The Hill's Morning Report - What Bevin's apparent loss in Kentucky means

 

 

 

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Democratic voters on Tuesday night celebrated apparent victories in Kentucky and Virginia, triggering a bout of hopeful predictions ahead of next year’s presidential contest. Democrat Andy Beshear, Kentucky’s attorney general, declared victory over Republican Gov. Matt Bevin, while Virginia’s House and Senate are both under Democratic control for the first time in 26 years under Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam, who is midway through his term.

 

A day after President TrumpDonald John TrumpTariffs threaten 1.5m jobs: Study Trump says he'll meet with dictators if it helps the US Barr to launch anti-gun violence initiative during public impeachment hearing MORE swooped into Lexington, Ky., to campaign for Bevin and warned his supporters that a loss of Kentucky’s state house “sends a really bad message, and they will build it up,” analysts debated whether the results put the president on notice about vulnerabilities in his reelection bid.

 

The president, the Republican National Committee and Trump’s campaign manager focused their attention on the GOP winners in Kentucky on Tuesday, rather than on Bevin’s apparent defeat. Our big Kentucky Rally on Monday night had a massive impact on all of the races. The increase in Governors race was at least 15 points, and maybe 20!” Trump tweeted.  Brad ParscaleBradley (Brad) James ParscaleMORE issued a statement saying, “The president just about dragged Gov. Matt Bevin across the finish line.

 

Beshear, the son of former Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear, reacted as some news organizations called the race in his favor shortly after 9 p.m. "I haven't had a chance to speak with Gov. Bevin, but my expectation is he will honor the election that was held tonight," he said. Bevin told reporters he would not immediately concede the narrow race while ballots were tallied.

 

Political analysts cautioned that Bevin’s apparent loss may not be a referendum on Trump or Republican governance, but they pointed to evidence on Tuesday that suburban GOP voters in Kentucky and Virginia were willing to split from their party, providing Democrats room to expand. Campaigns are poring over evidence that conservatives in rural areas did not appear to turn out in large numbers because of the impeachment backdrop nationally, while Democratic voters were energized on Election Day.

 

According to a Morning Consult poll completed in September, Trump’s support in the Bluegrass State was 56 percent, having won the state by 30 points in 2016. 

 

The Hill: Democrat Beshear declares upset victory over GOP governor in Kentucky. 

 

The Washington Post: Kentucky outcome embarrasses Trump and worries many Republicans ahead of 2020.

 

The Associated Press: Kentucky governor’s race too close to call by early this morning. Dems flip Virginia legislature.

 

The New York Times: Live Kentucky election updates by counties, precincts.

 

The Associated Press: Analysis: Trump’s GOP has no answer for suburban slide.

 

The Lexington Herald Leader: Unofficial results from The Associated Press showed Beshear leading Bevin by 4,658 votes with 100 percent of precincts reporting by 10 p.m. Tuesday. More than 1.4 million votes were cast in Kentucky.

 

With Bevin’s apparent defeat in mind, Democrats are looking ahead to next November’s contest against Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellLindsey Graham basks in the impeachment spotlight Biden not ruling out Senate voting to impeach Trump: 'It will depend on what their constituency says' Congress hunts for path out of spending stalemate MORE (R-Ky.). Multiple presidential candidates made note of McConnell’s looming contest against Amy McGrath (D) next year, including former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro, who warned, “You’re next.” 

 

While Bevin may have lost by a slim margin, the rest of the GOP ticket in the state emerged victorious, including Daniel Cameron, the incoming Kentucky attorney general and a former top aide to McConnell. As Scott Jennings, a GOP strategist noted, the “GOP brand was fine elsewhere” in the state (The Hill). 

 

The Cook Political Report’s nonpartisan analyst Jennifer Duffy tweeted that Bevin’s loss was about Bevin: KY just elected the first Republican attorney general since 1948 and the first African-American attorney general in the state’s history. This is one piece of evidence that if Bevin loses, it’s about Bevin and not some sign that there are bigger factors at work.”

 

In Virginia, Tuesday’s election outcome affirmed evidence that the state has become a deeper shade of blue. Democrats picked up control of the House of Delegates for the first time since 1999 and captured control of the Senate by a 21-19 advantage, giving the party a unified government.

