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Sebelius Faces Hill Grilling; Q Poll Shows Close Va. Race; Alex Sink to Run in Fla. House Special Sebelius Faces Hill Grilling; Q Poll Shows Close Va. Race; Alex Sink t...

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Sebelius Faces Hill Grilling; Q Poll Shows Close Va. Race; Alex Sink to Run in Fla. House Special

Wake-Up Call! is Hotline's daily morning briefing on campaigns and elections. Click here to subscribe.


  • "Eager to cast blame, lawmakers are preparing to grill" HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on Wednesday "over problems with the rollout of the government's health care website." (AP)
  • "President Obama, on a symbolic trip to Boston's Faneuil Hall Wednesday, will highlight" Massachusetts's "success at expanding insurance coverage and its status as a national model as he seeks to stem the political damage caused by the rocky rollout of his national plan." (Boston Globe)
  • A new Quinnipiac University poll of VA GOV LVs, conducted Oct. 22-28, shows former DNC chairman Terry McAuliffe (D) leading Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (R), 45-41%, with Robert Sarvis (L) at 9%. In the previous poll, conducted Oct. 15-21, McAuliffe led Cuccinelli and Sarvis, 46-39-10%. (release)
  • McAuliffe launched a new TV ad on Wednesday, touting his "commitment to keeping Virginia open, tolerant ... and friendly to business." (release)
  • In NJ GOV, Gov. Chris Christie (R) launched a new TV ad, highlighting his work in Hurricane Sandy recovery and proclaiming, "I really believe -- finally -- New Jersey's moving in the right direction." (release)
  • In the New York City mayoral race, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio (D) and former MTA Chairman Joe Lhota (R) "are set to debate on live television for the last time Wednesday night, providing what could be the final opportunity for ... Lhota to boost a campaign that has been lagging badly in poll after poll." (Wall Street Journal)
  • "Boston's last mayoral debate turned personal Tuesday night" as city Councilor John Connolly and state Rep. Martin Walsh (D) "attacked each other's profession, desperate for an edge in a tight race marked by few major policy differences." (Boston Globe)
  • In the AL-01 Special, 2010 GOV candidate Bradley Byrne (R) and 2012 candidate Dean Young (R) "struck a civil tone during ... a televised debate hosted by the Eastern Shore Chamber of Commerce" on Tuesday night, one week before their runoff for the GOP nomination. Byrne "touted his endorsement earlier that day by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, saying it showed him to be the conservative, pro-business candidate in the race." But Young "greeted that news with disdain, pointing out that the Washington-based Chamber has thrown its support behind immigration reform efforts in Congress." (Mobile Press-Register)
  • Former Florida CFO Alex Sink (D) "confirmed ... that she is jumping into the race to succeed" late Rep. Bill Young (R-FL). Sink "said she will move 'imminently' into" FL-13 for the special election, as Gov. Rick Scott (R) and the Pinellas County elections supervisor "are looking at scheduling the primary for Jan. 14 and the general election for March 11, though nothing has been finalized." (Tampa Bay Times)
  • Patriot Majority (D) launched new TV ads calling on House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell "to reject any future cuts to Medicare or Social Security." Different versions of the ad will air in Kentucky and the Cincinnati market. (release)
  • In OR SEN, pediatric neurosurgeon Monica Wehby (R) "formally jumped into the race" on Tuesday, "joining a growing horde of Republicans hoping to unseat" Sen. Jeff Merkley (D). (Portland Oregonian)
  • In AR-02, bank executive French Hill (R) and retired Army Col. Conrad Reynolds (R) "announced Tuesday that they'd seek the Republican nomination, and several others are considering a bid," including state Rep. Ann Clemmer (R), who "planned Wednesday to announce whether" she'll run as well. (AP)
  • In WI GOV, a new Marquette Law School poll of RVs, conducted Oct. 21-24, shows Gov. Scott Walker (R) leading Madison School Board member Mary Burke (D), 47-45%. (release)
  • Christie "has repeatedly swatted away questions as to whether he will run for president in 2016, but on Tuesday, he opened the door a crack." (Wall Street Journal)
  • Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) "is headed to the early-primary state of South Carolina" next month "for another meeting with Christian pastors -- the South Carolina Renewal Project." (Dallas Morning News)


Hotline editors weigh in on the stories that drive the day


• Don't be fooled into thinking that Quinnipiac's Virginia poll is "newer" because it was released 36 hours after this week's Washington Post poll. The polls were basically conducted concurrently, with the Q poll in the field for three days longer (two at the beginning, one at the end) than the WaPo survey. Overall, the Q poll portrays an electorate far more Republican (R+2) than the Post poll (D+8). The voters who made it through Quinnipiac's likely-voter screen look more like past off-year elections in Virginia, but that isn't consistent with other polls thus far in this campaign.

