The Elephant in the Room

We all want to know: Will the GOP have enough momentum to retake the Senate and keep the House, along with keeping and expanding our governors and legislatures?

We won’t know til November 5 – or maybe later – if the Louisiana and Georgia Senate candidates fail to hit 50%, necessitating a runoff.

A this point we haven’t had what reporter Matthew Continetti refers to as “macaca moments.” That is a reference to George Allen’s use of the word as a derogatory which cost him his election in 2006. In fact, Continetti says the Democrats are having macaca moments all over the place:

Something peculiar has happened. As I write, none of the Republican candidates for Senate has become a public embarrassment. On the contrary: For the first time in a decade, it is the Democratic candidates, not the Republican ones, who are fodder for late-night comics. That the Democrats are committing gaffes and causing scandals at a higher rate than Republicans not only may be decisive in the battle for the Senate. It could signal a change in our politics at large.

In Montana, Senator John Walsh bowed out after he was exposed as a plagiarist. His replacement: avowed “punktuator” and socialist Amanda Curtis. In Kentucky, Alison Lundergan Grimes won’t reveal her presidential vote, citing—I am not making this up—the constitutional right to privacy (maybe what she had in mind was her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination). In Colorado, Mark Udall’s pro-abortion strategy is so tone-deaf, so extreme, that the press has dubbed him “Mark Uterus.” In Louisiana, Mary Landrieu is saddled with charges of taking improper charter flights, and of claiming her parents’ home as her own, raising questions of residency. In Arkansas, Mark Pryor couldn’t give an answer when a reporter asked if he approved of the president’s handling of the Ebola crisis. In Alaska, Mark Begich had to pull a scurrilous attack ad. In New Hampshire, Jeanne Shaheen is outraged by a Washington Free Beacon story revealing her involvement in a business that sold stolen goods.

Rep. Bruce Braley of Iowa is in a category all his own. His classless remark about longtime Senator Chuck Grassley being a farmer had such an impact that months later, when Braley said at a debate that his first call as senator would be to the Iowa Republican, the audience burst into laughter. Then there is the story of how Braley threatened a neighbor with a lawsuit over her pet chicken. It revealed him to the world as Congressman Schmuck.

And he’s not even getting into the president’s various macacas when he said the election was a referendum about his policies and repeated it in an Al Sharpton interview. That puts the candidates trying to run away from him in a tough spot.

It also doesn’t get into North Carolina Senator Kay Hagan failing to show up at a debate last night and New Hampshire Senator Jean Shaheen ducking the question whether she thinks Obama has been doing a good job.

Then you have uber liberal publisher Tina Brown who admitted that women don’t feel Obama is protecting them from ISIS or ebola and are fleeing him. Check out Drudge’s headline also about the shock poll indicating women are going to Republicans.

Then this article came from John Ryder via the RNC:

Just about every way you slice it, Republicans have the clear advantage in these final weeks:

According to the Washington Post’s generic ballot survey, Republicans have a 50-43 advantage, almost identical to this point in the 2010 election.
President Obama, who said his policies are “on the ballot,” has seen his approval rating sink to record lows again. Voters trust Republicans more on just about every policy issue.
Political handicappers, including Nate Silver, the New York Times’ Upshot, and Charlie Cook, continue to up the chances of Republicans taking back the Senate.
In races for 10 Democrat-held Senate seats, Republicans have a lead in the polls.
In these same 10 races, Republicans outraised, effectively tied, or have a cash on hand advantage over their Democrat opponents for the third quarter.
Just a few months ago, Democrats didn’t even expect to have to compete in states like Colorado, Iowa, and New Hampshire. Now Democrats are scrambling to play defense.

Here’s a state-by-state breakdown of those 10 races:

ALASKA

Sullivan outraised Begich for the second straight quarter—this time by roughly $1 million.
Republican Dan Sullivan has led all eight post-primary polls against Senator Begich.

ARKANSAS

Republican Tom Cotton brought in a record $3.8 million. He outraised Senator Mark Pryor for the fourth straight quarter and has nearly three times the cash on hand.
Eight of the last nine non-partisan polls show Cotton with the lead.

COLORADO

Republican Cory Gardner outraised Senator Mark Udall during the third quarter and has a nearly 2-1 cash on hand advantage.
Udall has trailed in nine of the last ten non-partisan polls, after enjoying a seven-point lead back in July. The latest Quinnipiac poll had Gardner up six points.

IOWA

Republican Joni Ernst raised a whopping $6 million in the third quarter, more than twice as much as Democrat Bruce Braley.
Of the last 11 non-partisan polls, Braley has led in only one. The eight-point lead he enjoyed in the spring evaporated. The latest USA Today/Suffolk poll has Ernst up four points.

LOUISIANA

Republican Bill Cassidy had his strongest quarter to date and has over $1 million more cash on hand than Mary Landrieu.
Cassidy has led Landrieu in seven straight non-partisan polls and has been ahead in polling averages since December.

MONTANA

Republican Steve Daines outraised Democrat Amanda Curtis three-to-one in the third quarter.
Daines has led in every non-partisan poll by at least 18 points.

NEW HAMPSHIRE

Republican Scott Brown outraised Senator Jeanne Shaheen in the third quarter.
Democrats mistakenly thought this was a safe seat. Until September, most polls showed Shaheen with a double-digit lead, but now the race has tightened dramatically. Brown led in the most recent New England College poll.

NORTH CAROLINA

Republican Thom Tillis had his best quarter, posting a $3.2 million fundraising haul and has more cash on hand than Senator Kay Hagan
The race has tightened dramatically, with Tillis taking the lead in a High Point University Poll.

SOUTH DAKOTA

Republican Mike Rounds hasn’t trailed in a poll all year and has outraised both of his opponents to date.

WEST VIRGINIA

Republican Shelley Moore Capito hasn’t trailed in a poll all year and has consistently outraised her Democrat opponent, Natalie Tennant.

Even beyond the Senate races, it’s a promising year for Republicans. For example, the GOP is competitive in the Democrat-leaning Northeast in key gubernatorial, Senate, and House races.

Republicans are leading or are competitive in the Maine, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and New Hampshire gubernatorial races.
Republicans are also poised to pick up House seats in Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and New York. Democrats are also losing in GOP-held districts they hoped to win in New York and New Jersey.
In addition to Scott Brown’s strong campaign in New Hampshire, Senator Susan Collins of Maine enjoys a comfortable 30-point lead, according to the RealClearPolitics average.

As Democrats struggle to defend House seats, the Chairman of the DCCC is practically begging outside groups to help limit the damage.

The RNC had a record-breaking September for fundraising, bringing in $13.5 million. That allowed us to help our partners at the NRSC, NRCC, and the state parties, while continuing to field an unprecedented RNC ground operation that has us on track for a great Election Day.

Good news and a reason to avoid stewing over pundit observations or polls.

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