Day: November 6, 2018


FOXNEWS hosts on stage for president…

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. — Fox News hosts Sean Hannity and Jeanine Pirro joined President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump pauses Missouri campaign rally after woman collapses Fox News hosts join Trump on stage at Missouri campaign rally Nate Silver in final midterm projections: ‘Democrats need a couple of things to go wrong’ to lose the House MORE onstage at his final campaign rally of the midterms, singing the president’s praises and urging attendees to vote Republican.

“I have a few people that are right out here, and they’re very special,” Trump said, teasing their appearances. “They’ve done an incredible job for us. They’ve been with us from the beginning, also.”

Trump, who has a well-known penchant for Fox News programming, proceeded to call Hannity onstage, even though the Fox News host tweeted earlier in the day that he “will not be on stage campaigning with the President.”

While Hannity and Pirro are vocal Trump supporters and frequently speak to him, it’s unusual for cable news anchors to give candidate-style speeches at campaign rallies. 

On stage, Hannity promptly decried the press in attendance as “fake news,” and echoed the president’s mantra of “promises made, promises kept.”

Shortly before taking the stage, Trump spoke with Hannity during his 9 p.m. show. The two men talked about Trump’s campaign efforts, and commiserated over the country’s immigration laws.

Hannity lamented that Trump missed his opening monologue while he was traveling, but the president reassured him that was not the case.

“I saw it on the plane,” Trump said. “I never miss your opening monologue. I would never do that.”

As Trump took the stage, Hannity high-fived White House communications director and former Fox News executive Bill Shine, who was observing the event from the wings of the arena.

Trump also called on his “friend,” Pirro, to take the stage, introducing her as “Justice Jeanine.”

“If you like the America that [Trump] is making now, you’ve got to make sure you get out there tomorrow if you haven’t voted yet,” Pirro, host of “Justice with Jeanine,” implored the crowd.

Another Fox News host, “Fox & Friends” host Brian Kilmeade, last month said he mistakenly donated roughly $600 to the Trump campaign. Keith Olbermann, an outspoken liberal, was suspended by MSNBC in 2010 for donating to Democratic candidates. 

Trump’s rally in Missouri was his last of three campaign stops on Monday as he sought to boost GOP Senate candidates prior to Election Day.

At each event, Trump introduced prominent surrogates who whipped the crowd into a frenzy.

Ivanka TrumpIvana (Ivanka) Marie TrumpFox News hosts join Trump on stage at Missouri campaign rally Hillicon Valley: Supreme Court declines to hear net neutrality challenge | How the midterms will affect the cyber agenda | Facebook rejects controversial Trump ad | Gab back online Trump’s closing argument frames midterms as a referendum on his White House MORE, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders and White House counselor Kellyanne ConwayKellyanne Elizabeth ConwayFox News hosts join Trump on stage at Missouri campaign rally Sanders, Conway appear at Trump rally Trump’s closing argument frames midterms as a referendum on his White House MORE appeared at multiple rallies, including in Missouri, and conservative talk radio host Rush Limbaugh also introduced the president in Missouri.

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For trans candidate, fight on many levels in Vermont…

BENNINGTON, Vt. — One day recently, Christine Hallquist walked into the Two Brews Cafe, a homey, quirky coffee shop in this sleepy college town, and sat down at a pair of dark oak tables with a dozen local activists.

They were trying to get a measure of this political neophyte who is mounting a seemingly long-shot campaign for governor. She seemed to share so many of their values, but was she serious about this? Should they go out and work for her?

For Lesley Jacobson, a retired high school teacher who especially likes Hallquist’s Medicare for all pledge, one thing especially bothered her. She looked Hallquist in the eye and said one word: signs.

“There’s nothing here. No signs,” Jacobson said. “You wouldn’t know there’s an election on.”

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Hallquist, a Democrat, sheepishly informed Jacobson that the campaign had more or less run out of signs, and one reason for that may be who she is, the first openly transgender gubernatorial nominee from either major party. Her distinctive blue signs are being pilfered all over the state — 150 had just gone missing in Brattleboro — and she doesn’t think it’s because they’re considered collector’s items.

