South Dakota independent Senate candidate Larry Pressler effectively wrote Republicans' attack ads with his declaration, during a Wednesday interview with The Hill, that he'd be "a friend of Obama" if elected to the Senate.

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The National Republican Senatorial Committee and South Dakota GOP both blasted the comments out to reporters, pointing to them as evidence of where Pressler's true allegiance lies.

Pressler told The Hill on Wednesday he's been expecting the attacks for some time, and said he doesn't have the funds to push back — but pledged to run a positive campaign either way.

"I understand there are gonna be a bunch of negative ads that will come, but I don't have enough money to respond. But I probably wouldn't even if I did," he said.

With only one full-time staffer and depleted campaign coffers, and likely millions in attack ads coming, he readily admits he faces a "tough road" to winning this fall.

"We're like a deer in the woods," he said.

But Pressler scoffed when asked whether he'll drop out.

"I'll just keep giving speeches. My voice is hoarse from giving so many speeches. I'll just have to keep going till Nov. 4," he said.

 

SENATE SHOWDOWN

SD-SEN (OPEN): Meanwhile, Democracy for America, the group helmed by former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, named Democrat Rick Weiland to its list of top-priority candidates.

AK-SEN (BEGICH): The daughter of late Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) writes that Alaskans should honor her father’s memory with a vote for Republican Dan Sullivan, who’s seeking to unseat Sen. Mark BegichMark Peter BegichFormer GOP chairman Royce joins lobbying shop Lobbying world Dem governors on 2020: Opposing Trump not enough MORE. Begich beat Stevens in 2008.

LA-SEN (LANDRIEU): Sen. Mary LandrieuMary Loretta LandrieuDems wrestle over how to vote on ‘Green New Deal’ Lobbying world Former New Orleans mayor: It's not my 'intention' to run for president MORE (D-La.) replaced her campaign manager with a longtime political adviser of her brother, New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu. On Thursday, she raised eyebrows when she missed a planned campaign event, but her campaign says she’ll still be appearing at a debate Thursday night with retired Air Force Col. Rob Maness. The senator, known for jumping into the action while campaigning at sports tailgates, was caught on video doing the “wobble” at another recent tailgate.

GA-SEN (OPEN): Democrats are feeling increasingly bullish about former charity executive Michelle Nunn’s (D) chances in Georgia following a rough week for businessman David Perdue (R), whose outsourcing comments have drawn a lot of attention.

KY-SEN (MCCONNELL): Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes refused to say multiple times whether she voted for President Obama, prompting ridicule from Republicans. But Sen. Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellThe Hill's Morning Report - Pelosi remains firm despite new impeachment push Iraq War looms over Trump battle with Iran 2020 Dems break political taboos by endorsing litmus tests MORE (R-Ky.) also took flak for an interview this week, with a particularly contentious exchange with a Kentucky sports radio host.

NC-SEN (HAGAN): The Supreme Court overturned a lower court and ruled for new GOP-backed laws that ban same-day voter registration and allowing voters to vote in precincts outside their own, a decision that could make it harder for Democrats to turn out voters this fall.

KS-SEN (ROBERTS): Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzJim Carrey fires back at 'Joe McCarthy wanna-be' Cruz Hillicon Valley: Google delays cutting off Huawei | GOP senators split over breaking up big tech | Report finds DNC lagging behind RNC on cybersecurity GOP senators split over antitrust remedies for big tech MORE (R-Texas) touted Sen. Pat RobertsCharles (Pat) Patrick RobertsWomen's civil rights are not a state issue The Hill's 12:30 Report: Tough questions await Trump immigration plan Pat Robertson: Alabama 'has gone too far' with 'extreme' abortion law MORE (R-Kan.) as “the only true conservative” for Kansas during his campaign stop in the state for the embattled senator, who remains locked in a tight fight with independent Greg Orman. He said Roberts “stood side by side with me fighting to end President Obama’s amnesty,” and responded to conservatives still angry with their treatment during the contentious GOP primary: “If you’re frustrated with Washington, the answer is not to stay home and keep Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidLobbying World Mitch McConnell is not invincible Seven big decisions facing Biden in 2020 primary MORE as majority leader.”

NH-SEN (SHAHEEN): The League of Conservation Voters has officially endorsed Sen. Jeanne ShaheenCynthia (Jeanne) Jeanne ShaheenTrump, Europe increasingly at odds on Iran Foreign Relations senators demand Iran briefing The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Pass USMCA Coalition - After GOP infighting, Trump Jr. agrees to testify again MORE (D). During an interview on MSNBC, she declined to say whether a visit from President Obama, who’s widely unpopular across the country and in New Hampshire, would be helpful to her.

