portion of these voters would have probably cast ballots anyway. But given the margins that Democrats run up on Sundays, it is not hard to see why so many Republican election officials have sought to restrict early voting on Sundays."

Beauprez Leads in Colorado

A new Quinnipiac poll in Colordao finds Bob Beauprez (R) leading Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) in the race for governor, 45% to 40%.

Tight Race in Rhode Island

A new Brown University poll in Rhode Island finds Gina Raimondo (D) barely ahead of Allan Fung (R) in the race for governor, 38% to 37%, with Bob Healey (I) at 12%.

Orman Clings to Small Lead in Kansas

A new Survey USA poll in Kansas finds Greg Orman (I) leading Sen. Pat Roberts (R) in the U.S. Senate race by two points, 44% to 42%.

In the race for governor, Paul Davis (D) leads Gov. Sam Brownback (R) by three points, 46% to 43%.

Bush Calls Obama 'Incompetent' on Ebola

Jeb Bush is calling President Obama's initial response to Ebola "incompetent," Politico reports.

Said Bush: "It looked very incompetent to begin with, and that fueled fears that may not be justified. And now you have states that are legitimately acting on their concerns, creating a lot more confusion than is necessary."

Business Bets Big on GOP in Senate Races

"In a significant shift, business groups gave more money to Republican candidates than to Democrats in seven of the most competitive Senate races in recent months, in some cases taking the unusual step of betting against sitting senators," the Wall Street Journal reports.

"Shifts in business donations have foreshadowed the outcome of several recent elections. Business PACs began shifting toward Democrats late in the 2006 midterm cycle, ahead of a political wave in which Democrats regained control of both the House and Senate. Business contributions swung again early in 2010, ahead of a wave that year that gave Republicans a House majority and gains in the Senate."

Spending Shows How Few House Races are Competitive

"How small is the field of competitive House races? So narrow that just 25 contests account for 80 percent of all reported outside spending in the general election," the New York Times reports.

"The bulk of House contests have seen virtually no outside spending this year, with 193 having less than $10,000 spent. You could form a slim majority with the 220 races that have had less than $25,000 in independent spending for the general election."

Lobbyists Pursue Attorneys General

"Attorneys general are now the object of aggressive pursuit by lobbyists and lawyers who use campaign contributions, personal appeals at lavish corporate-sponsored conferences and other means to push them to drop investigations, change policies, negotiate favorable settlements or pressure federal regulators," an investigation by the New York Times has found.

"A robust industry of lobbyists and lawyers has blossomed as attorneys general have joined to conduct multistate investigations and pushed into areas as diverse as securities fraud and Internet crimes. But unlike the lobbying rules covering other elected officials, there are few revolving-door restrictions or disclosure requirements governing state attorneys general."

Hackers Breach White House Computers

"Hackers thought to be working for the Russian government breached the unclassified White House computer networks in recent weeks, sources said, resulting in temporary disruptions to some services while cybersecurity teams worked to contain the intrusion," the Washington Post reports.

"White House officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss an ongoing investigation, said that the intruders did not damage any of the systems and that, to date, there is no evidence the classified network was hacked."

Ernst Pushes Ahead in Iowa

A new Quinnipiac poll in Iowa finds Joni Ernst (R) is inching ahead among likely voters in the U.S. Senate race and now has 49% to 45% lead over Bruce Braley (D).

GOP Could Control Record Number of Legislatures

"Republicans have the opportunity to take control of a record number of state legislative chambers across the country this year, as Democrats play defense in unfavorable terrain," the Washington Post reports.

"The Republican landslide in 2010 and the subsequent redistricting process in 2012 gave the GOP control of a nearly unprecedented number of legislative chambers. Today, the party controls 59 of the 98 partisan chambers in 49 states, while Democrats control only 39 chambers (One legislature, Nebraska's is officially nonpartisan). Once election results are tabulated in the 6,049 legislative races on the ballot in 46 states this year, Republicans could find themselves running even more."

Dead Heat for Connecticut Governor

A new Quinnipiac poll in Connecticut finds Gov. Dannel Malloy (D) and challenger Tom Foley (R) tied 43% to 43% in the race for governor.

Archive: October 28, 2014

Boehner Tries to Run Up the Score

Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) "is crisscrossing the country in a bid to run up his House majority and ease his job leading a fractious GOP conference," The Hill reports.

"The Ohio Republican is spending the final, precious days of the 2014 campaign flying into House races that had been seen as out of reach for the GOP just weeks ago."

Bonus Quote of the Day

"Whatever. Get in line. I've been sued lots of times before."

-- New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R), quoted by NBC News, practically daring a nurse to sue him for quarantining her even after she tested negative for Ebola.

Palin Says She'll Run Again

Sarah Palin told Fox Business that she may run for office again, in part to "bug the crap" out of liberals.

Said Palin: "Those haters out there don't understand that it invigorates me. The more they're pouring on the more I'm gonna bug the crap out of them by being out there with a voice, with a message, hopefully running for office in the future, too."

5 States Where You Shouldn't Trust the Polls

Jonathan Bernstein lists five states "most at risk for polling mishaps" in their Senate elections, ranked from most to least likely: Georgia, Alaska, Kansas, Colorado and South Dakota.

"This doesn't mean any of them will hold surprises once the votes are counted. It just means that right now there are reasons to look at the polls with some skepticism."

How AP Counts the Vote

The AP released an interesting description of how they tally votes in national elections.

New Iowa Poll Gives Braley an Edge

A new Loras College Poll in Iowa finds Bruce Braley (D) with an edge over Joni Ernst (R) in the U.S. Senate race, 45% to 44%.

Perdue Pulls Ahead in Georgia

A new SurveyUSA poll in Georgia finds David Perdue (R) leading Michelle Nunn (D) in the U.S. Senate race by three points, 48% to 45%.

Last week's survey found Nunn leading by two points.

Coakley's Own Poll Shows Her Behind

Martha Coakley (D) released an internal poll that shows her trailing Charlie Baker (R) in the race for Massachusetts governor by two points, 44% to 42%, the Boston Globe reports.

10 Biggest Moments of the Midterm Elections

Roll Call highlights the battle for control of the U.S. Senate.

Another Poll Shows Rounds with Big Lead

A new Monmouth University poll in South Dakota finds Mike Rounds (R) with a double-digit lead over Rick Weiland (D) in the U.S. Senate race, 45% to 31%, with Larry Pressler (I) at 19%.

A new Survey USA poll shows Rounds leading Weiland, 43% to 32% with Pressler at 19%.

What's Going On In Alaska?

FiveThirtyEight: "If there's a race that keeps us awake at night, it's Alaska. The state is home to one of the most important Senate races in the country, but it also has a history of quirky and often inaccurate polling."

"Has Begich made a comeback? Perhaps... But there are many reasons to be skeptical. Public sentiment almost never shifts so much so quickly in a general election, especially this late in the race, without major precipitating news events. A candidate might gain a couple of points over a month on the basis of a superior campaign -- but usually not more than that."

GOP Lawmaker Claims More Ebola Patients are Coming

Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) claims the Obama administration is exploring plans to bring non-U.S. citizens infected with Ebola to the United States for treatment, Fox News reports.

Goodlatte said that his office has received "information from within the administration" that these plans are being developed. So far, only American Ebola patients have been brought back to the U.S. for treatment from the disease epicenter in West Africa.

How Can the GOP Stop Obama and Govern?

First Read says Republicans have two big challenges to governing if they win control of both the House and Senate next week.

"One, after portraying Obama as either incompetent, ruthless, or both, how do Republicans sell any kind of deal with Obama back to their base? That's the problem when your message, especially on the campaign trail, is entirely against the president. It makes cutting deals with him AFTER the election more difficult. Two, to pass legislation in the Senate, Mitch McConnell and Republicans will need to get 60 votes -- and that means placating the GOP conservatives (including those running for president next year), the GOP moderates (Susan Collins and the folks up for re-election in 2016 like Mark Kirk, Kelly Ayotte, etc.), as well as centrist Democrats (Joe Manchin, Angus King, etc.). That won't be an easy task."

Molly Ball: "Republicans promise that if they seize the majority, they'll stop Obama--and stop the Washington gridlock. Can they really do both?"

Two Different Midterm Elections

First Read: "How can the national polls look so bad for Democrats (see the NBC/WSJ/Annenberg and Washington Post/ABC polls), but the competitive Senate contests all be within the margin of error? Here's an answer for you: There are two different midterm environments taking place in the country a week before Election Day. The first is the nationwide one, where there does seem to be a wave building for Republicans and where the GOP has a huge enthusiasm advantage. The second election, however, is taking place in the top Senate and gubernatorial battlegrounds, where Democrats have spent a tremendous amount of money building field organizations and getting (as best they can) their side fired up."

"This tale of two different midterm elections -- not too dissimilar from what we saw in 2012 where the national and battleground polls didn't match up -- also helps explain why House Democrats are in trouble in states not holding competitive races like in California, Minnesota and New York (after all, embattled GOP Rep. Michael Grimm could very well win)."

Quote of the Day

"Why does Christie have to be such a dick about everything?"

-- Jon Stewart, on the Daily Show, on Gov. Chris Christie's (R) reaction to the Ebola virus.

Jindal Puts on Weight Ahead of 2016

"According to a source close to Louisiana's Bobby Jindal, the governor has gained 13 pounds over the past few months. At 5′9″, Jindal has always looked slight; this is the first indication that, with the 2016 election on the horizon, he is looking to beef up," National Review reports.

Bachmann Wants to be the Next Gingrich

Rep. Michelle Bachmann (R-MN) "says the model laid out by former speaker of the House Newt Gingrich (R-GA) in his post-congressional life is a 'great example' of what she'd like to do: some time as a talking head, a position at a think tank (preferably having something to do with foreign policy), premium speaking fees and maybe a book or two," the Washington Post reports.

Ryan Ready to Take Golden Gavel

"For most members of Congress, the chairmanship of the House Ways and Means Committee is the ultimate prize, a treasure trove of power and campaign cash cracked open after decades in the trenches," Bloomberg reports.

"Paul Ryan is about to get all that and more before he turns 45. The 2012 Republican vice presidential candidate is poised to take charge of the committee in January, giving him a chance to put his limited-government philosophy into practice and test his ability to forge compromises."

Top Reporter Says White House Most 'Dangerous'

USA Today Washington Bureau Chief Susan Page called the Obama White House not only "more restrictive" but also "more dangerous" to the press than any other in history, the Washington Post reports.

Dole Wants Romney to Run Again

Bob Dole says he thinks Mitt Romney should run for president again in 2016, the Salt Lake Tribune reports.

"As Romney worked the crowd afterward, he ignored a reporter's question about whether he'd run in 2016. He's said previously that he won't."

Republicans Widen Advantage Ahead of Midterms

A new Washington Post/ABC News poll finds Republicans lead the generic congressional ballot by six points, 50% to 44%.

"The discontent is palpable. Despite its fitful gains, seven in 10 Americans rate the nation's economy negatively and just 28 percent say it's getting better. In a now-customary result, 68 percent say the country's seriously off on the wrong track."

No Bestseller for Cuomo

Jeff Smith reviewed New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's (D) new memoir which sold just 948 copies in its first week.

"All Things Possible turns out to be the 2014 political analog to Splenda--a saccharine memoir about Cuomo's family, upbringing and political life meant to substitute for his actual presence on the campaign trail as he coasts to reelection. Its hagiographic gaze is certainly not unique among politicians, but even in the already low bar that is the political biography genre, Cuomo's book seems unique in the degree to which current controversies circling the governor are not just glossed over, but ignored completely. It's as if Larry Craig tried to write a memoir without mentioning the Minneapolis airport. (He actually did try to do that, but no publisher bit.)"

Democrats See Growing Losses in House

"The political environment continues to deteriorate for House Democrats ahead of a midterm election that's certain to diminish their ranks," Politico reports.

"Looking to contain the damage, Democrats are pumping money into liberal congressional districts that were long thought to be safely in their column. Over the last several days, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has directed resources to maintain seats in Hawaii and Nevada, both of which broke sharply for the president in 2012 -- an indication of just how much the terrain has shifted against the party over the past two years."

Begich Leads in Alaska

A new Ivan Moore Research poll in Alaska finds Sen. Mark Begich (D) with an 8-point lead over challenger Dan Sullivan (R) in the U.S. Senate race, 50% to 42%.

Nate Cohn: "If any Democrat should have a superior turnout effort, it's Mr. Begich. The Democrats have invested near the point of diminishing returns."

Peters Extends Lead in Michigan

A new Detroit News poll finds Gary Peters (D) has built a commanding 15 point lead over Terri Lynn Land (R) in the U.S. Senate race, 48% to 33%.

Said pollster Richard Czuba: "This has just completely gotten away from Terri Land."

In the race for governor, Gov. Rick Snyder (R) leads challenger Mark Schauer (D), 45% to 40%.

Two Governors' Shifts on Ebola Are Criticized as Politics

"Shifting stances and a lack of clear standards from the governors of New York and New Jersey over their Ebola quarantine policy left critics and even some allies questioning on Monday whether the two men had fully worked through the details before they announced it," the New York Times reports.

"Govs. Andrew Cuomo of New York and Chris Christie of New Jersey said on Friday that they were imposing their strict new mandatory quarantine because standards from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had been inadequate. But on Monday, faced with criticism from the nurse who had been detained in Newark as the test case of the new quarantine, Mr. Christie said the C.D.C. -- not New Jersey -- had been responsible for hospitalizing her and giving her the Ebola test in the first place."

Wonk Wire: When politicians ignore science and cave to public hysteria

Archive: October 27, 2014

Quote of the Day

"You look at her book rollout -- it was a disaster. She talks off the cuff; it doesn't work. She makes one mistake after the next."

-- RNC Chairman Reince Priebus, quoted by The Hill, arguing that Hillary Clinton isn't good at politics.

Weiland Accuses Democrats of Sabotaging His Campaign

South Dakota U.S. Senate candidate Rick Weiland (D) "accused his own political party of trying to undermine his campaign in a striking news conference Monday," the Sioux Falls Argus Leader reports.

"Weiland said the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee's ads attacking Republican incumbent Mike Rounds have backfired and hurt him... But Weiland went a step further and said this wasn't just an inadvertent side effect of the negative ads. He said it was deliberate -- an attempt to sabotage him and boost independent Larry Pressler."

Said Weiland: "My national party -- that I'm a member of -- (was) trying to drive votes to Larry Pressler and trying to drive up my negatives."

Voters are Really Angry

A new CNN/ORC poll finds that 68% of Americans are angry at the direction the country is headed and 53% of Americans disapprove of President Obama's job performance, two troubling signs for Democrats one week before the midterm elections.

Key finding: "In next week's election, the emotion of anger could be a motivating factor in driving out GOP voters. While 36% of Republican voters said they are 'extremely' or 'very enthusiastic,' about voting this year, only 26% of Democrats use that language to describe themselves."

Dead Heat for Senate in Georgia

A new Public Policy Polling survey in Georgia finds David Perdue (R) and Michelle Nunn (D) locked in a tie for U.S. Senate, 47% to 47%.

Tied in Maine

A new Magellan Strategies poll in Maine finds Gov. Paul LePage (R) tied with Mike Michaud (D) for governor, 42% to 42%, with Eliot Cutler (I) way behind at 13%.

A Crowdsourced Senate Forecast

270 to Win has a fun contest to predict the outcome of the U.S. Senate races.

New Attack Ad Links Crist to Sex Trafficking

Florida Republicans tie Charlie Crist's (D) campaign donations to sex trafficking in a tough new attack ad.

Romney Firm Raises $525 Million

"Solamere Capital, a Boston-based private equity firm that Mitt Romney joined upon losing the 2012 presidential race, has raised $525 million for its second fund, Fortune has learned. This total does not include commitments from Solamere's general partners, which include Romney's son, Tagg."

Reid Vote Strategy Backfired

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's (D-NV) "decision to avoid tough votes this year has backfired in one respect -- it gave his vulnerable incumbents few opportunities to show off any independence from President Obama," Roll Call reports.

"A new CQ vote study shows vulnerable Senate Democrats almost always voted to support the president in 2014 -- a fact that has been instantly seized upon by Republicans, given that Obama's approval rating is languishing in the low 40s nationally and lower still in several battleground states."

Mia Love Trails in Utah

A new Brigham Young University poll in Utah's 4th congressional district shows Doug Owens (D) leading Mia Love (R), 46% to 42%.

It's All Tied Up in North Carolina

A new High Point University/SurveyUSA poll in North Carolina finds Sen. Kay Hagan (D) locked in a dead heat with challenger Thom Tillis (R), 44% to 44%.

A new Monmouth University survey shows the race has tightened but Hagan still leads 48% to 46%.

Cassidy Likely to Win Louisiana Runoff

A new USA Today/Suffolk University poll in Louisiana finds no candidate reaching the 50% required to avoid a runoff in the crowded November 4 election. Sen. Mary Landrieu (D) gets 36%, Bill Cassidy (R) gets 35%, Rob Maness (R) gets 11% and other candidates and undecided split 18%. 

However, in a a head-to-head matchup, Cassidy has a solid 48% to 41% lead over Landrieu with 11% undecided.

Said pollster David Paleologos: "Maness supporters are basically a holding place for Cassidy ... the unfavorables are 89% for Landrieu among the Maness voters."

Paper Runs Op-Ed by Dead Politician to Attack Shaheen

Foster's Daily Democrat published a blistering op-ed piece attacking Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) by former House Speaker Marshall Cobleigh but TPM notes there "was an unusual wrinkle: Cobleigh died in February 2009. The op-ed was actually a reprint of when it was first published in July 3, 2008."

Many Governor's Races Could Be Close

Smart Politics examined the more than 1,600 gubernatorial elections conducted during midterm and presidential election cycles since 1900 and found that only three cycles have produced as many as five contests with a victory margin of less than one percentage point; at least eight races are in the mix to do so in 2014.

The eight states to watch: Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Kansas, Wisconsin, Florida, Georgia and Maine.

On Wonk Wire

Some great clicks over at Wonk Wire:

Rounds Holds Solid Lead in South Dakota

A new Mason-Dixon poll in South Dakota finds Mike Rounds (R) with a comfortable lead over Rick Weiland (D) in the U.S. Senate race, 42% to 33%, with Larry Pressler (I) far behind at 13%.

Inside the GOP's Secret Media Training School

Brad Phillips notes the GOP training class "is doing everything right in its effort to improve external communications" and there's "good advice here for everyone involved in politics, regardless of party or cause."

Political Scientists Accused of Election Tampering

"Political scientists from two of the nation's most highly respected universities, usually impartial observers of political firestorms, now find themselves at the center of an electoral drama with tens of thousands of dollars and the election of two state supreme court justices at stake," TPM reports.

"Their research experiment, which involved sending official-looking flyers to 100,000 Montana voters just weeks before Election Day, is now the subject of an official state inquiry that could lead to substantial fines against them or their schools."

U.S. Used Nazis as Spies

"In the decades after World War II, the C.I.A. and other United States agencies employed at least a thousand Nazis as Cold War spies and informants and, as recently as the 1990s, concealed the government's ties to some still living in America, newly disclosed records and interviews show," the New York Times reports.

"At the height of the Cold War in the 1950s, law enforcement and intelligence leaders like J. Edgar Hoover at the F.B.I. and Allen Dulles at the C.I.A. aggressively recruited onetime Nazis of all ranks as secret, anti-Soviet 'assets,' declassified records show. They believed the ex-Nazis' intelligence value against the Russians outweighed what one official called 'moral lapses' in their service to the Third Reich."

