* In Virginia's gubernatorial race, a NBC4/NBC News/Marist poll released last night shows Terry McAuliffe (D) leading Ken Cuccinelli (R) by eight points, 46% to 38%, up from a five-point advantage in the same poll last month. Of particular interest, McAuliffe leads among women voters by a whopping 20 points.
* Speaking of Virginia, Republican E.W. Jackson, the right-wing preacher running for lieutenant governor, was initially caught saying he was a chaplain for the Boston Red Sox -- a claim that appears to be at odds with reality -- and has now run into another similar problem. The Washington Post reports today, "[V]ivid details of his escape from deprivation in a Chester, Pa., foster home -- the emotional core of his stump speech -- have been challenged by two women who were there."
* In Kentucky, the Senate Conservatives Fund this morning endorsed Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's (R-Ky.) primary challenger, Matt Bevin.
* Making matters slightly worse for McConnell, Public Policy Polling's latest survey shows the senator narrowly trailing his Democratic challenger, Alison Lundergan Grimes.
* There's still a whole year to go, but reports like these are becoming more common: "The government shutdown and debt crisis has made 14 House seats more winnable for Democrats, according to new independent ratings released Thursday from The Cook Political Report. There are now -- for the first time this cycle -- more Republican seats 'in play' than the 17 Democrats would need to win in order to take the majority in 2014."
* In South Dakota's open U.S. Senate race, former Gov. Mike Rounds (R) leads Rick Weiland (D) in a new PPP poll, but only by six points, 40% to 34%. Libertarian Kurt Evans is polling at 11%.
* And in Mississippi, state Sen. Chris McDaniel (R) made it official yesterday, announcing he'll take on incumbent Sen. Thad Cochran in a Republican primary next year. McDaniel has already picked up the support of far-right groups such as the Club for Growth and the Senate Conservatives Fund.