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Off to the races: Democrats' recent recruiting successes

The New York Times: “The Democratic Party is enjoying something of a boomlet in newly declared candidacies for the House. Since Oct. 1, five candidates have lined up to contest Republican-held seats, with at least four more in the wings, Democratic officials say. Almost all say they are driven to run — ostensibly, at least — by disgust over the shutdown, first espoused by Senator Ted Cruz, a Texas Republican, and embraced by Tea Party Republicans in the House and, eventually, most others as well. Nonetheless, most of the Republicans viewed as most vulnerable are moderates, not those who pushed for the shutdown.”

“Extending an olive branch to GOP senators, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz is privately making it clear he won’t engage in the Senate Conservatives Fund’s hardball tactics to defeat his colleagues in their primary races,” Politico writes. “At a closed-door lunch meeting of Senate Republicans Wednesday, the freshman conservative told his colleagues that he would not intervene in their 2014 primary fights or fundraise for the controversial outside group.”

(Even with this olive branch, it’s worth pointing out that Cruz is vice-chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, whose goal is to re-elect incumbent GOP senators.)

Norm Ornstein: “It is becoming increasingly obvious that the Supreme Court decision in Shelby County v. Holder, which eviscerated the Voting Rights Act, is leading to a new era of voter suppression that parallels the pre-1960s era—this time affecting not just African-Americans but also Hispanic-Americans, women, and students, among others.”

Damn facts… Rand Paul defended his speech about eugenics and the charge, led by the Rachel Maddow Show that parts of his speech looked cribbed from Wikipedia. Politico: “Paul said ‘a lot of people’ work on his speeches so he can’t pinpoint one person responsible for the writing, and he dismissed the attacks as coming from ‘haters.’ ‘This is really about information and attacks coming from haters. You know, the person who is leading this attack, she’s been spreading hate on me for about three years now and I don’t intend for it to go away, but I also don’t see her as an objective news source.’”

ALABAMA:Roll Call: “The U.S. Chamber of Commerce sent a message to the tea party on Tuesday, when it endorsed an established lawmaker over the tea-party-aligned candidate in the Nov. 5 GOP runoff in Alabama’s 1st District. So far, the chamber has spent $185,000 to boost former state Sen. Bradley Byrne over Dean Young — effectively laying down a marker in the growing battle for control of the GOP in the midterm cycle. ‘It’s the first shot, really the first political shot, in the GOP civil war between the establishment and business community versus the tea party,’ Republican consultant Ron Bonjean said.”

FLORIDA: The special election in FL-13 has been set. The primary will be Jan. 14 with a general election March 11.

Roll Call's Abby Livingston reports that with former Democratic gubernatorial Alex Sink's entrance into the race, "EMILY’s List has removed attorney Jessica Ehrlich from its online page of favored candidates — an ominous sign for the Democrat running in the highly competitive special election for Florida’s 13th District....A DCCC source clarified that the committee is fully behind Sink in this primary."

Beth Reinhard: “Rubio's changing tactics reflect strenuous efforts to keep a foot in each of the warring camps of his party as he weighs a presidential bid. Is he an Obamacare-bashing tea-party hero who won't budge from conservative principles, like his possible 2016 rival, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas? Or is he the pragmatic Republican legislator open to compromise with Democrats to chart public policy, a la New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie? His supporters say it may be possible for the son of Cuban immigrants who frequently invokes the American Dream to find a middle ground.”

LOUISIANA: “Sen. Mary Landrieu said Wednesday she would propose legislation to ensure all Americans could keep their existing insurance coverage under Obamacare, a fresh sign of the political problems the law’s rollout has created for congressional Democrats,” Politico writes.

NEBRASKA: Former state Treasurer Shane Osborn has a heavy lead in the GOP primary for the state's open Senate seat, according to a Public Opinion Strategies poll conducted for his campaign, provided first to NBC News. In an Oct. 27-28 poll of 400 likely voters, Osborn tops a four-way field with 39% of the vote, while the other three candidates don't break out of single digits. Midland University President Ben Sasse, who was endorsed by Senate Conservatives Fund last week, only registers 7%, tied with banker Sid Dinsdale. Eighty-three percent of GOP primary voters have heard of Osborn, while 55% have a favorable impression. POS pollster Neil Newhouse writes in the memo: "Former Nebraska State Treasurer Shane Osborn is well-positioned in this GOP primary battle for US Senate; he’s well-known, well-liked, and has a significant early advantage over his opponents. Further, he pulls support from demographic groups critical to winning GOP primaries – Seniors, very conservatives, Tea Party supporters and strong Republicans."

NEW JERSEY: “New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s veto of an obscure bill dealing with pig crates might not be popular in his home state. But it sure might sound good in Iowa,” Politico writes. “With the political world watching every move Christie makes for signs of his 2016 ambitions, even something like his rejection of a law passed by the state Legislature to ban gestation crates for pregnant pigs — which animal rights activists believe are cruel — can be interpreted as a purely political move that extends well beyond the Garden State. Iowa is the nation’s No. 1 hog producing state while New Jersey isn’t even in the top 20 in pork.”

NEW YORK: Bill de Blasio (D) leads 65-26% over Joe Lhota (R) in the race for mayor, according to Quinnipiac.

VIRGINIA: Washington Post: "Throughout Virginia’s gubernatorial race, Terry McAuliffe, the Democratic candidate, has cast Cuccinelli as a tea party extremist, incapable of forging the centrist consensus necessary to manage the commonwealth. The portrait has stuck, according to recent polls; McAuliffe appears to be ahead in the race — and Cuccinelli’s conservatism is a leading reason. For years, he articulated that conservatism in the Cuccinelli Compass, honing a combative political persona and providing opponents with material that has now driven up his negative poll ratings and lifted McAuliffe. At the same time, Cuccinelli has accused Democrats of turning him into a caricature, seeking to scare off voters by distorting and lying about his record as a state senator and Virginia’s attorney general."

Richmond Times Dispatch: "Mark Obenshain, the Republican nominee for attorney general, reported $1.3 million in donations between Thursday and Monday, as Ken Cuccinelli, the party’s candidate for governor, reported $147,000 in contributions, according to the Virginia Public Access Project. It marked the first time that a down-ticket candidate had outraised the party’s candidate for governor in the first five days of pre-election reporting, according to VPAP, a nonpartisan tracker of money in state politics."

Norfolk Virginian Pilot: "Although Virginia's disclosure laws make decoding Terry McAuliffe's finances as difficult as grabbing water, this much is clear: His vast investments would require serious shifting if he becomes governor. Leveraged as McAuliffe is in municipal bonds, securities and business holdings - some with state connections - his campaign says they won't be a conflict if he's elected because the investments would go into a blind trust."