GOP Moves to Pick Up More House Seats

"In a late move to bolster their advantage, Republicans and their allies are investing in additional House races that they now see as in play, a sign that the political climate is tilting toward the GOP ahead of next week's elections," the Wall Street Journal reports.

Voters Expect Republicans to Win Senate

The latest round of a New York Times/CBS News/YouGov polls find Republicans lead "in more than enough races to win control of the Senate, although the margins are often small. A larger number of likely voters in Alaska, Arkansas, Georgia, Iowa and South Dakota, among other states, expect the Republican candidate to win. More likely voters expect the Democrat to win in Michigan, New Hampshire and North Carolina."

"Over all, the expectation question suggests that if Republican leads hold, they are likely to have 52 or 53 seats in the Senate next year."

Interesting: "The campaign still has more than a week remaining, and the expectation question is obviously not perfect... But the expectation question does have an impressive record. Over the last 60 years, it has been a better guide to the outcome of presidential races than questions on whom people planned to vote for."

Jeb Bush Nears Decision on White House Bid

As Jeb Bush "nears a decision to become the third member of his storied family to seek the presidency, the extended Bush clan and its attendant network, albeit with one prominent exception, are largely rallying behind the prospect and pulling the old machine out of the closet," the New York Times reports.

"Just six years ago, at the end of the last tumultuous Bush presidency, this would have been all but unthinkable. But President Obama's troubles, the internal divisions of the Republican Party, a newfound nostalgia for the first Bush presidency and a modest softening of views about the second have changed the dynamics enough to make plausible another Bush candidacy. And while Jeb Bush wants to run as his own man, invariably this is a family with something to prove."

McCarthy Says GOP Won't Win In 2016 If They Don't Govern

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) "bluntly warned that Republicans will blow the presidency in 2016 if they don't make some radical changes - and quick," Politico reports.

"McCarthy, speaking without a working microphone, told a group of Long Island donors that their gains in the House will amount to little if they can't govern over the next two years."

Democrats Poised to Pick Up Governor's Seats

"Many of the governor's races remain exceedingly close, according to the latest round of data from The New York Times/CBS News/YouGov online panel of more than 80,000 respondents. The data shows that there are 11 contests within 4 percentage points; another half-dozen races are with 10 percentage points."

Archive: October 26, 2014

GOP Advantage Solidifies in Final Days

A new NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Annenberg poll finds that with just nine days to go until Election Day, Republicans' national lead appears to be crystallizing, with likely voters preferring a GOP-led Congress by a wide margin, 52% to 41%.

Franken's Lead Narrows in Minnesota

A new Star Tribune Minnesota Poll finds Sen. Al Franken (D) is leading challenger Mike McFadden (R) by nine points, 48% to 39%.

Key findings: "McFadden had been down by 13 percentage points, according to the previous Minnesota Poll taken in September. He continues to run far ahead of Franken in outer suburbs and has nearly twice Franken's support among independents, who favor the challenger 46% to 27%."

Son Says Jeb Bush Likely to Run for President

George P. Bush told ABC News that he thinks his father, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, will "more than likely" run for president in 2016.

Said George P. Bush: "I think it's actually, I think it's more than likely that he's giving this a serious thought in moving forward... If you had asked me a few years back, I would've said it was less likely."

Key Senate Races Remain Tight

Six new NBC News/Marist polls finds control of the U.S. Senate "is coming down to the wire, with Democrats and Republicans locked in tight races in the key contests that will determine the majority in that chamber of Congress. The momentum in these races, however, has swung mostly in the Republican Party's direction, giving the GOP a clear path to winning the majority."

In Colorado, Cory Gardner (R) leads Sen. Mark Udall (D), 46% to 45%

In Iowa, Joni Ernst (R) edges Bruce Braley (D), 49% to 46%.

In Kansas, Greg Orman (I) edges Sen. Pat Roberts (R), 45% to 44%.

In Arkansas, Tom Cotton (R) leads Sen. Mark Pryor (D), 45% to 43%

In North Carolina, Sen. Kay Hagan (D) is tied with Thom Tillis (R), 43% to 43%.

In South Dakota, Mike Rounds (R) is way ahead of Rick Weiland (D), 43% to 29%, with Larry Pressler (I) at 16%.

LePage Holds Big Lead in Maine

A new Maine Sunday Telegraph/Portland Press Herald poll in Maine finds Gov. Paul LePage (R) with a double-digit lead over Mike Michaud (D), 45% to 35%, with Eliot Cutler (I) at 16%.

Archive: October 24, 2014

McConnell Loans $1.8 Million to His Campaign

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) "plans to counter the influx of Democratic spending aimed at defeating him by writing a big personal check," Politico reports.

"The Republican leader is loaning his campaign $1.8 million out of his own bank account, exceeding a $1.5 million investment by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and Senate Majority PAC to bolster the prospects of Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes."

What Happened to the GOP Lawsuit Against Obama?

Politico: "House Speaker John Boehner came out swinging hard last June when he announced that his chamber would take President Barack Obama to court. The suit, charging that the president grossly exceeded his constitutional authority by failing to implement portions of the Obamacare law, was billed as an election-season rallying point for aggrieved Republicans. But days before the midterms the House's legal guns seem to have fallen silent."

"Lawyers close to the process said they originally expected the legal challenge to be filed in September but now they don't expect any action before the elections."

Begich Holds Double-Digit Lead in Alaska

A new Hellenthal Associates (R) poll in Alaska finds Sen. Mark Begich (D) leading challenger Dan Sullivan (R) in the U.S. Senate race, 49% to 39%.

Gohmert Says Gays Getting Massages Make U.S. Vulnerable

Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) said during a radio interview that gays shouldn't be allowed in the military because their "getting massages all day" would be a threat to national security.

Said Gohmert: "I've had people say, 'Hey, you know, there's nothing wrong with gays in the military. Look at the Greeks.' Well, you know, they did have people come along who they loved that was the same sex and would give them massages before they went into battle. But you know what, it's a different kind of fighting, it's a different kind of war and if you're sitting around getting massages all day ready to go into the big, planned battle, then you're not going to last very long."

Perdue Signs a Woman's Body

Georgia U.S. Senate candidate David Perdue (R) was caught on video signing a young woman's torso as staffers tried to block the cameras.

Perdue joked: "No pictures on this."

Political Futures Market Sees a GOP Senate

The New York Times reports that over at Betfair, "traders are giving the Republicans an 86% chance of winning the Senate, up from 69% two weeks ago. This market is tied to whether the Republicans will win at least a 51-seat majority, and so to the extent that the Kansas independent Greg Orman might end up voting to give them a majority, it probably understates the odds by a point or two."

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:

Subscribe via iTunes or RSS to get episodes automatically downloaded.

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)."

Archive: 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."

Mayor Suspected in Disappearance of Teachers

"A Mexican mayor and his wife were 'probable masterminds' behind the disappearance of 43 student teachers last month in the restive southwest," Reuters reports.

"The students went missing on Sept. 26 from Iguala in the southwestern state of Guerrero, after they clashed with police. The incident sent shockwaves across Mexico and undermined President Enrique Pena Nieto's claims that Mexico is getting safer under his watch."

Archive: October 22, 2014

Paul Will Hold 2016 Strategy Session Next Month

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) "is summoning his top strategists and political advisers to Washington one week after the November election for a strategy session over his widely expected 2016 presidential bid," National Journal reports.

"The gathering of Paul's top lieutenants in the nation's capital has been quietly organized by Doug Stafford, his chief political strategist, who began reaching out to key figures in Paul's political world earlier this month... Stafford has told invitees to reserve Nov. 12 on their calendar both during the day and into the night. Paul himself is expected to attend some of the meetings."

Brown Just Ahead in Tight New Hampshire Race

A new New England College poll in New Hampshire finds Scott Brown (R) is slightly in front of Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D) in the U.S. Senate race, 48% to 47%.

Still Very Close in Wisconsin

A new Wisconsin Public Radio/St. Norbert College poll in Wisconsin finds Gov. Scott Walker (R) has a slight edge over challenger Mary Burke (D), 47% to 46%.

Democrats Get Back Into Kentucky

The DSCC is jumping back into the Kentucky Senate race after stopping its TV ad buy last week, The Hill reports.

A DSCC official confirmed the committee plans to spend another $650,000 on TV to bolster Alison Lundergan Grimes (D) against Sen. Mitch McConnell (R) and the Senate Majority PAC is also poised to go back on the air with a high six-figures TV buy.

"Though McConnell still likely has an edge, Democrats say the race has tightened over the past few days."

Udall Slips Behind in Colorado

A new USA Today/Suffolk University poll in Colorado finds Cory Gardner (R) leading Sen. Mark Udall (D) in the U.S. Senate race by seven points, 46% to 39%.

Said pollster David Paleologos: "As President Obama goes, Mark Udall goes. Obama's unpopularity is significantly affecting Udall's chances for reelection in November, as his opponent has consistently tied him to President Obama. By the looks of both President Obama's and Mark Udall's unfavorability ratings, that message is beginning to stick with Colorado voters."

Crist Has Edge in Tight Florida Race

A new St. Leo University poll in Florida finds Charlie Crist (D) leading Gov. Rick Scott in the race for governor by three points, 43% to 40%.

LePage Can't Think of Anything Nice to Say About Rivals

When Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R) was asked to say "a few good things" about his two challengers -- Mike Michaud (D) and Eliot Cutler (I) -- in last night's gubernatorial debate, he was left nearly speechless.

Said LePage: "My opponents? I don't know, I don't follow them."

Christie Wants to Make Sure Republicans Count the Votes

At a recent event, Gov. Chris Christie (R) "stressed the need to keep Republicans in charge of states -- and overseeing state-level voting regulations -- ahead of the next presidential election," the Bergen Record reports.

Said Christie: "Would you rather have Rick Scott in Florida overseeing the voting mechanism, or Charlie Crist? Would you rather have Scott Walker in Wisconsin overseeing the voting mechanism, or would you rather have Mary Burke? Who would you rather have in Ohio, John Kasich or Ed FitzGerald?"

Iowa Race Remains Tight

A new Monmouth poll in Iowa finds Joni Ernst (R) with a one point lead over Bruce Braley (D) in the U.S. Senate race, 47% to 46%.

Key finding: "Early voters support Braley by a 54% to 41% margin over Ernst. However, Ernst has a 50% to 42% advantage among the two-thirds of the electorate who have yet to vote."

Rounds Knew of Conflict But Did Nothing

"U.S. Senate candidate Mike Rounds (R) as governor knew his Cabinet secretary, Richard Benda, was going to work for an investor in the Northern Beef Packers plant about the time he approved Benda's proposal to give the plant more state aid -- or found out immediately afterwards but was not alarmed," the Sioux Falls Argus Leader reports.

From Richest to Poorest in Congress

For the first time, Roll Call has tallied the net worth of every member of Congress.

A Brutal Attack Ad in Michigan

In Michigan's 11th congressional district, Bobby McKenzie (D) has put out one of the toughest attack ads of the cycle in his uphill race against David Trott (R).

The Fix: "Trott is an attorney who specializes in foreclosures. The premise of the ad is the 2011 eviction of 101-year-old Texana Hollis from her Detroit home after missed payments by her son."

Baker Edges Ahead of Coakley in Massachusetts

For the first time in the WBUR weekly tracking poll, Charlie Baker (R) is leading Martha Coakley (D) in the race to become the next governor of Massachusetts, 43% to 42%.

Said pollster Steve Koczela: "It's one of several polls which over the last week or so have shown a movement toward Baker. Coakley has essentially been treading water while Baker's been climbing."

Not Clear When Senate Control Will Be Decided

Harry Enten estimates that there is a 53% chance we'll be able to project which party controls the U.S. Senate near the November 4 election and a 47% chance the midterms go to overtime.

Jeb Bush to Make Decision Soon

George P. Bush told Politico that his father, Jeb Bush, will decide whether to run for president in 2016 "very shortly," and that "among the sacrifices he's weighing is putting aside his lucrative business dealings, which reportedly range from chairing a private equity and consulting firm to giving well-paid speeches."

"Also key will be how others in the Bush clan, including Jeb Bush's publicity-shy wife, Columba, ultimately come down, and whether Jeb Bush really wants to make such a serious time commitment, his son said."

FBI Agent Campaigns for Pressler

In South Dakota, former FBI agent John Good is joining Larry Pressler (I) on the campaign trail "to highlight the former senator's honesty during the Abscam inquiry in the late 1970s and early 1980s," the Wall Street Journal reports.

Good endorsed Pressler last week, "saying he was the only lawmaker to turn down an offered bribe during the FBI sting in the late 1970s that snagged other members of Congress for accepting bribes from a fake Arab sheik, the basis of the 2013 movie American Hustle."

Nunn Holds Small Lead in Georgia

A new SurveyUSA poll in Georgia finds Michelle Nunn (D) leading David Perdue (R) in the U.S. Senate race by just two points, 46% to 44%.

Key finding: "Support for Perdue has steadily, yet slightly declined over the past six weeks, while Nunn has gained ground, albeit not consistently."

Young Rattles High School Students

In a high school appearance, Rep. Don Young (R-AK) "didn't temper his notoriously abrasive personality for his young audience," the Alaska Dispatch News reports.

"Numerous witnesses say Young, 81, acted in a disrespectful and sometimes offensive manner to some students, used profanity and started talking about bull sex when confronted with a question about same-sex marriage... More concerning, school officials say, Young made what they called hurtful and insensitive statements about suicide just days after a Wasilla student took his own life."

6 Lawmakers with No Assets

Roll Call: "In a Congress packed with millionaires and near-millionaires, six lawmakers stand out on the other end of the spectrum -- they didn't report a single asset on their financial disclosure forms."

Will Monica Lewinsky Hurt a Clinton Presidential Bid?

Wall Street Journal: "Yes -- though not for reasons you might think. It's doubtful Ms. Lewinsky has salacious new stories to share about her dalliance with the ex-president in the mid-1990s. The Starr report covered that ground in unsparing detail."

"But there's another consideration. Ms. Lewinsky's reappearance is a reminder of a deeply polarizing period in American politics. And that does Mrs. Clinton no favors as she girds for a possible campaign. Polls already suggest Mrs. Clinton isn't a unifying figure who can bridge the partisan divide that has bedeviled President Barack Obama."

Still a Dead Heat in Florida

A new Quinnipiac poll in Florida finds Gov. Rick Scott (R) and challenger Charlie Crist (D) tied in the race for governor, 42% to 42%, with Libertarian candidate Adrian Wyllie at 7%.

Malloy Barely Ahead in Connecticut

A new Quinnipiac poll in Connecticut finds Gov. Dannel Malloy (D) is locked in a repeat of the 2010 down-to-the-wire governor's race as he barely leads challenger Tom Foley (R), 43% to 42%, with Joe Visconti (I) at 9%.

Poll Finds Snyder Ahead in Michigan

Although most polls show a close race, a new EPIC-MRA poll in Michigan finds Gov. Rick Snyder (R) comfortably ahead of challenger Mark Schauer (D) in the race for governor, 47% to 39%.

Archive: October 21, 2014

GOP Opens Big Generic Ballot Lead

A new AP-GfK poll finds likely voters favor a Republican controlled-Congress by a wide margin, 47% to 39%.

"That's a shift in the GOP's favor since an AP-GfK poll in late September, when the two parties ran about evenly among likely voters."

Scott Delayed Execution for Fundraiser

Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) admitted in a debate against challenger Charlie Crist (D) that he delayed an execution to accommodate the political fundraising schedule of the Attorney General.

Listen In on the Palin Family Brawl

TMZ has police audio from the recent Palin family brawl.

Listen carefully and you can hear Sarah Palin in the background telling daughter Bristol not to cuss during her statement.

Walker's Ambitions on the Line

In his third election in four years, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) "is far more worried than he was in previous contests -- less confident that he can fend off a challenge from Democrat Mary Burke, who is running a competitive race by targeting slow job growth during Walker's tenure. Both his gubernatorial record and his potential 2016 presidential aspirations are on the line," the Washington Post reports.

GOP Staffer Pleads Guilty to Embezzling $1.8 Million

"Former David Dewhurst (R) campaign manager Kenneth 'Buddy' Barfield is facing up to 28 years in prison and millions in fines and restitution payments after pleading guilty Tuesday to embezzling nearly $1.8 million from the outgoing lieutenant governor's failed 2012 bid for U.S. Senate," the Houston Chronicle reports.

Cotton Paid Nearly $300K to Group That May Not Exist

Arkansas U.S. Senate candidate Tom Cotton (R) disbursed over $131,000 to Right Solutions Partners in March for "fund-raising consulting" and an additional $161,000 to it in August for the same purpose, the New York Times reports.

"But here's the catch: It's not clear that such an entity actually exists. It has no presence on the Internet, it appears that no other campaign is paying it this year, and it has no office at the Washington address listed on the articles of organization filed with the city last year."

Gary Hart Tapped as Envoy to Northern Ireland

The State Department has named former Sen. Gary Hart (D-CO) to be its newest envoy to Northern Ireland, the AP reports.

Secretary of State John Kerry said Hart "will help smooth negotiations in the new round of power-sharing talks among the government's five-party coalition."

Braley Trails in Iowa Battlegrounds

A senior House Democratic official told National Journal that internal polling in Iowa shows Joni Ernst (R) leading Bruce Braley (D) "in all three of the state's battleground seats, making it challenging for downballot House candidates to put away winnable races--even in Iowa's Democratic-leaning districts."

Christie Says He's Tired of Hearing About the Minimum Wage

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) said he doesn't want anymore discussion about the minimum wage, TPM reports.

Said Christie: "I gotta tell you the truth, I'm tired of hearing about the minimum wage, I really am."

He added: "I don't think there's a mother or father sitting around a kitchen table tonight in America who are saying, 'You know honey, if my son or daughter could just make a higher minimum wage, my God, all our dreams would be realized," he added. "Is that what parents aspire to for their children?"

'Mr. President, Don't Touch My Girlfriend'

President Obama proved he has a good sense of humor while voting early in Chicago.

Extra Bonus Quote of the Day

"I mean, realistically, my political career is probably over."

-- Former Rep. Anthony Weiner (D), quoted by Politico, reflecting on the sexting scandal that forced him to resign from Congress.

Gardner Leads in Colorado

A new Public Policy Polling survey in Colorado finds Cory Gardner (R) leading Sen. Mark Udall (D) in the U.S. Senate race, 46% to 43%.

In the race for governor, Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) barely edges challenger Bob Beauprez (R), 45% to 44%.

A new Monmouth poll has Gardner ahead 47% to 46%.

What Is Russia Up To Now?

Foreign Policy: "What first sounded like something straight out of a Tom Clancy novel is turning out to be Moscow's first serious test of Western resolve since the invasion of Crimea earlier this year. While details are patchy and the situation is still unfolding, three separate credible eyewitness accounts and a photo showing a dark structure descending into the shallow waters of the Baltic Sea seem to confirm the presence of a foreign submarine or mini-sub some 30 miles from Stockholm. If so, this would be a major escalation of tensions in the Baltic Sea region."

"Adding to the mystery are other reports of a North Sea-bound Russian container ship sailing under a Liberian flag hovering outside Swedish territorial waters. Defense analysts have speculated that this might be the submarine's mother ship. In response to these chilling developments, the Swedish military has launched one of its biggest military operations in decades, involving some 200 men, a number of stealth ships, minesweepers, and helicopters to locate the suspected sub and its crew."

Bonus Quote of the Day

"It's not going to be an easy election, it's a close election. Like I said, much closer than I can even understand why. I don't want to say anything about your Wisconsin voters but, some of them might not be as sharp as a knife."

