Herschel Walker news – live: Walker insists Georgia debate sheriff badge is ‘legit’ despite mockery

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Georgia Senate nominee Herschel Walker has insisted that a sheriff’s badge he flashed onstage at a debate on Friday is ‘legit’ after being ridiculed for falsely claiming to have held official law enforcement powers.

Mr Walker made the claim in an NBC News interview that saw him once again deny paying for an ex-girlfriend’s abortion. He told the interviewer that he saw no reason to reach out to his accuser – who is also the mother of his child.

Mr Walker’s remarks come the day after he skipped a debate with his opponents, leaving Democratic incumbent Raphael Warnock free to ridicule an empty podium.

Meanwhile, Mr Walker’s fellow Georgian Majorie Taylor Greene used a debate to condemn the Democrats as the party of “child abuse” and claimed her husband “has evidence” of 2020 election fraud.

And in a a contentious CNN interview, right-wing Arizona gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake refused to say whether she’ll respect the rightful results of the midterm elections.

Follow the latest news on the 2022 midterms below

Key points

Ron Johnson calls his opponent a Putin “tool"

16:15 , Andrew Naughtie

Ron Johnson, a full-throated Trumpist who is fighting to keep his Wisconsin Senate seat this November, has lately seen his polling numbers recover somewhat as the Republican Party apparatus tears into his rival, Democratic Lieutenant Governor Mandela Barnes. But he’s not taking his foot off the pedal, and going ever further in his attacks:

SNL rips Herschel Walker after debate

15:30 , Andrew Naughtie

In a measure of how much his various missteps are permeating the national debate, this weekend’s Saturday Night Live featured a brief skit taking a poke at Herschel Walker’s bizarre police-badge moment on Friday.

“Walker pulled out a prob badge and said ‘I am work with many police officers’, which is yet another sign that Herschel Walker is has brain problems.”

Read Herschel Walker’s bizarre sheriff badge explanation

15:21 , Andrew Naughtie

Herschel Walker has repeatedly claimed to have been given law enforcement powers by a local police force, but has never produced anything to demonstrate he had anything more than “honorary” status, meaning he was not in fact a law enforcement official.

Having been ridiculed for producing a sheriff’s badge in support of the false claim at Friday’s debate, he has now doubled down in his new NBC interview. A transcript indicates that his latest explanation makes little sense.

Analysis: Obama returns to the trail

14:00 , Andrew Naughtie

In today’s Inside Washington dispatch, Eric Garcia takes a look at Barack Obama’s return to the campaign trail – a rare return to the political fray for an aloof former president who kept much of his party at arm’s length:

Back in 2008, his campaign decided that he would not appear with members of Congress, aware that many Americans disapprove of the legislative branch as a matter of course. Mr Obama never forged much of a relationship with Democrats in Congress, leaving that to his vice president, a Senator of 36 years who enjoyed back-slapping and gladhanding.

He infuriated many Democrats during his tenure by turning away from the Democratic National Committee and setting up a separate campaign apparatus known as Organizing for Action, and in 2014, he bitterly feuded with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid when he refused to send cash to fundraise for a Democratic outside group.

Read the full analysis below.

Obama returns to the trail for a radically changed Democratic Party

Walker on allegations he paid for abortion: new interview

13:00 , Andrew Naughtie

Herschel Walker has long denied and prevaricated upon allegations that he offered to pay for an ex-girlfriend to have an abortion more than a decade away. In a new interview with NBC News, he has reiterated that the allegation is “a lie”...but admitted that a cheque shown to him by the interviewer was indeed signed by him.

Asked why he hadn’t reached out to his accuser, the candidate responded: “Why should I?”

Watch the clip below.

Biden approval rises with midterms less than four weeks away

12:00 , Andrew Naughtie

ICYMI: With fewer than four weeks left until Americans choose who will control both chambers of Congress and most governor’s mansions and state legislatures, a new poll shows President Joe Biden’s approval rating jumping six points from the low point it hit over the summer.

Andrew Feinberg reports.

Biden approval rises to 44 per cent with midterms less than four weeks away

Analysis: Greg Abbott’s inaction on gun reform after Uvalde is hardly surprising. Until you look at Parkland.

11:02 , Graeme Massie

ICYMI: As a Republican governor of a historically red state, who is both notoriously cosy with the NRA and in the midst of an election cycle, Abbott’s inaction may come as little surprise. Except that it has been done before, Rachel Sharp writes.

Greg Abbott’s inaction after Uvalde isn’t surprising. Until you look at Parkland

Reporter corrects Dr Oz live on air as he makes false claim about Fetterman’s first wish for America

09:03 , Graeme Massie

ICYMI: Dr Mehmet Oz was corrected live on air after he made false claims that his opponent John Fetterman wanted to end life imprisonment as his first political priority.

The pro-Trump Republican candidate for Pennsylvania’s US Senate seat is trailing his Democratic rival for the open seat with less than a month left before election day.

Reporter corrects Dr Oz live on air as he makes false claim about Fetterman

Pro-Trump election denier Kari Lake refuses to say she’ll accept result of her own Arizona race if she loses

07:53 , Graeme Massie

ICYMI: Former reporter Kari Lake was on CNN this Sunday facing questions from Dana Bash when she dodged multiple inquiries regarding whether she would accept the result of the election if she lost.

It’s an important question given Ms Lake’s refusal to accept the results of the 2020 election and her frequent mention of that view on the campaign trail — but the Republican candidate was furious with Bash for bringing it up over other issues like the economy or immigration.

“You want to have me on here and talk 2020 election, and you’re the one who accuses me of constantly talking about it?” she asked Ms Bash.

Read more from The Independent’s John Bowden:

Election denier Kari Lake refuses to say she’ll accept result of her own Arizona race

Elise Stefanik caught boasting about $12.9m hospital investment that she voted against

07:01 , Graeme Massie

ICYMI: GOP lawmaker Elise Stefanik has been caught touting $12.9m in funding for rural hospitals in her district that she actually voted against.

The pro-Trump congresswoman from New York welcomed the Rural Development Grants from the Department of Agriculture, calling it a “significant investment.”

