Today’s installment of campaign-related news items from across the country.
* In Missouri’s closely watched U.S. Senate race, the latest Emerson poll shows Sen. Claire McCaskill (D) tied with state Attorney General Josh Hawley (R) at 45% each. The same poll showed Hawley leading the GOP primary with 37%, while Courtland Sykes – remember him? – had 6% support in the poll.
* On a related note, as concerns grow among Republican officials about whether Hawley is the best person for the race, the Missouri attorney general is circulating an internal poll that shows him leading McCaskill by the narrowest of margins, 47% to 46%.
* As promised, Richard Painter, a longtime Republican and the former chief ethics lawyer in George W. Bush’s White House, quit the GOP yesterday and launched a Democratic Senate campaign in Minnesota.
* In Idaho, it looks like state voters will have the opportunity to decide this fall whether to adopt Medicaid expansion in the Gem State.
* On a related note, Rep. Raul Labrador (R-Idaho) said late last week that if he’s elected governor, he’ll fight to overturn Medicaid expansion if his state’s voters endorse it. (Or put another way, if Idahoans elect him and support Medicaid expansion, he’s promising to try to defy voters’ will.)
* In Ohio’s gubernatorial race, former Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D) has agreed to return the $20,000 he accepted from a group allied with Syria’s Assad regime.
* Not quite over his failed Senate campaign, disgraced former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore announced a civil suit yesterday targeting the women who accused him of sexual misconduct.
* And in case it seemed Don Blankenship’s (R) bizarre U.S. Senate campaign in West Virginia couldn’t get any stranger, the Republican’s campaign briefly unveiled a television ad yesterday blasting Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) as “Cocaine Mitch.” The commercial disappeared soon after. [Update: it looks like the ad is now back up on Blankenship’s Facebook page.]