• The State(s) of the Presidential Race
• Let the Lawsuits Begin
• Georgia on My Mind
• Biden Looks Screwed Even If He Wins
• Florida Is a Red State Now
• Bloomberg Is No Kingmaker Anymore
• Another Megyn Kelly Moment, but without Megyn Kelly This Time
• Dead Man Wins Election
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Republicans were warned about the "red mirage," and saw it vanish before their eyes in Michigan and Wisconsin yesterday, as both were called for Joe Biden. Even though Donald Trump led on election night, as the absentee ballots were counted, Biden pulled ahead. With more than 98% of the votes counted, Biden's lead is 0.6% in Wisconsin, almost exactly what Trump's lead was there in 2016. So the tables have turned. In Michigan, Biden leads by 2.4%, again with more than 98% of the votes counted. So the Democratic candidate may have built a wall of his own, namely the famous "blue wall" that allowed Democrats to sweep the "Midwest" for seven consecutive elections until Trump smashed through it in 2016. So far, Biden has not promised that Mexico will pay for his wall.
Needless to say, Trump is very unhappy with this new development and is demanding a recount in the Badger State. Maybe in Michigan, too. Campaign Manager Bill Stepien said: "Despite ridiculous public polling used as a voter suppression tactic, Wisconsin has been a razor thin race as we always knew that it would be." Huh? Public polling is now a voter suppression technique? Naturally, the lawsuits have already started flying. The Trump campaign is going to try to stop the counting in Pennsylvania and Michigan, and wants a recount in Wisconsin. Lawsuits in Georgia and Nevada may be coming, too, though it's less clear how serious Team Trump is about those.
Longtime Republican election lawyer Benjamin Ginsberg was on CNN yesterday, and he described these lawsuits and recount demands as "Hail Marys." ProPublica, which knows a few things about this subject, agrees. Several obvious problems present themselves. First, the Trump team's legal theory varies based on whether he's ahead in a state (stop the counting!) or behind (I want a recount!). Any judge who was not born yesterday, and who is not Neomi Rao, is going to take notice of that. Second, as the ProPublica piece linked above particularly emphasizes, the campaign has to have a valid cause of action for their suits. Even friendly judges need something to hang their hats on, legally (well, except Rao). "I don't like the results!" is not a legal argument. A third problem is that even if Trump gets a recount, those rarely shift more than a very small fraction of the vote, 0.1% or 0.2% at most.
Reportedly, even Trump is not enthused about the prospects for these lawsuits, and has been telling friends that he doesn't really understand what they are trying to achieve. If he and his campaign really want a recount, they can likely get it, even without a lawsuit. In some states, a recount is granted freely if it is requested and the results are close. In other states, a campaign can have a recount if they agree to pay for it. Trump's problem is that he would need a sweep or something close to it in the remaining uncalled states, and then he would need whatever state he is challenging the results in to tighten up a fair bit. That ship has already sailed in Michigan, and the outstanding ballots in Wisconsin are mail-in, and are mostly from Milwaukee, and so are likely to extend Biden's lead to 1-2%.
That said, you never know until the votes are counted, and it's possible that the President's ego/self-image demand that every option be exhausted, even once things are hopeless. In that case there could be hand-to-hand combat over individual ballots, with Republicans trying to disqualify every vote for Biden and Democrats trying to disqualify every vote for Trump. If so, may the party with the better penmanship (penpersonship?) win. (V & Z)
What a night it was! And what a week it is going to be. We still don't know who the president-elect will be, and may not know for a few days. The map above reflects the results from CNN, but other sources have pretty much the same results for the time being.
In the presidential contest, there are five states that remain in doubt, on some level. Arizona has been called for Joe Biden, by Fox News and the AP, but other outlets are playing things more cautiously. There, Joe Biden has a 2.4% lead with approximately 86% of the votes counted. Trump's problem here is that while the uncounted ballots have been breaking for him, the break is not nearly enough for him to overcome the gap. In other words, he needs the voting to get a whole lot redder, and there's no reason to think that will happen. So, this one is very likely to stay in Biden's column.
