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: House Judiciary should investigate Obama Netflix deal instead of his business 2020 is not a family affair, for a change Former speechwriter says Michelle Obama came up with 'when they go low we go high' line MORE is stepping up as a major surrogate for Democratic campaigns, returning to Iowa to help Rep. Bruce BraleyBruce Lowell Braley2020 caucuses pose biggest challenge yet for Iowa's top pollster OPINION | Tax reform, not Trump-McConnell feuds, will make 2018 a win for GOP Ten years later, House Dems reunite and look forward MORE (D-Iowa) and swinging by to help Sens. Al FrankenAlan (Al) Stuart FrankenThe Hill's Morning Report - What is Trump's next move on Iran? The Memo: Times correction gives GOP lifeline in latest Kavanaugh controversy Politicon announces lineup including Comey, Hannity, Priebus MORE (D-Minn.) and Mark UdallMark Emery UdallPoll: Trump trails three Democrats by 10 points in Colorado The Hill's Morning Report — Trump and the new Israel-'squad' controversy Colorado candidates vying to take on Gardner warn Hickenlooper they won't back down 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 LandrieuCongress needs to work to combat the poverty, abuse and neglect issues that children face Dems wrestle over how to vote on ‘Green New Deal’ Lobbying world 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 McConnellPatagonia says to shut stores for a few hours during Global Climate Strike Overnight Health Care — Presented by Partnership for America's Health Care Future — Pelosi unveils signature plan to lower drug prices | Trump says it's 'great to see' plan | Progressives pushing for changes On The Money: House votes to avert shutdown, fund government through November | Judge blocks California law requiring Trump tax returns | Senate panel approves three spending bills 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 RobertsInternal poll shows Kobach trailing Democrat in Kansas Senate race Here are the lawmakers who aren't seeking reelection in 2020 Hillicon Valley: Lawmakers ramp up Silicon Valley antitrust probe | Treasury sanctions North Korean cyber groups | Thiel to host Kobach fundraiser 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 WarrenOvernight Health Care — Presented by Partnership for America's Health Care Future — Pelosi unveils signature plan to lower drug prices | Trump says it's 'great to see' plan | Progressives pushing for changes Buttigieg calls Warren 'evasive' on Medicare for all Sanders hits 1 million donors 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 RubioTrump faces difficult balancing act with reelection campaign Republicans wary of US action on Iran California poll: Biden, Sanders lead Democratic field; Harris takes fifth 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 ObamaTrump spokeswoman: Health care will be 'big' selling point for union workers Democrats will not beat Trump without moderate policy ideas Trump job approval rises amid record partisan gap: Gallup 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 CottonZuckerberg woos Washington critics during visit Zuckerberg to meet with lawmakers to discuss 'future internet regulation' 2020 Democrats raise alarm about China's intellectual property theft MORE (R-Ark.) on Medicare and Social Security.

NH-SEN (SHAHEEN): Sen. Jeanne ShaheenCynthia (Jeanne) Jeanne ShaheenCruz endorses GOP candidate for Senate in New Hampshire Meghan McCain: Lewandowski Senate run would be 'an absolutely ridiculous crap show' Super PAC targets Lewandowski with ad amid Senate speculation 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 RyanDemocrats hit Scalia over LGBTQ rights Three-way clash set to dominate Democratic debate Krystal Ball touts Sanders odds in Texas 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 BegichAlaska political mess has legislators divided over meeting place Former GOP chairman Royce joins lobbying shop Lobbying world 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 MurkowskiSinema touts bipartisan record as Arizona Democrats plan censure vote Kavanaugh impeachment push hits Capitol buzz saw McConnell lashes out at Democrats over 'unhinged' criticism of Kavanaugh MORE (R-Alaska) endorsed Rep. Don YoungDonald (Don) Edwin YoungHundreds turn out for London's first transgender equality march The Hill's Morning Report — The wall problem confronting Dems and the latest on Dorian House passes bill requiring CBP to enact safety, hygiene standards 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 HaganTillis trails Democratic challenger by 7 points in North Carolina poll North Carolina businessman will challenge Tillis in GOP primary Embattled senators fill coffers ahead of 2020 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 Gardner The 13 Republicans needed to pass gun-control legislation Bolton returns to political group after exiting administration The Hill's Morning Report — Trump's hurricane forecast controversy won't go away 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 CruzCruz endorses GOP candidate for Senate in New Hampshire Missouri Republican wins annual craft brewing competition for lawmakers GOP signals unease with Barr's gun plan 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