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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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California lawmaker who chaired Republican Assembly caucus leaving GOP — to become an independent: report

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On Thursday, the Sacramento Bee reported that California Assemblyman Chad Mayes, the former Assembly Minority Leader, is leaving the Republican Party and registering as No Party Preference.

"Instead of focusing on solutions for the big problems that we've got, we focused on winning elections," said Mayes in his announcement. "For me, I'm at the point in my life where I'm done with gamesmanship."

Mayes, a controversial figure who was implicated in an affair with a fellow public official, represents Yucca Valley. He is the second Republican Assemblyman this year to leave the party, after Brian Maienschein of San Diego, who Maienschein of San Diego.

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‘Quantum physics generator’ incident in Ohio results in evacuation — hazmat found no radiation

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Authorities in Columbus, Ohio evacuated dozens of homes after a man called 911 to report being burned by a

"Firefighters say nothing threatening was found in a northwest Columbus garage," WCMH-TV reported. "According to firefighters, a man called and reported that he received ‘RF burns’ while building some sort of ‘quantum physics generator’ in a garage. The man used words like ‘particle accelerator,’ ‘alpha rays,’ and ‘radiation’ while describing how he was burned."

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Trump spoke with Giuliani on unsecured phones that were vulnerable to Russian surveillance: report

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On Thursday, the Washington Post reported that President Donald Trump has communicated with his lawyer Rudy Giuliani via unsecured and unencrypted phone lines that are potentially vulnerable to interception and monitoring by Russian intelligence officials and other hostile foreign powers.

"Trump is not identified by name in the House phone records, but investigators said they suspect he may be a person with a blocked number listed as '-1' in the files," stated the report. "And administration officials said separately that Trump has communicated regularly with Giuliani on unsecured lines."

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