Today’s installment of campaign-related news items from across the country.
* With only a week remaining before Alabama’s U.S. Senate special election, Donald Trump officially threw his support last night to appointed Sen. Luther Strange (R). The endorsement is expected to give Strange an important edge ahead of Tuesday’s vote.
* On a related note, Rep. Mo Brooks (R), one of Strange’s key GOP rivals, blamed Trump’s endorsement on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and “the swamp,” saying the president was “somehow misled.”
* In Iowa yesterday, Phil Miller (D) won a state House special election, keeping the seat in Democratic hands. The state party was quick to note that Republicans hold a registration advantage in the district, which Donald Trump easily carried in November.
* On the other hand, in Missouri yesterday, Republicans won a pair of special elections – one in the state House, one in the state Senate – in deep-red districts.
* Confirming what everyone already knew would happen, Rep. Todd Rokita (R) is officially launching his U.S. Senate campaign in Indiana, setting up a big primary fight with Rep. Luke Messer (R). The winner will take on incumbent Sen. Joe Donnelly (D) next fall.
* Annoyed about his state’s legal smoking age climbing to 21, Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R) argued yesterday he still wants to see the state’s legal voting age also go to 21. Since this would be outrageously unconstitutional, LePage’s proposal isn’t expected to go anywhere.
* Stephen Miller, a prominent far-right aide to Trump, declared last night that the president is “the most gifted politician of our time” and is “the best orator to hold that office in generations.” I don’t think he was kidding.
* And in Colorado, Sen. Cory Gardner (R) won’t be up for re-election until 2020, but his far-right positions in the health care fight don’t appear to have helped his standing back home: the latest results from Public Policy Polling shows the Colorado Republican with a 24% approval rating.