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The Political Report – November 2, 2022

“Voters are giving Republicans a late boost in support just ahead of the midterm elections, as pessimism about the economy and the direction of the country jump to their highest levels of the year,” a new Wall Street Journal poll finds.

“The survey, conducted about two weeks before Election Day, suggests that abortion rights are less important in voting decisions than voters indicated in the summer, after the Supreme Court in June ended the federal constitutional right to abortion. Republicans have regained momentum since then and now hold a slight edge over Democrats, 46% to 44%, when voters are asked which party they would support in their congressional district if the election were held today.”

New York Times: “Gearing up to report this year’s midterm election results, American television networks are facing an uncomfortable question: How many viewers will believe them?”

“Amid rampant distrust in the news media and a rash of candidates who have telegraphed that they may claim election fraud if they lose, news anchors and executives are seeking new ways to tackle the attacks on the democratic process that have infected politics since the last election night broadcast in 2020.”

POLLING. The final Atlanta Journal Constitution poll in Georgia shows Herschel Walker (R) barely ahead of Sen. Raphael Warnock (D) in the U.S. Senate race, 46% to 45%.

“If the Senate race is forced into a December runoff, which is required by Georgia law if no candidate captures a majority of the vote, it will be because of a trend of split-ticket voting as a small but significant portion of Republican-leaning voters withholds support from Walker.”

In the governor’s race, Gov. Brian Kemp (R) leads challenger Stacey Abrams (D), 51% to 44%.

  • MO-Sen: Remington Research Group (R) for Missouri Scout: Eric Schmitt (R): 51, Trudy Busch Valentine (D): 42
  • NM-Gov: SurveyUSA for KOB-TV: Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-inc): 46, Mark Ronchetti (R): 39, Karen Bedonie (L): 5
  • NM-Gov: Research & Polling for the Albuquerque Journal: Lujan Grisham (D-inc): 50, Ronchetti (R): 42, Bedonie (L): 3
  • NM-01: Research and Polling for the Albuquerque Journal: Melanie Stansbury (D-inc): 48, Michelle Garcia Holmes (R): 42
  • NM-02: Research and Polling for the Albuquerque Journal: Gabe Vasquez (D): 47, Yvette Herrell (R-inc): 45
  • NM-03: Research and Polling for the Albuquerque Journal: Teresa Leger Fernandez (D-inc): 53, Alexis Martinez Johnson (R): 35
  • NM-SoS: SurveyUSA for KOB-TV: Maggie Toulouse Oliver (D-inc): 43, Audrey Trujillo (R): 36, Mayna Myers (L): 3
  • NV-Sen: Siena College for the New York Times: Catherine Cortez Masto (D-inc): 47, Adam Laxalt (R): 47, Barry Rubinson (IAP): 1, Neil Scott (L): 1
  • NV-Sen: Nevada Independent/OH Predictive Insights poll: Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D) 43, Adam Laxalt (R) 41
  • NV-Gov: Nevada Independent/OH Predictive Insights poll: Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) 45, Joe Lombardo (R) 41
  • NY-AG: KAConsulting (R) for Citizens United: Letitia James (D-inc): 47, Michael Henry (R): 41
  • NY-22: GSG (D) for Francis Conole: Francis Conole (D): 45, Brandon Williams (R): 43
  • OH-Sen: Cygnal (R): J.D. Vance (R): 48, Tim Ryan (D): 44
  • OH-Sen: Redfield & Wilton Strategies: Vance (R): 47, Ryan (D): 43
  • OH-Gov: Cygnal (R): Mike DeWine (R-inc): 56, Nan Whaley (D): 36
  • OH-Gov: Redfield & Wilton Strategies: DeWine (R-inc): 53, Whaley (D): 37
  • OK-Gov: Ascend Action (R): Joy Hofmeister (D): 48, Kevin Stitt (R-inc): 45, Ervin Yen (I): 1, Natalie Bruno (L): 1
  • PA-Sen: Siena College for the New York Times: John Fetterman (D): 49, Mehmet Oz (R): 44
  • TX-Gov: UT Tyler: Greg Abbott (R-inc): 47, Beto O’Rourke (D): 44
  • TX-AG: UT Tyler: Ken Paxton (R-inc): 39, Rochelle Garza (D): 35, Mark Ash (L): 5 (Sept.: 37-30 Paxton)
  • WA-Sen: Triton Polling & Research (R) for KHQ-TV: Patty Murray (D-inc): 51, Tiffany Smiley (R): 45

ALASKA AT LARGE CD. Sarah Palin is only now going up with her first TV spot since her defeat in the August special election, and surprisingly, it’s a positive commercial focused on her time as governor more than a decade ago. The narrator praises her for securing a “$1,200 rebate and dividend” in 2008, and compares her to the late Rep. Don Young. Far less surprisingly, the ad leaves out how Palin that same year backed her then-lieutenant governor, Sean Parnell, in an almost-successful GOP primary bid against Young.

Democratic Rep. Mary Peltola, meanwhile, is running her own commercial where Young’s daughters declare she’ll carry on his legacy.

