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US Election 2024 tracker: Live news and election updates

For the latest news, updates, and insights on the highly anticipated 2024 United States Presidential Election, look no further. As the race for the White House heats up, we bring you the most comprehensive and up-to-date information on the candidates, their policies, and the key issues shaping the election landscape. Stay informed and engaged with the world of American politics as we gear up for another pivotal moment in the nation’s history.

The 2024 US Presidential Election promises to be a significant event, with potential candidates from both major parties vying for the opportunity to lead the country. We cover a wide range of topics, including candidate profiles, campaign strategies, policy proposals, debates, and polling data. We also delve into the critical issues facing the nation, such as the economy, healthcare, national security, and social justice, providing you with a complete understanding of the factors influencing the election.

Whether you are a political enthusiast or a casual observer, our live feed offers a balanced and comprehensive view of the 2024 US Presidential Election. Stay tuned for the latest developments, breaking news, and in-depth analysis of the candidates and the issues that matter most to the American people. With our user-friendly interface and easy navigation, you can effortlessly stay updated on all aspects of the election.

So, bookmark this page, and let us be your go-to source for all the latest news and updates on the 2024 United States Presidential Election. Stay informed, stay engaged, and stay connected with the world of American politics.

  • Thaiger

    New York Senate Democrats to pass voting reform package focused on early and absentee voting

    In Albany, New York, the Democratic supermajority in the Senate is set to initiate Monday's proceedings with the passage of a package comprised of voting reform bills. These bills are focusing on the aspects of early voting and absentee ballots. This approach is a recurring theme for Senate Democrats, who have inaugurated their annual sessions with an election reform package ever since they assumed the majority in 2019. According to Elections Committee Chair Zellnor Myrie, a Democrat from Brooklyn, their conference is placing top priority on democracy.

    The Senate Democrats believe that democracy is currently under threat in the country, state, and city, and they intend to continue their six-year tradition of implementing laws to enhance franchise accessibility, increase efficiency, and ensure every citizen their constitutional right to democracy. The package for this year includes ten bills, a few of which were passed in the Senate towards the end of the previous session but were not presented for a vote in the Assembly. It is yet to be seen if the Assembly will alter its stance this year.

    Among the Senate bills is a measure that would classify as a misdemeanor the act of deliberately spreading false information about Election Day with the intention to suppress a person's vote. Another measure proposes the creation of drop boxes for absentee ballots, and a third seeks to give precedence to congressional and state races over judicial contests on the ballot.

    Rachel May, a Democrat from Syracuse, is sponsoring a bill that would enable local election boards to set up additional early voting sites that would be open only during a specific part of the early voting period. She noted that certain locations tend to witness high footfall only on weekends or during the week, such as malls or downtown areas. The proposed bill would allow election boards to extend the availability of voting sites without incurring the cost of staffing for nine days when there is no voter turnout on five of these days.

    Another bill that the Senate aims to pass calls for the state Board of Elections to keep a central database of election results, which are currently scattered across 58 local board offices. This database bill was renamed last Thursday in memory of the late John Flateau, who served as Chief of Staff for Mayor David Dinkins, a professor at Medgar Evers College, and, until his passing late last month, a member of the Independent Redistricting Commission. Myrie conveyed his anticipation for honoring Flateau's legacy in this manner, expressing hope that the bill will successfully make its way through both houses.

    In addition to these measures, the Senate is also planning to reapprove a resolution that would withdraw New York's endorsement for federal constitutional conventions. Such a convention would be called if 34 state legislatures vote in favor. Some Democrats have grown concerned that New York's votes in favor of a convention dating back to 1789 could potentially aid conservative activists in their efforts to call for a convention aiming to curtail government power.

  • Thaiger

    How redistricting could influence the battle for control of the US House in 2024 elections

    The political landscape of several districts could potentially shift drastically before the upcoming polls, influencing the struggle for the House's control. Currently, the Republicans hold a majority by a mere three seats. However, the redrawing of numerous congressional maps since the midterms, due to ongoing court disputes, could alter this balance. As of now, the post-2022 redistricting could give Republicans an additional two or three seats, but this figure could change depending on the final configuration of the maps, possibly even tilting the field slightly towards the Democrats.

    With primary elections in some states just weeks away, there is still uncertainty regarding the final appearance of some districts. North Carolina, Alabama, and Georgia have all redrawn their lines after the midterms in response to successful litigation. In North Carolina, the Republican-controlled legislature's strong gerrymander last year could potentially give the party four more seats. The new map has led three Democratic incumbents to opt out of running for reelection, converting their districts into safe Republican territories. Despite this, Democrats are expected to gain a seat in Alabama. Following a Supreme Court decision, a newly drawn majority-Black district offers the potential to elect a second Democratic representative, altering the delegation from six Republicans and one Democrat to likely five Republicans and two Democrats.

    Georgia has introduced a new map that maintains the existing delegation: nine Republicans and five Democrats. However, the redrawing has endangered the political future of Democratic Representative Lucy McBath by obliterating her district. Despite ongoing litigation on the new maps, they are likely to be in place at least for 2024.

    In response to court orders, Louisiana and New York are set to introduce new lines. The Louisiana GOP-controlled legislature has until the end of January to draw new lines, potentially leading to the election of another Democratic representative. The final partisan split in New York remains uncertain as new lines are being drawn. The Democratic-controlled legislature could push for a significant advantage or opt for a less aggressive gerrymander, wary of a potential Republican lawsuit.

    Simultaneously, court reviews of any new maps in Louisiana, Georgia, and Alabama will ensure they appropriately address the Voting Rights Act violation. If not, the court could intervene to redraw the lines. The future of both maps is uncertain and could undergo at least one more round of court review before they're finalized for 2024.

    Several maps are still being debated in courts across the country, with a significant case in South Carolina. The U.S. Supreme Court has yet to release its decision on allegations of illegal racial gerrymandering in the state's 1st Congressional District, currently represented by a Republican. Furthermore, the Utah Supreme Court is yet to issue a decision in a partisan gerrymandering case that was argued in July. If successful, it could restore a battleground district around Salt Lake City, creating a competitive seat for both parties.

    There are also challenges to the map in Florida, where a map that favored Republicans was pushed through in 2022. The timing for these cases remains unclear, but a ruling in favor of the Democrats could result in them gaining at least one seat.

    The uncertainty, both in states like New York, where lines still need to be drawn, and in courts across the country, will ultimately affect only a few seats. However, with the Republicans holding onto a slim majority, every single district could prove crucial in November.

  • Thaiger

    Taiwan's democracy put to the test in tight presidential election amidst Beijing and Washington rivalry

    TAIPEI — Taiwan's democracy faces a critical test in the upcoming tight presidential election on January 13. The global spotlight is on the race, especially after Chinese President Xi Jinping's ominous New Year address in which he insisted on the "reunification of the motherland as a historical inevitability." The election result carries enormous implications for regional influence between Beijing and Washington, and the world anxiously awaits China's response to the poll outcome.

    The island that manufactures over 90% of the world's advanced microchips, critical for devices ranging from iPhones to electric cars, could potentially become the epicenter of a regional conflict, posing a significant threat to global security.

    William Lai from the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) is currently leading the race, albeit by a slim margin. The 64-year-old Harvard graduate is a strong advocate for Taipei's sovereignty and has been working to strengthen relations with the U.S., Europe, and other democracies. Lai's main competitor is Hou Yu-ih from the Kuomintang (KMT) party, who adopts a more Beijing-friendly stance. The victor of the election will succeed Tsai Ing-wen of the DPP, who has served two terms totaling eight years.

    Under Tsai's leadership, Beijing has ramped up its aggression towards Taipei. The Taiwanese defense ministry reported a record number of Chinese warplanes crossing the median line of the Taiwan Strait in September, a 100-mile waterway separating the island from the mainland.

    With China's Communist government viewing Taiwan as a breakaway province and treating the DPP as its primary adversary, it is keen to see the DPP lose power. The question now is how Beijing will respond if the pro-independence forces secure an unprecedented third term.

    Lai and Hou both held election rallies in the same district in Taoyuan, a city near the capital, drawing tens of thousands of supporters, mainly from the middle-aged and elderly demographics. Lai stressed the importance of strong national defense for securing the Taiwan Strait, while Hou criticized the DPP for corruption and potential conflicts with Xi.

    The race is essentially a three-way contest, with the Taiwan People’s Party, led by ex-Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je, claiming the middle ground between the two traditional camps. The most recent polls show Lai in the lead, but the race remains too close to call, especially with Ko's party attracting young voters and complicating the calculation.

    The election operates on a first-past-the-post basis, with the candidate receiving the highest number of votes emerging as the winner. There is no minimum turnout or vote share requirement. Approximately 19.3 million of the island's 23.6 million population are eligible voters, including one million first-time voters.

    The new president will be inaugurated on May 20. On the same day, the national parliament, or the Legislative Yuan, will also be up for election. Taiwan's geopolitical rivalry with China and the U.S. forms the backdrop for this election.

    If the DPP secures a victory, it will mark the first time the pro-independence party has won three consecutive terms since Taiwan became a democracy in 1996. This could be perceived by Beijing as a lack of public desire for future reunification, particularly among the younger generation with less connection to China, potentially prompting Beijing to escalate the situation.

    Tensions are already high with increased military brinkmanship and China's launch of a "Long March" satellite-carrying rocket into outer space over Taiwan in October, a first of its kind. China has blamed the Taiwanese government for pushing the island into "the abyss of catastrophe." In response to this, Taiwan has already begun preparing for an escalation, following the unprecedented joint military exercises around Taiwanese airspace and waters conducted by Beijing's People's Liberation Army after then-U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's visit in 2021. The danger is that China could push the envelope even further this year.

  • Thaiger

    Nikki Haley's presidential campaign: Big money backing but uncertain influence

    The financial backings of Republican donors are being put to the test with Nikki Haley's presidential campaign. Notable investors such as Stanley Druckenmiller, Ken Langone, Andy Sabin and Reid Hoffman are among the many who have shown support, alongside Ken Griffin, the founder of Citadel hedge fund, and JP Morgan Chase's CEO, Jamie Dimon.

    Despite their significant financial contributions, their ability to influence the outcome of the presidential run remains uncertain. "It's like having the best bows and arrows in the age of gunpowder," commented Mike Madrid, a Republican strategist. While these large contributions are still relevant, they may not necessarily secure a win.

    The financial strength of Haley's campaign is evident as she outspends all other competitors, including Donald Trump, on television advertisements. With the recent endorsement from Americans for Prosperity, a leading conservative spending group, Haley has a wealth of resources at her disposal. Yet, whether these financial advantages can secure a win for Haley remains to be seen.

    The influence of big donors has steadily declined in recent years, due in part to an influx of small-dollar donations online and Trump's strong hold on the GOP base. Previously, Wall Street executives and billionaire tech founders had supported candidates like Ron DeSantis and Tim Scott, but this did not alter the course of the race. Now, their support has shifted to Haley, who is currently polling more than 30 points behind Trump in Iowa and at best, 15 points behind him in New Hampshire.

    With her substantial financial backing, Haley has increased her spending in an attempt to overtake DeSantis and catch up to Trump. Her aligned super PAC, SFA Fund Inc., has spent over $50 million on advertisements, according to AdImpact, a tracking firm. This heavy spending is indicative of her sustained financial strength as the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary loom.

    Despite Haley's significant spending and endorsements from organizations like Americans for Prosperity, she has only managed to close the gap with Trump in New Hampshire. Trump continues to maintain his lead, with his strong base of small-dollar donors, polling above 60% nationally in the GOP primary.

    Haley is banking on the resurgence of big money in politics. Her campaign recently announced that it had raised $50 million from 180,000 donors since her candidacy was launched, $16.3 million of which came from "digital and mail grassroots efforts" in the final quarter of the year. However, the proportion of Haley's funding from small-dollar donors was less than half of Trump's through the end of September.

    Haley's campaign has highlighted her opposition to Wall Street and Silicon Valley bailouts over the years as evidence of her willingness to resist the influence of the donor class. However, some believe that big money may matter less in a presidential race than in any other contest due to the high name recognition of national candidates and the extensive coverage they receive.

    While the influence of the donor class may be waning in the current GOP presidential race, some believe that it will regain its power once Trump is no longer a candidate. As Tancredo, who ran for president in 2007, stated, "Money is just such a pervasive influence in politics. The only way to dislodge it is with a person who will grab people by the heart."

  • Thaiger

    Increased Republican support for Capitol attack and Trump could pose risk in upcoming election

    The attack on the Capitol that took place on January 6, 2021, has seen a steady increase in support from Republican voters. This support has even extended to Donald Trump's attempts to undermine the election. However, this sentiment has not been mirrored in the rest of America.

    As the GOP prepares to rally behind Trump as its leading candidate this coming November, fewer Republicans now label the rioters as "criminals" or believe their judicial punishments are justified compared to the immediate aftermath of the Capitol attack, according to recent polls. This shift in opinion has smoothed the path to nomination for Trump. However, this change in public sentiment has not been replicated in the rest of the electorate, including independent voters, potentially posing a continued threat for Republicans and an opening for Democrats. Despite the growing tendency among GOP voters to downplay it, the January 6 riot continues to be a contentious issue in a general election.

    Two polls released this week highlight the potential risk for the GOP in choosing Trump again. This comes at a time when Republicans in Iowa and New Hampshire are preparing to cast the first votes in the primary contest. Democrats and independent voters continue to hold strongly negative views of the events of January 6, those involved, and Trump's role in inciting the riot. The majority of Americans still believe that current President Joe Biden was legitimately elected, that Trump is guilty of trying to overturn the election, and that the federal criminal charges against Trump in Washington are appropriate.

    Even though polls generally show Trump on par with the unpopular Biden or leading him slightly, Trump's refusal to concede the last election and his actions leading up to the Capitol riot pose significant risks for his candidacy. It's not just hypothetical based on poll results that direct ties to January 6 or broader denial of the 2020 election results are a burden for Trump and his aligned candidates. Just 14 months ago in the midterm elections, voters, particularly in battleground states, rejected the majority of 2020 election deniers despite a political environment and generic ballot that otherwise favored Republicans.

    Recent poll results, conducted ahead of Saturday's anniversary, show that public opinion of the January 6 violence has changed little overall since 2021. A Washington Post-University of Maryland poll out this week revealed that half of respondents believe the protestors who entered the Capitol were mostly violent, down slightly from 54% two years ago. The percentage of Americans who believe the legal punishments for the individuals who broke into the Capitol were too harsh has increased by 7%, from 19% two years ago to 26% in the new poll. This increase was most evident among Republicans, with 42% now believing the punishments for the January 6 rioters were too severe.

    Similarly, 53% of Americans believe Trump bears a great deal or a good amount of blame for the attack on the Capitol. This is a 7% decline from two years ago, driven by a 14% drop among Republicans. In the new poll, only 14% of Republicans believe Trump was responsible for the attack. Majorities of Democrats (86%) and independents (56%) said Trump bears a significant amount of responsibility for the January 6 events.

    The majority of Republicans also strongly disagree with the rest of the electorate regarding the false claim that underlies the January 6 attack: that Biden's election was not legitimate. In a Suffolk University/USA Today poll released this week, 63% of all voters said Biden was legitimately elected, but this includes only 29% of Republicans. Almost 6 out of 10 GOP voters, 59%, said he wasn't.

    Biden is pushing his argument that Trump is responsible for the attack during the final January 6 anniversary before the election. He delivered a speech filled with symbolism in the electorally crucial suburbs of Philadelphia on Friday. In his speech, he criticized the establishment Republicans who "have abandoned the truth and abandoned our democracy" by warming up to Trump again after rejecting him immediately after the riot.

    January 6 is also the focus of a new Biden ad, coordinated with the Democratic National Committee, set to start airing on Saturday in seven swing states: Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.

    Before the 2022 midterms, Democrats grappled with the question of whether to emphasize January 6 and the democracy argument. Would voters remember that day and penalize Republicans when casting their ballots for federal and state offices, or would concerns about inflation and crime be the primary driving factors? However, evidence suggests that, along with abortion rights, democracy helped the party's candidates overcome poor perceptions of Biden's job performance.

    According to the survey AP VoteCast, 86% of midterm voters said the future of democracy was an important factor in the election. Among these voters, Democratic congressional candidates led by 51% to 46%, despite losing the majority of overall votes cast for the House that year. Among the 44% of voters who said it was the single most important issue, Democratic candidates led by 22 points, 60% to 38%.

    At the same time, the most prominent Republican election deniers were punished at the ballot box. The Washington Post identified nearly 300 GOP candidates for federal or statewide office in 2022 who "denied or questioned" the 2020 election results. Of the 47 who ran in what the paper determined to be competitive races, only 10 won. This list of competitive candidates does not include some battleground-state candidates, like Pennsylvania gubernatorial nominee Doug Mastriano, whose false claims about the 2020 election made him a significant underdog to now-Gov. Josh Shapiro, despite the state's history of close elections.

    Some of those prominent 2022 losers are trying again, including Arizona's Kari Lake and Washington State's Joe Kent. Lake, who lost a close race for governor in 2022 that she has never conceded, is running for Senate. Kent, who ousted then-Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-Wash.) in a congressional primary only to lose narrowly in a general election, was recently recorded saying Trump needs to win the presidential race so he can pardon some of the Capitol rioters who’ve been convicted in federal court, according to CBS News.

    Trump himself has suggested mass pardons for many of the nearly 1,300 defendants who’ve been charged with a crime related to the January 6 riot, according to data released by the Justice Department on Friday. Last May, Trump told CNN he would be inclined to pardon a "large portion" of those the government has accused of committing crimes that day.

    This is not a popular stance with the general public. The Suffolk University/USA Today poll found that 59% of voters agreed with a statement calling the Justice Department's prosecutions of the January 6 rioters "the appropriate work of the justice system." Only about a third, 32%, said it was "inappropriate and should be reversed," though that does include a 60% majority of Republicans.

    Trump may have succeeded in moving GOP voters away from their immediate revulsion after January 6, but the broader electorate is less likely to come onboard in November.

  • Thaiger

    Liz Cheney advocates for invoking 14th Amendment to bar Trump from future elections

    Yesterday, Liz Cheney, 56 years old, spoke out in support of preventing Donald Trump from being included in the election ballot, citing the events of January 6, 2021, as grounds for the invocation of the insurrection clause of the 14th Amendment. Cheney expressed her belief that Trump should be removed from the political process, pointing out that the matter will likely be decided in court. She firmly believes that Trump's actions are a violation as per the specific language of the 14th Amendment.

    These remarks were made by the former representative from Wyoming at a book promotion event at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire. This happened just before the Supreme Court agreed to hear Trump's appeal against the Colorado high court's decision to remove his name from the state's primary ballot.

    Cheney, who was part of the congressional January 6 select committee, highlighted the evidence provided to the Justice Department suggesting that Trump gave "aid and comfort" to the mob that stormed the Capitol three years ago. This language is found in a section of the 14th Amendment that several liberal advocacy groups and voters are using to question Trump's eligibility for the GOP primary ballot across various states.

    Many Republicans, including those vying for the GOP nomination against Trump, have criticized these attempts to bar the former president from the ballot, calling them undemocratic. Some believe it is unjust to disqualify Trump without a formal conviction. Cheney, however, who is one of the most vocal critics of Trump within the GOP, stated that a conviction is not a prerequisite as per the Constitution.

    She said, "I certainly believe he should have been convicted by the Senate. But I don't believe that that's necessary. His actions do fit the plain meaning of the Constitution, the plain language." As the third anniversary of the Capitol riot approached, Cheney expressed her belief that Trump's actions during that day threatened the very foundations of American democracy.

    Cheney urged the voters of New Hampshire to reject Trump in the state's first-in-the-nation presidential primary later this month. She made this appeal despite Trump leading the polls of likely GOP primary voters by an average of double digits.

    In her speech, she said, "In a little over two weeks, when you in New Hampshire go to the polls, the world will be watching. And so, New Hampshire, I ask you this: speak for us all. Show the world that we will defeat the plague of cowardice sweeping through the Republican Party."

    Cheney has not ruled out the possibility of launching her own independent presidential campaign, expressing her determination to prevent Trump from returning to the White House. She said, "I'm going to do whatever is the most effective thing to ensure that Donald Trump is not elected. I'll make a decision about what that is in the coming months." This statement was met with applause from the audience present at the event.

  • Thaiger

    Former Capitol police officer Harry Dunn runs for Congressional seat in Maryland's 3rd District

    In a surprising career twist, Harry Dunn, formerly a Capitol Police officer, is campaigning for a Congressional seat. Dunn, aged 40, made the announcement on Friday, revealing his intention to run as a Democrat for Maryland’s 3rd District. He expressed his firm commitment to safeguard democracy, citing the shocking events of the Jan. 6 insurrection as a catalyst for his political ambitions.

    Dunn is one of the four officers who provided testimonies at the House select committee hearings in 2021 regarding the riot. Throughout his tenure with the Capitol Police, which spanned 15 years, he had been subjected to racial slurs and violence, but the insurrection stood out as a particularly traumatic event.

    On the day of the insurrection, Dunn was stationed inside the Capitol. He was clad in heavy body armor and carried an M4 weapon. He faced a barrage of racial abuse from the rioters, who taunted him with racial slurs after he revealed he had voted for Joe Biden. This experience was unique and shocking for Dunn, who had never been subjected to such racial slurs while wearing his police uniform.

    During the riot, Dunn was at the epicenter of the most violent and prolonged confrontations. He was tasked with defending a stairwell that led to the Lower West Terrace. He was later stationed outside the office of then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi, where he faced members of the Oath Keepers, including leaders from Florida, Kelly Meggs and Kenneth Harrelson, while attempting to prevent rioters from entering Pelosi's office.

    In a hearing in July 2021, Dunn shared his traumatic experiences with the select committee. He recounted the racial slurs and violence he and other officers were subjected to and expressed his concern for many officers who continue to suffer physical and emotional pain from the events of the day.

    Dunn remains deeply affected by the insurrection and has sought counseling to help cope with the trauma. He has also encouraged other officers to seek help. His testimony to the select panel urged a review of the resources available to officers for recovery from the traumatic event.

    Despite the trauma, Dunn has remained an active voice in the post-insurrection conversation. He has amassed a substantial social media following, frequently sharing his views on the political aftershocks of Jan. 6. In one of his posts, he emphasized the need for accountability for the events of the day, pointing at Donald Trump as a significant factor in inciting the riot.

    In recognition of his service, the former officer was awarded the Presidential Citizens Medal by President Joe Biden last year. He also published a book titled "Standing My Ground," detailing his experiences during the insurrection.

    Fast forward to today, Dunn is now in the political arena, seeking to replace the retiring Rep. John Sarbanes in Congress. Despite his retirement from the police force last month, he is up against five state lawmakers who have also announced their campaigns. This will be Dunn’s first foray into elected office, following an unsuccessful attempt to lead the Capitol Police union.

  • Thaiger

    Biden to leverage January 6 anniversary for 2024 reelection campaign focus on democracy defense

    President Joe Biden is set to put the defense of democracy at the forefront of his reelection campaign on Friday, in what appears to be an unofficial campaign launch. Leveraging the anniversary of the January 6 riots to outline the significance of the 2024 elections, Biden will use the historical context of Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, to suggest that his probable second round against Donald Trump will be a critical examination of the nation's foundation. This information comes from senior advisers of Biden who provided an overview of the upcoming speech.

    "Democracy isn't a peripheral issue: it's a holy mission," said one of the advisers, who wished to remain anonymous, during a conference call with journalists. "Significant events are evaluated in national elections. Voters won't forget what happened on January 6."

    However, as time passes since the riots, the validity of this statement is becoming more uncertain. A recent poll conducted by the Washington Post and the University of Maryland revealed that 34% of Republican voters incorrectly believe that the FBI orchestrated the attempted insurrection.

    The Biden campaign is optimistic that speeches like the one scheduled for Friday will help jog voters' memories about the events of that day, along with setting the scene for the future. To prepare for this speech, the president gathered a group of historians at the White House earlier this week.

    Biden's team has long entertained the idea of staging an event near Valley Forge, a location renowned as the base of General George Washington's Continental Army during the American Revolution. During a media call on Thursday, advisers mentioned that the site has historical significance not only as a battlefield for freedom but also for the decisions Washington made thereafter.

    Washington relinquished power voluntarily on two occasions: first, he resigned his role as the Army's leader, and later, he stepped down from the presidency after two terms. Biden's aides argue that Washington's example offers a stark and compelling contrast to Trump.

    In the 2022 midterm elections, the president made the fight for democracy a central part of the party's message. He revisited this theme last year in a speech at the McCain Institute.

    On Friday, Biden will expand the concept of freedom to encompass other areas during his remarks, according to his aides. These areas include voting rights, abortion rights, and economic fairness. His Valley Forge speech, initially scheduled for Saturday but moved up a day due to an impending storm, will be followed by another address on Monday at Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina. This church was the site of a racist mass shooting in 2015. His speech there, aides say, will connect this act of violence to hateful extremism and serve as a form of outreach to Black voters.

    Biden's agenda in the coming days mirrors a set of crucial electoral objectives. His trip to South Carolina underscores the importance he places on the state, which hosts the year's first officially recognized Democratic primary.

    Pennsylvania, the location of Friday's event, is considered by many political strategists to be the most critical state in the run-up to November. Biden has spent the most time in this state since assuming office. His aides admit that a loss here would likely indicate an election defeat.

  • Thaiger

    Former Georgia Senator Kelly Loeffler launches RallyRight to boost GOP's campaign technology

    In a bid to boost the Republican party's footing in the realm of campaign technology, former Georgia Senator Kelly Loeffler has launched RallyRight, a new tech company. RallyRight offers an array of products including DonateRight, a donation processing service, FieldRight, a gig economy app linking canvassers to campaigns, and RelayRight, a tool for texting.

    For years, Republicans have striven to close the gap with Democrats in terms of online fundraising infrastructure. The Democratic party had established ActBlue, their primary donation platform, long before the Republicans came up with their equivalent, WinRed. However, Republicans have continually lagged behind Democrats in fundraising, particularly from small-dollar donors.

    WinRed currently dominates the online donation landscape for Republicans, but it has also faced criticism. Last year, the company suggested it needed to raise its prices, which drew widespread disapproval from Republicans. It has also faced backlash for its practice of automatically enrolling donors into recurring payments.

    Loeffler's fundraising platform, DonateRight, is built on technology purchased from leading GOP firm, Targeted Victory. She believes DonateRight can compete with WinRed by offering lower transaction fees (3.5% compared to WinRed's 3.94%) and avoiding practices that can lead to donor fatigue such as automatic recurring payments and sharing donor data with other vendors. However, despite these advantages, WinRed's scale may still make it the preferred choice for federal campaigns.

    Another venture by Loeffler, FieldRight, aims to adopt the gig economy model to help campaigns find workers to enhance their field operations. This could be a game-changer for Republicans, especially for local campaigns, which often lack the resources to establish their own field program.

    FieldRight is designed to offer an on-demand field program to campaigns of all sizes. GOP consultant Aaron Whitehead, who used the app during the Kentucky governor's race last year, stated that the app could revolutionize the way Republicans approach campaigning.

    Loeffler, who personally funded much of her 2020 campaign, is backing RallyRight with a multimillion-dollar personal investment. She tested DonateRight and FieldRight during the 2023 off-year elections, in states including Virginia, Mississippi and Kentucky. Currently, FieldRight has around 500 canvassers across 45 states, all of whom have undergone background checks and training. Local and federal campaigns in 26 states are using DonateRight.

    While users have praised RallyRight's potential in state and local races, some have suggested the platform needs to enhance its backend features to support the high volume of donations for federal races.

    Loeffler is confident that RallyRight will provide the necessary infrastructure for Republican campaigns to succeed at all levels. Despite the challenges, the GOP seems to be making strides in improving its tech infrastructure to better compete with the Democrats.

  • Thaiger

    Ron DeSantis and Nikki Haley's town hall meetings: 6 key takeaways

    In the light of their campaigns' recent online disputes, Ron DeSantis and Nikki Haley made a conscious effort to avoid mentioning each other during their consecutive town hall meetings on CNN. Despite this, DeSantis took the chance to throw some jabs at Haley, including accusing her of advocating for her donors' interests. Meanwhile, Haley only mentioned DeSantis to disagree with him and Donald Trump about withholding additional funds for Ukraine.

    Both DeSantis and Haley are trailing Trump by more than 30 points in Iowa and are vying for a strong showing there to potentially compete against the former president. Next week, DeSantis and Haley will face each other in a debate on CNN, their first without any other contenders present.

    Here are six key takeaways from the town halls:

    DeSantis questioned Trump's "pro-life" stance. DeSantis was particularly critical of Trump's stance on abortion and his promises for a second term. Although Trump was the deciding factor in overturning Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion nationwide, DeSantis highlighted Trump's criticism of Florida's six-week abortion ban, which he described as "a terrible thing."

    The mass shooting in Iowa did not dominate the town halls. Both Haley and DeSantis were asked about their stance on gun control following a mass shooting at a rural Iowa school earlier in the day, which resulted in the death of a sixth grader and injured five others. However, the topic did not sway the course of the evening. DeSantis, who has eased gun laws in Florida, focused on identifying individuals exhibiting signs of dangerous behavior or mental health issues.

    Haley praised Abbott on immigration, but not DeSantis. Haley refrained from acknowledging DeSantis' handling of immigration issues, instead praising Texas GOP Gov. Greg Abbott for his approach.

    Haley's Civil War comment is still haunting her. More than a week after initially refusing to acknowledge slavery as a cause of the Civil War, Haley continues to face questions about her comment.

    Haley's cleanup didn’t stop there. Haley also had to respond to her campaign-trail comment that New Hampshire voters will "correct" the outcome of the Iowa caucuses - a statement she claimed was made in jest but drew swift criticism from Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds and others.

    DeSantis used a prop to take a dig at Haley. In one of the few instances where DeSantis did address Haley, he kicked off his town hall by presenting Collins with a basketball jersey to mock Haley's recent mix-up of Collins' name with that of Iowa Hawkeyes basketball star Caitlin Clark.

  • Thaiger

    Trump leads 2024 GOP presidential race with Haley emerging as second, surpassing DeSantis: Nationwide survey

    In the preliminary stage of the 2024 Republican presidential race, Donald Trump, aged 77, continues to lead the GOP grassroots leaders, while Nikki Haley, aged 50, surpasses Ron DeSantis, aged 44, for the second place. This outcome is based on a recent survey of GOP county chairs nationwide. Those seeking a Trump alternative have shown inclination towards Haley rather than DeSantis as the Iowa caucuses draw closer. Among the Republican chairs committed to a candidate, Trump holds 37%, Haley has 16%, and DeSantis possesses 9%. Chris Christie, aged 60, is the least favored candidate.

    County chairs, who play a significant role in shaping the race, have been tracked for nearly a year to assess the so-called "invisible primary" for the 2024 campaign. Their shifting sentiment over the last year highlights a more fluid GOP presidential race than conventional wisdom suggests. It was initially perceived that Trump would face a tough competition from DeSantis in early 2023. However, Trump's support grew in the subsequent months while DeSantis' popularity declined. County chairs who had remained undecided began to lean towards Trump and recently towards Haley, although she is unlikely to surpass the former president.

    Follow-up inquiries made it clear that Trump's supporters remain steadfast in their stance. His decision to skip the 2024 candidate debates seemed to have been justified. In the words of Lynn Bogle, chair of the Republican Committee of Patrick County, Virginia, the debates exposed the inexperience and frivolity of the other runners. Other county Republican chairs also voiced their solid support for Trump, citing unfairness, double standards, and deep state opposition.

    The survey was sent to approximately 2,300 GOP chairs across the country. 106 Republican chairs responded at the end of December. The first question was whether the county chairs had committed to supporting a candidate, and if so, whom. In February 2023, Trump was deemed vulnerable with 16% support, roughly tied with DeSantis. Trump's support rose to 24% in April and jumped from 27% to 37% between August and October. His support remained at 37% in December.

    The percentage of undecided chairs dropped from 47% to 32% over the past two surveys. Haley, rather than Trump, has managed to gather support from the previously undecided. Haley's support rose from 5% to 16% between October and December, while DeSantis' support remained at 9%.

    Trump's supporters were found to have been supporting him for a long time, with 82% claiming to have backed him all year. However, over half of Haley's supporters stated they had only started supporting her recently. According to Timothy Smyth Jr., a member of the Massachusetts Republican Central Committee, Haley is the best candidate the GOP has to move the party and nation forward.

    In another measure of candidate support, chairs were asked which candidates they were considering. DeSantis had dominated this category for most of 2023, but his popularity has been declining. A majority of chairs are no longer considering him, as his share fell from 56% to 48%. Trump maintained his potential support level, with 61% of chairs considering his candidacy. Haley's numbers also rose to 45%.

    The survey also inquired about the candidates the chairs do not want to see as their party's nominee. Christie topped the list with 60% of chairs opposed to him. He was followed by Asa Hutchinson, aged 71, with 52% opposition, and Vivek Ramaswamy, aged 37, with 51% opposition. Trump's opposition also increased to around 30%. Haley's opposition remained at about 30%, while DeSantis' opposition remained among the lowest at 17%.

    The survey also aimed to gauge the strength of the chairs' preferences by asking what might cause them to change their support. Strikingly, very few believed any information would cause them to shift. For example, only eight out of 106 respondents said a candidate being convicted of a crime would change their mind, and seven of those were Haley supporters.

