Midterm Elections Updates: Liberal Rhode Island Could Send Republican to US House

Midterm Elections Updates: Liberal Rhode Island Could Send Republican to US House
Former Cranston, R.I., Mayor and Republican candidate for the state's 2nd Congressional District, Allan Fung, poses for a portrait in Warwick, R.I., on Oct. 25, 2022. (David Goldman/AP Photo)

The latest on the midterm elections.


Liberal Rhode Island Could Send Republican to US House

In liberal Rhode Island, Republican Allan Fung stands a chance of flipping a U.S. House seat and possibly helping his party gain control of the chamber.

There is just one Republican in New England’s congressional delegation, U.S. Sen. Susan Collins of Maine. Fung saw an opportunity to break the Democratic Party’s three-decade hold on the seat for Rhode Island’s 2nd Congressional District when longtime Democratic Rep. Jim Langevin announced his retirement this year.

Despite Fung’s momentum, some political observers say it’s still hard to fathom a Republican pulling off such a big win in Rhode Island. But many others say it’s a tossup, or think Fung could have a slight edge over Democrat Seth Magaziner. Moderate candidate William Gilbert is also on the ballot.

“All the ingredients are there for the right kind of Republican to win that district and Allan Fung is the right kind of Republican,” said Wendy Schiller, a Brown University professor and director of the Taubman Center for American Politics and Policy.


Democrats to Boost Hochul in Tight New York Governor’s Race

Democrats have created a super PAC in New York to boost incumbent Gov. Kathy Hochul, a sign of the party’s growing fears that a late-stage surge by her Republican opponent Lee Zeldin could result in an upset in the blue state.

The committee created Friday by the Democratic Governors Association comes as both parties have deployed more resources and political stars in New York as ballots have started being cast in a surprisingly competitive race.

The notion that the governor’s office would be winnable for Republicans in New York, where there are twice as many Democrats as Republicans and a GOP governor has not been elected in 20 years, is the latest warning for Democrats that they could face deep losses in this year’s midterm elections.

Zeldin, a congressman and ally of former President Donald Trump, has tightened the race in recent weeks after focusing for months on rising violent crime in New York. He has been campaigning around the state, holding a large rally in GOP-friendly Long Island over the weekend with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and a Monday rally in a New York City exurb with Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin.

“This is about all of you taking control your government again,” Zeldin told the crowd at his rally Monday.

Hochul, in turn, has brought on former President Barack Obama to appear in a new radio ad on her behalf and is planning a Thursday rally with Hillary Clinton in New York City. That’s on top of a series of rallies she held around the state over the weekend, including a Sunday rally with New York City Mayor Eric Adams in Queens.

“Tell them you want someone who cares, and is not going to put more guns on the street, someone who is going to respect women’s rights, and lift our people up, and does not support the overturning of Joe Biden’s election,” Hochul said at the Sunday event.


GOP Candidates Surge in Governors’ Races While Raising Less Money Than Democrats

With political campaigns in their closing days, and early voting already begun in many states, polls show some key governors’ races tightening—even as the Democratic candidates have vastly outspent their Republican rivals.

In Arizona, polls show Democrat Katie Hobbs, who had stayed roughly even with the Trump-endorsed Republican Kari Lake, now falling behind. The Real Clear Politics (RCP) average of polls in the race had Lake, a longtime anchor for Fox’s Phoenix affiliate, ahead by 4.2 percentage points this past week. Hobbs has raised $5 million to Lake’s $3.8 million, according to Transparency USA. Lake has been largely absent from the airwaves and did the same in the Republican primary.

In Michigan, the race has tightened to put Republican challenger Tudor Dixon within the margin of error in polling against Democratic incumbent Gretchen Whitmer. Whitmer, who has raised five times more cash than Dixon, according to campaign finance tracker Transparency USA, had led by double digits throughout the summer.

However, Whitmer’s most recent RCP average shows a 3.3-point lead in polls taken through Oct. 29, and the political website now rates the race a toss-up.

In Pennsylvania, Republican challenger Doug Mastriano continues to trail Democrat Josh Shapiro, who has overwhelmingly outspent him. Large Republican PACs had mostly declined to support Mastriano until now, reportedly amid concerns about his presence on the U.S. Capitol grounds on Jan. 6, 2021.

