Midterm Elections Updates (Oct. 28): Hand Vote Count Stops, but Nevada County Vows to Try Again

Midterm Elections Updates (Oct. 28): Hand Vote Count Stops, but Nevada County Vows to Try Again
Nye County Clerk Mark Kampf (far L), in suit, swears in a group of residents who will hand count early ballots cast in the rural county about halfway between Las Vegas and Reno, in Pahrump, Nev., on Oct. 26, 2022. (Gabe Stern/AP Photo)

The latest on the midterm elections.


Hand Vote Count Stops, but Nevada County Vows to Try Again

A rural Nevada county stopped its unprecedented effort Friday to hand count ballots cast in advance of Election Day.

But Nye County officials vowed to reshape their plan and seek another go-ahead from the Nevada Supreme Court, after justices ruled late Thursday that counting methods used this week violated rules they set to prevent the county from allowing early disclosure of election results.

“Yesterday’s Supreme Court order requires us to make some changes to our hand count process,” Nye County officials said in a statement issued Friday that promised to “resume as soon as our plan is in compliance with the court’s order and approved by the secretary of state.”

No counting had been scheduled Saturday or Sunday, county spokesman Arnold Knightly said.

Lawyers for the American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada said Friday they stood ready to challenge any effort to restart the hand tallies next week. They don’t believe there’s any hand-counting scenario that would pass legal muster.

“Our position has always been that a general election is not an appropriate avenue for conducting experiments with election processes and it has become increasingly clear that there is no path forward for this hand counting process under the law,” said Sadmira Ramic, ACLU of Nevada’s voting rights attorney.


Biden, Harris Campaign in Pennsylvania

President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris made a rare appearance together on the campaign trail in Philadelphia on Friday as the duo seeks to boost Pennsylvania Democrats in the closing stretch of the Nov. 8 midterm election.

Their visit—Biden’s 19th to the crucial battleground state of Pennsylvania since taking office—comes less than two weeks until Election Day. Polls suggest Democrats could lose control of both houses of Congress, with voter discontent over high inflation.

Biden will return to Pennsylvania again next week with former President Barack Obama, underscoring the urgency Democrats feel to replace retiring Republican Senator Pat Toomey.

Democratic hopeful John Fetterman’s lead in the polls against Republican candidate Dr. Mehmet Oz has evaporated in recent weeks.

Biden drew a sharp contrast with his economic plans and those of the so-called “MAGA Republicans” on issues ranging from prescription drug costs to social security.

”So the poor have a ladder up, the middle class can do well and the wealthy will still do very fine. It’s a fundamental shift that’s working compared to the MEGA, MAGA Republican trickled down economics the Republicans offer these days,” Biden said.

Biden and Harris spoke at the Pennsylvania Democratic Party’s annual Independence Dinner, a major state party event expected to raise more than $1 million.

Biden’s 2020 rival, Donald Trump, and his potential adversary in 2024, is expected to campaign in Pennsylvania next weekend as well.


Obama Campaigns in Georgia

Obama returned to the campaign trail Friday in Georgia, using his first stop on a multi-state tour to frame the 2022 midterm elections as a referendum on democracy and to urge voters not to see Republicans as an answer to their economic woes.

The former president acknowledged the pain of inflation and tried to explain why President Joe Biden and Democrats shouldn’t take all the blame as they face the prospects of losing narrow majorities in the House and Senate when votes are tallied Nov. 8. But Obama argued that Republicans who are intent on making it harder for people to vote and are willing to ignore the results, can’t be trusted to care about Americans’ wallets either.

With Biden’s approval ratings in the low 40s, Democrats hope Obama’s emergence in the closing weeks of the campaign boosts the party’s slate in a tough national environment. He shared the stage Friday with Sen. Raphael Warnock, who faces a tough reelection fight from Republican Herschel Walker, and Stacey Abrams, who is trying to unseat Republican Gov. Brian Kemp, who defeated her narrowly four years ago.

Obama will travel Saturday to Michigan and Wisconsin, followed by stops next week in Nevada and Pennsylvania.


Trump Endorses Yesli Vega, Spanberger’s GOP Challenger

Former President Donald Trump has endorsed Yesli Vega, the GOP county official and former police officer challenging Democratic U.S. Rep. Abigail Spanberger in Virginia’s competitive 7th Congressional District.

Vega told reporters at a rally Friday afternoon in Stafford that she had just learned of the endorsement—which was posted on social media Thursday night—on the way to the event.

“I’ve gotten a lot of endorsements. I’ve gotten the most important endorsements for me, which is the voters of the 7th District. So I’m really excited,” she said.

Vega said she was “laser focused” on the Nov. 8 election.

