The Associated Press calls the race for veteran and businessman John James. He will face off against incumbent Democrat Debbie Stabenow, who is currently favored to win re-election in November.
CNN projects the Missouri Attorney General will face off against incumbent Democratic senator Claire McCaskill in what will probably be one of the most competitive Senate races of the cycle.
All times are PST.
4:58 p.m. The last of the early vote counts from the Ohio 12th Congressional District are in, and Democrat Danny O’Connor is up by a landslide. He can’t pop the champagne yet, because Election Day ballots are still being counted.
5:00 p.m. Polls close in Kansas and Missouri. Ballot counting begins.
5:06 p.m. Absentee vote numbers from Ohio:
5:13 p.m. Update from Columbus Dispatch public affairs editor Darrel Rowland:
5:19 p.m. From Ohio governor John Kasich’s political strategist
5:35 p.m. Interesting observation on the urban/rural political divide pointed out by respected political journalist/pundit Ron Brownstein:
5:48 p.m. The Cook Political Report announces its projections for both primaries in the Michigan governor’s race. No call from the AP or any other news organizations yet.
5:56 p.m. Finished numbers are in from Marion County, Ohio:
5:58 p.m. Reaction to the Marion County numbers from Danny O’Connor’s pollster:
6:00 p.m. 32 percent of precincts reporting in Ohio’s 12th congressional district. Per MSNBC’s Steve Kornacki, the question of the night in this race will be if Troy Balderson can chip away at Danny O’Connor’s lead from early voting and come out ahead on the basis of Election Day votes?
6:05 p.m. Outside group American Bridge just dropped its first general election ad against Michigan Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill Schuette
6:07 p.m. Updated take on the Ohio numbers from The Economist’s G. Elliott Morris:
6:10 p.m. Half of the votes are in in Ohio, Balderson keeps chipping away at O’Connor’s lead.
6:14 p.m. 59 percent of the Ohio 12th district vote in and Balderson has cut O’Connor’s lead down to almost 2,400 votes, according to the Ohio Secretary of State.
6:17 p.m. All of the votes from Morrow County, Ohio are in.
6:19 p.m. Balderson takes the lead for the first time with 66 percent of the vote in.
6:26 p.m. In the Kansas GOP gubernatorial primary, with 310 out of 3539 precincts reporting, Jeff Colyer has a 41-38 lead over Kris Kobach, but the night is still young.
6:29 p.m. With 75 percent of precincts reporting in Ohio, O’Connor has taken a razor-thin 593-vote lead.
6:38 p.m. Quick take from Columbus Dispatch political reporter Jim Siegel:
6:39 p.m. With 84 percent of precincts reporting, O’Connor has expanded his lead to 1,338 votes. According to the Secretary of State’s office, 90 precincts are still outstanding.
6:46 p.m. 84 percent of precincts reporting and O’Connor’s lead has shrunk to 155 votes.
7:00 p.m. 90 percent of precincts reporting and O’Connor has retaken the lead by 201 votes. 55 precincts are still outstanding.
7:17 p.m. 98 percent of precincts reporting and Balderson has taken a 1,685 vote lead. Barring any dramatic surprises in the final two precincts and provisional ballots, it looks like Balderson has it in the bag. Keep in mind, this battle is not over. Balderson and O’Connor will face off AGAIN in the November general election for a full two-year term.
7:25 p.m. Per CNN, GOP outside groups outspent their Democratic counterparts in this race by a 5:1 margin.
7:42 p.m. CNN still lists the Ohio 12th district race as too close to call. Per Danny O’Connor’s pollster, it looks like they’re going to a recount (i.e. call the lawyers):
7:46 p.m. In Missouri, Proposition A (Right to Work) is losing badly, 62-37.
8:01 p.m. According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Proposition A is losing 63-37 with 50 percent of precincts reporting. Votes are still being counted, but the Missouri Democratic Party has already declared victory.
