Sun. Nov 27th, 2022

Knife-wielding intruder threatens Wisconsin polling place workers

This is a file photo showing a man voting on Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018 at the West Bend Community Memorial Library in West Bend, Wisconsin.

John Ehlke | West Bend Daily News via AP

Police in West Bend, Wis. reported that a knife-wielding intruder had entered a public library that was serving as a polling place and demanded that staff “stop the voting.”

“Voting was paused for just over 30 minutes while the scene was secured and the initial investigation was conducted,” the police wrote in a media advisory on its public Facebook page.

A 38 year-old man was taken into custody by police “without incident,” and there were no injuries, per the West Bend authorities.

“All library staff, election officials, and citizens are safe and the polling site is re-opened,” the advisory read. Across the country, election authorities are bracing for the possibility of violence in a highly polarized environment.

Wisconsin has a competitive Senate race this cycle, with incumbent Republican Sen. Ron Johnson defending his seat against the state’s Democratic Lieutenant Governor, Mandela Barnes.

“The incident remains under investigation and charges will be forthcoming. There is no further threat to the community,” wrote the police.

— Christina Wilkie

Most midterm voters feel negatively about Supreme Court abortion decision, NBC exit poll finds

Political candidate and referendum posters are placed along a main road November 2, 2022 in Shelburne, Vermont. A sign in favor Article 27 would enshrine a woman’s reproductive rights in the Vermont state constitution following the US Supreme Court’s declaring Roe v. Wade as unconstitutional after 50 years of abortion rights. US midterm elections will be held on November 8, 2022.

Robert Nickelsberg | Getty Images

Most midterm election voters feel negatively about the Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, according to an NBC exit poll.

The poll shows that 21% of voters nationwide are “dissatisfied” and 39% are “angry” about the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision, while only 16% are “enthusiastic” and 21% are “satisfied” by the recent opinion on abortion.

In these midterms, 27% of voters say abortion is the most important issue to them, making it second only to inflation, which 32% of voters listed as their primary issue in Tuesday’s midterms.

Of those polled, 60% of voters nationwide think abortion should be legal and 36% think it should be illegal, with 52% trusting the Democratic Party more than the Republican Party to properly handle the issue of abortion access.

— Jack Stebbins

Michigan secretary of State refutes Trump’s claims about ‘bad’ absentee ballots

Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson fired back at former President Donald Trump’s unproven claims about the state’s absentee voting process.

“The Absentee Ballot situation in Detroit is REALLY BAD,” Trump said on his social media platform Truth Social. “People are showing up to Vote only to be told, ‘sorry, you have already voted.'”

Benson accused Trump of “fomenting lies” and “encouraging political violence” in Michigan.

The Michigan Bureau of Elections assisted the Detroit City Clerk’s office in resolving reported issues with e-poll books, which are used to confirm voters are registered and that they have not already voted absentee, said Aneta Kiersnowski Crisp, a spokeswoman for the Michigan Department of State.

Poll workers provided a numbered ballot to each voter after confirming each was registered and had not been issued an absentee ballot or voted absentee, Crisp explained.

“Occasionally this morning some e-pollbooks then displayed an error message stating that the number on the ballot at the polling place was the same as the number on an absentee ballot that had already been issued,” she added. “When this occurred, voters were correctly checked in on a paper backup list and issued ballots that were cast by the voters. These ballots will be counted.”

— Chelsey Cox

Inflation, abortion are top concerns among midterm voters, NBC News exit poll finds

A voter casts his ballot for midterm elections at a polling station in Marietta, Georgia, November 8, 2022.

Bob Strong | Reuters

Inflation and abortion were at the front of voters’ minds as they cast their midterm election ballots, according to an NBC News exit poll.

Asked to pick among five policy issues, a 32% plurality of U.S. respondents said inflation mattered most in deciding their vote, according to the survey. The second-largest group of voters, 27%, chose abortion.

Meanwhile, 12% of voters picked crime, 12% chose gun policy, and 10% chose immigration.

Rising inflation during the first half of President Joe Biden’s term contributed to a difficult environment for Democrats, as the party tries to defend its slim majorities in the House and Senate. Republicans tried to leverage soaring prices in their effort to flip both chambers.

Meanwhile, Democrats looked to mobilize voters concerned about the Supreme Court’s June decision to overturn the constitutional right to abortion.

— Jacob Pramuk

Judge extends voting hours in Pennsylvania’s Luzerne County amid paper shortage reports

Voters were turned away from dozens of polling places in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, after those sites ran out of printer paper for ballots.

The reported shortage prompted a judge to extend polling place hours in Luzerne by two hours, to 10 p.m. ET. Luzerne has a population of over 326,000 people.

“Voters in Luzerne County through not fault of their own, were disenfranchised and denied the fundamental right to vote,” wrote Judge Lesa Gelb of the county’s Court of Common Pleas in a one-page order extending the voting hours.