    Based on this survey, Trump still holds a significant lead in the Republican presidential nomination contest, and it seems unlikely that local GOP leaders will shift away from him. However, if Trump falters in the early contests, the county chairs and other Republicans might rally around a single opponent and make it a real race.

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    Robert F. Kennedy Jr. supports Donald Trump's right to remain on electoral ballot: Details on their fight for democracy

    On Wednesday, independent candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr., 67 years old, supported Donald Trump, 75 years old, in his fight to remain on the electoral ballot. According to Kennedy, despite allegations, Trump has not been officially charged with insurrection. The lawyer and political figure expressed his belief that it would be unfair to keep Trump off the ballot, which could lead to anger and frustration among Trump's supporters.

    During a press conference held in Utah, Kennedy emphasized the importance of respecting the democratic process. He also announced his candidacy for the forthcoming November elections in Utah. However, like Trump, Kennedy has faced his share of challenges in gaining access to the ballot, a process often riddled with legal complications and high expenses for third-party candidates.

    Tony Lyons, the president of 'American Values 2024', a super PAC supporting Kennedy, compared the legal challenges faced by Trump and Kennedy. Speaking on 'The Sharyl Attkisson Podcast', Lyons criticized the anti-democratic forces that threaten to keep candidates like Kennedy, Trump, and Joe Biden, 79 years old, off the ballot.

    Kennedy's goal is to be listed on the ballot in all 50 states and Washington, D.C., a process that involves navigating 51 different legal procedures, each with its own unique requirements and deadlines. With Utah's deadline being the earliest, the Kennedy campaign targeted it first.

    The Kennedy campaign is also actively collecting signatures in Arizona, a swing state where the campaign's press secretary, Stefanie Spear, confirmed state electors had been certified. Other states where signatures are being gathered include Missouri, Maryland, and Nevada.

    The Kennedy campaign has also enlisted a legal team, including campaign counsel Paul Rossi, who successfully filed a lawsuit to extend the signature gathering deadline in Utah from January 6 to March 5.

    'American Values 2024' has pledged up to $15 million to aid Kennedy in gaining ballot access in seven states, including the swing state of Georgia.

    While an independent candidate garnering even single-digit support can disrupt traditional election strategies, Kennedy proposed the possibility of winning the presidency with minority support. He stated that one could technically win with just 34% of the votes due to the 'winner takes all' system. By pulling 4.5% points from both Trump and Biden, Kennedy believes he could win the national election in the remaining 11 months.

    Currently, Kennedy's polling average is approximately 13%, as reported by RealClearPolitics. Despite the odds, Kennedy remains exceedingly confident about his chances in the upcoming election.

  • Thaiger

    Donald Trump dominates Republican primary race despite unorthodox campaign strategy

    The most significant event in the Republican presidential primary on Tuesday was the announcement that a little-known restaurant owner from New Hampshire had switched allegiances from Chris Christie's campaign to Nikki Haley's. However, this shift hardly seemed to matter. With merely two weeks left until the Iowa caucuses, the race has become increasingly uncompetitive. Donald Trump is currently polling at over 60% among Republican primary voters nationally. He celebrated the New Year at Mar-a-Lago, watching a performance by Vanilla Ice and a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle, while his former main competitor, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, spent the weekend in a Sheraton Hotel ballroom in West Des Moines.

    As the campaign shifts its focus to Iowa this week, Trump is expected to dominate his competitors, having already outperformed them in the race. "Trump defies all political gravity and rules and consistently has, both nationally as well as in the state of Iowa," said Doug Gross, a GOP operative who was chief of staff to former Iowa Governor Terry Branstad and will be voting for Haley. "And that’s why he’s in the position he’s in because he has such a strong base following and a strong brand and knows how to play the fiddle."

    Despite skipping four GOP debates and limiting his campaign efforts in early nominating states, Trump has not taken the primary lightly. His team has sought endorsements, influenced state parties, and established a more sophisticated delegate operation. Trump plans to make a significant show of force in Iowa ahead of the caucuses, starting with appearances on Friday and Saturday, the anniversary of the January 6 riot at the Capitol. Next week, he will counterprogram a January 10 CNN debate with a Fox town hall in Des Moines.

    On Tuesday, Chris LaCivita and Susie Wiles, two of Trump's top aides, argued in a memo that the only "real battle is who will place second" in Iowa. They wrote, "Regardless of how well President Trump finishes in Iowa, the headlines will be about the second-place finisher so the media can make New Hampshire the flavor of the week.”

    Tom Boucher, a restaurant owner who joined Christie’s steering committee in the first primary state just last month, announced on Tuesday he's now supporting Haley. However, shortly after Boucher's announcement, Trump secured the endorsement of House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R.-La.). Trump also speculated about his chances of winning his home state of New York, a typically Democratic state, as well as New Jersey, Minnesota, and Virginia during an interview with Breitbart.

    Even though Trump's chances in those states are still uncertain, his primary positioning has improved significantly since 2016. Every weekend, hundreds of volunteer door-knockers are active in early nominating states. "He’s run a much more disciplined and focused campaign than the other two times, and though it’s a low bar, quite honestly, who the hell cares?” said Dave Carney, a seasoned New Hampshire-based GOP strategist.

    Trump is expected to return to Iowa this Friday for a pre-caucuses rally in Sioux Center, leading up to what his campaign described as a “larger blitz” across the state. However, his presence in the state will be significantly smaller than that of his competitors. Few operatives see a need for him to do more. "Why would he do anything different? It’s risking upsetting his strategy, the work he has done in nothing but going up and consolidating his strength,” said Jeff Timmer, a senior adviser to the anti-Trump Lincoln Project and the former executive director of the Michigan Republican Party.

    In the words of the '90s rapper he hosted at his resort, it’s Trump now who plans to take the stage and outshine the competition.

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    Silicon Valley's congressional seat race heats up with surge in campaign funding

    The race to claim a Silicon Valley House seat, previously held by Democratic Rep. Anna Eshoo for almost 30 years, is witnessing a surge in campaign funding. Sam Liccardo, a Democrat and ex-mayor of San Jose, has reported a fundraising total of $1.65 million in the fourth quarter, a few weeks after his entry into a packed competition for Eshoo's vacant Bay Area seat.

    Liccardo enjoys the advantage of being a recognized name in the area and has also held a successful fundraiser hosted by Reid Hoffman, LinkedIn co-founder and a well-known Democratic donor. Liccardo stated his fundraising efforts reflect the desires of voters, donors, and the larger community in Silicon Valley and across the country. They're looking for genuine federal involvement in addressing issues such as homelessness, crime, and the climbing cost of living, and they're tired of people passing the buck.

    Eshoo is stepping down after a congressional tenure that started in 1993. The candidates vying to fill her seat include Assemblymember Evan Low, Santa Clara County Supervisor Joe Simitian, former Saratoga City Council member Rishi Kumar, Palo Alto Councilmember Julie Lythcott-Haims, and tech executive Peter Dixon. There are also two Republicans in the running for the seat in this predominantly blue district.

    The full extent of fundraising will only be known by the end of the month, which is when campaign finance reports are due. However, Liccardo, who was the first to announce his total for the quarter, has raised the stakes. Low reported raising $300,000 within the initial 48 hours of his campaign launch. Dixon announced a total of $350,000 in the first 24 hours of his bid, and Lythcott-Haims stated she raised $250,000 in the first weekend of her candidacy. Simitian, on the other hand, entered the race with over $680,000 at his disposal.

    In 2022, Kumar was the runner-up to Eshoo in terms of fundraising, pulling in over $700,000. Liccardo's fundraising, accomplished in less than a month, is twice that amount.

    There is little time for candidates to make themselves known to voters before the primary on March 5. Liccardo stated that his campaign funds will give him more leeway to reach out to voters directly, instead of spending time fundraising. Liccardo, who served as mayor of the state's third-largest city for nearly a decade, is a well-known figure in the area, and he had previously pondered running against Democratic Rep. Zoe Lofgren in an adjacent Silicon Valley district.

    While the campaign didn't provide a detailed breakdown of small-dollar donors, Cooper Teboe, a senior adviser on the campaign, noted that many of Liccardo's past supporters are used to a lower contribution limit compared to the higher federal limit. However, Liccardo does have some notable high-dollar supporters. Hoffman hosted a fundraiser for Liccardo in December, which brought in six figures for the campaign.

    Teboe mentioned that the campaign has 10 grassroots house parties planned for this month, an event hosted by John and Sandi Thompson, as well as another event hosted by Chris Kelly, Dave Wehner, and Mike Callahan.

    California, which has several competitive congressional races this year, will be under the spotlight as Democrats fight for control of the House. Despite the fact that CA-16 is a deeply blue district, it won't necessarily determine the control of the upper chamber, unlike CA-27 or CA-41, held by Republican Reps. Mike Garcia and Ken Calvert, respectively.

    However, Liccardo highlighted that "there aren't many places in the country that feel more acutely the housing crisis that so many metros are struggling with or the challenges with homelessness.” He further added that these are not just local issues. They are national problems that just happen to be plaguing nearly every local community in the country.

  • Thaiger

    New York's political landscape in 2024: Key races, legal battles, and the ongoing migrant crisis

    As 2024 kicks off, New York finds itself in the eye of the political hurricane, with its influence stretching from congressional races to the ongoing migrant crisis. The Empire State's political stage is not lacking in drama, with former President Donald Trump grappling with a legal battle in Manhattan, while New York City Mayor Eric Adams hopes to avoid legal entanglements amidst a federal investigation into Turkish influence. Alongside these enthralling events, the presidential election looms large, with New York's primary slated for April 2. There are several other challenges that will shape the political landscape of New York this year.

    The House races in New York could very well determine the balance of power in Congress. The state is witnessing a massive influx of campaign funds as an estimated half a dozen House districts could swing the power dynamic post-2024. The district lines are set to change in two months, which only adds to the uncertainty. Democrats are hoping to unseat Republican Representatives Brandon Williams, Marc Molinaro, Mike Lawler, and Anthony D’Esposito, and also aim to flip the seat formerly held by disgraced ex-Representative George Santos in a special election slated for February 13. On the other hand, Republicans have set their sights on Pat Ryan's district in the Hudson Valley.

    Hakeem Jeffries of Brooklyn, the House minority leader, and Elise Stefanik of Upstate New York, the current House GOP conference chair, are spearheading campaign efforts in their home state. Leadership positions could hinge on the outcome of these efforts.

    The relationship between Governor Kathy Hochul and her fellow Democrats in Albany appears to be on shaky grounds. Last month, Hochul upset lawmakers by rejecting several bills, including those related to changes in criminal justice law, earning criticism from her own party.

    New York's budgetary concerns have seen a mix of good and bad news. The projected $9.1 billion deficit was halved, thanks to federal decisions on the Medicaid program and better-than-expected tax revenue. However, Hochul and the lawmakers still need to find more than $4 billion to close the current gap for the fiscal year commencing April 1. The state's fiscal battle could be fought over taxes, specifically whether to raise revenue from the state's wealthy residents.

    The migrant crisis has become a contentious issue between Mayor Adams and the City Council. Adams recently issued an executive order limiting the arrival of migrants to specified timings on weekdays. His strategy is part of a joint effort with the mayors of Chicago and Denver, as they grapple with limited aid from President Joe Biden’s administration. The migrant issue is expected to be a defining aspect of Adams’ term in office.

    Adams is also facing legal scrutiny. U.S. Attorney Damian Williams might bring charges related to the investigation into Turkish influence. Adams has denied any wrongdoing, but a potential indictment could cast a long shadow over City Hall. Several individuals close to Adams have already been implicated in corruption probes. Additionally, Adams, a retired NYPD captain, has been accused of sexual assault dating back to 1993, an accusation that he has staunchly denied.

    These legal battles, set to play out in 2024, could bare the inner workings of Adams’ campaign, even as the mayor raises funds for his 2025 reelection bid and his legal defense concurrently. Despite the political turbulence, New York's political stage promises to be a spectacle to watch in the coming months.

  • Thaiger

    Charlamagne tha God criticizes Biden's administration and its impact on Black communities

    Charlamagne tha God, an influential radio host of the "Breakfast Club" show, recently voiced criticisms against President Joe Biden. During a late October commute through Manhattan, Charlamagne opined that Biden and his team spend too much time posturing and not enough time strategically highlighting policy achievements. Instead, they focus on painting former President Donald Trump as corrupt, he explained.

    Charlamagne, 45 years old, who commands a loyal audience of 4 million monthly listeners, argued that the American people are flawed and do not need 'pure' politicians, but effective ones. His critique of Biden's administration has been increasingly negative, despite his belief that Trump's approach to politics was more engaging and effective.

    Trump's ability to sell his ideas and take credit for policies he enacted as president resonated with the public, according to Charlamagne. Examples of policies that Trump touted include the First Step Act, which brought modest reforms to the federal criminal justice system, pardoning rappers Lil Wayne and Kodak Black, and sending stimulus checks during the first year of the pandemic.

    Charlamagne argued that although Biden also sent stimulus checks, he failed to capitalize on this action in the same way Trump did. The radio host, who does not affiliate with either the Democrats or Republicans, has criticized politicians for making empty promises to Black audiences to secure votes.

    Charlamagne's critical and direct interviewing style has produced many viral moments, including a 2013 interview with rapper and fashion mogul Kanye West. Despite some controversy in his past, Charlamagne has shifted his focus towards politics and holding elected officials accountable for policies that perpetuate disparities in communities of color.

    His influence in politics was particularly apparent during the 2016 Democratic primary campaign between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. Both candidates made multiple appearances on his show due to its significant reach among Black voters. However, Charlamagne is skeptical of politicians who attempt to pander to Black audiences, citing Clinton's infamous "hot sauce" comment as an example of political inauthenticity.

    During a 2020 interview, Charlamagne questioned Biden's ability to energize voters while stuck at home due to the pandemic. He also highlighted the perception that the Democratic Party often takes Black votes for granted. This led to a contentious exchange with Biden, which caused a significant backlash and continues to shape Charlamagne's relationship with the president.

    Charlamagne endorsed Biden's 2020 presidential bid due to Biden's selection of Kamala Harris as his vice president. However, Charlamagne now questions his endorsement and criticizes Biden for missed messaging opportunities. He argues that the administration's announcements often lack details about how their policies will benefit average Americans.

    Despite the administration's efforts to engage with him, Charlamagne remains critical of Biden and Harris. He has accused Harris of disappearing after taking office and has no plans to support Biden's reelection.

    Charlamagne's criticisms of Biden have found an audience in conservative media outlets, which often amplify his comments. While some Democrats criticize Charlamagne for potentially aiding Trump, others recognize his unique influence.

    Charlamagne's critical stance and large audience make him a significant figure in contemporary politics. Despite the controversy that surrounds him, his influence on political discourse and his ability to reach often overlooked audiences cannot be denied.

  • Thaiger

    New Hampshire's unofficial Democratic primary: A test for President Biden's popularity as 2024 election approaches

    The unofficial Democratic primary in New Hampshire on Jan. 23 will be the initial test of President Joe Biden's standing within his own party as the 2024 election approaches. The method of gauging the results remains unclear, as a win for Biden could still reflect poorly on his popularity, while a loss for his opponent, Dean Phillips, could be spun as a victory. Political insiders are expected to scrutinize the outcome, and efforts to manipulate the interpretation of the results are anticipated.

    As the incumbent president, Biden is expected to meet high expectations. However, his name will not be listed on the ballot due to his advocacy for South Carolina to host the first primary. As a result, voters will need to write in Biden's name. Officials have stated that the winner will not receive any delegates due to New Hampshire's defiance of the national party's schedule by holding its Democratic primary earlier than any other state.

    Despite their infrequent success, primary challenges have historically had the capacity to disrupt expectations about incumbent presidents, especially those perceived as having uncertain electoral prospects. Phillips, a longshot candidate, is aiming to replicate Eugene McCarthy's unexpectedly strong performance against then-President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1968.

    Democratic strategists and party officials have varying opinions on what would constitute a win for either candidate. Some believe Biden needs to win approximately 60% of the vote to avoid embarrassment, while others maintain Phillips only needs to secure 30% to 40% of the vote to claim momentum. A few argue that any win for Biden should be considered a victory, while others are simply unsure.

    New Hampshire is expected to be a make-or-break state for Phillips, who has based his campaign on a strong showing in that state. Despite this, recent polls in New Hampshire indicate that Phillips is far from reaching even 30% of the vote. A December poll from Saint Anselm College found Phillips winning 10% of the vote, closely followed by Marianne Williamson, a self-help author, who garnered 7 percentage points. Biden's support fell short of the level some Democrats hope he can achieve, with 50% of respondents indicating they would write him in.

    Biden's supporters and even some critics agree that he simply needs to win, given the complexities of a write-in campaign. However, the wide field of 21 candidates and the unfamiliar territory of a major write-in campaign have left some state Democrats anxious about the outcome.

    Despite not campaigning in the state, Biden's allies in New Hampshire have launched grassroots groups and super PACs to encourage voters to write in his name. Nearly every Democratic official in the state is supporting Biden in the primary, and prominent out-of-state Democrats have also urged New Hampshire voters to write in Biden's name.

    Biden's supporters face some opposition within the party after Biden supported the Democratic National Committee's plan to remove Iowa and New Hampshire from their traditional primary positions. Phillips is aiming to capitalize on this dissatisfaction, accusing Biden in TV ads of having "ordered New Hampshire to step aside." However, some predict that Biden will still carry the state, despite his perceived lack of support for New Hampshire.

  • Thaiger

    California Democrats divided over efforts to bar Trump from 2024 ballot

    California's Democratic Party hasn't shown much enthusiasm in leading the legal crusade to prevent former President Donald Trump from appearing on the 2024 ballot, a stark contrast to their previous fervent opposition. During Trump's presidency, California Democrats were unified in their efforts to hinder his administration, even passing a law aimed at barring Trump from the 2020 ballot, which was later revoked by the courts. However, the current political landscape has made this action more complex, resulting in a split among California Democrats. Now, Colorado and Maine are leading the charge to disqualify Trump, while California remains on the sidelines.

    Jessica A. Levinson, a professor of constitutional and California election law at Loyola Law School, said the situation has changed. “This isn’t a question about immigration or reproductive rights,” Levinson said. “This is a question about, ‘Do we let the voters decide?’”

    The division among California Democrats became apparent after the Colorado Supreme Court ruled last week that Trump was ineligible to run for president due to his role in the Jan. 6 insurrection. California's Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis, 55 years old, wrote a letter urging fellow Democrat Secretary of State Shirley Weber to “explore every legal option” to similarly remove Trump from the ballot. Kounalakis, who plans to run for governor in 2026, didn't notify either Weber or Gov. Gavin Newsom about the letter, which was not well received by her colleagues.

    Newsom dismissed the issue as a “political distraction,” and insisted that in California, “we defeat candidates at the polls.” A Newsom adviser said that Kounalakis’ strategy could end up backfiring. Weber responded to Kounalakis firmly, stating that the courts should decide any Trump ballot eligibility issues. “I must place the sanctity of these elections above partisan politics,” Weber wrote. She announced late Thursday that Trump would appear on the March 5 primary ballot.

    Aleksandra Reetz, Kounalakis’ deputy chief of staff, downplayed the dispute and commended election officials in Maine and Colorado for “honoring our rule of law” and helping to build the legal case for keeping Trump off the ballot.

    Kounalakis wasn't the only Democrat in the state seeking to bar Trump from running on constitutional grounds. Assemblymember Evan Low sent a letter to Attorney General Rob Bonta in September, urging him to expedite a ruling on Trump’s eligibility. Bonta never responded. State Sen. Dave Min proposed a bill that would let Californians sue to block ineligible candidates from the ballot.

    This flurry of activity recalls the combative dynamic that marked Trump’s tenure as president, with California Democrats positioning their state as his primary adversary. A surge of anti-Trump measures followed, including lawsuits against his administration and a slew of bills aimed at safeguarding state laws from federal encroachment. One controversial bill would have barred presidential and gubernatorial candidates from the ballot if they did not release their tax returns, as Trump infamously refused to do. This law was signed by Newsom in 2019 but was overturned by the California Supreme Court months later.

    Levinson, the Loyola professor, described the 2019 law as California's attempt to "poke the bear." Now, she said, Weber is dealing with a thornier issue — whether Trump has violated the so-called “insurrection clause” of the 14th Amendment and is therefore unfit to run for president. She sees Weber's decision to wait for the U.S. Supreme Court as entirely rational.

    Even California Rep. Barbara Lee, a progressive involved in a lawsuit against Trump for his role on Jan. 6, praised Weber’s move. “Everyone — even Donald Trump — deserves their day in court," Lee said. "I have full faith that the voters of California will once again reject Trump’s politics of hate and division and look forward to seeing the former president soundly defeated in 2024.”

  • Thaiger

    Maine's Democratic secretary of state faces backlash for excluding Trump from state's ballot

    The Democratic secretary of state in Maine is under increasing scrutiny from her party over her decision to exclude former President Donald Trump from the state's ballot. Representative Jared Golden, a 38-year-old Democrat from Maine, whose House district was won by Trump in both 2016 and 2020, condemned the decision in a statement released on Thursday evening on social media.

    Golden, who voted to impeach Trump for his role in the events of January 6, stated, "I do not believe he should be re-elected as President of the United States. However, we are a nation of laws, therefore until he is actually found guilty of the crime of insurrection, he should be allowed on the ballot."

    Senator Angus King, an independent who aligns with the Democrats in the Senate, expressed that while he respected Secretary of State Shenna Bellows' "careful process," he believed that the decision about whether or not Trump should be considered for the presidency again should be determined by the people in free and fair elections. "This is the ultimate check within our Constitutional system," King added. Both Golden and King voted to impeach and convict Trump during his two impeachments.

    Bellows made the decision based on state law, which mandates the secretary to settle disputes over candidates' eligibility for the ballot. She judged that Trump was unfit to hold office since his actions during the attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021, amounted to insurrection, thus breaching the so-called insurrection clause of the 14th Amendment.

    Bellows defended her decision, stating, "I am mindful that no Secretary of State has ever deprived a presidential candidate of ballot access based on Section Three of the Fourteenth Amendment. However, I am also mindful that no presidential candidate has ever before engaged in insurrection."

    This decision has exposed the ideological divides within Maine's small congressional delegation which comprises a Republican, an independent, and two Democrats representing different wings of their party. Representative Chellie Pingree, another member of Maine's House delegation and a vice chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, posted on social media shortly after the decision that the text of the Fourteenth Amendment is clear. "No person who engaged in an insurrection against the government can ever again serve in elected office."

    Golden has diverged from his party before. Since his election in 2018, he has been one of the few House Democrats advocating for gun rights. He was also the only Democrat to vote against President Joe Biden’s signature Build Back Better infrastructure package and has frequently voted against other significant pieces of legislation, like the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act.

    Despite aligning with Senate Democrats, King has also contradicted his caucus’ standards, endorsing Republicans in the past and opposing efforts to ban assault rifles.

    However, the responses to the national efforts to exclude Trump from state ballots based on the 14th Amendment’s insurrection clause have largely been divided along party lines. Republicans have broadly criticized efforts to remove Trump from the ballot in Maine and other states as undemocratic, while national Democrats have generally united in their support for removing Trump.

    Maine became the second state to remove Trump from the ballot two weeks ago, following Colorado. Three states, including California, have permitted Trump to remain on the ballot.

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    Debate over Trump's eligibility for the 2024 ballot continues amid varying state court rulings

    Over the past several weeks, there has been a lot of news and confusion regarding the eligibility of Donald Trump to appear on the 2024 ballot in several states. This is due to a number of state courts and election officials issuing rulings on complex legal and constitutional questions. These questions are based on interpretations of the 14th Amendment and whether Trump "engaged in" an "insurrection" when his supporters attacked the Capitol on January 6, 2021.

    The Supreme Court of Colorado ruled that Trump is not eligible to serve as president again. The secretary of state of Maine, who is a Democrat and the top election official of the state, also arrived at a similar conclusion. However, the state supreme courts of both Michigan and Minnesota have allowed Trump to stay on their primary ballots, as did California's secretary of state. These varying decisions have shifted the focus onto the U.S. Supreme Court, which many legal experts predict will be the final decider of Trump's fate.

    The 14th Amendment of the Constitution includes a clause that prohibits anyone who has "engaged in insurrection or rebellion" against the U.S. government from holding elected office if they had previously taken an oath "to support the Constitution of the United States." Petitioners in nearly every state have invoked this clause to challenge Trump's eligibility to hold the presidency, citing his instigation of the riot at the Capitol on January 6, 2021.

    Although the rulings in Colorado and Maine were significant, they are unlikely to have any impact on the actual presidential race. Both the judges in Colorado and the Maine secretary of state agreed to pause the effect of their ruling while other courts consider the matter. This means that Trump will likely appear on the presidential primary ballot in both states and potentially the general election ballot as well, should the Supreme Court overturn these decisions.

    The insurrection clause of the 14th Amendment was adopted after the Civil War, mainly to prevent former Confederate leaders from regaining power in Washington and the states. It has rarely been used in any other context and has never before been applied to a presidential candidate.

    There are different legal views on whether Trump must actually be found guilty of the crime of "insurrection" before he can be deemed constitutionally ineligible to serve. Trump and his allies argue that his actions on January 6 do not constitute participating or aiding in an insurrection. They contend that the event was not an insurrection at all due to the lack of organization and the fact that it was not violent or prolonged enough to meet the constitutional threshold.

    Trump also argues that he was exercising his free speech rights when he encouraged a January 6 crowd to "fight like hell" to overturn the election. The Colorado GOP has argued that its First Amendment rights of free association have been violated by removing Trump from the ballot there.

    Furthermore, Trump's team has argued that Section 3 of the 14th Amendment isn't "self-executing" and that only Congress can determine if someone should be deemed ineligible, not individual courts or election officials.

    A coalition of liberal watchdog groups and a longshot Republican presidential candidate are arguing for Trump to be deemed ineligible. However, prominent Democrats have largely remained detached from the efforts to deem Trump ineligible.

    While each state has different laws for how candidates qualify for the ballot, it is unlikely that this issue will be decided state-by-state. Trump's allies have already asked the Supreme Court to weigh in, and the widely accepted view in the legal community is that the high court will need to step in. The involvement of the justices could be imminent, although there is no official timetable.

    In conclusion, the future of Trump's eligibility for the 2024 ballot remains uncertain and is a topic of ongoing debate and legal scrutiny. As primary election dates approach, the need for a final decision from the Supreme Court becomes more pressing.

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    Florida representative Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick under investigation for possible campaign finance violations

    MIAMI — On Wednesday, the House Ethics Committee released a statement revealing an ongoing investigation into Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick, a Democratic Representative from Florida. The investigation is centered on allegations that Cherfilus-McCormick may have breached campaign finance regulations, neglected to provide mandatory disclosures, and engaged in improper employment practices.

    The alleged violation of campaign finance laws is related to her special election and subsequent reelection campaign, both held in 2022, according to the official investigation announcement. Cherfilus-McCormick secured her seat in Congress following the death of 84-year-old Representative Alcee Hastings in 2021. Prior to her successful bid, she had made unsuccessful attempts to unseat Hastings in both 2018 and 2020.

    The unanimous decision by the Ethics Committee to investigate these claims was prompted by a referral from the Office of Congressional Ethics. This independent entity is responsible for examining complaints of misconduct. At this time, it has not been conclusively determined whether Cherfilus-McCormick is guilty of any wrongdoing, and the exact nature of the allegations may never be publicly disclosed.

    In response to the investigation, Cherfilus-McCormick's spokesperson, Jonathan Levin, stated: “As noted by the Ethics Committee, the establishment of an investigative subcommittee does not, in itself, indicate any violation. However, the Congresswoman takes these matters seriously and is working to address them."

    Other allegations detailed in Wednesday's announcement include employing an individual who was not officially hired by her office to complete official tasks and failing to "properly disclose required information on statements."

    Additionally, Cherfilus-McCormick has been accused of utilizing office funds for advertising purposes. While this practice is permissible, it is uncommon and may lead to ethical concerns, as noted by Inside Elections.

    Any individual has the right to submit a complaint to the Office of Congressional Ethics. If the investigators find evidence of wrongdoing, their findings are typically made public. However, the Office of Congressional Ethics does not possess the authority to initiate disciplinary action. This responsibility falls to the Ethics Committee, which would carry out its own investigation before determining if ethical laws have been violated.

  • Thaiger

    Republican presidential hopefuls DeSantis and Haley to appear in Iowa CNN town halls ahead of crucial caucuses

    In a significant development, Republican presidential hopefuls Ron DeSantis, aged 42, and Nikki Haley, aged 49, are scheduled to participate in consecutive CNN town halls in the state of Iowa next month. The event will take place a mere eleven days prior to the crucial Iowa caucuses. The town halls will be hosted at Grand View University in Des Moines, Iowa on January 4, according to an announcement made by the network last Friday.

    DeSantis and Haley are expected to address queries from both the moderators and the audience, which will comprise of Iowa voters who have indicated their intention to participate in the Iowa Republican caucuses. This will be the second instance where both candidates will be participating in CNN town halls since the announcement of their candidacies. Earlier this month, DeSantis attended a similar event in Iowa and Haley had her appearance in one such event in June.

    These town halls are scheduled ahead of two Republican presidential primary debates that CNN previously announced it would host next month in the states of Iowa and New Hampshire. Both DeSantis and Haley have confirmed their participation in these debates.

    According to a recent poll conducted by NBC News/Des Moines Register/Mediacom, former President Donald Trump is currently leading the GOP presidential race. The poll reveals a competition for the second place between DeSantis and Haley. In the state of Iowa, DeSantis was revealed to have the support of 19% of the respondents, while Haley trailed slightly behind with 16%.

  • Thaiger

    DNC files lawsuit against New Hampshire officials over new election law

    The Democratic National Committee has filed a lawsuit against officials in New Hampshire, contesting a new election law passed by the Republican party. The Democrats argue that the law will prevent voters from exercising their rights and could negatively impact key Democratic voters in the 2024 elections.

    The law in question was introduced last year and stipulates that individuals who register to vote on Election Day without a photo ID must submit the missing documentation to the state within seven days. Failure to do so results in their votes being invalidated and their cases referred to the state Attorney General’s office.

    The campaign of President Joe Biden is supporting the lawsuit. Senior members of the campaign voiced concerns that the legislation could sway voting outcomes in the battleground state in 2024, particularly among the youth, college students, and low-income voters.

    “President Biden and Vice President Harris are firm believers in making it easier for every eligible American voter to participate in our democracy. This law from New Hampshire contradicts this belief and is a worrying and unacceptable endorsement of the election fraud hysteria promoted by Donald Trump,” said Julie Chavez Rodriguez, Biden's campaign manager. “In an election that could potentially decide the fate of our democracy, we have a duty to fight for the right to vote. This is just the start.”

    In the 2020 election, around 75,000 voters in New Hampshire registered in person and voted on Election Day. The number of these voters who registered without an ID is unclear as, at the time, voters could cast a regular ballot as long as they completed a form verifying their identity.

    A senior member of the Biden campaign, who wished to remain anonymous due to the ongoing legal proceedings, estimated that the new law could affect “thousands” of voters. This marks the second lawsuit this year filed by the DNC challenging laws that they argue make voting more difficult, following a suit filed in October against legislation in North Carolina.

    Biden campaign officials stated that a crucial part of their legal strategy for 2024 involves combating overly restrictive voting laws and ensuring that these issues are resolved prior to the November election. Republicans across the country have defended stricter measures as a necessary precaution against the infrequent occurrence of voter fraud.

    The lawsuit in New Hampshire aims to secure relief ahead of the general election, rather than the primary, where Biden is facing opposition from Rep. Dean Phillips, a Democrat from Minnesota.

    The DNC, in conjunction with the New Hampshire Democratic Party, argue in their lawsuit that the new law violates a state constitutional provision requiring local officials to count votes and submit them to the secretary of state within five days following the election. They also argue that the law infringes upon New Hampshire voters' due process rights.

    Last year, when signing the bill, Governor Chris Sununu released a statement downplaying concerns that it would endanger voters or cause delays. “New Hampshire’s elections have been, and will continue to be safe, reliable and accurate — and this bill won’t change these facts,” he said.

    Previously, the state chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union challenged the law in state court, arguing that it violated Americans’ right to a private ballot. Other interest groups in the state also contested the law due to state constitutional concerns. These lawsuits were eventually consolidated and dismissed last month due to a lack of standing.

  • Thaiger

    Turkish real estate moguls linked to FBI probe into New York City Mayor Eric Adams' campaign financing

    NEW YORK — Two years ago, a group of Turkish real estate moguls made significant financial contributions to Eric Adams' successful campaign for the position of New York City mayor. Now, the same demographic is rallying behind him for his reelection bid.

    A thorough investigation into campaign finance records has revealed that a number of current and former donors to Adams' campaign have strong ties to KSK Construction. This Brooklyn-based general contractor found itself in the limelight last month when their offices were subjected to an FBI raid, amid an ongoing probe into the mayor’s previous campaign. The investigation is focusing on potential collusion with the Turkish government, as per a search warrant reported by The New York Times.

    Four out of the six contributors identified have either worked for companies associated with KSK Construction or its founder, Erden Arkan, a Turkish-born multi-millionaire and co-founder of the construction company. Another contributor is a relation of Arkan's, while the sixth donor, through a spokesperson, has denied contributing at all, a claim that could further complicate matters with the campaign finance regulators.

