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Wake Up To Politics - October 26, 2018

I'm Gabe Fleisher, reporting live from WUTP World HQ in my bedroom. It’s Friday, October 26, 2018. 11 days until Election Day 2018. 739 days until Election Day 2020. Have comments, questions, suggestions, or tips? Email me at gabe@wakeuptopolitics.com.

Midterms Central

Fundraising: Some news from Thursday's campaign finance reports (covering the first 17 days of October), via the New York Times:

  • The Democrat's three party committees and two main congressional super PACs outraised their Republican counterparts ($110 million to $79 million), but the GOP groups had more cash on hand (nearly $140 million to nearly $108 million).
  • Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), one of the most vulnerable senators up for re-election this year, raised $12.4 million in the first half of the month, nearly as much as she had raised since 2013 ($14.3 million). Heitkamp gained support from the liberal base after voting against Justice Brett Kavanaugh's Supreme Court confirmation.
  • The biggest donor of the month was former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg, who has donated more than $61 million to super PACs supporting Democratic candidates this cycle. But he still trails casino tycoons Sheldon and Miriam Adelson, who have donated more than $112 million to super PACs backing GOP candidates.

Polling roundup: A new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll found Democrats held a 10-point lead on the generic congressional ballot, 50% to 40%, heading into the closing stage of the midterms.

44% of voters in the poll said President Trump was a "major factor" in deciding their vote for Congress (compared to 28% who said the same about President Obama in September 2014). Among those who said Trump is a "major factor," 64% said they are more likely to vote Democratic and 32% said they are more likely to vote Republican. "This is definitively a national election — with a referendum on Trump," Lee Miringoff, director of the Marist Institute for Public Opinion, said.

Race to 218: Democrats lead Republicans, 48% to 36%, among registered voters in the 72 most competitive House districts, according to a Cook Political Report/LSU Manship School poll.  

Race to 51: Republicans are increasingly confident that they will be able to expand their Senate majority next month, the Washington Post reports.

11 days to go...

The Trump Administration

Immigration: As a caravan of Central Americans continues towards the U.S.-Mexican border, Trump is "considering taking executive action to bar migrants, including asylum seekers, from entering the country at the southern border," according to the New York Times. Multiple news outlets confirmed the report.
According to the Washington Post, Trump would assert similar emergency powers used to enact the so-called "travel ban" in the early days of his presidency. Per the Wall Street Journal, several options are expected to be delivered to the Department of Homeland Security today.

The Trump administration has also been preparing other steps to tighten the border in light of the caravan; multiple news outlets reported Thursday that Defense Secretary James Mattis was preparing to send as many as 1,000 active-duty Army troops to help secure the border.

--- Deep dive: "How the Migrant Caravan Became a Trump Election Strategy" (New York Times)

Inside the White House: "Trump’s DEA Chief Vetted Candidates and Then Took the Job Himself, Riling Police Groups" (Wall Street Journal)

Pipe bomb investigation

The latest: Law enforcement officials are continuing their investigation of 10 pipe bombs mailed to prominent Democrats, including former President Barack Obama, former Vice President Joe Biden, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and others. According to the Wall Street Journal, investigators hunting for the perpetrator have zeroed in on Florida and New York; they have reportedly confirmed that at least some of the packages were sent from Florida, and they apparently all went through the U.S. postal system.

--- President Trump tweets at 3:14am: "Funny how lowly rated CNN, and others, can criticize me at will, even blaming me for the current spate of Bombs and ridiculously comparing this to September 11th and the Oklahoma City bombing, yet when I criticize them they go wild and scream, 'it’s just not Presidential!'"

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White House schedule

POTUS: At 11:45am, President Trump addresses the 2018 Young Black Leadership Summit, a conference hosted by conservative group Turning Point USA. At 1pm, Trump has lunch with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. He will then travel to Charlotte, North Carolina, where he will host a Make America Great Again rally at 7pm.

VP: Vice President Mike Pence travels to New Mexico and Arizona today. At 2:15pm, he speaks at a Get Out The Vote event for New Mexico gubernatorial candidate Steve Pearce and congressional candidate Yvette Herrell in Roswell. At 7pm, he speaks at a Get Out The Vote event for Arizona Senate candidate Martha McSally in Yuma.

Congress schedule

Both houses of Congress are on recess.

*All times Eastern