 

The Hill: Democrats win control of Virginia legislature. 

 

The Hill: Virginia Democratic candidate Shelly Simonds (D) flipped House District 94, defeating Del. David Yancey (R).

 

The Wall Street Journal: Election 2019: Officials see no evidence of disruption to voting infrastructure.

 

“I’m here to officially declare today, Nov. 5, 2019, that Virginia is officially blue,” Northam told a crowd of supporters in Richmond. The sweep also comes days after former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenPoll: Buttigieg leads Democratic field in Iowa Barr to launch anti-gun violence initiative during public impeachment hearing Biden will always represent the 'safety candidate,' says Democratic strategist MORE headlined a get-out-the-vote event on behalf of the state party and endorsed more than 20 candidates late last week ahead of Tuesday. 

 

In Mississippi, Republicans kept hold of the governor’s mansion as Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves defeated Democrat Jim Hood on Tuesday night. Reeves was the favorite heading into election day in the conservative state, having campaigned alongside the president on Friday. Trump’s campaign said the president’s rally with Reeves “undoubtedly” helped him “nail down his victory.”

 

 

 

 

And more of 2020 politics: Senate Democrats are distancing themselves from Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenPoll: Buttigieg leads Democratic field in Iowa Biden will always represent the 'safety candidate,' says Democratic strategist Former Clinton aide: 'Biden has had a number of issues in using somewhat gendered language' MORE's (D-Mass.) “Medicare for All” plan. Multiple Senate Democratic colleagues told The Hill they would not commit to voting for her plan, and many called for smaller, less drastic steps, underscoring complications for Warren within her own party (The Hill) … Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersTech firms face skepticism over California housing response Press: Another billionaire need not apply Ex-Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick mulling 2020 run: report MORE’s (I-Vt.) campaign is accusing the media of ignoring his “surge” in the polls after he suffered a heart attack in early October. Buoyed by a strong couple of weeks since his return, including multiple rallies that drew thousands of supporters, Sanders and his comeback are still viewed skeptically within the party (The Hill) … Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom PerezThomas Edward PerezClinton’s top five vice presidential picks Government social programs: Triumph of hope over evidence Labor’s 'wasteful spending and mismanagement” at Workers’ Comp MORE sees the Latino vote as key to winning the 2020 presidential election — and not just in states with large Hispanic populations, telling The Hill in an exclusive interview on Tuesday that investing in Latino voters is “an electoral imperative and frankly, for me as the first Latino DNC chair, it’s a moral imperative” (The Hill).



LEADING THE DAY

IMPEACHMENT WATCH: Gordon Sondland, the ambassador to the European Union, revised his testimony on Tuesday to say that the president’s dealings with Ukraine represented a clear quid pro quo, a damaging development to Trump and the White House as they insist there was none. 

 

According to the transcript of his testimony to lawmakers running the impeachment inquiry, Sondland revised his initial remarks, telling investigators that he recalls telling Andriy Yermak, a top aide to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, that U.S. military aid would likely not be given unless Ukraine made a public statement from regarding launching probes that would be politically beneficial to Trump (The Hill). 

 

“After a large meeting, I now recall speaking individually with Mr. Yermak, where I said that resumption of U.S. aid would likely not occur until Ukraine provided the public anti-corruption statement that we had been discussing for many weeks,” Sondland said.

 

The change was made in a three-page revision to Sondland’s initial testimony. The release of full transcripts continued on Tuesday for witness interviews with Sondland and Kurt VolkerKurt VolkerTop diplomat said request for specific probes in Ukraine was 'contrary' to US policy Pentagon official cited alarm over hold on aid to Ukraine READ: Former assistant to special envoy for Ukraine's testimony in impeachment inquiry MORE, the former special envoy to Ukraine.

 

Read Sondland, Volker transcripts HERE.

 

The Associated Press: Impeachment reversal: Diplomat now acknowledges quid pro quo.

 

CBS News: Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamLindsey Graham basks in the impeachment spotlight Trump circuit court nominee in jeopardy amid GOP opposition The Hill's Morning Report - Impeachment drama will dominate this week MORE (R-S.C.) won't read impeachment transcripts, calls process "B.S."