    The various contributions have unveiled deeper connections between Adams' campaign and the Turkish community than previously reported. Additionally, they shed light on the ongoing ties between Adams' political operations and Turkey, a country he has visited at least six times as an adult. News of the ongoing investigation, which led to Adams missing a White House meeting last month to return to New York, has negatively impacted his already low poll numbers as he grapples with a multitude of city-wide issues.

    While no one has been charged in the probe, the FBI has been notably aggressive in its approach, raiding the home of Adams’ Turkish liaison and his chief political fundraiser, and even confronting the mayor on the street to seize his phones and iPad.

    Despite the mounting pressure, Adams maintains his innocence and criticizes the FBI leaks. "Where there’s smoke there’s not always fire. Listen, I make sure that we have real compliance. I spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to make sure that it’s done correctly, and we are going to comply with any (law enforcement) review,” Adams told a local TV station. He reiterated this sentiment whenever questioned about the matter. “And if anyone did something that’s inappropriate outside of our compliance procedures, the law enforcement agencies will determine that.”

    His campaign’s compliance attorney, Vito Pitta, declined to answer questions about the investigation. However, he defended the campaign, stating confidently that all rules and laws were followed, while declining to comment on the specifics of the ongoing federal investigation and audit.

    In May of 2021, a group of donors who identified themselves as KSK employees donated $14,000 to Adams. This was one month before he secured the Democratic nomination for mayor. Federal agents reportedly showed an interest in KSK when they raided the home of Adams’ 25-year-old fundraiser last month.

    A new review reveals that the six individuals connected to KSK donated a combined $10,400 to Adams’ two mayoral campaigns. A portion of these newly discovered contributions would be eligible for taxpayer-backed matching dollars, as part of the city’s campaign finance system.

    The related donors are all connected to Arkan, who founded KSK as an offshoot of Turkey-based Kiska Construction, where Arkan served as president of U.S. operations. Arkan currently serves as Chief Executive of KSK.

    “Kiska, KSK, they’re all the same owner, the same company,” said Onat Ersoy, a former KSK employee who donated $1,000 to Adams in 2018, making him one of the earliest contributors to the mayor’s bid for office.

    In an interview, Ersoy revealed that he had worked at both Kiska and KSK in 2014 before having a falling out with the companies.

    Kagan Gursel, another Kiska executive, gave Adams’ 2021 mayoral run three contributions totaling $900. He sometimes listed himself on campaign forms as the owner of Marmara Hotels, a chain with two locations in New York City and seven in Turkey. Marmara, a subsidiary of Kiska, was implicated in a 2008 corruption scheme after a New York City employee’s son stayed there during his honeymoon and wasn’t charged.

    Gursel also gave $2,100 to Adams’ 2025 campaign, a donation matched by his 19-year-old daughter, who listed herself as the chief operating officer of Marmara Hotels, according to campaign records.

    When asked about the transactions, both the 19-year-old, whose name is being withheld due to her age, and a spokesperson for Kiska denied that she donated — despite credit card receipts provided by the campaign showing a contribution in her name on June 9, one day after her father donated.

    “I was just accompanying someone to the fundraiser and have no involvement with anything,” the 19-year-old stated in a text message.

    Kiska’s spokesperson, Owen Blicksilver, claimed that Gursel shares a credit card with his daughter and paid for both donations himself through the joint account — one in his name and one in hers. Blicksilver added that the 19-year-old only attended an Adams fundraiser six months ago at Zero Bond — a members-only nightclub frequented by the mayor — after another attendee canceled. He claimed she was not involved in making any donations to the campaign.

    Due to the fact that Gursel had already contributed the maximum allowable donation of $2,100, giving Adams another $2,100 by routing it through his daughter’s name could amount to a straw donation. This illegal practice, which goes against the city’s campaign finance laws, is part of the federal probe into whether KSK executives reimbursed employees who donated to Adams’ 2021 election effort, according to a CNN report.

    Blicksilver provided a subsequent statement indicating Gursel’s daughter was aware of the contribution, but reiterated that she never donated to the campaign.

    “With respect to Mr. Gursel’s payment, the tickets were purchased with a credit card account that is in the name of both Kagan and his daughter,” he said. “She was obviously aware of the purchase, and she attended the event. It was a matter of convenience for Kagan to purchase both tickets.”

    Two donors who describe themselves as employees of Marmara Hotels, Nur Ercan and Gokhan Cakmak, collectively donated $4,200 to Adams’s 2025 campaign. Ercan, who donated one day prior to Gursel’s daughter, listed herself as the COO of Marmara Hotels, the same position the 19-year-old is listed as having.

    Some of the donations in question were given during a June fundraiser at Zero Bond.

    Blicksilver stated that Gursel’s daughter is not an executive at the hotel consortium and that the organizer of the fundraiser mistakenly marked her down as such.

    The campaign, however, claimed that job titles are self-reported.

    Pitta, Adams’ compliance attorney, stated that the campaign is returning the daughter’s contribution. However, he added that it would have been nearly impossible for campaign officials to have caught the irregularities given that the daughter attested that the donation was made in her name.

    More generally, Blicksilver told reporters that the donors affiliated with Marmara Hotels are active on the fundraising circuit.

    “While it was a fundraiser for Adams, the motivation for their attending was also the event, the show, the venue — I don’t know Zero Bond, which is supposedly this phenomenal place — and the reception,” Blicksilver said in an interview, later adding, “there was no business discussion of any kind with Mayor Adams.”

    Blicksilver also maintained that Kiska and KSK are two separate entities.

    Kiska is currently an investor in a KSK development project in Brooklyn, he said. And Arkan has served as a subcontractor on a separate real estate project. But Blicksilver said Arkan cut ties with Kiska in 2007.

    One of Arkan’s two daughters, Gunce Arkan, also contributed $100 to Adams’s 2021 campaign at a May 2021 fundraiser hosted by Catherine Giuliani, a Republican who works at government affairs firm RG Group and is married to the cousin of former mayor Rudy Giuliani. The event brought in a total of $13,675, according to campaign finance records.

    Gunce Arkan is the former secretary of the Turkish American Business Forum, a nonprofit where her father, Erden Arkan, was also listed as a member. The New York-based group hosts various business and networking events throughout the year for the Turkish-American community — including a 2019 soiree that Adams attended as Brooklyn borough president, according to his schedules from that time, which were obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request.

    Arken’s daughter said she donated to Adams’ campaign because his policies aligned with her views, and that her contribution had nothing to do with what she characterized as a brief volunteer role at the Turkish American Business Forum in the early 2000s.

    As previously reported, Adams attended nearly 80 events with Turkish entities during his time as borough president, the schedules showed.

    Erden Arkan declined to comment in a phone call, citing the ongoing federal investigation.

    In May of 2021, he hosted a fundraiser for Adams that records show raised $70,000 — including $14,000 from KSK employees. That sum was nearly doubled with the addition of public matching funds, according to a report in THE CITY. The media outlet interviewed one donor who said he was reimbursed by a superior at work — potentially an illegal straw donation — and others who said they did not attend the fundraiser at all.

    As previously reported, employees of KSK did not have a history of giving to political candidates before Adams’ run for mayor.

    Adams has expressed appreciation for his Turkish support.

    “The Turkish community has really supported and held several fundraisers for me,” Adams told Turk of America magazine in its winter 2018/spring 2019 issue, which featured the mayor on the cover and an extensive interview about the upcoming Democratic primary. “l’m extremely appreciative of the substantial dollar amount they have.”

  • Thaiger

    New Hampshire man indicted for sending threatening texts to presidential candidates

    A 30-year-old New Hampshire resident, Tyler Anderson, has been indicted following accusations of sending threatening text messages to multiple presidential candidates, as revealed by the Justice Department yesterday. The Dover resident is facing three charges of transmitting interstate commerce threats to inflict injury on others.

    The initial set of text messages was sent towards the end of November, where Anderson allegedly threatened one candidate with severe bodily harm. On December 6, a second candidate received threats from Anderson, with the texts indicating plans of violent actions including a mass shooting. Subsequently, on December 8, a third candidate was threatened with violent actions, including the killing of people attending a future campaign event.

    This series of threats comes on the heels of a mass shooting in nearby Maine in late October, which resulted in the death of 18 people.

    As stated in the press release, Anderson was apprehended on December 9. He made his first appearance in federal court two days later, on December 11. Following a series of hearings, Anderson was released under certain conditions on December 14. Each of the charges he faces carries a potential sentence of up to five years imprisonment, a supervised release period of up to three years, and a financial penalty that could reach up to $250,000.

    The Attorney General's office refrained from identifying the three presidential candidates involved in its press release. Furthermore, no attorney has been identified representing Anderson.

    The Attorney General, Merrick Garland, expressed concern over the increasing number of threats of violence against public officials and those seeking public office across the nation. Garland emphasized in a statement, "These types of illegal threats undermine the function of our democracy." He gave a stern warning that such threats of violence aimed at public officials or those aiming to seek public office will not be tolerated.

  • Thaiger

    Florida Governor DeSantis claims Trump's indictments have warped the Republican primary

    In an interview broadcasted on Thursday, Florida's Governor Ron DeSantis expressed that the indictments against Donald Trump have warped the Republican presidential primary, taking away the spotlight from other candidates. He stated, "If I could alter one thing, I would wish for Trump to have not been indicted on any of these charges, right from the allegations by Alvin Bragg onwards." He was referring to the case put forth by the Manhattan District Attorney, alleging that Trump had falsified business records related to hush money payments. These payments were made to suppress affair accusations from adult film actress Stormy Daniels during the 2016 presidential campaign.

    DeSantis, currently trailing in the Republican presidential primary, shared with the Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN) that "a figure like Bragg would not have brought forth this case if it were anyone other than Donald Trump. This not only distorts justice, which is concerning, but I also believe it has warped the primary." When asked whether he thought this situation benefited the significantly leading candidate Trump, DeSantis responded, "It's both that, and it also just overshadowed so much else and consumed a lot of attention."

    He reiterated, during his interview with CBN while campaigning in Iowa, "For the primary, it distorted. Yes, I believe it distorted." His remarks aimed to set expectations as he makes a desperate push to gain momentum with only weeks left before the start of primary voting. Not only is he significantly lagging behind Trump, but he is also in a tight contest for the second position with Nikki Haley, the previous governor of South Carolina.

  • Thaiger

    Republicans defend Trump's controversial comments on immigrants, link them to fentanyl crisis

    In the aftermath of the controversial remarks made by former President Donald Trump about immigrants, which have been likened to Adolf Hitler's rhetoric, a number of Republicans are rallying to his defense. They suggest that perhaps Trump was alluding to the issue of the fentanyl crisis. While some party members have dismissed or strongly criticised his comments, others have come to his support.

    One such supporter is the Senator from Alaska, who highlighted the high incidence of fentanyl poisoning in the state during a conference call with Alaskan Native leaders a few months ago. The first three questions they asked were related to the issue of the southern border. The Senator said, "So if he was kind of getting at that — I didn’t see the whole context of it — I agree. But I wouldn’t use that rhetoric. But are these illegal immigrants poisoning Americans and killing them at really high rates? Yeah, especially in my state, and I’m 4,000 kilometres away from the border.”

    Similarly, the Senator from Ohio attempted to connect Trump's comments to the crisis that resulted in over 105,000 American deaths last year. He clarified that Trump didn't state that immigrants were poisoning the country, rather, he said illegal immigrants were, which is objectively true when you consider the statistics about fentanyl overdoses.

    At a rally in New Hampshire, Trump claimed that millions of people are being allowed into the country and that "They’re poisoning the blood of our country." He further asserted that people are pouring into the US from all over the world, warning that the crime and terrorism rates will be tremendous.

    His comments have drawn parallels to those of Hitler, with images of Trump and Hitler being posted on social media by President Joe Biden's campaign, showing quotes that compare their language. Trump's campaign has not clarified what he meant by immigrants poisoning the country, but he denied any connection to Hitler at a rally in Iowa.

    On Monday, a New York Representative defended Trump's remarks during an interview on CNN, interpreting them as a critique of Democratic policies. She suggested that Trump was referring to the open border policy and the migrant crisis in New York City, and asserted that the real poison is the amount of fentanyl entering the US through the open border.

    These defenses from Republicans are consistent with the familiar pattern of the party's standard-bearer that has been evident since his 2016 White House bid. When Trump makes a controversial statement that sparks widespread outrage, his party is left to deflect or find ways to defend him. This cycle seemed to have peaked with the Capitol attack on January 6, but since then, most Republicans have rallied around his bid to retake the White House, with Trump continuing to lead the GOP primary field by a significant margin in national polls.

  • Thaiger

    Adam Schiff leads in California Senate race but battle for second place heats up

    LOS ANGELES — Congressman Adam Schiff appears to have a significant advantage in the battle for a California seat in the U.S. Senate, according to recent polling data. The upcoming primary in March could solidify his position. However, the real struggle seems to be for the second position in the general election, with Steve Garvey, a Republican, and Democratic Representatives Katie Porter and Barbara Lee locked in a close contest. Garvey has presented himself as a moderate, not explicitly aligning with former President Trump, while Porter and Lee are known for their strong ties to the progressive wing of the Democratic party.

    The outcome of this secondary competition will dictate whether the November election will turn into a prolonged battle between two Democrats, or a simpler contest between Republican and Democratic ideologies in a predominantly liberal California. Schiff, who has served 12 terms as a Democrat from Burbank, is currently favored by 28% of likely voters, including those who are undecided but leaning towards him. Garvey, a former Los Angeles Dodgers star, comes in second with 19%, followed by Porter with 17% and Lee with 14%, resulting in a statistical tie.

    Republicans James Bradley and Eric Early trail with 7% each, while Christina Pascucci, a Democrat and former news anchor, sits at 4%. These results indicate a significant increase in support for Garvey compared to previous polls. Despite announcing his candidacy in October, he has maintained a relatively low-key campaign with few public appearances. Meanwhile, the leading Democrats have been actively campaigning across the state for most of the year.

    For the Republican party in California, which has struggled in statewide races, breaking into the top two would be a significant achievement. If Garvey fails to secure enough Republican votes, the party risks being excluded from the November contest. Schiff's lead can be attributed to his popularity among Democrats, older voters, and men. Among self-identified Democratic voters, Schiff (44%) is well ahead of both Porter (24%) and Lee (21%).

    Porter and Lee, however, are doing well with younger voters. The three Democrats are virtually tied with voters born in 1997 or later. But among voters aged 65 and older, Schiff has a substantial lead with 37% compared to Garvey's 22%, with Lee (13%) and Porter (12%) trailing significantly. Schiff, the only male among the three main Democratic contenders, is the preferred choice of 54% of male Democrats. However, Schiff (35%) also has a slight lead over both Porter (29%) and Lee (27%) among Democratic women.

    The primary has exposed ideological differences among the Democratic candidates. Schiff (45%) is the top choice of likely primary voters who identify as liberals, leading Porter (23%) and Lee (20%). Lee, the sole major African American candidate, has a slight edge with Black voters, outperforming Schiff by 31% to 24%.

    While the three Democrats have similar policy views, the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas has been a distinguishing factor in the race. Lee, a known anti-war advocate, stood out by calling for an immediate cease-fire following Hamas' attack on October 7, aligning with her party's left-leaning members. Schiff opposes a cease-fire, arguing that Israel has a right to defend itself while striving to minimize casualties among Palestinian civilians. His stance aligns with that of the current administration. Porter initially supported the President's position but recently adopted a more balanced stance, advocating for a "bilateral cease-fire" to end the violence.

    In the poll, likely primary voters are divided: 40% believe the U.S. is providing the right amount of support to Israel in its conflict with Hamas, while 27% think the U.S. is doing too much, and 19% believe it's not doing enough. Republicans are more likely than Democrats or independents to believe that the U.S. isn't doing enough for Israel, but the differences are not substantial.

    Thirty-three percent of Porter's supporters believe the U.S. is currently doing too much to help Israel, slightly more than the share of Schiff (28%), Garvey (26%), and Lee (20%) supporters. The polling data was gathered from December 15-19, primarily before Porter announced her support for a cease-fire. The poll surveyed 858 likely voters online and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3%.

  • Thaiger

    Americans unenthusiastic about potential Trump vs Biden rematch in 2024

    As public opinion polls on the 2024 presidential race continue to roll in, it's evident that the majority of Americans are not interested in seeing a rematch between Donald Trump and Joe Biden. The ongoing slew of misfortunes and blunders from both sides are further confirming this sentiment, revealing the glaring weaknesses of both potential nominees and debunking the notion that either of them have a straightforward path to triumph.

    Donald Trump, 75 years old, who took a lead over Joe Biden in numerous presidential polls, recently sparked controversy by incorporating elements from Third Reich propaganda into his campaign speech. Despite weeks of outperforming his GOP primary rivals and demonstrating a potential to defeat Biden, Trump is again facing criticism for his provocative remarks, and is having to assure the public that he had not been reading Adolf Hitler's 'Mein Kampf.'

    Biden, 80 years old, on the other hand, is causing concern within his party due to his seemingly indifferent response to his declining political standing. Having been in a steady political decline with no signs of recovery, his insistence that everything is fine is not convincing. According to Monmouth University polling released on Monday, Biden's approval rating stands at a mere 34%, the lowest ever recorded for him. When pitted against Trump in swing-state matchups, Biden consistently lags behind.

    Trump's legal troubles have resurfaced, taking center stage once again. On Tuesday, the Colorado high court ruled that due to his role in inciting the insurrection on January 6, 2021, Trump is ineligible to run for president again. This ruling is likely to prompt the Supreme Court to determine whether he can hold future public office. Despite these legal battles, Trump's potential criminal liabilities remain a dark cloud that could potentially jeopardize his chances.

    Trump's erratic leadership style and his readiness to disrupt his party have been recently exemplified by his call for a primary challenge to Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas), even though the filing deadline in Texas had already passed. In addition, Trump officially endorsed Bernie Moreno, a former car dealer with no political experience, for the Senate in Ohio.

    Meanwhile, Biden continues to grapple with persistent issues that he has been unable to resolve, including perceptions of his ineffective handling of the economy. Despite his best efforts, Americans remain pessimistic about the economic outlook. On Monday, the president's pro-industrial policy stance took a hit when U.S. Steel agreed to a full cash sale to Japan's Nippon Steel worth $14.9 billion, causing outrage among Rust Belt Democrats and giving Republicans another issue to exploit.

    Biden's political vulnerability is also evident in the area of border security, with voters favoring Trump over him on immigration issues. His hopes of achieving a bipartisan immigration deal were dashed this week when Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell announced that any agreement would have to wait until the new year.

    The recent events provide a glimpse into the upcoming campaign, a campaign that seems unable to gain traction between candidates that Americans do not want.

  • Thaiger

    Biden campaign draws direct comparison between Trump and Hitler in latest graphic

    In a bold move, the campaign of the current president, Joe Biden, on Wednesday presented a graphic that drew a direct comparison between former president Donald Trump and the infamous Nazi leader, Adolf Hitler. The image, which was uploaded on a social media platform, marks a sharp escalation in the president's campaign's determined effort to tie its likely Republican opponent in the next general election to the notorious dictator. The graphic indicates the direction this attack line may take as the president's reelection bid intensifies.

    The graphic, labeled "TRUMP PARROTS HITLER," juxtaposes three quotes from the 45th president with those from the Nazi leader. One of Trump's quotes reads, "Immigrants are 'poisoning the blood of our country,'" positioned above a partial quote from Hitler, "'Contamination of the blood' by 'an inferior race' will lead to the fall of Germany." The Biden campaign's response to this was a tweet stating, "This is not a coincidence."

    The practice of likening a political adversary to Hitler was once considered off-limits in political campaigns. However, it has now become a standard tactic for the Biden campaign, which points out that historians themselves have indicated that Trump's rhetoric mirrors that of fascist leaders. The campaign has drawn parallels between Trump's and Hitler's statements on multiple occasions in recent weeks, calling on journalists to scrutinize the former president's speeches, especially those addressing immigration, more closely.

    Trump has dismissed the comparison, although he has not retracted his remarks. At a rally that took place yesterday, he reiterated that immigrants were "destroying the blood of our country" and declared that he had "never read 'Mein Kampf'" — Hitler's manifesto. The Biden campaign did not let this go unchallenged, with spokesperson TJ Ducklo retorting, "Probably the audiobook then."

    While Biden has been more cautious about making an explicit comparison between Trump and Hitler in his public statements, he has recently come closer to doing so. Speaking at a fundraising event held last night, Biden observed that Trump's language "reminds us of the language coming out of Germany in the '30s." He noted, "He has called those who oppose him 'vermin.' And, again, this weekend, he talked about 'the blood of our country' is being poisoned. Even conservative Republicans have spoken out against it."

  • Thaiger

    Ohio state representative Derek Merrin joins crucial primary for swing seat in Toledo after GOP candidate's disparaging remarks on Trump

    The House Republican leaders have successfully persuaded Ohio State Representative Derek Merrin to participate in a primary for a crucial swing seat in Toledo, just ahead of the state's filing deadline. This move comes after their leading candidate, Craig Riedel, was recorded disparaging former President Donald Trump, prompting a frantic search for a new contender against seasoned Democratic Representative Marcy Kaptur.

    However, this strategy involves significant risks. The Republicans are concerned about the possibility of a repeat of the previous year's scenario, where J.R. Majewski secured the primary but subsequently lost to Kaptur. Riedel's continued participation in the race could potentially divide the anti-Majewski votes between him and Merrin, thereby allowing Majewski another shot at the nomination.

    Originally, the Republicans had hoped for Riedel to block Majewski in the March primary. Majewski lost the previous race by a 13% margin after a news article suggested he had misrepresented his military service in Afghanistan. Senior Republicans are convinced that Majewski would lose again to the incumbent.

    In 2022, contentious candidates potentially prevented the House Republicans from securing a more significant majority. Determined to prevent a repeat in 2024, they are concentrating their efforts on seats currently held by Democrats in districts that Trump won in 2020, such as Kaptur's. However, the leaked audio has raised doubts about Riedel's ability to secure a primary win.

    To this end, leading House Republicans initiated a confidential campaign to persuade Merrin, a former mayor who nearly became the speaker of the Ohio House earlier this year, to join the race. According to inside sources, Speaker Mike Johnson personally urged Merrin to run, with National Republican Congressional Committee Chair Richard Hudson and Dan Conston, president of the Congressional Leadership Fund super PAC, also offering their encouragement.

    Their efforts bore fruit on Wednesday, though the struggle is far from over. Despite the additional competition, Riedel's campaign has confirmed that he will remain in the race. The possibility of Majewski winning the primary with a plurality is not only theoretical - it is precisely what occurred in 2022 when Riedel and another candidate unintentionally split the vote in their attempt to block Majewski's nomination.

    Riedel's spokesperson, Mark Harris, expressed confidence in their chances of winning the primary, suggesting that Majewski could potentially benefit from additional competition. He also stated that no one from the House leadership or the House GOP campaign arm had requested Riedel to withdraw from the race.

    As of the end of September, Riedel had amassed over $500,000 for the primary, and he's already initiated a negative campaign. Last week, he aired a TV ad in West Palm Beach accusing Majewski of insulting the former president in a private message, likely in an attempt to secure a Trump endorsement.

    However, Merrin is expected to receive considerable support from party leaders in Washington, D.C., who can channel funds and bolster his campaign. The Congressional Leadership Fund, the most prominent House GOP super PAC, has singled out the district as one of its priority targets and is prepared to intervene in GOP primaries in pivotal swing seats.

    Merrin, appointed to his state legislative district in 2016, will need to act swiftly to raise funds and launch his campaign. His district partially overlaps with the congressional district, meaning he has existing connections with some voters. His profile was elevated last year when the state House GOP nominated him for speaker, though he was ultimately denied the position. Merrin is serving his final term in the state House and will not be eligible for reelection in 2024.

    Kaptur, the Democratic incumbent, has held her seat since 1982. The decennial redistricting has made her position considerably more competitive.

  • Thaiger

    Marianne Williamson criticizes Massachusetts Democratic party for only submitting Biden's name for Super Tuesday primary ballot

    BOSTON — Democratic presidential candidate Marianne Williamson has expressed her dissatisfaction after discovering that only the name of President Joe Biden was submitted by the Massachusetts Democratic Party for the upcoming Super Tuesday presidential primary ballot. In a post made on the social media platform X, previously known as Twitter, on Wednesday, Williamson claimed that the decision by Democratic Chair Steve Kerrigan to protect Biden was a direct infringement on the rights of Massachusetts Democrats. Williamson emphasized that this move was a clear breach of the Democratic National Committee's rules and processes.

    In recent times, the Massachusetts Democrats have joined a number of state parties in excluding the names of those challenging the incumbent president from their candidate lists for the primary ballot. This action has been criticized by Biden's rivals, who see it as protection of the incumbent that effectively disenfranchises voters.

    Nevertheless, there exist two alternative methods of securing a spot on the primary ballot in Massachusetts. One can either submit 2500 nominating signatures to local election officials by Friday, or rely on the secretary of state to add candidates who have gained recognition from the national media if their party does not forward their name.

    The secretary of state, Bill Galvin, has not yet decided on who would qualify for the ballot as a nationally recognized candidate because the deadline for signature submission has not been reached. According to Galvin's office, both Williamson and Representative Dean Phillips, a Democrat from Minnesota, have taken nomination papers.

    A representative from Williamson's campaign, who requested anonymity to discuss campaign strategy, has stated that the campaign does not intend to submit the necessary signatures by Friday. Instead, they are depending on Galvin to add Williamson to the ballot.

    The representative also revealed to POLITICO that the campaign had been following the process as outlined by the state party and the DNC. However, they only discovered the chair's decision in the last 48 hours, leading to a feeling of being led on until the last minute. The secretary of state's office confirmed that candidates could have taken the papers as early as September.

    Phillips' campaign is expected to meet Friday's signature deadline. Katie Dolan, a spokesperson for the Minnesota congressman, expressed frustration over the fact that yet another state Democratic party is favoring incumbency over competition. She confirmed that they would be exploring all possible avenues to get onto the ballot.

    It is not uncommon for only the incumbent's name to be submitted for the presidential primary in Massachusetts. This was the case in 2020 when the Massachusetts GOP only put forward then-President Donald Trump's name, despite having challengers like the state's former governor, Bill Weld. Galvin later added Weld to the ballot.

    This year, the Massachusetts GOP has submitted Trump along with several other names, including former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, former Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson, and businessperson Ryan Binkley.

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    United Latin American Citizens League and Anti-Defamation League criticize Trump's immigration rhetoric, drawing parallels to Hitler

    The United Latin American Citizens League, joined by the Anti-Defamation League, has criticized the former President Donald Trump, accusing him of stirring up "the lowest and most sinister human emotions." This accusation comes in response to his recent comments where he claimed that migrants are "poisoning the blood of our country" during a recent campaign rally.

    Domingo Garcia, who holds the position of national president at the United Latin American Citizens League, released a statement on a Tuesday afternoon. He said, "The recent claims made by Donald Trump, accusing immigrants of 'poisoning the blood of America,' strongly echo the language used by Adolf Hitler and the Nazi regime." Garcia further claimed that Trump's words are intentionally designed to create hatred and fear. He stated, "They appeal to the lowest and most sinister human emotions, inciting hatred, and potentially causing harm or worse to innocent men, women, and children."

    These aren't the first remarks from Trump that have drawn such comparisons. The campaign of current President Joe Biden highlighted Trump's harsh language shortly after the conclusion of his Saturday rally in Durham, New Hampshire. Ammar Moussa, a spokesperson for Biden-Harris 2024, said, "Tonight, Donald Trump emulated his role models as he echoed Adolf Hitler, lauded Kim Jong Un, and quoted Vladimir Putin, all while running for president with a promise to rule as a dictator and threaten American democracy."

    This is the fourth time in the past six weeks that Biden's campaign has drawn parallels between Trump's comments and Hitler's in written statements. Various civil rights groups have consistently warned that such statements can potentially result in violence.

    Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, released a statement on Tuesday stating, "We have witnessed this kind of toxic rhetoric inspire real-world acts of violence in places like Pittsburgh and El Paso. It should have no place in our politics, period. America thrives as a pluralistic society that welcomes immigrants."

    Trump, who is currently leading in the GOP primary, recently faced backlash for referring to his political adversaries as "vermin," a term that has been used by fascist dictators like Hitler and Benito Mussolini in the past.

    Lydia Guzman, Chair of the National Immigration Committee at the United Latin American Citizens League, warned on Tuesday that Trump's attacks "will serve to mobilize the Latino vote," a group of voters both campaigns are actively courting ahead of the 2024 election.

    Steven Cheung, a spokesperson for Trump's 2024 campaign, fired back at the groups stating, "They should put an end to their own fear-mongering, particularly when a new record was recently established regarding the number of illegal crossings at the border."

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    Tucker Carlson criticizes Florida Governor DeSantis' online representatives as 'nastiest and stupidest' people

    During a recent event at Turning Point USA's AmericaFest, Tucker Carlson, a former Fox News host, fiercely criticized the online representatives of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, describing them as "the nastiest, the stupidest, and the most zero-sum people" he has ever encountered. Among those targeted by Carlson's harsh words was Christina Pushaw, who serves as the Director of Rapid Response for the potential Republican presidential candidate.

    In response to Carlson's critique, Pushaw took to the social media platform, X, previously known as Twitter. In a seemingly retaliatory post on Tuesday, she referenced the controversial rhetoric of the Trump campaign, writing, "Hearing that some people find the rhetoric from DeSantis spokespeople vile and appalling. I guess we should do better and rise to the refined level of Team Trump, by calling opponents’ wives the c-word and accusing cancer survivors of faking it."

    Despite attempts to obtain a comment, a spokesperson for DeSantis' campaign remained silent on Carlson's statements.

    Carlson, who has publicly shown support for former President Donald Trump in his attempt to regain the presidency, has had his name suggested as a potential candidate for vice president. This is despite revelations that he, along with other Fox News hosts, had privately criticized Trump during the 2020 election period.

    Despite his criticism of DeSantis' online representatives, Carlson clarified on Monday that he does hold a favorable view of DeSantis himself. This sentiment was echoed by Tim Pool, a conservative podcast host, who agreed with Carlson's assessment.

    Pool suggested that DeSantis should have dismissed his campaign team quite some time ago, stating during the Monday event, "Ron should have fired the people running his campaign a long time ago. Politically, and policy wise, we love Ron DeSantis. He’s done an amazing job. But his campaign is a train wreck."

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    Trump expresses interest in challenging Texas Representative Chip Roy despite missed filing deadline

    In a surprising move, former President Donald Trump has expressed interest in having a primary candidate challenge Texas Representative Chip Roy. This comes despite the fact that the filing deadline for such a challenge passed a week ago. Trump's desire to see a challenge against Roy was made public in a social media post on Monday evening.

    In his post, Trump referred to Roy, a Republican from Texas, as a 'RINO', an acronym for 'Republican in Name Only'. Trump's post read, "Has any smart and energetic Republican in the Great State of Texas decided to run in the Primary against RINO Congressman Chip Roy. For the right person, he is very beatable. If interested, let me know!!!" This message was shared on Truth Social, a social media platform.

    However, the deadline for filing for the Texas primary passed on December 11, and there are currently no other Republicans running to challenge Roy in the primary scheduled for March 5.

    The strain in the relationship between Trump and Roy is not a new development. Roy was one of the Republicans who voted against overturning the results of the 2020 election. Furthermore, when Roy campaigned for the position of conference chair in 2021, Trump endorsed Representative Elise Stefanik from New York, who ultimately won the post.

    Adding to the tension, Roy has endorsed one of Trump's opponents in the upcoming 2024 presidential race. This opponent is none other than Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. The ongoing dynamics between these political figures continue to shape the Republican narrative as we move closer to the 2024 elections.

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    Biden's campaign strategy: Drawing parallels between Trump's rhetoric and Hitler's fascism

    In what was once considered contentious, the political landscape has seen an increase in the likening of an opponent's words to those of Adolf Hitler. This trend is particularly noticeable in the context of the former president, Donald Trump. Historians have pointed out that his rhetoric, particularly towards undocumented immigrants, often mirrors fascist sentiments. This has prompted Joe Biden's campaign to regularly highlight these parallels in their messaging.

    During a rally in New Hampshire, Trump claimed that undocumented immigrants were "poisoning the blood of our country." A Biden campaign aide, whose role is to monitor Trump's remarks, quickly shared these comments with the team. In response, the campaign released a statement criticizing Trump for mimicking Adolf Hitler, praising Kim Jong Un, and quoting Vladimir Putin.

    Trump's rhetoric has prompted Biden's campaign to draw comparisons to Hitler's rhetoric four times within the last six weeks. The campaign is expected to continue this trend, especially with the increasing likelihood of a rematch in the presidential race. The approach forms part of Biden's central message of protecting democracy, while also promoting his ability to handle the economy.

    Michael Tyler, the communications director of Biden's campaign, emphasized their commitment to highlighting these issues. He stated, "Every time he says it, we are going to call it out. He’s going to echo the rhetoric of Hitler and Mussolini, and we’re going to make sure that people understand just how serious that is every single time."

    This decision was influenced by Biden's discussion with a group of historians about the growing threats to the nation's democracy from Trump and his supporters. These historians advised Biden to call out Trump each time he evoked Hitler or other dictators.

    When Trump used Hitler's term "vermin" at another New Hampshire rally, Biden's campaign did not hesitate to criticize him. Biden himself emphasized the historical significance of such language, pointing out its similarity to phrases used in Nazi Germany in the 1930s.

