Chicken Fried Politics

LATEST COVERAGE

DECISION ’18: FEDERAL JUDGE STOPS GEORGIA FROM CERTIFYING ELECTION RESULTS UNTIL FRIDAY

Abrams

Kemp

U.S. District Judge Amy Totenberg delayed the state’s certification of results until at least Friday at 5 p.m. to give voters who cast provisional ballots in the November 6 election more time to validate their registration information so that their votes can count. The ruling extends for at least two more days Democrat Stacey Abrams’s slender hope of forcing her race against Republican Brian Kemp for governor into a runoff, despite daunting math that indicates her effort is unlikely to succeed. Meanwhile, a different federal judge ordered elections officials in suburban Gwinnett County to stop rejecting absentee ballots with incorrect or missing birth dates. The 7th U.S. House District, in which incumbent Republican Rob Woodall holds a small lead over Democrat Carolyn Bourdeaux, is centered in Gwinnett. (Posted November 13)

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DECISION ’18: LAWSUITS FLY AS FLORIDA READIES TO RECOUNT 3 RAZOR-CLOSE STATEWIDE RACES

Eighteen years after the nation was transfixed by a vote recount in the presidential race in Florida, state officials are bracing for recounts in three statewide races, including contests for U.S. Senate and governor — a process that has already become contentious before it has even begun. The Senate candidates, Republican Governor Rick Scott and Democratic U.S. Senator Bill Nelson, have already filed lawsuits over the election process. Meanwhile, the Democratic candidate for governor, Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum has walked back the concession he made on election night to Republican Ron DeSantis, after subsequent returns from Broward and Palm Beach counties narrowed DeSantis and Scott’s leads. President Donald Trump also weighed in Friday, calling the election process in Broward and Palm Beach counties “a disgrace” and suggesting he might have the federal government intervene. (Posted November 9)

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DECISION ’18: REPUBLICAN KAREN HANDEL’S HARD-WON STAY IN CONGRESS COMES TO A SWIFT END

McBath

Handel

In April 2017, Handel, after twice losing races for statewide office, had arrived at the promised land, at end of a very long road. She won a special election to fill Georgia’s 6th District U.S. House seat, narrowly defeating Democratic newcomer Jon Ossoff after $50 million was spent in a race fueled by Democratic anger over the election of Donald Trump. Her future seemed assured in the 6th, anchored in Atlanta’s wealthy northern suburbs and previously held by former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and former U.S. Rep. Tom Price. When Ossoff decided not to challenge Handel again in the midterm election, her seat seemed secure — until Tuesday’s midterm election, when Handel lost her seat to Democrat Lucy McBath, who didn’t have Handel’s political pedigree but did have a compelling personal story and an issue, gun control. (Posted November 8)

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DECISION ’18: DEMOCRATS FAIL TO DENT REPUBLICANS’ SOUTHERN DOMINANCE IN MIDTERMS

The big, blue wave that Democrats hoped would carry them to a breakthrough in the South crashed into the Republican’s big, red wall in Tuesday’s midterm elections. Republicans won the high-profile governor’s race in Florida and held a lead in Georgia, easily defended U.S. Senate seats in Texas and Tennessee and appear to have ousted Democratic U.S. Senator Bill Nelson in Florida. The lone bright spot for Democrats in statewide races was in West Virginia, where U.S. Senator Joe Manchin held his seat. Democrats did flip at least eight Republican-held U.S. House seats, ousting three incumbents in Virginia and winning a seat in Oklahoma that they had not won in more than 40 years. Four House seats are still too close to call, with Republicans leading in three of them. (Posted November 7)

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ELECTION PREVIEW: 4 SOUTHERN RACES COULD HELP DETERMINE CONTROL OF U.S. SENATE

O’Rourke

Cruz

With control of the U.S. Senate hanging in the balance, voters in four Southern states will decide hotly contested races in Tuesday’s midterm elections. Republicans are defending seats in Texas and Tennessee that have turned out to be much more competitive than expected in two very Republican states. Meanwhile, Democratic incumbents are defending turf in Florida and West Virginia, states which President Donald Trump carried in 2016. In Texas, Republican U.S. Senator Ted Cruz is seeking a second term against Democratic U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke, who has raised $70 million and sparked the imagination of Democratic activists around the country. (Posted November 4)

