It’s hard to believe, but the midterm election is less than two weeks away.  This is a high-stakes midterm election, the likes of which in terms of national import we’ve probably not seen since the 1994 or 2010 midterms.  Both Democrats and Republicans are keenly aware of the stakes, and there have been more than a few developments over the past few days that are worth noting.

We have separate READER POLLS as to whether Republicans can hold the House and Senate.

The House

Keeping the House has long been seen as less likely for the GOP. After all, Democrats need flip only 24 seats to regain a majority, and 25 are in congressional districts that voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016.

That said, since 2016 Democrats have openly and enthusiastically lunged to the far left, much further than Americans are comfortable with or happy to endorse. Democrats are pushing open borders, “free” everything, and constant busybodying into every aspect of every American’s life, and much of this goes against the grain of “normal” Americans who expect immigration (all) laws to be enforced (equally), understand that nothing is “free,” and reject condescending, bullying supervision of their every thought and deed.

According to Politico, the White House is tamping down on expectations that the GOP can hold the House.

The White House is lowering expectations that Republicans will maintain control of the House in the midterm elections — while positioning President Donald Trump to claim credit for any seats his party gains in the Senate.

White House political director Bill Stepien wrote a three-page memo this week in which he outlined the political landscape confronting the GOP and bluntly warned that the party’s prospects for the House are “challenging.”

“House Republicans’ goal this year is to minimize their losses,” he wrote in the memo, which was distributed to senior administration officials. A copy was obtained by POLITICO.

The warning comes as Republicans try to preserve a 23-seat majority, with dozens of GOP-held seats at risk in the Nov. 6 election. Many Republican officials concede their path to retaining their grip on the speaker’s gavel is narrow and believe they will suffer their greatest losses in suburban areas, where the president has proven to be a drag on GOP candidates.

Democrats are still out-raising Republicans in key House races.

NBC News reports:

Democrats outraised Republicans in about 90 percent of the most competitive House districts in the country between October 1 — October 17, according to newly filed FEC reports compiled by NBC News.

Out of 107 House races rated as Toss Ups, Lean or Likely contests by the nonpartisan Cook Political Report, 97 saw the Democrat outraising their GOP competitor. In 70 of those races, the Democratic candidate will enter the final weeks of the election with more cash on hand.

The new data shows that Democratic fundraising — which has continually outpaced GOP hauls — isn’t waning as the election clock ticks down, even as Republicans cite tightening races and increased Republican voter enthusiasm.

The average Democratic candidate in a competitive race raised about $528,000, while the average Republican clocks in at just $196,000 on average. The discrepancy is somewhat less when it comes to money left in the bank; the average Republican has about $490,000, while the average Democrat has $691,000.

Former NYC mayor and newly-minted Democrat-again Michael Bloomberg is dropping nearly $10 million into two House races . . . in California.

Michael Bloomberg’s political action committee has launched a major ad campaign aimed at unseating Republican Reps. Dana Rohrabacher of Costa Mesa and Steve Knight of Palmdale.

The intervention by the former New York City mayor has further tilted California ad spending in Democrats’ favor in the final two weeks before the Nov. 6 midterm election.

Bloomberg’s Independence USA PAC reported spending $4.4 million on advertising against Rohrabacher and $5.1 million to promote Knight’s Democratic challenger, Katie Hill.

It is part of the PAC’s expected $11-million final push for Democrats in tight House races in California, with a small amount going to Mike Levin, who is vying to succeed retiring GOP Rep. Darrell Issa of Vista.

“That’s a jaw-dropping amount of money,” said Rob Stutzman, one of California’s top Republican strategists.

The Senate

The Senate is a much easier keep for the GOP, but it’s by no means a foregone conclusion that they retain their majority.

The GOP, should it retain its majority or even make gains, owes a great big “Thank You” to the misguided Democrats who ruthlessly attacked Justice Brett Kavanaugh during and after his confirmation hearings.  From Spartacus Booker to Falsely-edited tape Harris to creepy porn lawyer Avenatti, the Democrats put on such a poor showing that the tide turned substantially following their #Resistance Kavanaugh hearing debacle.

Republicans are tentatively hopeful about holding the Senate.

The Washington Post reports:

Days after Senate Republicans installed Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court, President Trump and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell huddled at the White House to review private polling that showed a GOP surge triggered by the polarizing nomination.

Trump wondered aloud at the Oct. 9 meeting: How do we keep this going? McConnell (R-Ky.) replied that there was only one person who could do it: the president himself.

Since that conversation, which was confirmed by three people with knowledge of the session, Trump has held a series of rallies in Senate battleground states — with plans for at least 10 in the final six days of the campaign up and down the ballot — and Republicans have grown increasingly confident about their prospects in the Nov. 6 midterm elections.

McConnell has been telling associates that Republicans are in a strong position to hold the Senate and could pad their narrow 51-to-49 advantage by a couple of seats, according to people familiar with the talks, though the Kentuckian avoids precise predictions.

The optimism marks a shift from early September, when officials were fretting over struggling candidates and contemplating the possibility of losing both chambers of Congress.

According to NBC, the outlook for the GOP to hold the Senate is “solid.”

The Republican stranglehold on the Senate is showing few signs of slipping.

The GOP has a clear advantage in the fight for control of the chamber 11 days before the Nov. 6 contests. The party has a clear edge in its defense of the chamber even as it appears likely to lose its House majority.

If Republicans can keep or expand their 51-49 Senate majority, it has huge stakes for President Donald Trump’s continued push to confirm conservative judges. If Democrats take the House, keeping the Senate will also help the GOP curb the opposing party’s policy priorities.

NBC goes on to provide a useful overview of what political analysts are predicting for the Senate.

Here is how top forecasters viewed the fight for the Senate as of Friday:

  • Democrats need to take two net Senate seats to flip control of the Senate. The odds are stacked against them. Democrats and independents who caucus with them defend 26 seats this year, while Republicans only have to run in nine states the GOP holds.
  • Prognosticators generally consider 10 races the most competitive: Arizona, Florida, Indiana, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, North Dakota Tennessee, Texas and West Virginia. Democrats hold six of those seats, while Republicans have four. Some experts also consider contests such as races in New Jersey and Mississippi competitive.
  • Data website FiveThirtyEight’s forecast gives the GOP about an 82 percent chance of holding the Senate, up from 79 percent a week ago.
  • The nonpartisan Cook Political Report currently favors the GOP to unseat Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp in North Dakota. It lists nine races as toss-ups: Democratic-held Florida, Indiana, Missouri, Montana and New Jersey, as well as GOP-held Arizona, Nevada, Tennessee and Texas. If Heitkamp loses, Democrats would have to pull off the tough task of defending their five toss-up seats while winning three of the four GOP-held toss-up seats.
  • The nonpartisan Sabato’s Crystal Ball has a slightly different outlook, but still paints a dim picture for Democrats. It also favors GOP Rep. Kevin Cramer to beat Heitkamp. It considers only five states — Arizona, Florida, Indiana, Missouri and Nevada — toss-ups. It puts Texas and Tennessee in the lean Republican category.

Of Note

CNN has published a helpful guide to midterm elections for “non-Americans.”

Michelle Obama advocates for “voting squads” to mobilize for midterms. She’s so running in 2020.

President Trump is concerned about a Florida “wipe-out.”

Latest poll: Cruz leads O’Rourke by 6 points.

In Michigan, GOP candidate for Senate John James “fires up GOP base.”


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