Today’s installment of campaign-related news items from across the country.
* With time running out in Arizona’s congressional special election, Donald Trump has recorded a robocall for local voters complaining about Nancy Pelosi and warning that Democrats will put “illegal immigrants” – and “their drugs” – “right into your neighborhood, right into your backyard.”
* Speaking of congressional special elections, what will happen when Rep. Charlie Dent (R-Pa.) steps down next month? It gets a little complicated in light of Pennsylvania’s new congressional map.
* Citing new FEC filings, the Cook Political Report has updated its congressional ratings in seven U.S. House districts, and in each case, all seven were moved in the Democrats’ direction.
* A new statewide poll in Mississippi shows a competitive race to fill former Sen. Thad Cochran’s (R) seat, with appointed Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith (R) and former Agriculture Secretary Mike Espy (D) effectively tied with 33% each. Chris McDaniel, the right-wing firebrand, is further back with support around 13%.
* On a related note, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has taken an interest in the race, and has already invested in campaign ads in support of Hyde-Smith.
* I won’t pretend to know about Sen. Marco Rubio’s (R-Fla.) future plans, but it’s worth noting that he’s hired Michael Needham, the chief executive of Heritage Action, as the senator’s chief of staff. Needham has spent the last several years pushing Republicans to move the party even further to the right.
* And in House Speaker Paul Ryan’s Wisconsin district, several GOP contenders have already said they will not run for his seat: state Rep. Samantha Kerkman, former White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, former state House Speaker Robin Vos, former state Rep. Rep. Michelle Litjens, and state Sen. Dave Craig.