Elise Stefanik caught boasting about $12.9m hospital investment she voted against

ICYMI: The best and worst midterm campaign videos ahead of November’s midterms

06:10 , Graeme Massie

“I believe in Jesus, guns and babies.”

The 2022 midterms are down to their final stretch and many races are neck-and-neck. That means campaigns are desperate, and pulling out all the stops to win.

The result has been some of the most entertaining — and downright weird — political advertising in recent memory.

Take a look, with The Independent:

The best and worst midterm campaign videos: ‘I believe in Jesus, guns and babies’

Obama to campaign in Wisconsin for Democratic Senate candidate trailing in the polls

05:04 , Graeme Massie

ICYMI: Former president Barack Obama is heading to Wisconsin later this month to back the faltering campaign of Democratic Senate hopeful Mandela Barnes, a race that could help determine who controls the upper house.

Mr Obama, who handily won Wisconsin in 2008 and 2012, is reportedly bound for the state on 29 October, and will also campaign on behalf of governor Tony Evers.

Obama to campaign in Wisconsin for Democratic Senate candidate trailing in the polls

ICYMI: Can Marie Perez defeat Trump-backed Joe Kent in rural Washington state?

04:06 , Graeme Massie

Democrat Marie Perez says her campaign to defeat Joe Kent, a hardline conservative backed by Donald Trump, is running on “jet fuel”.

She says the scrapping of Roe by the Supreme Court has led to a surge in support for her campaign, especially among women and young people.

And she suggests Trump’s efforts to punish and oust the 10 Republican members of Congress who voted to impeach him may very well back fire.

Andrew Buncombe reports from Vancouver, Washington.

Business owner says bid to defeat Trump-backed Joe Kent ‘running on jet fuel’

ICYMI: What candidate fashion can tell us about the 2022 election

03:01 , Graeme Massie

Josh Marcus investigates what the fashion choices of the 2022 midterm candidates can tell us about race, gender, and the future of their parties.

Hoodies, MAGA hats and cowboy boots: What style can tell us about the 2022 midterms

Could a Republican soon be running Oregon?

02:15 , Graeme Massie

Oregon is typically known as a bastion of West Coast liberalism, where Democrats are easily elected and a Republican hasn’t served as governor since the early 1980s.

But with an unusually competitive three-way contest for governor, the Democratic candidate’s success is hardly a guarantee this year. As mail-in ballots become available to voters next week, Oregon is becoming the unlikely site of one of the most competitive governor’s races in the country.

Read more:

A GOP governor in liberal Oregon? Dems sound alarm on ‘spoiler’

‘I hope people with see through Marjorie’: Desperate Democrats celebrate Marcus Flowers’s ‘dignified’ performance against MTG

01:40 , Graeme Massie

Democrats have not represented this congressional district for 30 years, writes Andrew Buncombe in Rome, Georgia.

Desperate Democrats celebrate Marcus Flowers’s ‘dignified’ performance against MTG

ICYMI: Fetterman reacts after NBC interview sparks debate about his health

01:05 , Graeme Massie

Pennsylvania Senate candidate John Fetterman promised that he would be “much better” in January after an NBC reporter disclosed the support the Democrat needed during a sit-down interview that aired this week.

He added that his opponent, Dr Oz, would still be “a fraud”.

John Fetterman reacts after NBC interview sparks debate about his health

Marjorie Taylor Greene obsesses over opponent’s hat and claims to be a victim of Jan 6 in heated Georgia debate

Monday 17 October 2022 00:05 , Graeme Massie

Ms Greene is running for a second term against Marcus Flowers, who has raised significant amounts of money but has little chance of defeating her because of the makeup of Georgia’s 14th district, writes Andrew Feinberg.

Marjorie Taylor Greene claims to be a victim of Jan 6 in heated Georgia debate

MTG claims that her husband ‘has proof’ Biden didn’t beat Trump

Sunday 16 October 2022 23:35 , Graeme Massie

Marjorie Taylor Greene refused to acknowledge that Joe Biden beat Donald Trump in the 2020 election, and even claimed that her husband, who has filed for divorce, “has the proof.”

MTG rants that Democrats are party of ‘child abuse'

Sunday 16 October 2022 23:14 , Graeme Massie

Marjorie Taylor used her district debate to rant that the Democrats were the party of child abuse and mutilation.

Marcus Flowers says he has MTG ‘rattled’

Sunday 16 October 2022 23:05 , Graeme Massie

“I just got off the debate stage with Marjorie Taylor Greene and it’s clear that our message is winning and she is rattled,” the Democrat tweeted following his debate with his Republican opponent in Atlanta.

John Fetterman raises $1m after debate-stirring NBC interview

Sunday 16 October 2022 23:00 , John Bowden

John Fetterman, the Democratic candidate challenging Dr Mehmet Oz in Pennsylvania’s crucial Senate race, says that he’s raised $1m in the days since a controversial interview with NBC News aired.

The interview, which was the Democratic candidate’s first TV sit-down since suffering a stroke back in May, kicked off a flurry of controversy online after Ms Burns disclosed ahead of its screening that the recovering candidate required the use of closed captioning to understand her questions.

Read more from Johanna Chisholm:

John Fetterman raises $1m after debate-stirring NBC interview

Flowers brands MTG a ‘showhorse’

Sunday 16 October 2022 22:56 , Graeme Massie

“This isn’t about Democrats or Republicans this is about right and wrong, chaos versus stability, this is about us,” said Marcus Flowers in his closing statement.

“Do we want a showhorse or a workhorse who is going to get things done for us?”

Marcus Flowers says he will being ‘honour, decency, integrity’ to job

Sunday 16 October 2022 22:52 , Graeme Massie

“Honour, decency, integrity, three core values Marjorie Taylor Greene doesn’t have,” said Marcus Flowers when asked what he would bring to the job.

MTG claims she was ‘victim’ on January 6

Sunday 16 October 2022 22:45 , Graeme Massie

Marjorie Taylor Greene was asked why she was more supportive of “criminals” who took part in the Capitol riot rather than the people of her district.

“I was a victim of the January 6 riot, I am completely against what happened on January 6,” she said.

