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The midterms: GOP in strong position to win the House

“A costly and polarizing Congressional campaign heads into its closing week with Republicans in a strong position to win the House but with Democrats maintaining a narrow edge in the battle for the Senate, according to a race-by-race review and lawmakers and strategists on both sides,” the Sunday New York Times wrote. “In the House, 28 Democratic seats are either leaning Republican or all but lost to Republican candidates, according to the latest ratings of Congressional races by The New York Times, while 40 seats held by Democrats are seen as tossups.”

“The phalanx of anonymously financed conservative groups that have played such a crucial role this campaign year is starting a carefully coordinated final push to deliver control of Congress to Republicans, shifting money among some 80 House races they are monitoring day by day,” the AP reports. “Bolstered by a surge in last-minute donations and other financial support, outside liberal groups and unions say they are stepping up their response in advertising and get-out-the-vote efforts, but remain largely outgunned by the scale and sophistication of the operation supporting Republican candidates.”

“Democratic National Committee Chairman Tim Kaine said on ABC’s “This Week” that he expects few changes for the party in the near term. Kaine said Democrats would hold the House, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) would keep her gavel, and Kaine himself would keep his job,” CQ reports. “Steele had a very different vision of the midterm elections, predicting Republicans would win handily in the House and appearing optimistic that they could take the Senate.”

CALIFORNIA: Politico describes Republican gubernatorial nominee Meg Whitman’s closing-argument ad, saying that it “seeks to warm her up, in part by beginning with a remarkable concession: that the millions she's spent to define herself haven't really worked, that voters still see her as a distant billionaire and the election as an ‘unhappy choice.’”

FLORIDA: At a rally in Orlando, Sarah Palin talked glowingly of Marco Rubio as "mavericky" and someone who kind of "started a whole bunch of this stuff," NBC’s Shawna Thomas notes. Both Palin and RNC Chairman Michael Steele also railed against Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL), who is currently involved in a tough three-way race with a Republican and a "Tea Party" candidate. Grayson has been accused of helping the third-party candidate in order to split the conservative vote in his district. He's denied these allegations. "Stop your perpetrating,” Steele said warning Grayson. “Stop your faking. Stop your pretending. Mr. Grayson you are no friend of [the] tea party."

ILLINOIS: “The U.S. Senate contest in Illinois could go down to the wire as Republican Mark Kirk and Democrat Alexi Giannoulias are still running close headed into the campaign's final week, a new ChicagoTribune/WGN poll shows. Kirk held a 44 percent to 41 percent advantage over Giannoulias… Kirk's support among independents increased from 38 percent to 50 percent, the poll showed, while Giannoulias' backing among unaligned voters was relatively stagnant at about 28 percent,” the Tribune writes.

Similarly, a Mason-Dixon poll shows Kirk leading Giannoulias 43%-41%. That same poll has Bill Brady (R) leading 44%-40% over Pat Quinn (D) for the governor’s race. President Obama’s approval in the poll dips to 51% in his home state.

MASSACHUSETTS: A Boston Globe poll has Deval Patrick (D) up 43%-39% over Charles Baker (R) for governor.

It’s a real race in MA-10, a Boston Globe poll finds. District Attorney William R. Keating (D) leads state Rep. Jeffrey D. Perry (R) just 37%-33%. That’s just a huge undecided number. MA-10 is the most conservative in the state with all Democratic members of Congress. President Obama won it with just 55%.

In MA-4, Barney Frank’s district, he leads 46%-33%.

NEVADA: “Outside interest groups have poured nearly $5.2 million into the race between Democratic Sen. Harry Reid and Republican Sharron Angle in recent days, and are expected to spent millions more on advertising before the Nov. 2 election,” the AP reports. “According to the Center for Responsive Politics, the expenditures between Oct. 8 and Oct. 21 bring total outside spending in the race to $13.5 million.”

NEW HAMPSHIRE: The Boston Globe: “Charlie Bass and Ann McLane Kuster once were old family friends, children of allied political clans that formed part of New Hampshire’s moderate Republican bedrock. But this year Bass and Kuster are waging partisan war for a prized congressional seat. Defying national trends that favor the GOP, Kuster, now a Democrat, had climbed to a 7-point lead in the most recent poll. The open Second Congressional District race remains volatile, with outside interests pouring money in and a blizzard of negative ads intensifying in the campaign’s closing days.” That poll was a University of New Hampshire poll showing Kuster up 43%-36%, released Oct. 15.