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Jamie Dupree's Washington Insider
Updated: 1 hour 35 min ago

Trump basks in GOP gains in Senate, warns Democrats over investigations

Wed, 11/07/2018 - 19:54

A day after Republicans added seats in the U.S. Senate but lost control of the U.S. House in national mid-term elections, President Donald Trump personally took credit for his party’s Senate gains, ridiculing Republican lawmakers in the House who refused to accept his help on the campaign trail, as he threatened to investigate House Democrats if they spent time in Congress aiming investigations at him.

“They got nothing. Zero. You know why? Because there is nothing,” the President said about possible Democratic investigations on Russia and more, as he threatened to retaliate against Democrats in the House if they pushed too far.

“They can play that game, but we can play it better,” the President said, seemingly threatening to have GOP Senators investigate House Democrats.

“We have a thing called the United States Senate, and a lot of very questionable things were done, between leaks of classified information,” the President said, hinting that Republicans would target Democrats who had committed misdeeds – which would be pursued if Democratic-led probes came after him.

“All you’re going to do is get back and forth, back and forth,” Mr. Trump added.

President Trump on potential investigations by House Democrats: "If that happens then we're going to do the same thing and government comes to a halt and I would blame them" https://t.co/QKK9VJ0K1i pic.twitter.com/xAazClJ4V8

— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) November 7, 2018

Earlier in the day, the President had made a similar threat on Twitter.

“Two can play that game!” Mr. Trump tweeted.

If the Democrats think they are going to waste Taxpayer Money investigating us at the House level, then we will likewise be forced to consider investigating them for all of the leaks of Classified Information, and much else, at the Senate level. Two can play that game!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 7, 2018

The President began his news conference by taking credit for GOP victories in states where he held campaign rallies in recent weeks, arguing that he made the difference in getting GOP hopefuls into the win column.

“When you look at the races that we won in Florida, which we weren’t expected to win, in Georgia – which we weren’t expected to win – in Ohio, which we weren’t expected to win,” as Mr. Trump his involvement tipped races for Governor and U.S. Senate.

“I’ll tell you what, we did incredibly,” the President said, downplaying the loss of GOP control in the U.S. House, as he said Tuesday was ‘very close to complete victory,’ and a ‘great victory.’

Along the way, the President publicly belittled Republicans in the House who had refused his help on the campaign trail, saying they had made a fatal choice for themselves and their party in Congress.

“Mia Love gave me no love and she lost,” the President said about GOP Rep. Mia Love of Utah, who was trailing in a race which was still undecided on Wednesday.

“Too bad. Sorry about that Mia,” the President said, rattling off the names of other Republicans who did not ’embrace’ him on the campaign trail.

President Trump lists Republicans who didn't embrace him and lost. "They did very poorly. I'm not sure that I should be happy or sad, but I feel just fine about it."

"Mia Love gave me no love and she lost. Too bad. Sorry about that Mia." pic.twitter.com/ZV7EKcWjLX

— CSPAN (@cspan) November 7, 2018

The President rattled off the name of Love and a number of other Republicans who had been defeated on Tuesday – in what Democrats argued was a suburban backlash against the Trump Administration – but what the President saw as a campaign mistake, as he made it personal.

“Mike Coffman,” the President said, mentioning the Colorado Republican who lost Tuesday. “Too bad, Mike.”

“Peter Roskam didn’t want the embrace,” the President said of an Illinois Republican who didn’t want to campaign with him. “Erik Paulsen didn’t want the embrace,” the President said dismissively of a Minnesota Republican who didn’t stand arm-in-arm with him before the elections.

One GOP lawmaker who opted against a re-election bid in 2018 – partly because of the backlash to the President – expressed his disgust with the President’s remarks.

To deal w harassment & filth spewed at GOP MOC’s in tough seats every day for 2 yrs, bc of POTUS; to bite ur lip more times you’d care to; to disagree & separate from POTUS on principle & civility in ur campaign; to lose bc of POTUS & have him piss on u. Angers me to my core.

— Ryan Costello (@RyanCostello) November 7, 2018

“Different people can be disgusted by different things,” said Rep. Ryan Costello (R-PA) after the President named a number of Costello’s GOP colleagues. “This is one such thing for me. And I don’t use the word “disgusted” lightly.”

Tale of two elections as Dems take House, GOP expands Senate majority

Wed, 11/07/2018 - 07:16

Americans rendered a split verdict on the Congress under President Donald Trump, as Republicans expanded their majority in the Senate by knocking off a series of incumbent Democratic Senators, while Democrats strung together a series of victories in all corners of the country to win back the majority in the House for the first time since big GOP victories in the 2010 elections.

“President Trump called Leader Mitch McConnell to congratulate him on the historic Senate gains,” said White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, as she said the President also spoke with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who could be in line to become Speaker for a second time.

For Democrats, their victories in the House were tempered by bruising defeats in the Senate, as incumbents lost in Missouri, Indiana and North Dakota.

In Florida, Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) refused to concede, trailing in his re-election race against Gov. Rick Scott (R), while Democratic Sen. Jon Tester was also behind in Montana, as the GOP was poised to add maybe as many as four seats to their Senate majority, up from the bare 51-49 advantage they have currently.

At almost 2 am, President Trump was still watching the returns, and basking in the glow of the big Senate victory, which came after he targeted a number of Democratic incumbents.



One of the few Democrats who was the subject of repeated Trump rallies – but survived – was Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia – he was also the only one who voted for Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

“Every Democratic Senator in a red state who voted against Judge Kavanaugh has so far lost their election,” said Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX).

Democrats were able to win back one GOP seat, as Rep. Jacky Rosen (R-NV) defeated GOP Sen. Dean Heller in Nevada.

In the House, Republicans had mocked the idea that Democrats would have a “Blue Wave” sweep over Congress – but in many ways, that did happen, as Democrats picked off seats in a variety of states, powered by a series of victories from female candidates.

Many of the Democratic victories came in districts which had voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016, but elected a Republican to the U.S. House.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez D-#ny14 and Abby Finkenauer D-#ia01, both 29, elected to Congress. (Ocasio-Cortez is 9.5 months younger). First under-30 women elected to Congress (Elise Stefanik R-#ny21 was 30 in 2014).

Lauren Underwood D-#il14 is 32, Haley Stevens D-#mi11 is 35.

— Greg Giroux (@greggiroux) November 7, 2018

The return to power started in the East, as Democrats flipped three GOP seats in New York, three in New Jersey, three in Pennsylvania, and three in Virginia.

It wasn’t just in the East, as Democrats also added two seats in Iowa, two in Illinois, two in south Florida, two in suburban districts in Texas, and flipped GOP seats in red states like Kansas, Oklahoma and South Carolina.

And if not for some late rallies by a number of GOP lawmakers, the outcome could have been even worse for House Republicans, who will head back to the minority next year.

“Tonight history has repeated itself,” said outgoing House Speaker Paul Ryan in a written statement, referring to expected losses for the party that holds the White House. “A party in power always faces tough odds in its first midterm election.”

“One of the things associated with a wave is upsets,” said political expert Stu Rothenberg. “One party significantly outperforms. That is happening in the House.”

“In the House, where the entire country got to vote, Dems are winning with ease,” said elections expert Harry Enten. “Further, there have been some surprises, which is indicative of a wave in my mind.”

#OK05: Kendra Horn (D) has apparently defeated Rep. Steve Russell (R). The district voted 53%-40% for Trump in 2016. This is a HUGE upset for Democrats.

— Dave Wasserman (@Redistrict) November 7, 2018

One of those upsets was in Oklahoma, where Democrats have been shut out of Congress for a number of years – but then, Kendra Horn unexpectedly defeated Rep. Steve Russell (R-OK).

“When we #FlipThe5th, I will be only the 3rd woman OK has ever sent to Congress,” Horn wrote on Twitter back in January, as she followed through with a win.

“Upset City in Oklahoma!” said Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI).

As of 7 am, there were still almost two dozen races undecided in the House, and four in the Senate, as President Trump scheduled a news conference for 11:30 am ET.

The House is currently at 219-193 with 23 races undecided. Democrats lead in 9. Republicans lead in 14 of the undecided. If that stays, the House would be 228-207 Dem.

— Jamie Dupree (@jamiedupree) November 7, 2018

“Tonight was a great night for our campaign and for Democrats across the country,” said Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA).

LIVE UPDATES – The fight for control of Congress

Tue, 11/06/2018 - 22:30

One of the biggest prizes in this year’s mid-term elections is control of the U.S. House and Senate, as President Donald Trump and Democrats have battled for months, with all 435 seats in the House at stake, and 35 of 100 seats in the U.S. Senate.

Political experts in recent weeks have predicted a possible split decision in the 2018 mid-term elections, as Republicans are favored to keep control of the Senate, while Democrats are expected to add seats again in the House – the only question is will they get the net gain of 23 seats they need to take over the House.

Make sure to check my ‘Viewer’s guide’ for tonight’s election results, which give you a rundown of the key races nationally in the fight for Congress.

Check back here through the night as we chronicle how the votes go in both the House and Senate:


8:10 am – Even before his news conference, the President is lashing out at Democrats, and the possibility that they will use the oversight power of the House to investigate him, and his administration.

If the Democrats think they are going to waste Taxpayer Money investigating us at the House level, then we will likewise be forced to consider investigating them for all of the leaks of Classified Information, and much else, at the Senate level. Two can play that game!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 7, 2018

7:40 am – President Trump will be weighing in from the White House later in the morning. It will be only his second solo news conference at the White House since taking office.

I will be doing a news conference at The White House – 11:30 A.M. Will be discussing our success in the Midterms!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 7, 2018

7:15 am – If you are just getting up, the Democrats have taken back the House, while the Republicans have expanded their Senate majority. 23 House races are not yet final, with 4 undetermined in the Senate.

The House is currently at 219-193 with 23 races undecided. Democrats lead in 9. Republicans lead in 14 of the undecided. If that stays, the House would be 228-207 Dem.

— Jamie Dupree (@jamiedupree) November 7, 2018

5:15 am – With some races still not final from the election results, 21 House incumbents – all Republicans – were defeated on Tuesday. And there could still be a few more. That would mean over 80 lawmakers in the House will be new in January, a turnover of almost 19 percent. That’s a little more turnover than in 2012 (78), but less than the 94 new members after the 2010 Tea Party election. Four Senators were defeated on Tuesday, with two more hanging in the balance as the votes continue to be counted (and recounted).

4:30 am – Rep. Dana Rohrabacher R-CA is the latest GOP lawmaker to seem like he is heading for defeat, as with 99 percent reporting, Rohrabacher is down by 2800 votes to Democrat Harley Rouda. There are several very close races in California which are still on the board.

4:15 am – If you are just tuning in, Democrats have won back the House, but their majority is going to be very small. Republicans have expanded their majority in the Senate by at least two seats – that could grow to four if they end up winning in Florida and Montana.

4:00 am – I’ve decided to have some ice cream at 4 am, and it was a good choice.

3:40 am – Remember how I said every vote counts earlier this morning? Well, the absentees which weren’t counted earlier in GA6 have now put Democrat Lucy McBath ahead of Rep. Karen Handel R-GA by about 900 votes.

2:55 am – Democrats get a little consolation prize in the Senate, as they seemingly win one Senate seat back in Nevada – (AP) — Republican Dean Heller concedes Nevada U.S. Senate race to Democrat Jacky Rosen.

2:45 am – Sometimes news organizations make mistakes on calling an election, and that seems to have happened in Texas 23, where Rep. Will Hurd (R-TX) had been declared the winner, but now he’s dropped into second place, as Democrat Gina Ortiz Jones leads by 282 votes. One would assume there will be a recount.

2:25 am – EVERY VOTE COUNTS: 100% reporting in GA6 and Rep Karen Handel R-GA leads by just 57 votes out of over 302,000 cast. Think about that for a minute.

2:20 am – A story line we’ve heard before tonight. A female Democrat has defeated a GOP candidate, as the AP calls MI11 for the Democrats – Haley Stevens wins a GOP seat in the west Detroit suburbs for the Dems.

2:10 am – Democrats pick up a seat in South Carolina of all places. AP declares Democrat Joe Cunningham the winner in SC1, as Democrats win the seat of Rep Mark Sanford R-SC, who was defeated in the GOP primary, and then refused to endorse the Republican winner.

2:00 am – President Trump is still up at this hour – and he’s very happy with the Senate results.

1:30 am – New York did it four years ago, so it should be a surprise that in NY27, indicted GOP Rep Chris Collins looks to be a winner, as he leads by 3100 votes with 99% reporting.

1:00 am – The Republicans have a chance to make very big gains in the U.S. Senate, if two races fall their way in coming hours.

SENATE UPDATE:

GOP defeats 3 Dem Senators IN, MO, ND
GOP ahead in Florida and Arizona
Tester's lead shrinking in Montana

GOP could get to +5 with FL/MT wins (56-44)

— Jamie Dupree (@jamiedupree) November 7, 2018

12:40 am – President Trump has called some of the Republicans who won key victories on Tuesday.

12:35 am – Indictments don’t seem to matter – at this point, two Republican lawmakers who were indicted on federal charges this fall are winning their re-election bids. Both Rep. Chris Collins R-NY and Rep. Duncan Hunter R-CA are ahead, though the results are not final.

12:20 am – Democrats are at the point now where every win they can get will add more breathing room to a narrow majority in the House. They’ve just picked up a second seat in Texas, flipping a suburban seat in Houston.

12:10 am – With more seats heading to Democrats in New York and other states, the AP has declared that Democrats will take control of the U.S. House in 2019: WASHINGTON (AP) — Democrats have picked up 23 House seats, putting them on track to reach the 218 needed to seize control from GOP

12:00 am – The split decision in the Congress isn’t bothering President Trump, as he declares victory.

Tremendous success tonight. Thank you to all!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 7, 2018

11:55 pm

As we near 12 midnight ET, it has been two totally different elections:
+ GOP knocking off at least 3 Dems in Senate, expanding majority
+ Democrats on the verge of capturing the US House

— Jamie Dupree (@jamiedupree) November 7, 2018

11:45 pm – A number of young women have won seats in the House for Democrats. A big change.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez D-#ny14 and Abby Finkenauer D-#ia01, both 29, elected to Congress. (Ocasio-Cortez is 9.5 months younger). First under-30 women elected to Congress (Elise Stefanik R-#ny21 was 30 in 2014).

Lauren Underwood D-#il14 is 32, Haley Stevens D-#mi11 is 35.

— Greg Giroux (@greggiroux) November 7, 2018

11:35 pm – A real surprise in Oklahoma, as Rep. Steve Russell (R-OK) seems to have lost, as he trails by 3300 votes with all precincts reporting.

11:25 pm – Republicans definitely keeping the Senate. Democrats inching closer to winning the House.

WASHINGTON (@AP) — Democrats inching toward control of the House, picking up moderate, suburban districts across the Northeast and Midwest.

— Marc Levy (@timelywriter) November 7, 2018

11:10 pm – It looks like Democrats have pulled off a stunner and won three seats from the GOP in Virginia, as Elaine Luria was declared the winner over Rep. Scott Taylor R-VA in the Virginia Beach area, and now Abigail Spanberger has claimed victory over Rep. Dave Brat R-VA. Brat trails by 1900 votes with one precinct to report.

Abigail @SpanbergerVA07 claims victory over @RepDaveBrat, the face of anti-Establishment Republicans.

— Jeff E. Schapiro (@RTDSchapiro) November 7, 2018

11:00 pm – At 11 pm, the fight for the Senate is over, though there are still some very important races for Senate that have to be tallied. In the House, Democrats are certainly making progress to net the 23 seats they need to win back the House, but it’s not official as yet.

10:40 pm – Sen. Ted Cruz’s victory in Texas means Democrats cannot win back the Senate in 2018.

10:35 pm – Three Republicans in Pennsylvania are behind at this hour, Rep Brian Fitzpatrick, Rep. Scott Perry and Rep. Mike Kelly. I don’t want to go all crazy on this, but if the Democrats can win those three, they would take a giant step forward in their quest to get the House. If the Republicans hold all three, that would be huge for them.

10:30 pm – Democrats in the House are slowly chipping away at the GOP majority, but it’s going to take several hours to figure out if they can do it. They have won 3 seats already in Pennsylvania. They have defeated Rep. Mike Coffman in Colorado. One seat in New Jersey has been lost by the GOP, along with one seat in Kansas.