-- RNC co-chair Sharon Day, quoted by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, while campaigning in Wisconsin.

McConnell Pays for Enthusiam

The Kentucky Republican Party is offering volunteers all-expenses-paid trips to join Sen. Mitch McConnell's (R-KY) campaign bus tour and "contribute to an enthusiastic atmosphere" at his events, The Hill reports.

Haley Headed for a Big Win in South Carolina

A new Charleston Post and Courier poll in South Carolina finds Gov. Nikki Haley (R) headed for a landslide victory over Vincent Shaheen (D), 51% to 31%, with Tom Ervin (I) at 11%.

Senate Math May Hinge on Kansas and Georgia

Charlie Cook: "The prospects remain very tough for Democrats to hold onto their majority in the Senate, but there is a new scenario emerging--albeit still unlikely--that is turning the majority math a bit on its head."

"As I have said previously, Republicans need a net gain of six seats to take the majority. The question has generally been whether Republicans just need to knock off six Democratic seats to get to 51, or if they will need to gross seven seats in order to net six. Now there appears to be a real question as to whether Republicans may need to gross eight seats in order to net six, covering for the potential loss of not just Sen. Pat Roberts in Kansas but an open seat in Georgia as well."

Obama's Bigger Plan for Klain

Administration insiders tell Mike Allen that Ron Klain, who starts Wednesday as the White House Ebola czar, will be in line to succeed John Podesta as counselor to President Obama when Podesta leaves, likely to chair Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign.

Said the source: "The president has been talking to Ron about different roles for a long time, and he wouldn't accept the Ebola job unless there was a promise of something bigger."

McConnell Has Slight Edge in Kentucky

A new Western Kentucky University poll in Kentucky finds Sen. Mitch McConnell (R) with a three-point lead over challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes (D), 45% to 42%.

Justice Suspended in Email Porn Scandal

Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice Seamus McCaffery was suspended with pay by a 4-1 vote of his court colleagues, the Harrisburg Patriot-News reports.

"He becomes the latest in a sad parade of high-ranking state officials, and the first judge, to be forced from office for participating in an apparently longstanding, friends-only pornographic email ring centered in the Tom Corbett-era Attorney General's office."

Obama Doesn't See Himself as a Supreme Court Justice

President Obama told Jeffrey Toobin that he's not very interested in being on the Supreme Court, despite his background in constitutional law.

Said Obama: "I don't think I have the temperament to sit in a chamber and write opinions. I love the law, intellectually. I love nutting out these problems, wrestling with these arguments. I love teaching. I miss the classroom and engaging with students. But I think being a Justice is a little bit too monastic for me. Particularly after having spent six years and what will be eight years in this bubble, I think I need to get outside a little bit more."

McCain Sets Meeting to Discuss Re-Election

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) has scheduled a breakfast meeting for Nov. 6 in Arizona where he will discuss with supporters his "thoughts" on seeking re-election in 2016, the Arizona Republic reports.

Earlier this month, McCain told reporters that the odds of him running again in 2016 "are pretty good."

Quote of the Day

"One of the nice things about being home is actually that it's a little bit like a time capsule. Because Michelle and I and the kids, we left so quickly that there's still junk on my desk, including some unpaid bills (laughter) -- I think eventually they got paid -- but they're sort of stacked up. And messages, newspapers and all kinds of stuff."

-- President Obama, quoted by the Weekly Standard, at a fundraiser in Chicago. An official transcript later deleted the reference to unpaid bills.

Snyder Holds Small Lead in Michigan

A new Mitchell poll in Michigan finds Gov. Rick Snyder (R) edging challenger Mark Schauer (D) in the race for governor, 48% to 46%.

In the U.S. Senate race, Gary Peters (D) leads Terri Lynn Land (R), 51% to 38%.

Americans Are Self-Segregating by Political Views

John Avlon: "What's changed? Well, the two parties in Congress are more ideologically and geographically polarized than at any time in our recent history. But we've had deep divisions in our politics before. And yes, the Wingnuts seem to have an outsize influence on our politics debates. But we've had extremists in our politics before."

"What's different is the proliferation of partisan media via cable news and the Internet. Amid unprecedented access to information, our fellow citizens are self-segregating themselves into separate political realities. That's the conclusion of a compelling, if depressing, new study by the Pew Research Center on political polarization and media habits."

Spending Already for Hillary

"Hillary Clinton's friendly super-PAC is spending roughly $23,000 a day - nearly as much as it's bringing in - as it builds a database of supporters and donors for a possible 2016 Democratic presidential bid," Bloomberg reports.

"Viewed another way: Getting Ready for Hillary costs her supporters about $2 million per quarter, covering expenses for everything from political consultants to voter databases to Des Moines hotel rooms."

Republicans Using Romney's Email List to Win Senate

Time reports that Mitt Romney's digital operation may have been a generation behind President Obama's effort, "but his email list has proven to be a potent fundraising too for the party as it looks for victory this fall."

"In the past week, the National Republican Senatorial Committee has emailed the list no fewer than 16 times, many times with emails addressed from Romney himself, while the National Republican Congressional Committee, House Republican's campaign arm, has used it at least once."

Republicans Continue to Push Travel Ban

"Republican leaders, conceding the futility of a flight ban from Ebola-afflicted West Africa, are refining their response to the outbreak, pressing to suspend visas for travelers and create 'no boarding' lists," the New York Times reports.

"But a supercharged political atmosphere is making legislative nuance difficult two weeks before midterm elections and days before a hearing on Friday on the Ebola response called by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, a panel riven by partisan division. Republicans on the campaign trail continue to goad Democrats to embrace a broad travel ban, although no direct flights to the United States from Liberia, Sierra Leone or Guinea exist."

GOP Risks Backlash on Immigration

New York Times: "Republicans have long relied on illegal immigration to rally the conservative base, even if the threat seemed more theoretical than tangible in most of the country. But in several of this year's midterm Senate campaigns -- including Arkansas and Kansas, as well as New Hampshire -- Republicans' stance on immigration is posing difficult questions about what the party wants to be in the longer term."

"Some Republicans are questioning the cost of their focus on immigration. Campaigning on possible threats from undocumented immigrants -- similar to claims that President Obama and the Democrats have left the country vulnerable to attacks from Islamic terrorists and the Ebola virus -- may backfire after November. At that point, the party will have to start worrying about its appeal beyond the conservative voters it needs to turn out in midterm elections."

Why House Republicans Alienate the Hispanic Vote

Nate Cohn: "Political analysts keep urging the Republican Party to do more to appeal to Hispanic voters. Yet the party's congressional leaders show little sign of doing so, blocking an immigration overhaul and harshly criticizing President Obama for his plan to defer deportation for undocumented migrants."

"There's a simple reason that congressional Republicans are willing to risk alienating Hispanics: They don't need their votes, at least not this year."

Archive: October 20, 2014

Cotton Surges Ahead in Arkansas

A new Talk Business & Politics/Hendrix College poll in Arkansas finds Tom Cotton (R) leading Sen. Mark Pryor (D) by eight points in the U.S. Senate race, 49% to 41%.

Extra Bonus Quote of the Day

"We've got a tough map. A lot of the states that are contested this time are states that I didn't win. And so some of the candidates there, you know, it is difficult for them to have me in the state because the Republicans will use that to try to fan Republican turn-out. The bottom line is, though, these are all folks who vote with me."

-- President Obama, quoted by the Weekly Standard.

Top Alabama Republican Indicted on Corruption Charges

Mike Hubbard (R), "speaker of the Alabama House of Representatives and a powerful leader in the state Republican Party, has been indicted by a grand jury and charged with 23 counts, including using his office for personal gain and soliciting things of value," the Birmingham News reports.

Runoff Increasingly Likely in Louisiana

A new FOX 8 News-Raycom Media Poll in Louisiana finds Sen. Mary Landrieu (D) leads the U.S. Senate race with Bill Cassidy (R), 36% to 32%, with Rob Maness at 6%.

The race is almost certain to head to a runoff. Cassidy leads a two-way race with Landrieu, 43% to 40%.

McConnell Barely Ahead in Kentucky

A new Bluegrass Poll in Kentucky finds Sen. Mitch McConnell (R) barely leading Alison Lundergan Grimes (D), 44% to 43%, with Libertarian candidate David Paterson at 5%.

Bonus Quote of the Day

"That's not gonna happen."

-- Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R), quoted by the AP, on Republicans promising to repeal Obamacare.

GOP Strategist, Now and Then

"Is this a joke? It's obviously a stock image used by our digital firm to reflect that Kansas is the Sunflower State. But given the many serious issues facing our country right now, I doubt voters care about this silly line of attack by Greg Orman and his liberal allies."

-- Roberts campaign manager Corry Bliss, quoted by BuzzFeed today, on reports that Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS) used stock images of sunflowers from the Ukraine instead of Kansas on his website.

"Our campaign received several phone calls from both workers at Electric Boat and veterans who served on submarines, both of which were amazed that Congressman Murphy would feature a Norwegian sub in a television ad claiming it was from Groton."

-- McMahon campaign manager Corry Bliss, quoted by the Danbury News Times in 2012, when Chris Murphy (D) was caught using stock footage in advertisements in his Senate campaign.

GOP Candidate Says Same-Sex Couples are 'Gremlins'

Anthony Culler (R), who is challenging Rep. James Clyburn's (D-SC) for Congress, referred to same-sex couples as "gremlins" and "bullies" in a Facebook post, according to The Hill.

Culler decried same-sex marriage as "a pestilence that has descended on our society, against our will, by those in the courts and government that do not value the traditional family. Same sex couples that seek to destroy our way of life and the institution of marriage are NOT cute and cuddly but rather (for those of you that are old enough to remember the movie), Gremlins that will only destroy our way of life."

Roberts Passing Off Images from Ukraine as Kansas

The image Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS) uses on every page of his campaign website and on his press releases of a sunset on a sunflower field is not in Kansas at all, BuzzFeed reports.

It's actually a stock photo of a field in Ukraine.

Still Tied in Florida

A new Rasmussen survey in Florida shows the race for governor continues to be a dead heat with Gov. Rick Scott (R) tied with challenger Charlie Crist (D), 47% to 47%.

Worst Political Ad of the Year?

In the Michigan U.S. Senate race, Terri Lynn Land (R) hits Gary Peters (D) for ties to loan sharks in a new ad inspired by Sharknado.

Hagan Maintains Small Lead in North Carolina

A new Public Policy Polling survey in North Carolina poll finds a steady Senate race, with Sen. Kay Hagan (D) leading challenger Thom Tillis (R) by three points, 46% to 43%.

Key takeaway: "It's still a close race but Hagan's lead- though small- has certainly been persistent and something dramatic may need to happen in the final two weeks to allow Tillis to come out on top."

Path to Holding Senate Narrows for Democrats

Greg Sargent: "If Democrats can hold on in just one of the four following toss-up states in which they are currently trailing -- Colorado, Iowa, Arkansas, or Alaska -- their hopes of holding the Senate remain alive. That is plausible. But a lot has to go their way after that."

"Let's give Republicans West Virgina, Montana, and South Dakota up front, while giving Democrats North Carolina, New Hampshire, and Michigan -- outcomes that are consistent with the polling averages. If Dems can limit Republicans to wins in three of these four (CO, IA, AR, AK), that puts the GOP at 51 seats. That would probably send us into overtime, with Louisiana and Georgia likely to head to run-offs due to election rules."

Deadlocked in Kansas

A new Monmouth University poll in Kansas finds Sen. Pat Roberts (R) locked in a dead heat with challenger Greg Orman (I) in the U.S. Senate race, 46% to 46%.

Quote of the Day

"The president has done a good job of helping refocus this race for us. Thank you, Mr. President."

-- GOP strategist Paul Shumaker, quoted by the Washington Post, on how President Obama's handling of the Ebola crisis has helped North Carolina Senate candidate Thom Tillis (R).

The 2016 GOP Field Will Be Huge

The Fix: "New Washington Post-ABC News polling on the 2016 Republican presidential race makes one thing very clear: Every GOPer who has even a hint of ambition for national office is likely to run in two years time. Why? Because the field is remarkably frontrunner-less, meaning that every Ted, John and Rob can make a plausible case to activists and donors that they are going to eventually be the guy."

Brown Closes the Gap in New Hampshire

A new Boston Herald/Suffolk University poll in New Hampshire finds Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D) just three points ahead of Scott Brown (R) in the U.S. Senate race, 49% to 46%.

"The margin is hardly comforting to Democrats since it shows Shaheen's support has remained stagnant over the last few months. In the last Suffolk-Herald poll in June, Shaheen held the exact same level of support - 49 percent - among likely voters. Brown's support has increased by 7 points since June."

On Wonk Wire

Some great clicks over at Wonk Wire:

And a bonus click from Working Capital Review:

Democrats Running Away from Obama Won't Work

First Read: "Our latest NBC/WSJ/Annenberg poll is the latest survey to show Republicans with an advantage (49%-44% among likely voters) heading into the Nov. 4 midterms. And once again, the GOP holds the enthusiasm edge: 42% of all Republican voters say they're more enthusiastic than usual, versus just 34% for Democrats. And if Republicans run the table in the all the close races - similar to how Democrats ran the table in all of the toss-up contests in 2006 - there is going to be a tremendous amount of second-guessing about the Democratic candidates keeping their distance from Obama."

"We've said it before, and we'll say it again: A party running away from a president never works. One, because the party already owns the president. And two, because that running away alienates many of the voters who elected -- and then re-elected -- him. In other words, if the Democratic Party wants to energize its voters, is treating the head of the party like a pariah the best way to do that? Bottom line: It's just demoralizing, and it creates a negative feedback loop."

Still a Tight Race in Illinois

A new Southern Illinois University Carbondale poll in Illinois finds Bruce Rauner (R) edging Gov. Pat Quinn (D) in the race for governor, 42% to 41%.

Abbott Pulling Away in Texas

A new KHOU-TV/Houston Public Media poll in Texas finds Greg Abbott (R) leading Wendy Davis (D) in the race for governor by 15 points, 47% to 32%.

Brown Won't Rule Out Running for Mayor Again

California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) "has ruled out a run for president in 2016. But he declined to rule out another bid for Oakland mayor," the Los Angeles Times reports.

Said Brown: "I wouldn't mind being mayor of Oakland. But I don't know, when I'm 80 and a half, whether I'll have the same appetite... I don't want to foreclose my options for four years from now."

North Carolina Showdown Could Be Most Expensive Ever

"From the Koch brothers and Art Pope to George Soros and Michael Bloomberg, wealthy donors are making North Carolina's U.S. Senate race one of America's first $100 million contests," the Charlotte Observer reports.

"Outside groups continue to flood the state with ads and accusations, forcing Democratic U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan and Republican Thom Tillis to keep scrambling for dollars in the campaign's final two weeks. Money spent or committed in the race is poised to top $103 million, according to public records and interviews with donors. Three-quarters of it comes from party and interest groups. More than $22 million is dark money from groups that don't disclose their donors."

The Divided States of America

NBC News: "The dominant political story heading into the Nov. 4 midterm elections isn't control of the U.S. Senate, or President Obama's approval ratings, or the party that captures the most governor's mansions across the nation. Instead, it's that this country - long known for its combative politics, especially before an election - is more divided today than it has been in decades. And it's likely to remain that way for the foreseeable future."

Democrats Back Long-Shot Candidates

"Democrats, worried as polls show their chances of retaining control of the Senate dwindling, are plowing money into long-shot races in unexpected states as embattled incumbents elsewhere seem to be slipping behind," the Wall Street Journal reports.

"The party last week put $1 million into the contest for a GOP-held seat in Georgia, attempting to capitalize on polls now shifting in its favor, as it also makes a play against long odds to hold its own seat in South Dakota with another $1 million in spending."

People Walk Out on Obama at Campaign Event

President Obama "made a rare appearance on the campaign trail on Sunday with a rally to support the Democratic candidate for governor in Maryland, though the event was marred somewhat by early departures of crowd members and a yelling heckler," Reuters reports.

"Some 8,000 people turned out for the event, held in a noisy school gymnasium. But a steady stream of people walked out while he spoke, and a heckler interrupted his remarks."

Tennessee Lawmaker Arrested Three Times in One Month

Tennessee state Sen. Jim Summerville (R) "was arrested twice this weekend -- just one month after he was arrested for public intoxication," the New York Daily News reports.

Summerville "has been charged with stalking and assault in separate incidents involving his neighbor."

McConnell Seeks to Clear the Decks

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) "wants to get all must-pass legislation completed in the lame-duck session so Senate Republicans will have a clean slate at the start of 2015 if they control the upper chamber," The Hill reports.

"Senate GOP aides say that's the message from the leader, who could face opposition from conservative lawmakers who want to block any non-emergency measures in the window between Election Day and the start of the new Congress in January."

Most Feel U.S. Has Lost Control

A new Politico poll finds "an overwhelming majority of voters in the most competitive 2014 elections say it feels as if events in the United States are "out of control" and expressed mounting alarm about terrorism, anxiety about Ebola and harsh skepticism of both political parties only three weeks before the Nov. 4 midterms."

Key fidings: Two-thirds of likely voters said they feel that the United States has lost control of its major challenges. Only 36 percent said the country is "in a good position to meet its economic and national security" hurdles.

Grayson's Divorce Gets Messier

Rep. Alan Grayson's (D-FL) "messy divorce is getting messier, at least when it comes to his house," the AP reports.

"Court papers filed by his estranged wife, Lolita, claim that the Democratic congressman failed to pay for repairs for the 5,300-square-foot Orlando house where she is living with their four children. The roof is leaking, broken windows are allowing rain to get inside and the house has a significant mold problem because of the moisture, Lolita Grayson said in the papers filed at the Orange County Courthouse. She also said the congressman cut off her credit cards, even though he has been the sole financial provider during their 24 years of marriage."

Archive: October 19, 2014

Where Are the Polls?

Harry Enten: "Two weeks and two days before Election Day, and we received just two polls over the weekend. The polls, both taken in Colorado by left-leaning groups, had little impact on the FiveThirtyEight Senate forecast -- Republicans have a 62 percent chance of taking the Senate. Indeed, we were more interested in the small number of polls than what those two surveys said."

"The FiveThirtyEight model relies mostly on polls, and without polls, the forecast's accuracy could suffer. So we looked into it. Fortunately, this weekend was an aberration. We're getting fewer polls than we did in 2010, but we're not getting way fewer polls."

Obama Seeks Iran Deal That Would Avoid Congress

New York Times: "No one knows if the Obama administration will manage in the next five weeks to strike what many in the White House consider the most important foreign policy deal of his presidency: an accord with Iran that would forestall its ability to make a nuclear weapon. But the White House has made one significant decision: If agreement is reached, President Obama will do everything in his power to avoid letting Congress vote on it."

Likely Voters Favor GOP Led Congress

A new Wall Street Journal/NBC News/Annenberg survey finds likely voters favor a Republican-led Congress over a Democratic one, 49% to 44%.

"The survey is yet more evidence that Democratic voters are tuning out the midterms. Democrats carried a 10-point lead among low-interest voters, who the party is trying to reach and motivate with vigorous turnout operations across the country. Republicans carried a 10-point lead in the new survey among voters who said they were highly interested in the election."

Quote of the Day

"The game is rigged, and the Republicans rigged it."

-- Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), quoted by the Washington Post.

Black Voters Key to Democrats Holding Senate

"The confidential memo from a former pollster for President Obama contained a blunt warning for Democrats. Written this month with an eye toward Election Day, it predicted 'crushing Democratic losses across the country' if the party did not do more to get black voters to the polls," the New York Times reports.