• House Speaker John Boehner is now as unpopular as predecessor Nancy Pelosi was when Republicans turned her into a nationwide TV bogeyman in the 2010 elections. Numerous factors will probably make Boehner less useful to Dems, but if the speaker's numbers stay bad, some strategists say you can expect to see him on battleground district TVs next fall. One potential early indicator for this strategy: Whether Dems use Boehner's image in swingy FL-13's special election early next year.

• Old CW: The failed recall of Scott Walker all but guaranteed his reelection in 2014. New CW: New Marquette poll suggests Walker's gubernatorial campaign could be one of the most competitive in the country.



  • Director of National Intelligence James Clapper "said on Tuesday that the White House had long been aware in general terms of the National Security Agency's overseas eavesdropping, stoutly defending the agency’s intelligence-gathering methods and suggesting possible divisions within the Obama administration." (New York Times)
  • "This should have been a slam dunk. Virginia almost always votes against the president's party ... All we needed was a mammal up there." -- Former Rep. Tom Davis (R-VA) (National Journal)
  • "I anchored the One Fly Fishing Contest with him one time, and I was asked to speak at his induction in the fly fishing Hall of Fame. And we've talked about fishing when we've been together. ... When I was mayor [of Gillette, Wyo.], he was my U.S representative. We have a relationship thing." -- Sen. Michael Enzi (R-WY), on his relationship with Dick Cheney, which Cheney has disputed (Politico)
  • "Matt Bevin Misleading Voters About Relationship With Rand Paul, McConnell Campaign Says" (WFPL-FM)
  • "I don't think that any knowledgeable human would say that extra-terrestrials don't exist." -- WI-01 candidate Amardeep Kaleka (D), who released a "documentary" earlier this year that "focuses on allegations that the U.S. government has covered up the existence of extra-terrestrial life" (Madison Capital Times)
  • Former "Price Is Right" host Bob Barker "will celebrate his 90th birthday with an appearance on the game show in December," CBS said Tuesday. (AP)


Race to 2014



  • Today's weather, from the National Weather Service: Mostly cloudy. A 40% chance of showers this morning. Highs in the mid 60s. South winds around 5 mph.
  • Sebelius testifies before the House Energy and Commerce Committee. (2123 RHOB, 9 a.m.)
  • The House-Senate Budget Conference committee meets for the first time. (HC-5, 10 a.m.)
  • Congress dedicates a bust of Winston Churchill. (Statuary Hall, 11 a.m.)
  • House and Senate conferees meet to work out differences on the farm bill. (1100 LHOB, 1 p.m.)
  • Rep. Chaka Fattah (D-PA) keynotes the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing's "Healthy Cities: Healthy Women" conference. (JW Marriott, 1:30 p.m.)
  • The final New York City mayoral debate is held. (WNBC-TV, 7 p.m.)
  • The Boston Red Sox look to clinch their first World Series title on their home field since 1918 when the host the Cardinals at the Fens. (WTTG-TV, 8 p.m.)
  • Have an event for us to highlight? Email us!


  • The Yankees retired No. 8 for Bill Dickey and Yogi Berra.
  • The winner is John Randall, and here's his Swizzle Challenge: "How many designated hitters have won a World Series MVP? Name them and the years they won." The 3rd correct e-mailer gets to submit the next question.



"Las Vegas makes perfect sense for the GOP Convention. Las Vegas knows how to host something of this magnitude and Nevada's diverse demographics make total sense for the GOP to come here." -- Nevada Host Committee executive director Jack St. Martin, who is seeking to bring the 2016 Republican Convention to Vegas (Las Vegas Review-Journal)


"It's a great idea because we can bring the politicians to the hookers rather than the hookers to the politicians." -- Moonlite Bunny Ranch owner Dennis Hof (Daily Caller)

Josh Kraushaar, Editor-in-Chief

Steven Shepard, Executive Editor


CORRECTION: Tuesday's Wake-Up Call! incorrectly identified from which branch of the military LA SEN candidate Rob Maness (R) retired. He was an Air Force colonel.

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