Pennsylvania Department of State spokeswoman Amy Gulli told CNBC in an email: “A judge extending polling hours because of polling place issues is not unprecedented by any means.”

Approximately 44 county polling places were affected by the shortage, Gulli said — nearly one-quarter of the county’s polling sites.

Kevin Breuninger and Jack Stebbins

Solution found for vote tabulation machine glitches in Maricopa County, Arizona

Bill Gates, Chairman of the Maricopa Board of Supervisors, speaks about voting machine malfunctions at the Maricopa County Tabulation and Election Center on November 08, 2022 in Phoenix, Arizona. 

John Moore | Getty Images

Officials in Maricopa County, Arizona, said they have identified a solution for problems seen in a number of machines that tabulate paper ballots in some polling places.

The announcement came hours after officials said some machines were spitting out every fourth or fifth ballot in the affected machines.

“Maricopa County has identified the solution for the tabulation issues at about 60 Vote Centers,” the Maricopa County Elections Command Center said in a statement.

“County technicians have changed the printer settings, which seems to have resolved this issue,” the statement said.

“It appears some of the printers were not producing dark enough timing marks on the ballots. This solution has worked at 17 locations, and technicians deployed throughout the county are working to resolve this issue at the remaining locations,” it added.

Maricopa, the fourth-largest county in the U.S., has 223 polling sites.

Before the fix was announced, Maricopa County Board of Supervisors Chairman Bill Gates said that despite the problems, “Everyone is still getting to vote.”

“We do not believe anyone has been disenfranchised because no one has been turned away,” Gates said.

He also said that Maricopa has a “strong level of confidence” that the rejected ballots, which were placed into separate bins at the polling places, will be successfully tabulated by the machine at the main tabulation site in Phoenix.

If that process does not work, a team composed of one person from the Democratic Party and one person from the Republican Party will hand duplicate a specific ballot, which then will be tabulated.

— Dan Mangan

Cyberattack hits Champaign County, Illinois, servers, hindering some election services

Denver election judge Danielle Puscatelli runs the ballot sorting system at the Denver Elections Division on November 8, 2022 in Denver, Colorado. 

Michael Ciaglo | Getty Images

Champaign County, Illinois, said it was targeted with a cyberattack on Election Day, and an official at the federal cybersecurity agency CISA said it was aware of the issue.

The Champaign County Clerk’s Office said “connectivity issues and computer server performance [were] being impacted” and it “believes these are due to cyber-attacks on the network and servers.”

“For the past month the Champaign County Clerk’s website has been the target of repeated D-DOS attacks,” the clerk said on its verified Facebook page.

None of the attacks have been successful, however, and “no data or information has been compromised and the election is secure.” Champaign County is home to approximately 200,000 people.

“These cyber-attacks are a strategic and coordinated effort to undermine and destabilize our democratic process. The intent is to discourage you from voting. Please do not fall victim to this,” the clerk’s office said.

It was not clear who was behind the attacks. But an official at the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, the federal government’s chief agency charged with identifying and preventing cyberattacks, said the agency was aware of the apparent attack and would follow up with officials in Champaign County.

American intelligence and cybersecurity agencies are on high alert during these midterm elections for any signs of foreign attempts to target voting infrastructure or undermine confidence in the election results.

Christina Wilkie

Trump is spreading misinformation to sow ‘fear and mistrust’ in Arizona midterms, state elections official says

Former U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a rally ahead of the midterm elections, in Miami, Florida, U.S., November 6, 2022.

Marco Bello | Reuters

An Arizona elections official accused former President Donald Trump of “spreading misinformation” after he cast doubts on the integrity of the state’s midterm elections.

Arizona Assistant Secretary of State Allie Bones accused Trump of sowing false claims about the state’s hotly contested midterms “for the sole purpose of causing fear and mistrust in our election processes.”

“I remain confident that our election is safe and secure because we have a robust mechanism of catching issues like these and addressing them,” Bones said in a statement to CNBC.

The statement came after Trump, on his social media site Truth Social, claimed without providing evidence that “Maricopa County in Arizona looks like a complete Voter Integrity DISASTER” and that “Reports are coming in from Arizona that the Voting Machines are not properly working in predominantly Republican/Conservative areas.”

Trump also posted complaints about the elections in Michigan and Pennsylvania, two more swing states hosting key midterm races. Trump lost all three of those key states to President Joe Biden in the 2020 election and falsely claimed fraud led to his defeat.

Bones’ statement added that Arizona’s tabulators “are equipped with secure drop boxes as a backup in case there is an issue.”

“This is not a partisan issue, and it is not atypical for ballots to be tabulated at a central count facility — in fact, 8 counties (out of 15) only count ballots at central facilities after the close of polls,” Bones said. “Ballots that aren’t tabulated at a voting center today will be taken to the central count facility for tabulation after the polls close at 7 p.m. Every eligible voter can be confident that their voice will be heard, and their vote counted.”  

