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On the roster: Breaking: FBI reopens investigation into Clinton email use - Are GOP Senate chances slipping? - Trump pumps big bucks into campaign - Power Play: Why didn’t Hillary put out the fire early? - Walk on the wild side
BREAKING: FBI REOPENS INVESTIGATION INTO CLINTON EMAIL USE
Fox News: “The FBI has reopened its investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server while secretary of state, in a stunning turn of events just days before the presidential election. FBI Director James Comey wrote in a letter to top members of Congress Friday that the bureau has ‘learned of the existence of emails that appear to be pertinent to the investigation.’ Comey did not detail those emails, saying only that they surfaced ‘in connection with an unrelated case’ …He said the FBI could not yet assess whether the new material is significant and he could not predict how long it will take to complete ‘this additional work.’ The move comes after Comey and the Justice Department decided in July not to pursue charges over Clinton's email practices.”
ARE GOP SENATE CHANCES SLIPPING?
Republican Sen. Mark Kirk is not having the best re-election effort ever. During Thursday’s debate against challenger Rep. Tammy Duckworth Kirksaid in response to Duckworth’s explanation that her family’s military ties in the United States date back to the American Revolution, “I had forgotten that your parents came all the way from Thailand to serve George Washington.”
Not only was it rude, but it was also incorrect. Duckworth’s Anglo-American paternal line does stretch back to Gen. Washington’s command.
Now, Kirk was out of the running in Illinois already, but it was a moment reflective of some rough running for his party in a bid to keep Democratic Senate gains under five in a tough election year.
A new St. Louis Post-Dispatch poll has their incumbent Republican Sen. Roy Blunt in a dead heat with his Democratic challenger Jason Kander. In Indiana, former Democratic Sen. Evan Bayh’s entrance into the race increased the Democrats odds in the reliably red Hoosier State, and holds a 6-point lead in the latest poll there.
Republicans are also looking at a tough re-election fight in the tossup states of New Hampshire and Nevada. Sen. Kelly Ayotte is in a dead heat in a new Monmouth University poll with Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan.
Nevada, once a bright spot for the GOP is dimming. Rep. Joe Heck, owner of a consistent lead for months, is down by 2 points to his opponent Catherine Cortez Masto, in a new Las Vegas Review-Journal poll. Flipping Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid’s seat would be a huge help in offsetting expected losses elsewhere.
Resources are limited for trying to help Heck as Republicans try to urgently save races in Pennsylvania and North Carolina, where polls show incumbents Pat Toomey and Richard Burr are both locked in tight races.
Add in an expected loss for Kirk’s fellow embattled blue state incumbent, Ron Johnson in Wisconsin, and it starts to looks like GOP chances for holding the line are unraveling in the closing days.
THE RULEBOOK: ATTEMPTED PROSTITUTION
“I hesitate not to submit it to the decision of any candid and honest adversary of the proposed government, whether language can furnish epithets of too much asperity, for so shameless and so prostitute an attempt to impose on the citizens of America.”– Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 67
TIME OUT: SPOOKIER KIND OF CHOCOLATE FACTORY
Atlas Obscura: “Roald Dahl was many things. A fighter pilot, a renowned author, a spy. But few people know that he was also the host of his very own Twilight Zone–style sci-fi/horror anthology show, Way Out, a macabre program that ran for a single season and almost gave Rod Serling’s more famous program a run for its money… The black-and-white show would begin with what became its signature image, a slow pan over a series of mist-shrouded, disembodied hands, before resting on one which would burst into flames at the title came onscreen. Then, flexing his dry British charm like a more cosmopolitan Vincent Price, Dahl would give a short intro to each episode. The bulk of the program consisted of the main tale, usually a short morality play with an ironic or surprising ending or element, which often dipped into the supernatural.”
Flag on the play? - Email us at HALFTIMEREPORT@FOXNEWS.COM with your tips, comments or questions
Average of national head-to-head presidential polls: Clinton vs. Trump: Clinton +5.8 points
[Polls included: IBD, ABC/WaPo, Fox News, Pew and CNBC.]
Average of national four-way presidential polls: Clinton vs. Trump vs. Johnson vs. Stein: Clinton +4.8 points
[Polls included: IBD, ABC/WaPo, Fox News, Pew and CNBC.]
