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On the roster: Warren’s lonesome tribe of one - Heitkamp craters with botched rape ad - Poll shows 20 point swing in Minnesota’s Eighth District - Trump raises bigly for 2020 - Every dog has its day, and this was surely Hardy’s
WARREN’S LONESOME TRIBE OF ONE
Midterms are to presidential elections as Thanksgiving is to Christmas – smaller, less intense, less expensive – but you’d still better not get caught with your reindeer trampling on our cornucopia.
But this week, Sen. Elizabeth Warren crashed her whole dang sleigh into her party’s decorative gourds.
While Warren is technically running for re-election, she’s in no danger. The multi-media rollout of her initial claim that she was in fact a descendant of Native Americans, a woman of whom it would be racist to mock as “Pocahontas,” was all about 2020.
Warren has for years now been feeding off of the attention given to her by President Trump, who claims she is his preferred opponent for 2020. Warren, a lousy campaigner who has developed some skills since arriving on the national scene as Barack Obama’s designated pitchfork populist, at least figured out how to make the most of the Trump attacks.
But on the issue of her past claims of Native heritage, Trump had her in a pickle. If she was found to have claimed such status without Native blood she would not only be a faker, but also a rich white woman exploiting the hardships of a tragic history of America’s tribal people.
Warren decided that she would flip the script and had a DNA test conducted, which showed that at best she had a full-blooded Native ancestor five generations ago, and at worst barely any native blood at all. Ill-conceived and poorly executed, Warren’s genetic jump out quickly turned into a disaster as it was revealed that not only was she less Native than the average American white person, but that Native tribes, particularly the Cherokee to which she claimed association, condemned her conduct as obtuse and damaging.
That’s all interesting stuff when it comes to the Democrats in 2020. It’s particularly good news for her number one foe, at least initially, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. But who cares? We have a major mamajama midterm in just three weeks!
Democrats need very much to get the national conversation back to one of two subjects: Health insurance or Donald Trump.
Trump is certainly helping, arguing as he is with a sex worker to whom he is said to have made cash payments. Whenever the president is in a fight with someone over the size of his male organ, we would not typically call it an “on message” day for a party in a midterm cycle.
But rather than keeping all eyes trained on the latest indignities of the president’s personal life, Warren’s fumbling wasted two crucial days of midterm campaigning discussing her own situation.
You might do what former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro did and stump for other candidates, grind out a campaign biography and do some gauzy interviews.
You might do what Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., did and use your current seat for a little political theater while also making key endorsements in early battleground states.
You might do what former Vice President Joe Biden has done and actually highlight your desire to wait until after the midterms – a selfless sounding posture that also produces self-interested results.
But what you must never, ever do is be seen as putting your own campaign ahead of the interests of your fellows. For Warren, Cory “Spartacus” Booker, Michael Avenatti and some others they will not follow the old rules and will accordingly pay a price with the party activists so crucial in early primary states.
You can count on it.
THE RULEBOOK: HARD TO SAY
“Felony is a term of loose signification, even in the common law of England; and of various import in the statute law of that kingdom.” – James Madison, Federalist No. 42
TIME OUT: GIDDY UP, PONIES
Smithsonian: “Assateague and Chincoteague’s most famous residents know how to stay safe in extreme weather conditions. After all, the wild ponies have comfortably roamed the islands along the mid-Atlantic coast for centuries. While legend says they arrived at the barrier islands of Virginia and Maryland after surviving a shipwreck, it’s more likely that their origin can be traced to horses owned by 17th-century settlers. However they arrived, these feral herds have thrived over the years, no matter the obstacle, and have become a permanent fixture of the region’s character. … But the Ash Wednesday Storm of 1962 was a different story. The Level 5 nor’easter was fierce and unrelenting in its three-day barrage. Poultry farms flooded, houses disappeared underwater, and coffins floated. For thousands of American children paying attention to the news, one question about the crisis rose above the rest: Was Misty all right? Misty of Chincoteague, a 16-year-old palomino mare, was the best-known member of the herd of wild ponies. … While Misty made it through the storm, not all the ponies came out so lucky. Of the 300 living on both islands, 55 died on Assateague and 90 on Chincoteague.”
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Trump job performance
Average approval: 42.6 percent
Average disapproval: 52.6 percent
Net Score: -10 points
Change from one week ago: up 1 point
[Average includes: Gallup: 44% approve - 51% disapprove; ABC/WaPo: 43% approve - 53% disapprove; CNN: 43% approve - 52% disapprove; IBD: 40% approve - 54% disapprove; NPR/PBS/Marist: 43% approve - 53% disapprove.]
