Election Day may still be about two weeks away, but voters have already begun to head to the polls.

Per figures compiled by elections expert Michael McDonald, 1.9 million people have already cast a ballot in the midterms. 

Both parties will be watching the early vote carefully for clues as to where they stand this cycle. Republicans say their enthusiasm advantage plus their beefed-up mobilization efforts will reap serious benefits in the early votes. Democrats, meanwhile, are claiming their efforts to build off already substantial ground operations in some key states will help them come out on top in the early vote.

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Watch Iowa and Colorado as particular indicators of how Democrats are doing. In those two presidential swing states, Democrats started with an operational advantage, so if their claims are true, they should end up ahead in the early vote.

While politicians like to repeat that "the only poll that matters is on Election Day," the votes coming in for weeks prior matter, too.

 

SENATE SHOWDOWN

OBAMAS: First lady Michelle ObamaMichelle LeVaughn Robinson ObamaTrump backs down in rare reversal Trump gives in, signs order ending family separations Melania Trump contacted Secret Service after Peter Fonda tweets MORE is stepping up as a major surrogate for Democratic campaigns, returning to Iowa to help Rep. Bruce BraleyBruce Lowell BraleyOPINION | Tax reform, not Trump-McConnell feuds, will make 2018 a win for GOP Ten years later, House Dems reunite and look forward Trump: Ernst wanted 'more seasoning' before entertaining VP offer MORE (D-Iowa) and swinging by to help Sens. Al FrankenAlan (Al) Stuart FrankenThe Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by PhRMA — GOP lawmakers race to find an immigration fix Richard Painter puts out 'dumpster fire' in first campaign ad Bill Clinton says 'norms have changed' in society for what 'you can do to somebody against their will' MORE (D-Minn.) and Mark UdallMark Emery UdallSenate GOP rejects Trump’s call to go big on gun legislation Democratic primary could upend bid for Colorado seat Picking 2018 candidates pits McConnell vs. GOP groups MORE (D-Colo.).

LA-SEN (LANDRIEU): The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has reserved $2 million in airtime for a December runoff election, an indication the party expects Sen. Mary LandrieuMary Loretta LandrieuLandrieu dynasty faces a pause in Louisiana Senate GOP rejects Trump’s call to go big on gun legislation Project Veritas at risk of losing fundraising license in New York, AG warns MORE (D-La.) will not win an outright victory on Nov. 4.

The anti-abortion-rights group Susan B. Anthony List endorsed Landrieu’s Republican challenger, Rep. Bill Cassidy.

KY-SEN (MCCONNELL): Former President Clinton is slated to campaign for Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes in the state on Tuesday. Grimes drew scrutiny on Monday for her family's restaurant business, which pays some workers a minimum wage that Grimes has criticized on the campaign trail. Asked about the discrepancy, Grimes told CNN, "my family is not in this race."

Sen. Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellFlake threatens to limit Trump court nominees: report Senate moving ahead with border bill, despite Trump On The Money — Sponsored by Prudential — Senators hammers Ross on Trump tariffs | EU levies tariffs on US goods | Senate rejects Trump plan to claw back spending MORE (R-Ky.), meanwhile, is offering volunteers all-expenses-paid trips to fill out his bus tour.

KS-SEN (ROBERTS): The photos of sunflowers that adorn many of Sen. Pat RobertsCharles (Pat) Patrick RobertsGOP senators introduce bill to prevent family separations at border Senate GOP tries to defuse Trump border crisis 13 GOP senators ask administration to pause separation of immigrant families MORE’s campaign graphics were actually taken in Ukraine, not Kansas.

GA-SEN (OPEN): Former charity executive Michelle Nunn (D) points out that a picture of her and President Obama used in Republican attack ads was taken while they were both with her old boss, former President George H.W. Bush, in a new ad. Bush isn’t happy that he’s in another Nunn ad.

N.H.-SEN (SHAHEEN): Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenElection Countdown: Family separation policy may haunt GOP in November | Why Republican candidates are bracing for surprises | House Dems rake in record May haul | 'Dumpster fire' ad goes viral The Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by PhRMA — GOP lawmakers race to find an immigration fix Dem presidential hopefuls seize on Trump border policy MORE (D-Mass.) is heading north to New Hampshire to rally Democratic voters against her old rival, former Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.), in his race for Senate.

