The Campaign Report – 10/31/2020

Charlie Cook: “What I am wondering is if this will be one or the rarest species of national elections—a wave election in a presidential year ending in a zero, meaning it will reverberate for a decade thanks to the coming redistricting. There are not a dozen Republican Senate seats that could fall, as Democrats suffered in 1980, but Joe Biden may well replicate Ronald Reagan’s 10-point victory over President Carter. The odds are it will be a bit less, perhaps in the 53 to 44 percent range, with 3 percent going to independents and write-ins, half of the number from four years ago.”

Wall Street Journal: “Whether they made up their minds recently or saw their choices cemented by the events of this year, voters named the economy, racial justice, the coronavirus pandemic, trade and climate change among the things they cared most about.”

Don’t mail it. Drop it off.

“When President Trump’s campaign advisers laid out his re-election strategy for reporters last December, they identified a couple types of voters as particularly important targets,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“One was ‘Trump disengagers’—voters who backed the president in 2016 but sat out the midterms two years later. Another was nonvoters, who in many swing states are disproportionately white, working-class and viewed as open to Mr. Trump’s message.”

“As Election Day looms, voter registration and polling data suggest that Mr. Trump has successfully executed on those goals. The question is whether Mr. Trump’s gains are big enough to carry those states once again—and whether he has paid too big a price for them. Polling suggests that as he has drawn new voters into the electorate and energized his supporters from 2016, Mr. Trump has pushed away others, including some who identify as Republican or even approve of his job performance.”

“President Trump still has a path to a second term. But it would take a polling debacle that would make 2016 look like a banner year. According to a series of battleground state polls conducted and released in the week following the last Trump-Biden debate, the president’s chances of winning a second term now require winning states where he still trails with only days to go until voting concludes,” Politico reports..

“In most of the core swing states, Joe Biden has maintained a stable — though not overwhelming — lead over Trump in polls over the past few months, continuing into the final week of the election. Some of the state polling averages have tightened slightly since the last debate, though Biden remains consistently ahead. In three live-interview polls of Florida all released on Thursday, Biden led Trump by between 3 and 5 points.”

“In some of the potentially decisive states, like Pennsylvania, the polls would have to be wrong to a significant greater — greater than the errors in 2016 — for Trump to win.”

“Thousands of ads from Joe Biden’s campaign have been blocked by Facebook as part of the social media giant’s pre-election blackout on new political ads, which the Biden camp said erroneously swept up ads that had already been approved to run,” Politico reports.

“The ads have been down since Tuesday, Biden’s campaign said on Thursday evening, costing the Democratic presidential candidate a half-million dollars in projected donations and altering the advertising plan right before the election.”

“Texas’ early and mail-in voting totals for the 2020 election have surpassed the state’s total voter turnout in 2016, with 9,009,850 ballots already cast compared to 8,969,226 in the last presidential cycle,” Axios reports.

“The presidential candidates unleashed a frenzy of last-minute campaigning Thursday in Florida, a must-win state for President Trump, whose packed rallies have become their own political liability amid surging coronavirus cases,” the Los Angeles Times reports.

“Both Trump and Joe Biden headed to the rapidly growing Tampa region, where their get-out-the-vote events showcased sharply contrasting approaches to the COVID-19 pandemic. The focus on Florida comes as polls give Biden a slight edge in the state, which holds 29 electoral votes the Trump campaign desperately needs for a viable path to victory.”

Sen. Kamala Harris is returning to Georgia on Sunday to rally voters as the campaign intensifies efforts to flip a state that hasn’t voted Democratic in a White House race since 1992, the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports.

“A federal court sided Thursday with a GOP challenge to Minnesota’s extended deadline for receiving absentee ballots after Election Day, imperiling a state rule that would count mail-in ballots received up to a week after Tuesday’s election,” the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports.