Control of House
Republican average: 42 percent
Democratic average: 49.8 percent
Advantage: Democrats plus 7.8 points
Change from one week ago: Democratic advantage up 0.2 points
[Average includes: ABC/WaPo: 53% Dems - 42% GOP; CNN: 54% Dems - 41% GOP; IBD: 45% Dems - 43% GOP; NPR/PBS/Marist: 48% Dems - 42% GOP; Quinnipiac University: 49% Dems - 42% GOP.]
HEITKAMP CRATERS WITH BOTCHED RAPE AD
[Minneapolis] Star Tribune: “ Sen. Heidi Heitkamp apologized Tuesday for misidentifying victims of domestic violence, sexual abuse and rape who were listed in a recent North Dakota newspaper ad aimed at her opponent. The Democrat, who is facing a tough race for re-election, said in a statement that she had recently learned that several of the women named in the ad either hadn't authorized it or are not survivors of abuse. ‘I deeply regret this mistake and we are in the process of issuing a retraction, personally apologizing to each of the people impacted by this and taking the necessary steps to ensure this never happens again,’ Heitkamp's statement said. The ad that ran Sunday in several North Dakota newspapers was an open letter to Kevin Cramer, her Republican opponent, criticizing comments he made on Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation to the Supreme Court. It was signed by more than 125 people, though some just listed their initials.”
New poll affirms: Cruz solidly in the lead - CNN: “Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz appears well-positioned for re-election over his Democratic challenger Rep. Beto O'Rourke, topping him 52% to 45% among likely voters, a new CNN poll conducted by SSRS finds. Just 9% of likely Texas voters say there's a chance they could change their mind about the Senate contest before Election Day, although O'Rourke's voters are more apt to be locked in to their choice (92% say their minds are made up) than are Cruz's backers (87% say they've made a final decision). The two candidates are set to debate Tuesday night, and O'Rourke will participate in a CNN town hall later this week. O'Rourke's challenge has drawn tens of millions in donations, forcing Republicans to play defense in one of the few Republican Senate seats in play this election cycle. President Donald Trump even plans to host a rally for his former rival's benefit.”
Beto won’t share his funds with fellow Dems in tight races - WashEx: “Rep. Beto O'Rourke announced Monday that he will not share any of his $38.1 million war chest, even though Democratic bosses want the cash for more competitive states. The Texas Democrat told reporters after a campaign rally that he will not spare any expense in his own race and plans to leave all the money he has raised out on the field ahead of Election Day. He said if people who contributed to him want to do so for another campaign, they should do that. O'Rourke raised an eye-watering $38.1 million from July to September. ‘No,’ O'Rourke told a reporter when asked if he would commit to sharing funds with Senate Democratic candidates who are in closer races. ‘I'm focused on Texas. Most of our contributions have come from Texas. All of them have come from people. Not a dime from PACs.’”
Mimi Swartz: ‘All the Good Beto Headlines Have Been Used’ - NYT: “Yes, Beto is the coolest-looking man to come out of Texas since Matthew McConaughey. He has an Ivy League degree and cares about the underserved and the undocumented. He doesn’t wear cowboy boots to prove his Texas bona fides. To many urban Texans, that means that Beto is not so different from a lot of thoughtful, educated, big-city folks who live here. Non-Texans, in contrast, are still stunned to discover that even people who don’t live in Austin know about Tuscan blends and Karl Ove Knausgaard. A win for Beto, then, is a win for the new Texas. A loss means that even though all of our major cities are blue, the old, [insert pejorative here] Texas still prevails.”
McSally accuses Sinema of supporting ‘treason’ in fiery Senate debate - Fox News: “Republican Martha McSally accused Democrat Kyrsten Sinema of saying ‘it was OK to commit treason’ in a fiery Arizona Senate debate on Monday, in response to Sinema once telling a radio host she didn’t care if someone wanted to join the Taliban. McSally was referring to a 2003 interview on a local Arizona radio station, where Sinema told the host she didn’t object to individuals going abroad and fighting for the Islamic fundamentalist group. … On Monday night, McSally demanded an apology from Sinema for the comments and accused her of saying ‘it was OK for Americans to join the Taliban to fight against us.’ … But Sinema has been dogged by a number of controversial past comments being released to the media. Last week it emerged that in a 2011 speech she implied that her home state produced ‘crazy’ as she advised liberal activists on how to ‘stop your state becoming Arizona.’”
