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The Kavanaugh hearings and eventual confirmation seem to have shifted the momentum in some U.S. Senate races around the country. There was a noticeable surge in Republican voter enthusiasm following the testimony of Judge Kavanaugh and Dr. Ford on Sept. 27 and that trend has continued to grow in several of the toss-up red state races. On the other hand, Democrats have also experienced a similar surge in enthusiasm which means more voters on both sides are becoming engaged with just 26 days to go before Election Day on Nov. 6.

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West Virginia: GOP Poll Puts Morrisey and Manchin Almost Even After Kavanaugh Vote

Granted this is a poll being done for the NRSC, the National Republican Senatorial Committee, but it’s worth noting for a few reasons. Manchin had been leading fairly handily with the West Virginia race firmly sitting in the “Leaning Dem” column, but the Kavanaugh hearings could have energized Republican voters against Manchin, even with his “Yes” vote for confirmation. This poll gives him only a 1-point lead but we’ll need to wait for more polling before it becomes a trend. This poll could even be the result of growing GOP enthusiasm coupled with Democratic disgust at Manchin’s Kavanaugh support, he may be getting hit on both sides. – Read on Roll Call

North Dakota: GOP closes in on Heitkamp knockout — and control of the Senate

Sen. Heidi Heitkamp has always been in for a tough race in 2018, but it looks like her disapproval of Judge Kavanaugh may have plunged her shaky support back home and began to give her challenger, Republican Kevin Cramer, some much-needed momentum into the home stretch. According to private polling within the GOP, Heitkamp has been down by double-digits for weeks and this was even before her eventual decision to vote against Kavanaugh’s appointment despite her constituents tending to favor his confirmation. Sen. John Thune, a Republican from South Dakota, says the North Dakota race is now “ours to lose” and it looks like the GOP may pick this one off in the end which would be a pickup in the Senate. – Read on Politico

Indiana: Braun calls Donnelly’s ‘no’ vote a ‘betrayal’ to Hoosiers

For Democrats, Indiana has been a fairly bright spot in the Senate, with incumbent Democrat Joe Donnelly holding his own against Republican challenger Mike Braun. Polls continue to give Donnelly a slight lead, though his “No” vote on Kavanaugh’s confirmation may be taking a toll and shifting the race somewhat in this deeply red state where President Trump holds a high level of support. Polling has been sparse in this race, but Braun is trying to make Kavanaugh an issue, especially after Donnelly released a web ad touting his vote against the judge. – Read on WANE.com

Montana – As Early Voting Starts, Rosendale, Tester Stump In Western Montana

Democrat incumbent John Tester is in the same situation as his Democratic colleague in Indiana — stay away from bashing the President as much as possible, embrace him tepidly on some issues, and try to navigate the moderate path in a deeply red Republican state. So far, Tester has been holding it down in Montana with his Republican challenger, Matt Rosendale, unable to break away from Tester. However, the race remains close, and both candidates have set out barnstorming the state in these final weeks with Rosendale harping on Tester’s “No” vote on Kavanaugh as an example of Tester bowing to the pressures of DC rather than his Montana constituents. Tester is fighting back on this territory by explaining that his “No” vote had nothing to do with the sexual assault claims or Dr. Ford’s testimony but rather was on constitutional grounds over the 4th amendment. – Read on Montana Public Radio

Arizona – Poll shows McSally gaining support over Sinema in Arizona Senate race

Democrats had been looking at Arizona as a possible pickup opportunity given President Trump’s relative unpopularity in the state. With Republican Jeff Flake’s retirement setting up an open race, it seemed like one possible bright spot on the Democrats’ brutal 2018 Senate map. The latest poll gives Republican Martha McSalley a 6-point lead over Democrat Kyrsten Sinema. The poll, sponsored by a local TV news station, noted that McSalley took the lead in September and the latest numbers seem to indicate her support hardening into the home stretch. Republican enthusiasm seems to be driving the surge for McSalley. – Read on The Hill

Nevada – Poll: Heller leads by 2 points in Nevada Senate race

Nevada has continued to be a close race with Republican incumbent Dean Heller holding a marginal lead within the margin of error on most polls. This latest round gives him a 2-point lead which means the race could still go either way. Next to Arizona, which Democrats appear to be losing, Nevada could still offer a pickup opportunity for Dems to offset a loss in somewhere like North Dakota or Montana. Democratic challenger Jacky Rosen continues to hold a strong lead with women, as do most of the Democratic candidates this year. The gender gap is rather defined and, perhaps, that could help Rosen pull out a small victory on election night. Then again, this race is still Heller’s to lose since he has the advantage of incumbency but this one will likely come down to the wire, maybe the one the watch late on election night. – Read on The Hill

Tennessee – Tennessee Senate candidates exchange barbs in final debate

Republican Marsha Blackburn has been holding a slight lead according to most polls, and the Kavanaugh issue could help push the race in her direction. However, we reported on Monday about singer Taylor Swift becoming involved in the race by taking to her Instagram account, which has 100+ million followers, to endorse Democrat Phil Bredesen against Blackburn. The result was a large increase in voter registration in the Volunteer State, and a national spotlight on this race. Both candidates participated in their final debate on Wednesday and, of course, the issue of Kavanaugh became a heated point of discussion. Blackburn voiced firm support for his confirmation from the day he was nominated by the President while Bredesen said he wanted more time for investigations but says he would likely have voted in favor of Kavanaugh as well. – Read on the Charlotte Observer

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Nate Ashworth is the Founder and Senior Editor of Election Central. He's been blogging elections and politics for almost a decade. He started covering the 2008 Presidential Election which turned into a full-time political blog in 2012 and 2016.

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