Friday, October 21, 2016

Senate Update: The Last Week Has Been Very Kind To Democrats’ Hopes For A Majority

Thanks to big shifts in several key races, Democrats now have a 73 percent chance of winning the Senate, according to the FiveThirtyEight polls-plus forecast, and a 72 percent chance according to polls-only. Both those numbers are up by more than 15 percentage points from last week, when the polls-plus model gave them a 56 percent chance and the polls-only model 54 percent.


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In our last Senate Update, I noted a growing divergence between our Senate and presidential forecasts. The presidential race had moved quickly towards Democrat Hillary Clinton; the battle for control of the Senate had ticked a bit towards the GOP. But the forecasts have snapped back into closer alignment as Democratic Senate chances have improved.

What’s so interesting about the upswing in Democrats’ fortunes is that many Senate races haven’t shifted much. In the average Senate race, the margin separating the two major-party candidates has shifted toward the Democrat by just over 1 percentage point over the last week, according to our polls-only model. But that includes noncompetitive races. Control of the Senate is coming down to six key states, with Democrats needing to gain four seats to win a majority if Clinton wins the White House. And in the crucial contests, there has been more movement.

Democratic wins in Illinois and Wisconsin1 look likely, so they need to win three of these six races: IndianaMissouriNevada,2 New HampshireNorth Carolina and Pennsylvania. These six states top our tipping-point rankings, which measure the chances of each race deciding control of the Senate.

Now look at how the Democrat’s chances and projected margin of victory has changed over the last week in each of these six states.

CNN: Early swing-state voting numbers show good signs for Clinton

CNN: Early swing-state voting numbers show good signs for Clinton

Overall, 3.3 million Americans have already voted according to the analysis from CNN and data firm Catalist. In most swing states, Democrats have improved their early-voter turnout from four years ago and have even managed to surprise analysts with their numbers in some traditionally Republican states.

At the same point in the 2012 race for example, Republican votes in conservative Utah outnumbered votes from Democrats by 22,000. This year, however, the GOP edge in the state is only 3,509 votes.

Other states are also showing positive signs for Clinton.

Democrats have improved their early-voting numbers in Nevada from 2012. In North Carolina, ballots from Democrats are level with four years ago, but Republicans have cast 14,500 fewer votes in the state so far.

Things look better for the Republican nominee in Ohio and Iowa. The Democratic lead in Ohio early voting is smaller than what it was in 2012, and turnout for Democrats has declined more sharply than for Republicans.
But even Ohio and Iowa may not be enough for Donald Trump, according to CNN.
CNN's own electoral map projection shows Clinton being able to reach 270 electoral votes by taking Colorado and Virginia.

Charity Dinner Host: Donald Trump ‘Crossed The Line’ With Hillary Clinton Attacks

If there was any doubt that Donald Trump’s comedy routine at the Alfred E. Smith Memorial Dinner did not go over well with the crowd, Alfred E. Smith V put that to rest on Friday morning.

Smith ― the great-great-grandson of the dinner’s namesake, who was the first Catholic presidential nominee from a major party ― specifically told CNN’s “New Day” that Trump’s joke that Hillary Clinton was pretending not to hate Catholics” did not sit well with the largely Catholic audience.

“Donald had some very solid minutes early on and eventually he crossed the line and took it a little too far,” Smith said. “Hillary, on the other hand, was able to laugh at herself and at the same time not underplay any of the serious things that Donald Trump has said or done.”

Of course, there was little doubt Thursday night that Trump’s line upset the crowd since it drew loud boos from those gathered. The joke was a reference to the publication of a hacked email that Clinton campaign communications director Jennifer Palmieri, herself a Catholic, had made an controversial comment about Catholics and evangelicals.

Apparently, the joke did even worse than appearances would suggest, however. Smith argued that Trump, who spoke first, managed to diminish Clinton’s performance by taking “the tone in another direction.”

“Hillary when ultimately she got the mic, she had some very funny things that she had said, and I don’t think they got as many laughs as they could have just because the tone in the room had shifted a bit,” Smith suggested.

“The room did get a little uncomfortable,” Smith concluded. “Like I said, that line, in a room full of predominantly Catholics, that didn’t go over so well.”

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Thursday, October 20, 2016

Trump used his foundation to fund guerrilla filmmaker James O’Keefe

In Wednesday’s presidential debate, Donald Trump claimed that new videos proved that Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama had “hired people” and “paid them $1,500” to “be violent, cause fights, [and] do bad things” at Trump rallies.

