Nearly our entire staff is scattered out of the office today, so posting may be a little light. A few morning notes to get you going…

*PRYOR-COTTON RACE TOSSUP? So says Charlie Cook. I had missed this from earlier this week:


Conventional wisdom has labeled Pryor as the walking dead, even though multiple private Democratic polls (by different pollsters) have never showed him down as much as a single point. The one high-quality public poll where all the details are available—conducted by the Democratic polling firm of Hickman Analytics for an energy-industry group—had Pryor ahead of Rep. Tom Cotton by 3 points among all likely voters, and 2 points behind among definite voters; both are margin-of-error variances. This is an example how the perception of a race often can be driven by sketchy polling.

*HE CAME FROM THE SWAMP: Will we continue to belabor the story Otey the Swamp Possum, the Travs’ entry into the Worst Mascot in America sweepstakes? Well…a little longer, okay? Because there is now LIVE VIDEO OF OTEY. And it’s horrifying. 

*THE PRIVATE OPTION, NEW ENGLAND EDITION: Gov. Maggie Hassan yesterday signed New Hampshire’s version of the private option for Medicaid expansion into law. Somewhere, Sen. David Sanders is pontificating on the spread of the “innovative, transformative” policy to other states. Said Hassan: 


Our bipartisan health care expansion plan is a historic step forward for the health and financial well-being of Granite State families, businesses and communities. It is a fiscally responsible, uniquely New Hampshire solution that will inject $2.5 billion in federal funds into our state’s economy and improve the lives of 50,000 hard-working people who deserve the security of health insurance.

*OUR FAR-FLUNG CORRESPONDENTS: I’m writing this from a hotel in downtown Denver, where I’m at a Health Journalism conference. Any advice on good eats in Denver? Please include in comments.