(CNN)Ever since the 2012 elections, Democrats had looked to the 2018 Senate map with a sense of dread.
- Former White House political strategist Steve Bannon has declared "war" on the Senate GOP establishment -- announcing plans to target eight of the nine incumbents up in 2018. Bannon was in attendance at a fundraiser Tuesday night to support Kelli Ward, the main challenger to Sen. Jeff Flake (R) in Arizona. He is also actively recruiting challengers to Sen. Roger Wicker in Mississippi, John Barrasso in Wyoming and Deb Fischer in Nebraska. If any or all of those challenges materialize, it could well make it harder for Republicans to hold the seat next November.
- In Alabama, a new Fox News poll shows former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore (R), a candidate backed by Bannon, and former prosecutor Doug Jones (D) tied at 42% in advance of the December 12 special election. That's a stunning result -- particularly given that Trump carried the Yellowhammer State by 28 points in 2016. Democrats have NO business being within shouting distance of winning in Alabama. That they are is almost entirely attributable to Moore, a very controversial figure in both Alabama and nationally. Regardless of the reasons, however, the Fox News poll suggests Democrats have a pulse in Alabama.
- Former Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen (D) released a statement Monday reversing his previous "no" on whether he might run for the seat of retiring Sen. Bob Corker (R). "In the days ahead, I'm going to do some research, talk with people and carefully think this through," Bredesen said. That's a BIG deal. Bredesen is a two-term governor in Tennessee and, without question, the strongest possible Democratic nominee. And, there's no doubt that his decision to reconsider the race is based on looking at the political landscape and believing that a win in Republican friendly Tennessee is actually possible. If Bredesen runs, this will be a real race where there was no hope of one just two weeks ago.
- Recruiting in Montana and North Dakota -- states that Trump won by 20 and 36 points, respectively, in 2016 -- isn't going as quickly or as well as Republicans might have hoped. There's still time for solid candidates to emerge -- or for the candidates that have announced to show their mettle -- but that they haven't done so yet is somewhat surprising given the heavily GOP nature of those states.