    However, some insiders from Biden's campaign acknowledge that this strategy may be perceived by voters as overly confrontational. Despite this, they argue that it is necessary to clearly outline the autocratic nature of a potential second term for Trump.

    The former Senator, Ted Kaufman, a longtime adviser to Biden, expressed concern over the worsening situation. He stated, "We’re in unprecedented territory in a very, very negative, negative way." He also echoed the sentiment that Trump's rhetoric is not ordinary and should be treated as such.

    In recent months, Trump has not only maintained his praise for dictators but has also intensified his racist and anti-immigrant language. His campaign did not respond when asked to comment.

    Celinda Lake, who worked as a pollster for Biden’s 2020 campaign, noted a shift in voters' perception of Trump. While voters initially dismissed Trump's rhetoric as thoughtless, his increasingly severe language has led to increased criticism.

    Jim Messina, who led Barack Obama’s reelection campaign in 2012, emphasized the importance of consistently highlighting Trump's erratic behavior to voters.

    The Biden campaign has stressed that this is not just about language but also about what a more autocratic second term of Trump would mean for individuals' rights. To illustrate this point, the campaign recently launched a TV advertisement comparing Trump to Latin American strongmen. The ad implies that Republicans, like these dictators, aim to take away people's health insurance, rights, freedoms, and safety.

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    Georgia election workers file new lawsuit to prevent Rudy Giuliani from spreading unfounded election fraud claims

    In the wake of their recent $148 million defamation victory against Rudy Giuliani, two Georgia election workers, Ruby Freeman and her daughter Shaye Moss, have filed a fresh lawsuit. This new legal action, launched only three days following the announcement of the hefty judgment, seeks to prevent Giuliani from further circulating his unfounded allegations of fraud relating to the 2020 election. These allegations were a frequent topic during the trial.

    The new lawsuit seeks a court injunction against Giuliani, preventing him from continuing to propagate his baseless election-related claims against the mother-daughter duo. While the complaint does not expressly request monetary damages, accompanying documentation suggests the relief sought is valued in excess of $75,000.

    Freeman and Moss have requested that their new lawsuit be assigned to U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell, who presided over the trial last week. Howell had previously found Giuliani liable in the defamation case, concluding that he had intentionally ignored the attempts by Freeman, Moss, and the court to collect evidence regarding their claims.

    On the same day they filed their new lawsuit, Freeman and Moss also called on Howell to expedite the enforcement of the $148 million judgment. They cited reports of Giuliani's mounting debts and potential insolvency, suggesting that these could prompt him to attempt to avoid making payments.

    Michael Gottlieb, a lawyer representing Freeman and Moss, argued that Giuliani had already shown his intent to avoid paying the court's previous sanctions orders, and that this provided ample reason to believe he would try to evade payment of the judgment by any means possible.

    In August, Howell ruled that Giuliani was liable for defaming Freeman and Moss. This decision was partially based on his refusal to preserve and hand over key evidence in the case. Howell also noted that Giuliani had concealed efforts to determine his net worth and assets, information she had previously requested through court orders.

    The plaintiffs now argue that they need to secure these assets before Giuliani has the opportunity to dispose of them. Gottlieb wrote that there is "a substantial risk that Defendant Giuliani will find a way to dissipate those assets before Plaintiffs are able to recover," adding that Giuliani's "significant debts" put his personal solvency in jeopardy.

    On Friday, an eight-member civil jury awarded the $148 million judgment. The unanimous decision included $75 million in "punitive" damages, intended to deter future attempts to defame election workers involved in vote-counting in upcoming elections.

    However, given Giuliani's current financial situation, even if Howell rules in favor of the election workers on all pending matters and Giuliani's promised appeal is unsuccessful, it seems unlikely that Freeman and Moss will be able to recover an amount anywhere near the $148 million awarded by the jury.

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    America Votes appoints Daria Dawson as new executive director, becoming the first person of color in the role

    The progressive nonprofit organization, America Votes, has announced the appointment of a new executive director, following the departure of its former head to President Joe Biden's reelection campaign. Daria Dawson, who has been serving the organization as national political director and deputy executive director since 2020, will now take the helm. Prior to this, Dawson held the role of director of strategic engagement for Vice President Kamala Harris’ presidential campaign.

    Dawson spoke about her new role, stating, “At a time when the basic rights of Americans are being eroded and the country's democracy is delicately balanced, I am immensely excited to be called upon to lead the America Votes coalition.” The announcement of Dawson's promotion is set to be made public on Monday. Significantly, Dawson will be the first individual of color to take on the role of executive director within the organization.

    Sara Schreiber, the former executive director, was recently appointed as the chief of staff for Biden’s reelection campaign. America Votes, established as a coordination hub within the progressive community, operates as a progressive umbrella group. Its efforts are focused on voter turnout, ballot access, and coordinating with other liberal advocacy groups.

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    How Trump's potential conviction could slightly impact Biden's chances in 2024 election

    The Democratic party has been relying on an anticipated conviction of Donald Trump to swing voters in favor of Joe Biden. However, despite increased negative views of Biden's job performance and his declining popularity, a Trump conviction might only slightly affect the outcome of the race.

    Trump's legal troubles are indeed notable, but it's unclear if a criminal conviction would significantly impact his chances against Biden. Polls suggest a minor shift in voter preference rather than a massive swing against Trump.

    A recent Wall Street Journal poll showed Trump leading Biden by four percentage points (47% to 43%). When respondents were asked how they would vote if Trump were convicted in any of the ongoing federal cases, Biden's lead increased by just one percentage point. These results indicate that a significant shift against Trump is unlikely.

    This small margin of change is only relevant if Trump is convicted before the election. With several trials planned for 2024, there's no certainty that these cases will conclude before Election Day.

    Trump's past controversies have often prompted critics to prematurely declare his political career over. Notable instances include the 2016 "Access Hollywood" tape scandal and the aftermath of the 2020 defeat and the January 6, 2021 Capitol riot. However, Trump has consistently shown resilience, recovering in time to defeat Hillary Clinton in 2016 and becoming the Republican favorite for the nomination earlier this year.

    Last month, a New York Times/Siena College poll asked likely voters in six swing states who were not supporting Biden what they would do if Trump were convicted and sentenced to prison but were still the Republican nominee. Five percent of the likely electorate across those states said they would vote for Biden under that circumstance. Although this could potentially tip the race to the Democratic incumbent, it's not a guarantee, especially considering Biden's current standings.

    Other polls have also indicated that a criminal conviction could provide a slight boost to Biden. However, such an event would not drastically shift voter preference. Even polls conducted by interested parties, such as WPA Intelligence working for the pro-Ron DeSantis super PAC Never Back Down, show only minor shifts toward Biden if Trump were convicted.

    While there are polls suggesting a Trump conviction could have a significant impact, they often overlook the polarization of the electorate. As an example, a Reuters/Ipsos poll found 64% of Americans agreeing that Trump "should not run for president" if he's convicted of a crime. However, agreeing he shouldn't run doesn't necessarily mean they wouldn't vote for him given a limited number of choices on the ballot.

    In conclusion, most Americans reportedly do not favor either Trump or Biden running for president, despite the high probability they will be the nominees. If the 2024 election turns out to be a rematch of 2020, it will be a contest between two candidates the country doesn't particularly want. It appears voters have already factored in Trump's legal issues in their preferences.

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    Jewish heritage and military service in Israel: Republican candidate Mazi Melesa Pilip's bid in Long Island special election

    In a significant Long Island special election, the Republican congressional candidate introduced herself to voters on Friday, emphasizing her military service in Israel and her Jewish heritage. Mazi Melesa Pilip, the candidate in question, regards her Jewish faith as integral to her identity and is appealing to a district where support for Israel holds great significance.

    During a rally in Nassau County, Pilip expressed strong solidarity with Israel, Ukraine, and all nations facing terrorism, a sentiment that was met with applause and cheering from the crowd. Pilip's nomination by New York Republicans paves the way for the February 13 special election intended to fill the seat left vacant by the removal of former Representative George Santos.

    Pilip, a legislator from Nassau County, will be competing against former Democratic Representative Tom Suozzi in a district that houses a substantial Jewish population. Many within this population were offended by Santos' false claims of Holocaust survivor descent. Both Pilip and Suozzi are avid supporters of Israel, with Suozzi stating his opposition to any conditions on aid to the Jewish state.

    This race could potentially determine control of the House in 2025 and provide insight into how the Israel-Hamas conflict will impact the presidential election next year. Lawrence Levy, executive dean of the National Center for Suburban Studies at Hofstra University, pointed out that both Suozzi's and Pilip's unwavering support for Israel might influence younger, more liberal voters to abstain from the election.

    On Friday, Republicans supporting Pilip sought to highlight the contrasts between her and Suozzi. Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman introduced her as an immigrant, a woman of color, a deeply religious individual, a fighter, and a lover of America. Pilip, an Ethiopian-born mother of seven, delivered brief, prepared remarks at her rally before swiftly leaving the venue.

    Pilip's party members, who are predominantly white and male, answered reporters' queries on her behalf. They emphasized the need for someone like Pilip in Congress to challenge those they accused of being antisemitic.

    Pilip, although a registered Democrat, was elected to local office as a Republican. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has accused Republicans of trying to conceal their candidate, referring to Pilip as a "MAGA extremist." Suozzi, on the other hand, reaffirmed his support for Israel and the Jewish community as the conflict with Hamas enters its third month.

    In comparison to the more nationally recognized Suozzi, Pilip is a lesser-known candidate. She didn't enter the race until recently and has not been widely available for interviews following her nomination. However, Pilip's allies highlight her unique backstory — being airlifted from Ethiopia into Israel as part of Operation Solomon, serving as a paratrooper in the Israeli Defense Forces, and being married to a doctor of Ukrainian-Jewish descent — as fitting the current political climate.

    Levy noted that the 3rd Congressional District has one of the largest Jewish populations of any New York suburb. Although the fast-growing Orthodox communities consistently support the Republican party, Levy pointed out that Jewish voters as a whole still tend to support Democrats.

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    Nikki Haley confirms participation in CNN's Republican presidential debate ahead of Iowa Caucus

    On Friday, Nikki Haley, the former governor of South Carolina, confirmed her participation in the Republican presidential debate scheduled for January 10 by CNN, ahead of the Iowa Caucus. This sets the stage for a likely face-off between Haley and Ron DeSantis, the governor of Florida.

    Haley, in a statement released on Thursday, said, "The initial four debates have been beneficial for our campaign and the voters, and we anticipate the fifth in Iowa with great enthusiasm." She added, "As the debate stage continues to reduce in size, it's becoming more challenging for Donald Trump to remain unnoticed."

    CNN has planned two debates in January - one on January 10 in Iowa, and the other on January 21 in New Hampshire. These debates are not sanctioned by the Republican National Committee (RNC), which generally managed debates and candidate forums exclusively. The RNC initially threatened to exclude candidates participating in unsanctioned events from future official debates. But after the fourth primary debate, the committee retracted this policy, paving the way for debates hosted by other networks such as ABC and CNN.

    As of now, DeSantis is the only other presidential candidate who has qualified for the debate and agreed to participate.

    The rules set by CNN require candidates to secure 10% in three national and/or Iowa polls that meet CNN's methodological requirements to receive an invitation to the Iowa debate, and one of these polls must be from Iowa. As per the analysis, DeSantis, Haley, and former President Donald Trump are eligible for the Iowa debate. The deadline for qualification is January 2.

    In recent times, Haley and DeSantis have increasingly been at loggerheads with each other, both during and outside the debates. DeSantis has labeled Haley as an "establishment" candidate who was overly friendly with China during her tenure as South Carolina governor. In response, Haley's campaign has termed DeSantis' attacks as "desperate."

    Over the course of her campaign, Haley has gradually gained traction in the polls, competing with DeSantis for the second position behind Trump. The former president has consistently dominated over his rivals in the polls.

    Despite his significant lead in the polls, Trump has declined to participate in the first four GOP primary debates.

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    Teamsters union holds endorsement meetings with independent presidential candidates for 2024 election

    In 2020, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters endorsed President Joe Biden. However, the union has recently held meetings with two independent presidential candidates, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and Cornel West. As part of the union's endorsement process, these independent candidates were invited to present themselves in meetings with the union this week.

    West spent an hour interacting with Teamsters General President Sean O'Brien, General Secretary-Treasurer Fred Zuckerman, and other members at the Washington headquarters on Thursday. According to his campaign, West described the meeting as "magnificent" and referred to the Teamsters Union members as his "wonderful comrades."

    In addition to West and Kennedy, other invitees to the Teamsters' first round of endorsement roundtable interviews included GOP primary candidate Asa Hutchinson and Democratic primary challengers Marianne Williamson and Representative Dean Phillips. This marks a first for the Teamsters, who have never before conducted roundtable interviews with candidates from both parties and independent candidates.

    The backing of organized labor can be a game-changer in states with strong union presence, particularly in Midwestern swing states. Both Biden and former President Donald Trump sought the support of union workers during the UAW strikes earlier this year. Biden, who identifies as the most pro-union president in history, walked the picket line in Michigan with autoworkers, earning him an endorsement from the AFL-CIO, which represents 12.5 million workers.

    Despite this, the Teamsters, who represent 1.3 million members, are exploring all options. Neither Biden's nor Trump's campaigns offered any comments on the Teamsters' meetings.

    Trump has previously managed to secure substantial support from union members, despite not always receiving the backing of their leaders. During the UAW strike, Trump rallied with autoworkers in Detroit at a non-unionized auto shop. UAW President Shawn Fain was not supportive of Trump's visit, stating that the former president catered to the billionaire class, not the workers.

    The UAW is yet to endorse a candidate for the 2024 presidential race, but Biden and Fain met earlier this month. The Teamsters have announced plans to schedule interviews with every presidential candidate and host more roundtables in the coming year.

    Sean O'Brien stated in a press release, "Our union wants every candidate to know that there are 1.3 million Teamsters nationwide whose votes will not be taken for granted." This report includes contributions from Eugene Daniels.

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    Republicans' struggle with abortion stance: A look at the complexity and ongoing debates within the GOP

    In the ongoing political scenario, Nikki Haley, a Republican candidate, has been repeatedly queried about her stance on a national ban on abortion. She expressed her view on this as an approach to create fear among people, and found herself in a verbal tussle with fellow Republican, Chris Christie, on who has a more sensible perspective on the subject. However, these exchanges were overshadowed by remote events in Texas.

    Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, known for his association with ex-President Donald Trump, came into the limelight for preventing Kate Cox, carrying a fetus with a terminal condition, from terminating her pregnancy. Subsequently, on Wednesday, the Supreme Court agreed to consider a case which could potentially influence the accessibility of mifepristone. This judgment may hinder Republican attempts to present a reasonable outlook on this issue.

    The discrepancy between GOP candidates' attempts to adopt a moderate stance and real-world events that underscore the party's strong anti-abortion faction illustrates the complexity of this issue for the party. Eighteen months since the overturning of Roe v. Wade, even Republicans who aim to moderate or avoid discussion on this subject are finding it challenging to align with public opinion.

    Haley stated the need to humanize the situation and address it compassionately when asked about the Texas case at a recent town hall in New Hampshire.

    The discourse on abortion rights remains a focal point since the Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe last year, from Republicans' ongoing debate on a national abortion ban to off-year elections highlighting the prominence of abortion rights for voters.

    Republicans continue to struggle in identifying a position that appeals to both their core supporters and the wider public. This was emphasized by Christie at a town hall in New Hampshire on Wednesday. He remarked that Haley was attempting to cater to everyone on this issue.

    In contrast to some of her Republican counterparts, Haley's remarks on Cox's case in Texas reflect a less aggressive stance on abortion. This is not the first time that she has adopted this stance. In a GOP presidential debate in November, Haley encouraged Republicans to be candid about the feasibility of implementing a federal abortion ban.

    Florida Governor Ron DeSantis voiced a similar sentiment at a CNN town hall on Tuesday. He mentioned that situations like Cox's should be approached with compassion, referring to Florida's six-week abortion ban, which he endorsed earlier this year. This ban includes exceptions to safeguard the mother's life or if the fetus has a fatal condition.

    Christie, however, responded more directly, criticizing both the Texas Supreme Court and Haley for their lack of clarity. He stated that it was not pro-life to prevent a woman from terminating a pregnancy when her child is destined to die, and that may endanger her health. He emphasized that he would not enact a federal abortion ban but would leave it to the voters in the states.

    Haley responded to Christie's critique by stating that she supports voters in the states deciding their abortion laws. But she maintained that there is no consensus for a federal ban, and so she doesn't want to demonize the issue on a federal level.

    The presidential candidates found themselves compelled to address the Texas case as it captured national attention.

    After a lower court ruled last week that Cox would be able to receive an abortion, Paxton intervened and successfully appealed the case, blocking her ability to do so. Trump has not weighed in on the Cox case, and his campaign did not respond to a request for comment.

    President Joe Biden’s campaign is capitalizing on the opportunity to squarely blame the former president for appointing the Supreme Court justices who tipped the court into an anti-Roe majority.

    The Democrats' message got another boost with the announcement that the court would once again deliberate on abortion rights with the mifepristone case.

    After a series of losses in 2022 for anti-abortion causes and Republicans who supported them, 2023 only further demonstrated the staying power of abortion rights in the longer-term aftermath of Roe being overturned.

    Republicans have long struggled with how to message on abortion and are scrambling to figure out how to retool their strategy as 2024 approaches.

    Kellyanne Conway, a former Trump aide, even went to Capitol Hill this week to urge Republicans to pivot — talk less about banning abortion and more about protecting access to contraception.

    Sarah Chamberlain, head of the Republican Main Street Partnership, a conservative group that supports conservatives who enact commonsense legislation, agreed that Republicans need to shift their focus. This includes emphasizing that access to abortion is not a federal issue — it's up to the states. It's also necessary to lean into messaging about women's health care.

    Lisa Kashinsky and Meridith McGraw contributed to this report.

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    Appeals court denies Trump's attempt to revoke gag order in civil fraud trial

    NEW YORK - A recent attempt by former President Donald Trump to revoke a gag order, which restricts him from commenting on the judicial staff presiding over his $250 million civil fraud trial, was denied by an appeals court last Thursday. This ruling is yet another hurdle in Trump's struggle against these limitations.

    In a detailed four-page decision, the three-judge panel of the appeals court dismissed Trump's objection primarily on procedural grounds. The judges stated that Trump's method to attempt to revoke the gag order was not appropriate and that he still has the opportunity to appeal the order through regular appellate channels. The panel also highlighted that the potential for serious harm is limited, considering the gag order is narrow in scope, only prohibiting comments specifically about the court's staff.

    This decision does not alter the status of the gag order, which was reinstated on November 30 following a brief suspension earlier that same month by one of the judges from the New York appeals court, also known as the Appellate Division, First Judicial Department. The gag order against Trump, along with a separate gag order that prevents attorneys from commenting about court staff, have been a significant point of contention throughout the 11-week trial where Trump is accused of fraudulently inflating his net worth.

    The original gag order was issued just days after the trial began when Trump posted a negative social media comment about Allison Greenfield, the judge's law clerk who sits next to Justice Arthur Engoron on the bench. Engoron ruled that Trump subsequently breached the gag order on two occasions, resulting in two fines amounting to $15,000.

    Following numerous complaints from Trump's legal team regarding Greenfield, Engoron later issued a second gag order. This order prohibits all lawyers involved in the trial from discussing communications between himself and his staff.

    There is also a broader gag order imposed on Trump in his federal criminal case in Washington, D.C., where he faces charges of conspiring to subvert the 2020 election. Earlier this month, a federal appeals court mainly upheld this gag order, which prevents Trump from disparaging key witnesses in the case or commenting on prosecutors or court staff in ways that could potentially disrupt the trial.

    Although the testimonies in the civil fraud trial concluded on Wednesday, the closing arguments won't take place until mid-January.

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    Oregon Republican senators face potential career end over legislative walkout

    Ten Republican Senators from Oregon are at risk of having their legislative careers cut short due to their participation in a six-week legislative walkout. The walkout was an attempt to block what they perceived as an extreme Democratic agenda on issues such as firearms, abortion, and transgender healthcare. The Senators have been barred from running for re-election due to having at least ten unexcused absences during this year's legislative session. This ban, which is currently pending the outcome of two legal battles with key court hearings scheduled for this week, is the result of a 2022 constitutional referendum that was widely supported by voters.

    The Senators in question have expressed little regret over their actions. Senate Republican Leader Tim Knopp explained, "We were trying to defend the Constitution and Oregon law against those that essentially said, 'We have the votes, we can do whatever we want.' We thought it was a principle worth defending, even if it meant that we couldn't run for re-election."

    However, Democrats and other supporters of the referendum argue that this ban is necessary to counteract the growing trend of the minority party using walkouts as a tactic to disrupt the legislative process. Currently, Democrats hold 17 of the 30 seats in the Oregon Senate. Senate Majority Leader Kate Lieber stated, "The people of Oregon expect legislators to show up and do their job. You can't hold the Legislature hostage. Most Oregonians can't walk off the job for ten days and expect to keep their jobs."

    This 43-day legislative walkout was the longest in state history. The subsequent banishment of ten GOP senators demonstrates the growing partisan divide that is becoming increasingly prevalent in state capitals across the country.

    In other states, similar tactics have been employed. In Tennessee, the Republican-controlled House voted in April to expel two Democratic lawmakers for defying chamber rules in a protest for stricter gun control measures. In 2021, Texas Democratic lawmakers fled to Washington for several weeks in an attempt to block legislation that they claimed would suppress Texans' right to vote. In Nebraska, Republicans stifled Democratic dissent in the officially nonpartisan Legislature during this year's session by stacking committees and suspending the rules.

    The ten Oregon Republican lawmakers facing banishment are now turning to the courts for a reprieve. Two lawsuits—one in federal court and one in state court—are challenging the ballot measure. The federal lawsuit, filed by three GOP senators and three Republican party activists, argues that the measure violates their First Amendment rights to free speech.

    John Large, chair of the Lane County Republicans, one of the plaintiffs in the case, stated, "What they're trying to do is use extortion to prohibit freedom of speech. Thank God they walked out."

    The lawsuit also contends that the decision to mark absences as unexcused was arbitrary and solely at the discretion of Democratic Senate President Rob Wagner, a violation of the 14th Amendment's equal protection clause.

    The state lawsuit, filed by five of the banned Republican senators, takes a different approach. It seeks to interpret the wording of the referendum in a way that would only delay their electoral punishment, not prevent it entirely.

    With a March 12 filing deadline for state legislative candidates, these lawsuits need to be resolved quickly. Meanwhile, lawmakers will reconvene in the first week of February for a legislative session expected to last about a month. This will test whether the partisan discord that came to a head in 2023 will resurface.

    One potential change that could alter the dynamics in Salem would be to lower the threshold of lawmakers needed to conduct business. Currently, the Oregon constitution requires a quorum of two-thirds of lawmakers—one of only four states with such a high threshold.

    Despite the recent tensions, Democrats note that the majority of bills passed by the Legislature—more than 90%—enjoy significant bipartisan support. They believe there is still ample opportunity to work collaboratively on important policy issues such as combating the state's homelessness and addiction crisis.

    Whether these efforts to build goodwill and lessen partisan rancor will pay off won't be known until at least the next legislative session. Senator Daniel Bonham, one of the Republican senators who is prohibited from running for re-election, expressed no regrets for the walkout, even though it might mean the end of his legislative career. He explained, "The feeling was that our Democratic colleagues were taking this ballot measure out for a spin, so to speak, that they were pressing a more extreme agenda because they didn't think that there were any balances or checks to keep them accountable. You still have to deal with the fact that there's a minority party and that the process is governed by law."

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    Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla announces challenge against incumbent Rob Menendez in Democratic primary

    Ravi Bhalla, the Mayor of Hoboken, declared on Tuesday his intent to challenge the incumbent, Rob Menendez, in the upcoming Democratic primary. This showdown is anticipated to be an intense one, taking place in a staunchly Democratic district in northern New Jersey. The election will scrutinize Menendez's political acumen, particularly his ability to steer clear of controversies surrounding his father, Senator Bob Menendez. The elder Menendez is currently embroiled in federal charges related to allegations of acting as an agent for the Egyptian government during his tenure as the leader of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and of accepting bribes in the form of gold bars and cash-filled envelopes. While the Senator has refuted these allegations, he faces his own political battle, as Rep. Andy Kim and Tammy Murphy, the First Lady of New Jersey, have revealed plans to contest for his seat next year. However, he has not disclosed whether he plans to run for reelection.

    In his campaign launch video, Bhalla touched on the discrimination he faced due to his Sikh faith, his subsequent journey as a civil rights attorney and his proactive stance on climate change during his term as mayor. The video also included an image of Rob Menendez's father.

    Hoboken, a compact city sitting across the Hudson River from Manhattan, faced significant damage during Hurricane Sandy. As a result, climate change has been a central issue during Bhalla's tenure as mayor. The city is currently suing oil companies, and Bhalla has been actively working to mitigate flood risks, focusing on the crucial issue of stormwater management.

    Bhalla stated, "As our Congressman, I will fight to make healthcare a right for everyone, take on climate change, protect a woman’s right to choose, battle back against hatred, and build an economy that works for all."

    After the indictment of Bob Menendez this fall, Bhalla began contemplating a run against his son, a first-term Congressman. Initially, it seemed as though the entire Menendez family's support in northern New Jersey could falter. However, there are signs indicating that Rob Menendez has managed to retain key supporters within the Democratic Party.

    Although the Democratic Party in Hudson County abandoned Bob Menendez, his son managed to secure the majority of the county's Democratic backing last week. Hudson County Executive-elect Craig Guy, Democratic chair Anthony Vainieri, and all but two mayors — Bhalla and Steven Fulop of Jersey City — endorsed Menendez for reelection to his House seat last week.

    In a statement, Rep. Menendez questioned Bhalla’s motives, saying, "While we have advocated tirelessly for Hoboken, it seems the only reason Ravi has entered the race after endorsing me in 2022 and publicly applauding our work this year is because a week after losing control of the city council, he sees no political future for himself in Hoboken."

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    AI's role in political campaigning: A look at the first AI-powered phone campaign in Pennsylvania

    In south-central Pennsylvania, constituents began receiving campaign calls from an artificial intelligence (AI) entity supporting a Democratic congressional candidate, Shamaine Daniels. The AI, named Ashley, introduces itself as a volunteer for Daniels' campaign in what its creators believe is the first AI-powered political phone campaign. Daniels is challenging Republican incumbent Scott Perry for his seat in Pennsylvania's 10th congressional district.

    These AI calls are part of the innovative ways artificial intelligence platforms are shaping political campaigning. Such "generative AI" systems have been used for drafting campaign letters and automated text messages. Despite some concerns raised by security experts and ethicists, AI is relatively unregulated in this domain, with Congress unlikely to pass any laws regulating AI before the 2024 elections.

    The AI volunteer was developed by a London and San Francisco based startup, Civox. It responds to questions about Daniels, her policy positions, and her opponent Perry in a slightly metallic female voice. Daniels welcomed the use of AI in her campaign as an opportunity to influence the conversation around AI's role in politics.

    The primary concerns about AI in politics have been around misinformation and fake content. To tackle this, both Daniels and Civox say that their campaign's voice chatbot is trained to relay only factual information. When tested, Ashley stuck to the script, repeating Daniels' biographical information and policy positions. It also knew when to refrain from answering certain questions and would offer to connect the caller with a human campaign worker.

    One of Daniels' Democratic primary opponents, Robert Forbes, criticized the use of AI as a lazy style of canvassing. Daniels, a current Harrisburg City Council member, lost to Perry in the 2022 election by a margin of eight points.

    The swift integration of AI in politics poses unknown risks, including further eroding trust in what is true and real. Albert Fox Cahn, the founder of the nonprofit Surveillance Technology Oversight Project, worried that a proliferation of AI campaign workers could deter people from voting.

    Civox was founded by former fintech consultant Ilya Mouzykantskii and software engineer Adam Reis. They began developing the tool in May and are focusing on Democratic campaigns but are open to working with moderate campaigns across party lines in the future.

    Daniels believes that AI can enhance democracy by enabling candidates with fewer resources to reach out to voters more extensively, including in more than 20 languages. The use of AI could also save campaigns time and money associated with training volunteers to do phone-banking calls. Civox is offering its AI voice chatbot for prices closer to robocalls but with the benefit of having two-way conversations like more costly campaign phone banks.

    Daniels sees AI as a tool to improve campaign operations, not a replacement for human volunteers. She said the AI tool allows for more detailed conversations with voters so the campaign can register voter policy priorities and develop policy positions more swiftly. This could also potentially translate into government, with public officials using AI to engage more constituents in the policy-making process.

    However, David Fish, a 63-year-old retired intelligence analyst and a registered Democrat in Hampden Township, Pennsylvania, who received the AI call, said it wasn’t quite ready for prime time. He said it took long pauses before answering questions and had a tendency to repeat answers, but it’s good for initial voter outreach. Despite these issues, Fish noted that AI could potentially allow individuals to ask questions they might feel uncomfortable asking a human.

  • Thaiger

    Heather Williams takes helm as president of the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee

    Heather Williams, with her vast experience and expertise, has been appointed president of the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee (DLCC). Over the past year, Williams has played a pivotal role in securing Democratic victories in legislative races all over the nation. Prior to this appointment, she has served as the interim president of the DLCC since January, where she has spent a significant portion of her career. Before her stint as interim president, Williams served as the executive director of the group, a body that focuses on supporting Democrats in state legislative races. The outgoing president of the group, Jessica Post, is set to depart the organization by the end of the year.

    The DLCC has plans to expend $60 million in this cycle with aims to retain majorities in the Michigan, Minnesota, and Pennsylvania Houses. It also hopes to flip the Arizona House and Senate, New Hampshire House and Senate, and the Pennsylvania Senate, while slowly eroding Republican majorities in the Kansas, North Carolina, and Wisconsin state legislatures, as well as the Georgia House.

    However, amidst the presidential contest featuring an unpopular incumbent and a keenly contested battle for the House, the challenge lies in cutting through the noise. Competitive statewide races in target states also pose a threat to divert donors' funds away from down-ballot races. Williams, however, is confident that the momentum of down-ballot Democrats, owing to a series of wins in 2022 and 2023, including a major victory in Virginia, will continue. She believes that the focus on protecting abortion rights will play a significant role in the upcoming year's races.

    Williams, who joined the DLCC in 2005, has been a longstanding fixture. After serving in various political fundraising roles, she joined the committee as director of financial services. She took a break from the DLCC in 2011 to serve as vice president of a government affairs consulting firm, before rejoining the committee in 2015 as chief operating officer. She went on to become the deputy executive director in 2017 and executive director in 2019.

    Williams is optimistic that voters will support Democrats down the ballot even if President Joe Biden isn't a motivating factor at the top of the ticket. She cites strong special election performances in statehouses across the country as evidence that voters "understand the stakes". She believes that the DLCC's outreach to communities and districts, particularly those in rural areas, that might otherwise receive less attention will prove fruitful.

    Williams acknowledges the challenges of creating visibility for these races amid a crowded and saturated media market. However, she believes that the key to overcoming this challenge is to put these races on voters' radars as soon as possible. To this end, the committee announced last week a six-figure investment across six states for the next year's races.

    With an optimistic outlook for the future, Williams stated, "We feel strong headed into 2024. We know that it is big in terms of opportunity and impact, and also big in terms of a very crowded environment. I think we are better positioned than we have ever been to position legislative Democrats in the strongest way."

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    GenForward poll reveals declining support for Biden among African American voters

    A recent poll of voters of color, considered one of the most reliable, indicates that President Joe Biden is encountering significant resistance among his most faithful demographic: African Americans. The GenForward survey, made public on Tuesday, reveals that nearly 17% of African American voters would cast their votes for ex-President Donald Trump. Furthermore, 20% of black participants expressed they would vote for "someone else" besides Biden or Trump.

    The survey reports that approximately three-quarters of Black respondents would vote if the presidential election was held today, a figure that is 10 points behind the number of white voters who claimed they would vote today. The GenForward survey, conducted at the University of Chicago, included 3,448 eligible voters from all 50 states and the District of Columbia between November 8 and November 30. The method of the survey included a mix of respondents randomly selected to join a panel and those who chose to participate, with a margin of error of plus or minus 3 points.

    Black adults supported Biden more than any other racial group in the survey, but the president only received 63% of votes from this group. This also indicates a significant increase in support for Trump among Black voters. During the 2020 presidential election, AP VoteCast found Trump won 8% of Black voters, versus 91% voting for Biden.

    Cathy Cohen, the founder and director of the GenForward project and a political science professor at the University of Chicago, noted, "It is possible, and we’ve seen it before, that a higher number, particularly Black men, could vote for Trump again due to his hypermasculinity." However, she added that this might be offset by the higher number of Black women supporting Biden.

    As for future turnout, Cohen warned of potentially concerning signs. Particularly, the 20% of Black and Latino respondents who claimed they would not vote if the election was held today. "For younger people, it is the threat of a third-party candidate or staying at home that should be the real fear for Democrats," Cohen said.

    Overall, only 46% of respondents across all racial groups said they would support the current president if the election was held today. This figure is significantly lower than the 57% of Asian American and Pacific Islanders who would back the president. Latino and white respondents were nearly identical with 42 and 44 percent, respectively, saying they'd back the current president.

    A further breakdown by race reveals more than double the number of Latinos than Black respondents supporting Trump (36% of Latino voters compared with 17% of Black voters). Veteran Democratic pollster, Cornell Belcher, however, cautions, "Polling numbers at this point are not predictive of the future."

