Today’s installment of campaign-related news items from across the country.
* The lineup for tomorrow night’s Republican debate has been finalized, with CNN announcing the nine participants yesterday. Among the more notable developments, Rand Paul barely avoided the kids-table debate, while Chris Christie, demoted in the last debate, will be on the main stage tomorrow night.
* In Iowa, a new Des Moines Register/Bloomberg poll shows Hillary Clinton’s lead over Bernie Sanders growing a bit to nine points, 48% to 39%. The same poll showed Clinton ahead by seven in October.
* Donald Trump told Fox News yesterday that Ted Cruz doesn’t have “the right temperament” for the presidency. Trump did not comment on his own temperament.
* Sylvester Turner (D) won Houston’s mayoral race over the weekend. For all the talk about Democrats’ down-ballot problems, it’s worth noting the party, just over the last couple of months, won mayoral elections in Charlotte, Indianapolis, Orlando, Philadelphia, and now Houston.
* Rand Paul’s presidential campaign has unveiled a new, 90-second attack ad, accusing Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz of being insufficiently hostile towards Syrian refugees. The campaign would not comment on the size of the ad buy, and note that a 90-second spot is triple the length of a standard commercial.
* Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.), one of Congress’ most ardent supporters of immigration reform, will reportedly endorse Hillary Clinton’s campaign today.
* To the disappointment of the NRSC, Rep. Scott Tipton (R-Colo.) has decided not to take on Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) next year. Left without a top-tier recruit, Republican attention will now shift to state Rep. Jon Keyser (R).
* And in a bit of a surprise, Rep. Robert Wittman (R) is jumping into Virginia’s gubernatorial race, facing off against former RNC Chairman Ed Gillespie, who nearly upset Sen. Mark Warner (D) last year. The party’s nomination will be decided at a convention, not in a primary.