Arizona’s Katie Hobbs says she ‘absolutely’ expects to be targeted by election deniers again
TUCSON, Ariz. — The memory of Donald Trump supporters surrounding her home after President Joe Biden won in 2020 has stuck with Arizona Democratic Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, who’s up against Trump-endorsed Kari Lake for governor in the midterm elections.
After the last presidential election, supporters of Trump chanted “we are watching you” outside Hobbs’ home, issued death threats against her and even doxxed her private address.
Speaking to NBC News in Tucson after a campaign rally, Hobbs said she is “absolutely” worried she could become a target again for people who refuse to accept the results of Tuesday’s election.
Hobbs also said her office is closely monitoring voting locations across the state in an attempt to stifle possible intimation tactics.
“My plan is to work with my office, make sure that every eligible voter is able to cast their ballot and that we’re problem-solving any issues that come up,” she said. “We’re continuing to monitor for security issues personally and in our office and in voting locations across the state to make sure that voters can be free of intimidation.”
A federal judge last month declined to bar a group from monitoring outdoor ballot boxes in Maricopa County where watchers have shown up armed and in ballistic vests. Local and federal law enforcement said they were alarmed by reports of people, including some who were masked, watching 24-hour ballot boxes in Arizona’s most populous county.
“It’s critical that we have the time and opportunity to count votes accurately rather than quickly,” Hobbs said. “There’s not a problem if it takes a while to count votes. We’re doing the job that we’re supposed to do.”
Nikki Haley rallies for GOP Senate candidate Herschel Walker in Georgia
HIRAM, Ga.— Former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley leaned into a hardline immigration message Sunday as she suggested the voters should “deport” Sen. Raphael Warnock, the Democratic opponent of Georgia GOP Senate candidate Herschel Walker.
“The only person we need to make sure we deport is Warnock,” Haley, who served as a former U.N. ambassador under former President Donald Trump, said to cheers in this small town outside Atlanta.
Warnock, the senior pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, was born in Savannah, Georgia.
The daughter of Indian immigrants, Haley spoke about her family legally immigrating to the United States in contrast to a recent wave of migrants coming across the U.S. border with Mexico, which Walker also decried.
“Legal immigrants are more patriotic than the leftists these days,” Haley said. “They love America and they want the laws followed in America.”
Haley’s remarks about deporting Warnock dovetail with Walker’s campaign theme that the Baptist reverend should be “evicted” from the Senate — a reference to an apartment complex, owned by Warnock’s church, where some low-income tenants reportedly received eviction notices. Warnock’s camp has called the suggestions misleading.
GOP voters in Florida weigh in after Trump’s 2024 tease
Former President Donald Trump has been teasing a potential 2024 run, but some Republican voters aren’t so quick to hop on the Trump train if he’s up against Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.
DeSantis, a possible 2024 presidential candidate, was mocked by Trump Saturday night at a rally in Pennsylvania during which the former president also suggested he’ll launch a bid for re-election “in the very next very, very, very short period of time.”
Speaking to NBC News ahead of Trump’s “Get Out the Vote” rally in Miami Sunday, several voters said they’d not want to be in a position to choose between DeSantis and Trump, but if forced to do so, they’d go with DeSantis.
“I would have to say Ron DeSantis would have my vote,” said Soslan Temonson, who traveled from Wisconsin to see the former president, “because Ron DeSantis is more in touch with reality, with the people.”
Empty debate stages become norm in Senate races
WASHINGTON — The run-up to Election Day has long come with a few rites of passage for candidates, but one of them — showing up on the debate stage to take questions and square off against an opponent — seems to be fading from the list of prerequisites.
An analysis of debate schedules by NBC News confirms what many political observers have speculated: The number of debates in competitive 2022 Senate races has hit a new low since 2008.
The decline is a result of changes to the media and political landscape that have tipped the cost-benefit analysis for campaigns away from debates, strategists in both parties say, since the risk of a mistake has never been higher and the reward for participating has never been lower.
But that calculus does not factor in the cost to voters of losing one of the few remaining places where political leaders engage in unscripted political discourse and face challenging questions.
Read more here.
ACLU Georgia prepares to file lawsuit over unmailed absentee ballots
ACLU Georgia is preparing to file a lawsuit in Cobb County — an increasingly diverse Atlanta suburb of swing voters — after learning that allegedly 1,000 absentee ballots were not mailed out.