Marjorie Taylor Greene debates Marcus Flowers in Georgia (Screen grab)
Marjorie Taylor Greene debates Marcus Flowers in Georgia (Screen grab)

MTG brands rival a ‘liar’ over wearing a hat

Sunday 16 October 2022 22:41 , Graeme Massie

Marjorie Taylor Greene called her opponent Marcus Flowers a “liar” for wearing a hat.

“He wears a hat and doesn’t have one head of cattle, he is a liar…” the lawmaker said.

Marjorie Taylor Greene favoured to win Georgia House election

Sunday 16 October 2022 22:16 , John Bowden

Marjorie Taylor Greene heads in to tonight’s debate against Marcus Flowers with the knowledge that Democrats have an uphill battle to unseat her.

Polling of the deep-red House district is sparse, but one clue to how the district will vote can be found in primary vote totals. More than three times as many people voted for Ms Greene in the GOP primary than voted for Mr Flowers in the Democratic race.

Follow The Independent for live updates on tonight’s debate.

Obama to campaign in Wisconsin for Democratic Senate candidate trailing in the polls

Sunday 16 October 2022 19:31 , John Bowden

Former president Barack Obama is heading to Wisconsin later this month to back the faltering campaign of Democratic Senate hopeful Mandela Barnes as Democrats look to oust one of the Senate’s most vocal pro-Trump Republicans.

Mr Barnes, currently lieutenant governor, is facing off against Republican incumbent Ron Johnson, who is seeking a third term.

Read more:

Obama to campaign in Wisconsin for Democratic Senate candidate trailing in the polls

Reporter corrects Dr Oz live on air as he makes false claim about Fetterman’s first wish for America

Sunday 16 October 2022 19:00 , John Bowden

Dr Mehmet Oz was corrected live during an interview after he made false claims that his opponent John Fetterman wanted to end life imprisonment as his first political priority.

The moment came during a conversation with NBC’s Dasha Burns, who interviewed Mr Fetterman last week.

Read more:

Reporter corrects Dr Oz live on air as he makes false claim about Fetterman

New poll: Democrats lead Republicans on generic ballot, trail among likely voters

Sunday 16 October 2022 17:36 , John Bowden

A new poll from Fox News shows that more Americans want Democrats to control both houses of Congress after the midterm elections next month, while the GOP holds a slight advantage among those who actually say they are likely to vote.

It’s a troubling sign for Democrats who are playing defense and attempting to hold slim majorities in both chambers.

Marjorie Taylor Greene prepares for Georgia debate

Sunday 16 October 2022 16:32 , John Bowden

Incumbent Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene will face off Sunday evening against Marcus Flowers, a Democrat.

The district, located northwest of Atlanta, has become one of the most expensive House races in the country. Ms Greene, a vocal supporter of a wide range of conspiracy theories, is favoured to win the seat again but is weighed down by some of her past statements which have become ammunition for Democrats.

The debate will be held live at 5:30 p.m. est. Follow The Independent for live updates.

ICYMI: Could a GOP candidate become governor in liberal Oregon?

Sunday 16 October 2022 12:05 , Graeme Massie

Oregon is typically known as a bastion of West Coast liberalism, where Democrats are easily elected and a Republican hasn’t served as governor since the early 1980s.

But with an unusually competitive three-way contest for governor, the Democratic candidate’s success is hardly a guarantee this year. As mail-in ballots become available to voters next week, Oregon is becoming the unlikely site of one of the most competitive governor’s races in the country.

Read more:

A GOP governor in liberal Oregon? Dems sound alarm on ‘spoiler’

Watch: Herschel Walker scolded by debate moderator for prop badge

Sunday 16 October 2022 10:00 , Graeme Massie

ICYMI: The best and worst midterm campaign videos

Sunday 16 October 2022 07:58 , Graeme Massie

The 2022 US midterm election takes place on Tuesday 8 November and across America, candidates have been ramping up their campaigns to secure the all important votes.

Many Republican lawmakers have focused their campaigns on attacking Joe Biden, sharing some rather bizarre videos on their social media channels.

Ahead of the midterms, take a look at some of the best and worst clips, from politicians including Kandiss Taylor, Blake Masters and Jerone Davison.

The best and worst midterm campaign videos: ‘I believe in Jesus, guns and babies’

As midterms approach, Biden lauds lower prescription drug costs

Saturday 15 October 2022 12:04 , Graeme Massie

ICYMI: President Joe Biden highlighted his administration’s efforts to lower prescription drug costs on Friday as part of his three-state Western tour this week, as he confronts a sobering inflation report in the waning weeks before midterm elections.

Biden pushing lower prescription drug costs in midterm press

Fetterman raises $1m after NBC interview

Saturday 15 October 2022 11:15 , Oliver O'Connell

John Fetterman, the Democratic candidate challenging Dr Mehmet Oz in Pennsylvania’s crucial Senate race, reportedly raised $1m in the days since a bombshell interview with NBC News aired.

Mr Fetterman’s campaign announced on Wednesday night that he’d raised the million-dollar figure in less than 36 hours since the Tuesday night sit down with reporter Dasha Burns aired on the network.

Johanna Chisholm reports.

John Fetterman raises $1m after debate-stirring NBC interview

Herschel Walker called out for ‘prop’ badge during debate

Saturday 15 October 2022 01:30 , Oliver O'Connell

A debate moderator admonished Republican Senate candidate Herschel Walker for pulling out a “prop” badge after Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock of Georgia accused him of lying about being a police officer.

The exchange happened during a question about rising crime in Georgia, when Mr Walker accused Mr Warnock of being anti-police and criticising them too much.

Eric Garcia watched the debate.

Walker pulls out ‘prop’ badge in debate when accused of lying about being a sheriff

Voices: US’s next coup is on the ballot in November

Saturday 15 October 2022 01:15 , Graeme Massie

ICYMI: Even as hardcore Trumpists campaign to take over the country’s electoral machinery, other issues are at the front of voters’ minds, writes Eric Garcia.

The US’s next coup is on the ballot this November

Saturday 15 October 2022 01:11 , Oliver O'Connell

It’s unclear whether this debate will have changed any minds, but it could have solidified support for both candidates.

Mr Walker did better than expected, though the bar was low and he maintained that the abortion scandal dogging his campaign is a lie — the issue was not addressed in depth.

