Georgia runoff could determine the Senate majority in 2024

ATHENS, GA - MAY 23: Heisman Trophy winner and Republican candidate for US Senate Herschel Walker speaks at a rally on May 23, 2022 in Athens, Georgia. Tomorrow is the Primary Election Day in the state of Georgia. (Photo by Megan Varner/Getty Images)

This week: The Briefing, Vol. X, Issue 48

  • Can Kevin McCarthy win the speakership?
  • Georgia runoff coming up Dec. 6
  • 2024 Senate map heavily favors Republicans

Speaker’s race: The big story on Capitol Hill is that House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy is struggling badly to find the 218 votes he will need in January to become speaker of the House. He already won his election within the Republican caucus as leader, but can he become speaker?

Not all conservatives oppose McCarthy. For example, Reps. Jim Jordan and Marjorie Taylor Greene have made a point of endorsing him. But Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz ) has rounded up the support of about 30 Republicans and says they simply will not support McCarthy. 

During speaker elections, a majority is required, and there is no elimination of minor candidates as the rounds of voting continue. The House could just vote and vote and vote.

But the real question just might be why anyone would want the speakership under these circumstances. In a gridlock situation, with the narrowest of majorities, it is bound to be a thankless job, whose main purpose is to block Democrats from passing whatever wild reconciliation legislation they have in mind.

Don’t get your hopes up. The next House of Representatives will be essentially a placeholder legislative body until 2024, elected mainly to prevent Democratic excesses. The accomplishments will be few and far between. The investigations may keep the interest of the party base, and there will be clashes over spending and increasing the debt ceiling, but essentially any action on anything will be delayed until 2024.

Senate 2022

Georgia: The 2022 election is not over just yet. There is a very important Senate runoff occurring in Georgia on Dec. 6. Although it will not determine who controls the U.S. Senate, every Senate seat matters when it comes to gaining control of the body in 2024. Republicans have a very good shot at the Senate in the next cycle, but it becomes a lot better if they start off at 50-50 instead of behind at 51 to 49.

The problem is that it will be a lot harder to motivate voters this time around. Previously, Senate control was hanging in the balance. Now it isn’t. Also, Republicans can no longer count on the coattails of the successfully re-elected Gov. Brian Kemp, which may have permitted Herschel Walker (R) to reach this runoff in the first place.

But that problem applies equally on both sides. For Democrats, the need to defend the Senate is suddenly a lot less urgent. For Republicans, the possibility of retaking the Senate is now absent.

Traditionally, Republicans used to perform much better in the runoff than Democrats. That was the case, at least, until 2020, when The Democratic voter drop off between the November election and the January runoff was almost non-existent, and the Republican drop off was about 10%.

Can Democrats reproduce that miracle when Senate control is not at stake?

A recent poll by the AARP shows Democratic incumbent Sen. Raphael Warnock leading Walker, 51% to 47%. At this point, Republicans should be praying for the margin of error and the turnout to work in their favor. After what happened on November 8, there are a few reasons to be optimistic.

Senate 2024

There is only one Republican held Senate seat the Democrats really have a serious shot at winning in 2024, and perhaps a total of one more that is very remotely possible. This fact forms the basis of Republican hopes of regaining a majority in the federal legislature’s upper body in the next election. They will have nearly free rein in targeting Democrats; Democrats themselves will have few or no opportunities.

Which seats will Republicans be defending? Well, for starters, there’s Utah, Wyoming, North Dakota, Nebraska, Missouri, Indiana, Tennessee, and Mississippi. Out of those, Indiana is probably the most interesting because it will be an open-seat race. (Sen. Michael Braun (R) has already announced his intention to run for governor instead.) Even so, Indiana is now a deep-Red State. The voters reflexively vote against Democrats and there is hardly any Democratic bench worthy of note. Republicans will be heavily favored to keep that seat.

So then come the other two seats where Democrats have at least some chance.

Florida: Yes, Florida is the Democrats’ best shot at picking up a Senate seat in 2024. That really speaks to how desperate their situation will be.

It is doubtful, after his three clutch statewide election wins in 2010, 2014 and 2018, that anyone serious is going to want to take on the ambitious and wealthy Sen. Rick Scott (R) as he runs for a second term. 

And with Florida trending the way it has been, Republicans will definitely have the upper hand. That goes double if they nominate Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis for president at the top of the ticket.

But it gets worse, because for the first decade of this century, the Florida Democratic Party was merely coasting on its past glories. The formerly dominant state party managed to keep both of the state’s U.S. Senate seats until 2004, when the retirement of Bob Graham (D) opened the way for Sens. Mel Martinez (R) and then Marco Rubio in 2010 (R).

In 2018, Democrats lost their longest-held statewide post when Sen. Bill Nelson (D) fell to Scott. Republicans control every state constitutional office in Florida now, plus both Senate seats.

In short, Florida’s Democratic Party is one of the most useless and incompetent state parties in America from either the Republican or the Democratic side. They punch far below their weight, losing everything in what was until recently a relatively swingy state. 

It’s not just their poor performance in 2022 that is at issue — it is also their poor performance in the strong Democratic year of 2018 and in every year prior to that since 2000.

Texas: And yes, this is the Democrats’ second-best pickup opportunity. Again, that does not bode well. 

Sen. Ted Cruz has not formally announced his retirement, but he will almost certainly be calling it quits, perhaps to run for president. He came within four points of losing in 2018, when he was badly outspent in a Democratic year by the vastly overrated Beto O’Rourke. 

Even so, this is no picnic for Democrats. Republicans are gaining a new lease on life in the Lone Star State as they gain more support in heavily Hispanic South Texas. Run the right candidate — former Rep. Will Hurd (R) has already expressed interest, but there could be other possibilities, such as Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R). 

The Democrats’ bench is fairly depleted, especially as Beto O’Rourke has sucked most of the oxygen out of the state party in his last two extremely expensive statewide losses. 

So, in which states Will Republicans be on offense? Three states come to the top of the list.

Arizona: Okay, this may not sound like the most promising pickup opportunity, but bear with us. Republican hopes here hinge mostly on the possibility that Democrats will primary and either gravely weaken or outright throw out Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D) on account of her disloyalty to the party and to president Joe Biden on various questions, including the abolition of the filibuster..

If Democrats go wild and nominate a leftist, there may be an opening for a Republican such as former Rep. Matt Salmon or soon-to-be former Attorney General Matt Brnovich.  They could also take a risk and go with someone less conventional, such as 2022 gubernatorial loser Kari Lake (R), but that is a long way off, considering that Lake is still litigating her 2022 loss.