POLL SHOWS 20 POINT SWING IN MINNESOTA’S EIGHTH DISTRICT
NYT: “Minnesota’s Eighth District is one of a handful of Democratic-held House seats where Republicans have a realistic shot to win in the midterms in three weeks. The incumbent, Rick Nolan, is retiring, and he won by only one percentage point in 2016 in a district President Trump carried by 15. When we polled this district in September, we found the Democratic candidate, Joe Radinovich, up by one point. Now, we have the Republican, Pete Stauber, up by 15. The underlying numbers have changed a lot, too. Last time, voters disapproved of Mr. Trump by one point. Now they approve by 18. Last time, Democrats outnumbered Republicans by two percentage points; now Republicans outnumber Democrats by 10. Is the shift real? Probably not entirely. But there’s probably more truth to it than a lot of Democrats criticizing the poll want to admit. It’s a case that highlights the challenge of polling in general, and the particular challenges of polling in some states.”
Rep. Mia Love now tied with Democratic opponent in Utah’s 4th District - Salt Lake Tribune: “The congressional race between GOP Rep. Mia Love and Democratic Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams could not be tighter: It is now tied, according to a new poll. Each has 46 percent support — with 8 percent undecided — in a survey by the University of Utah’s Hinckley Institute of Politics in partnership with The Salt Lake Tribune. In the last Tribune-Hinckley poll in June, Love led 45 percent to 39 percent, with 16 percent either undecided or favoring others (even though no other candidates are in the race). Love has attracted few of those previously undecided voters, said Jason Perry, director of the Hinckley Institute. ‘But she has not lost a lot of her base support’ among Republicans, he said. Meanwhile, McAdams has built support mostly among Democrats and unaffiliated voters, who make up the second biggest voting bloc behind Republicans. Love is winning Republicans by a 74-15 percent margin, the poll shows. McAdams is carrying nearly all Democratic votes, with a 95-3 percent margin and is leading among unaffiliated voters by a wide 66-26 percent margin.”
Poll shows Ojeda ahead in West Virginia District 3 - Monmouth University: “Republican Carol Miller has overtaken Democrat Richard Ojeda in the race for West Virginia’s 3rd Congressional District, according to the second Monmouth University Poll of this contest. Ojeda’s personal appeal and the presence of a popular Democratic U.S. Senator at the top of the ticket have kept him in a race where all the underlying fundamentals – especially President Donald Trump’s popularity – favor Miller. The question is whether that is enough to keep this race competitive as the district starts reverting to its GOP norms. Miller currently holds a 48% to 45% lead over Ojeda among likely voters using Monmouth’s standard midterm turnout model. … While there has been a significant increase in Miller’s vote share, her current lead is within the poll’s margin of error for all three likely voter models.”
House Dems continue to bring in big cash - WSJ: “Three weeks before midterm elections, Democratic candidates across the country are shattering fundraising records, reports show. At least 60 Democratic House candidates raised more than $1 million in the three-month period that ended Sept. 30, according to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Only three Democratic House candidates reached that milestone in the third quarter of 2014, Federal Election Commission data show. Matt Gorman, a spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee, said ‘there’s no doubt the Democratic base is energized and raising large sums of money.’ … Federal candidates were due to file their latest FEC reports before midnight Monday, covering July, August and September. Early filings and reports from party officials pointed to record Democratic hauls powered by small donors. Some of the most striking reports: Texas Senate hopeful Beto O’Rourke, who raised $38 million, and California House candidate Andrew Janz, who brought in $4.4 million.”
Nevada brothel owner, Assembly candidate found dead at age 72 - Nevada Independent: “Prominent Nevada brothel owner and Assembly candidate Dennis Hof has died, his campaign manager tweeted on Tuesday, just days after his 72nd birthday. Nye County spokesman Arnold Knightly said Nye County Commission Chair John Koenig announced the death at a commission meeting on Tuesday morning. The circumstances were under investigation, but Pahrump Valley Fire and Rescue was on scene in Crystal, where one of Hof’s brothels is located, Knightly said. Knightly said Hof had gone to sleep and did not wake up.”
TRUMP RAISES BIGLY FOR 2020
WaPo: “President Trump has topped $100 million in fundraising for his 2020 reelection bid — an enormous haul for a president barely two years into his first term, according to new Federal Election Commission filings. Trump pulled in $18.1 million last quarter through his campaign committee and two joint fundraising committees with the Republican National Committee, for a total of at least $106 million since January 2017, according to federal filings made public Monday evening. Together, all three committees ended September with $46.7 million in cash on hand, filings show. No other president dating back to at least Ronald Reagan had raised any money at this point for his own campaign committee, according to the Campaign Finance Institute, a nonpartisan research group. Unlike his predecessors, Trump began fundraising for his reelection shortly after his 2016 win. Trump continues to be buoyed by an avid small-donor base. FEC filings show 56 percent of the total raised by his committees from July through September came from donations of $200 or less.”