WASHINGTON 3RD CD. House Majority PAC has launched a late $322,000 buy against election denier Joe Kent, which makes this the first major outside spending from anyone since Kent dispatched his fellow Republican, incumbent Jaime Herrera Beutler, in the August top-two primary. Trump would have carried this southwestern Washington seat 51-47.

HMP’s narrator promotes Democrat Marie Gluesenkamp Perez as “an independent voice to fix our economy” before excoriating Kent as “a far-right extremist.” After the ad plays a clip of Kent saying, “I would move to have a national ban on abortions,” the narrator returns, “Kent treats the Jan. 6 rioters as heroes, even after police officers died.”

“Republicans are pouring cash into House districts that voted for President Biden by as much as 20 points, targeting under-the-radar battlegrounds amid growing signs of a red wave,” Axios reports.

“Infusions of funding by both parties into these solidly blue seats signal the potential for a Republican landslide, further complicating the Democratic calculus on which races to defend.”

VERMONT AT LARGE CD. “Liam Madden, the Republican nominee in the open race for Vermont’s lone seat in the U.S. House, during a radio interview Thursday morning described in detail a self-funded scheme to inflate his campaign donations during the primary cycle in order to qualify for candidate debates,” VT Digger reports.

“Madden claimed to have ‘drained’ his wife’s business’s bank account and distributed roughly $25,000 amongst family members — including his toddler son, June — who then donated the money to his campaign. Madden said he is now recouping the money by collecting a salary from his campaign.”

Said campaign finance expert Saurav Ghosh: “He just appears to be ignorant of the fact that he’s just confessed on an interview on air to breaking campaign finance laws.”

American Prospect: “Over half of the Republican nominees in competitive House races have dipped into personal fortunes to fund their campaigns.”


Kris Kobach’s (R) campaign “accidentally” included footage of Tiger Woods’ arrest in an anti-crime ad, Fox News reports.


super PAC ad that ran during the World Series may have well been paid for by Vladimir Putin himself.


Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL) told Fox News that Republicans will win back the Senate majority in next week’s midterm elections and control “52-plus” seats in the next Congress.

Saturday Night Live did a pretty good job summarizing the discussions happening in Democratic circles everywhere.

Washington Post: “Although Democrats outnumber Republicans in Miami-Dade, the GOP has continued to make headway with Hispanic voters in the state’s most populous county. A GOP victory in Miami-Dade, where Hispanics make up almost 60 percent of the electorate, would be a stunning turnaround in a county that Hillary Clinton won by almost 30 points just six years ago. DeSantis himself lost the county by more than 20 points four years ago.”

 “Outgoing Republican Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson is working to increase his national profile as he eyes a potential 2024 presidential run,” Politico reports.

“After visiting Iowa twice in September, Hutchinson heads back in a couple weeks, and is scheduled to speak to the Westside Conservative Club in Des Moines on Nov. 16. He also plans stops in New Hampshire and South Carolina over the next few months, according to a person close to him.”

“John Gibbs is a Harvard- and Stanford-educated computer scientist and Christian missionary. He is also a pro-Trump conservative who years ago suggested that women should not have the right to vote, referenced conspiracy theories that a prominent Democrat participated in Satanic rituals and mused that the lost city of Atlantis might be buried beneath the North Pole,” Politico reports.

Whether Gibbs, a Republican congressional candidate, can sell the first version to swing voters will determine whether his party holds onto this hotly contested battleground district — and how big a potential Republican House majority could be.”

“He is part of a slate of controversial GOP House nominees testing what voters are willing to stomach as they vent backlash over the economy against Democratic majorities in Congress. Swing-seat matchups in several states include GOP candidates who have appeared to endorse fringe conspiracy theories, deny the validity of the 2020 election or have a pattern of questionable statements or internet postings.”

MISSOURI REFERENDUM. Kansas City is the only city in Missouri, and possibly the whole country, that doesn’t have control over its own police force, and the passage of Amendment 4 next week would empower the GOP legislature to have even more influence over the Kansas City Police Department. This statewide amendment, which Democratic Mayor Quinton Lucas called “one of the worst, most offensive ballot measures to have ever been placed on the Missouri ballot,” would allow the legislature to “increase the minimum funding” for the KCPD.

Its detractors have also argued that the measure’s text is deliberately written to be confusing because Amendment 4 doesn’t mention that this would apply only to Kansas City. Instead, the measure is said to impact “police force[s] established by a state board of police commissioners,” even though this only applies to exactly one community.

State Sen. Greg Razer, a Kansas City Democrat who grew up in the rural Bootheel at the other side of the state, explained, “My mom goes to the ballot box and she looks at this, she’s going to have no idea that she’s voting on a local Kansas City issue in Pemiscot County or understand why.”

Razer’s GOP colleagues earlier this year passed a law that would require the city to devote 25% of its budget to the police, up from the 20% level that currently exists. The Missouri Independent, though, explains that “the legislature cannot require a city to increase an activity or service beyond that mandated by existing law, unless a state appropriation is made to pay the city for any increased costs.” Rather than provide that extra money, the GOP placed Amendment 4 on the statewide ballot to create an exception for Kansas City for any laws passed before the end of 2026.

