- There will be a manual recount in Florida’s United States Senate race after a machine recount gave Republican Rick Scott a narrow lead over Democratic Bill Nelson. However, with Scott leading by over 12,000 votes, it will likely take the discovery of a machine failure for Nelson to win
- Democrat Jared Golden was declared the winner in Maine’s Second Congressional District. His win means that there will be no Republicans from New England in the House of Representatives next year
- President Donald Trump will visit California on Saturday to see the recovery efforts from Camp Fire.
Mike Espy, the Democratic candidate in the United States Senate runoff in Mississippi, has a campaign ad out where he strikes moderate tones on infrastructure and bipartisanship.
The runoff there for the two years remaining on the term vacated by the resignation of longtime incumbent Thad Cochran will be on November 27. Espy faces appointed incumbent Cindy Hyde-Smith.
There might be a female Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee next year.
Marsha Blackburn, the newly elected senator from Tennessee, has been tipped to join the committee what she’s sworn in in January.
During the Kavanaugh hearings, the fact that all the Republican members were white men drew negative comment from some quarters.
Acting attorney general Matt Whitaker reportedly told Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina that he will let the Mueller investigation proceed today.
The conversation happened when the two met today on Capitol Hill.
Things in Florida seem be a bit chaotic as election officials wait to take next steps.
Manual recount official In Florida
Looks like the Senate race in Florida is going into a second overtime
The New York Times has a handy guide to all the races from the midterms have still yet to be called.
This includes seven House races, two Senate races and two gubernatorial races. One of the Senate races though requires an asterisk. It is the runoff in the Mississippi special election for the United States Senate. It’s not a regularly scheduled midterm election. The others are.
A pro-Trump political non-profit received $22 million from anonymous donors last year.
America First Policies raised $26 million in total in 2017, most of which went to a political nonprofit which did not have to disclose its donors. Just under half of the money it raised came from two individual anonymous donors.
Even after a machine recount, there is still a major undervote between the governor’s race and Senate race in Broward County. The question is whether it is a machine issue or if people simply missed the Senate race because of faulty ballot design.
It appears a second county in Florida will not meet the machine recount deadline besides Palm Beach.
This is a handy summary of the state of play right now in Florida for the three statewide races that underwent a machine recount
The vote tallies are moving the wrong way for Bill Nelson. Rick Scott’s campaign estimates that it has increased its lead by 865 votes to over 13,000.
Democrats are preparing a number of rules changes for when they take control of the House in January. These include slowing the legislative process to allow for more time to be considered and making easier for bills with majority support but opposed by party leadership to receive a vote.
Even though Palm Beach County didn’t meet the deadline for the machine recount, preparations are already underway for the manual recount.
In House leadership news, two freshman Democrats from California representing previously Republican held districts have backed Nancy Pelosi for Speaker.
In a letter to colleagues, Mike Levin and Katie Hill formally endorsed Pelosi.
With the conclusion of the machine recount, Rick Scott’s campaign has issued a statement where he calls himself “Senator-elect.”
Today, Senator-elect Rick Scott released the below statement following the 3:00pm conclusion of the machine recount. After the recount, Senator-elect Scott’s lead grew by 865 votes, with a total margin of 13,427.
Senator-elect Rick Scott said “Last week, Florida voters elected me as their next U.S. Senator and now the ballots have been counted twice. I am incredibly proud and humbled by the opportunity to serve Florida in Washington. Our state needs to move forward. We need to put this election behind us, and it is time for Bill Nelson to respect the will of the voters and graciously bring this process to an end rather than proceed with yet another count of the votes – which will yield the same result, and bring more embarrassment to the state that we both love and have served.”
Trump to California Saturday
Bloomberg reports that Trump will pay a rare visit to California on Saturday to tour the damage from the Camp Fire which has ravaged the northern part of the state and become the deadliest wildfire in the state’s history.
• This update was amended on 16 November 2018 because this is not the deadliest wildfire in American history as an earlier version said. It is the deadliest in the state of California’s history.
