Eyebrow-Raising November 7 Headlines

We are approaching the home stretch. Contemplate these eye-raising headlines at dawn November 7 that will have you brewing another pot of coffee:

1) From the streets of Bakersfield? While Nancy Pelosi held the Speaker’s gavel not long ago, Republicans can do their California dreaming too. They wonder if the “Brett bounce” benefits the Brats over the Spanbergers? Will the red wall result in Kevin McCarthy commanding the clerk to call the roll?This POS/CNBC poll points to Republicans holding their own.

2) Polls show Ted Cruz to have enough reliable support to survive his challenge, but as Dallas Morning News political columnist Gromer Jeffers, Jr. speculates, for Beto O’Rourke on election day, “his base, crossover voters, independents” may all just perfectly align. 

3) New Jersey Democrats are banking on Senator Menendez riding the coattails of their down-ballot slate. He’s given opposition researchers plenty of ammunition to use against him, the latest in this #MeToo moment, reviving reports of his frolicking with underage prostitutes in the Dominican Republic. Will the persistent testing of his political durability deliver a Hugan win?

4) According to the Tampa Bay Times’ Adam Smith, “It doesn’t bode well for Republicans that the Republican National Committee today sent out a news release noting that ‘absentee voting in the Sunshine State (is) set to begin soon,’ when in fact it has been well underway for weeks.” While in his next breath he asserts “Democrats would be foolish to underestimate” the GOP’s Florida operation, statewide campaign dynamics are blown away by Michael’s aftermath. Governor Scott may be off the campaign trail through the election leaving it to $100 million in TV ads to deny Bill Nelson re-election. But no one saw Gillum grabbing the Democratic gubernatorial nomination, raising speculation that the red tide here may be more marine than political science next month.

5) As we approached Labor Day, Dan Balz speculated about Chuck Schumer becoming Majority Leader. According to the respected Post political writer “Bruce Mehlman, who worked in the Bush White House, suggests that’s not out of the question. He did a study looking at 333 Senate races in 10 midterm elections dating back to 1978. He concluded that what matters most ‘is not being from the party that holds the White House, regardless of a state’s partisan lean.’” A week or so later the WaPo’s Plum Line blogger laid out the narrow paths for a Democratic takeover.

And finally, while polling portends an implausible Beto upset in Texas let’s not write off the congressman’s future just yet. Consider that early handicapping of the 2020 Democratic presidential sweepstakes has him running tied with $100 million-man Michael Bloomberg among the top ten candidates (the former mayor’s political spending in just this cycle). While Beto has been barnstorming all 254 counties in the Lone Star State, his House colleagues like John Delaney, Tim Ryan and Seth Moulton have been doing their spadework in Iowa and New Hampshire but each register less than a percentage point in the early surveys.