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Thursday's Campaign Round-Up, 8.10.17

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

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

* In Virginia's gubernatorial race, which is now just three months away, the latest Quinnipiac poll shows Ralph Northam (D) with a modest lead over Ed Gillespie (R), 44% to 38%. That six-point advantage is roughly in line with other recent polling from the commonwealth.

* On a related note, Northam unveiled his first television ad of the general election this week, and it focuses on protecting families' health care benefits.

* The Indianapolis Star published an interesting report today, noting that state and local Republican officials "expanded early voting in GOP-dominated areas and restricted it in Democratic areas," which had a "significant" impact on participation rates.

* In Massachusetts, Rep. Niki Tsongas (D) announced yesterday she's retiring at the end of this Congress, following a decade on Capitol Hill. A variety of local Dems have already expressed an interest in succeeding her.

* Robert Mercer, a billionaire Trump donor, is reportedly investing in an effort to derail Sen. Jeff Flake's (R) re-election plans in Arizona next year. Politico said Mercer is "contributing $300,000 to a super PAC supporting former state Sen. Kelli Ward, who is challenging Flake in a Republican primary."

* In Florida's gubernatorial election, Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum's (D) campaign received some good news yesterday when a grand jury cleared him "in his office's purchase of software used to send a handful of politically tinged emails to constituents, an issue that's dogged his campaign for governor since it began."

* The Koch brothers' Americans for Prosperity launched its latest ad campaign this week, thanking various congressional Republicans for supporting tax reform -- a GOP initiative that, at a distance, doesn't appear to be going anywhere.

* And while it's likely former First Lady Michelle Obama won't seek elected office, the same can't be said for her former policy director: Krishanti Vignarajah announced she's running for governor in Maryland, joining a very crowded Democratic primary.