Trump wrote on his Truth Social platform that Vega, a military spouse and former police officer who currently serves as an auxiliary deputy, would be a strong Republican voice against violent crime “and all other of the things that are destroying our Nation.”


Group Can Monitor Arizona Ballot Drop Boxes, US Judge Rules

A federal judge Friday refused to bar a group from monitoring outdoor ballot boxes in Arizona’s largest county where watchers have shown up armed and in ballistic vests, saying to do so could violate the monitors’ constitutional rights.

U.S. District Court Judge Michael Liburdi said the case remained open and that the Arizona Alliance for Retired Americans could try again to make its argument against a group calling itself Clean Elections USA. A second plaintiff, Voto Latino, was removed from the case.

Liburdi concluded that “while this case certainly presents serious questions, the Court cannot craft an injunction without violating the First Amendment.” The judge is a Trump appointee and a member of the Federalist Society, a conservative legal organization.

Local and federal law enforcement have been alarmed by reports of people, including some who were masked and armed, watching 24-hour ballot boxes in Maricopa County—Arizona’s most populous county—and rural Yavapai County as midterm elections near. Some voters have complained, alleging voter intimidation, after people watching the boxes took photos and videos, and followed voters.

Arizona law states that electioneers and monitors must remain 75 feet from a voting location.


Percentage of Americans Who Say Local Crime Is Up Hits 50-Year-High

The percentage of Americans who think local crime is getting worse hit the highest level in five decades, according to a Gallup poll released on Oct. 28.

A record 56 percent of respondents said they believe there is more crime locally now that there was a year ago.

Nearly four in five (78 percent) said crime increased nationwide since last year, a 33-year-high, according to Gallup, which has conducted the survey every year since 1972.

The Oct. 3-20 random-sample survey of 1,009 adults living in all 50 states and the District of Columbia also found that concern about being a victim of crime has sharply increased since 2021.

The 56 percent who believe there is more crime where they live is 5 percentage points higher than results from the same Gallup poll conducted last year, and 2 percentage points above the previous record set in 1972. More than 28 percent said crime has decreased locally, while 14 percent believe it was the same as last year.

Read the full article here


Decision Desk: Republicans Now Favored to Win Senate in Midterms

Election reporting service Decision Desk said Friday that Republicans are now favored to win the U.S. Senate during the 2022 midterm elections next month, noting that it’s the first time the company has made such a prediction.

“Republicans are favored to win control of the U.S. Senate for the first time since we released our 2022 Elections Forecast,” said the company, adding that its modeling predicts that Republicans have a 50.4 percent chance of taking back the upper chamber. Further, Republicans are predicted to take 51 seats to Democrats’ 49, according to the website.

It comes days after debates in several key states, including Pennsylvania. Dr. Mehmet Oz, a Republican, squared off against Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, a Democrat, in which Fetterman struggled to speak and form coherent sentences months after he suffered a stroke.

The television doctor now has a 53.1 percent chance of winning, “but the race remains a toss-up,” it said.

Decision Desk says that Oz is now favored to win Pennsylvania’s seat by a slim margin, while Republicans are hovering around 50 percent in Georgia and Nevada. The site also said that Senate Republican candidate J.D. Vance has a 75 percent chance of winning Ohio’s seat as he faces off against Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio), while Republicans are also favored in Florida and Wisconsin.

Read the full article here


House Democrats’ Campaign Chief Risks Losing His Seat in Deep Blue New York

As the midterms draw near, the Democratic House campaigns chief finds himself at risk of losing the race for New York’s 17th District, an area that President Joe Biden won by 10 points in 2020.

As chairman of the Democrat Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-N.Y.) has been busy trying to help vulnerable Democrats across the country defend their seats in tough races.

That Maloney, 56, himself has become one of those Democrats represents a political embarrassment to the party, experts say, adding that this could be a harbinger for liberal defeats in many supposed Democrat strongholds.

The recent designation of the 17th Congressional District race to toss-up status by an independent pollster has created a pall amongst Democrats both in New York and nationally, said the experts.

Maloney is being challenged by Republican New York Assemblyman Mike Lawler.

The Lawler campaign has released internal polls by McLaughlin & Associates since the summer that show the state legislator with a lead over Maloney, but the latest polling is the first indication by independent pollsters that Maloney could lose.

Read the full article here


Baugh, Porter Clash on Issues, Ideology in New California Congressional District

U.S. Rep. Katie Porter (D-Calif.) is facing her “toughest race yet” in California’s newly drawn 47th Congressional District during this year’s midterm elections, according to ActBlue, a fundraising platform for Democratic Party candidates.

Although the district includes her hometown of Irvine in Orange County, about 70 percent of the voters are new to Porter due to redistricting. California lost one congressional seat during the reshuffling of congressional districts last year.