North Carolina has not been called by any outlet, but it's sort of the anti-Arizona. Trump is up by 1.4%, and is in the driver's seat. In this case, the issue is not that the votes being counted now are too evenly distributed, as in Arizona. In fact, Biden made up significant ground during the day on Wednesday. His problem is that there just aren't enough ballots left, with approximately 95% counted, to overcome the gap. So, this one is very likely to stay in Trump's column.
The three states that are truly up in the air—and that, like North Carolina, have not been called by any major outlet—are Nevada, Georgia, and Pennsylvania. In Nevada, Biden is currently up by 0.6%, with approximately 86% of the votes reported. The good news for him is that Nevada is traditionally a blue state. The even better news is that all of the uncounted ballots were sent in by mail, and so figure to break Democratic. That said, Clark County—biggest in Nevada, and home to Las Vegas—has been hit very hard by shutdown orders, and may take that out on Biden. Further, remember Katherine Harris (R), the Florida Secretary of State who ran the Florida count and recount in 2000? This time we have a different Katherine—Barbara Katherine Cegavske (R), the Nevada Secretary of State. She will be running the count in the Silver State. She is a traditional Republican and supports voter ID and opposes same-day voter registration. Will it be a fair count? We hope so.
As to Georgia, Donald Trump's lead there has shrunk by the hour as more ballots are counted. As of Wednesday night, he was up by 0.5% with 95% reporting. This is shaping up to be a real nail-biter, because the uncounted ballots there are: (1) mail-in or (2) from Atlanta or (3) from its environs. Those three categories translate into "Democrats," "Black voters," and "suburbanites," all of which are Biden-friendly constituencies.
And finally, there is Pennsylvania. There, Donald Trump is up by 2.6% with 89% of the ballots counted. That sounds like a lot, but—as in Georgia—his lead shrank throughout the day on Wednesday, and the outstanding ballots appear to be very Democratic-leaning. In particular, a sizable chunk of them are from Philadelphia, which has voted for Joe Biden at an 80% clip so far. This one will also be a real nail-biter.
Assuming the Trump campaign decides to make some rain (see above), then their targets will be mostly in the "Midwest." Each of these secretaries of state may be about to get her (and his) 15 minutes of fame, so meet them:
Donald Trump is snorting like an angry bull, but it may not matter that much in terms of vote counting as the states do that, and these folks are not going to be influenced by his needs or his demands.
That said, Pennsylvania is the state where the Trump campaign has the best chance of deploying lawsuits successfully. An obvious basis for a case is rejecting ballots received after Election Day, which the courts have currently allowed, but which the Supreme Court hinted it might be open to revisiting. Another issue is the naked ballots in Pennsylvania. Technically, ballots that arrive without the secrecy envelope are supposed to be rejected, but awarding the presidency on such a narrow technical issue when the whole country knows Biden got more votes in Pennsylvania will tear the country apart and the Supreme Court knows that.
And now the electoral math. Counting Arizona, which is almost certainly in the bag, and assuming Trump is unable to prevail in recounts in Wisconsin and Michigan, then Biden needs six more EVs to get to 270. Note that he won NE-02 and Trump won ME-02, so those cancel out and the total shown on the map is correct. Every one of the four uncalled states has 6 EVs or more, so Biden merely needs to win any one of them. If he hadn't won NE-02 (Omaha) these three wouldn't have been enough. The mayor of Omaha is Jean Stothert (R) and if she doesn't get greedy and asks President Biden for just an Air Force base but not also a Navy base (since Omaha is not conveniently located near any major oceans), she might just get it in gratitude.
As we noted during our election commentary, if Biden is going to win the election anyhow, it's surely best for the country if he takes most of the remaining states, and there's much less room for lawsuits and complaints about cheating. A democracy that is already fraying badly doesn't need two months of that. That said, even if Biden ekes out a win with 270 (or maybe 290) EVs, Tuesday was a bad day for the Democrats. They were hoping to win the Senate big time, pick up a couple of dozen House seats, capture state legislatures right and left, and more. None of it happened; the Senate is likely to remain in Republican hands (more below), and even the Democrats' hold on the House is in some doubt now (though several outlets already "called" the House for the Democrats). Somehow the Republicans staved off disaster, a subject we will no doubt come back to once we have a clearer picture of how it happened. (V & Z)
Now that the presidency seems to be slipping away from him, Donald Trump is getting desperate and is turning up the heat, using his favorite weapon: lawsuits. Yesterday, his campaign started a legal blitz to stop vote counting in Pennsylvania and Michigan, demand a recount in Wisconsin, and challenge ballot handling in Georgia. All of these states are close and winning a couple of them could give him a chance to hang on. Getting the courts to flip states is pretty much the only bullet left in his gun, so Trump is going to use it.
