In it, but not of it. TPM DC

Kentucky Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes is sustaining political punches — locally and nationally — for ducking repeated questions on Thursday about whether she voted for President Barack Obama in 2008 or 2012.

Quizzed by the Louisville Courier-Journal editorial board, the U.S. Senate candidate seeking to oust Sen. Mitch McConnell (R) responded by calling herself a "Clinton Democrat, through and through," and said, "I don't think the president is on the ballot, as much as Mitch McConnell might want him to be."

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Control of the U.S. Senate could be swung by a humble police officer in a Kentucky town of fewer than 10,000 who says he makes $35,000 a year, shares a car with his wife and is "just a guy."

Libertarian U.S. Senate candidate David Patterson clocks in at 3 percent in the latest Bluegrass Poll, which may be enough to tilt the potentially decisive — and hotly contested — Kentucky race between Sen. Mitch McConnell (R) and Alison Lundergan Grimes (D), who are 2 points apart.

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The Supreme Court put North Carolina's restrictive voting law back into effect on Wednesday.

The justices reversed a move last week by the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals to block provisions of the law — which scrapped same-day registration amid early voting periods and invalidated votes cast outside an assigned precinct — from taking effect. A divided appeals court panel had determined that the provisions would "adversely" affect African-American and minority voters.

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Republican senators are calling on House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) to attach spending limits to an Obamacare program in a bill that must pass in the lame-duck session to keep the federal government open.

The strategy carries echoes of the 2013 government shutdown fight waged by the GOP over defunding Obamacare, although with smaller ambitions this time.

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On Wednesday afternoon, Justice Anthony Kennedy revised his order from hours earlier so as to declare that same-sex marriages can move forward in Nevada — but not in Idaho, at least for now.

The Supreme Court justice's original order put on hold a ruling on Tuesday by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, which consolidated cases from Nevada and Idaho and struck down both states' gay marriage bans.

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Democrats have already pulled off one unthinkable ploy this year in Kansas, dropping their own candidate and leaving an independent (who sounds a lot like a Democrat) who is currently holding a solid lead against the GOP incumbent.

Now things are getting interesting in South Dakota, where Sen. Tim Johnson (D) is not seeking re-election and which until now had been written off as a Republican gain in November. Big money from an unexpected source is starting to spill into the race to give Democratic candidate Rick Weiland a boost, and polling shows that Republican candidate Mike Rounds hasn't been able to build a foolproof lead with an independent candidate muddying the campaign.

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