“They added Irvine and took out Garden Grove and Westminster,” Porter’s Republican challenger, Scott Baugh, a lawyer and small businessman in Huntington Beach, told The Epoch Times. “It’s a different district, and she’s never represented at least two-thirds of it.”

In the June primary election, Porter received 52 percent of the vote and Baugh 31 percent, with 17 percent going to other Republican candidates. Although multiple media outlets have predicted Porter will win in the new district, which is considered a possible swing district, Cook Political Report’s House editor David Wasserman said last week Porter could be in danger of losing her seat.

Read the full article here


Tulsi Gabbard Endorses Republican Adam Laxalt for Senate

Former Rep. Tulsi Gabbard has handed her endorsement to Nevada Republican Senate candidate Adam Laxalt, while calling his contender “Joe Biden’s rubber stamp.”

In her Oct. 17 video, Gabbard cited the “woke” ideologies that “demonize police, back open borders, and believe biological men should compete in women’s sports,” as the reason for her to leave the Democratic Party.

She pointed out that these are all the policies embraced by incumbent Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), who is challenging Laxalt in the Senate race.


Murkowski Faces Tshibaka and Chesbro in Alaska Senate Debate

Republican U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski said Alaskans want results, not “partisan political rhetoric,” as she faced her former President Donald Trump-backed Republican rival Kelly Tshibaka in a televised debate Thursday. Tshibaka questioned the value of Murkowski’s seniority and said it’s time for a change.

Murkowski “cannot accomplish in the next six years what she hasn’t been able to accomplish in the last 21 years,” Tshibaka said.

Murkowski, who has held the seat since late 2002 and is the most senior member of Alaska’s congressional delegation, said the race is about “who can best deliver for Alaska.” Murkowski pointed to and defended her record.

The debate, held less than two weeks before the Nov. 8 ranked-choice election, also included Democrat Pat Chesbro, who has significantly trailed Murkowski and Tshibaka in fundraising. The other candidate on the ballot, Republican Buzz Kelley, who finished fourth in the August primary, last month suspended his campaign and endorsed Tshibaka.

Trump, who came to Alaska in July for a rally with Tshibaka and Republican Sarah Palin, whose House run he’s endorsed, participated in a tele-rally for Tshibaka earlier this week. He called Murkowski “one of the worst senators even imaginable.” He criticized her for voting for the “insane impeachment” and for opposing the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Murkowski was censured by state Republican party leaders last year for reasons including her criticism of Trump and vote to convict him during his second impeachment trial last year. Trump was acquitted.


Schumer Caught on Hot Mic Warning Biden Democrats ‘Going Downhill’ in Georgia Senate Race

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) was overheard on a hot mic on Thursday telling President Joe Biden that Georgia’s Senate race was “going downhill” for Democrats.

“The state where we’re going downhill is Georgia. It’s hard to believe that they will go for Herschel Walker,” Schumer can be heard telling Biden at the airport in Syracuse, New York.

Walker, a former NFL and college football star running back, is campaigning against Democrat Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-S.C.) in a heated race for Georgia’s Senate seat.

With fewer than two weeks until the midterm elections, a recent Monmouth University poll released on Oct. 26 found the race remains close, showing 48 percent of voters definitely, or probably, voting for Warnock, while 45 percent said the same thing about Walker.

“The poll does not attempt to predict turnout, but past voter history metrics and self-reported enthusiasm give a picture of a range of possible outcomes,” Monmouth University noted.

Read the full article here


Biden to Vote Early in Delaware With His Granddaughter

President Joe Biden will cast his midterm election ballot this weekend in his home state of Delaware, where in-person early voting begins Friday.

The White House said Biden will vote alongside his granddaughter Natalie, 18, who is a first-time voter. The Democratic president is casting his ballot as his party is facing an uphill battle to hold on to control of Congress and as Democrats have made a priority of encouraging their supporters to vote early in jurisdictions where it is available to maximize turnout.

Biden’s trip to his polling place comes as he is spending a long weekend at his Wilmington home. He’ll make a brief trip to nearby Philadelphia on Friday night to attend an event for the Pennsylvania Democratic Party with Vice President Kamala Harris. A Democratic official said the fundraiser will raise $1 million for the state party, with Lt. Gov. John Fetterman in a close race against GOP nominee Dr. Mehmet Oz for a critical U.S. Senate seat.

Last month, Biden made a quick last-minute trip to Wilmington to cast his ballot in the state’s Democratic primary. At the time, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Biden’s schedule required the brief Air Force One jaunt to Wilmington to vote.


Florida Voters Asked to Scrap One Way to Amend Constitution

Florida voters are deciding whether to get rid of a commission that meets every 20 years to recommend changes to the state constitution, the only such panel among the U.S. states that refers amendments directly to a statewide ballot.

