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The Political Report – October 5, 2022

Georgia GOP Senate nominee and ex-NFL star Herschel Walker–a supposedly anti-abortion hardliner who’s argued that there should be “no exceptions” to abortion bans–paid for a woman’s abortion when he impregnated her in 2009, the Daily Beast found.

The woman (who was not named in the story) has literal receipts: She provided the Daily Beast with a receipt from the abortion clinic and a bank deposit receipt from a signed $700 check Walker had given her for the procedure. Most amazing of all, the woman also had the “get well” card Walker had sent her with the check. Walker tweeted on Monday night that he denies the report “in the strongest possible terms.” The former NFL star also vowed to sue the Daily Beast for defamation.

Walker’s 23-year-old son, Christian Walker (one of the ex-NFL star’s four known children but the only one who was known publicly), tore into his father via Twitter with accusations of domestic violence several hours later. Declaring that he was “done” with his father, Christian alleged that the Senate candidate had threatened to kill him and his mother, forcing them to move “over 6 times in 6 months running from your violence.” Christian Walker’s mother, Cindy Grossman, has previously accused the ex-NFL player of domestic abuse.

Christian Walker, son of Georgia U.S. Senate candidate Herschel Walker (R), tweets: “I know my mom and I would really appreciate if my father Herschel Walker stopped lying and making a mockery of us. You’re not a “family man” when you left us to bang a bunch of women, threatened to kill us, and had us move over 6 times in 6 months running from your violence. Every family member of Herschel Walker asked him not to run for office, because we all knew (some of) his past. Every single one. He decided to give us the middle finger and air out all of his dirty laundry in public, while simultaneously lying about it. I’m done.”

Walker didn’t comment directly on his son’s remarks, though he tweeted that he loves Christian “no matter what.”

“U.S. Senate hopeful Herschel Walker’s campaign was in turmoil Monday after his adult son accused his father of threatening to kill his family members, an accusation that came after a news outlet reported the Republican paid his then-girlfriend in 2009 to have an abortion despite his opposition to the procedure,” the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports.

“Months before news broke alleging that Herschel Walker paid for an abortion, top Republicans in the state — including those advising his team — warned him that the story could torpedo his campaign,” Politico reports.

“It was brought to the attention of those working on Walker’s behalf, in part as a means of discouraging him from running. His team downplayed the potential disruption it would cause. But, according to one of those people, they did not outright deny it.”

Christian Walker, the son of Georgia U.S. Senate candidate Herschel Walker (R), is out with a new video elaborating on his criticisms of his father made last night on Twitter.

“I’ll let the pundits decide how they think it will impact the race. But I have been consistent in my view that a patient’s room is too narrow and cramped for space for a woman and the government. My view on that has not changed.” — Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-GA), reacting to the report last night that challenger Herschel Walker (R) had paid for a girlfriend’s abortion.

Donald Trump backed Georgia Senate nominee Herschel Walker’s (R) denial of a report suggesting he paid for a woman’s abortion in 2009, The Hill reports. Said Trump: “Hershel Walker is being slandered and maligned by the Fake News Media and obviously, the Democrats.” He added: “Interestingly, I’ve heard many horrible things about his opponent, Raphael Warnock, things that nobody should be talking about, so we don’t.”

NBC News: National Republicans stand by Herschel Walker after report he paid for an abortion.

Last night might have been one of the worst nights for a U.S. Senate candidate in a long time. First, the Daily Beast ran the story of how the “pro-life without exceptions” Herschel Walker paid for a girlfriend to have an abortion. Then, Walker’s own son slammed in a series of tweets.

The younger Walker followed up this morning with a devastating video. It was a massive blow to Walker’s candidacy in one of the tightest Senate races in the nation.

So what can Republicans do? It turns out absolutely nothing. If Walker drops out of the race, Georgia law doesn’t allow a party to replace a candidate this late in the process: “Any vacancy which occurs in any party nomination filled by a primary and which is created by reason of the withdrawal of a candidate less than 60 days prior to the date of the election shall not be filled.”

Making it tougher for Republicans is that they were counting on flipping the Georgia seat to have a shot at winning the Senate majority. That’s why Republicans made it clear last night they would continue to aggressively back Walker — no matter how flawed a candidate he might be. The next round of polling should be interesting.

POLLING.

Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT) has some advice for his colleagues after watching his home state’s former governor, Steve Bullock, poll well then lose badly in Montana’s 2020 Senate race, Politico reports. Said Tester: “I don’t believe the polls anymore. I just don’t. After Montana: throw them away. I don’t think there’s any accuracy.”

