Welcome back to Hotline Sort. Brown and Warren spar, McCaskill and Akin will face off today, a targeted New York Republican leads big in a new poll, and Sean Astin of "Rudy" fame hits South Bend on Saturday.
12) New Jersey imposed a ban on smiling for driver's license photos. The ban was passed back in January, but is getting notice because a driver, according to the New York Post, "stormed out of the Cherry Hill Motor Vehicle Commission office on Tuesday when she was told she couldn't smile as her photo was taken."
11) Should have gone with Cain? Speaking at the University of Florida, Herman Cain said he'd probably have a "substantial lead" over President Obama is he were the GOP nominee.
10) Sean Astin of "Rudy" fame will hold a rally for Indiana's 2nd District Democratic nominee, Brendan Mullen, in South Bend on Saturday before Notre Dame's annual showdown with Michigan. Mullen is running against Republican Jackie Walorski for Rep. Joe Donnelly's seat, which he's leaving to run for Senate.
9) Rep. Chris Gibson, R-N.Y., holds a solid double-digit lead and majority support in New York's 19th Congressional District, according to a Siena poll released Friday morning: He leads Democratic challenger Julian Schreibman 52 percent to 36 percent in the survey.
8) The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee reported raising $11.64 million during August, while the National Republican Congressional Committee took in $6.8 million during the month. But Republicans maintained an overall financial advantage heading into September: The NRCC had $49.8 million in the bank compared to the DCCC's $40 million cash on hand.
7) Here's an update on Connecticut GOP Senate nominee Linda McMahon's 1970's debt from the Connecticut Post:
After a fresh round of criticism that she and her husband had walked away from their creditors in their 1976 bankruptcy, Republican Senate candidate Linda McMahon announced Thursday night she would seek to track down and reimburse any individual creditor.
6) The Romney campaign doesn't sound like it's a fan of Wisconsin Senate nominee Tommy Thompson, even though his campaign is critical in Republicans' bid to win back the Senate. On CNN
, Mitt Romney
surrogate and former New Hampshire Gov. John Sununu
lashed out at Wisconsin GOP Senate nominee Tommy Thompson
for blaming less-than-stellar poll numbers on Romney Thursday. Sununu said Thompson "sounds like Barack Obama."
5) Democratic nominee Heidi Heitkamp
drops a new ad going after GOP Rep. Rick Berg
in the North Dakota Senate race today. "Rick Berg is worth $24 million, but voted to cut college aid to pay for a tax break for millionaires like myself," says a man who explains his sons can't go to college without aid.
4) Coming up later this morning: The first Senate debate between Sen. Claire McCaskill
, D-Mo., and her GOP opponent, Rep. Todd Akin
will take place at 11:45 a.m. EST (catch the livestream here
Meanwhile, The Hill reports
that tea party heavyweight Sen. Jim DeMint
, R-S.C., might consider helping Akin out financially if he remains in the race after the (rapidly approaching) September 25 deadline to get off the ballot.
3) Sen. Scott Brown
, R-Mass., and his Democratic opponent Elizabeth Warren squared off
Thursday in their first of four debates. Brown came out swinging on the Native American issue, and things didn't get a whole lot friendlier from there.
The Boston Globe
's Glen Johnson writes
that "neither backed down from the criticisms they have lodged against each other from a distance on the campaign trail."
2) The New York Times
on presidential fundraising numbers:
Mitt Romney entered the final months of the presidential campaign with a cash balance of just $35 million, racing to find new large donors and rally low-dollar contributors in August even while he raised tens of millions of dollars for the Republican Party.
1) Tale of the tape: Spending on television ads for the presidential race has already surpassed
two-thirds of a billion dollars.