Montana: Sen. Jon Tester (D) has repeatedly survived Republican attempts to oust him. But Montana has taken a hard turn away from Democrats during the Trump era, and his nine lives could well be up this time. 

Assuming he stays in, Republicans will need a quality candidate to defeat him. Were he to retire, it is hard to imagine any other Democrat holding this seat, assuming Republicans nominate someone who is not insane. That could include either of the Republican congressman elected earlier this month (Ryan Zinke or Matt Rosendale), or Gov. Greg Gianforte, among others

West Virginia: Joe Manchin (D) might already be making his retirement plans now. After he caved to President Biden and was made a fool by his own party on the issue of energy exploration, Manchin’s approval ratings plummeted by double digits into negative territory, such that in October a poll showed 42% approve and 51% disapprove.

Republicans have a growing bench in the Mountain State, having only recently taken full control of the entire state government and achieved supermajorities in both houses of the state legislature. Rep. Alex Mooney (R) has already announced he is running. Gov. Jim Justice (R) is also talking about running. 

Manchin survived in the Democratic midterm year of 2018, but it will be almost impossible for him to withstand the Republican momentum of a presidential year in newly Republican West Virginia, especially now that voters have soured on his brand of Washington fence-sitting.

Here are a few potential Republican Senate pickups that are still realistic but less promising than the ones mentioned above.

Maine: Sen. Angus King, a nominal independent who caucuses with the Democrats, has suggested he might retire. This would not be a slam dunk for Republicans or anything, but it could present an opportunity in the right sort of year and for the right sort of candidate. 

Michigan: 72-year-old incumbent Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D) has already announced she is running for a fifth term. She is certainly no easy target, but in the right sort of year, a quality Republican challenger could give her a run for her money and expand the Senate map.

Minnesota: Amy Klobuchar, one of the more impressive presidential candidates of 2020, is definitely no sitting duck. But Minnesota remains a very swingy state yet has gone a very long time without Republicans running a strong race for anything statewide.

Nevada: Republicans’ losing streak in the Silver State was extended with Adam Laxalt’s loss this month. But can Republicans finally field a winner against Democratic incumbent Sen. Jackie Rosen?   

Ohio: Sen. Sherrod Brown (D) is running for reelection, so the question is whether he can survive in a state that has moved far to the right of where It was when he first ran. Brown did fine in 2018, a Democratic wave year, but the rare success of a Trump endorsee (J.D. Vance) in the 2022 election presages a difficult race even for a Democrat as formidable as Brown. In a good Republican presidential year, he may just drown down-ballot of an unpopular Democratic nominee, especially if the unpopular Joe Biden is renominated.

The Republican Party’s bench in Ohio is quite deep, given the party’s utter domination of state government since 2010.

Wisconsin: Republicans have repeatedly failed to mount any sort of formidable challenge against Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D), who is now running for a third term. This is one of the races which, if a strong Republican candidate gets into it, could find its way onto the map, especially if the Biden years continue to go as poorly as they have so far.

Exit polls show why the voters effectively shrugged

WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 08: House Minority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) delivers remarks to supporters alongside Ronna Romney McDaniel, Republican National Committee chair, and Rep. Tom Emmer (R-MN), at a watch party at the Westin Hotel on November 9, 2022 in Washington, DC. Republicans are hoping to take control of the House of Representatives away from Democrats. (Photo by Sarah Silbiger/Getty Images)

This week: The Briefing, Vol. X, Issue 47

  • What happened in the election? What the exit polls say
  • Abortion helped Democrats marginally, but the data call its importance into question
  • Among voters, Biden was unpopular; Trump was even more unpopular 

Outlook

Republicans have clinched the U.S. House and will likely end up with about 222 seats out of 435. This will hold back the Biden administration’s worst impulses — it means that President Joe Biden cannot pack the Supreme Court or pass any other meaningful legislation without Republicans’ approval.

But Republican-leaning voters are not happy with this meager outcome. Ever since their disappointing 2022 election result, all the talk has been about what happened to the widely expected “Red wave.”

Perhaps one boring explanation is that it was always a bit too optimistic.

Republicans’ 3.3-point in the national popular vote for the U.S. House — 51% to 47.6% — was actually greater than the 2.5-point average win that generic congressional ballot polls predicted by election time, according to RealClearPolitics. 

There is also a tacit belief based on recent experience that when elections break, they break hard and they break in one direction. This has been true in many recent midterm elections, but it just wasn’t the case in 2022. Republicans will, in the end, lose governorships in Massachusetts, Maryland, and Arizona and state legislatures in Michigan and Pennsylvania, and gain perhaps 10 House seats.

In historical terms, this was only marginally worse than 2014, in which Republicans won a 5.5-point victory (51% to 45.5%) and elected a modern record 247 members to the House. So what happened? Were those 2.2 points really that important?

As Michael Barone has observed, there were a few key differences this time that probably diminished Republicans’ results beyond the proportionality of the overall popular vote result. 

One was that Republicans had less control over redistricting this year then they did after the 2010 election. Between states adopting non-partisan commissions and Democratic courts running interference for their party in the crucial states of Pennsylvania and North Carolina, Republicans simply did not have as much sway over the process this time as they had previously.

Republican improvements: Another reason is that a significant of the Republicans’ improvement in their vote totals came among non-white voters. This is a good thing, to be sure, but thanks to various court decisions and redistricting based on earlier partisan trends, many of those voters are drawn into seats that are numerically outside Republicans’ grasp. It is a hopeful sign that Republicans lost those districts by fewer points than usual, but it does not add to their House seats on the scoreboard this year.

For example, in Indiana’s 7th district, Republican Jennifer-Ruth Green lost by less than six points against Democrat Frank Mrvan, who won by 16 points and an almost identical district in 2020. That is an enormous improvement, but it does not affect the national outcome for House races this year. Likewise, the fact that Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.) won re-election in his majority-black district by only 24 points instead of the 37-point margin he had in 2020 or the 42-point margin of 2018 likewise doesn’t help Republicans in terms of the immediate outcome, even if it is a very positive sign for the future. After all, these incremental changes must occur first, and they don’t always bear fruit in terms of seats or clout right away.

Perhaps the most optimistic part of the 2022 outcome was Republican progress with Hispanic and Asian voters. These certainly did affect at least a few key House races.

In the 2018 midterm, Asian voters went Democratic by 54 points — a massive blowout. In 2022, however, Asians voted 58% to 40% Democrat, a margin of only 18 points. Part of this progress could be associated with the ongoing practice of discrimination against Asian university applicants — discrimination which Democrats and the Biden administration are actually defending. Republicans should be thinking of Asian voters as their next big project.

