*** SPECIAL NOTE *** Please vote on the poll on the right side of this post for which state you are watching most closely. We will leave the poll live through the weekend, and whichever state wins, NBC's Chuck Todd says he will do an extended segment on that state on MSNBC's The Daily Rundown. Vote Early. Vote Often. Vote NOW!
Note: On Fridays during this month of August, we’re scaling back our morning note. But we’re still providing something to read as you head to the beach or take advantage (hopefully) of a long weekend.
*** First Read’s Top 10 Senate takeovers: If it’s Friday, it’s time for another First Read Top 10 list. Today, we release our monthly look at what we consider the top Senate seats to change parties in November. The number in parentheses is our ranking from last month.
1. North Dakota (1): Republican John Hoeven (H to the izz-O, V to the izz-A) is coming to Washington.
2. Delaware (2): Republican Mike Castle (R) remains the front-runner for Joe Biden’s old Senate seat. But he has a primary challenge on Sept. 14.
3. Arkansas (3): Democrat Blanche Lincoln didn’t really get a bump after her surprise run-off victory against Bill Halter, and Republican John Boozman is the clear favorite to knock off the incumbent.
4. Indiana (4): It will be interesting to see if Brad Ellsworth (D) is able to make political hay out of his proposal to completely bar senators from later becoming lobbyists. That, of course, is a dig at front-runner Dan Coats’ (R) past lobbying work. This is the race for Evan Bayh’s (D) seat.
5. Pennsylvania (6): Joe Sestak (D) hits the campaign trail with Bill Clinton on Tuesday. Does that wake up his (so far) sleepy general-election campaign vs. Pat Toomey (R)?
6. Florida (7): In almost every poll, Charlie Crist (I) remains in the lead in the three-way contest for this GOP-held seat, and C.W. points to him caucusing with the Dems. The Aug. 24 Meek-Greene primary could end up playing a VERY big role in how many Democrats support Crist in November.
7. Illinois (8): Right now, this race is 50%-50%. The question is what will be the next shoes to drop for either Alexi Giannoulias (D) or Mark Kirk (R), both who have proven to be flawed nominees. This is the race for the seat that Roland Burris (D) currently holds.
8. Nevada (5): Once near the top of our list, this race continues to drop. And there’s really only reason why: Sharron Angle (R). Harry Reid (D) remains vulnerable, but Angle continues to hurt her cause (example: her jaw-dropping interview with FOX’s Carl Cameron).
9. Ohio (10): Rob Portman (R) has MUCH more money, and is probably the better candidate, but Lee Fisher (D) continues to lead the race to succeed George Voinovich (R).
10. Washington (9): Patty Murray and Dino Rossi are on air and fully engaged on the politics of bringing home the bacon. One man's pork is another woman's jobs….
Others to watch (in order): Wisconsin, Kentucky, Colorado, Missouri, California, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Connecticut, Louisiana