Today’s installment of campaign-related news items from across the country.
* In the new national Quinnipiac poll, Democrats have opened up a 17-point lead over Republicans on the generic congressional ballot, which is up a couple of points since last month’s poll. If the party can maintain that kind of advantage, Dems are likely to take back the House in the 2018 midterms.
* Republicans really wanted Rep. Kevin Cramer (R) to take on Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D) in North Dakota next year, but he’s decided against it. The GOP congressman will instead run for re-election to the House.
* As expected, Rep. Martha McSally (R) launched her Senate campaign in Arizona this morning. Hillary Clinton won McSally’s U.S. House seat in 2016, making this another key pick-up opportunity for Dems.
* Republican efforts to recruit Hillbilly Elegy author J.D. Vance to run for the U.S. Senate in Ohio next year have run into a small problem: J.D. Vance doesn’t live in Ohio.
* Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner (R) was featuring Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens (R) in a re-election campaign ad. In light of Greitens’ sex scandal, Rauner’s team pulled the spot from the air yesterday.
* With Republicans increasingly worried about the March congressional special election in Pennsylvania’s 18th district, Donald Trump is personally headed to the district next week to campaign in support of Republican candidate Rick Saccone. Politico’s report added that Mike Pence may end up visiting the district twice before Election Day.
* Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) may not be running for re-election in his district, but he’s reportedly eyeing the possibility of running in a different district if Rep. Duncan Hunter Jr. (R-Calif.) is forced to resign.
* Ahead of his re-election campaign in Massachusetts, Gov. Charlie Baker (R) enjoys a 74% approval rating in this week’s WBUR poll.
* And an interesting catch from HuffPost: four convicted criminals are running for Congress this year as Republicans.