He was referring to videos released this week by conservative activist James O’Keefe that purport to show pro-Clinton activists boasting of their efforts to bait Trump supporters into violent acts. The videos offer no evidence that Clinton or Obama were aware of or behind the alleged dirty tricks.

Still, Trump claimed the videos exposed that a violence at a March Chicago rally was a “criminal act” and that it “was now all on tape started by her.”

Trump neglected, however, to mention his own connection to the videos, released by James O’Keefe and his Project Veritas tax-exempt group. According to a list of charitable donations made by Trump‘s controversial foundation (provided to the Washington Post in April by Trump’s campaign), on May 13, 2015, it gave $10,000 to Project Veritas.

CREDIT: Washington Post

Trump, who claimed in the same debate that Hillary Clinton “shouldn’t be allowed to run” for president “based on what she did with e-mails and so many other things,” was funding a convicted criminal. O’Keefe was sentenced to three years of probation, 100 hours of community service, and a $1,500 fine in 2010 after taking a plea bargain following a botched “sting” attempt at the office of then-Sen. Mary Landrieu.

What’s more, there is a great deal of reason to be skeptical of the videos themselves. O’Keefe has a long history of selectively editing videos to present a false impression to the viewer. His most famous video, an attack on the now-defunct community organizing group ACORN, supposedly showed employees agreeing to help him smuggle underage prostitutes into the country. It turned out the employees later had called the police and O’Keefe eventually paid $100,000 in a settlement after being sued for surreptitious recording of someone’s voice and image.

Even Glenn Beck’s conservative The Blaze slammed O’Keefe over a selectively-edited video purporting to show unethical action on the part of National Public Radio executives, faulting “ editing tactics that seem designed to intentionally lie or mislead about the material being presented.

Though the latest video too has been criticizedfor selective editing by at least one of its subjects, two of the staffers resigned after its release.


Gracious letter Bush 41 gave Bill Clinton upon leaving office goes viral after debate

A 1993 letter written by George H.W. Bush on his last day in office wishing Bill Clinton well has resurfacedfollowing the final presidential debate.

Asked Wednesday night if he would accept the results of the election irrespective of the outcome, Republican nominee Donald Trump told debate moderator Chris Wallace that he will wait for the outcome before deciding.

A 1993 letter written by George H.W. Bush on his last day in office wishing Bill Clinton well has resurfacedfollowing the final presidential debate.

Asked Wednesday night if he would accept the results of the election irrespective of the outcome, Republican nominee Donald Trump told debate moderator Chris Wallace that he will wait for the outcome before deciding.

Read letter here

McCain: Accepting election results is 'American way'

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) on Thursday slammed Donald Trump for saying he may not accept the outcome of the presidential election. 

"I don’t know who’s going to win the presidential election. I do know that in every previous election, the loser congratulates the winner and calls them 'my president,' " McCain, the 2008 GOP presidential nominee, said in a statement.
"That’s not just the Republican way or the Democratic way. It’s the American way," he said, adding that Americans should "respect the decision of the majority even when we disagree with it. Especially when we disagree with it." 
McCain didn't mention Trump by name in the statement. But it comes one day after the 2016 GOP nominee refused to say during the third presidential debate that he would accept the results of the election. 
"I will look at it at the time. I'm not looking at anything now," Trump said at the Las Vegas debate.
With Democratic Hillary Clinton leading in most national polls, Trump is doubling down on his allegations of widespread voter fraud ahead of the Nov. 8 election, which he says will be "rigged" against him.
McCain rejected Trump's argument Thursday, stressing while there have been "irregularities" or fraud, they've never impacted the outcome of an election. 

Woman Alleges Donald Trump Groped Her At 1998 Tennis Tournament

A New York-based yoga instructor on Thursday said that Republican nominee Donald Trump groped her at a tennis tournament in 1998.

Karena Virginia is the 13th woman in the past month to allege that Trump sexually mistreated her.

Speaking at a press conference organized by attorney Gloria Allred, Virginia described waiting for a car to pick her up at the 1998 U.S. Open in Queens, New York, when she noticed Trump and a few other men looking at her.

“Hey, look at this one, we haven’t seen her before,” Trump allegedly said to his friends. “Look at those legs.”

Virginia said Trump then walked over to her and grabbed her right arm. “And then his hand touched the right inside of my breast,” she recounted. She says she flinched, and Trump turned and said to her, “Don’t you know who I am?”

Right then, Virginia said, her car arrived, and she didn’t see Trump again for many years. The next time she saw him, he didn’t remember her.

“Perhaps you do not remember me,” she said Thursday, “but I can assure you I remember you.”