The current project started coming to fruition as Republicans won 39% of the Hispanic vote nationwide for House. This is a 10-point improvement over the last midterm and their best performance since 2004. This is very good, even if it only directly affected the outcome in a handful of House races in Florida and certain western states.

Speaking of which, it is important to point out that in Florida, not only did Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) win Cuban (69%) and overall Hispanic voters (58%), but he also won traditionally democratic Puerto Rican voters, 56% to 43%. He also won 46% of non-white voters. Despite liberal complaints, this is not something that anyone could have done through trickery or voter suppression or through gerrymandering. Florida is once again a model for Republican parties across the country who want to expand and broaden their appeal, beginning with the issue of education and school choice.

Also, speaking of possible presidential contenders, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) won the votes of 40% of Hispanic voters — not excellent for his state, but a pretty good showing that points the way to the future. 

By the way, fun fact: in Texas, one of the best predictors of how you’re going to vote is whether someone in your household owns a gun. It turns out that 62% of households of Texans who voted in this election include someone who owns a gun.

Trump omnipresent: Looking at the exit polling, a few additional issues jump out. 

One pertains to former President Donald Trump and the role that his continued involvement in politics might have had in turning the race against Republican candidates.

All along, it was assumed that President Joe Biden’s extremely high negative ratings would drag Democrats down. But although President Biden’s favorables were low among voters nationwide at 41% favorable to 56% unfavorable, former President Trump’s numbers were even worse at 39% favorable and 58% unfavorable. Only 20% within that anti-Trump majority voted for Republican candidates. That definitely limited Republicans’ ability to succeed in this election.

This is something Republican voters are going to have to think about. In an election where they actually did win the national popular vote for House, they did so in spite of their de facto party leader’s extremely negative ratings. 

Trump remains popular among Republican voters, and will not be easy to dislodge in the 2024 primaries. However, this is precisely the sort of data that is convincing some Republican leaders and donors to back other candidates already for 2024. Trump loomed over the 2022 election In the background, and for a large majority of voters, his presence diminished the odds they would vote Republican.

In Arizona, Kari Lake won only 16% out of the 57% majority of voters who said they viewed Trump unfavorably. If you do the math, this means she would have had to win nearly 100% of the 42% of Trump-favorable voters in order to get to 50%. She won only 94% of them, and that wasn’t quite enough to win her race.

Trump-style candidates: speaking of Lake, we certainly enjoyed her candidacy and made no secret of it. But you can’t argue with the results: the voters in Arizona clearly did not enjoy it. The exit polls reflect the voting tallies. 

Lake underperformed Republican House candidates in her state. She also won only 50% of white voters in Arizona, according to exit polls. She did not do too poorly among non-white voters, earning 46% of their votes, but a Republican who cannot break 50% among whites simply cannot win. 

Tudor Dixon (R) In Michigan likewise won only 50% of the white vote in her loss to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D). Doug Mastrano (R) in Pennsylvania actually lost the white vote, 50% to 48%, on his way to a blowout loss. 

Contrast those Arizona, Michigan, and Pennsylvania results with governor’s races that Republicans won in Nevada (where they won 58% of white voters), Florida (65% of whites), Texas (66% of whites) Ohio (67% of whites), and Georgia (74% of whites). It is excellent that Republicans generally improved among non-white voters, and something to build upon. But you cannot win elections without running up the score in your best voter demographic. When you nominate eccentric candidates who are not acceptable to most voters, you cannot expect good results and in some states, Republicans did just that in 2022.

It may also be that candidates who profess that Trump actually won in 2020 or otherwise attempt to adopt Trump’s style of politics are unattractive to a vast number of voters who might otherwise be more open to voting Republican.

Again, Republicans have to rethink the sort of candidates they want to nominate if they intend to win and to govern in the future. There is no indication that they need to sacrifice the extent of the candidates’ conservatism, but the style of the candidate and also perhaps his or her blind loyalty to Trump really does matter, or so the exit polling suggests. 

Also, when Democrats start advertising on behalf of a Republican candidate in a primary, maybe it’s time to reconsider supporting that candidate.

The ‘our democracy’ shibboleth: So what about January 6?The Democrats’ theatrical and long-running attempts to confuse in the public eye the fate of democracy with support for the Democratic Party does not appear to have succeeded, and that remains true even though Democrats outperformed expectations in the final election results. 

The key to understanding this is in the exit polls. Among voters who believed democracy was under threat (68% of the electorate), Democrats and Republicans split the vote almost evenly, 50% to 48%. In fact, the ones who considered democracy to be “very threatened” leaned Republican (50% to 48%). We surmise that this is because people have vastly different ideas about what it means for democracy to be under threat, depending upon their partisan affiliation. Does it mean that there is widespread Democratic voter fraud changing the outcome of big elections, or that Republican voters are “semi-fascists” preparing a coup d’etat? Does it mean that leftists are stifling free speech and attempting to assassinate Supreme Court justices in order to change the court’s decisions? Or does it mean that January 6 rioters supposedly almost toppled the fragile republic?

The voting public seems evenly divided on such questions, If the exit polls are any indication. Perhaps this campaign of show-trials and shrill rhetoric motivated base Democratic voters, but that’s probably the extent of it.

Abortion: It’s no big surprise, but abortion was a lightning rod issue in this election. Of those who ranked it as their top issue in the election (27% of voters), 76% voted Democrat. But that number could be somewhat misleading, because Republican voters may simply have been loath to describe abortion as their most important issue in the year that Roe v. Wade was overturned.

Fortunately, the exit polls asked a question that is probably more relevant and illuminating on the question of abortion. In general, regardless of which issue was considered most important to any given voter, 53% of voters trusted Democrats more on the issue of abortion compared to 42% who trusted Republicans more. That represents a decisive but not overwhelming advantage for Democrats. This was reflected in the failure of pro-life measures even in such states as Montana and Kentucky, and the success of Michigan’s anything-goes abortion referendum.

As the numbers go, voters’ feelings about Trump had a much bigger effect on the outcome than voter feelings on abortion.

It also bears noting that voters were almost as brand-loyal on some of the other issues as they were on abortion. By margins greater than 80 points in most cases, people voted for the party they trusted more on immigration (51% to 45% in favor of Republicans), crime (52% to 43% Republican), and the most important issue to voters overall, inflation (54% to 42% Republican).

