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Election Day is finally here͏‌  ͏‌  ͏‌  ͏‌  ͏‌  ͏‌ 
cloudy Washington
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thunderstorms Las Vegas
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November 7, 2022


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Steve Clemons
Steve Clemons

Good morning Washington! Good morning Las Vegas!

Well, today is Election Day and while my colleagues say Democrats are bracing for losses, I’m not sure how all of this will come out. I did speak to a leading Democratic U.S. Senator last evening who said he was feeling “pretty crappy.” Kadia Goba’s hearing the same on the House side.

But Washington has been surprised many times before. Remember “Dewey Defeats Truman”? Democracy is many things, and perhaps the most important is that we don’t know the outcome until after the votes are counted.

Joe Biden already voted so he will be hanging out at home today. Jake Sullivan is reassuring everyone that Republicans won’t tank Ukraine aid.

AND: Donald Trump, teasing a new campaign of his own, says that J.D. Vance “will never be owned by the establishment. He won’t be owned by me, unfortunately.”

PLUS: Kadia sends One Stressful Text to DNC Chairman Jaime Harrison.

Unlike Elon Musk, we won’t tell you who to vote for today, but we do think voting gives you standing in the ongoing debate about where the country is going. Thanks for getting out to vote if you haven’t done so (and are not one of our readers in the diplomatic corps), and for going with us on this journey.

We’ll be tracking the latest news throughout the evening, so please join us at Semafor.com

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White House: Biden, who already voted, has nothing on his public schedule on Election Day besides his morning national security briefing. He is expected to address the election in some form Wednesday but the White House has not committed to him holding a press conference. He acknowledged Monday evening that keeping the House under Democratic control would be “tough.”

Chuck Schumer: The majority leader, who is facing his own reelection, will be in New York today. The Schumer-aligned Senate Majority PAC spent $196 million on general election ads, per AdImpact, an ad-tracking firm.

Mitch McConnell: The minority leader is expected to be in D.C. for Election Day. The McConnell-aligned Senate Leadership Fund spent over $230 million this cycle, according to Open Secrets, more than any other outside group.

Nancy Pelosi: The Speaker will be in D.C. on Election Day. In her first interview since the violent attack on her husband, she told CNN the incident would affect how much longer she stays in Congress. “Well, I have to say, my decision will be affected about what happened the last week or two.”

Kevin McCarthy: The Republican Leader will be in D.C. on Election Day, safe from any last-minute presidential campaign reveals after Donald Trump declared he’ll make a big announcement in Mar-a-Largo next Tuesday.

The Map

Arizona: Republican Senate hopeful Blake Masters told the Wall Street Journal that he would like to see a leadership challenge to McConnell — saying the Senate needs “new leadership” — and that he would break with others in his party on funding for Ukraine.

Georgia: Sabato’s Crystal Ball at the University of Virginia shifted the Georgia Senate race between Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock and GOP challenger Herschel Walker from “toss up” to “leans Republican.”

Ohio: A new poll from the liberal polling firm Data for Progress has GOP Senate candidate J.D. Vance up 10 points over Democrat Tim Ryan among likely voters.

Pennsylvania: Sabato also moved Pennsylvania’s Senate race to “lean Republican” even as some recent polls have shown Democrat John Fetterman with a lead. On Monday. Fetterman received an endorsement from Michael Fanone, the D.C. police officer who was injured in the Capitol riot on Jan. 6, 2021.

Nevada: Sabato’s Crystal Ball also moved the Nevada Senate race between Democratic Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto and GOP challenger Adam Laxalt from “toss up” to “leans Democratic.”

Oregon: Democratic gubernatorial candidate Tina Kotek leads Republican Christine Drazan by four points among likely voters, according to a new Data for Progress poll.

Maryland: Biden offered his closing argument before a crowd at Bowie State University alongside Democrats who are safe bets to win their races tonight. He ran through his usual list of accomplishments and criticisms of the GOP, closing out with a warning about the risk to democracy posed by Republican “election deniers.”

Need To Know

The final Cook Political Report classifies 212 House seats as lean, likely or solid Republican, 187 seats as lean, likely or solid Democrat, and 36 as toss ups. Three districts were moved in Republicans’ direction: Florida’s 13th and 27th congressional districts and Texas’ 28th.

“There are many races that can go either way, and will be decided by small margins,” a Democratic House strategist told Semafor. “Unlike last cycle, Democrats are knocking doors to get out every vote, which will make a difference in close races.”

Meanwhile, Republicans are confident going into Election Day. “House Republicans remain laser focused on the messages that voters care about most and that’s positioned them for Election Day success,” a national GOP strategist told Semafor.

White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan insisted Monday that Republicans opposing more Ukraine aid would only represent a “distinct minority,” even post-election. “I believe there still is strong support on the Hill for delivering the necessary resources to Ukraine and I think you will not see these kinds of doomsday scenarios, that the purse strings will be pulled shut and it’s over. I just simply reject that,” Sullivan said during a Council on Foreign Relations event. Republican House Leader McCarthy, who last month cast doubt on approving more Ukraine funding, said in a new CNN interview that he supports Ukraine assistance but thinks there must be “accountability going forward.”

Beltway Newsletters

Punchbowl News: Democrats are bracing for losses in at least the House and that means that the finger-pointing is about to begin. The list of potential targets of a Democratic blame-game is long, per Punchbowl, but will include Biden, Obama, Pelosi, progressives, moderates, and the media.