FUNDRAISING. The third fundraising quarter of 2022 came to an end on Friday evening, and campaign finance reports are due Oct. 15 for federal candidates. Several campaigns, almost all of them Democratic, have released their numbers early, though, and we’ve seen some huge hauls already:

Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-GA) “continued a staggering fundraising pace by collecting an additional $26.3 million in the latest three-month reporting period, and his campaign said Monday that it will end the quarter with roughly $13.7 million in the bank for his reelection bid,” the Atlanta Journal Constitution  reports. Warnock has proven to be an extraordinary fundraiser.

Mehmet Oz’s (R) Senate campaign in Pennsylvania raised $17.2 million between July and September — including $7 million from Oz’s own money — Axios  reports. “These are big numbers and reflect a high-stakes race that may be narrowing by the minute.”

“The House Majority PAC, the outside spending group linked to Speaker Nancy Pelosi, raised more than $36 million in September and nearly $55 million since July,” the New York Times reports.

“The PAC, which supports Democrats with television and digital advertising in key House races, has hauled in $134 million so far this campaign season… That is ahead of its pace in 2020, when it had amassed $125 million at the same point in the election cycle.”

Tim Alberta: “The great threat is no longer machines malfunctioning or ballots being spoiled. It is the actual theft of an election.”

Associated Press: “A rural county in Nevada where conspiracy theories about voting machines run deep is planning to start hand-counting its mail-in ballots two weeks before Election Day, a process that risks public release of early voting results.”

MARYLAND 6TH CD. Democratic Rep. David Trone has released a commercial against his Republican opponent declaring, “If Neil Parrott had his way every American who’s HIV-positive would have to be tattooed, including all 3.7 million infants and children.” As the screen shows children stamped with an “HIV Positive” mark, the narrator continues, “Parrott wrote an op-ed actually proposing to force HIV-positive men, women, and children to be tattooed or withhold their medication.”

Back in 2005, Parrott wrote a letter to the Hagerstown Herald-Mail where he proposed that HIV positive people should be tattooed “in a spot covered by a bathing suit” in order to warn potential sex partners about their status. He continued, “An effective way to enforce the consistency of the tattoo would be to provide medicine to the infected individual only after they have received the HIV tattoo.” In 2012, the Baltimore Sun wrote that Parrott, who had been elected to the state House of Delegates two years before, “said he has since abandoned the idea because advances in medicine have made the disease more treatable.”

Trone beat Parrott 59-39 last cycle as Biden was carrying the old version of the seat by a similar 61-38 spread, but the redrawn incarnation would have favored Biden only 54-44. Parrott earned his rematch after decisively beating a primary foe supported by Gov. Larry Hogan and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, but so far, major GOP outside groups haven’t spent in the general election. Trone, for his part, has already self-funded over $12.5 million, so it would be a surprise if national Democrats deployed anything to help the Total Wine and More co-owner.

The campaign for this seat in the western Maryland and northwestern D.C. exurbs isn’t the only race that Trone is spending in, though. The congressman and his brother, who also co-owns the company, together have dropped more than $2.6 million to back Initiative 96, a ballot measure in Colorado that would eventually allow liquor retailers to operate an unlimited number of locations in the state. (Total Wine has three stores in the Centennial State, which is the maximum currently allowed.)

PENNSYLVANIA 17TH CD. The DCCC has publicized numbers from brilliant corners Research & Strategies showing Democrat Chris Deluzio leading Republican Jeremy Shaffer 49-43 in a suburban Pittsburgh seat that Biden would have taken by that same 52-46 margin. This is the first poll we’ve seen out of this contest, which has attracted heavy spending from both parties, since late July, when a survey for Deluzio put him up 43-42.  

NORTH DAKOTA AT LARGE CD. We didn’t expect to get dueling polls of the race for North Dakota’s only House district, but the state Democratic Party kicked things off Friday when it publicized an internal from DFM Research showing Republican Rep. Kelly Armstrong fending off independent Cara Mund just 44-40 in a race without a Democratic choice. The incumbent, though, responded days later by dropping his own poll from the ominously named firm Axis Research that shows him ahead 52-30 in a state Trump took 65-32. Armstrong also released an earlier poll from September from 1892 Polling showing him up 48-31.

Mund, who became the first North Dakotan to be crowded Miss America in 2018, entered the race in August as a pro-choice non-aligned candidate. She learned she’d be Armstrong’s only foe a short time later when Democratic nominee Mark Haugen, who argued that his anti-abortion views gave him no path to victory, dropped out.

VIRGINIA 7TH CD. Democratic Rep. Abigail Spanberger’s new commercial goes after Republican Yesli Vega for falsely suggesting that it’s unlikely for rape to result in pregnancy. The spot features a rape survivor telling the audience, “Yesli Vega said women can’t get pregnant from rape because it’s not happening organically—that made me sick. It’s irresponsible coming from a police officer who should have known better.”