 

According to the transcript of Volker’s interview, he was pressed over why he repeatedly scheduled meetings at Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., with other figures now at the center of the impeachment investigation. Among those were a July 19 breakfast with Rudy GiulianiRudy GiulianiTop diplomat said request for specific probes in Ukraine was 'contrary' to US policy Press: Another billionaire need not apply Condoleezza Rice says reports of an unofficial US policy in Ukraine are 'deeply troubling' MORE, Trump's personal lawyer, who has been a central player in the pressure campaign against Ukraine to investigate Biden and his son, Hunter (The Hill).

 

House investigators want top Trump administration officials to testify despite a constant string of snubs. Wells Griffith, a special assistant to the president and senior director for international energy and environment on the National Security Council, and Michael Duffey, associate director for national security at the Office of Management and Budget, skipped interviews scheduled on Tuesday (The Hill).

 

House Democrats are calling for acting White House chief of staff Mick MulvaneyJohn (Mick) Michael MulvaneyMulvaney to file separate suit to fight impeachment subpoena Trump circuit court nominee in jeopardy amid GOP opposition White House struggles to get in sync on impeachment MORE to appear Friday on Capitol Hill (The Hill).

 

“Based on evidence gathered in the impeachment inquiry and public reporting, we believe that you possess substantial first-hand knowledge and information relevant to the House’s impeachment inquiry,” said the committee chairmen of the three investigatory panels in a letter to Mulvaney. 

 

Mulvaney is highly unlikely to appear. The administration has vowed not to cooperate with the inquiry. 

 

The Hill: Republicans are weighing whether to put Rep. Jim JordanJames (Jim) Daniel JordanWhite House struggles to get in sync on impeachment Impeachment week: Trump probe hits crucial point This week: House kicks off public phase of impeachment inquiry MORE (R-Ohio), the ranking member on the House Oversight and Reform Committee and a Trump ally, on the House Intelligence Committee.

 

The Hill: Senate Republicans struggle to coalesce behind an impeachment strategy.

 

The Hill: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) predicts Trump will beat impeachment: “I'm pretty sure that’s how it's likely to end.”

 

Meanwhile, Trump allies in the Senate are continuing their campaign against the whistleblower, led by Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulSunday shows — New impeachment phase dominates Rand Paul says Trump has 'every right' to withhold Ukraine aid over corruption Paul dismisses Bevin loss, touts 'red wave' in other Kentucky races MORE (R-Ky.), who threatened to disclose the official who wrote the complaint that triggered the impeachment inquiry. 

 

After taunting the media to reveal the whistleblower’s identity on Monday night during a Trump rally in Lexington, Ky., Paul skated closer to doing so himself even though most of his Senate GOP colleagues have panned the idea, with many believing the whistleblower by law can elect to remain anonymous. According to Politico, many senior GOP senators believe revealing the individual’s identity would set a bad precedent. 

 

 

 



IN FOCUS/SHARP TAKES

WHITE HOUSE: Trump on Tuesday encouraged Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador to “wage WAR” on drug cartels in his country and offered U.S. assistance to “wipe them off the face of the earth” (The Hill).

 

Trump’s tweet and subsequent phone conversation with Obrador followed news that nine Americans, including six children from a large Mormon family living as dual citizens in Mexico, were ambushed in a motorcade of SUVs and killed in Mexico on Monday. Members of drug cartels are suspected in the killings, which took place in a remote part of Mexico where the Sinaloa cartel has been in a turf war (The Associated Press).

 

Obrador expressed his condolences to Trump but assured the president that Mexico could deliver justice without assistance from the United States.

 

 

 

 

> Great Britain: Trump on Tuesday also spoke with Prime Minister Boris Johnson, whose government is struggling to win approval in Parliament of a deal to withdraw the United Kingdom from the European Union. “The two leaders again reaffirmed their commitment to strengthening the Special Relationship through a robust bilateral free trade agreement once the United Kingdom leaves the EU,” a White House spokesman tweeted. Trump is promising British voters a bilateral trade deal with the United States as a way to bolster Johnson’s efforts and influence public sentiment as U.K. voters head to the polls in December. The prime minister urged Trump not to impose tariffs on car imports next month and to lift tariffs on Scotch whisky (Reuters).



