Sean Hannity appearance at Trump rally draws criticism

Fox News host Sean Hannity tweeted Monday morning he would not appear on stage at a political rally and campaign for President Donald Trump. 

By Monday evening, Hannity was being welcomed on stage in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, where he said that the phrase "promises made, promises kept" defined Trump's presidency and called journalists in attendance "fake news." Trump stood a few feet away as Hannity spoke. Hannity wasn't the only Fox News personality to appear, with Jeanine Pirro also taking the stage. 

But it was Hannity's appearance that drew criticism, adding to claims that the cable news channel had become a mouthpiece for the president. 

"Fox News's Sean Hannity: Proud to be a Trump operative," wrote Erik Wemple for The Washington Post

"Still can’t get over Hannity denying he would be on stage the whole day, getting brought up by Trump, and then pointing to actual news reporters and calling them fake," tweeted New York Times journalist Maggie Haberman.

Some conservatives and Fox News personalities defended Hannity's appearance. 

"Hannity does not pretend to be a journalist. Unlike you all in the #FakeNews media," tweeted Steve Milloy, and author and Fox News contributor, in response to Haberman.

Fox News and Hannity have previously claimed that Hannity's position at the news channel is of a "host" and not a journalist, and and is therefore not held to the standards of a journalist.

Hannity doubled down on his initial tweet, saying he did not plan to go on stage but was "surprised, yet honored by the president's request." He also clarified he was not referring to Fox News colleagues in attendance with his "fake news" comment.

When reached for comment, a Fox News spokesperson said in an email: "FOX News does not condone any talent participating in campaign events. We have an extraordinary team of journalists helming our coverage tonight and we are extremely proud of their work. This was an unfortunate distraction and has been addressed."

latest posts from 2018 Midterms

ICYMI: Democrats win back House, GOP keeps Senate — and other top takeaways

Thank you so much for tuning in to our election night live blog. We saw a lot happen, but we are still waiting on results in a number of races.

Here are some of the top takeaways:

But by 2:04 p.m. ET Wednesday, there were still several races without outcomes because they remained "too close to call." They include:

In the Alaska gubernatorial race, which was considered "too early to call" in the early hours of the morning Wednesday, Republican Mike Dunleavy is the apparent winner, NBC News projects. In the Connecticut gubernatorial race, which was considered "too close to call" overnight, Democrat Ned Lamont is the apparent winner, NBC News projects. 

Thanks again for joining us, and don't forget check back with for updated coverage.

NBC News: Jon Tester wins in Montana Senate race

Two-term Democratic incumbent Sen. Jon Tester is the apparent winner in the Montana Senate race, NBC News projects Wednesday, defeating Republican challenger Matt Rosendale.

The projection came Wednesday afternoon, most than 12 hours after polls closed in state closed. Tester and Rosendale, the Republican state auditor, had been locked in a neck-and-neck race.

With 99 percent of the votes in the state tallied, Tester led Rosendale 49.1 percent to 48 percent with Libertarian Party candidate Rick Breckenridge getting 2.9 percent.

President Donald Trump had campaigned hard in the state against Tester — he held a rally for Rosendale just days before Election Day — hitting the incumbent for his involvement in thwarting the nomination of his choice to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs, White House physician Ronny Jackson.

Nevada voters scrap 'pink tax' on tampons, sanitary napkins

Nevada's "pink tax" on feminine hygiene products has been repealed, NBC News projected early Wednesday.

Voters were asked whether tampons and sanitary napkins should be exempt from sales and use tax.

The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported that opponents said the exemption could result in the loss of  $900,000 to $1.3 million in sales-tax revenue each year. 

Fourteen other states do not subject feminine hygiene products to a sales tax, according to the Tax Foundation, an independent tax policy nonprofit. 


Jason Cumming

Scott Walker loses bid for third term as Wisconsin's governor

Former Republican presidential candidate and Trump ally Scott Walker was defeated in his bid for a third term as Wisconsin's governor.