Axios posted audio in June where Vega, a Prince William County supervisor who also works as a sheriff’s deputy, responded to a question about what Congress should do if Roe v. Wade was overturned. The candidate first expressed her support for more state restrictions on the procedure before declaring, “The left will say, ‘Well what about in cases of rape or incest?’ I’m a law enforcement officer. I became a police officer in 2011. I’ve worked one case where as a result of a rape, the young woman became pregnant.”

Vega was asked later at the event, “I’ve actually heard that it’s harder for a woman to get pregnant if she’s been raped. Have you heard that?” Vega replied,

“Well, maybe because there’s so much going on in the body. I don’t know. I haven’t, you know, seen any studies. But if I’m processing what you’re saying, it wouldn’t surprise me. Because it’s not something that’s happening organically. You’re forcing it. The individual, the male, is doing it as quickly—it’s not like, you know—and so I can see why there is truth to that. It’s unfortunate.”

Vega told Axios in response, “I’m a mother of two, I’m fully aware of how women get pregnant.”

Spanberger ran a commercial about this story about a month ago, and she tells the New York Times this new spot will run through most of October.

WASHINGTON 3RD CD. CNN reports that Republican Joe Kent gave an interview with Nazi sympathizer Greyson Arnold in June months after he publicly disavowed another white supremacist supporter. Kent’s campaign said in response that the candidate mistakenly believed that Arnold was a local journalist and that “[n]one of the questions gave Joe any indications that the individual had any racist or antisemitic views and, if he had, Joe would have cancelled the interview immediately.”

What Kent did tell Arnold during their talk, though, was that Arizona Rep. Paul Gosar, who has his own prominent white supremacists supporters, “has some awesome legislation he’s proposed about getting rid of a lot of the legal immigration.” CNN notes that Kent’s website still displays an endorsement from Arizona state Sen. Wendy Rogers, another far-right favorite whose own colleagues censured her in March after speaking to a white nationalist conference and who later suggested the government was behind the mass shooting in Buffalo.

LOS ANGELES MAYOR. UC Berkeley, polling on behalf of the Los Angeles Times, shows Rep. Karen Bass fending off billionaire developer Rick Caruso 46-31 among likely voters even as it shows her ahead just 34-31 with registered voters. The article writes of the huge divide, “Those likely voters tend to be older, richer and whiter and are more likely to be registered Democrats and to identify as strongly liberal than the electorate as a whole,” groups that overall favor Bass.

FLORIDA 28TH CD. Democrat Robert Asencio has publicized an internal from Impact Research conducted Sept. 8-13 that shows him trailing freshman Republican Rep. Carlos Giménez 50-40 in an exurban Miami seat that would have backed Trump 53-47.

The memo finds the Democrat cutting his deficit to 49-44 after “balanced positive bios are read” and argues, “If Asencio has the resources to tell his story, he can quickly close the gap in this Congressional race.” Friday was the end of the third fundraising quarter, so we’ll know soon if Asencio, who served one term in the state House, has a notable amount of money available for a contest that hasn’t attracted much outside attention so far.  

IOWA 3RD CD. Moore Information Group, polling on behalf of Republican Zach Nunn and the NRCC, shows Nunn edging out Democratic Rep. Cindy Axne 46-44, a small improvement from the 43-43 tie it found in July. A mid-September Axne internal also had things deadlocked 47-47.

“The race for North Dakota’s lone seat in the U.S. House of Representatives is competitive and abortion appears to be a key reason why,“ the Fargo Forum reports. “Incumbent Republican Kelly Armstrong leads independent challenger Cara Mund by just four points, according to a poll conducted by DFM Research.”

MICHIGAN 3RD CD. CNN recently reported that Republican John Gibbs argued against women’s suffrage as a college student in the early 2000s, and Democrat Hillary Scholten is now airing a commercial blasting him over it. The ad uses news clips where reporters say that Gibbs back then believed that “the United States has suffered as a result of women having the right to vote,” “women should not be allowed to be in the workplace,” and “women don’t have the characteristics necessary to govern.”

OHIO 9TH CD. J.R. Majewski (R) removed the US Air Force insignia from his campaign website after the Daily Beast inquired about whether he had gotten permission to use the logo in compliance with Department of Defense policy.

Longshot House candidate Katie Darling (D) is out with a new ad in Louisiana that shows her giving birth.

Iowa State Auditor Rob Sand (D) is out with a new ad which points out that he’s annoying.

“A super PAC tied to House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) is pouring another $14 million into ad reservations in key House districts as the midterm campaign enters its final stage,” Axios reports.

“The Congressional Leadership Fund’s spending offers a road map of which districts House Republicans view as their best pickup opportunities — as well as which incumbents they see as their most vulnerable.”

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

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