The Midterm Report: With democracy on the line, Americans brace to vote
(Photo: Janelle Hiroshige, Unsplash)
The U.S. Senate race in Georgia should be about history.
Two Black men born during and shortly after the rise of the civil rights movements are facing off in an election that is widely expected to determine the balance of power in Congress.
Democratic incumbent Raphael Warnock, who became the first African American to be elected by Georgians to serve in the Senate in 2020, is running for his first full term as a U.S. senator. But Reverend Warnock’s opponent, former NFL player and Heisman Trophy winner Herschel Walker, appears set to make history for all the wrong reasons. Just read this headline from a recent Mother Jones article:
Walker, who appeared on Trump’s reality television program The Celebrity Apprentice, made headlines this month for pressuring a woman to have an abortion. One day after Walker claimed he never met the woman and announced his plans to sue The Daily Beast for defamation (something he has yet to do), The New York Times broke an even larger bombshell: Walker tried to force the same woman to have a second abortion a couple years later. She refused, and now Walker has been caught for hiding one of his children from the public.
The Blueprint has previously reported on Walker’s questionable past, including allegations of abuse by his ex-wife, who claims he held a gun to her head while they were still married.
The Washington Post published a report on Oct. 12 detailing Walker and his son's text message exchanges. Their interactions are, well, devastating.
Elsewhere in Georgia, Democratic candidate Stacey Abrams continues to outraise incumbent Republican Brian Kemp in the state’s gubernatorial election, raising $36 million in the third quarter of 2022 compared to Kemp’s $28.7 million. However, polling shows Kemp is leading Abrams and receiving more GOP support than Walker, a sign that some Republicans are hesitating to vote for the Heisman Trophy winner.
In Iowa, the momentum that Democrats felt early in the campaign to unseat seven-term Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley appears to be diminishing as the incumbent’s opponent, retired Navy admiral Michael Franken, made news recently after a police report became public that alleged he kissed a former campaign staffer without her consent. The claim has been refuted by both the Franken campaign and local law enforcement.
The race to succeed retiring North Carolina Republican Sen. Richard Burr heated up this month as Democratic candidate Cheri Beasley and Republican Ted Budd took questions from viewers on a cable television program. The two made their beliefs clear on issues like abortion and affordability. Beasley, a former chief justice of the state Supreme Court, would make history as the first Black senator in North Carolina should she be elected next month.
The situation is similar in the battleground state of Wisconsin, where Democratic challenger Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes challenges Republican Sen. Ron Johnson on a campaign focused on increasing the minimum wage. Meanwhile, Johnson continues to deny that climate change is an issue. He also slammed Barnes’ support for reallocating funding for police.
Planned Parenthood recently announced it would spend $5 million in North Carolina, seeking a Democratic victory in hopes of preventing state lawmakers from passing anti-abortion legislation. The organization has spent $50 million on a national campaign, with a focus on nine states where abortion rights remain in jeopardy.
Another consequential U.S. Senate race is continuing to take shape in Pennsylvania, where talk show host and Republican candidate Dr. Mehmet Oz is continuing to slam his Democratic opponent, John Fetterman, for, ironically, his health.
After suffering a stroke in May, Fetterman had a few choice words about Oz at a rally in Bucks County last week regarding his recovery.
“Dr. Oz has never stopped reminding me that I had a stroke,” he told attendees. “What kind of doctor roots for somebody who was sick, to stay sick?”
Meanwhile, Oz has garnered even more controversy after he was accused of conducting science experiments responsible for the deaths of over 300 dogs in a recent political ad.
Another memorable ad was recently released by Louisiana congressional candidate Katie Darling, who is campaigning to unseat U.S. House Majority Whip Steve Scalise. Darling’s ad follows her journey from her family farm to a local hospital, where she gives birth to her child. The ad shows Darling gripping the side of the bed while a voiceover captures her concerns around climate change, education, and access to abortion for her child. While the ad certainly caught on with audiences, Darling faces the difficult feat of becoming the first Democrat to serve her district since 1977.
Congressional campaigns are also heating up in New York as recent reports show the state has the most battleground races in the country, but that’s not all. New Yorkers are also voting on what could become groundbreaking legislation that would add a statement of values to guide government, measure the true cost of living, and establish a Racial Equity Office.
Voters in Arizona also have other prospective legislation changes on the ballot, including whether to allow students to obtain financial aid and cheaper in-state tuition regardless of their immigration status — a move already offered by at least 18 states, according to The Associated Press.
And in a frightening sign of things to come, the Republican nominee for Nevada secretary of state gave attendees a stark warning — while standing alongside the former president.
“When my coalition of secretary of state candidates around the country get elected, we’re gonna fix the whole country, and President Trump is going to be President again in 2024.”
As early voting begins, local election officers are facing a rise in harassment from Trump supporters, who are sending threatening emails and spreading disinformation. The targeting of polling station workers comes as states are reporting stretched election budgets and worker shortages, putting even more pressure on those tasked with tabulating the results. Even more concerning is the fact that the majority of Republican candidates—299 out of 569, according to The Washington Post—all have denied the results of the 2020 presidential election.
The U.S. midterm elections are scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 8.
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