In Pennsylvania, the legal issue relates to voter ID rules. In Georgia, it relates to Chatham County (Savannah), where Trump is alleging that ballots arriving after 7 p.m. are being mixed in with the earlier ballots. It is actually too late to stop ballot counting in Michigan. Besides he is behind there so stopping the count freezes an unfavorable situation. The Wisconsin recount request is legitimate, but it probably won't help.
Trump has also pleaded with the Supreme Court to help him. But that is not how the Court works. It waits for cases that have come up from the appellate courts. Currently, no case relating to the election has even gotten that far, and it could be weeks before one does. It is not possible to bring an election case directly to the Supreme Court as it has original jurisdiction only on disputes between states and between the United States and foreign countries.
All of the critical states have said that the process of counting votes has gone smoothly and that there are no irregularities so it may be hard to find a plausible case. Also, if Biden definitively wins Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Georgia, Trump would need to flip at least three states.
The Biden team has a strong argument in many of the lawsuits: the concept of reliance interest. This legal principle states that even if the lower courts overstepped their authority (e.g., extending the time to count ballots), ballots that were lawfully cast according to rules that the voters believed were in force at the time should not be discarded. In any event, it is doubtful that Chief Justice John Roberts wants to get into an election dispute. The consequence of that would be to make half the country think that the Court was full of partisan hacks. He would rather avoid that if he at all can. One easy way out would be to rule that since elections are based on state laws, the state Supreme Courts should have the final say on them. (V)
The Democrats were hoping to win the Senate. They were even dreaming of a rout. Up to 57 seats seemed plausible. It didn't happen. They didn't even come close. Ultimately, they were done in by the fact that ticket splitting has mostly gone the way of mustache wax, audio cassette players, carbon paper, mimeograph machines, and spittoons. The way it stands now, it doesn't appear that a single state split its ticket (unless you count Maine, which gave 3 EVs to Joe Biden, 1 to Donald Trump, and appears to have reelected Susan Collins). So basically, in a Democratic state, a jackass could be elected to the Senate and in a Republican state, an elephant could win (although in truth, sometimes jackasses are also elected on the Republican ticket).
What we won't know this week is who the two senators from Georgia will be. David Perdue is just over 50% in the regular election, with Jon Ossoff around 47%. If Perdue can hang on above 50%, he can avoid a runoff on Jan. 5, 2021. He's at 50.1% at the moment and, as we note above, the remaining votes appear to be strongly Democratic-leaning, so Perdue probably shouldn't close up his campaign office quite yet. Meanwhile, there will definitely be a runoff on Jan. 5, 2021 between Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-GA) and Rev. Raphael Warnock. If Joe Biden wins the White House and Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC) and Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-AK) both hold on, the runoff will determine control of the Senate. If that happens, what do you think that race will cost? $100 million? $200 million? $500 million? $1 billion?
If you go with the conventional wisdom, then the Republicans would be favored to win one or both races, since Georgia is still "a red" (or red-purple) state and more Republican voters generally show up for "off" elections more than Democrats do. That said, there are some rather significant wildcards:
- Special election turnout is always wonky. Turnout for an election held on Jan. 5, just after the holidays (and just
after many people have returned to work)? Who knows?
- We may need to adjust to the idea that the shift of working-class voters to the GOP, and college-educated
suburbanites to the Democrats, has changed the "rules" of turnout. Look at what happened in 2018's midterms, and then
what happened on Tuesday. It could be that special/midterm elections now favor the Democrats.
- Also on that note, there is zero chance of the Democrats winning either election without huge turnout among Black
voters. One suspects that constituency, given an opportunity to elect the state's first Black senator (and one who
preaches at Martin Luther King Jr.'s former church to boot), may be unusually enthusiastic.
- Whichever presidential candidate wins will likely use all their powers (likely including promises of pork) to pull
their party's candidates across the finish line. The loser, by contrast, will probably skip it, and certainly won't be
able to offer any pork. In particular, it's hard to see Donald Trump campaigning hard for Republican senators if he
loses the election.
