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The midterms: Sessions sets the bar

The Hill's headline from NRCC Chair Pete Sessions saying that not recapturing the House would represent a failure on his part: "Republican campaign chief sets bar at recapturing the House in November." Sessions said, "Anything less, and I do not fulfill my mission statement."

ALABAMA: Rep. Parker Griffith, a former Democrat, is "still sitting on $20,000 in campaign contributions from Democratic lawmakers," CQ reports. "According to Griffith's campaign, it's money that Democratic donors simply have not asked him to return."   

FLORIDA: "Federal law enforcement agencies have launched a criminal investigation into the use of American Express cards issued by the Republican Party of Florida to elected officials and staff, according to sources familiar with the inquiry… Meanwhile, in a separate inquiry, the IRS is also looking at the tax records of at least three former party credit card holders -- former Florida House Speaker Marco Rubio, ex-state party chairman Jim Greer and ex-party executive director Delmar Johnson -- to determine whether they misused their party credit cards for personal expenses, according to a source familiar with the preliminary inquiry."

Rubio has released this statement: "After all the negative publicity regarding the way Charlie Crist's hand-picked chairman spent money at the state party, getting this information out in the open will be the best way to deal with it. As far as my spending is concerned, it was for legitimate political purposes. When I made personal charges, I paid for them directly to American Express. I have not been contacted and don't know anything about any potential inquiries, but I welcome the chance to set the record straight once and for all."

INDIANA: In a televised debate last night, the five GOP Senate hopefuls "largely agreed on the issues in a televised debate on Tuesday night, but each offered different reasons that he should be the Republican nominee," the Louisville Courier-Journal reports. "For two, it was at least in part their time previously serving in government. For two others, it was instead their lack of political experience and their work in the private sector. For state Sen. Marlin Stutzman, a farmer and small business owner, it was both."   

NEVADA: Harry Reid's campaign is pouncing on comments that Sue Lowden (R) made on a Nevada news show, where she touted a bartering system for health-care services. "I'm telling you that this works. You know, before we all started having health care, in the olden days our grandparents, they would bring a chicken to the doctor, they would say I'll paint your house. That's the old days of what people would do to get health care with your doctors. Doctors are very sympathetic people. I'm not backing down from that system."

Link to the clip is here (exchange takes place at about 12:30 in the interview).

UTAH: Dave Weigel writes on his Washington Post blog that Bob Bennett is in real trouble in a re-election bid. "I got an early look at a survey of state GOP delegates conducted by a Utah firm. It's not pretty. When more than 1,000 delegates were polled on their choices in the Senate race, only 15 percent chose Bennett. When asked for a second choice, only 5 percent picked Bennett. In the first test, he's barely in the top three, which raises the possibility of the three-term senator getting knocked out of the convention in the first round of voting. The frontrunner is Mike Lee, a first-time candidate who gets 35 percent of first-choice votes and 22 percent of second-choice votes."