Senator Warnock gave thoughtful, rehearsed answers that seemed intended to appeal to the middle ground.

Undoubtedly, the debate will only be remembered for Mr Walker pulling out a prop police badge, which was surreal.

Saturday 15 October 2022 01:04 , Oliver O'Connell

In closing statements, Senator Warnock asks people to vote early (early voting begins in Georgia on Monday), while Mr Walker asks people to consider him — the outsider — as their representative in Washington. Throughout the debate he kept referring to Mr Warnock as a career politician or DC insider, though he has only held the job for two years.

Saturday 15 October 2022 01:00 , Oliver O'Connell

Senator Warnock also demurs to answer a question on whether he would expand the Supreme Court.

Mr Walker says he would not support increasing the number of justices.

Saturday 15 October 2022 00:55 , Oliver O'Connell

On who should run in 2024, Senator Warnock manages to twice sidestep the issue of whether Joe Biden will be too old to run.

“I’ve not spent a minute thinking about what politicians should run in 2024.”

“The people of Georgia hired me to represent them ... they didn’t hire me to be a pundit.”

Mr Walker says he would support Donald Trump: “Yes, he’s my friend.”

Saturday 15 October 2022 00:52 , Oliver O'Connell

There is a question about how the US should react if Vladimir Putin uses nuclear weapons in Russia’s war on Ukraine.

Mr Walker responds by asking why Senator Warnock didn’t stand up to Chuck Schumer.

Saturday 15 October 2022 00:49 , Oliver O'Connell

The moderators manage to keep the debate on track while both candidates try to respond to various allegations against them.

On the topic of healthcare, in a confusing answer Mr Walker appears to say that everyone has healthcare.

“Right now, people have coverage for health care.”

Mr Walker says Georgians should “get off the government healthcare and get on the healthccare he’s got,” pointing to Warnock.

Saturday 15 October 2022 00:42 , Oliver O'Connell

On the question of character, Senator Warnock is asked about a dispute with his wife.

“I went through a divorce, like a lot of people, while that was a painful period... my children know I am with them and for them and that I support them in every single way that a father does.”

Saturday 15 October 2022 00:38 , Oliver O'Connell

Moving on to crime, Mr Walker says Senator Warnock has “empowered criminals to think they’re more powerful than the police”.

He then lies and says 70 per cent of drugs coming over the border come to Atlanta.

“We will see time and time again tonight, as we’ve already seen, that my opponent has a problem with the truth,” Senator Warnock says.

There are loud cheers from the crowd. There is then laughter when Mr Walker responds when accused of pretending to be a police officer by pulling out a police badge.

He is reprimanded for using a prop.

Saturday 15 October 2022 00:32 , Oliver O'Connell

On a federal minimum wage, neither candidate is in favour of raising the federal minimum wage.

Mr Warnock clarifies that he wants a liveable wage, not a minimum wage.

Saturday 15 October 2022 00:28 , Oliver O'Connell

The debate moves onto the topic of student debt.

Mr Walker says: “This is not right, it’s unfair. How can you transfer someone debt who owe it to someone who don’t owe it? ... You gotta pay that debt”

Senator Warnock says: “It’s interesting that people crying about student debt haven’t said anything against billion-dollar PPP loans.”

Saturday 15 October 2022 00:23 , Oliver O'Connell

Mr Warnock mentions that he has tried to tackle the issue of maternal mortality and has worked on the issue with Republican Senator Marco Rubio of Florida.

Saturday 15 October 2022 00:21 , Oliver O'Connell

Mr Walker continues: “On abortion — I’m a Christian. I believe in life... I’ll be a senator that protects life.”

Rev Warnock argues that on abortion the examination room is getting crowded and that he trusts “women more than I trust politicians” on the issue. So far tonight this get the biggest reaction from the audience.

Saturday 15 October 2022 00:18 , Oliver O'Connell

Questioning turns to the abortion scandal that has plagued the Walker campaign. The Republican candidate denies that he paid his former girlfriend to get an abortion.

“I said that was a lie and I’m not backing down,” he says.

Saturday 15 October 2022 00:16 , Oliver O'Connell

The second biggest concern of Georgia voters is threats to democracy and voting rights.

Mr Walker appears to reject Donald Trump’s election fraud lies that the 2020 election was stolen: “President Biden won and Senator Warnock won. That’s the reason I decided to run.”

Both candidates say they will respect the result in November.

Saturday 15 October 2022 00:14 , Oliver O'Connell

The first question in about the economy — which polling says is the number one concern of the electorate — Mr Walker immediately ties Mr Warnock to the Biden administration complaining about inflation and energy independence.

Mr Warnock mentions his work to lower the price of insulin and the Inflation Reduction Act. Mr Walker counters saying for insulin to work “you gotta eat right”.

Saturday 15 October 2022 00:09 , Oliver O'Connell

Senator Warnock says he is pleased to be in his hometown of Savannah and that he grew up just a mile away.

“Only in America is my story possible,” he says.

Mr Warnock’s take on the race is that it is about who is ready to represent Georgia in the Senate.

Saturday 15 October 2022 00:08 , Oliver O'Connell

In opening statements, Mr Walker says the race is not about him — though much of the talk about the campaign has centered on the abortion scandal that has dogged him — he says that the race is about what Mr Herschel and President Biden have done to Georgia families.

Georgia Senate debate gets underway

Saturday 15 October 2022 00:04 , Oliver O'Connell

Democrat Senator Raphael Warnock and Republican challenger Herschel Walker are facing off in Savannah, Georgia, tonight as the election day gets closer.

Rev Warnock is the first Black senator to represent the state and is asking voters to send him back to DC for a full six-year term.

Mr Walker has the support of former President Donald Trump and blames his opponent and President Joe Biden for the state’s problems.

NBC: Obama to campaign for Mandela Barnes in Wisconsin

Friday 14 October 2022 23:54 , Oliver O'Connell

Per NBC News:

Former President Barack Obama is heading to Wisconsin to help boost Senate candidate Mandela Barnes, a Democrat challenging GOP Sen. Ron Johnson, two sources familiar with the plans told NBC News.

The former president is also expected to help boost Gov. Tony Evers’ re-election efforts, the sources said.

