• MA-Sen (Tossup to Lean D): I'm betting that Scott Brown is seriously regretting his agreement with Elizabeth Warren to bar most third-party spending on the race, because you know he's thinking that a $5 million blitz by Karl Rove sure would be tasty right about now. That's because the polling's simply been awful for the Republican senator since Labor Day, ever since the contest took a negative turn. If Brown could have stayed positive and had someone else do his dirty work, he might still be in this thing. But he's sullied his image, and Massachusetts' traditional blue instincts have reasserted themselves enough to power Warren to a distinct advantage.
• MO-Sen (Tossup to Lean D): We were among the biggest naysayers when Todd Akin's epic implosion rocked the Missouri Senate race—surely, we figured, once Akin successfully called the GOP establishment's bluff and refused to drop out, Crossroads and the NRSC would be right back in the game, and conservative hostility toward Dem Sen. Claire McCaskill would overpower any lingering disgust toward Akin. But even after they could no longer replace Akin on the ballot, Republicans stayed out, McCaskill woke her attack machine out of temporary stasis, and the contest has, remarkably, veered back into the blue column. Why the GOP didn't spend some of the millions they're wasting on Josh Mandel on Todd Akin instead, I'm not sure I can answer. But the fact is that they haven't, and Claire McCaskill may just be the luckiest senator in living memory.
• CA-36 (Lean R to Tossup): I admit it: I was very spooked by the revelations that Democrat Raul Ruiz had once read a letter in support of activist Leonard Peltier, who was convicted of murdering two FBI agents in 1975. But despite some ugly headlines, I guess Peltier has about as much resonance these days as Sacco and Vanzetti (if you have to Google that, well, I've just made my point). What's more, GOP Rep. Mary Bono Mack's attacks on Ruiz have inspired local Indian tribes (who almost never get involved in politics) to openly chastise her. Indeed, Bono Mack's relationships with minority communities in her district seem to be a real problem for her, especially Latinos, whom she promised to reach out to... after the election. That's a pretty serious issue, seeing as Hispanics make up 27% of the voting population of the redrawn 36th, about a quarter of which is brand-new to MBM. She's also never faced a serious race, and her rust has put this one into serious play for Team Blue.
• GA-12 (Lean R to Tossup): After the Republicans in control of redistricting screwed Rep. John Barrow something fierce, it was hard to imagine him hanging on: After all, his district see-sawed incredibly, going from 54-45 Obama to 56-44 McCain, one of the biggest swings in the country. But Barrow'd always been good (perhaps a little too good) at cultivating a very conservative profile—and he's canny enough for me to believe that he knew this day was coming. A recent Democratic internal had him up 48-45 over Republican Lee Anderson, and Anderson never responded. (A dusty Anderson internal from August only had him up 1, anyway.) While Dem third-party groups have been outspent $2.6 mil to $2 mil, Barrow's crushed Anderson in fundraising, $2.7 mil to just $800K, and Anderson had to spend most of his haul on winning the GOP nomination.
12:25 PM PT (David Jarman): KY-06, NC-07, PA-12: There are new GOP internals of three races with Dem incumbents, races where, despite the solid-red districts, the Dems have seemed to have a slight upper hand. Now ordinarily we recommend taking GOP internal polling with a grain of salt, but here we aren't talking about a POS or Tarrance or one of the other establishment types who often acquit themselves well... these are polls for Dick Morris's Citizens United organization, by Wenzel Strategies, a pollster who stunk up the joint in 2010 and who continue to put up weird numbers elsewhere (for instance, they're the only pollster who continues to find Todd Akin not just coming closer than high-single-digits but actually leading in MO-Sen). For the sake of completeness, though, they've got Andy Barr leading Ben Chandler 45-41 in KY-06, David Rouzer leading Mike McIntyre 45-39 in NC-07, and Keith Rothfus leading Mark Critz 44-39 in PA-12.
12:51 PM PT: Fundraising: Pre-general reports detailing all fundraising from Oct. 1-17 were due at the FEC on Thursday night, and once again, we've compiled them all in one place, for all 94 House races we've given a competitive rating to. Click through to see how much everyone's been raising and spending, and who has more cash-on-hand for the final days of the campaign.
1:53 PM PT: PA-Sen: I'm not really sure why the NRSC is bothering to come in and help Tom Smith. I don't say that because Dem Sen. Bob Casey is invulernable—quite the contrary, we recently moved the race from Likely D to Lean D. Rather, my point is that Smith is very wealthy and has shown no hesitation to self-fund like mad, spending well into the eight figures. So what is the NRSC's $500K meant to accomplish? The NRSC swears it's not some kind of head-fake, but obviously, that's exactly what they'd say under any set of circumstances.
1:57 PM PT: NV-Sen: Oh no: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid was just hospitalized following a car crash in his home state of Nevada on Friday, according to local news reports. KTNV says: "The extent of Reid's injuries were not immediately clear." Needless to say, we hope everyone involved is okay.
2:02 PM PT: Let's hope this is accurate—and that the same is true for everyone else as well:
2:04 PM PT: AZ-Sen: Majority PAC and the LCV are going into Arizona big in the final week: They are spending $1.2 million on a new ad attacking GOP Rep. Jeff Flake over his support for uranium mining, which they say would threaten drinking water drawn from the Colorado River.
2:07 PM PT: CT-Sen: It looks like Republican Linda McMahon's self-funding is close to matching the obscene $50 million she shelled out in 2010. New fundraising reports indicate she's spent $42.6 million, almost all of which has come from her own pockets. When you step back and think about what these kinds of sums mean, I suppose it's not really a surprise she was able to make this race as close as she has.
2:14 PM PT: CT-05, IA-04: House Majority PAC just announced two new big buys. One is in CT-05, where they're spending $500K to attack Republican Andrew Roraback as a tax raiser, the first time they've gotten involved in the race. The other is for $170K in IA-04 (a large amount for that district, going after GOP Rep. Steve King, a seat where they've already spent a considerable sum.
2:21 PM PT: DCCC, NRCC: In pre-general reports covering the period of Oct. 1-17, the DCCC outraised the NRCC $9.5 million to $7.4 mil. However, Republicans have more cash on hand:
$11 mil to versus $10.1 mil.
2:22 PM PT: FL-02: Florida's 2nd continues to surprise, as the DCCC pours on another $250K for the final two weeks. They're attacking GOP Rep. Steve Southerland over an infamous remark he once made, claiming that his his $174,000 salary as a member of Congress is "not so much."
2:30 PM PT (David Jarman): WA-01: Here's an important data point from this race (though you'd already know it if you've seen our pre-general fundraising report wrapup): Suzan DelBene has just self-funded $500K (or more precisely, $250K in self-funding and $250K in self-loan). Although she self-funded several million to get through the primary in this Dem-leaning district, the fact that she's cracking her checkbook open indicates that she doesn't feel the race against GOPer John Koster is fully nailed-down yet.
2:32 PM PT (David Jarman): RI-01: A series of DCCC polls last month seemed to indicate that Dem incumbent David Cicilline had taken control of this once-shaky race against GOPer Brendan Doherty. The NRCC must be seeing something that it likes, though, because it just returned to this race, with a $280K buy. The DCCC countered quickly with its own $310K buy, so they might be seeing it too, or just fighting fire with fire.