Wrote pollster Cornell Belcher: "African-American surge voters came out in force in 2008 and 2012, but they are not well positioned to do so again in 2014. In fact, over half aren't even sure when the midterm elections are taking place."

Romney Leads GOP Field for President

A new ABC News/Washington Post poll finds that 21% of Republican voters back Mitt Romney for president.

"When Romney is excluded from the race, his supporters scatter, adding no clarity to the GOP free-for-all. In that scenario former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul have 12 or 13 percent support from leaned Republicans who are registered to vote. All others have support in the single digits."

On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton holds a commanding lead with 64% support.

Archive: October 18, 2014

Investigation Uncovers Candidate's Medals for Valor

"The American political graveyard has more than a few monuments to politicians and public officials who embellished details of their military service, in some cases laying claim to medals for heroism or other military honors they never received," the Boston Globe reports.

"And then, uniquely, there is Seth W. Moulton, the Democratic nominee for Congress in the Sixth Congressional District, a former Marine who saw fierce combat for months and months in Iraq. But Moulton chose not to publicly disclose that he was twice decorated for heroism until pressed by the Globe."

Bonus Quote of the Day

"This is as close as we've gotten to a presidential-style campaign in those states. We're assuming that the 2014 electorate is going to look more like 2012 than 2010."

-- GOP pollster Neil Newhouse, quoted by the New York Times, on the battleground states.

Quote of the Day

"I love her. That's easy to understand. She loves me. That's hard to understand."

-- Edwin Edwards, quoted by the Financial Times, on his wife who is 51 years younger than him.

Black Woman Standing Next to Corbett Was Photoshopped

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett's (R) re-election campaign "found an African-American woman to stand next to the governor on his website photos," the Philadelphia Daily News reports.

"Not an actual woman. According to Buzzfeed, the black woman who gazes at Corbett was Photoshopped from a stock picture."

Supreme Court Allows Texas to Use Voter ID Law

"The Supreme Court on Saturday allowed Texas to use its strict voter identification law in the November election. The court's order was unsigned and contained no reasoning," the New York Times reports.

"The law, enacted in 2011, requires voters seeking to cast their ballots at the polls to present photo identification like a Texas driver's or gun license, a military ID or a passport."

Midterm Polling Error is Much Larger

Sam Wang: "Yesterday, Nate Silver and I both examined Senate polling errors. He saw no overall bias; I pointed out that recent bias has been unusually large. Both statements are true. But neither of us pointed out that the biases follow a significant pattern: midterm-year polling is far less accurate than Presidential-year polling."

"From a practical standpoint, this is good news for those of you who don't like where things have headed lately: in midterms, Senate polling errors are five times larger than in Presidential years. There is bad news too: the error can go in either direction, and a GOP blowout is also possible."

Gillespie Gives Up in Virginia

"Ed Gillespie, one of the Republican establishment's most respected advisers and powerful fundraisers, badly trails in the race for campaign cash and has asked television stations to stop running his ads for Senate with just three weeks left before Election Day," CBS News reports.

"Reports filed with the Federal Communications Commission show Gillespie's campaign cancelling or drastically reducing the amount of money it plans to spend on television ads in coming days. At the same time, political operatives who track television advertising said Thursday that Gillespie does not have ads reserved in the final push toward the Nov. 4 elections."

Clinton Tests Campaign Themes

Hillary Clinton "is back on the campaign trail after a six-year hiatus, aiming to rouse Democratic voters who don't typically show up for midterm elections. In the course of trying to help her party's candidates, she is also testing themes that would likely surface in her own potential run for office and giving clues to the political profile she might adopt in a presidential campaign," the Wall Street Journal reports.

"Lately, Mrs. Clinton has spiced her campaign-trail speeches with targeted criticism of business--notable given that some liberals are suspicious of the Clinton family for accepting hundreds of millions of dollars in corporate donations and speaking fees. Those concerns could prompt a primary challenge from the political left."

Archive: October 17, 2014

Clinton Aides Halted Investigation Into Sexual Misconduct

"A State Department investigation has found that aides to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton contributed to the 'appearance of undue influence and favoritism' in three departmental investigations related to alleged sexual conduct by officials in the field," Time reports.

"In the highest-level case, the department's inspector general found that senior State Department officials declared an allegation that the U.S. Ambassador to Belgium had solicited a prostitute in a public park as a 'management issue.' The move effectively halted an investigation by the department's Bureau of Diplomatic Security."

Christie's Wife Earned $500K at Part Time Job

According to new tax filings, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's (R) wife, Mary Pat, who works part-time on Wall Street, earned $475,854 for her job as a director at Angelo, Gordon & Co. and $34,698 from Cantor Fitzgerald, the AP reports.

Extra Bonus Quote of the Day

"It certainly is a liability. It is not a killing liability. My opponents all have liabilities, too."

-- Edwin Edwards (D), quoted by the Wall Street Journal, on serving eight years in prison for racketeering.

A Great Election for Political Junkies

Nate Cohn: "I have a confession: I think this is a great election. It's way better than 2012. All around, it might be the best general election in a decade."

"There are a dozen competitive and close Senate contests and, for good measure, there are another dozen competitive governors' contests. Better still, these close Senate races add up to something meaningful and important: control of the Senate. These contests might lack the drama of a presidential election -- and there are plenty of signs of voter apathy in this cycle -- but they make up for it with their diversity, collectively addressing some of the most important and analytically compelling questions in electoral politics."

GOP Lawmaker Says Hamas Could Use Ebola as a Weapon

Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC) said that terrorists from Hamas could purposely infect themselves with the Ebola virus and then travel to America, BuzzFeed reports.

Said Wilson: "I'm very concerned. We had people who, I'll repeat it, the creed of Hamas: We value death more than you value life. What? That's their creed. Okay, well, part of their creed would be to bring persons who have Ebola into our country. It would promote their creed. And all this could be avoided by sealing the border, thoroughly. C'mon, this is the 21st century."

Braley Inches Ahead in Iowa

A new Public Policy Polling survey finds Bruce Braley (D) leading Joni Ernst (R) by one point in the race for U.S. Senate, 48% to 47%.

Bonus Quote of the Day

"I went to a restaurant up in New York when I was - during the U.N. General Assembly, and my credit card was rejected. It turned out I guess I don't use it enough. They were - they thought there was some fraud going on. Fortunately, Michelle had hers."

-- President Obama, quoted by the Washington Post.

The Willie Horton Ad of 2014

"The National Republican Congressional Committee went up with an ad Friday tying the Democratic nominee in a competitive Nebraska House race to Nikko Jenkins, a former inmate convicted of murdering four people after his early release from jail," Roll Call reports.

"It's an ad reminiscent of the Willie Horton spot former President George H.W. Bush ran in 1988, tying his Democratic opponent to a convicted murderer who raped a woman while on a weekend pass from prison."

Obama Names 'Ebola Czar'

President Obama will appoint Ron Klain as his "Ebola czar," sources tell CNN.

Wonk Wire: Fox News gets it right about Ebola

Republicans Recover in Kansas

"Just weeks ago, Democrats in Kansas were salivating over the possibility that Paul Davis would be the next governor in the state and independent Greg Orman would be a new U.S. senator. Not any longer," the Kansas City Star reports.

"In fact, rather suddenly, Republicans are thinking they are going to have an enjoyable Nov. 4 night of watching election returns. That's because they now have growing reasons to think Gov. Sam Brownback is going to defeat Davis and win re-election. That would be unfortunate, given just how badly Brownback's economic policies have hurt the state. And they are giddy over the reversal in the Senate race, where incumbent Pat Roberts could slip by Orman."

Quote of the Day

"I'm really quite comfortable being here to campaign for women and taking orders. It's like being at home."

-- Bill Clinton, quoted by the Washington Post, while campaigning in New Hampshire.

Harkin Sits on Millions Despite Close Senate Races

"Despite direct appeals from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada and other top Democrats," Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) "has refused to transfer money from his $2.4 million campaign account to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee," Politico reports.

"Instead, the retiring Iowa senator has informed party leaders that he plans to use the campaign funds for a charitable contribution to an entity that bears his name: The Harkin Institute for Public Policy and Citizen Engagement at Drake University in Des Moines."

GOP Tries to Make a Wave

"Republicans are taking their most aggressive steps yet to parlay a favorable national climate and growing cash advantage into a historic House majority," Politico reports.

"Aiming to stretch the political map, two prominent conservative groups, American Action Network and Congressional Leadership Fund, on Friday will announce a joint $3 million investment in seven House races, including contests in deep blue districts that are just now starting to be seen as realistic targets for Republicans."

Jon Stewart on Fangate

You didn't think Jon Stewart would ignore the recent Florida gubernatorial debate?

Paul Says He Could Win a Third of Black Vote

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) told Politico "that the Republican presidential candidate in 2016 could capture one-third or more of the African-American vote by pushing criminal-justice reform, school choice and economic empowerment."

Said Paul: "If Republicans have a clue and do this and go out and ask every African American for their vote, I think we can transform an election in one cycle."

The Myth of the Romney Resurgence

Amy Walter compares speculation about Mitt Romney running for president again to the pain of childbirth.

Paul Has Been to 32 States This Year

In his third trip to New Hampshire this year, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) "continued building a network of support - with a heavy focus on young votes - for a possible 2016 presidential run," the AP reports.

"Paul spoke to mostly high school and college students in Concord about the need to elect Scott Brown to the U.S. Senate and addressed a packed auditorium at Plymouth State University. As Paul travels the country this year - he has been to 32 states - he is working to expand the Republican Party's base to include young people and minorities, constituencies that Republicans have had trouble attracting."

Perry Puts His Focus on Iowa

Texas Gov. Rick Perry's (R) "newly created federal political committee gave 13 contributions in the past two months, all to Republican candidates running in Iowa, the first state to vote for a GOP presidential nominee in 2016," the Dallas Morning News reports.

Older Voters Are America's Fastest Growing Demographic

Stuart Stevens: "In the 2012 election, those 65 years or older were 17 percent of the total vote. But by 2030 those numbers will nearly double, and over 30 percent of the electorate will be over 65. To put this in perspective, the Hispanic vote will probably be only about 15 percent of the electorate by 2030. Yet the potential impact of older voters seems lost in the current political discussion."

Biden's Son Discharged After Failing Cocaine Test

"Vice President Joe Biden's son Hunter was discharged from the Navy Reserve this year after testing positive for cocaine," the Wall Street Journal reports.

"Hunter Biden, a lawyer by training who is now a managing partner at an investment company, had been commissioned as an ensign in the Navy Reserve, a part-time position. But after failing a drug test last year, his brief military career ended."

"Mr. Biden, 44 years old, decided to pursue military service relatively late, beginning the direct-commission process to become a public-affairs officer in the Navy Reserve in 2012. Because of his age--43 when he was to be commissioned--he needed a waiver to join the Navy. He received a second Navy waiver because of a drug-related incident when he was a young man... Military officials say such drug waivers aren't uncommon."

Cassidy Would Win Runoff in Louisiana

A Vox Populi Polling survey in Louisiana finds Bill Cassidy (R) leads Sen. Mary Landrieu (D) in a head to head match up, 48% to 44%.

Nunn Barely Ahead in Georgia

A new GA Pundit poll in Georgia finds Michelle Nunn (D) just ahead of David Perdue (R) in the U.S. Senate race, 46% to 45%, with Libertarian Amanda Swafford at 6%.

Cotton Leads in Arkansas

A new Rasmussen survey in Arkansas finds Tom Cotton (R) leading Sen. Mark Pryor (D) in the U.S. Senate race, 47% to 44%.

The Rise of the Oligarchs

New York Times: "In 2010, the Citizens United decision by the Supreme Court effectively blew apart the McCain-Feingold restrictions on outside groups and their use of corporate and labor money in elections. That same year, a related ruling from a lower court made it easier for wealthy individuals to finance those groups to the bottom of their bank accounts if they so chose. What followed has been the most unbridled spending in elections since before Watergate."

"The result was a massive power shift, from the party bosses to the rich individuals who ran the super PACs (as most of these new organizations came to be called)... With the advent of Citizens United, any players with the wherewithal, and there are surprisingly many of them, can start what are in essence their own political parties, built around pet causes or industries and backing politicians uniquely answerable to them. No longer do they have to buy into the system. Instead, they buy their own pieces of it outright, to use as they see fit."

Archive: October 16, 2014

Brown Writes Off 'Stumbling' FitzGerald

In his most frank assessment of Ohio gubernatorial candidate Ed FitzGerald (D), Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) calls him a "stumbling" candidate for governor, WBNS-TV reports.

Laxalt Family Endorses Opponent

The family of Adam Laxalt (R), grandson of former Sen. Paul Laxalt (R), endorsed his opponent for Nevada Attorney General in a letter to the Las Vegas Sun.

Bonus Quote of the Day

"By the way, one of the biggest motivating factors for me actually considering this is to have 24-hour surveillance on my daughter. It would be great."

-- Gov. Chris Christie, quoted by Business Insider, on why he might want to run for president.

Quote of the Day

"I have said and I will continue to say that we shouldn't cut one penny from the safety net until we eliminate every penny of corporate welfare."

-- Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), in a Time profile.

Ebola Panic Doesn't Match the Crisis

First Read: "But here is something else we need to say about the Ebola story: The level of panic doesn't match the crisis, at least not yet. So far in the United States, one man (from Liberia) has died, and two nurses have been infected from caring for him. And at this rate, it's possible another health-care worker (or two or three) might get infected, too. But compare this with the thousands who have died from the disease in West Africa, plus the thousands who die from the flu and car accidents each year."

Wonk Wire: Public hysteria is worse than Ebola

Conversation with Charlie Cook

Charlie Cook of the Cook Political Report joins us on the Political Wire podcast for a great look at the 2014 midterm elections and why he thinks Republicans are favored to take control of the U.S. Senate.

Listen here:

Subscribe via iTunes or RSS to get episodes automatically downloaded.

Gardner Holds Steady Lead in Colorado

A new Quinnipiac poll in Colorado finds Cory Gardner (R) leading Sen. Mark Udall (D) by six points in the U.S. Senate race, 47% to 41%.

Deadlocked in Florida

A new Tampa Bay Times/Bay News 9/UF Bob Graham Center poll in Florida finds Gov. Rick Scott (R) and Charlie Crist (D) locked in a dead heat for governor, 40% to 40%, with Libertarian nominee Adrian Wyllie at 6%.

Coakley Clings to Small Lead in Massachusetts

A new MassINC survey in Massachusetts shows Martha Coakley (D) just ahead of Charlie Baker (R) in the race for governor, 42% to 39%.

Raimondo Leads in Rhode Island

A new WPRI 12/Providence Journal poll in Rhode Island finds Gina Raimondo (D) has a slim lead over Allan Fung (R) in the race for governor, 42% to 36%, with Robert Healey (I) at 6%.

Backhanded Praise from Roberts

A the end of last night's U.S. Senate debate in Kansas, Sen. Pat Roberts (R) and Greg Orman (I) were asked to say something nice about each other, the Kansas City Star reports.

Orman went first and praised Roberts' service as a Marine: "Every time I've had an opportunity to talk privately with the senator, he's been a gentleman with a great sense of humor."

Roberts wasn't as gracious: "I would say that you are a very well-dressed opponent. I admire your accumulation of wealth. I have a little question about how you got there from here, but that's the American dream."

Could the Minimum Wage be a Decisive Issue for 2014?

New Public Policy Polling surveys in 6 states with highly competitive races either for the Senate or Governor this fall -- Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, North Carolina, and Wisconsin -- find strong support for increasing the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour, and that Republican candidates could face backlash for their opposition to the raise.

Republicans Get Late Surge of Cash

"Republican candidates for the Senate have overcome the sizable fund-raising edge held by their Democratic opponents for most of the 2014 election cycle... outraising or matching Democrats in races that will decide control of the Senate and entering the final weeks of the campaign with ample cash," the New York Times reports.

"Republican candidates and "super PACs" are now splurging on expensive last-minute advertising, at a time when polling shows Republicans increasingly more likely to win control of the Senate. The question is whether the last-minute money, raised in the three months ending Sept. 30, is coming too late."

Democrats Find a Message That Works

National Journal: "Of all the negative campaign messages that Democrats have used this midterm election, the most effective one is a time-tested line of attack: hitting Republican businessmen for being exorbitantly wealthy while outsourcing jobs overseas and laying off employees. It was President Obama's central argument in his reelection campaign against Mitt Romney, and it is being put to devastating use again in a handful of close gubernatorial and congressional races this year."

"More than any of the other well-worn Democratic arguments--Republicans want to restrict access to abortion, they're beholden to the agenda of the Koch brothers, and so on--this argument is successfully persuading undecided voters in close races."

Ready for Hillary Raises More

"The pro-Hillary Clinton low-dollar super PAC 'Ready for Hillary' raised more than $2 million in the third fund-raising quarter of this year... The amount means the group has raised more than $10.25 million overall, primarily through small donations," Politico reports.

A Tale of Two Elections

Larry Sabato and Kyle Kondik: "As we approach the home stretch, 2014 has turned into a tale of two elections. On the one hand, this is a classic sixth-year itch election where the incumbent president's party is going to suffer losses in both houses of Congress. We're just arguing about exactly how many. Overall, it is indisputable that Republicans will have more critical victories to celebrate than Democrats when all the ballots are counted, and they have a strong and increasing chance to control the next Senate."

"On the other hand, there are unusual and even a few bizarre features on the landscape. Some Democratic incumbent senators have been hanging tough in heavily Republican territory; months ago, many observers thought they'd be quickly swept out to sea in a red tide. The GOP is having a difficult time making inroads in competitive "purple" states and districts, and very little progress at all has been seen in Democratic blue areas."

Archive: October 15, 2014

Dispute Over Fan Upstages Florida Debate

"In the weirdest start of a gubernatorial debate, Florida Gov. Rick Scott initially refused to take the stage Wednesday night because Democrat Charlie Crist insisted on using a fan to keep him cool," the Miami Herald reports.

"The Republican governor finally emerged at least six minutes late as flummoxed moderators struggled on live TV to figure out what to do with a bemused Crist standing solo on stage at Broward College."

Said Crist: "Are we really going to debate about a fan? Or are we going to talk about education and the environment and the future of our state? I mean, really."

Arkansas Court Strikes Down Voter ID Law

"Arkansas' highest court on Wednesday struck down a state law that requires voters to show photo identification before casting a ballot, ruling the requirement unconstitutional just days before early voting begins," the AP reports.

"In a decision that could have major implications in the Nov. 4 election, the Supreme Court upheld a lower court ruling that determined the law unconstitutionally added a requirement for voting."

Is Ebola the October Surprise?

The Fix: Add it all up and you are left with this conclusion: Ebola is the October surprise of the 2014 midterms. That is, an unexpected event that has the potential to roil the electorate in all sorts of unpredictable ways."

Ernst Maintains Lead in Iowa

A new USA Today/Suffolk University poll in Iowa finds Joni Ernst (R) leading Bruce Braley (R) in the U.S. Senate race, 47% to 43% among likely voters.

Bonus Quote of the Day

"The first thing I see every morning when my eyes flutter open is 29 -- which is the average loss to a president's party in a second midterm. We never assumed the best, we prepared for the worst."

-- Rep. Steve Israel (D-NY), head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, managing midterm election expectations in a NBC News interview.

Deadlocked in Wisconsin

A new Marquette University Law School poll in Wisconsin finds Gov. Scott Walker (R) and challenger Mary Burke (D) in a dead heat for governor, 47% to 47%.

