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Dems’ majority chances: slim and Nunn

Georgia Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate Michelle Nunn speaks during a debate, Tuesday, Oct. 7, 2014, in Perry, Ga.

Georgia Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate Michelle Nunn speaks during a debate, Tuesday, Oct. 7, 2014, in Perry, Ga.  (AP)

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Buzz Cut:
• Dems’ majority chances: slim and Nunn
• Kentucky woman, she’s going to own you
• Poll: Obama drags Dems to historic low
• Guess where Mark Udall’s new ad is set? C’mon, guess
• It’s a Cinderella story, really

Democrats need a miracle to hold the Senate, and they think they may have found one in Georgia. After shucking off the effort to help a flailing candidate in Kentucky, national Democrats are moving resources and pinning their hopes for keeping the majority to The Peach State. Polls show the race tightening as Democrat Michelle Nunn intensifies her Obama-style attacks on GOP candidate David Perdue. Perdue is standing in for Mitt Romney, the cancer-causing vampire of Democratic 2012 ads, as the Nunn campaign chomps down on his career as a corporate turnaround artist who ordered layoffs. There’s a 50-percent threshold in Georgia and both sides are preparing for a potential runoff that could push the final decision until Jan. 6. With the polls close and a Libertarian candidate polling in the mid-single digits, a runoff looks more and more likely.

[Uga - With the Georgia Bulldogs in the top ten college football rankings, could the battle for control of the Senate be competing for voters’ attention as the bowl game season rolls toward a Jan. 6 runoff? Watch “Power Play with Chris Stirewalt” to find out in just 90 seconds.]

Now it’s getting crowded - Democrats first need to deny Perdue and outright win, which explains why the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has decided to pump an addition $1 million into the Peach State, rolling out new ads today. That’s to offset the National Republican Senatorial Committee’s additional $1.45 million spending on the contest that was announced Friday. The conservative Ending Spending Action Fund is putting $2 million towards an ad hammering Nunn for supporting the president’s agenda. The ad features clips of President Obama saying his policies are on the ballot.

[Ending Spending Action Fund is also: touting the Denver Post’s endorsement of Rep. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., as it hits Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., in a $2 million ad buy. In Kansas, a $1 million ad buy rips Senate candidate Greg Orman for masquerading as an independent while having a history of supporting liberals. In New Hampshire, Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., is the target of the group’s $700,000 ad buy, slamming her for not hosting Town Hall meetings in over two years. In Louisiana, the group is pledging $2 million dollars to the GOP candidate in the likely runoff against Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La.]

Smoking Hopium or change we can believe in? - But could Democrats actually win a runoff in Georgia? A recent WaPo article looked at how runoffs in the Peach State have been almost guaranteed GOP wins for two decades. Democrats, though, say times have changed and if the Senate hangs in the balance on a Georgia runoff, the much-vaunted Democratic ground game can turn out voters at huge levels. Republicans, however, are just as quick to point out that the GOP base would be on high alert themselves and need very little prodding to get out the vote to deny Harry Reid another turn as majority leader.

Duck of the living dead - President Obama will be, as expected, adding the controversial nomination of a successor to Attorney General Eric Holder to the mother of all lame-duck sessions of Congress after the election. Bill Whalen helpfully totes up what could be at stake when there are “zombies on Capitol Hill” and reminds us that it all could be happening against the backdrop of unresolved runoffs in Georgia and Louisiana.

The Obama Democrats are jumping out of the Kentucky Senate race, but the 2016 Democratic frontrunner is jumping in. Just a day after the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, led by Obama stalwart Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., ditched the agonizing race to unseat Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Democratic challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes welcomes Hillary Clinton for a Louisville visit. Grimes, who remains within striking distance in the polls but has steadily trailed, earned the ire of national Democrats by her sudden and seemingly devout adoption of a code of absolute secrecy about her 2012 vote preference. Former top Obama adviser David Axelrod told MSNBC that he wasn’t “terribly surprised” that the DSCC dropped their ads. “To effectively take the Fifth on whether you voted for the president or not doesn’t seem like an effective strategy to me,” he said. And yet, somehow, this does not seem to bother the Clintons. Weird.