Opponents of the Constitution Revision Commission say it has gone beyond its original mandate, lacks accountability and has become a venue for new statewide policy to be proposed to a group of temporary officials who—in contrast to the elected Legislature—are unelected appointees.

The commission isn’t the only way to refer state amendments to voters. The Legislature can do so, as can citizens through initiative petitions.

Still, some citizen groups don’t want to lose the commission, which Common Cause Florida calls “an important pathway Floridians have to change their state’s constitution.” The group is urging voters to reject the measure in voting that started in Florida on Oct. 24 and culminates Nov. 8.

The commission was created in the late 1960s and met in 1977–1978, 1997–1998, and 2017–2018. Its critics say it was only intended to propose clean-up language or delete obsolete provisions, though the constitution gives it broad authority to set its own rules, procedures, and agenda.

The governor, Senate president, House speaker—who in some years can be all from the same political party—appoint 33 of the panel’s members. The Supreme Court chief justice appoints three members, and the attorney general is an automatic appointee.


Biden, Harris to Campaign for Fetterman After Rocky Debate Performance

President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris will head to Pennsylvania on Oct. 28 and make a rare joint appearance to campaign on behalf of Senate hopeful John Fetterman, a fellow Democrat, after his rocky debate performance fueled concern inside his party, reports and public records indicate.

Biden and Harris, who rarely appear together, are scheduled to attend the Pennsylvania Democratic Party’s 3rd Annual Independence Dinner on Friday, along with the party’s 2022 candidates, including Fetterman.

Fetterman, who experienced a stroke five months ago, appeared onstage Tuesday to debate rival Republican Dr. Mehmet Oz as the two vie for a key Senate seat.

Read the full article here


Kari Lake’s Former TV Station Declares Lake’s Opponent Winner 2 Weeks Before Election

The television station that used to employ Arizona Republican gubernatorial nominee Kari Lake on Oct. 27 called the race for Lake’s opponent, despite the fact the election won’t be held until November.

A graphic displayed by Fox 10, the TV station, said that Katie Hobbs, the Democrat nominee, won the election with 53 percent of the vote.

The graphic was shown during a newscast at about 5:50 p.m. local time.

Fox 10 acknowledged airing the graphic, blaming what happened on a test gone wrong.

Read the full article here 


Obama Looks to Light Up Democrat’s Chances in Key Georgia US Senate Race

Democrats call in Barack Obama on Friday in the hopes that the former president can excite voters in Georgia and help the party hold onto a critical U.S. Senate seat.

Obama, a two-term Democrat who left office in 2017, will stump in Atlanta for Senator Raphael Warnock, who faces Trump-backed Republican challenger Herschel Walker, and Stacey Abrams, who is running against Republican Governor Brian Kemp.

Georgia is a top takeover target for Republicans, who need to pick up just one seat to gain control of the Senate.

Obama’s appearance is the start of a five-state tour that will take him to the battleground states of Wisconsin, Michigan, Nevada, and Pennsylvania. That last appearance, on the Saturday before the Nov. 8 midterm elections, will be joined by President Joe Biden, who has held back from campaigning in some key battlegrounds as he struggles with low public approval ratings.


Nevada County Pauses Hand Vote Count After Supreme Court Says Process Illegal

A Nevada county’s hand count of mail-in ballots was put on pause on Thursday after the state’s Supreme Court ruled the process was illegal, after previously giving it the green light.

Nye County began counting mail-in ballots on Wednesday after the state supreme court last week ruled that it be conducted in a way that prevents the public release of early results before polls close to in-person voting.

Some 60 volunteers have begun the unprecedented hand-count process, during which multiple teams of five people were split up and placed in separate rooms to count batches of 50 ballots by hand at a Nye County office building in Pahrump, 60 miles west of Las Vegas, according to local reports.

Read the full article here


Pennsylvania GOP Congressional Candidate Running to Protect the American Dream

Republican U.S. House candidate Lisa Scheller told attendees at a campaign event that she is running for Congress to protect the American dream for future generations.

Scheller—who is the CEO of Silberline Manufacturing Co.—is looking to unseat incumbent Democratic Representative Susan Wild. Midterms are less than two weeks away, and polling suggests the two candidates are evenly matched.

Scheller held a press conference after a fundraising event on Wednesday, to talk about her platform, which emphasizes crime, border security, and inflation.

“What I want to make sure happens is that we protect the American dream for generations to come. Because right now, Joe Biden, Nancy Pelosi, and my opponent, Susan Wild are working hard to turn it into a socialist nightmare,” she said.

Read the full article here


Katabella Roberts, Tom Ozimek, Zachary Stieber, William Huang, Lily Sun, Lorenz Duchamps, Hannah Ng,  Reuters, and The Associated Press, contributed to this report.

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