Obama Cancels Campaign Trip to Deal with Ebola Crisis

President Obama "canceled his travel to a fund-raiser and a campaign rally so he could convene a meeting of several top cabinet members to coordinate the government's response to the Ebola outbreak," the New York Times reports.

"The decision comes as a second health care worker in Dallas tested positive for Ebola, raising new concerns about the protocols for containing the spread of the deadly virus and heightening fears among the public."

Bush Says Mother Is 'Neutral' on White House Bid

Jeb Bush told the AP that his mother, the former first lady who declared last year there had been "enough Bushes" in the White House, was now "neutral, trending in a different direction."

His wife, Columba, is "supportive" of a potential presidential campaign.

GOP Chances Reach a New High

Josh Katz: "Republican chances of taking control of the Senate have risen to 72%, the highest level yet in the almost six months that The Upshot's forecasting model has been tracking the race. The odds rose from 68% on Monday and from a low of 50% last month."

"The main cause of the latest shift is new polling in Kansas, which suggests the race is now a true tossup rather than a race in which the Republican, Senator Pat Roberts, is a slight underdog."

There's also a useful chart to compare other forecasts.

On Wonk Wire

Some great clicks over at Wonk Wire:

And a bonus click from Working Capital Review:

Walker Won't Run for President if Ryan Does

If Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) decides to run for president, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that "you can pretty much count him out."

Said Walker: "It would be hard to do if you're the president of the fan club."

He added that anyone wanting to run for president has to be "a little crazy," adding that he doesn't "want to be classified as crazy."

3 Senate Scenarios

Roll Call: "So much for a predictable midterm cycle. The past month has left multiple possible outcomes for control of the Senate."

Kasich Seeks to Remake the GOP

Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) "is coasting toward a second term in a state that long has been one of the nation's presidential battlegrounds, campaigning on policies he believes can put a more empathetic face on the national Republican Party," the Washington Post reports.

"His economic philosophy is Republican orthodoxy, drawn from supply-side theory and coupled with a reformist streak. But what sets Kasich apart from some others in his party is his willingness to use the levers of government and the zeal with which he has embraced his own version of compassionate conservatism, with strong religious overtones."

Said Kasich: "My party is me. I have a right to shape my party. I have a right to have an opinion about what my party ought to be. Who's defining for me what my party is? I'm trying to define what I think the party is."

Democratic Hopes Begin to Fade

New York Times: "The midterm elections have been maddeningly unpredictable, but now, with three weeks to go, Democrats may be preparing for an electoral apocalypse."

Are the Polls Wrong?

Nate Silver says "we've reached a stage in campaign season when Democrats have begun to complain that the polls are biased against them. There's a long tradition of this sort of 'unskewing.' The trailing party will say that its internal polls tell a different story or that its turnout operation will save it. It will critique each poll's demographic cross-tabs. (Because most polls report breakouts for a dozen or more demographic groups, all with small sample sizes, there's almost always something to argue about.) The party will point toward previous instances when it outperformed its polls. As a last resort, it'll claim that this election will be different somehow."

"Usually this doesn't end well for the unskewers."

Gardner Leads in Colorado

A new CNN/ORC poll in Colorado finds Cory Gardner (R) leading Sen. Mark Udall (D) in the U.S. Senate race, 50% to 46%.

Quote of the Day

"I'm doing everything right now as if I'm running. So we're moving forward and trying to line up supporters -- both grassroots and donors."

-- Rick Santorum, quoted by Real Clear Politics, on his 2016 presidential plans.

Obama Drags Down Democrats

A new ABC News/Washington Post poll finds President Obama and his party "are heading into the midterm elections in trouble. The president's 40 percent job approval rating is the lowest of his career - and the Democratic Party's popularity is its weakest in polling back 30 years, with more than half of Americans seeing the party unfavorably for the first time."

"The Republican Party is even more unpopular. But benefitting from their supporters' greater likelihood of voting, GOP candidates nonetheless hold a 50-43 percent lead among likely voters for U.S. House seats in the Nov. 4 election."

Republicans Have Clear Edge Heading Into Midterms

A new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll finds Republicans "remain in a favorable position heading into the midterm election, but the outlook is unsettled amid unusually low voter interest, high dissatisfaction with leaders in Washington and a reordering of issues on voters' minds."

Key findings: "Voters' excitement about the campaign hasn't increased as Election Day approaches, defying the trend in recent years. The share of voters who see the country on the wrong track has reached the highest level ever in a midterm-election year."

"Pollsters for both parties who conducted the survey predict Republican gains in the House and Senate, as the poll found that likely voters prefer a GOP-controlled Congress over a Democratic one, 46% to 44%. But they also said the unusually volatile environment, combined with the large number of close races for control of the Senate and governors' offices, raised the potential for unexpected results."

Obama Will Campaign in Seven States

"In the final days of the midterm elections, President Barack Obama is planning a major campaign push in seven governor's races across the country, where Democrats' prospects are looking up, while largely avoiding the party's tougher challenges in the Senate," the AP reports.

Ernst Holds Small Lead in Iowa

A new Quinnipiac poll in Iowa finds Joni Ernst (R) leading Bruce Braley (D) in the U.S. Senate race, 47% to 45%. 

Nunn Grabs Lead in Georgia

A new SurveyUSA poll in Georgia shows Michelle Nunn (D) has overtaken David Perdue (R) in the U.S. Senate race, 48% to 45%.

The race for governor is tied with Jason Carter (D) and Gov. Nathan Deal (R) both locked at 45% to 45%.

Democrats Likely to Lose Ground in House

"After countless dire emails and months of fading bravado, national Democrats in recent days have signaled with their money what they have been loath to acknowledge out loud: They will not win back the House and they will most likely lose additional seats in November," the New York Times reports.

"Since last week, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has essentially given up efforts to unseat Republicans in several races, pulling advertising money from a dozen campaigns in Republican-held districts to focus on protecting its embattled incumbents."

Brown Pulls Ahead in New Hampshire

A new New England College poll in New Hampshire finds Scott Brown (R) has moved ahead of Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D) in the U.S. Senate race, 48% to 47%.

Archive: October 14, 2014

Iowa Senate Candidate Killed in Plane Crash

Doug Butzier, who was running as the Libertarian Party of Iowa's candidate for U.S. Senate, died when the single-engine plane he was piloting crashed near Dubuque Regional Airport, the Des Moines Register reports.

Pressler Shows How Far Right the GOP Has Moved

The New Republic looks at the U.S. Senate campaign of Larry Pressler (I) in South Dakota.

"At first blush, it may seem like Pressler is living up to his independent candidacy. And technically that is true: On some issues, he supports the GOP. On others, he's closer to the Democrats. But this is only the case because the Republican Party has swung so far to the right. With the exception of supporting same-sex marriage and a pathway to citizenship, Pressler's Democratic positions--slightly more revenue in return for significant spending cuts, a moderate increase in the minimum wage, and reforming Obamacare--aren't very Democratic. In fact, Pressler's platform is mostly a mix of centrist and Republican positions. In years past, that would make him a Republican, not an Independent."

Ruemmler is Leading Choice for Attorney General

Former White House Counsel Kathryn Ruemmler has emerged as President Obama's preferred candidate as the next attorney general, though he hasn't decided on a nominee and is still weighing other choices, Bloomberg reports.

"Advisers have told Obama that Ruemmler would encounter tough questioning in confirmation hearings about advice she gave the president during episodes of his presidency that have drawn Republican scrutiny, including the handling of lapses by the Secret Service, they said."

Democrats Pull Ads in Kentucky

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has gone dark in Kentucky, where the party is targeting Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Roll Call reports.

After a significant investment in support of Alison Lundergan Grimes (D), the DSCC "had not reserved time for the final three weeks of the race and, as of today, is no longer on the air."

The Fix: "The DSCC's decision to pull out of Kentucky, a race in which they had spent months insisting was closer than most public polls showed it, is a recognition that in a year in which the Senate map and the national political climate are tilted against them, the party's best chances to hold the majority now rests in trying to hold onto their endangered incumbents."

Extra Bonus Quote of the Day

"This is not your father's Republican Party. This is a different breed of cat, man. I am not making a moral judgment, but I will tell you that they have no judgment."

-- Vice President Joe Biden, quoted by CNN.

The 9 Biggest Candidate Flameouts

Roll Call lists the congressional hopefuls who just didn't live up to their hype.

Oregon First Lady Planned Pot Operation

"Just four months after she married an Ethiopian man solely to help him become a US citizen," Oregon First Lady Cylvia Hayes "was involved with a property she admits was intended to be an illegal marijuana grow operation," the Oregonian reports.

Said Hayes: "I am not proud of that brief period of time. I was involved in an abusive relationship with a dangerous man. We lived together for several months on the property in Okanogan that was intended to be the site of a marijuana grow operation that never materialized."

McConnell Slightly Ahead in Kentucky

A new Gravis Marketing poll in Kentucky finds Sen. Mitch McConnell (R) leading challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes (D) by just three points, 50% to 47%.

Still Tight in Florida

A new CNN poll in Florida finds Charlie Crist (D) and Gov. Rick Scott (R) tied in the race for governor, 44% to 44%.

A new 0ptimus poll finds Crist with a two-point lead, 41% to 39%.

A new McLaughlin poll finds Scott ahead, 43% to 42%.

A new Gravis Marketing poll finds Scott leading, 44% to 42%.

Another Poll Shows Begich Trailing in Alaska

A new Rasmussen Reports survey in Alaska finds Dan Sullivan (R) with a three-point lead over Sen. Mark Begich (D) in their U.S. Senate race, 48% to 45%.

Michaud Leads in New Maine Poll

A new Bangor Daily News poll in Maine finds Mike Michaud (D) leading Gov. Paul LePage (R) in the governor's race by six points, 42% to 36%, with Eliot Cutler (I) at 16%.

Lawmaker Predicts Kuster Will Lose Because She is 'Ugly as Sin'

New Hampshire State Rep. Steve Vaillancourt (R) wrote a long blog post predicting the outcome of the race in the state's 2nd congressional district on one factor: Rep. Ann McLane Kuster's (D-NH) looks, CBS News reports.

Said Vaillancourt: "Let's be honest. Does anyone not believe that Congressman Annie Kuster is as ugly as sin? And I hope I haven't offended sin."

By contrast, he wrote, Kuster's challenger, State Rep. Marilinda Garcia (R), is "one of the most attractive women on the political scene anywhere, not so attractive as to be intimindating [sic], but truly attractive."

Why Alison Lundergan Grimes Got It Wrong

The following is a guest post from Jeff Greenfield.

During last night's Kentucky Senate debate, Alison Lundergan Grimes again refused to say how she voted in the Presidential elections of 2008 and 2012--elevating this to "a matter of principle", meaning the sanctity of the ballot box. When I tweeted that this answer was "breathtakingly stupid" on the merits and politically, I was hit with a blizzard of Tweets. Some were versions of "who cares?" or "you morons in the media always make a big deal of out nothing." Some were versions of 'what about McConnell's answers on Omamacare or the minimum wage?" Some were variations on the invective that makes Twitter the perfect forum for folks who used to write angry letters in crayon, covering the envelope with colorful phrases.

On further review, as they say in the NFL, it's worth trying to explain why Grimes' answer was dead wrong on the merits. And no, it isn't the key issue in the campaign, and it doesn't mean, as Chuck Todd said, that she has "disqualified herself" from the office, and it doesn't mean that McConnell is exempt from explaining, for instance, how you can abolish Obamacare "root and branch" and keep Kentucky's highly successful health care program. (Hint: you can't).

Midterm Odds Continue to Favor Republicans

Charlie Cook: "Since March, I have been saying that Republicans had at least a 50 percent chance of retaking a Senate majority this year, and since July, I have upped that chance to 60 percent. There has been the normal ebb and flow of candidates' fortunes in many individual races since then, but the general direction of this election has remained pretty much the same. While the political environment is bad for Democrats, this is not a wave election. It is simply an election being fought on terrain that is, at the moment, highly favorable to Republicans."

The GOP Faces a Disaster If They Don't Take the Senate

Stu Rothenberg says that "if the GOP fails to capture the Senate this year, 2016 could turn into an unmitigated disaster for the party."

"As one Republican strategist admitted to me recently, if his party fails to take back the Senate next month it will only lead observers to conclude Democratic campaign operatives are far superior to the GOP's, and Republicans don't have a chance of winning the White House in 2016. It isn't hard to imagine what that would do to the party leading up to the 2016 presidential contest."

Christie Sinks to New Low in New Jersey

A new Rutgers-Eagleton Poll in New Jersey finds a majority of voters now have an unfavorable impression of Gov. Chris Christie (R).

The survey found just 42% had a favorable impression of him - the lowest ever recorded by the poll.

Roberts Skipped Most Agriculture Committee Meetings

Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS) attended just one-third of Senate Agriculture Committee meetings during the past 15 years of his political career in Washington, D.C, the Topeka Capital Journal reports.

Bonus Quote of the Day

"My reaction is that if she wants to attack a guy in a wheelchair, that's her prerogative."

-- Texas gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbot (R), quoted by the Washington Post, on the controversial ad released by rival Wendy Davis (D).

GOP Path to Senate Control Gets Clearer

Nate Cohn says that "with three weeks to go, the Senate race might be on the verge of becoming a lot clearer."

"The polls have shown Republicans faring quite well over the last couple of weeks, and they now appear to lead in the polls in enough contests to win 52 seats, with Iowa, Colorado and the six Democratic-held states won by John McCain in the 2008 presidential election and Mitt Romney in 2012."

National Journal: "Three weeks before Election Day, Republicans are on the brink of winning the Senate. But their advantage is so slight that a morale-sapping defeat is still very much possible."

Quote of the Day

"Done. Completely. Not only Mitt and I are done, but the kids are done. Done. Done. Done."

-- Ann Romney, quoted by the Los Angeles Times, ruling out another presidential campaign by her husband.

Grimes Refuses Again to Say She Voted for Obama

Alison Lundergan Grimes (D) "again refused to cede ground on her controversial refusal to reveal whether she voted for President Obama," The Hill reports.

"The refusal echoed her controversial interview last week with the Louisville Courier Journal where she also dodged three times whether or not she voted for President Obama."

Jason Zengerle: "Grimes's gaffe does reveal something genuinely disturbing about her--or at least her candidacy. And that's why it's so politically damaging. Grimes's refusal to say who she voted for is emblematic of her entire campaign, which, for the last 15 months, has been waged in a defensive crouch--evading and obfuscating at every turn."

Crossroads Will Not Run Ads in 2016 Primaries

"The American Crossroads super PAC and and its nonprofit arm are unlikely to engage in the GOP presidential primaries in 2016, opening the door for another chaotic fight akin to what happened in 2012," the Washington Post reports.

Gardner Has Edge in Colorado

A new Survey USA poll in Colordao finds Cory Gardner (R) with a small lead over Sen. Mark Udall (D) in the U.S. Senate race, 45% to 43%,

Said pollster Jay Leve: "There has been movement to Gardner that is unmistakable and what had been nominal advantage for Udall has been erased."

Emanuel Foe Has Brain Cancer

Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis, who just pulled out of a possible run against Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanual, "is suffering from a cancerous brain tumor that was diagnosed shortly after she experienced a severe headache last week," the Chicago Sun Times reports.

Archive: October 13, 2014

Bonus Quote of the Day

"I would rather die than be in the United States Senate. Okay? I would be bored to death. Could you imagine me banging around that chamber with 99 other people -- asking for a motion on the amendment in the subcommittee? Forget it."

-- Gov. Chris Christie (R), quoted by Business Insider.

Shaheen Holds Small Lead in New Hampshire

A new Survey USA poll in New Hampshire finds Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D) just ahead of Scott Brown (R) in the U.S. Senate race, 48% to 46%.

Deadlocked in North Carolina

A new Survey USA poll in North Carolina finds Sen. Kay Hagan (D) and Thom Tillis (R) locked in a dead heat, 40% to 40%, with Libertarian Sean Haugh (L) at 7%.

Gardner Has Edge in Colorado

A new Survey USA poll in Colorado finds Cory Gardner (R) leading Sen. Mark Udall (D) in the U.S. Senate race by three points, 46% to 42%.

Orman Maintains Lead in Kansas

A new Public Policy Polling survey in Kansas finds Greg Orman (I) leads Sen. Pat Roberts (R) in the U.S. Senate race by three points, 44% to 41%, with Libertarian Randall Batson at 5%.

In a head to head match up without Batson, Orman has a 46% to 43% advantage.

Still Very Close in Florida

A new St. Pete Polls survey in Florida finds Gov. Rick Scott (R) holds a one-point lead over Charlie Crist (D) in the race for governor, 44% to 43%.

Quote of the Day

"We're in a very dangerous period and I think it's more threatening than the period before 9/11. I think 9/11 will turn out to be not nearly as bad as the next mass casualty attack against the United States -- which, if and when it comes, will be with something far deadlier than with airline tickets and box cutters."

-- Dick Cheney, in an interview with the Weekly Standard.

Will LePage Be the First 30/30 Governor?

Smart Politics examined the results of approximately 3,000 gubernatorial elections conducted in post-colonial times and found that no governor has been popularly elected with less than 40 percent of the vote in back-to-back elections in U.S. history. Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R) could become the first: elected with 38.1 percent of the vote in 2010 and frequently polling in the high 30s - sometimes with the lead - in 2014.

Republicans Make Big Push in North Carolina

The National Republican Senatorial Committee is planning to reserve more than $6 million in additional North Carolina airtime Monday, Politico reports.

"Seeing overnight tracking numbers that show the race tightening and Republican Thom Tillis in striking distance, NRSC strategists have authorized their independent-expenditure arm to spend an extra $6 million to $6.5 million -- on top of the $3 million or so that was already planned."

New Poll Gives Ernst the Edge in Iowa

A new Rasmussen survey in Iowa finds Joni Ernst (R) leading Bruce Braley (D) in the U.S. Senate race, 48% to 45%.

Rounds Holds Small Lead in South Dakota

A new Harper Polling survey in South Dakota finds Mike Rounds (R) leading a four-way race for U.S. Senate with 37%, followed by Rick Weiland (D) at 33%, Larry Pressler (I) at 23% and Gordon Howie (I) at 5%.

Futures Market Gives GOP Midterm Advantage

The New York Times reports that although Intrade was shut down last year, a similar futures market called Betfair in Britain gives Republicans a 69% chance of winning the U.S. Senate.

"Even though markets are prone to their own failures, they have amassed a better record of accuracy than even the most sophisticated models that are based on fundamentals and polling. The point is that while markets aren't perfect, in practice they're less imperfect than the other election forecasters."

Romney Tells an Obama Joke

National Journal notes that while campaigning in Iowa, Mitt Romney told a joke about President Obama:

"President Obama went to the bank to cash a check and he didn't have his ID. And the teller said you've got to prove who you are."

"He said, 'How should I do that?' She said the other day Phil Mickelson came in, he didn't have his ID but he set up a little cup on the ground, took a golf ball, putted it right into that cup so they knew it was Phil Mickelson. They cashed his check. And then Andre Agassi came in. And Andre Agassi didn't have his ID either. He put a little target on the wall, took a tennis ball and racquet- hit it onto that target time. We knew that was Andre Agassi so we cashed his check."

"And she said to him, 'Is there anything you can do to prove who you are?' And [Obama] said, 'I don't have a clue.'"

"And she said, 'Well, Mr. President, do you want your money in small bills or large bills.'"

Judge Strikes Down Gay Marriage Ban in Alaska

"A federal judge ruled Sunday that Alaska's ban on gay marriage is unconstitutional, paving the way for same-sex couples to begin marrying in the state for the first time. The state quickly said it would appeal the decision by U.S. District Court Judge Timothy Burgess, despite recent higher court rulings striking down similar bans around the country," the Alaska Dispatch News reports.

