Will Latino voters disappoint Dems?

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On the roster: Will Latino voters disappoint Dems? - Abrams burned Georgia flag in college protest - Ellison now trails in wake of domestic abuse claims - McDaniel makes Mississippi senate runoff likely - You have the right to remain silent (but deadly)

RCP: “…Donald Trump isn’t proving – at least not yet – to be the toxin that Democrats assumed he’d be to Hispanics voters. And he doesn’t seem to be dragging down the party’s support among the group either. In places with large populations of Hispanic voters, such as Texas, Republican candidates seem to be faring well. … Both sides agree that Latino support is still up for grabs to Democrats or Republicans willing to reach out and make their case to this group, which many say has still not happened in the waning days of this cycle. ‘We hear a lot of rhetoric about the importance of Latino voters,’ said Arturo Vargas, CEO of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials. … His group has conducted a tracking poll in the past few weeks among Latinos, asking how likely they are to vote and if they’ve been contacted by any campaign or political party. ‘Every single week that number has been consistent,’ said Vargas.”

Harris County, home to Houston, sees early voting blowout - Houston Chronicle: “Harris County residents on Monday set a new record for the first day of early voting in a midterm election, as 63,188 went to the polls to cast ballots. The turnout smashed the previous mark, set in 2010, by more than 35,000 votes, and came on the same day both major party candidates for the U.S. Senate, Gov. Greg Abbott and President Donald Trump campaigned in downtown Houston. An additional 52,413 voters have returned mail-in ballots, bringing the total figure to date to 115, 601. Harris County's tally eclipsed the first-day total in the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections, even though midterms typically draw far fewer voters. Fort Bend and Montgomery counties experienced similar surges. ‘There are just incredible numbers of turnout today,’ Harris County Clerk Stan Stanart said. ‘Lines are moving, they're getting to vote, and they're getting on their way.’”

Cook shifts more races to Dems - Cook Political Report: “Two weeks out, district-level polls reflect a House battleground gradually polarizing along the lines of the 2016 presidential race. Democrats are maintaining leads over GOP opponents in upscale, Clinton-won ‘Whole Foods suburbs’ of Chicago, Denver, Kansas City, Minneapolis and Northern Virginia. But Republicans' numbers continue to improve in Trump-won districts in places like rural Minnesota, Upstate New York and Downstate Illinois. … However, Democrats' staggering success in third quarter fundraising reports injects some last-minute uncertainty. An astounding 112 Democrats outraised GOP opponents in Republican-held seats between July and September. Of the 93 GOP incumbents who were outraised, 20 are currently in our Likely Republican column and 23 in Solid Republican. Democrats' late dominance in the air wars could produce several Election Night surprises.”

Rohrabacher race still tight - Monmouth University: “The race for California’s 48th Congressional District between Republican incumbent Dana Rohrabacher and Democratic challenger Harley Rouda remains tight, according to the Monmouth University Poll.  An increase in Republican enthusiasm and an uptick in positive views of President Donald Trump have given Rohrabacher a small boost since Monmouth’s last poll of this district in July.  Immigration is the top issue for CA-48 voters which also benefits the Republican. Still, the poll finds the 15-term congressman is facing his toughest re-election fight ever. Rohrabacher registers 50% support and Rouda has the backing of 48% using a standard midterm likely voter model.  Rohrabacher’s share of the vote has grown from 45% in July, while Rouda’s support is virtually unchanged from his 47% share over the summer. The race flips, but is still tight, when applying a model that includes a potential turnout surge in Democratic precincts – 50% for Rouda and 48% for Rohrabacher.”

Pergram: Vacancies may be House GOP’s Achilles heel - Fox News: “The sheer number of open seats which House Republicans must defend this fall is off the chart. More than 40 Republican seats are wide open. … It’s likely to be close when it comes down to House control. Democrats must marshal a net gain of 23 seats to win the House. It could boil down to the outcome of three to five seats in either direction. … Party insiders and analysts believe 15-18 Republican seats are gone, no matter what happens. Some seats are more ‘gone’ than others. … If Democrats win the House, it will be because of a ‘red tide’ out to sea, not a ‘blue wave’ crashing in. It’s hard for Republicans to defend so many vacant seats. If Democrats win the House, the GOP ‘open seat’ dynamic may emerge as the most important factor in this midterm election.”

“One government can collect and avail itself of the talents and experience of the ablest men, in whatever part of the Union they may be found. It can move on uniform principles of policy. It can harmonize, assimilate, and protect the several parts and members, and extend the benefit of its foresight and precautions to each.” – John Jay, Federalist No. 4

Gizmodo: “The first farmers to arrive in Europe from the Middle East brought their dogs along with them, effectively wiping out the original population of European canines, according to new research. Starting around 11,000 years ago, Neolithic farmers who had established themselves in the Fertile Crescent of the Middle East—what is now modern day Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Jordan, and Iraq—began to migrate into Europe.  … Less known, however, is whether these farmers brought their dogs, too, or if they simply adopted the indigenous population of European dogs, who had been living on the continent for thousands of years prior to the Neolithic expansion. As new genetic evidence published this week in Biology Letters indicates, these original European dogs, who lived with Mesolithic hunter-gatherers, gradually disappeared from the continent, replaced by the canines who arrived from the Fertile Crescent alongside their Neolithic masters.”

