Latest in 2022 election news
- NBC's 2022 midterm elections guide: Everything you need to know.
- President Joe Biden delivered a speech near the Capitol on Wednesday evening about threats to democracy in a final midterms push.
- A new Wisconsin poll shows GOP Sen. Ron Johnson and Democratic Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes in a statistical dead heat. The same poll last month from Marquette Law School had Barnes trailing by 6 points.
- As of Wednesday afternoon, 29,058,443 ballots have been cast nationwide. NBC News is tracking the early vote here. Plan your vote here.
Coverage on this live blog has ended. Please click here for the latest updates.
Mastriano challenges Shapiro to 'stare me in the eyes and call me an antisemite'
PITTSBURGH — Pennsylvania’s Republican nominee for governor, Doug Mastriano, challenged Democratic rival Josh Shapiro to call him an antisemite to his face at a rally Wednesday at a suburban hotel, an event that later featured rallygoers starting a “lock him up” chant aimed at Shapiro, the state attorney general.
Mastriano, speaking before a crowd of a few hundred, challenged Shapiro to debate him in the final days of the campaign. Debate negotiations fell through earlier after Mastriano said he would agree only to a format that involved both candidates’ choosing their own moderators.
“They deserve to see it," Mastriano said of a debate. "I'd like to see that gentleman stare me in the eyes and call me an antisemite. What a ridiculous notion. What a ridiculous assertion. It’s so easy for Josh to call me names.
“Be a man, face me eyeball to eyeball,” he continued before he mocked Shapiro’s height. “I’ll give you a box so you don’t have to look up at me.”
Mastriano previously came under fire for a campaign payment to the far-right social media site Gab, whose founder has made antisemitic remarks. The alleged shooter in the 2018 killing of 11 worshippers at a Pittsburgh synagogue posted antisemitic rants on Gab before the shooting.
Amid the firestorm, Mastriano posted a statement saying, “I reject anti-Semitism in any form.” He later drew scrutiny for saying the Jewish day school Shapiro, an observant Jew, attended was a “privileged, exclusive, elite” school. A top campaign adviser would later call Shapiro “at best a secular Jew,” while Mastriano’s wife said late last month that “as a family we so much love Israel, in fact I’m gonna say we probably love Israel more than a lot of Jews do.”
At Wednesday's rally, Mastriano said: “How do you respond to somebody who says you’re antisemitic? Like, how do you respond? You’re on the defense right away. There’s no way you can win.”
Mastriano criticized Shapiro for defending Covid shutdowns early in the pandemic and for rising crime in the state, saying the state attorney general “has blood on his hands.”
“He doesn’t care about anything but his own political ambition,” Mastriano said. At one point, some rallygoers began chanting of Shapiro: “Lock him up.”
“That’s the only thing the radical left and the media is going to report on now,” Mastriano said to laughs.
Unlike other Republicans in critical swing state races, Mastriano is getting buried in the polls. Surveys that show Democrat John Fetterman and Republican Mehmet Oz locked in a neck-and-neck battle for the state’s open Senate seat show Shapiro with, in some cases, as much as a double-digit lead.
Wendy Bell, a former local news anchor who is backing Mastriano and spoke at the rally, described the polling disparity as “amazing.”
“Everybody else has Republicans winning, and somehow you’re still 9 points down,” she said. “This doesn’t make sense to us, right?”
Trump asks Florida judge to block lawsuit from N.Y. AG seeking re-election
Former President Donald Trump on Wednesday asked a judge in Florida to block a lawsuit against him, his children and his company filed by New York State Attorney General Letitia James.
In his lawsuit, Trump accused James of "boasting" about her attacks against him as she seeks another term as attorney general.
“Now up for reelection as Attorney General, she is campaigning once again on the promise that if reelected she will continue her vitriolic and obsessive pursuit of President Trump,” the lawsuit said.
