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Trump flying in for last-ditch rally to save Louisiana GOP governor candidate with ‘really bad’ vote returns

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Republicans suffered a major blow in Kentucky after Gov. Matt Bevin, a firm ally of President Donald Trump, was defeated by Democratic state Attorney General Andy Beshear — despite the president’s efforts to help the GOP, culminating in a massive rally in Lexington on the eve of the election.

Now, according to Politico, GOP strategists are worried that a similar outcome could happen in Louisiana, where conservative Democrat John Bel Edwards will stand for re-election on Saturday against Trump-loving businessman Eddie Rispone.

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Ahead of a planned Trump rally on Thursday for Rispone, the RNC is dumping an extra $1 million into turnout efforts, as polls show Edwards with a slight lead.

“Clearly Democrats are more energized than they were in the primary,” said Louisiana pollster John Couvillon, who often works with Republicans. “I think the odds are better for Edwards in the runoff than I thought they were on primary night.” And GOP strategist Roy Fletcher called the early voting returns “really bad news for Rispone,” adding that only a surge of rural turnout on Election Night will save him.

Edwards was elected in a landslide with cross-party support in 2015 as Republicans bolted from their unpopular and scandal-plagued nominee, former Sen. David Vitter. He is the only Democrat to flip the governorship of a Deep South state during President Barack Obama’s administration, and one of his first acts was to expand Medicaid. As Republicans have a hammerlock on the state legislature, Edwards has acquired a reputation for bipartisanship and culturally conservative positions on abortion and guns, and has boasted that he has a positive working relationship with Trump. Nevertheless, Louisiana is a deeply Republican state, giving the GOP their best chance to pick up a governorship until the 2020 election.

Louisiana elections are held in two stages, with a “jungle” primary in which all Democrats and Republicans run on the same ballot, and then a runoff between the top two candidates if no one wins an outright majority.

During the primary, Edwards looked particularly vulnerable, as African-American turnout declined sharply from 2015. But the early vote returns for the runoff show Black voters turning out at much higher rates, casting 31 percent of early ballots — roughly what Edwards would need to win. The University of Virginia’s Center for Politics has moved the race from Toss-up to Leans Democratic.

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The race is still close, and experts broadly agree Rispone still has a path to victory. But the GOP — still wounded by their loss in Kentucky — want to take no chances.


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As coronavirus seizes the state, Florida hospitals are in panic mode

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As Florida experiences a surge in coronavirus cases, the residents of the state are facing obstacles like overwhelmed hospitals and a looming shortage in beds.

This article first appeared in Salon.

There are 47,663 hospital beds in the state right now with 11,782 available (meaning a remaining capacity of 19.82 percent) and a total staffed bed capacity of 59,445, according to the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration's Hospital Bed Capacity Dashboard. The state Department of Health also reported on Friday that, out of 95,300 individuals who received coronavirus test results over the course of the previous day, 11,433 tested positive for COVID-19 (all but 90 of whom were Florida residents), meaning that more than 12 percent of the new cases had positive test results. The state also reported 93 new deaths due to COVID-19. (Salon reached out to the Florida Department of Health for comment on this story.)

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2020 Election

The GOP is a suicide cult

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Welcome to another edition of What Fresh Hell?, Raw Story’s roundup of news items that might have become controversies under another regime, but got buried – or were at least under-appreciated – due to the daily firehose of political pratfalls, unhinged tweet storms and other sundry embarrassments coming out of the current White House.

Back in March, we argued that Donald Trump had become the charismatic leader of the dumbest suicide cult ever. There were fewer than 500 confirmed cases of Covid-19 at the time, but it wasn't difficult to see the trajectory we were on at even that early date. At the time, we were commenting on the President's* repeated claims that the whole thing was a big hoax and polls showing that Democrats were twice as likely as Republicans to say they were taking steps to avoid becoming infected.

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Trump has committed at least 11 disgraceful acts just since April: conservative

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On Saturday, writing for The Washington Post, conservative columnist Max Boot outlined all of the chaos President Donald Trump has caused just in the last three months — arguing that "he has disgraced the nation’s highest office as no previous occupant has come close to doing."

"Think about all that has happened since April 5," wrote Boot. "That was before security forces attacked peaceful protesters in Lafayette Square so that Trump could stage a bizarre photo-op. Before he pushed to send the armed forces into the streets. Before he embraced 'white power' and called Black Lives Matter 'a symbol of hate.' Before he vowed to veto the defense authorization bill to prevent the renaming of military bases named after Confederate generals. Before he used the novel coronavirus as an excuse to shut down immigration and threatened to revoke the visas of college students unable to attend classes in the fall."

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