The Morning Report is created by journalists Alexis Simendinger and Al Weaver. We want to hear from you! Email: asimendinger@thehill.com and aweaver@thehill.com. We invite you to share The Hill’s reporting and newsletters, and encourage others to SUBSCRIBE!



OPINION

Democrats' impeachment equation is about to flip, by J.T. Young, opinion contributor, The Hill. https://bit.ly/2pAJfm3 

 

To win, our nominee must reflect our party, by presidential candidate Sen. Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerThe Hill's Campaign Report: Bloomberg looks to upend Democratic race Poll: Biden support hits record low of 26 percent The Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump demands Bidens testify MORE (D-N.J.), opinion contributor, Essence magazine. https://bit.ly/34xgg1a



WHERE AND WHEN

Hill.TV’s “Rising” program features astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, who talks about his new book, “Letters from an Astrophysicist”; Briahna Joy Gray, national press secretary for the Sanders presidential campaign, interviewed by Hill.TV during the Politicon gathering about media coverage of the Vermont senator’s candidacy; and freelance journalist Zaid Jilani, who discusses Warren’s Medicare for All proposal. Watch at 9 a.m. ET at http://thehill.com/hilltv or on YouTube at 10 a.m. at Rising on YouTube.

 

The House returns to work on Nov. 12.

 

The Senate convenes at 10 a.m. and resumes consideration of the nomination of Lee Philip Rudofsky to be a judge with the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas.

 

The president speaks at 3 p.m. about his administration’s record of confirming federal judges. Trump departs an hour later for Monroe, La., to headline a reelection rally at 7 p.m. He plans to be back at the White House after midnight. 

 

Secretary of State Pompeo flies to Germany today where he will visit Grafenwoehr, Vilseck, Modlareuth and Leipzig to participate in events to commemorate the end of the Cold War, followed by meetings in Berlin before returning to Washington on Friday.

 

Ivanka TrumpIvana (Ivanka) Marie TrumpIvanka Trump: Whistleblower identity 'not particularly relevant' The Hill's Morning Report - What Bevin's apparent loss in Kentucky means Man pleads guilty in plot to attack Cleveland on July 4 MORE, a West Wing adviser, departed for Morocco this morning for meetings tied to her focus on women's economic empowerment in the developing world.

 

Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez will be interviewed by a gathering of Washington journalists at 9 a.m., hosted by The Christian Science Monitor.



ELSEWHERE

Budget: The White House is open to another stop-gap spending bill by a Nov. 21 deadline, according to a top aide, but is warning Democrats against including restrictions on the border wall in the short-term bill needed to avoid a shutdown. Eric Ueland, the White House legislative affairs director, said the White House is open to another continuing resolution to fund the government "as long as it does not restrict [Trump’s] authorities or abilities to pursue his policy priorities, including wall construction" (The Hill).

 

Google + Fitbit, an unhealthy combo?: Privacy advocates and some lawmakers have misgivings about Google’s $2.1 billion deal to acquire fitness tracking company Fitbit. The acquisition announced last week comes amid mounting antitrust scrutiny of Google and fears about Big Tech's collection from consumers of their health data (The Hill).

 

 

 

 

TikTok: The popular social media app TikTok, favored by young teenagers, is trying to ease top lawmakers’ concerns about its ties to the Chinese government as it beefs up its lobbying efforts. But the embattled app, which has been accused of censoring short-form videos and amassing U.S. user data on Beijing’s behalf, faces a fresh wave of criticism after it declined to send a representative to a congressional hearing on Tuesday (The Hill).



THE CLOSER

And finally … It was an Oakland, Calif., rescue that resonated with people across the country and around the web this week after they watched a chilling video clip released on Monday. Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) supervisor John O’Connor was in the right place on Sunday evening when a young male commuter took a wobbly step and fell onto the tracks below.

 

O’Connor, a 24-year veteran of the BART system, lunged forward and pulled the man to safety by his shoulders just as a train, speeding into the station at 36 mph, was within feet of hitting both men (San Francisco Chronicle).

 

The pair embraced with relief as anxious bystanders crowded around. "It really feels awkward to be called a hero because it's what we're supposed to do," O’Connor told reporters a day later. "I'm just fortunate that God put me there and he got to see another day" (CNN).