Kevin Breuninger

Florida elections boss blocks DOJ monitors from entering 3 polling sites

Florida’s top elections official is blocking federal election monitors from entering polling sites in three counties where they had been deployed to ensure compliance with a federal civil rights law.

“They can certainly be outside of the polling places,” Florida Secretary of State Cord Byrd, a Republican, said of the Department of Justice’s election monitors when asked about the policy at a press conference.

GOP officials in Missouri also kept DOJ monitors out of polling locations.

“This is not to be confrontational in any way,” Byrd said when asked if the monitors had been physically blocked from entering polling places in Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties.

Byrd argued that the DOJ, not Florida, had changed its policy by asking to enter the sites. He said that some counties had consent agreements with the DOJ in the past to allow those federal monitors to enter polling sites but said that those agreements had expired and had not been renewed for 2022.

A DOJ official noted to CNBC that the agency has been monitoring elections as a standard practice for decades to confirm compliance with the Voting Rights Act of 1965. DOJ election monitors did not go inside polling places in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The DOJ on Monday announced its plans to monitor polls in two dozen states, in a press release that closely matched similar announcements in previous election cycles.

Kevin Breuninger

Trump to host an election night party at Mar-a-Lago, tout his role in helping GOP candidates

An aerial view of former U.S. President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home after Trump said that FBI agents raided it, in Palm Beach, Florida, U.S. August 15, 2022.

Marco Bello | Reuters

Former President Donald Trump will host an election returns party at Mar-a-Lago, his Florida resort, where he is expected to tout the role he has played in endorsing and stumping for Republican candidates.

The media is invited to cover the event, and Trump has released a new press release detailing all he has done to help more than 330 Republican candidates this year in primary and general election races nationwide. The release also notes that Trump has held 30 rallies since he left office in 2021, and held 50 in-person fundraisers to benefit Republican candidates.

Trump’s splashy election night event at his private Palm Beach club comes just a day after the former president teased Nov. 15 as the date on which he might launch his 2024 presidential campaign.

Trump’s daughter, Tiffany Trump, will be getting married at Mar-a-Lago on Nov. 12.

Christina Wilkie 

Trump votes for DeSantis, days after ridiculing him

Former President Donald Trump walks out with Melania Trump, after voting at Morton and Barbara Mandel Recreation Center on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022, in Palm Beach, Fla.

Andrew Harnik | AP

A brief thaw appeared in the cold war between former President Donald Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, when Trump voted for his fellow Republican on Election Day. 

Coming out of a polling place in Palm Beach, where he lives, Trump confirmed that he had voted to give DeSantis a second gubernatorial term. 

“Yes, I did,” Trump told reporters who asked if he had backed the governor just days after calling him “Ron DeSanctimonious” at a rally in Pennsylvania.

The simmering rivalry between the Republican party’s two most popular 2024 presidential candidates is shaping up to be a dominant theme of next year’s GOP primary. Polls consistently show that Trump holds at least a 20-percentage point lead over DeSantis among Republican voters. But the Florida governor is the only other GOP presidential prospect who polls in the double digits, making him Trump’s chief rival for the nomination. 

Trump is expected to announce the launch of his 2024 campaign on Nov. 15. 

DeSantis has not publicly confirmed that he will run, but he has spoken privately to donors and party operatives about mounting a campaign. 

Christina Wilkie

Louisiana secretary of state is ‘exceedingly grateful’ for quick response to polling place bomb threat

Louisiana Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin said he is “exceedingly grateful” for law enforcement’s prompt response to a bomb threat at a polling site.

Officers responded to a threat at the Kenner Discovery Health Sciences Academy, about 20 minutes away from New Orleans. The school served as a polling location for two precincts in Louisiana, though early indications did not point to election-related motives, according to law enforcement.

“I am exceedingly grateful to Kenner Chief of Police Keith Conley and Jefferson Parish Sheriff Joe Lopinto for their prompt response and thorough investigation, which appears to show that this was never targeted toward voters or election workers” Ardoin said. “I also applaud our department’s elections staff and Jefferson Parish Clerk of Court Jon Gegenheimer for this quick response to move the location and inform voters of the emergency move.”

The polling location was moved to a neighboring elementary school.

— Chelsey Cox

Some vote tabulation machines in Maricopa County, Arizona, experiencing glitches

Bill Gates, Chairman of the Maricopa Board of Supervisors, speaks about voting machine malfunctions at the Maricopa County Tabulation and Election Center on November 08, 2022 in Phoenix, Arizona.

John Moore | Getty Images

Officials in Maricopa County, Arizona, said technicians are examining a number of vote tabulating machines that are not accepting some submitted ballots for unknown reasons.

But, “everyone is still getting to vote,” Maricopa County Board of Supervisors Chairman Bill Gates told NBC News. “No one has been disenfranchised.”