Democratic Losses May Force Clinton to Announce Earlier

Hillary Clinton "may not have the luxury of waiting until early next year to declare her intentions to run for president in 2016," the New York Times reports.

"If Democrats lose control of the Senate in the midterm elections, the party may need to quickly pivot to the presidential campaign, several people close to Mrs. Clinton said. The Democratic Party would look to Mrs. Clinton 'as its Noah's ark,' a vessel on which voters and donors could channel their enthusiasm and frustration, said one of these people, who could discuss the internal deliberations only on the condition of anonymity."

GOP Donors Finally Open Their Checkbooks

"Republican allies are pumping millions of dollars into a final swarm of television ads in the run-up to Election Day, hoping to blunt Democratic attacks and tip the Senate back to GOP control," the Washington Post reports.

"But much of the advertising by outside groups is coming later -- and at a much steeper cost -- than many on the right had hoped, largely because top conservative donors were slow to open their checkbooks. That foot-dragging has forced super PACs and politically active nonprofit groups to pay a huge premium for last-minute ad buys, and it shows the extent to which their top financiers have dictated the timing and strategy of outside groups this year."

Official Says Budget Cuts Prevented Ebola Vaccine

"As the federal government frantically works to combat the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, and as it responds to a second diagnosis of the disease at home, one of the country's top health officials says a vaccine likely would have already been discovered were it not for budget cuts," the Huffington Post reports.

"Dr. Francis Collins, the head of the National Institutes of Health, said that a decade of stagnant spending has 'slowed down' research on all items, including vaccinations for infectious diseases. As a result, he said, the international community has been left playing catch-up on a potentially avoidable humanitarian catastrophe."

GOP Money Pours Into Judicial Races

"A national Republican group is spending heavily on judicial elections in some states, prompting judges to get more involved in their campaigns as they seek to hold on to their seats," the Wall Street Journal reports.

"The effort to influence judicial elections is largely Republican--for now, no Democratic group is systematically contributing to such races... The money pouring in from out-of-state groups is upsetting genteel traditions under which judges in some states faced little opposition and avoided the ethically tricky process of soliciting big money and stumping for votes from constituents they might face in court. The attention is an acknowledgment of the role that state supreme courts play in shaping the business climate and social and government policies."

Conservatives Still Don't Trust Christie

New York Times: "With the contretemps over lane closings on the George Washington Bridge on the back burner for now and Mr. Christie laying groundwork for a Republican presidential run, the persistent skepticism, unease and, in some cases, distrust that he faces from social and religious conservatives may be the biggest and least understood obstacle in his path."

"Yet Mr. Christie, who prides himself on his defiance of political convention, refuses to communicate the kind of emphatic, crowd-pleasing message that would leave him unassailable with that crucial constituency, and he has shown little enthusiasm for befriending its self-appointed leadership, elements of which are turning on him with speed and vigor."

Archive: October 12, 2014

Billionaires Back Orman in Kansas

"A small group of free-spending wildcard donors, including investment tycoons Peter Ackerman and John Burbank, are rallying to support Greg Orman's independent Senate campaign in Kansas. Michael Bloomberg and a Jonathan Soros-backed group are also considering entering the campaign on Orman's behalf," Politico reports.

"It's a dramatic twist for a candidate who staunchly opposes big money in politics but has been badly outspent on the airwaves after surging to a surprise lead over Republican Sen. Pat Roberts."

Another Poll Shows Quinn Taking the Lead

A new We Ask America poll in Illinois finds Gov. Pat Quinn (D) leading challenger Bruce Rauner (R) in the race for governor, 45% to 41%.

Carter Hits the Campaign Trail for His Grandson

Former President Jimmy Carter, "hoping to increase the black turnout his grandson will need to win Georgia's governor's race, jumped directly into the political fray Sunday," the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports.

"The 90-year-old former governor already has helped Jason Carter raise millions of dollars and provided him counsel. But the Georgia native's appearance Sunday morning at an African-American church in Albany marked his official debut on the campaign trail for his grandson's bid to oust Republican Gov. Nathan Deal."

Senator or Sheriff?

Sioux Falls Argus Leader: "The political world outside of South Dakota learned some stunning news last week: Mike Rounds, the guy everybody assumed would be the next senator from South Dakota, actually has been running a campaign more suited for sheriff of Mayberry County than U.S. Senate."

Warren Says Obama Protected Wall Street

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) told Salon that the Obama administration has been too cozy with Wall Street.

Said Warren: "He picked his economic team and when the going got tough, his economic team picked Wall Street. They protected Wall Street. Not families who were losing their homes. Not people who lost their jobs. Not young people who were struggling to get an education. And it happened over and over and over."

Chevron Spends Big to Influence Local California Election

"Chevron has funneled nearly $3 million into a trio of campaign committees to influence the Nov. 4 Richmond city election, including a nearly $1.3 million contribution on Aug. 8," the Contra Costa Times reports.

Rick Hasen: "I know that there have been some hefty sums spent by for-profit corporations on ballot initiatives. But what's the largest sum that we know of so far given by a for-profit corporation to advocate for the election or defeat of municipal candidates?"

Bonus Quote of the Day

"We don't have a jobs problem in this state. We have a work problem."

-- Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R), quoted by the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.

Democrats Much Less Interested in Midterms

A new Wall Street Journal/NBC News/Annenberg survey finds that among all registered voters, 48% say they'd like the midterm elections to produce a Democratic-led Congress, compared to just 43% who want the Republicans to be in control.

"But Republicans have a substantial advantage among those who are most interested in the 2014 election, leading 51% to 44%. Lower-interest voters favor Democrats, 52% to 37%."

Campaigns Looking for Prime Spots on the Web

"It turns out that the Internet does not have infinite capacity. At least not for political ads," the New York Times reports.

"As an increasing number of campaigns and outside groups are finding out, premium space on the web has long been booked. Digital advertising is maturing much in the way television did, as targeting becomes more sophisticated and the definition of a viewer expands drastically... The more savvy players in the coming midterm elections made pre-emptive strikes to ensure ad placement when it matters most."

McCain Says U.S. Is Losing Fight Against ISIS

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) asserted that the United States and its allies are not winning in the conflict against the Islamic State, Politico reports.

Said McCain: "They're winning, and we're not."

"McCain said more American troops need to be on the ground in the form of forward air controllers and special forces to help assist in airstrikes. He also called for a no-fly zone over both Syria and Iraq."

McCain Wants an 'Ebola Czar'

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) called for President Obama to nominate an "Ebola czar" to coordinate the administration's response to the deadly virus, The Hill reports.

Said McCain: "I'd like to know who's in charge."

Model Says GOP Almost Certain to Take Senate

The Washington Post's Election Lab now gives Republicans a 95% chance of taking control of the U.S. Senate after the midterm elections.

Morris Says Clinton Orchestrated Panetta Book

"Political strategist Dick Morris accused Hillary Clinton of conspiring with former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta in his stinging critique of President Obama's foreign policy," The Hill reports.

Said Morris: "I think Hillary put him up to it."

He added: "What Panetta is doing is a hit - a contract killing - for Hillary. Panetta at core is a Clinton person, not an Obama person. By accurately and truthfully describing the deliberations in the [Obama] cabinet, he makes Hillary look better, and he makes Obama look worse... And I think he'll get his reward in heaven."

Hogan Within Striking Distance in Maryland

A new Baltimore Sun poll in Maryland finds Anthony Brown (D) with a 7-point lead over Larry Hogan (R) in the race for governor, 49% to 42%.

Key finding: "Though Brown has a 7-point lead, the poll found his backers are less solid in their conviction than Hogan supporters. And many in Brown's camp are younger voters, a bloc that historically is less likely to vote."

The Muzzled Center

Will Marshall: "Not so long ago, U.S. politicians who robotically toed the party line were considered shameless hacks. And ideologues were seen as wingnuts--self-righteous cranks unable to cope with life's complexities. Today, such people dominate our national politics."

"In this Manichean hothouse, the battle lines are clear and everyone knows their place. To break ranks on any major issue is treason, to see merit in the other side's point of view is heresy, to compromise is to sell out and to engage in political horse-trading is corrupt. Finding common ground? That's so 20th century. Don't bore us with intellectual honesty, nuance or shades of grey--just pick a side, slug it out and let the best team win."

Quote of the Day

"As governor, I had the Majority Leader and, potentially, the Speaker of the United States of America as a member of my congressional delegation. Personally, I was disappointed that Eric lost."

-- Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D), quoted by The Hill, on former Rep. Eric Cantor's (R-VA) primary defeat earlier this year.

Good Buddy, Bad Buddy

Mike Stanton: "The biggest story in Rhode Island this fall isn't the potential election on Nov. 4 of the state's first female governor, Gina M. Raimondo, a Democrat, or its first Asian-American governor, Allan Fung, a Republican. Instead it's the improbable comeback of Buddy Cianci, the felonious former mayor of Providence, who spent two decades in City Hall and is now running for yet another term."

"As Buddy's unauthorized biographer, I have long been fascinated by his enduring appeal, and what it says about American politics. Elected in 1974 as the anti-corruption candidate, Mr. Cianci was forced to resign in 1984 after a felony assault conviction for that incident with the cigarette, came back in 1991 and was forced to resign again in 2002 after another felony conviction, for racketeering conspiracy. He belongs to that great American pantheon of rogues whose corruption was tolerated because of their populist appeal to voters and the perception that they "got things done" -- Boss Tweed, Huey Long, James Michael Curley, Edwin Edwards."

Archive: October 11, 2014

Iowa Senate Race Tightens

A new Des Moines Register poll in Iowa finds the U.S. Senate race is now a 1-point contest: Joni Ernst (R) is barely ahead of Bruce Braley (D), 47% to 46%.

Most interesting: "The Democrats' aggressive early voting push is aiding Braley, an eight-year congressman from Waterloo. They're rounding up ballots from Iowans who would not otherwise have voted."

Dead Heat in Georgia

A new Landmark Communications poll in Georgia finds the Senate race between David Perdue (R) and Michelle Nunn (D) is tied at 46% to 46%.

The same is true in the Georgia governor's race, where Gov. Nathan Deal (R) is locked in a tie with Jason Carter (D) at 45% to 45%.

Both races would head to a January runoff if the winner does not break 50%.

GOP Pours Money Into South Dakota

The National Republican Senatorial Committee is in the process of reserving $1 million in South Dakota television time, Politico reports.

"The independent expenditure matches a million-dollar effort announced by its Democratic counterpart earlier in the week to put the state back on the map."

Races Tighten in Michigan

A new Fox Detroit/Mitchell Poll in Michigan finds Gov. Rick Snyder (R) just one point ahead of challenger Mark Schauer (D), 47% to 46%.

In the U.S. Senate race, Gary Peters (D) leads Terri Lynn Land (R) by five points, 48% to 43%.

Michelle Obama Gets Candidate Wrong 7 Times

Michelle Obama repeatedly mispronounced U.S. Senate candidate Bruce Braley's (D) name during her speech in Iowa, the Des Moines Register reports.

She referred to the Iowa congressman as "Bruce Bailey" seven times before people in the crowd pointed out the mistake.

Said Mrs. Obama: "Braley. What did I say? I am losing it. I am getting old. I have been traveling too much."

Turnout Fears Mount for Democrats

"The Democratic Party's worst fears about the midterm election look to be coming true," The Hill reports.

"Polling in recent weeks suggests turnout on Election Day could be very low, even by the standards of recent midterms. That's bad news for Democrats because core groups in the liberal base are more likely to stay home than are people in the demographic segments that lean Republican."

Details of Bush 'Drinking Duel' Finally Surface

"John Newcombe, an Australian former tennis champion, has finally revealed the details of an infamous 'drinking duel' with George W Bush that nearly cost the young Texan the presidency," the Telegraph reports.

"The drinking bout near the Bush family's Kennebunkport summer home in Maine, in which the two matched each other beer for beer, ended with Bush's arrest for drink-driving, which he then kept secret for 24 years. But five days before winning his first presidential election in 2000, the story of the arrest broke on United States television, prompting Bush to confess to the traveling press pack that he had been arrested for drink-driving during his 'party boy' days. "

5 Big Revelations in New Clinton Documents

The Daily Beast sifted through the latest document dump from the Clinton Library to find the most interesting items.

Archive: October 10, 2014

Staffer Says Candidate Masturbated in Front of Him

CNN says new accusations by a former campaign aide could derail the career of "up-and-coming" congressional candidate Carl DeMaio (R).

"DeMaio's former campaign policy director is accusing the candidate of sexual harassment, even saying DeMaio masturbated in front of him. DeMaio vehemently denies the allegations, saying they're the cover story of a plagiarist and suspected criminal."

"This is not the first time DeMaio has been accused of sexually inappropriate behavior. Last year, a fellow city councilman said he twice caught DeMaio masturbating in a city hall restroom -- an allegation DeMaio denied."

Nastiest Ad of the Year?

The Fix: "Wendy Davis is almost certainly not going to be the next governor of Texas. Apparently, though, she's willing to try just about anything to alter that reality."

Her new ad is among the most vicious you'll ever see.

Walsh's Master's Degree Voided

The Army War College revoked Sen. John Walsh's (D-MT) status as a graduate, citing plagiarism in his final paper submitted for a master's degree, the Missoulian reports.

Extra Bonus Quote of the Day

"You know at this point, I think we're past that... I think at this stage what we should do is a number of bills that would fix flaws in Obamacare. I think we're past the point of being able to repeal the bill altogether."

-- Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), in an interview with WCSH-TV, on GOP efforts to repeal Obamacare.

What is a Wave Election?

From the political dictionary: "wave election"

David Perdue's 'Money Grab'

The New York Times digs deeper into the bankruptcy document that has roiled Georgia U.S. Senate candidate David Perdue's (R) campaign in recent days.

"Though most of the attention -- and the attacks from his opponent, Michelle Nunn -- have focused on comments he made about outsourcing, a close reading of the 186-page deposition... paints Mr. Perdue as a hard-charging hired gun who was so aggressive in claiming his compensation perks from his failing textile company that other executives accused him of a 'money grab'... In page after page, Mr. Perdue... expresses more concern with his own financial security than with the tanking business and the 7,600 jobs that were going down with it."

Clinton Library Releases Final Batch of Files

"The last batch in a series of previously-undisclosed Clinton White House records went public Friday, spilling secrets on the creation of the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy, high-profile controversies involving Whitewater and the White House Travel Office, and then-First Lady Hillary Clinton's unsuccessful health care reform drive," Politico reports.

Pressler's Home is in Washington, DC

Larry Pressler (I), who is running for Senate in South Dakota, has his principal residence in Washington, DC, according District of Columbia tax records, Politico reports.

Pressler, who served as a Republican in Congress from 1975 to 1997, and his wife receive the homestead deduction, a generous tax break meant for people who use their D.C. home as their "principle residence."

Democrats Make Gains in Governor's Races

A new set of New York Times/CBS News/YouGov polls finds there are 11 governor's races within five percentage points, and 16 races within 10 percentage points.

"It appears the Democrats have made slight gains over the last month. They now lead in three states held by Republicans: Pennsylvania, Michigan and Maine. An independent candidate, Bill Walker, leads the Republican Sean Parnell in Alaska."

The Impact of Voter ID

Wonk Wire: New study finds voter ID laws reduce turnout among blacks, young people and college students.

Bonus Quote of the Day

"Listen, I'm the one running for governor."

-- Pennsylvania gubernatorial candidate Tom Wolf (D), quoted by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, after the crowd erupted with cheers after he mentioned Hillary Clinton.

GOP Tries to Make Election About Fear

First Read: "Less than a month out before November's midterm elections, the Republican Party has had a simple message on the campaign trail and in TV ads: fear."

"And frankly, they come when there's no evidence of ISIS coming across the border and when (remarkably) there's still been just one confirmed case of Ebola in the United States. Now we understand why Republicans are picking up this theme -- they want to nationalize the election, and they have every incentive to. (The more they get voters going into the voting booth upset at Washington, the more likely they are to get Republicans defeating Democratic incumbents in Senate races.) But some of these candidates are walking a fine line; there is a Chicken Little aspect here regarding Ebola and it can border on the irresponsible."

New York Times: "Darkness is enveloping American politics."

Still a Toss Up in Iowa

A new Lukens Company poll in Iowa finds Bruce Braley (D) barely ahead of Joni Ernst (R) in the U.S. Senate race, 39% to 38%.

Grimes Won't Say If She Voted for Obama

Alison Lundergan Grimes (D), who is running against Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) this fall, refused to tell the Louisville Courier-Journal if she voted for President Obama in 2008 and 2012. It's a painful exchange.

Chuck Todd on Morning Joe: "I think she disqualified herself. I really do."

Candidate Would Have Defended Interacial Marriage Ban

Wisconsin Attorney General nominee Brad Schimel (R) said he would have reluctantly defended a ban on interracial marriage had he been attorney general in the 1950s, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports.

Said Schumel: "It might be distasteful to me ...but I've got to stay consistent with that -- as the state's lawyer, it's not my job to pick and choose."

Huckabee Threatens to Quit GOP Over Gay Marriage

Mike Huckabee said that he'd quit the Republican party if it raised "the white flag of surrender" and "abdicated" on same sex marriage, Newsmax reports.

Said Huckabee: "I'll become an independent. I'll start finding people that have guts to stand. I'm tired of this."

Oregon First Lady Apologizes for Illegal Marriage

"Less than 24 hours after news broke of a secret marriage, Oregon first lady Cylvia Hayes tearfully apologized to Oregonians and to her fiancé, Gov. John Kitzhaber, for accepting $5,000 to illegally marry an 18-year-old Ethiopian in need of a green card," the Oregonian reports.

Quote of the Day

"You can shoot me, but listen to me first. I want education for your sons and daughters. Now I have spoken, so do whatever you want."

-- Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai, quoted by the Washington Post, on what she would have said to the Pakistani Taliban extremist who shot her if she had the chance.

Supreme Court Blocks Wisconsin Voter ID Law

"A divided U.S. Supreme Court blocked Wisconsin's voter ID law late Thursday, issuing a terse yet dramatic one-page ruling less than four weeks before the Nov. 4 election," the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports.

"The 6-3 vote means in all likelihood the requirement to show ID at the polls will not be in effect for the election. But Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen said he would seek ways to reinstate the law within the month."

"Gov. Scott Walker and his fellow Republicans approved the law in 2011, but it was quickly blocked by a series of court decisions in four lawsuits. It was reinstated by a federal appeals court in recent weeks, but Thursday's ruling again put the law on hold."

More on Wonk Wire

Obama Weighs Closing Guantanamo

"The White House is drafting options that would allow President Barack Obama to close the detention facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, by overriding a congressional ban on bringing detainees to the U.S.," the Wall Street Journal reports.

"Such a move would be the latest and potentially most dramatic use of executive power by the president in his second term. It would likely provoke a sharp reaction from lawmakers, who have repeatedly barred the transfer of detainees to the U.S."

"The discussions underscore the president's determination to follow through on an early campaign promise before he leaves the White House, officials said, despite the formidable domestic and international obstacles in the way."

Challenger Closes On Booker in New Jersey

A new Richard Stockton College poll in New Jersey finds Sen. Cory Booker (D) leads challenger Jeff Bell (R) in the U.S. Senate race, 48% to 39%.

LePage Leads in New Maine Poll

A new Pan Atlantic SMS poll in Maine finds Gov. Paul LePage (R) leads challenger Mike Michaud (D) in the race for governor, 39% to 34%, with Eliot Cutler (I) at 20%.