She has also received death threats, so her campaign doesn’t put her daily schedule out in advance, which doesn’t help a fledgling politician who remains largely unknown to so many voters.

Hallquist is surely fighting prejudice and ignorance in some quarters as she barnstorms across the Green Mountain State. But she’s also fighting low name-recognition, political inexperience, and the sheer power of incumbency as she tries to knock off first-term Republican Governor Phil Scott.

Her campaign got some bad news last month when a Vermont Public Radio/Vermont PBS poll showed that only 28 percent of likely voters say they’ll back her. Scott came in at 42 percent. More worrisome for Hallquist is that Scott was drawing 26 percent of Democrats. Virtually no Republicans said they’ll vote for Hallquist.

Hallquist’s staff say their internal polling shows a much tighter race. And the VPR/VPBS poll suggested it’s not just Hallquist who faces an uphill battle: All of Vermont’s incumbent statewide officeholders had comfortable leads as their campaigns headed into the final week.

If Hallquist, 62, is worried about the polls, she isn’t showing it. Instead, she’s out there every day, all day, fully aware that, as a newcomer to politics, she has to earn every vote, and that with some 28 percent of the electorate undecided, it’s all in play.

Her campaign has attracted a lot of national and international attention. When out-of-state journalists ask her what it’s like to be standing on the cusp of history, Hallquist can’t resist tweaking them, saying she realizes no one’s knocked off an incumbent governor in Vermont since 1962.

Hallquist campaigned in Montpelier on Sunday.

Stephanie Keith/Getty Images

Hallquist campaigned in Montpelier on Sunday.

Hallquist is wary of labels, seeing herself not as a transgender gubernatorial nominee as much as a gubernatorial nominee who happens to be transgender. And while she holds progressive views on health care, climate change, and income inequality, she’d rather be known as a pragmatist. She is more policy wonk than standard-bearer. But she proudly wears her heart on her sleeve.

“Medicare for all, ending homelessness, that’s not being progressive,” she said. “That’s called being a civilized society.”

Scott, for his part, has not made Hallquist’s gender an issue and has condemned those who have made threats against her. Scott’s supporters like to point out that Hallquist voted for him two years ago.

‘November 9th, 2016. I woke up out of my comfortable coma. I marched. But I realized that’s not enough. That’s why I’m running.’

— Christine Hallquist, Vermont gubernatorial candidate, on being spurred into action by the election of President Trump 

Hallquist shrugged that off. “Everybody makes mistakes,” she cracked.

A native of upstate New York, Hallquist was initially known as David and moved to Vermont at 20 when her father relocated to Burlington for work. Trained as an electrical engineer, she served as CEO of the Vermont Electric Cooperative for a decade, known for her innovative approaches to energy policy. She publicly transitioned in gender in 2015, and within a year had something of a political epiphany as powerful as the personal epiphany that led her to live openly as a woman.

“November 9th, 2016,” she said, referring to the day after Donald Trump was elected president. “I woke up out of my comfortable coma. I marched. But I realized that’s not enough. That’s why I’m running.”

The Trump administration’s recent initiative to define someone’s gender as determined at birth and solely by anatomy shocked but did not surprise Hallquist.

“He’s coming after my folks now,” she said. “If I do nothing else, I will make Donald Trump uncomfortable.”

Trump remains wildly unpopular in Vermont, and Hallquist has tried to link Scott to the president. Scott scoffs at that, saying he has not been afraid to criticize Trump’s more outlandish rhetoric and actions. Polling, meanwhile, suggests that Scott has lost support not with Democrats so much as Republicans, largely over his support for gun control.

Hallquist says her gender rarely comes up on the campaign trail. She says voters are interested in issues like health care and the cost of housing, not with the one that has garnered so much attention outside of Vermont.

Barnstorming the state briefly took a back seat to brainstorming at Two Brews with the assembled activists.

Hallquist outlined her belief that optimizing the electrical grid is the key to solving climate change, and her contention that the biggest issue facing Vermonters as it loses population and struggles to keep young people is connectivity.

Living in Hyde Park, in northern, remote Lamoille County, Hallquist doesn’t have broadband.

“In the 1960s, it was electricity. Today, it’s connectivity,” she said. “The digital divide increases poverty and flight to the cities.”