A senior official with the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency said the agency is talking with Maricopa County and Arizona officials about the problems with the machines. Ballot tabulating issues were experienced at about 40 out of 223 polling sites in the county, which is the fourth largest in the United States.

Gates said that “maybe every fifth or fourth ballot” was being rejected by the affected machines.

“When we test these machines, that’s part of the process,” Gates said. “We go through it for every election. And in this particular instance, this is something we didn’t anticipate … We’ve got techs out there. They’re doing what they can to get these back online.”

The Maricopa County Elections Department tweeted out a video of Gates and County Record Stephen Richer detailing the problems with machines.

The CISA official said the technical issues in Maricopa County “should not affect anybody’s ability to cast a ballot,” she said. 

“One of the great things about Arizona is it is an all-paper ballot state,” the official said.

“There will be, if necessary, audits and recounts,” she said.

But the official added that local officials in Arizona “have confidence in the security and integrity of their voting systems.”

— Dan Mangan and Eamon Javers

Biden stuck to safer Democratic territory as Obama campaigned in critical swing states

President Joe Biden is greeted by Democratic incumbent Governor Kathy Hochul as he arrives at Westchester County Airport, to speak at her campaign rally and other New York Democrats in Westchester County, U.S., November 6, 2022. 

Kevin Lamarque | Reuters

President Joe Biden, beset by a relatively low approval rating, has mostly avoided campaigning in states holding critical midterm election races.

On Monday, the day before the election, Biden participated in a campaign event in Maryland for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Wes Moore. The president campaigned Sunday in Yonkers, New York, for incumbent Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul, who is facing an unexpectedly tough challenge from Republican Rep. Lee Zeldin. Hochul, previously lieutenant governor, became governor last fall after former Gov. Andrew Cuomo resigned.

Both New York and Maryland are traditionally blue states, but polls indicate Democrats are not certain to win this cycle. Losses in either state would reflect poorly on the administration and Democrats overall.

Biden has not campaigned in any of the 2022 battleground states in the past two months, apart from Pennsylvania, his childhood home state. Biden most recently visited on Saturday alongside former President Barack Obama. He rallied with lieutenant governor and Senate hopeful John Fetterman, who is in a tight race against Republican Mehmet Oz, and Josh Shapiro, who faces Republican Doug Mastriano in the governor’s race.

Biden’s last visit to Ohio was in early September for an Intel facility groundbreaking ceremony.

In the week leading up to Election Day, Biden made stops in Maryland, New York, Illinois, Pennsylvania, California, New Mexico and Florida. On Wednesday he gave a speech from Washington’s Union Station warning Americans about the state of democracy and urging them not to vote for election-denying candidates.

Obama, meanwhile, has made appearances in many of the critical states in the days ahead of the election, stumping in Georgia, Michigan, Wisconsin and Nevada. He’s also appeared in ads for candidates for U.S. Senate and governor in Illinois, Florida, Nevada, New Hampshire, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.

— Emma Kinery

Abrams reminds Georgia voters to stay in line, check their precinct before casting their ballots

Democratic Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams speaks to supporters during a stop of her statewide campaign bus tour on November 5, 2022 in Savannah, Georgia.

Alex Wong | Getty Images

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams said she’s feeling good and believes Democrats can win in Georgia.

“This is winnable, and we know it’s winnable because they are working so hard to convince you not to try,” Abrams said in an interview with the radio show The Breakfast Club with DJ Envy, Angela Yee and Charlamagne tha God. Abrams, who is running against incumbent Gov. Brian Kemp for the second time, has spent the last four years advocating for voting rights in the state after her first loss.

“We’ve been encouraging people to get it done fast, get it in early, get it out of the way so that we only have to focus on the folks who had no other choice or didn’t know that they can do it a different way,” Abrams said. “But we can get this done.”

She stressed the importance of voters casting ballots at their correct precinct, saying a law change since the last election means votes cast in the correct county but wrong precinct will not count. Abrams said prior to the law change, in the 2020 election, more than 7,000 provisional ballots were cast in the wrong precinct. The votes counted then, but would no longer count under the new rules.

Emma Kinery

PA’s top election official accuses GOP lawmakers of parroting ‘internet election deniers’

An election worker prepare ballots to be scanned at the Philadelphia Ballot Processing Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, US, on Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022.

Kristen Harrison | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Pennsylvania’s acting secretary of state clapped back at Republican legislators who had raised concerns to her about alleged “unverified voters” casting ballots.

“The claims made in the letter by fifteen members of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives were parroted from internet election deniers,” Leigh Chapman, the acting secretary, wrote in a letter sent Monday to two Republican state Senate leaders.

Chapman, the state’s top election official, noted that unverified ballots by state law shall not be counted unless a voter provides proof of identification that can be verified by a county election board within six days after Election Day.