This all suggests that abortion played some role, but it was arguably a very limited role. It also bears noting that several of the governors who were easily reelected — including Georgia’s Brian Kemp, South Dakota’s Kristi Noem, Texas’s Greg Abbott, Idaho’s Brad Little, Tennessee’s Bill Lee, and Oklahoma’s Kevin Stitt, among others — suffered no repercussions at all after signing relatively restrictive abortion bans into law. Kemp and Noem, in particular, went from nearly lossing their races in 2018 to broad victories this time around — Noem went from a four-point win in 2018 to a nearly 30-point win this time.

Likewise, the pro-life Sarah Huckabee Sanders won her election in Arkansas with no controversy after that state’s abortion ban took effect in June

Yes, some of these officials govern very Red states. But if there is as much backlash to Dobbs as the media predicted, then you would still expect some signs in the electorate even of the deepest Red states — perhaps the loss of at least a few state legislative seats or points in their election — something. Instead, all of these governors won easily, in some cases despite being massively outspent by their Democratic opponents. 

A similar thing could be said of the legislators who passed new abortion restrictions in Missouri (passed in May), Mississippi (took effect in June), West Virginia (passed in September), Kentucky (passed in April), and Indiana (took effect in September) — states which did not have governor’s races this year. As it turned out, Republicans in these states suffered no losses at all. They appear to have gained several seats in West Virginia’s legislature, and none of the others changed significantly.

Another argument against pro-abortion sentiment as the driving force in 2022: timing. People who decided how they were going to vote during the month of October — that is, 19% of the electorate — voted Democratic, 55% to 42%. The 6% who decided in November and the 68% who decided before October leaned Republican, according to the exit polls. The Dobbs decision overturning Roe v. Wade was leaked early and then officially released in June. For voters whose main focus was to preserve legal abortion, October would have been a strange time to decide they’d vote Democratic.

Next week: We will briefly preview the race for House Speaker, then take a preliminary look at presidential states and Senate races in 2024.

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It Doesn’t Run on Fossil Fuels

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Conservative Intel has partnered with Pat Cross Cartoons!

Pat loves drawing, America, and the Big Man upstairs. His work aims to combine these three elements into a petri dish and see what happens. We hope you will find his work thought-provoking, insightful, profound, and maybe, just maybe, a bit humorous

Republicans dramatically underperformed

Republican gubernatorial candidate for Florida Ron DeSantis with his wife Casey DeSantis speaks during an election night watch party at the Convention Center in Tampa, Florida, on November 8, 2022. - Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who has been tipped as a possible 2024 presidential candidate, was projected as one of the early winners of the night in Tuesday's midterm election. (Photo by Giorgio VIERA / AFP) (Photo by GIORGIO VIERA/AFP via Getty Images)

This week: The Briefing, Vol. X, Issue 46

  • Why did Republicans underperform?
  • Is it enough to blame Trump?
  • What is the path forward?

Outlook

This week, we look at possible explanations for Republicans’ shortcomings based on the variability of the results. The main question is whether people are right to blame former President Donald Trump outright — and our answer is that it’s kind of a mixed bag. Sure, Trump made some very poor endorsements, and he may have lost some fans along the way. But to blame Trump and leave it at that is to overlook many other Republican failures that clearly had nothing to do with him.

We will also look at how some states did have red waves — only little ones in isolation, and what that means for conservatives going forward.

Next week, we will look closely at exit polling to determine the role of the issues that motivated voters, and how various groups’ voting patterns were different from recent elections.

The reckoning: We were quite badly wrong about the midterm elections — far too optimistic about Republicans’ prospects. But in our defense, we were in good company. Namely, that of…nearly everyone.

Nearly every poll showed Republicans doing well. Most polls in the close races showed them winning. Even the Democrats thought they were going to lose. The Republicans — establishment, MAGA, and every other kind — definitely thought they were going to win.

It appears that Republicans may yet squeak out the narrowest possible House majority, and that will be a victory of sorts. But they have already lost their chance to take the U.S. Senate. And their attempts to oust governors in such states as Kansas, Michigan, and New York fell short. It looks like the only incumbent governor to lose in 2022 will have been Nevada’s Steve Sisolak (D).

So what happened? How are we to interpret all this?

Blame Trump? Some people have immediately jumped to blame former President Donald Trump. But it is far too simplistic to attribute everything to him. Beyond any responsibility that could be attributed to the former president, there are obvious shortcomings in many states’ Republican parties. There was, for example, a fundamental lack of resources put into Republican get-out-the-vote efforts in many states. Republicans are also light-years behind the Democrats in many key states (not in Florida, Iowa, or Ohio) when it comes to mail-balloting and early voting. They need to invest in fixing that before 2024, or else there is going to be a disappointing repeat.

The 2022 results show that Republicans failed in governor’s races (usually by narrower margins) in most of the same states where they had failed in the Democratic midterm year of 2018 (e.g. Pennsylvania, Nevada, Arizona, Kansas, Michigan). They also succeeded (albeit by wider margins) in many of the same states where they succeeded in 2018 (e.g. Florida, Georgia, Ohio, Iowa, Texas). The disparity suggests that the Republican parties of some states need to be overhauled and retooled, and perhaps their leaders replaced, lest they continue their losing streaks.  

Even if it is foolish just to blame Trump, it would be foolish to overlook his contribution to the problem. That starts in the Keystone State, where the results of his endorsements were definitely not what he had in mind.

Pennsylvania: Aside from perhaps Michigan, this was the worst outcome for Republicans in the entire election, and it arguably defines the 2022 midterm, as it was the Republicans’ highest profile loss.And it came with two controversial Trump endorsees at the top of the ticket. 

Trump’s endorsement of Dr. Mehmet Oz (R) over a more conservative primary opponent sent even his most ardent followers into rebellion. And Trump’s endorsement of Doug Mastriano (R) was much worse — it may have proven to be the biggest losing decision by anyone in the election cycle. Mastriano was crushed — he lost by the largest margin of anyone running against a non-incumbent governor since 1946.

Unfortunately, a bad gubernatorial candidate can drag down an entire ticket, and in Pennsylvania, it did. Oz, who was not an especially good candidate, probably needed the help of a strong gubernatorial nominee to drag him across the finish line against Lt. Gov. John Fetterman (D). Lacking that, he lost badly in spite of Fetterman’s stroke-induced inability to communicate normally. The polls seemed to show Oz closing the gap near the end, and we felt his win was in the tea leaves. But apparently, this was an illusion. Fetterman’s campaign was smart to hide him from voters until after mail-balloting was well underway. The media’s complicity in this is another question, however. 