Playbook: A Republican victory would make McCarthy ally and lobbyist Jeff Miller the “king of K Street,” writes Hailey Fuchs.

Axios: Democratic campaign committees held a call on Monday night to prepare “urgent messaging” in the event Republican candidates claim premature victories when votes are still coming in.

Kadia Goba

Democrats are considering ‘blowing up’ their leadership model

Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney listens as Speaker Nancy Pelosi offers remarks at the US Capitol
REUTERS/Rod Lamkey


House Democrats are already contemplating major changes to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee as recriminations begin before polls close.

In particular, some Democrats believe it was a mistake to put a frontline member, New York Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, in charge of the DCCC. Maloney’s race is currently rated a toss-up by Cook Political Report.

“I think the whole model can be blown up,” Rep. Cheri Bustos, who chaired the DCCC in 2020 and is not seeking re-election, told Semafor. “We could take a look at ‘Does it need to be a member of Congress?’ I’m not sure that just because we’ve done it this way for many, many cycles — had a member of Congress run the place — I don’t know if that’s the right model.”

Maloney faces a tough battle in NY-17 against New York State Assemblyman Mike Lawler and the DCCC has helped finance his race, to the chagrin of some members in vulnerable districts seeking funding as well. Some also thought Maloney faced a conflict of interest by running in a different district after the state adopted new maps, which put him in competition with fellow members.

“When the head of the DCCC is worried about their own race, they’re unable to think about protecting as many members in purple districts as possible,” a top aide to a progressive member said. “Democrats need a leader that can pay attention to the entire chess board.”

Maloney has argued that his experience facing competition gives him a better understanding of how to win. “Chairman Maloney knows the reality that mainstream swing district Democrats live every single day, because he is on the frontlines with them,” a spokesman for the DCCC told Semafor in a statement.

Reps. Ami Bera and Tony Cárdenas are eying the position for the 2024 cycle, we’re told. Both California members represent safe seats.


In more than two dozen interviews, I didn’t get the sense any Democrats wanted Maloney to lose. Several members and aides talked about the sensitivity of criticizing Maloney ahead of an election but lamented that Republicans were able to target a member of their leadership, which felt like a point of embarrassment.

But as someone who finds it difficult to multitask beyond driving and talking on the phone, I can’t imagine how a member of Congress has the bandwidth to run a competitive race that’s targeted by the other side, and effectively lead a club of 435 members. But I’m not a member of Congress and no one voted for me.


Maloney has some sympathy from former National Republican Campaign Committee chairs, who say there’s value in having a chair with skin in the game.

“You lose an important perspective that could be very helpful,” Tom Davis, who chaired the NRCC in the 2000 and 2002 cycles, told Semafor. “Safe seats only see the world one way.”

“I think it’s best to have the person who will be best equipped to lead the campaign committee both in the political decisions and the fundraising that’s necessary,” Tom Reynolds, NRCC chair in the 2004 and 2006 elections, told Semafor. “And sometimes they will have less than a rock solid seat.”

Trump Watch
Former U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a rally ahead of the midterm elections, in Miami, Florida, U.S., November 6, 2022.
REUTERS/Marco Bello

Former President Donald Trump is back to the familiar game of playing with public attention as he nears an apparent third presidential campaign.

He told supporters in Ohio last night that he’ll make “a very big announcement on Tuesday, November 15 at Mar-a-Lago.” Advisors have urged him to wait until after the midterms. And he’s set to host a two-day gathering for the pro-Trump America First Policy Institute on November 17 and 18.

“We want nothing to detract from the importance of tomorrow,” he said.

The former president also attacked House Speaker Nancy Pelosi as an “animal” for impeaching him, reiterated his support for giving drug dealers the death penalty, and nodded to “beautiful women” in the audience.

Trump did focus at times on the nominal focus of the event, Republican J.D. Vance.

“What the hell am I doing here?” Trump asked at the beginning of the event. “Good night everyone! We can make this one real short, J.D., would you like to just do it for a quickie?”

“JD will never be owned by the establishment. He won’t be owned by me, unfortunately,” Trump later added.

— Shelby Talbot


One Good Text With ... Jaime Harrison


WHAT THE LEFT ISN’T READING: Consumer confidence in the U.S. housing market dropped to a new low in October.

WHAT THE RIGHT ISN’T READING: A study from the charity Oxfam found that a billionaire’s investments emit a million times more greenhouse gasses than an average person.

— with our partners at Ground News

Staff Picks
  • While election denialism has only grown as a movement since 2020, those thinking about crying foul about today’s results might pause to consider the legal consequences. While it may seem the purveyors of Trump-era misinformation have paid no price, Amanda Carpenter writes for The Bulwark that the Alex Jones, Seth Rich, and Dominion Voting defamation suits show that the risk for spreading election-focused lies is very real.
  • As both parties wait to see the impact of the Dobbs decision on today’s results, Politico Magazine looks at the often counterintuitive impact of a similar decision by Poland’s Constitutional Tribunal in 2020. The anti-abortion Law and Justice party has taken a major political hit — but abortion rights supporters have struggled to keep their ranks energized.
  • If Republicans win control of the House and/or Senate today, the effort to ban TikTok could gain significant momentum, says NBC News’ David Ingram. “Former Trump administration officials, a communications regulator, conservative commentators and several Republican lawmakers have been working in recent months to revive the Trump-era movement to ban TikTok, or at least to force a spinoff of the video app from its Chinese parent company. “
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— Steve Clemons

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