TRUMP PUMPS BIG BUCKS INTO CAMPAIGN
Facing criticism over a paltry contribution to his own campaign in the closing month, Donald Trump has reportedly dumped $10 million into his campaign today.
The WSJ reports that in the wake of the revelation that Trump’s contribution to his financially outgunned campaign had only been about $30,000 in October, the real estate and reality television mogul has ponied up a big chunk of change.
“The move comes at a critical juncture for Mr. Trump, as he entered the final weeks of the election with about one-fourth as much cash in his campaign coffers as Democratic rival Hillary Clinton,” the journal writes, “Mrs. Clinton had more than $62 million in the bank as of Oct. 19, compared with Mr. Trump’s $16 million, according to new FEC disclosures.”
Trump’s total campaign contributions are now estimated at about $66 million dollars, short of the $100 million pledge he’s made, but nothing to sneeze at.
The campaign is plowing the money into swing state television advertising, a strategy about which Trump and others in his orbit were formerly skeptical. Once, the Trump campaign seemed more focused on holding rallies for loyal supporters and dominating the media discussion.
Trump’s fundraising slowed in October as big donors shied away, and there were signs that Trump, his family and closest advisers weren’t betting on a winwith their own contributions either.
The question about campaign cash is really about whether it is enough for the task at hand. There is such a thing as too much. Exhibit A: Clinton’s campaign is drowning in money. She has already raised about $1 billion, and has so much cash on hand that she could spend $8 million a day without raising another dime.
As of last week, Trump had just $16 million on hand, a paltry sum compared to Clinton’s war chest.
But in these days of “dark money” it’s helpful to also look at what outside groups are raising and spending. Altogether, Trump and outside groups had $67 million compared to $154 million for Clinton & Co.
That’s just arbitrary scorekeeping, though. The bleached bones of Jeb Bush’s campaign stand as stark testament that cash advantages do not equal electoral advantages.
But money matters. Trump’s organizational deficiencies reflected in saggy early voting numbers and limited ground game operations in key states, can’t be rectified by his late cash commitment. Big money means big advantages early on, but less so later.
The best thing this money may do is reassure Trump’s core supporters that he is still in it to win it, despite his long-shot status.
POWER PLAY: WHY DIDN’T HILLARY PUT OUT THE FIRE EARLY?
A WikiLeaks dump exposes one top Clinton ally asking the same question as everyone else: why didn’t Clinton’s camp deal with the private email server before the media exposed it? Chris Stirewalt asks WashTimes’ Charles Hurtand RCP’s A.B. Stoddard is this another case of Clinton arrogance? WATCH HERE.
What’s the deal with these polls anyway? - Donald Trump fueled conspiracy-tinged flames this week, accusing Clinton’s campaign of ‘rigging’ the election by oversampling Democrats in polls. Our panel discusses the question of: is this really a thing? WATCH HERE.
ANY GIVEN SUNDAY
“Perino & Stirewalt: I’ll Tell You What” break down the 2016 news and give you all the latest with less than two weeks to go until Election Day. Watch Sunday at 5 p.m. ET on the Fox News Channel. Panelists include Chuck Rocha, Bill McGurn and noted demographer Charles Hurt.
Fox News Sunday - Mr. Sunday hosts RNC Chairman Reince Priebus on “Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace.” Check local listings for broadcast times in your area.
#mediabuzz - Host Howard Kurtz has the latest take on the week’s media coverage. Watch #mediabuzz Sundays at 11 a.m. ET.
[Watch Fox: Bret Baier hosts an AEHQ special: “How We Fight” on what the next president must to do revamp America’s military Saturday 8 p.m. ET and again at 11 p.m. ET or catch Sunday 3 a.m. and 5 a.m. and 3 p.m. ET.]
“That’s one thing y’all can take to the bank.” – President Obama in a radio interviewshutting down the idea that First Lady Michelle Obama might want to run for office someday.