10:10 pm – Pretty much the nail in the coffin for the U.S. Senate, as Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) wins easily in Tennessee. Add to that a GOP win in Indiana, and Democrats have run out of room to win back the Senate in 2018. The Blackburn win was much larger than expected.

9:55 pm – You don’t think every vote counts? In Virginia, Democratic challenger Elaine Luria leads Rep. Scott Taylor (R-VA) by 44 votes with 94 percent of precincts reporting.

9:50 pm – Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia has survived a challenge led by President Trump. But with a victory in Indiana, this still seems like a Republican edge in the U.S. Senate.

9:25 pm – While the Senate still looks to be in the favor of the GOP, there are ominous signs in more races for Republicans. In Kansas, two GOP seats are at risk at this hour. Several Republicans trail in Illinois. And there could be a shocking upset in Texas and Oklahoma of sitting GOP lawmakers.

9:10 pm – The number of GOP seats in the House at risk continues to grow as more states start reporting returns. Along with slight leads in two key races in Virginia, Democrats have the edge in a series of races in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. As for the Senate, it looks like Republicans will hold the Senate – but there is a long way to go.

9:00 pm – Suddenly there is a late surge for Democrats in Virginia, as their candidates have gone ahead of two GOP incumbents with close to 90 percent of the vote in, as Rep. Scott Taylor R-VA and Rep. Dave Brat R-VA are both trailing by narrow margins. Every vote counts. That would be huge for Democrats.

8:50 pm – At this point, Republicans seem to be doing well in the Senate. They are leading Democratic incumbents in both Indiana and Florida. But there are some troubling signs for the GOP in the House. There isn’t a huge ‘blue wave,’ but Democrats are making progress toward the 23 seats needed to win back the House.

8:40 pm – The first bad news of the night for Republicans comes from Illinois, where three GOP lawmakers are all trailing Democratic challengers in the early vote. Democrats are going to win the race for Governor there, which will certainly help boost turnout for their candidates. Something to watch.

8:35 pm – The first early returns from New Jersey show three Democrats ahead in GOP seats. The numbers from New Jersey and Pennsylvania will start to show us soon whether Democrats can win the House or not.

8:25 pm – Outside of two seats around Miami, GOP candidates for Congress seem to be holding GOP seats that were in play. Good news for Republicans.

8:20 pm – Early vote totals from Texas show that GOP candidates for Congress there could have a tough night in the suburbs of Houston and Dallas, as Democrats really got their vote out. Whether that holds when the Election Day totals are added in, we don’t know that answer right now.

8:15 pm – Democrats make their first official pick up in Virginia, as Rep. Comstock loses in Virginia. Democrats are also leading narrowly in two South Florida districts. But GOP candidates are holding the line for the time being. In other words, there isn’t a blowout happening right now in returns from states on the East Coast.

7:45 pm – In VA10, Jennifer Wexton (D) is leading big over Rep Barbara Comstock R-VA, 58-42%. This may be the first seat to flip for Democrats tonight as they try to win back the House. The Democrats are also leading in KY6, with half of precincts reporting.

7:40 pm – One of the biggest races to watch tonight is for Governor in Georgia. Most people don’t realize it, but Georgia has a rule that if you don’t get a majority in the general election, there is a runoff. The question in Georgia is simple – will the race be so close that the Libertarian candidate causes a runoff.

A handful of deep-red precincts give @BrianKempGA an early lead. Most notable: Libertarian is under .5% #gapol pic.twitter.com/RCPdX263cw

— Greg Bluestein (@bluestein) November 7, 2018

7:30 pm – In Florida, Democrats won the early vote in the major cities like Jacksonville, Tallahassee, Miami, Tampa, and around Orlando. But there is a long way to go in both the Senate and Governor’s races in the Sunshine State.

7:20 pm – The same themes are being shown in Florida, where it’s all about how well Democrats can do in urban areas, versus how well the Republicans can do in rural areas. Remember, President Trump was able to offset big advantages for Democrats by churning out extra votes in smaller, more Republican counties. So far, we are seeing a repeat of that theme tonight in the Sunshine State.

Folks, it's early. But some big urban counties in Florida (orange, Broward, Palm Beach) are showing pretty large advantages for Nelson and Gillum.
But numerous smaller counties have sizable leads for Scott and DeSantis

— Marc Caputo (@MarcACaputo) November 7, 2018

7:10 pm – In the Indiana U.S. Senate race, Sen. Joe Donnelly D-IN continues to run better than other Democrats, while Mike Braun (R) is under-performing other statewide Republicans. But Braun is churning out more votes than past elections. Donnelly’s future will depend on how many votes he can churn out from suburban areas around Indianapolis and other urban areas like Gary, Fort Wayne, and others larger cities.

7:00 pm – A statement from the White House at this hour from Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders: “This in from Sarah Sanders:

“As President, Donald J. Trump has headlined an unprecedented 50 rallies — 30 in the last two months alone — and he has campaigned for dozens of candidates at all levels of government. The President has energized a staggering number of Americans at packed arenas and in overflow crowds at rallies across the country. Under President Trump’s leadership, the Republican National Committee has raised more than a quarter billion dollars, fueling an extraordinary ground game geared toward defying midterm history and protecting the GOP’s majorities. He has made the choice clear to the American people: Tonight, we can continue down the path of American prosperity and security or we can go backwards. The President and First Lady look forward to watching the results come in with friends and family in the White House residence.”

6:55 pm – With 2 percent of the vote in from Kentucky’s 6th district, Rep. Andy Barr R-KY leads by 12 votes.

6:50 pm – The pace of the night will really pick up over the next hour. The polls close at 7 pm ET in the Eastern Time Zone counties of Florida, all of Georgia, all of Virginia, and the rest of Indiana and Kentucky. Virginia and Florida will give Democrats their first big opportunity to win some seats in the Congress. We’ll see whether they’re up to the task tonight, or not.

6:40 pm – I don’t know if this will mean anything, but in the Indiana U.S. Senate race, the Republican candidate is getting fewer votes than other Republicans who are running statewide, for Secretary of State, Auditor, Treasurer, and more – while Democratic Sen. Joe Donnelly is doing better than the Democrats in those races. Also, the Libertarian is getting about 1.5% more in votes for Senate, than the Libertarians in those other statewide races. Just something to think about.

6:35 pm – The formula for success is a familiar one tonight in statewide races for U.S. Senate, as Republicans will see a lot of Red in more rural, Republican-leaning counties, while Democrats will try to run up big margins in the cities, and pick off more GOP voters in suburban areas. In 2016, President Trump was able to motivate enough people to the polls in those less populated areas to offset the Democratic strength in cities. That will be an important measurement tonight as well.

6:25 pm – The counties reporting so far in Indiana are mainly rural, Republican areas, which are giving Braun a healthy lead over Sen. Donnelly. That calculus should change once larger cities start reporting their vote totals, as Democrats should do well in the Indianapolis area, and up in the northwest corner of the state.

6:17 pm – And we get our first batch of votes from Kentucky as well, from the Sixth Congressional district, where Rep. Andy Barr R-KY is trying to hold on against Democrat Amy McGrath. This is not a ‘must-win’ for Democrats, but GOP loss here would not be a good way to start for Republicans. Again, this is very early vote results.



6:15 pm – The first votes have come trickling in from Indiana – it must have been early votes from a GOP enclave, because it gave a health advantage to Republican Mike Braun, who is running against Sen. Joe Donnelly D-IN. One notable thing about this batch of 4,800 votes is that the Libertarian candidate received 5 percent. If that 5 percent happens when Braun is on the losing side in larger counties, that could be a big problem. It’s very early.

6:10 pm – As we wait for the first votes, what counties now often total up first are the early votes, along with any absentee ballots that have already been cast. That’s a big change from many years ago, when the absentees were an afterthought. But now, so many votes are cast early in a number of states, that the first numbers you see are from those early votes. Any absentees or mail-in ballots which arrive later, will be counted at the end of the process, along with provisional ballots.

6:00 pm – The polls are now closed in the Eastern Time Zone portions of Indiana and Kentucky. This means we will start getting actual returns soon on the U.S. Senate race in Indiana, and the Sixth Congressional District in Kentucky. Those are the first two races to pay attention to this evening.

AT 6p ET/9p PT POLLS CLOSING in:

– KY-06 Rep. Andy Barr v Dem Amy McGrath
– MOST of Indiana

— Lisa Desjardins (@LisaDNews) November 6, 2018

5:45 pm – Republicans were managing expectations a bit today, with the national Republican chair declaring that if Democrats don’t match the Tea Party ‘wave’ election of 2010, then whatever Democrats gain tonight in the House will be small potatoes. Historically, that 63 seat net gain in 2010 by the GOP was the largest since Democrats had won 75 seats in the 1948 elections (that was the infamous “Dewey Beats Truman” election).

RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel on Bloomberg TV downplays significance of Democrat takeover of the House, says not a "blue wave" unless near the 63 seat wipeout Obama/Pelosi faced in 2010

— Erik Wasson (@elwasson) November 6, 2018

5:30 pm – No matter what happens today, there will be a lot of change within the Congress. So far, 58 House members won’t be back in January, which is already more than the entire turnover associated with the 2016 election. Only eight House members lost on election night two years ago – it seems like more may get booted out this time around, but you never know what the voters will decide. Read my story about this year’s turnover, and check the statistics for what’s happened in elections going back to 2006, as there has been double digit percentage change in the House for seven straight elections. That’s a lot of new faces. And depending on what happens tonight, there could be many more.

VIEWER’S GUIDE – An hour-by-hour preview of Election Night 2018

Tue, 11/06/2018 - 02:30

Election 2018 is finally here, as months and months of partisan battling will unfold in front of the nation on Tuesday evening.   When should you start looking for meaningful returns?  What races should you be watching?  What states are important, and when?  This viewer’s guide will give you thumbnails on what seats might flip in the House and Senate, what time you should look for results, and as you will notice – some story lines will be repeated again and again in the race for control of Congress.

First, let’s start with the basics:

Republicans cannot lose more than 22 seats in the House.  If Democrats have a net gain of 23 or more, they take charge of the House in January 2019.

In the Senate, Republicans can lose one seat, and keep control in a 50-50 split.  Democrats need a net gain of two seats to take over the Senate in 2019.

What time should you eat?  What time should you park yourself in front of the TV, radio or computer?  Let’s get right to it.

 

                                                 ELECTION NIGHT 2018 – HOUR BY HOUR

 

6:00 pm ET – The first returns will start coming in soon, as polls close in the Eastern Time zone portions of both Indiana and Kentucky at 6 pm ET (polls fully close in those states at 7 pm ET).

RACES TO WATCH:
Indiana Senate – Sen. Joe Donnelly (D) vs ex-state Rep. Mike Braun (R).   President Trump has been to Indiana several times in recent weeks.  Democrats have no margin for error in the Senate and can’t afford to lose races like this if they hope to have any chance to take the Senate.

KY6 – This is the first contested House race of the night to monitor for results.  Rep. Andy Barr (R) has been out-raised by Democrat Amy McGrath, a former Marine fighter pilot.  Barr brought in President Trump and Speaker Paul Ryan to help him.   This is not a ‘must-win’ for Democrats, but it would certainly not be a good sign if Republicans lose this House seat early in the night.


7:00 pm ET
Florida
– The Eastern Time zone polls are closed in the Sunshine State. While the Panhandle polls don’t close until 7 pm CT/8 pm ET, vote results will start coming in from ET zone counties during the 7 pm hour.  (Interesting note – the Florida state board of elections refuses to report any numbers until 8 pm ET, but individual counties will post returns on their websites, and results are available via AP and other news organizations as well.)

SENATE:  Sen. Bill Nelson vs Gov. Rick Scott.  Democratic strategist James Carville says if Nelson loses, Democrats should just turn off the TV, ‘throw up,’ and go to bed, because it won’t be a good night for them nationally.  This Senate race has been close from the start, with Nelson holding the edge in most polls.  In the end, it’s going to be all about turnout, and who wins the independents.

FLORIDA CONGRESSIONAL DELEGATION: 16 R, 11 D – 4 OPEN seats (no incumbent)

HOUSE RACES TO WATCH:
FL26 Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R) – Curbelo’s district went for Hillary Clinton with 57% of the vote, and the more moderate GOP lawmaker has been making clear to voters that he is no fan of the President on certain issues like immigration policy.   Curbelo has worked this district very hard, but if there is a true Democratic wave, he may not be able to hang on.

FL27 OPEN (Ros-Lehtinen) (R) – This district went easily Clinton with 58.5% in 2016, but Bill Clinton cabinet member Donna Shalala has been a weak candidate from the start, after she prevailed in a multi-candidate primary.  Her inability to speak Spanish in a Miami-area district that is heavily Cuban is not an asset, and I wonder if her ties to the Clintons are also a negative for voters.  Some Dems worry Shalala might blow this race.

FL15 OPEN (Ross) (R) – This is a Trump +10 district centered on Lakeland which runs from west of Orlando to the edge of Tampa.  This should be a Republican district, but with no incumbent in this environment, that raises some questions.  Democrat Kristen Carlson raised a lot more money than Republican Ross Spano, who at first wanted to run for Attorney General.

FL6 OPEN (DeSantis) (R) – This Trump +17 district which stretches south of St. Augustine and past Daytona Beach should not be close.  This was Ron DeSantis’ district before he resigned from Congress to run for Governor.  If Republicans lose this seat, it’s a very bad night for the GOP.  Democrat Nancy Soderberg has raised $1 million than Republican Mike Walz.   It will be interesting to see how these kind of races track – or don’t track the races for Governor and Senate in Florida.

FL16 Rep. Vern Buchanan (R) – Trump +10 in Sarasota/St. Pete.  Buchanan always seems to be a target, and yet he wins easy election after election.  “Buchanan primed to survive unprecedented negative assault,” was one recent headline about the race.  It should be a repeat for Buchanan, but a loss – or a very close race – would signal bigger troubles for the GOP in Florida.

FL18 Rep. Brian Mast R – This Trump +9 district stretches from Boca Raton through West Palm Beach and north of Port St. Lucie along the coast.  Months ago, it was assumed that Mast, a freshman, would win easily, but in recent weeks this has become a GOP election emergency.  Both parties have been making big spending plays on TV ads, but Mast has raised more money.

GOVERNOR – If elected, Andrew Gillum would be the first black Governor of Florida.

Georgia (7pm) – *WILD CARD* Georgia has General Election runoffs for state and federal offices, if the winner doesn’t get 50 percent plus 1.   Governor’s runoff would be December 4.  Congressional runoffs would be January 8, *AFTER* the new Congress has already convened.

GEORGIA CONGRESSIONAL DELEGATION:  10 R, 4 D

HOUSE RACES TO WATCH:
GA6 Rep. Karen Handel (R) – In this district in the immediate northern suburbs of Atlanta, Handel has been badly out-raised by Lucy McBath, a gun control activist whose son Jordan Davis was shot and killed at a gas station in Jacksonville, Florida.  Trump won this district by just 1.5 percent, and Handel barely won the special in 2017 to replace Tom Price.   Now she must navigate an election with a big race for Governor driving turnout.   The polls seem to have turned against Handel in recent days.

GA7 Rep. Rob Woodall (R) – This is a Trump +6 district in suburban Atlanta to the northeast of the city.  Woodall has seemingly been quiet, and he has been out-raised by Carolyn Bourdeaux, a college professor from Suwanee.   I’ve heard from listeners who say they see lots of ads from Bourdeaux and none from Woodall, who seemed unworried when I talked with him this fall about his re-election.  Woodall in recent days just put his first TV ad on the air – EVER – in the eight years that he’s been in office.  Is it too little, too late?

GOVERNOR: If elected, Stacey Abrams would be the first woman Governor in Georgia, and the first black Governor of the state.


South Carolina
This was not a state that Republicans thought they would have to worry about in 2018.

HOUSE RACES TO WATCH:
SC1 OPEN (R) – Trump +13.  Joe Cunningham D vs state Rep. Katie Arrington R.  Arrington defeated Rep. Mark Sanford R-SC in the primary; Sanford refused to endorse her, and Cunningham has had some momentum in late stages of this race. An upset is not out of the realm of possibility.  Cunningham has raised over $2.3 million – none from PACs, as he is one of many Democrats bringing in more money than their Republican opponent, forcing the GOP to sink money into a district that wasn’t really on the radar a few months ago.

 

VirginiaThis is a key state to watch in the fight for control of Congress.  Democrats could flip as many as four seats in the U.S. House, something the GOP hopes to avoid.   Making things more difficult for Republicans is that their Senate candidate, Corey Stewart, has been an election year disaster for the party, and is not helping those down the ballot on the Republican side at all.