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ELECTION PREVIEW: DEMOCRATS HOPE TO MAKE HISTORY IN 2 SOUTHERN GOVERNOR’S RACES

Abrams

Gillum

Eight Southern governorships are on the ballot in Tuesday’s midterm elections, highlighted by close and contentious races in Florida and Georgia that have garnered national attention. Democrats are hoping to make history in Florida, where Andrew Gillum could become the Sunshine State’s first African-American governor, and Georgia, where Stacey Abrams could become the first black female governor in U.S. history. However, Democrats haven’t won a governor’s race in either state in 20 years, and polls show both races are toss-ups. (Posted November 4)

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ELECTION PREVIEW: DEMOCRATS TRY TO LOOSEN GOP GRIP ON SOUTHERN U.S. HOUSE SEATS

Tuesday’s midterm elections will answer the question of whether the Republican’s big, blue Southern wall that has been the linchpin of their U.S. House majority holds, or if Democrats reverse a decade of disappointment and eat away at GOP dominance in the South. Republicans currently hold a 112-to-40 advantage across the region, but at least 31 GOP-held seats are on the Democrats’ radar for possible takeaways in 2018, many in traditionally Republican suburbs stretching from Dallas and Atlanta to Miami and Washington, D.C. (Posted November 3)

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2nd FLORIDA GOVERNOR’S DEBATE FEATURES “HAMILTON” FLAP, PERSONAL INVECTIVE

DeSantis, Gillum meet for second debate (Courtesy WPBF)

The candidates vying to be Florida’s next governor turned up the political temperature, engaging in a personal, verbal slugfest that included allegations of lying, corruption and the spelling out of a racial slur on statewide television. In their second and final debate, Democrat Andrew Gillum was forced to explain how he wound up accepting a pricey Broadway ticket from an undercover FBI agent, while Republican Ron DeSantis got into an argument with a moderator who tried to ask him about appearances he made to a group whose members have expressed anti-Muslim and racist views. (Posted October 24)

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Watch full debate on C-SPAN

GEORGIA GOVERNOR’S DEBATE: KEMP, ABRAMS SPAR OVER CHARGES OF VOTER SUPPRESSION

Abrams and Kemp square off in first debate (Courtesy GPB)

In the first debate of Georgia’s hotly contested governor’s race, Republican Secretary of State Brian Kemp said his office has “absolutely not” tried to deliberately disenfranchise minority voters to gain an edge for his campaign. But his Democratic challenger, Stacey Abrams, said that by purging voters from the registration rolls and holding up new registrations, Kemp has created “an atmosphere of fear” for potential voters. (Posted October 23)

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Watch full debate on GPB

FLORIDA GOVERNOR’S DEBATE: GILLUM, DESANTIS JOUST OVER RACISM, CORRUPTION AND TRUMP

Gillum and DeSantis meet for first debate in Tampa (Courtesy CNN)

Meeting in their first face-to-face debate, Democrat Andrew Gillum and Republican Ron DeSantis disagreed as expected on hot-button issues such as immigration and taxes — but they threw their sharpest elbows over charges of racism and very divergent views of President Donald Trump. Gillum accused DeSantis of trying “to draw all the attention he can to the color of my skin,” a charge DeSantis denied. When DeSantis said Gillum’s support for Trump’s impeachment would hobble his ability to represent Florida’s interests in Washington, Gillum doubled down, calling the president “weak” and a “bully.” (Posted October 21)

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Watch full debate on YouTube

INSIGHT: DONNA SHALALA POISED TO FOLLOW HILLARY PLAYBOOK IN LOSING UNLOSEABLE RACE

By Rich Shumate, ChickenFriedPolitics.com editor

On paper, Florida’s 27th U.S. House District should be an easy layup for Democrats in 2018. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen is retiring, Hillary Clinton carried the district by 20 points, and younger Cuban voters have been showing less fealty to the GOP in recent election than did their ferociously anti-communist elders. Yet, despite all that, when the smoke clears on November 6, there is a very good chance that the new congresswoman from the 27th District will be a Republican, and a race Democrats thought they couldn’t lose will be lost. So what happened? Donna Shalala, whose blundering campaign and lack of connection to Latino voters may have squandered a prime pickup opportunity. (Posted October 19)