Thanks to their top-ticket deficit, Republicans also failed to gain any of the U.S. House seats in Pennsylvania that nearly everyone thought they would win. Those seats may still be attainable in better years, but now Democrats will hold them for at least two. Also, Democrats seized control of the state House.

The final result in all cases wasn’t especially close. You cannot lose by a margin that wide as a result of voting fraud, and not even Mastriano is alleging a stolen election.

The lesson here is that endorsements — especially endorsements from people as influential as Trump — have real consequences. It’s not enough to get someone the nomination — the real issue is to steer it to an acceptable winner.

Also, it bears mentioning that Trump went to Pennsylvania in the late stages of this race and trashed Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis in a speech with his much-panned “DeSanctimonious” nickname. This didn’t cause an electoral disaster all on its own, but it is bizarre to demotivate voters on purpose during an election campaign, especially in the service of self-promotion.

New Hampshire: Republicans had tried to get Trump to intervene and endorse state Senate President Chuck Morse (R) over Donald Bolduc (R) for Senate. Trump did the opposite. Bolduc, it turned out, got crushed in spite of Gov. Chris Sununu’s (R) coattails. Morse might have defeated Sen. Maggie Hassan (D), but a poor-quality candidate could not, even with financial help from the NRSC and Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell’s SuperPAC.

Then again, don’t just blame Trump for this one. Republicans originally tried to recruit Sununu, who to all indications would have stomped Hassan. He was even willing to run — until he met with Senate Republican leaders, who were not very persuasive. Sununu later described them as trying to “con” him into running. That recruiting failure was costly.

Michigan: Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s (D) numbers were always very good against all of the potential candidates running against her. There’s no way to know who would have done better or worse than Trump-endorsee Tudor Dixon (R), but she did terribly in losing by 11 points and underperforming the down-ticket candidate for attorney general. 

This was bad enough to drag down Republican candidates for House all over the state. Democrats also took control of the state House and appear set to retake the state Senate as well, pending counts in a couple of races. And so Whitmer will now have free rein for the next two years.

Arizona: Not all the races in Arizona are decided yet, but the U.S. Senate race has been called. Blake Masters (R) was not a great candidate, even though he had his moments and surged in the end. He was not a disaster like Mastriano, but there were better candidates who ran for the nomination, such as Attorney General Mark Brnovich (R). Unfortunately, Brrnovich had not gone quite far enough to show he believed that the 2020 election was stolen in Arizona, so Trump trashed him and endorsed Masters, an unknown quantity. Masters went on to lose by a much wider margin than any of the polls suggested. 

Sometimes, Trump’s desire to have candidates personally loyal to him works against Republicans’ ability to win. There is nothing wrong with admitting this. It is something Republicans are going to have to think about moving forward.

Kari Lake, however may yet pull out a victory, so that would be a Trump endorsement that panned out. But you have to admit, most newbie candidates are not Kari Lake and cannot be expected to come on as strongly as she does. Even so, her vote tally is running behind Republican House candidates. Although it gives great delight to conservatives who watch her savage the media and Democrats, perhaps her forceful, Trump-like approach to politics is not quite as popular with other people. 

Ohio: Here is a one counterexample that shows you can’t just lay all the blame at Trump’s feet. Trump picked a first-time politician who was a real winner in Ohio — in fact, he appears to have received some excellent advice there. J.D. Vance was almost certainly a better candidate than former state Treasurer Josh Mandel (R), and for reasons that have nothing to do with Trump himself.

Gov. Mike DeWine (R) led the Buckeye ticket with a massive 25-point win. That was enough to secure a conservative majority on the state supreme court (assuming that his appointment is good) that will probably save Ohio’s Republican-leaning congressional redistricting. But that was not enough to save one of the most Trump-identifying House candidates, Madison Gesiotto Gilbert (R) in Youngstown, nor incumbent Rep. Steve Chabot (R) in Cincinnati.

North Carolina: Trump also picked a winner in senator-elect Ted Budd (R). Although Republicans failed to win one of the House seats they were supposed to win in the state, they did at least seize control of the state Supreme Court — an important factor in eventually undoing the outgoing Democratic court’s partisan congressional gerrymander

Nevada: In some states, you really cannot blame Trump for the things that went wrong. This is one of them. Former Attorney General Adam Laxalt (R) was a party consensus nominee in Nevada, enjoying support from both Trump and the state political establishment. He simply came up short. So did Republican candidates in all three of the contested House races.  

Also, Trump’s endorsed gubernatorial nominee, Joe Lombardo (R), did win — whether you want to credit Trump for that is another question. But somehow, a picture emerges in which the abilities and reputations of the individual candidates played a bigger role than anything else. 

Georgia: Here’s the biggest mixed bag of them all, and in a state where Trump is not popular.

Herschel Walker (R), whose chances in the runoff are probably not as good as they were on election day, was not just a Trump endorsee — he was equally backed by the Republican establishment. He underperformed all of the polling that showed him at least finishing first on Election Day. He still has a chance, but now the fight is over a single Senate seat, not control of the Senate. It will be harder to motivate the base. He also will not enjoy the strong coattails of conservative Gov. Brian Kemp (R), who won his race handily in spite of Trump’s efforts to stop him. In some counties, the drop-off between the vote for Kemp to the vote for Walker was as high as 25%.

Speaking of which, Kemp and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R) both won comfortably despite Trump’s extreme and public antipathy over their unwillingness to undo the 2020 election result. So this may be one place where, because Trump is not especially popular, his involvement actually had the opposite effect of what he would have intended. A slim plurality of Georgians voted to end Trump’s presidency — the last thing they want when they choose their candidates is a reminder of what they didn’t like about it.

Red Islands: So much for the failures. But there were isolated Republican successes on election night as well, some of them in swingy or even Blue states. What these “Red islands” have in common are well organized Republican state parties and a relative lack of interference from Trump.

Florida: If you watched the Florida results come in first, and considered them to be a sign of things to come, you would have expected a red tsunami last Tuesday. Republican candidates blew the doors off of Democrats from the top of the ticket to the bottom. Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) won by nearly 20 points, as did Sen. Marco Rubio (R). Both carried Miami-Dade County; DeSantis even carried Palm Beach County, which is nearly unthinkable for a Republican. 

Remember: Charlie Crist nearly won the governorship for a second non-consecutive term in 2014, and DeSantis nearly lost his race for governor in 2018. A lot has happened in four years. 

