Today’s installment of campaign-related news items from across the country.
* In case Republicans weren’t already nervous about this year’s midterms, a new Mason-Dixon poll in Tennessee shows former Gov. Phil Bredesen (D) leading Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R) in this year’s open U.S. Senate race, 46% to 43%.
* Rep.-elect Debbie Lesko (R), who won a special election in Arizona yesterday, is already poised to join the right-wing House Freedom Caucus.
* The NRA will clearly have plenty of resources for the 2018 midterm cycle: “The National Rifle Association’s Political Victory Fund raised $2.4 million in donations in March, setting a 21st-century record for the group in the month after a gunman killed 17 students and educators at a high school in Parkland, Fla.”
* With time running out before West Virginia’s May 8 Republican primary, a new Fox News poll shows Rep. Evan Jenkins (R) leading state Attorney General Patrick Morrisey (R) in the race for the party’s U.S. Senate nomination, 25% to 21%. Don Blankenship (R) is third with 16%.
* In Ohio’s U.S. Senate race, Trump has weighed in on the GOP primary, throwing his support behind Rep. Jim Renacci (R). The primary is May 8, and the Republican congressman was already widely considered the frontrunner for the party’s nomination.
* A largely unknown group called the American Exceptionalism Institute, which does not disclose its donors, is running attack ads against Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) over his opposition to Gina Haspel’s nomination to lead the CIA.
* And in New Mexico, former U.S. Attorney Damon Martinez, whom Donald Trump fired last year in a purge of federal prosecutors, is now running for Congress as a Democrat, and he’s airing a rather creative television ad. In it, Martinez tells Trump, among other things, “You’re next to get fired.”