HOUSE RACES TO WATCH:

VA2 Rep. Scott Taylor (R) – Trump +3.  Taylor should win easy re-election in this Virginia Beach/Norfolk district – but he might not, as four of his campaign workers were found to have forged signatures in an effort to get an independent on the ballot to siphon votes away from Taylor’s Democratic challenger Elaine Luria, who is also a veteran.  This is a race to watch.

VA5 Open (R) – Trump +11.  This is the “Bigfoot” race.  GOP nominee Denver Riggleman is a devotee of Bigfoot.  His opponent Leslie Cockburn was seen as a long shot, but has closed in the polls in this district in the more rural areas between the DC suburbs and Charlottesville.  Outside GOP groups started spending here in recent weeks, as former Sen. John Warner R-VA endorsed Cockburn.  There are lots of “Kaine-Cockburn” signs out on the roads, as Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) tries to pull Democrats across the finish line.

VA7 Rep. Dave Brat (R) – Trump +6.5.  Brat rose to fame when he knocked off House Majority Leader Eric Cantor four years ago in a GOP primary.  Now he is desperately fighting to survive.  He faces former CIA officer Abigail Spanberger.  Brat’s strategy at a recent debate was simple: say the words “Pelosi” and “Obama” as often as possible.   It might not work.  Watch the results Tuesday night especially from Chesterfield County in the suburbs of Richmond, as suburban voters there weren’t thrilled with Trump in 2016.

VA10 Rep. Barbara Comstock (R) – Clinton +10.  Many believe Comstock is already a dead lawmaker walking.  Her suburban DC district went easily to Hillary Clinton, and is also filled with exactly the type of voters who might have voted for President Trump, but now want to boot him out.  If the Democrats can’t win this seat, then they won’t win the House.

7:30 pm ET
North Carolina
– Congressional races are the biggest thing on the ballot in the Tar Heel State.  President Trump held a rally in Charlotte on October 26, and Republicans have been pumping hundreds of thousands of dollars in for advertising to help GOP candidates for Congress.  This is not supposed to be happening to Republicans here, and is a big warning flag about 2018.  Over $22 million has been spent on ads by outside political groups in the Tar Heel State.

HOUSE RACES TO WATCH:

NC2 Rep. George Holding (R) – Trump +10.  This shouldn’t be close, but the GOP put in late ad money, and sent top Republicans to help Holding, who has a giant money advantage over ex-state Rep. Linda Coleman.  But clearly, the GOP is worried about this district which runs SE/E/NE of Raleigh (near Rocky Mount/Wilson/Fayetteville).

NC9 Open (R) – Trump +12.  This is the seat of Rep. Robert Pittenger (R) who was defeated in a primary by Mark Harris.   The district should be an easy win for the GOP, stretching from the SE side of Charlotte over to Fayetteville.   But Dan McCready, a Marine vet from Charlotte has out-raised Harris by a huge amount of money, forcing Republicans to plunge close to a million dollars in late ad money into this race.

NC13 Ted Budd (R) – Trump +9.  This is another seat that has no business being in play.  In a district that stretches from Greensboro to Hickory, it should be fertile ground for Republicans, but the GOP poured $600,000 in for late ads to help Budd, who has been out-raised by UNC Greensboro trustee Kathy Manning.  Donald Trump Jr. came here for a last minute stop on Monday.

Ohio – Everything is on the ballot in Ohio, which helps explain the strong early vote in the races for Governor/US Senate/US House.  President Trump held a rally outside Cincinnati in mid-October, and a rally on November 5 in Cleveland.  While the race for Governor is very close, polls show there will be a lot of Ohio voters splitting tickets, as Republicans have struggled to contest the Senate seat held by Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown.

HOUSE RACES TO WATCH:
OH1 Rep. Steve Chabot (R) – Trump +7. This district in the northern suburbs of Cincinnati/southern suburbs of Dayton was an early target of Democrats.  For a while, it looked like Hamilton County Clerk of Courts Aftab Pureval had a good shot at Chabot, almost doubling the amount of money raised by the incumbent.  If Chabot loses, Democrats are having a big night.

OH12 Rep. Trey Balderson (R) – Trump +11. This is the district that was the subject of a special election back in August, when Balderson won a very narrow win over Democrat Danny O’Connor.   Now we are having the rematch, as Democrats have poured all kinds of money into this district.   Experts see it as a toss up, but it’s not clear how much trouble Balderson is in right now.  Vice President Pence came to help Balderson last week.

OH14 Rep. David Joyce (R) – Trump +12. This district in the far northeast corner of Ohio to the east of Cleveland is a very rural, exurban district, which should play very well for the President.  But it is notable that just across the border in the Erie, Pennsylvania area, a GOP Congressman is locked in a tough fight of his own.  That could be a warning flag for Joyce.  Watch the returns from this district – just in case things get tricky for the GOP.

West Virginia – President Trump has gone to West Virginia multiple times in an effort to defeat Sen. Joe Manchin D-WV; the latest was a campaign rally on November 2.   Manchin remains the favorite despite all of the efforts by the President.  One House race is of note in West Virginia, as WV3 is an Open seat held by the GOP.  If Democrats pick off that Congressional seat, that is a canary in the coal mine for the Republicans nationally.  And in that district, the Democrat with almost no political experience has raised 33% more money than the GOP candidate.

8:00 pm ET – FOUR BIG STATES at this hour – Illinois, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Texas

New Jersey – If the Republicans are going to defend their House majority, they need to start here in the Garden State.  Democrats hope to pick up as many as four GOP seats in New Jersey.  The President’s tax cut is very unpopular in New Jersey because of the limits on deductions for state and local taxes.   In a worst-case scenario for the GOP, the NJ delegation could go from 7D 5R to 11D 1R (Rep. Chris Smith R-NJ being the only survivor).

HOUSE RACES TO WATCH:
NJ2 OPEN (LoBiondo) (R) – This district in southern New Jersey went for Trump by 5% in 2016.  But with the incumbent not running again, it’s been on the scoreboard for Democrats for months already.   The Democrat in this race has raised over five times the amount of money as the Republican.   Those numbers are being repeated in many races across the country.

NJ3 Rep. Tom MacArthur (R) – This Trump +6 district cuts across the middle of the state from the outer suburbs of Philadelphia to the summer havens of the Jersey Shore.   MacArthur was seen as a squishy moderate by some in the GOP (which is just fine in New Jersey), but he is in trouble this year, and has relentlessly attacked his Democratic opponent, Andy Kim, a former National Security Council official for President Obama, calling Kim a liar, and accusing him of having links to people with terrorist ties.  It may not work for MacArthur.

NJ7 Rep. Leonard Lance (R) – This district to the west of New York City went for Hillary Clinton by just over 1 percent in 2016. It is home to one of the President’s golf clubs.  But Lance’s Democratic opponent has a huge fundraising advantage, and while Lance is seen as a GOP moderate – which is a good thing in New Jersey – he’s in trouble.  This is a good district to watch on Election night to gauge how Republicans are doing..

NJ11 OPEN (Frelinghuysen) (R) – The Frelinghuysen name has been involved in politics since the Continental Congress; but this district that went for Clinton by 1% in 2016 is filled with suburban Republican voters who are uneasy with President Trump.   The Democrat in this race has raised almost 6 times as much money as the GOP candidate.   You read that right.  Lots of money doesn’t always mean victory, but you should be sensing a trend by now, as Republicans are being swamped by Democratic cash.

Pennsylvania –  Why are there so many seats in play from Pennsylvania?  It’s because the courts ordered the gerrymandered Congressional district map authored by Republicans to be redrawn, and that opened the door for Democrats to pick up seats.  Currently, Pennsylvania’s Congressional delegation is 12R 6D.  It could be a lot different after Tuesday.

The top of the Republican ticket is very weak in the Keystone State, as the GOP candidates for Governor and US Senate have trailed badly in the polls.  If that plays out on Election Day, it will also cause problems for Republicans down the ballot.    On the bright side for Republicans, they should pick up one Democratic House seat in the newly drawn PA14.

HOUSE RACES TO WATCH:
PA1 Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R) – There might be no better example of the 2018 troubles for Republicans than this district to the northeast of Philadelphia, anchored by Bucks County, as Democrat Scott Wallace has raised $10 million more than Fitzpatrick.  $10 million more.  This part of the state voted narrowly for Clinton.  It could be fertile ground for Democrats in 2018, but getting rid of an incumbent is never easy.

PA4 (OPEN)(R) – This newly drawn district is based on Montgomery County in the suburbs to the northwest of Philadelphia, prime territory for more affluent Republican voters who are turned off by President Trump.  This is the first of several districts where Democrats have women running for the House (in PA4, PA5, and PA6).  All of them are dwarfing their GOP opponents in terms of fundraising.  Madeleine Dean is the favorite in PA4.

PA5 (OPEN) (R) – This new district is based on Delaware County to the south and west of Philadelphia, which went for Clinton by over 20 points.  The Democrat has raised more than three times as much money as the GOP candidate.  This should be an easy pick up for the Democrats, as Mary Gay Scanlon looks to add another victory for female Democrats running for the Congress.

PA6 (OPEN) Costello (R) – This new district goes west along the Main Line from Philadelphia into Chester County, which voted for Clinton by over 9 percent.  Again, this is another area filled with more wealthy suburban voters who are moving away from Trump, not toward the GOP.   This one should be almost a lock for the Democrats along with PA5, as candidate Chrissy Houlahan has raised almost $3.5 million more than her GOP opponent.

PA7 (OPEN) Meehan (R) – This race is in an area that’s more evenly split between the two parties up toward Allentown and over to the New Jersey border.  But the fundraising is not evenly split, as the Democrat has raised three times as much money as the GOP candidate.  If the margins here are comfortable for the Democrats, it may show us where things are going, as another Democratic woman, Susan Wild, tries to win a seat in Congress.

PA8 Rep. Matt Cartwright (D) – This district in far northeast Pennsylvania is one of the few where Republicans have a chance to knock off a Democrat in Congress in the mid-terms.  President Trump has repeatedly expressed his support for Republican John Chrin, who has raised about as much money as Cartwright.  Still, Cartwright is seen as the favorite, but I want to see the numbers come in from what is a Trump-leaning area.

PA10 Rep. Scott Perry (R) – A more conservative Republican, Perry’s new district includes the state capital of Harrisburg, which is Democratic territory, and then moves more into the interior of Pennsylvania, which is much more receptive to President Trump.  Perry is facing a Democratic challenger who has raised more money than him, which could be a red flag.  Perry is the favorite, but a Blue Wave might put him in trouble.

PA14 (OPEN) – Because the districts were re-drawn in Pennsylvania, this new 14th in the southwestern corner of the state seems like easy pickings for the GOP, and will insure that they take back at least one seat from Democrats in these mid-terms elections.   This is the old John Murtha territory, but I’m not sure the ex-Democratic Congressman could win this seat in 2018.

PA16 Rep. Mike Kelly (R) – This district in northwest Pennsylvania should not be in limbo for the GOP.  This is Trump country.  But a poll out in recent days showed Kelly trailing.  “Democrats shouldn’t be winning here,” one elections expert said – and I would agree with him wholeheartedly.  But if Kelly does lose this seat, then Democrats are having a big night, and the GOP lawmaker across the border in northeastern Ohio might lose as well.

PA17 One lawmaker will have to lose in this district on Election Day, as Rep. Keith Rothfus (R) faces Rep. Conor Lamb (D).  Polls have shown Rothfus getting little in the way of traction against Lamb, who won a special election in March to get to Congress.  President Trump has made no secret of his support for Rothfus, but it has not generated any obvious momentum.


Illinois
– Like Pennsylvania and New Jersey, Illinois offers a series of key House races.

HOUSE RACES TO WATCH:

IL6 Rep. Peter Roskam (R) – Roskam’s district is the challenge for Republicans in a nutshell.  His suburban district in the western suburbs of Chicago is highly educated, with a median income of $100,000.  It voted for Hillary Clinton by 7% in 2016.  But unlike other GOP lawmakers, Roskam has raised more money than his opponent.  One note – Roskam won his seat in 2006, which was when Democrats took over the Congress.  Don’t count him out.

IL12 Rep. Mike Bost (R) – This rural district in southern Illinois was prime Trump territory, voting for him by almost 15% in 2016.   But it also includes a big chunk of suburbia in the eastern suburbs of St. Louis.  Democrat Brendan Kelly has out-raised Bost, who had a fly-in by President Trump in late October.  One problem for Democrats is a Green Party candidate who is on the ballot.

IL13 Rep. Rodney Davis (R) – This district stretches from northeast of St. Louis to Springfield and into the interior of Illinois, giving Trump a 5% win.  Davis has been slightly out-raised by Betsy Dirksen Londrigan, who has a familiar middle name, but is not related to the former Illinois GOP Senator.   Polls have shown Davis holding on, but there are a lot of undecideds.

IL14 Rep. Randy Hultgren R – In terms of money, Hultgren is in the most danger in Illinois of any sitting GOP lawmaker, out-raised 2-to-1 by his Democratic opponent.   This district is the exurbs of Chicago, stretching to the Wisconsin border and south, but voted for Trump only by 4 percent.  Speaker Paul Ryan stopped here in the final days of the campaign.  It might not help.


Texas
– Most polls are closing at 8 pm ET in Texas, except for the small area around El Paso in the Mountain Time Zone area of the state.  The headline race is the bid for re-election by Sen. Ted Cruz – I have long thought that Cruz is the favorite.  But if he loses tonight to Rep. Beto O’Rourke, I would say that means the Democrats are winning big not just in Texas, but all around the nation.

HOUSE RACES TO WATCH:
TX7 Rep. John Culberson (R) – The suburban Houston district went for Hillary Clinton by 1.4% in 2016.  The Democrat here has out-raised Culberson by over $2 million.  This is another of suburban districts where President Trump may not be helping a GOP incumbent.   Culberson is a soft spoken conservative, but he may be overwhelmed by a Trump backlash among what used to be reliable GOP moderates.

TX21 OPEN-L. Smith (R) – A gerrymandered seat that takes in some suburban areas of Austin and San Antonio, and then a big stretch to the west.  The seat is open, and the Democrat has raised more money.  But Republican Chip Roy, a Tea Party type, is the favorite in a district that voted for President Trump by 10 percent.

TX32 Rep. Pete Sessions (R) – This is much like Culberson’s district, except it’s in Dallas.    Sessions has been slightly out-raised in a very expensive race.  There is also a Libertarian on the ballot who could take votes away from Sessions, who was first elected in 2002.  This race is all about turnout, and Sessions could still have the better infrastructure.  But the tilt of the election is definitely not in his favor.


Maine
– One race in Maine for the U.S. House is in play, as Rep. Bruce Poliquin (R) tries to keep his seat in the Congress.  Currently, Poliquin is the only Republican in the U.S. House from New England (Maine, Massachusetts, Vermont, Connecticut, and New Hampshire).    There is also only one GOP Senator from New England, and that’s in Maine as well – Sen. Susan Collins.


Missouri
– The Show Me State is home to yet another tough Senate seat for Democrats to protect, as Sen. Clare McCaskill (D-MO) tries to win re-election, facing off with state Attorney General Josh Hawley.   President Trump made two stops in the state in the last week in hopes of defeating McCaskill, who always seems to skate on the edge of electoral demise.

HOUSE RACE TO WATCH
MO2 Rep. Ann Wagner R – Wagner has raised more money than her Democratic opponent by $1 million.  Maybe if there is a big blue wave, this district could be in trouble.  But with a high-profile Senate race that’s competitive, Wagner may be in a good spot to hold on.  If she’s losing on Tuesday night, that means a lot of other Republicans are most likely losing as well.


Oklahoma
– Democrats have a chance in the race for Governor with former Attorney General Drew Edmondson.  In Congress, the only seat that is raising eyebrows is OK5, held by Rep. Steve Russell (R-OK).  Russell has been hit by the fundraising of Democrat Kendra Horn, who brought in a 2-to-1 edge in contributions – and late negative ads were being run against Horn.  Is this a case of an incumbent realizing too late that he’s in trouble?  It’s hard to tell if this might be a race to watch.  But, remember that I told you about it, if Russell loses.


Tennessee
– This state has a key U.S. Senate race.  If Democrats have any chance to win the Senate, they might have to win this race between Rep. Marsha Blackburn R-TN and former Gov. Phil Bredesen D-TN.  One interesting note from the polls is that a lot of people seem to be splitting their tickets, voting Republican for Governor, and Democratic for Senate.   There are no House seats thought to be in play in the Volunteer State, which is a reminder that the House and Senate battlegrounds are not really happening in the same states.

