The Political Report – October 18, 2022

“Republicans enter the final weeks of the contest for control of Congress with a narrow but distinctive advantage as the economy and inflation have surged as the dominant concerns, giving the party momentum to take back power from Democrats in next month’s midterm elections,” a New York Times/Siena College poll has found.

The poll shows that 49 percent of likely voters said they planned to vote for a Republican to represent them in Congress on Nov. 8, compared with 45 percent who planned to vote for a Democrat. The result represents an improvement for Republicans since September, when Democrats held a one-point edge among likely voters in the last Times/Siena poll.”

Nate Cohn: “The evidence for a shift toward Republicans appears to be underpinned by a change in the national political environment.”

“This year’s midterm elections are playing out as a strange continuation of the last presidential race — and a potential preview of the next one,” the AP reports.

“Donald Trump, who refused to exit the stage after his defeat, has spent months raging against Joe Biden, reshaping downballot campaigns that normally function as a straightforward referendum on the incumbent president.”

“The result is an episode of political shadowboxing with little precedent, as the current president and his immediate predecessor — and possible future challenger — crisscross the country in support of their party’s candidates.”

New York Times/Siena poll: “In a hypothetical 2024 rematch, Mr. Trump led Mr. Biden in the poll by one percentage point. Among women, Mr. Biden was ahead of Mr. Trump by only four points, compared with the margin of more than 10 points that Mr. Biden had in the 2020 election.”

Harry Enten: “I’d make the argument, though, that we’re underselling the potential of a big Republican night.”

Josh Kraushaar: “House Republicans are increasingly confident they can make unexpected inroads into some solidly Democratic congressional districts, including in some of the bluest states in the country: California, Connecticut, New York, Oregon and Rhode Island.”


GEORGIA U.S. SENATOR. “Confronted with images of a receipt from an abortion clinic and a check dated days later and bearing his name, Georgia Senate candidate Herschel Walker said Sunday that an ex-partner’s allegation that he paid to terminate her pregnancy is a lie,” NBC News reports.

“Walker acknowledged the $700 check was his but again said he had no knowledge of what the money might have been for.”

Said Walker: “Yes, that’s my check.”

Georgia GOP Senate nominee/abortion funder Herschel Walker will have you know that the “not a prop” police badge that he whipped out during his debate with incumbent Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-GA) on Friday is a real “honorary” badge and absolutely not a prop, okay?  

The badge came from, uhhh, “all over Georgia,” Walker told NBC News correspondent Kristen Welker when she asked in a pre-taped interview who gave him the not-a-prop badge.

To be clear, Walker has never once worked in law enforcement, despite the claims he’s made.

Walker ditched the Atlanta Press Club’s debate last night that he was supposed to have with Warnock and Libertarian candidate Chase Oliver.

The moderator of a Senate debate tonight in Georgia introduced Republican candidate Herschel Walker — who had declined to appear — as being “represented by this empty podium.”

Georgia U.S. Senate candidate Herschel Walker (R) talked to Kristen Welker on NBC News about the police badge he flashed at the recent debate.

WALKER: That’s a badge that I was given by a police officer and I do have the badge I carry with me all the time. It’s a real badge. It’s not a fake badge. It is a real badge.

WELKER: Who gave you that badge?

WALKER: This badge is from um — this badge. I have badges from all over the — all over Georgia, even from Chatham County. I had to wait — wait — I had from Chatham County which is a county, which is a county, uh, which is a county from- *SHOWS BADGE* oh I have it upside down. Right, which is a county from where Senator Warnock is from. I have an honorary Sheriff badge for that county with limited rights —

WELKER: Where is this one from?

WALKER: This is from my hometown. This is from Johnson County from the sheriff from Johnson County, which is a legit badge. Everyone can make fun, but this badge give me the right- wait, let me finish. If anything happened in this county. I have the right to work with the police getting things done. People that don’t know that- I’ve been working with law enforcement for years. I do training program but they get to get credit for it. I do a program, a leadership program. I do health and wellness programs. I visit prisons so, everyone will make fun, but I’ve been — have my men and women in black — men and women in blue backs since I’ve been doing this.

WELKER: Does that have arresting authority or that is an honorary badge?

