Around the South for November 2nd: AL, TN, & TX

Alabama: Pence campaigns in Birmingham.  Vice President Mike Pence landed at Birmingham’s Sumpter Smith Air National Guard Base this week to headline a fundraiser for the National Republican Senatorial Committee – the campaign arm of Senate Republicans.  He also spent time meeting with Gov. Kay Ivey, who is heavily favored in her re-election campaign against Democrat Walt Maddox next Tuesday.  Tennessee: Blackburn opens up lead.  Just days ahead of the midterm elections, Republican U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn appears to be opening up her lead over Democratic former Governor Phil Bresdesen in the race for the state’s open U.S. Senate seat.  The latest poll, from Fox News, shows Blackburn up 9 points, up from the previous set that had her up 5-6%.  Texas: O’Rourke sucks air out of the room.  U.S. Senate contender Beto O’Rourke, this cycle’s Democratic darling, has raised a stunning amount of money in his bid against Sen. Ted Cruz.  However his popularity may actually be hurting some of his party’s other candidates, many of whom are posting meager fundraising totals ahead of Tuesday’s elections.  O’Rourke’s $70 million is the most in the nation, (and in history for a senate race) but none of the other top Dems running are close to their Republican counterparts in the money department, with some of those gaps (especially for governor and lt. governor) so massive that the candidates are funneling campaign cash to down-ballot races.