The former president claims James began intensifying her attacks against him in September during her re-election campaign and specifically targeted him to "rev up her political base" and engage in a "plot" to seize control over his business and financial affairs when she filed a civil lawsuit against him alleging years of fraud and an effort to inflate his net worth to obtain favorable loan agreements.
In final stretch, candidates sharpen their appeals to ‘ticket-splitting’ voters
ATLANTA — Trailing in the polls, Stacey Abrams is trying to tie her GOP rival, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, to the less popular Republican on the ballot: Senate hopeful Herschel Walker.
At their final debate Sunday, Abrams said Kemp “refuses to defend us, and yet he defended Herschel Walker, saying that he didn’t want to be involved in the personal life of his running mate,” referring to allegations from women that Walker pressured them to have abortions. “But he doesn’t mind being involved in the personal lives and the personal medical choices of women in Georgia.”
In Pennsylvania, John Fetterman, the Democratic nominee for the Senate who’s clinging to the slimmest of leads in recent surveys, is trying to link Republican opponent Mehmet Oz to Doug Mastriano, the far-right candidate for governor trailing Democrat Josh Shapiro by a wide margin.
“You roll with Doug Mastriano!” Fetterman interrupted to say at one point in their only debate last week, as Oz was discussing abortion as a matter between “women, doctors, local political leaders.” The next morning, Fetterman ran an ad arguing that “Oz would let politicians like Doug Mastriano ban abortion without exception” and called him “too extreme for Pennsylvania.”
Pence stumps for GOP Senate candidate Ted Budd in North Carolina
The Associated Press
RALEIGH, N.C. — Former Vice President Mike Pence stumped in North Carolina on Wednesday in the final days before the midterm elections with Senate candidate Ted Budd, calling him one of the “strongest conservative voices” in the House, where he has served for the past six years.
“I’m here to say just one thing and one thing only, and that is that North Carolina and America need Ted Budd in the United States Senate,” Pence said after he and Budd answered questions about the economy and education from state GOP Chairman Michael Whatley before a few dozen Republican activists.
Earlier Pence attended a luncheon fundraiser for Budd, who is in a highly competitive race with Democratic rival Cheri Beasley. The race is one of several that could determine whether Democrats hold on to power in the narrowly divided Senate.
Pence became a leading target of former President Donald Trump’s ire after he refused to help him block certification of Democrat Joe Biden’s win while Pence served as the presiding officer of the formal proceedings on Jan. 6, 2021. The anger spilled over to Trump supporters, who considered him a turncoat.
Latinos could have record number of seats in Congress following midterm vote
The House could have a record number of Latino members after next week’s election, with one Latino group projecting they will grab as many as 45 seats.
Currently, 38 members of the House are Latino.
“We think we’ll have a very robust new class of Latinos overall,” said Arturo Vargas, the executive director of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials Educational Fund.
To reach that number, 34 Latino incumbents would have to be re-elected or be succeeded by Latinos, and 11 Latinos running for seats not held by Latinos would also have to win.
Biden calls midterms a ‘defining moment’ for democracy amid political violence and voter intimidation
President Joe Biden said Wednesday the midterms are a “defining moment” for democracy as threats of political violence and voter intimidation loom over the upcoming elections.
In closing remarks days before the midterms, Biden again called election deniers an existential threat to democracy, tying the Jan. 6 insurrection to last week’s attack on Paul Pelosi. Prosecutors have said the alleged attacker was looking for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., when he attacked her husband with a hammer.
“We must with an overwhelming voice stand against political violence and voter intimidation, period. Stand up and speak against it,” Biden said in a roughly 20-minute speech near the Capitol. “We don’t settle our differences in America with a riot, a mob or a bullet or a hammer. We settle them peacefully at the ballot box. We have to be honest with ourselves, though. We have to face this problem. We can’t turn away from it. We can’t pretend it’s just going to solve itself.”
Biden’s remarks in part echoed warnings he has made about the threat posed by those who spread false information about the validity of the 2020 elections and his argument that many Republican supporters of former President Donald Trump are promoting “extremism.”
