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Election Countdown: Big fundraising numbers in fight for Senate | Haley resigns in surprise move | Says she will back Trump in 2020 | Sanders hitting midterm trail | Collins becomes top Dem target | Takeaways from Indiana Senate debate

Election Countdown: Big fundraising numbers in fight for Senate | Haley resigns in surprise move | Says she will back Trump in 2020 | Sanders hitting midterm trail | Collins becomes top Dem target | Takeaways from Indiana Senate debate
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This is Election Countdown, The Hill's weekly newsletter from Lisa Hagen (@LA_Hagen) and Max Greenwood (@KMaxGreenwood) that brings you the biggest stories on the campaign trail. We'd love to hear from you, so feel free to reach out to Lisa at LHagen@thehill.com and Max at MGreenwood@thehill.com. with any questions, comments, criticisms or food recommendations (mostly the latter, please). Click here to sign up.

 

We're 28 days until the 2018 midterm elections and 756 days until the 2020 elections.

 

House candidates have been announcing jaw-dropping fundraising hauls in the third quarter of the year. And it's a trend that we're now seeing in the battle for the Senate.

While most Republicans haven't released their numbers, Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzO'Rourke gives 'a definitive no' to possibility of running in 2020 Vicente Fox endorses Beto O'Rourke in Texas Senate race Beto O'Rourke on impeachment: 'There is enough there to proceed' MORE (R-Texas) is leading the fundraising pack among Senate candidates and incumbents, with a staggering $12 million raised in the third quarter, which covers fundraising between July and September.

Cruz's tally is a huge spike from his past numbers and will help him keep pace with his well-funded Democratic opponent, Rep. Beto O'RourkeRobert (Beto) Francis O'RourkeO'Rourke gives 'a definitive no' to possibility of running in 2020 Vicente Fox endorses Beto O'Rourke in Texas Senate race Beto O'Rourke on impeachment: 'There is enough there to proceed' MORE (D-Texas). While we don't yet know O'Rourke's third quarter numbers, expect another monster haul. According to a new federal filing from ActBlue, O'Rourke brought in $9.1 million in August alone.

On the Democratic side, Democrats continue to post strong fundraising hauls that have eclipsed past numbers.

Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) raked in nearly $7 million in the third quarter, more than doubling what she raised in the last fundraising quarter. Her Republican challenger, Rep. Martha McSallyMartha Elizabeth McSallyArizona Dems hope higher Latino turnout will help turn the state blue The Hill's Morning Report — Presented by the Coalition for Affordable Prescription Drugs — Health care a top policy message in fall campaigns The Hill's Morning Report — Presented by the Coalition for Affordable Prescription Drugs — GOP faces ‘green wave’ in final stretch to the midterms MORE (Ariz.), has yet to announce her third-quarter fundraising numbers.

Rep. Jacky RosenJacklyn (Jacky) Sheryl RosenPoll: Dems lead in Indiana, West Virginia Senate races, tied in Nevada Dems outraising Republicans in final stretch of midterms The Hill's Morning Report — Presented by the Coalition for Affordable Prescription Drugs — Pollsters: White college-educated women to decide if Dems capture House MORE (D-Nev.), who's running to unseat Sen. Dean HellerDean Arthur HellerPoll: Dems lead in Indiana, West Virginia Senate races, tied in Nevada Poll:Majority of voters say health care 'very important' to them in midterms The Hill's Morning Report — Presented by the Coalition for Affordable Prescription Drugs — Health care a top policy message in fall campaigns MORE (R-Nev.), similarly raised about $7.1 million and ended September with $2.6 million on hand.