8:30 PM ET
Arkansas – The seat of Rep. French Hill (R) has been talked about as being in trouble, but that seems like a long shot, as Arkansas should continue to be a very red state.  If you see the Democrats winning this seat in Arkansas, then that should tell you all you need to know about the 2018 elections.


9:00 PM ET

Arizona – The polls are now closed in Arizona, home to a key race for U.S. Senate.  In the House, Democrats are expected to pick up the House seat being vacated by Rep. Martha McSally (R), who is running for US Senate against Rep. Kirsten Sinema (D).   This Senate race has been a bitter one to replace the retiring Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ).  President Trump did not go to Arizona in the final days of the campaign.

AZ2 OPEN (McSally) (R) – With McSally gone, this district that voted for Hillary Clinton by almost 5 percent seems to be one that could flip from the GOP to the Democrats.  Ex-Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D) has a strong fundraising advantage in a district that touches Tuscon and covers the southeast of Arizona.  Democrats are the strong favorites to win back this district.


Colorado
– There is one big House race in the Denver area, with Rep. Mike Coffman (R-CO). This should be a good example of whether Democrats can win what was long considered a reliable Republican suburban seat, shaped like a backwards “E” on the east side of Denver.    A win here for the GOP would mean they’re holding on nationally.  But Coffman has been out-raised by more than $1 million – a familiar theme of this year’s Congressional races.

 

Kansas – The polls are all now closed in Kansas, which has a competitive race for Governor, as Democrats try to make a comeback in the state and win over at least one GOP House seat.

HOUSE RACES TO WATCH:

KS2 OPEN (Jenkins) (R) – Democrats hope the former state House minority leader, Paul Davis, can defeat Republican Steve Watkins, an Army veteran in this open seat fight.   This is yet another district that went big for Trump – by 18 percent in 2016 – but it now has a Democrat with a huge fundraising edge of 3-to-1.  There is also a Libertarian on the ballot as well.

KS3 Rep. Kevin Yoder (R) – A local newspaper put it this way: “Voters were angry when they sent Kevin Yoder to Washington. Now, their anger might send him home.”  Yoder’s district in the immediate western suburbs of Kansas City is one of the typical races that Republicans may lose as suburban Republicans move away from President Trump; Hillary Clinton won here by 1 percent.  The Democrats think this will be a win for them.

 

Michigan – The polls are all closed now in Michigan, where Democrats are hoping for a dramatic turnaround from 2016, when President Trump won the state.

HOUSE RACES TO WATCH:
MI8 Rep. Mike Bishop (R) – This district stretches from Lansing east towards Warren, and should be prime Trump territory, as he won it by 4% in 2016.  In both MI8 and MI11, Democrats have a female candidate – and Elissa Slotkin has a fundraising edge over Bishop by a 2-to-1 margin.  I will say this again – it’s a story that is repeated in race after race in this election.

MI11 OPEN (Trott) (R) – This is an open seat in a suburban district outside Detroit which backed Trump by 4.4%.  The lack of a GOP incumbent makes it much more in play.  Democrat Haley Stevens has a $1 million fundraising edge, and there’s a Libertarian on the ballot as well, which could siphon votes away from the Republican.

SENATE – Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D) has led comfortably in the polls, and Democrats are also favored in the race for Governor.   This would be a stark change from the GOP success with President Trump on the ballot in 2016.


Minnesota
– This is a dynamic state in 2018.   This state could actually become a firewall of sorts for Republicans, as they try to pick up a pair of open House seats from the Democrats, and defend two other GOP seats.   There are also two Senate races, one to fill the unexpired term of ex-Sen. Al Franken D-MN.

HOUSE RACES TO WATCH:
MN1 (Open-Walz) D – With Walz running for Governor, this open seat is much more difficult for Democrats to win, in a district that runs along the southern border of Minnesota.  Polls show a very tight race, though the Democrat has a 2-to-1 fundraising advantage.  If Republicans are going to hold on to the House, this would be a good seat for them to flip.

MN2 Rep. Jason Lewis (R) – This is yet another race where Democrats have a woman challenging an incumbent, this time in a district that went for Trump by only 1.2% in 2016.  The district stretches southeast of Minneapolis towards Rochester, and is another example of a seat the Democrats might need to win if they are going to take over the House.

MN3 Rep. Erik Paulsen (R) – In just as much trouble as Lewis is Paulsen, whose district to the north and west of Minneapolis has a host of suburban voters who probably don’t identify as much with President Trump.  Clinton won this district by almost 10 points in 2016.   Many experts have this one on the scoreboard already for Democrats.

MN7 Rep. Collin Peterson (D) – Peterson has a large fundraising edge on his Republican opponent, but I note this district because it is becoming more Republican – as President Trump won it by 30 points (yes, THIRTY points).  Peterson for years has been a more conservative, Blue Dog Democrat, and has survived challenges at home.  While few think Peterson can lose, I just wonder what happens when the blue areas get bluer, and the red areas get redder.

MN8 (Open-Nolan) D – This seat in the northeastern “Iron Range” part of the state has the best chance to flip to Democrats, along with PA14.  The lack of an incumbent hurts Democrats here, but this district is also moving towards the GOP.  Trump won it by almost 16 points, and few would be surprised to see it go for Republicans.


New York
– This is another state where Democrats have their eyes on a series of Republican-held seats in the U.S. House, but Republicans could also weather the storm, simply because some of these districts have an extra cushion of GOP voters.

HOUSE RACES TO WATCH:

NY11 Rep. Dan Donovan (R) – This is the only district in play close to New York City, which includes Staten Island and part of Brooklyn.  Donovan is running against a Democratic veteran who served in Afghanistan.  You would think this district could foster an upset, but it is home to a lot of Trump Democrats, as it went to the President by 10 points in 2016.

NY22 Rep. Claudia Tenney (R) – Tenney has been a Democratic target from the start, but again, the DNA of this district is rooted in the GOP, and it would seem like the wave would have to be very big to knock her out in this district in the north central part of the state, which went for Trump by 15.5%.  Then again, state Rep. Anthony Brindisi (D) is favored in many polls.

NY24 Rep. John Katko (R) – Katko is seen by many as an endangered Republican from the Empire State.   But most polls have not borne that out, which seems odd in a district that went to Hillary Clinton by 3.6%.   This district includes Syracuse and runs over to Rochester and Lake Erie.  If things get ugly for the GOP nationally, that could spell doom for Katko.

NY27 Rep. Chris Collins (R) – Collins is still on the ballot, even though he has not been campaigning, after being indicted for insider trading.  His Democratic opponent likes to talk about how the GOP Congressman is “out on bail” – but I wouldn’t rule out the possibility that Collins could win.  New York elected a GOP Congressman under indictment just 4 years ago.  He copped a plea and went to prison soon after.

New Mexico – Two House members are running against each other for Governor, Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) and Rep. Steve Pearce (R).  Pearce’s seat could switch in the U.S. House.

HOUSE RACES TO WATCH: NM2 OPEN (Pearce) R – This is an open seat fight in a district that covers the southern half of New Mexico, but helping Republicans is the fact that this district went to Trump by 10% in 2016.   The polls have been very close.  It would seem that if the Democrats can win the race for Governor, there could be coattails here.


South Dakota
– Republicans have been forced to pump more money into this very red state to help Rep. Kristi Noem (R), who is running for Governor.   Experts don’t think the U.S. House seat from this state is in jeopardy, but it is odd that the polls are so tight for Governor, since Noem seemed to be a popular figure as a member of Congress.   Vice President Pence stopped here on Monday for some last minute help.

Wisconsin – Speaker Ryan is not running for re-election. While his seat in the U.S. House seems safe, Gov. Scott Walker (R) could be in big trouble as he runs for a third term in the Badger State.  In the Senate, Democrats are favored to hold the seat of Sen. Tammy Baldwin.  It seems odd that no U.S. House seats are really in play in this state. I wonder if the polls are missing something.

 

10:00 PM ET

Iowa – Democrats hope to pick up a pair of seats in the Hawkeye State, and possibly the Governor’s seat as well.   Democrats enjoy a huge money advantage in all House races.

HOUSE RACES TO WATCH:
IA1 Rep. Rod Blum (R) – Blum has been in trouble for months.  State Rep. Abby Finkenauer has out-raised him by over $1 million.   There is also a Libertarian on the ballot.   This district went for Obama, then swung back for Trump by 3.5%.  If Democrats are doing well here on Election Night, then they might be doing well in other states which border this northeast Iowa district.

IA3 David Young (R) – Young’s district in the southwest part of Iowa would seem to be safer for Republicans, but it still went for Trump by only 3.5% in 2016 because of the western suburbs of Des Moines that are part of the map.  Young is facing yet another female challenger, Cindy Axne, who has been ahead in a number of polls, and has raised substantially more money (you have heard that story before tonight).

IA4 Rep. Steve King R – In the week before the election, King was rebuked by a top Republican in Congress for his nationalist views.  King’s opponent has been on the air with ads for weeks with no answer by King until the final days of the campaign, when he aired an ad from 2014.  Yes, you read the correctly.  King is still the favorite, but it’s possible that by staying dark, he invited major election night danger.


Montana
– President Trump has paid a lot of attention to the Big Sky State, determined to get rid of Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT).  But Tester – who doesn’t have three fingers on his left hand because of a meat-grinder accident when he was a kid – is the real deal in Montana, while his GOP opponent is a transplant from the Maryland Eastern Shore, whose distinctive accent still pops out on the campaign trail.

HOUSE RACE TO WATCH: Rep. Greg Gianforte R (the guy who body slammed a reporter) lent his campaign $1 million in October.  That’s an indication that he needed some serious help.   There is a Libertarian on the ballot, which could take away some GOP votes as well.  A long shot for Democrats, but polls have shown Gianforte in a difficult race.


Nevada
– The Silver State could play a big part in both the battle for the House and Senate.  President Trump has made several trips here to help incumbent Sen. Dean Heller’s bid for re-election.  The early vote showed Democrats getting big turnout around Las Vegas (Clark County), which would be key to them finding a way to win.

HOUSE RACES TO WATCH:

NV3 OPEN Rosen D, NV4 OPEN Kihuen D – Democrats are favored for now to hold on to both of these open seats to help their quest to take back the House, and their candidates have a big money advantage in both of these races in Nevada.   The GOP’s Danny Tarkanian (yes, the son of the famous basketball coach) is the biggest Republican hope in NV3.

SENATE:  Sen. Dean Heller R vs. Rep. Jacky Rosen D (President Trump calls her “Wacky Jacky).


Utah
– Most of the news from Utah will center on the expected win of Mitt Romney, as he prepares to take the seat held now by Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT).  But there is one race to watch in the House, that of Rep. Mia Love (R-UT).  Love won by 12% in 2016, and she has out-raised her Democratic opponent, the mayor of Salt Lake County.   But the polls have been closing. 

 

11:00 pm ET

California – There are a number of races for the U.S. House which could be important in determining the final outcome of this mid-term election, but REMEMBER – it can take WEEKS for California to finish the vote count, because of mail-in ballots, and a large number of provisionals routinely cast on Election Day.  It won’t surprise me if we are still talking about the results of a half dozen California House races on Friday, or even a week later.

HOUSE RACES TO WATCH:
CA10 Rep. Jeff Denham (R) – Denham has seen his opponent out-raise him by $3 million, as Democrat Josh Harder is giving Denham fits in this district northeast of San Jose in the San Joaquin Valley.  Denham has broken with GOP leaders on immigration repeatedly, but that more moderate voice might have trouble in a district that went for Hillary Clinton by 3% in 2016.

CA25 Rep. Steve Knight (R) – This is another House race where a female Democrat is challenging a GOP incumbent and raising large amounts of money.  Katie Hill has out-raised Knight more than 3-to-1 in a district that went for Hillary Clinton by almost 7 points, as it runs to the north of Los Angeles into the San Fernando Valley.  While that seems like a Democratic edge, Knight has stubbornly held on to the lead in most polls.   Keep an eye on this one.

CA39 OPEN (Royce) (R) – With Royce retiring, this Inland Empire district that stretches out past Fullerton is a very close race – yet another toss up in southern California.   The Democrat has raised over $11 million, almost five times as much as the Republican candidate.  This district went for Clinton by almost 9 points.  Based on money, I’m not sure it’s really a toss up, but we’ll see.

CA45 Rep. Mimi Walters (R) – Orange County used to be a reliable Republican area, but the demographics are shifting, and that’s causing problems for Republican lawmakers like Walters, who is facing Democrat Katie Porter – yet another challenger who has raised more money than the incumbent.   The margin of victory here should be a good indicator as to how well the winning party is doing on Election night.

CA48 Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R) – Rohrabacher was given up for dead several months ago by the GOP, but has definitely improved his situation, running close to even with Democratic challenger Harley Rouda, who has raised more than 3 times as much money as the GOP veteran.  This is one of those toss-ups that could well determine which party controls the House in 2019.

CA49 OPEN (Issa) (R) – Rep. Darrell Issa retired from Congress instead of running for re-election, as this district went for Hillary Clinton by over 7%.  Democrat Mike Levin has an almost 4-to-1 fundraising advantage.  If Democrats blow this seat, then they are blowing the election.  This should be a safe win for Democrats.

CA50 Rep. Duncan Hunter (R) – Under indictment for personal use of $250,000 in campaign donations, Hunter has attacked his Democratic opponent in ads, darkly accusing him of ties to terrorism.  Hunter is the favorite, even though he could well be in big legal trouble soon after the election.  His San Diego area district went for Trump by 15 points in 2016.   Hunter is one of two indicted Republican lawmakers running for re-election (Collins NY24).


North Dakota:
   Democrats are desperately hoping for a miracle to save Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D), but polls indicate she is trailing badly to Rep. Kevin Cramer (R-ND).   Remember, the Democrats have almost no room for error in the battle for Senate.  By this point in the night, we should know how Democrats did in earlier Senate races.  If they haven’t lost any, then the Democrats could still survive a loss in North Dakota – but if Republicans have picked off a few, then the fight for the Senate might be over by the time the votes are counted in Bismarck.


Oregon & Washington
– Don’t say that the polls close at 11 pm ET in these two states, because they don’t have polls.  Everything is mail-in ballot, which must be dropped off by 8 pm local time.  The joke is that the busiest day for elections officials in these states is the day after the elections, when all kinds of ballots keep pouring in via the mail.


Washington
– If Democrats are having a big night, then there are three seats in the House from the Evergreen State in play.   Democrats are hoping to win at least one of them.

HOUSE RACES TO WATCH:
WA3, Rep. Jamie Herrera Beutler (R) – This district in southwest Washington went for Trump by 7% in 2016. It doesn’t have a lot of the suburban voters who might be powering Democrats in other districts.  Democrat Cindy Long has a slight fundraising advantage.  Republicans have an edge – but if there is a big swing, this is a district that could go out with the tide.

WA5, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R) – The fact that McMorris Rodgers is even on this list is a bit of a surprise, given that she is a top-ranking GOP leader in the House, and her district went for President Trump by 13 points.   Her Democratic challenger has matched her in fundraising, but the GOP is still favored here.   I’m going to say that I’m skeptical this seat goes to the Democrats.  But we’ll see what the scoreboard says on Tuesday night.

WA8 OPEN (Dave Reichert) (R) – Democrats have been after Reichert’s seat for a number of years, and have a slight edge in the polls against Dino Rossi, who has run unsuccessfully for state office several times.   But Kim Schrier has out-raised Rossi by a 3-to-2 margin in a district that went for Hillary Clinton by 3 points, which has some Seattle/Tacoma suburbs.

 

HOUSE:   In order to take control of the House, Democrats need a net gain of 23 seats.   Democrats could certainly get to that point – and even go much higher.  But if they fall just short in a series of contests, it’s also still possible for Republicans hold on to a very slim majority.

The current breakdown of the House – 218 needed for a majority.
Republicans        240
Democrats          195


SENATE
Democrats need a net gain of 2 seats to be in control of the Senate.  A one seat gain for a 50-50 tie would still be in favor of the Republicans, with the tie-breaking vote of the Vice President.  Republicans are favored to retain control, but everything could happen from Democrats taking charge to Republicans picking up 4-6 seats.  I don’t think GOP gains are impossible.