To get her chance to replace a substandard connectivity infrastructure, she has had to throw herself into campaigning. Her longtime friend and driver, Brenda Churchill, is transgender, easygoing, and a good conversationalist, which comes in handy, given how much time they spend in the car. They tool around in an orange Jeep, crisscrossing the nation’s second least-populous state, where there are not only 623,960 people, but, it sometimes seems, 623,960 opinions.

Hallquist prides herself on being good on policy, but has had to push herself to engage with the people and communities she would need to represent as governor.

After reading about a 30-year-old mother who died of an opioid overdose, Hallquist attended the funeral in Burlington.

“Maddie, the young woman who died, had a 4-year-old son. I cried the whole time, because Maddie reminded me so much of one of my daughters,” Hallquist said. “I came out of that funeral changed.”

She’s a quick learner. Within days of hearing it from supporters, her campaign signs were all over Bennington and Brattleboro.

Hallquist was standing on a traffic island recently outside a shopping plaza in Springfield with a group of Democrat candidates, taking part in a Vermont campaign staple: the honk and wave.

About an hour into the exercise, the assembled group looked to their left, up the hill that is Route 106, otherwise known as River Street. A man on a bicycle was racing down the hill at breakneck speed and narrowly missed getting hit by a car as he braked hard and jumped off his bike at the traffic island.

The man, the sort Vermonters charitably describe as a character, launched into a diatribe about drivers refusing to share the road with bicyclists, before announcing that fossil fuels “have killed more Americans than Osama bin Laden.”

Without another word, the man climbed back on his bike and pedaled away.

Christine Hallquist watched the man’s image fade in the late afternoon light, shrugged, and deadpanned, “Well, I wouldn’t have put it that way, but he wasn’t wrong on the issues.”

Kevin Cullen can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @GlobeCullen.

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Republicans brace for wipeout in gov races…

The ranks of Republican governors are poised to thin after this year’s midterm elections, and some party strategists are bracing for major Democratic gains even in some of the most conservative states in the country.

Voters in 36 states will elect governors on Tuesday, including 26 states where Republicans currently hold the top job. Democrats are defending nine seats, and both sides are fighting over Alaska, where independent Gov. Bill Walker dropped his reelection bid late last month.

Virtually all of the most contested races are being fought on Republican turf.

Democrats are overwhelmingly likely to pick up governorships in Illinois, where Gov. Bruce Rauner (R) is running a long-shot bid for reelection, and New Mexico, where Gov. Susana Martinez (R) faces term limits.

Polls also show Democratic nominees ahead in open seat races in Michigan, Maine and Florida; of the 33 public surveys taken in Florida since the Aug. 28 primary, Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum (D) has led former Rep. Ron DeSantisRonald Dion DeSantisElection Countdown: Trump frames midterm as referendum on presidency | Senate seats most likely to flip | Huge turnout raises Dem hopes | Controversy over Trump ad | Weather forecast has storm headed to key states | DOJ to monitor voting in 19 states Florida races could be decided by Puerto Rican voters Rains risk dampening turnout in East Coast, Midwest MORE (R) in 32.

In Nevada, Clark County Commission Chairman Steve Sisolak (D) is running even with or just ahead of Attorney General Adam Laxalt (R).

Two high-profile races in which Republican governors are retiring, in Ohio and Georgia, remain virtual toss-ups. Former Attorney General Richard CordrayRichard Adams CordrayThe Hill’s Morning Report — What if the polls are wrong? John Legend to campaign in Ohio Sunday Election Day: An hour-by-hour viewer’s guide MORE (D) is tied with current Attorney General Mike DeWine (R) in Ohio, and former state House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams (D) is locked in an increasingly contentious battle with Secretary of State Brian Kemp (R) in Georgia.

Democrats are even running close to Republicans in Kansas and South Dakota, two deep-red states. The party’s nominees are narrowly trailing or tied with Republican candidates in Oklahoma, New Hampshire and Alaska.

“These are all replays of 2014 races, which were such a low watermark for Democrats,” said Thad Kousser, a political scientist who studies state politics at the University of California-San Diego. “The Democrats probably can’t do any worse than Democrats did in the 2014 election.”