- As noted, whether or not control of the Senate is in the balance will matter a lot. So too will the resolution of which party controls the House and the White House. If either side has a shot at the trifecta, then there will be vastly more motivation and enthusiasm on that side of the aisle.
In any case, even though the presidential race is likely to be decided this week, there's going to be at least some drama to keep the punditry going for the rest of the year. (V & Z).
That is the exact title of a story in Politico, and we agree. Even if Biden wins, he will have secured victory by the slimmest of margins and will have no mandate and no political capital, unlike Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton, who remade their parties upon election. Also Biden is long in the tooth and no one believes he will run for a second term. He may have done worse with Black and Latino voters than did Hillary Clinton.
If he faces a Republican Senate, he will be the first president in 32 years to take office without his party in charge of Congress. Getting anything more consequential than naming a post office will require getting the entire Democratic caucus—from Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) to Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT)—on the same page, and then getting a dozen or so Republicans to sign up as well. He would also have to get Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) to sign up, and McConnell is not going to do anything to allow Biden to get legislative achievements, not even things that would benefit his own constituents, like bringing broadband Internet to rural areas.
If McConnell wants to play hardball—and even though he represents the Kentucky Derby state, horseshoes is definitely not his game—Biden would be between a rock and a hard place. Suppose McConnell wanted to name half the cabinet and all judges and justices for the next 4 years? What could Biden do?
He could take a page from the Trump playbook and name a string of acting cabinet officers and not only repeal all of Trump's executive orders, but sign hundreds of his own. This would mean his doing all the things Democrats complained about Trump doing. Would Biden do those things?
If Biden ran into a stone wall, he could try to play hardball, although that is not his style. He could try to "bribe" a couple of Republican senators to switch sides, but there aren't a lot of potential candidates. He could offer military bases and other goodies to senators for specific votes, but that is not much of a way to govern. He could also threaten to have his AG (assuming the Senate confirms one) appoint a special prosecutor to dig for dirt on the entire Trump administration, something McConnell probably doesn't want. It doesn't look encouraging, though.
However, there is one area in which Biden doesn't need McConnell's approval: foreign policy. And it just so happens that foreign policy is Biden's forte. After all, he was chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and knows most of the world's leaders from his time as veep. He could make his presidency all about repairing the damage Trump did to America in the world and making it much clearer who our friends are and who are enemies are.
For example, on day 1, he could order the entire (uncensored) Mueller report declassified and released to the media. If there is incontrovertible evidence there that Russia meddled in the 2016 election, he could focus on making Russia pay for that, big time. How about a large military base in, say, Ukraine or Estonia a couple of miles from Russia? Vladimir Putin wouldn't like that at all. The Senate would have to approve the funding, of course, but would McConnell dare block it and have Biden attack him for endangering national security? That's not somewhere McConnell wants to be.
If the Republicans control the Senate with 51 or 52 seats, there is one ploy a President Biden could try. Sens. Pat Toomey (R-PA) and Ron Johnson (R-WI) have both announced that they will not seek reelection in 2022. Biden could offer one or both of them cabinet positions. In Pennsylvania, the governor appoints the new senator, who would surely be a Democrat. In Wisconsin, there is a special election, which a Democrat would have a decent shot at winning.
Picking off a couple of Republican senators and putting them in the cabinet would be a twofer for Biden. First, it could change control of the Senate. Second, it would please those voters who see bipartisanship as a goal unto itself. Needless to say Mitch McConnell would be beyond furious at such a move, but Toomey and Johnson would be looking out for themselves, not for McConnell. Toomey is a former banker. He is not especially Trumpy and seems like a decent person. He likes to keep a bowl of Hershey bars (which are made in his state) well stocked for chocolate-loving senators. Making him secretary of the treasury would enrage many Democrats, but if the tradeoff was getting control of the Senate in return, Biden might do it. Johnson was a former businessman and might accept the position of secretary of commerce.
Could a desperate McConnell block a vote on their confirmation? Yes, but they have a countermove: resign from the Senate on Feb. 1. If the Senate were 52-48 and Toomey and Johnson resigned and were instantly replaced by appointed Democrats, the Senate would be 50-50 and the new president of the Senate, Kamala Harris, would have something to do all day. This scenario definitely falls under the category "hardball," which is not Biden's preferred way of operating. He might think that he can reason with McConnell and work together with him, but if he goes down that road, he will quickly discover that it leads to a dead end.