[Land of the long shots - Democrats are moving the money to focus on the close races in Georgia, where Democrat Michelle Nunn and Republican David Perdue are statically tied and chopping away at the slim lead former Gov. Mike Rounds, R-S.D., holds in South Dakota.]

Dems revolving around planet Hillary? - Howard Kurtz asks if Hillary and Bill Clinton, “…are taking over the Democratic Party. Not in 2016, but right now…with Barack Obama in the most embattled phase of his presidency, you can feel the center of gravity shifting. Obama is the past. Hillary is both the past and the future.”

Enormous lead in Iowa - Des Moines Register: “Hillary Clinton… is the current first choice of 53 percent of Iowans who plan to participate in the 2016 Democratic caucuses, [a Des Moines Register Poll] finds.”

It’s almost like a vast conspiracy of some kind... - San Francisco Gate: “[2016 Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton] said Tuesday that information technology and social media are creating ‘very difficult hurdles’ for those who want to run for higher office. Clinton said politics today are conducted in an atmosphere in which the media, in particular, are ‘looking for the best angle, the biggest hit, the biggest embarrassment, instead of – in a democracy – what we should be doing, which is giving people information.’”

Bubba heading back to Arkansas - [South West Arkansas] Times Record: “Former U.S. President Bill Clinton will return to Arkansas for three days of campaign rallies starting Friday to again urge voters to turn out for Democrats in the mid-term election. Clinton is scheduled to speak at the Hot Springs Farmers’ Market, Hope Train Depot, North Little Rock’s Argenta Art District, the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff and the Forrest City High School, according to the Democratic Party of Arkansas… early voting begins in Arkansas next week.”

Pryor mocks Cotton for Harvard degree - Politico: “[Sen Mark Pryor, D-Ark.], whose performance grew increasingly smoother and more conversational throughout the evening, got in his fair share of jabs, using, for example, the issue of funding federal student loans to score some points. ‘He brags on the fact that he went to Harvard,’ Pryor said of [challenger Rep. Tom Cotton, R-Ark.] ‘He used Harvard to further his political career. And that’s OK. It’s not OK to then turn around and say you want to eliminate the very same student loan program you used to get your education.’ Cotton replied that he didn’t want to eliminate the program — and then said Pryor and Obama demonstrated ‘hubris’ in trying to set the rate of the loans. Pryor also earned the only laugh of the evening when he noted that Cotton went to Harvard: ‘Certainly we’re proud of that. He probably couldn’t get in at the University of Arkansas,’ Pryor’s alma mater.”

Harvard, Harvard, Harvard. Harvard. Did we mention Harvard? - America’s leading government employee union, the National Education Association, is on the air in Arkansas hitting Rep. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., for using student loans to finance his Harvard education while not supporting Democrat- backed student aid packages.

[Always Election Day: early voting begins today in Tennessee]

ABC: “Barack Obama and his political party are heading into the midterm elections in trouble. The president’s 40 percent job approval rating in a new ABC News/Washington Post poll is the lowest of his career – and the Democratic Party’s popularity is its weakest in polling back 30 years, with more than half of Americans seeing the party unfavorably for the first time. The Republican Party is even more unpopular. But benefitting from their supporters’ greater likelihood of voting, GOP candidates nonetheless hold a 50-43 percent lead among likely voters for U.S. House seats in the Nov. 4 election…Vote-preference results, moreover, are consistent across a range of likely voter models. In seven scenarios, with turnout ranging from 42 to 53 percent of the general population, support for Democratic candidates is 42 or 43 percent; for Republicans, it’s 50 to 52 percent.”

[The same poll finds nearly two-thirds of respondents are concerned about a wide-spread Ebola outbreak in America, with an equal number saying the federal government is not doing enough to prevent the deadly disease. Respondents were evenly divided on President Obama’s handling of the threat.]

But somebody still loves him - Hartford [Conn.] Courant: “With his poll ratings down nationally, President Barack Obama has avoided the campaign trail this fall in some states. But not Connecticut. He is back again for the second time in a week – campaigning at a rally Wednesday night for Gov. Dannel P. Malloy [D-Conn.]…”

WSJ/NBC poll: unstable elements - NBC: “A whopping 65% of voters believe the country is headed in the wrong direction – the highest percentage the poll has ever measured before a midterm election.”

