News That Matters

Latest midterm news with early voting underway

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.” 

Read more from the Meet the Press blog.

Biden to give prime-time speech on threats to democracy

President Joe Biden will give a speech at 7 p.m. ET Wednesday on threats to democracy, the White House said.

Biden will deliver the speech at Union Station, just steps from the U.S. Capitol.

Speaking at an event hosted by Axios on Wednesday morning, White House senior advisor Anita Dunn said the president chose the setting because of the Jan. 6 attack when “we saw violence geared towards subverting democratic processes there. So it is an appropriate place to make these remarks tonight.”

White House Deputy Chief of Staff Jen O’Malley Dillon, who also participated in the Axios event, said that Biden will argue “that there is a lot at stake” in the midterm elections, “including democracy and that everyone has a role in that.”

Dunn also said that Biden will speak “to people who don’t agree with him on any issues” and will stress that “we really can unite behind this idea, this fundamental value of democracies.”

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.

Read the full story.

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.

Read more here.

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.

Source link