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Midterm elections 2022 highlights: Biden launches final campaign swing with control of Congress at stake

As of Thursday afternoon, more than 32 million ballots had been cast nationwide.
Image: A voter fills out an early voting ballot in Alexandria, Va., on Sept. 26, 2022.
A voter fills out an early ballot in Alexandria, Va., on Sept. 26.Andrew Harnik / AP file

Latest midterm news here

35d ago / 2:50 AM UTC

Trump says he will 'very, very, very probably' run for president again

Former President Donald Trump on Thursday once again teased another White House bid at a rally in Iowa for Republicans on the ballot this year.

“And now, in order to make our country successful and safe and glorious, I will very, very, very, probably do it again,” Trump said. “OK? Very, very, very probably.”

Trump has previously given every signal that he will run again but has stopped short of declaring his candidacy.

Trump spoke Thursday at a campaign rally in Sioux City for Republican candidates like Sen. Chuck Grassley, 89, who is seeking an eighth term.

35d ago / 2:11 AM UTC

Oprah endorses Fetterman in Pennsylvania Senate race

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Oprah Winfrey on Thursday snubbed onetime protege Mehmet Oz by endorsing his rival for a Pennsylvania Senate seat, Democrat John Fetterman.

"I will tell you all this: If I lived in Pennsylvania I would have already cast my votes for John Fetterman for many reasons," Winfrey said in a "virtual voting conversation," telling voters to be discerning as they cast their ballots.

Fetterman said in a statement that it was “an honor and privilege to have Oprah’s support in this race."

“She is a leader on so many issues — fighting for our democracy, passing common-sense gun reform, and ensuring racial justice," he added. "I’m grateful for Oprah’s support and trust on the issues that matter to people across the country and Pennsylvania as we close out this campaign.”

Oz, a doctor, appeared for several years as a medical expert on Winfrey’s eponymous show and later launched his own program with her assistance.

In a statement first shared with NBC News, the Oz campaign responded: “Doctor Oz loves Oprah and respects the fact that they have different politics. He believes we need more balance and less extremism in Washington.”

Winfrey said Thursday that, among others on the ballot this month, she also supports Democrats Cheri Beasley of North Carolina and Rep. Val Demings of Florida, who are running for Senate seats. She also backed Mandela Barnes in his bid to unseat GOP Sen. Ron Johnson in Wisconsin.

35d ago / 2:06 AM UTC

Fetterman runs ad against Oz during Game 5 of World Series

The midterms are everywhere — even the World Series.

John Fetterman, the Democratic Senate nominee in ultracompetitive Pennsylvania, ran an ad ripping GOP rival Mehmet Oz and asking for cash during Game 5 on Thursday between the Philadelphia Phillies and the Houston Astros.

In one image, Oz, a doctor known for his television program, is pictured on his hands and knees leaning down to a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

“Hey, Doc Hollywood, save your money,” the ad says in print letters across the photo. “Pennsylvania’s not for sale.” Fetterman, Pennsylvania’s lieutenant governor, has portrayed Oz, a longtime New Jersey resident, as a carpetbagger who is trying to buy the seat with his own money and that of GOP interest groups.

With less than a week left until Election Day, the race is neck and neck, and groups aligned with both parties are spending heavily on a contest that could help determine which party controls the Senate.

The ad, which ran nationally, according to Fetterman adviser Rebecca Katz, asks viewers to follow a link to a Fetterman donation page.

35d ago / 1:53 AM UTC

GOP Sen. Ron Johnson, who is up for re-election, suggests he might not accept midterm results

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GOP Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin said Thursday that he might not accept the results of next week's election, making him the highest-ranking elected official to cast doubt on the legitimacy of the midterms.

Asked whether he would commit to accepting the results, Johnson told reporters in Kronenwetter, Wisconsin, “I sure hope I can, but I can’t predict what the Democrats might have planned.”

Johnson said he "can't predict what they may try and do to cheat.” He also pointed to the firing of Kimberly Zapata, the deputy director of Milwaukee’s election commission, this week. Zapata was fired after she fraudulently requested that military absentee ballots be sent to a state representative, Milwaukee Mayor Cavalier Johnson said Thursday.