Virginia said that although her encounter with Trump was brief, it affected her for years afterward. She said she had trouble explaining to her husband why she felt so ashamed. “For years, I struggled with what to wear so as not to attract unwanted attention,” she said.

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Majority of Viewers Say Clinton Won Final Debate: CNN Poll

CNN/ORC poll of debate watchers shows 52% say Hillary Clinton won, compared to 39% for Donald Trump.

Trump’s Refusal To Accept Election Results Has Americans Fuming

There’s nothing worse ― or less presidential ― than a sore loser.

However, during Wednesday’s presidential debate, republican nominee Donald Trump refused to commit to respecting the outcome of the 2016 presidential election. 

I will look at it at the time,” Trump told moderator Chris Wallace when asked whether he would accept the results. “What I have seen is so bad. First of all, the media is so dishonest and so corrupt, and the pile-on is so amazing.”

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Trump’s Shocking Answer On Respecting Election Results Is The Only Debate Moment That Matters

Donald Trump was on his way to his best performance in a presidential debate Wednesday night ― right up to the moment when he refused, twice, to say he would respect the results of November’s presidential election.

It overshadowed everything else that happened on the stage in Las Vegas and arguably told voters everything they need to know about the Republican nominee for president.

Trump’s answer shouldn’t have surprised anybody. For the last two weeks or so, Trump has been going on and on about “rigged” elections, riling up his supporters by warning that Hillary Clinton and her allies were trying to steal the election.

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Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Scott DelConte: for state Supreme Court judge

I have the professional experience and personal values to serve as a judge.

Professionally, I am a member (partner) of the Syracuse-based law firm Bond, Schoeneck & King and, for nearly two decades, have successfully handled a wide range of complex civil matters for a diverse array of clients in the State Supreme Court – including Fortune 500 companies, religious institutions, local businesses, families and severely injured people.

ScottDelConte crop.jpgScott DelConte is a candidate for state Supreme Court judge. 

In addition to my professional experience, it is important that voters know who I am, and the personal values that I will bring to the bench. Lawyers across Central New York evaluated my qualifications, and I am honored to have received the highest ratings from the Onondaga County, Oswego County, Oneida County and Central New York Women's Bar Associations.

I was born in Syracuse, raised in Cicero and graduated from Cicero-North Syracuse. My father was a guidance counselor and, after retiring, drove a school bus. My mother was a homemaker. My parents instilled in me the importance of hard work, integrity and service to others. These values have shaped my life and career.

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National poll: Clinton up by 9 points

Hillary Clinton holds a 9-point lead over Donald Trumpnationally, according to a Bloomberg Politics poll released Wednesday morning.

Clinton has 47 percent support to Trump’s 38 percent. Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson and Green Party nominee Jill Stein trail with 8 percent and 3 percent, respectively.

In a hypothetical two-way race, Clinton keeps her 9-point cushion, leading Trump, 50 to 41 percent.

In September, Clinton and Trump were tied in the Bloomberg poll, with 46 percent apiece in a head-to-head matchup.

Clinton leads Trump among likely voters without a college degree, 48 to 44 percent. And Trump trails by 13 points among whites with a college degree.

The poll of 1,006 likely voters was conducted from Oct. 14 - 17. It has a margin of error of 3.1 percentage points.

Clinton leads Trump by 7.5 points nationally in the RealClearPolitics average of polling, 49.2 to 41.7 percent.

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Poll: Clinton up 30 in Miami-Dade County

Hillary Clinton is dominating Donald Trump in Florida’s largest county, a new poll shows.

Clinton has 58 percent support in Miami-Dade County to Trump's 28 percent, according to the WLRN-Univision 23 survey released Wednesday.

Clinton's edge outpaces President Obama's performance in the county in 2012. Obama won Miami-Dade by 24 points en route to taking the key state of Florida by less than one percentage point.

“[Clinton’s lead] is the most that any Democrat has ever gotten, dating back to the 2000 election,” said Fernand Amandi, the Democratic pollster whose Bendixen & Amandi International conducted the poll.

The poll found that the county harshly disapproves of Trump, the GOP presidential nominee.

Seventy-one percent view Trump unfavorably, including 64 percent who say “very” unfavorably. Twenty-seven percent view him favorably.

In contrast, 62 percent see Clinton favorably to 38 percent unfavorable.

“We’ve never seen numbers like these before,” Amandi said. "Ever, ever, ever, ever.”

WLRN-Univision 23 conducted its poll of 600 likely voters via interviews in English and Spanish from Oct. 15-17. It has a 4 percent margin of error.

Clinton leads Trump by about four points in Florida, according to a RealClearPolitics average of polls.