Pennsylvania governor race breaks campaign finance record

Friday 14 October 2022 23:38 , Oliver O'Connell

Josh Shapiro, Pennsylvania‘s Democratic nominee for governor, has smashed the state’s 2-decade-old campaign spending record as he competes against Republican Doug Mastriano, who was on track to spend less than a tenth as much.

The race between Shapiro and Mastriano may test how powerful that campaign spending is in one of the nation’s highest-profile races for governor. One candidate has spent more money than any other gubernatorial nominee ever in Pennsylvania, and the other has spent less than any other in at least the past two decades.

Read more:

Campaign finance record broken in Pennsylvania governor race

Ohio Dems plead for help against Trump-backed Vance in Senate race

Friday 14 October 2022 23:15 , Oliver O'Connell

Democrats across Ohio are pleading for help in the state’s Senate contest, afraid they may lose a winnable election unless national party leaders make major investments in the coming days.

So far, the most powerful groups in Democratic politics have prioritized Senate pickup opportunities in North Carolina, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania over Ohio, once a perennial swing state that veered right in the Trump era. But on the eve of the 2022 midterms, some public polls suggest Ohio is as competitive as the other swing states, leaving many Democrats here wondering why their party isn’t backing Senate contender Tim Ryan more forcefully.

Read more:

Ohio Dems press party to invest in high stakes Senate seat

What to watch for tonight in Walker v Warnock

Friday 14 October 2022 22:50 , Oliver O'Connell

Senator Raphael Warnock and former University of Georgia running back Herschel Walker will square off in their only scheduled debate in Savannah on Friday.

Here’s what to watch for tonight:

What to watch for in Herschel Walker and Raphael Warnock Georgia senate debate

Coming up: Walker v Warnock in Georgia Senate race debate

Friday 14 October 2022 22:37 , Oliver O'Connell

Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock and his Republican challenger, Herschel Walker, will meet Friday night for their only debate in Georgia’s marquee Senate contest, just days before in-person early voting begins.

The 60-minute session, which will take place before a live audience, comes in the wake of reports that Walker paid for a girlfriend to have an abortion in 2009 before later fathering a child with her. Additionally, the matchup could force both men to answer other attacks — personal and political — that have flooded voters’ television screens and social media feeds for months.

The Independent will be covering the debate live at 7pm ET.

Walker, Warnock meet for only debate in Georgia Senate race

Voices: Tucker Carlson missed the entire point about my tweet about accessibility and John Fetterman

Friday 14 October 2022 22:15 , Oliver O'Connell

Eric Garcia writes that providing accessibility doesn’t give politicians with disabilities a pass; it allows us as the press to hold them accountable.

No, Tucker Carlson – that is not what I meant

Watch: Highlights of Mandela Barnes v Ron Johnson Wisconsin Senate debate

Friday 14 October 2022 21:45 , Oliver O'Connell

Senator Ron Johnson draws laughs at debate with claim of FBI ‘set-up’

Friday 14 October 2022 21:15 , Oliver O'Connell

Ron Johnson, the Wisconsin GOP senator who is frequently in the news for his repetition of conspiracy theories and disinformation, had audience members at his debate with Democratic Lieutenant Governor Mandela Barnes laughing out loud after he complained that the FBI had exhibited “corruption” by briefing him about being the target of a Russian disinformation campaign.

Andrew Feinberg reports.

Pro-Trump GOP Senator Ron Johnson draws laughs at debate with claim of FBI ‘set-up’

Cheney: ‘Not necessarily the last day of the hearings'

Friday 14 October 2022 20:44 , Oliver O'Connell

Republican Rep Liz Cheney, vice chair of the House select committee investigating the event of 6 January 2021, was asked on CSPAN why the panel waited until the last day of the public hearings to subpoena former President Donald Trump. More specifically she was asked why it had not been done on day one.

“It’s not necessarily the last day of the hearings,” replied Ms Cheney to applause.

“We have felt that it is very important that the investigation is conducted in a way that is rigorous and disciplined and responsible, and that has meant collecting evidence from many if not — not all because some people took the fifth or refused to appear — but collecting evidence from all those around the central figure in January 6, before we issued a subpoena for him. And so that’s what we’ve done.”

Watch below:

Biden pushes lower prescription drug costs in midterms

Friday 14 October 2022 20:15 , Oliver O'Connell

President Joe Biden is set to highlight his administration’s efforts to lower prescription drug costs on Friday as part of his three-state Western tour this week, as he confronts a sobering inflation report in the waning weeks before midterm elections.

Biden will head to a community college in Irvine, California, to meet with seniors and tout his administration’s efforts to reduce inflation and drive down costs

Read more:

Biden pushing lower prescription drug costs in midterm press

Fox contributor mocked for blaming inflation for $28 Taco Bell lunch

Friday 14 October 2022 19:15 , Oliver O'Connell

Rep Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has gotten in on the action after a Fox Business contributor drew mockery by revealing that he spent $28 for lunch at Taco Bell and blaming inflation for the high price.

Abe ASher has the story.

AOC leads mockery of Fox contributor who blamed inflation for $28 Taco Bell lunch

Could a Republican soon be running Oregon?

Friday 14 October 2022 18:15 , Andrew Naughtie

Oregon is typically known as a bastion of West Coast liberalism, where Democrats are easily elected and a Republican hasn’t served as governor since the early 1980s.

But with an unusually competitive three-way contest for governor, the Democratic candidate’s success is hardly a guarantee this year. As mail-in ballots become available to voters next week, Oregon is becoming the unlikely site of one of the most competitive governor’s races in the country.

Read more:

A GOP governor in liberal Oregon? Dems sound alarm on ‘spoiler’

Coming up: Walker v Warnock in Georgia Senate race debate

Friday 14 October 2022 18:15 , Oliver O'Connell

Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock and his Republican challenger, Herschel Walker, will meet Friday night for their only debate in Georgia’s marquee Senate contest, just days before in-person early voting begins.

The 60-minute session, which will take place before a live audience, comes in the wake of reports that Walker paid for a girlfriend to have an abortion in 2009 before later fathering a child with her. Additionally, the matchup could force both men to answer other attacks — personal and political — that have flooded voters’ television screens and social media feeds for months.