Abrams campaign sees massive turnout as key to victory in Georgia
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams’ campaign manager, Lauren Groh-Wargo, said in an interview that internal data shows more registered voters in Georgia are likely to vote for a Democrat than a Republican — a change from 2018, when Abrams lost to Gov. Brian Kemp.
“We know if that if every single registered voter voted in Georgia, Stacey would win,” Groh-Wargo said.
The Abrams campaign said that in the final stretch before Election Day, it is focusing its efforts on low-income and rural areas, as well as younger voters, the group with the lowest early voting turnout thus far. Overall early voting numbers are also driving where Abrams makes campaign stops by Tuesday, with the campaign aiming to have her hit counties where turnout is “underperforming.”
“This is going to be a close election. We’re in a 50-50 state,” Groh-Wargo said. “We are fighting for every vote.”
Biden to warn election-denying candidates are putting the U.S. on a 'path to chaos'
WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden is expected to warn of the threat to U.S. democracy posed by those who spread false information about the validity of the 2020 election, according to excerpts of a planned Wednesday night speech released by the Democratic National Committee.
“As I stand here today, there are candidates running for every level of office in America, for governor, for Congress, for attorney general, for secretary of state, who won’t commit to accepting the results of the elections they’re in,” Biden is expected to say. “That is the path to chaos in America. It’s unprecedented. It’s unlawful. And it is un-American.”
Biden plans to make the case to voters that the stakes in the midterm elections, in which early voting is already underway in many states, will be crucial to preserve the nation’s democratic values.
“This is no ordinary year. So I ask you to think long and hard about the moment we are in,” Biden is expected to say. “In a typical year, we are not often faced with the question of whether the vote we cast will preserve democracy or put it at risk. But we are this year.”
Founder of Arizona ballot-monitoring group complies with judge's order to post election facts on Truth Social account
Melody Jennings, the founder of Clean Elections USA, whose members have conducted surveillance at ballot drop boxes in Arizona, complied with a judge's order and posted factual information about the election process on her Truth Social account Wednesday.
Jennings' post on former President Donald Trump’s social media platform reads: “It is not always illegal to deposit multiple ballots in a ballot drop box. It is legal to deposit the ballot of a family member, household member, or person for whom you are the caregiver.” The message was also posted on Clean Elections USA's website.
A federal judge in Phoenix issued a restraining order against Jennings' group Tuesday following accusations that it was intimidating voters by photographing and recording people casting ballots at drop boxes.
U.S. District Judge Michael Liburdi prohibited Clean Elections USA from “openly” carrying weapons or “visibly wear body armor” within 250 feet of drop boxes. His order also bars the group’s members from taking photos of, recording, following or yelling at voters within 75 feet of drop box locations, in accordance with Arizona law.
The judge directed Jennings to post the message, along with copies or links to statutory text about election laws and the restraining order itself, both to her Truth Social page and in "a conspicuous place" on Clean Election USA's website within 24 hours and keep it visible through the close of voting on Election Day, Nov. 8. A link to the restraining order was not included in the Truth Social post addressing the order as of Wednesday afternoon, before the 24-hour deadline expired.
In plain sight: House party committees post oppo research online
The campaign arms of the House Democrats and Republicans are limited by law from privately coordinating messaging with the outside spending groups that pump big money into the country's most competitive races.
But there's a workaround. The National Republican Congressional Committee and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee maintain web pages to share information with the independent-expenditure groups on a race-by-race basis.
The "red box" sites include negative messages about the other party's candidate in each competitive district and potentially damaging video about candidates. They even indicate which media markets are the best targets for ad spending.
For example, in Pennsylvania's 17th District, where Rep. Matt Cartwright is at risk of losing to Republican Jim Bognet, the DCCC writes, "Voters in the Wilkes Barre/Scranton market need to watch TV ads, voters district-wide need to see digital ads, and voters district-wide who are OTT [over-the-top streaming video] subscribers need to see ads about" Bognet's positions on Social Security and Medicare.