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Hillary Clinton’s Special Burden: Not Just Win, But Win Big

LAS VEGAS ― Unlike the first two presidential debates, the third one, at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, is all about Hillary Clinton. And she has more than the usual simple burden of trying to win an election.

Perhaps it’s unfair ― politics is unfair ― but the state of the country and its tattered politics requires that the Democratic nominee do more than just eke out a victory.

Clinton has to win BIG, so she can at least have the chance to protect public trust in the machinery of elections, in the ability of the federal government to function, and in the credibility of American democracy.

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Tuesday, October 18, 2016

FBI official at center of alleged 'quid pro quo' deal: 'There was no collusion'

The previously unnamed FBI official who allegedly considered a "quid pro quo" deal with the State Department during its investigation into Hillary Clinton's private email server denied colluding with Clinton aides. 

“Listen, there was no collusion, there was absolutely no collusion,” Brian McCauley said in an interview with the Washington Post Tuesday. “That’s illegal. Something that was underhanded, illegal, I would not do it. No one in the FBI would do it. It’s a matter of integrity.”

Newly released FBI documents showed that State Department official Patrick Kennedy pressed FBI officials to declassify one of Clinton's emails concerning Benghazi. In its notes from the investigation and interviews with staff, the FBI said that McCauley told investigators he would “look into the email matter if Kennedy would provide authority concerning the FBI’s request to increase its personnel in Iraq.” 

But one of McCauley's colleagues characterized the conversation as a "quid pro quo." 

McCauley, the Post reported, had been trying in vain to get someone from State to allocate more FBI posts in Iraq. He said that when Kennedy called him to ask about the email, he repeated the request.

“He said, ‘Brian. Pat Kennedy. I need a favor,’” McCauley told the Post. “I said, ‘Good, I need a favor. I need our people back in Baghdad.”

But McCauley said they talked about exchanging favors before he knew what Kennedy was asking, and Kennedy's effort to declassify the email was ultimately rejected.

“He had a request. I found out what the request was for. I absolutely said emphatically I would not support it,” McCauley said. “I said, ‘Absolutely not, I can’t help you,’ and he took that, and it was fine."

According to a statement from the State Department, Kennedy said that the request was made in order “to better understand a proposal the FBI had made to upgrade one of former Secretary Clinton’s emails prior to its public release.”

McCauley's request for two extra FBI officials in Baghdad was said to be “an entirely separate matter,” according to the statement.

“There was no quid pro quo, nor was there any bargaining. At no point in our conversation was I under the impression we were bargaining,” said Kennedy.

“I have served as a member of the Foreign Service for some 40 years — serving both Democratic and Republican administrations,” he added. “My sole aim was to ensure that we were responsive to our legal obligations under FOIA.”

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Trump Called This Woman A Liar. Then 6 Witnesses Corroborated Her Story.

On October 12, former People writer Natasha Stoynoff wrote a powerful essay accusing Donald Trump of sexually assaulting her in 2005 during an interview at his Mar-a-Lago vacation home. Trump has since vehemently denied the accusations and even questioned Stoynoff’s story during a campaign rally by saying, “Look at her... I don’t think so.”

On Tuesday, People published a report featuring six people who the outlet says can corroborate Stoynoff’s story. Included in the six witnesses are two of Stoynoff’s longtime friends and three coworkers.  

In her original People essay, Stoynoff wrote that she arrived at the Trumps’ Mar-a-Lago house for an interview, but Melania had not arrived yet. Stoynoff wrote that Trump took her into a room alone where he told her: “You know we’re going to have an affair, don’t you?”

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GOP senators to Trump: Election isn't rigged

A pair of GOP senators in key reelection races are distancing themselves from Donald Trump's claim that the election is "rigged," joining a growing list of officials pushing back against the GOP nominee. 
Sens. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) separately rejected the GOP nominee's rhetoric during their debates this week. 

Monday, October 17, 2016

Trump campaign left out of Alaska voter guide

Alaskans won’t find any information about Donald Trumpin their voter’s guide this year, after the GOP presidential nominee's campaign failed to submit biographical data and a candidate statement.

The voter guide, which hit mailboxes this weekend, includes candidate statements from Democrats Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine, Green Party nominee Jill Stein and her running mate, Ajamu Baraka, the Constitution Party nominee and an independent candidate. But state elections officials say the Trump campaign and Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson did not submit materials ahead of an August 30 deadline.

Josie Bahnke, Alaska’s director of elections, sent letters to the Republican National Committee, Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Tuckerman Babcock, the chairman of the Alaska Republican Party, seeking information from the Trump campaign. But none of those groups responded in time to be included in the pamphlet.

