NBC News correspondents spent the weekend criss-crossing the country with the candidates at the center of some of this cycle’s biggest races.
With Michigan’s gubernatorial race and an abortion ballot initiative on the line, Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer told NBC’s Julie Tsirkin and Olympia Sonnier that the state is “at risk of reverting 91 years to a law that would make it a felony, no exceptions for rape, or incest.”
Whitmer’s opponent, Republican Tudor Dixon, said she thought the abortion debate could spark evangelical Christians to turn out in force. She said her closing message is about “getting education back on track, making sure we have safe communities and bringing the American Dream back to the state of Michigan.”
In Pennsylvania’s race for governor, Democrat Josh Shapiro, who has held a steady lead in the polls over Republican Doug Mastriano, told Maura Barrett and Alex Rhoades he’s “humbled” by support he’s received from Republicans. And he reiterated his opposition to vaccine and mask mandates in an interview with Dasha Burns, saying he would “take a different approach” to pandemic management.
In Ohio, NBC’s Jesse Kirsch spoke with both Senate hopefuls — Dem Tim Ryan and Republican J.D. Vance — ahead of Monday’s rally with former President Donald Trump. Vance said he’d endorse Trump if he runs for president again. And Ryan tried to play the two Republicans off each other, arguing that while “Trump was perceived as being strong,” that “J.D. Vance is perceived as an ass-kisser.”
And as Election Day draws near, Henry Gomez, who also spoke to both Ohio candidates over the weekend, writes “both spoke as if victory was within reach.”
Elsewhere on the campaign trail:
Georgia Senate: Georgia’s Senate race will test the state’s “Democratic-friendly drift,” NBC News’ Sahil Kapur writes from the Peach State. The race between Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock and Republican Herschel Walker has also taken a personal turn in the final days, per the Associated press (one of Warnock’s latest TV ads features Republicans concerned with the former football star’s “troubling behavior”). And NBC News’ J.J. McCorvey reports that Democrats have tried to focus on the state’s health care crisis, but voters may be more concerned about the economy.
Iowa Senate: GOP Sen. Chuck Grassley widened his lead against Democrat Mike Franken in the latest Des Moines Register/Mediacom Iowa Poll, which found Grassley ahead of Franken, 53% to 41%.
Missouri Senate: Democratic nominee Trudy Busch Valentine is out with a new spot that criticizes both GOP nominee Eric Schmitt and also Libertarian Jonathan Dine.
North Carolina Senate: In one of Democrat Cheri Beasley’s final ads, she tells the story of her becoming the state’s first black female chief justice, going on to criticize Republican Rep. Ted Budd as focused on himself instead of the state.
Nevada Senate: NBC News’ Natasha Korecki reports on how Republican Adam Laxalt’s closing message blasting the “radical, leftist Democrat Party” shows how he isn’t backing down from his conservative messaging. Meanwhile, Democrat Catherine Cortez Masto is running newspaper ads highlighting how members of Laxalt’s family aren’t backing him.
Pennsylvania Senate: Senate Majority PAC is highlighting Oprah Winfrey’s endorsement of Democratic Lt. Gov John Fetterman in a TV ad. The New York Times also has a pair of stories about the race, exploring how Fetterman is leaning into his stroke recovery, and how some Muslim Americans are reacting to the prospect that Republican Mehmet Oz could become the first Muslim senator.
Michigan Governor: Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s campaign got a nod from rapper Eminem, who grew up in the state.
New York Governor: Rallying in the tightening governor’s race, Republican Rep. Lee Zeldin declared that “New York is ready to party like it’s 1994,” when Republican George Pataki upset Democratic Gov. Mario Cuomo, per NBC News’ Phil McCausland.
Texas Governor: The Washington Post reports on former Rep. Beto O’Rourke’s campaigning over the last six years — amid bids for Senate, president and now governor — and how he’s become “the emblem of unrealized ambition in the Democratic Party.”
Virginia-07: Wyoming Republican Rep. Liz Cheney endorsed Democratic Rep. Abigail Spanberger on Saturday.