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September 29, 2014

Supreme Court Blocks Extension of Ohio Early Voting

"The Supreme Court's conservatives cleared the way Monday for Ohio to restrict early voting in the state, on the eve of the day it was to start," the Washington Post reports.

"The court granted the state's request to stay decisions of lower courts that threw out the state's new plan, passed by the Republican-led legislature. But the court's four liberal justices said they would have stayed out of the case and left those decisions in place."

Rick Hasen: "I think it was a mistake to bring this Ohio case. I am not convinced that it is a significant burden on voters to cut back a week off early voting including the last Sunday. Really, if 28 days is too little early voting, what does this say about New York, with NO period of early voting?"

No Ruling on Kansas Democrats Picking Candidate

A three-judge panel "did not decide Monday whether Kansas Democrats should be required to pick a replacement for Chad Taylor (D), who dropped out of the closely contested U.S. Senate campaign against longtime incumbent Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS), the Topeka Capital Journal reports.

"The court challenge seeking to force Democrats to fill the vacancy hit a stumbling block Monday when the man who filed the suit failed to show up for his day in court."

Intruder Made It Deeper Into White House

Washington Post: "The man who jumped the White House fence this month and sprinted through the front door made it much farther into the building than previously known, overpowering one Secret Service officer and running through much of the main floor, according to three people familiar with the incident."

New York Times: "It is unheard of in recent decades for an intruder to make it in the White House, even a few steps inside one of the most secure buildings in the world."

Senate Race in Kansas is a Toss Up

The Cook Political Report has moved the U.S. Senate race in Kansas to a "toss up."

"This contest has become the Rubik's Cube of Senate races. At the end of the day, it will be solved, but no one really knows how long it will take or how many different ways to solve the puzzle there really are. As a result, this race defies traditional analyses. Given what has become a complicated two-way race, polling is of little use."

Dead Heat for Massachusetts Governor

A new Suffolk University poll in Massachusetts finds the race for governor is a dead heat, with Martha Coakley (D)tied with Charlie Baker (R), 43% to 43%.

A new Western New England University poll finds Baker ahead 44% to 43%.

A forthcoming University of Massachusetts at Amherst poll is also expected to show a dead heat.

Astrologers Predict Future for Clinton Grandchild

"Leading astrologers say that Charlotte Clinton Mezvinsky is destined for a future working on social justice and will enjoy a strong relationship with her proud grandparents, Hillary and Bill," Politico reports.

Cruz's Advisers Say He's Running for President

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) "is running for president. The only thing left for him to do is say so," National Journal reports.

"According to sources close to the Texas senator, Cruz could be preparing for an end-of-year announcement and is now dedicating considerable time and effort to cultivating a foreign-policy foundation that might help his candidacy stand out in what is guaranteed to be a crowded field."

Said one adviser: "At this point it's 90/10 he's in. And honestly, 90 is lowballing it."

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Pressler Gains in South Dakota

A new Nielson Brothers survey in South Dakota finds Mike Rounds (R) leading Rick Weiland (D) in the U.S. Senate race, 39% to 26%, with Larry Pressler (I) at 24%.

If Weiland were not in the race, Rounds would be in a dead heat with Pressler, 40% to 39%.

You Can Be Fired for Running for Office

Businessweek: "A political candidate's firing in Florida offers a reminder of a little-understood fact of American life: Companies have sweeping discretion to effectively regulate what their workers do outside of work, including running for elected office."

Extra Bonus Quote of the Day

"You women don't understand -- guns are for men what jewelry is for women."

-- Rep. Steve King (R-IA), quoted by TPM.

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Ohio Democrats Move to Contain Damage

"With a wounded candidate at the top of their ticket, Democrats in Ohio have been forced to adopt a Plan B as they seek to avoid a disastrous shutout in elections for governor and other statewide offices," the New York Times reports.

"Democrats here and nationally had high hopes of ousting Gov. John Kasich, whose job approval was below 50 percent among voters in Quinnipiac University polls taken early this year. But that was before the challenger, Ed FitzGerald, suffered self-inflicted wounds and his campaign all but imploded. With donors fleeing, top aides to Mr. FitzGerald quit last month as it became clear there was not enough money for a hard-fought race."

Democrats Crushing Republicans in Small Donations

National Journal: "Democratic candidates for Congress are crushing their Republican counterparts in small-dollar donations -- outraising their GOP foes by an average of more than $100,000 per candidate in the nation's top races. That's the finding of a new National Journal analysis of federal records in the most competitive House contests in the country. In those, the average Democrat has collected $179,300 in donations under $200; the average Republican has brought in only $78,535."

Bonus Quote of the Day

"It would be an uphill fight, almost like climbing a wall. He would be running against someone who simultaneously has two television shows based on her. She is a political figure with such remarkable strength ahead of the campaign, unlike anything I've seen in my lifetime."

