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ABC News/Yahoo! News(WASHINGTON) — With just days to go before midterm elections, President Obama’s former 2012 battleground states director Mitch Stewart says he believes Democrats have a 50-50 shot at holding onto control of the Senate.

“I tend to be an optimist under these circumstances,” Stewart, the co-founder of 270 Strategies consulting group, told ABC News/Yahoo! News. “I know the models that Nate Silver and others have that…lay out a 63 to 64 percent chance that Republicans will get a majority in the Senate. I think the rosiest scenario is you’re looking at a 50-50 proposition.”

While the polls favor Republicans’ odds for victory in Tuesday’s elections, Stewart expressed confidence that the Democrats still have the edge when it comes to field strategy — and are capable of reproducing some of the ground game magic that helped propel Obama to presidential victory in two elections.

For one, Stewart said Democrats have made the necessary investment in field organizers.

“They have this project that they invested I think $40 million to try to get 4,000 field staff, and you’re seeing some of the fruits of that labor right now,” he said.

One of the ways he expects the results of that investment to manifest is an increase in early voting — something the Democrats have made a strategic focus this year.

“In Alaska, for example, you had 82 vote locations in 2012; in 2014 they have over 200,” Stewart said. “It’s small, tactical decisions like that in a close race that can make the difference between winning and losing.”

He said the Iowa Senate race, where Democratic candidate Bruce Braley is facing off against Republican Joni Ernst, is one where the impact of increased early voting may tip the scale of the election.

“If 40 percent of the electorate votes early, and Braley has a 10 point lead, that means that his opponent is going to have to win Election Day probably by 7 points,” he said.

Advanced as the Democrats’ ground game may be, Stewart acknowledged that the party still has a ways to go to overcome the problem of midterm drop-off voters, who tend to vote only in presidential election years.

He pinpointed the non-white electorate as a particularly crucial piece of the puzzle.

“One of the really interesting things of 2008 was [that] 26 percent of the electorate was non-white,” Stewart said. “So a lot of projections then coming after 2010, which was then an older, whiter electorate, was that in 2012 it would be some sort of mix between 2008 and 2010.”

But those projections proved to be wrong. “What we had in 2012 though was 28 percent of the electorate was non-white,” he explained.

And if that trend of a growing non-white electorate continues, as Stewart expects it will, he said the voting population in 2016 could be as high as 31 percent non-white.

“Eventually the midterms will catch up; but at least for the foreseeable future, you are going to have a bipolar electorate between presidential and midterm elections,” Stewart said.

Another liability for Democrats this midterm cycle: a largely unpopular president at the head of the party. Obama has been largely unwelcome on the campaign trail, sticking to only state-wide races in deeply Democratic states.

Stewart, ever-loyal to his former boss, brushed off the Obama liability problem as one any president midway through their second term faces.

“If you look at any presidential 8 years, two four-year terms, [and] you look at that last go-around — whether it was Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush — there’s a challenge,” he said. “I think this is nothing new to sort of what has happened to two four-year term presidents.”

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Jaison Podkanowicz(WICHITA, Kan.) — A prop plane reportedly hit a building at an airport in Wichita, Kansas on Thursday, officials said.

Emergency crews are on the scene at Mid-Continent Airport, according to local ABC News affiliate KAKE.

A federal official has confirmed that the incident is not related to terrorism and the plane was headed to Mena, Arizona.

There have been no reports of how many people are possibly in danger in the situation, but smoke coming from the building has been seen from miles away.

The plane involved in the crash was a twin-engine Beechcraft that was taking off but lost power in one engine, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.

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Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images(AUBURN, Ala.) — Third-ranked Auburn (6-1) will get one the biggest tests this season when they travel to fourth-ranked Ole Miss (7-1) on Saturday.

The Tigers are 3-1 in their SEC matchups this year and head coach Gus Malzahn is well aware of Mississippi’s defense that is only allowing 10.3 points per game.

“[They have a] great defense [and] very good on offense,” Malzahn said. “They have a senior quarterback who has a lot of experience. He’s a very nifty runner in their zone read and power [run game].”

“Overall, this is one of the better teams in their country,” he added.

Malzahn credited the work Rebels head coach Hugh Freeze has done in a short amount of time at the school.

“He’s really good at what he does,” Malzahn said. “He’s a great coach, he’s a great communicator, he’s got great vision. It doesn’t surprise me because he’s one of the best at what he does.”

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ABC News(FORT KENT, Maine) — Maine’s governor indicated Thursday that he would abandon his demand that nurse Kaci Hickox remain under quarantine after treating Ebola patients if she would agree to take a blood test for the lethal virus.