Johnson, who is seeking a third Senate term, also pointed to a judge’s siding with the Republican National Committee in its lawsuit against Green Bay election officials Wednesday to increase access for poll observers during the absentee ballot certification process.

“How deep does that corruption, how much, how deep, does that fraud go?” Johnson asked.

Johnson drew attention this year over the so-called fake elector scheme that involved Republicans’ signing bogus paperwork claiming to be state electors backing then-President Donald Trump in an alleged plot to overturn the 2020 presidential election.

The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 riot revealed this year that a top aide to Johnson had contacted an aide to then-Vice President Mike Pence about delivering documents from alternate electors in Wisconsin and Michigan. The Pence aide shut down the request.

35d ago / 1:32 AM UTC
35d ago / 1:00 AM UTC

Six days, 25 stops: Josh Shapiro sprints across Pennsylvania with Democrats’ hopes along for the ride

PITTSBURGH — Josh Shapiro is in as good a position as any Democrat running in a critical swing-state race. But he is not leaving anything up to chance.

Shapiro, the Democratic nominee for governor of Pennsylvania, enjoys a substantial and widening lead in the polls over his GOP opponent, Doug Mastriano. Still, Shapiro is spending the last week of the campaign on a barnstorming six-day, 25-stop bus tour of the state, where he is warning voters about how much is on the line in his battle against the “uniquely dangerous” Mastriano, a state senator who was outside the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, wants to overhaul Pennsylvania elections and has been accused of elevating antisemitism.

NBC News joined Shapiro for the first leg of his statewide bus tour Tuesday, during which he delivered four campaign speeches across western Pennsylvania. Zeroing in on his opponent, Shapiro said Mastriano’s rhetoric is making Pennsylvanians “less safe.”

Mastriano “is by far the most extreme and dangerous person to ever run for public office in Pennsylvania,” Shapiro told a small group of reporters aboard his bus. “And I think he poses a clear and present danger to democracy, our freedom and our safety.”

Read the full story here.

35d ago / 12:37 AM UTC

35d ago / 12:01 AM UTC

Hobbs defends decision not to recuse herself from overseeing Arizona elections while running for governor

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Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs said Thursday she will continue to fulfill her duties overseeing elections even as some have called for her to step aside while she seeks higher statewide office.

Hobbs, the Democratic nominee for governor, told NBC News after a campaign stop in Phoenix that she will not recuse herself from election-related duties because she “took an oath of office to do the job that voters elected me to do."

In statewide elections, Arizona’s counties conduct local elections and Hobbs’ office is responsible for aggregating them to determine results across the state.

Two former Arizona secretaries of state — one Democratic, one Republican — have suggested that Hobbs should remove herself from oversight of the election.

As a point of comparison, Georgia's then-secretary of state, Brian Kemp, did not recuse himself from similar duties during his successful bid for governor in 2018. He instead resigned after Election Day, before the final vote count was certified.

Hobbs said Thursday that she is confident she will emerge victorious in her race against Kari Lake, citing Republicans who she said are turning away from Lake because of her history of denying the 2020 election results.

“I don’t know if there is a single issue, but I will say that most of the Republicans who are publicly crossing the aisle are doing so because of this election denialism,” Hobbs said.

35d ago / 11:40 PM UTC

Biden touts economic gains during his presidency at New Mexico rally

President Joe Biden sought to make the case to voters in New Mexico that his administration has helped strengthen the economy and reduce costs, even though polls show the majority of Americans disapprove of his handling of the economy.

At a rally in Albuquerque to help re-elect Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, Biden highlighted the decline in the unemployment rate, the drop in gas prices since the summer, the increase in manufacturing jobs, student debt relief and reductions in the prices of prescription drugs as examples of how he has helped improve the economy since he took office.

"The economy is up, price inflation is down, real incomes are up, gas prices are down and need to come down more. Exports are also up, which means a simple thing: We're making a lot of money in America. Because of that, guess what? We're exporting products we made, rather than jobs," Biden told the crowd.

In a state heavily dependent on oil production, Biden blamed high gas prices on oil companies, citing higher profits and disputing accusations by Republicans that he has stifled domestic oil production.

