National Democrats' unexpected dive back into Kentucky on Wednesday showed there's still enough time for October surprises to shake up the Senate map.

A Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee aide confirmed plans to spend $650,000 on TV to bolster Democratic candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes — a reversal that came just days after the committee cut its buy in the state. The Democratic Senate Majority PAC is slated to go back on air as well.

Democrats say the race has tightened in recent days, and they see a path to victory with fewer than two weeks out. Sen. Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellMcConnell in talks with Mnuchin on next phase of coronavirus relief Pelosi: 'We shouldn't even be thinking' about reopening schools without federal aid The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Argentum - All eyes on Florida as daily COVID-19 cases hit 15K MORE's (R-Ky.) campaign released internal polling that showed him up 7 percentage points over Grimes to push back on Democrats' claims.

ADVERTISEMENT

But it's the latest indication the Senate map is still in flux. Other races — like South Dakota, where the FBI investigation into the controversial visa program that's dogging Republican Mike Rounds is ongoing — could still be upended by late-breaking news. 

The political landscape could still shift due to an unforeseen news event or step taken by the administration on deportations or an Iranian nuclear deal, which recent reports suggested could be imminent.

Thirteen days is still plenty of time for another October surprise.

 

SENATE SHOWDOWN

KY-SEN (MCCONNELL): A Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee official confirmed the committee plans to spend another $650,000 on TV to bolster Democratic candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes against Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) after stopping its TV ad buy last week.

Grimes is denying she had any connection to her family’s business, Hugh Jass Burgers, when she was asked at a young professionals event in Louisville about its low wages. 

GA-SEN (OPEN): Georgia Republican Senate candidate David Perdue has anywhere from $500,000 to $1 million invested in an elite fund managed by a Swiss bank, a detail that could offer Democrats further fodder as they seek to paint him as an out-of-touch businessman. 

N.C.-SEN (HAGAN): The League of Conservation Voters (LCV) is launching a $4.2 million campaign supporting Sen. Kay HaganKay Ruthven HaganThe Hill's Campaign Report: Democratic Unity Taskforce unveils party platform recommendations Democrats awash with cash in battle for Senate The Hill's Campaign Report: Trump's job approval erodes among groups that powered his 2016 victory MORE in North Carolina (D) just two weeks before Election Day.

North Carolina Speaker Thom Tillis floated the idea of the state accepting the Medicaid expansion under ObamaCare. 

S.C.-SEN (GRAHAM):  Thomas Ravenel, a Bravo television star and independent candidate currently vying for Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Argentum - All eyes on Florida as daily COVID-19 cases hit 15K Democrats see immigration reform as topping Biden agenda Graham says he will call Mueller to testify before Senate panel about Russia probe MORE’s (R-S.C.) seat, allegedly assaulted a woman after he slipped and fell into a pool while holding his 7-month-old daughter. 

S.D.-SEN (OPEN): Former South Dakota Gov. Mike Rounds (R) was aware that a member of his Cabinet had a potential conflict of interest between his role overseeing a controversial state investment program and his next job, working for an investor profiting from the program. The FBI investigation into the EB-5 program is still underway.

CO-SEN (UDALL): Billionaire Tom Steyer’s climate change super-PAC is targeting Republican Senate candidate Rep. Cory GardnerCory Scott GardnerThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Argentum - All eyes on Florida as daily COVID-19 cases hit 15K Democrats seek to tie GOP candidates to Trump, DeVos Senate GOP hedges on attending Trump's convention amid coronavirus uptick MORE (Colo.) for supporting restrictions on abortions and birth control.

Sen. Mark UdallMark Emery UdallThe 10 Senate seats most likely to flip Democratic presidential race comes into sharp focus Democrats will win back the Senate majority in 2020, all thanks to President Trump MORE (D-Colo.) and his allies have a clear message for political handicappers and pollsters: You’re wrong.

AR-SEN (PRYOR): Rep. Tom CottonTom Bryant CottonWells Fargo told employees to delete TikTok from work phones Public letter in Harper's sparks furor Koch-backed group urges Senate to oppose 'bailouts' of states in new ads MORE (R-Ark.) raised $985,000 from the start of the month through Oct. 15.

 

BATTLE FOR THE HOUSE

CA-7 (BERA): Rep. Ami BeraAmerish (Ami) Babulal BeraDemocrats fear US already lost COVID-19 battle Karen Bass's star rises after leading police reform push The Hill's Coronavirus Report: Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas says country needs to rethink what 'policing' means; US cases surpass 2 million with no end to pandemic in sight MORE (D-Calif.) has suddenly emerged as one of this year’s most vulnerable incumbents.