A new Rasmussen survey shows LePage leading Michaud, 41% to 40%, with Cutler at 16%.

Archive: October 09, 2014

Roberts Says Orman is Lying

Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS) told David Brody that challenger Greg Orman (I) is lying about how he'll vote in the Senate but says he'll be exposed "when we get through with him."

Said Roberts: "Not when we get through with him. This is a person who by donation and by his stand on the issues is a liberal Democrat."

Meanwhile, RNC Chairman Reince Priebus told KSHB-TV that Orman will not be allowed to caucus with Republicans if he wins: "He's not gonna do that. It is an impossibility. It is not possible."

Both Sides Begin to Panic

CNN: "Four weeks away from the 2014 midterm elections and even some Democratic operatives struggle to imagine a scenario where they retain control of the U.S. Senate. The terrain and current momentum seem all but overwhelming and against them."

Washington Post: "For months, the 2014 midterm election has looked like a deck stacked in favor of Republicans. But as campaign season heads into its final weeks, some wild cards are now on the table in states where the GOP had been expecting easy victories on its way to gaining six seats for control of the Senate."

The Best and Worst of Congress

The Washingtonian released their annual survey of congressional staffers.

Pressler Suggests He'll Caucus With Democrats

Larry Pressler (I) told The Hill that he won't say who he'd caucus with if he wins his independent U.S. Senate race in South Dakota but said that if elected, he'd be a "friend of Obama."

He also confirmed voting for Obama twice: "I don't regret those votes, 'cause on that day, that's how I felt."

Palin Family Brawl Detailed in Police Report

Anchorage police released a report regarding a brawl involving about 20 people -- including members of Sarah Palin's family -- that occurred last month, the Alaska Dispatch News reports.

"Police said they arrived to find Track Palin, shirtless, bloody and heavily intoxicated, getting into a white limousine to leave the party. Witnesses described a large fight involving at least 20 people that included members of the Palin family. Several witnesses said they watched Bristol Palin repeatedly punch homeowner Korey Klingenmeyer in the face."

Read the entire police report online.

Giffords Speaks Out for Barber

Former Rep. Gabby Giffords (D-AZ), who left Congress after being shot in the head by a gunman at a constituent event, put out a powerful new ad for Rep. Ron Barber (D-AZ).

Sanders Schedules Trips to New Hampshire

Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT) "will be spending at least five days in the New Hampshire in October alone," WMUR reports.

"For the most part Sanders seems to be doing the college town circuit this month. He is hoping to both get Democratic voters excited to vote on Nov. 4 and introduce himself at the same time... Sanders has already been to the state four times exploring a run for president."

Still Tight in Georgia

A new SurveyUSA poll in Georgia finds David Perdue (R) can't manage to pull away from Michelle Nunn (D) in the race for Senate and leads by just one point, 46% to 45%.

Key finding: "Nunn holds an exceptionally high 87% of the Democratic base. That is the only way she can remain competitive in a contest where, today, independents break nearly 5:3 for her Republican opponent."

In the race for governor, Gov. Nathan Deal (R) leads challenger Jason Carter (D) by just two points, 46% to 44%

Shaheen Still Beating Scott in New Hampshire

A new WMUR Granite State Poll in New Hampshire shows Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (R) leading challenger Scott Brown (R) by six points among likely voters, 47% to 41%.

An Uneven Recovery

This is fascinating: An Enormous Divide on Economic Recovery

Begich Trails in Alaska

A new CNN/ORC International poll in Alaska finds Dan Sullivan (R) leading Sen. Mark Begich (D) by six points in the U.S. Senate race, 50% to 44%.

Crist Up in Florida

A new University of North Florida poll finds Charlie Crist (D) with a 5 percentage point lead over Gov. Rick Scott in the race for Florida governor, 47% to 42%.

Landrieu Replaces Campaign Manager

"In what appears to be a significant October campaign shakeup, Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) is replacing her campaign manager and bringing on her former chief of staff as a senior adviser," Politico reports.

Conspiracy Theories Abound as Midterms Approach

Joe Klein: "Democrats are swimming against the prevailing cynicism as they attempt to retain the Senate this year. Across the South, their candidates are placing a heavy bet on women's issues, especially equal pay, and education. In some places, like North Carolina, where a traditional emphasis on education spending has been violated by the Republican state legislature, they have a chance to win....The hurdle is Barack Obama, about whom the crazy rumors are--still!--thick, and the ads are constant..."

"There is also an undercurrent of fear--about ISIS and Ebola--that does not help the Democrats. Most of the people I talked with don't think this federal government is competent to handle anything. And there is an undercurrent of exhaustion, especially among Democrats who have talked themselves silly trying to dispel the rumor fog that has engulfed political discourse. These are stories that stick in the mind and rot the body politic. They are a dominant political currency, and not just in the South."

Voter Engagement Much Lower This Year

Gallup: "Turnout in the midterm elections this fall could be lower than in the past two midterm elections, based on current voter engagement. On each of three indicators of voter engagement in midterm elections -- how much thought Americans have given to them, their expressed motivation to vote, and their enthusiasm about voting compared with past elections -- 2014 looks more like lower-turnout years 1998 and 2002 than higher-turnout years 2006 and 2010."

Supreme Court Backs Voter Restrictions

The Supreme Court "reversed a federal appeals court's decision that would have allowed same-day registration and counted votes cast mistakenly in the wrong precincts. Those were among several other procedures eliminated by the state Legislature last year in what critics called the most restrictive voting law in the nation," USA Today reports.

Morning Line: "This comes a week after the Supreme Court ruled against voting rights groups in Ohio, curtailing early voting days, reducing evening hours and eliminating Sunday voting, when many churches with predominantly black congregants run 'souls to the polls' voting programs."

Is Crist the Frontrunner in Florida?

Adam Smith: "For most of the past year, my gut has told me that Rick Scott would likely win a second term and that there was a reasonable likelihood it wouldn't even be close... Now I'm thinking Crist may have become the clear frontrunner."

"I have just seen an internal poll of likely voters in Florida House 36, the west Pasco County district currently represented by Democrat Amanda Murphy and formerly represented by Republican Mike Fasano. District 36, loaded with working class Floridians and retirees may be the single best bellwether state House district in Florida. Barack Obama narrowly won it in 2008 and 2012, and Rick Scott narrowly won it in 2010. The telephone poll was taken Monday and Tuesday by the Democratic firm SEA Polling & Strategic Design (which nailed it on Murphy's special election win in 2013) and found 45 percent planning to vote for Crist, 37 percent for Scott, and 14 percent for Libertarian Adrian Wyllie. In August, the firm showed Scott leading by five points, with 43 percent support to 38 percent for Crist and 10 percent for Wyllie."

Beware of Polling

First Read: "Between now and Election Day, you're going to see a lot of divergent poll numbers. And the reason why is that not all likely voter models are created the same, even among good pollsters. We're seeing more money being spent on turnout than ever before in a midterm cycle, but we're also seeing American voters more turned off from the midterms than before. Those two things make polling more unpredictable. No one is confident who will be showing up to vote."

DeMaio Denies Harrassment and Bribery Claims

California congressional candidate Carl DeMaio (R) said "a former staffer who is the suspect in a May burglary at his campaign office has accused DeMaio of sexually harassing him," the San Diego Union Tribune reports.

DeMaio called the the claim "an outrageous lie."

Politico: "DeMaio was peppered with questions from reporters about whether he had sexually harassed and then intimidated and attempted to bribe a former campaign staffer."

Cuomo Reflects in New Memoir

New York Times: "Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo learned about his divorce from a journalist. He blames himself for his father's political demise. As for his own political near-death experience, a gaffe that ultimately led him to quit the 2002 governor's race in disgrace: His mistake was 'stupid,' but reporters made it seem even worse."

"Those are among the more potent revelations included in Mr. Cuomo's 517-page memoir, All Things Possible: Setbacks and Success in Politics and Life, which is to be released by HarperCollins's Harper imprint on Tuesday, just three weeks before Election Day as the governor seeks a second term. "

Archive: October 08, 2014

White House Aide Linked to Prostitution Scandal

"As nearly two dozen Secret Service agents and members of the military were punished or fired following a 2012 prostitution scandal in Colombia, Obama administration officials repeatedly denied that anyone from the White House was involved," the Washington Post reports.

"But new details drawn from government documents and interviews show that senior White House aides were given information at the time suggesting that a prostitute was an overnight guest in the hotel room of a presidential advance-team member -- yet that information was never thoroughly investigated or publicly acknowledged."

"The information that the Secret Service shared with the White House included hotel records and firsthand accounts -- the same types of evidence the agency and military relied on to determine who in their ranks was involved."

Conversation with Stan Greenberg

Democratic pollster Stan Greenberg joins us on the Political Wire podcast for a look at the midterm elections, one in which he sees now Democrats "more likely to hold control of the U.S. Senate than not."

Listen here:

Subscribe via iTunes or RSS to get episodes automatically downloaded.

Special thanks to the Cook Political Report for sponsoring this episode. If you haven't subscribed yet, you really need to.

Fox News Polls Show Races Trending to GOP

Fox News released new polls in five key U.S. Senate battleground states:

Kansas: Sen. Pat Roberts (R) leads Greg Orman (I), 44% to 39%.

Alaska: Dan Sullivan (R) leads Sen. Mark Begich (D), 44% to 40%.

Arkansas: Tom Cotton (R) leads Sen. Mark Pryor (R), 46% to 39%.

Colorado: Cory Gardner (R) leads Sen. Mark Udall (D), 43% to 37%.

Kentucky: Sen. Mitch McConnell (R) leads Alison Lundergan Grimes (D), 45% to 41%.

Harry Enten: "Fox News polls throughout this election cycle have had a fairly strong pro-Republican 'house effect,' a measure of how a pollster's results compare to other polls."

Republicans Plan Obamacare Showdown in Lame Duck

"A group of Senate Republicans have their eye on another Obamacare showdown in the lame-duck session," according to Roll Call.

"The 14 Republicans, led by Marco Rubio of Florida, wrote a letter urging Speaker John A. Boehner to "prohibit the Obama administration" from spending money on an 'Obamacare taxpayer bailout.' They point to a legal opinion from the Government Accountability Office that said additional funding authority would be needed to make payments to insurance companies under the risk-corridor component of the Obamacare health care exchanges. The Republicans say taxpayers could be on the hook for bailing out insurance companies that suffer losses."

NBC Wanted Jon Stewart for 'Meet the Press'

Before choosing Chuck Todd, NBC News president Deborah Turness held negotiations with Jon Stewart about hosting "Meet the Press," three senior television sources tell New York magazine.

One source explained that NBC was prepared to offer Stewart virtually "anything" to bring him over.

Roberts Rebounds in Kansas

A new CNN/ORC poll in Kansas finds Sen. Pat Roberts (R) has galvanized rank-and-file Republican voters to close the gap with challenger Greg Orman (I) and now leads by one point, 49% to 48%.

Most other recent polls show Orman with a lead.

Democrats Spending Money in South Dakota

"The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee will spend $1 million in South Dakota -- mostly on television and the rest on field operations -- in a last-minute attempt to hold a U.S. Senate seat they now view as winnable," Bloomberg reports.

"A DSCC official said advertising will likely be on the air by Monday. As in the Kansas Senate race, Democrats believe they now have a chance to offset inevitable losses elsewhere and maintain control of the Senate."

Hagan Barely Ahead in North Carolina

A new USA Today/Suffolk University poll in North Carolina finds Sen. Kay Hagan (D) just ahead Thom Tillis (R) in the U.S. Senate race, 47% to 45%.

A new Rasmussen poll finds Hagan leads 48% to 46%.

As Colorado Goes, So Goes the Nation?

Joshua Green: "Colorado's Senate race has become a presidential campaign in miniature, with two strong candidates who are both career politicians facing off over mainly national issues, as billionaires on the left (Steyer) and the right (the Koch brothers) saturate the airwaves with tens of millions of dollars' worth of attack ads."

"Politically, Colorado is a slightly ­exaggerated version of America. Because the state makes it so easy to place initiatives on the ballot, it's a testing ground for highly charged national issues."

Bonus Quote of the Day

"The great thing about not being president anymore is you can say whatever you want -- unless your wife might run for something."

-- Bill Clinton, quoted by NBC News.

Perdue Barely Ahead in Georgia

A new SurveyUSA poll in Georgia shows David Perdue (R) leading Michelle Nunn (D) by just one point in the U.S. Senate race, 46% to 45%.

Carter Blasts Obama Foreign Policy

Former President Jimmy Carter criticized President Obama saying it was hard to figure our exactly what his policy is in the Middle East, the Fort Worth Star Telegram reports.

Said Carter: "It changes from time to time. I noticed that two of his secretaries of defense, after they got out of office, were very critical of the lack of positive action on the part of the president."

He also said the U.S. waited to long to respond to the Islamic State: "We let the Islamic state build up its money, capability and strength and weapons while it was still in Syria. Then when [ISIS] moved into Iraq, the Sunni Muslims didn't object to their being there and about a third of the territory in Iraq was abandoned."

On Wonk Wire

Some great clicks over at Wonk Wire:

Sarah Silverman Fills the Gap

Sarah Silverman released a very funny but probably not safe for work video on pay equity.

Flashback Quote of the Day

"I cannot predict precisely what the rate would be at the end of one year. I can tell you that over a period of four years, by a virtue of the polices that we put in place, we get the unemployment rate down to 6 percent, perhaps a little lower."

-- Mitt Romney, quoted by MSNBC in May 2012, noting the unemployment rate is already down to 5.9% without Romney's policies.

Democratic Pollster Says Hispanic Voters Will Stay Home

Democratic pollster Celinda Lake told The Hill that her party "will have a tough time getting out the Hispanic vote, because President Obama did not take executive action on deportations affecting millions of workers in the U.S. illegally."

Said Lake: "It was a real disappointment to the Latino voters -- rightly so. I think if we'd done something, it would have energized the Latino vote and drawn a clear distinction with the Republicans."

She added that it will be "a big uphill battle for the Latino turnout, and that's going to affect our candidates."

Quote of the Day

"I don't need a semi-automatic rifle to shoot a duck. Maybe you do. Maybe you should spend more time on your shooting range."

-- Rep. Rick Nolan (D-MN), quoted by the Minneapolis Star Tribune, to challenger Stewart Mills (R) in a debate.

A Midterm Election About Nothing

Wall Street Journal: "The backdrop of this fall's voting is a mood of voter anger over the status quo, polls suggest. Just one month before the Nov. 4 election, it isn't even clear what exactly the midterm contests are about. No single issue dominates, except unhappiness with the established order."

Pressler Surges in South Dakota

A new Survey USA poll in South Dakota finds Mike Rounds (R) barely leading a three-way Senate race with 35%, followed by Larry Pressler (I) at 32% and Rick Weiland (D) at 28%.

Obama Needs a Catchy Slogan

Wall Street Journal: "The Obama presidency is littered with catch phrases and rhetorical devices, enthusiastically embraced and summarily discarded as tastes and political needs change. None has piqued the public's imagination. Six years into his tenure, Mr. Obama is still casting about for a slogan as punchy and enduring as FDR's 'New Deal,' Lyndon Johnson's 'Great Society' -- or even his own 2008 campaign mantra: 'Yes We Can.'"

White House Shake Up Coming?

David Ignatius: "Presidents often need new energy and talent to refurbish their second terms. George W. Bush opted for such a shake-up in 2006, and it arguably saved his presidency. Barack Obama is now facing a similar moment, and there are signs he's looking to make some personnel changes after the November congressional elections."

Huntsman Not Running in 2016

Jon Huntsman told Politico that he would not run in 2016 and has no plans to run for governor again.

Said Huntsman: "I can't describe a pathway through the early primary states up to Super Tuesday, and if you can't find that pathway or describe what that pathway is, then you had [better] not be in the race."

Obama Benched by Democrats

New York Times: "When he soared to victory by almost 10 million votes in 2008, President Obama won in states like Virginia that Democratic candidates had not captured since 1964. He was trumpeted as a transformational leader who remade American politics by creating a new electoral map and a diverse voter coalition to shape the Democratic Party for the 21st century."

"But for now he has been reduced to something else: an isolated political figure who is viewed as a liability to Democrats in the very states where voters by the thousands had once stood to cheer him."

Georgia is Bluer Than It Appears

Nate Cohn: "No other plausibly competitive state has seen a more favorable shift for Democrats in the racial composition of eligible voters over the last decade. The pace of demographic change is so fast that Michelle Nunn, a Democrat, is locked in a tight race against the Republican David Perdue for an open Senate seat -- even with an off-year electorate that is favorable for the G.O.P."

"The pace of demographic change might even be fast enough to outpace the polls."

Orman Continues in the Lead in Kansas

A new SurveyUSA poll in Kansas finds Greg Orman (I) leads Pat Roberts (R) in the U.S. Senate race by five points, 47% to 42%.

In the race for governor, Paul Davis (D) tops Gov. Sam Brownback (R) by five points, 47% to 42%.

Dead Heat in Connecticut

A new Quinnipiac poll in Connecticut finds Gov. Dannel Malloy (D) is tied with challenger Tom Foley (R) in the race for governor, 43% to 43%.

Archive: October 07, 2014

Former GOP Official Suggests Executing Ebola Victims

Todd Kincannon, the former executive director of the South Carolina Republican party, said that people infected with the Ebola virus "need to be humanely put down immediately." WPIX reports.

Said Kincannon: "The protocol for a positive Ebola test should be immediate execution and sanitation of the whole area. That will save lives."

Quote of the Day

"Defend it? I'm proud of it. This is a part of American business, part of any business."

-- Georgia U.S. Senate candidate David Perdue (R), quoted by the Atlanta Journal Constitution, when asked about a statement that he "spent most of my career" outsourcing.

Supreme Court Will Review Arizona Redistricting

The Supreme Court said it will "consider a challenge by Arizona Republicans to the state's congressional districting map," the AP reports.

"Arizona voters created an independent redistricting commission in 2000 in an effort to take politics out of the process. But the GOP-led state legislature complained in a lawsuit that the Constitution exclusively gives power to draw maps for congressional districts to elected state lawmakers. A divided panel of federal judges dismissed the lawsuit, but justices said they will review the lower court ruling."

4 Reasons We May Not Know On Election Night

It's increasingly likely that we won't know which party controls the U.S. Senate on Election Night:

  1. The Louisiana Senate race may go to a December runoff.
  2. The Georgia Senate race may go to a January runoff.
  3. It may take time to count all the votes in Alaska.
  4. If Greg Orman (I) wins in Kansas, he may wait for the best offer before deciding which party he'll caucus with.

GOP Pulls Plug on Michigan

"Republicans are canceling TV ad spending planned for the final two weeks of Michigan's U.S. Senate race, signaling that the GOP is investing in other races in its drive for the Senate majority," the AP reports.

"Other outside groups, too, are bailing on Michigan, suggesting it's fallen out of reach" for Terri Lynn Land (R) in her race against Gary Peters (D).

Nunn Keeps Race Close in Georgia

A new Public Policy Polling survey in Georgia finds David Perdue (R) just ahead of Michelle Nunn (D) in the U.S. Senate race, 45% to 43%.

Key finding: "Libertarian Amanda Swafford is polling at 5%, which would be enough to send the contest into a January runoff if it remains this close. Swafford's support could reflect residual unhappiness among voters who supported one of Perdue's opponents in the Republican nomination contest- 70% of them voted for Mitt Romney in 2012 compared to only 16% of them who voted for Barack Obama. They say they would support Perdue over Nunn 43/12 if they had to choose between the two, which would push Perdue's overall lead to 48/45."

Who is Joe Biden?