"These outrageous profits are the windfalls of war," Biden said. "Earlier this week, I've made clear that the industry has a choice: either invest in America or pay higher taxes for excess profits and face restrictions."

35d ago / 11:14 PM UTC

Milwaukee election official fired, accused of fraudulently requesting absentee ballots

A top Wisconsin election official was fired after she fraudulently requested that military absentee ballots be sent to a state representative, Milwaukee Mayor Cavalier Johnson said Thursday.

In postings on Facebook and Twitter, Johnson said he had removed the deputy director of the Milwaukee Election Commission after he learned about the allegations. In remarks to reporters, Claire Woodall-Vogg, the executive director of the commission, identified the woman as Kimberly Zapata.

“I will not accept, I will not tolerate, and I certainly will not defend any misrepresentation by a city official involved in elections," Johnson said.

In a news release Monday, state Rep. Janel Brandtjen wrote that she was surprised to find three military ballots sent to her home last month from clerks in Menomonee Falls, South Milwaukee and Shorewood.

"I believe someone was trying to point out how easy it is to get military ballots in Wisconsin. Registration for military ballots is not requested, so a fictitious name and birthdate is all that is required to obtain a military ballot online," Brandtjen said.

The Milwaukee County district attorney's office said in a statement that it is reviewing election fraud allegations and that charges are expected in the coming days.

NBC News asked Zapata and the Milwaukee Election Commission for comment.

35d ago / 10:43 PM UTC

A Michigan judge tried to block an abortion rights measure. His ex-wife says he helped her get an abortion in college.

When Brian Zahra learned that he had impregnated his 20-year-old girlfriend in May 1983, he grabbed the Yellow Pages, found an abortion clinic in the Detroit suburbs and made an appointment, the woman said in an interview last month.

They were of the same mind about what to do about the pregnancy and did not discuss other options, said Alyssa Jones, who went by her maiden name, Alyssa Watson, at the time.

On May 18 that year, Jones said, Zahra drove her to the clinic and paid for her abortion. As they sat in the car afterward, Jones, then a sophomore in college, hung her head and wept, feeling the conflicting emotions of a life-changing experience. Zahra, she said, seemed frustrated that she was upset and that he couldn’t console her. He yelled at her, she recalled: If you didn’t want to do this, why did we do this?

Zahra, then a 23-year-old small-business owner who was a little more than a year away from enrolling in law school, is now up for re-election as a justice of Michigan’s Supreme Court.

Read the full story here.

35d ago / 10:21 PM UTC

Pennsylvania Senate race highlights boom in campaign spending

Six years ago, the Pennsylvania Senate race was the most expensive Senate contest in the country. It’s topping that list again for this election cycle, but with more than $100 million additional spending on the airwaves than in 2016.

So far, $261 million has been spent or reserved on the airwaves in the Keystone State contest, according to the ad tracking firm AdImpact, making it the most expensive Senate race in the country. The race was also the most expensive in the 2016 cycle, when $138 million was spent on ads.

The spending boom in Pennsylvania underscores the broader increase in campaign spending over the last few election cycles. In 2016, Democrats and Republicans spent a combined $885 million on ads in Senate races. Senate race ad spending has doubled since then, with nearly $1.9 billion spent on Senate races so far, per AdImpact.

That’s in part because Pennsylvania also played host to a very expensive GOP Senate primary, with wealthy candidates such as celebrity doctor Mehemet Oz and former hedge fund manager David McCormick spending millions of their own money on the race. Democratic Lt. Gov. John Fetterman has also been among the more prolific fundraisers.

Read more here.

35d ago / 9:41 PM UTC

Dual citizens abroad say it's worth ballot obstacles to make sure their votes count

Jennifer Lee has voted by absentee ballot several times in her life, but she’s never had an experience like she did this year. As a dual citizen of the U.S. and South Korea, this was the first time she cast her vote from abroad — and the process came with hoops.

“It’s definitely been a challenge,” Lee told NBC News. “When I was stateside, I was able to go to someone’s house and use their printer or go to an office supplies store. When I moved overseas, it wasn’t as easy.”