Gov. Paul LePage made his comment to ABC News Thursday as Hickox defiantly challenged demands that she remain quarantined by leaving her home in the morning for a bike ride with her boyfriend.

LePage indicated to ABC News that he was willing to abandon his demands that the nurse remain quarantined if she would take a blood test for Ebola.

While Hickox was pedaling, attorneys for the state of Maine went to Superior Court seeking a judge’s permission to give Hickox a blood test for Ebola, LePage said.

“This could be resolved today,” the governor said. “She has been exposed and she’s not cooperative, so force her to take a test. It’s so simple.”

Medical experts have said that an Ebola test would only be positive if someone were symptomatic, and could register a negative result if the amount of Ebola virus in the blood hadn’t reached a detectable level.

The governor said he has a state police car stationed outside Hickox’s home and that she has the town “scared to death.”

Hickox, 33, went on the bike ride in Fort Kent, Maine, after vowing last night she wasn’t willing to “stand here and have my civil rights violated.”

While Hickox was pedaling, attorneys for the state of Maine went to Superior Court seeking a judge’s permission to give Hickox a blood test for Ebola, Maine Gov. Paul LePage told ABC News.

“This could be resolved today,” LePage said. “She has been exposed and she’s not cooperative, so force her to take a test. It’s so simple.”

Medical experts have said that an Ebola test would only be positive if someone were symptomatic.

The governor said he has a state police car stationed outside Hickox’s home and that she has the town “scared to death.”

The nurse, who had been treating Ebola patients in Sierra Leone for Doctors Without Borders, said she was fighting for her rights as well as other health care workers who will be returning from the Ebola hot zone in West Africa. She said that Doctors Without Border told her another 20 health care workers will be coming home in the next month.

“Most aid workers who come home just want to see their family and have a sort of normal life,” she told reporters Wednesday night. “I’m fighting for something other than myself. There are aid workers coming back every day.”

Hickox said she isn’t committed to a quarantine that isn’t “scientifically valid,” she told reporters standing alongside her boyfriend, Ted Wilbur, outside her home Wednesday night. The quarantine demand goes beyond guidelines put out by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which indicate that she can’t spread Ebola if she isn’t sick, doesn’t have symptoms and no one is in close contact with her bodily fluids.

“You could hug me, you could shake my hand [and] I would not give you Ebola,” she said.

Hickox returned to the United States on Oct. 24, landing in Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey, where she was questioned and quarantined in an outdoor tent through the weekend despite having no symptoms of the lethal virus.

Hickox registered a fever on an infrared thermometer at the airport, but an oral thermometer at University Hospital in Newark showed that she had no fever, she said.

After twice testing negative for the Ebola, Hickox was released and returned home to Maine on Oct. 27. Maine’s health commissioner announced that Maine would join the handful of states going beyond federal guidelines and asking that returning Ebola health workers be self-quarantined for 21 days.

But Hickox vowed to break the quarantine because it wasn’t based on science.

“I will go to court to attain my freedom,” Hickox told Good Morning America Wednesday via Skype from her hometown of Fort Kent. “I have been completely asymptomatic since I’ve been here. I feel absolutely great.”

The CDC doesn’t consider health workers who treated Ebola patients in West Africa to be at “high risk” for catching Ebola if they were wearing protective gear, according to new guidelines announced this week. Since they have “some risk,” the CDC recommends that they undergo monitoring — tracking symptoms and body temperature twice a day — avoid public transportation and take other precautions. But the CDC doesn’t require home quarantines for these workers.

Someone isn’t contagious until Ebola symptoms appear, according to the CDC. And even then, transmission requires contact with bodily fluids such as blood and vomit.

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iStockphoto(FORT WORTH, Texas) — Seventh-ranked TCU (6-1) will have another tough task at hand on Saturday when they travel to No. 20 West Virginia (6-2).

Horned Frogs head coach Gary Patterson is happy to see his team bowl eligible at this point in the season, but knows there are still more games to play.

“Everything now counts as one,” Patterson said this week. “[We have] two tough games in a row [starting with] West Virginia in Morgantown. They’re playing really well on both sides of the ball. You can say the same thing about Kansas State. Then a three-week stretch with Kansas, Texas and Iowa State. We just have to take it one at a time.”

West Virginia comes into the game averaging 36.9 points per game.

“Coach [Dana] Holgorsen has really done a great job,” Patterson said. “They’re kind of in the same situation we’ve been in coming into the Big 12. We’ve had identical records the first two years. Both our games with each other have gone to overtime. We’ve beat each other at home. We have to find a way to win.”

TCU is only giving up 21.6 points per game this year.