If the above ploy doesn't work and the Democrats fail to get control of the Senate, they can try again in 2022. We looked at the 2022 Senate races earlier this year, but a review is quite relevant now. The 2022 Senate map is not at all friendly to the GOP. Here are the states and senators up in 2 years:
Let's start with the bad news for the Democrats. Oh, wait. There is no bad news, so we're done with that. Not a single Democrat is in any danger (unless Gov. Chris Sununu, R-NH, challenges Maggie Hassan) and nearly all the states with Democratic senators up for reelection are deep blue. Sen. Pat Leahy (D-VT) will be 82 in 2022, so he might retire, but Vermont is so blue that some other Democrat (or Democratic Socialist) will win in a romp. Vermont's only representative, Peter Welch (D), will be 75, so he might not be the one, but whoever gets the Democratic nomination is a shoo-in. All the other Democrats are completely safe. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) is scheduled to be up for reelection in 2022, though she may have a new job by then. Nevertheless, there are probably a dozen high-profile Democrats in California who could easily replace her. And whoever occupies that seat is going to win big in the deep blue Golden State.
Now the bad news for the Republicans. To start with, at least three of them (Toomey, Johnson, and Richard Burr, R-NC) are retiring if they don't get cabinet positions, so three swing states will have open-seat elections. Next, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) will be 89 on Election Day in 2022. Even for the Senate, that is a bit aged, so that could be a fourth open seat in a swing state.
Next, Sens. Rob Portman (OH) and Marco Rubio (FL) are all up in swing states and those seats will be vigorously contested. The winner of the Jon Ossoff (D)/David Perdue (R) race in Georgia gets a full 6-year term, but the winner of the Georgia special election this year to fill out the term of Johnny Isakson will have to run again in 2022. It could also be competitive.
The bottom line is that there will be zero Democratic seats in meaningful danger in 2022 and at least six and maybe up to eight Republican seats in danger in 2022.
Nevertheless, there is also some good news for the Republicans in 2022. Democratic turnout generally drops in midterm elections and Republican turnout doesn't, and maybe that will hold (or maybe not; see above). Also, if Donald Trump isn't there to kick around, many Democrats may not bother to vote, so easy-to-win seats may slip through their fingers. In addition, more times than not, the president's party loses Senate seats in the first midterm after his election. Here are the numbers:
|Year||President||Result||Inc. party lost seats?|
|2002||George W. Bush||R+2||No|
|1990||George H.W. Bush||D+1||Yes|
|1966||Lyndon B. Johnson||D+3||No|
|1962||John F. Kennedy||D+4||No|
In other words, in 60% of the initial midterms since World War II, the incumbent party lost seats in the Senate. So despite the fact that the map greatly favors the Democrats in 2022, historical trends work against the blue team and they may not be able to capitalize on what should be a good year for them.
Why does the president's party usually lose seats in the Senate in the first midterm, incidentally? Every election is different, but what is common to all of them is that a lot of the president's supporters are disappointed that he didn't do all the things he promised. No president can. And there are always many supporters who were naive enough to believe that their guy could perform a miracle and unify his party and beat Congress into submission. Even when Congress is controlled by the president's party, that is hard to do, but many voters have unrealistic expectations and don't vote when it turns out the president is more Clark Kent and less Superman. Still, 2022 is far, far away, so making firm predictions now would be foolish indeed. (V)
Florida cherishes its reputation as the mother of all swing states, but is it still really a swing state? Donald Trump just won a solid victory there, two Democratic House members went down to defeat, and the Democrats' hopes of cutting into the Republican majority in the state legislature were dashed. Maybe it is just another former swing state that has gone red, like Missouri and Ohio.
The Democratic defeat in Florida is especially painful because it centered on Miami-Dade County, where Democrats need to rack up huge margins to counter the Republicans' strength on the Gulf Coast and in the Panhandle. Miami-Dade Latinos turned to Trump, who campaigned against Black Lives Matter and "Defund the Police." Local Democrats warned Biden about the problem, but he thought that losses there could be made up by enticing white voters elsewhere in the state, like those famous suburban housewives. It didn't work.
