The Fix: QUIZ: Greg Orman or Josh Brolin?

In 2003, a man who taught prison in high school was appointed to the Senate. His name was Bill Sterling. And he hated politics. Hated it. His father was a former governor of California, who only walked with him on the beach once when he was a child. For a campaign commercial.

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The Fix: Why losing the Senate could help make President Obama’s last two years more productive

Attention fans of getting things done in Washington (which, we acknowledge at the outset, is not everybody): You might want to root for Republicans to win the Senate majority this November. Wait. Calm down. Allow us to explain.

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Nunn hits Perdue hard over outsourcing comment in new TV ad

The only unknown about this ad was exactly when it was going to hit the airwaves.

In her newest TV ad, Georgia Democratic Senate nominee Michelle Nunn hits Republican opponent David Perdue hard over his  remark in a deposition that he “spent most” of his career on outsourcing.

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The Fix: The 2014 election is short on one key element: swing voters

The swing voter is increasingly an endangered species.

According to a new poll from Democratic pollster Democracy Corps of a dozen states hosting the most competitive Senate races, only about one in 12 people who favor one side or the other is a bona fide swing voter in the upcoming election.

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Ben Carson’s critics weigh in — at Ben Carson’s invitation

Some of the harshest criticism of potential presidential candidate Ben Carson can be found in a little-known online magazine called American CurrentSee.

“Ben Carson, whose reputation for genius rests on the singular neurological feat of separating conjoined twins fused at the cranium, has displayed far less talent in separating himself from the brainless excesses that now darken the heart of black conservatism,” Georgetown professor Michael Eric Dyson starts his essay published there this week. “When reason gives way to political demonology it mocks the scientific progress on which Dr. Carson’s surgical career depended. That’s why he’d make a bad president.”

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The Fix: The battle for the Senate extends to a town you can barely find on Google Earth

In the Democrats’ campaign office in Dillingham, Alaska, they can never be sure if a visitor is looking for candidates or dryer sheets. Not that those two objectives are mutually exclusive; the office, a single room in a laundromat, provides both free of charge.

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Ted Cruz to campaign for Pat Roberts

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) will campaign for Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) later this week, Roberts’s campaign announced Monday. The tea party star becomes the latest well-known Republican to join the effort to rescue Roberts, who polls show is trailing independent candidate Greg Orman.

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The Fix: Sen. Leahy: President pro tem and photographer of presidents

GovBeat: A month from Election Day, election rules still in flux

The ballots are printed, election workers trained and voting locations scouted. But with just a month to go before Election Day, the rules under which the midterms will be conducted remain in flux in four key states.

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The Fix: The Senate Conservatives Fund has had a very bad 2014

One year ago, the Senate Conservatives Fund, a conservative-aligned outside group, seemed poised to be a significant force in Washington. Working with Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Mike Lee (R-Utah), it pushed hard against funding Obamacare, a fight which contributed to the government shutdown. It promised to back viable conservative candidates to take out Senate incumbents — and, then, to back House candidates as well. Politico blamed it for “roiling the GOP” shortly before the shutdown; to restore ties damaged by his advocacy of a shutdown, Cruz reportedly had to agree not to support the SCF moving forward.

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NRSC Chairman Jerry Moran: Republican donors ‘skeptical’ after Romney loss

National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman Jerry Moran (Kan.) said Thursday that lingering disappointment over the outcome of recent elections has made it harder for Republicans to raise money in their pursuit of the Senate majority.

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The Fix: Everything you need to know about the Senate ad-spending battle — in 2 maps

We’re now less than five weeks from the 2014 election, which means it’s crunch time — both for winning races and for expectation-setting.

Part of that expectation-setting game is pointing out, early and often, how your candidates are being overwhelmed by outside spending with little ammunition to fight back. The benefits are two-fold: 1) Offering a preemptive excuse in case you lose, and 2) Sending a message to moneyed outside groups (with whom campaigns can’t directly coordinate) that maybe they should pitch in a little. Think of it as a smoke signal.

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Scott Brown missed all border security hearings in Senate, records suggest

Former Massachusetts senator Scott Brown (R) has run several attack ads criticizing Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) for failing to secure the U.S.-Mexico border. But as a member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, he missed all six hearings on border security that he was eligible to attend, records suggest.

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The Fix: A 34-year incumbent just attacked someone who has never held office as a ‘politician’

This new ad from Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) is getting plenty of buzz for how hard-hitting it is.

What struck us, though: The ad brazenly refers to Roberts’s opponent, businessman Greg Orman (I), as “politician Greg Orman.”

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The Fix: The 5 most important quotes from the New Yorker’s Rand Paul profile

Ryan Lizza — a Fix friend and not only because we always get mistaken for one another — has a massive profile of Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul in this week’s New Yorker. It’s a long and good read detailing Paul’s ambitions to be president and the things — namely his father, Ron — that might keep him from that goal. I plucked out five people talking about Rand in the piece that I found particularly telling — and explained why.

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These five races will decide control of the Senate

The Fix: 10 things you didn’t read today (but should have)

1. The midterms are almost here, and money is being spent like crazy. Will all the campaigns have enough money to get them to the finish line? Some groups — especially those affiliated with Republicans, which spent a lot of money earlier in the year — aren’t so sure. On the other hand, all political groups are in full fear mode, putting in a last-minute effort to raise money from supporters worried that their team might lose.

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The Fix: These five races will decide control of the Senate

The fight for the Senate majority is increasingly focused on five races: four controlled by Democrats and one held by Republicans. These contests — Alaska, Colorado, Iowa, North Carolina and Kansas — are acknowledged by both sides to be very competitive, and because of that are likely to see the heaviest spending by both the party committees and the outside groups over the last five-plus weeks of the midterm election.

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Monkey Cage: Can political party super-PACS reduce polarization?

Much has been made in recent days of the disclosure that Democratic Senate candidates are benefiting enormously from multi-million dollar contributions to super-PACs that appear to be keeping control of the Senate tighter than had earlier been predicted. But while the most common story line is the always beloved one of political hypocrisy — how can Democrats continue to wave the “Koch brothers” as a bloody shirt — this predictable development is much more intriguing for another reason.

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Why Sarah Palin is in demand on the campaign trail this week

Sarah Palin holds no public office. She isn’t a candidate for one. Long gone are the days when she was a Republican vice presidential contender or a potential presidential hopeful. Her star has faded.

And yet Palin is in high demand this week. She is hitting the campaign trail in at least two of the states holding the most crucial races in the battle for the Senate majority: Kansas and Louisiana.

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