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 ObamaMichelle Obama encourages Greta Thunberg after Trump attack: 'Ignore the doubters' Panel: Andrew Yang beats Joe Biden in ad dollars, Michelle Obama on GWB 'our values are the same' Michelle Obama, Ellen DeGeneres surprise DC elementary school with new computer lab, 0K donation 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 FrankenLankford to be named next Senate Ethics chairman The job no GOP senator wants: 'I'd rather have a root canal' Take Trump literally and seriously in Minnesota MORE (D-Minn.) and Mark UdallMark Emery UdallDemocrats will win back the Senate majority in 2020, all thanks to President Trump Poll: Trump trails three Democrats by 10 points in Colorado The Hill's Morning Report — Trump and the new Israel-'squad' controversy 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 McConnellSherrod Brown backs new North American trade deal: 'This will be the first trade agreement I've ever voted for' McConnell: Bevin pardons 'completely inappropriate' House panel to hold hearing, vote on Trump's new NAFTA proposal 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 RobertsLankford to be named next Senate Ethics chairman The Hill's Morning Report - Intel panel readies to hand off impeachment baton The job no GOP senator wants: 'I'd rather have a root canal' 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 WarrenDemocrats ask if they have reason to worry about UK result Buttigieg releases list of campaign bundlers Krystal Ball rips Warren's 'passive-aggressive' swipes at rivals 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 RubioWhite House makes push for paid family leave and child care reform Tom Hanks weighs in on primary: 'Anybody can become president' GOP senator blocks bill aimed at preventing Russia election meddling 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 PryorTom Cotton's only Democratic rival quits race in Arkansas Medicaid rollback looms for GOP senators in 2020 Cotton pitches anti-Democrat message to SC delegation MORE (D-Ark.) is “just another vote for Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaModerate or left of center — which is better for Democrats in 2020? Obama: Countries facing severe effects of climate change offer 'moral call to rest of the world' Democrats' self-inflicted diversity vulnerability 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 CottonTikTok chief cancels Capitol Hill meetings, inflaming tensions Lawsuits pose new challenge for TikTok TikTok's leader to meet with lawmakers next week MORE (R-Ark.) on Medicare and Social Security.

NH-SEN (SHAHEEN): Sen. Jeanne ShaheenCynthia (Jeanne) Jeanne ShaheenOvernight Health Care — Presented by That's Medicaid — House passes sweeping Pelosi bill to lower drug prices | Senate confirms Trump FDA pick | Trump officials approve Medicaid work requirements in South Carolina Senate confirms Trump's nominee to lead FDA Senate panel advances Turkey sanctions bill despite Trump objections 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 RyanJeffries blasts Trump for attack on Thunberg at impeachment hearing Live coverage: House Judiciary to vote on impeachment after surprise delay House Ethics Committee informs Duncan Hunter he can no longer vote after guilty plea 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 MurkowskiThe Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by AdvaMed — House panel delays impeachment vote until Friday Senate gears up for battle over witnesses in impeachment trial McConnell: I doubt any GOP senator will vote to impeach Trump MORE (R-Alaska) endorsed Rep. Don YoungDonald (Don) Edwin YoungThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Dems release first transcripts from impeachment probe witnesses GOP lawmaker head-butts MoveOn camera Hundreds turn out for London's first transgender equality march 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 HaganGOP braces for Democratic spending onslaught in battle for Senate Democrats will win back the Senate majority in 2020, all thanks to President Trump The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Better Medicare Alliance - Dems shift strategy on impeachment vote 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 GardnerThe Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by AdvaMed — House panel delays impeachment vote until Friday Senate gears up for battle over witnesses in impeachment trial Democrats spend big to put Senate in play 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 CruzThe Hill's Campaign Report: 2020 Democrats trading jabs ahead of Los Angeles debate Senate Republicans air complaints to Trump administration on trade deal Senate passes Armenian genocide resolution 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