While no major poll has shown Mastriano ahead, the race tightened in late October, and Shapiro’s lead in the Real Clear Politics average of polls is 6.7 points.

In New York, a race that Republicans didn’t think was within reach, Democrat incumbent Kathy Hochul has seen her double-digit lead over Republican congressman Lee Zeldin dwindle to single digits. A gaffe by Hochul during their Oct. 25 televised debate was notable.

Read the full article here


Florida Agency Reviewing Ballot Harvesting Complaint Referred by Election Investigation Office

Florida Department of Law Enforcement is reviewing a complaint about ballot harvesting that happened in Fort Myers, the agency told The Epoch Times.

The complaint (pdf) claimed Terolyn Watson, Fort Myers Democrat City Councilwoman for Ward 3, has been going through neighborhoods on a golf cart, asking residents to call the supervisor of elections office to request a vote-by-mail ballot while she stands there and waits.

Watson also allegedly intimidated residents into placing her campaign signs in their yards.

The complaint was filed by Chantel Rhodes, Watson’s Democrat challenger for Ward 3.

Rhodes is a self-professed Black Lives Matter supporter.

“FDLE received a complaint about ballot harvesting in Ft. Myers and we are reviewing the complaint,” FDLE public information officer Gretl Plessinger told the Epoch Times. “This is not currently an investigation.”

Rhodes confirmed that the law department has contacted her.

“I just spoke with the Fort Myers Police Department,” Rhodes told The Epoch Times on Oct. 26. “They said the Florida Department of Law Enforcement now has the case.”

Read the full article here


Mastriano Offers ‘Tough on Crime’ Agenda in Pennsylvania Governor’s Race

With 562 murders, 2021 was a record year for Philadelphia, the City of Brotherly Love. So far in 2022, the city has seen 441 murders. As of Oct. 30, the Philadelphia Police Department reported 12,923 violent crimes in 2022, including 154 violent assaults in the previous seven days.

Philadelphia crime has climbed each year since 2013, when the city had 246 murders. Crimes spills out of the city into surrounding counties.

Republican gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano focused on crime during a recent campaign stop in Lancaster County. While traveling the state, Mastriano says he has been hearing a lot of concerns about the economy, but in Southeast Pennsylvania, the conversation turns to crime.

“The Attorney General has presided as a senior law enforcement official for six years over law and order in the state, and he’s failed us abysmally. He’s completely dropped the ball,” Mastriano said, speaking of his opponent, Democrat Josh Shapiro..

Mastriano has called for a tougher stance on crime.

Read the full article here


McConnell’s PAC Pulls Money Out of Bolduc Race in New Hampshire

A Super PAC linked to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has canceled more than $5 million in advertising for the Don Bolduc campaign.

The Senate Leadership Fund (SLF) announced on Oct. 22 that it was revoking the advertising dollars earmarked to promote the New Hampshire U.S. Senatorial candidate it had been planning to run in the final two weeks leading up to the Nov. 8 elections.

“As the cycle comes to a close, we are shifting resources to where they can be most effective to achieve our ultimate goal: winning the majority,” SLF Fund president and co-founder Steven Law said in a statement.

The move follows public statements made by retired Army Brig. Gen. Bolduc that he would not support re-electing McConnell as the party’s leader.

Answering criticism that he was willing to take money from the Kentucky Senator while not supporting him, Bolduc said that it was McConnell’s party-line duty to support Republican candidates.

“I’m very appreciative of Senator McConnell’s support, but that’s his job,” Bolduc said.

So far, Bolduc has not said publicly who he’d like to see in McConnell’s place and did not respond to inquiries by The Epoch Times about the reasons he doesn’t support him to continue as the Senate Republican leader.

Read the full article here


Ohio Seeks to Become Latest State to Ban Noncitizen Voting

Republicans in Ohio are promoting a measure on the Nov. 8 ballot that would prohibit noncitizens from voting in local elections, fighting back at what they see as a push for such access in liberal enclaves such as San Francisco and New York City.