The sites give insight into what issues both parties are pressing in the final days of the campaign and which races they’re most focused on.
Some campaign finance watchdogs say the parties are evading the law.
Biden to call out threats to democracy, political violence in Wednesday night speech
President Joe Biden will use his Wednesday evening speech to draw attention to threats to “democratic integrity,” “public safety” and Republicans who “refuse to accept the results of free and fair elections,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said.
In a brief preview of Biden’s speech, Jean-Pierre told reporters that the president would call out the “alarming number” of Republican officials who say they will not accept the results of next week's election and that Biden will forcefully condemn political violence and inflammatory rhetoric.
Since he took office, Biden has given multiple speeches about threats to democracy. But Wednesday’s speech is his first major public address about the issue since House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband, Paul Pelosi, was violently attacked in his home Friday.
“They fanned the flames of political violence through what they praise and what they refuse to condemn,” Jean-Pierre said, speaking of “MAGA Republicans.”
“It remains important for the president to state strongly and unequivocally that violence has no place in our democracy,” she added.
Biden will speak at 7 p.m. ET.
Asked about his remarks ahead of the speech Wednesday, Biden told a reporter: "Listen to them, man. You’ll be impressed."
Lofgren demands answers from Capitol Police following attack on Paul Pelosi
Rep. Zoe Lofgren, who chairs the House committee overseeing the U.S. Capitol Police, is looking into the agency's plan to protect members of Congress as well as some family members, according to a letter she sent Tuesday to USCP chief Thomas Manger.
"This incident and related circumstances, including the manner in which the Speaker and her family were targeted, raise significant questions about security protections for Members of Congress, particularly those in the presidential line of succession," the California Democrat wrote in the letter.
Lofgren, chairwoman of the House Administration Committee, listed a series of questions surrounding the attack on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's husband at their San Francisco home on Friday. Lofgren asked, for example, whether Capitol Police had a strategic plan that officers followed with respect to the assault.
She also asked if there was an agreement between San Francisco police and Capitol Police regarding whether a police vehicle would be stationed outside the Pelosi residence. "Was a SFPD vehicle positioned outside of the Speaker’s residence on October 28? If not, why not?" she wrote.
Lofgren asked whether Capitol Police has a plan of action to "to extend coverage to the spouses and/or other family members of the congressional leaders in the presidential line of succession." Another question focused on whether Capitol Police has sought input from the U.S. Secret Service in light of the attack.
Capitol Police said in a statement Wednesday that the agency has begun "an internal security review and will be gathering input and questions from our Congressional stakeholders."
"Now we will fast-track the work we have already been doing to enhance the protection of Members outside of Washington, D.C., while also providing new protective options that will address concerns following Friday’s targeted attack," the statement said.
New law protects Washington state election workers
Fed announces another rate hike as GOP makes inflation a key issue
Battling inflation that remains at four-decade highs, the Federal Reserve said Wednesday it hiked its key interest rate by another 0.75%.
“Inflation remains elevated, reflecting supply and demand imbalances related to the pandemic, higher food and energy prices, and broader price pressures,” the Fed said in its statement Wednesday. It added it is “strongly committed to returning inflation to its 2% objective.”
The announcement comes as Republicans have made inflation and rising prices a key issue on the campaign trail and less than a week out from Election Day.
The rate hikes this year have unfolded against the backdrop of a consumer price index that has remained elevated. In September, it clocked in at 8.2% on an annual basis. Food and energy price increases were higher. Even stripped of those two items, whose price swings tend to be more volatile, the index saw its largest increase since 1982.
In a press conference following the release of the central bank’s statement, Fed Chairman Jerome Powell said Americans can expect more rate increases, though perhaps not of the same magnitude as the most recent ones.
'First of its kind' database tracks threats against local officials
Researchers at Princeton University and the Anti-Defamation League are building what they say is the first-ever national database tracking threats and harassment against local officials.
