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Democrats have improved their Senate odds — but here's how Republicans could still pull off a victory
On Friday, writing for The New York Times, Lauren Leatherby and Jonathan Weisman outlined the current state of play for control of the U.S. Senate in the November midterm elections. The upshot is that Democrats are in a better position than they were several months ago, but that there are still clear paths to Republicans getting the 51 seats they need to taking over Senate control — something that would require them to gain only one net seat.
"Earlier this year, Senator Raphael Warnock, a Democrat in Georgia, had been considered one of the Senate’s most vulnerable Democrats as he took on Herschel Walker, a scandal-prone Republican backed by former President Donald J. Trump," they wrote — only for the race to be upended by Walker's abortion scandal. Meanwhile, "A Democratic seat in Arizona may have at one point been vulnerable. But the enduring popularity of the incumbent, Mark Kelly, and the faltering campaign of his challenger, Blake Masters, may put it out of Republican reach." In Pennsylvania, Democratic Lt. Gov. John Fetterman is maintaining his lead, if somewhat diminished, against celebrity TV host Dr. Mehmet Oz — and polls also indicate a potential "sleeper" race in North Carolina between Democratic former state justice Cheri Beasley and GOP Rep. Ted Budd.
One place Democrats have not been able to put away their opponent is Nevada, where former GOP attorney general Adam Laxalt has posted margin-of-error polling leads against Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto — but, they note, he "has yet to open a clear lead" and polls in Nevada have underestimated Democratic strength before. Also an issue for Democrats is Wisconsin, where notorious conspiracy theorist GOP Sen. Ron Johnson is "hanging tough against Wisconsin’s lieutenant governor, Mandela Barnes, who comes from the Democrats’ liberal wing and has proven vulnerable to attack, especially on crime."
All this means that Republicans still have a couple of ways they can defeat Democrats for the majority — if a few things go their way.
"Republicans still have plenty of ways to win Senate control," they wrote. "They could beat Senator Catherine Cortez Masto in Nevada and push Senator Raphael Warnock to a runoff in Georgia. They could overwhelm the Georgia race with cash to rescue Mr. Warnock's opponent, Herschel Walker. They could also pull off a come-from-behind win in Pennsylvania."
"But Democrats have options as well," they concluded. "If they can seal a victory in Pennsylvania and defeat Senator Ron Johnson in Wisconsin, it’s hard to see a way for Republicans to take three Democratic seats to compensate."
In a segment on CNN's New Day" on Friday morning, host Brianna Keilar and correspondent Isaac Dovere name-checked Republican members of Congress who have been privately begging for funding from President Joe Biden's massive infrastructure bill while at the same time complaining in public about the evils of socialism.
With a graphic scrolling behind them that included the names of Sens. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Rand Paul (R-KY), John Thune(R-SD), as well as Reps. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) and Paul Gosar (R-AZ), among others, the two noted the hypocrisy of railing against Biden's plan while trying to reap the political benefits back home with voters.
According to Keilar, "WhenPpresident Biden signed the $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Bill into law last November he faced major backlash from some Republican lawmakers. Now many of those same Republicans are asking for money from the exact plan that they criticized as socialism."
"We're talking about dozens of Republicans who voted no, labeled it socialism in some cases, and now still want the money," the CNN host prompted Dovere.
"Right, dozens who wrote in letters that they wrote privately, obviously in their official capacity to the Department of Transportation, to Pete Buttigieg, the secretary there, saying, 'hey, as long as that money is there, that wouldn't be there if not for this bill, there are some grants in there that would benefit things in our districts and we think you should consider those grants. We'd like for some of that money to be given to our district for projects that they think are critical.'"
"But, of course, that was an argument the administration was making about all of the things that were in there, saying we need that money, it's critical, and that's why the money needs to be voted for," he continued.
"Gain, this money that [Republican] Tom Emmer, for example, a congressman from Minnesota, the head of the House Republicans Campaign Committee called it a 'socialist wish list' is full of things that members of Congress who voted against it then put i in their wish list for."
"It is intellectually inconsistent what we're seeing here. How are they explaining it?" host Keilar asked.
"They say as long as the money is there they might as well ask for it," he explained. " They say, some of them say we supported 20% of the bill but you couldn't ask us to vote for a bill that we disagreed with 80% of the things in there. But it still comes back to the fact that none of that money would be there if their way had been what had happened. That money is only there because the bill passed with some bipartisan support in the Senate and some in the House -- very limited though, very few Republican votes for this, even among these Republicans who decided there was enough there worth asking for."
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Indicted Proud Boys leaders should be 'nervous' after new 'game-changer' in federal court: legal expert
Reacting to a guilty plea from a senior Proud Boy leader Jeremy Bertino, 43, of Belmont, N.C. on Thursday on charges of seditious conspiracy in the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, CNN legal analyst Joh Miller agreed with a CNN host that the arrest of the leadership should be very nervous about their own upcoming trials.
As the Washington Post reported, Bertino has "agreed to cooperate with the Justice Department against [Enrique] Tarrio and four other Proud Boys leaders with ties to influential Donald Trump supporters Roger Stone and Alex Jones," whose trials are scheduled for December.
According to CNN's Miller, this a massive problem for the other indicted Proud Boys and the lawyers.
Asked how the guilty plea and how "it might impact the investigation," by "New Day" host Brianna Keilar, Miller explained, "In a big way."
"You have a trial coming up where he is one of the defendants but you also have the leader of the Proud Boys and others on trial," he continued. "This is a game changer for prosecutors. They have tapes, they have videos, they have social media communications. But the defense is going to be, it doesn't sound like what it means, it doesn't mean what it sounds like."
"When you have an insider, particularly one in leadership who says let me tell what you that conversation was about and let me tell you what happened in conversations that weren't captured, it really puts a dent in the defense's ability to try to reinterpret those," he elaborated.
'If you're the other Proud Boys or people on this, are you more nervous than yesterday?" co-host John Berman pressed.
"Yes, you are," Miller stated. "And it just creates a different challenge for the defense. Now the defense has to make a liar out of Bortino if they're going to dent his credibility."
Watch below or at this link.
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