In an Oval Office interview yesterday, Donald Trump took credit for Ted Cruz’s victory in Texas over Beto O’Rourke.
In fact, as the Texas Tribune reports, Trump’s visit to Texas backfired.
Before Trump’s visit, Cruz’s internal numbers had him leading by double digits statewide. In the days after, his lead dropped to 5 points.
Beleaguered Broward County completed its recount and sent the results to the state capital, Tallahassee, shortly before the 3pm deadline. There was no any indication of turnout or candidate tallies.
An election official handed documents to the county canvassing board, saying it was reflected the machine recount. “With your permission, I’d like to go and do the upload to the state,” he said.
The papers were duly signed. Brenda Snipes, the county’s widely criticised elections supervisor, told reporters: “We are excited to be at this point.”
But she admitted that the total includes 23 invalid provisional ballots that were mistakenly mixed in with valid ones and are now impossible to separate.
“The canvassing board decided that 23 of 205 provisional ballots previously canvassed were invalid votes,” she said. “The remainder of those votes – 182 – were determined to be valid. Because I cannot determine which 23 ballots were invalid, I have determined to count all 205 votes in the second unofficial upload of the state.”
She acknowledged that, if the 23 votes prove decisive in any of the races, “that will be a proper election contest issue” but she felt it would be unfair to disenfranchise the 182 who did vote. However, the batch of 205 will remain “segregated” from the rest of the election in case of challenges.
Now that the machine recount is done, it seems that the hand recount will begin in the morning in Broward County
The ouster of Deputy National Security Advisor Mira Ricardel after the unprecedented intervention of First Lady Melania Trump turned heads on Tuesday. However, Josh Rogin of the Washington Post provides some of the behind the scenes details on what happened.
Florida reaches 3pm deadline to complete machine recount
It’s 3PM in Florida, which means we’ve reached the deadline. 66 of the 67 counties have completed their machine recounts. Palm Beach County was unable to do so due to outdated equipment so it appears that their initial count will be used for now.
I’m at the election supervisor’s headquarters in Lauderhill, Broward county, Florida, where the 3pm recount deadline is rapidly approaching. Through four windows, I can see workers still handling ballot papers, standing by machines or staring at computer screens.
In the room where I’m sitting with other about 50 reporters, five officials are sitting at desks, writing by hand or looking laptops or phones. One is looking through ballot papers and reading out candidates’ names. Election supervisor Brenda Snipes has arrived.
In theory, all counties are required to cease their counts at 3pm and transmit the results to the Florida department of state to be aggregated. If they fail, the numbers from the first count will be used.
One county does seem almost certain to miss the deadline: Palm Beach. The Associated Press reports that District Judge Mark Walker rejected a request by Senator Bill Nelson and Democrats to give counties more time to finish recounts.
It does appear that 3pm will be a milestone rather than the finale. The Senate race is so close that it will probably move to a hand recount and this saga will continue.
The deadline for Florida to complete its machine recount is looming. The state has until 3PM to complete the process. At that point, a manual recount is expected to be required in the U.S. Senate race between incumbent Democrat Bill Nelson and the state’s Republican governor Rick Scott. Scott currently has a lead of around 12,000 votes.
It’s unlikely the margin will be close enough to require a machine recount though in the gubernatorial race where Congressman Ron DeSantis has appeared to edge Andrew Gilliam, the mayor of Tallahassee. DeSantis currently has a lead of approximately 33,000 votes.
If the list of potential Democratic presidential candidates isn’t long enough already, Senator Bob Casey of Pennsylvania declined to rule out a bid Thursday.
In an interview with NBC News, Casey simply said “we’ll see what happens.” Casey won a third term last week over Congressman Lou Barletta by a margin of 56%-43%.
Another former 2016 rival of Donald Trump is joining his administration. Former Virginia governor Jim Gilmore has been nominated to be the US Ambassador to OSCE
Perhaps the most memorable moment of Gilmore’s campaign was when conservative pundit (and occasional Guardian contributor) Jamie Weinstein spoke on his behalf at the Iowa Caucuses.
