Virginia: Governor’s race a dead heat. A survey of likely voters in Virginia found that Ed Gillespie (R) and Ralph Northam (D) are each favored by 44%, with 3% for Libertarian Cliff Hyra and 9% undecided. Gillespie ran stronger than many observers expected, especially since in the same poll, President Trump’s approval rating was 37%, with 57% disapproving. The survey was conducted by Monmouth University and reported in the Washington Post ……. Alabama: Brooks ad causes controversy. A television spot for US Senate candidate Mo Brooks has received criticism in both Alabama and Washington. The ad opens with the sound of five gunshots and describes how Brooks, at the shooting last month that severely injured House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA), used his belt as a tourniquet on the injured. He also reaffirms his support for Second Amendment gun rights. Brett Horton, Scalise’s chief of staff, tweeted that the ad “makes my stomach turn,” reports The Hill ……. Texas: Abbott strong-arming lawmakers. The Houston-based Quorum Report says that Gov. Greg Abbott (R) told some 50 state House members of the Texas Conservative Coalition that they must put their names on Abbott’s top priority bills by this Friday. The report comes as a surprise, inasmuch as Abbott has been seen as a hands-off, largely ineffective governor up till now …….