Thousands of dual citizens like Lee are eligible to vote in the coming election, and experts say in a close race, they could be a critical bloc.

These ballots could make a significant impact in close-call elections. In 2020, Georgia saw 27,252 votes cast from abroad, which exceeded the 11,779-vote margin of victory that flipped the state blue. The same was true for Arizona, where 21,661 overseas votes exceeded the state’s 10,457-vote margin of victory.

Read the full story here.

35d ago / 9:19 PM UTC

35d ago / 8:59 PM UTC

Biden: 16 million would have student debt canceled if not for GOP

In a speech in New Mexico on Thursday, President Joe Biden criticized Republicans for attempting to derail his student debt cancellation plan and said that if it weren’t for their court challenges, 16 million people would be receiving debt relief in the next few days.

“By the end of this week, the Department of Education will have approved applications of 16 million Americans and sent the necessary paperwork to student loan services,” Biden said. “But it’s temporarily on hold. Why? Well, because Republican members of the Congress and Republican governors are doing everything they can, including taking us to court to deny the relief.”

Biden announced in August that he would cancel up to $20,000 in federal student debt for people under a certain income cap, making good on a key campaign promise. The move was quickly challenged by Republicans and in October a federal appeals court temporarily halted the program.

Speaking at the Central New Mexico Community College in Albuquerque, Biden also said it was unfair of Republican House members who personally benefited from the Covid-era Paycheck Protection Program — including Reps. Vern Buchanan of Florida and Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia — to oppose student debt relief.

“Their outrage is simply wrong and I might add — I don’t want to get too political here — hypocritical,” Biden said. “But we’re fighting them in court, we’re not letting them get away with it.”

35d ago / 8:40 PM UTC

Karine Jean-Pierre: We heard from Biden at a time that is going to matter

35d ago / 8:14 PM UTC

Tight Florida House race comes down to foreign policy, ex-Colombian president

MIAMI — With races for governor and the U.S. Senate getting most of the national attention in Florida before the midterm elections next week, the closest race in the state may be that of a Democratic state senator who is trying to unseat a Republican incumbent for a seat in the U.S. House.

If state Sen. Annette Taddeo, a Colombian American, does beat Rep. María Elvira Salazar, who is Cuban American, it could give Democrats hope of doing well elsewhere on the ballot, especially with the state’s top spots expected to remain in Republican hands.

The GOP, especially in South Florida, is trying to portray Democrats as “socialists” and soft on foreign policy, with Taddeo touting her hard-line stance against leftist governments. One of her mailers states, “I escaped Marxist terrorists funded by the Cuban regime in Colombia,” referring to her father’s kidnapping and eventual release by Colombian leftist rebels.

Florida’s 27th Congressional District is over 70% Hispanic and was redrawn in a way that makes it safer for Republicans.

With a large number of Colombians in the district who overwhelmingly oppose left-wing politicians, the country’s center-right ex-president has become a focal point for both the Taddeo and Salazar campaigns.

Read more here.

35d ago / 7:52 PM UTC

How inflation, housing are impacting swing state Arizona ahead of midterms

35d ago / 7:30 PM UTC

Fetterman-Oz Senate race is now a dead heat

At least four different polls released over the last 48 hours tell the same story about Pennsylvania’s key Senate race with five days until the election. 

The contest is a dead heat after last week’s debate — or close to it.

As reported earlier, a Monmouth poll conducted Oct. 27-31 found 48% of Pennsylvania voters say they definitely or probably will vote for Democrat John Fetterman, versus 44% saying they’ll definitely/probably vote for Republican Mehmet Oz.

And another poll via Muhlenberg College — conducted mostly (though not entirely) after the debate — had Fetterman and Oz tied at 47%-47% among likely voters, a change from its September poll when Fetterman was ahead by 5 points, 49%-44%.

Now come new polls, including Fox News (showing Fetterman at 45%, Oz at 42% among registered voters) and a USA Today/Suffolk poll (Fetterman 47%, Oz 45% among likely voters).

Read more here.

35d ago / 7:10 PM UTC

Following cyberattacks, states look to secure election results websites

States are working to shore up what might be the most public and vulnerable parts of their election systems: the websites that publish voting results. 

