In it, but not of it. TPM DC

This post has been updated.

Last week, numerous news outlets, national and local, reported on a huge increase in registered voters in Ferguson, Mo., following the Aug. 9 shooting of Michael Brown. But it apparently didn't actually happen.

The St. Louis County elections board reported that 3,287 Ferguson residents had registered to vote. That is a huge surge for a city of 21,000, particularly as controversy swelled about the racial make-up of the city government after the shooting. Ferguson is two-thirds African-American, but its mayor and all but one member of the six-person city council are white.

But apparently that first report was in error. There was no voter registration spike. The county elections board reversed course on Tuesday and said that, actually, only 128 people had registered to vote since the shooting.

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Amid the quibbling between Nate Silver and Sam Wang, academic political scientists have stepped in to release their own election forecast for November — and it doesn't look great for Democrats.

A new symposium of the 2014 midterm elections in PS: Political Science and Politics forecasts that GOP could gain a median of 5 or 6 Senate seats and about 14 in the House. Unlike other popular models, this doesn't just measure polling or how unpopular President Barack Obama is. Rather, there are a host of other indicators suggesting that the outlook does slightly favor Republicans in the House and the Senate.

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No Senate race has been more interesting in the last month than Kansas. A major-party nominee dropped out, apparently at the behest of the national party, opening the door for an unknown but well-funded independent to challenge the stumbling incumbent. Polling has showed independent Greg Orman with as much as a 10-point lead over Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS).

But you wouldn't know that the fate of the Senate might be at stake with so little money coming in from outside groups.

The committees that must report their spending have expended less than $1 million combined in Kansas since Sept. 3, the day Taylor dropped out, according to a TPM review of Federal Election Committee data. By comparison, in another crucial Senate race in nearby Iowa, outside groups have spent $8.9 million, at a minimum, on television ads over the same period.

The inaction has left some operatives, particularly Republicans, stunned. Some GOP operatives see it as an indictment of the National Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee, whose job is to elect Republicans to the Senate. But even beyond the NRSC, the other big name outside groups on the right largely haven't come to Roberts's rescue. Whether that's because he's seen as a lost cause, or merely a lower priority than other races, it's left Roberts particularly vulnerable to the current challenge from Orman.

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The No. 2 official at the Israeli Embassy in Washington, D.C., is scheduled to speak Sunday at an event co-hosted by Concerned Women for America -- a group with a long history of fermenting the "creeping Sharia" conspiracy theory.

Reuven Azar, the deputy head of mission at the Israeli embassy, is listed as a confirmed speaker, along with former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R) and CWA CEO and president Penny Nance, for Sunday's Rally for Israel at Upper Senate Park near the U.S. Capitol in Washington.

One of CWA's core issues is support for Israel -- but another pet project for the group has been fighting the alleged specter of Sharia law that is threatening to undermine American values and, ultimately, the existence of the United States.

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Confronted with an unexpectedly robust challenge from independent candidate Greg Orman, Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS) seems to be playing to the hard right. He has tapped Sarah Palin as a stump surrogate and invoked "national socialism" as recent campaign event.

But is going uber-conservative is the right move for Roberts to save his seat? A new analysis from Gallup suggests it might not be.

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