The Independent will be covering the debate live at 7pm ET.

Walker, Warnock meet for only debate in Georgia Senate race

Given chance to go high, Ron Johnson goes low

Friday 14 October 2022 17:15 , Andrew Naughtie

The Wisconsin Senate race is one of this year’s more acrimonious, with Republican incumbent Ron Johnson, an ardent Trumpist who has repeatedly propagated lies about both the 2020 election and the Covid-19 pandemic, fighting hard against Democrat Mandela.

Mr Johnson was offered the chance at a TV debate last night to say something positive about his opponent, who had already extended him the courtesy of describing him as a “family man”. But he did not take it.

Oz appears to admit he’s being inappropriate about Fetterman’s stroke

Friday 14 October 2022 16:15 , Andrew Naughtie

Mehmet Oz, who made his name as a TV doctor, has taken his Senate campaign against Democrat John Fetterman in a remarkably personal direction in recent months, including by mocking Mr Fetterman for having a stroke with all the after-effects it’s entailed.

And now, Dr Oz appears strangely blase about talking about Mr Fetterman the way he does while also touting his standing as a physician.

Read more on the latest row over Mr Fetterman’s stroke below from John Bowden.

John Fetterman’s post-stroke interview sparked fury against NBC. What prompted it?

Dr Oz faces opprobrium over misleading gun violence event

Friday 14 October 2022 15:15 , Andrew Naughtie

Mehmet Oz, the Republican candidate for the senate seat in Pennsylvania, has been accused of misleading the public for not pointing out that the gun violence survivor he comforted at a “community discussion” in September was his campaign coordinator.

Dr Oz spoke with Sheila Armstrong inside a Black church as she broke down recounting how her brother and nephew were killed in Philadelphia at his campaign event on 19 September. Ms Armstrong held a handmade sign which read “gone but not forgotten” for her dead relatives.

But after the Associated Press published a piece on the event, Brendan McPhillips, the campaign manager for Dr Oz’s opponent John Fetterman, complained on Twitter that the news agency failed to note that Ms Armstrong was a paid member of the Republican candidate’s campaign.

Alisha Rahaman Sarkar has the story.

Dr Oz accused of misleading public over encounter with gun violence survivor

Nevada GOP Senate candidate sees 14 members of family endorse Democrat opponent

Friday 14 October 2022 14:15 , Oliver O'Connell

Less than a month before Election Day, 14 members of Nevada Republican Senate candidate Adam Laxalt’s family sent a letter endorsing his opponent, Democratic U.S. Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto.

“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,” the letter states.

The letter, first obtained by The Nevada Independent, does not mention Laxalt by name.

Members of Nevada senate candidate's family endorse opponent

Abortion and economy take centre stage in Minnesota

Friday 14 October 2022 13:15 , Oliver O'Connell

Democratic US Rep Angie Craig on Thursday portrayed her GOP challenger as a pawn of Big Oil and Big Pharma who conceals his opposition to abortion rights. Republican congressional candidate Tyler Kistner meanwhile said Craig bears responsibility for inflation and other economic woes because she supports President Joe Biden‘s policies.

Craig and Kistner met for their only full debate of the campaign at Dakota County Technical College in Rosemount, sponsored by the Dakota County Regional Chamber of Commerce. Their race in the swing suburban 2nd District is considered the GOP’s best chance to flip a congressional seat in Minnesota.

It’s also one of the most expensive House races in the country.

Abortion, economy take center stage in Craig-Kistner debate

Can Biden give Democrats a west coast election boost?

Friday 14 October 2022 12:15 , Oliver O'Connell

President Joe Biden‘s visit to California and Oregon close to Election Day shows how Democrats are summoning crunch-time political reinforcements in states that are usually afterthoughts for the party.

As unlikely as it seems, a key component of the Republican drive to retake control of the House on Nov. 8 may lie with holding districts it already controls in California — the country’s largest Democratic state — and potentially gaining ground in typically Democratic Oregon.

It won’t be easy.

Democrats hoping Biden can provide West Coast election boost

Milwaukee Latinos fed up with crime mull GOP vote

Friday 14 October 2022 10:15 , Oliver O'Connell

In two decades of street outreach on Milwaukee’s south side, evangelical pastor Marty Calderon has offered Bible study, gang prevention, a safe place to stay for those battling addiction, and help getting jobs for those newly released from prison.

But as he’s watched rising crime threaten those efforts to “clean up” his impoverished neighborhood, Calderon started bringing Republican politicians to his ministry, God Touch.

He hopes the largely Hispanic, working-class community will hear what they can do for it – and the conservative candidates will learn these voters’ reality, especially their immigration journeys.

In Milwaukee, Latinos fed up with crime weigh GOP appeal

Trying to get politics out of election certifying

Friday 14 October 2022 08:15 , Oliver O'Connell

Before the 2020 presidential election, certifying election results in the states was routine and generated little public attention. That has changed.

Read more:

EXPLAINER: Trying to get politics out of election certifying

Battleground Nevada: Two House seats in spotlight in November

Friday 14 October 2022 06:15 , Oliver O'Connell

As they have been for most elections the past decade, two of Nevada’s four U.S. House races are in the swing-seat spotlight as Democratic incumbents Reps. Susie Lee and Steven Horsford seek reelection in the western battleground state.

But for the first time in more than 20 years, Republicans also think they have a chance to turn a traditional blue seat red in a Las Vegas district as Nevadans struggle with some of the highest gas prices and unemployment rates in the nation.

Read more:

Two swing House seats in spotlight in battleground of Nevada

ICYMI: Tulsi Gabbard campaigning for pro-Trump candidate

Friday 14 October 2022 04:15 , Oliver O'Connell

A day after she announced her departure from the Democratic Party, Tulsi Gabbard was due to join a pro-Trump candidate’s campaign in New Hampshire.

Gino Spocchia reports.

Tulsi Gabbard campaigning for pro-Trump candidate after leaving Democratic Party

Split verdict for armed Trump supporters arrested at 2020 Philadelphia election site

Friday 14 October 2022 02:15 , Oliver O'Connell

Two supporters of President Donald Trump arrested after driving a Hummer with guns and ammunition to a Philadelphia site where votes were being counted in November 2020 were convicted of weapons charges Wednesday but acquitted of election interference.