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TEXAS U.S. SENATE DEBATE: CRUZ, O’ROURKE SPAR OVER HEALTH CARE, TAXES — AND TRUMP

O’Rourke and Cruz debate (Courtesy KENS)

Meeting to face-to-face for the second and likely last time, Republican U.S. Senator Ted Cruz and his Democratic challenger, U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke, sparred over immigration and border security, energy policy, health care, abortion, tax cuts and, no surprise, President Trump, who is about to bring his rally roadshow to Texas on Cruz’s behalf. Throughout the October 16 debate in San Antonio, Cruz painted O’Rourke as an extremist beholden to “left-wing national activists” who supports “socialized medicine” and whose views are out of step with most conservative Texans. O’Rourke, in turn, accused Cruz of being “all talk and no action” and more interested in his national political ambitions and the welfare of corporate interests than representing the people of his state in the Senate. (Posted October 16)

Watch full debate on Twitter

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TRUMP TRAVELS TO THE KENTUCKY BLUEGRASS TO STUMP FOR GOP U.S. REP. ANDY BARR

The president came to Richmond for one of his Make America Great Again rallies in the commonwealth’s 6th U.S. House District, where Barr is in a political dogfight with his Democratic challenger, political newcomer Amy McGrath. Trump blasted McGrath as an “extreme liberal” who was “chosen by Nancy Pelosi, Maxine Waters … and the radical Democrat mob.” In response, McGrath released a one-sentence statement to the media: “Mr. President, you clearly don’t know me. Yet.”

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BLACKBURN, BREDESEN CLASH OVER IMMIGRATION, GUNS, KAVANAUGH IN U.S. SENATE DEBATE

Click photo to watch full debate (Courtesy: Nexstar Broadcasting)

With polls showing a tight U.S. Senate race in Tennessee, Republican U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn and former Democratic Governor Phil Bredesen tangled over health care, immigration, gun rights and the Supreme Court nomination of Brett Kavanaugh in their second and final debate. Throughout the October 10 event at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, Blackburn sought to tie Bredesen to Hillary Clinton and other national Democrats; Bredesen insisted he would act “independently” in the Senate. (Posted October 11)

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U.N. AMBASSADOR NIKKI HALEY WILL LEAVE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION AT YEAR’S END

Haley with Trump at the White House (White House pool)

Haley, the former South Carolina governor, made the surprise announcement at the White House sitting next to the man who appointed her, President Donald Trump, who told reporters that Haley has “done an incredible job.” Haley said that after six years as governor and two years in the U.N. post, she wanted to leave government service and return to private life, although she did not announce any specific plans. But she did rule out a White House run in 2020, saying she plans to campaign for Trump. (Posted October 10)

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TAYLOR SWIFT SENDS BAD BLOOD MARSHA BLACKBURN’S WAY; REPUBLICANS SHAKE IT OFF

Taylor Swift

In an Instagram endorsement of two Democratic candidates,  Swift, a long-time Tennessee resident who rarely enters the political fray, said the voting record of Republican U.S. Senate candidate  Marsha Blackburn “appalls and terrifies me” The National Republican Senatorial Committee shot back, characterizing Swift as a “multimillionaire pop star” who “came down from her ivory tower to tell hardworking Tennesseans” how to vote. President Donald Trump said he likes Swift’s music “25 percent less” after her comments. (Posted October 8)

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WEST VIRGINIA U.S. SENATOR JOE MANCHIN BREAKS RANKS TO SUPPORT BRETT KAVANAUGH

Joe Manchin

Manchin said he would support Kavanaugh’s nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court despite “reservations” because of accusations of sexual assault leveled against President Trump’s embattled nominee. Manchin, the only Democrat to break ranks to support Kavanaugh, called him “a qualified jurist who will follow the Constitution and determine cases based on the legal findings before him.” Four other Southern Democrats — Mark Warner and Tim Kaine of Virginia, Bill Nelson of Florida, and Doug Jones of Alabama — voted no. (Posted October 6)

