Arkansas, Louisiana, & North Carolina

Arkansas: Cotton eight points ahead. US Sen. Mark Pryor (D) is trailing his Republican challenger, US Rep. Tom Cotton, 41% to 49%, according to a mid-October poll by Talk Business & Politics and Hendrix College, reports the Washington Times. In the same pollsters’ survey in July, Cotton led by 44% to 42%. Meanwhile, Pryor is catching some flak from excerpts from his 1985 college thesis, published in the Washington Free Beacon. At the time, Pryor called the 1957 desegregation of a Little Rock high school, accompanied by federal troops, an “unwilling invasion” that made the state suspicious of democracy.

Louisiana: Two polls show runoff. Two recent surveys indicate that US Sen. Mary Landrieu (D) is likely to lead on November 4, with US Rep. Bill Cassidy (R) in second place and Tea Partier Rob Maness (R) a poor third. Both polls also show Cassidy defeating Cassidy in a December runoff. The Rasmussen survey gave Landrieu 43%, Cassidy 36% and Maness 13%, with Cassidy leading Landrieu in the runoff by 50% to 46%. The Suffolk University poll gave Landrieu 36%, Cassidy 35% and Maness 11%, with Cassidy winning the runoff by 48% to 41%. Stay tuned for another month.

North Carolina: N&O endorses Clay Aiken. Raleigh’s News & Observer endorsed Democrat Clay Aiken, a singer who launched his career on “American Idol” in 2003, in the 2nd District (Sanford, etc.) congressional race against incumbent Renee Ellmers (R). “Clay Aiken doesn’t sing on the campaign trail…” editorialized the paper, but he “uses his voice now to discuss how he will support education, ease the burden of student debt and help veterans and members of the military.” The editorial described Ellmers as “prone to political deafness.” Ellmers, however, remains the favorite; Romney got 57% here in 2012, to Obama’s 42%.