Andrea Young, executive director of ACLU Georgia, said the organization was contacted by a college student who requested her ballot but never received it and was unable to travel from Mississippi to vote. The organization then found “many more” people who did not receive ballots.
The lawsuit alleges that the incidents stem from Senate Bill 202, a restrictive voting measure that Gov. Brian Kemp, a Republican, signed into law last year. The law curtailed the amount of time the county can mail a ballot from 49 days to 29 days before an election as well as reduced the number of days voters could request a ballot from 180 days before elections to 78.
Young said the new law bars employees from beginning the mailing process before early voting, which she said led to employees in Cobb County dealing with a backlog and forgetting to mail the absentee ballots. “Because of this law, people are finding barriers [to voting] that shouldn’t have to exist,” she told NBC News.
Under Georgia law, ballots must be received when polls close at 7 p.m. on Election Day. In its lawsuit, the group asks that voters who are impacted be allowed an extension until the Monday after the midterms to return the ballots.
NBC News has reached out to the Cobb County Elections Director for comment.
DCCC Chair: Democrats will defend ‘mainstream’ values on election night
Vance projects confidence and Ryan predicts an upset as Ohio’s turbulent Senate race nears its end
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Republican J.D. Vance believes “we’re in a very good place.”
Democratic Rep. Tim Ryan believes “things are moving our way.”
One of them will be wrong Tuesday, when their hard-fought Ohio Senate race comes to an end. But together, they have found themselves in a contest that grew more competitive than many expected, given former President Donald Trump’s comfortable wins in the state. And in interviews with NBC News after campaign events here Saturday, Vance and Ryan both spoke as if victory was within reach.
They also wrestled with questions about how they would fit in a seat that in recent history has been held by pragmatic centrists, including Rob Portman, the retiring Republican they are running to succeed.
“I think that we’re in a very good place,” Vance, a venture capitalist best known for his memoir, “Hillbilly Elegy,” said after a small rally with Sen. Josh Hawley, a Missouri Republican, at a hotel in northern Columbus. “I think that we’re going to win, and I don’t think it will be that close.”
Read more here.
Exclusive: NAACP buys out all remaining advertising spots on Black radio stations in Arizona
The NAACP, the country’s oldest civil rights organization, has spent roughly $400,000 to buy out all remaining advertising spots on Black radio stations in Arizona ahead of Tuesday’s election, a spokesperson for the group told NBC News on Sunday.
The nonpartisan organization booked more than 3,100 spots that are focused on get-out-the-vote efforts and call on voters in the key battleground state to defend democracy, according to the spokesperson.
The NAACP has spent approximately $2 million on radio ads during this midterm cycle, the spokesperson said.
Arizona is home to some of the most high-profile races in this midterm election campaign. Democrats are defending the Senate seat held by Mark Kelly against Republican challenger Blake Masters, and the firebrand Republican Kari Lake is running for governor against Democrat Katie Hobbs.
NAACP chief Derrick Johnson made headlines last week after he called on companies to pause all advertising on Twitter after the social media giant was acquired by Elon Musk, writing in part that advertisers should not fund “a platform that fuels hate speech, election denialism and conspiracy theories.”
Scott: Republicans want to ‘preserve’ Social Security and Medicare benefits
Rick Scott doesn’t rule out run for majority leader if GOP takes Senate
Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, on Sunday declined to say whether he would run for majority leader if Republicans gain control of the Senate in the midterm elections.
“I’m not focused on anything except getting a majority Tuesday night,” Scott said in an interview on NBC News’ “Meet the Press.”
After host Chuck Todd replied “that’s a nonanswer,” Scott repeated his line that he is solely “focused” on Tuesday’s elections.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has faced intraparty backlash after declining to support former President Trump’s false claims of a stolen 2020 election. Despite Trump’s efforts to find a rival, no one has stepped forward to challenge McConnell for his leadership position, but some Republicans have questioned whether Scott is positioning himself for the job.
Read more here.
A spiral of violence and fear is creating angst for many voters ahead of the midterm elections
WASHINGTON — Armed men in masks and tactical gear have shown up at secure ballot drop boxes. Candidates of both parties have been physically attacked, election workers intimidated. And threats against members of Congress are up tenfold.