Lucas has protested that the city already gives more than 25% of its funding to the KCPD. He also recently told the Kansas City Star, “The question to me is just very simply about who can try to leverage that they have more power, who can make Kansas City continue to be more of a colony, who can better silence, in particular, the Black voices in this city.” Lucas, as mayor, is the one member of the five-member board of police commissioners who isn’t appointed by the governor.

This state of affairs has been in place since 1939, though the paper wrote last year that this system actually goes back much further than that to the Civil War for reasons that initially had nothing to do with Kansas City. Pro-Confederate Gov. Claiborne Fox Jackson successfully pushed for a bill in 1861 to create a “Metropolitan Police Bill” in order to keep the loyal bastion of St. Louis from handing its arsenal to the United States government. The Unionist legislature soon ousted Jackson, who died the next year in exile in Arkansas before he could plan a new Confederate invasion, but the legacy of that Metropolitan Police Bill very much survived him.

The state in 1874 extended its control to Kansas City, which like St. Louis had a large population of African Americans and white voters who supported civil rights. In 1932, though, a lawsuit put Kansas City’s police board under the city’s control. This was welcome news for local Democratic boss Tom Pendergast, an early political mentor to future President Harry Truman, who deliberately kept cops’ wages low so that officers would be more likely to accept bribes from Pendergast allies.

Gov. Lloyd Stark, who was one of Pendergast’s intra-party enemies, eventually responded in 1939 by retaking control of the police board, though historian Antonio Holland told the Star last year that this move was motivated by Stark’s own desire to assert power rather than corruption. Pendergast himself was sentenced to prison that year for tax evasion, a scandal that helped cripple his machine and almost took Sen. Truman down with it; Truman, though, narrowly won renomination in a 1940 upset against Stark.

While those nasty Democratic fights are a relic of the distant past, the state-controlled police board remains very much alive. One Republican legislator recently argued, “When you have a history of corruption, the way that Kansas City did 70 years ago, the state has absolute right and, quite frankly, the responsibility to step in for the good of the individuals whose local control authority over their own lives is being violated by corrupt government.”

St. Louis eventually got to run its police department after years of lobbying by city officials that finally culminated in a successful 2012 statewide referendum, but Kansas City still doesn’t have this power. Lucas is none too happy with the status quo that Amendment 4 represents, saying, “This ballot measure is a perpetuation of a system that is unfair … That is unjust and that is unwise. It has not made Kansas City safer.”

OHIO 9TH CD. Sentinel Action Fund is once again getting involved in a race that major national GOP groups have triaged by spending $290,000 to help QAnon ally J.R. Majewski against Democratic incumbent Marcy Kaptur.

WASHINGTON 8TH CD. The Congressional Leadership Fund made it clear Monday that last week’s assassination attempt on Nancy Pelosi and brutal assault on her husband by a man motivated by far-right conspiracy theories promoted by many Republicans isn’t going to deter the super PAC from continuing to air ads tying the House speaker to Democratic candidates.

CLF’s newest spot against Democratic Rep. Kim Schrier opens with black-and-white footage of the congresswoman being sworn in by the speaker as members of Schrier’s family stand by, though Schrier and Pelosi are shown in color. After bemoaning the state of the economy, the narrator declares, “While we suffer, Schrier voted with Nancy Pelosi to spend more and raise taxes.” The second portion of the commercial touts Republican Matt Larkin as “a check on Biden and Pelosi.”

Pelosi has been a favorite target for Republicans at least as far back as 2006, when the GOP made a video portraying the then-minority leader as “Darth Nancy.” Republicans have since ditched the Star Wars-themed ads, but Pelosi very much remains a central figure in their attacks: Last week, the Washington Post reported that, since Labor Day, Republicans had spent $37 million on commercials invoking Pelosi. Democrats, by contrast, had deployed a far smaller $8 million on spots linking Republicans to Donald Trump.

CLF’s lack of reticence is unsurprising: Political violence inspired by right-wing incitement has failed to dissuade Republicans from using dangerous rhetoric about Pelosi in the past. Indeed, they stuck to their strategy of demonizing the speaker even after Jan. 6, when multiple armed rioters specifically sought her out during the assault on the Capitol, calling out her name in much the same way Paul Pelosi’s attacker is reported to have. CLF’s new spot in Washington shows that Republicans aren’t letting up now, so we’re almost certain to see a continued escalation during the final full week of the campaign.

AdImpact Politics: “With $81.7M spent in the 2022 Georgia Senate race, Raphael Warnock’s campaign has become the 8th highest spending candidate advertiser ever for a singular office. The top 7 are all presidential campaigns.”

“Warnock’s total expenditure for the last 2 cycles now stands at $176M.”

NEVADA U.S. SENATOR. A Nevada operative who was on Nevada U.S. Senate candidate Adam Laxalt’s (R) payroll as recently as August was behind an anonymous Twitter account posting bigoted comments, Jewish Insider reports.

MINNESOTA GOVERNOR. Axios’ Torey Van Oot relays that the RGA is spending another $750,000 after deploying that amount for its opening buy last week.

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

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