CA-52 (PETERS): Internal campaign emails leaked to the press suggest Republican Carl DeMaio's campaign staffers actually wrote an editorial that was critical of Rep. Scott Peters (D-Calif.) and ran in UT San Diego labeled as a piece from the editorial board.

NH-2 (SHEA-PORTER): Republican Marilinda Garcia is in a tricky spot on ObamaCare after she told The Concord Monitor that she doesn’t want to replace it with another broad-reaching program, but also doesn’t want to repeal it and “leave us with nothing.”

MI-6 (UPTON): Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.) is facing scrutiny over a report that he threatened some donors to MAYDAY PAC, which is spending $1.5 million to support his Democratic opponent. 

WI-6 (OPEN): Rep. Tom PetriThomas (Tom) Evert PetriKeep our elections free and fair Break the cycle of partisanship with infant, child health care programs Combine healthcare and tax reform to bring out the best in both MORE (R-Wis.) won’t endorse Republican Glenn Grothman to replace him.

NY-24 (MAFFEI): Former President Clinton will campaign for Rep. Dan Maffei (D-N.Y.) this Friday.

NJ-3 (OPEN): Gov. Chris Christie (R) will campaign with Republican Tom MacArthur on Thursday.

 

AD WATCH

KOCHS: Freedom Partners Action Fund, a super-PAC aligned with the billionaire conservatives Charles and David Koch, is launching a $6.5 million ad campaign that ties Democratic Senate incumbents to President Obama in six toss-up states.

AR-SEN (PRYOR): Rep. Tom Cotton's (R-Ark.) new ad splices together a number of clips of Sen. Mark PryorMark Lunsford PryorCoronavirus poses risks for Trump in 2020 Tom Cotton's only Democratic rival quits race in Arkansas Medicaid rollback looms for GOP senators in 2020 MORE (D-Ark.) praising ObamaCare and the president to demonstrate how Pryor "just doesn't get it."

AK-SEN (BEGICH): Former Alaska Senate candidate and conservative favorite Joe Miller touts Republican Dan Sullivan and hammers 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) on ObamaCare and the Environmental Protection Agency in a new radio ad from the Tea Party Express, which has endorsed Sullivan.

CO-SEN (UDALL): Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) talks about the lessons he's learned climbing mountains in his new ad.

KY-SEN (MCCONNELL): Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s new ad shows women hitting back at his challenger for thinking they’ll “vote for the candidate that looks like me rather than the one that represents me.” 

Alison Lundergan Grimes’s new ad calls into question the validity of McConnell’s ads and criticizes him for saying that he’ll block a higher minimum wage, extension of unemployment benefits and affordable student loans, while tying him to the specter of further government shutdowns.

SD-SEN (OPEN): MAYDAY PAC's first ad hitting former Gov. Mike Rounds (R) highlights the EB-5 visa scandal, and features South Dakotans saying they don't believe he's telling the truth on what he knows about it. The group increased its ad buy in the state from $1 million to $1.25 million.

A group of former staffers for Independent Larry Pressler are airing an ad to boost him. 

KS-SEN (ROBERTS): Sen. Pat RobertsCharles (Pat) Patrick RobertsThe Hill's Campaign Report: Runoff elections in Texas, Alabama set for Tuesday Conservative group launches ad campaign for Rep. Roger Marshall in Kansas Senate race Pence says decision on removing Confederate statues should be made locally MORE’s new ad questions independent Greg Orman’s business record, claiming that he or his businesses have been sued 10 times for allegations including fraud, while also seeking to tie him to a man convicted of insider trading. 

IA-SEN (OPEN): Iowa state Sen. Joni Ernst (R) returns to the pigpen for her latest ad, pitching "Iowa common sense" to "clean up the mess in Washington."

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) hits Ernst on outsourcing in his new ad.

MI-11 (OPEN): Democrat Bobby McKenzie slams Republican Dave Trott by arguing he made millions of dollars working on foreclosures in Michigan. 

AZ-1 (KIRKPATRICK): House Majority PAC charges Republican Andy Tobin "wants the government to interfere in your most personal medical decisions" in an ad aimed at female voters. Rep. Ann KirkpatrickAnn KirkpatrickHouse Democrats jam GOP with coronavirus bill Eleventh Democratic presidential debate to be held in Phoenix Arizona Democrat to get treatment for alcohol dependence after suffering fall MORE's (D-Ariz.) ad charges Tobin "isn't looking out" for Arizona's kids.

AZ-2 (BARBER): Republican Martha McSally pushes back on charges against her on Social Security and student loans in a new ad in which she cuddles a puppy at the end.