 

BATTLE FOR THE HOUSE

VA-10 (OPEN)/CA-7 (BERA): The DCCC canceled $2.8 million in television ads in a tough race between John Foust (D-Va) and Virginia Del. Barbara Comstock (R), its largest ad reservation of the cycle. It also announced a new $2 million buy to protect Rep. Ami BeraAmerish (Ami) Babulal BeraA pathway to universal health care coverage Moderate Dems revive effort to stabilize ObamaCare markets The Hill's Morning Report — Groundhog Day: Negotiations implode as shutdown reaches 20 days MORE (D-Calif.) in his reelection bid against ex-Rep. Doug Ose (R-Calif.).

Bera and Ose sparred in their only scheduled debate Wednesday night.

MI-1 (BENISHEK): The DCCC has canceled more than $400,000 of a planned ad reservation to target Rep. Dan BenishekDaniel (Dan) Joseph BenishekRepublican groups launch final ad blitz in key House battlegrounds Tea Party class reassesses record Michigan Republican to retire MORE (R-Mich.), a sign Democrats are conceding he’ll likely win next month.

CA-52 (PETERS): Former San Diego city council member Carl DeMaio (R) fired back at accusations of sexual harassment and attempted bribery made by a former staffer, calling them an “outrageous lie.”

AZ-1 (KIRKPATRICK): In an interview with The Hill, Rep. Ann KirkpatrickAnn KirkpatrickArizona Dems ask DHS to appoint 'crisis coordinator' at border Democrats introduce bill to let 'Dreamers' work for Congress Push for ‘Medicare for all’ worries centrist Dems MORE (D) declined to say whether she supports former Secretary of State Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonNevada Senate passes bill that would give Electoral College votes to winner of national popular vote 2020 Dems break political taboos by endorsing litmus tests Iowa Democrats brace for caucus turnout surge MORE for president in 2016.

AZ-2 (BARBER): Rep. Ron BarberRonald (Ron) Sylvester BarberKavanaugh nomination a make or break moment to repeal Citizens United Latina Leaders to Watch 2018 Principles and actions mean more than Jeff Flake’s words MORE (D-Ariz.) has donated his federal subsidy to pay for health insurance to local charities.

 

AD WATCH

KY-SEN (MCCONNELL): Sen. Mitch McConnell’s (R-Ky.) latest ad features Dr. Sandy Schuldheisz of Somerset, Ky., talking about how ObamaCare “hurts” her patients and her family.

KS-SEN (ROBERTS): Ending Spending Action Fund uses independent Greg Orman’s own words to portray him as a dishonest and dodgy closet Democrat.

NC-SEN (HAGAN): North Carolina Speaker Thom Tillis’s (R) new ad says Sen. Kay HaganKay Ruthven HaganNorth Carolina businessman will challenge Tillis in GOP primary Embattled senators fill coffers ahead of 2020 NC state senator meets with DSCC as Dems eye challenge to Tillis MORE (D-N.C.) “did cocktails” and missed Armed Services Committee hearings while ISIS grew in a new ad.

The DSCC ties Tillis to the billionaire Koch brothers and the workers they laid off in the state.

NH-SEN (SHAHEEN): The DSCC highlights Republican Scott Brown’s ties to a company that outsourced jobs to foreign companies in its latest ad.

CO-6 (COFFMAN): Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Colo.) slams challenger Andrew Romanoff (D) for his support of ObamaCare and accuses him of pushing for a “European-style healthcare takeover” in a new ad.

CA-52 (PETERS): Rep. Scott Peters (D) contrasts the congressman with Republican challenger Carl DeMaio, who “made millions from taxpayer-funded government contracts” but “during the recession, refused to reduce his pay and gave his staff raises.”

GA-12 (BARROW): Republican Rick Allen’s new ad ties Rep. John BarrowJohn Jenkins BarrowRepublican wins Georgia secretary of state runoff to replace Kemp The most important runoff election is one you probably never heard of Our democracy can’t afford to cut legal aid services from the budget MORE (D-Ga.) to President Obama.

MN-8 (NOLAN)/NH-1 (SHEA PORTER): The DCCC hits former Rep. Frank Guinta (R-N.H.) and Minnesota businessman Stewart Mills on their personal taxes in new ads.

 

POLL POSITION

AK-SEN (BEGICH): Republican Dan Sullivan leads Sen. Mark Begich (D-Alaska) 50 percent to 44 percent in a new live-caller poll from CNN, the second nonpartisan live-caller poll in two days to have him ahead.