The Atlantic has just published a remarkable oral history of the Clinton administration by Cullen Murphy and David Graham.
It’s well worth reading if you can carve out the time
At least one media outlet is siding with the White House in the lawsuit over Jim Acosta’s press pass.
One America News Network (OANN), a right wing competitor to Fox News owned by businessman Robert Herring has submitted an amicus brief on behalf of the Trump administration. OANN is best known for airing its congratulations for Roy Moore once polls closed in the 2017 Senate special election in Alabama.
A majority of Americans were happy with the result of the midterms according to a recent poll from Pew, even including 55% of Republicans.
A federal judge has rejected a request to postpone the deadline to complete recounts in Florida, CNN reports.
That means the deadline is coming in less than an hour, at 3pm, for the recount in races for Senate and governor.
- A judge ruled that at least 4,000 Florida voters whose ballots were rejected will get two more days to correct the problem, as recounts in the state’s Senate and governor’s races approached a 3pm deadline.
- House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, facing a leadership challenge, said she has the votes to win the speakership. A potential rival, Rep. Marcia Fudge, said she’s “overwhelmed” by the support of Democrats encouraging her to run.
- Democrats picked up another House seat as a seat in Maine went to Jared Golden, who defeated Rep. Bruce Poliquin. After a legal challenge, Maine officials tallied the results under the state’s new ranked choice voting system.
- Senator Bernie Sanders unveiled legislation that would force retail giant Walmart to raise its minimum wage to $15 an hour.
- Donald Trump inveighed against the Mueller investigation, calling it a “total mess” and a “disgrace to our nation.”
Rep. Seth Moulton, a leading Nancy Pelosi critic, says the Democratic leader is “wrong” that she has the votes to become speaker.
A ruling on CNN’s lawsuit challenging the White House’s revocation of reporter Jim Acosta’s credentials ruling has been delayed, the network said.
The request for an emergency order for his pass to be restored was set to be ruled on Thursday afternoon, but has now been moved to Friday morning.
A Democrat’s lead over Republican Rep. Mia Love is slipping away in Utah, the Salt Lake Tribune reports.
Ben McAdams, the Democratic challenger and Salt Lake County mayor, is now leading by just 873 votes. And returns from a Republican-heavy county are expected Friday.
Cesar Sayoc, the man charged with mailing pipe bombs to prominent Democrats and CNN, pleaded not guilty Thursday to the 30 federal charges against him.
From Reuters in federal court in New York:
If convicted, Cesar Sayoc faces a sentence of life in prison. He had previously faced five counts carrying a maximum prison sentence of 48 years.
Judge Jed Rakoff set Sayoc’s trial date for July 15, 2019.
Prosecutors said they expected the government’s case would take three weeks and would include experts in forensics, explosive devices and the chemistry of the explosives in those devices.
Sayoc, a 56-year-old former stripper and pizza delivery driver who lived in a white van festooned with right-wing political images supporting Trump and attacking his critics, was arrested in Florida on Oct. 26 following an intense manhunt. He is being held without bail.
A federal indictment filed earlier this month accused Sayoc of sending improvised explosive devices to five people in New York: former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, whom Trump defeated in the 2016 presidential election; billionaire investor and Democratic donor George Soros; former Central Intelligence Agency directors John Brennan and James Clapper; and actor Robert De Niro.
Authorities had previously linked Sayoc to more than a dozen mail bombs around the country. Other targets included former U.S. Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, former Vice President Joe Biden, and Democratic U.S. Senators Cory Booker of New Jersey and Kamala Harris of California.
Failed Texas Senate candidate Beto O’Rourke has a new post up on Medium and it’s all about running.
No, really - the Democrat, who drew attention for his race against Sen. Ted Cruz but ultimately came up short, describes going for a morning run in the snow in Washington, taking in the monuments, and reflecting on the words of Abraham Lincoln.
He concludes: “The sleet stinging my face, I wondered if the winds had changed too.”