The current breakdown of the Senate – Republicans need 50, Democrats need 51 for a majority.
Republicans        51
Democrats          47
Independents   2

 

                                                        ELECTION NIGHT – U.S. SENATE

Republicans hold a narrow edge in the Senate of 51-49.  The GOP has a built-in advantage in this election because, so many seats held by Democrats are in play in states where President Trump did very well in 2016, as Democrats are fighting just to preserve their seats, let alone flip Republican-held seats and grab the majority.

In order to take charge, Democrats need to hold every one of their seats, AND THEN win a couple from the Republicans.  That’s why the edge is to the GOP right now.   The possible outcomes range from a status quo, to the Democrats winning control, to slight pick up for the GOP, to a night of big gains for Republicans.  You can’t rule anything out right now, but I would rather be the GOP at this point in the fight for the Senate.

Here are the key states to watch, by poll closing times:

6:00 pm ET/CT – INDIANA – Sen. Joe Donnelly (D) is struggling to win re-election.  A GOP win in Indiana would be a very bad sign for Democrats in this mid-term election.

7:00 pm ET/CT – FLORIDA – Sen. Bill Nelson (D) has been ahead narrowly in the polls, as he faces Gov. Rick Scott (R).  If Scott can win, this would be a giant pick up for Republicans.

7:30 pm – WEST VIRGINIA – Sen. Joe Manchin (D) has drawn strong opposition from President Trump, who made one more stop in the Mountain State in the final days of the campaign.  Manchin is still favored.

8:00 pm – NEW JERSEY – The ethics troubles of Sen. Bob Menendez (D) are weighing heavily.  One NJ newspaper urged voters to, Choke it down, and vote for Menendez.”

TEXAS – Sen. Ted Cruz (R) is the favorite over Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D).  Again, if O’Rourke is winning in Texas, it signals major problems nationally for Republicans in Congress.

OHIO/PENNSYLVANIA – Trump won both of these states, but the races for Senate are not even close, as Democrats Sherrod Brown of Ohio and Bob Casey of Pennsylvania are cruising to victory.

MISSOURI – Sen. Clare McCaskill (D) is fighting for her life against state Attorney General Josh Hawley (R).  President Trump hit Missouri twice in the last six days.  If Democrats want to have any chance for Senate, they probably can’t have McCaskill lose.

TENNESSEE – This is a rare opportunity for Democrats to pick up a Senate seat.  Former Gov. Phil Bredesen goes against Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R) for the seat of Sen. Bob Corker R-TN, who refused to say if he voted for Blackburn, who is the favorite.

MISSISSIPPI – This is a jungle primary to fill out the term of former Sen. Thad Cochran R-MS.  There are two GOP candidates, and Democrat Mike Espy.  If no one gets a majority, then there will be a runoff on November 27.   In other words, the Senate might still be in play.   The best outcome for Democrats would be a runoff between Espy and state Sen. Chris McDaniel.

9:00 pm – ARIZONA – This is a second chance for Democrats to pick up a Senate seat, as Rep. Kirsten Sinema (D) battles Rep. Martha McSally (R).  Trump did not go to Arizona in the last week; reports indicated Republicans asked him to stay away, worried about a negative impact.

MICHIGAN/MINNESOTA – Democrats are favored to hold on to these seats.  If something goes wrong in these two states, then that’s part of a broader defeat for Democrats nationally.

10:00 pm – MONTANA – President Trump has made it a personal vendetta to try to defeat Sen. Jon Tester (D), going to Montana multiple times for rallies, with visits by Trump Jr. too.  It might not work.

NEVADA – The last real chance for Democrats to pick up a Senate seat is here in the Silver State, as Rep. Jacky Rosen (D) tries to knock off Sen. Dean Heller (R).  Rosen has picked up in recent polls, and Democrats have turned out more in the early vote.

UTAH – Mitt Romney should be declared the winner quickly in the race to replace Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT).  Romney is certain to be an interesting player in the Senate.  I have a feeling that he won’t be your average freshman Senator.

 

FINAL THOUGHTS:

It’s possible that other names not mentioned above will be involved in very close races, like Rep. Don Young R-Alaska, who is the Dean of the House, and finds himself in a tight re-election bid.

Remember – if there is a wave of any sort, some lawmakers could wake up on Tuesday having no earthly idea that they are going to be booted by the voters that night.   If turnout is indeed way up, weird things could happen, to both parties.

I will have a “LIVE UPDATES” blog going on Election Night.  You can find that on all of our websites.  I will also be tweeting out all sorts of vote results @jamiedupree.

 

No matter what happens Tuesday, House headed for more turnover

Mon, 11/05/2018 - 19:32

Whether the 2018 mid-term elections bring a Blue Wave, or just a small ripple in the political pond that is the U.S. Congress, there will be dozens of new faces when the 116th Congress convenes in 2019, as change continues at a strong pace on Capitol Hill, even without term limits.

“Regardless of how the elections turn out: On Jan 3, 2019 over half (218+) of the US House will have served 6 years or less,” said Rep. Tom Massie (R-KY), pointing out a fact which many people refuse to believe, that the Congress routinely brings in new blood, in both parties.

As Election Day arrives, the House is guaranteed to have 59 new members in January of next year – 58 have already either retired, decided to run for a new office, lost a primary – and one died (Rep. Louise Slaughter D-NY).

But 59 is the minimum change in the House, because two lawmakers face off against each other in Pennsylvania, meaning even before Election Day, this year features more of a shakeup in the House than the 2016 election, where 57 new lawmakers arrived.

Here’s the change in Congress from each election stretching back to the 2006 mid-term, when Democrats took over both the House and Senate.




As you can see, double-digit change has happened in the House in every election since 2006, with a 22 percent shakeup in 2010, when the Tea Party revolt swept in 94 new members of the House – with 78 people arriving two years later in 2012.

But the numbers are even greater than what you see in the above graphic, because those changes don’t take into account all of the churn which happens outside of a regular election, when lawmakers leave their seats for a variety of reasons – death, personal/family, ethical matters, or they just decide to resign early.

For example, in the current Congress, one House member died, and 15 others resigned on their own; in the Senate, one Senator died, and two others resigned their seats.

That type of turnover is often overlooked, but it adds up.

Actually at the beginning of the next Congress, over half of the US House of Representatives will have served 6 years or less. https://t.co/7Y89OtuB0I

— Thomas Massie (@RepThomasMassie) July 10, 2018

If you take Massie’s six year observation and look at the new Senate in January, at a minimum there will be at least 41 Senators who have only been in the Senate for 6 years or less – and that’s if no incumbents are defeated on Tuesday.

If you go out to eight years of service, then more than half of the Senators will have been around for 8 years or less, with close to two-thirds serving 10 years or less.

I know people will immediately write me to say, “Yeah, but so-and-so has been around forever!” – and yes, there are examples of lawmakers in both the House and Senate who have been there for a long time.

But turnover continues at a decent pace in Congress – if you actually dig into the numbers.

President Trump leads final frantic day in 2018 campaign

Mon, 11/05/2018 - 09:00

Capping a tumultuous campaign, President Donald Trump makes one final swing through three states on Monday, as both parties rush to the finish line in the 2018 mid-term elections, with control of both the House and Senate hanging in the balance, amid dramatic interest from voters, exemplified by long lines in early voting across the country this weekend.

“This is one of the most important elections of our lifetime,” the President told a Sunday airport rally in Macon, Georgia, as he tried to boost a GOP candidate for Governor in Georgia, and then later looked to boost a Republican running for Senate in Tennessee.

Before leaving the White House on Sunday, the President again expressed confidence in GOP election fortunes this week.

“I think we’re going to do well in the House. I think we’re going to do really well in the Senate,” the President told reporters.

President Donald Trump on the midterms: “I think we are going to do well in the House, I think we are going to do really well in the Senate … the level of fervor, the level of fever is very strong on the Republican side” pic.twitter.com/WHrn1NNiYE

— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) November 4, 2018

We will find out that answer on Tuesday night.

1. Trump makes final push for GOP Senate. While Republicans are favored to keep control of the Senate, the President has spent most his last week on the campaign trail trying to make sure that does happen, as he will finish his travel on Monday by making another stop in Indiana, where Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-IN) is in a close race, and in Missouri, where Sen. Clare McCaskill (D-MO) is trying to stave off a strong GOP challenge. In recent days, the President also targeted Sen. Jon Tester in Montana, Sen. Bill Nelson in Florida, and Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia. Democrats have to not only hold on to all of those very close seats, but then win at least two of four GOP seats in Texas, Tennessee, Nevada and Arizona. Some say it’s like drawing an inside straight.

Trump has had a busy campaign schedule in the final stretch of the race, with 11 rallies over six days — including two planned Sunday and three Monday in Ohio, Indiana and Missouri.https://t.co/lnToSg5L8Q pic.twitter.com/FHBnjwYd9p

— ABC 33/40 News (@abc3340) November 4, 2018

2. Long lines for early voting everywhere. You don’t have to look very hard to find the evidence of voters who want to make sure they get to the polls, as early voting has surged in a number of states, with big increases in the number of younger voters, and a lot of people who did not vote at all in the 2014 mid-term election. Both parties make the case that their people are turning out in large numbers – but you never know what’s going to happen on Election Day, and how well the two parties will do with their remaining voters. But it’s obvious, the electorate is energized in an election which is often characterized as a referendum on the President of the United States.

I just spoke to two voters leaving the North Miami site after voting. Each said they got in line between 230 and 3 pm. Putting wait times close to four hours. Another voter just told me 4 pm. With 7 pm deadline approaching, 200+ in line. Rules say they can vote. pic.twitter.com/u7IOpmcTpJ

— Doug Hanks (@doug_hanks) November 4, 2018

3. What issues are the candidates talking about? This is a fascinating graphic put together for a report by Bloomberg on ads being run on television. Health care remains the biggest issue by far, as Democrats have embraced that issue much more than in the 2010 or 2014 mid-terms, when there was a tendency to avoid the Obama health law. The health issue – especially on pre-existing conditions – has put some Republicans in a bit of a bind, as Democrats correctly point out that the GOP has tried to repeal Obamacare repeatedly, which included protections on pre-existing conditions. Democrats have not only been hammering on health care, but they’ve had the edge on the airwaves as well overall – the ads being broadcast by one major media group in 2018 have been running about two-to-one in favor of the Democrats, as they have poured millions more into the campaign.

Most-mentioned issues in campaign ads: Healthcare is the top issue in 45% of media markets. #Midterms2018https://t.co/ZLHDIBObDi pic.twitter.com/PyJXuUrY3p

— Frank Luntz (@FrankLuntz) November 2, 2018

4. What about the House? On the sidelines of my kids’ games this weekend, some of the other parents weren’t talking about the score, but wanted to know what I thought about the fight for control of the Congress. Everyone agrees that Democrats will pick up seats in the House. The only question is do they get to 23 seats – which is their magic number to take control – or do they fall short, and leave the GOP in power. The seats to watch the most are held by Republicans in suburban areas, many of which voted for Trump, but now are seeing an avalanche of Democratic money and interest. The list of seats considered to be ‘toss-ups’ is almost all Republican seats. Go back to 2010 when Republicans won, and it was almost all Democratic seats. The only question is how many the Democrats win on Tuesday night.

R incumbents have long had massive problems in elite, upscale Clinton-won burbs like #CO06, #IL06, #KS03 #MN03 & #VA10.

The difference now: R problems are worsening in mixed, middle-income burbs Trump won by single digits like #IL14, #IA03, #GA06 #MI08, & #UT04.

— Dave Wasserman (@Redistrict) November 3, 2018

5. Democrats also look to win in races for Governor. Not talked about as much nationally – but still very important politically – are a number of races for Governor which look to be trending to Democrats, along with a lot of state legislative races. Back in 2010, Republicans had big gains across the board like that in the big Tea Party election, and many Democrats are hoping for their own example on Tuesday. It’s possible that Democrats could win the race for Governor in a series of states where President Trump won in 2016, like Pennsylvania, Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin, as well as two big races in Florida and Georgia. Tuesday is a big day for more than just President Trump and the GOP Congress.

It sure looks like some large states are going to elect Dem governors. Certainly IL and MI. Probably WI and OH. Possibly FL and GA. They already have PA, CA, NY, VA, NJ and NC. Could hold top office in 11 of the 12 most populous states (all but TX).

— Stuart Rothenberg (@StuPolitics) November 2, 2018

6. Watching where the undecided voters go. Whether you ‘believe’ the polls or not, you can certainly look at polls of all types, and get a feel for what’s going on with independent voters, and undecideds. In many recent polls, it was obvious that among undecideds, there was definitely a lean toward the Democrats in terms of what they would in Congress. Women voters are a big key in the 2018 elections, because many have been turned off by President Trump’s actions and rhetoric. Here’s one example of how a series of polls showed how independent women voters went from the sidelines to the Democrats.

Over the past six months, basically every undecided Independent female voter has broken to the Democrats on the generic house ballot.

It's gone from a 41-35 Dem advantage in May to 52-35 now.https://t.co/1eYU8MR7WJ pic.twitter.com/hOLWznlcmw

— Drew Linzer (@DrewLinzer) November 4, 2018

7. It’s also a big week for women candidates. As you go through the ballot choices in Congress and other major races, it doesn’t take long to be struck by something very obvious – a lot of women are running for office this year. A lot of them have raised buckets of money. And a lot of them are poised to win on Tuesday. The other thing which is obvious is – the vast majority of them are Democrats. Of the 435 House races, Democrats have 187 women running, compared to just 52 for the GOP. That’s a stunning number.

278 women won major party nominations this year in the U.S. House, Senate and gubernatorial races, shattering previous records and setting the stage for a potential dramatic shift in the gender balance of national politics. https://t.co/paaXLv0rrR pic.twitter.com/qOa2LtAZhm

— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) October 21, 2018

8. Democrats are hopeful – but not optimistic. Saturday Night Live nailed the feelings of many Democrats with a hilarious peek at voters who are worried they may see the same results in 2018 that haunt them from President Trump’s win in 2016.

Early vote shows clear surge, especially in younger voters

Sun, 11/04/2018 - 09:00

With over 30 million votes already cast in the 2018 mid-term elections, the raw data about who is voting clearly shows a more energized mid-term electorate in many states than in the last mid-term election in 2014, with plenty of evidence that younger voters are getting out in much larger numbers as well, as the two parties try to figure out whether those benchmarks can help push them to victory on Tuesday.

As of Saturday, 28 states had already surpassed their mid-term early vote totals from 2014, according to University of Florida elections expert and early vote tracker Michael McDonald, as he said seven states have already doubled that last mid-term.

“I expect all 50 states plus DC will exceed their 2014 early vote. We may just not have the data before Election Day to validate it,” McDonald said on Twitter.

We don't need the early vote to tell us that turnout will break all records. We know it from the GA-6 runoff (June 2017) and the Virginia Governor's race (November 2017).

— Patrick Ruffini (@PatrickRuffini) November 2, 2018

The big question – obviously – is who the early vote helps. Let’s take a look at a few examples of what’s in the early vote numbers.

1. Georgia. With a close race for Governor driving turnout, the early vote in Georgia is already over 2 million – but the most remarkable part about that figure is the number of people who did not vote at all in 2014, now at almost 800,000 – almost 38 percent of all early ballots according to the GeorgiaVotes website. About half of those new votes from 2014 are from voters who are not white. With a black woman Democrat running for Governor, it will be interesting to see how the early vote breaks in that race.

Roughly 2.1M people have cast early ballots in Georgia, including nearly 800k that didn’t vote in 2014. #gapol https://t.co/wPGA9htpLO

— Greg Bluestein (@bluestein) November 3, 2018

2. Young voters. The age group of 18-29 is notorious for not voting in large numbers. But that seems to be changing in some states this year. In the above figures from Georgia, 19 percent of those who did not vote at all in 2014, but have already cast an early ballot, came from the 18-29 age group. Large increases in those voters are also coming from other states, like Tennessee, Texas, Nevada, and Arizona. Those four states just happen to be where Democrats are trying to win a GOP seat in the Senate. Will they really help the Democrats? Or are these votes breaking for the GOP? That’s what we don’t know right now.