For many voters, a vicious spiral of violence and fear is creating angst, paranoia and an overwhelming sense of dread that the nation is on the eve of destruction, according to a growing body of public opinion research.
Democrats worry that the GOP is bent on seizing power regardless of the outcome of elections — a concern rooted in former President Donald Trump’s lies about the the 2020 race he lost. Polls show a large portion of Republicans fear democracy is in peril because they believe that elections are rigged against them.
“The corollary to denying the 2020 election is that the deniers don’t believe that exercising their vote is a way to fix [problems] on Nov. 8,” said former Rep. David Jolly, a political independent who served in Congress as a Republican from Florida.
Read more here.
Democrats catch up to GOP on enthusiasm in final NBC News poll before midterms
The final national NBC News poll of the 2022 midterms finds a highly competitive campaign landscape ahead of Election Day. While Democrats have pulled even with Republicans in enthusiasm, President Joe Biden remains unpopular and voters express deep dissatisfaction about the state of the country.
Forty-eight percent of likely voters say they prefer a Democratic-controlled Congress as the outcome of Tuesday’s elections, while 47% prefer a Republican-controlled Congress.
That’s a reversal from October, when 48% preferred a GOP-controlled Congress, versus 47% who wanted Democrats in charge, although shift is well within the poll’s margin of error.
Read more here.
Four battleground states foretell whether Republicans can ‘split from Donald Trump’ and win
White powder allegedly sent to Kari Lake’s campaign headquarters
The FBI and Phoenix police, along with its hazmat and bomb squad units, responded to an incident involving “suspicious items” at the campaign HQ of Kari Lake, the Republican nominee for governor of Arizona, on Saturday night, a police official said.
There were two envelopes sent to the office containing a white powdery substance, a source familiar with the incident told NBC News. A staffer for Lake’s campaign opened one of the envelopes and was exposed to the material but did not become ill from the exposure.
No injuries have been reported, law enforcement said. Authorities responded at about 10 p.m. local time and were onsite until about 5 a.m. Sunday.
“I’m really glad nothing happened to anyone and that it’s being investigated. All leadership should denounce this kind of political violence,” Katie Hobbs, Lake’s Democratic opponent, told reporters following a campaign rally in Tucson Sunday.
Lake was at a campaign event in Scottsdale Saturday night and is not believed to have come in contact with the substance. The investigation remains active.
Voters will have a say on abortion in 5 states with high-stakes ballot measures
Millions of voters will soon determine the fate of abortion access in a handful of states, including Michigan, which could become the first to make an abortion ban permanently unenforceable since the fall of Roe v. Wade.
At the polls Tuesday, voters in California, Michigan and Vermont will decide whether to enshrine reproductive freedom rights in their state constitutions, while voters in Kentucky could do the opposite and explicitly conclude there should be no such protections.
In Montana, if a ballot initiative passes, health care providers in the state could face criminal charges if they do not take “reasonable actions” to save an infant who is born alive, including after an attempted abortion.
The measure and its proposed punishments, including up to 20 years behind bars and a maximum $50,000 fine, have been met with fierce opposition from medical providers.
Read more here.
As election nears, some conservative groups have ramped up anti-trans campaign ads
In the last leg of what has been a heated midterm election cycle, some conservative groups have ramped up misleading or inflammatory campaign ads targeting transgender rights, which have become an increasingly partisan and divisive issue.
A radio ad from America First Legal, a conservative group founded by Stephen Miller, who served as a top adviser to former President Donald Trump, accused President Joe Biden and “progressive leaders” of pushing children to take hormones and undergo surgery “to remove their breasts and genitals.”
“Not long ago, everyone knew that you’re either born a boy or a girl,” the narrator says over ominous music. “Not anymore. The Biden administration’s pushing radical gender experiments on children.” America First Legal did not respond to NBC News’ request for comment.
Within the last several weeks, the American Principles Project aired campaign ads in six battleground states, the group wrote on Twitter. One of the TV ads, which it released in Arizona, accuses Sen. Mark Kelly, an Arizona Democrat, and Biden of “pushing dangerous transgender drugs and surgeries on kids — taking away parental rights.” Simultaneously, the group launched an ad in Wisconsin accusing Democratic candidates of supporting legislation “that would destroy girls’ sports.”
Read more here.