Republicans won every single House seat they were supposed to win in Florida, swept all of the statewide constitutional offices, and secured a two-thirds majority in both houses of the state legislature. They didn’t just win the Cuban vote — they won the Puerto Rican vote as well.

This was a state where Trump held at least one late rally, but had little cause to get involved, because there were no open Senate or governor races. He was not heavily involved in the choice of nominees at any level.

Also, for those who might blame vote by mail for the outcome in other states, Florida had no problems with its very robust early vote and vote-by-mail system, even as Republicans swept everything. This should be the model for the rest of the country. 

DeSantis, is now talked about as presidential material, be he has to contend with Trump, who plans to announce soon. Trump views it as an act of disloyalty that DeSantis is even considering running. That’s really not how this is supposed to work. And if DeSantis wants to be president, 2024 will be his only chance, because after his second term in Florida he will become irrelevant to national politics like most former governors do.

Moreover, the idea that the first tenet of the party is to be loyal to Trump, before any set of ideas or principles, is not helpful. There is a fundamental conceptual problem with the Republican Party here that needs to be resolved before 2024.

Iowa: Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) and Sen. Chuck Grassley (R) blew out their respective opponents. That wasn’t necessarily a huge surprise, but Reynolds’ especially excellent performance at the top of the ticket (she won by 19 points In what is normally a swing state — in 2018 she won by less than three) most certainly helped Zach Nunn (R) eke out a narrow 2,200-vote victory over the Democratic incumbent in the third congressional district, securing an all-Republican congressional delegation.

Iowa Republicans also won a two-thirds majority in the state Senate, which means that Democrats can no longer block Reynolds’ appointees.

Reynolds’ huge margin also helped a down-ticket Republican candidate defeat Iowa’s 40-year Democratic incumbent attorney general, Tom Miller (D), at long last. Thanks mostly to Miller, Iowa has not had a Republican attorney general since Jimmy Carter was president. But it will now.

The statewide race for auditor is not called yet, but it appears that Republicans are about to fall heartbreakingly short of sweeping every state constitutional elected office for the first time since 1976.

New York: Wait, what? Didn’t Rep. Lee Zeldin (R) lose his governor’s race? Yes, he did. But he performed so well in losing this deep blue state by just five points that down-ballot Republicans squeaked out multiple U.S. House seats on his coattails. Republicans even defeated the DCCC chairman, Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D), and won all of the other close House seats in New York except for one. 

This means that Republicans will represent 11 New York districts in the next Congress — a gain of three and a loss of four for the Democrats (the state lost a seat due to low population growth).

This means that Zeldin and DeSantis (who forced Florida’s legislature to pass a more aggressive Republican-leaning House map) could be double-handedly responsible for the Republicans’ House Majority, if they do indeed end up winning one.

Texas: Republicans’ victory in Texas was strong but perhaps less remarkable for a state like Texas. Yes, it was refreshing to see Beto O’Rourke (D) pummeled once again by Gov. Greg Abbott (R), and for Republicans to sweep all statewide offices, but that is basically par for the course.  

What was interesting, however, were the three strong performances (one of them a victory) in South Texas congressional districts. Although Republicans have not yet fully broken through in all three districts, Monica de la Cruz Hernandez (R) won her race and Rep. Mayra Flores (R) kept hers within ten points in what had been a D+17 district. Previously, Republicans barely competed in these districts — they lost all three by more than 20 points in 2018. There are no Texas exit polls to show a shift in the Hispanic vote there, but it is happening, just more slowly than some Republicans optimistically expected. 

Bottom Line: The initial impression from the vote tallies that are available so far, in our view, is that the Republican Party has serious problems in some states where it should be more competitive. These need addressing immediately. The uneven (mostly bad) performances indicate a party that is failing due to lack of investment, technological backwardness, and over-reliance on the brand of a single polarizing celebrity candidate. 

States that nominated strong gubernatorial candidates and have well-functioning state parties that punch above their weight — not just deep-red states, but also swingy Florida, Iowa, and Ohio and blue New York — saw a Republican wave. The wave just never reached places like Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Nevada. There’s a lesson to be taken here.

Next week: A closer look at the exit polls.

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Conservative Intel guide to Election 2022

WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 22: U.S. President Joe Biden participates in a virtual meeting about mineral supply chains and clean energy manufacturing in the South Court Auditorium of the White House complex February 22, 2022 in Washington, DC. Earlier in the day, President Biden spoke about the Ukraine-Russia crisis and announced a first round of sanctions against Russia. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

The Briefing, Vol. X, Issue 45

This week: 

  • It’s election day
  • Our final predictions
  • A Republican sweep is in the offing 

Outlook

What follows is our election guide for following the results tomorrow. 

In the Senate, we expect Republicans to win a majority of at least 52 seats.

In the House, we expect Republicans to gain 26 seats for a total of 239.

Last polls close:

7:00 pm EST

Georgia: Gov. Brian Kemp (R) will easily win re-election over election denialist and conspiracy theorist Stacey Abrams (D). The tight Senate race between Herschel Walker (R) and Sen. Raphael Warnock (D) may go to runoff. Either way, we expect Walker to finish with more votes and, ultimately, to win. Keep an eye on the Macon-based rural second district, where Rep. Sanford Bishop (D) is struggling and could potential lose if the Republican wave is larger than we think. Expected House tally: 9R-5D (change of +1R, -1D) 

Indiana: No important statewide races. The one House race to watch is the first district in northwest Indiana, where underdog Jennifer-Ruth Green (R) stands a chance of upsetting Rep. Frank Mrvan (D). Expected House tally: 7R-2D (no change)

Kentucky: No important statewide races. Expected House tally: 5R-1D (no change). 

South Carolina: Sen. Tim Scott and Gov. Henry McMaster (R) are both a lock for re-election. .