Former President Barack Obama released a list of 81 congressional, state and legislative candidates in what his office calls a “first wave” of endorsements in the runup to the November elections. Here is the full list:
Gavin Newsom (Governor)
Eleni Kounalakis (Lt. Governor)
Josh Harder (U.S. House, CA-10)
TJ Cox (U.S. House, CA-21)
Katie Hill (U.S. House, CA-25)
Katie Porter (U.S. House, CA-45)
Harley Rouda (U.S. House, CA-48)
Mike Levin (U.S. House, CA-49)
Ammar Campa-Najjar (U.S. House, CA-50)
Buffy Wicks (State Assembly, District 15)
Jared Polis (Governor)
Dianne Primavera (Lt. Governor)
Phil Weiser (Attorney General)
Jena Griswold (Secretary of State)
Tammy Story (State Senate, District 16)
Jessie Danielson (State Senate, District 20)
Brittany Pettersen (State Senate, District 22)
Faith Winter (State Senate, District 24)
Dylan Roberts (State House, District 26)
Dafna Michaelson Jenet (State House, District 30)
Shannon Bird (State House, District 35)
Rochelle Galindo (State House, District 50)
Julie McCluskie (State House, District 61)
Stacey Abrams (Governor)
Sarah Riggs Amico (Lt. Governor)
Matthew Wilson (State House, District 80)
Shelly Hutchinson (State House, District 107)
J.B. Pritzker (Governor)
Juliana Stratton (Lt. Governor)
Kwame Raoul (Attorney General)
Sean Casten (U.S. House, IL-6)
Brendan Kelly (U.S. House, IL-12)
Lauren Underwood (U.S. House, IL-14)
Deidre DeJear (Secretary of State)
Tim Gannon (Secretary of Agriculture)
Kristin Sunde (State House, District 42)
Jennifer Konfrst (State House, District 43)
Eric Gjerde (State House, District 67)
Laura Liegois (State House, District 91)
Louis Luchini (State Senate, District 7)
Laura Fortman (State Senate, District 13)
Linda Sanborn (State Senate, District 30)
Jacky Rosen (U.S. Senate)
Susie Lee (U.S. House, NV-3)
Steven Horsford (U.S. House, NV-4)
Andy Kim (U.S. House, NJ-3)
Tom Malinowski (U.S. House, NJ-7)
Debra Haaland (U.S. House, NM-1)
Daymon Ely (State House, District 23)
Natalie Figueroa (State House, District 30)
Antonio Delgado (U.S. House, NY-19)
Anna Kaplan (State Senate, District 7)
Wiley Nickel (State Senate, District 16)
Ron Wesson (State House, District 1)
Terence Everitt (State House, District 35)
Julie Von Haefen (State House, District 36)
Sydney Batch (State House, District 37)
Rachel Hunt (State House, District 103)
Richard Cordray (Governor)
Betty Sutton (Lt. Governor)
Steve Dettelbach (Attorney General)
Kathleen Clyde (Secretary of State)
Zack Space (Auditor)
Aftab Pureval (U.S. House, OH-1)
Jill Schiller (U.S. House, OH-2)
Phil Robinson (State House, District 6)
Stephanie Howse (State House, District 11)
Mary Lightbody (State House, District 19)
Beth Liston (State House, District 21)
Allison Russo (State House, District 24)
Erica Crawley (State House, District 26)
Tavia Galonski (State House, District 35)
Casey Weinstein (State House, District 37)
Taylor Sappington (State House, District 94)
Madeleine Dean (U.S. House, PA-4)
Susan Wild (U.S. House, PA-7)
Tina Davis (State Senate, District 6)
Liz Hanbidge (State House, District 61)
Carolyn Comitta (State House, District 156)
Adrienne Bell (U.S. House, TX-14)
Colin Allred (U.S. House, TX-32)
How the endorsements break down by numbers:
Governor – 5
Lieutenant Governor – 5
Attorney General – 3
Secretary of State – 3
Secretary of Agriculture – 1
Auditor – 1
U.S. Senate – 1
U.S. House of Representatives – 22
State Legislatures – 40
Half of the endorsements are for state legislative candidates. The significance of this is presumably twofold: to rebuild the Democratic bench that was decimated during his presidency, and to set the stage for the next census and redistricting after 2020. Curiously, he only endorsed three candidates for Secretary of State, who are the top elections official in each state and will be responsible for overseeing the 2020 primaries and presidential election. President Obama also endorsed 22 candidates for the House of Representatives, three short of the number House Democrats need to win to flip control of the chamber.