Read more:

Trump supporters get split verdict in weapons, election case

Treasury Department investigating DeSantis migrant flights stunt

Friday 14 October 2022 01:15 , Oliver O'Connell

The US Treasury Department is probing whether Florida governor Ron DeSantis improperly used money designated for Covid-19 relief to fund flights that carried unknowing migrants to Martha’s Vineyard last month.

Politico reported on Tuesday that, according to a letter provided by Sen Ed Markey of Massachusetts, the department’s inspector general’s office is planning to probe how Mr DeSantis and Florida paid for the flights as part of a broader audit of how states used their Covid relief funds.

Abe Asher reports.

Treasury Department investigating DeSantis political stunt involving migrant flights

Here’s why people were angry after the John Fetterman interview

Friday 14 October 2022 00:15 , Oliver O'Connell

NBC News found itself facing accusations of both partisanship and insensitivity this week after reporter Dasha Burns interviewed John Fetterman for his first extended sit-down interview since suffering a stroke earlier this year.

A discussion about a candidate’s symptoms turned into a larger one about whether journalists are equipped to cover people with disabilities fairly, John Bowden writes.

John Fetterman’s post-stroke interview sparked fury against NBC. What prompted it?

Michigan governor debate: Dixon looks to gain on Whitmer

Thursday 13 October 2022 23:15 , Oliver O'Connell

The candidates for governor of Michigan are having their first debate on Thursday, as Republican challenger Tudor Dixon looks to use the primetime appearance to narrow her gap with Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

Dixon is a former commentator for a conservative online program who was endorsed by former President Donald Trump. She has never held public office and is still working to introduce herself and her ideas to voters — some of whom may be seeing her in action for the first time at Thursday’s debate.

Read more:

Dixon looks to gain on Whitmer at Michigan governor debate

What candidate fashion can tell us about the 2022 election

Thursday 13 October 2022 22:15 , Oliver O'Connell

Carhartt hoodies, MAGA hats and cowboy boots — Josh Marcus looks at what they might tell us.

Hoodies, MAGA hats and cowboy boots: What style can tell us about the 2022 midterms

Voices: As the January 6 committee holds its last pre-midterm hearing, the US’s next coup is on the ballot

Thursday 13 October 2022 21:14 , Oliver O'Connell

Eric Garcia writes:

Even as hardcore Trumpists campaign to take over the country’s electoral machinery, other issues are at the front of voters’ minds.

The US’s next coup is on the ballot this November

Accusations of eyebrow-doctoring in heated Texas race

Thursday 13 October 2022 19:00 , Andrew Naughtie

A Texas Democrat has been accused of editing a photo of his Republican rival to make her eyebrows look scarier.

Vicente Gonzalez and Mayra Flores are both incumbents but following redistricting, they are now fighting it out for Texas’s 34th District congressional seat.

An ad released by the Gonzalez campaign on Monday focusing on school safety and gun control features an image of Ms Flores which appears to have been edited.

Gustaf Kilander has more.

Texas Democrat accused of using doctored photo of rival to make eyebrows look scary

'Jesus, guns and babies’: Watch the best and worst midterm campaign ads

Thursday 13 October 2022 18:00 , Andrew Naughtie

The 2022 US midterm election takes place on Tuesday 8 November and across America, candidates have been ramping up their campaigns to secure the all important votes.

Many Republican lawmakers have focused their campaigns on attacking Joe Biden, sharing some rather bizarre videos on their social media channels.

Ahead of the midterms, take a look at some of the best and worst clips, from politicians including Kandiss Taylor, Blake Masters and Jerone Davison.

The best and worst midterm campaign videos: ‘I believe in Jesus, guns and babies’

Biden weighs in on Herschel Walker abortion scandal

Thursday 13 October 2022 17:00 , Andrew Naughtie

Joe Biden offered a brief reaction to Herschel Walker’s deepening scandal surrounding the mother of one of his children, who says she had an abortion paid for by the candidate in 2009.

The president was asked by reporters outside of the White House for his thoughts on the floundering Republican Senate candidate, and responded that his assessment of Mr Walker was “negative”.

John Bowden has the story.

Biden weighs in on Herschel Walker abortion scandal with brutal one-word assessment

Polls shows Democrats slipping behind Republicans in tough races

Thursday 13 October 2022 16:00 , Andrew Naughtie

While the polls have shown Democrats performing fairly well in the so-called “generic ballot”, which measures the electorate’s overall preferences across the country, more relevant is their performance in the specific districts and seats that will determine control of both chambers of Congress – and a new poll has shown the GOP opening up a five-point lead:

Data shows Trump legal fees eat up money that could be spent on other GOP candidates

Thursday 13 October 2022 15:00 , Andrew Naughtie

The nearly 20 major lawsuits and investigations facing Donald Trump are draining millions of dollars away from supporting other GOP candidates, according to campaign filings.

So far, according to election filings tracking spending through the end of August, Donald Trump’s Save America leadership political action committee has spent about as much paying Mr Trump’s legal bills as it has backing Republicans in the midterms.

Josh Marcus reports.

Trump legal fees eat up money that could be spent on other GOP candidates, data shows

With midterms less than four weeks away, Biden approval rises

Thursday 13 October 2022 14:00 , Oliver O'Connell

With fewer than four weeks left until Americans choose who will control both chambers of Congress and most governor’s mansions and state legislatures, a new poll shows President Joe Biden’s approval rating jumping six points from the low point it hit over the summer.

The survey of 1982 adults — commissioned by CNN and conducted from 3 September to 5 October by SSRS — found 44 per cent of respondents approving of Mr Biden’s job performance. That’s a six-point rebound from the 38 per cent who approved of the president in July and August.

But as Andrew Feinberg reports, it’s not all good news.

Biden approval rises to 44 per cent with midterms less than four weeks away

Fetterman announces fundraising bonanza

Thursday 13 October 2022 13:02 , Andrew Naughtie

As the controversy over NBC’s handling of an interview with John Fetterman continues to play out, the Pennsylvania Senate candidate has announced a major fundraising haul since he discussed the impact of his stroke on the network earlier this week, with more than $1m pouring into his campaign.