    Inflation topped the list of concerns for respondents across all racial groups, outpacing other issues such as gun control and immigration. Overall, the president’s approval rating in this survey was at a low 38%. For Black respondents, half approve of Biden’s job performance, while 34% of Latinos, 37% of AAPI, and 36% of white respondents viewed Biden positively.

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    Pro-Israel group AIPAC plans to challenge 'Squad' members in upcoming elections

    BOSTON — A prominent pro-Israel organization is strategizing to challenge liberal "Squad" members in the upcoming elections, following their criticisms of Israel's reaction to the Hamas Oct. 7 attack. The group is still seeking a challenger for at least one of these members.

    The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) is in the process of identifying opposition for several Squad members. For instance, they plan to support a Democratic county executive in a bid against Jamaal Bowman, a Democratic Representative from New York. The committee is prepared to allocate over $100 million in efforts to unseat the current incumbents.

    In the previous election cycle of 2022, both AIPAC and its associated super PAC, United Democracy Project, contributed over $26 million in support of pro-Israel candidates, many of whom were successful in their campaigns. However, the decision to engage in the reelection campaign of Democratic Representative Ayanna Pressley from Massachusetts, expected to be a challenging race in 2024, is yet to be made.

    Patrick Dorton, a spokesperson for the United Democracy Project, conveyed via email that their research and intelligence thus far suggest voters have significant concerns about anti-Israel candidates like Pressley. Pressley declined to vote to condemn the Hamas Oct. 7 terrorist activities on the House floor. Although Dorton did not clarify whether the group had specifically polled Pressley's 7th District, he confirmed that no definitive decisions had been made about which races the group will participate in.

    In recent weeks, pro-Palestinian protests have surged throughout the Boston area, many occurring within Pressley's liberal district and resonating with her views on the conflict. Since her victory over then-Representative Mike Capuano in 2018, Pressley has not faced a significant challenge from any party. For these reasons and more, finding a strong contender against Pressley may prove to be a difficult task, according to local Democratic operatives.

    Joe Battenfeld, a columnist for the Boston Herald, speculated that Josh Kraft, son of Patriots owner Robert Kraft and head of the Patriots' philanthropic foundation, could potentially challenge Pressley. Kraft, who recently purchased property in Boston, however, has also been approached about challenging Boston Mayor Michelle Wu.

    "Pressley is in no way vulnerable in anything I see," said Democratic strategist Scott Ferson. Having been reelected twice, he described Pressley as dynamic and effective, reflecting her district well. While Ferson acknowledged the possibility of finding a candidate to run against Pressley, he was skeptical about their chances of defeating her.

    Pressley is leveraging the potential threat of an AIPAC-backed opponent to gather donations for her reelection campaign. Over the weekend, she sent a fundraising email asking her supporters to split their contributions between her campaign and Bowman's. In the email, Pressley stressed the importance of keeping Bowman in Congress, noting that AIPAC is also recruiting primary challengers to target her. Harry Shipps, a spokesperson for Pressley's campaign, stated that Pressley remains focused on her work in Congress. He did not directly comment on AIPAC's plans.

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    Democrat Andy Kim's senate run: Prioritizing affordability, bridging partisan divides, and challenging Jersey politics

    Andy Kim, who has served for three terms in the House of Representatives as a Democrat, is running for a Senate seat. Kim, who was an official from the State Department before he won the 3rd Congressional District seat in South Jersey in 2018, considers his approach to governance as being akin to customer service. However, he believes that such a commitment to service is lacking in the Capitol. He criticized the ongoing debates among congressional members as futile and unproductive.

    Despite being a successful fundraiser and having defeated Republicans in a district that voted for Trump, Kim is not considered a favorite in the 2024 Senate race. Senator Bob Menendez, despite being charged with accepting cash and gold bribes for favors, still appears to be a challenging competitor. Similarly, Tammy Murphy, another primary candidate, has garnered significant support from county chairs, who hold significant influence in primaries.

    Kim's top priorities, if he is elected to the Senate, include addressing issues of affordability that affect people's quality of life. He is concerned about the cost of education for parents and students and has been advocating for increasing the number of Pell grants available. He is also focused on reducing prescription drug costs, having already made progress with the Inflation Reduction Act, which caps out-of-pocket costs for seniors' prescription drugs at $2,000 per year.

    Kim's pitch to voters emphasizes his three-term experience in Congress and his ability to bridge partisan divides. He is proud of his achievements in lowering prescription drug costs and his work on the Small Business Committee during the pandemic. He also mentioned his role in the bipartisan infrastructure law that is improving New Jersey's infrastructure.

    On the topic of international conflict, Kim discussed the current situation in Israel and Gaza. He supported a diplomatic solution and the release of all hostages to end the violence. He expressed frustration with the continued captivity of hostages by Hamas, which impedes discussions about future peace. He also acknowledged the complexities of the situation, with Israel aiming to eliminate Hamas, a task that could lead to the loss of innocent lives.

    In terms of foreign aid, Kim supports continued assistance to Israel and Ukraine but argues for Congressional oversight to monitor how the aid is used.

    Addressing the issue of border security, Kim supports increased measures but wants them to align with broader initiatives, such as processing asylum seekers. However, he criticizes the current approach in Congress, which he sees as dysfunctional and resulting in the lumping together of various issues into single pieces of legislation.

    Kim acknowledges that President Joe Biden's current unpopularity could pose a risk to Democrats' chances in the 2024 elections. However, he hopes voters will recognize the accomplishments of the administration, such as the bipartisan infrastructure law and the Inflation Reduction Act.

    Kim's primary opponent, first lady Tammy Murphy, has already secured endorsements from several county organizations and leaders. However, Kim believes that his campaign, which focuses on engaging with regular New Jerseyans and Americans, offers something different from the business-as-usual approach of Jersey politics.

    Criticizing the state's reputation due to the indictment of Menendez, Kim aspires to bring about positive change and put voters at the forefront of democracy. While he is assessing possible tactics to challenge Murphy, his primary focus is on building coalitions across the state.

    Kim highlighted his experience as a three-term member of Congress as a key difference between him and Murphy. He also pointed out that he has been a registered Democrat since he was eligible to vote, whereas Murphy only registered as a Democrat in 2014. Regarding policy differences, Kim stated that he is unsure of Murphy's positions on many issues, but believes they share similar concerns about climate change.

  • Thaiger

    Rick Santorum's 2012 victory still influences Iowa caucuses and Republican campaigns

    Rick Santorum, the former Republican presidential candidate who unexpectedly won the Iowa caucuses in 2012, is once again a topic of conversation in political circles. Santorum has received numerous calls from the press recently and has been mentioned in four articles about the caucuses in the Des Moines Register in recent weeks. Additionally, advisors to Vivek Ramaswamy and Mike Pence have publicly mentioned Santorum, and two campaigns have sought his advice in recent weeks.

    Santorum, who has been described as the "patron saint" of longshot candidates, is frequently cited as an example of how a candidate with low polling numbers can still win. His unexpected victory in the 2012 caucuses has been attributed to his extensive campaigning across the state and his modest spending on television ads. Santorum, a conservative father of seven, traveled the state in a 2006 Dodge Ram 1500 pickup and held 385 town hall meetings and speeches.

    Despite his success, Santorum has expressed frustration with the lack of recognition he has received for his victory. He has attended numerous events with low attendance, similar to the current campaigns of Doug Burgum and Asa Hutchinson. He recalls one particular event in Montgomery County where only the county party chair, Margaret Stoldorf, attended. After a brief introduction at the local courthouse, Stoldorf became a supporter of Santorum and helped him win the county.

    Santorum's victory in the 2012 caucuses was initially overshadowed by reports that Mitt Romney had won. It was not until two weeks later that the Iowa GOP declared Santorum the winner. Although he did not win the Republican nomination, his victory in the caucuses has been a source of inspiration for several non-Trump campaigns.

    Vivek Ramaswamy, a wealthy biotech entrepreneur, has pledged to hold at least another 200 events in Iowa before the caucuses. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has also made stops in each of Iowa's 99 counties. Doug Burgum, the governor of North Dakota, is also actively campaigning across the state.

    Senior officials from various campaigns have cited Santorum's victory as evidence that their candidate has a chance of winning, despite polling numbers that show them trailing far behind Donald Trump. Mike Biundo, a senior advisor to Ramaswamy, noted that Santorum was polling at around 3% at this time in the 2012 race.

    Interestingly, only one candidate in the 2024 field sought Santorum's opinion before the primary began: Mike Pence. Santorum advised Pence not to run, stating that he didn't think it was the right time for him.

    Santorum believes that Trump is likely to win in Iowa, but he also thinks that another candidate could potentially catch up to him. He is currently working as a grassroots advisor to the Convention of the States, an organization that advocates for an Article V gathering of the states to enact changes to the Constitution.

    In reflecting on his influence on the current political landscape, Santorum stated, "I always say that I’m somewhat responsible for these huge Republican fields, because these guys say, ‘if Santorum can do it, anybody can.’”

  • Thaiger

    George Santos scandal: A potential liability for New York's GOP in 2024 elections

    NEW YORK — George Santos, previously a significant figure in New York's Republican party, has become a liability that Democrats hope will burden the GOP as they approach the 2024 elections. Democratic lawmakers aim to keep Santos, tainted by scandal, in the limelight and fresh in the minds of New York voters as they strive to regain control of the House, currently precariously balanced, next year.

    Despite his removal from office following a 311-114 vote, the Democrats argue that this action is too late for vulnerable freshman Republicans. Santos was voted out after a year of revelations indicating he lied and potentially committed multiple felony counts of fraud.

    Dan Goldman, a Democratic representative, compared the situation to acknowledging the criminality of infamous gangster Al Capone, arguing that it is an obvious course of action that does not deserve credit. He suggests that the Republicans should have taken action sooner when the facts were first presented.

    Both parties are expected to fiercely contest six House districts in New York next year, including Santos' now-vacant seat, which covers parts of Queens and Nassau County. However, the Republicans are relieved to see Santos leave office.

    Nick Langworthy, a Republican representative, argued that a more transparent Congress cannot be demanded if corruption is allowed to persist. Meanwhile, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee vows to keep the Republican party's alleged complicity in Santos' corruption in the public eye.

    Despite his exit from the House, Santos has indicated he intends to stay involved in politics, potentially causing more discomfort for the GOP if he continues his criticisms through 2024. He expressed a desire to stay involved in public policy and advocacy.

    The Democrats are gearing up to challenge five New York House districts currently controlled by Republicans. The upcoming special election to replace Santos, likely in February, could be a crucial first step for the Democrats in their attempt to regain the majority.

    The seat vacated by Santos provides an early chance for the Democrats to test their messages with voters and emphasize the stakes of the House majority that is up for grabs.

    However, Santos' departure also marks the end of a year-long issue for New York Republicans, who viewed him as an ongoing embarrassment. Despite this, his removal makes their immediate majority more precarious.

    Republicans supporting Santos' removal gained momentum after a House Ethics report found he lied, defrauded donors and misused campaign funds for personal expenses. Some Democrats, including top party leaders in New York, have indicated that Santos' scandal cannot be the sole basis for a campaign against Republicans.

    Looking ahead to next year's election, Republicans also expect there will be limits to the Democrats' criticism of Santos. They believe that by election time, Santos will no longer be a focal point of discussion.

    The decision to remove Santos comes as House Speaker Mike Johnson is set to appear at multiple high-dollar fundraisers in New York City to support the GOP House delegation and its joint fundraising committee with the state party.

    Republicans are hopeful that Democrats will have to answer for a range of broader issues in the election year, including the migrant crisis, public safety, and the cost of living. They believe that in a few months, Santos may simply be remembered as a near-mythical figure, being only the sixth House member ever to be expelled.

    However, Santos' former Republican colleagues have not shied away from criticising him, using strong language to describe him as a "fraudster" and "divorced from reality". They intend to assure voters that they took a stand against one of their own.

    In looking to the future, the Republicans hope that Santos' removal will allow them a fresh start in a crucial election year. However, Langworthy recognized that the Santos saga has had an impact beyond Long Island, casting a dark shadow over the party and affecting constituents in vulnerable positions.

  • Thaiger

    Unlikely boost for Trump's campaign from pro-Phillips super PAC ads

    In a turn of events, Donald Trump's campaign appears to be receiving a boost from an unlikely source. A super PAC, closely linked to Representative Dean Phillips, has been running ads over the past week that target President Joe Biden. These ads also seem to undermine the narrative that Trump's Republican adversaries are attempting to build, which is that Trump cannot succeed in a general election.

    The ads run by the pro-Phillips super PAC, Pass the Torch USA, ahead of New Hampshire's first-in-the-nation primary, highlight that Trump is currently in a strong position for the general election. One ad features footage from the Capitol riot on January 6, inspired by Trump, with the caption, "The threat is real. Donald Trump is winning." Another ad states, "Twenty twenty-four is different. Trump is winning." Yet another ad provides a breakdown of state-by-state polls showing Trump leading Biden in numerous battleground states.

    Trump's team is pleased with these ads. As stated by Chris LaCivita, a senior adviser to Trump, "Yes, Donald Trump is beating crooked Joe Biden, and we approve this message."

    These ads present an unexpected challenge for Trump's primary opponents. Pass the Torch USA, established by veteran political operative Steve Schmidt, has invested a moderate sum in these ads. As per media-buying figures, the super PAC plans to spend $263,000 for advertising in New Hampshire for nine days, starting on November 26. In contrast, the primary pro-Haley super PAC has spent over triple that amount in New Hampshire during the same period, while the main pro-DeSantis group has not spent anything.

    Jeff Weaver, an adviser to Phillips, noted that the super PAC operates independently of the campaign. However, he refuted the idea that the ads were unintentionally supporting Trump. Weaver argued that the ads were simply reiterating widely available public polling data that shows Trump leading Biden.

    Although Weaver stated, "Obviously, we are not involved in the creation of the ads, but let's be clear, making an ad that reports what people already believe doesn't help anyone — by definition, people already believe it," representatives for DeSantis and Haley declined to comment, and a representative for Pass the Torch USA did not respond to a request for comment.

    Former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, who has emerged as one of Trump's main rivals, has been actively arguing that she stands a better chance of defeating Biden than Trump does. "If you look at the national polls, and you look at electability, you see that Trump is pretty much even with Biden. On a good day, he might be 2 points up. In every poll, we beat Biden by 10 to 13 points," she stated during an appearance in the state this week.

    Electability has also been a key focus of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis's campaign. "I also think it's something - and I know a lot of voters in Iowa have remarked to me about this - we know there's a lot of hurdles for [Trump] to even be elected again in this country. I personally think the media and the Dems, they'll do whatever they need to. So I don't think he'll likely win," DeSantis said in a press conference last week.

    Phillips could influence the race in other ways as well. Based on polling, the congressman has been gaining support from independent voters who might otherwise back a Republican candidate such as Haley or former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. In New Hampshire, independent voters, as well as voters from any party, have the option to vote in whichever party primary they choose.

  • Thaiger

    Florida democratic party faces backlash for nominating only Biden in primary elections

    In a surprising move, the Democratic Party in Florida has submitted only the name of President Joe Biden as a candidate in the forthcoming presidential primary elections. This decision has left Rep. Dean Phillips of Minnesota, who is also contesting the primary, in a state of fury. Phillips has expressed his displeasure over the party's move, accusing it of manipulating the primary process. He has also hinted at the possibility of filing a lawsuit and challenging the decision at a convention if he is not given access to the state's ballot.

    Phillips, who announced his campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination a few days before the state party's announcement, stated that such undemocratic practices were expected in Tehran, not Tallahassee. He added that the Democratic Party is known for standing against authoritarian tendencies and should not adopt such practices.

    The party's decision to exclude other candidates from the primary ballot is based on Florida's state law, which allows the parties to decide the candidates who will appear on the primary ballot. The deadline for the submission of approved candidates to state election officials was yesterday. However, Florida Democrats sent a notice on November 1 to the state with Biden as the sole primary candidate.

    Florida's primary is scheduled for March 19, following the Super Tuesday and primaries in other large states like California and Texas. The state is expected to allocate 250 delegates.

    Phillips has termed the party's handling of the process as a glaring act of electoral corruption and has demanded that Biden condemn and immediately address it. The Biden campaign has yet to make a statement on this matter.

    Nikki Fried, the chair of the Florida Democratic Party, defended the party's decision, arguing that it followed its standard process. However, Phillips' campaign argues that the party's delegate selection plan does not specify an exact deadline for candidates to request to be placed on the primary ballot.

    In addition to contemplating a lawsuit against the Florida Democratic Party, Phillips' campaign is also planning to escalate its battle to the Democratic National Committee. Phillips' aides allege that the Florida Democrats are in violation of the national party’s rules, which require that delegates to the Democratic National Convention be allocated in a manner that reflects the expressed presidential preference of the primary voters or the convention and/or caucus participants.

    If the DNC fails to bring about a change, Phillips' team has threatened to contest the credentials of each and every delegate from Florida at the convention. This tactic of challenging the primary process mirrors that of Sen. Bernie Sanders in 2016, who claimed that the primary process was rigged against him.

    Interestingly, Phillips recently acknowledged Sanders' complaints about the Democratic Party's primary system being rigged on the social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter. Jeff Weaver, who managed Sanders' 2016 campaign and is a senior adviser to Phillips, criticized the Florida Democratic Party, comparing its actions to the politics of places like Cuba or the old Soviet Union.

    Contrasting Florida's situation, the Georgia Democratic Party's executive committee voted last week to include three names on the state's March 12 primary ballot: Biden, Phillips, and self-help guru Marianne Williamson. The state party noted that it followed an open process, publicized the plan on its website, and considered all candidates who submitted their written request to be included.

  • Thaiger

    Florida Democratic Party faces controversy for submitting only Biden's name for primary elections

    In a seemingly unprecedented move, Florida's Democratic Party has submitted only President Joe Biden's name as a candidate for the state's upcoming primary elections. This exclusion of other candidates, including Dean Phillips, a Democrat from Minnesota, has sparked significant controversy. On Thursday, Phillips expressed his outrage over this decision, accusing officials of the Florida Democratic Party of manipulating the primary. He also threatened legal action and a convention dispute if he is denied a place on the ballot.

    Phillips, who is 52 years old, voiced his concerns, saying, "Americans would expect the absence of democracy in Tehran, not Tallahassee. The intentional disenfranchisement of voters runs counter to everything for which our Democratic Party and country stand. Our mission as Democrats is to defeat authoritarians, not become them."

    The crux of Phillips' complaint lies in Florida's process for candidate inclusion on the ballot. State law delegates this responsibility to the individual parties. The deadline for parties to submit their approved candidate list was yesterday. However, the Florida Democrats had already sent a notice on November 1, listing Biden as their only primary candidate. At this time, Phillips had recently entered the race, and Marianne Williamson, a self-help author, had been campaigning for several months. According to state law, if a party endorses only a single candidate, the primary contest is not held.

    The Florida primary is scheduled for March 19, following Super Tuesday and several other major states, including California and Texas. The state is expected to allocate 250 delegates.

    Phillips described the Florida Democrats' handling of the process as a "blatant act of electoral corruption" and called on Biden to address and condemn the situation. The Biden campaign did not offer a comment on this issue.

    Nikki Fried, who is 43 years old and serves as the chair of the Florida Democratic Party, maintained that the party adhered to its standard process as outlined on its website. She expressed disappointment in Phillips' comments and stated that his comparison of Florida to the Iranian regime was inappropriate and unbecoming of a candidate for higher office.

    The delegate selection plan used by the Florida Democrats does not provide a specific deadline for candidates to request inclusion on the primary ballot. An early version of this plan from April stated that the party would prepare and approve a list of recognized candidates. However, a revised version submitted on November 1 indicated that the list would be approved at the state party convention. This convention began on October 27, the day Phillips launched his campaign, and ended on October 29, when the state party approved Biden as the only candidate.

    In addition to considering legal action against the Florida Democratic Party, Phillips' campaign has plans to take its fight to the Democratic National Committee. The campaign argues that the Florida Democrats' actions violate national party rules that require delegates to be allocated in a way that accurately represents the preferences of primary voters.

    Jeff Weaver, a senior advisor to Phillips, criticized the Florida Democratic Party's actions. He compared the situation to the political practices of countries like Cuba and the former Soviet Union, where party insiders make decisions rather than the people. He questioned whether the party wants the legitimacy of its nominee to be jeopardized by this allegedly corrupt and rigged process.

    The process for achieving a place on a state-run presidential primary ballot varies from state to state. In some states, the requirements include voter signatures and a government filing fee. In other states, active candidates' names are automatically included on the ballot. In others, like Florida, the process is outsourced to the respective state parties.

    In contrast to Florida, the Democratic Party's executive committee in neighboring Georgia voted last week to include three names on its March 12 primary ballot: Biden, Phillips, and Williamson. Their press release at the time stated that the party had followed an open process, publicized the plan on their website, and considered all candidates who submitted a written request for inclusion.

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    JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon encourages Democrats to support GOP candidate Nikki Haley

    In a recent turn of events, the CEO of JPMorgan Chase, Jamie Dimon, encouraged members of the Democratic party to throw their weight behind Nikki Haley, the GOP presidential primary candidate. Dimon's viewpoint is that Haley presents a viable alternative to the former President, Donald Trump.

    During his appearance at the 2023 DealBook Summit, Dimon, who heads the most significant commercial bank in the nation, addressed liberal Democrats, "If you're a very liberal Democrat, my advice would be to support Nikki Haley. This might offer the Republicans an alternative who could potentially be superior to Trump."

    The banking mogul has been vocal in his support for Haley over recent weeks. Haley, the former governor of South Carolina, has seen her popularity surge in the polls. While she still lags behind Trump, she has received the backing of a powerful super PAC under the Koch network's influence and has begun to attract attention from Wall Street's financial giants.

    When questioned about his stance of supporting "anything but Trump," Dimon was quick to respond. "I would never make such a statement. There's a possibility that he might return as the President, and that's a reality I might have to accept," he said.

    Furthermore, Dimon took the opportunity to encourage liberals, especially those residing in New York City, to refrain from derogatory judgments against those he termed as "ultra MAGA" Americans.

    He warned, "By doing so, you're insulting a large demographic." He further added that there would be mutual benefits if both sides were more open to dialogue and understanding. "I firmly believe that people should stop degrading others simply because their viewpoints differ from yours," he concluded.

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    Congressperson Dean Phillips challenges Biden's stance on key issues in Democratic primary bid

    CHARLESTON, S.C. — During a recent town hall in New Hampshire, Dean Phillips, a congressperson, suggested that President Joe Biden should consider trying marijuana. He criticized the president's opposition to marijuana legalization, arguing that it was hypocritical to allow alcohol consumption while penalizing marijuana use.

    Phillips' comments are part of a broader strategy: he's positioning himself against Biden in the Democratic primary by focusing on issues where the president appears out of sync with younger, more progressive voters. His campaign aims to address issues such as marijuana legalization, the Israel-Hamas conflict, universal health care, paid family leave, and higher minimum wage.

    Phillips has also criticized Israel's recent offensive against Hamas and called for a ceasefire if the Palestinian militant group releases all its hostages. He believes this is a crucial time to resolve the longstanding conflict.

    In the coming weeks, his campaign plans to reveal an economic platform centered around worker welfare. It will propose universal health care, paid family leave, a higher minimum wage, and the reinstatement of the expanded child tax credit. His aides indicate he will also address education costs and student debt.

    Jeff Weaver, a senior adviser to Senator Bernie Sanders, has been hired to help guide Phillips' campaign. Phillips has publicly criticized Biden for not doing more to pass a $15 minimum wage.

    However, the congressperson's strategy of appealing to the base comes with its own set of risks. While Biden remains the favorite to win the nomination, he has vulnerabilities with key constituencies: voters who view him as too old and young people and liberals, among others, who are disappointed by his presidency. Phillips’ campaign targets these weak points.

    Biden's allies have criticized Phillips' strategy as opportunistic, arguing that he is creating policy differences with the president to advance his own agenda. They point out that Phillips is not a known progressive advocate in the U.S. House and has previously embraced moderation.

    Phillips' past record includes joining the Problem Solvers Caucus and criticizing Biden for not doing more to secure the border. He has also suggested that U.S. special forces should play a role in rescuing American hostages kidnapped by Hamas.

    Despite these challenges, Phillips' campaign believes there is an opportunity to win over young, progressive, and independent voters in the Democratic primary. They argue that these voters are dissatisfied with Biden on a range of issues, from the Israel-Hamas war to the minimum wage.

    Another major policy difference between him and Biden, according to Phillips, is the president's failure to address the most significant issue in the country: affordability. Although Biden has taken steps to address inflation, Phillips believes more needs to be done.

    It is unclear whether Phillips' strategy of criticizing Biden from the left on key issues will help him gain traction. A recent CNN poll of New Hampshire showed that 65% of likely primary voters would vote for Biden, compared to only 10% for Phillips.

    Nonetheless, Phillips is just starting his campaign, with plans to increase staff in New Hampshire, hold a 10-day tour in the state, and open an office in Manchester.

    While Biden's campaign has not commented on Phillips' bid, it's clear his allies are taking the primary challenge seriously. They are backing a write-in campaign for Biden in New Hampshire, where Phillips is grounding his bid. In a recent development, after Phillips announced his attendance at Charleston Democrats’ annual Blue Jamboree in South Carolina, the roster was suddenly changed, adding representatives from the Biden campaign.

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    Koch network backing Nikki Haley's campaign: A signal of distancing from Ron DeSantis or a strategic move for the 2024 presidential race?

    The Koch network has recently decided to back Nikki Haley's presidential campaign, signaling less endorsement for Haley and more of a distancing from Ron DeSantis. Haley's polling numbers have been slowly but steadily increasing since the spring, while DeSantis' have been on a downward trend.

    Prior to the Koch network's financial and organizational support, the media was buzzing with speculations that Haley is turning the 2024 presidential race into a real competition. Reports from the New York Times, the Guardian, and the New Yorker highlighted Haley's attempts to connect with all factions of the Republican party and her rise from an underdog to a serious contender.

    The media attention intensified when Haley attracted 2,700 attendees to a campaign rally in her home state of South Carolina. This was not surprising given that it was her home state, but it still made headlines.

    What has been grabbing the media's attention is not Haley's rise in the national polls (around two %), or the fact that she is neck and neck with DeSantis in Iowa. It is not even the slim chance that she will outshine former President Donald Trump. The fascination lies in her struggle to beat DeSantis for the second-place finish. This race is reminiscent of the NFL's Playoff Bowl that took place from 1960 to 1969. This game, known as "The Shit Bowl" by Green Bay Packers coach Vince Lombardi, was a match between the second-place division finishers for the third-place team title.

    The media's interest in the competition between Haley (9.8% in recent Real Clear Politics polling) and DeSantis (13.7%), while the first-place Donald Trump (61.6%) is expected to compete against Joe Biden, is noteworthy. It suggests that news outlets are designed to function even when a candidate has a lead that $70 million in Koch money cannot change.

    The focus on the Haley-DeSantis race is seen as a precautionary measure in case Trump suddenly becomes unable to run. News organizations cannot simply recall their reporters and declare a winner seven months before the Republican convention. They have learned from past experiences that anything can happen. As long as Haley continues to climb in the polls and receive Koch funding, the media coverage can be justified.

    The media's fascination with Haley is also influenced by the memory of the 2008 campaign when Hillary Clinton led Barack Obama by 20 percentage points but was eventually defeated by Obama. Haley has skillfully led a campaign that appeals to both Trump supporters and never-Trump Republicans.

    The 2008 campaign lessons have not been lost on the Daily Beast's Matt Lewis. He compared Haley to a "political athlete" and outlined a potential path to victory for her - winning in Iowa, New Hampshire, and then her home state of South Carolina. While this prospect may be appealing to Trump critics, it also gives journalists plenty of material to cover in the run-up to the convention.

    In a fun aside, the Detroit Lions, a second-rate team, have triumphed in all three of their Shit Bowls. As the political race heats up, it's clear that underdogs can sometimes surprise us all.

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    New York City mayor Eric Adams dismisses rumors of Andrew Cuomo's mayoral bid amid ongoing legal issues

    In a recent radio interview, New York City Mayor, Eric Adams, 61 years old, dismissed the notion of former Governor, Andrew Cuomo, 65 years old, running for mayor. Adams made it clear that, while the former governor might be considering a return to politics following his resignation in 2021, he does not see him vying for the mayoral position.

    Adams, in conversation with La Mega 97.9 said, "We talk often. I don’t see him running for mayor. I think he is looking at his next political move and there are a lot of things he can look at. However, my focus right now is to run New York."

    Last week, there were reports suggesting Cuomo is contemplating a mayoral bid. This comes at a time when Adams' campaign is being scrutinized by federal investigators to determine if it colluded with the Turkish government in return for official favors. Cuomo has expressed to his allies that he could be interested in running for mayor, and New York City voters have received a poll testing various comeback messages for the former governor. In October, Cuomo stated that he was keeping his options open regarding a return to politics.

    However, individuals familiar with Cuomo's thought process do not anticipate him directly challenging Adams in a Democratic primary. Such a contest could potentially divide working-class Black voters, unions, and the business community — a coalition that both men have garnered support from in their campaigns.

    Adams' troubles intensified last week when he was accused in a lawsuit of sexually assaulting a woman in 1993 while he was a member of the NYPD. Adams has completely denied ever meeting the woman.

    Cuomo, who resigned amidst an onslaught of sexual harassment and inappropriate conduct allegations, is also facing a new lawsuit filed by former aide, Brittany Commisso. Commisso alleges that Cuomo groped her at the governor’s mansion in Albany in 2020 — a claim that Albany County District Attorney, David Soares, declined to pursue in a criminal case. Commisso was among the women whose allegations were included in a bombshell report released by New York Attorney General Tish James, which preceded Cuomo’s resignation weeks later.

    Cuomo's attorney, Rita Glavin, has denied any wrongdoing on the part of the former governor. She said, "Ms. Commisso’s claims are provably false, which is why the Albany District Attorney dismissed the case two years ago after a thorough investigation. Ms. Commisso’s transparent attempt at a cash grab will fail. We look forward to seeing her in court."

    Commisso’s civil case is one of two other lawsuits previously filed against Cuomo by former aide Charlotte Bennett and a former member of his State Police security detail who have also alleged the former governor sexually harassed them.

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    Voting machine glitches in Pennsylvania's Northampton County spark concerns over election integrity

    Northampton, a swing county in Pennsylvania, had some troubles with its new touchscreen voting machines in 2019, but the matter was mostly forgotten. However, when a similar issue arose recently, it sparked a local uproar. This incident has left state and local election officials in this critical swing state scrambling to restore public trust ahead of what could be another heated presidential race.

    County Executive Lamont McClure stated that the system needs to be nearly flawless in order to maintain public trust, particularly in the current climate of suspicion and division. He argued that the glitch was due to human error.

    This issue in Northampton is a part of the larger conversation happening across the country, as election officials contend with the fallout from Donald Trump's 2020 fraud allegations. These claims often focused on local vote counting processes. With Trump as a potential frontrunner for the Republican nomination, such skepticism could escalate.

    Pennsylvania, with its 19 electoral votes, is expected to be a primary battleground in the next election. Northampton houses approximately 220,000 registered voters. Trump won the state by a slim margin of 44,000 votes in 2016 but lost by around 80,000 votes in the next election.

    This incident highlights the fine line that politicians and election officials must walk when investigating valid issues without feeding into conspiracy theories. Al Schmidt, Pennsylvania's Secretary of State, expressed his concern that incidents like these could be misused to undermine confidence in the electoral process.

    In 2019, Northampton first used touchscreen voting machines from Election Systems & Software (ES&S). A programming glitch that year significantly undercounted votes for a Democratic candidate in a local judges' race. Similar problems occurred this year when voters found that printouts from the machines did not match their digitally submitted votes in two down-ballot judges' races.

    County officials and ES&S stated that the errors did not affect any votes or change the outcomes of the races. They argue that the machines are highly reliable and that the problem was caused by a single human error in programming.

    However, poll workers, election security monitors, and local political party members argue that the glitches caused significant confusion on Election Day, even if they didn't affect the two judges' races. Following the 2019 incident, the latest issue has triggered growing backlash against ES&S, leading many to question the reliability of the company's machines in a closely contested county in a critical swing state.

    Skeptics argue that the root of the problem lies in the basic design of the devices, known as the ExpressVote XL. The machine produces a paper print-out that records voters' choices in two ways: a barcode that tabulates their vote and corresponding text so they can verify their input. However, in the two races this year, the machines swapped voters' choices in the written section of the ballot, but not the barcode, if they voted "yes" to retain one judge and "no" for the other.

    ES&S and Northampton officials acknowledged that pre-election software testing should have caught this problem. They stated that an ES&S employee first introduced the error during regular programming to prepare the machines for Election Day.

    Despite these issues, County Executive McClure stated that he is strongly leaning against canceling the ES&S contract. He suggested that more thorough pre-election testing, more paper ballots, and better communication could prevent future errors. However, he did not commit to renewing the contract after it expires in 2025.

    The events in Northampton may have implications beyond the county. Electronic voting machines that use barcodes and paper printouts, like the ExpressVote XL, are now the main Election Day voting system in about 20% of the country, up from less than 1% nine years ago.

