The Election Recap

The Election Recap: Aug. 23, 2022

Liz Cheney is ousted, scandal in South Dakota, and more

Welcome back to The Election Recap, your weekly, one-stop shop for the last seven days of midterms news. And thank you for your patience over my long weekend — hopefully I haven't kept you waiting too long. Without further ado, let's get into it:

End of an era

To possibly no one's surprise, vulnerable Wyoming Republican Rep. Liz Cheney lost her bid for re-election last week, after conceding defeat to former President Donald Trump-backed challenger Harriet Hageman. The rebuff was widely expected — given Cheney's work on the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, her repeated criticism of the former president, and her ouster from House leadership — but don't expect her time in the political spotlight to come to an end: "Now the real work begins," the soon-to-be former lawmaker said in her concession speech. So what's next, you might ask? Well, a presidential run isn't off the table … but until that announcement comes, Cheney will surely have her hands full with her new anti-Trump organization, which hopes to "mobilize a unified effort to oppose any Donald Trump campaign for president," spokesperson Jeremy Adler told Politico's Playbook last week. Meanwhile, in Alaska, Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski (another Trump target) and former governor and House hopeful Sarah Palin advanced to the general election thanks to the state's new ranked-choice voting system. In addition to a two-year bid of her own, Palin is also running in a special election to fulfill the remainder of late Rep. Don Young's term. The results of that contest aren't expected until Sept. 2.

Scandal in South Dakota

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem (R) may have "engaged in misconduct" by intervening in her daughter's attempt to secure a real estate appraiser license, the state's Government Accountability Board said Monday, noting "appropriate action" could be taken as punishment (though it did not specify exactly what kind of action). The board also referred a second complaint against the governor — this one regarding the use of her state airplane — to the South Dakota attorney general's office. Noem, who is up for re-election this year and will face off against Democrat Jamie Smith in November, has denied any wrongdoing. Former state Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg filed the complaints as a result of "media reports on Noem's actions in office, The Associated Press writes. Notably, the pair have been "political enemies" ever since Ravnsborg struck and killed a pedestrian in 2020, and Noem subsequently pushed to have him removed from office. 

Planned push

Reproductive health care provider Planned Parenthood plans to spend $50 million in abortion-related midterms contests this year, shattering its 2020 spending record of $45 million, The Associated Press reported last week. The push arrives, of course, after the Supreme Court in June voted to overturn federal abortion protections under Roe v. Wade (1973), and will seek to remind voters in states like Arizona, Georgia, and Wisconsin, among others, "what's at stake" this election cycle, AP writes. "Who wins in these midterm elections will determine whether a state has access to abortion and potentially determine whether we will face a national abortion ban," Jenny Lawson, executive director of Planned Parenthood Votes, told AP. "We will be clear about who is on which side." The advocacy group's efforts, which will be focused on gubernatorial, Senate, and legislative races across nine states, will involve "door knocking, phone calls, digital advertising, mailers, and radio ads," AP summarizes. 

Full-court press

Worried you'll have to choose between your favorite NBA team and voting in November? Great news — you won't. Though all 30 teams will play the night before the midterm elections, the entire league will be off on Nov. 8 in hopes of promoting civic engagement and influencing fans to get out and vote. Per ESPN, teams are also being encouraged to share election information with their fan bases as the fall approaches. "The scheduling decision came out of the NBA family's focus on promoting nonpartisan civic engagement and encouraging fans to make a plan to vote during midterm elections," the league said last Tuesday. The NBA usually avoids games on Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve, but planning around an election is "a rarity," ESPN notes. Its decision also follows a number of civic engagement and civil rights pushes from both the league and its players back in 2020, especially following the death of George Floyd and subsequent racial justice protests nationwide.

Hanging Chads:

  • The Inflation Reduction Act is now law. [The Week]
  • How social media companies are prepping for election misinformation. [NYT]
  • Even party-switching couldn't save Liz Cheney. [Politico]
  • A conservative nonprofit received a game-changing $1.6B donation last year. [NYT, Fox News]
  • The Mar-a-Lago debacle continues … [Newsweek]
  • Despite his December retirement, Republicans could still choose to investigate Dr. Anthony Fauci should the party regain control of Congress in the midterms. [Twitter, Axios]

Coming up…

  • Strap in for another consequential day of primaries — on Tuesday, voters in Florida will select a Democratic candidate to face incumbent Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) come November, while voters in New York will decide a marquee contest between two veteran House Democrats — Reps. Jerry Nadler and Carolyn Maloney — forced to spar as a result of redistricting. For a quick look at the other races to watch, check out this brief write-up from my colleague Peter Weber. And I'll be sure to have a deeper, more analytical report for all you politicos in next week's recap.

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