Expected House tally: 6R-1D (no change)

Vermont: Gov. Phil Scott (R) should cruise to re-election. Expected House tally: 1D (no change)

Virginia: No statewide races. Three House seats could flip from Democrat to Republican, however. These include the second, seventh, and tenth districts, in order of likelihood. We expect Republicans to win the first two, defeating Reps. Elaine Luria (D) and Abigail Spanberger (D). Expected House tally: 6R-5D (change of +2R, -2D)

7:30 pm EST

North Carolina: Ted Budd (R) should easily win this open-seat Senate race, defending a Republican seat. But Republicans will cede ground in the House thanks to a gerrymander by the state’s Supreme Court, which is currently being challenged. In the state’s competitive open seventh district, Republican Bo Hines should defeat Wiley Nickel (D).  Expected House tally: 8R-6D (change of +1D)

Ohio: J.D. Vance has the Senate race locked away, and Mike DeWine will easily win re-election. Republicans will come up short in the Toledo-based ninth district, due to candidate quality, but they will take over the eastern Ohio seat that Tim Ryan left to run for Senate. Expected House tally: 12R-3D (change of -1D)

West Virginia: The Mountain State lost one House seat, meaning it will send one less Republican to Washington. Expected House tally: 2R (change of -1R)

8:00 pm EST

Alabama: Katie Britt (R) will easily retain the state’s open U.S. Senate seat, and Gov. Kay Ivey will cruise to victory. Expected House tally: 6R-1D (no change)

Connecticut: Some late polls indicate that Sen. Richard Blumenthal is in a competitive Senate race, but don’t get your hopes up. On the other hand, we like Republican George Logan’s chances at retaking the fifth district, which Republicans lost in 2006.  Expected House tally: 1R-4D (change of +1R, -1D)

Delaware: No competitive races. Expected House tally: 1D (no change)

Florida: Republicans are expected to blow the doors off the Sunshine State this year in terms of turnout. Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) may even carry Miami-Dade County, if the composition of the early vote is any indication. Sen. Marco Rubio will easily win re-election. Republicans will pick up four House seats, including the St. Petersburg-area seat being vacated by DeSantis’ opponent, former Rep. Charlie Crist (D). They have an outside chance at a fifth, although we still expect that Jared Moskowitz (D) will hold on to the seat that was vacated by Rep. Ted Deutch (D) earlier this year. Expected House tally: 20R-8D (change of +4R, -3D)

Illinois: No competitive statewide races. The House map was drawn to elect Republicans in just three out of 17 districts. However, we believe they will win four, including the Democrat-leaning 17th.  Expected House tally: 4R-13D (change of -1R)

Maine: Former Gov. Paul LePage (R) will fail in his political comeback bid for his old office, but we believe that former Rep. Bruce Poliquin will succeed in his amid heavy Republican turnout in the second district. Expected House tally: 1R, 1D (change of +1R, -1D)

Maryland: No competitive statewide races. Republicans have an outside shot at regaining the western sixth district House seat, but the dead weight of the party’s gubernatorial nominee will probably extinguish that hope. Expected House tally: 1R-7D (no change)

Massachusetts: Democrats will easily reclaim the governor’s office. Expected House tally: 9D (no change)

Mississippi: No competitive races. Expected House tally: 3R-1D (no change)

Missouri: Attorney General Eric Schmitt (R) should easily retain the Senate seat of the retiring Roy Blunt. Expected House tally: 6R-2D (no change)

New Hampshire: Gov. Chris Sununu (R) will easily win re-election. With a series of polls showing him closing the gap, there is an outside chance that Donald Bolduc (R) will indeed overtake and defeat Sen. Maggie Hassan (D). Karoline Leavitt (R) should also defeat Rep. Chris Pappas (D) in the first district. Expected House tally: (change of +1R, -1D)

New Jersey: Thomas Kean Jr. should defeat Rep. Tom Malinowski (D). Expected House tally 3R-9D: (change of R+1, D-1)

Oklahoma: Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt (R) is in a closer race than expected against party-switcher Joy Hoffmeister (D). He should still win, and both Republican U.S. Senate candidates will win as well. Expected House tally: 5R (no change)

Pennsylvania: Although the race is so close that any prediction is probably more like a guess, we continue to believe that Mehmet Oz will defeat John Fetterman and hold this Republican Senate seat. Unlike many other Republican senatorial candidates, Oz is running against the headwinds of a losing gubernatorial candidate, Doug Mastriano. But Republicans should still gain two Democratic House seats in Eastern Pennsylvania and another outside Pittsburgh. If the win the one inside Pittsburgh — not impossibly, but unlikely — it’s a sign that a real bloodbath is underway. Expected House tally: 11R-6D (change of R+2, D-3)

Rhode Island: Allan Fung should secure the first Republican victory for a House seat in many decades. Expected House tally: 1R-1D (change of R+1, D-1)

Tennessee: The state legislature drew former Rep. Jim Cooper (D) into a Republican-leaning seat, and he responded by retiring. Expected House tally: 8R, 1D (change of R+1, D-1)

8:30 pm EST

Arkansas: No competitive races. Expected House tally: 4R (no change)

9:00 pm EST

Arizona: Democrats are going to regret promoting Kari Lake as the Republican gubernatorial nominee when she wins over the hapless Katie Hobbs (D). Meanwhile, Sen. Mark Kelly (D) is in the political fight of his life and may lose to Republican Blake Masters, in part thanks to Lake’s coattails. In the House, Republicans undid a Democratic gerrymander (achieved through a “non-partisan” redistricting panel) that packed most Republican voters into three districts. They will gain two seats here as a consequence. Expected House tally: 6R-3D (change of R+2, D-2)

Colorado: Gov. Jared Polis (D) will easily win re-election. Sen. Michael Bennet (D) is favored to win narrowly, although he could be one of the victims in the event of a Red Tsunami. Republicans will pick up the new eighth district House seat and hold all of their current House seats. Expected House tally: 4R-4D (change of R+1)

Iowa: Both Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) and Sen. Chuck Grassley (R) will easily win re-election. Republicans will pick up the southwestern third district seat by defeating Rep. Cindy Axne (D). Expected House tally: 4R (change of R+1, D-1)

Kansas: Republican Derek Schmidt could edge out Gov. Laura Kelly (D), but it’s going to require some big Republican turnout. Democratic Rep. Sharice David is now favored to survive.  Expected House tally: 3R-1D (no change)

Louisiana: No competitive races. Expected House tally: 5R-1D (no change)

Michigan: Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) is having a much rougher time than we ever expected, with polls showing her tied or defeating Tudor Dixon (R) by just a couple of points. If she is in trouble, then so is every Democrat in the state who faces a close race, including the Democratic House candidates in the third and seventh districts. Expected House tally: 8R-5D (change of R+1, D-2)

Minnesota: Gov. Tim Walz (D) should win re-election, but the race to unseat Attorney General Keith Ellison (D) might be a lot more interesting.  Expected House tally: 4R-4D (no change)

Nebraska: No competitive races. Expected House tally: 3R (no change)

New Mexico: Mark Ronchetti (R) has an outside chance of beating Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D), but he will likely fall short. Expected House tally: 1R-2D (no change)