Trump’s campaign in Alaska is run by Jim Crawford, a conservative businessman. The campaign in May named former state Rep. Tom Anderson, who served a five-year prison sentence in 2007 after being convicted of money laundering and bribery charges during his time in office, as its state spokesman, the Alaska Dispatch News reported.

Recent surveys have shown a surprisingly close contest in the normally reliable Republican state. A poll released Sunday by the Lake Research Group, a Democratic firm that used to conduct surveys for former Sen. Mark Begich (D), showed Trump leading Clinton by a 37 percent to 36 percent margin, The Midnight Sun reported, with Johnson taking 7 percent.

Another poll conducted for Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R), who is seeking re-election this year, showed Trump ahead by just 3 points, 37 percent to 34 percent, with Johnson at 10 percent. An Alaska Survey Research poll conducted for the Dispatch News in early October showed Trump leading 36 percent to 31 percent. Johnson took 18 percent in that survey.

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Trump Digs In On Claims Of ‘Rigged’ Election

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump dug deeper in his efforts to cast doubt on the legitimacy of the U.S. election, saying on Twitter on Sunday that he believed the results were being “rigged” at many polling places.

His tweet came hours after his vice presidential running mate, Mike Pence, said Republicans would accept the outcome of the Nov. 8 contest between Trump and his Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton.

Trump, who is trailing Clinton in opinion polls, did not provide any evidence to back his allegations of impropriety at the voting booth. Early voting and voting by mail have begun in many states.

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Sunday, October 16, 2016

Judge Rules ‘Bridgegate’ Complaint Against Christie Can Proceed

PRINCETON, N.J. (Reuters) – A citizen’s complaint against New Jersey Governor Chris Christie related to the “Bridgegate” lane-closure scandal can move forward, a judge ruled on Thursday, referring the case to state prosecutors to consider possible criminal charges.

Roy McGeady, the presiding judge for Bergen County municipal courts, found probable cause for the criminal complaint filed last month by Bill Brennan, an activist and retired firefighter, a court official confirmed.

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Donald Trump, Jr. says women who can't handle harassment 'should go maybe teach kindergarten'

The apple doesn’t appear to fall far from sexist, chauvinistic, misogynistic, harassing tree. BuzzFeed unearthed a 2013 interview where Don, Jr—a self-described “guy’s guy”—helpfully explained that women who can’t handle harassment shouldn’t be in those work environments:

“I’m of that mindset — and I’ll get into trouble, I’m sure I’ll get myself in trouble one of these days,” Trump began. “If you can’t handle some of the basic stuff that’s become a problem in the workforce today, then you don’t belong in the workforce. Like, you should go maybe teach kindergarten. I think it’s a respectable position.

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Nicola Sturgeon to Americans: Don’t vote for Donald Trump

‘I expect the people of the United States will have the good sense not to elect him,’ she said.

LONDON — Scottish leader Nicola Sturgeon urged Americans to vote for Hillary Clinton, saying she had been “horrified” by Donald Trump’s remarks throughout the presidential campaign.

Trump, whose mother was Scottish and who owns golf courses in Scotland, has talked proudly of his links to the country — yet the feeling is not reciprocated by Scotland’s political leadership.

“Would I be proud if Donald Trump became president? No. No,” Sturgeon told ITV’s Peston on Sunday.

“I hope Donald Trump doesn’t become president of the United States and I expect the people of the United States will have the good sense not to elect him,” Scotland’s first minister said.

It is unusual for a British political leader to express a preference for a candidate in the U.S. presidential election, but, Sturgeon said, “I’m not sure this is normal circumstances.”

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Nebraska newspaper breaks with tradition, endorses Clinton

The Omaha World-Herald is breaking with almost 100 years of tradition, endorsing Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton for president.

In an editorial released late Saturday, the Nebraska newspaper said Clinton has the best chance to “implement change by working with Congress, foreign and domestic leaders and military leaders under normal circumstances as well as during a crisis.”

Editors noted, however, that Clinton, if elected, “will need to gain the trust of a significant portion of Americans who are concerned about her private email server and attendant deleted emails, her handling of the Benghazi crisis and her longstanding quest for a single-payer health care system in the United States.”

They said that the “risk of a Donald Trump presidency is simply too great,” pointing to his “alienation of so many groups” and a “lack of statesmanship that is fundamental to serving in the Oval Office.”

“This year’s presidential election has been the country’s most polarizing race in decades. If Secretary Clinton is elected, Americans will need her to be a uniting president, working from the center, and not advancing an agenda that will further alienate moderates and conservatives,” they said.

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