 

BATTLE FOR THE HOUSE

CA-52 (PETERS): Under fire amid sexual harassment allegations, GOP House candidate Carl DeMaio is saying Rep. Scott Peters (D-Calif.) is behind the "outrageous, despicable, disgraceful, unethical" claims against him.

Peters admitted his campaign received a copy of DeMaio’s campaign memo after DeMaio’s office was broken into, but said it immediately turned it over to the police after realizing what it was.

SC-6 (CLYBURN): Rep. Jim Clyburn’s (D) GOP opponent came under fire for calling gay couples “gremlins” and gay marriage “a pestilence.”

MA-6 (OPEN): The Boston Globe reports that Democrat Seth Moulton received two military medals for his service in Iraq. 

ME-2 (OPEN): The National Republican Congressional Committee is pulling resources from a once-competitive House district in Maine to spend the money on more promising opportunities elsewhere, a committee aide confirmed to The Hill.

FL-2 (SOUTHERLAND): Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioSenate moving ahead with border bill, despite Trump Hillicon Valley: New FTC chief eyes shake up of tech regulation | Lawmakers target Google, Huawei partnership | Microsoft employees voice anger over ICE contract Lawmakers urge Google to drop partnership with Chinese phone maker Huawei MORE (R-Fla.) will appear at a campaign rally for Rep. Steve Southerland (R-Fla.) on Tuesday. Meanwhile, Jimmy Buffett will appear at a rally for Democrat Gwen Graham on Wednesday.

NY-24 (MAFFEI): Vice President Biden campaigned for Rep. Dan Maffei (D) on Monday.

 

AD WATCH

AR-SEN (PRYOR): Crossroads GPS says that while “the name Pryor stood for independence,” Sen. Mark PryorMark Lunsford PryorMedicaid rollback looms for GOP senators in 2020 Cotton pitches anti-Democrat message to SC delegation Ex-Sen. Kay Hagan joins lobby firm MORE (D-Ark.) is “just another vote for Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaObama: Are we a nation that rips families apart? Another chance to seek the return of fiscal sanity to the halls of Congress Colombia’s new leader has a tough road ahead, and Obama holdovers aren't helping MORE,” targeting one-time supporters of Pryor and his father, Sen. David Pryor (D-Ark.). 

The DSCC says voters “can’t trust” Rep. Tom CottonThomas (Tom) Bryant CottonSenate moving ahead with border bill, despite Trump Hillicon Valley: New FTC chief eyes shake up of tech regulation | Lawmakers target Google, Huawei partnership | Microsoft employees voice anger over ICE contract Lawmakers urge Google to drop partnership with Chinese phone maker Huawei MORE (R-Ark.) on Medicare and Social Security.

NH-SEN (SHAHEEN): Sen. Jeanne ShaheenCynthia (Jeanne) Jeanne ShaheenAmerica will not forget about Pastor Andrew Brunson Shaheen sidelined after skin surgery Members of Congress demand new federal gender pay audit MORE (D) frames Republican Scott Brown as being in the pocket of the oil industry and Wall Street, rather than committed to New Hampshire. Brown, meanwhile, launched a 15-second ad accusing Shaheen of voting to open the door to a national energy tax.

KS-SEN (ROBERTS): Rep. Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanTrump backs down in rare reversal Trump, GOP launch full-court press on compromise immigration measure Meadows gets heated with Ryan on House floor MORE (R-Wis.) cut a robocall for Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), telling voters to "say no to the liberal Obama-Reid agenda" by voting for the incumbent.

AK-SEN (BEGICH): American Crossroads says Sen. Mark BegichMark Peter BegichFormer Alaska senator jumps into governor race Overnight Energy: Trump directs Perry to stop coal plant closures | EPA spent ,560 on customized pens | EPA viewed postcard to Pruitt as a threat Perez creates advisory team for DNC transition MORE (D-Alaska) has failed to open up ANWR drilling in a new ad.

NC-SEN (HAGAN): The DSCC has a new ad out hitting North Carolina Speaker Thom Tillis for voting to defund Planned Parenthood and charges that North Carolina women can’t trust him.

AK-SEN (BEGICH): Sen. Mark Begich (D-Alaska) released a new radio ad defending his mayoral record in Anchorage, firing back on attacks from GOP outside groups.

AR-2 (OPEN): American Crossroads hits former North Little Rock Mayor Pat Hays (D) on ObamaCare in a new ad.