The initiative has so far tracked 400 cases across 43 states from January 2020 to Sept. 23 of this year, using more than 10,000 news stories, 3,000 incidents and thousands of public protests tracked in public datasets. The ongoing study's first report was released Oct. 20 in the week before a man allegedly broke into the home of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and attacked her 82-year-old husband with a hammer.
The first report found that 40% of the 400 cases tracked were related to elections, 30% related to education — more than half of which involved Covid-19-related education concerns and 14% of which related to critical race theory and LGBTQ-related issues — and 29% related to health issues, most of which had to do with Covid-19, according to the report. Threats of death and gun violence were more than twice as common as any other kind of threat, present in 13% of the 400 cases researchers analyzed, and intimidation was the most common form of harassment, present in 29% of cases.
About half of the recorded cases targeted someone who had received multiple threats, according to the report. Women officials were targeted by threats and harassment 3.4 times more often than men, making up 42.5% of the targets in the tracked cases. Men were the subject of 28% of threats or harassment, and the rest were threats or harassment made against multiple people — such as an office or polling place — or people whose gender was unknown.
Election officials or poll workers were threatened or harassed across 21 of the 43 tracked states, making up about 34% of all incidents, with the highest rates in the likely battleground states of Pennsylvania, Georgia and Michigan.
'Vet the Vote' signs veterans up to be election workers
White House press secretary says misleading tweet on Social Security was 'incomplete'
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said that the White House deleted a tweet touting Social Security increases — after Twitter had marked it with a “context” note — because it was an “incomplete tweet.”
Speaking to reporters Wednesday, Jean-Pierre said the tweet should have included information about how Medicare premiums will decrease for the first time in over a decade. She also said the tweet should have drawn a clear contrast between Biden’s position on Social Security and that of Republicans, who she accused of supporting cuts to the social safety net program.
“Those are the types of contexts that would normally be with a tweet like that and it did not have that context. It was an incomplete tweet, as I just mentioned. And so that’s why you saw the digital team take that action,” she said.
The now-deleted tweet read: “Seniors are getting the biggest increase in their Social Security checks in 10 years through President Biden’s leadership.”
Under a 1972 law, Social Security increases are adjusted based on the Consumer Price Index, not presidential action.
New Wisconsin poll shows Barnes and Sen. Johnson in dead heat
A new Wisconsin survey has incumbent GOP Sen. Ron Johnson and Democratic Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes in a statistical dead heat with less than a week to Election Day.
The latest poll from Marquette Law School, the most prominent survey regularly conducted in the battleground state, showed Barnes within striking distance after the same poll last month had him trailing by 6 points.
The poll released Wednesday showed 50% of likely voters support Johnson and 48% support Barnes. Among all registered voters, Johnson notched 48 % and Barnes had 45%.
The survey likewise showed a dead heat in the governor’s race with both Gov. Tony Evers and Republican challenger Tim Michels at 48% with likely voters.
The poll of 802 registered voters — 679 who identified as likely voters — was conducted from Oct. 24 to Nov. 1. The margin of error stood at +/- 4.6 percentage points for all voters and +/- 4.8 % for questions of likely voters.
More than 100 election jurisdictions waiting on federal cyber help, sources say
More than 100 state and local election jurisdictions that reached out to the federal government for help ensuring the digital security of their election-related systems have instead found themselves on a waitlist ahead of next week’s midterm elections, according to two people familiar with the backlog.
The tests in demand from the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency — the Department of Homeland Security department responsible for providing tools to protect state-run election systems — include risk and vulnerability assessments as well as penetration tests, both of which determine how vulnerable computer networks are to hackers, including foreign state actors.
States are not required to undergo such tests. The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, known as CISA, offers the services on a voluntary basis.
The vast majority of voting machines are not connected to the internet, meaning a credible threat from foreign hackers on the election system as a whole is practically impossible. But some election information does run through the internet, like voting registration, official information about how and where to vote, and election officials’ email systems. So it could be possible to delete voters from rolls or change the way a website projects an election winner, creating chaos and confusion.