It would make Ohio the seventh state to take such a step if it passes and could motivate turnout among GOP voters in this year’s high-stakes midterm elections. The state also has a close race for a seat that will help determine the balance of power in the U.S. Senate.

Republican Secretary of State Frank LaRose, the state’s elections chief, is championing State Issue 2, a proposal advanced by Ohio’s GOP-led state Legislature. It would make a tiny but pivotal wording change to the Ohio Constitution, from guaranteeing voting rights for “every citizen” of the United States who meets certain criteria to “only citizens” of the United States who do.

LaRose, who is up for reelection, said most people had assumed that a prohibition in place since 1996 on noncitizen voting in federal and state elections also applied to local elections, though the law was silent on the matter. That was, until a “bad idea” crept in from the East and West coasts, he said.

“It’s a bad idea to callously give away the right to vote to people that haven’t earned it,” LaRose said at an October news conference touting the issue. “I think that citizenship has value, citizenship has status. So many of our ancestors worked so hard to earn that citizenship.”


Democrats ‘Fearful’ Over Where ‘Momentum Is Going’ in Midterm Elections: Psaki

Former White House press secretary Jen Psaki said on Oct. 28 that Democrats are worried that the momentum has shifted toward Republicans as polls continue to tighten in the leadup to the Nov. 8 midterm elections.

Psaki was asked to comment on an Oct. 27 hot mic moment when Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) was overheard telling President Joe Biden on the tarmac of a New York airport that Democrats are “in danger” of losing a seat and are “going downhill” in Georgia.

“What we heard there and what you saw on the screen is similar to a lot of the conversations Democrats are having behind the scenes and a lot of people I talked to as well,” Psaki said during an appearance on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”

Read the full article here


Late Push by Dixon Helps Tighten Michigan Governor’s Race

Fresh off a late-October prime-time debate, Michigan Republican gubernatorial candidate Tudor Dixon had completed nearly a dozen TV interviews by noon the next day. Campaign ads were finally airing on TV, and Dixon was scheduled to depart for a statewide bus tour in a final push to become Michigan’s next governor.

The itinerary was a stark contrast to the early days of her general election campaign against Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, when Dixon emerged from the GOP primary and then seemed to disappear from voters’ sight. Weeks of ads attacking her went unanswered, while Dixon laid low trying to raise more campaign cash, she said.

The shift in campaign strategy has paid off, as a more visible Dixon has made it a closer race with about a week to go before Election Day. She is hoping to capitalize on GOP momentum across the country, fueled by voters’ concerns about the economy and inflation, as well as President Joe Biden’s low approval ratings.


South Carolina’s Mace Gets Boost From McCarthy, Gabbard

Rep. Nancy Mace (R-S.C.) is getting a boost from House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and other political figures in the closing week before the midterm elections as she seeks a second term representing her fast-growing district.

On Wednesday, Miami Mayor Francis Suarez, the Cuban American politician who currently serves as president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, will appear with Mace at an event in Mount Pleasant, near Charleston, Mace’s campaign told The Associated Press.

A day later, former Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, who represented Hawaii as a Democrat but recently announced she was leaving the party, is holding a campaign rally with Mace at a restaurant in Mount Pleasant.


Mail-In Ballot Total Surges Past 10 Million Across US Ahead of 2022 Midterms

More than 10 million people have cast mail-in ballots ahead of the Nov. 8 midterm elections, according to an election monitoring project.

Another 5 million or so have voted early and in person, research from the U.S. Elections Project shows as of Oct. 27. This week, a number of states opened early in-person voting, including Texas.

The project, which is managed by University of Florida professor Michael McDonald, tracks early voting activity among states that have reported data. Texas, California, Florida, and Georgia have reported more than 1.5 million in-person and mail-in votes as of Oct. 27, the project numbers show.

Read the full article here 


New York Will Become a ‘Law-and-Order State’ Under Zeldin: DeSantis

LONG ISLAND, N.Y.—Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Oct. 29 told a dense crowd of New Yorkers that Republican gubernatorial candidate Lee Zeldin can turn their crime-ridden state into a “law-and-order” state just like Florida.