Much of the controversy focuses on Mr Fetterman’s reported use of closed captioning to better interact with interviewers, a common access requirement shared by many other Americans.

Addressing the matter in an interview, Mr Fetterman remarked: “I always have been very honest about saying, ‘I need captioning.’ I know that you are speaking and sometimes I will hear it, but if I am being asked a very specific kind of question, I need to know exactly what that is. If someone wants to hold that against me, they might regret that, but the truth is that half of Americans that watch TV use captions, too.”

Read more on the controversy below from John Bowden.

John Fetterman’s post-stroke interview sparked fury against NBC. What prompted it?

Even after Uvalde, why is Greg Abbott still ‘playing politics’ with gun reform?

Thursday 13 October 2022 12:00 , Andrew Naughtie

To date, Texas Governor Greg Abbott has refused the requests of grieving families, the Uvalde community and state lawmakers to call a legislative session to even discuss the possibility of changing the state’s weak gun laws.

As a Republican governor of a historically red state, who is both notoriously cosy with the NRA and in the midst of an election cycle, his inaction may come as little surprise.

Except that it has been done before.

Uvalde was the sixth mass shooting under Greg Abbott. Why won’t he touch gun reform?

New poll: Biden hit on economy as more say finances poor

Thursday 13 October 2022 11:00 , Oliver O'Connell

More US adults are now feeling financially vulnerable amid high inflation — a political risk for President Joe Biden and his fellow Democrats one month before the midterm elections.

Some 46 per cent of people now call their personal financial situation poor, up from 37 per cent in March, according to a new poll by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. That’s a notable downturn at a particularly inopportune moment for Biden, given that the share of Americans who felt positive about their finances had stayed rock steady over the last few years — even during the economic turmoil of the Covid-19 pandemic.

And while a majority of Americans see high prices as beyond Biden’s control, they continue to disapprove of his handling of the economy overall.

Read on:

Biden hit on economy as more say finances poor: AP-NORC poll

Connecticut GOP gubernatorial candidate acknowledges work in Saudi Arabia

Thursday 13 October 2022 09:30 , Oliver O'Connell

For months, Bob Stefanowski, the Republican candidate for governor in Connecticut, declined to reveal the clients of his lucrative business consulting firm, saying he had a duty to customers to keep certain things confidential.

Democrats wielded the lack of transparency like a cudgel, saying Stefanowski must be hiding something.

Now, at least one aspect of his work has been revealed. Stefanowski has acknowledged for the first time that he has done consulting work related to a proposed futuristic city in Saudi Arabia, backed by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Read more:

Connecticut GOP candidate acknowledges work in Saudi Arabia

Thursday 13 October 2022 07:30 , Oliver O'Connell

Republican efforts to pick up seats in Arizona‘s nine-member US House delegation run right through the northeast Phoenix suburbs, where six-term Republican Rep David Schweikert is trying to persuade voters that multiple campaign finance violations don’t disqualify him from office.

Early voting began Wednesday across Arizona, with less than a month to go until Election Day on 8 November.

In his last two reelection races, Schweikert managed to fend off challengers despite campaign finance allegations that eventually led to fines for him and his election committee.

Now, Democrat Jevin Hodge insists Schweikert’s lapses aren’t behind him.

Read on:

Schweikert faces Democratic challenger as he seeks 7th term

Democrats eye GOP-held districts won by Biden in efforts to hold House

Thursday 13 October 2022 05:30 , Oliver O'Connell

While preparing to march in a Saturday morning parade through this fast-growing city’s westside, Democratic congressional candidate Hillary Scholten warned her staff that the area was traditionally very conservative and they should brace for possible booing.

But the crowd lining Fulton Street to mark the region’s Polish pride was friendly. Only one man bellowed what sounded to the candidate like “Go to hell, Hillary!” as she passed. But he also grinned and flashed a thumbs-up later.

He’d actually cried, “Give ‘em hell, Hillary!”

It’s been 32 years since a Democrat won the House seat where Scholten is competing against Republican John Gibbs. But, its largest city, Grand Rapids, has turned steadily bluer lately, and redrawn congressional maps have converted it from a district that backed Donald Trump for president in 2020 to one that Joe Biden would have carried instead.

Read more:

To hold House, Democrats eye GOP-held districts won by Biden

Mother of Herschel Walker’s child claims she had to pursue him for abortion money

Thursday 13 October 2022 03:30 , Oliver O'Connell

The woman who says Herschel Walker paid for her abortion in 2009 has detailed the experience in an interview with The Washington Post in which she accuses the Republican of resisting or slow-walking her efforts to get him to pay for the procedure.

Her story was published on Tuesday in The Washington Post; the unnamed woman described how Mr Walker told her that it was an inconvenient time for him to father a child when the pregnancy occurred in 2009.

John Bowden has the story.

Woman details struggle with Herschel Walker over abortion payment

Kari Lake attacks Democrat as ‘cowardice candidate’

Thursday 13 October 2022 02:00 , Oliver O'Connell

Kari Lake – the Trump-backed election denier – has attacked her Democratic opponent as a “cowardice canidate” for deciding not to take part in a debate.

The 53-year-old Republican who is involved in a race to become Arizona governor that is currently too close to call, again called on Democrat Katie Hobbs to take part in the debate.

Ms Hobbs, 52, has to this point declined to do so, arguing that Ms Lake spent much of the Republican primary debate spouting conspirarcy theories, and repeated the false claim that the 2020 election was rigged.

Kari Lake attacks Democrat as ‘cowardice candidate’ for skipping Arizona debate

Kinzinger endorses Dems against GOP election deniers

Thursday 13 October 2022 00:30 , Oliver O'Connell

Adam Kinzinger may not be running for reelection this year, but that isn’t stopping him from doing what he still can to challenge election deniers on every possible front.

The retiring GOP congressman announced late last year that he wouldn’t stand for reelection, as the likelihood of him winning a GOP primary grew thinner thanks to his work on the January 6 committee.

But even though he personally won’t be taking on a supporter of Donald Trump’s conspiracies about the 2020 election, he’s pushing his way into races where some of those same people are seeking office.

John Bowden reports from Washington, DC.

Adam Kinzinger endorses Dems against GOP election deniers

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