“As of today, there were fewer than 6,900 ballot applications statewide that still require voter identity verification as provided by law,” Chapman wrote.

Later in her letter, Chapman urged the Senate leaders to back legislation that would allow Pennsylvania to begin counting mail-in ballots before Election Day.

The state has been criticized by national Republicans since the 2020 presidential election for delays in tabulating ballots.

“I too agree that voting is the cornerstone of democracy and share the opinion that election results should be available sooner,” Chapman wrote.

“To that end, I again encourage the General Assembly when they return next session to prioritize making changes to allow counties meaningful pre-canvassing time in future elections,” she wrote.

— Dan Mangan

Control of Congress at stake in midterms

Early morning fog envelopes the U.S. Capitol dome behind the U.S. House of Representatives on November 4, 2022 in Washington, DC.

Samuel Corum | Getty Images

It’s become common for party control to change in Congress, but it wasn’t always so.

The Senate has flipped eight times since 1980. Prior to that it had remained in the control of the Democratic Party for 26 years.

The House has flipped five times since 1994, after 40 years under the Democrats.

With slim margins in both the House and the Senate, every seat counts. Even small gains by Republicans could result in either chamber changing party control, and that would lead to big changes in the legislative agenda. The party in power decides which bills are put up for a vote and when.

— Emma Kinery

Debt ceiling could be first big battle for new Congress and White House

The U.S. is expected to reach its borrowing limit sometime early next year, and Congress will have to raise the debt ceiling to continue funding the government’s spending.

That could spark a row between the White House and Congress, if Republicans win control of the House, as expected.

Strategists say Republicans are expected to seek reductions in spending in exchange for raising the ceiling. The limit was last raised by $2.5 trillion in December, 2021.

“This is the first time since 2011 that it’s an honest risk. It’s a legitimate market issue,” said Ed Mills, Raymond James Washington policy analyst. “Since 2011, the market really hasn’t reacted too much to the debt ceiling fights. They learned that D.C. will ultimately fix it. It’s a little bit of a game of chicken between D.C. and the markets. D.C. doesn’t feel the pressure until the markets react, and the markets don’t react until D.C. lets it go close to the deadline.”

–Patti Domm

How the midterms will impact the future of abortion rights in the U.S.

Press Assistant of the RFFA (Reproductive Freedom for All) Beth Bowen sits for a portrait before going out to canvass on November 06, 2022 in Dearborn, Michigan.

Brandon Bell | Getty Images

The outcome of Tuesday’s midterm elections will decide whether Democrats have any prospect of reinstating federally protected abortion rights in the near future.

President Joe Biden has promised to sign legislation reinstating the rights granted under Roe v. Wade if Democrats pick up at least two Senate seats and maintain control of the House. Twelve states have completely banned abortion since the Supreme Court struck down federal protections in June.

But Democrats are up against historic inflation, pessimism about the economy and a longstanding pattern of voters rejecting the incumbent president’s party during midterms.

Heading into Election Day, Republicans were favored to retake the House while the Senate is considered a toss-up. If Congress is divided or the GOP takes back both chambers, the battle over abortion will continue to play out at the state level for the foreseeable future.

In that case, abortion will remain illegal in the 12 states that currently have bans in place and other conservative states will likely follow suit. In these states, there is little prospect for the reinstatement of abortion rights in the absence of federal intervention.

Four states are voting directly on abortion rights.

Voters in California, Michigan and Vermont are voting on state constitutional amendments that would protect abortion rights. Kentucky, on the other hand, is voting on an amendment that explicitly says the state constitution does not protect abortion.

Spencer Kimball

White House goes dark for the day

US President Joe Biden speaks about the ongoing federal response efforts for Hurricane Ian in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, DC, on September 30, 2022.

Brendan Smialowski | AFP | Getty Images

The White House issued a lid at 11:25 a.m. ET, meaning don’t expect any appearances from President Joe Biden today.

Biden received his daily briefing in the morning and participated in a taped interview with the D.L. Hughley Show before calling a lid for the day.

The election following a president’s first term in office is typically seen as a referendum on the incumbent’s performance. Biden said Monday evening he felt optimistic about Democrats’ odds of keeping the House and Senate but added that he’s always optimistic and that maintaining a majority in the House will be “tougher.”

Emma Kinery

Recounts and election audits could delay results on balance of power in Congress

Boxes of ballots are stacked as county officials perform a ballot recount on June 2, 2022 in West Chester, Pennsylvania. With less than 1,000 votes separating Republican U.S. Senate candidates Dr. Mehmet Oz and David McCormick, a state wide recount has begun in the too-close-to-call Republican primary contest in Pennsylvania.

Mark Makela | Getty Images

The balance of power in the narrowly controlled Congress may not be known by the time polls close across the U.S. tonight.

