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Off to the races: New polls in VA and NYC contests

Democrats have “mounted a concerted push to recruit military veterans to run in next year’s midterm, figuring it’s a lot harder for Republicans to caricature people who’ve donned their country’s uniform as Obama-loving liberals,” Politico writes.

KANSAS: Kansas City Star: "Democrat Paul Davis officially entered the 2014 Kansas governor’s race on Tuesday, declaring it was 'time to set things right' in seeking to defeat incumbent Republican Gov. Sam Brownback. Davis, the House minority leader and Lawrence attorney, announced his plans through Facebook and Twitter, as well as a YouTube video. It is the 41-year-old Davis’ first attempt at a statewide office. No other Democrats have joined the race."

KENTUCKY:  "An outside group boosting Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is preparing to go up with TV ads lauding him for his opposition to the Affordable Care Act. … The nonprofit Kentucky Opportunity Coalition plans to spend $325,000 on a week’s worth of commercials running statewide," Politico reports. "The ads come as the Kentucky Republican faces pressure from the right to threaten a government shutdown rather than fund the federal health care law. The spots emphasize McConnell’s opposition to 'Obamacare' and cite the recent decision by UPS to drop health coverage for 15,000 'working spouses,' a decision the company blamed in part on the ACA."

MICHIGAN:  National Journal: "Rep. Justin Amash, the Michigan Republican who has established himself as the leading libertarian in the House of Representatives, will not run for U.S. Senate in 2014, according to several sources familiar with the congressman's decision. Amash was tempted by the allure of a campaign for higher office, sources say, but the second-term lawmaker ultimately was unwilling to risk surrendering the clout he enjoys among conservatives in the GOP-controlled House."

NEW JERSEY: Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel will campaign with Democratic Senate nominee Cory Booker on Friday in Jersey City, the Newark mayor's campaign announced on Tuesday. 

The New York Times looks at how Gov. Chris Christie's "close relationship" with the RGA "provides a playbook for how carefully choreographed independent spending campaigns can undermine the rules meant to curtail the political influence of government contractors; New Jersey’s pay-to-play law strictly limits the participation of state contractors in political giving."

NEW YORK: Democrat Bill de Blasio leads Republican Joe Lhota by 43 points, 65%-22%, in the race for New York mayor, according to an NBC4 New York/Wall Street Journal/Marist poll.

TEXAS: Washington Post: "Texas state Sen. Wendy Davis (D) is almost ready to announce her gubernatorial bid -- but first she will expand her social network just a little bit more. In an e-mail sent to her supporters Wednesday morning, Davis -- who garnered national attention this summer for fighting a sweeping antiabortion bill in her state -- wrote she will be "answering the question" of what's next for her career on Oct. 3. But before making her formal announcement, she posed a question of her own: "Do you have any friends or family who would like to be among the first to know?"

VIRGINIA: A new Quinnipiac poll shows Terry McAuliffe (D) leading Ken Cuccinelli (R) 44-41% with libertarian candidate Robert Sarvis getting 7% of the vote. There is a big split in the fav/unfavs of Cuccinelli and McAuliffe. Voters are split on McAuliffe giving him a 38/38 fav/unfav, but Cuccinelli is at 34/51.

The Washington Post: A rally full of tea party supporters on “Constitution Day” for Ken Cuccinelli in Northern Virginia, “raised eyebrows” when “John Whitbeck, 10th Congressional District Republican Committee chairman …  kicked off the festivities by telling a joke in which the head of the Jewish religion presented the pope with a long, elaborate document that the Jewish leader said was a bill for the last supper. The crowd laughed uproariously,” the Post writes. (Here’s video, circulated by liberal PAC American Bridge.)

Republican strategist Chris La Civita, advising the Cuccinelli campaign, told the Post: “I don’t even know who the guy is. It’s wholly inappropriate and not connected to the campaign. And it’s not reflective of Ken Cuccinelli.”

WEST VIRGINIA: Charleston Daily Mail: "The Democrat announced her candidacy to more than 75 people at the Culture Center in Charleston Tuesday morning as part of a statewide campaign kickoff. Tennant's announcement essentially guarantees she'll square off against Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., in the race to replace retiring Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va. In vowing to protect West Virginia's jobs, children and future, Tennant wasted little time before attacking Capito and her record."