FL-2 (SOUTHERLAND): Democrat Gwen Graham says "both parties got it wrong" on ObamaCare in one ad, and another ad accuses Rep. Steve Southerland (R-Fla.) of "scaring seniors with outright lies" about Graham.

NE-2 (TERRY): Democratic-aligned The House Majority PAC hits Rep. Lee Terry (R-Neb.) for his 2013 comments during the government shutdown. 

Terry’s opponent, state Sen. Brad Ashford, calls the incumbent “desperate” after an National Republican Congressional Committee ad linked Ashford to a man convicted of murder.  

 

POLL POSITION

SENATE: A majority of likely voters are convinced Republicans will take the Senate in November’s midterm elections and, with it, control of Congress, according to a new Associated Press/GfK poll.

KY-SEN (MCCONNELL): Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) released an internal poll that shows him leading Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes 49 percent to 41 percent. 

CO-SEN (UDALL): Rep. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) leads Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) 46 percent to 39 percent among likely voters in a new Suffolk University poll. That's a significant shift from Suffolk's last survey, conducted in September, when Gardner led Udall by just 1 point, 43 percent to 42 percent.

IA-SEN (OPEN): A new Monmouth University poll shows a slim margin between Republican Joni Ernst and Rep. Bruce Braley (D-Iowa). The poll has Ernst leading Braley 47 percent to 46 percent. 

GA-SEN (OPEN): Democrat Michelle Nunn leads Republican David Perdue 46 to 44 percent in a new SurveyUSA poll.

NH-SEN (SHAHEEN): Sen. Jeanne ShaheenCynthia (Jeanne) Jeanne ShaheenRussian bounties revive Trump-GOP foreign policy divide Congress eyes tighter restrictions on next round of small business help Watchdog accuses Commerce of holding up 'Sharpiegate' probe report MORE (D-N.H.) is leading former Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) 49 percent to 45 percent in a new Public Policy Polling survey. A survey from New England College shows the race statistically tied, Brown taking 48 percent support to Shaheen’s 47 percent support.

KS-2 (JENKINS): An internal poll from Rep. Lynn Jenkins (R-Kan.) shows that she leads her Democratic challenger, Margie Wakefield, 49 percent to 37 percent. 

IL-10, IL-11, IL-12, IL-13, IL-17: New polling from We Ask America shows good news for Republicans. Former Rep. Robert Dold, Rep. Bill FosterGeorge (Bill) William FosterFormer Obama Ebola czar Ron Klain says White House's bad decisions have put US behind many other nations on COVID-19; Fears of virus reemergence intensify Overnight Defense: Army now willing to rename bases named after Confederates | Dems demand answers on 'unfathomable' nuke testing discussions | Pentagon confirms death of north African al Qaeda leader Top Democrats demand answers on Trump administration's 'unfathomable' consideration of nuclear testing MORE, state Rep. Mike Bost and Rep. Rodney Davis all hold leads in their races. The only Democrat ahead in the races the group polled in is Rep. Cheri BustosCheryl (Cheri) Lea BustosTime for a Democratic reckoning on race  Karen Bass's star rises after leading police reform push GOP pulls support from California House candidate over 'unacceptable' social media posts MORE.  

CA-52 (PETERS): Republican Carl DeMaio is essentially tied with Rep. Scott Peters (D-Calif), 46 percent to 45 percent, in a new San Diego Union Tribune and SurveyUSA poll.

ME-2 (OPEN): State Sen. Emily Cain released an internal poll that shows her ahead of Republican Bruce Poliquin 42 percent to 34 percent.  

 

2016 RUMBLINGS

WARREN: Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenIn politics, as in baseball, it ain't over till it's over Trump defends Roger Stone move: He was target of 'Witch Hunt' Democrats blast Trump for commuting Roger Stone: 'The most corrupt president in history' MORE (D-Mass.) says she's not running for president — but she's keeping her options open on a potential nomination to be Treasury Department secretary in a Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonHillicon Valley: Wells Fargo tells employees to delete TikTok from work phones | Google, Facebook join legal challenge to ICE foreign students rule | House Republican introduces bills to bolster federal cybersecurity Biden lets Trump be Trump 4 Texas GOP congressional primary runoffs to watch MORE administration. 

BUSH: George P. Bush, the son of former Florida Republican Gov. Jeb Bush, said that he thinks his father will make a decision on 2016 “very shortly.”

CLINTON: Monica Lewinsky’s recent step back into the spotlight could become an issue for Hillary Clinton if she decides to run in 2016. 

 

QUOTE OF THE DAY 

"Too many typical politicians, hogging, wasting and full of ... well let's just say bad ideas."

Iowa Republican Senate candidate Joni Ernst criticizing Washington in her new ad