Several states have laws that require automatic recounts in tight races. Some Republican candidates also have already said they plan to challenge the results — if they lose — setting the U.S. up for another round of contentious and drawn-out legal battles and recounts reminiscent of the 2020 race, which former President Donald Trump still falsely claims he won.

Recounts or audits that could delay final results are likely in Wisconsin, Arizona, Georgia, Florida, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Texas.

— Jack Stebbins

Blake Masters on Senate race in Arizona: ‘We’re the underdog, but we’re gonna win’

Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate Blake Masters speaks during a campaign stop on the Arizona First GOTV Bus Tour, ahead of the midterm elections, in Phoenix, Arizona, November 7, 2022.

Brian Snyder | Reuters

Republican Senate candidate Blake Masters expressed confidence that he would unseat Democratic incumbent Sen. Mark Kelly in the hotly contested Arizona race as voters started heading to the polls Tuesday morning.

“We’re the underdog, but we’re gonna win,” Masters told conservative radio show host Hugh Hewitt.

Masters said his campaign can fight Kelly to at least a draw in Democratic Maricopa County, where Phoenix is located, and will win in rural counties.

Masters said Democrats have an advantage in early voting but that he was confident his voters would show up at the polls today.

“We’ve got the momentum. Again, we’re not gonna get complacent,” Masters said.

In an interview with Fox Business News, Masters accused Kelly of failing to secure the U.S. southern border.

The Republican candidate has come under fierce criticism from Kelly and Democrats for his anti-abortion positions, particularly his previous support for a federal law that would grant the same rights to fetuses as any other person.

Masters has since sought to soften his position somewhat, saying he supports a ban on abortion after the 15th week of pregnancy.

— Spencer Kimball

Trump pick J.D. Vance is confident he’ll win Senate seat in Ohio

U.S. Senate Republican candidate J.D. Vance speaks as former U.S. President Donald Trump smiles at a rally to support Republican candidates ahead of midterm elections, in Dayton, Ohio, U.S. November 7, 2022. 

Shannon Stapleton | Reuters

Republican venture capitalist J.D. Vance said on Fox News he is confident he will win in the race for Senate in Ohio, and he expects his party to win so many seats that the White House will take notice.

“I do expect to be part of the incoming Senate majority on the Republican side,” Vance said. Vance is running against Democratic Rep. Tim Ryan for the seat made vacant by retiring Republican Sen. Rob Portman.

“Joe Biden will still be president, but I actually think after the shellacking we hope to deliver tonight, I’m hoping the Biden administration will actually work with us,” Vance said.

Emma Kinery

Herschel Walker says ‘we can avoid a runoff’ in Georgia Senate race vs. Raphael Warnock

U.S. Senate candidate and former football player Herschel Walker speaks at the University of Georgia during his campaign rally in Americus, Georgia, October 21, 2022.

Cheney Orr | Reuters

GOP candidate Herschel Walker said he felt “we can avoid a runoff” in Georgia in his race against Democratic incumbent Sen. Raphael Warnock.

“We’re looking for a big win tonight,” the former football star said in an interview with The Hugh Hewitt Show.

“People in Georgia, they’re speaking louder, speaking clear, that they want … change,” he said.

If neither Walker nor Warnock garners more than 50% of the vote in Georgia, they will head to a runoff on Dec. 6. Recent polls have shown a very close race.

Warnock and fellow Georgia Democrat Sen. Jon Ossoff both won their seats due to runoff elections in January 2021.

Their victories gave Democrats majority control in the Senate. And if the party is to maintain control starting in 2023, it may again require Warnock to win.

Dan Mangan

DOJ officials agree to ‘stay outside’ Missouri polling sites after complaint from secretary of state

A Law Enforcement Officer temperature screens voters as they wait in line to cast their ballots on November 3, 2020 at the St. Louis County Board of Elections in St. Ann, Missouri.

Michael B. Thomas | Getty Images

The Department of Justice said officials visiting polling sites in Missouri as part of its routine mission to ensure election integrity will “remain outside,” after the secretary of state posted a complaint on Twitter.

Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft posted a Nov. 3 email to his Twitter account Sunday from Charles M. Thomas, an assistant U.S. attorney working for the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division. The email was addressed to Steve Korsmeyer, identified by Ashcroft as a clerk in Cole County, Missouri, and concerned the officials’ intent to monitor polls Tuesday.

Korsmeyer had “rightfully declined to allow this over-reach,” Ashcroft, a Republican, wrote in the tweet. “And the secretary of state’s office fully supports him.”

“While the U.S. DOJ could clearly learn a lot from Missouri about non-partisanship and how to administer accessible, secure and credible elections, it would be highly inappropriate for federal agents to violate the law by intimidating Missouri voters at the polls on Election Day,” Ashcroft wrote.

Senior Justice Department officials later told NBC that “Department of Justice staffers will visit Cole County polling sites on election day but have agreed to remain outside.”