Whenever the Republicans yell "socialist," that resonates with Latinos in South Florida who have escaped from one of the countless left-wing dictatorships Latin America is so rich in. Without them, Democrats can't win Florida. They lost up and down the ballot. Republicans won two high-profile races for the Florida state Senate and nearly 10 contested state House races. In 2018, Democrats lost four out of five statewide races. The only Democrat in statewide office is Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried.
One of the Democrats' problems was their association with and embrace of Black Lives Matter. In some of the protests, demonstrators waved flags bearing the likeness of Cuban guerrilla leader Che Guevara, who was a close associate of Fidel Castro, and who many Cuban-Americans thus see as a symbol of brutal tyranny. Coming out in support of one oppressed group doesn't automatically make you a hero with other oppressed groups, especially when the two groups are often in competition for the same favors and resources.
Biden underestimated how much his candidacy and Democrats in general enraged conservatives in the state. Turnout in Sumter County, the main home of The Villages, a mega-retirement community populated by conservative transplants from the Midwest, was an astounding 88%. On the conservative Gulf Coast, turnout in Collier County was also 88% and in nearby Lee County it was 78%. Miami-Dade didn't even come close to that.
During the summer, Florida was a COVID-19 hotspot, so Biden told his people not to knock on doors and talk to voters. Republicans went all in on door knocking. Democratic leaders in the state thought that Biden was making a huge mistake and told him so, but were ignored. And so, some Democratic leaders are worried that Florida could become the next Missouri, which was once a bellwether swing state and is now solidly Republican. (V)
Michael Bloomberg is learning that money—even lots of it—can't buy you love. Bloomberg spent a billion dollars of his own money on an abortive primary campaign and got nowhere. Then he promised the Democrats he would spend another billion to defeat Donald Trump. He reneged on that, although he did spend $100 million in Florida. That didn't do any better. To the extent that Bloomberg was once influential in the Democratic Party and a kingmaker, his two disastrous attempts to buy elections this year have ended that.
Bloomberg did flood the airwaves throughout the state, but it didn't work. If it had worked, Bloomberg might have gotten himself a cabinet position. Even if Biden ekes out a win now, a cabinet position is out of the question for Bloomberg because he didn't deliver.
Bloomberg didn't help out with Senate races. If he had put a couple of hundred million in them, Democrats might have taken over the Senate. He didn't and they didn't. Some Democrats are going to hold that against him.
In 2022, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio's (D) term is up. Bloomberg, himself a former New York City mayor, was thinking of getting involved to help out his favorite candidate. But now that his star has fallen, he may have second thoughts about that. Once again, it could be an enormous boondoggle, like his attempts this year. (V)
Arnon Mishkin is a lucky guy. He got 2 x 15 minutes of fame when everybody else gets only 15 minutes. As you may recall, in 2012, then-Fox News host Megyn Kelly got into an argument with Republican strategist Karl Rove over Ohio. Fox had called it for Barack Obama, but Rove disputed that. So Kelly walked him down to the nerdquarium and talked to Arnon Mishkin, the nerd-in-chief. Mishkin calmly explained that there simply weren't enough votes outstanding for Mitt Romney to win Ohio. Rove wasn't buying, but his protests got him nowhere. Mishkin didn't budge. Here's the video:
That was Mishkin's first 15 minutes of fame.
Now, 8 years later, he got another 15 minutes. This time the dispute was over Arizona, which Fox News called for Joe Biden. Bret Baier and Dana Perino argued with Mishkin again. He didn't budge again. Budging is just not his thing. Watch:
Fox News Decision Desk Director Arnon Mishkin doubled down on calling Arizona for Biden.— Stephanie K. Baer (@skbaer) November 4, 2020
"I'm sorry, the president is not going to be able to take over and win enough votes to eliminate that seven-point lead that the former vice president has."
Here are his full comments on why pic.twitter.com/0KJAdY8v5S
Not only did Baier and Perino push back hard, so too did other Fox personalities. Behind the scenes, the Trump campaign contacted Fox and insisted that they take their call of Arizona back. This went nowhere. (V)
David Andahl, a Republican rancher, was elected to the North Dakota state House on Tuesday. In and of itself, this is not unusual, since Republican ranchers are often elected to the North Dakota state legislature. What is a bit uncommon, however, is that Andahl has been dead for a month. He died of COVID-19 in early October but his name remained on the ballot. The voters may or may not have been aware of whether he was above the ground or below it, but all that matters, after all, is that little (R) after the candidate's name. COVID-19 has been running rampant in North Dakota for weeks now.
