Today’s installment of campaign-related news items from across the country.
* A new poll for local TV stations in North Dakota found Rep. Kevin Cramer (R) with a sizable lead over incumbent Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D) in their closely watched U.S. Senate race, 56% to 40%.
* On a related note, while Heitkamp can’t turn to Democratic leaders to give her campaign a boost – it’s a very red state – the senator is welcoming Chuck Hagel to North Dakota this week. Hagel is a former Republican senator from Nebraska who also served as secretary of Defense in the Obama administration.
* In Florida’s closely watched U.S. Senate race, a new Quinnipiac poll found incumbent Sen. Bill Nelson (D) with a modest lead over Gov. Rick Scott (R), 53% to 46%, among likely voters. The gender gap is significant: Nelson leads by 20 among women, while Scott leads by 10 among men.
* As if Republican voter-suppression tactics weren’t a big enough problem for Stacey Abrams’ (D) gubernatorial campaign in Georgia, she’s now also dealing with a picture of her attending an event as a college student nearly 30 years ago in which the old Georgia state flag was burned.
* In Indiana’s U.S. Senate race, a new poll of from SurveyUSA and the Mike Downs Center for Indiana Politics found incumbent Sen. Joe Donnelly (D) with the narrowest of leads, 41% to 40%, over Mike Braun (R).
* A new NBC News/Marist poll in Mississippi’s free-for-all Senate special election shows appointed Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith (R) ahead with 38% support, though she’s likely to fall short of 50%, which points to a runoff with Mike Espy (D), who garnered 29% support in the poll.
* Ahead of last night’s rally in support of Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), a reporter asked Donald Trump if he has any regrets about accusing the senator’s father of being involved with the JFK assassination. “I don’t regret anything, honestly,” the president replied.
* And though I tend to steer clear of predictions, my expectations for the U.S. House are largely in line with this new analysis from the Cook Political Report: “We continue to believe anywhere from a 20 to 40 seat Democratic gain is possible, but right now the likeliest outcome is a Democratic gain of between 25 and 35 seats.” Democrats need a net gain of 23 House seats to be in the majority.