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Off to the races: Could Syria be a key '14 issue?

Politico: "Another military conflict in the Middle East is the last thing either party wants to be talking about heading into the 2014 midterm. For lawmakers on the ballot next year, the decision whether to authorize a strike against Syria that President Barack Obama has forced on Congress looks like an all-risk, no-reward proposition, campaign strategists from both parties” said.

ARKANSAS: Talk Business: "Lt. Gov. Mark Darr (R) says he will no longer be a candidate for the U.S. Congress, District 4 seat....Darr’s campaign was consumed last week after Matt Campbell with the Blue Hog Report blog reported on discrepancies and expenses in Darr’s campaign finance reports related to campaign debt from his Lt. Governor’s race."

CALIFORNIA: Politico reports that "California Republican Carl DeMaio is ditching his campaign for Congress to run for San Diego mayor, according to a source with direct knowledge of his plans. He is expected to make the formal announcement at a press conference Tuesday morning." For more on how his move affects the race and the battle for the House, check out our earlier report on the race. 

COLORADO: The New York Times takes a look at next week's Colorado legislative recalls and the money pouring into the state. "Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg of New York and the billionaire philanthropist Eli Broad have each donated hundreds of thousands of dollars. The National Rifle Association is buying political advertisements. New York’s junior senator sent a fund-raising e-mail. And the election has attracted news coverage from as far away as Sweden.

GEORGIA: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that Gov. Nathan Deal is getting a GOP primary challenge from Superintendent John Barge, who enters the race "with a message that the state should sharpen its focus on economic development and substantially increase funding for public education" and says "he wants to make" Deal "work for a second term by forcing a runoff." And over the weekend, "former state Sen. Connie Stokes became the first Democrat to announce a bid against the sitting governor. And the party tapped a new chairman, DuBose Porter, a former gubernatorial contender, who promises to turn up the heat on Deal."

ILLINOIS: Chicago Tribune: "State Sen. Kwame Raoul announced Thursday that he won't seek the Democratic governor nomination, a move that leaves Gov. Pat Quinn and former White House chief of staff Bill Daley as the major contenders in the March 2014 primary. The Hyde Park lawmaker's decision most immediately benefits Quinn by eliminating the political threat of a popular African-American candidate winning the support of black voters in Chicago and Cook County — a significant voting bloc in statewide Democratic politics."

IOWA: Democratic State Treasurer Michael Fitzgerald won't run for governor, per the Des Moines Register

KENTUCKY: National Journal: "Matt Bevin, the Louisville-area businessman running against Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, is new to politics. He's dismissed by many in the GOP as a glorified gadfly. Still, he's got something the veteran lawmaker lacks – a thin record that will be difficult for Democrats to pick apart. Indeed, Democrats are hoping to turn the Senate race into a referendum on an unpopular incumbent. But without McConnell on the ticket, the presumed Democratic nominee, Alison Lundergan Grimes, will face a much tougher foe in the fresh-faced Republican, some longtime Bluegrass State political watchers say."

NEW JERSEY: Politico: “Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul will visit his sometime rival Chris Christie’s home state of New Jersey next week to campaign for Republican Senate candidate Steve Lonegan…. Paul, who sparred sharply with Christie this summer over their divergent views on federal surveillance and intelligence-gathering programs, plans to visit Clark, N.J., on Sept. 13 to campaign with Lonegan. A source said that Christie, the popular governor midway coasting to reelection in November, has also been invited to participate. A Christie spokesman did not respond to a request for comment.” More: Christie has endorsed the combative Lonegan but has scarcely campaigned for him, while Lonegan said in an August MSNBC appearance that his views are closer to Paul’s than Christie’s on issues such as NSA surveillance and Hurricane Sandy aid.”

So, someone who wants to be a senator from New Jersey would be against aid to rebuild the state he’s from?

Newark Star-Ledger: "Just a few short weeks ago, Rep. Frank Pallone and Newark Mayor Cory Booker were battling each other in the Democratic primary to replace the late Sen. Frank Lautenberg." On Saturday, "two weeks after Booker won the nomination, the two men are the closest of allies, with Pallone endorsing Booker's 2013 run and a potential 2014 run for a full six-year Senate term."

VIRGINIA: Washington Post: "Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli II’s gubernatorial campaign is launching an ad Tuesday highlighting his evolving views on crime and casting the conservative Republican as a compassionate lawman who fought to clear a wrongly convicted man. The ad tells the story of Cuccinelli’s role in the case of Thomas Haynesworth, who spent 27 years in prison for rapes he did not commit. After DNA testing cleared Haynesworth in two sexual assaults, Cuccinelli and two state prosecutors championed Haynesworth’s case, pushing to obtain a “writ of actual innocence” for him even in two cases where no genetic testing was possible. "

WYOMING:Roll Call: “Republican Liz Cheney announced on Friday that she is against gay marriage and accused the National Republican Senatorial Committee of sponsoring a ‘push poll’ against her.” Cheney said, “I call on Senator Enzi to denounce this poll and to tell the National Republican Senatorial Committee, or anyone else promoting untruths on his behalf, to stop.” The call alleges that she “supports abortion and aggressively promotes gay marriage.”