-- Former Sen. Bob Kerrey (D-NE), quoted by the Washington Post, on the possibility of former Sen. Jim Webb (D-VA) challenging Hillary Clinton for the Democratic presidential nomination.

The Good Old Days

Annabelle Monaghan: "People seem to really like to talk about the good old days. Remember when kids played outside and could shake your hand because they weren't playing Angry Birds? I remember those days too, but here's what I also remember about growing up in the 70's..."

Time for Democrats to Panic?

Nate Silver looks at the implications of a new poll showing Joni Ernst (R) with a solid lead over Bruce Braley (D) in the Iowa U.S. Senate race.

"If Republicans are favored there also, they have a path to a Senate majority without having to worry about the crazy race in Kansas. Nor is Iowa their only option. Polls have also moved toward Republicans in Colorado, where their candidate Cory Gardner is now a slight favorite."

"This is an awfully flexible set of outcomes for Republicans. Win the six 'path of least resistance' states that I mentioned before, avoid surprises in races like Kentucky, and all Republicans need to do is win either Iowa or Colorado to guarantee a Senate majority. Or they could have Roberts hold on in Kansas. Or Orman could win that race, but the GOP could persuade him to caucus with them."

Quote of the Day

"I've seen him grow and I've seen him mature and I've seen him become more centrist. I know that if he were President or a nominee I could influence him, particularly some of his views and positions on national security. He trusts me particularly on the military side of things, so I could easily work with him. It wouldn't be a problem."

-- Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), quoted by the New Yorker, saying he would support Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) if he were the Republican nominee for president.

The Iron Man of American Politics

New York Times: "Twenty-two years after he won the White House and six years after his wife's near miss for the Democratic nomination, former President Bill Clinton again stands in the thick of the competition for the nation's highest office."

"That makes Mr. Clinton, who addressed his first national convention at age 33 and on Friday became a grandfather at 68, the most durable high-stakes player ever in American presidential politics."

Braley Fails to Do Damage in Iowa Debate

Bruce Braley (D) and Joni Ernst (R) "squared off in a lively U.S. Senate debate Sunday evening, marked by heated exchanges on abortion, contraceptives, climate change and environmental regulations -- and by biting attacks and comebacks, especially in the final few minutes," the Des Moines Register reports.

"Braley went on the attack against a rival who is ahead by 6 points in the new Iowa Poll on the race, but front-runner Ernst responded in kind in their first face-to-face match-up."

Braley "needed to land some blows against his Republican competitor" but "he didn't deliver," Bloomberg reports.

Orman Won't Say Which Party He'll Support

Kansas U.S. Senate candidate Greg Orman (I) refuses to say whether he would he caucus with Democrats or Republicans if he defeats Sen. Pat Roberts (R), the Washington Post reports.

Said Orman: "It's not in the best interests for us to say that."

GOP Hopefuls Push Farther Right

New York Times: "Congressional Republicans successfully ended their primary season with minimal damage, but in at least a dozen safe or largely safe Republican House districts where more mild-mannered Republicans are exiting, their likely replacements will pull the party to the right, a move likely to increase division in an already polarized Congress."

Rand Paul Goes Mainstream

Ryan Lizza: "In some respects, Paul is to Republicans in 2014 what Barack Obama was to Democrats in 2006: the Party's most prized fund-raiser and its most discussed senator, willing to express opinions unpopular within his party, and capable of energizing younger voters. The Republican National Committee, which in 2008 refused to allow his father, Ron Paul, to speak at its Convention, recently solicited donations by offering supporters a chance to have lunch with Rand Paul. The only potential obstacle to a Paul Presidential candidacy in 2016 is his wife, Kelley."

Said adviser Douglas Stafford: "Unless Kelley says no, he's running."

Party Bosses Place Their Bets

The Hill: "Five weeks before the midterm elections, party leaders are peering into their campaign bank accounts, doing their math and trying to figure out where to put their money -- and where to abandon hope."

"While it is unclear which party will be running the upper chamber in 2015, the states that will decide the race are now apparent. The decisions by D.C. power brokers are sure to be a disappointment for some candidates who will be left to the wayside."

Michaud Just Ahead in Maine

A new Portland Press Herald poll in Maine finds Mike Michaud (D) edging Gov. Paul LePage (R) in the race for governor, 41% to 39%, with Eliot Cutler (I) at 14%.

September 28, 2014

Quote of the Day

"At some point somebody's boots have to be on the ground."

-- House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), quoted Business Insider, on ISIS.

Landrieu Leads But Not By Enough to Avoid Runoff

A new CNN/ORC International poll in Louisiana finds Sen. Mary Landrieu (D) with a small lead over Bill Cassidy (R) in the U.S. Senate race, 43% to 40%.

"But this is Louisiana, and the election system can be complicated. There are nine candidates -- Republicans, Democrats, and a Libertarian -- on the ballot this November, and if no candidate crosses the 50% threshold, the race moves into a December runoff between the top two contenders."

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