Elon Musk suggests banned people won’t be allowed back on Twitter for weeks
New Twitter leader Elon Musk suggested that people “de-platformed” will not be allowed back for at least weeks, appearing to rule out the return of figures like former President Donald Trump before the midterm elections.
“Twitter will not allow anyone who was de-platformed for violating Twitter rules back on platform until we have a clear process for doing so, which will take at least a few more weeks,” Musk tweeted early Wednesday.
He also said a content moderation council would include people with divergent views “which will certainly include the civil rights community and groups who face hate-fueled violence.”
Trump was permanently suspended from Twitter in January 2021 following the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol by a mob of his supporters.
Voting issues erupt in Wisconsin city
Issues around early voting have already erupted in the city of Green Bay, Wis., as Republicans contend poll watchers aren’t gaining proper access to the early voting site. At the same time, complaints have emerged of aggressive third-party tactics inside and outside the polling site.
On Wednesday, the Republican National Committee filed a lawsuit claiming poll watchers weren’t granted proper access during early voting in Green Bay.
“The RNC is suing Green Bay alongside concerned Wisconsin voters because the city’s Democrat election officials are refusing to follow Wisconsin’s election law,” RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said in a statement. “This is unacceptable: Republicans are going to court to deliver Wisconsinites the ballot box transparency to which they are legally entitled.”
An official with knowledge of the voting issues in Green Bay told NBC News that since last week, there have been tensions with third-party observers who are engaging in tactics that include following poll workers and trying to film or photograph voters. “They’re trying to push the boundaries of where they can sit, who they can view and what they can say to voters,” said the official, who was not authorized to speak publicly on the matter.
The city of Green Bay is a fiercely fought political terrain in Wisconsin, a state where both the Senate and governor’s races are up for grabs. In a contest that could decide the balance of the U.S. Senate, Republican Sen. Ron Johnson is seeking his third term in office and is in a close race against Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes. Democratic Gov. Tony Evers is facing a tough challenge from Republican Tim Michels.
The Green Bay Clerk’s office did not have an immediate comment.
VP Harris to speak at NYC campaign event for Gov. Kathy Hochul
Vice President Kamala Harris will travel to New York City on Thursday for a get-out-the vote event for Gov. Kathy Hochul, the White House announced Wednesday.
Hochul's re-election race against her GOP challenger, Lee Zeldin, has been tightening in recent weeks.
Details of the campaign event weren’t immediately provided.
Sen. Hassan swipes at opponent Bolduc's promotion of litter box conspiracy theory
Sen. Maggie Hassan, D-N.H., once again criticized Republican nominee Don Bolduc, following his interview with NBC News Tuesday night in which he vowed to “not back down” from his outlandish claim that a New Hampshire school was allowing children to use a litter box — a claim that the school has forcefully denied.
“Don Bolduc needs to stop repeating a truly harmful and outrageous conspiracy theory. And unfortunately, it is not the only conspiracy theory that he has been peddling election denial is another one,” Hassan said. “He really needs to stop these under these conspiracy theories for people — they hurt our state and they undermine our democracy.”
The urban legend, which suggests schools across the country are providing litter boxes for children who identify as cats, has been promoted by a number of Republican candidates in recent weeks. Read more from NBC News on the origins of the myth.
Mother of Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick says in new ad that he died because of 'people like Kari Lake'
The mother of Brian Sicknick, a Capitol Police officer who died a day after the Jan. 6 riot, says in a new TV ad that Arizona GOP nominee for governor Kari Lake is indirectly responsible for her son's death.
“She saw what happened on Jan. 6 and continues to spread the big lie,” Gladys Sicknick says in the 30-second spot. “And we’re going to have more violence because, people, they believe whatever she says. It’s very dire for our democracy, for our country with the candidates like Kari Lake. My son died because of people like Kari Lake.”