NBC News declared Democrat Tony Evers as the apparent winner at 3:30 a.m. ET.

Speaking of his race, Walker last week said that "whether it was Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Barack Obama or now Donald Trump" any president's first midterm election is "tough."

A NBC/Marist poll published on Oct. 11 found that 45 percent of likely voters in Wisconsin approved of Trump's job performance, while 50 percent disapproved. Trump narrowly won the state in 2016.

NBC News: Rosen beats Heller in Nevada Senate race

Democrat Rep. Jacky Rosen has defeated Republican incumbent Sen. Dean Heller in the Nevada Senate race, NBC News projects.

With 93 percent of the Silver State's vote tallied, Rosen, a congresswoman representing the state's 3rd Congressional District, was leading Heller 50 percent to 45.8 percent.

Rosen's win would mark the only pick-up of a Republican-held Senate seat by a Democratic candidate in the 2018 midterm elections.

Moments before NBC News called the race, Heller called Rosen to concede. Rosen then declared victory in a speech in Las Vegas, tell cheering supporters that she loved them, too, before vowing to get to work.

Abrams doesn't concede, says Georgia governor race headed to runoff

Stacey Abrams, the Democratic candidate for Georgia governor, addressed supporters early Wednesday morning, telling supporters to expect a runoff against Republican Brian Kemp.

"Georgia still has a decision to make," Abrams said. "If I wasn't your first choice, or if you didn't vote, you're going to have a chance to do a do-over."

NBC News says the race is too close to call. Under Georgia law, if no candidate wins more than 50 percent of the vote, then the top two vote getters advance to a runoff election.

NBC News Exit Poll: Most U.S. voters say Trump tax cuts have not helped personal finances

Despite President Donald Trump's promise that tax cuts passed last year would positively affect the personal finances of Americans, only 29 percent of voters say the changes have helped them, according to the NBC News Exit Poll. Nationwide, 45 percent of voters report that the tax changes have not impacted their personal finances, while 22 percent say their finances have been hurt by the changes.

The exit poll also shows that voters in higher-income households are twice as likely as voters in lower-income households to report that tax law changes have helped their personal finances. Seventeen percent of voters with annual household incomes under $30,000 said their personal finances had benefited, compared to 34 percent of those with annual household incomes of $100,000 and higher.

NBC News Exit Poll: LGBT voters remain loyal to Democrats

Democratic candidates enjoyed strong support from LGBT voters nationwide on Tuesday, according to the NBC News Exit Poll. Roughly four out of five LGBT voters reported casting a ballot for their district’s Democratic candidate for the House of Representatives. The exit poll also found LGBT voters supporting Democratic Senate and gubernatorial candidates in strong numbers.

Since the 1990s, exit polls have found large majorities of LGBT voters supporting Democratic presidential candidates as well as the party’s candidates for Congress.

The exit poll also found LGBT voters expressing strong concerns about the direction of the country under President Donald Trump. About eight in 10 LGBT voters said things in the country were on the wrong track, and just one in 10 said they cast their House vote to express support for Trump.

Jane C. Timm

Major news: A record number of women were elected to the House

A record number of women were elected to the House of Representatives on Tuesday. As of early Wednesday morning, at least 89 women had won seats, breaking the current session's record of 84 women.

See how all the women fared here.

NBC News Exit Poll in Missouri: White evangelicals and gun owners help Hawley beat McCaskill

Republican challenger Josh Hawley is projected to pick up a Senate seat tonight in a hard-fought battle with incumbent Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill. NBC News Exit Poll results find Hawley doing particularly well with voters who say immigration is a top issue. He also captured three-quarters of the vote from white evangelicals and 62 percent of the vote from white men.

Voters from gun-owning households also sided with Hawley over McCaskill, who was given an F rating by the National Rifle Association. Among the nearly half of voters (46 percent) who oppose stricter gun measures, Hawley beat McCaskill 77 percent to 21 percent.