In other Q3 numbers: Sen. Tammy BaldwinTammy Suzanne BaldwinTreasury sets politics aside, admits China isn't a currency manipulator Hillicon Valley: Facebook deletes accounts for political 'spam' | Leaked research shows Google's struggles with online free speech | Trump's praise for North Korea complicates cyber deterrence | Senators want Google memo on privacy bug Poll: Baldwin leads GOP challenger by double digits in Wisconsin MORE (D-Wis.) raised $6 million; Sen. Heidi HeitkampMary (Heidi) Kathryn HeitkampFive takeaways from the first North Dakota Senate debate Live coverage: Heitkamp faces Cramer in high-stakes North Dakota debate Sexual assault survivor named in Heitkamp ad: 'She definitely lost my vote' MORE (D-N.D.) brought in more than $3.8 million, ending last month with about $3.2 million in the bank. Baldwin faces Republican Leah Vukmir in Wisconsin, while Heitkamp faces GOP Rep. Kevin CramerKevin John CramerFive takeaways from the first North Dakota Senate debate Live coverage: Heitkamp faces Cramer in high-stakes North Dakota debate Sexual assault survivor named in Heitkamp ad: 'She definitely lost my vote' MORE in North Dakota.

 

Race for the White House

Sen. Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersBooker holds 'Get Out the Vote' event in South Carolina as presidential speculation builds The Democratic Donald Trump is coming Biden: Trump administration 'coddles autocrats and dictators' MORE (I-Vt.) is set to begin a nine-day campaign swing next week to boost Democrats ahead of Election Day. Among the states that Sanders is set to hit are Iowa, South Carolina and Nevada – states that are crucial in the presidential nominating process. The trip is likely to fuel speculation that the progressive firebrand is weighing another run for the White House after his unsuccessful primary fight against Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonWatchdog org: Tillerson used million in taxpayer funds to fly throughout US Republicans cancel airtime in swing Vegas district The Democratic Donald Trump is coming MORE in 2016.

 

United Nations Ambassador Nikki HaleyNimrata (Nikki) HaleyTrump mulling State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert for UN envoy: report Iran says it killed 'mastermind' behind military parade attack Haley slams China over 'internment of civilians' in first public remarks since announcing resignation MORE may be stepping down from her post early next year, but she made it clear Tuesday that she has no plans to challenge Trump in 2020. "No, I am not running in 2020," she told reporters during an Oval Office meeting with Trump. "I look forward to supporting the president in the next election."

 

A new political action committee is looking to boost former Virginia Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe's profile ahead of 2020 in an effort to encourage him to mount a White House bid, the Associated Press reports. The group, Tenaciously Moving for American Change in 2020, will focus its efforts in states with early primaries and caucuses, like Iowa and New Hampshire.

 

Senate showdown

After casting the deciding vote for Supreme Court Justice Brett KavanaughBrett Michael KavanaughFive takeaways from the first North Dakota Senate debate Trump says midterms about ‘Kavanaugh, the caravan, law and order and common sense' Live coverage: Heitkamp faces Cramer in high-stakes North Dakota debate MORE's confirmation, Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsThe Hill's Morning Report — Presented by the Coalition for Affordable Prescription Drugs — Health care a top policy message in fall campaigns Susan Collins and the mob mentality Graham: I hope Dems 'get their ass kicked' for conduct around Kavanaugh MORE (R-Maine) has become a top target for Democrats. Already, a Maine Democratic fundraising effort has collected $3.6 million dollars to support Collins's eventual challenger in 2020. Susan Rice, President Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaFive takeaways from the first North Dakota Senate debate Live coverage: Heitkamp faces Cramer in high-stakes North Dakota debate Khashoggi prompts Trump to reconsider human rights in foreign policy MORE's former national security advisor, has hinted she may be interested in seeking Collins' seat.

 

On the other hand, Sen. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinElection Countdown: Florida Senate fight resumes after hurricane | Cruz softens ObamaCare attacks | GOP worries Trump will lose suburban women | Latest Senate polls | Rep. Dave Brat gets Trump's 'total endorsement' | Dem candidates raise record B Poll: Dems lead in Indiana, West Virginia Senate races, tied in Nevada McConnell defends Trump-backed lawsuit against ObamaCare MORE's (D-W.Va.) vote to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court may have helped him stave off an electoral defeat in November, The New York Times reports. Manchin was the lone Democrat to buck party lines on the Saturday Senate vote. He's among the Democrats seeking re-election this year in a state that President TrumpDonald John TrumpThe Guardian slams Trump over comments about assault on reporter Five takeaways from the first North Dakota Senate debate Watchdog org: Tillerson used million in taxpayer funds to fly throughout US MORE won handily in 2016.