Democrat Jared Golden has prevailed in a Maine House race after officials there ran the numbers with their new ranked choice voting system, per Politico.
A judge ruled earlier Thursday the vote counting could proceed, denying a request by Republican incumbent Bruce Poliquin to stop it.
It’s the first House race decided by a system known as ranked choice or instant runoff voting.
The result marks another pickup for Democrats and completes a rout of northeastern Republicans in the House.
The supervisor of elections in Florida’s Palm Beach County said there’s a “very slim” likelihood her office will complete a recount by the legally mandated 3pm deadline, according to the Associated Press.
Susan Bucher said the likely failure to meet the deadline wasn’t “for lack of human effort.”
She blamed aging equipment.
The deadline is looming for a recount in the races for U.S. Senate and governor. Republicans narrowly lead both races.
Politico is reporting that Democratic governor candidate Andrew Gillum is unlikely to concede, even though the machine recount is likely to make Republican Ron DeSantis the winner with a margin large enough that a hand recount isn’t necessary.
The Senate race, meanwhile, is more likely to be close enough to go to a hand recount.
Republican Rep. Tom Reed says he and some other Republicans will back Nancy Pelosi for speaker if she agrees to rules reform.
“I would be willing, as a Republican on the floor of the House, to support a Speaker candidate, including Nancy Pelosi, who supports these rule reforms,” Reed said Thursday, the Hill reported. “There are other members that are as committed as I am to this on the Republican side that are willing to do that.”
Pelosi is facing a revolt among a small portion of her caucus that does not want her to return as speaker. She said Thursday she does not want Republican support to put her over the top.
A federal judge refused Thursday to toss criminal charges against a Russian company accused by special counsel Robert Mueller of funding a disinformation campaign during the 2016 presidential election.
The company, Concord Management and Consulting LLC, was indicted along with 13 Russian individuals for running a campaign using fake online accounts to push false and divisive information, and sway the election in favor of Donald Trump.
Judge Dabney Friedrich refused Concord’s request to dismiss the indictment, Reuters reported.
The company - run by Russian businessman Evgeny Prigozhin, known in the Russian press as “Putin’s cook” - argued the actions it is accused of do not amount to a crime. But the judge wrote: “Concord cannot escape the fact that the course of deceptive conduct alleged is illegal,” according to Reuters.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley said Thursday that a bill to protect the job of special counsel Robert Mueller should get a vote.
“It’s legitimate that the bill be brought up,” the Iowa Republican said, the Hill reported. “It would satisfy me if it became law because I voted for it.”
Arizona Republican Jeff Flake is pushing the bill, but Majority Leader Mitch McConell has refused to allow a vote on the Senate floor. Flake has vowed not to vote for any of the dozens of pending judicial nominees until he gets a vote.
The bill previously passed the Judiciary Committee.
A federal judge refused Thursday to halt vote counting under Maine’s new election system, the Associated Press reports.
The ruling means a winner could soon be declared in the race for Maine’s House seat.
The Republican, Bruce Poliquin, sued challenging the constitutionality of ranked choice voting, which Maine used for the first time this year.
Poliquin was challenged for his seat by Democrat Jared Golden, a Marine Corps veteran, in the most expensive House race in the country.
The judge did not rule on the constitutionality of the voting system, but gave the green light for officials to run the numbers and determine a winner, per AP.
Ranked choice voting allows voters to rank multiple candidates in order of preference, instead of just voting for one person. If no candidate wins a majority, the candidate with the least votes is knocked out and their votes are shifted to the voter’s second choice. The process, also known as instant runoff voting, continues until someone get a majority.
Poliquin would have won a very narrow victory under a traditional voting system. But since neither he or his Democratic challenger got a majority, an instant runoff is needed to determine the winner.
Senator Bernie Sanders unveiled legislation on Thursday that would force retail giant Walmart to raise its minimum wage to $15 an hour as part of a campaign targeting US corporations to raise pay for employees and address what he called the “major economic crises in our country”.
The “Stop Walmart Act” is intended to pressure the world’s largest private employer, to pay its nearly 1 million works a “livable wage”.
