Today’s installment of campaign-related news items from across the country.
* Early voting gets underway today in three more states, each of which have several competitive races: Kansas, North Carolina, and Tennessee.
* Already facing an uphill climb, Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) is now dealing with a self-inflicted wound: her campaign recently issued an “open letter” that identified women as sexual assault survivors without their permission.
* The latest CNN poll out of Texas found Sen. Ted Cruz (R) leading Beto O’Rourke (D), 52% to 45%, among likely voters.
* On a related note, during a Cruz/O’Rourke debate last night, the candidates were asked, “Tell us something you’ve done in the last year that has nothing to do with politics that would give Texans insight to who you are as a person.” Cruz initially responded with an awkward six seconds of silence.
* An awkward experiment in fusion politics came to an abrupt and unexpected end in Alaska yesterday, when Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott resigned “after the disclosure of recent unspecified ‘inappropriate comments.’”
* Roll Call reported yesterday that Rep. Scott Taylor’s (R-Va.) campaign has continued to pay four staffers and advisers accused of forging “dozens – possibly hundreds – of constituent signatures to help a third-party candidate onto the ballot.”
* Donald Trump’s re-election campaign, perhaps trying to scare away potential primary rivals, has already raised $100 million. A Washington Post report added, “No other president dating back to at least Ronald Reagan had raised any money at this point for his own campaign committee.”
* And Julián Castro (D), the former San Antonio mayor and secretary of Housing and Urban Development, hasn’t officially launched a presidential campaign, but he conceded to Rolling Stone that he’s “likely” and “inclined” to do it.