Turnout among 18-29 year olds, compared to 2014 early voting:
– AZ +217%
– FL +131%
– GA +415% (!!!)
– MI +128%
– NV +364%
– TN +767% (!!!)
– TX +448% (!!!)
Data h/t: @targetsmart & @tbonierhttps://t.co/58E7PHqobF

— Reid Wilson (@PoliticsReid) November 3, 2018

3. Texas. One place that Democrats hope a big turnout of younger, first-time voters will help is in Texas, where Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D) is trying to knock off Sen. Ted Cruz (R). There were already strong anecdotal reports of new voters turning out in O’Rourke’s home turf around El Paso – as for the data on new voters, it shows many of them are non-white. Tom Bonier of the group Target Smart says at this point in the 2014 mid-terms in Texas, voters over age 65 were out-voting those under 30 by a 10-to-1 margin. In 2018, it’s just a 3-to-1 margin. “Young voters will be heard,” Bonier says.

314,569 first time voters have already cast a ballot in Texas. 78.2% of those voters are either non-white, or under the age of 40. There is an unanticipated surge of traditionally Democratic constituencies happening in Texas. Time will tell if it's enough for Beto to win.

— Tom Bonier (@tbonier) November 2, 2018

4. Florida. Find me a Democrat, and they will say the Florida early vote numbers look good for them. Find me a Republican, and they will say the Florida early vote numbers look good for them. According to my eyes, the Florida early vote as of Saturday morning showed Republicans with a small edge in Vote-by-Mail, and Democrats with an edge in early voting. But the biggest figure that stands out is that Democrats have a lot more absentee ballots which have not yet been sent in. Major races in Florida tend to be very close, and the numbers are telling a familiar story in the Sunshine State again this year – at least so far.



5. Nevada. Democrats have turned out a lot of votes in Clark County (around Las Vegas) and in Washoe County (around Reno), making things look good for them at this point. But, the nagging question that’s there about the early vote is this – are you still going to have a big turnout on Election Day? We won’t know that type of answer for Nevada or any other state until after the votes are in. But right now, Democrats have certainly done their turnout work in the Silver State.

@RalstonReports has his (nearly) final analysis of Nevada's early vote. I think he's right. Dems have banked a lot of votes. Unless there is a red tidal wave on Election Day, things look good for the Democrats – and Rosen – in Nevada https://t.co/YRXe4RTohB

— Michael McDonald (@ElectProject) November 3, 2018

6. What about the polls? Think about polling for a second. The pollsters all make their calls, and then they run their numbers through a turnout scenario, predicting what percentage of Republicans, Democrats and Independents will vote, whether to weight the vote for older voters, etc. But what if there is a big surge of younger voters – and first-time voters – and the polls aren’t ready for that? Does that mean some of the numbers we are reading now won’t be right? It’s something to think about in the last few days of the 2018 campaign.

Early voting is surging for all age groups, but young voters are surging more at this time –

In 91% of states, 18-29 share is higher than 2014; in 100% of states, 30-39 share higher. 68% states 1st time share up. https://t.co/sqhqUk9DBu

— John Della Volpe (@dellavolpe) November 3, 2018

Senate panel says woman admits fake accusation against Kavanaugh

Sat, 11/03/2018 - 00:34

The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee has asked the Justice Department to further investigate a California woman, claiming that she admitted making a false accusation of rape against Justice Brett Kavanaugh during his confirmation hearings, saying the woman confessed Thursday that she made the accusation to help derail Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination.

“When questioned by Committee investigators she admitted it was false, a “ploy,” and a “tactic,” Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA) wrote in a letter to the Attorney General and the FBI Director. “She was opposed to Judge Kavanaugh’s confirmation.”

In his letter, Grassley described how committee investigators had interviewed the woman, Ms. Judy Munro-Leighton, on Thursday of this week, and that she admitted her claims were false.

“Under questioning by Committee investigators, Ms. Munro-Leighton admitted, contrary to her prior claims, that she had not been sexually assaulted by Judge Kavanaugh,” Grassley wrote.

“She further confessed to Committee investigators that (1) she “just wanted to get attention”; (2) “it was a tactic”; and (3) “that was just a ploy,”” the letter continued.

Today, Chairman @ChuckGrassley referred Judy Munro-Leighton to @TheJusticeDept for investigation for making materially false statements to the Committee during the course of its investigation. https://t.co/pNfhLRnETy

— Senate Judiciary (@senjudiciary) November 2, 2018

Grassley said he wants Munro-Leighton investigated for making false statements and obstruction of the Senate Judiciary Committee investigation into misconduct claims against Justice Kavanaugh.

“I am once again writing regarding fabricated allegations,” Grassley began his letter.

“While many of those individuals have provided the Committee information in good faith, it unfortunately appears some have not,” the Iowa Republican added.

Grassley said because of the woman’s unique name, it wasn’t hard to figure out that her story didn’t match up with facts.

“Committee investigators were able to use open-source research to locate Ms. Munro-Leighton and determine that she: (1) is a left-wing activist; (2) is decades older than Judge Kavanaugh; and (3) lives in neither the Washington DC area nor California, but in Kentucky,” he wrote.

Grassley said that when confronted with those details this week, Munro-Leighton not only admitted that her allegation was false, but that she had never met the judge.

“Oh Lord, no,” the committee quoted her as replying.

This is the second referral for criminal prosecution by Grassley’s panel in the last eight days; on October 25, he asked DOJ to consider an investigation of lawyer Michael Avenatti, and Julie Swetnick, who had accused Kavanaugh of sexual assault, as Grassley alleged that ‘materially false statements’ were made to the committee.

“It is illegal to knowingly and willfully make materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statements to Congressional investigators,” Grassley wrote in his letter about Avenatti and Swetnick.

Grassley can refer such cases to the Justice Department, but it does not guarantee any actual legal action will take place against those named by the committee.

 

White House touts gains in final pre-election jobs report

Fri, 11/02/2018 - 17:26

With fresh evidence that the economy continues to grow at a higher pace, GOP lawmakers and President Donald Trump said Friday that the economic improvements were exactly what they had promised to do, making the case for voters to back Republicans on Tuesday in the 2018 mid-term elections.

“These are incredible numbers,” President Trump tweeted on Friday morning. “Keep it going, Vote Republican!”

The latest jobs report showed the nation’s unemployment rate holding at 3.7 percent, a historically low level, as 250,000 jobs were created in the month of October, with wages also increasing.

The average monthly job growth so far in 2018 is almost 213,000 jobs a month, up from almost 180 thousand in the same time frame a year ago.

“This is exactly the kind of good economic news we promised with tax reform,” said Sen. Shelly Moore Capito (R-WV), as GOP lawmakers in Congress echoed the President’s economic review.

“Stellar!” https://t.co/JsDo3w6Smw

— Richard Hudson (@RepRichHudson) November 2, 2018

“Best pay raises in nearly a decade,” said Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), as Republicans kept up a drumbeat of positive statements on the jobs report, just four days before the end of mid-term voting.

“Tune out the noise & look at the results,” said Rep. Tom Rice (R-SC) on Twitter. “250,000 new jobs added last month amid the highest wage growth in 10 years!”

“Finally we have seen good news on the wage front,” said top White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett, as he touted indications that real wages are growing for workers. “We’ve got extraordinary job growth.”

But while Republicans have pointed those economic successes, they have not seemed to galvanize voter support, as polls have repeatedly shown the tax cut hasn’t impressed a majority of voters.

Some in the GOP have advocated for more attention by the President on the economy, as opposed to some of the more strident talk in recent days about illegal immigration.

“Were going to spend all day and weekend talking about the strong economy, right?” said Brendan Buck, a top aide to House Speaker Paul Ryan, in a post on Twitter.

Some election experts still wonder why the growing economy is not helping Republicans more in the mid-term elections.

“The overall atmosphere isn’t that atrocious for Republicans,” said Sean Trende of Real Clear Politics.

But the GOP tax cut which went into effect this year has not been a help according to many polls, and that seemingly pressed the President into suddenly proposing a new 10 percent tax cut for middle-class Americans.

Mr. Trump originally said the details would be out before the elections, but the White House on Wednesday indicated the fine print would wait until later – as if Republicans lose control of the Congress, the President’s idea would probably go nowhere.

Trump continues to target Senate Democrats in final GOP push

Fri, 11/02/2018 - 08:00

President Donald Trump on Friday will travel to Indiana and West Virginia, continuing his effort to push Republicans over the finish line in the 2018 mid-term elections and ensure that they keep control of the U.S. Senate, as the President will target Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-IN), two of a series of Senate Democrats who face a stiff challenge on Election Day.

“Clare McCaskill has been saying nice things about me, but she will never vote with me,” President Trump told a Thursday night rally in Columbia, Missouri, as he targeted the Democratic incumbent from the Show Me State, who is locked in a difficult re-election fight with Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley.

In his final series of campaign rallies, the President is trying to do all he can to keep the pressure on a number of Democrats Senators, as he holds rallies on Saturday in Montana and Florida, then doubles back to Indiana and Missouri again on Monday.

Pres quick to comment on Missouri Senate race. "In just 5 days, the people of Missouri are going to retire far-left Democrat Claire McCaskill…and going to send Missouri patriot Josh Hawley to the US Senate." pic.twitter.com/tMA5MpBCQQ

— Mark Knoller (@markknoller) November 2, 2018

But even as the President goes to West Virginia on Friday, the Washington Post reported that one outside GOP group, the Senate Leadership Fund, had decided to stop advertising in the Mountain State, as Democrats hope Sen. Joe Manchin can hang on, despite the repeated visits of President Trump.

“I trust the people of West Virginia,” Manchin said Thursday night in a debate with state Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, who will be on stage with President Trump during his latest visit.

While Manchin’s more moderate brand of politics sometimes gives Democrats heartburn, they will need Manchin to hold this seat – and a number of other Democrats to win their tight races – in order to have any chance of taking back the Senate on Tuesday.

Some political experts believe it is still possible, but it would take just about a perfect storm of results for it to happen, with Democrats holding all of their seats, and then winning a net of two GOP seats from Nevada, Arizona, Tennessee and Texas.

The President is not going back to either Nevada or Arizona, as there has been talk that another visit by Mr. Trump might not have been helpful to GOP candidates in those states.

.@CNN reports that GOP officials in Arizona and Nevada asked Trump to skip their states in his final pre-election campaign swing, recent presidential visit in Mesa wasn't seen as helpful to @MarthaMcSally https://t.co/VSS7VidyIQ

— Jeremy Duda (@jeremyduda) November 1, 2018

Democrats remain encouraged by data showing early voting up dramatically in a number of states – and early voting up by younger people, who would be more likely to vote Democratic.

But Democrats need to basically draw an inside straight, leaving the Senate advantage to the GOP.

“I think we’re going to do very well in the election, I must tell you,” the President said to reporters on Thursday.

“I think we’re doing very well in the Senate,” the President added.

Now he’ll get to close the deal on that in the final days of this campaign.

Trump plans immigration executive order next week, details TBD

Thu, 11/01/2018 - 22:52

Keeping the issue of illegal immigration front and center in the final days of the 2018 mid-term elections, President Donald Trump on Thursday said he would issue an executive order next week, which would in part make changes in how illegal immigrants coming into the United States can ask for asylum, and how they would be dealt with by the U.S. government.

“My administration is finalizing a plan to end the rampant abuse of our asylum system,” the President said in a speech from the White House.

Mr. Trump also vowed to hold illegal immigrants and their children in tent cities, saying he ended the policy of ‘catch and release’ earlier this week – but there were few specifics on what exactly would be changed by his executive action on immigration.

“We will hold them,” he said of illegal immigrants, “for a long time if necessary.”

“We will not allow our generosity to be abused by those who would break our laws, defy our rules, violate our borders, break into our country illegally. We won’t allow it,” President Donald Trump says on illegal immigration https://t.co/zyq7sPjGwT pic.twitter.com/kZ8LFYJDz2

— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) November 1, 2018

“This isn’t an innocent group of people,” the President said of the caravan. “It’s a large number of people that are tough.”

On the issue of asylum, the American Civil Liberties Union quickly said what the President was talking about does not sound like it would pass constitutional muster.

“If he plans at some point to prohibit people from applying for asylum between the ports of entry, that plan is illegal,” the ACLU said in a statement, as U.S. immigration law does not limit where an asylum application can be made.

With Election Day rapidly approaching – and the President spending much of the next five days on the campaign trail – it wasn’t immediately clear when he would sign a new executive order, and what subjects might be included.

Standing in front of a portrait of Teddy Roosevelt, the President said if U.S. troops came under attack from people throwing rocks or stones, he would consider that something which could draw a response from American soldiers.

The President did not explicitly say that soldiers would be allowed to fire – but that was the impression left from Mr. Trump’s answer.

Still, it’s unclear if troops would actually be on the border – current law and regulations keep soldiers in a support role, helping with infrastructure, transportation, and other roles – not a direct deployment along the border with Mexico.

I asked Trump if he envisions the military firing upon any immigrants at the border. He said if they throw rocks or stones, the military "will consider that a firearm" and will deal with it as such. pic.twitter.com/6Idp5hftcm

— Jennifer Jacobs (@JenniferJJacobs) November 1, 2018

“These illegal caravans will not be allowed into the United States and they should turn back now,” the President said.

Trump roils final campaign stretch – for both parties

Thu, 11/01/2018 - 09:00

President Donald Trump on Wednesday continued to knock both parties off balance in the waning days of the 2018 mid-term campaign, as he publicly rebuked the Speaker of the House from his own party, vowed to send thousands more troops to the border with Mexico, backed off a pledge from last week to unveil a new tax cut plan, again predicted massive stock losses if Republicans lose control of Congress, and trolled Democrats on health care.

Other than a few comments about the birthright citizenship issue, most Republican lawmakers seemed to go out of their way in recent days to ignore the latest moves from the White House, posting photos and graphics on Wednesday via social media related to Halloween, their campaigns, local constituent meetings, visits to local schools, and almost anything other than what the President was talking about at the White House.

This is from GOP Sen. Roy Blunt of Missouri.

We’ve worked to restore regular order for appropriations. The Senate passed the majority of appropriations bills by the beginning of August, the first time this has happened since 2000 pic.twitter.com/YrCbTeo4a2

— Senator Roy Blunt (@RoyBlunt) October 31, 2018

But the internet fun couldn’t obscure what was one of the odder days right before an election, as the President in one breath proclaimed that he was confident about the outcome of next week’s elections, and in the next breath was critical of the top Republican in the House.

1. Trump slams the Speaker of the House. While it might be entertaining for many conservative voters who don’t care for Speaker Paul Ryan, it was sort of an odd scenario to have the President attacking a Speaker of his own party less than a week before an election where the GOP could lose control of the House. In an interview on Tuesday, Ryan had said what most people on Capitol Hill believe – that President Trump does not have the administrative powers to change how children of illegal immigrants are eligible for U.S. citizenship if they are born in America. That did not please the President, who said Ryan ‘knows nothing’ about the issue, as he said the Speaker should be working on keeping the GOP majority. The irony is that when the Speaker made those comments, he was on the campaign trail doing exactly that.

Paul Ryan should be focusing on holding the Majority rather than giving his opinions on Birthright Citizenship, something he knows nothing about! Our new Republican Majority will work on this, Closing the Immigration Loopholes and Securing our Border!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 31, 2018

2. Birthright citizenship push could endanger more GOP seats. While the President clearly sees the issue of limiting automatic citizenship for people born in the United States, so as to exclude the children of illegal immigrants as a positive for Republicans, that idea was not welcome news for some GOP candidates and lawmakers, who said the President was simply mistaken. “The President is wrong to end Birthright Citizenship,” said Bob Hugin, who is trying to knock off Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez of New Jersey. “I strongly disagree with the proposed executive order,” said Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL), whose district in the Miami area voted for Hillary Clinton over President Trump. The issue was a wild card from right field this week which clearly caught GOP lawmakers by surprise.

Birthright citizenship is protected by the Constitution, so no @realDonaldTrump you can’t end it by executive order. What we really need is broad immigration reform that makes our country more secure and reaffirms our wonderful tradition as a nation of immigrants. https://t.co/7xlbfrt6rW

— Carlos Curbelo (@carloslcurbelo) October 30, 2018

3. Number of troops heading to the border keeps going up. It started at 2,000 at the beginning of the week, went to over 5,000 on Tuesday, and then went up to 10-15,000 in the space of 48 hours, as the President told reporters Wednesday that he was ready to send a large number of active-duty soldiers to the Mexican border to deal with a caravan of immigrants that was still 1,000 miles away. “Nobody is coming in. We’re not allowing people to come in,” the President declared. “It’s a dangerous group of people. They’re not coming into our country.” Some Democrats urged their colleagues to say little about the President’s new military plans. “Don’t fall for it,” said Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT), “this is a trap,” as most Democrats took a page from the game plan of their GOP colleagues, and tried to say as little as possible about the President’s latest border plan.