NBC News spoke with the top cybersecurity officials at four state election offices, as well as the head of a company that runs such services for six states, about how they secure the sites. All agreed that while there was no real threat that hackers could change a final vote count, a successful cyberattack would be harmful for public confidence if hackers were able to breach the websites that show preliminary vote totals.

“Election night reporting sites are very, very ripe for a perception hack, because they’re so visible,” said Eddie Perez, a board member at the OSET Institute, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that advocates for election security and integrity.

The effort necessary is because it’s relatively easy to knock a website offline and deface it with simple cyberattacks. Vince Hoang, Hawaii’s chief information security officer, is well aware, having recently dealt with just such an attack. Last month, a hacker group called Killnet, which presents itself as a small group of pro-Russian hacktivists, announced plans to attack U.S. state government websites and air travel websites.

Read more here.

35d ago / 6:45 PM UTC
35d ago / 6:18 PM UTC

Five issues that have defined the midterms

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Candidates from both parties have fought to win over voters by focusing on issues they believe matter most to the electorate.

Some of those issues have been consistent throughout the election, such as jobs and the economy and the cost of living. But others, such as abortion, have risen to the forefront after major news events. 

These are the issues that voters ranked as the top two most important facing the country in October’s NBC News poll, in order of overall importance, which have also defined the midterm elections:

  • Jobs and the economy
  • Threats to democracy
  • Cost of living
  • Immigration/border
  • Abortion

Read more here.

35d ago / 5:54 PM UTC

Biden to travel to Chicago in final midterm push

President Joe Biden will travel on Friday to Chicago where he will participate in a political reception and deliver remarks on Saturday, the White House said in a statement.

Vice President Kamala Harris will also be campaigning in Chicago Sunday.

While Chicago has been a solidly Democratic city in past elections, several suburban Democrats there face competitive races, including Reps. Sean Casten, Lauren Underwood and Bill Foster, according to the Cook Political Report.

Following Biden's event in Chicago, he will travel to Philadelphia where he will be joined by former President Barack Obama for a campaign rally.

 

35d ago / 5:31 PM UTC

35d ago / 5:05 PM UTC

Hostilities run high in closing days of Michigan's race for governor

MIDLAND, Mich. — The closing days of Michigan’s midterm elections for governor and other statewide offices have erupted into a scramble, with tightening polls, hostile tones and dire warnings from both parties.

“As the state of Michigan goes, so goes the whole country, and as the United States of America goes, so goes the globe,” Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer told supporters Tuesday afternoon in the Detroit suburb of Clawson. “The whole world is counting on us.”

Michigan is a key battleground this year. Former President Donald Trump, who has rallied other Republicans around the false idea that the 2020 election was stolen from in the state and elsewhere — has prioritized the state, endorsing election-denying candidates from governor on down to the state Legislature.

Read more here.

35d ago / 4:41 PM UTC

Election officials are bracing for trouble — while still hoping for the best

Election officials in some of the most closely watched jurisdictions across the country say they are bracing for a new wave of conspiracy-fueled threats — even as they remain confident in their ability to do their jobs under heightened scrutiny. 

In interviews with a dozen local election officials in the swing states of Nevada, Georgia, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Arizona, most expressed concern that the election denialism and conspiracy theories they have spent the last two years combating have already taken on new life, fueling isolated yet alarming incidents at drop box locations in Arizona and Pennsylvania, for example.

Those officials also warned that the prospect of delayed results in their states due to the closeness of contests and ballot counting rules, among other possible factors, could invite a fresh round of conspiracies or suggestions of wrongdoing that lead to a new round of harassment. Still, they expressed no doubts about their ability to conduct a safe and accurate count

Read more here.

35d ago / 4:12 PM UTC
35d ago / 3:24 PM UTC

New Hampshire GOP Senate candidate Bolduc says man attempted to punch him before debate

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New Hampshire GOP Senate candidate Don Bolduc said he was involved in an altercation with a libertarian podcaster prior to a debate against Sen. Maggie Hassan at St. Anselm College on Wednesday night.