“Florida is a law-and-order state. I am a law-and-order governor. If Lee Zeldin gets into office, New York will become a law-and-order state, and he will be a law-and-order governor,” DeSantis told thousands of Zeldin supporters at a “Get Out the Vote” rally at the New York congressman’s native Long Island Saturday evening.

DeSantis, who is widely expected to win a second term as Florida governor, said New York needs a governor who will “stand up for the men and women of law enforcement” and stop “coddling” criminals, such as releasing them early from prison and without bail.

As for New York’s crime problem, DeSantis said it is “totally self-inflicted.”

Read the full article here 


Leavitt, 25, Cites Youth in Bid to Be Youngest Congresswoman

Karoline Leavitt recalled being in her New Hampshire college dining hall in 2018, filling out an application for a White House intern job while her friends were tailgating at a football game.

“I remember thinking, ‘If I made this opportunity, it’s worth missing any football game in the world,’” she told The Associated Press.

She got the job. That eventually led to a position in President Donald Trump’s White House press office, then another as communications director for Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.).

Inspired by Stefanik, the youngest woman elected to Congress when she won in 2014 at age 30, Leavitt is now running for a House seat of her own. At age 25, she could make history on Election Day, Nov. 8: Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), won at 29 in 2018.


Kemp and Abrams Go at It Again

Brian Kemp and Stacey Abrams’ second debate on Sunday night sounded a lot like their first one on Oct. 17.

The two veteran candidates were on their games. Neither committed a notable gaffe or game-changing miscue. They sparred about things they’ve fought about before, bringing to bear the facts supporting their respective sides.

They each opened nearly every statement by accusing the other of being untruthful or lying. Despite that, they stayed within bounds and shook hands at the end.

The two pounded each other’s records, Abrams hammering Kemp’s as governor, Kemp hitting at hers as state house minority leader and as a candidate.

Read the full article here


High Stakes in North Carolina Court Races With Majority on Line

RALEIGH, N.C.—Two North Carolina Supreme Court seats up for election in November have taken on extra significance as the outcome could flip the court’s partisan makeup during a period of political polarization.

Registered Democrats hold a 4–3 advantage on the court, but Republicans would retake the majority for the first time since 2016 should they win at least one race. The seats carry eight-year terms, so, barring unplanned retirements, Republicans would be assured of keeping the upper hand for at least four-and-a-half years if successful.

Outside groups are spending big to influence the races. In the two largest television markets alone, two super PACs have committed to spending roughly $3 million on ads, according to documents filed with the Federal Communications Commission.


Pennsylvania’s Department of State Has Sent Out 249,000 Ballots to Unverified Voters in 2022 Election

In Pennsylvania, the Department of State has allowed at least 249,000 unverified voters to receive mail-in ballots so far in the 2022 general election, owing to an odd process for verifying the identity of those requesting mail-in ballots where people vote first and verify their identification later.

The Department of State also recently changed directives for county election boards, creating procedural confusion, and drawing fire from 15 Pennsylvania House members, in the form of a letter (pdf) demanding the department immediately correct its guidance and tell counties they may not count the ballots of unverified voters until proof of ID is received.

There are two things to know about voter registration. First, the state must follow the federal Help America Vote Act of 2002 (HAVA), a law that requires anyone registering to vote in federal elections to provide identification in the form of a driver’s license number or the last four digits of their Social Security number. And second, HAVA requires states to verify the accuracy of the information provided by the applicant by matching their ID information to the state motor vehicle database or the federal Social Security Number verification system.

Read the full article here 


Arizona AG Gives County OK for Full Ballot Hand Counts

Arizona’s Republican attorney general has issued an opinion saying that county officials can hand-count all ballots in at least five races from the Nov. 8 election, a move that gives a green light to GOP officials in at least two counties who have been pushing for hand counts to ensure election integrity.

The new opinion prompted the two Republicans on the three-member Cochise County board of supervisors to boost their plan to hand-count some races in both early and Election Day ballots.

Under state law, the local leaders of both the Democratic and Republican parties would have to provide hundreds of volunteers to do the counts.


Eva Fu, Dan M. Berger, Frank Fang, Beth Brelje, Jack Phillips, Lorenz Duchamps, and The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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