The Election Recap

The Election Recap: Nov. 7, 2022

Drama in Arizona, a plea for unity, and more

Hello, and welcome back to The Election Recap, your one-stop shop for the last seven days of midterms news. We're just one sleep away from Election Day (!!!) — so if you haven't already, locate your polling place. And as a reminder, we'll be sending out a special, post-election edition of The Election Recap on Nov. 9 to catch you up on the night's biggest contests (though expect a delay in final race results in some battleground states).

Without further ado, let's get into it:

Unexpected backing

File these under "things we did not see coming." Former talk show host Oprah Winfrey and outgoing Republican Rep. Liz Cheney (Wyo.) each made a notable congressional endorsement last week: Winfrey backed Lt. Gov. John Fetterman for Pennsylvania Senate, and Cheney broke with her party to throw her weight behind Ohio Senate candidate, Democratic Rep. Tim Ryan. "I would not vote for J.D. Vance," Cheney told journalist Judy Woodruff last Tuesday, referring to Ryan's Republican opponent. Asked if she would consequently vote for Ryan, Cheney responded, "I would." Winfrey, meanwhile, told attendees at a virtual voting event she "would've already cast my vote for John Fetterman" if she lived in Pennsylvania. For Fetterman, who is running against former syndicated talk show host Dr. Mehmet Oz, Winfrey's is quite the endorsement, considering Oz was once her protégé. "It speaks volumes that Oprah would endorse Fetterman over Oz. Oprah is widely regarded as the person who helped launch Dr. Oz's career and knows him well," the Fetterman campaign (which has since made the de-facto endorsement official with an "Oprah's Book Club" seal of approval) said in a statement. Her Thursday remarks aside, Winfrey has otherwise remained quiet regarding her thoughts on the race and Oz's candidacy. 

Meanwhile, in Arizona…

Luckily for this newsletter, there's been no shortage of pre-Election Day drama out of Arizona. For starters, Libertarian candidate Marc Victor dropped out of the Senate contest on Tuesday and opted to endorse Republican Blake Masters, who is running against Democratic incumbent Sen. Mark Kelly. Victor's backing afforded the Masters campaign "another major boost of momentum as we consolidate our support," the nominee told The New York Times last week. Then, on Wednesday, newly minted Republican and former 2020 presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard announced that she, too, would be endorsing Masters, whom she described in a video shared on Twitter as the "real deal." Masters, a venture capitalist and political newcomer, also notably boasts backing from former President Donald Trump, whose claims of 2020 election fraud Masters has embraced. He has also cozied up to former talk show host and Republican gubernatorial nominee Kari Lake … whose campaign headquarters on Sunday received an envelope containing suspicious white powder. The staff member who opened the envelope is under medical supervision, Lake's team said. "Just two days before Election Day, our campaign headquarters remains shut down. We look forward to law enforcement completing their investigation as quickly as possible," spokesperson Ross Trumble said in a statement. "In the meantime, know that our resolve has never been higher and we cannot be intimidated." It remains unclear what exactly was in the envelope, per The Associated Press. Lake's opponent — Democratic Secretary of State Katie Hobbs — decried the incident: "Political violence, threats, or intimidation have no place in our democracy," Hobbs said. "I strongly condemn this threatening behavior directed at Lake and her staff."

Three of a kind

In a partisan show of support that sounds suspiciously like the set-up of a bad joke, former President Donald Trump, former President Barack Obama, and President Biden all campaigned in Pennsylvania on Saturday, underscoring the battleground state's outsized influence on the upcoming midterm elections. Obama and Biden were there to stump for Democrats John Fetterman and gubernatorial candidate Josh Shapiro, while Trump appeared on behalf of Republicans Dr. Mehmet Oz and Shapiro opponent Doug Mastriano. In Pittsburgh, Obama claimed Trump wants Oz in the Senate "in case there's a close election again." "Think about that. He's basically saying, look, if I lose again, I need him to see if he can put his thumbs on the scale. That is not what this country is supposed to be about." And later, in Philadelphia (where he was joined by Biden), the former president implored supporters to "vote for leaders who are going to fight for that big, inclusive, hopeful, forward-looking America that we believe in." Trump, meanwhile, told the crowd that gathered for him in Latrobe that they "must vote Republican in a giant red wave" if they hope to "stop the destruction of our country and support the American dream." Per a report from NBC News, Trump was also hoping to announce his 2024 candidacy during the Saturday rally but was talked out of it, lest it distract from the candidates currently on the ballot. "I don't want to do that right now because I'd like to do it … I want to have the focus tonight be on Dr. Oz and Doug Mastriano," Trump said Saturday. "Because we have to win, alright?" As of Nov. 7, Shapiro was leading Mastriano by 11 points, while Fetterman and Oz were locked in a dead heat, per polling averages from FiveThirtyEight.

Come together

President Biden delivered one of his final pre-midterms addresses last Wednesday, urging Americans to come together and denounce political violence and voter intimidation — "whether it's directed at Democrats or Republicans" — ahead of the Tuesday election. His speech followed the attack on Paul Pelosi, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's (D-Calif.) husband, who suffered skull and hand injuries after a man broke into the couple's home and attacked him with a hammer. The assailant was allegedly looking for the speaker herself and threatened to break her kneecaps to "show other Members of Congress there were consequences to actions," according to the recently-released affidavit. In his remarks (which were purposely delivered from Capitol Hill), Biden worked to tie the assault on Paul Pelosi to the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riot. The lie that the 2020 election was stolen has "fueled the dangerous rise of political violence and voter intimidation over the past two years," the president said, but we must "start looking out for each other again. We need to see each other as we the people, not entrenched enemies." Though it's a "distinct minority" that's calling for violence, that minority is "loud and determined," and "all of us who reject political violence and voter intimidation … must unite to make it absolutely clear that violence and intimidation have no place in America."

Hanging chads:

  • Wondering how to talk to your child about the midterms? Luckily for you, The Week Junior has a number of helpful resources. [The Week Junior
  • "It took 2 weeks to call every state in 2020. This is when to expect results this year." [NYT]
  • Prepare for a Trump 2024 announcement … on Nov. 14? [Axios]
  • Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.): "Under Republicans, not another penny will go to Ukraine." [The Week]
  • Paul Pelosi has been released from the hospital. [The Week]
  • Federal Reserve raises interest rates another 0.75 points before the midterms. [The Week]
  • Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) has reportedly decided to ditch his 2024 ambitions. [The Week, Politico]

Coming up … 

  • As if you even need a reminder (and if you do, I suspect you haven't been reading this newsletter) … it's election time! For a helpful overview of what to expect Tuesday, check out this briefing I wrote for The Week.

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