Meanwhile the campaign is spending double - NYT: “President Trump’s campaign more than doubled its spending over the past three months as the president worked to rev up the Republican base ahead of next month’s midterm elections through a series of rallies and online appeals. The increased spending — much of which was done through an opaque new corporate entity set up by the campaign — was reflected in filings that the campaign’s committees were set to submit on Monday evening to the Federal Election Commission. The filings showed that the campaign spent a total of $7.7 million from the beginning of July and to end of September — more than twice the $3.6 million spent in the preceding three months — according to a preview of the filings provided to The New York Times. The campaign and two joint committees it formed with the Republican National Committee raised a total of more than $18 million in the last quarter, a slight increase over the preceding quarter.”
Read this: ‘Is it possible to be an anti-abortion Democrat?’ - NYT
Chad Pergram: Neither Republicans nor Democrats have a monopoly on incivility - Fox News
McConnell says North America trade pact won’t be addressed until next year - Reuters
Judge dismisses Stormy Daniels’s defamation lawsuit against the president - WaPo
AUDIBLE: BUT WHAT ABOUT THE SPANISH INQUISITION?
“An intentional surprise which we should expect and you always expect it. That’s why you build redundancy in your campaign.” – House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi discussing the October surprise she expects, regarding a Democratic majority, with Politico.
FROM THE BLEACHERS
“Hey Chris! Is it possible for you to address the VA 5th district between R Denver Riggleman and D Leslie Cockburn. I live in Campbell County, which is quite conservative but unfortunately, the 5th district also includes Charlottesville, which is hardly conservative. Any insight you can provide would be great! Thanks!” – Katie Hacker, Evington, Va.
[Ed. note: Great question, Ms. Hacker. We’ve had Virginia’s 5th Congressional District as “Lean Republican” since the get go. Some may wonder why, in a district that has a strong proclivity toward Republican presidential candidates, that we don’t go all the way and call it “Likely Republican.” This one is a little tricky. In 2008 Virginia’s Fighting Fifth went Democratic thanks in substantial part to boosted turnout among African American and younger voters, for the latter especially in Charlottesville at the northern end. Former Rep. Robert Hurt whipped the district back in shape for the GOP, winning solid victories in 2010, 2012 and 2014. Hurt term limited himself in 2016 and was replaced by Tom Garrett. Amid a season of scandal for members of Congress, Garrett announced he would be seeking treatment for substance abuse problems but not seeking a second term. This leaves an open seat and far from ideal candidates for both parties. As we have maintained, Denver Riggleman, the Republican nominee, is more likely to win given the makeup of the district. But any time part of your campaign has been an explanation of what “Big Foot Erotica” is, it is not a good sign, not even where the Redwoods grow. The Democrat, Leslie Cockburn, is generally speaking too liberal for the district and her background as a globetrotting photojournalist probably does not cut much long leaf with the tobacco farmers in Virginia’s Southside. This is a district where it would take a pretty strong Democratic gale to blow the Republicans out, but it wouldn’t need a tsunami. We will keep watching though, I promise.]
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EVERY DOG HAS ITS DAY, AND THIS WAS SURELY HARDY’S
AJC: “A U.S. Customs and Border Protection beagle named Hardy detected a roasted pig head in checked luggage at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. Hardy, a six-year-old rescue beagle, alerted his handler to a bag belonging to a traveler from Ecuador. Inside was the pig head, which weighed nearly 2 pounds. Carey Davis, director for the Port of Atlanta for Customs and Border Protection, issued a statement saying the seizure demonstrates ‘the tremendous expertise of our four-legged K-9 partners in protecting the United States.’ The agency seized the pig head and destroyed it, saying pork and pork products from other continents are prohibited from entering the United States to prevent the introduction of diseases like classical swine fever, foot and mouth disease and swine vesicular disease. Travelers are supposed to declare fruit, vegetable and food products to Customs and present them for inspection.”
AND NOW, A WORD FROM CHARLES…
“This campaign is sinking to somewhere between zany and totally insane. Is there a bottom?” – Charles Krauthammer (1950-2018) writing in the Washington Post on Sept. 29, 2016.
Chris Stirewalt is the politics editor for Fox News. Brianna McClelland contributed to this report. Want FOX News Halftime Report in your inbox every day? Sign up here.