WALKER: It is an honorary badge — but they can call me whenever they want me and I have the authority to do things for them to work with them all day.

WELKER: The National Sheriffs Association said an honorary badge, quote, is for the trophy case. Why make the decision to flash it at the debate?

HERSCHEL WALKER: That is totally not true. You can call the guy that gave me the badge.

PENNSYLVANIA U.S. SENATOR. Washington Post: “Now, in the final weeks of one of the most consequential and competitive Senate races in the country, Fetterman’s health has become a focal point for both campaigns.”

“The Fetterman campaign has declined repeated requests to interview his doctors or review updated medical information beyond what it has previously released. The last medical information from a doctor made public by the Fetterman campaign came in a letter from his cardiologist on June 3, explaining that surgery conducted 17 days earlier to install a defibrillator was to treat a previously undisclosed diagnosis of cardiomyopathy, and not for atrial fibrillation as the campaign originally claimed.”

The Atlantic that finds Fetterman supporters at a campaign event aren’t concerned about his health. “Still, in the absence of those records, we can only observe and guess.”

Democrat John Fetterman is airing his first commercial about his May stroke, telling the audience that he was “just grateful” to see his wife and kids afterwards. He continues, “Across Pennsylvania, I keep seeing families that don’t have enough time to focus on each other. They’re struggling, left behind.”

UTAH U.S. SENATOR. Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) wrote an odd op-ed in the Salt Lake Tribune praising his record in the third person.

“Senator Lee has remained committed to advocating for limited government and fiscal responsibility throughout his career. His work is motivated by a deep reverence for our nation and the values that make it great.”

Bloomberg reports that the Club for Growth, which has been GOP Sen. Mike Lee’s main outside group ally, will spend another $2.4 million in this contest. Meanwhile, data analyst Rob Pyers relays that Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul’s Protect Freedom PAC has dropped $850,000 to help his colleague.  

COLORADO U.S. SENATOR. “For months, top party operatives have mused that Joe O’Dea is the best Republican candidate running for Senate this year,” Politico reports.

“While other GOP nominees are countering reports that they have encouraged abortions, killed puppies or waffled on the 2020 election being legitimate, O’Dea has been talking non-stop about soaring inflation.”

“The moderate Colorado Republican Senate nominee has never led a public poll in the race, and polling averages show O’Dea continues to trail his opponent, Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet, by 8 percentage points. But Bennet’s approval ratings are in line with President Joe Biden’s, in the low 40s, and both parties see the potential for a surprise.”

NBC reports that the conservative American Policy Fund has booked another $4.6 million to help Republican Joe O’Dea. The group is funded by construction company executives, the Senate Leadership Fund, and Timothy Mellon, a billionaire who wrote in his 2015 memoir, “Black people, in spite of heroic efforts by the ‘Establishment’ to right the wrongs of the past, became even more belligerent and unwilling to pitch in to improve their own situations.”

On the Democratic side, the League of Conservation Voters is spending another $860,000 to defend Democratic incumbent Michael Bennet.

ARIZONA GOVERNOR. Far-right Arizona gubernatorial nominee and hardcore 2020 election denier Kari Lake made it crystal clear during a CNN appearance on Sunday that the election denialism that fuels her entire campaign very much extends to her own race.

Lake repeatedly refused to say whether she’d accept the results of her election if she lost, even though CNN anchor Dana Bash repeatedly pressed her on it.

Lake and Democratic rival/Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs are neck-and-neck in the polls right now.

Said Lake: “I’m going to win the election and I’m going to accept that result.”

Democrat Katie Hobbs and the state party are running a new commercial going after Republican Kari Lake for appearing to flirt with secession in response to the FBI’s search of Mar-a-Lago. The spot shows a news clip where a reporter declares that Lake “even seemed to endorse secession,” before it uses footage of Lake saying, “We need to fire the federal government.”

Hobbs’ narrator then warns that if the Republican had her way, “Seniors lose Social Security checks and Medicare benefits. Two million Arizonans lose their health insurance.” He continues, “Six military bases closed. The National Guard disbanded.”