In popular culture, musicians, directors and athletes are often described as “transformational” or “bigger than the game.” This is almost always overcooked flummery. But there have been those who have redefined their mediums, and in at least one case, the way we understand art and performance itself. Ludwig van Beethoven, through a combination of his genius and his arrival at a time of epochal transformation in Western civilization, changed everything. But that has come at a cost to our appreciation of other musicians and even of Beethoven himself. New Yorker’s Alex Ross tries to put things in perspective: “For this conundrum – an artist almost too great for the good of his art – Beethoven himself bears little responsibility. There is no sign that he intended to oppress his successors from the grave. Although he expected that posterity would take an interest in him – otherwise he would not have saved so many of his sketches – he did not picture himself in the magniloquent terms employed by … others. ‘Everything I do apart from music is badly done and stupid,’ he once wrote.”

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Real Clear Politics Averages
Obama Job Approval
: Approve – 42.2 percent//Disapprove – 52.7 percent
Direction of Country: Right Direction – 28.8 percent//Wrong Track – 63 percent
Generic Congressional Ballot:  Democrats – 43.9 percent// Republicans – 46.3 percent

[Poll Watch: The latest batch of Fox News Polls measuring President Obama’s job approval, whether or not the country is better off under his leadership, along with interest in the election by party, generic House vote, and how one would vote if Obama’s policies were on the ballot. Check out the results on “Special Report with Bret Baier” 6 p.m. ET tonight.]

-- 20 days until Nov. 4 --

Having already been dubbed “Mark Uterus” for his campaign’s intense focus on gynecological issues, Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., is taking the next step by actually taking voters to a gynecologist’s office for his latest ad. Dr. Lisa Goldthwaite, a Colorado OB/GYN is featured in a new ad hammering Rep. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., over his pro-life views.  “Politicians like Congressman Gardner should not be getting between me and my patients,” the ads says.

David Drucker
in Washington Examiner: “Republicans are on the air in South Dakota’s U.S. Senate race with a television spot criticizing independent Larry Pressler and Democrat Rick Weiland. The ad is the first volley from the Senate Republican campaign arm, the NRSC, which on Friday announced plans to spend $1 million to boost the flagging candidacy of GOP frontrunner Mike Rounds, South Dakota's former two-term governor.”

Greg Orman
, who Democrats hope can block a Republican Senate majority with an upset win in Kansas, has taken a lower profile of late. But he talks directly to the camera in his distinctive speaking voice to decry Sen. Pat Roberts., R-Kan., for negative attacks in a new ad: “While they attack and try to label me, our country’s problems only get worse.”

[Wheat or chaff? - Orman and Roberts face off today in a second debate, this time in Topeka. Fight night starts at 8 p.m. ET and can be viewed live via the Topeka Capital-Journal.]

The latest ad from Crossroads GPS hits Sen. Mary Landrieu’s, D-La., tenure in Washington D.C., and her support of ObamaCare. From the ad: “After 18 years, Mary Landrieu works for them - not us.”

[[New Orleans] Times-Picayune: “Sen. Mary Landrieu [D-La.],  Rep. Bill Cassidy [R-La.] and tea party-backed candidate Rob Maness stuck to their talking points and remained fairly calm in their first joint debate of the Louisiana Senate race at Centenary College in Shreveport Tuesday night…”]

A Quinnipiac Poll released this morning shows that while independent and early voters are breaking for Democratic Congressman Bruce Braley in Iowa’s Senate contest, Republican Joni Ernst still holds a slight advantage, 47 percent to 45 percent, down from a 6-point lead a month ago.

Rep. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., is leading Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., in a CNN/ORC Poll released this morning. Gardner bests Udall 50 percent to 46 percent, who is hurting from President Obama’s 39 percent approval rating in the Centennial State.

Weekly Standard: “The latest poll of the New Hampshire Senate race shows Republican Scott Brown with a one-point lead over Democratic incumbent Jeanne Shaheen. The New England College poll found Brown with 48 percent support to Shaheen’s 46.9 percent. This is the first poll showing Brown ahead since the beginning of the race. Real Clear Politics's average of polls still gives Shaheen a 3.5-point lead.”