 

Sen. Joe DonnellyJoseph (Joe) Simon DonnellyDonnelly parodies 'Veep' in new campaign ad Election Countdown: Florida Senate fight resumes after hurricane | Cruz softens ObamaCare attacks | GOP worries Trump will lose suburban women | Latest Senate polls | Rep. Dave Brat gets Trump's 'total endorsement' | Dem candidates raise record B Poll: Dems lead in Indiana, West Virginia Senate races, tied in Nevada MORE (D-Ind.) and Republican businessman Mike Braun squared off in Indiana's first Senate debate on Monday night. The debate ignited some heated exchanges on health care--particularly on pre-existing conditions--and the Supreme Court confirmation fight. Donnelly highlighted where he's willing to align with Trump, while keeping distance from the Democratic Party. Meanwhile, Braun continued to cast himself as a political "outsider." Here are five takeaways from the debatefrom The Hill's Lisa Hagen and Jessie Hellmann.

 

Survey says…

Democrat Andrew Gillum is leading former Rep. Ron DeSantisRonald Dion DeSantisElection Countdown: Florida Senate fight resumes after hurricane | Cruz softens ObamaCare attacks | GOP worries Trump will lose suburban women | Latest Senate polls | Rep. Dave Brat gets Trump's 'total endorsement' | Dem candidates raise record B Florida extending early voting in counties hit by hurricane Billionaire Tom Steyer donates million to Gillum in Florida governor's race MORE (R-Fla.) by a 3-point margin in the latest Florida gubernatorial poll. The survey, by Florida Southern College's Center for Polling and Policy Research, shows Gillum ahead of DeSantis 47 percent to 44 percent. It's only the latest poll to give the progressive Tallahassee mayor a lead over his Trump-allied opponent.

 

In Florida's Senate race, the poll shows Gov. Rick Scott (R) edging out Sen. Bill NelsonClarence (Bill) William NelsonElection Countdown: Florida Senate fight resumes after hurricane | Cruz softens ObamaCare attacks | GOP worries Trump will lose suburban women | Latest Senate polls | Rep. Dave Brat gets Trump's 'total endorsement' | Dem candidates raise record B Florida extending early voting in counties hit by hurricane Poll:Majority of voters say health care 'very important' to them in midterms MORE (D-Fla.) 46 percent to 44.5 percent, signaling that the contest remains closer than ever.

 

A CNN poll out Tuesday shows Democrats with a 13-point lead over GOP candidates on the generic ballot just four weeks out from Election Day. The poll also shows female voters favoring Democrats at 63 percent, while only about 45 percent of male respondents said the same. It's the latest sign of a widening gender gap.

 

Paper chase

House Majority PAC, the super PAC aligned with House Minority Leader Nancy PelosiNancy Patricia D'Alesandro PelosiPelosi meets with Parkland students and parents, says gun control would be atop Dems’ agenda The Hill's Morning Report — Presented by the Coalition for Affordable Prescription Drugs — Health care a top policy message in fall campaigns Election Countdown: O'Rourke goes on the attack | Takeaways from fiery second Texas Senate debate | Heitkamp apologizes for ad misidentifying abuse victims | Trump Jr. to rally for Manchin challenger | Rick Scott leaves trail to deal with hurricane damage MORE (D-Calif.), is rolling out a roughly $20-million media blitz targeting vulnerable Republicans in races spanning California, Florida, Texas, Nevada, New York, New Jersey and Michigan. Here are the districts on the list: California's 10th, 25th, 39th, 45th, 48th, and 49th congressional districts; Florida's 26th district; Michigan's 8th and 11th districts; New Jersey's seventh district; the fourth district in Nevada; and New York-19, as well as Texas's 32nd district.