During the debate, Bolduc accused an individual of attempting to “strike out” at him. Bolduc’s campaign followed up with a statement echoing the GOP candidate’s claim, saying that an individual in the crowd “attempted to punch” him before being arrested.

In a statement, the Goffstown Police Department said Joseph Hart, 37, of Greenville, Rhode Island, was detained and charged with criminal trespass and disorderly conduct after a "disturbance occurred" outside the event.

Police said Hart was instructed by St. Anselm College to leave the property as supporters for both candidates gathered before the event. They said Hart later approached Bolduc, who was greeting his supporters. Officers converged on the area and all parties were separated, police said.

The statement doesn't explicitly mention an attempted assault. Video shared on social media from various angles also calls into question the claim that Bolduc himself was targeted with a punch.

Hassan and her campaign have condemned the incident.

“The behavior of the Libertarian Party agitators toward Don Bolduc last night was despicable,” Hassan tweeted. “I want to thank the Goffstown Police and St. Anselm College for their commitment to keeping everyone safe.”

35d ago / 2:52 PM UTC

White House chief of staff says inflation continues to be 'No. 1 problem'

Asked in an interview with MSNBC on Thursday what the Biden administration was doing to prepare for a possible recession after the Federal Reserve announced another interest rate hike, White House chief of staff Ron Klain said that the U.S. was “not in a recession.”

Klain said that while inflation continues to be the “No. 1 problem” facing the White House, unemployment claims remain low and the stock market is stronger than it was under former President Donald Trump’s administration.

Klain also held up a copy of Thursday’s New York Times with a front page article about Republican proposals to change Social Security and Medicare circled in red marker.

“Front page of the New York Times shows that the Republicans are saying that if they get control of the Congress, they intend to slash Social Security, they intend to slash Medicare,” Klain said. “We need to explain that.”

35d ago / 2:42 PM UTC

NAACP calls on radio stations to take down Stephen Miller group's ad about 'racism against white people'

The NAACP is calling on radio stations to stop airing an ad by the right-wing group America First Legal that accuses "the left" and some Democratic leaders of promoting "racism against white people."

In the letter sent Wednesday to a series of radio stations in Georgia, NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson said he was “deeply troubled by the false and misleading radio advertisements transmitted through your radio station,” calling them “race-baiting advertisements” that are “obviously false.”

“Airing such advertisements makes a station a knowing participant in the spread of disinformation designed to enrage and frighten white voters and tap into the basest instincts of those who could be persuaded by such intentionally dishonest rhetoric,” Johnson wrote, adding: "These advertisements are false, misleading, and deceptive. We demand that you refuse to continue airing these advertisements."

America First Legal is led by Stephen Miller, a former Trump White House adviser with a reputation as a combative hard-liner. The ads, taking President Joe Biden’s remarks out of context, accuse him of prioritizing non-whites over whites for Covid relief funds, while also criticizing corporations. “The left’s anti-white bigotry must stop,” a narrator says.

The nonpartisan website FactCheck.org analyzed the claims in the ad and found that in several instances, “the rhetoric does not match the facts.”

The letter, first reported by NBC News, is below.

NAACP letter
NAACP letterNAACP letter / Obtained by NBC News
35d ago / 1:54 PM UTC

Nevada ACLU requests investigation into alleged partisan hand-count

RENO, Nev. — The American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada asked the state’s secretary of state Wednesday to investigate what it called a “coordinated partisan election administration effort” during rural Nye County’s hand-count of mail-in ballots that was shut down last week until after polls close.

The ACLU said a hand-count volunteer openly carrying a firearm removed an ACLU observer from a hand-count tally room, which the organization said it recently discovered was Nye County GOP Central Committee Vice Chair Laura Larsen.

The ACLU said the situation “poses questions” surrounding Nye County interim clerk Mark Kampf’s delegation of authority to partisan officials to remove observers from hand-count rooms, particularly during a hand-count process that deals with tabulation of ballots.

It’s the latest development in a conflict between the rural county’s election administration and the ACLU that has spanned lawsuits, infighting and a Nevada Supreme Court ruling late on Oct. 27 that prompted Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske, a Republican, to shut down the hand-counting until after polls close on Election Day.

