All eyes are on Senate races across the country as Republicans try to close the razor-thin margins to regain control. With just four weeks to go before Election Day, early voting is underway in a few key states. Some candidates, like Dr. Oz in Pennsylvania, have closed the gap on their opponents as realities come to light for voters. Notably, Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, who suffered a stroke earlier this year and has struggled with speech, has many voters wondering if he is fit for office.
Elizabeth Crisp; October 11, 2022
It is officially four weeks to Election Day, with early voting already underway or about to start in key states.
And several crucial Senate races that could determine whether Democrats keep control of the Senate or Republicans can snap their razor-thin majority appear to be at a lock, according to recent surveys.
Democrats have a slight edge in recent generic polls on who should control Congress, though Republicans are still expected to take the House. The Senate is far closer and remains up for grabs.
Polls on where specific races stand suggest that Democrats and Republicans could end up with the same 50-50 split they currently hold. That would keep Democrats’ majority in-tact, with Vice President Harris able to cast tie-breaking votes.
Several particularly close races have the potential to make or break Senate control.
In Georgia, GOP nominee Herschel Walker has seen his campaign rocked by scandal surrounding abortion, with the race against Sen. Raphael Warnock (D) also seeing allegations of domestic violence, secret children, unpaid child support and more. The pair face each other on Friday in their only scheduled debate.
Walker, a former football star who has disclosed mental health issues in the past, still has the support of the GOP heavy-hitters as the party hopes to reclaim control of the Senate and serve as a foil to President Biden in the second half of his term.
Farther north, Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan (D) and GOP challenger J.D. Vance are locked in a tight race. The pair went head-to-head in a televised debate Monday hosted by The Hill parent company Nexstar, with both lobbying accusations against each other over their records and political associations. Early voting in the state starts Wednesday.
Meanwhile in Pennsylvania, Lt. Gov. John Fetterman (D) — who is facing celebrity doctor Mehmet Oz (R) in the battle for an open Senate seat — sat down for his first one-on-one interview since a near-fatal stroke earlier this year.
“I always thought I was very empathetic before having a stroke. But now, after having that stroke, I really understand, you know, much more kinda the challenges that Americans have day in and day out,” Fetterman said in the NBC News interview, where he admitted he struggles with verbalizing his thoughts since the stroke but has full reading comprehension.
Welcome to NotedDC, your guide to politics, policy and people of consequence in D.C. and across the U.S. Today’s newsletter comes from The Hill’s Liz Crisp.
Ohio Senate candidates Rep. Tim Ryan (D) and J.D. Vance (R) squared off in a televised debate on Monday night that saw the two hit each other over their ties to everything from Washington and China to the leaders of their respective parties.
While Ryan branded Vance an “ass-kisser” to former President Trump, Vance worked to tie Ryan to President Biden.
Here are five takeaways from the debate, from The Hill’s Julia Manchester:
1. Biden, Trump loom large
Throughout Tuesday night, Vance and Ryan worked to brand each other as beholden to the leaders of their respective parties, both of whom suffer from low approval ratings.
2. Both candidates seize on ‘extremist’ label
Vance and Ryan repeatedly labeled each other as an extremist: The Democratic congressman painted the first-time GOP Senate nominee as a fringe candidate, accusing him of supporting the Capitol rioters and lashing into him over his stance on issues like abortion access. But Vance hit back against Ryan, calling him extreme when it came to issues like abortion and immigration.
3. Ryan distances himself from Democratic leaders
Ryan notably used the forum to distance himself from the standard-bearers of his own party, calling for “generational change” in party leadership. The Democrat, who has served in Congress for two decades, reiterated that he does not believe Biden should run for reelection in 2024.
4. Vance embraces outsider image
Vance repeatedly sought to draw a contrast with Ryan, portraying himself as an outsider who would inject new blood into the Senate. Vance specifically took aim at Ryan over his 20 years on Capitol Hill.
5. China emerges as flashpoint
China proved to be one of the night’s biggest topics of discussion, given how Ohio’s manufacturing sector has been hit by jobs going overseas to the economic superpower.
It’s a busy week for climate activists in D.C., who have plans to protest at several of the events surrounding the G-20 finance ministers’ summit as well as the annual meetings of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank.
- If you’re lucky enough to have not had your commute delayed by the regular climate change protests shutting down I-395, brace yourself for some downtown disruption.
- Protestors are planning to organize around Edward R. Murrow Park at H St. and 18th NW.
Who’s targeted: The IMF and World Bank meetings stretch this week through Sunday. The events are largely centered near the organizations’ headquarters on 19th St. NW between the White House and George Washington University.
Organizers say they are putting the financial leaders “on trial for their crimes against life on earth.” They’re planning to “drown out” a scheduled G-20 news conference and a “bike bloc” to disrupt the ministers’ dinner Wednesday night.
Some things we’re looking ahead to this week:
- President Biden sits down Tuesday with CNN’s Jake Tapper for a rare one-on-one network interview. It’s his first solo gig on CNN since taking office in January 2021. In a preview from CNN, Biden says Russian President Vladimir Putin “miscalculated” his ongoing attack on Ukraine. “I think he thought he was going to be welcomed with open arms, that this was the home of Mother Russia in Kyiv, and that where he was going to be welcomed, and I think he just totally miscalculated,” the president said.
- Biden heads to Vail, Colo., on Wednesday for an address on conservation. He’ll then head to southern California to give an update on infrastructure investments on Thursday before attending a reception for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Biden finishes up his West Coast trip with stops in Orange County, Calif. and Portland, Ore., on Friday and Saturday.
- The House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol holds its first hearing since July on Thursday.
John P. Carlin, a former senior Department of Justice (DOJ) official, has joined Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP as a partner in the litigation department and co-head over the firm’s Cybersecurity & Data Protection efforts.
Carlin was the DOJ’s acting deputy attorney general for several months in early 2021 and previously led its National Security Division. He also was notably chief of staff to Robert Mueller while Mueller was director of the FBI.
“I don’t have anything to say about that.”
NUMBER TO KNOW
Amount a postal stamp will cost starting in January if the Postal Regulatory Commission agrees to the latest rate hike the postal service has proposed. It would be a three-cent increase over the current price.
An event that you don’t wanna miss: Georgetown history professor and author Marcia Chatelain will sit down with celebrity chef Carla Hall (of Bravo’s “Top Chef” and ABC’s “The Chew“) for a discussion about Chatelain’s Pulitzer Prize and James Beard Foundation award-winning book “Franchise: The Golden Arches in Black America,” which explores the post 1960s urban Black America.
The event takes place at 7 p.m. Wednesday at The Hill Center at the Old Naval Hospital.
Photo: AP Photos