“We’ve played really well at times,” Patterson said of his defense. “They’ve figured some things out. They didn’t play well for a quarter last week. We saw three plays that we hadn’t seen. They ran the back vertical, which is a really good play, and we missed a tackle. Then two hitch screens, but you have to get ready to play.”

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Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images(AUBURN, Ala.) — Third-ranked Auburn (6-1) will get one the biggest tests this season when they travel to fourth-ranked Ole Miss (7-1) on Saturday.

The Tigers are 3-1 in their SEC matchups this year and head coach Gus Malzahn is well aware of Mississippi’s defense that is only allowing 10.3 points per game.

“[They have a] great defense [and] very good on offense,” Malzahn said. “They have a senior quarterback who has a lot of experience. He’s a very nifty runner in their zone read and power [run game].”

“Overall, this is one of the better teams in their country,” he added.

Malzahn credited the work Rebels head coach Hugh Freeze has done in a short amount of time at the school.

“He’s really good at what he does,” Malzahn said. “He’s a great coach, he’s a great communicator, he’s got great vision. It doesn’t surprise me because he’s one of the best at what he does.”

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ABC News(FORT KENT, Maine) — Maine’s governor indicated Thursday that he would abandon his demand that nurse Kaci Hickox remain under quarantine after treating Ebola patients if she would agree to take a blood test for the lethal virus.

Gov. Paul LePage made his comment to ABC News Thursday as Hickox defiantly challenged demands that she remain quarantined by leaving her home in the morning for a bike ride with her boyfriend.

LePage indicated to ABC News that he was willing to abandon his demands that the nurse remain quarantined if she would take a blood test for Ebola.

While Hickox was pedaling, attorneys for the state of Maine went to Superior Court seeking a judge’s permission to give Hickox a blood test for Ebola, LePage said.

“This could be resolved today,” the governor said. “She has been exposed and she’s not cooperative, so force her to take a test. It’s so simple.”

Medical experts have said that an Ebola test would only be positive if someone were symptomatic, and could register a negative result if the amount of Ebola virus in the blood hadn’t reached a detectable level.

The governor said he has a state police car stationed outside Hickox’s home and that she has the town “scared to death.”

Hickox, 33, went on the bike ride in Fort Kent, Maine, after vowing last night she wasn’t willing to “stand here and have my civil rights violated.”

While Hickox was pedaling, attorneys for the state of Maine went to Superior Court seeking a judge’s permission to give Hickox a blood test for Ebola, Maine Gov. Paul LePage told ABC News.

“This could be resolved today,” LePage said. “She has been exposed and she’s not cooperative, so force her to take a test. It’s so simple.”

Medical experts have said that an Ebola test would only be positive if someone were symptomatic.

The governor said he has a state police car stationed outside Hickox’s home and that she has the town “scared to death.”

The nurse, who had been treating Ebola patients in Sierra Leone for Doctors Without Borders, said she was fighting for her rights as well as other health care workers who will be returning from the Ebola hot zone in West Africa. She said that Doctors Without Border told her another 20 health care workers will be coming home in the next month.

“Most aid workers who come home just want to see their family and have a sort of normal life,” she told reporters Wednesday night. “I’m fighting for something other than myself. There are aid workers coming back every day.”

Hickox said she isn’t committed to a quarantine that isn’t “scientifically valid,” she told reporters standing alongside her boyfriend, Ted Wilbur, outside her home Wednesday night. The quarantine demand goes beyond guidelines put out by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which indicate that she can’t spread Ebola if she isn’t sick, doesn’t have symptoms and no one is in close contact with her bodily fluids.

“You could hug me, you could shake my hand [and] I would not give you Ebola,” she said.

Hickox returned to the United States on Oct. 24, landing in Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey, where she was questioned and quarantined in an outdoor tent through the weekend despite having no symptoms of the lethal virus.

Hickox registered a fever on an infrared thermometer at the airport, but an oral thermometer at University Hospital in Newark showed that she had no fever, she said.

After twice testing negative for the Ebola, Hickox was released and returned home to Maine on Oct. 27. Maine’s health commissioner announced that Maine would join the handful of states going beyond federal guidelines and asking that returning Ebola health workers be self-quarantined for 21 days.

But Hickox vowed to break the quarantine because it wasn’t based on science.

“I will go to court to attain my freedom,” Hickox told Good Morning America Wednesday via Skype from her hometown of Fort Kent. “I have been completely asymptomatic since I’ve been here. I feel absolutely great.”

The CDC doesn’t consider health workers who treated Ebola patients in West Africa to be at “high risk” for catching Ebola if they were wearing protective gear, according to new guidelines announced this week. Since they have “some risk,” the CDC recommends that they undergo monitoring — tracking symptoms and body temperature twice a day — avoid public transportation and take other precautions. But the CDC doesn’t require home quarantines for these workers.