    Security experts have long warned about the potential for the printout and barcode on these devices to diverge due to manipulation or error, leading to significant confusion in places where election officials do not have robust contingency plans. Kevin Skoglund, president and chief technologist of Citizens for Better Elections, a Pennsylvania-based election rights nonprofit, argues that these concerns have been largely dismissed until now.

    Schmidt, Pennsylvania's Secretary of State, stated that while the state is still investigating the incident in Northampton, there is no reason to distrust the ExpressVote XL or similar systems based on the issues there. He emphasized that "No voting system is immune to human error".

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    Michigan businessman's alleged $20 million offer to senate candidate to challenge Rashida Tlaib in primary

    A prominent businessman from Michigan, Linden Nelson, reportedly contacted Senate Democratic candidate Hill Harper, proposing a $20 million campaign contribution if he agreed to withdraw and instead challenge Representative Rashida Tlaib in the primary. This information is according to an individual with firsthand knowledge of the conversation.

    It is alleged that the offer, dated October 16, was declined by Harper. The financial proposal would have divided the campaign funds into two equal parts: $10 million in bundled contributions directly towards Harper's campaign and the remaining $10 million in independent expenditures. Harper, who is an entrepreneur as well as an actor, declined to comment on the record regarding Nelson's alleged proposal.

    This occurrence underscores the strong backlash against Tlaib, the sole Palestinian American in Congress. This backlash has been sparked by her vocal critique of the Israeli government, especially in light of the recent conflict with Hamas. Tlaib faced censure from over 20 Democrats and all House Republicans earlier this month after she used a pro-Palestinian slogan perceived as a call for Israel's destruction. Pro-Israel Democrats are still in search of a candidate to challenge her in the primary.

    Efforts to reach Nelson for comment on the alleged conversation with Harper were unsuccessful, as he ended the call abruptly and did not respond to subsequent attempts at contact.

    Several of Tlaib's progressive colleagues who share her criticism of Israel's government policies, including Representatives Summer Lee, Cori Bush, and Ilhan Omar, are also facing challenges from Democrats who are touting more pro-Israel rhetoric and voting records.

    Harper, who is in the primary to succeed the retiring Senator Debbie Stabenow, has positioned himself as a progressive but has struggled to gain momentum in a race dominated by Representative Elissa Slotkin in terms of polling and fundraising.

    Harper may not have been the ideal candidate to challenge Tlaib with a more pro-Israeli government approach, as he previously called for a "humanitarian ceasefire" in Gaza. This stance mirrored the support for a ceasefire from a few dozen Congressional Democratic progressives. He voiced this position on November 10, some time after the alleged call from Nelson.

    Despite Harper's Detroit residence being located in Representative Shri Thanedar's district and not Tlaib's, she has successfully represented her district, which includes Dearborn and its substantial Arab American population, since 2019.

    A spokesperson for Tlaib declined to comment on the alleged call between Nelson and Harper.

    As the Democratic Party grapples with deep divisions over Israel, progressive incumbents are asking for party leaders' help to dampen pro-Israel Democrats' interest in primary challenges to lawmakers considered insufficiently supportive of the war. House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries has already responded to this call by endorsing Omar's re-election.

    Nelson, who has a history with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, has also made donations to a group seeking to unseat Tlaib. He has made contributions to other Michigan Democratic candidates over the years, including Representative Haley Stevens this cycle and Andy Levin in previous cycles, according to FEC records.

    Saurav Ghosh, the director for federal reform at the nonpartisan Campaign Legal Center, stated that any potential coordination between a candidate and a donor proposing that level of funding would be illegal. Ghosh added that a promise to make a future donation bolstering the candidate could be considered a contribution under campaign finance laws and could thus be deemed as an excessive contribution.

    Nelson did not respond to a subsequent request for comment on the potential illegality of the alleged offer.

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    Nikki Haley emerges as significant contender against Donald Trump for Republican presidential nomination

    In a surprising turn of events, Nikki Haley, the former South Carolina governor, is emerging as a significant contender against Donald Trump for the Republican presidential nomination, despite her past avowal not to challenge him. This comes after a surge in support from Republicans skeptical of Trump's leadership, including donors and organizers in key voting states.

    For instance, a group of former supporters of Tim Scott plans to host a fundraising event for Haley in Manhattan. In New Hampshire, her campaign events have drawn such large crowds that overflow rooms have been required. In Iowa, Haley faces stiff competition from Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. However, conservative groups are actively rallying support for her.

    According to Matthew Bartlett, a Republican operative unaffiliated with any campaign this cycle, Haley is securing the support of many Republicans who are skeptical of Trump. Additionally, her campaign still has room for growth.

    Haley's upcoming fundraiser in New York, scheduled for December 4, includes two individuals close to billionaire hedge fund manager Paul Singer, a known critic of Trump. Another name of interest is Greg Wendt, a former Scott supporter who has donated to moderate, anti-Trump Republicans such as John Kasich and John McCain. Wendt has reportedly expressed interest in supporting Haley.

    Furthermore, Doug Gross, a Republican operative and Iowa GOP nominee for governor in 2002, has confirmed his plans to support Haley after months of looking for a viable alternative to Trump. According to Gross, both Never Trumpers and 'Anybody but Trumpers' are financially backing Haley.

    This recent surge of support has benefited Haley significantly. She is now polling ahead of DeSantis in New Hampshire, the first primary state, and in her home state of South Carolina. Haley and DeSantis are currently running neck and neck in Iowa.

    Alyssa Farah Griffin, a co-host of “The View” and former Trump White House aide who has been critical of the former president’s candidacy, described Haley on Tuesday as “hands down the best option to beat Trump.”

    However, despite this support, Haley's campaign faces significant challenges. Trump continues to dominate the Republican party, and consolidating the anti-Trump vote will only take Haley so far. In a crowded primary, Haley, like her rivals, must balance opposing Trump without alienating his loyal supporters.

    Sarah Longwell, an anti-Trump Republican who routinely conducts focus groups of GOP voters, suggests that Haley's appeal lies with Republicans who reluctantly voted for Trump in the past but refused to do so a second time. Even so, Longwell acknowledges that Haley's path to the nomination is narrow.

    Haley’s campaign strategy has been to appeal to both Trump’s MAGA base and the rest of the Republican Party, as well as its far-right conservatives and more moderate voters. Despite her previous criticism of Trump, Haley has stated that conservatives “need him in the Republican Party.”

    While she may be gaining the support of Never Trump Republicans, Haley isn't campaigning like one. According to Republican pollster Whit Ayres, her support comes from those who voted for Trump twice but are now open to other options.

    Haley's campaign is gearing up for a major advertising push in the run-up to the early state contests. The Haley campaign and her super PAC, Stand for America Fund Inc., have reserved the most TV ad time for the period from Thanksgiving week through the January 23 New Hampshire primary.

    In the coming weeks, the Haley campaign plans to spend $4.2 million on ads in Iowa and New Hampshire, while Stand for America Fund has reserved $3.8 million for ad space. In total, the Haley campaign plans to reserve $10 million in television, radio, and digital ads in the first two states.

    In contrast, DeSantis has booked $1.5 million on TV ads in Iowa, and his aligned super PAC, Never Back Down, has reserved $3.3 million worth of TV ads in New Hampshire and Iowa.

    Despite these developments, DeSantis continues to draw support from influential figures such as Bob Vander Plaats, an evangelical leader in Iowa. Meanwhile, the Haley campaign is claiming the No. 2 spot in the race, a position that belonged to DeSantis for months.

    "There is a growing consensus that Nikki Haley is the best challenger to take on Donald Trump and Joe Biden,” said Olivia Perez-Cubas, Haley’s spokesperson. “This is a two-person race — between one man and one woman.” The DeSantis campaign declined to comment on these developments.

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    Right-wing populist Javier Milei wins Argentina's presidential election: A look into his proposed policies and impact on nation's politics

    In a surprising turn of events, the right-wing populist and first-time legislator, Javier Milei, 53 years old, has won Argentina's presidential election. Milei's sweeping victory, which has seen him defeat Economy Minister Sergio Massa by a margin of 55.7% to 44.3%, has left the country speculating about the extent of his likely radical policies. Milei's win was so comprehensive that Massa conceded defeat even before the announcement of preliminary results.

    In a radio interview on Monday, Milei began to shed light on some of his proposed policies. He expressed his intention to quickly privatize state-run media outlets, which he perceives as covert propaganda ministries due to their negative coverage of his campaign. He also stated that the state-controlled energy firm YPF should eventually be privatized, but not before being repaired to ensure a beneficial sale for Argentines.

    The newly elected president, a self-proclaimed anarcho-capitalist, rose to fame by fervently denouncing the "political caste" on television programs. His promise of drastic change resonated with Argentines, who are tired of soaring annual inflation rates and soaring poverty levels. His plans include slashing government spending, dollarizing the economy, and eliminating the Central Bank and key ministries, such as health and education.

    Milei, who admires former U.S. President Donald Trump, has also positioned himself as a warrior against global socialism. He plans to rid the government of corrupt establishment politicians. However, he has recently withdrawn some of his less popular proposals, including relaxing gun controls and indiscriminate privatization.

    Milei has announced plans to travel to the United States and Israel before taking office on December 10. This journey has a "spiritual connotation" and includes visiting rabbis in Miami and New York, with whom he is close. From there, he plans to proceed to Israel. Milei has often expressed his support for Israel and has frequently waved an Israeli flag at his rallies.

    Milei's victory marks a significant shift in Argentina's political landscape. His win signifies a departure from Massa’s Peronist party that has dominated Argentine politics for decades. Milei is the first outsider to win the presidency and is considerably more right-wing than anyone who has held the position before.

    The election result reflects the deep dissatisfaction Argentines hold for the ruling class and the status quo. Milei's transition from television stardom to a seat in Argentina’s lower house of Congress two years ago, and now the presidency, demonstrates an improbable rise to power.

    Much of Milei's campaign focused on economic proposals, blaming successive administrations for unrestrained money printing to fund state spending. In the lead-up to the vote, Massa and his allies warned Argentines that Milei's plan to eliminate key ministries and drastically reduce the state would endanger public services, including health, education, and welfare programs.

    However, the sizeable margin of Milei’s victory suggests voters believed the threats were exaggerated. Some of Milei’s positions, such as opposing sex education, feminist policies, and abortion, echo those of more conservative Republicans in the U.S. His raw rhetoric has already ensnared the country in the global culture war that has dominated political discourse in the U.S. and Brazil.

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    Presidential debates commission announces 2024 schedule despite Republican boycott threats

    The bipartisan Commission on Presidential Debates, a nonprofit organization responsible for conducting debates for the last nine presidential elections, is moving forward with plans for four debates next year. This comes despite the Republican Party's pledge to boycott these events. The commission unveiled on Monday the dates and locations for three main presidential debates and one vice presidential debate, which will run from September 16 to October 9. The presidential debates are scheduled to be held in San Marcos, Texas; Petersburg, Virginia; and Salt Lake City, Utah, while Easton, Pennsylvania, will host the vice presidential debate.

    The Republican party, including former President Donald Trump, has vowed not to participate in any debates organized by the commission, citing allegations of political bias. In the past year, the Republican National Committee made a decision to boycott the commission's debates, claiming they would find alternative platforms for their candidates to engage in a free and fair forum accessible to all Americans. Despite the ongoing GOP primary debates this year, Trump has not taken part in any, citing his substantial lead in the polls.

    In a crucial decision affecting potential independent or third-party candidates, such as Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and retiring Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), the commission stated it would maintain the 15% polling threshold to qualify for the debates. To receive an invitation, a candidate must be listed on the ballot in a sufficient number of states to secure a majority of Electoral College votes and average a 15% share in surveys conducted by five yet-to-be-named polling firms.

    Since Ross Perot in 1992, no independent candidate has participated in a debate. The most recent three-way race average from RealClearPolitics, including Kennedy, President Joe Biden, and Trump, indicates Kennedy at 14.7%, just below the commission's required threshold.

    Recent poll results forecasting hypothetical 2024 contests between the prospective frontrunners of the two major parties have shown Biden lagging behind Trump. However, Biden's campaign has dismissed these unfavorable polls. An NBC News poll published on Sunday showed Biden's approval rating has dipped to 40%.

    The upcoming debates in 2024 will mark the inaugural hosting of presidential and vice presidential debates in Texas and Pennsylvania. Furthermore, the debate at Virginia State University will be the first to be held at a historically Black university or college.

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    Influencer-style marketing: The new norm in American political campaigns?

    The former president, Donald Trump, was renowned for his active presence on Twitter. In a similar vein, current president Joe Biden is known for selling Dark Brandon merchandise. Now, it seems that the potential candidates for the Republican party for the 2024 election are also adopting the same marketing strategies that have become commonplace among social media influencers such as Jake Paul, Tinx, and Dave Portnoy.

    This raises questions about whether American politics has sunk to a new low, or if this shift towards influencer-style marketing on the campaign trail is actually a smart and innovative solution. In this election cycle, candidates are finding it difficult to raise funds and to make an impact in the increasingly fragmented media landscape.

    Alex Keeney, a political correspondent, has been investigating whether this emulation of influencer strategies is yielding results. Through his research, he has found that the current political climate and the challenges of fundraising and gaining media traction may be pushing candidates towards these unconventional marketing techniques.

    Is this the new norm for political campaigns, or just a passing trend? Only time will tell. But for now, it seems that politicians are increasingly turning to the tactics of social media influencers in an attempt to engage with voters and boost their campaigns. This is a development that warrants close observation as it could have lasting impacts on the way political campaigns are conducted in the future.

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    Federal appeals court ruling could weaken the Voting Rights Act: implications and future challenges

    On a recent Monday, a federal appeals court made a ruling that could significantly weaken the Voting Rights Act. The court stipulated that only the federal government, not private citizens or civil rights organizations, can file lawsuits under a pivotal part of this crucial civil rights legislation. This decision from the 8th Circuit will most likely be contested in the Supreme Court. However, if it is upheld, it would signify a substantial reduction in the enforcement of the law that has been instrumental in enhancing minority representation in American politics.

    According to the appellate court, there is no "private right of action" for Section 2 of this law, which disallows voting practices that discriminate based on race. This could considerably restrict the range of protections provided by the act. For a great many years, private entities, such as civil rights organizations, individual voters, and political parties, have been instrumental in challenging Section 2 on numerous issues, from redistricting to voter ID requirements.

    The ruling could potentially overturn this practice, thereby limiting the ability of these entities to challenge discriminatory voting practices. This ruling, therefore, has potentially far-reaching implications for the future of the Voting Rights Act and its enforcement. It also raises significant questions about the role of private citizens and organizations in safeguarding civil rights and their ability to challenge unjust practices.

    As such, this ruling marks a potentially significant moment in the ongoing struggle for civil rights and equal representation in American politics. It is a reminder that the fight for equality and justice is far from over and that the laws and institutions that protect these values must continually be defended and strengthened.

    In conclusion, this recent ruling by a federal appeals court could have significant implications for the future of the Voting Rights Act and the role of private citizens and organizations in safeguarding civil rights. The decision will almost certainly be contested in the Supreme Court, and its outcome will be keenly watched by civil rights activists and legal experts alike.

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    Crypto industry's resurgence: Fairshake's political spending and Coinbase's advocacy for digital asset legislation

    The cryptocurrency industry, which was once crippled by the downfall of its most prolific spender, Sam Bankman-Fried, is now witnessing signs of revival. Over the past two months, more than $1.2 million has been invested in television ads supporting House candidates by Fairshake, a new super PAC focused on crypto. Brian Armstrong, CEO of Coinbase, the largest crypto exchange in the U.S., has publicly committed to donate $1 million to Fairshake. Armstrong's vision is to encourage other companies to contribute, with the aim to increase its war chest to $50 million.

    This increased spending comes at a critical time for crypto firms in the U.S., as they stand on the brink of a House floor vote on legislation that could legitimize digital assets and provide a framework for their regulation. However, the industry has recently faced a series of setbacks, including the fraud trial and conviction of Bankman-Fried, scrutiny over the use of digital currencies in terrorism financing, and last year's significant market crash.

    Fairshake has so far supported 13 incumbent lawmakers, both Republicans and Democrats. These candidates, who serve on the House Financial Services and Agriculture committees, have all backed crypto legislation earlier this year. The group has also supported several House members in swing districts.

    Despite the previous controversy over political spending in the crypto industry, Fairshake's ads do not explicitly focus on crypto regulation. Instead, they feature the candidates and details about their districts, promoting them as bipartisan problem-solvers primarily focusing on economic issues. However, almost all ads mention that these lawmakers have worked to "attract the jobs of the future" and build "the next generation of the Internet" in the U.S., subtly alluding to cryptocurrency.

    Fairshake is expected to support more pro-crypto candidates in the coming months, including those running for the Senate. While Armstrong has publicly committed his financial support, the full extent of Fairshake's fundraising remains unclear due to the delay in super PAC disclosures.

    Coinbase is another significant player in this cycle, having launched a grassroots advocacy initiative to promote digital asset legislation. The company is hosting a town hall event today in Cleveland focusing on this issue. A spokesperson for Coinbase, Julia Krieger, stated that "Crypto jobs and innovation will be on the ballot in 2024," indicating the company's plan to ensure Americans are aware of the candidates' stance on this issue.

  • Thaiger

    Trump receives endorsement from Texas governor during border visit, outlines stringent immigration policies for potential second term

    EDINBURG, Texas — During a recent visit to a border town between the U.S. and Mexico, former President Donald Trump received an endorsement from the governor of Texas. Trump assured that his stringent immigration policies in a potential second presidential term would facilitate the governor's work. He stated that this would allow the governor to divert attention to other matters within Texas. This endorsement and statement were made in front of an audience of approximately 150 people at an airport hangar in Edinburg.

    The governor of Texas, a known ally and supporter of strict border control, expressed pride in endorsing the ex-president, who is currently the Republican Party's leading contender for the 2024 nomination. The governor emphasized the need for a president who will enforce border security and expressed his desire to see Trump re-elected as the president of the United States.

    Earlier during the visit, Trump and the governor served meals to the Texas National Guard soldiers and other personnel who will be deployed at the border during Thanksgiving. They distributed tacos and interacted with the attendees. Trump praised their work, and the governor lamented their deployment at the border during this time, attributing it to the current president's failure to secure the border.

    Trump has been outlining immigration proposals that suggest a drastic intensification of the strategies he implemented during his term. These proposals have elicited concerns from civil rights activists and have been challenged in court. However, during his brief remarks on Sunday, against a backdrop of state police helicopters, an airplane, and an armed patrol boat, Trump did not delve into these policies. Instead, he voiced complaints about inflation, the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2021, and the coverage of news media. He reiterated his belief in the effectiveness of walls in border control and voiced his intention to build more along the border if re-elected.

    His plan includes reviving and expanding his controversial travel ban, implementing new "ideological screening" for all immigrants, and barring those who support extremist groups. He proposes to deport immigrants who express "jihadist sympathies" and to invoke the Alien Enemies Act to remove all known or suspected gang members and drug dealers from the United States.

    In addition, he plans to terminate the constitutional right to birthright citizenship by signing an executive order that would reinterpret the 14th Amendment. Under this order, only children with at least one U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident parent would be eligible for a passport, Social Security number, and other benefits. He also plans to terminate all work permits and stop funding for shelter and transportation for those in the country illegally.

    His plan also includes a crackdown on legal asylum-seekers, the reimplementation of measures such as Title 42, and the pushing for a law that would impose the death penalty on anyone caught trafficking women or children. He plans to shift federal law enforcement agents to immigration enforcement and reposition thousands of troops currently stationed overseas to the southern border.

    The border has been the focal point of the former president's agenda as a candidate and during his presidency. It has also become a crucial aspect of the governor's agenda and the subject of an intensifying conflict with the current administration over immigration. The governor has approved billions of dollars for new border wall construction, authorized razor wire on the banks of the Rio Grande, and transported thousands of migrants to cities led by Democrats across the United States.

  • Thaiger

    Congressional retirements surge, injecting uncertainty into 2024 elections and potentially reshaping the political landscape

    In recent weeks, a wave of retirement announcements is threatening to put Congress on track for the highest number of pre-election retirements in over a decade. The implications of this are significant. In most instances, retirements strip their party of a proven fundraiser and vote-getter. Additionally, several recent retirements are injecting fresh uncertainty into the tight battles for control of each chamber in 2024.

    Over the past few weeks, the Democratic party has lost a three-time winner in the strongly Republican state of West Virginia, and a number of House members in swing-districts who had previously been successful in competitive regions. This month alone, nine members of the House and Senate have announced they won’t run for reelection next year. This is the second-highest number in any single month since 2011, and there are still two weeks left in November. A total of 34 members of Congress have already announced they’re not running again, not including those who plan to quit early or have already resigned.

    There are still more retirement announcements expected. These announcements usually spike after the holidays, and Bill Huizenga, who entered Congress in the 2010 tea party wave election, claimed that retirement chatter is more prevalent on Capitol Hill than at any point in his congressional career.

    Members who are undecided about running again face a lot of uncertainty about the political environment, and which party is more likely to hold majorities in the new Congress. The ex-President Donald Trump leads President Joe Biden in the polls, though the Democratic party has had more electoral success since the end of federal abortion rights.

    Members retire for various reasons, including age, other jobs, and their perceived political prospects. Sometimes these retirements are a reflection of combative internal politics and a toxic work environment.

    Retirements do not just reflect the political environment, they influence it. Retirements can be damaging to the retiree’s party by removing the power of incumbency, including name identification and fundraising experience, from the ballot.

    Open seats, recent history shows, are more likely to change hands between the parties. Over the four election cycles from 2014-2020, 34% of the seats that changed parties were in cases where the incumbent left office, according to “Vital Statistics on Congress,” which is compiled biennially by the Brookings Institution. But over the same stretch, incumbents declined to seek reelection only 11% of the time.

    In the Senate, Democrats face a daunting map, needing to re-elect incumbents in red and swing states to keep control of the chamber. And even then, they’ll likely need Biden to win the White House to break a 50-50 tie.

    In the House, Republicans’ narrow majority is vulnerable — not quite as dire as Democrats’ chances in the upper chamber, but possible mid-decade redistricting in New York could make it even tougher for the GOP to maintain control.

    And some of the retirement announcements this month have been particularly consequential.

    Joe Manchin’s decision not to seek another term in West Virginia almost certainly dooms Democrats’ chances of retaining his seat — putting Republicans on the doorstep of reclaiming the Senate majority. Similarly, Democrats could struggle to hold competitive House seats being vacated by Dan Kildee of Michigan, whose district was essentially split between Biden and Trump in the 2020 presidential election, and Abigail Spanberger of Virginia, who is running for governor in 2025.

    Other retirements have come from safe-seat members, such as Derek Kilmer or Michael Burgess, who are either in the twilight of their careers or just sick of the dysfunction in Washington.

    And, of course, there’s George Santos, who is on the brink of expulsion after the House Ethics Committee published a scathing account of his alleged criminal conduct during his campaign. He’s said he won’t run again as a concession to his many critics, and it’s possible he’ll announce a resignation later this month. (His seat was likely going back to Democrats either way.)

    Still more departures could be on the horizon. Bill Johnson is considering an offer to be president of Youngstown State University. And John Curtis met with the National Republican Senatorial Committee this week about a run for the Senate seat being vacated by retiring Senator Mitt Romney. (Both Johnson and Curtis represent safe House seats that Republicans have virtually no risk of losing next fall.)

    Then there’s the curious case of Pat Fallon. The Texas Republican, who was first elected in 2020, agonized for weeks over whether to run for a third term — or instead for his old North Texas seat in the state Senate.

    Fallon, who said the decision led to him losing weight, was facing Texas’ December 11 candidate-filing deadline. But when he first announced Monday he was running for the state Senate, only to reverse course the next day and say he would seek reelection to the House after all, it left members of GOP leadership puzzled.

    Richard Hudson, who chairs House Republicans’ campaign arm, admitted he was unsure about Fallon’s actions. Hudson said he hoped Republican members would be more enthused about their congressional service when they return from a Thanksgiving recess that breaks up more than two straight months of time in Washington.

    However, that’s not how congressional retirements typically work. In fact, it’s the periods immediately following holiday breaks that have had the greatest number of retirement announcements, according to data covering the six previous election cycles compiled by the website Ballotpedia.

    In a two-year election cycle, the most common month for House and Senate retirement announcements is January of the election year, when members have returned after the holidays. Since the 2012 election, an average of 6.5 members have announced their retirements that month. The only month with more retirement announcements than this one — so far — was January 2014, with 10.

    The flood of congressional retirements can be an indicator of which party has the upper hand in the next election, though it turns out members of Congress aren’t necessarily savvier than the conventional wisdom.

    In the past 15 elections, dating back to the 1994 Republican-wave midterms, the party with the fewest House retirements has won control of the chamber 10 times. But only in eight of the 15 elections has the party with the fewest retirements actually gained House seats, almost a 50-50 split.

    So far this cycle, it’s House Democrats who are leaving in greater numbers. Seventeen are headed for the exits, compared with 10 Republicans. The majority of those Democrats are seeking other offices in 2024: Nine are running for Senate, and one, Jeff Jackson, is running for North Carolina state attorney general after Republicans eviscerated his seat in redistricting.

  • Thaiger

    Tammy Murphy's senate campaign launch met with rival Andy Kim's pushback and progressive criticism

    The official launch of Tammy Murphy's Democratic U.S. Senate campaign on Wednesday morning was immediately faced with rival Andy Kim's campaign and progressives' push to undermine any perceived inevitability of her being the party's nominee. Concurrently, Senator Bob Menendez, the incumbent Democrat they are both vying to replace, launched an attack on her and Governor Phil Murphy without explicitly stating his intentions for a 2024 reelection bid.

    Shortly after Murphy's announcement, the Kim campaign released a poll conducted on their behalf that presented Kim with a 2-to-1 lead over Murphy in the Senate primary. Simultaneously, around two dozen progressive activists from the Fair Vote Alliance issued a letter criticizing Murphy's early support within the Democratic Party as a product of nepotism. They also called on Democratic leaders to abandon the state's "county line" system that is anticipated to give Murphy advantageous ballot placement.

    Murphy, 58 years old, has held the position of First Lady since 2018 and has been more actively involved in her husband's administration than previous first spouses. In her campaign announcement, she highlighted her role in addressing maternal mortality and integrating climate change education into school curriculums.

    Kim, 41 years old, is a former diplomat and Rhodes Scholar who returned to his home county of Burlington in 2018 to turn a Republican House seat. His appeal to progressives and reputation as a measured yet shrewd politician have been solidified. A photograph of him assisting in the clean-up of the U.S. Capitol after the January 6 riots has become a potent symbol.

    Murphy, due to her husband's role and her contacts as a Democratic fundraiser, is expected to have the backing of the majority of the state's Democratic establishment. Outgoing state Senator Richard Codey endorsed her before her official campaign launch, while influential South Jersey Democrat George Norcross hinted at her potential party support across the southern half of the state.

    In a poll commissioned by the Kim campaign, Public Policy Polling found Kim with 40% support among 560 likely Democratic primary voters. Murphy garnered 21%, with Menendez trailing at 5%. The poll, conducted in the two days leading up to Murphy's campaign launch, revealed similar views of Kim and Murphy among Democratic voters, with Murphy being slightly more well-known.

    The "county line" is awarded by most New Jersey county Democratic and Republican parties to chosen candidates, aligning them on the primary ballot with all other party-backed candidates. A study by Rutgers professor Julia Sass Rubin showed that the ballot structure provides significant advantage to party-backed candidates.

    Responding to the developments, New Jersey's senior senator issued a statement that essentially declared a battle against the Murphys. He also challenged Tammy Murphy's Democratic credentials as a former long-term Republican. Menendez further criticized the governor's past comments on taxes and his administration's handling of Covid-19 in state-run veterans homes.

    Murphy's spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

  • Thaiger

    Nate Silver questions Joe Biden's potential for 2024 reelection in recent newsletter post

    Renowned political analyst Nate Silver expressed his doubts regarding President Joe Biden's potential for reelection in 2024. Silver, the founder of the data-oriented platform FiveThirtyEight, expressed his views in an expansive post on his Substack newsletter. He suggested that if Biden is incapable of conducting a robust reelection campaign, he should "step aside" and allow another Democratic candidate to take the reins.

    "Democrats would be taking a massive risk by replacing Biden — but they're also taking a significant risk by nominating him," Silver penned in his post. He further noted, "If Biden can't maintain the schedule of a typical incumbent president running for reelection, or if he is susceptible to making errors when he does, voters and the media will take notice. Biden will then carry his age, which will be over 80 years, like an albatross around his neck."

    The Biden campaign's spokesperson was not immediately available for comment. These statements by Silver, who has previously cast doubt on Biden's political future, come at a time when Biden and his team are trying to alleviate internal concerns and media criticism about the president's age, physical fitness, and electoral prospects against former President Donald Trump.

    Earlier this month, David Axelrod, a former strategist for Obama, found himself in a controversial situation with Biden's allies after he used social media to question whether Biden was the correct candidate to lead the Democrats forward. Axelrod later retracted his comments, stating, "it's an overreaction to say I told him to drop out."

    Last week, Biden and his campaign seemed to dismiss polls from the New York Times and CNN, which suggested that the president was lagging behind Trump in critical battleground states.

  • Thaiger

    Virginia congresswoman Abigail Spanberger announces run for governor in 2025 elections

    Abigail Spanberger, a 44-year-old moderate Democrat from Virginia, has declared her intention to not seek another term in the House of Representatives. Instead, she plans to run for the position of Virginia's governor in the 2025 elections. Spanberger's choice to forego reelection for her congressional seat presents a challenge for Democrats who must now work to secure her competitive district in order to regain majority control. This announcement comes just a week after Democrats in Virginia regained full control of the General Assembly following a two-year period of shared power.

    Spanberger made her intentions to run for governor public in a campaign video released early on Monday. In the video, she emphasized her hopes of reducing prescription drug costs, expanding the middle class, and tackling inflation. "While some politicians in Richmond are occupied with banning abortion and books, they fall short in assisting people," Spanberger stated in her campaign video. She further expressed her confidence in her ability to unify individuals and make significant improvements that enhance life quality, stating, "That's why I'm running for governor."

    Spanberger's decision to run signifies the first move in the race to replace the current Republican Governor, Glenn Youngkin. Youngkin is ineligible for another term according to the Virginia Constitution, which prevents a governor from serving two consecutive terms. It has also been reported that the Mayor of Richmond, Levar Stoney, is preparing a campaign team with intentions to announce his own gubernatorial run by the end of the year.

    Spanberger, who previously worked as a CIA officer and a law enforcement officer for the U.S. Postal Service, initially secured her congressional seat by a slim margin five years ago. Over the course of her three terms, she has emerged as a prominent moderate voice within the Democratic party, advocating for issues ranging from fiscal reform to police funding. Alongside her political experience, Spanberger also brings to the race her exceptional fundraising skills and a potential network of national donors. In the 2022 election cycle alone, she raised more than $9 million.

    "Even in this moment of deep division, we can seize the opportunity. I am running to serve all Virginians in every community across our Commonwealth because it's about time we do what's right for everyone," Spanberger concluded in her campaign video.

  • Thaiger

    Don Samuels announces intention to challenge Ilhan Omar in 2024 elections

    Don Samuels, a former member of the Minneapolis City Council, has officially declared his intention to challenge Ilhan Omar, a Democrat Representative from Minnesota, in the 2024 elections. Samuels previously ran against Omar in 2022, and has now decided to once again attempt to unseat her. He criticized Omar's performance during a local radio station interview, citing her alleged missteps since the last race.

    Samuels explained that his support stems from a combination of his own merits and Omar's perceived shortcomings. He promised to deliver what his supporters expect from him, while also mentioning that some are rallying behind him due to their dissatisfaction with Omar's actions and potential future moves.

    In the 2022 primary, Omar managed to secure a slim victory over Samuels, winning by approximately 2%. Despite this close call, she was able to overwhelmingly defeat her Republican adversary in the general election in the strongly Democratic district. Samuels now aims to bridge this gap, capitalizing on the increasing backlash against Omar and other left-leaning members of the 'Squad' due to their position on the conflict between Israel and Hamas.

    During an interview with WCCO radio, Samuels emphasized the importance of supporting Israel, an ally, and condemned Hamas, which he labeled as a terrorist organization. However, he stressed that the primary allies should always be justice and peace.

    Samuels' challenge is part of a larger trend of opposition against members of the 'Squad'. Cori Bush from Missouri, Jamaal Bowman from New York, and Summer Lee from Pennsylvania, all Democrats, are facing challengers in their respective districts. Some of these challengers have mentioned the Squad members' stance on Israel as a motivating factor for their campaigns.

    Meanwhile, Omar has staunchly defended her record. In a statement to the Forward, an independent Jewish publication, she stated her commitment to advocating for the progressive values that the people of Minnesota elected her to uphold.

  • Thaiger

    New York court decision could shift balance of power in the House of Representatives through redistricting

    A pivotal decision in a New York court could potentially tip the balance of power in the House of Representatives. Legal arguments will be presented next week over if the state of New York can redraw its congressional map in a process that could allow Democrats to gerrymander districts and acquire extra seats. This move would mirror a similar action recently taken by North Carolina Republicans which would likely result in at least three additional congressional seats for them this coming November.

    The national fight for the House is essentially a state-by-state battle for individual districts. Currently, Republicans hold a five-seat majority out of 435. However, Democrats in New York could potentially gerrymander up to six Republican seats if they are given another opportunity to redraw the map.