[State Republicans looking to keep closing the gap with incumbent Democrat Gov. Maggie Hassan are hitting the phones to call her out on increased spending.]

First in the nation, first in hearts of surrogates - GOP 2012 nominee and Winnipesaukee-based personal watercraft enthusiast Mitt Romney campaigns for Brown in New Hampshire today. Rand Paul arrives on Thursday.

WaPo: “Sen. Mark R. Warner (D) is bringing in some heavy artillery in favor of his campaign. Former U.S. senator John W. Warner, a five-term Republican who retired in 2009, is appearing on television in support of his Democratic successor.”

Rand rallies for Gillespie - Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., will be in old Virginia today to stump for Republican gubernatorial candidate Ed Gillespie and Congressional candidate Dave Brat.

[Watch Fox: Correspondent Shannon Bream explores how Republican Ed Gillespie has cut into Sen. Mark Warner’s, D-Va., substantial lead and if that momentum could translate into an upset for Democrats in Virginia.]

The immigration reduction group NumbersUSA is putting more than $1 million  towards advertisements in in Kentucky, Arkansas, North Carolina, Alaska, Georgia, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Iowa, Michigan, and Kansas, raising the issue of American and legal immigrant workers having to compete for jobs with one million new immigrants every year.

The GOP hopes to flip six seats from red to blue to win back control of the Senate from Democrats this fall. Fox News First readers think the most likely states to switch are: Arkansas (13.8%), Montana (13.2%), West Virginia (12.4%), South Dakota (12%), Louisiana (11.8%), and Alaska (8.8%).  Despite a spate of reports Michigan falling off the table for Republicans, one reader sees potential for a late break back to viability thanks to a down-ballot boost “[Gov. Rick Snyder, R-Mich.] will go a long way in pulling [Republican Senate candidate Terri Lynn Land] in the 2014 election if straight tickets are vote.”

Share your top six picks. Email them – just your top six, please – to FOXNEWSFIRST@FOXNEWS.COM or tweet @cstirewalt.

Barone’s picks - Washington Examiner’s Michael Barone sheds the spotlight on five races he is watching.

WaPo: “ [House Speaker John Boehner] plans to announce Wednesday that he raised nearly $8 million in the third quarter of the year ending Sept. 30…That brings Boehner's total campaign fundraising to more than $98 million over the course of the current two-year campaign cycle, exceeding the $97 million he raised during the entire 2012 cycle and nearly doubling what he raised ahead of the 2010 midterm elections.”

Adding to a repertoire that includes a space age classic and a Dylan favorite, legendary comedian Bill Murray plans to take mic in hand for the holidays. Variety: “Murray revealed exclusively to Variety that he intends to star in a Christmas special for TV that will be directed by his ‘Lost in Translation’ collaborator Sofia Coppola, where he’ll be performing classic carols. Like most things involving Bill Murray, the details haven’t been ironed out yet. ‘It’s not going to be live,’ Murray says. ‘We’re going to do it like a little movie. It won’t have a format, but it’s going to have music. It will have texture. It will have threads through it that are writing. There will be prose.’ He added, ‘It will have a patina style and wit to it. It will be nice.’”

“Lincoln is said to have said that, about the Civil War, ‘I’d like to have God on my side, but I must have Kentucky.’” –Charles Krauthammer on “Special Report with Bret Baier.” Watch here.

Chris Stirewalt is digital politics editor for Fox News.  Want FOX News First in your inbox every day? Sign up

Chris Stirewalt joined Fox News Channel (FNC) in July of 2010 and serves as politics editor based in Washington, D.C. Additionally, he authors the daily Fox News Halftime Report political news note and co-hosts the hit podcast, Perino & Stirewalt: I'll Tell You What. He also is the host of Power Play, a feature video series on Stirewalt makes frequent appearances on network programs, including America’s Newsroom, Special Report with Bret Baier and Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace. He also provides expert political analysis for FNC’s coverage of state, congressional and presidential elections.