Today’s installment of campaign-related news items from across the country.
* A new CBS News/YouGov Battleground Tracker poll found Democrats with a five-point lead over Republicans in the most competitive areas, putting the party on track for a narrow majority after this year’s midterm elections. (Note, this is not a traditional generic-ballot poll, since it focuses only on 64 key districts.)
* On Friday afternoon in Alaska, about a half-hour before the filing deadline, former Sen. Mark Begich (D) launched a gubernatorial campaign. Incumbent Gov. Bill Walker (I) is seeking a second term in what will apparently be a three-way contest.
* In Kansas’ gubernatorial race, Secretary of State Kris Kobach (R) raised a few eyebrows while participating in a parade over the weekend: the Republican official rode in a jeep “standing next to what appeared to be a .50 caliber machine gun.”
* Americans for Prosperity, backed by the Koch brothers, is launching a digital ad campaign thanking, among others, Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) for co-sponsoring a bill that changes Dodd-Frank in ways conservatives like. Heitkamp, of course, is a Dem facing a competitive re-election campaign in a red state this fall.
* In Massachusetts’ gubernatorial race, the latest WBUR/MassINC poll found incumbent Gov. Charlie Baker (R) with 40-point leads over his likely Democratic challengers, suggesting the governor is a safe bet for a second term.
* The same poll showed Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D) with comparable leads over the three Republicans vying to take her on in November.
* And campaign watchers shouldn’t forget that tomorrow will be a big day, with primaries in California, Mississippi, Alabama, Iowa, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, and South Dakota. As we’ll discuss in an upcoming post, California’s “top-two” primary system is facing a big test, including the possibility that Democrats will be locked out entirely in several key races that may decide which party controls the U.S. House in the next Congress.