    Gerrymandering is an old tactic, but recent actions are far from standard. It is customary for states with more than one congressional seat to redraw their maps every ten years to balance the population across districts, following the decennial census. However, mid-decade redistricting is typically only done when mandated by the courts. Mid-decade redistricting is an even more fierce demonstration of political will.

    In the past 20 years, courts have paved the way for such maneuvers. The Supreme Court in 2019 removed federal restrictions on partisan gerrymandering, leaving state courts as the only judicial arbiters of what’s considered fair in the drawing of maps for political gain.

    North Carolina Republicans recently gained control of the state's elected Supreme Court, months after the court ruled the state legislature’s congressional map was an impermissible partisan gerrymander. After the election, the court was asked to revisit its decision, resulting in a reversal. Six months later, Republicans replaced the court-drawn map used in the last election with a partisan gerrymander that eliminates three Democratic seats and threatens the reelection of a fourth Democratic member.

    In New York, the court's composition remains the same, however, changes in its membership could tip the balance. Janet DiFiore, the former chief judge of the state Court of Appeals who sided with Republican appointees in overturning the map the Democratic-controlled state legislature passed last cycle, retired and was replaced by another Democratic appointee.

    Several other states have ongoing legal challenges based on racial gerrymandering, which the Supreme Court earlier this year ruled as still impermissible. Individually, these cases affect the balance of power slightly, but nothing like North Carolina and New York.

    If Democrats can flip six seats in New York, they would have a narrow majority, assuming all else remains constant: 218-217. They aim to oust at least three of GOP Reps. Nick LaLota, Andrew Garbarino, George Santos and Anthony D’Esposito on Long Island, along with Reps. Nicole Malliotakis on Staten Island, Mike Lawler and Marc Molinaro in the Hudson Valley and Brandon Williams in Central New York.

    The state legislature had previously approved a map that Gov. Kathy Hochul signed into law. However, it was later thrown out by a court, which drew its own map, resulting in 15 Democrats and 11 Republicans being elected to Congress last fall. If the original map had been used, Democrats would have almost certainly won more seats.

    However, winning the court case wouldn't automatically mean the state legislature would redraw the map. The task first goes to an independent commission, which submits its plans to the legislature. The state legislature, dominated by Democrats, then decides whether to accept that map or draw its own.

    The big hearing in Albany is set for Wednesday. The plaintiffs are pushing the Court of Appeals for a decision that would allow the map to be redrawn before next year's primaries, which are expected to take place in June.

  • Thaiger

    Biden's team counters unfavorable polls, citing recent democratic victories and popularity of administration's policies

    In the wake of a series of Democratic victories in statewide elections, aides to President Joe Biden are emphasizing that public opinion polls are not an accurate reflection of voter sentiment and that the administration's policies are popular. However, no one in the administration appears to be more intent on countering unfavorable polls than Biden himself.

    At a fundraising event in Chicago, Biden told supporters that despite media focus on two unfavorable polls, there are ten other polls indicating a favorable outcome for his administration. He said copies of these polls had been made available on the seats of attendees. Earlier that day, while speaking to journalists at Maryland's Joint Base Andrews before leaving for Chicago, Biden claimed that the media only focused on two polls, those conducted by CNN and The New York Times.

    Biden's insistence on the inaccuracy of polls comes after Democrats secured control of the Virginia House of Delegates and retained the governorship in traditionally Republican Kentucky, despite his low approval ratings in both states. This happened even as Republicans spent $30 million in Kentucky to link Democratic Governor Andy Beshear to Biden and turn the gubernatorial election into a referendum on the administration's performance.

    Recent polls by CNN and The New York Times suggest Biden is lagging behind former President Donald Trump and other potential Republican candidates nationally by four and five points respectively. The Times' poll also indicated Biden trailing Trump in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Arizona, Georgia, and Nevada.

    However, Biden's staff have used the results of Tuesday's elections to defend the administration's track record and underscore the popularity of Biden's policies. Olivia Dalton, White House principal deputy press secretary, told reporters on Air Force One that polls don't matter, elections do. "Voters have repeatedly embraced the president’s policies, which prioritize middle-class Americans and reject generations of trickle-down economics that didn't deliver for the American people," Dalton said.

    White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre echoed this sentiment on MSNBC's "Morning Joe," stating that it's about people, not polls. "The American people have consistently voiced their support for the president's values and agenda," she said.

    These comments are part of a broader effort by Biden's team to calm concerns within the party and the media about the president's chances of re-election and to bridge the gap between poll results and Democrats' encouraging electoral outcomes.

    When asked for a response, a spokesperson for Biden's campaign pointed to a memo sent to media outlets earlier this week. The memo underscored eight national polls from the previous three weeks showing Biden ahead of Trump and independent candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr., or tied with Trump. It also criticized the media's panic-stricken tone over the past few days. Michael Tyler, the campaign's communications director, wrote in the memo, "Joe Biden has been discounted time and time again and proved pollsters and pundits wrong. His campaign is tuning out the noise and building the strong campaign it needs to win — just like in 2020."

  • Thaiger

    Nikki Haley's stance on abortion may guide new direction for Republican party

    In April, former United Nations ambassador Nikki Haley gave a speech at Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America’s headquarters. Her words were met with disappointment by the anti-abortion group as Haley did not commit to a federal limit of 15 weeks for abortion procedures. Instead, she spoke about the need for sensitivity and finding a national consensus on the issue. Anti-abortion activists expressed concerns that her stance would alienate the party's base voters.

    During the third Republican primary debate held on Wednesday, Haley again addressed the topic of abortion. She stated her personal opposition to the practice but clarified that she does not judge anyone for being pro-choice. This time, however, her view didn't seem out of place among the candidates. On the contrary, it appeared to be a potential guide for others in the party.

    According to David Kochel, a Republican strategist and political veteran in Iowa, Haley's stance might be the position most Republicans should be adopting. He emphasized the need for diverse opinions within the party's coalition on the issue of abortion.

    This shift in the Republican Party's stance on abortion could be a considerable change. In the years before Roe v. Wade was struck down by the Supreme Court, presidential hopefuls were usually fully supportive of anti-abortion standards set by leaders of the cause. However, over the past year, as voters consistently backed codifying abortion rights in their states, GOP candidates have adjusted their messaging, even as they continue to support abortion restrictions.

    Donald Trump, the current favorite for the presidential nomination, has repeatedly warned that the Republican Party could face electoral disaster if it appears overly doctrinaire. Haley's ascendant status and her softer approach to the abortion issue suggest that there is currently minimal political downside to this stance.

    The Haley campaign feels vindicated by this shift in perception. After facing criticism for her early stance in the race, campaign aides now believe that she is teaching the GOP how to discuss this sensitive issue. They note that she is doing so as the only woman in the race.

    Yet, Democrats argue that Haley's moderation is more about rhetoric than substance. Throughout her political career, Haley has supported anti-abortion laws and continues to promise to sign the most restrictive legislation that reaches her desk.

    The GOP primary field has clearly moved in the direction of Haley and Trump. With former Vice President Mike Pence and former Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson no longer in the race, there is little public support in the GOP primary for a national abortion law.

    The exception to this trend is Senator Tim Scott, who supports a 15-week ban. Anti-abortion movement leaders find it frustrating that the loudest voices in the party have not adopted the proposed 15-week messaging.

    Despite this, it seems unlikely that there will be a change of heart on this issue. On Tuesday, an amendment was passed in Ohio, a traditionally Republican state, that enshrines abortion into the constitution. This move has been viewed as a political bellwether for voters leading into the 2024 elections.

    Many believe that Republicans need to learn from this and put more resources behind the anti-abortion cause. Meanwhile, Haley's campaign feels no need to change course. After Wednesday's debate, the campaign received positive feedback and raised more than $1 million within 24 hours, setting a record for the campaign's small-dollar fundraising.

    While some social conservative group leaders may be frustrated by the praise Haley is receiving for a less-defined abortion policy, others believe that the candidates should not strictly follow a script. Ralph Reed, chairman of the Faith and Freedom Coalition, stated that there should be an ongoing discussion between the candidates, conservative groups, voters, and party officials. He concluded that, for the near term, most progress on the issue will likely be made at the state level.

  • Thaiger

    New Hampshire governor questions Vivek Ramaswamy's suitability for presidency

    MERRIMACK, N.H. — Governor of New Hampshire, Chris Sununu, recently expressed doubts about Vivek Ramaswamy's suitability for presidency, stating that the biotech entrepreneur lacks the "temperament" required for the job. This was following the recent Republican debate in Miami, where Ramaswamy's barrage of personal attacks on his fellow contenders and the head of the Republican National Committee raised questions about his ability to manage the pressures of a public executive position.

    Sununu, who is yet to announce his endorsement in the Republican primary, made it clear that Ramaswamy is not likely to be his choice. He emphasized that an effective president should possess a balanced temperament, poise, and the ability to handle their role with grace and professionalism.

    Ramaswamy's team disregarded these comments. Tricia McLaughlin, a representative of his campaign, stated that Ramaswamy remains focused on his mission to rejuvenate the nation. She suggested that Sununu should focus on his own future endeavors rather than making comments from the sidelines.

    Sununu informed reporters that he intends to announce his endorsement after Thanksgiving. His consideration is primarily between Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, and former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. Sununu believes these three candidates have proven themselves to be top choices for the Republican Party, apart from former President Donald Trump.

    Despite Sununu's vocal criticism of Trump, the former President remains the frontrunner in the race nationally and in New Hampshire. Following the third debate, which Trump skipped, Sununu felt that Haley and Christie performed the best. He found Ramaswamy's performance "a bit embarrassing," and South Carolina Senator Tim Scott's showing "wasn't incredibly inspiring."

    According to polling averages from Real Clear Politics, Trump continues to lead the polls in New Hampshire, with roughly 47% support from likely GOP primary voters. Haley has surpassed DeSantis for second place with just under 15%, whereas DeSantis averages under 11%, Christie is under 9%, and Ramaswamy is under 6%.

    Sununu criticized Ramaswamy's lack of public sector experience, doubting his claim of being a successful CEO. He praised Christie for his understanding of accountability and effectiveness as a previous governor.

    Sununu's endorsement is highly sought after due to his popularity as the governor of the first primary state. He has campaigned with many of the candidates, and his endorsement is eagerly awaited. Last week, Haley publicly asked for Sununu's endorsement, but was turned down. Christie, however, chose not to pressure Sununu for an endorsement, stating that he respects Sununu's decision to make his endorsement on his own timetable.

  • Thaiger

    Vivek Ramaswamy and Nikki Haley's escalating rivalry in GOP presidential primary

    Vivek Ramaswamy, a businessman, and Nikki Haley, former U.N. Ambassador, have unveiled an intense animosity towards each other in the GOP presidential primary. On Wednesday night in Miami, the two candidates let their mutual disdain become all too apparent, turning a serious debate into a political spectacle.

    The rivalry is deeply personal and political, revealing as much about the Republican Party's divisions as it does about the two contenders. Vivek Ramaswamy, a 38-year-old rising star, represents a new generation of presidential politics, appealing to conservative outlets and audiences. Despite being a wealthy Harvard and Yale graduate, the Ohio native's campaign has stalled, suggesting his political lifespan may be more limited than his counterparts.

    In contrast, Nikki Haley, a former ambassador and governor, is banking on Trump's legal issues further complicating the political landscape and providing her with an opportunity. The 51-year-old believes the party hasn't entirely moved past the Bush and Reagan eras and that there's still room for a candidate with a traditional resume. Unlike Ramaswamy, Haley avoids controversial platforms and instead opts for safer conservative media outlets.

    The two candidates, both children of Indian immigrants, represent contrasting American experiences. Haley, a product of the "New South" and a former governor of a rising South Carolina, contrasts sharply with Ramaswamy, the Midwestern entrepreneur from Harvard Yard. Ramaswamy's digital savvy and dominance in online polls highlight him as a modern candidate, while Haley offers the promise of stability and competence, aiming to win back suburban women to the Republican party.

    The rivalry took a harsh turn on Wednesday, with Ramaswamy launching an attack on Haley, accusing her of being financially "bankrupt" and "in debt." He even broke the unwritten rule of bringing an opponent's child into the political arena, accusing Haley of hypocrisy for criticizing his TikTok use while her own daughter used the app. Haley fired back, expressing her contempt for Ramaswamy and calling him "scum."

    Ramaswamy's critique of Haley's parenting underlines the role gender plays in their conflict. He embraces an alpha male persona, answering questions on controversial topics "as a man" and advocating for men to take on more responsibility. His aggressive style has continually irked Haley, leading to sharp exchanges between the two.

    The animosity between Ramaswamy and Haley could prove to be an exception to the convention that the ambition for power can heal all wounds. Haley has publicly stated that she doesn't consider Ramaswamy a worthy presidential candidate, and Ramaswamy has continued to provoke her, even retweeting her criticism of him. This ongoing feud between the two candidates promises to remain a focal point of the GOP presidential primary.

  • Thaiger

    Republicans focus on TikTok ban amid concerns over China's global influence

    In the midst of disagreements among the Republican party on devising a strategy to counter China's global influence, their focus seems to have shifted onto the popular social media platform, TikTok. In a recent political debate, the app became a point of unity for the Republican presidential candidates. Former New Jersey Governor, Chris Christie, age 59, lead the charge with claims that TikTok is a tool of espionage and is corrupting the minds of America's youth.

    The Republican attention on TikTok is largely due to its parent company, ByteDance, and its ties to Beijing. The party uses the app as a proxy for its wider national security concerns about the Chinese Communist Party's alleged espionage activities, data theft, and the spread of propaganda. While Capitol Hill's focus has shifted towards the next technological frontier - artificial intelligence, the Republican base remains energized by the idea of a TikTok ban.

    Last night, Senator Josh Hawley, 41 years old, from Missouri, called for a vote on his bill to ban TikTok on his Senate floor speech. Sean Spicer, former press secretary of ex-President Donald Trump, echoed similar concerns on Twitter. During the debate, conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt questioned the candidates about a recent op-ed by Chair of the China Select Committee, Mike Gallagher, 37 years old, from Wisconsin. Gallagher's piece described TikTok as a potentially large-scale malevolent influence operation, likened it to "digital fentanyl", and held it responsible for disseminating pro-Hamas content - an accusation TikTok denies.

    However, banning TikTok has proven to be a difficult task. Efforts by former President Trump to ban the app were struck down by two federal judges in 2020. The Biden administration's national security review of TikTok remains inconclusive due to disagreements over forcing a sale of the platform. While the federal government and 30 states have banned TikTok on government devices, a Montana law banning the app statewide faces a First Amendment challenge.

    The director of the strategic technologies program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, James Lewis, opined on the matter, stating that vilifying China carries no penalties. The presidential candidates seized the opportunity to showcase their hardline stance on China. Christie vowed to ban TikTok in his first week in office, accusing the app of disseminating antisemitic content and fostering division among Americans. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and Senator Tim Scott from South Carolina also voiced support for the ban.

    The debate saw heated exchanges between Nikki Haley and Vivek Ramaswamy. Haley criticized Ramaswamy for using the app on his campaign trail, while Ramaswamy lambasted Haley for her friendly stance towards China during her tenure as the United Nations ambassador.

    A TikTok spokesperson responded to the accusations, stating that if the candidates are genuinely concerned about user data security, they should advocate for a nationwide privacy law that applies to all platforms. As the Congress and the Biden administration grapple with the future of TikTok, the app is likely to remain a cornerstone of Republican anti-China rhetoric leading up to the 2024 elections, predicts Lewis.

  • Thaiger

    Democrats hope Trump's felony trials will boost Biden's popularity but the outcome is uncertain

    Over the course of the next year, Democrats are hoping for legal proceedings against Donald Trump to potentially bolster Joe Biden's polling numbers. Prosecutors are presently pushing for Trump to be tried in three distinct felony cases in March alone. These cases relate to the events of January 6, payments made to Stormy Daniels, and the Georgia election case. Additionally, there is a case concerning classified documents set for May.

    The prospect of a single felony trial against a former president is unprecedented, let alone four. Democrats conjecture that one or two convictions could damage Trump's political career and compensate for Biden's perceived vulnerabilities. However, the political implications of Trump's legal battles are not as straightforward as Democrats may believe. The public's response to the indictments has been mixed, and it is uncertain whether these legal proceedings will overshadow traditional presidential issues such as the economy and foreign policy.

    Despite the potential for a felony conviction, Trump could still feasibly win the presidency in the next election. The recent civil fraud case in Manhattan has received a great deal of media attention, with much of the coverage focusing on how disastrous the proceedings have been for Trump. However, Trump continues to fight, using his unconventional courtroom behavior to emphasize the abnormal nature of these legal proceedings.

    It is unusual for a prosecutor, in this case, New York State attorney Letitia James, to vow to prosecute a political adversary while campaigning and to describe him in such scathing terms. It is also unprecedented for a judge, as Arthur Engoron did, to declare a guilty verdict at the beginning of a trial, rather than at its conclusion. Following Trump's testimony, his attorney Alina Habba used these occurrences to question the legitimacy of the trial.

    The focus of the trial is now on the penalty, with James proposing that $250 million be recovered from Trump's business. Despite this, Trump did not default on his loans and the financial institutions involved should have conducted their own due diligence. This case appears to be a prime example of targeting an individual and then finding a crime to fit them.

    The public response to these trials and potential convictions is mixed. Some polls suggest that a majority of respondents consider the charges against Trump concerning the events of January 6 as "very serious." However, nearly half of respondents view these charges as politically motivated.

    If Trump is convicted of a felony, polling suggests that this could be severely damaging for him. A poll conducted by Quinnipiac in August found that 68% of people believe someone convicted of a felony should not be eligible to be president. A Reuters/Ipsos poll reported that 45% of Republicans would not vote for Trump if he were convicted of a felony.

    Despite this, it is uncertain whether public sentiment will remain the same after a potential conviction. It is also possible that a conviction, like many other political events, will initially be shocking but will soon be absorbed into the continuous news cycle.

    There are also other factors that could potentially help Trump survive a conviction. A New York Times poll found that a majority of respondents believe Trump has helped them personally, while they believe Biden has hurt them personally. If public opinion remains this way, it is unclear whether voters would prioritize their personal welfare or the legal proceedings against Trump.

    From a political standpoint, Trump does not necessarily have to win the argument over his alleged criminal misconduct, but rather fight it to a standstill. Furthermore, Biden has his own issues. While he will not be charged with crimes related to his family's influence-peddling scandal, Democrats are not presenting a completely scandal-free candidate against a potential felon.

    Despite all this, Republicans may still be better off nominating a less controversial candidate. However, Democrats should consider the possibility that Trump's court dates may not have the political impact they are anticipating.

  • Thaiger

    Breaking down the body language cues in the final GOP primary debate

    In the final GOP primary debate, the body language of the candidates was just as telling as their verbal responses. A career in nonverbal communication decoding spanning over 50 years, including 25 years at the FBI, has taught that while people can lie, their bodies often reveal the truth. Signs such as facial flushing, mouth twitches, or a shaking hand can expose real emotions and thoughts. This was evident during the debate where Ron DeSantis' forced smile, Nikki Haley's dismissive eye roll, and Vivek Ramaswamy’s tense eyebrows unveiled a significant amount of unexpressed feelings and thoughts.

    In the first GOP debate, it was observed that Florida Governor Ron DeSantis lacked a smile. It appears that he attempted to rectify this by smiling more; however, his execution was not quite right. His aim should have been a genuine Duchenne smile, which involves the lifting of the mouth corners by the zygomaticus major muscle and the raising of the cheeks by the orbicularis oculi muscle around the eyes, resulting in an authentic expression. DeSantis, who has been previously criticized for his awkwardness, made an odd and stiff gesture of revealing his teeth by pulling the corners of his mouth. This was evident in his closing statement and posed a problem as it gave off an unauthentic and thus, untrustworthy impression.

    At the first debate, Vivek Ramaswamy seemed to be enjoying himself immensely, gaining attention with his bright smile and large, enthusiastic hand gestures. However, during this debate, Ramaswamy's playful demeanor seemed to have disappeared. His discontent was evident from the start, with his eyebrows angled in dissatisfaction, a tense jaw, and a consistently high vocal volume that made him appear irked. His repeated interruptions of former U.N. ambassador Nikki Haley and other candidates were counterproductive, making him appear anxious rather than confident.

    The resolve and determination of Nikki Haley were apparent from the tension on her face. Her responses were cogent and focused, and her delivery was precise. Her use of humor to counter Vivek’s sexist remark about her heels was flawless. She responded strongly to Ramaswamy's criticism of her allowing her daughter to use TikTok, but her body language was the real show of strength. She rolled her eyes dismissively and clenched her jaw, showing her control even when she was visibly angry. However, many of Haley's other hand gestures were more subdued, and she could improve by making her gestures more expansive and visible to the television audience.

    Christie was as polished as ever. As a former prosecutor, he utilized his smooth vocal cadence to deliver talking points that were easy to understand. His calm and controlled hand gestures were smooth, and he effectively communicated with his eyes, arching his eyebrows for dramatic effect and narrowing them to emphasize important points.

    Scott gave a presidential performance. He was eloquent and composed, quoting scripture on stage and speaking in a reassuring cadence, similar to a pastor. He appeared approachable, thanks to his easy smile, deep baritone voice, and inclusive body language. His open-palmed hand gestures and upward-tilted head gave his message weight. While he stumbled a few times at the beginning, he was able to correct his course as the debate progressed, smoothly navigating various topics and delivering statistics without issue.

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    Minnesota supreme court rejects lawsuit to bar Trump from 2024 presidential elections

    The Supreme Court of Minnesota declined to pass a resolution on Wednesday that might prevent the previous President, Donald Trump, 75 years old, from being included in the 2024 presidential elections in that state. The court set aside a lawsuit that would exclude Trump from the primary ballot owing to a clause in the 14th Amendment, which prevents individuals from occupying public office if they have been involved in insurrection or rebellion. However, the justices clarified on Wednesday that the verdict only pertains to the state's primary, leaving the possibility open that the ex-president could be removed from the general election ballot in November.

    Chief Justice Natalie E. Hudson pointed out that there exists no state law that prevents a major political party from including a candidate on the presidential nomination primary ballot or from sending delegates to the national convention to support a candidate deemed ineligible to hold office. In the court order, there was no explicit mention as to whether Trump's involvement in the activities connected to the events of January 6, 2021, disqualifies him.

    The lawsuit, filed by the liberal group Free Speech for People representing Minnesota voters in this case, is among numerous others contesting Trump's eligibility in view of his actions related to the Capitol riot. A trial for a similar case in Colorado is already in progress. In another instance, a judge in New Hampshire recently dismissed a long-shot candidate's effort to have Trump declared ineligible.

    Soon after the public announcement of the Minnesota decision, Trump's campaign issued a statement. It claimed that the order validates their argument that the 14th Amendment challenges are merely strategic, unconstitutional attempts to interfere with the election.

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    Democrats face significant losses to Republicans in New York for second consecutive year

    NEW YORK — For the second consecutive year, the Democrats suffered significant losses in key battles to Republicans in New York, an anomaly in their otherwise successful national performance. Despite abortion access proving a winning strategy in conservatively leaning states, the focus in New York was on public safety, affordability, and immigration issues.

    Republican leaders reveled in significant victories in Long Island and a rare win in the Bronx. They claimed these victories as evidence of their sustained political strength, following their House victories the previous year. They also warned Democrats to brace for more losses in 2024.

    Bruce Blakeman, Nassau County Executive, commented on this apparent shift, saying, "We’re talking about a big movement, and we’re talking about this movement starting in a very blue state. There is a message for the Democratic Party and the message is: You’re too extreme, you’re too far left, you’re too woke."

    New York is anticipating hosting numerous competitive House races next year, second only to California. Democrats are hoping their stance on abortion rights will give them an edge, but a recurring theme has emerged: New Yorkers do not always follow national trends.

    Particularly notable was the Republican turnout in Long Island, where the party had previously swept all four House seats. The GOP retained its majority in the Nassau County Legislature and celebrated victories in the Hempstead, North Hempstead, and Oyster Bay town supervisor posts.

    Elsewhere in the state, Democratic strength was evident in upstate New York, where key congressional races will take place next year. However, the National Republican Congressional Campaign remained optimistic, despite less impressive results in less-blue states. Savannah Viar, NRCC spokesperson, issued a statement saying, "We have a simple message to New York Democrats: Giddy up, the ride has only begun."

    In New York City, parts of the East Bronx showed a desire for new political representation, with Republican Kristy Marmorato declaring victory in a City Council seat not held by a Republican since 2002. Marmorato commented, "People just didn’t feel like they had a voice, and they felt like things were changing so quickly around them. They knew they had to step and vote and be the change.”

    Despite this, Democrats maintain a strong hold in the majority of the state. They emerged victorious in high-profile county executive races in the most populous areas upstate and also made significant gains further down the ballot.

    They secured the Monroe County Legislature for the first time in three decades, which could be crucial for maintaining their state legislative supermajority next year. Democrats also succeeded in the county Legislature in Cayuga outside Syracuse, which could be included in Republican Rep. Brandon Williams’ district next year. They also led for the first time in generations in the clerk’s race in Onondaga County, which is part of Williams’ district.

    However, the Republican gains have spurred one prominent Democratic House candidate, Zak Malamed, to abandon his race for Santos’ Nassau and Queens seat and endorse former Rep. Tom Suozzi. Malamed stated, "My north star has always been to do whatever it takes to flip this district blue," adding that Suozzi is "our best chance to flip this district blue and end the toxic hold that MAGA Republicans have on Long Island and Congress at large."

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    Reflections and strategies: How the Republican party can overcome recent setbacks

    On Tuesday night, the Republican party stumbled, as Democrats retained the governorship in Kentucky and reclaimed the state legislature in Virginia. Additionally, a proposal to protect abortion rights in the Ohio constitution was widely accepted. Despite these setbacks, the Republican party remains confident in their prospects for 2024, with Donald Trump leading Joe Biden in most presidential polls. However, these results raise questions about what the Republican party should learn and how it should proceed.

    A group of seasoned Republican strategists shared their insights into Tuesday's shortcomings and suggested solutions. These included increasing the representation of women in policy development and candidate selection, and ensuring abortion laws account for cases of rape and incest. Some suggested that the party needs to regroup and reflect, while others encouraged a more aggressive stance against Democrats' efforts to label them as extremists.

    The influence of former President Donald Trump remains a contentious issue, with one strategist stating that Trump is both the cause of and solution to the party's challenges. Holly Harris, a former Republican strategist and founder of the Network, called for increased efforts to appeal to women and mothers. This could involve a shift from divisive rhetoric to concrete solutions for American families.

    Ken Blackwell, the former mayor of Cincinnati and chair of the Conservative Action Project, argued that the results were not entirely negative for Republicans. He suggested that the party needs to clearly differentiate itself from Democrats through bold policies and effective messaging. Lessons from Kentucky, according to Blackwell, include the importance of incumbency, the lack of a leftward shift, and the strength of the Republican party.

    Tom Davis, a former congressman from Virginia, pointed to abortion as the dominant issue in Virginia, which detracted from Governor Youngkin's popularity. He also highlighted the polarizing effect of Trump, which can potentially limit the Republican party's performance in suburban and urban areas.

    Liam Donovan, a principal at Bracewell LLP, noted the Democrats' success in low turnout elections and the Republicans' reliance on low propensity voters. He also mentioned the potential vulnerability of President Biden due to age, inflation, and dissatisfaction among key voter groups.

    Alex Castellanos, a Republican consultant, lamented the lack of a clear identity for the Republican party. He proposed an open economy, equal opportunity in education, a modern healthcare system, and a focus on freedom as viable principles for the party.

    Sarah Longwell, publisher of The Bulwark, criticized Republican officials for enabling Trump's authoritarianism and purging the party of dissenting voices. She called for sustained electoral defeat at the ballot box to check this authoritarian movement.

    Scott Jennings, a senior CNN political commentator, identified money, abortion, and Trump as the key issues in the Kentucky governor's race. He pointed to the Democrats' fundraising advantage, the public's desire for exceptions in abortion laws, and the limitations of Trump's endorsement as factors in the Republican party's loss.

    In summary, the Republican party faces significant challenges in the wake of Tuesday's results. The influence of Trump, the party's approach to key issues like abortion, and its ability to appeal to a diverse electorate will all play crucial roles in shaping its future.

  • Thaiger

    Former Assemblymember John Burzichelli defeats Ed Durr in a significant victory for Democrats

    In a crucial triumph for Democrats, former Assemblymember John Burzichelli emerged victorious on Tuesday night, defeating Ed Durr in the elections, as per the projections of the Associated Press. Durr, who had previously achieved a surprising win against Democratic Senate President Steve Sweeney in 2021, had gained significant popularity among the right-wing supporters.

    In the same vein, the Democratic Assembly candidates Heather Simmons and Dave Bailey Jr., who were running alongside Burzichelli, were leading against the Republican Assemblymember Bethanne McCarthy Patrick and Hopewell Township Committee member Tom Tedesco. However, the Associated Press has not yet made an official call on the Assembly election.

    To provide some context, Durr, who works as a truck driver, had managed to fly under the political radar in 2021. His victory over Sweeney, who had not invested much in his reelection campaign and had his sights set on the gubernatorial race in 2025, had taken everyone, including Durr himself, by surprise. During that time, Democrats did not use opposition research against Durr. One such overlooked detail was his controversial Facebook post in 2020 about abortion where he stated, "Women do have a choice! Keep their legs closed."

    However, the Democrats did not overlook this opportunity in the current election. They capitalized on these comments, investing heavily in television advertisements and mailers, attempting to tarnish the image of other Republicans as well.

    Burzichelli, who had held the influential position of chairing the Assembly Appropriations Committee for a ten-year period, also criticized Durr for his focus on pro-gun and anti-abortion legislation, arguing that it was at the expense of resources for the district. The district had previously benefited from the leadership positions of both Sweeney and Burzichelli.

    At the campaign headquarters of Burzichelli on Tuesday night, a sense of vindication was in the air. Sweeney, addressing NJ Spotlight News, said, "It feels like a wrong has now been righted."

    The key takeaway from Burzichelli's victory is the comeback of power to the once dominant South Jersey Democratic machine, which had been struggling recently. This win marks a significant step in the revival of the party's influence in the region.

  • Thaiger

    Democratic party's resurgence in off-year elections: a forecast for 2024 or a temporary victory?

    In recent off-year elections, the Democratic party has experienced a resurgence, with significant victories in various states. Notably, the incumbent Democratic governor in Kentucky, a state where current President Joe Biden had faced defeat by a margin of 26 points, won reelection comfortably. The Democratic party also staved off Virginia's Glenn Youngkin's attempt to seize complete control of the state legislature by retaining the state Senate and flipping the state House. Furthermore, they managed to secure a state Supreme Court seat in Pennsylvania, the largest Electoral College battleground in the nation.

    These victories don't assure success for the Democrats in the 2024 elections. Biden has been trailing former President Donald Trump in recent polls, and the Democrats are predicted to face an uphill battle to maintain their Senate majority. However, these results, combined with special elections throughout the year where Democratic candidates have outperformed Biden's vote percentages in various districts across the nation, serve as a powerful rebuttal to the party's negative outlook regarding the president's poll numbers.

    While these victories won't make the polls disappear, they do necessitate a reassessment of the current political climate, with a year left until the next general election. This year, the Democratic party was already showing strength, with candidates in special elections performing better by an average of eight percentage points compared to Biden's 2020 victory.

    Prominent victories included flipping control of Wisconsin's state Supreme Court and thwarting conservatives' attempts to make it more challenging to pass the abortion-rights amendment in Ohio. Tuesday's elections added to this winning streak, with the reelection of Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear, the retention of the Virginia state Senate, the flipping of the state House, and the successful drive behind a ballot measure to enshrine the right to an abortion in the Ohio state constitution. The Democrats also added to their Wisconsin victory by winning a similar race in Pennsylvania.

    Despite their victories, Democrats should exercise caution in assuming their successes will continue into 2024. With Trump likely to be the Republican party's nominee again, the GOP will be banking on the former president's coalition to turn out as it did in 2020. Voters with lower incomes and educational attainment levels, who have been shifting toward Trump and the GOP in recent years, tend not to vote in special and off-year elections, where Democrats have seen success.

    One of the significant victories at the ballot box for reproductive rights advocates was the Ohio result, a year after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. The victory for the "Yes on 1" side in Ohio was largely expected after an August referendum where the state's voters rejected a measure that would have made the abortion amendment harder to pass. However, the way this victory transpired was noteworthy. An analysis of 80 counties that reported complete results shortly before midnight found that the Yes side exceeded Biden's 2020 margins by an average of over 10 percentage points in counties the Democratic president lost. The Yes side also outperformed Biden's 2020 results in blue counties, but the margin of improvement was smaller.

    Virginia's Glenn Youngkin took a significant gamble on the Virginia legislative races and seems to be going home empty-handed. His attempts to consolidate power in the state by removing a Democratic roadblock to his agenda, on matters ranging from taxes to abortion, were rebuffed by voters. Youngkin had pushed candidates to rally around a 15-week ban in the state, trying to cast Democrats as extremists on the issue and Republicans as the party with the reasonable stance. However, voters rejected this.

    Biden's supporters celebrated Tuesday's results, claiming they were a more accurate reflection of the president's political standing than a series of polls showing him losing to Trump. Despite the president undeniably receiving a boost from the night's results, these pleas are probably downplaying the political trouble Biden faces at this point. Nevertheless, the president and his aides were quick to point to Kentucky, Ohio, and Virginia as evidence of enthusiasm for Democratic causes and candidates. They ended the night with even more confidence that abortion is a winning campaign issue and a belief that they have gained a reprieve from critics who fear they're facing a disaster when Biden faces off against Trump.

