Off to the races: Daley drops out in IL

Charlie Cook delivers a dose of realism: “The GOP’s brand is showing no sign of recovering from what led to the party’s thumping in 2012, and second-term fatigue does seem to be plaguing Democrats. We could be seeing an election in which the two forces cancel each other out, with little change in the House, and Republicans picking up three, four, or five Senate seats but still coming up short of the six they need to gain a majority. Under those circumstances, it might be questionable in 2016 whether the electorate would want a third Democratic term in the White house, but it is equally unclear whether voters would choose to turn the executive branch over to Republicans. At the very least, Americans might want to prepare themselves for Washington to muddle along for the next three years until the 2016 election.”

CALIFORNIA: San Francisco Chronicle: "A caustic political battle has erupted between the state's leading Republican hopeful in next year's governor's race and his former team of high-priced GOP consultants, a development that some experts say could make it even harder for a Republican to beat popular Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown, should he decide to run. At issue is the work of a team led by veteran strategist John Weaver and media consultant Fred Davis, whose past clients included Republican presidential candidates John McCain and Jon Huntsman. Until last month, they were on the payroll of former California Lt. Gov. Abel Maldonado, a candidate for governor from Santa Barbara County. The breakup was anything but amicable."

ILLINOIS: Former Obama White House Chief of Staff and brother of two former Chicago mayors Bill Daley decided to quit the Illinois governor’s race, the Chicago Tribune reports. Daley told the Chicago Tribune: “One of the things I always thought in my career that I wanted to do, I thought I would be able to have that opportunity, I hoped, would be to run for office. And even though you’re around it for a long time, you really don’t get a sense of the enormity of it until you get into it. But the last six weeks or so have been really tough on me, struggling with this. Is this really me? Is this really what I want to spend my next five to nine years doing? And is this the best thing for me to do at this stage of my life? I’ve come to the conclusion that this isn’t the best thing for me.”

Daley will hold a news conference in Chicago this morning to discuss his decision. It clears the way for incumbent Democrat Pat Quinn, who is seeking reelection.

NEW JERSEY: Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ) gets a 61%/24% job approval in a new Monmouth University/Asbury Park Press poll. This is actually down slightly from his 70% rating post-Sandy in February. This is the first time post-Sandy also that he has below 50% approval from Democrats (47%), but still has very high marks with Republicans (89%) and independents (64%). Also, just 40% give Christie either an A or B for controlling costs and cutting waste, down from 54% in December and 47% in April. On jobs he gets a 29%/28% (AB/DF) score. 36% give him just a C. They are less pleased by his handling of same-sex marriage and guns. And on property tax, which are the highest in New Jersey than anywhere in the country, he’s a net-negative 27%/35%.

Obama gets a 51%/40% approval in New Jersey. That’s down from February when it was 60%/33%.

NORTH CAROLINA: Raleigh News & Observer: "Republican Rep. Renee Ellmers of Dunn may have a serious primary challenge from the right next spring. Jim Duncan, the chairman of the Chatham County Republican Party and co-founder of the grassroots organization, The Coalition for American Principles, is contemplating a challenge to Ellmers....Ellmers was elected to Congress in 2010 as part of the Tea Party movement and as an outspoken critic of Obamacare. But she has received some criticism from the party's right that she has been too close to House Speaker John Boehner and has been insufficiently aggressive in fighting implementation of Obamacare."

RHODE ISLAND: “Susan Farmer, who broke the glass ceiling in Rhode Island politics by becoming the first woman to be elected secretary of state — and the first female Rhode Islander ever to hold statewide general office — and then went on to run and manage the state’s public television station for 17 years, died Monday after a long battle with cancer. She was 71,” the Providence Journal says.

VIRGINIA: Richmond Times Dispatch: "A rising GOP star, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., pledged support for Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli’s bid for governor during a fundraising event in Richmond Monday designed to generate cash and excitement for the Republican cause....Rubio, a possible presidential contender in 2016, told the crowd of roughly 400 at the Richmond Marriott that no less than the “American Dream” is at stake, beginning with the Virginia election — one of only two governor’s races in the country this year. Rubio said the November election is not just about electing a Republican over a Democrat, but ensuring that the commonwealth is run by a candidate like Cuccinelli who supports free enterprise and limited government."

The Washington Post notes that Democrat Terry McAuliffe is still dwarfing Cuccinelli in fundraising, with more than double the cash on hand for the final stretch. "The race for money in the Virginia governor’s campaign again went to Terry McAuliffe, with the former head of the Democratic Party raking in nearly $7.36 million in July and August, according to reports released by his campaign and a nonprofit group that tracks campaign contributions. His Republican rival, Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli II, raised about $5.69 million, according to an analysis of campaign donations released Monday by the nonpartisan Virginia Public Access Project. As the candidates head into the final stretch, McAuliffe has more than $5 million in cash on hand, while Cuccinelli has about $2.24 million.