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 McConnellHoyer signals House vote on bill to 'remove' debt limit threat Biden signs bill to raise debt ceiling On The Money — Progressives play hard ball on Biden budget plan MORE's (R-Ky.) campaign released internal polling that showed him up 7 percentage points over Grimes to push back on Democrats' claims.

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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 HaganInfighting grips Nevada Democrats ahead of midterms Democrats, GOP face crowded primaries as party leaders lose control Biden's gun control push poses danger for midterms 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 GrahamSenators preview bill to stop tech giants from prioritizing their own products Democrats fret as longshot candidates pull money, attention Tim Scott takes in .3 million in third quarter 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 GardnerColorado remap plan creates new competitive district Protecting the outdoors: Three cheers for America's best idea Ex-Sen. Cory Gardner joins lobbying firm MORE (Colo.) for supporting restrictions on abortions and birth control.

Sen. Mark UdallMark Emery UdallKennedy apologizes for calling Haaland a 'whack job' OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Haaland courts moderates during tense confirmation hearing | GOP's Westerman looks to take on Democrats on climate change | White House urges passage of House public lands package Udalls: Haaland criticism motivated 'by something other than her record' 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 CottonThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Altria - House debt vote today; Biden struggles to unite Arkansas legislature splits Little Rock in move that guarantees GOP seats The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Senate nears surprise deal on short-term debt ceiling hike 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 BeraDefense & National Security — Troops secretly train with Taiwan as tensions with China continue Lawmakers call for end to 'strategic ambiguity' on Taiwan Overnight Defense & National Security — Blinken heads to the hot seat 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 PryorBottom line Everybody wants Joe Manchin Cotton glides to reelection in Arkansas 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 Senate race sees cash surge in final stretch Alaska group backing independent candidate appears linked to Democrats Sullivan wins Alaska Senate GOP primary 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 RobertsMcConnell gets GOP wake-up call Bob Dole, Pat Roberts endorse Kansas AG Derek Schmidt for governor Ex-Sen. Cory Gardner joins lobbying firm 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 BraleyThe Memo: Trump attacks on Harris risk backfiring 2020 caucuses pose biggest challenge yet for Iowa's top pollster OPINION | Tax reform, not Trump-McConnell feuds, will make 2018 a win for GOP 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 Kirkpatrick Ariz. state senator who saved Gabby Giffords's life ends congressional bid due to COVID-19 surge Democrats fret over Trump-district retirements ahead of midterms Democratic Rep. Ron Kind won't seek reelection in Wisconsin 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 ShaheenDefense & National Security — Military starts giving guidance on COVID-19 vaccine refusals Blinken pressed to fill empty post overseeing 'Havana syndrome' Lawmakers call for more resources to support early cancer detection 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 FosterCongress's role in the AUKUS nuclear-powered submarine deal Overnight Defense: Senators reach billion deal on emergency Capitol security bill | House panel looks to help military sexual assault survivors | US increases airstrikes to help Afghan forces fight Taliban We must address the declining rate of startup business launches 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 BustosIllinois Democrats propose new 'maximized' congressional map Overnight Energy & Environment — Presented by the American Petroleum Institute — A warning shot on Biden's .5T plan The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden continues to grapple with Afghanistan chaos 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 WarrenMisguided recusal rules lock valuable leaders out of the Pentagon Biden's soft touch with Manchin, Sinema frustrates Democrats Hillicon Valley — Presented by LookingGlass — Congress makes technology policy moves 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 ClintonTrump criticizes Justice for restoring McCabe's benefits Biden sends 'best wishes' to Clinton following hospitalization The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Altria - Jan. 6 panel flexes its muscle 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