Q poll: Clinton up big in Va., N.C., Trump narrowly leads in Iowa, tied in Ga. -Quinnipiac University
Jonathan Last explores how Trump has changed the social conservatism movement -Weekly Standard
Another Trump accuser steps forward - The Telegraph
Metaphor alert: Pence’s plane skids off the runway at LaGuardia - Time
Va. poll: Trump gains but still way behind - WaPo
Cubs’ owners may be Trump’s big backers, but requested no ads during the World Series -Politico
Yo, Joe? Clinton team floats Biden as possible secretary of state - Politico
Women in the GOP are abandoning Trump and perhaps their party too - NYT
After Election Day, marijuana access will likely be at an, ahem, all-time high - USA Today
FROM THE BLEACHERS
“I’m perplexed, all the analysts seem to assume that voter registration can be taken as a vote for ‘their’ candidate and I doubt this is a given. Is their historical data that supports this position?” – Mary Thompson, Las Cruces, N.M.
[Ed. note: Indeed there is! While some Republicans will vote for Democrats and some Democrats will vote for Republicans, the correlation between party identification and presidential vote is quite high – over 80 percent this year and usually above 90 percent. So while we can’t know how all of the partisans are voting, the overall numbers hint strongly at what’s underneath.]
“Chris – you say ‘McMullin may make history by being the first candidate not from a major party to win an electoral vote since George Wallace in 1968.’ Au contraire, John Hospers received an electoral vote from Roger MacBride in 1972. I suppose you can say Hospers didn’t “win” an electoral vote, but he obviously won MacBride’s vote. Or maybe you include the Libertarian Party in the list of major parties.” – Pat Conroy, Austin
[Ed. note: A good point and a good distinction. You’re talking here about a “faithless elector,” a member of the Electoral College who doesn’t abide by the popular vote in his or her state. Hospers, the first Libertarian nominee for president, did get a protest vote from McBride, whose ballot was bound to winning candidate Richard Nixon. (Wallace, incidentally, had gotten a vote from a faithless elector four years earlier.) While most states have laws binding their electors to the popular vote, there’s little that can practically done to keep electors from acting on their own accord. But even so, the practice has been vanishingly rare, with only two instances of protest votes since 1988.]
“Is it fair to ask how accurate poll results truly are? If I understand the process correctly, results are based on responses of people who answer their phone AND answer honestly. What percentage of calls attempted go unanswered, to voicemail, or otherwise not completed? 10-25%? More? Seems like that might affect any poll’s results in a meaningful way. Thoughts?” – Mark Hoffman, Des Moines
[Ed. note: Mr. Hoffman, you’re quite right that polling has gotten harder in the era of caller ID and cell phones. Pollsters have to make more calls to get more completed interviews. But on the question of honesty, the results are clear that respondents overwhelmingly tell the truth. You can find a good guide to polling accuracy here, but it basically comes down this: given the sheer number of good polls conducted for a quadrennial presidential election, you can have confidence whenever there is broad agreement.]
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WALK ON THE WILD SIDE
The Guardian: “Kendall Seifert’s chief passions in life are squirrels and swingers. Or, to put it another way, wildlife and wild sex. For the last few years he has maintained this unusual combination of interests, protecting the former while promoting the latter, running a wildlife rescue center and a swingers club in Colorado – on the same premises. Or he did. Seifert, 53, is due up in court on felony charges in November after the state raided his business in Littleton, near Denver, and put a stop to the controversial side of his activities. That would be squirrel rescue, apparently. His animal sanctuary has been shut down. His swingers club, Scarlet Ranch, is still going gangbusters and currently revving up for ‘the biggest Halloween party ever,’ he told the Guardian. Seifert maintains that all his interests are entirely legal and above board.”
AND NOW, A WORD FROM CHARLES…
“Why did she have a private e-mail? She said convenience, obviously that was ridiculous. She’s carrying around a whole lot of devices. It was obvious she was hiding something.” – Charles Krauthammer on “Special Report with Bret Baier.”
Chris Stirewalt is digital politics editor for Fox News. Sally Persons contributed to this report. Want FOX News Halftime Report in your inbox every day? Sign up here.
Chris Stirewalt joined Fox News Channel (FNC) in July of 2010 and serves as digital politics editor based in Washington, D.C. Additionally, he authors the daily "Fox News First" political news note and hosts "Power Play," a feature video series, on FoxNews.com. Stirewalt makes frequent appearances on the network, including "The Kelly File," "Special Report with Bret Baier," and "Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace." He also provides expert political analysis for Fox News coverage of state, congressional and presidential elections.