NORTH CAROLINA U.S. SENATOR. Republican Ted Budd’s newest commercial blames Democrat Cheri Beasley for a decision from her time on the North Carolina Supreme Court, when it ruled that a three-time convicted sex offender named Torrey Grady―who, like Beasley, just happens to be Black―could not be subject to lifetime GPS monitoring when he completed his sentence. Budd’s Willie Horton-like ad shows images of Grady and Beasley’s faces as well as a menacing van driving past a group of white children as the narrator warns, “Now, he could be watching your kids.”

Back in 2019, Beasley joined a 4-2 majority that struck down a law requiring automatic lifetime monitoring for anyone convicted at least twice for the same offense. The decision concluded that such tracking violated the Fourth Amendment and emphasized that most states don’t have any sort of lifetime tracking. The justices added that the state could order GPS monitoring but only in certain circumstances.

The Club for Growth ran a similar ad last month that also implied that, because of the court’s ruling, no one knew Grady’s whereabouts. However, the Charlotte Observer wrote in its fact check that Grady, who remains on probation, still has his address listed in the state’s public offender database.

Efforts to link Black Democrats with criminals who also, not coincidentally, are Black is of course nothing new for the GOP. Not long ago, a conservative super PAC used footage from what the narrator calls “actual crime scenes across Wisconsin,” including a clip of a group of people scattering in panic during a shooting. The ad then drew a red circle around one of the gunmen next to on-screen text reading “Mandela Barnes” before accusing the Democrat of wanting to defund the police despite all this violence, a position Barnes does not in fact hold.

ARIZONA U.S. SENATOR. The Heritage Foundation’s Sentinel Action Fund has thrown down an additional $1.35 million to aid Republican Blake Masters, while Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul’s Protect Freedom PAC is deploying another $700,000 here.

NORTH CAROLINA U.S. SENATOR. Senate Majority PAC has announced that it is booking an additional $4 million to aid Democrat Cheri Beasley.

LOUISIANA GOVERNOR. When LaPolitics asked state Transportation Secretary Shawn Wilson if he were interested in campaigning next year to succeed his fellow Democrat, termed-out Gov. John Bel Edwards, Wilson replied, “I’m not ready to say it’s not true.” Wilson would be the first African American elected statewide since Reconstruction.

OHIO 9TH CD. Ohio Congressional candidate J.R. Majewski (R), who is accused of embellishing his U.S. Air Force record, was also misrepresenting his academic credentials as recently as last month, the HuffPost reports.

Miami Mayor Francis Suarez (R) said Monday that he’s considering joining the crowded field of prospective 2024 Republican presidential candidates, Insider reports.

Said Suarez: “It’s something that I would consider given the right circumstances and given the right mood of the country.”

“A new, well-funded super PAC is supporting the political priorities and policy agenda of Rep. Jim Banks of Indiana, an ambitious GOP House member expected to compete for the House majority whip role if his party wins power,” Axios reports.

“A Banks-blessed super PAC — which plans to help his colleagues in this final stretch before the midterms — could aid his leadership ambitions.”

“Democratic candidates outraised their Republican opponents in 10 of the most competitive Senate races as the midterm campaigns headed into the final stretch before Election Day, new fundraising reports filed with the Federal Election Commission show,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“More than $175 million flowed into the campaigns of Democratic Senate candidates across those races in the third quarter ended Sept. 30, according to reports filed over the weekend. That compares to nearly $77 million for opposing Republican campaigns.”

New York Times: “With President Biden’s job approval hovering at about 40 percent at a moment when Democrats are struggling to hold on to the House and Senate, Dr. Biden has become a lifeline for candidates trying to draw attention and money but not the baggage that an appearance with her husband would bring. According to a senior White House official, she is the most requested surrogate in the administration.”

“Rep. Cori Bush (D-MO) has spent nearly $500,000 in campaign funds on private security services despite her recent doubling down on her support for defunding the police,” Fox News reports.

USA Today: “Voters in some states could have already begun casting their ballots for the midterm election. In others, in-person early voting begins as soon as this week.”

“Minnesota, South Dakota, Virginia and Wyoming were the first states to cast ballots on Sept. 23; Wyoming and Michigan allowed voters in their state to vote early by absentee ballot starting last month. Oklahoma and Kentucky don’t allow early in-person votes until November. The majority of states begin their early voting in October.”

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

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