“In a 2-1 decision, a panel of Eighth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals judges ordered that all mail-in ballots received after 8 p.m. on Election Day be set aside, setting the stage for a potential legal battle after the election. But the order stopped short of a final determination on the validity of the post-Election Day ballots.”

“Senior officials on Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s campaign are increasingly worried about insufficient Black and Latino voter turnout in key states like Florida and Pennsylvania with only four days until the election,” Bloomberg reports.

“Despite record early-vote turnout around the country, there are warning signs for Biden. In Arizona, two-thirds of Latino registered voters have not yet cast a ballot. In Florida, half of Latino and Black registered voters have not yet voted but more than half of White voters have cast ballots, according to data from Catalist, a Democratic data firm. In Pennsylvania, nearly 75% of registered Black voters have not yet voted, the data shows.”

“Democrats are sounding the alarm about weak voter turnout rates in Florida’s biggest county, Miami-Dade, where a strong Republican showing is endangering Joe Biden’s chances in the nation’s biggest swing state,” Politico reports.

“No Democrat can win Florida without a huge turnout and big winning margins here to offset losses elsewhere in the state. But Democrats are turning out at lower rates than Republicans and at lower rates than at this point in 2016, when Hillary Clinton won by 29 percentage points here and still lost the state to Donald Trump.”

“Timely mail delivery across Pennsylvania took a drastic turn for the worse in just the last two weeks amid a glut of voting by mail,” the Harrisburg Patriot Ledger reports.

“In Philadelphia, 42% of all first-class mail is taking longer than five days to be delivered. For comparison, that figure was 33% two weeks ago and just 13% in January, before a series of changes handed down by the Trump administration led to a national slowdown.”

Washington Post: “Over the past five days, the on-time rate for ballots in 17 postal districts representing 10 battleground states and 151 electoral votes was 89.1 percent — 5.9 percentage points lower than the national average. By that measure, more than 1 in 10 ballots are arriving outside the Postal Service’s one-to-three-day delivery window for first-class mail.”

“Those delays loom large over the election: 28 states will not accept ballots that arrive after Election Day, even if they are postmarked before.”

“Republican Party officials say they’re already looking to Pennsylvania, Minnesota and Nevada as likely battlegrounds for post-election lawsuits if the results are close,” Axios reports.

“As pre-election lawsuits draw to a close, and with President Trump running behind Joe Biden in national and many battleground state polls, Republicans are turning their attention to preparations for Election Day and beyond, and potential recounts.”

“President Trump has called off plans to appear at the Trump International Hotel on election night and is likely to be at the White House instead,” the New York Times reports.

“Advisers had said privately that Mr. Trump was going to appear at his namesake hotel in Washington for an election night party for which his campaign had sent out multiple fund-raising solicitations to his supporters.”

“It was unclear why the plans had changed.”

Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (R) repeated unsubstantiated claims that the only way Republicans can lose on Election Day is if Democrats cheat, the Texas Tribune reports.

Said Patrick: “The Democrats have just decided this election… we don’t have to pay attention to any laws. We’re gonna use COVID as an excuse to steal the election, and that’s what they’re trying to do everywhere. If the president loses Pennsylvania or North Carolina, Mark, or Florida, they’ll lose it because they stole it.”

fantastic cheat sheet from Daniel Nichanian on the state and local elections.

There’s also a printable PDF.

Meanwhile, FiveThirtyEight has a good guide of when to expect results from each state.

Sen. David Perdue (R-GA) withdrew from the final debate in his tight re-election race, a day after Jon Ossoff (D) called him a “crook” and accused the vulnerable Republican of trying to profit from the coronavirus pandemic, the New York Times reports.

Ossoff announced Perdue’s cancellation on Twitter: “At last night’s debate, millions saw that Perdue had no answers when I called him out on his record of blatant corruption, widespread disease, and economic devastation. Shame on you, Senator.”

Delaware politics from a liberal, progressive and Democratic perspective. Keep Delaware Blue.

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