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Trump job performance 
Average approval:
 44.2 percent
Average disapproval: 52 percent
Net Score: -7.8 points
Change from one week ago: up 2.2 points 
[Average includes: Gallup: 44% approve - 50% disapprove; NBC/WSJ: 45% approve - 52% disapprove; CBS News: 42% approve - 53% disapprove; Fox News: 47% approve - 52% disapprove; ABC/WaPo: 43% approve - 53% disapprove.]

Control of House
Republican average: 
40.4 percent
Democratic average: 49.6 percent
Advantage: Democrats plus 9.6 points
Change from one week ago: Democratic advantage up 1.8 points  
[Average includes: Fox News: 49% Dems - 42% GOP; ABC/WaPo: 53% Dems - 42% GOP; CNBC: 42% Dems - 36% GOP; CNN: 54% Dems - 41% GOP; NPR/PBS/Marist: 48% Dems - 42% GOP.]

Atlanta Journal-Constitution: “Stacey Abrams’ campaign confirmed she participated in the burning of the Georgia state flag bearing the Confederate battle emblem during a protest at the Capitol more than 25 years ago, as images circulated on social media that injected a new debate in the race for governor.The Democrat’s campaign said it was part of a “permitted, peaceful protest” against the Rebel insignia, and her supporters hoped the news would help further motivate her voters to surge to the polls. She’s relying on a range of new voters, many of them minorities, for her bid to become the nation’s first black female governor. … The protest occurred just as then-Gov. Zell Miller launched a bid to remove the battle emblem from the state flag, which had been attached during 1950s fights over segregation. Miller was unsuccessful, and it nearly helped cost him re-election in 1994.”

Leaked audio: Kemp worried ‘everybody … exercises their right to vote’ - Rolling Stone: “Brian Kemp, Georgia Secretary of State and the Republican nominee for Georgia governor, expressed at a ticketed campaign event that his Democratic opponent Stacey Abrams’ voter turnout operation ‘continues to concern us, especially if everybody uses and exercises their right to vote,’ according to audio obtained by Rolling Stone. An attendee of the ‘Georgia Professionals for Kemp’ event says they recorded 21 minutes and 12 seconds of the evening, held last Friday at the Blind Pig Parlour Bar near Atlanta’s Buckhead neighborhood. As proof of their attendance, the source shared with Rolling Stone a receipt of their donation, which granted access to the gathering.”

Q Poll: Gillum still strong - Quinnipiac University: “With big leads among women, black, Hispanic and independent voters, Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, the Democratic candidate for Florida governor, has 52 percent of likely voters to 46 percent for former U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis, the Republican contender, according to a Quinnipiac University Poll released today. This compares to a 54 - 45 percent likely voter lead for Mayor Gillum in a September 26 survey by the independent Quinnipiac University Poll. Today, there are wide racial, gender and partisan gaps: White voters back DeSantis 54 - 44 percent. The Democrat leads 99 - 1 percent among black voters and 59 - 36 percent among Hispanic voters; Women back Gillum 59 - 38 percent, as men back DeSantis 54 - 44 percent; Gillum leads 96 - 4 percent among Democrats and 57 - 39 percent among independent voters. Republicans back DeSantis 89 - 8 percent. Only 2 percent of Florida likely voters remain undecided and 4 percent of those who name a candidate say they might change their mind in the next 14 days.”

Can a rodeo start lasso South Dakota for Democrats? - The Week: “Democrats have not held the governor's mansion [in South Dakota] since 1979, and no Democrat has ever served as governor for more than two terms in the 129-year history of the state. … Nationally speaking, it is difficult to say whether Democrats would consider a victory by Billie Sutton, a populist insurgent who has won the endorsement of several major newspapers, a real win. The anti-abortion pro-gun rancher and former rodeo star doesn't seem to care very much what the rest of his party has to say — about anything. Even liberals in his own state ask themselves whether he is running against them as much as he is against his opponent, Kristi Noem, a four-term Republican congresswoman. Because there has not been a single independent poll it is almost impossible to speak authoritatively about the state of the South Dakota governor's race, which Cook Political Report is labeling a ‘toss-up.’”

