Today’s installment of campaign-related news items from across the country.
* A newly released poll from NPR/PBS/Marist shows Democrats leading Republicans on the generic congressional ballot, 50% to 40%. The same poll finds Donald Trump’s approval rating slipping a bit to 39%.
* In Texas’ U.S. Senate race, a new University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll is in line with most of the other results we’ve seen of late: incumbent Sen. Ted Cruz (R) leads Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D), 51% to 45%.
* In news that jolted the political world this morning, Cook Political Report changed its forecast in New Jersey’s U.S. Senate race, which it now considers a “toss-up.” Cook Political Report now considers five Senate races toss-ups, and they’re all in states where Democratic incumbents are seeking re-election: Florida, Indiana, Missouri, Montana, and New Jersey. (North Dakota is considered a “lean Republican” contest.)
* Speaking of rough Senate races for Democrats, Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) raised an astonishing $12.4 million in the first 17 days of October. It’s very likely that the fundraising boost was the result of the senator’s opposition to Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination.
* The day after a federal judge ordered Georgia election officials to stop rejecting absentee ballots and applications based on amateur signature analyses, Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp’s (R) office asked the judge to suspend her order during an appeal. Kemp, of course, is also the Republican Party’s gubernatorial nominee this year, which makes him both the election referee and the candidate at the top of the GOP ticket.
* In the race in New Jersey’s 3rd congressional district, a new Monmouth University poll points to a possible pick-up opportunity for Democrats: Andy Kim (D) leads Rep. Tom MacArthur (R) in the poll, 48% to 46%.
* And despite her apparent interest in a national campaign, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) again this week declared, in reference to her re-election campaign this year, “I will serve my six-year term.” If she follows through on that, it means the New York Democrat won’t run for president in 2020.