CAMPAIGN OVERNIGHT: Deep in the heart of Texas

Rejoice ... primary season is officially here!

Texas is holding the first elections of 2014 tonight, with most polls in the Lone Star State closing at 8 p.m. ET and in the El Paso area at 9 p.m. ET.

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Here’s The Hill’s cheat sheet of what watch for as results come in: 
  • Will Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) and Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Texas) avoid primary runoffs, as expected?
  • Can Democrats save themselves from embarrassment in the Senate primary and stop a Lyndon LaRouche activist from advancing to a runoff?
  • Will Rep. Ralph Hall (R-Texas) reach 50 percent, or will Congress’s oldest member be forced into a runoff against former U.S. Attorney John Ratcliffe (R)?
  • Will freshman Rep. Marc Veasey (D-Texas) hold off self-funding businessman Tom Sanchez (D) for reelection, or will Sanchez nab the nomination? 

 

TOMORROW’S AGENDA TODAY

President Obama will head to Connecticut at 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday to push his proposal to hike the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour, even as Democratic lawmakers admit the plan faces a steep climb in the Republican-controlled House.

 

SENATE SHOWDOWN

HAVE A KOCH: Americans for Prosperity President Tim Phillips and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) took shots at each other, with Reid repeating comments that AFP’s benefactors, the Koch brothers, are “un-American” and Phillips accusing Reid of McCarthyism. 

COLORADO (UDALL): Sen. Mark Udall’s (D-Colo.) campaign went on offense against his primary Republican opponent, Rep. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), charging that Gardner’s vote for Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-Wis.) 2012 budget amounts to support for eliminating Medicare as it currently stands, and that the cut, cap and balance plan to reduce the deficit, which he voted for, would dismantle Social Security.

GEORGIA (OPEN): Vice President Biden attended an Atlanta fundraiser for Democratic candidate Michelle Nunn, helping her fill her already bulging campaign coffers but giving the GOP an opportunity to tie her to President Obama. 

KANSAS (ROBERTS): Sen. Pat Roberts’s (R-Kan.) primary challenger, radiologist Milton Wolf, challenged Roberts to “accept as many debate invitations as he can.” Wolf said he’s accepted invitations to seven debates but charged Roberts hasn’t yet accepted any.

KENTUCKY (MCCONNELL): The Senate Conservatives Fund released a new radio ad hitting Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) for his recommendation of a judge to the federal bench in the early 1990s that recently ruled Kentucky must recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states.

NEBRASKA (OPEN): More competing endorsements dropped in the competitive Nebraska GOP Senate primary on Tuesday, with social conservative leader Phyllis Schlafly endorsing former state Treasurer Shane Osborn and Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), a Tea Party favorite, endorsing Midland University President Ben Sasse.

NORTH CAROLINA (HAGAN): A new Elon University poll finds Sen. Kay Hagan's (D-N.C.) approval rating has dropped to 33 percent, with 49 percent disapproving, down from a 37/44 split in November. But things aren’t much better for Republicans, necessarily. The GOP front-runner, state House Speaker Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), was at just 18 approval with a 34 percent disapproval rating. Just 38 percent of respondents said they recognized Tillis's name — up from 28 percent in November. 

MICHIGAN (OPEN): Americans for Prosperity launched another ad against Rep. Gary Peters (D) with cancer patient Julie Boonstra accusing Peters of attacking her credibility. 

MINNESOTA (FRANKEN): Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) and other Senate Republicans are hosting a Wednesday evening fundraiser for Minnesota candidate Mike McFadden (R), who’s the establishment favorite in the primary. A new poll from the conservative group Citizens United shows McFadden still faces a battle to raise his profile and win the nomination, while an automated poll from SurveyUSA found Franken leading all of his GOP rivals and close to 50 percent support with voters. 

 

BATTLE FOR THE HOUSE 

CA-52 (PETERS): The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee premiered a new Tumblr parodying "House of Cards" and attacking House candidate Carl DeMaio (R), who’s challenging Rep. Scott Peters (D-Calif.).  DeMaio recently released his own "House of Cards"-themed Web ad

CO-04 (OPEN): The race for Rep. Cory Gardner’s (R-Colo.) seat is heating up, with state Sen. Scott Renfroe, Weld County Commissioner Barbara Kirkmeyer and former Rhode Island Mayor and Senate candidate Steve Laffey joining Weld County District Attorney Ken Buck, who dropped out of the Senate race to run for Gardner’s seat, in the GOP primary.

FL-19 (OPEN): Republican Curt Clawson, a businessman and former Purdue basketball star, nabbed the endorsement of former Rep. Connie Mack (R-Fla.), who last held the seat before disgraced former Rep. Trey Radel (R-Fla.). Clawson endorsed Mack’s “Penny Plan” to reduce federal spending by 1 percent a year, and Mack said that’s part of what earned his backing. “Simply put, I am concerned that most politicians don’t have the strength of their resolve in order to make these tough choices,” Mack said in a statement. “It will take an outsider to help us accomplish this goal and ultimately pass the Penny Plan.”

FL-13 (OPEN): The DCCC also launched its latest ad in the race, which targets David Jolly on Social Security — another play for the all-important senior vote in Pinellas County, which is one of the oldest in the nation.

GEORGIA SENATE, NY-21, FL-13: Anti-abortion group Susan B. Anthony List endorsed Karen Handel over a wide field of Republican contenders for Senate in Georgia, Elise Stefanik over Matt Doheny in New York’s open 21st District and Republican David Jolly in the tight special election in Florida’s 13th District.

ID-2 (SIMPSON): Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) endorsed Rep. Mike Simpson (R-Idaho), giving him a boost against his Tea Party challenger. "Mike Simpson has been in the trenches fighting to reform runaway spending and has been a critical voice in passing our plan to balance the budget and pay down our debt," Ryan said in a statement released by Simpson's campaign. 

 

WHITE HOUSE WATCH

LIKABLE ENOUGH? A new Pew poll shows Hillary Clinton’s image has improved since her 2008 run, but nearly four in 10 voters say there’s no chance they’ll vote for her if she runs again in 2016. Still, a majority of voters say they do want her to run in 2016.

PAUL MAKES DOUBLE PLAY: Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) is looking for clarification of Kentucky law to allow him to run both for reelection to his Senate seat and for president in 2016, the latest signal he’s planning to make a play for the White House — though perhaps not the most confident signal.

 

JUST FOR FUN 

FL-13: Can '50s crooner Jon “Bowzer” Bauman be Democrats’ good luck charm again? The former “Sha Na Na” frontman will campaign with Democrat Alex Sink ahead of next week’s Florida-13 contest. The singer is no stranger to the special election circuit for the DCCC, but he has a mixed record. He’ll appear at senior centers across the district and also cut a robocall for Sink charging Republican David Jolly would turn Medicare into a voucher program

 

CHECK OUT WHAT ELSE YOU MISSED

On The Hill's Ballot Box Campaign Blog

 

Please send tips and comments to Campaign Editor Jessica Taylor, jtaylor@thehill.com; and Campaign Staff Writers Cameron Joseph, cjoseph@thehill.com; and Alexandra Jaffe, ajaffe@thehill.com. Follow us on Twitter: @JessicaTaylor @cam_joseph and @ajjaffe.