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INSIGHT: SOUTHERN REPUBLICANS FIND THEMSELVES PLAYING DEFENSE IN 2018 U.S HOUSE RACES

♦By Rich Shumate, ChickenFriedPolitics.com editor

A month away from the 2018 midterm election, Republicans in the South are finding themselves in a situation they haven’t faced in several election cycles — playing defense in U.S. House races. Currently, at least 30 seats are either highly or potentially competitive across the 14 Southern states. And not one of those seats is now held by a Democrat. This fluid situation stands in stark contrast to 2016, when Democrats managed to take away just two seats anywhere in the South, and in 2014, when Democrats suffered a net loss of three seats. (Posted October 6)

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TENNESSEE DEMOCRATIC SENATE CANDIDATE BREDESEN SAYS HE WON’T SUPPORT SCHUMER

Bredesen

Former Governor Phil Bredesen has announced that if elected to an open U.S. Senate seat, he won’t support Chuck Schumer of New York to continue as his party’s Senate leader. Bredesen, locked in a close race with GOP U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn, told a debate audience that “I think a lot of the problem in Washington is with the leadership that we have there now. Whether it be (House Speaker Paul) Ryan or (House Minority Leader Nancy) Pelosi or (Senate Majority Leader Mitch) McConnell or Schumer, they’re not doing the job,” Bredensen said. (Posted September 27)

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(Posted September26/Source: Tennesseean via YouTube)

DEBATE WATCH: TEXAS U.S SENATE, TED CRUZ (R) VS. BETO O’ROURKE (D)


(Posted September 22/Source: NBC via YouTube)

POLL: TED CRUZ HOLDS 9-POINT LEAD OVER BETO O’ROURKE IN TEXAS U.S. SENATE RACE

Ted Cruz

A new poll of likely voters shows that Democratic hopes — and Republican fears — of a competitive race this November may be overblown. A Quinnipiac University poll found that the Republican incumbent, Cruz, held a 54 to 45 percent lead over O’Rourke, his Democratic challenger, which was outside the poll’s margin of error. Women and voters who classify themselves as independents were evenly divided between the two candidates, but men favored Cruz by 15 points, and he led by 34 points among white voters. (Posted September 21)

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U.S. REP. RALPH NORMAN’S JOKE ABOUT RUTH BADER GINSBURG GETTING GROPED DRAWS FIRE

Norman

The South Carolina Republican, who pulled out a loaded gun while meeting constituents back in May, is facing fresh criticism for his humorous take on sexual assault allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brent Kavanaugh. Norman told a debate audience that “Ruth Bader Ginsburg came out that she was groped by Abraham Lincoln.” Norman’s Democratic opponent, Archie Parnell — who resisted pressure to leave the race after admitting he was “violent” with an ex-wife — accused Norman of treating sexual assault as a “joke.” (Posted September 21)

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NOMINEES FOR FLORIDA GOVERNOR SETTLE ON NUÑEZ, KING AS THEIR RUNNING MATES

Chris King

Jeanette Nuñez

The Republican nominee for governor, U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis, picked State Rep. Jeanette Nuñez, a Cuban-American legislator from Miami. The Democratic nominee, Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, picked Chris King, an Orlando businessman who ran against him in the primary. The selection of Nuñez is noteworthy because of her previous criticism of President Donald Trump, a close ally of DeSantis whom she once described as a “con man.” Asked about her anti-Trump comments after her selection, Nuñez said, “It is what it is.” (Posted September 6)

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PANEL OF JUDGES HEARING NORTH CAROLINA REDISTRICTING CASE WON’T IMPOSE NEW MAP

Less than a week after threatening to throw North Carolina’s congressional election into chaos by redrawing its electoral map, a panel of three federal judges has reversed course and decided not to move forward with a redraw before November. In a September 4 order, the judges decided that there wasn’t enough time to draw a new map and that altering the current election schedule would confuse voters. The order puts on hold a August 27 decision striking down the map drawn by North Carolina’s Republican-controlled legislature as an unconstitutional gerrymander designed to disadvantage Democrats.  (Posted September 6)