— Chelsey Cox

Pennsylvania Senate GOP candidate Oz calls Fetterman “more radical than Joe Biden”

Republican Senate candidate Dr. Mehmet Oz departs from his polling location after voting in the 2022 U.S. midterm election in Bryn Athyn, Pennsylvania, U.S., November 8, 2022. 

Hannah Beier | Reuters

Democratic Senate nominee Lt. Gov. John Fetterman is “even more radical than Joe Biden,” Republican challenger Dr. Mehmet Oz said on Fox News.

“What I’m hearing is folks are upset that Washington keeps getting it wrong with radical positions,” Oz said. “I’ve been arguing that I stand for balance. I’ll cut through bipartisan bickering, I know how to bring solutions to the forefront, and that’s what people want. They’re angry, they’re frustrated, what they desire is hope.”

Oz added that he thinks the Democrats have “no real agenda for prosperity. That we’re not actually going anywhere with the current Biden agenda — and Biden is – is more moderate than Fetterman.”

Fetterman and Oz are engaged in one of the most closely-watched races in the country that will help determine which party will control the Senate. Fetterman has been outspoken about issues like ending the filibuster to protect voting rights and protecting reproductive healthcare access.

Fetterman’s campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

— Lauren Feiner

U.S. cyber watchdog sees no imminent threats

People vote at a polling location at Indianola Church of Christ on Election Day on November 8, 2022 in Columbus, Ohio.

Drew Angerer | Getty Images

The top U.S. cybersecurity agency doesn’t see any major threats to the midterm elections as voters head to the polls across America, NBC News reported.

The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency has been helping state and local election officials prepare for the race over the last two years, a senior agency official told reporters on a call. The official, who asked not be named as part of the terms of the call, said the agency knew of “no specific or credible threats to disrupt election infrastructure today.”

However, the official cautioned: “There are 8,800 election jurisdictions and we see issues pop up every election day.” Low-level cyberattacks against election websites or accidental website outages are always potential issues, the official said, adding “it’s important to remember that such incidents would not affect a person’s ability to cast a ballot.”

— Dawn Kopecki

Biden ‘optimistic’ about the midterm, says Democrats keeping the House will be ‘tough’

US President Joe Biden speaks at a Democratic National Committee event in Washington, DC, US, on Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2022.

Jim Lo Scalzo | Bloomberg | Getty Images

President Joe Biden says he’s “optimistic” about the Democrats’ chances on Election Day.

“But I’m always optimistic,” Biden told reporters as he exited Marine One at the White House. The president was returning from a campaign stop supporting Maryland gubernatorial candidate Wes Moore at Bowie State University on Monday night.

“I think it’s going to be tough, but I think we can,” Biden said when asked if Democrats could keep the House. “I think we’ll win the Senate. I think the House is tougher.”

The president said a Republican-controlled Congress would make his reality “more difficult.”

Emma Kinery

Polls open along West Coast

Marshall Bishop, left, and partner Doris Burnett, both of Las Vegas, vote at Desert Breeze Community Center on Election Day in Las Vegas, Nevada on November 8, 2022.

Ronda Churchill | AFP | Getty Images

Polls open in California, Nevada, Alaska and elsewhere in the West at 10 a.m. ET (7 a.m. local time).

Races to watch in these states include Alaska’s incumbent Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski, who’s facing Kelly Tshibaka, also a Republican, and Democratic opponent Patricia Chesbro for U.S. Senate.

Incumbent Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, D-N.V., will also defend her Senate seat against former Arizona attorney general Adam Laxalt, who’s been endorsed by former president Donald Trump.

— Chelsey Cox

Pennsylvania Senate hopefuls cast their ballots

Pennsylvania U.S. Senate candidates John Fetterman, a Democrat, and GOP challenger Dr. Mehmet Oz cast their ballots in person Tuesday morning. 

Democratic US Senate candidate John Fetterman arrives to cast his ballot at New Hope Baptist Church in Braddock, Pennsylvania, on November 8, 2022.

Angela Weiss | AFP | Getty Images

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Dr. Mehmet Oz enters the polling station at the Bryn Athyn Borough Hall to cast his ballot on November 8, 2022 in Huntingdon Valley, Pennsylvania.

Win Mcnamee | Getty Images

Fetterman voted at New Hope Baptist Church in Braddock while Oz cast his ballot at Bryn Athyn Borough Hall in Huntingdon Valley.

Pennsylvania is one of a handful of Senate seats that’s open due to the retirement of an incumbent senator.

It’s considered to be one of the most hotly contested races in the country with the Cook Political Report reporting the race as a toss up.

The candidates are statistically tied, Oz with a 0.4 percentage point edge, in the Real Clear Politics average.

Emma Kinery

Midterms usually don’t favor the incumbent party

U.S. President Joe Biden is flanked by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) in the Hall of Columns as he arrives to mark the first anniversary of the January 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol by supporters of former President Donald Trump, on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., January 6, 2022.