Dear Democratic candidates: this is a trap. Don’t fall for it. We’ll fight this after the election if it’s actually a real thing.

For the next 6 days, focus on health care and tax cuts for billionaires and corporations. https://t.co/uthrJJch3y

— Chris Murphy (@ChrisMurphyCT) November 1, 2018

4. Tax cut details punted into 2019. Last week, President Trump suddenly began talking about a new 10 percent tax cut for the middle class, saying it was going to be unveiled before the elections, and even talking about action in a Congress on a ‘resolution’ dealing with the issue, even though lawmakers aren’t back for votes on Capitol Hill until mid-November. “We are looking a major tax cut for middle-income people,” the President said on October 20. Asked about a time frame, Mr. Trump told reporters, “the first of November, maybe a little before that.” Well, the first of November is here, and there will be no tax cut details coming out of the Trump White House, as a joint statement issued Wednesday with House Republicans promised action on tax cuts, but gave no hint of any the fine print.

5. After month of stock losses, Trump says more to come if Democrats win. While the markets ended October with the first two day streak of gains this month, Wall Street ended the month with some deep financial losses. But President Trump predicted even larger losses if Democrats take control of the Congress in the November elections. “If the mid-terms for some reason don’t do so well for Republicans, I think you all are going to lose a lot of money,” the President said at an event on jobs and the economy at the White House. “I hate to say that, but I think you are going to lose at lot of money.”

“The midterms for some reason don’t do so well for Republicans,” Trump says, “I think you’re all going to lose a lot of money” pic.twitter.com/9749sfLmvi

— TicToc by Bloomberg (@tictoc) October 31, 2018

6. Trump leaves Democrats spitting mad on health care. As Democrats vowed to keep the focus on issues like health care, President Trump continued to drive them nuts by proclaiming his support for a health system that protects people with pre-existing conditions. Democrats say the President is lying, and any other GOP lawmaker who repeats that assurance is lying as well. “They’re backing a lawsuit to end pre-existing condition protections,” said Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA). “Trump and Republicans continue to try and trick Americans with false claims,” said Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT). “You held a rally at the White House to celebrate the passage of a bill taking away protections for those with pre-existing conditions,” said Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA). “They can’t lie their way out of this,” added Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer.

This is false. Right now, your administration is supporting a lawsuit arguing that protections for pre-existing conditions are unconstitutional. https://t.co/uq7OcoVqtF

— Sen. Maggie Hassan (@SenatorHassan) October 31, 2018

There are now just five days to go.

Trump says GOP election loss will mean big stock market losses

Thu, 11/01/2018 - 01:05

Just before leaving for the first of his final eleven campaign rallies in the last dash to Election Day, President Donald Trump said if Republicans lose in the mid-term elections next week, then that will definitely have a very negative impact on the stock markets and for average American investors on Wall Street.

“If the mid-terms for some reason don’t do so well for Republicans, I think you all are going to lose a lot of money,” the President said at an event on jobs at the White House.

“I hate to say that – I think you’re going to lose a lot of money,” Mr. Trump added.

Investors have already lost a lot of money in October, as stocks shed more than $2.5 trillion in value, though traders finished up on Halloween with the first two-day rally of the month.

“The midterms for some reason don’t do so well for Republicans,” Trump says, “I think you’re all going to lose a lot of money” pic.twitter.com/9749sfLmvi

— TicToc by Bloomberg (@tictoc) October 31, 2018

“We have an economy right now that is hottest economy in the world,” the President said, arguing that his efforts to roll back regulations and cut taxes had spurred a large amount of new economic growth in the U.S. – as he said all that could be in jeopardy if Democrats win control of Congress.

At his campaign rallies, the President often tells stories of how people come up to him to thank him for their growing 401(k) retirement accounts, warning them against voting for Democrats, which he says will equate to an economic mistake.

“Remember, you’re going to pay a big price if you vote for somebody else,” the President said in October at a rally in Nevada. “You’re going to say, what the hell is happening to our 401(k) as it does a big nosedive?”

The Dow Jones Industrial average was at 17,888 on the day that Mr. Trump was elected in November of 2016 – almost two years later, the Dow now stands just under 25,200, though that is down about 1,600 points from early October.

"I think that the president is the best messenger for the party," White House press secretary Sarah Sanders says as President Donald Trump prepares to hit the trail for 8 states before the midterm elections pic.twitter.com/Iq0CJL95gp

— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) October 31, 2018

“I guess the stock market is up to, getting close to 50 percent since the election,” the President said. “That’s incredible.”

Trump vows court fight over birthright citizenship, but plans for executive order unclear

Wed, 10/31/2018 - 17:06

President Donald Trump on Wednesday again called for an end to birthright citizenship for those born in the U.S. to the parents of illegal immigrants, declaring on Twitter that the issue would ultimately be decided by the courts, but it wasn’t clear if the President would actually issue any order on the subject in the days leading up to the 2018 mid-term elections, as Mr. Trump sparred with Republicans who weren’t on board with his idea.

“I will keep our Country safe,” the President said in a flurry of morning tweets. “This case will be settled by the United States Supreme Court!”

But for there to be a legal fight over how to treat children born in the U.S. to non-citizen parents who are in the country illegally, the President would have to issue an executive order making an explicit change in how the feds handle birthright citizenship, an issue that is governed by the 14th amendment to the Constitution.

Before leaving for a campaign stop in Florida, the President shrugged off that legal debate, saying if President Barack Obama could set up the DACA program for the children of illegal immigrants through an executive order, then the Trump Administration should be able to use executive actions to deal with the birthright citizenship question as well.

"You don't need a constitutional amendment for birthright citizenship," says President Trump: "If president Obama can get DACA approved… We can do this by executive order." https://t.co/w5dEhwdW25 pic.twitter.com/yyXu3KH6I8

— The Lead CNN (@TheLeadCNN) October 31, 2018

“I may very well do it by executive order,” the President told reporters outside the White House.

It was not immediately clear if the President would issue such an order before the elections; for example, last week Mr. Trump repeatedly said he would release a new tax cut plan for the middle class before the elections, but no details have been forthcoming.

“The President is looking at all options,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters.

So-called Birthright Citizenship, which costs our Country billions of dollars and is very unfair to our citizens, will be ended one way or the other. It is not covered by the 14th Amendment because of the words “subject to the jurisdiction thereof.” Many legal scholars agree…..

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 31, 2018

While the President said Wednesday that ‘many legal scholars agree’ with his argument that the children of illegal immigrants who are born in the U.S. don’t deserve citizenship, there are a large number of legal scholars and politicians who do not agree with Mr. Trump on that matter.

“If Trump could end birthright citizenship he he could issue an executive order saying the First Amendment doesn’t restrict his conduct as president,” said constitutional expert Lawrence Tribe, as others argue an actual amendment to the Constitution would be needed to make such a change.

“If you don’t like it, amend it,” wrote Steve Vladeck, a law professor at the University of Texas.

A day after House Speaker Paul Ryan had said the President did not have the authority to change the 14th Amendment via executive order, the President rebuked the outgoing Speaker.

Paul Ryan should be focusing on holding the Majority rather than giving his opinions on Birthright Citizenship, something he knows nothing about! Our new Republican Majority will work on this, Closing the Immigration Loopholes and Securing our Border!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 31, 2018

But it was clear within GOP ranks in the Congress, that others strongly agreed with Ryan, and not the President.

“I strongly disagree with the proposed executive order,” said Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL), as the President faced new resistance from within his own party over the meaning of the 14th Amendment.

“All persons in the U.S., thus, except for accredited foreign diplomats in specified instances, are subject to U.S. laws, and, if born in the U.S., are U.S. citizens,” Diaz-Balart said.

In conservative circles, there were some who warned that it was wrong when President Obama used executive actions on immigration – and that it’s wrong as well for President Trump to do it, especially since this involves tinkering with the interpretation of the Constitution, not just a statute.

Staggering to see certain segments of the right that still complain about Marbury v. Madison as judicial overreach suddenly cool with a President reinterpreting part of the 14th amendment by executive order.

— Erick Erickson (@EWErickson) October 31, 2018

Even the Wall Street Journal editorial page – no bastion of liberalism – said the President was wrong.

“President Trump really, really wants to make the midterm election about immigration, and for a while it looked like he had an edge due to Democratic excess. But with this week’s pre-election vow to end birthright citizenship in America by executive order, Mr. Trump has driven into his own constitutional ditch,” the paper’s editorial board wrote.

Meanwhile, Democrats denounced the President’s declarations, saying it was nothing more than political red meat for his Republican base of supporters.

“The Master of Distraction continues to foment bigotry to distract from his failed agenda, hoping his base rhetoric will motivate his base,” said Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-TX).

Final Trump campaign blitz focuses on Senate, Governor, not House

Wed, 10/31/2018 - 09:00

As President Donald Trump begins a final six day, eight state campaign swing before the 2018 mid-term elections, a review of his schedule shows a series of stops which are focused more on maintaining control of the U.S. Senate, and preserving states with Republican Governors in Ohio, Georgia, and Florida – with GOP efforts to save the U.S. House taking a back seat.

The President begins his work with a Halloween evening rally in Fort Myers, Florida, wrapping up next Monday with a final three state blitz in Ohio, Indiana, and Missouri.

Two years is long enough to forget how crazy the final week of the elections is.

— Nathan Gonzales (@nathanlgonzales) October 31, 2018

Here’s what to look for over the next six days:

1. The Trump schedule tells a story. After doing rallies to help individual members of the House earlier this month, this final rally blitz is clearly focused on other GOP election priorities. There are key Senate races in Florida, Missouri, West Virginia, Indiana, and Tennessee on the President’s schedule. There are important races for Governor which are close in Florida, Georgia, and Ohio. The President will make a pair of stops in Florida, two in Indiana, and also two in Missouri – Democrats hold Senate seats in all three of those states, and they have been high on the GOP target list for months. We’ll know in a week whether the Trump trek did the trick for Republicans or not.

President Trump to hold 11 campaign rallies in final 6 days of #midterms:
10/31 – Fort Myers, FL
11/1 – Columbia, MO
11/2 – Huntington, WV/Indianapolis, IN
11/3 – Belgrade, MT/Pensacola, FL
11/4 – Macon, GA/Chattanooga, TN
11/5 – Cleveland, OH/Fort Wayne, IN/Cape Girardeau, MO

— Johnny Verhovek (@JTHVerhovek) October 30, 2018

2. Outside events interrupt GOP momentum. Late last week when the FBI was turning up more and more suspected explosive devices, the President complained on Twitter that the ‘bomb’ scare had drained away GOP election momentum, by changing the focus of the news. That happened again when the synagogue shooting occurred on Saturday in Pittsburgh, as those two events have dominated the news for a week, and introduced controversy over some of the President’s own statements and reactions. There may be some truth to the President’s fear, as one regular poll on the job approval/disapproval of the President shows last week was not a good week for Mr. Trump. We’ll have to see if that was a blip, or if that number goes more in the wrong direction.

Gallup: Trump weekly job approval plummets eight net points, falling to 40-54 (was 44-50 last week). pic.twitter.com/a6I0nmP1yd

— Josh Jordan (@NumbersMuncher) October 29, 2018

3. Early voting continues at record levels. Eleven states have already had more early votes come in than in all of 2014, as the evidence continues to show that many more people are getting out to vote early than in the last mid-term election in 2014, and that there are a lot of people voting early this time who did not vote at all four years ago. One of the best examples is in Georgia, where just over one-third of the early vote is coming from people who did not vote in 2014 – and about half of that 33 percent are non-white voters. Again, we won’t know which party that benefits until after the election, but it raises all sorts of interesting possibilities as both sides try to divine where this election is going.

There were more early votes today than any day of the 2014 cycle. Over 150,000 votes today bring us up to 1.345M total for this cycle.

Over 450,000 of those did not vote in 2014.#gapol #gapoliticshttps://t.co/H3XleJdXjx

— Ryan Anderson (@gtryan) October 30, 2018

4. The battle for the House. While Republicans generally feel confident about keeping the Senate, there are danger signs all over the map for the GOP when it comes to the House. Democrats need to pick up a net gain of 23 seats to take control, and they seem to have a lot of options right now – it’s not just concentrated in one area of the country. Many of these districts involve suburban areas which voted for President Trump in 2016, but now seem to have had a change of heart. Obviously, political experts can be wrong, but polling experts seem to converging on the thought that Democrats have a very good chance to take over the House.

Here's some data on how Democrats are way over-performing in the Midwest, relative to other regions. We're showing a net gain of +14 D house seats in the Midwest. Although, note that they're projected to make gains in the other regions too. https://t.co/Dyb6TgSE0F pic.twitter.com/teGXYNen7O

— Nate Silver (@NateSilver538) October 30, 2018

5. The Senate still seems to be Advantage Republicans. As with any election, there are range of possibilities in the fight for the Senate, but the GOP still remains favored to keep control – and maybe even add a seat or two next week. While it might seem impossible, the Senate battlegrounds are taking place on much different turf than the close races in the House, where it’s almost all GOP seats that are in play – in the Senate, it’s Democrats on the defensive in states like Florida, Missouri, Indiana, North Dakota, Montana, and West Virginia. Democrats can still pull an inside straight and win control, but Senate GOP elections officials are probably sleeping better than their House counterparts right now.

Trump immigration birthright plan would face certain legal challenge

Tue, 10/30/2018 - 12:02

President Donald Trump’s declaration that his administration can end birthright citizenship in the United States by an executive order drew immediate scorn from legal and political circles on Tuesday, as critics of the President – along with some Republicans in Congress – said such an action could only be done by an amendment to the Constitution – not a simple order signed by a President, as Democrats said it was simply a political stunt before the mid-term elections.

“You cannot end birthright citizenship with an executive order,” House Speaker Paul Ryan told WVLK, a radio station in Lexington, Kentucky, on Tuesday afternoon.

“Birthright citizenship is protected by the Constitution, so no @realDonaldTrump you can’t end it by executive order,” tweeted Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-FL).

“A president cannot amend Constitution or laws via executive order,” said Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI).

A president cannot amend Constitution or laws via executive order. Concept of natural-born citizen in #14thAmendment derives from natural-born subject in Britain. Phrase “and subject to the jurisdiction thereof” excludes mainly foreign diplomats, who are not subject to U.S. laws.

— Justin Amash (@justinamash) October 30, 2018

“The President is wrong to end Birthright Citizenship,” said Bob Hugin, a Republican running for U.S. Senate in New Jersey.

“This is some of the worst lawyering around,” said Neal Katyal, a former acting Solicitor General in the Obama Administration, as he vowed Tuesday morning to immediately file a legal challenge against any such plan from President Trump.

“If he does it, we will challenge it. And win,” Katyal said on Twitter.

“For reference, even Trump appointee to the 5th Circuit Jim Ho says this would be unconstitutional,” said Michael Li, a lawyer with the Brennan Center in New York.

“Probably a pre-election gimmick, but fortunately we have courts,” said Norm Eisen, a former ethics official in the Obama White House.

This is some of the worst lawyering around. Cynical, stupid, unconstitutional, and is just another way for Trump to divide Americans—this time by starting to go for The Full Antebellum.

If he does it, we will challenge it. And win. https://t.co/4NLP9VQy6K

— Neal Katyal (@neal_katyal) October 30, 2018

“What he is really doing is trying to stoke fear and anger by scapegoating immigrants a week before an election,” said Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL).

“Yet another Trump political stunt a week before the election,” said Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ).

“This cynical ploy plays to the xenophobic element of his base,” added Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO).

“Trump wants a debate about ending birthright citizenship more than actually doing it,” said former Obama aide Tommy Vietor. “Democrats should say, ok see you in court, now back to your plan to get rid of protections for preexisting conditions.”

““The president cannot erase the Constitution with an executive order, and the 14th Amendment’s citizenship guarantee is clear,” said Omar Jadwat of the ACLU.

The President made the vow a week before the election in an interview with the news organization Axios, for a new special the group is running on HBO.

“We’re the only country in the world where a person comes in and has a baby, and the baby is essentially a citizen of the United States,” the President said in the interview.

It was not immediately clear if the President would issue such an executive order, as he told his interviewers that the idea was being reviewed by White House lawyers.

But the text 14th Amendment is straightforward on what is often referred to as ‘birthright citizenship.’



Exclusive: Trump plans to sign an executive order terminating birthright citizenship, he said yesterday in an exclusive interview for "Axios on HBO." pic.twitter.com/D2RE4N4OrJ

— Axios (@axios) October 30, 2018

But some immigration law experts acknowledge that while the intent of Congress was clear in the 1860’s about how the Fourteenth Amendment was drawn up, the courts have never actually ruled directly on the issue of how it would apply to illegal immigrants.

