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Your Election Night roadmap

The Morning Line

Today in the Morning Line:

  • GOP with better than 50-50 chance of winning the Senate
  • But it could be a late Election Night
  • We could all be waiting on Iowa, Alaska, or go into overtime

On the 12th day from Election Day, we give to you, the Senate landscape: We’re just 12 days out from Election Day, and where do things stand? Forecasters are giving Republicans a better than 50-50 chance of taking back the Senate. Let’s break it down… Republicans need to net six seats to win control. Despite the surge of former Republican-turned-Independent Larry Pressler in South Dakota, the GOP is still favored there. For argument’s sake, give Montana, West Virginia and South Dakota to Republicans. That’s three. They then have to win at least three of the following seven races (in alphabetical order): Arkansas, Alaska, Colorado, Iowa, Louisiana, New Hampshire and North Carolina. (We say “at least,” because there’s the chance that Democrats pick up either Georgia or Kentucky or the independent wins in Kansas.)

Could we all be waiting on Iowa? Right now, Republicans are favored (even if slightly) in five of the seven: Arkansas, Alaska, Colorado, Iowa and Louisiana. If Democrats don’t pick up Georgia or Kentucky — and Republican Pat Roberts holds on in Kansas — that would give the GOP a three-seat majority. In this good-case scenario for Republicans, we would still not mathematically know the outcome of the Senate until pretty late on Election Night, because Louisiana is headed for a runoff with no candidate likely to get 50 percent on Election Night; Alaska’s polls close at 1 a.m. EDT, and Iowa doesn’t close until 10 p.m. EDT, and that race is expected to be close. So, it’s possible we’ll all be waiting on the Iowa results. And if the Republican loses in one of Georgia, Kentucky or Kansas, it’ll come down to Alaska in the middle of the night. There’s also the possibility that Democrats pull off Colorado, because they are bullish about their ground game there, and then we’re waiting for the Dec. 6 runoff in Louisiana or a Jan. 6 runoff in Georgia. The bottom line is there’s a wider path for Republicans to take control of the Senate today than there was a month or two ago, as even New Hampshire has tightened to within a few points.

Here are your clip-and-save poll-closing times (Note: All are in Eastern Time):
7 p.m.: Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, South Carolina, Vermont, Virginia
7:30 p.m.: North Carolina, Ohio, West Virginia
8 p.m.: Alabama, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee
8:30 p.m.: Arkansas
9 p.m.: Arizona, Colorado, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska,New Mexico, New York, South Dakota, Texas, Wisconsin, Wyoming
10 p.m.: Iowa, Montana, Nevada, Utah
11 p.m.: California, Idaho, North Dakota, Oregon, Washington
Midnight: Hawaii
1 a.m.: Alaska

Daily Presidential Trivia: On this day in 1995, Russian President Boris Yeltsin and U.S. President Bill Clinton agreed to a joint peacekeeping effort in the war-torn Bosnia. Where did the meeting take place? Be the first to tweet us the correct answer using #PoliticsTrivia and you’ll get a Morning Line shout-out. Congratulations to Rich Polanski (@ao2666) for guessing Wednesday’s trivia: Why did JFK send troops to blockade Cuba? The answer was: Because Russians had installed nuclear missiles in Cuba.


  • President Obama will attend a Democratic National Committee fundraiser in Washington, D.C., Thursday.

  • Watch for a White House shakeup. Politico reports that Obama Chief of Staff Denis McDonough has asked senior aides to let him know if they plan to leave, as he contemplates restructuring staffing for the final two years of the Obama presidency.

  • Another man jumped the White House fence Wednesday night, but was quickly brought down by Secret Service dogs. After being treated for minor bruising, the two dogs — Jordan and Hurricane — have been cleared for duty.

  • Just kidding! The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee is putting money back up for Alison Lundergan Grimes in the Kentucky Senate race, after the latest polling shows her still within striking distance.

  • Republican Joni Ernst is leading Rep. Bruce Braley, D-Iowa, 48-46 percent among likely voters in the latest Quinnipiac Poll.

  • Internal polling by the NRSC paints a much better picture for Republicans in South Dakota.

  • The latest CNN/ORC New Hampshire poll has Sen. Jeanne Shaheen up just 49-47 percent over Scott Brown. A New England College poll has Brown leading 48-47 percent.

  • Rep. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., is up 46-39 over Sen. Mark Udall in a new USA Today/Suffolk University poll.

  • Sen. Ron Wyden is being very critical of CIA censorship of the agency’s upcoming torture report. The Oregon Democrat told reporters, “The intelligence leadership are doing everything they can to bury the facts.”

  • Some GOP lawmakers are spending the final weeks of the campaign courting their fellow lawmakers as well as voters. Eleven to 12 committee chairmanships in the House could be contested during the lame duck session.

  • Jill Lawrence writes of a coming Republican retreat on Obamacare.

  • Iowa Rep. Bruce Braley tries an outsourcing ad. “Huge corporations don’t need a senator,” he says directly to the camera. “You do.”

  • North Carolina Republican Thom Tillis is the most attacked candidate (by money spent against him in negative ads). The Washington Post lists the top 10.

  • How much can Colorado’s “progressive voting utopia” boost Democratic Sen. Mark Udall? All voters receive ballots in the mail, and they can even cast them in drive-through drop-offs.

  • Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley may have learned from her earlier loss, but she’s still not a strong campaign personality, doesn’t have much of a political agenda, and underscores a central Republican attack — that Dems take the Bay State for granted.

  • The Bangor Daily News endorsed Independent Eliot Cutler for Maine governor, while George and Barbara Bush have announced their support for Gov. Paul LePage.

  • Republican Martha McSally, who is running for Gabby Giffords old seat, is out with a new ad to counter the negative spots that have been run against her, and this one features a puppy.

  • A judge in Oklahoma allowed a law restricting abortion-inducing drugs to go into effect Wednesday. In addition, the judge ruled that for the time being, doctors in the state will not be sued if they do not follow the law.

  • Economists, including conservatives, are not impressed with the proposals Republicans are planning to push if they win control of the Senate. They don’t see them addressing Americans’ top concern: jobs.

  • The Georgia Democratic Party sent out a mailer urging early voting with this message: “If you want to prevent another Ferguson…Vote.”

  • Google’s political spending is ahead of even Goldman Sachs’ PAC, and it’s not all going to Democrats.

  • Once again, Kansas has missed its revenue targets, proving June’s shortfall wasn’t temporary. The fiscal pain, stemming from tax cuts enacted under Gov. Sam Brownback, is animating the state’s gubernatorial race.

  • Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul will gather with his top aides and advisers one week after the election for an all-day 2016 strategy session.

  • South Miami has voted for Florida’s 23 southern counties to secede out of frustration that the state isn’t concerned enough about climate change.

  • Win or lose on Nov. 4, Rep. Bruce Braley, Sen. Kay Hagan and Pennsylvania Democratic gubernatorial candidate Tom Wolf can be comforted by the fact that they’re winning in Facebook likes.

  • Keep an eye on the Rundown blog for breaking news throughout the day, our home page for show segments, and follow @NewsHour for the latest.


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Questions or comments? Email Domenico Montanaro at dmontanaro-at-newshour-dot-org or Rachel Wellford at rwellford-at-newshour-dot-org.

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