Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) isn't waiting for Hillary Clinton to make her long-awaited entrance into the presidential race to ding his White House rival. The 2016 GOP presidential candidate on Sunday assailed Clinton as a hypocrite for touting women's issues even as the Clinton Foundation accepted millions of dollars in donations from countries with poor records on that front.
"I think there's also this grand hypocrisy for the Clintons in the sense that we've got this whole thing, this war on women thing that they like to talk about," Paul said in an extended interview with NBC. "And yet Hillary Clinton has taken money from countries that rape victims are publicly lashed." Jon Terbush
On Tuesday, the state of Alaska will begin a major task still remaining from last week's big national election: The counting of over 50,000 more ballots, some of which haven't even arrived from outer precincts.
As a state with a relatively small population dispersed throughout the largest geographic area in the country, Alaska can take a while to tabulate its elections. The state Division of Election has now received 34,518 additional absentee ballots, 2,651 early votes, plus 15,967 questioned ballots — a category that often includes ballots that were cast at the wrong polling place — the Alaska Dispatch News reports. And that's not all: There might be as many as 10,682 more outstanding absentee ballots.
In the Senate race, Republican nominee Dan Sullivan currently leads incumbent Democratic Sen. Mark Begich by 8,149 votes, a tentative margin of 3.6 percent. And in the gubernatorial race, independent candidate Bill Walker leads incumbent Republican Gov. Sean Parnell by 3,165 votes, or 1.4 percent. Eric Kleefeld
Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) is gearing up for a 2016 White House bid, though he's still not sure whether he'll ultimately join the race.
"I'm preparing," he told New Hampshire Journal Monday. "I think that's the best answer I can give you. In the next five to six months I will make that decision and appropriately so."
It's not a done deal yet, but Republicans are getting closer to the magic number of 51 seats that they'll need to win a majority in the Senate.
Going into this election with 45 seats, Republicans have so far already picked up three from the Democrats: Arkansas, South Dakota, and West Virginia. They are also expected to very easily pick up the open Democratic seat in Montana, which will bring them to a total of 49 seats.
So where can they find the extra two seats? In quite a few places, actually: In Colorado, Rep. Cory Gardner is running ahead of Democratic Sen. Mark Udall; the polls have not yet closed in Iowa or Alaska, which are both heavily targeted. Simply winning two out of these three seats, with no losses elsewhere, would get them to a majority.
In addition, the GOP is now running ahead in their two remaining vulnerable states, Georgia and Kansas, though many votes are still not yet reported for those races.
Also, Democratic Sens. Kay Hagan of North Carolina and Mark Warner of Virginia are running in very tight races in their respective states — a very surprising result in Warner's case, who was expected for much of this cycle to coast to an easy win.
And the state of Louisiana, meanwhile, will go to a December runoff election, between Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu and Republican Rep. Bill Cassidy, with Landrieu very much the underdog in this red state. Eric Kleefeld
In what could prove to be a crucial last-minute endorsement, Independent Sen. Angus King (Maine) has yanked his support for the Independent candidate in Maine's gubernatorial election and instead given it to the Democrat in the race.
Polls have found Rep. Mike Michaud (D) and incumbent Gov. Paul LePage (R) running even, with independent Eliot Cutler trailing well behind but still siphoning away a chunk of the anti-LePage vote. Cutler on Wednesday rebuffed calls that he drop out of the race, but acknowledged his distant odds and told people to "vote your conscience."
"After many months considering the issues and getting to know the candidates, it is clear that the voters of Maine are not prepared to elect Eliot in 2014," King said in a statement announcing his switch. Jon Terbush
Independent candidate Eliot Culter on Wednesday announced in a hastily organized press conference that he would not bow out of Maine's gubernatorial race, spurning those who implored him to drop out rather than risk splitting the anti-incumbent vote with Democratic candidate Rep. Mike Michaud.
"I am not standing down," Cutler said. However, he added that if people think he has no shot at winning, they should "vote your conscience."
Polls have shown Michaud running even with Gov. Paul LePage (R), with Cutler a distant third. But Michaud and Cutler are splitting the anti-LePage vote — a large pool given that more than half of the state views LePage unfavorably. Seeking to capitalize on this dynamic, Republicans have quietly praised Cutler in ads, hoping he would rise at Michaud's expense.
LePage eked out a victory in a three-way race in 2010 with less than 38 percent of the vote. A PPP poll released last week found Michaud and LePage deadlocked in a three-way race at 40 percent apiece, though Michaud posted a five-point lead with Cutler out of the picture. Jon Terbush
Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio) is traveling the country in the final week before election day to promote GOP candidates who were once considered longshots, according to The Hill. Boehner's goal is to increase his party's House caucus from 233 to 245 seats, a total the National Republican Congressional Committee set as a goal back in May.
A new ad from the Republican Governors Association begins by attacking Maine gubernatorial candidate Rep. Mike Michaud (D) for sponsoring a Social Security bill in the state legislature. But instead of pivoting from there to endorse incumbent Republican Gov. Paul LePage, the ad spotlights, in a favorable frame, the independent candidate in the race, Eliot Cutler.
The ad never even mentions LePage at all.
It's no mistake, but rather part of a larger campaign by Republicans to quietly boost Cutler — the state GOP put out mailers praising him this month — in hopes he'll steal away votes from Michaud among the anti-LePage crowd. Polls have found LePage and Michaud running dead even, with Cutler a distant third. Jon Terbush