Read the story.

35d ago / 1:32 PM UTC

Alaska Senate race fueled by Trump, McConnell feud

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A Republican is going to win the Alaska Senate race, but that hasn’t stopped Mitch McConnell from plowing millions of dollars into the deep-red state. 

McConnell allies say he simply wants to protect Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski, who faces a serious challenge from fellow Republican Kelly Tshibaka. But strategists see a proxy war playing out between McConnell, R-Ky., the Senate minority leader, and his chief antagonist, former President Donald Trump, who is backing Tshibaka. 

“He and Mitch are really at war,” said a Republican senator, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss internal Republican politics. “Mitch has really taken some actions to poke at Trump.”

Tshibaka is one of a vanishingly small number of Republican Senate candidates who’ve publicly said they would deliver on one of Trump’s main political ambitions: ousting McConnell from Senate leadership.

Read the story.

35d ago / 1:05 PM UTC

35d ago / 12:42 PM UTC

Obama rips into Arizona GOP candidates at rally

Former President Barack Obama skewered Arizona GOP candidates during a rally in Phoenix on Wednesday night. Obama warned that democracy is under threat in the battleground state, pointing to GOP candidates Blake Masters and Kari Lake who have pushed false claims of a stolen 2020 election.

Obama said he wouldn't have expected Lake, who worked as a local news anchor and interviewed him when he was president, to push a series of baseless of conspiracy theories. Lake is facing Democratic Secretary of State Katie Hobbs in a tight race for governor.

“It’s a little fuzzy, but I do know this — at the time, I don’t remember thinking that she was the kind of person who would push debunked Covid remedies, or promise to issue a declaration of invasion at our border, or claim without any evidence that the 2020 election was stolen,” he said. “I guess that stuff came later because she found it convenient, because she thought, well here’s an opportunity to get attention.”

Obama also described Masters, who is challenging Sen. Mark Kelly, D-Ariz., as a “lackey Republican politician.”

“Campaign backed by a tech billionaire who questioned the value of democracy? Check. Wants to give tax cuts to big corporations that are jacking up prices on consumers? Check,” the former president said.

35d ago / 12:13 PM UTC

Biden launches final, four-state campaign swing

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With just days left before the midterm elections, President Joe Biden is set to travel to four states, starting with New Mexico on Thursday.

Biden will deliver remarks on student debt relief at Central New Mexico Community College in Albuquerque before participating in a rally for Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, who is facing a challenge from former TV meteorologist and GOP nominee Mark Ronchetti.

Later Thursday, the president will travel to the San Diego area for an event for Rep. Mike Levin at MiraCosta College. Republican nominee Brian Maryott has gone after Levin over inflation, gas prices and rising crime.

Biden will spend part of Friday and Saturday in Chicago to campaign for Rep. Sean Casten, D-Ill., who is facing a stiff challenge from Republican Keith Pekau. The president will then head to Pennsylvania to campaign with former President Barack Obama for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Josh Shapiro, who faces GOP candidate Doug Mastriano, and Democratic Senate candidate John Fetterman, who is locked in a close race with Republican Mehmet Oz that could determine which party controls the Senate.

The itinerary illustrates Biden's limited political clout and suggests the president, whose approval rating remains underwater, has concluded he can be most effective by shoring up support for Democratic candidates in areas he easily won in 2020.

35d ago / 12:13 PM UTC

Highlights from Wednesday

Just catching up? Here’s what you missed on Wednesday.

  • President Joe Biden cast the midterm elections as a “defining moment” for democracy as threats of political violence and voter intimidation loom large. In a speech Wednesday night, Biden said election deniers pose an existential threat to democracy, and he doubled down on linking last week’s attack on Paul Pelosi to the Jan. 6 riot.
  • Republicans contended that poll watchers in the city of Green Bay, Wis., weren't getting appropriate access to an early voting site, while complaints surfaced over aggressive third-party tactics inside and outside the polling place.
  • More than 100 state and local election jurisdictions have been waitlisted for help after contacting the federal government to ensure the digital security of their election-related systems ahead of next week's election.