Evelyn Hockstein | Reuters

Though President Joe Biden has asked voters to think of the upcoming election as a “choice” rather than a “referendum,” midterms historically have been a referendum on the party in power.

That’s not a great sign for Democrats who control the presidency and both chambers of Congress. Former President George W. Bush was the exception to the trend. Political analysts attribute the GOP gain in the House to the rallying effect post 9/11 attacks.

Here’s how recent presidents’ parties have fared in the U.S. House in the midterm races held during their first terms:

  • Bill Clinton: Democrats lost 54 seats
  • Bush: Republicans gained 8 seats
  • Barack Obama: Democrats lost 63 seats
  • Donald Trump: Republicans lost 41 seats

— Emma Kinery

Biden’s approval rating at 44%, voters slightly prefer Democrats to control Congress in NBC poll

US President Joe Biden speaks about the economy at ViaSat, an US technology company, in Carlsbad, California, on November 4, 2022

Saul Loeb | AFP | Getty Images

Biden’s approval rating stands at 44% going into Election Day, according to a poll released Sunday by NBC News.

It puts him in similar standing as former Presidents Donald Trump (46%) and Barack Obama (45%) in the final NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll taken before the midterm elections.

The poll, which has a margin of error of 3.5 percentage points among likely voters, found 48% preferred Democrats to control Congress and 47% preferred Republicans. It’s a reverse from October, when 48% of likely voters preferred Republicans and 47% preferred Democrats in the NBC News poll. Both are within the margin of error.

— Emma Kinery

Polls open for voters in the Midwest, Mountain regions of the country

A voter drops his ballot into a drop box at the Maricopa County Tabulation and Election Center on November 07, 2022 in Phoenix, Arizona.

Justin Sullivan | Getty Images

Voters in the middle of the country started heading to the polls at 7 a.m. ET in Missouri and lined up for voting starting at 8 a.m. ET in Arizona, both 6 a.m. local times.

The races between Democratic senatorial candidate Trudy Busch Valentine and Republican rival Eric Schmitt in Missouri and incumbent Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly and Republican senatorial candidate Blake Masters in Arizona are big ones to watch in these states.

Polls also open at 8 a.m. ET in Wisconsin (7 a.m. local time) where Republican incumbent Sen. Ron Johnson is running against Democratic candidate and Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes.

Voters choose between Republican incumbent Mike Lee or Independent Evan McMullin for U.S. Senate in Utah, starting at 9 a.m. ET (7 a.m. local time).

— Chelsey Cox

Trump suggests he’ll announce presidential run Nov. 15

Former U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a rally at the Dayton International Airport on November 7, 2022 in Vandalia, Ohio.

Drew Angerer | Getty Images

Former President Donald Trump said Monday night he will make a “big announcement” on Nov. 15 at his Mar-a-Lago resort, where he is widely expected to launch his 2024 presidential campaign.

“I’m going to be making a very big announcement on Tuesday, Nov. 15 at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida,” Trump said at a Save America rally in Vandalia, Ohio on the eve of the midterm elections.

Trump is eager to jumpstart his third run for president, and staffing conversations have ramped up significantly in recent weeks. An early list of potential top aides has already trickled out.

Trump’s line about Nov. 15 came near the end of a more than 90 minute speech for GOP candidate J.D. Vance in Ohio. Instead of focusing on Vance, the former president railed against Democrats, judges who have ruled unfavorably in cases against his family, run down U.S. airports and above all, President Joe Biden.

A Trump spokesman did not respond to a request from CNBC to confirm that his Nov. 15 event will be a campaign launch.

As Trump inches closer to formally kicking off the 2024 presidential race, polls show he enjoys unparalleled support among Republican voters.

Trump would also enter the race with more than $60 million in cash held by his leadership PAC, Save America, and a prodigious small dollar fundraising operation that vacuums up online donations from the Republican base.

— Christina Wilkie

Polls open for voters along the East Coast

A man arrives to cast his ballot during early voting for the midterm elections at the Smyrna Community Center in Smyrna, Georgia, November 4, 2022.

Carlos Barria | Reuters

Voters can head to the polls as soon as 6 a.m. ET in Virginia and as early as 6 a.m. ET in New Hampshire, with North Carolina and Ohio following close behind at 6:30 a.m. ET.

Polling places open at 7 a.m. ET for voters in Florida, Georgia, Pennsylvania and Michigan.

Big races to watch in these states are the showdown between incumbent Republican Sen. Marco Rubio and Democratic Rep. Val Demings in Florida for U.S. Senate. Democratic incumbent Sen. Raphael Warnock is also running against controversial Republican first-timer Herschel Walker in Georgia, and incumbent Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer takes on Republican Tudor Dixon for governor of Michigan.

— Chelsey Cox





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