An adviser to the Republican Accountability PAC told NBC News that the ad is airing in the Tucson media market.
New Pennsylvania Senate poll shows not much has changed since Oz-Fetterman debate
A new Monmouth University poll released on Wednesday finds a stable race between Democrat John Fetterman and Republican Mehmet Oz after their debate a week ago.
Forty-eight percent of Pennsylvania voters say they definitely or probably will vote for Fetterman, while 49% say they definitely or probably won’t — not substantially different than the 48% will/47% won’t from its poll earlier this month.
That’s compared with 44% who say they definitely or probably will vote for Republican Mehmet Oz, versus 54% who say they definitely or probably won’t — again little change from 43% will/54% won’t from earlier this month.
But a different poll released on Tuesday — conducted mostly after the debate — shows a different result. Muhlenberg College’s survey has Fetterman and Oz now tied at 47%-47%, a change from its September poll when Fetterman was ahead by 5 points, 49%-44%.
That movement, however, is well within the poll’s margin of error. It also was partially conducted before the Oct. 25 debate. (The Monmouth poll was conducted after the debate, Oct. 27-31.)
DeSantis looks to shore up Utah Sen. Mike Lee in new TV ad
As he eyes a possible White House bid, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has stepped up his national endorsements and just cut a new TV advertisement for an out-of-state Republican, Utah Sen. Mike Lee.
Polling in Utah is scarce because it’s a Republican state and few expect Lee to lose to his independent challenger, Evan McMullin. But the conservative Club for Growth Action political committee has spent as much as $8 million on the race just in case, and it’s financing this DeSantis ad that begins airing Wednesday in Utah.
The club had a breakup with former President Donald Trump, who is considering announcing his bid for president as early as this month, and it turned to DeSantis to vouch for Lee, who distanced himself somewhat from Trump at a debate two weeks ago.
The 30-second spot is designed to impart one message: Republicans and conservatives need to stick with Lee. “His opponent endorsed Biden for President,” DeSantis says in the ad. “He’s no independent, he’s a donkey in sheep’s clothing. He’ll be a vote for Biden not for Utah.”
Judge rejects Giuliani’s request to dismiss election workers’ lawsuit
A federal judge has rejected Rudy Giuliani’s request to dismiss a lawsuit from Georgia election workers Ruby Freeman and her daughter, Wandrea “Shaye” Moss, who accused the former Trump lawyer and others of defamation.
Giuliani pushed baseless claims that the two Fulton County election workers committed voter fraud based on a video of ballot counting on election night in 2020 — allegations rejected by state and federal officials.
Judge Beryl A. Howell, of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, noted in her Monday ruling that Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said of the video on a January 2021 call discussing the false allegations with then-President Donald Trump, "I think it’s extremely unfortunate that Rudy Giuliani or his people, they sliced and diced that video and took it out of context.”
In rejecting Giuliani’s request, Howell rebuked the “increasingly outlandish paranoia from those claiming the election was being ‘stolen,’” noting that Giuliani “propagated and pushed that false narrative.”
Earlier this year, Freeman and Moss gave emotional testimony during a House Jan. 6 Committee public hearing. They detailed months of threats and harassment as a result of the false claims spread by Trump, Giuliani and other Trump allies. Freeman testified that the FBI urged her to leave her home out of concern for her safety.
Obama rallies for Sen. Cortez Masto, warns of 'dangerous climate' after Paul Pelosi attack
Barack Obama brought his Democratic midterm revival show to Las Vegas on Tuesday, packing a high school gym to rally the party faithful while paying special attention to highlight a dead-heat Senate race in the state.
The former president also took a moment to mention Paul Pelosi, who was attacked with a hammer during a home invasion last week, saying the two had spoken and “thankfully … he’s gonna be OK.” The demonization of political opponents "creates a dangerous climate" he said, adding that if elected officials don't explicitly reject violence and over-the-top rhetoric, "more people are going to get hurt."