“The truth is in today’s economy one cannot live in dignity on those wages,” Sanders said on a press call with reporters. He is joined in the effort by congressman Ro Khanna, a progressive from California.
“When we talk about corporate greed in this country, I think it’s fair to say that Walmart becomes the poster child,” Sanders added, noting that the company’s CEO Doug McMillon earned $22.8m during the last fiscal year.
Sanders frequently targets the Walton family, which owns Walmart, in speeches and rallies across the country. He noted on the call that the family has an estimated net worth of $180bn. After passage of the Republican tax law earlier this year, the company announced it was increasingly its hourly wages to $11 an hour.
The Walmart legislation follows a campaign targeting Amazon earlier this year. In October, CEO Jeff Bezos announced it would raise the minimum wage for all US-based employees to $15 an hour, which affected an estimated 250,000 full- and part-time workers and 100,000 seasonal workers.
“We listened to our critics, thought hard about what we wanted to do, and decided we want to lead,” Bezos said.
The federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour.
Nancy Pelosi addresses leadership challenge
House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi said Thursday she has “overwhelming support” from her party to become speaker of the House.
“I intend to win the speakership with Democratic votes,” she said at a press conference. “I have overwhelming support in my caucus to be speaker.”
After a number of newly-elected Democratic representatives ran campaigns promising not to back Pelosi, 17 Democrats have signed a letter saying they won’t vote for her on the House floor, CNN reported.
Pelosi said she would “never” accept Republican support to get her over the top.
To potential challengers, like Ohio Rep. Marcia Fudge, she said, “Come on in, the water’s warm.”
Pelosi said she understood why some Democrats running in tough districts disavowed her, but left open the possibility sexism was driving some of the opposition.
Republican ran ads attacking her with “mischaracterizations,” she said.
“It makes it hard on the candidates,” she said. “They’re running for the first time, many of them, and they really need to focus” on their own campaigns.
When asked if sexism was driving the opposition, she said, “You know I have never gone to that place,” but noted the “14 men who are on that letter” out of the 17 signers.
“You’d have to ask them,” she said. “If in fact there is any misogyny involved in it, it’s their problem, not mine.”
Potential House Speaker candidate Marcia Fudge said Thursday she is “overwhelmed” by support from fellow Democrats urging her to challenge Nancy Pelosi.
“Over the last 12 hours, I’ve been overwhelmed by the amount of support I’ve received,” she told the Washington Post, saying there are “probably closer to 30” Democrats who have indicated they are willing the oppose Pelosi, the longtime leader of Democrats in the House.
Fudge is an Ohio Congresswoman and former chair of the Congressional Black Caucus. Democrats opposing Pelosi have been urging her to run.
“That’s the future of our party, that’s the future of our country, and that’s exactly the kind of leader that I want to see as our next speaker,” Rep. Seth Moulton, a leader of the anti-Pelosi movement, told CNN Thursday.
Fudge told the Post she expects to make a decision on whether to run by the end of the week or over the Thanksgiving holiday.
“If we’re going to have a diverse party, it ought to look like the party … nobody wants the status quo. People are weary of who we are as a party,” she said.
A federal judge called Florida the “laughing stock of the world” for its voting woes, the Associated Press reports.
U.S. District Judge Mark Walker spoke during a hearing on whether to extend the deadline at 3pm today to complete recounts in the Senate and governor’s races.
Florida has a history of “razor thin” elections, yet Palm Beach County delayed purchasing enough voting machines to handle a recount, Walker noted, per AP.
He said Florida has been “the laughing stock of the world election after election and we chose not to fix this.”
Rick Scott challenges judge's ruling on rejected ballots
Rick Scott’s Senate campaign is appealing the ruling earlier Thursday to give voters whose ballots were rejected two more days to fix the problem.
Scott, who is Florida’s sitting governor, currently has a narrow lead over incumbent Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson. A recount is underway, with results due Thursday afternoon. A judge ruled earlier Thursday that thousands of voters whose ballots were rejected because their signatures did not match should have until Saturday to prove their identities and get their votes counted.