California – 10
Colorado – 13
Georgia – 4
Illinois – 6
Iowa – 6
Maine – 3
Nevada – 3
New Jersey – 2
New Mexico – 3
New York – 2
North Carolina – 6
Ohio – 16
Pennsylvania – 5
Texas – 2
Almost half of his endorsements come from three states – California, Colorado and the perennially important swing state of Ohio. Also worth noting only one endorsement for U.S. Senate – Jacky Rosen. Claire McCaskill was an enthusiastic and early backer of his in the 2008 primary, but given that Missouri has become a more conservative state during the past decade, it is likely that being endorsed by Obama would be used against her by Missouri Republicans.
Onward Together, the political organization started by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, made 26 donations to Democratic candidates running for the U.S. House of Representatives and Secretary of State, as well as congressional PACs, according to a review of the organization’s most recent campaign finance filing. The donations, each worth $5,000 – the maximum amount permissible by federal law, totaled $130,000.
Here is the list:
- Nelson Araujo (Nevada Secretary of State)
- Jocelyn Benson (Michigan Secretary of State)
- Sean Casten (IL-06)
- Kathleen Clyde (Ohio Secretary of State)
- TJ Cox (CA-21)
- Jason Crow (CO-06)
- Deidre DeJear (Iowa Secretary of State)
- Deb Haaland (NM-01)
- Josh Harder (CA-10)
- Katie Hill (CA-25)
- Steven Horsford (NV-04)
- Mike Levin (CA-49)
- Lucy McBath (GA-06)
- Gina Ortiz Jones (TX-23)
- Katie Porter (CA-45)
- Aftab Pureval (OH-01)
- Harley Rouda (CA-48)
- Talley Sargent (WV-02)
- Mary Gay Scanlon (PA-05)
- Lauren Underwood (IL-14)
- Scott Wallace (PA-01)
- Susan Wild (PA-07)
- Jennifer Wexton (VA-10)
- ASPIRE (Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus)
- Bold PAC (Congressional Hispanic Caucus)
- Congressional Black Caucus PAC
How the donations break down by numbers:
House of Representatives – 19
Secretary of State – 4
Congressional PACs – 3
The story was first reported by CNN.
Heidi Heitkamp caught a lucky break.
The incumbent Democrat running for re-election in the solidly Republican state of North Dakota has been considered a top pickup opportunity for Senate Republicans in a state Donald Trump won by 36 points in 2016.
With all these underlying dynamics working against Heitkamp, her challenger Rep. Kevin Cramer, the state’s at-large member of the House of Representatives, failed to secure the endorsement of Americans for Prosperity, the political and policy arm of the conservative Koch network which has been a major player in Republican politics for more than a decade.
According to CNN’s Rebecca Berg, reporting from the Koch network’s meeting in Colorado Springs:
Top officials at Americans For Prosperity, the political and policy arm of the Koch network, said the group is not currently supporting Cramer because he is not leading on central policy priorities for the Koch network.
“If this were 2016, we likely would have gone ahead and endorsed” Cramer, said AFP President Tim Phillips. “But we’re raising the bar.”
The move to withhold support for Cramer comes as part of a wider rethinking of the network’s support for Republican candidates. Charles Koch expressed regret for his namesake network’s support for past candidates that didn’t necessarily adhere to the conservative and libertarian principles he espouses. The Koch network is also not happy about the administration’s trade wars and the divisiveness of the White House. Because of this, the network is openly considering working with and supporting Democrats. The network launched a digital ad campaign earlier this year praising Heitkamp’s support for rolling back bank regulations.
President Trump responded to the latest developments via Twitter:
As NBC’s Carrie Dann pointed out on the Meet the Press: The Lid podcast earlier this week, this does not automatically mean they are going to start bankrolling Democrats, nor will Democrats start embracing them. For all the Kochs’ past disagreements with Donald Trump and the Republican Party, they are presumably happy about the Trump administration’s tax cuts and judicial nominees, something which no Democrat would ever tout. However, the fact that they are willing to sit out a key race that could potentially determine control of an evenly divided Senate is good news for Heitkamp.
