Simon Rosenberg/Hopium Chronicles on Substack:
A Week To Election Day - Okay peeps, we are officially a week out! I checked in with David Pepper this morning and he says the OH early vote is encouraging. Gov. Andy Beshear looks good in Kentucky. Brandon Presley is closing strong in Mississippi. I know folks are working hard in New York and New Jersey too.
With a week to go in Virginia while the early vote is improving each day for Democrats we are still not where we want to be. The polling continues to suggest if our folks vote we will win. Our candidates have been raising money - thank you - and will be competitive in the closing days. Control of the House and Senate, and fate of abortion in the last Southern state where it remains legal, is going to come down to a few thousand votes in a handful of districts. So every call, every text, every door knocked and every dollar given will matter in these final 7 days. Please donate or volunteer for our top 6 candidates today - and to those of you who have been working so hard in Virginia, thank you!
Unclear signals are most likely meaning a close race.
Tom Bonier on Virginia early voting:
Punchbowl (paywall newsletter):
News: Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (I-Ariz.) is in third place – and trailing badly – in the three-way Senate race in Arizona, according to an internal GOP poll shared with Republican senators today by NRSC Chair Steve Daines.
Democratic Rep. Ruben Gallego (Ariz.) had 41%, while Republican Kari Lake had 37%. Sinema came in at 17%.
Daines told the GOP senators that Sinema is more popular with Republicans than Democrats, although that is likely to change once Lake and GOP-aligned outside groups start running ads.
In a head-to-head matchup, Gallego is leading Lake 49%-44%, Daines said.
According to a source in the room, Daines and NRSC Executive Director Jason Thielman believe Sinema has no shot at getting reelected.
Senate Republicans are very sure that Lake – a huge Donald Trump supporter and 2020 election denier who narrowly lost Arizona’s 2022 gubernatorial race – will be the nominee. Lake is crushing Pinal County Sheriff Mark Lamb 58%-27% in the GOP primary, according to the poll.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) stood up during the meeting and said that Lake was going to be the Republican senatorial nominee in Arizona and his GOP colleagues need to help her campaign.
The internal NRSC poll was conducted on Oct. 25. A spokesperson for Sinema declined to comment.
Note the two internal polls for the different candidates have similar numbers.
2 governor races will test if Democrats can survive in Trump country Statewide Democrats in red states are a dying breed. Can they learn anything from Andy Beshear and Brandon Presley?
“Politics is a matter of pendulum swings,” said Ronnie Musgrove, the last Democrat to serve as Mississippi governor, in the early-2000s. “And right now, when you got a gerrymandered legislature and when you got the major voices talking about culture wars to the exclusion of all the other things, then [Republicans] got a tailwind. However, over time, I think what this is going to show is that people want more than that.”
If Republican candidates suck, is that enough? Sometimes it is.
Norm Ornstein/The New Republic:
Glenn Youngkin’s Presidential Dreams Will Be Decided Next Tuesday
If Republicans sweep next week’s elections, he’s probably in. He’s more affable and appealing than Trump. But don’t let that fool you.
Why Youngkin? Of course, a good part of it is the fear among the GOP and hedge fund elite that Donald Trump’s baggage will get so heavy that he will be unelectable—combined with what they see as Ron DeSantis’s weak campaign and wooden personality, and a lack of confidence in the others in the candidate gaggle. But it also reflects their assessment that the affable Youngkin, who comes across as the dad next door wearing his fleece vest, will have a wider appeal in the electorate as someone who is more pragmatic and less ideologically rigid than the main alternatives. That image is the one Youngkin has managed to promote in mainstream media during his gubernatorial campaign and beyond.
Molly jong-Fast/Vanity Fair:
Welcome to MAGA Mike’s House
Mike Johnson, until recently a Louisiana backbencher, isn’t as cartoonishly Trumpy as Matt Gaetz or frothing on Fox News like Jim Jordan, but he’s perhaps even more dangerous: a zealot in an unassuming suit.
Picking Johnson seemed almost as if it was a reaction to all the seething resentment which made it impossible for Jim Jordan to get 217 votes. Johnson had never even met Mitch McConnell, presumably because the Senate minority leader doesn’t have time to meet random backbenchers from Louisiana. Susan Collins said she was going to google him. After all, why would a senator from Maine have any idea who Johnson is, as he’s only been in the house since 2017. But Republicans had boxed themselves in after dumping Kevin McCarthy, rejecting popular GOP majority leader Steve Scalise, saying no to the famous-on-Fox News and slightly frothing Jim Jordan, and passing on the more mainstream majority whip Tom Emmer.
The Speakership dilemma was made considerably more complicated when Donald Trump got involved. The de facto leader of the Republican Party wasn’t able to carry Jordan to 217, but he was able to sink Emmer, the number three Minnesota Republican. Trump surely did it because Emmer voted against overturning the 2020 election, and therefore, was deemed insufficiently loyal. After labeling Emmer a “RINO” on Truth Social, and conferring with House members, Trump reportedly bragged privately, “He’s done. It’s over. I killed him.”
David Darmofal/Twitter via Threadreader:
If Abortion Measure Fails, Ohioans on Parole And Probation Could Face Graver Restrictions
For thousands of people under state supervision who face limits on their freedom to travel, a future without abortion rights could mean a choice "between health care and liberty."
After the Supreme Court removed federal protections for abortion in its Dobbs decision last June, the state’s attorney general immediately petitioned a federal judge to enforce a 2019 law that banned abortion after six weeks. It included an exception for when the mother’s life is at stake but not for instances of rape or incest. The six-week ban remained in effect for nearly three months, until a lawsuit brought by abortion providers led to an indefinite stay of the law. During that 82-day window, the costs associated with abortion care skyrocketed, and people were forced to cross state lines to seek the procedure—including, notoriously, a ten-year-old whose heartbreaking story became embroiled in a national controversy.
The Abortion Fund of Ohio jumped into action, helping hundreds of Ohioans seek care elsewhere, in states where they could access abortion. The fund helped reroute them “out of state to be able to get the care that they were entitled to,” recalls Maggie Scotece, a doula and attorney who is currently serving as the organization’s interim executive director. (The organization is part of the coalition supporting Issue 1.)
But the organization, which helps people fund and access abortions, also received confused calls from, or on behalf of, people who could not travel: minors in group homes or juvenile justice centers, and people on probation and parole.
Hundreds of thousands of Ohioans have their freedom of movement greatly restricted because they’re under some form of state supervision, and the stakes of Issue 1 may be highest for them.
The committee will announce its next course of action in this matter on or before Nov. 17, 2023.
Editor’s note: An previous version of the Bolts Magazine blurb in this story misstated a quote from the Abortion Fund of Ohio, and inaccurately stated the number of Ohioans who sought out-of-state care when the six-week ban was enacted. It inadvertently had a strikethrough with the updated information. It has since been corrected in the original article and here.