Democratic Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto is defending her seat, which Republicans have identified as a top pick-up opportunity. Obama, who decisively won Nevada in his two White House runs, took aim at Republican candidate Adam Laxalt for filing specious lawsuits in the weeks after the 2020 election in hopes of overturning the state’s results. At another, Obama ribbed Laxalt, a former attorney general in the state, after 14 members of Laxalt’s family endorsed Cortez Masto.
“We all might have a crazy uncle that kind of goes off the rails,” Obama said. “But if you got a full Thanksgiving dinner table and they’re all saying you don’t belong in the U.S. Senate — when the people who know you best think your opponent would do a better job — that says something about you. That says something about Catherine.”
Earlier Tuesday, Laxalt posted a clip of himself on Twitter talking about Obama on Fox News. “I cannot believe this is the best they have,” Laxalt said in the segment.
Democrats go after Tudor Dixon in Michigan for conspiracy theories
CLAWSON, Mich. — A new ad from a group affiliated with the Democratic Governors Association casts Tudor Dixon, the Republican candidate for governor in Michigan, as a conspiracy theorist who denies election results and sympathizes with the Jan. 6 rioters.
The 30-second spot from Put Michigan First — shared first with NBC News — will air across the state as part of nearly $3 million in ad spending that the group has budgeted for Michigan through Election Day.
Dixon, a former right-wing commentator, faces Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in next week’s general election. Several recent polls have shown Whitmer leading outside the margin of error, while others have indicated a much closer race.
Read the full story on the "Meet the Press" blog here.
Most candidates for top election posts say no to hand counts
The vast majority of candidates running to become their states’ chief election officers oppose hand counting ballots, a laborious and error-prone process that has gained favor among some Republicans embracing conspiracy theories about voting machines.
An Associated Press survey of major-party secretary of state candidates in the 24 states found broad skepticism about hand counting among election professionals of all ideological stripes. Of 23 Republicans who responded to the survey, 13 clearly said they opposed implementing a statewide hand count of ballots instead of a machine count.
GOP candidates in Arizona and New Mexico have previously endorsed the idea of a hand count. But others cautioned it was a dangerous road to follow.
The desire to hand count ballots stems from conspiracy theories spread by former President Donald Trump and his allies that the electronic machines that tabulated the results of the 2020 presidential election were rigged. Now some Republicans inspired by his election lies seek to expand or require hand counting of all ballots.
Nevada GOP chair says he was interviewed by the Jan. 6 committee
RENO, Nev. — The chairman of Nevada’s Republican Party says he testified before the House committee investigating the events leading up to the assault on the nation’s Capitol in 2021.
“Yes, I was called before them. I answered the subpoena,” Michael McDonald said in an interview.
The subpoena requesting documents and testimony, which the Jan. 6 committee issued in January, noted the panel’s interest in the so-called fake elector scheme, which it contends was part of a larger effort by then-President Donald Trump and his allies to subvert the 2020 election results and deny Joe Biden’s victory.
Split ticket voters could determine winner in state elections
Highlights from Tuesday
Just catching up? Here’s what you missed on Tuesday:
- A federal judge in Phoenix issued a temporary restraining order against Clean Elections USA, a right wing group that has been photographing and recording people casting ballots at drop boxes in Arizona. The order prohibits people from carrying weapons or wearing body armor within 250 feet of a drop box.
- Josh Shapiro, the Democratic nominee for governor in Pennsylvania, told supporters on a statewide bus tour that Republican opponent Doug Mastriano was “uniquely dangerous” and posed threats to "fundamental freedoms."
- Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., said that if she were an Ohio resident, she would vote for Democrat Tim Ryan over Republican J.D. Vance in the state’s Senate race.
- The Pennsylvania Supreme Court ordered county election boards to refrain from counting any absentee or mail-in ballots with undated or incorrectly dated outer envelopes. Justices wrote that the court was “evenly divided” over whether failing to count such ballots would violate federal law.