The most recent poll of the race from last June gave Cramer a four-point lead over Heitkamp, within the poll’s margin of error. Most observers consider the race a toss-up.
The most significant scoop in the past few days broke on CNN on Thursday night: according to sources, Michael Cohen is alleging that then-candidate Donald Trump knew in advance about the June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower in which Russians were offering damaging information about Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, authorized the meeting, and Cohen is willing to tell this to Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
The significance of this bit of information is that, if it can be verified by other witnesses, documents, or other methods, might not be the smoking gun for collusion but would be a hugely consequential piece of evidence that contradicts much of the existing defense that has been offered by President Trump and others close to him. Why? Look at this tweet from House Intelligence Committee ranking member Adam Schiff:
Schiff’s timeline leaves out a lot of events (there’s only so much you can do with 280 characters), but the basic implication of his sequence of events is correct: Donald Trump’s alleged advance knowledge of the Trump Tower meeting changes everything we thought we knew at the time, as well as everything he said and did after the meeting: every time he said “No collusion,” every time he tried to float another suspect for the DNC hacks, the time he called for Russia to hack Hillary Clinton’s emails, his decision to fire Jim Comey, Donald Jr’s testimony to the congressional committees investigating Russian election interference… all of those events and comments become suspicious with the benefit of hindsight. If prosecutors can prove this advance knowledge, it could also have a significant impact on Mueller’s obstruction of justice investigation into the president.
Curiously, the Trump legal team’s defense hasn’t been to deny the allegation, but to attack Michael Cohen’s credibility as a potential witness for the government. (President Trump denied the story in a Friday morning tweetstorm.) Of course, what Giuliani does not address in that barb is the fact that Donald Trump hired Michael Cohen to work for him, and to take care of sensitive and unsavory matters like paying off Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal to effectively buy their silence during the 2016 election.
Besides the president, the person who is possibly most at risk from this revelation is Donald Trump Jr. based on the released transcript of his testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee in September of 2017. Note this exchange on page 29, which he said to the committee under oath that would directly contradict what Cohen is alleging:
Reps. Adam Schiff and Eric Swalwell have both alleged that witnesses lied during their testimony to the Republican-led House Intelligence Committee, though it is not clear if either of them have spoken of the president’s son in this context. If the Democrats win control of the House in November, this explosive issue could be revisited in the new year, culminating in possible prosecutions. In the meantime, the controversy could wind up sidelining Donald Trump Jr. as a surrogate campaigning and fundraising for Republicans for midterms.
As far as the other people who were present for the Trump Tower meeting, we don’t know what – if anything – Jared Kushner may have said about it. Paul Manafort’s criminal trial in Virginia begins next week, so there may be a chance of this subject coming up.
This is coming up in the context of the special master allowing access to more evidence seized by federal agents during the raids on Michael Cohen’s home, office and hotel room last April, although it is not clear in what context this allegation surfaced. Now that prosecutors have access to at least some of the evidence, it would be fair to assume that they are that much closer to getting an indictment against Cohen.
If this information about the Trump Tower meeting surfaced as part of the evidence collected for the investigation handled by the Southern District of New York, then it becomes highly relevant to Robert Mueller’s separate and more expansive investigation. In other words, the two legal storylines are beginning to converge over this one hugely explosive issue. Lanny Davis – who provided CNN the audio recording of the Trump-Cohen phone call – denied that the leak came from Cohen’s end.
Perhaps the most consequential and ultimately dangerous revelation of the Trump-Cohen recording is Cohen’s mentioning of Allen Weisselberg, the Trump Organization’s chief financial officer. The Wall Street Journal reported that Weisselberg has been called to testify as a witness before the grand jury that is hearing the Southern District of New York’s criminal case against Cohen. According to experts, Weisselberg, who was first hired as an accountant by Donald Trump’s father in the 1970s, has intimate knowledge of the family and organization’s finances, including the president ’s net worth. To paraphrase a cliché being used by Trumpologists on television networks, Weisselberg is a man who knows where the bodies are buried. And now, he will have to answer questions about the president and the company’s finances under oath.