Earlier this year, Andahl won a bitter primary against state Rep. Jeff Delzer (R), the chairman of the state House's powerful Appropriations Committee. Andahl had the endorsement of two of the state's most powerful politicians, Gov. Doug Burgum (R-ND) and Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-ND).
This situation has no precedent in North Dakota. The state attorney general issued an opinion saying that the state Republican Party should fill the seat until a special election can be held.
Posthumous victories have occurred in other states before. Recently, Dennis Hof, owner of the infamous Nevada Moonlight Bunny Ranch, was elected to the state Assembly a month after he died. In 2000, former Missouri governor Mel Carnahan was elected to the U.S. Senate 3 weeks after he was killed in a plane crash while campaigning. After he won, the governor appointed his wife to the seat. In 1972, U.S. Reps. Nick Begich and Hale Boggs, the latter the Democratic majority leader, went missing in Alaska when their plane went down. Three weeks later both were reelected, even though the voters didn't know if they were alive or dead. Both were dead. Boggs was replaced by his wife, Lindy Boggs, who served for nearly 20 years. Begich was replaced in a special election by Rep. Don Young (R-AK), who still holds the seat. So being dead is not a barrier to being elected. In fact, it could be used to one's advantage. Have you ever seen a dead man take a bribe? Have you ever seen a dead man do what Cal Cunningham will be forever famous for doing? The possibilities are endless. (V)
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---The Votemaster and Zenger
Nov03 One Last Look: The Projections
Nov03 One Last Look: The Early Voting Numbers
Nov03 Time to Get Out the Crystal Ball
Nov03 Did the Campaign Matter at All?
Nov03 Breathe In, Breathe Out
Nov03 Political Games
Nov03 Today's Presidential Polls
Nov03 Today's Senate Polls
Nov02 Biden Maintains a Stable Lead in the National Polls
Nov02 Trump Could Still Pull It Off
Nov02 Trump Holds Rallies in Five States, Biden in One
Nov02 Five Factors That Help Joe Biden
Nov02 Early Votes Have Passed Two-Thirds of the 2016 Total
Nov02 Scoop: Trump Will Declare Victory Tomorrow Night
Nov02 COVID-19 Is Surging in the Midwest
Nov02 The Election Could Make or Break State Trifectas
Nov02 The Lawyers Are Gearing Up
Nov02 GOP Loses a Round in the Voter Suppression Wars, but Fights on
Nov02 Tillis Is Everywhere, Cunningham is Nowhere
Nov02 Forget Nikki Haley; Maybe Liz Cheney Is the Future of the Republican Party
Nov02 Today's Presidential Polls
Nov02 Today's Senate Polls
Nov01 Sunday Mailbag
Nov01 Today's Presidential Polls
Nov01 Today's Senate Polls
Oct31 Saturday Q&A
Oct31 Today's Presidential Polls
Oct31 Today's Senate Polls
Oct30 Courts Get Involved Again, This Time in Minnesota
Oct30 Things for the Democrats to Worry About
Oct30 More on "Shy Trump" Voters
Oct30 Right-wing Media Try to Salvage Hunter Biden Story
Oct30 On Your Marks, Get Set, Go!
Oct30 The Delicate Art of Question Dodging
Oct30 Donald Trump, Flight Risk?
Oct30 Today's Presidential Polls
Oct30 Today's Senate Polls
Oct29 Biden Continues to Lead in the National Polls
Oct29 Early Voting Has Hit 51% of the 2016 Total Vote
Oct29 Anonymous Isn't Anymore
Oct29 Where Are the Candidates?
Oct29 Democrats Are Now with Trump
Oct29 A New Front in the Voting Wars: The Order of Counting Ballots
Oct29 Overseas Military Ballots Could Be Crucial in Florida
Oct29 Whose Fault Is It?
Oct29 Senate Rundown
Oct29 Schumer's Relationship with McConnell Is in Tatters
Oct29 Whither the Supreme Court?
Oct29 Today's Presidential Polls