Republicans were virtually certain to give back some states to Democrats, given the zenith they reached after the 2014 elections. Republicans hold 33 of 50 governorships, the most the party has ever held.

“Polling shows that Democrats could have a good night, but there’s no clear evidence of a blue wave,” said Jon Thompson, a spokesman for the Republican Governors Association. “Republicans’ record fundraising and strong candidate recruitment gives the party a high chance of victory in numerous races.”

But with so many seats in play, this year’s contests may mark a dramatic realignment — right before the next round of reapportionment and redistricting commences after the 2020 census. Democrats who were locked out of so many redistricting processes following the 2010 census appear suddenly poised to seize back seats at the table in many states.

Republicans remain optimistic that they can snag at least one victory, in Alaska. Walker endorsed the Democratic nominee, former Sen. Mark BegichMark Peter BegichOne reform would have kept Alaska’s governor from quitting the race Hillary Clinton issues endorsements in key governor races Alaska governor Walker suspends reelection campaign MORE, but his name will still appear on the ballot on Tuesday.

And Republicans have shots at picking up two states helmed by Democratic governors where voters are tired of ongoing budget and pension crises. Polls show businessman Bob Stefanowski (R) running close to progressive hero Ned Lamont (D) in Connecticut, and state Rep. Knute Buehler (R) mounting a strong challenge to Gov. Kate Brown (D) in Oregon.

Governors’ races tend to break differently than do House or Senate contests, which are largely fought on national issues. While Democrats running for governor have focused their campaigns on health care and protecting those with pre-existing conditions, those candidates have also talked about infrastructure and education spending, issues that resonate on a state level if not at the national level.

That different landscape leads to historical anomalies. Both Oregon, which has not elected a Republican governor since 1982, and South Dakota, where no Democrat has won since 1974, are in play this year. 

At the same time, Republican governors are cruising to reelection in deep-blue states like Massachusetts, Maryland and Vermont.

But history shows that even governors’ races are susceptible to a national electorate’s mood: In a Republican president’s first midterm, the president’s party tends to lose an average of five governorships.

Republicans were confident at the beginning of the election cycle that their party would be on defense in deep-red territory President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump pauses Missouri campaign rally after woman collapses Fox News hosts join Trump on stage at Missouri campaign rally Nate Silver in final midterm projections: ‘Democrats need a couple of things to go wrong’ to lose the House MORE had won by wide margins in 2016. But the combination of weak candidates, like Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach (R) or DeSantis in Florida, and Democratic rising stars like Whitmer in Michigan or state Senate Minority Leader Billie Sutton (D) in South Dakota, has changed the landscape.

President Trump’s anemic approval rating is also causing a drag in some states. Trump has rallied with or raised money for gubernatorial candidates like Kobach, DeSantis and Rep. Kristi NoemKristi Lynn NoemThe Hill’s Morning Report — What if the polls are wrong? Poll: Republican Noem has 3-point lead in South Dakota gubernatorial race Election Countdown: Bomb threats raise new fears about political violence | Texas race becomes ground zero in health care fight | Florida tests Trump’s influence | Racial animus moves to forefront in midterm battle | Trump to rally in Wisconsin tonight MORE (R-S.D.), but some Democratic candidates are pitching themselves to voters as the calm counterweights to the Trump-sewn chaos in Washington.

“The irony of this election may be that Donald Trump is saving the Democratic Party in the states,” Kousser said.

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'It's okay to be white' flyers posted at another university…

MOSCOW, Idaho (AP) — Flyers with the slogan “it’s okay to be white” were posted on the University of Idaho campus and around Moscow last week as part of a provocation campaign by white nationalist groups.

The Moscow-Pullman Daily News reports the flyers were an apparent repeat of a year-old campaign stemming from online message boards, intending to create strong reactions.

Washington State University Communications Director Phil Weiler says the Pullman campus was the site of the same campaign last year.

He says the flyers are not harmless, “they’re interested in being provocative, trying to upset people, trying to intimidate people.”

University President Chuck Staben says he is disappointed to see such flyers on campus, but personnel would not remove the ones posted on authorized surfaces, noting the university supports free speech.


Information from: The Moscow-Pullman Daily News,

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