 

With Kavanaugh's confirmation to the Supreme Court, NARAL Pro-Choice America, a pro-abortion rights group, has launched a $1 million campaign against House Republicans in toss-up races. The campaign will release ads targeting Reps. David YoungDavid Edmund YoungVulnerable Republicans throw ‘Hail Mary’ on pre-existing conditions Trump touts Kavanaugh confirmation at raucous Iowa rally Trump: ‘Dems will end ethanol’ MORE (R-Iowa), Peter Roskam Peter James RoskamDems target small cluster of states in battle for House Kavanaugh becomes new flashpoint in midterms defined by anger Election Countdown: Big fundraising numbers in fight for Senate | Haley resigns in surprise move | Says she will back Trump in 2020 | Sanders hitting midterm trail | Collins becomes top Dem target | Takeaways from Indiana Senate debate MORE (R-Ill.), Kevin YoderKevin Wayne YoderElection Countdown: Dems outraise GOP in final stretch | 2018 midterms already most expensive in history | What to watch in second Cruz-O'Rourke debate | Trump raises 0M for reelection | Why Dems fear Avenatti's approach Dems outraising Republicans in final stretch of midterms Paul Ryan to campaign for 25 vulnerable House Republicans MORE (R-Kan.), Claudia Tenney (R-N.Y.), John CulbersonJohn Abney CulbersonKavanaugh becomes new flashpoint in midterms defined by anger Election Countdown: Big fundraising numbers in fight for Senate | Haley resigns in surprise move | Says she will back Trump in 2020 | Sanders hitting midterm trail | Collins becomes top Dem target | Takeaways from Indiana Senate debate Overnight Health Care — Presented by the Coalition for Affordable Prescription Drugs — Ryan blasts Medicare for all | Senate Dems to force vote on 'junk' insurance plans | Ads hit Collins over Kavanaugh vote MORE (R-Texas), Jason LewisJason Mark LewisPaul Ryan to campaign for 25 vulnerable House Republicans How America’s urban-rural divide is changing the Democratic Party Dem hopes for House majority run through Minnesota suburbs MORE (R-Minn.), and Dave Brat (R-Va.)

 

What we're watching for

Senate Debate schedule:

--Friday night debate in Wisconsin

--Sunday night debates in West Virginia, Ohio and Michigan

 

Trump rally schedule:

--Tuesday rally in Council Bluffs, Iowa at 7:30 p.m. ET

--Wednesday rally in Erie, Pa. at 7 p.m. ET

--Friday rally in Lebanon, Ohio at 7 p.m. ET

--Saturday rally in Richmond, Ky. at 7 p.m. ET

 

Coming to a TV near you

Emily's List, a pro-abortion rights group that supports female candidates, is launching a Spanish-language ad campaign going after Rep. Martha McSally (R-Ariz.). The seven-figure ad buy by the group's independent expenditure arm, Women Vote!, hits the Senate hopeful over her record on health care, accusing her of voting "to eliminate protections for pre-existing conditions."

 

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) is also on the attack against McSally, launching an ad Tuesday hitting the GOP Senate hopeful on her health care record. The spot accuses her of voting to "essentially end Medicare" and gut protections for pre-existing conditions.

 

Wave watch

Republicans are seizing on the fight over Kavanaugh's confirmation to the Supreme Court to cast the Democratic protests as "an angry mob" bent on upending Trump's agenda, The Washington Post reports. "Chasing senators down the hall, running up the stairs at the Capitol – we've been taken aback by how people have reacted to it. And we're responding," Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) told the newspaper.

 

Democrat Donna Shalala may be well known in Miami. But she's found herself in an increasingly difficult bid against Republican Maria Elvira Salazar to replace retiring Rep. Ileana Ros-LehtinenIleana Carmen Ros-LehtinenDemocrats have a long history of supporting Israel GOP group makes late play in Iowa seat once seen as lost Dems outraising Republicans in final stretch of midterms MORE (R-Fla.) in Florida's 27th District, McClatchy DC reports. Two recent internal polls showed her either trailing or tied with Salazar, a Cuban-American former broadcast journalist, and there are worries she's not connecting with voters in the Hispanic-majority district.

 

Also in the Sunshine State, the state Democratic Party is suing to extend the state's Oct. 9 voter registration deadline as Hurricane Michael bears down on the Florida Panhandle. The lawsuit, which names Secretary of State Ken Detzner as the defendant, argues that "voters will face significant hurdles to registration because of" the storm. Detzner previously said that local election offices closed on Tuesday could accept applications the day they reopened.

 

Election Countdown was written by Lisa Hagen, Max Greenwood, Rachel Cohen, Kenna Sturgeon and James Wellemeyer.