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KENTUCKY GOVERNOR MATT BEVIN ANNOUNCES HE WILL SEEK SECOND TERM IN 2019

Bevin

After months of being tight-lipped about his political plans, Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin says he will run for re-election in 2019, amid the fallout from a teachers’ strike earlier this year that roiled state politics. His decision sets up a possible battle with Democratic Attorney General Andy Beshear, who has used the powers of his office to become a significant thorn in the governor’s side. Bevin told a state GOP gathering in Lexington that “there was not a chance that I was going to walk away and leave the seeds that we’ve put in the ground to be trampled.” (Posted August 28)

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BLOW AGAINST GRAFT OR POWER GRAB? WEST VIRGINIA HOUSE IMPEACHES SUPREME COURT

The GOP-controlled House of Delegates voted to impeach the four remaining members of the state’s highest court over allegations of overspending and mismanagement — a move that could cement GOP control by allowing Governor Jim Justice to pick their replacements. The House approved 11 articles of impeachment against Chief Justice Margaret Workman and three other justices, sending the matter to the Senate for trail. One of the impeached justices, Robin Davis, promptly resigned to trigger a fall election and prevent the governor from appointing her successor. (Posted August 15)

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4 SOUTHERN CONGRESSMEN JOIN SHORT-LIVED EFFORT TO IMPEACH DEPUTY AG ROD ROSENSTEIN

Four Southern Republicans — Mark Meadows of North Carolina, Jody Hice of Georgia, Matt Gaetz of Florida and Scott DesJarlais of Tennessee — were part of a group of 11 Freedom Caucus members who introduced articles of impeachment against Rosenstein, who is overseeing the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election. But the effort quickly fizzled after running into opposition from House Speaker Paul Ryan and other GOP leaders. Now, instead, the group will seek to hold Rosenstein in contempt of Congress if the Justice Department does not fully comply with requests for documents about the Russia probe. (Posted July 27)

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KENTUCKY ATTORNEY GENERAL ANDY BESHEAR ANNOUNCES BID TO OUST GOVERNOR MATT BEVIN

Beshear at rally in Bowling Green (CFP/Rich Shumate)

Beshear, the first Democrat to enter the governor’s race, launched his campaign in a two-day swing across the commonwealth during which he took a dig at Bevin with a pledge to “set a standard for transparency and decency” in Frankfort. Beshear and Bevin have been at war — legally and rhetorically — since 2016, including a pending court fight over a pension reform bill that prompted thousands of public school teachers to protest at the State Capitol earlier this year. Reflecting the political potency of the education issue, Beshear selected as his running mate Jacqueline Coleman, 36, a civics teacher and high school basketball coach who was active in the protest movement. (Posted July 10)

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U.S. SUPREME COURT LETS GOP-DRAWN U.S. HOUSE MAPS STAND IN TEXAS AND NORTH CAROLINA

Republican legislators in Texas and North Carolina have both dodged a bullet after the U.S. Supreme Court refused to invalidate congressional maps in both states that lower courts had struck down as illegally gerrymandered. In the Texas case, the justices rejected a claim that state legislators impermissibly used race to draw electoral maps. In the North Carolina case, they vacated a lower court decision holding that the state’s map unconstitutionally diluted the voting strength of Democrats and ordered the case to be reconsidered. The high court’s decisions mean that neither state is likely to face a redraw in this election cycle and may be able to use the current maps until new maps are drawn after the 2020 census. (Posted June 26)

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BAYOU LOVE TANGLE: RUDY GIULIANI’S ROMANCE DRAGS TRUMP INTO LOUISIANA U.S. HOUSE RACE

Giuliani

Rudy Giuliani’s intervention on behalf of Josh Guillory, a challenger in a congressional primary in the Louisiana bayou who employs Giuliani’s new girlfriend as a fundraiser, has angered state GOP leaders and prompted President Trump’s re-election campaign to issue an endorsement of incumbent Republican U.S. Rep. Clay Higgins in the 3rd U.S. District. Jennifer LeBlanc, who Giuliani says he began seeing in May, worked for Higgins before changing camps. Giuliani is scheduled to headline a June 25 fundraiser for Guillory. (Posted June 23)

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