[Minneapolis] Star Tribune: “Republican Doug Wardlow has pulled ahead of Democrat U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison in the race for Minnesota attorney general, a Star Tribune/MPR News Minnesota Poll found. Wardlow now leads by 7 percentage points, at 43 percent to 36 percent for Ellison, just a month after the Democrat held a 5-point edge in a September Minnesota Poll. The switch follows a turbulent period for the Ellison campaign, as he has navigated the political fallout of his former girlfriend’s allegation that he abused her in 2016, a claim he denies. About one in six poll participants said they had not made up their minds about who to support. Republicans appear to be falling in line behind Wardlow, but an increasing number of Democrats were undecided about who to back compared to September.”

NBC News: “The free-for-all special Senate election in Mississippi has a strong chance of heading to a Nov. 27 runoff, where the appointed incumbent, Cindy Hyde-Smith, a Republican, would have the early advantage, according to a new NBC News/Marist poll of the state. In the Nov. 6 ‘jungle primary’ — where multiple candidates, regardless of party, are competing — Hyde-Smith gets support from 38 percent of likely voters, Democrat Mike Espy gets 29 percent, Republican Chris McDaniel gets 15 percent and Democrat Tobey Bartee gets 2 percent. Fifteen percent say they’re undecided. If no candidate surpasses 50 percent of the vote, the top two candidates advance to a runoff three weeks later in an election that could decide control of the Senate if either party is short of a majority after the midterms.”

Kamala Harris
gives preview to likely 2020 campaign while stumping in IowaPolitico

Sandra Day O’Connor announces dementia diagnosisWSJ

“Honestly, I’m not bulls***ting you.” – Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., talking to reporters in Wisconsin about the potential implications from midterms on the 2020 presidential primary.

“I don’t understand Florida. I thought [Gov. Rick Scott] was well liked. [Sen. Bill Nelson] has made quite a few gaffs but he is leading.  As far as Governor’s race not saying [Rep. Ron DeSantis] is a good candidate or not, but Florida is a reddish purple state [Mayor Andrew Gillum] seems far left for state. What impact will hurricane have since isn’t the panhandle the more conservative part of Florida?” – Deborah WrightStockton, Calif.

[Ed. note: Maybe a helpful way to think of Florida is that it is Republican leaning – but not by much. The average margin of victory in the past five presidential elections in the state is just 1.5 points, with no candidate ever winning by as much as 3 points. And while it’s true that the governorship has been in Republican hands for 20 years, the GOP has seen diminishing margins since Jeb Bush left office. In the robust Republican years of 2010 and 2014, Scott won by barely more than a point, with a declining vote share in his re-election. In 2014, Scott held Democratic challenger Charlie Crist in a close race to the end and emerged a narrow winner. This time, he needs to actually change the contours of the contest. He’s been hurt by local issues, particularly the toxic algae bloom that is killing marine life and shuttering beaches around the state. But he’s also hurt by the backlash against President Trump by many Floridians. A recent Quinnipiac University poll shows Trump with a 51 percent disapproval rating, including 59 percent disapproval in the most populous portion of the state, the southeast. Scott can still close the gap, but time is short. DeSantis’ situation appears direr. Unlike Scott who had an early advantage, DeSantis hasn’t led in any useful poll since his nomination. While DeSantis is certainly suffering more from the Trump backlash due to his obeisance to the president, he’s also hurt by being relatively little known in the state. While Gillum has proven to be an energetic campaigner who is generating lots of enthusiasm with base voters, DeSantis has struggled to connect. This is one of the reasons that Republicans were taking a chance when picking DeSantis over the better-known Adam Putnam. Remember also that the presidential candidate who has done best in Florida this century was Barack Obama, whom Gillum channels in his message and methods. I expect both races to be closer than polls show now, but it’s DeSantis who has more water to bail out of his boat. And yes, the portion of Florida where Hurricane Michael did its worst damage is in one of the most Republican portions of the state, loaded with military members and wealthy retirees. The Cook Political Report’s Partisan Vote Index says that the state’s 1st Congressional District is 22 points more Republican than the nation as a whole. If either contest comes down to a handful of votes, the dislocated voters of that region may make the difference.]

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AP: “A man whose excessive flatulence forced a police detective to cut short an interrogation has pleaded guilty to federal gun and drug charges. The Kansas City Star reports that 25-year-old Sean Sykes Jr. entered the plea Monday. The charges stem from a police traffic stop in September in Kansas City, Missouri, in which officers found a backpack with drugs and guns. Sykes was a passenger in the vehicle. A detective reported that when asked for his address, Sykes ‘leaned to one side of his chair and released a loud fart before answering.’ Court documents say Sykes ‘continued to be flatulent’ and the detective was forced to quickly end the interview. Sykes will be sentenced at later date, after a pre-sentence report is completed.”

“The principal strategic challenge facing the United States is the rise of revisionist powers — Russia, China and Iran — striving to expel American influence from their regions. In comparison, the Korean problem is minor, an idiosyncratic relic of the Cold War. North Korea should be a strategic afterthought, like Cuba. And it would be if not for its nukes.” – Charles Krauthammer (1950-2018) writing in the Washington Post on Jan. 5, 2017.

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.