New York: Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) has said and done everything possible to lose her election, and that leaves Rep. Lee Zeldin in a position to upset her tomorrow. Because Democrats’ gerrymandering attempts went awry in their own state courts, they will actually lose ground in the Empire State. Expected House tally: 9R-17D (change of R+1, D-2)

North Dakota: No competitive races. Expected House tally: 1R (no change)

South Dakota: No competitive races. Expected House tally: 1R (no change)

Texas: Gov. Greg Abbott (R) will win re-election over Beto O’Rourke (D). Meanwhile, Republicans will pick up two formerly Democratic U.S. House seats in South Texas. By the end of the decade, they will hold all three of these Hispanic-majority South Texas seats. Expected House tally: 26R, 12D (change of R+3, D-1)

Wisconsin: Sen. Ron Johnson (R) will win re-election, and, in a much closer race, Tim Michel (R) will narrowly defeat incumbent Gov. Tony Evers. Republican Derrick Van Orden will pick up the Democratic House seat in the state’s southwest, thanks to the retirement of longtime Rep. Ron Kind. Expected House tally: (change of R+1, D-1)

Wyoming: No competitive races. Expected House tally: 1R (no change)

10:00 pm EST

Montana: Montana gained a House seat, and it means one more Republican in Congress. Expected House tally: 2R (change of R+1)

Nevada: Republican gubernatorial nominee Joe Lombardo and Republican Senate nominee Adam Laxalt should win. All three of the Democrat-held House districts are potentially winnable, and we believe Republicans can win two of them tomorrow — the first and third. Expected House tally: 3R, 1D (change of R+2, D-2)

Utah: Sen. Mike Lee (R) had a bit of a scare in his race against independent Evan McMullin, but he should cruise to victory. Expected House tally: 4R (no change)

11:00 pm EST

California: Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) will win easily in spite of this population-losing state’s many problems. California lost a House seat, and in the end it will be a Democratic seat. Expected House tally: 11R-41D (change of D-1)

Idaho: No competitive races. Expected House tally: 2R (no change) 

Oregon: The governor’s race is too close to call, with Republican Christine Drazan narrowly favored over Democrat Tina Kotek. Republicans will pick up the new and open fifth district U.S. House seat. Expected House tally: 2R-4D (change of R+1) 

Washington: There is an outside chance that Republican Tiffany Smiley defeats Sen. Patty Murray (D), but only in the absolute best-case scenario for Senate Republicans. Expected House tally: 3R-7D (no change) 

12:00 am EST

Alaska: Expect the counting to take weeks in all races. The three-way race involving Kelly Tshibaka and Lisa Murkowski will result in a Republican win either way. Liberal Mary Peltola (D) will probably win again narrowly  in her House race once second preferences are counted, thanks mostly to Sarah Palin’s (R) endorsement of her over their Republican opponent Nick Begich (R). Expected House tally: 1D (no change)

Hawaii: : No competitive races. Expected House tally: 2D (no change)

Zahra’s Ex-Wife: Brian Zahra paid for my abortion

Alyssa Jones, the ex-wife of Michigan Supreme Court Judge Brian Zahara told NBC News that after he impregnated her in college, he found a clinic and paid for her abortion. She claims that they never discussed any other options.

When the abortion was over, she cried in the car and Zahra yelled at her saying “If you didn’t want to do this, why did we do this?” 

Jones said she felt “relieved” when it was over, despite the stronger emotions that swept over her when she sat next to Zahra in the car afterward. He snapped at her while she cried, then drove her to Arby’s.

“I’m grateful I had a choice, and I think he’s grateful he had a choice,” Jones said. 

The breaking news makes Zahra, a Republican, look hypocritical. It’s a major blow to his campaign just days before the Tuesday, November 8th General Election. 

In September, Zahra voted to block Proposal 3, a ballot initiative which would add abortion rights to the Michigan Constitution. 

Jones said in the NBC News interview that she believes the termination of her pregnancy ultimately helped him build a successful law career, and his vote was an attempt to deny others a similar choice. 

Zahra declined to be interviewed by The Detroit News, and instead his campaign team provided a statement that did not confirm or deny Jones’ account of the abortion.

There are two Democrats on the ballot for Michigan Supreme Court, and only one other Republican candidate, Paul Hudson. It looks like Hudson will be the only good option pro-life voters in the Michigan Supreme Court race.

How Did we Get Here?

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Detroit News Poll Shows DePerno Within 1, On Verge Of Victory

The Detroit News has just released a new poll which shows a statistical dead heat in the Michigan attorney general race. 

Republican Matt DePerno looks as though he is on the verge of victory against Democratic Attorney General Dana Nessel. 

This race has always been close, with DePerno outperforming the other Republicans on the top of the ticket by several points in virtually every poll that’s been released. 

This new poll showing a dead heat comes at the best time possible, allowing DePerno to gain even more momentum within just one week of the election. 

The Detroit News and WDIV-TV commissioned poll was conducted by Glengariff Group. Nessel has just a 22% to 43% lead which falls within the margin of error of plus or minus four points, for the October 26-28 poll of 600 general election voters. 

“Voters are shocked by Dana Nessel’s comments about putting a drag queen in every school and can’t afford her attempts to shut down Line 5,” DePerno’s spokesman Tyson Shepard said. 

This poll is consistent with the exclusive memo obtained by Conservative Intel, where former Congressman and Ambassador to the Netherlands Pete Hoekstra predicted Matt DePerno would defeat Dana Nessel. 

In that memo, Hoekstra called upon Republicans to donate to Matt DePerno because of the huge impact it can make. 

“It is much cheaper to have an impact in the race for Attorney General than it is in the race for Governor,” Hoekstra said. “The race for Attorney General will have in the neighborhood of $8 million total spent on both sides combined, whereas the race for Governor will have closer to $80 million spent. A donation in the race for Attorney General arguably goes 10 times farther. An investment in the AG race helps Dixon, and DePerno.” 

Hoekstra went on to point out DePerno’s low name ID, but he views this as an opportunity to build name ID in the final weeks. The ceiling in the AG race is very high for DePerno, because he’s spent very little on TV, radio, and digital, so momentum in this final week can go a very long way. 

Former Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette has also asked Republicans to unite behind Matt DePerno. 

“Attorney General is a serious responsibility. From significant Constitutional issues before the U.S. Supreme Court to educational challenges in Michigan, Dana Newssel utilizes the Attorney General’s office as a political weapon for the radical left. Dana Nessel should be replaced. Matt DePerno is the better decision for Attorney General,” Schuette said. 

This new momentum and hopefully influx of funding in the final week is a recipe for a big win for Matt DePerno and Republicans on November 8th.