    Trump, the former president, was notably quiet during the evening. He had expended little of his political capital leading up to the vote. However, his support for Kentucky's state Attorney General Daniel Cameron's gubernatorial bid did leave him open to attacks from his primary opponents. The most symbolic rebuke of Trump on Tuesday probably came from New York City, where Yusef Salaam, a member of the exonerated Central Park Five, won a city council seat. Trump had called for the death penalty for these five, who were wrongly accused of raping a jogger, and has refused to apologize for it.

  • Thaiger

    Virginia's election results: A boost for Biden and a warning for Youngkin

    Although Joe Biden was not directly involved in Virginia's Tuesday elections, the significant victory achieved by Democrats is considered a positive sign for those across the Potomac. Virginia's off-cycle elections are often viewed as a reflection of the general political climate and to some extent, a judgement on the sitting president. Hence, the Democrats' sweeping control of the state legislature, a possibility that was considered by both parties, could potentially enhance Biden's re-election campaign in the coming year.

    Interestingly, it demonstrates that the widespread dissatisfaction with Biden's presidency may not be as detrimental to Democrats as initially thought. Biden won Virginia by 10 points in 2020, however, his approval ratings both in the state and nationally have been consistently low. According to a mid-October survey from The Washington Post/Schar School, only 43% of registered voters approved of Biden's performance, while 55% disapproved.

    Despite these numbers, Democrats outperformed in the state, where Republican Governor Glenn Youngkin, whose 2021 victory was seen as a rejection of Democratic-led Washington, enjoys higher popularity. Youngkin, although not on the Tuesday ballot, heavily invested in the elections, and in some ways, positioned himself as the face of Republicans' bid to retake the legislature.

    A Republican win would have handed Youngkin significant control in a state that is largely blue on the federal level. However, voters, despite their dissatisfaction with Biden, voted for Democrats in key battlegrounds. These districts reflect areas where much of the fight for control of the White House will be fought next year - suburban swing districts that have largely shifted away from the GOP since Donald Trump's emergence.

    Democrats achieved success by intensively focusing their campaign on the right to abortion. Virginia is one of the last southern states with access to abortion, and Democrats argued that a unified Republican government would pose a threat to this. Abortion was the most frequently mentioned issue in Democratic ads throughout the race, according to ad tracking firm, AdImpact.

    The victories on Tuesday will likely validate Democrats' plans to continue to focus on abortion next year, a strategy that has yielded a series of almost uninterrupted wins since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade last summer.

    These wins also indicate that Youngkin does not possess the ultimate solution to the GOP’s electoral issues with abortion, as his team had hoped. Youngkin's team invested millions in ads, claiming that state Republicans would advocate for a 15-week ban on abortion, portraying their stance as reasonable and casting Democrats as extremists. However, voters did not concur.

    In a subtle manner, Tuesday's Democratic wins in the Old Dominion also increase the likelihood of a 2024 rematch between Biden and Trump. Some major GOP donors, anxious about Trump's ongoing dominance over the party, have been practically pleading with Youngkin, a rising star within the party, to launch a last-minute bid for the presidential nomination. The governor has consistently maintained his focus on winning Virginia's legislative elections, yet he has never completely ruled out a run. However, following Tuesday's results, Virginia voters may have toppled the rising star from his pedestal.

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    Eric Adams' mayoral campaign funding under federal investigation over potential straw donor scheme involving Brooklyn construction company

    NEW YORK — For over a decade, the Brooklyn-based construction company, KSK Construction Group, had a record of zero involvement in local political donations. However, this record was abruptly disrupted when the company and its employees suddenly became substantial contributors to Eric Adams' mayoral campaign. The company now finds itself entangled in a federal investigation concerning the funding of Adams' 2021 campaign, following the emergence of records indicating that 11 individuals, all listing KSK as their employer, made significant contributions to Adams' campaign, totalling about $14,000.

    The public corruption investigation is aimed at determining whether Adams' 2021 mayoral campaign was implicated in a straw donor scheme to channel funds from the Turkish government through the construction company, according to The New York Times. Almost a dozen individuals associated with KSK, which reportedly has ties to Turkey, each donated between $1,200 and $1,500 to Adams' campaign in a single day in May 2021. These contributions enabled Adams' campaign to qualify for $18,000 in public matching funds.

    For most of these individuals, these donations were their first-ever political contributions. John Kaehny, executive director at the watchdog group Reinvent Albany, stated "It is a red flag to have all these individuals making contributions for the first time, on the same day, from the same employer, with no history of political giving. That’s just classic straw donor.”

    Out of the 11 individuals who identified KSK as their employer and made contributions to Adams on May 7, 10 had never made donations to any other city or state political campaign, according to campaign finance records dating back to the late 1980s. The only exception was one of the firm's owners, Erden Arkan, who had not made a political contribution for 12 years prior to 2021 — his last known contribution being a $1,000 donation in 2009 to the campaign of former Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz.

    Although KSK has not been charged with any wrongdoing in relation to these campaign contributions, the sudden surge in donations seems to have attracted the attention of federal prosecutors who recently conducted a raid on the residence of Adams' top fundraiser.

    KSK, established in the early 2000s, has executed at least 39 real estate projects across the city, varying from luxury condominiums to hotels. The company, founded by individuals from Turkey, was active during the condominium boom in Williamsburg in the mid- to late-2000s, constructing more than a dozen projects in the area between 2006 and 2011. While KSK is not considered a major player in the real estate industry, it is known for its work in the then-developing Brooklyn neighborhood.

    More recently, KSK constructed a 25-story high-rise at 570 Broome St. in Hudson Square, where a two-bedroom condo recently sold for $4.2 million. KSK often collaborates with the Agime Group, another firm which Arkan serves as an advisory board member.

    KSK was established by employees of another construction firm, Kiska, which was awarded contracts for city projects during the Giuliani and Bloomberg administrations. However, Kiska was embroiled in two corruption scandals involving bribes to city workers in relation to those projects in 2007 and 2008. In 2021, KSK, along with other firms associated with the 570 Broome project, faced a lawsuit following the death of a construction worker on the job site.

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    Former Republican representative Peter Meijer announces Michigan Senate bid for 2024

    Former Republican representative, Peter Meijer, aged 35, who is known for his vote to impeach Donald Trump, has announced his candidacy for a Michigan Senate seat in the 2024 elections. This announcement came on the heels of a report last week where Senator Todd Young from Indiana indicated that Meijer was preparing to launch his campaign.

    In his announcement on Monday, Meijer stated, "We are in dark and uncertain times, but we have made it through worse. The challenges are great, but so is our country. If we are to see another great American century, we need leaders who aren’t afraid to be bold, will do the work, and can’t be bought.”

    Meijer lost his West Michigan seat in 2022 to a Trump-endorsed candidate. His vote to impeach Trump over the latter's role in the events of January 6, 2021, marked him as one of the ten House Republicans who chose to do so. Despite this, Meijer has maintained that he holds no regrets over his voting decision.

    The former congressman's impeachment vote could potentially draw support from moderate or independent voters within the state. Moreover, Meijer, as the grandson of the founder of the Midwestern Meijer grocery chain, has substantial personal funds and potential allies capable of establishing a super PAC to support him.

    Meijer has now joined the GOP primary race which already includes two significant candidates: former representative Mike Rogers and former Detroit Police Chief James Craig. It is anticipated that more Republicans may decide to run. The current seat holder, Senator Debbie Stabenow, is retiring.

    On the other side of the aisle, Representative Elissa Slotkin and actor Hill Harper have also thrown their hats in the ring for the Democratic nomination for the same seat.

    Meijer, a former sergeant in the Army Reserve who served in Iraq, had focused his legislative priorities on reforming war powers and veterans issues when he was elected in 2020. He had four of his bills signed into law, which includes the establishment of a Department of Homeland Security trade and economic security council.

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    Democratic party's rural outreach strategy: Lessons from Kansas Governor Laura Kelly's success

    TOPEKA, Kan. - The Democratic party has struggled to gain support in rural areas in recent years. However, an unexpected shift occurred when Kansas Governor Laura Kelly, a Democrat, garnered support from rural voters. Not only did she win their support once, but she also managed to secure it again during her re-election campaign. While she did not win the majority of the rural vote, her gains among this demographic were crucial for her victory.

    Democratic strategists are now studying Kelly's success in hopes of replicating it in the 2024 elections. The party is currently grappling with a significant loss of support among rural voters. Kelly's strategy of focusing on local economic issues and avoiding culture war fights could be a potential solution to this issue.

    Kelly's strategy is unique and somewhat counter to the current national political climate. Rather than engaging in heated cultural debates, she emphasized local economic issues and spent considerable time interacting with farmers who were unlikely to vote for her.

    The Democratic party faces a significant test of their rural outreach efforts next week. Kentucky's Democratic Governor, Andy Beshear, must win a re-election campaign in a predominantly Republican state, a challenge similar to the one Kelly faced two years ago. Republicans are attempting to nationalize the race, using President Biden and controversial cultural issues to try and undermine Beshear's popularity.

    However, replicating Kelly's success is no simple task. Her victories are partly due to her personal appeal, and she also benefited from running against a controversial candidate in 2018 and from the advantages of incumbency last year. Moreover, she is running for a state office, not a federal one.

    While it's unlikely that President Biden will be competitive in Kansas or similar states next year, key battleground states like Wisconsin or Georgia have significant rural populations similar to those in Kansas. Therefore, it's crucial for Democrats to find a way to regain support among rural voters. In Kansas, Kelly improved on Biden's 2020 defeat margin in every one of Kansas' 105 counties, with the most significant gains in rural areas, enabling her to narrowly defeat her Republican opponent.

    Kelly's success has not gone unnoticed. Democratic Governors Association Chair Phil Murphy has praised Kelly, particularly noting her invaluable input for the upcoming 2023 gubernatorial elections in red-leaning rural states.

    Over the past decade, rural voters have increasingly moved away from the Democratic party, which has focused more on urban and suburban voters. Kelly believes that one of the problems is Democrats getting embroiled in constant cultural debates, such as transgender rights or abortion policy. She argues that when she speaks to rural Kansas voters, they're more concerned with local issues, like school funding or road repair.

    In contrast to many Democrats last year, Kelly did not emphasize abortion rights during her campaign, despite Kansas voters rejecting a ballot initiative pushed by anti-abortion groups in the summer of 2022. Instead, she focused on economic issues and projected an image of a moderate governor.

    The viability of Kelly's strategy for other Democrats remains uncertain, but others are attempting to adapt it. Kentucky's Democratic governor, Andy Beshear, also ran well ahead of Biden in 2019 and will have to compete in the state's rural areas to secure another term.

    Kelly acknowledges the challenge of applying her strategy at the federal level. She believes President Biden needs to change his message and increase outreach to rural voters. She suggests that he highlight his economic record and infrastructure projects that could appeal to rural voters.

    However, many Republicans in the state attribute Kelly's success to circumstantial advantages rather than a superior political strategy. They point to her 2018 victory in a strong year for Democrats, running against a controversial Republican candidate, and her 2022 re-election campaign as an incumbent governor against a weak Republican challenger.

    Democrats understand that they can't simply copy Kelly's approach to win. Each campaign requires a unique strategy tailored to the candidate and the constituency. The key is authenticity, not a specific personality or set of policies.

    Despite her successful yet unconventional political style, Kelly remains modest. At a recent event, she was gently teased by philanthropist Dolly Parton for her low-key demeanor, to which Kelly simply responded, "It's my magic, Dolly."

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    Despite federal fraud charges, Representative George Santos plans to rerun for Long Island house seat

    NEW YORK — Despite facing federal fraud charges and the potential of expulsion from office, Representative George Santos of the Long Island Republican party is determined to re-run for his House seat in the upcoming year. Santos remains confident in his political standing, citing his past election victory in a House district that was won by President Joe Biden in 2020.

    Reflecting on his previous win, Santos, in an interview scheduled to air on Sunday, shared with CNN, "Could I have won the general election last time? Nobody said I could. But I survived." However, this victory didn't shield Santos from intense scrutiny, as several parts of his biography were subsequently discovered to be fabricated. Despite this, Santos remains adamant that voters would overlook his fraudulent claims.

    "People elected me because I said I'd come here to fight the swamp, I'd come here to lower inflation, create more jobs, make life more affordable, and the Commitment to America. That's why people voted for anybody," he argued. "To say that they voted based on anybody's biography, I can assure you this. Nobody knew my biography. Nobody opened my biography who voted for me in the campaign."

    Santos' district is being keenly watched by Democrats as a potential opportunity to regain control in the closely contested House next year. Republicans, including Santos, were able to flip a few key seats, which resulted in a slim majority win. With the possibility of Santos' expulsion, there is no shortage of candidates ready to seize the opportunity.

    In addition to his fabricated biography, Santos' legal issues have escalated. In October, federal prosecutors accused him of stealing credit card information from donors and family members to boost his contributions and loans, allowing him to reach support benchmarks set by national Republicans. Santos pleaded not guilty to these charges.

    Despite Santos' determination, fellow Republicans from New York are rallying for his removal from office, supporting the ongoing House ethics panel investigation into Santos' conduct. An attempt to oust him from office, backed by New York Republicans, failed to pass in the House earlier this week. However, these GOP freshers, viewing Santos as a liability for their own re-election bids next year, plan to revisit this action post the ethics panel review.

    Central New York-area Representative Brandon Williams voiced his opinion in a virtual news conference on Friday, stating, "I believe we'll see George Santos in handcuffs standing in front of a judge. I believe he has no place in Congress."

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    Assemblymember Wendy Carrillo's arrest could disrupt Los Angeles city council race

    In an unexpected development that could potentially disrupt the ongoing Los Angeles City Council race, Assemblymember Wendy Carrillo, 43 years old, was arrested early on Friday morning. According to online booking records from the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department, Carrillo was detained by Los Angeles police at approximately 1:30am and subsequently booked into jail shortly after 4am. The department has not disclosed any further details about the arrest, other than revealing it was for a misdemeanor charge, and indicated that more information would only be provided once a statement has been issued by Carrillo's office.

    Carrillo's chief of staff did not immediately respond to requests for comments on the situation. Carrillo is part of a group of Democrats vying to displace Council member Kevin de León, who is facing a challenging reelection campaign following a leaked audio scandal last year that caused racial controversy and led to his ostracization within his own party. Two of De León’s former colleagues in the state Legislature, Carrillo and fellow Democratic Assemblymember Miguel Santiago, are among those looking to unseat him.

    This is not the first time in recent months that a DUI allegation has impacted a Democratic race. Earlier this year, Democratic state Sen. Dave Min was arrested on suspicion of drunk driving. Min is now facing off against Democratic lawyer Joanna Weiss to replace Rep. Katie Porter in Congress. The arrest has raised questions about Min's electability for a House seat that Democrats consider crucial for their success in the upcoming November elections.

    Carrillo has primarily based her candidacy on her connections to the eastern Los Angeles district, especially Boyle Heights. Her rivalry with Santiago has resulted in a split within the Assembly Democratic caucus. Carrillo has the support of former Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, while Santiago has secured the endorsement of the current Speaker, Robert Rivas. Additionally, Santiago has garnered considerable backing from a majority of labor and business groups in Los Angeles.

    The progressive faction of the city, including incumbent Council member Eunisses Hernandez, is rallying behind Ysabel Jurado, a lawyer specializing in tenant’s rights.

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    Kentucky governor's race: A test for Democratic viability in Republican-leaning regions

    The incumbent governor of Kentucky, Andy Beshear, is seeking re-election next week, and his success or failure will largely depend on the voters in areas such as the Eastern Kentucky Coalfields. Beshear, a Democrat, must prove his party's viability in these regions, despite the unpopularity of his party's leader, President Joe Biden.

    Beshear's performance in the 2019 election outpaced that of his party, particularly in regions like Hazard, the county seat of Perry County. Here, Biden lost by 54% in the 2020 presidential election, while Beshear lost by only 9% the previous year. Beshear recently campaigned in the region, which was heavily affected by flooding over a year ago. He reassured the community of his commitment to recovery and rebuilding efforts.

    Beshear's Republican opponent, state Attorney General Daniel Cameron, is trying to capitalize on the unpopularity of national Democrats and turn the race into a referendum on Biden versus former President Donald Trump. Cameron's strategy is evident in the television advertisements his campaign has been running, which have shifted focus from local issues to national politics.

    The outcome of the Kentucky gubernatorial race could provide insight into the 2024 presidential election. If Beshear wins, it would suggest that the Democratic Party is stronger than current national polls suggest. However, a victory for Cameron would indicate an increasingly polarized country with antipathy towards Biden motivating Republican-leaning voters.

    Despite the national focus, Beshear has attempted to keep his campaign focused on state-level issues. Beshear has positioned himself as a bipartisan leader, focusing on local economic growth, public education, and infrastructure projects. He rejects attempts to nationalize the race, stating that it is not a presidential election.

    Beshear's popularity in the state remains high despite Kentucky's Republican leaning. As of September, 60% of Kentucky voters, including 43% of Republicans, approved of his performance as governor. However, with Biden's dwindling popularity, Republicans see an opportunity to energize their party's base.

    National political polarization has made it increasingly difficult for governors to separate themselves from their party's national image. If Beshear were to lose the election, only seven governors from the party that lost the 2020 presidential election in their states would remain.

    Beshear often emphasizes his bipartisan approach, and some of his advertisements portray Cameron's support for the state's near-total abortion ban as an extreme position. However, Cameron continues to link Beshear to national Democratic policies and Biden's economic record.

    Regardless of the national political climate, some Democrats in Kentucky are optimistic about next week's election. Representative Morgan McGarvey, the only Democrat in the state's congressional delegation, expressed confidence in Beshear's campaign and dismissed Cameron's national attacks as ineffective.

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    Minnesota supreme court debates Trump's eligibility to run for presidency in 2024

    Minnesota's most prominent judges showed uncertainty on Thursday regarding the responsibility of state courts in addressing the growing debate about former president Donald Trump's potential ineligibility to run for president again in 2024. "Should we do it? Even if we could do it and we can do it?" were the questions posed by Chief Justice Natalie Hudson of the Minnesota Supreme Court during an extensive oral argument session. The question at hand was whether Trump should be excluded from the state's ballot.

    Certain constitutional experts, referencing Trump's conduct related to the January 6, 2021, Capitol attack, propose that Trump is disqualified under the 14th Amendment's clause. This provision prohibits individuals from holding public office if they participated in insurrection or rebellion. Supporters of this theory have launched multiple lawsuits in different states, aiming to prevent Trump from being listed on ballots next year.

    In Colorado, a trial commenced this week concerning this issue. Meanwhile, in New Hampshire, one judge recently dismissed an ambitious candidate's effort to have Trump declared ineligible.

    The recent argument in St. Paul marked the first instance of a state supreme court contemplating Trump's eligibility. However, multiple court members questioned the logic of state courts, including their own, determining whether Trump can run for office again. They suggested that this issue might be categorized as a “political question,” something courts typically avoid.

    Chief Justice Hudson warned Ronald Fein, a lawyer representing a nonprofit called Free Speech for People, of potential chaos if state courts issued contradicting decisions about Trump's eligibility. This could result in Trump's name appearing on the ballot in some states but not in others.

    Later, Hudson suggested that the U.S. Supreme Court would need to intervene to prevent such chaos. Several scholars have echoed this sentiment, urging the nation's highest court to clarify Trump's eligibility as quickly as possible, although no case is currently before the justices.

    Fein urged the Minnesota justices to address the question at hand: whether Trump is eligible for the Minnesota ballot. He emphasized the extraordinary importance of this case, accusing Trump of engaging in rebellion and insurrection against the U.S. Constitution in a desperate attempt to remain in office after losing the election.

    However, Justice Paul Thissen questioned whether the insurrection clause can even apply to Trump. He found it peculiar that the clause doesn't include the term “president” while explicitly mentioning other federal leaders like senators and House representatives.

    Despite this, some justices seemed open to granting a formal hearing to determine whether Trump was involved in an insurrection. They acknowledged significant ambiguity about what constitutes an insurrection in the modern era, given that the 14th Amendment was drafted after the Civil War, with the insurrection clause initially aimed at preventing former Confederate officers from being sent to Congress by Southern states.

    The voters in the initial filing cited various examples of Trump's efforts to influence the 2020 election's outcome, including planning to install fake electors and urging his supporters to march on the Capitol, knowing their potential for violence if necessary to prevent Congress from certifying the results on January 6. Trump is currently facing two criminal cases related to these efforts.

    Trump has argued that the attempts to remove him from the ballot are themselves undemocratic election interference instigated by his political adversaries. Nick Nelson, a lawyer representing Trump, stated that there is no evidence that Trump attempted to violently overthrow the government.

    The Minnesota court did not specify when it would issue a ruling in the case, but a lawyer representing the Minnesota secretary of state urged the court to decide quickly so that state officials will have enough time to prepare ballots for the state's primary in March.

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    Chris Christie's campaign assures donors of survival in Republican race with frugal spending and Trump criticism strategy

    The campaign of Chris Christie, 59 years old, is assuring its donors that a frugal approach to expenditure, coupled with relentless criticism of Donald Trump, 75 years old, will ensure his survival in the narrowing field of Republican presidential candidates. The Christie team recently presented a 38-slide demonstration to the American Opportunity Alliance, a pro-business group. The presentation emphasized that Christie is the only candidate bold enough to challenge Trump, the frontrunner and former president, whom Christie had once endorsed in 2016 before launching his own bid for presidency.

    To underscore this point, the presentation included video clips of Christie criticizing Trump. The campaign also accused Christie's Republican rivals of merely aiming for second place or a position in Trump's potential cabinet.

    While other candidates, such as Nikki Haley, former Governor of South Carolina, and Ron DeSantis, current Governor of Florida, have expressed doubts about Trump's ability to win a general election and his allegiance to Republican values, Christie has been uniquely vocal in his critique of Trump's role in the contested 2020 election.

    The presentation also highlighted Christie's frugal campaign spending in comparison to his competitors, including Tim Scott, a Senator from South Carolina, and DeSantis. As of the most recent Federal Election Commission filing on September 30, Christie had $3.9 million in funds for the primary, less than DeSantis, Haley, and Scott. However, he has spent a smaller proportion of his total funds raised compared to his rivals.

    The presentation was made to Republican donors who are actively seeking an alternative to Trump, as the race for the Republican primary, set to begin in Iowa on January 15, draws closer. The Christie team emphasized his popularity in the early voting state of New Hampshire, despite currently trailing behind Trump, Haley, and DeSantis in the Real Clear Politics' polling average. However, Christie's support in New Hampshire is on the rise, while DeSantis' is declining.

    Christie is hoping to secure the support of New Hampshire's independent voters, and he recently visited South Carolina to court independents there as well.

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    Upcoming governor elections test future of Democratic governance in Republican-leaning Kentucky and Mississippi

    The future of Democratic governance in southern states is being put to the test in upcoming governor elections in Kentucky and Mississippi. Despite these states' strong Republican leanings, both races are seen as competitive. Former President Donald Trump won Kentucky with a margin of 26 points and Mississippi by 16 points in the 2020 election.

    These races will examine the endurance of the Democratic party's identity in the modern South, and how much President Joe Biden's low approval ratings will affect party performance at the polls. A victory for either Democratic candidate could indicate that Biden's unpopularity doesn't necessarily mean electoral defeat for the party.

    In Kentucky, incumbent Andy Beshear is up against Republican state Attorney General Daniel Cameron. In Mississippi, Republican Governor Tate Reeves faces a challenge from Brandon Presley, a state public service commissioner. Both races have been nationalized in recent times, making it difficult for Democratic candidates to establish their own brands in these heavily Republican states.

    However, Beshear's popularity could prove an advantage. He has successfully distanced himself from the national party, presenting himself as a nonpartisan bureaucrat who has grown the state’s economy and capably handled numerous crises. Beshear’s campaign has also attacked Cameron over the state’s near-total ban on abortion, a strategy that will test the effectiveness of this issue in deeply Republican states.

    Despite being outspent by Beshear and the Democratic Governors Association, Cameron is keeping the race close. His generally positive reception from multiple wings of the Republican party, as well as endorsements from Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Trump, could work in his favor.

    In contrast, Reeves does not enjoy strong popularity among his party or the broader voting population in Mississippi. His strategy for victory is to remind Mississippi voters of their animosity towards Biden, while emphasizing his own achievements in the state. However, his opponent Presley is seen as the strongest Democratic candidate in years. Presley has criticized Reeves for a hospital shutdown crisis in the state and tied him to a long-running welfare scandal.

    This election will be the first in Mississippi not run under a Jim-Crow-era voting system, which required candidates to win a majority of both the popular vote and state legislative districts. Democrats in the state believe that the removal of this system could lead to more competitive elections in the future.

    Mississippi has the highest percentage of Black residents of any state in the nation, at approximately 38%. However, a significant number of Black Mississippians remain disenfranchised due to the state's laws regarding felon voting rights. In response to these changes, Presley’s campaign has run a significant outreach campaign to Black voters in the state.

    There is speculation that Presley could potentially force Reeves into a runoff election if he manages to keep him below the 50% threshold. In such an event, the outcome would be unpredictable, given it would be the first runoff of its kind in Mississippi.

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    Robert F. Kennedy Jr.'s presidential bid draws more support from former Trump backers than Biden's, disrupting traditional voting patterns

    Robert F. Kennedy Jr. appears to be attracting more financial support from previous Donald Trump supporters than from past backers of Joe Biden. This suggests that his independent presidential bid may be more appealing to Republican voters than to Democrats. An analysis of campaign finance records shows that Kennedy's campaign has attracted significant funding from individuals who did not donate in either of the last two presidential elections. This indicates that he may be engaging voters who have felt alienated by mainstream party politics.

    Although officials from both political parties claim that Kennedy will not significantly impact the campaign, concerns have been raised about his potential to disrupt voting patterns, particularly among Republican voters. An examination of Kennedy's campaign contributions up to the latest filing deadline reveals that he has a substantial base of donors who lean more towards the Republican party. This aligns with some polls which suggest that Kennedy could attract more support from voters who traditionally lean towards the Republican party.

    The majority of the $10 million that Kennedy raised from large-dollar donors by September 30 came from voters who did not make any federal contributions during the 2016 or 2020 election cycles. Among those who did donate, nearly 2,100 contributors, who donated almost $2 million, had previously donated through the Republican donation service, WinRed, since 2020. By comparison, fewer donors had previously used the Democratic donation platform, ActBlue, with approximately 1,700 contributors donating $1.4 million.

    Kennedy's self-proclaimed "spoiler" role in the campaign and his appeal to both Republicans and voters without clear political affiliations makes him an unpredictable threat to the political establishment of both major parties. Some Republicans are already attempting to label Kennedy as a traditional Democrat, indicating their concerns about his appeal to Republican voters.

    The analysis of Kennedy's campaign contributions also reveals that more than 160 of his donors have also donated to Vivek Ramaswamy, a biotech entrepreneur who identifies as anti-establishment, and another 100 have contributed to Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who has publicly opposed vaccines. Over 60% of Kennedy's large-dollar donors have no donation history on either ActBlue or WinRed since 2020, which could indicate that Kennedy's decision to run as an independent is drawing support from previously disengaged donors and Republicans.

    However, not everyone believes that Kennedy's campaign poses a significant threat in the upcoming election. Although he has managed to attract some financial support, some suggest that this does not necessarily translate into votes. Despite this, in a tightly contested presidential race between Biden and Trump, even a small shift in voting patterns could be significant.

    Kennedy, who is a well-established environmental lawyer and known for his work through the nonprofit Children’s Health Defense, has a donor base that includes healthcare professionals, practitioners of alternative medicine, and individuals from the entertainment industry, reflecting his connections to Hollywood. His campaign, however, faces significant challenges, including the logistical task of getting on the ballot in every state without the support of a major party.

    Despite these challenges, Kennedy's campaign continues to welcome all potential supporters, regardless of their past political affiliations. As the political landscape continues to evolve, the impact of Kennedy's campaign on the 2024 election remains to be seen.

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    Nikki Haley's rise in the GOP race: A turning point in her political journey

    At a recent campaign event in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Nikki Haley spent a considerable amount of time meeting her supporters, so much that the team at Brosh Chapel, a funeral home, began hurriedly arranging chairs around her. It was an unusual setting for a campaign event.

    The decision to hold a campaign event at a funeral home might seem unorthodox for some, but for Haley, it appears to have marked a turning point in her political journey. Haley has been gaining momentum in the GOP race to challenge the current frontrunner, Donald Trump.

    Mike Murphy, a seasoned Republican strategist, commended Haley's timing, saying, "She's breaking through at the right moment.” He dismissed the earlier campaign activities as "ridiculous preseason coverage", likening it to baseball teams at summer training.

    Other GOP contenders had their fair share of attention. Ron DeSantis, the Governor of Florida, was initially a major competitor, while Tim Scott, a senator from South Carolina, and biotech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, also had their moments. However, Haley's recent rise, with two praised debate performances and expertise on international affairs, has set her apart from her competitors.

    Haley's ascent has also resulted in calls for the other candidates to withdraw and rally around her. Most recently, former U.S. senator and New Hampshire Governor Judd Gregg endorsed Haley saying, “Our party needs someone who can win and lead. Nikki Haley is that person.”

    The rising popularity of Haley has forced DeSantis to shift his focus and attempt to slow her momentum. Haley's growth comes at a time when the GOP is anxious about the failure of the primary field to narrow down.

    Haley's rise is not just reflected in her growing number of supporters, but also in the increasing attention from her opponents. At consecutive town halls in Iowa, the first questions Haley faced were about her past record, similar to the attacks promoted by DeSantis and his allies.

    Despite the challenges, Haley's campaign is gaining traction. She drew a crowd of 400 in Clinton County, the largest to date for any candidate except Trump. Many of these supporters admitted that her performance in the first debate sparked their interest in her.

    However, there are still significant challenges ahead. Trump continues to dominate the race and some fear that the GOP may not be ready to choose a female nominee. Moreover, there is the concern that Trump's rivals will once again divide the non-Trump vote, easing his path to the nomination. Despite these challenges, Haley's recent surge has made her an important player in the race. Even skeptics like Tom Thompsen, a local resident, are rallying behind her, emphasizing, "It needs to be her."

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    Minnesota businessman Dean Phillips launches presidential campaign amid Democratic discontent

    CONCORD, N.H. - Dean Phillips, a millionaire businessman from Minnesota, is launching his presidential campaign on Friday, a move seen as a long shot by many of his colleagues. Some top Democrats have privately labeled it a mid-life crisis. This unexpected bid may highlight the simmering discontent within the Democratic Party towards the current president, Joe Biden, even though it’s unlikely to pose a significant threat to his presidency.

    Phillips, however, has a different perspective. In private discussions, the Minnesota Democrat has emphasized the need for a generational alternative to the 80-year-old president. Half a dozen individuals who have spoken to him directly state that Phillips has expressed a sense of duty to challenge Biden. He has also voiced concerns about Biden's ability to defeat former President Donald Trump in a potential rematch. One source, who requested anonymity, described Phillips as being "frustrated" by the situation.

    Phillips' decision to run for the presidency seems to stem from a deep sense of obligation and concern. As one source explains, Phillips views himself as addressing a problem that everyone sees but no one is willing to talk about.

    Phillips' initial plan was to publicly recruit another candidate for this cause. In August, he called for a "moderate governor" to step up. However, he later decided to run himself, formally filing paperwork for "Dean 24, Inc." to the Federal Elections Commission on Thursday night. Phillips' campaign is expected to resemble his 2018 congressional bid.

    During his 2018 campaign, Phillips ignored much of the advice from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, choosing to rely on his extensive marketing background. He ran a highly personal, retail-heavy campaign, driving a vintage 1960 International Harvester milk truck to 32 cities and towns across his suburban Minneapolis-based House district. Despite irritating many Democrats in Washington with his unconventional approach, he managed to flip a seat that hadn't elected a Democrat in decades.

    Phillips' presidential bid faces significant challenges. He failed to make the ballot in Nevada, the second presidential nominating state, and is relying partly on a controversial former Republican operative to lead his campaign. In New Hampshire, where he plans to ground his bid, he is relatively unknown. Furthermore, he is up against Biden, who has $91 million in campaign cash and the support of the entire party machinery.

    The Biden campaign is not expected to actively engage with the Phillips campaign. However, they may portray him as wealthy and out-of-touch, while emphasizing his 100% voting record with Biden.

    Phillips' bid comes at a tense time for Democrats in New Hampshire, who lost their first-in-the-nation primary status for the 2024 presidential cycle earlier this month. The Democratic National Committee, with Biden's approval, reordered the presidential nominating calendar last year, giving South Carolina the first-place slot.

    New Hampshire plans to run an unsanctioned contest, which is unlikely to result in delegates for the winner. The Biden campaign confirmed this week that the president's name will not appear on the ballot. However, top New Hampshire Democrats are expected to lead a write-in campaign on his behalf.

    The question of Phillips' future is still puzzling Minnesota Democrats. Many of them had expected him to run for statewide office one day. Now, Democrats are lining up to run for his House seat, where he's already drawn a primary challenger in Ron Harris, a DNC executive committee member. Phillips' decision to run for presidency has left many in his home state perplexed and frustrated. Despite these reactions, Phillips seems undeterred by what others in political places of power might think.

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