Trump talked out of announcing 2024 campaign on Saturday, a source says
Former President Donald Trump on Saturday teased a potential 2024 presidential run during a rally in Latrobe, Pennsylvania.
“We’re gonna take back America, we’re gonna take it back. And in 2024, most importantly we are going to take back our magnificent — oh, it’s so beautiful — White House,” Trump said. “We’re going to take it back and you’re going to be hearing about it very soon. Very, very, very soon.”
A source in frequent communication with Trump and familiar with the discussions told NBC News that the former president had considered the rally as a backdrop to announce another run but his advisers urged him not to take the attention away from Republican midterm candidates, and ultimately he agreed.
“Everybody, I promise you in the very next very, very, very short period of time, you’re going to be so happy, OK? You’re going to be so happy,” Trump said. “And one of the reasons I don’t want to do that right now — because I’d like to do it — but you know what, I really mean this, I want to have the focus tonight be on Dr. Oz, and Doug Mastriano. Because we have to win, alright?”
Former presidents in Pennsylvania stumping for Senate candidates
Obama, Trump battle over western Pennsylvania with dueling rallies in a final midterm push
LATROBE, Pa. — Two former presidents duked it out with dueling rallies Saturday across western Pennsylvania, where they stumped for Senate candidates locked in one of the most consequential races of the cycle and offered wildly different visions of America as the final midterm fight centers on the Keystone State.
Around noon, Barack Obama rallied with Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, the Democratic Senate nominee, along with Democratic candidates in local House races on the University of Pittsburgh’s campus. Hours later, Donald Trump campaigned with Republican Senate nominee Mehmet Oz, GOP gubernatorial nominee Doug Mastriano and down-ballot Republicans at a regional airport in Latrobe, about an hour east of Pittsburgh.
At attention for both former presidents is which party’s nominee wins one of the most sought after Senate seats in the country.
Read more here.
In Nevada, Cortez Masto taunts Laxalt with new ads boasting his family endorsed her
In the final days of a bitterly fought Senate campaign, Nevada Democratic Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto wants voters to know that 14 members of her rival’s family have chosen to endorse her — not him.
Cortez Masto’s campaign plans to run full-page ads in English and Spanish in seven newspapers on Sunday that feature a letter signed by relatives of GOP Senate candidate Adam Laxalt.
The ad, first shared with NBC News, will print the letter from family members in the Las Vegas Review-Journal, the Reno Gazette Journal, Las Vegas Weekly, Nevada Appeal, Elko Daily Free Press, El Sol and El Mundo.
“Today we, the undersigned members of the Laxalt family, are writing in support of the re-election of Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto for the U.S. Senate. We believe that Catherine possesses a set of qualities that clearly speak of what we like to call ‘Nevada grit,” reads the letter from Laxalt’s relatives, including aunts and cousins. “We staunchly believe that Catherine is well equipped with her own ‘Nevada grit’ — a quality that she will take forward in representation of our home state for six more years across the halls of Congress.”
Nevada’s Senate race is one of the closest in the country, with a series of recent polls showing Cortez Masto and Laxalt in a dead heat. The outcome of the contest could determine the balance of the Senate, now narrowly held by Democrats.
Read more here.
Highlights from Saturday
Just catching up? Here’s what you missed on Saturday.
- President Joe Biden on Saturday touted his record on taxes and the deficit as he stumped for Pennsylvania gubernatorial candidate Josh Shapiro and Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, the Democratic Senate nominee, in a last-minute effort to bolster the party’s candidates in key midterm races. He also blamed big oil companies for increases in gas prices at the pump, arguing that six oil giants made more than $100 billion in profit in the past six months. “It’s outrageous,” he said.
- Former President Barack Obama joined Biden at the rally at Temple University in Philadelphia. With the midterm elections about to determine the balance of Congress, Obama warned that so-called MAGA Republicans such as Doug Mastriano, the Republican nominee for governor of Pennsylvania, pose a threat to democracy: “You can’t take it for granted.”
- Meanwhile, former President Donald Trump held a dueling rally in the same battleground state, campaigning for Republican candidates at Arnold Palmer Regional Airport at Latrobe. Trump called his political opponents “either stupid or they hate our country” as he took aim at what he characterized as Democrats’ failed border policies. He also continued to push false claims about the results of the 2020 election.