Someone isn’t contagious until Ebola symptoms appear, according to the CDC. And even then, transmission requires contact with bodily fluids such as blood and vomit.

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iStockphoto(FORT WORTH, Texas) — Seventh-ranked TCU (6-1) will have another tough task at hand on Saturday when they travel to No. 20 West Virginia (6-2).

Horned Frogs head coach Gary Patterson is happy to see his team bowl eligible at this point in the season, but knows there are still more games to play.

“Everything now counts as one,” Patterson said this week. “[We have] two tough games in a row [starting with] West Virginia in Morgantown. They’re playing really well on both sides of the ball. You can say the same thing about Kansas State. Then a three-week stretch with Kansas, Texas and Iowa State. We just have to take it one at a time.”

West Virginia comes into the game averaging 36.9 points per game.

“Coach [Dana] Holgorsen has really done a great job,” Patterson said. “They’re kind of in the same situation we’ve been in coming into the Big 12. We’ve had identical records the first two years. Both our games with each other have gone to overtime. We’ve beat each other at home. We have to find a way to win.”

TCU is only giving up 21.6 points per game this year.

“We’ve played really well at times,” Patterson said of his defense. “They’ve figured some things out. They didn’t play well for a quarter last week. We saw three plays that we hadn’t seen. They ran the back vertical, which is a really good play, and we missed a tackle. Then two hitch screens, but you have to get ready to play.”

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ABC News(FORT KENT, Maine) — A nurse who returned from fighting Ebola in West Africa challenged the demands that she remain quarantined by leaving her home Thursday morning for a bike ride with her boyfriend.

Kaci Hickox, 33, went on the bike ride with her boyfriend in Fort Kent, Maine, after vowing last night she wasn’t willing to “stand here and have my civil rights violated.” State officials said they were preparing to file a court order to enforce a mandatory quarantine, but it would first have to be approved by a judge.

Hickox was treating Ebola patients in Sierra Leone for Doctors Without Borders. She returned to the United States on Friday, landing in Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey, where she was questioned and quarantined in an outdoor tent through the weekend despite having no symptoms of the lethal virus.

Hickox registered a fever on an infrared thermometer at the airport, but an oral thermometer at University Hospital in Newark showed that she had no fever, she said.

After twice testing negative for the Ebola, Hickox was released and returned home to Maine on Monday. Maine’s health commissioner announced that Maine would join the handful of states going beyond federal guidelines and asking that returning Ebola health workers be self-quarantined for 21 days.

“Our true desire is for a voluntary separation from the public. We do not want to have to legally enforce an in-home quarantine,” Maine Health Commissioner Mary Mayhew said in a statement. “We are confident that the selfless health workers, who were brave enough to care for Ebola patients in a foreign country, will be willing to take reasonable steps to protect the residents of their own country. However, we are willing to pursue legal authority if necessary to ensure risk is minimized for Mainers.”

Hickox said she doesn’t think it is reasonable.

“I will go to court to attain my freedom,” Hickox told Good Morning America Wednesday via Skype from her hometown of Fort Kent. “I have been completely asymptomatic since I’ve been here. I feel absolutely great.”

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention doesn’t consider health workers who treated Ebola patients in West Africa to be at “high risk” for catching Ebola if they were wearing protective gear, according to new guidelines announced this week. Since they have “some risk,” the CDC recommends that they undergo monitoring — tracking symptoms and body temperature twice a day — avoid public transportation and take other precautions. But the CDC doesn’t require home quarantines for these workers.

Someone isn’t contagious until Ebola symptoms appear, according to the CDC. And even then, transmission requires contact with bodily fluids such as blood and vomit.

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Andy Lyons/Getty Images(CINCINNATI) — Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton isn’t looking past their game against Jacksonville (1-7) on Sunday.

The Bengals (4-2-1) are coming off a big win over the Ravens and Dalton will have his team ready for a young Jaguars defense.

“Up-front they’re really good,” Dalton said. “With the speed, and the way they rush the passer, and the things that they do — we’ve got to be ready for that stuff. We’ve got to know the type of team we’re playing, and we’ve got a good plan in so we’ll be prepared.”

Jacksonville is 0-4 on the road this year, but Dalton knows they’ll be hungry for a win.

“They’ve been playing better recently. You look at the record, and it doesn’t show what they are on tape,” Dalton said. “They’re flying around, making plays. But we’re not really worried about what they’re doing, it’s more what we’re going to do, the execution of everything, and if we do that, we’ll put ourselves in good spots.”

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