Adult film actress Stormy Daniels says she will dump Michael Avenatti as her lawyer if domestic violence allegations against him prove true.
Avenatti was arrested Wednesday in Los Angeles and says the charges are false. The lawyer is best known for representing Daniels, who says she had a sexual encounter with Donald Trump and was paid off to keep silent about it during the 2016 presidential campaign.
“These are serious and very troubling allegations, but right now that is all they are: allegations,” Daniels said in a statement to New York Magazine.
She said she would reserve judgment until an investigation is complete, but added, “If these allegations prove true I will be seeking new representation.”
Nevada Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto is expected to be appointed chair of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, Politico reports.
Cortez Masto is a freshman Democrat and the position could be announced as soon as Thursday.
Sen. Bill Nelson’s election lawyer Marc Elias reacts to this morning’s court ruling giving thousands of voters whose ballots were rejected because their signatures didn’t match time to correct the problem:
“Today’s decision is a victory for the people of Florida and for the Nelson campaign as we pursue our goal of making sure every legal ballot is counted. The court’s ruling impacts thousands of ballots, and that number will likely increase as larger counties like Broward add their ballots to the total pool which can be cured. We are taking several steps to ensure the rights of every Floridian are protected, and this is one major step forward.”
Donald Trump and North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un will meet for a second time next year, Vice President Mike Pence said Thursday.
The US will not require North Korea to provide a complete list of its nuclear weapons and missile sites before the summit. Pence told NBC News.
The meeting, planned for early 2019, will aim to develop a “verifiable plan” to disclose the weapons sites, he told the network. “I think it will be absolutely imperative in this next summit that we come away with a plan for identifying all of the weapons in question, identifying all the development sites, allowing for inspections of the sites and the plan for dismantling nuclear weapons,” Pence said.
John Kerry: 'We cannot have a truculent child president'
Former Secretary of State John Kerry tore into Donald Trump as a “truculent child president” during a visit to the UK Thursday.
On BBC Radio 4’s Today, he criticized Trump for failing to attend a key Armistice Day commemoration ceremony in Paris last weekend.
“I was appalled that rain drops prevented the president from going to pay honor to those that died in rain, gas, snow and mud. That was the reason he came to Paris,” Kerry said. “People are tired of the embarrassment of what took place in Paris in the last few days. We cannot have a truculent child president. We need something serious.”
Trump: Mueller investigation a 'disgrace to our nation'
Donald Trump has more feelings about the Mueller investigation this morning, calling it a “total mess” and a “disgrace to our nation.”
The probe’s fate has been cast into doubt since Trump fired Attorney General Jeff Sessions and replaced him with loyalist Matt Whitaker.
For good measure, Trump threw in a fresh attack on the press.
In an interview with French TV network TF1, Macron added, ““At each important moment in our history we have been allies, and between allies there is respect and I do not want to hear the rest.”
Thousands of voters given time to correct signature problems
There’s a new twist this morning in Florida’s dramatic election recount: A federal judge ruled early Thursday that at least 4,000 voters whose ballots were rejected because their signatures did not match will get two days to correct the problem.
The Washington Post reports that Judge Mark Walter in US district court in Tallahassee made the ruling hours before a Thursday afternoon deadline for election officials to complete a machine recount of ballots in two races – the Senate race between Rick Scott and Bill Nelson, and the governor’s race between Ron DeSantis and Andrew Gillum.
More than 4,000 mail-in or provisional ballots were rejected in 45 counties because the voter’s signature on the ballot did not match up with their signature in other state records, according to the Post.
The judge ruled that the signature match rule was applied unlawfully because voters were given no chance to correct the discrepancy and prove their identity. Now, they’ll have until Saturday at 5pm to fix the problem and get their votes counted.
“Here, potentially thousands of voters have been deprived of the right to cast a legal vote – and have that vote counted – by an untrained canvassing board member based on an arbitrary determination that their respective signatures did not match,” Walter wrote, according to the Post.