FL-2 (SOUTHERLAND): Rep. Steve Southerland touts his support from women in a new ad that includes his four daughters, his wife, his sister and his mother. 

MA-6 (OPEN): Democrat Seth Moulton released a Web ad in which he interviews kids about what's wrong with Congress and how to fix it.

AK-AL (YOUNG): Sen. Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiIcebreaking ships are not America’s top priority in the Arctic 13 GOP senators ask administration to pause separation of immigrant families Trump plan to claw back billion in spending in peril MORE (R-Alaska) endorsed Rep. Don YoungDonald (Don) Edwin YoungSupreme court to rehear Alaska moose hunter, hovercraft case Pension committee must deliver on retirement promise Our leaders must end the hate before they burn America down MORE (R-Alaska) in a new ad for Young’s campaign.

OUTSIDE GROUPS: The Democratic-tied House Majority PAC is out with new ads attacking the opponents of Reps. John Barrow (D-Ga.), Raul Ruiz (D-Calif.), Scott Peters (D-Calif.), Patrick Murphy (D-Fla.), Carol Shea-Porter (D-N.H.), Annie Kuster (D-N.H.) and Republicans in open seats in Iowa and Massachusetts.

 

POLL POSITION

NC-SEN (HAGAN): Sen. Kay HaganKay Ruthven Hagan2020 Dems compete for top campaign operatives Senate GOP rejects Trump’s call to go big on gun legislation Politics is purple in North Carolina MORE (D-N.C.) has maintained a narrow lead against North Carolina Speaker Thom Tillis (R), according to a new survey from Public Policy Polling. Hagan leads Tillis 46 percent to 43 percent with libertarian Sean Haugh at 5 percent support in the automated poll.

KS-SEN (ROBERTS): A Monmouth University Poll shows Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) tied with independent challenger Greg Orman, each taking 46 percent support among likely voters.

MA-6 (OPEN): A new poll commissioned by the DCCC Friday shows that Seth Moulton (D-Mass) has a large lead over former state Sen. Richard Tisei (R), 46 percent to 34 percent.

MT-SEN (OPEN) / MT-AL (OPEN): Rep. Steve Daines (R-Mont.) leads Democrat Amanda Curtis 47 percent to 31 percent in a new poll conducted by Montana State University-Billings. Republican Ryan Zinke leads Democrat John Lewis 40 percent to 33 percent in the race for Daines’s open at-large seat. 

NH-SEN (SHAHEEN): A Boston Herald/Suffolk University Poll found Republican Scott Brown closing the gap with Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D), taking 46 percent to the incumbent's 49 percent support among registered voters.

CA-17 (HONDA): Rep. Mike Honda (D-Calif.) has a narrow 37 percent to 35 percent lead over challenger Ro Khanna (D) in a new automated Survey USA poll conducted for KPIX.

 

FUNDRAISING FIGURES

NRCC/DCCC: The NRCC again fell short of its Democratic counterpart, raising $11 million in the month of September, compared to Democrats’ $16.7 million.

CO-SEN (UDALL): Rep. Cory GardnerCory Scott GardnerSenate moving ahead with border bill, despite Trump 13 GOP senators ask administration to pause separation of immigrant families Sessions floats federal law that would protect states that decriminalize marijuana MORE (R) raised $1.28 million in the first two weeks of October and had $1.87 million cash on hand as of Oct. 15.

 

2016 RUMBLINGS

SANTORUM: Rick Santorum is headed back to Iowa on Wednesday and Thursday to appear at a fundraiser for Rep. Steve King (R) and various local GOP events.

HUCKABEE: Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R) will campaign for Iowa GOP Senate candidate Joni Ernst and Nebraska Republican gubernatorial candidate Pete Ricketts on Tuesday.

CRUZ: Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzSenate moving ahead with border bill, despite Trump Senate moderates hunt for compromise on family separation bill Hollywood goes low when it takes on Trump MORE (R-Texas) wrote in a USA Today op-ed that he believes the GOP will win the White House in 2016 and repeal ObamaCare. 

 

QUOTE OF THE DAY 

"Same sex couples that seek to destroy our way of life and the institution of marriage are NOT cute and cuddly but rather (for those of you that are old enough to remember the movie), Gremlins that will only destroy our way of life."

—Anthony Culler, a South Carolina Republican that seeks to unseat longtime Rep. James Clyburn, in a Facebook post opposing gay marriage