Jimmy Kimmel asks Americans on the street.

Crist Holds Small Edge in Florida

A new 0ptimus poll in Florida finds Charlie Crist (D) edging Gov. Rick Scott (R) in the race for governor, 40% to 39%.

A new Public Policy Polling survey shows Crist leading 45% to 43%.

A new SurveyUSA poll shows Crist ahead 44% to 42%.

Pryor Flubs Question on Ebola Crisis

Huffington Post: "A reporter on Monday asked Sen. Mark Pryor (D-AR) whether President Barack Obama was doing enough to contain the spread of Ebola. It, um, did not go well."

Quinn Leads in Illinois

A new We Ask America poll in Illinois finds Gov. Pat Quinn (D) leading challenger Bruce Rauner (R) by four points in the race for governor, 44% to 40%.

Tweet of the Day

Panetta Details Frustrations with Obama

The New York Times reviews Leon Panetta's new memoir, Worthy Fights.

"Typically frank, occasionally feisty and finally free of the constraints of clearing opinions with the White House, Mr. Panetta is re-emerging with a blunt account of his time in the Obama administration. In a new memoir to be published on Tuesday, Mr. Panetta draws a largely respectful portrait of a president who made important progress and follows a 'well-reasoned vision for the country' but too often 'avoids the battle, complains, and misses opportunities.'"

Very interesting: "Obama grew more reticent, in Mr. Panetta's view, because his legitimacy has been challenged more than any of his predecessors by accusations like the unsubstantiated claim that he was not born in the United States."

Franken Pulls Away in Minnesota

A new SurveyUSA poll in Minnesota finds Sen. Al Franken (D) has doubled his lead in his race against challenger Mike McFadden (R) and now leads 55% to 37%.

Republicans Mostly Silent on Gay Marriage

First Read: "After the U.S. Supreme Court yesterday decided not to review gay-marriage cases, effectively making it legal in a handful of additional states, Republicans were mostly silent... We're now four weeks out from a national election and this isn't going to be an issue anywhere. Can anyone find a single race where same-sex marriage will be a decider?"

Early Voting Underway

Morning Line: "Increasingly, more and more states are moving toward some form of early voting. In all, 43 states have some form of early voting, and Connecticut, one of the seven states that still does not allow it, has an initiative on the ballot this year to change that. As of today, early in-person voting is already underway in 10 states, including Iowa with its all-important Senate race, which began last week, Sept. 25. Two more states begin voting today -- Ohio and Indiana. Arizona -- with its key House races -- and Georgia -- with its closely watched Senate race -- will begin voting within the next week."

Obama Likely to be a Factor in Midterms

Gallup: "Registered voters are more likely to view their choice of candidate in this year's midterm elections as a message of opposition (32%) rather than support (20%) for President Obama. That 12-percentage-point margin is similar to what Gallup measured for Obama in 2010 and George W. Bush in 2006, years in which their parties performed poorly in the midterm elections."

How Democrats Can Hang On to the Senate

Stu Rothenberg expects Republicans to flip seven Senate seats but he says there's still a chance in the final weeks for Democrats to retain control.

"First, Democrats still may be able to localize elections in a few states -- the most likely prospects are North Carolina and Alaska, which were carried by Romney, and two swing states won by Obama, Iowa and Colorado. Doing so would inoculate the Democratic nominees (three incumbents and one open seat hopeful) from Obama's near-toxic political standing."

"Second, Democrats may be able to register and turn out additional voters, who could change the arithmetic of the elections."

Republicans Brace for Another Primary Free-for-All

Politico: "The message from Republican officials has been crystal clear for two years: The 2016 Republican primary cannot be another prolonged pummeling of the eventual nominee. Only one person ultimately benefited from that last time -- Barack Obama -- and Republicans know they can't afford to send a hobbled nominee up against Hillary Clinton."

"Yet interviews with more than a dozen party strategists, elected officials and potential candidates a month out from the unofficial start of the 2016 election lay bare a stark reality: Despite the national party's best efforts, the likelihood of a bloody primary process remains as strong as ever."

How Losing the Senate Could Help Obama

Wall Street Journal: "A look back shows that eras of evenly divided power--Congress fully controlled by one party, the presidency by the other--have turned out to be among the most productive. And if you are a president yearning for elusive legislative achievements in the final two years of your term, anything that makes Washington more productive would be welcome, even if attaining some of that productivity required trimming your ideological sails."

"When power is evenly split in Washington, both parties have to temper their policies. They can worry less about fully satisfying their ideological bases... When the two parties have an equal share of power, they also have an equal share of responsibility for what does and doesn't get done--and have to worry about taking the blame in the even more important 2016 election if things don't get done. For Mr. Obama, in particular, full GOP control of Congress might well shift Republicans' focus from stopping him to making things happen."

All But 14 States Will Allow Gay Marriage

"The number of states still prohibiting same-sex marriage probably will dwindle to 14 within a few weeks as a result of the Supreme Court's refusal to take up the issue Monday, a legal and political reversal of nearly unprecedented proportions," the Los Angeles Times reports.

"Just over 10 years ago it was impossible for a same-sex couple to get married anywhere in the U.S. But by Monday more than half of Americans lived in a state with the immediate prospect of what supporters refer to as 'marriage equality.'"

Wall Street Journal: "The Supreme Court's action surprised both sides, especially because antigay-marriage states and gay-rights advocates alike had urged the court to step in. Observers had expected a same-sex marriage case to be the marquee decision of the court's 2014-15 term, which began Monday."

Bloomberg: "By passing on five cases involving same-sex marriage, the high court left the issue in the hands of the states and in the process revived its currency as a political issue just a month before the midterm elections."

Five Senate Debates Tonight

"It's Super Tuesday for Senate debates, with candidates in Colorado, Georgia, North Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia set to square off," the New York Times reports.

"These late-in-the-game debates can carry a lot of weight because many voters are just now beginning to pay attention to the midterm elections. A slip-up can be significant."

Wolf Maintains Solid Advantage in Pennsylvania

A new Quinnipiac poll in Pennsylvania finds Tom Wolf (D) way ahead of Gov. Tom Corbett (R) in the race for governor, 55% to 38%.

Snyder Holds Solid Lead in New Michigan Poll

A new Glengariff Group poll in Michigan finds Gov. Rick Snyder (R) leading challenger Mark Schauer (D) by eight points, 45% to 37%.

Warner Headed for Re-Election in Virginia

A new Christopher Newport University poll in Virginia finds Sen. Mark Warner (D) running way ahead of challenger Ed Gillespie (R) in the U.S. Senate race, 51% to 39%.

Archive: October 06, 2014

Brown Holds Solid Lead in Maryland

A new Washington Post/University of Maryland poll finds Anthony Brown (D) holds a nine-point lead over Larry Hogan (R) in the race for Maryland governor, 47% to 38%.

Tight Race for Michigan Governor

A new Public Policy Polling survey in Michigan finds Gov. Rick Snyder (R) barely ahead of challenger Mark Schauer (D), 47% to 46%.

In the U.S. Senate race, Gary Peters (D) leads Terri Lynn Land (R) by seven points, 49% to 42%.

New Poll Suggests Democrats May Hold Senate

A new Democracy Corps (D) poll finds "a consistent move toward the Democrats across a broad range of indicators that suggest the Democrats are more likely to hold control of the U.S. Senate than not."

"This election is still on a knife-edge; the overall vote remains unchanged and many states are within a couple of points. But the underlying dynamics and key metrics have all moved away from the Republicans. Some of these changes are dramatic, though the context remains a battleground that Romney won by 8 points. However, Democrats are poised to hold on."

Some results from key races:

North Carolina: Kay Hagan (D) 45%, Thom Tillis (R) 41%
Iowa: Joni Ernst (R) 45%, Bruce Braley (D) 44%
Colorado: Mark Udall (D) 45%, Cory Gardner (R), 45%
Georgia: David Perdue (R) 46%, Michelle Nunn (D) 41%

Orman Says He Could Switch Back and Forth

Kansas U.S. Senate candidate Greg Orman (I) told NBC News that he could change parties even after he has allied himself with Democrats or Republicans if he wins the election in November.

Orman says he would initially caucus with whichever party has majority control but he said could switch again, especially if the Senate is evenly split.

Said Orman: "If four or five months goes by, and it's clear they're engaged in the same old partisan politics, we'll be able to change our allegiances and work with the other side. And I think that's a really strong and important tool, to hold the Senate accountable for actually getting something done."

Malloy Leads in Connecticut

A new Public Policy Polling survey in Connecticut finds Gov. Dan Malloy (D) with an 8 point lead for reelection over challenger Tom Foley (R), 43% to 35%.

Same Sex Marriage Now Legal for Majority of Americans

Nate Silver: "The U.S. Supreme Court's decision Monday to decline hearing a series of appeals cases on same-sex marriage will have the effect of immediately legalizing gay marriage in Indiana, Oklahoma, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin. When combined with the 19 states (and the District of Columbia) that had previously legalized same-sex marriage, these states have a collective population of roughly 165 million, according to 2013 census figures."

"That means for the first time, same-sex marriage is legal for the majority of the U.S. population. The 26 states where the practice is not legal have a total population of about 151 million."

Dead Heat in Iowa

A new Loras College poll in Iowa finds Joni Ernst (R) deadlocked with Bruce Braley (D) in the U.S. Senate race, 42% to 42%.

Grimes Takes Lead Over McConnell in Kentucky

A new Bluegrass Poll in Kentucky finds Alison Lundergran Grimes (D) just ahead of Sen. Mitch McConnell (R) in the U.S. Senate race, 46% to 44%.

Key finding: "While that advantage is within the poll's margin of error, it represents a 6-point swing to the Democrat since the last survey in late August."

On Wonk Wire

Some great clicks over at Wonk Wire:

Supreme Court Will Not Rule on Same-Sex Marriage

"The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to consider whether same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry, a surprise action that leaves the issue unresolved nationwide," the Wall Street Journal reports.

"Seven appeals on the issue involving same-sex marriage bans in five states had landed on the court's doorstep while the justices were away on their summer break. State officials defending same-sex marriage bans, as well as gay couples challenging them, had urged the Supreme Court to intervene, citing the need for nationwide clarity."

"But the justices rejected those appeals in a brief written order. The court, as is its custom, offered no explanation for why it decided not to get involved."

Rick Hasen: "The fact that the Supreme Court, without saying a peep, is letting court-ordered same sex marriages go forward in Utah is a huge deal."

Voter Suppresion as a Political Strategy

New Republic: "For every unit of energy and resources Democrats devote to reduce the difference between their midterm and general electorates, Republicans are responding--not with turnout-boosting strategies of their own, but by making it harder for the pool of voters who make up that difference to vote, even if they want to. In a way, the story of the 2014 elections can be boiled down to two counterposed strategies, with Democrats on one side trying to mitigate their midterm drop off and Republicans trying to exacerbate it."

How Many Voters Will Decide the U.S. Senate?

Bloomberg Politics: "The number of people who'll decide this election will likely be smaller than the population of Florida."

Unwilling to Criticize Hillary Clinton

First Read: "NBC's 'Meet the Press' has now interviewed two potential Democratic challengers to Hillary Clinton -- first Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), then former Sen. Jim Webb (D-VA) yesterday -- and both have been unwilling to criticize her, let alone distinguish themselves from her."

"If you're really going to challenge Hillary, you have to take her on -- to show to donors and supporters that any potentially run is to actually win. It's going to take guts to take on the Clintons. And if you're going to do it, you've got to show it. It's amazing to us how few Dems who want to run for president want to actually take her on. For now, all these potential anti-Hillary Dems look like they are running for the attention rather than the nomination."

Sam Wang Factchecks Nate Silver

Last week, Nate Silver wrote a lengthy critique of Sam Wang's midterm election forecast for Political Wire.

Wang responds below.

Quote of the Day

"Yeah, I spent most of my career doing that."

-- Georgia U.S. Senate candidate David Perdue (R), quoted by Politico, when asked about his "experience with outsourcing" in a 2005 deposition.

Polling the Pollsters

FiveThirtyEight asks pollsters for their thoughts on the midterm elections and the accuracy of polling.

"In their responses, most pollsters predict Republicans will win the Senate by a narrow margin. Many say fewer people are responding to polls this year, compared to 2012, and more expect greater polling error -- that is, the difference between what the latest pre-election polls show and actual vote margins -- in the upcoming election, than expect less error. And yet, the results also show how little the pollsters agree on."

Democrats Start to Point Fingers

"Democrats are starting to play the blame game as they face the possibility of losing the Senate in November," The Hill reports.

"Tempers are running high a month out from Election Day, with polls showing Democratic candidates trailing in the crucial battleground states that will decide whether the Congress flips to Republican control."

12 Families Who Have Always Supported the Clintons

Bloomberg Politics finds twelve couples have supported Bill and Hillary Clinton "by giving more than two hundred dollars to the five national campaigns, the PAC, the Clinton Foundation, and Ready for Hillary--the outside group promoting a second Clinton presidential run."

"These few devotees--the very innermost circle of the Clinton cult--have supported Bill and Hillary since at least 1992, through epochal triumphs and bimbo eruptions and the slow bleed of Whitewater culminating in the Monica scandal, which caused the faith of the most devoted to be tested--after which, of course, Bill could be once again taken out of the closet."

Politico: Rogue donors not ready for Hillary?

Jeb Hasn't Decided Yet

Mark Halperin: "Here's the reality, distilled from over a dozen discussions with those who know Bush really well: Jeb himself still hasn't decided."

"There is no doubt that Bush is significantly closer to running for President than he was four years ago. He isn't showing some leg to sell books or raise his speaking fees. He isn't worried about the mechanics of the race, such as who might be his New Hampshire campaign manager, or how best to deal with straw polls. His decision-making process is less about consultation than, as is typical for the former Florida governor, about introspection. Jeb Bush is grappling with the hardest of questions: Is he the right person to bring the Republican Party toward the center and govern a country that has proven stubbornly difficult to lead? In other words, is this, finally, his time?"

Branstad Buys Illinois TV Time to Win Elusive County

In five statewide elections, Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad (R) has never carried Lee County, in the state's southeast corner. Seeking his sixth term next month, Branstad wants that to change that, the AP reports.

"Branstad, having swamped Democrat Jack Hatch in fundraising, has bought television advertising time on WGEM in neighboring Quincy, Illinois, the only local television station that covers all of Lee County, as well as west central Illinois and northeast Missouri. The move is part of the 67-year-old Branstad's personal political goals, which also include scoring big in his opponent's home county and leaving the party stronger, should 2014 be his last campaign."

Southern Democrats Need Black Voters to Win

Sens. Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Mark Pryor (D-AR) and Kay Hagan (D-NC) "are trying to distance themselves from a president who is deeply unpopular among white voters. But if they have any hopes of winning, they also must try to lock down the voters most loyal to Mr. Obama : African-Americans," the Wall Street Journal reports.

"How Southern Democrats walk this tightrope will help determine whether their party maintains control of the Senate. Sens. Landrieu, Hagan and Pryor are among the party's last lines of defense in a region that has become a Republican stronghold."

Kaine vs. Obama on War Powers

"In June, after he had written a scorching opinion article seeking to constrain the president's unilateral power to make war, Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA), one of Barack Obama's earliest supporters, buttonholed the commander in chief at the White House for what he called 'a spirited discussion,'" the New York Times reports.

"The militants of the Islamic State were pouring across the Syrian border into Iraq, and seizing cities where so much American blood and treasure had been spilled. But Mr. Kaine said he told the president in no uncertain terms that if he intended to go to war, he would have to ask Congress's permission. President Obama politely but firmly disagreed. They have been battling ever since."

Archive: October 05, 2014

Only Bill Clinton Can Help on Campaign Trail

A new Wall Street Journal/NBC News/Annenberg survey finds Bill Clinton is the politicians who can give candidates the biggest boost by campaigning with them.

"An endorsement from Mr. Clinton would make 38% of people look at the candidate more favorably, compared to 24% who would take a less favorable view. No other politician in the survey had a net positive more than one percentage point, the mark earned by Mrs. Clinton and First Lady Michelle Obama."

Biden Has to Apologize Again

Vice President Joe Biden "apologized to the United Arab Emirates Sunday for charging that the oil-rich ally had been supporting al Qaida and other jihadi groups in Syria's internal war, his second apology in as many days to a key participant in the U.S.-led coalition against Islamic State extremists," McClatchy reports.

Brazil's Presidential Election Heads to Runoff

Wall Street Journal: "Brazil's presidential race is headed to a second round after President Dilma Rousseff won the most votes on Sunday but failed to clinch the majority she needed to win a second term outright. The leftist Ms. Rousseff will face the more conservative Aécio Neves in a runoff on Oct. 26,"

New Senate Polls Give GOP the Edge

The latest New York Times/CBS News/YouGov polls of key Senate races show that Republicans "lead by at least four percentage points in enough races to finish with 50 seats -- just one short of the 51 seats they need to overcome Joe Biden's tiebreaking vote and take the Senate."

"The Republicans' likely gains include six seats currently held by the Democrats: in South Dakota, Montana, West Virginia, Arkansas, Louisiana and Alaska. If those leads hold up, Republicans have four opportunities to capture the 51st seat they need in Colorado, North Carolina, Iowa and Kansas."

"Nonetheless, the data suggests that the Democrats retain a clear, if difficult, path to victory. Perhaps most notable, the data offers reason to question the conventional wisdom that Republicans have recently made substantial gains in Colorado and Iowa."

Ernst Barely Ahead in Iowa

A new NBC News/Marist Poll in Iowa finds Joni Ernst (R) edging Bruce Braley (D) in the U.S. Senate race, 46% to 44%.

Orman Leads in Kansas

A new NBC News/Marist poll in Kansas finds Greg Orman (I) is leading Sen. Pat Roberts (R) by 10 points in the U.S. Senate race, 48% to 38%.

Hagan Maintains Edge in North Carolina

A new NBC News/Marist Poll in North Carolina finds Sen. Kay Hagan (D) has a slight advantage over challenger Thom Tillis (R), 44% to 40%.

A New and Improved Bobby Jindal

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) "is working to show voters he's more than a wooden wonk by loosening up on the campaign trail," The Hill reports.

"Now, with a new and improved, more relaxed demeanor, some conservatives are taking a second look at the Louisiana governor for 2016 after largely writing him off as a major contender for the White House. Jindal surprised many last week when he gave a strong speech at the Values Voters Summit in Washington. The half-hour address drew both laughs and strong applause from the social conservatives gathered, and Jindal showed a dynamic style as he paced across the stage."

Pending Gay Marriage Decision Could Define Supreme Court

"The 10th edition of the Supreme Court under Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. begins work Monday with the prospect of a monumental ruling for gay rights that could serve as a surprising legacy of an otherwise increasingly conservative court," the Washington Post reports.

"Whether the justices will decide that the Constitution protects the right of same-sex couples to marry dominates expectations of the coming term; such a ruling would impart landmark status on a docket that so far lacks a blockbuster case. And some say it would be a defining moment for a closely divided court that bears the chief justice's name but is most heavily influenced by the justice in the middle: Anthony M. Kennedy, who has written the court's most important decisions affording protection to gay Americans."

Democrats Rely on Super PACs in Senate Fight

"With the battle for the Senate tilting toward Republicans and President Obama's approval ratings hovering near his all-time low, Democrats are more reliant than they have ever been on the very kind of big-money groups they have spent years trying to outlaw," the New York Times reports.

"They are countering the Republican Party's expansive and formidable outside spending network this fall with a smaller but more tightly knit alliance of groups that share donors, closely coordinate their advertising and hit harder than their conservative counterparts."


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