Today’s installment of campaign-related news items from across the country.
* In Missouri’s closely watched U.S. Senate race, Public Policy Polling’s latest survey found incumbent Sen. Claire McCaskill (D) with the narrowest of leads over state Attorney General Josh Hawley (R), 45% to 44%.
* In Wisconsin, Randy Bryce (D), running in House Speaker Paul Ryan’s (R) district, raised a startling $1.2 million in the fourth quarter of 2017. With Ryan’s retirement looking quite likely, Bryce’s fundraising gives the incumbent congressman an added incentive to walk away.
* Speaking of money in politics, Utah Gov. Gary Herbert (R) continues to raise a fair amount of money, though it’s not entirely clear why: the Republican governor’s term isn’t up until 2020, and Herbert has said he doesn’t intend to run for re-election.
* One of Donald Trump’s increasingly frequent boasts is that he won the presidency during his first attempt at national office. He apparently doesn’t realize how very common that is.
* Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) refused to support Roy Moore’s candidacy in Alabama’s U.S. Senate special election last month, and the longtime incumbent is now facing a “fierce backlash” from some of Moore’s backers on the far-right.
* Now that she’s out of prison, Chelsea Manning, best known for her role in giving sensitive government materials to WikiLeaks, is launching a U.S. Senate campaign in Maryland. Manning will run as a Democrat, running against incumbent Sen. Ben Cardin in a Democratic primary.
* I heartily agree with this Nate Silver analysis from the other day: “Just how bad [is the 2018 map for Senate Democrats]? It’s bad enough that it may be the worst Senate map that any party has faced ever, or at least since direct election of senators began in 1913. It’s bad enough that Democrats could conceivably gain 35 or 40 seats in the House … and not pick up the two seats they need in the Senate.”