NC-SEN (HAGAN): Sen. Kay Hagan (D-N.C.) leads North Carolina Speaker Thom Tillis (R) 44 percent to 42 percent with libertarian Sean Haugh at 6 percent, according to an internal poll from Tillis’s campaign.

IA-3 (OPEN): Former Iowa state Sen. Staci Appel (D) leads former Capitol Hill staffer David Young (R) 49 percent to 42 percent in a new internal poll released by the DCCC.

 

FUNDRAISING FIGURES

CO-SEN (UDALL): Republican Rep. Cory GardnerCory Scott GardnerSenate Republicans running away from Alabama abortion law Frustrated GOP senators want answers from Trump on Iran Graham: Trump officials not adequately briefing on Iran threat MORE outraised Sen. Mark UdallMark Emery UdallDenver Post editorial board says Gardner endorsement was 'mistake' Gardner gets latest Democratic challenge from former state senator Setting the record straight about No Labels MORE in the third quarter, taking in $4.3 million to Udall’s $4 million, and also finished the quarter with over a million more cash on hand — $3.3 million to Udall’s $1.9 million.

OR-SEN (MERKLEY): Sen. Jeff MerkleyJeffrey (Jeff) Alan MerkleyOvernight Energy: EPA watchdog finds Pruitt spent 4K on 'excessive' travel | Agency defends Pruitt expenses | Lawmakers push EPA to recover money | Inslee proposes spending T for green jobs Dems request investigation of lobbyist-turned-EPA employee who met with former boss This week: House to vote on bill to ban LGBTQ discrimination MORE (D) had a record-breaking quarter, raising nearly $2.15 million from July through September.

CA-31 (OPEN): Redlands Mayor Pete Aguilar (D) raised more than $500,000 in the last fundraising quarter.

NY-24 (MAFFEI): Rep. Dan Maffei (D) raised $464,000 in the third quarter and had $860,000 cash on hand.

CO-6 (COFFMAN): Colorado Speaker Andrew Romanoff (D) raised just under $1.01 million in the third quarter and finished the quarter with more than $670,000 cash on hand.

 

2016 RUMBLINGS

SANDERS: While other potential 2016 candidates have staffers or outside groups planning their potential presidential runs, Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersIraq War looms over Trump battle with Iran 2020 Dems break political taboos by endorsing litmus tests Iowa Democrats brace for caucus turnout surge MORE (I-Vt) has a different strategy: showing up himself.  He’s spent a lot of time in New Hampshire in recent months.

CLINTON: Some former Obama campaign staffers are placing their bets on Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann Warren2020 Dems break political taboos by endorsing litmus tests Biden says Congress must move to protect abortion rights Harris seeks Iowa edge with army of volunteers MORE (D-Mass.) to play the familiar role of the freshman senator who defeats a presumed inevitable run at the nomination by Hillary Clinton. 

But the former secretary of State is still drawing many others to her potential campaign. Ned Helms, a co-chairman of Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaHarris seeks Iowa edge with army of volunteers North Korean media rips Biden: a 'fool of low IQ' Lessons from Australia: Voters put pocketbooks over climate change, again MORE's 2008 New Hampshire campaign, endorsed Hillary Clinton for 2016.

RYAN: Rep. Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanAmash storm hits Capitol Hill Debate with Donald Trump? Just say no Ex-Trump adviser says GOP needs a better health-care message for 2020 MORE (R-Wis.) is the favorite potential GOP presidential contender of Republican millennials, according to a new poll, taking 16 percent. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush comes in second with 11 percent and Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulGOP presses Trump to make a deal on spending House Freedom Caucus votes to condemn Amash's impeachment comments Bolton emerges as flashpoint in GOP debate on Iran MORE (R-Ky.) takes third with 9 percent support.

BUSH: Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) leads the potential GOP presidential field in New Hampshire in a new WMUR Granite State poll, taking 15 percent, while New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie draws 12 percent and the rest of the field takes just single digits. The poll holds the worst news for Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), who’s dropped from second place in July to fourth place in the latest poll.


QUOTE OF THE DAY

"Police said they arrived to find Track Palin, shirtless, bloody and heavily intoxicated, getting into a white limousine to leave the party. Witnesses described a large fight involving at least 20 people that included members of the Palin family. Several witnesses said they watched Bristol Palin repeatedly punch homeowner Korey Klingenmeyer in the face. Klingenmeyer told police he had asked Bristol Palin to leave, after which she became angry and began punching him." — Anchorage, Alaska police report on the Palin family brawl