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Thursday's Campaign Round-Up, 1.18.18

Today's installment of campaign-related news items from across the country.

Today's installment of campaign-related news items from across the country.

* With Republicans feeling increased anxiety about Pennsylvania's congressional special election in March, Donald Trump said on Twitter this morning that he'll be in the district today, appearing in support of the GOP candidate, Rick Saccone, today.

* On a related note, White House officials had previously said the president's visit to Pennsylvania was not a campaign event, though Trump stepped all over that message.

* Trump also talked up Saccone in his Reuters interview yesterday, adding, "I'll be very much involved with [the midterm elections] -- not so much primaries -- other than I respect a lot of the people that are running.... I am going to spend probably four or five days a week helping people because we need more Republicans."

* Politico  reports, meanwhile, that Barack Obama is also getting ready to "shift into higher gear" in this year's midterms, "campaigning, focusing his endorsements on down-ballot candidates, and headlining fundraisers."

* For readers who've contacted me about this, yes, the McClatchy piece is on our radar: "The FBI is investigating whether a top Russian banker with ties to the Kremlin illegally funneled money to the National Rifle Association to help Donald Trump win the presidency, two sources familiar with the matter have told McClatchy."

* Reports of Trump's polling turnaround have been greatly exaggerated: the new Quinnipiac poll puts the president's approval rating at 38%. When the poll asked, "Would you be inclined to vote to reelect Donald Trump as president, or not?" only 34% of respondents said they're prepared to support him.

* An interesting report from Time: "There is an unprecedented surge of first-time female candidates, overwhelmingly Democratic, running for offices big and small, from the U.S. Senate and state legislatures to local school boards. At least 79 women are exploring runs for governor in 2018, potentially doubling a record for female candidates set in 1994, according to the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University. The number of Democratic women likely challenging incumbents in the U.S. House of Representatives is up nearly 350% from 41 women in 2016."