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Friday's campaign round-up

Today's installment of campaign-related news items that won't necessarily generate a post of their own, but may be of interest to political observers:

* In Georgia, U.S. Senate hopeful Karen Handel (R) launched a radio ad this week, touting her opposition to military intervention in Syria, and slamming Michelle Nunn, the likely Democratic nominee, for disagreeing. To my knowledge, this is the first ad of the 2014 congressional cycle to use Syria as a hook.

* In Virginia's closely watched gubernatorial race, a new Purple Strategies poll shows Terry McAuliffe (D) with a modest lead over state Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (R), 43% to 38%. The poll points to one of the largest gender gaps I've ever seen -- McAuliffe has an 18-point lead among women, while Cuccinelli has a 10-point lead among men.

* On a related note, Cuccinelli shook up his campaign staff this week. As a rule, when a statewide candidate makes major staffing changes eight weeks before Election Day, it's a bad sign.

* In a striking turn of events, Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Texas), the House Rules Committee chairman and the former head of the National Republican Congressional Committee, not only has a primary challenger, his GOP opponent will now have FreedomWorks' backing, despite Sessions' far-right voting record.

* In Texas, gubernatorial hopeful Greg Abbott's (R) top campaign strategist said yesterday that state Sen. Wendy Davis (D) may be "too stupid to be governor." It's worth emphasizing that the strategist, Dave Carney, ran several of Gov. Rick Perry's (R) campaigns. Perry's predecessor was George W. Bush.

* The field of GOP candidates running for the Senate in Alaska just keeps growing, with Alaska Natural Resources Commissioner Dan Sullivan (R) poised to enter the contest.

* And Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) announced yesterday that he will host a fundraiser for Kentucky's Alison Lundergan Grimes (D), who hopes to take on Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R) in 2014. While that may seem like a breach in protocol, note that McConnell hosted a fundraiser for Sharron Angle (R), Reid's right-wing opponent, in 2010.