“A narrowly tailored EO that rested on the view that the children of unauthorized immigrants are not subject to the jurisdiction of the US (in citizenship terms) and thus not citizens by virtue of Birthright is an argument that can be made,” said Martha Jones, an expert on birthright citizenship.

In 1898, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld birthright citizenship for immigrants in what is known as the Wong Kim Ark case – but that dealt with immigrants legally in the United States.

US v Wong Kim Ark decided by SCOTUS in 1898 has long been cited as extending the protection of birthright citizenship (jus solis) to the children of immigrants. As @marthasjones_ explains in this thread, the case didn't address the issue of babies born to undoc immigrants. 1/ https://t.co/CuYcZRfe3m

— Anna O. Law (@UnlawfulEntries) October 30, 2018

“I’ll leave it others to parse whether the President can bypass Congress on this,” Jones added in a thread she posted this morning on Twitter. “My point is that his proposal raises a question that courts will need to resolve.”

The talk of a birthright citizenship executive order came as the Pentagon moved additional troops to the southern border to deal with a caravan of illegal immigrants, which is 1,000 miles away in southern Mexico.

With caravan 1,000 miles away, Pentagon moving troops to southern border

Tue, 10/30/2018 - 02:36

Following public warnings by President Donald Trump that a group of migrants from Central America should not try to get into the United States, the Pentagon announced Monday that it was deploying up to 5,000 active-duty troops along the Mexican border in coming weeks, in part to deter a caravan of illegal immigrants from Central America which is nearly 1,000 miles away in southern Mexico, as Democrats said the move was nothing but a politics in the days before the mid-term elections for Congress.

‘I think the President has made it clear that border security is national security,” said Gen. Terrence O’Shaugnessy, the head of the military’s Northern Command.

In a briefing for reporters at the Pentagon, the General said the purpose was to help bolster Border Patrol resources in “southern Texas, and then Arizona, and then California.”

“This is an invasion of our County and our Military is waiting for you!” the President tweeted earlier on Monday in a warning to the caravan.

.@POTUS: "If we don't have strong borders, we don't have a country." @IngrahamAngle pic.twitter.com/NJn5itWebS

— Fox News (@FoxNews) October 30, 2018

.@POTUS on the migrant caravan: "We’re not letting them into this country."

COMING UP, tune in to Fox News Channel at 10p ET for more of @IngrahamAngle's must-see interview. pic.twitter.com/UqSCKoEacS

— Fox News (@FoxNews) October 30, 2018

The threat of the caravan is a popular item with many Republicans, as GOP leaders see it as an issue which can help GOP candidates next week.

“We need to stop this caravan from entering the U.S.,” said Rep. Mike McCaul (R-TX).

Not surprisingly, Democrats saw the announcement a bit differently.

“Sending thousands of troops to turn them away as if they are foreign invaders reflects the profound paranoia, fear, and hate fueling this administration’s immigration policies,” said Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA).

“Those seeking asylum in America should be treated with compassion, not like enemies of the state,” Markey added.

Shep Smith on the migrant caravan: "There is no invasion. No one is coming to get you. There is nothing at all to worry about." pic.twitter.com/4dLmPuZem0

— Jon Passantino (@passantino) October 29, 2018

At recent campaign rallies, the President has eagerly talked about the caravan, as he calls for more money to be spent to build portions of a wall along the southern border, and denounces Democrats for not speaking out against the caravan.

“Republicans want strong borders, no crime, and no caravans, right? We don’t want caravans,” the President said Saturday during a rally in southern Illinois.

“We’re not having caravans,” as the crowd started the familiar chant of, “Build the wall.”

As for what the active-duty soldiers can do along the border – the answer is, not that much – as like National Guard troops, they are only allowed to do support missions to help federal law enforcement agencies.

Pentagon officials said the extra troops would help with ‘mission enhancing capabilities.’

CNN gets featured in new Trump ad – minus the CNN logo

Mon, 10/29/2018 - 21:38

The latest television advertisement released by President Donald Trump’s campaign just before the 2018 mid-term elections touts economic growth and security under the Trump Administration, in part by using footage from a news outlet which is routinely denounced at the President’s rallies – though the campaign ad blurred out the letters “CNN” from the video.

The theme of the new ad is very simple – “Things are getting better – we can’t go back,” the Trump campaign states, as the one minute video starts by showing a television news report talking about the nation’s jobless rate falling to 3.8 percent, the lowest point since 2000.

“223,000 net new jobs created,” the TV anchor says about the May 2018 jobs report – in a clip that is clearly from CNN – except if you look in the lower right hand corner of the video that’s on the television at the start of the ad, the “CNN” logo is not there, evidently electronically blurred out.

At campaign rallies for President Trump, the mere mention at times of the press corps can start one of the favorite chants of the President’s supporters, “CNN sucks!”

The release of the ad comes as the White House and the President have repeatedly rebuked the press for being overly negative about the successes of the Trump Administration.

“Ninety percent of the coverage of of everything this President does is negative despite the fact that the country is doing extremely well,” said White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Monday, as she told reporters that Mr. Trump is delivering on his campaign promises.

“The President going to defend himself and he’s going to fight back,” Sanders added.

CNN is working frantically to find their “source.” Look hard because it doesn’t exist. Whatever was left of CNN’s credibility is now gone!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 30, 2018

President Trump has made clear his disdain for CNN a number of times, tweeting in August that “CNN’s credibility is now gone” and labeling the network as “Fake CNN.”

15th explosive device found as mail bomb suspect appears in court

Mon, 10/29/2018 - 17:41

Hours before accused mail bomber Cesar Sayoc was to appear in a federal court in Florida on charges of sending suspected explosive devices to prominent Democrats and critics of the Trump Administration, a new device was found in a postal facility in Atlanta which was addressed to the headquarters of CNN.

Like the other packages sent last week, the envelope featured six ‘Forever’ flag stamps, and a return address of the district office of Rep. Debbie Wasserman Shultz (D-FL).

In a tweet, the FBI confirmed that it was like the other devices intercepted last week, which FBI Director Christopher Wray last week described as ‘Improvised Explosive Devices,’ or IED’s.

That made the CNN package found on Monday the fifteenth possible mail bomb, and raised questions as to whether Sayoc had sent other packages before being arrested last Friday morning near Miami, and whether more could be discovered in the postal system.

New: Package to CNN intercepted today similar to others sent by Sayoc. Image here: pic.twitter.com/aDPn9cNgGm

— Jim Sciutto (@jimsciutto) October 29, 2018


This was the third package intercepted which was headed to CNN, but the first directly addressed to the cable news operation – the other two packages had been sent to two former intelligence officials, care of the CNN news offices in New York.

Those were addressed to former CIA Director John Brennan, and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper.

On his two Twitter accounts – which used aliases – Sayoc made clear his distaste for CNN repeatedly.

“CNN SUCKS,” he wrote on August 3, as he attacked CNN anchors and reporters, alleging that they trafficked in ‘fake fraud news.’



In a message sent to CNN employees, as CNN President Jeff Zucker said, “There is no imminent danger to the CNN Center.”

Early voter turnout shows very strong interest in 2018 elections

Mon, 10/29/2018 - 01:03

While both parties debate which side has the edge so far in early voting for the November elections, there is not much of a debate on what’s going on in a number of states, as voters are shattering records for turnout before Election Day, signifying intense interest even in states that might not play a big role in determining which party controls the U.S. House and Senate in 2019.

Already, at least seven states have exceeded the number of early votes cast before Election Day in 2014 – and there is still time for more to surpass the turnout from the last mid-term election, as elections experts like Michael McDonald of the University of Florida say the evidence is clear that voters are very engaged.

Maybe voting dries up this week. But, as each day of strong turnout is tallied this is an increasingly plausible scenario: 40 million #earlyvote. It signals one of the highest modern midterm turnout rates https://t.co/WgvqNtkX82

— Michael McDonald (@ElectProject) October 28, 2018

Figures show that Georgia, Texas, Tennessee, Nevada, Indiana, Minnesota and Delaware have already blown past their total early vote for 2014 – and there is more than a week to go until Election Day.

But while turnout in the mid-term elections is up, there is a great debate over which party is going to benefit from a higher turnout in 2018.

Here’s just a few of the examples from recent days:

1. North Carolina. President Donald Trump held a rally in Charlotte on Friday night to help bolster the election chances of several Republicans running for Congress. The interesting thing to note about North Carolina is that the races for the U.S. House are the biggest ticket on the ballot. There is no Senate race. There is no race for Governor. Usually, races only for the Congress would not drive a big turnout statewide. But in North Carolina this year, the early voting numbers are closer to a Presidential election than a mid-term. Note the big jump in Democratic votes on one Sunday the graphic below – that could be a ‘Souls to the Polls’ kind of impact. But also note that Republicans are growing closer in recent days to Democratic turnout levels.

As NC enters the last week of early voting, an update on where things stand on who has voted by NC’s absentee ballots, which could set a record for a mid-term election in the Old North State:https://t.co/uaM0vQyJV8#ncpol #ncvotes pic.twitter.com/I7T1lyXFpj

— Michael Bitzer (@BowTiePolitics) October 28, 2018

2. Maryland. Maryland really isn’t even on the radar as an important mid-term state in the tussle for control of the U.S. Congress, or for any other reason – but like other states, the evidence is that people are turning out to vote. In Maryland, incumbent Gov. Larry Hogan (R) is heavily favored to win re-election, even though it is a fairly Blue state. There are no signs that any seats will change hands in the state’s Congressional delegation. But people are turning out, in large numbers. On Sunday, I saw that turnout in person, while I was waiting for one of my kids to play a soccer game in the D.C. suburbs. There was an early voting station, and it was a beehive of activity, with a constant stream of cars going in and out. Where this was happening is a heavily Democratic county where Republicans have little of a footprint. And yet, the voters were showing up in what seemed to be very substantial numbers.

After Day 3 of early voting, 225,138 Marylanders have cast ballots in the general election — a 121% increase from 2014 when 101,537 voted during the first three days of early voting. https://t.co/JYdojwzZNA

— Luke Broadwater (@lukebroadwater) October 28, 2018

3. Texas. Much of the focus on the elections in Texas has been the U.S. Senate race between Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-TX). O’Rourke’s House seat is centered on El Paso, and there is evidence from his home turf of not only a big turnout, but a dramatic increase in younger people voting, and people who did not vote in the 2014 mid-term elections. This is actually a recipe for success for Democrats, but is this just happening in O’Rourke’s home town, or all across the map? Early vote expert McDonald says the 30 largest counties in Texas have already almost equaled the entire 2014 early vote in the Lone Star State. And there’s still over a week to go until Election Day.

El Paso is shattering early voting records this year because infrequent voters are flocking to the polls, analysis of county election data shows. Younger voters are also coming out in much larger numbers than in previous midterm elections. https://t.co/HzXRj6g3ak

— Greg Sarafan, Esq (@GSarafan) October 26, 2018

4. Minnesota. If you are just tuning in to the specifics of the 2018 race, you might be surprised at the importance of Minnesota – but there are a series of key U.S. House races, along with two U.S. Senate seats up in the election. The Minnesota Secretary of State reported this week that total early voting has already surpassed that from 2016 – which was a higher turnout Presidential election year. One reason that the early vote is up is obviously interest – but it’s also because laws have changed in that state to make it easier to vote before Election Day.

In the old days, you had to give an excuse to vote absentee in Minnesota. Not anymore—any eligible voter, for any reason (or no reason at all) can vote early with an absentee ballot. And tens of thousands of Minnesotans are choosing that option! https://t.co/Y8V1drhJ5l pic.twitter.com/T1X7zaMxYD

— Minnesota Secretary of State (@MNSecofState) October 12, 2018

5. Georgia. As of Sunday, over 1.1 million people had voted early in Georgia. At the same point in the 2014 mid-term elections, that total was slightly over 400,000. The evidence of that turnout was obvious over the weekend, as voters sent me pictures showing lengthy lines in a number of places just outside of Atlanta. One startling statistic from Georgia is that almost one-third of the early voters did not vote in the 2014 election at all – that means very large numbers of new people getting out and voting, a theme we have seen in other states as well. Of those who did not vote in 2014 – but have already cast a ballot – a majority are women, and most are non-white. This may be one reason why President Trump is expected in Georgia before Election Day. You can find some of the latest Georgia numbers at georgiavotes.com.

6. Tennessee. With a competitive race for U.S. Senate, a race for Governor, and Congressional contests, there is a lot of early vote activity in the Volunteer State, as Tennessee is one of those states which has already surpassed 2014 early voting totals. Tennessee does not break down the early vote by party, so it’s not easy to know who benefits from all of this activity – but the highest vote totals are coming from Shelby County, which is Memphis. It is yet another piece of evidence showing that Americans are getting to the polls in above average numbers in 2018.

Tennessee has already passed its early vote total from 2014 and there's still another week of early voting. https://t.co/CoDsnToFRr

— Sam Levine (@srl) October 25, 2018

7. Indiana. Another state which is surpassing vote totals from 2014 is Indiana, as a high profile U.S. Senate race is clearly spurring overall interest in the 2018 mid-term election ballot. Vice President Pence has made several stops in his home state, and President Trump spoke there on Saturday as well, all an effort to try to unseat Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-IN), a more moderate Democrat who faces a challenge from Republican Mike Braun. One notable item is that no U.S. House races from Indiana are really on the radar this year, in terms of being flipped from one party to the other. And yet, the early turnout is still up noticeably.

We're just days away from Election Day, and thousands of people are turning out to vote early. In fact, Indiana leaders said Friday we're on track to break midterm election numbers from recent years. News 8's @DWilliamsTV reports. https://t.co/l60RwVZHNJ

— WISH-TV (@WISH_TV) October 26, 2018

8. Nevada. Nevada on Friday became the fifth state to exceed their total mid-term early vote in 2014 – and there is still another week to go in terms of early voting in the Silver State. Nevada has a full slate of competitive races for Governor, U.S. Senate. and the U.S. House, so there is no shortage of reasons for voters to get to the polls early. The big thing to look for here is how big of an edge Democrats are building in the area around Las Vegas – Clark County – and how well Republicans are doing in the rest of the state, especially Washoe County around Reno. While Democrats have an edge in Clark County, there is debate as to whether it’s at the levels that many believe they need in order to win a close statewide race. And there is some question about the age of those voting in Nevada as well, and how that will impact the final outcome. And what’s true for Nevada on independent voters – and how they break – will be important for other House and Senate races as well.

The turnout models are looking better for Democrats in Nevada as they boost their statewide lead a bit, but long way to go and indies probably hold the key: https://t.co/q4LOMuJRv1 pic.twitter.com/hNeFSo3hQe

— Jon Ralston (@RalstonReports) October 28, 2018

9. Florida. With the Panhandle battered by Hurricane Michael, Florida elections officials have had to struggle to make sure things are fully ready for Election Day in certain counties west of the state capital of Tallahassee. So far, Republicans seem to be turning out at a larger number of voters, even as polls consistently show an edge for Democrats in the two biggest statewide races, for Governor and U.S. Senate. The big unknown question about early voting that always gnaws at you is when one party is voting in larger numbers – does that really mean they will keep that lead on Election Day? We will know in another nine days. President Trump is set to make two stops in Florida over the last week of the campaign, on Wednesday in Fort Myers, and Saturday in Pensacola.

Latest Daily (through Sunday morning) Cumulative Vote-by-Mail and Early-in-Person Ballots Cast in Florida, by Party, Race/Ethnicity, & Age, with 2014 Comparisons https://t.co/Th3mlBRiXG pic.twitter.com/R56EUiDUZH

— daniel a. smith (@electionsmith) October 28, 2018


10. What impact will the President have? Starting Wednesday, President Trump will basically be on the road until Election Day. Will it spur any big extra amount of turnout for Republicans? Or could it have the opposite impact in some places, and drive more Democrats to the polls? Remember my favorite way to evaluate this time of year – the schedule tells a story. When you see where the President is going, think about several things – what state, what races, what impact? One thing is for sure, we are heading into record territory for early voting in the U.S. this mid-term election.

Trump campaign schedule starting to fill out:
Wed: Fort Myers, Florida
Thu: Columbia, Missouri
Fri: Huntington, WV
Sat: Pensacola, FL

— Jamie Dupree (@jamiedupree) October 28, 2018

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