Warnock on potential runoff in Georgia's Senate race: "We're prepared to do whatever it takes to win"
From CNN's Eva McKend
With Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock and Republican Herschel Walker locked in a tight race in Georgia, the prospect of a December runoff election is top of mind on the campaign trail.
"We are prepared to do whatever it takes to win," Warnock said when asked about a potential runoff scenario. "I'll tell you what's not close, my record and Herschel Walker's record," the junior senator added during a gaggle with reporters after a rally in Clarkston, Georgia.
Warnock is running an ad speaking to the closeness of the race with hopes to avoid that eventuality.
Some context: The most recent polling of the race, from the New York Times and Siena College, showed no clear leader, with 49% of likely voters supporting Warnock to the 46% backing Walker – a difference well within the survey’s margin of error. Another poll, from Fox News at the end of October, also found a remarkably close contest, with Warnock at 44% and Walker at 43%.
If neither candidate notches a majority of the vote, the race would be decided in a Dec. 6 runoff.
9:15 p.m. ET, November 3, 2022
Wisconsin union workers share why they back Democratic candidate in Senate race
From CNN's Veronica Stracqualursi in Milwaukee
Paula Uhing, a steelworker from Germantown, Wisconsin, found herself as a single mother of a 13-year-old daughter when the union helped keep her afloat.
“I’m supporting Mandela Barnes for Senate because I feel very strongly about the union,” Uhing said of the Democratic candidate. “Those were the wages that helped me through, that helped me through everything — the layoffs and shutdowns. It was those wages and my seniority that I held onto my job. And I was able to return in the same position I left.”
Uhing, 52, also said she wanted safeguards around women's rights, including reproductive rights, as well same-sex partnerships.
Christopher Harris, a steelworker who was born and raised in Milwaukee, said Barnes understood the life of working people – and in particular the importance of preserving Social Security.
“I don’t want nobody touching my Social Security. Worked all my life for it and I need that,” said Harris, 60, who is also political chair for the United Steelworkers Local 7-209.
Kwami Barnes, 47, a communications worker, also cited the Democrat's understanding of working people's lives. "His feet are planted on the ground perfectly,” he said.
“And if we don’t have working-class people fighting for jobs, fighting for fairness, fighting for decent wages, dignity, then we don’t have a democracy,” added Barnes, who is no relation to the candidate.
The Democratic lieutenant governor is challenging Republican Sen. Ron Johnson in one of the most competitive races on the midterm map.
8:30 p.m. ET, November 3, 2022
Milwaukee elections official fired after allegedly requesting military ballots for fake voters
From CNN's By Omar Jimenez and Zachary Cohen
A top elections official in Milwaukee has been fired after allegedly obtaining military absentee ballots for fake voters through a state-run website and sending them to a Republican state lawmaker, Mayor Cavalier Johnson announced Thursday.
Kimberly Zapata, deputy director of the Milwaukee Election Commission, allegedly requested the military ballots through the state’s MyVote Wisconsin website, Johnson said.
The ballots were sent to GOP State Rep. Janel Brandtjen, an outspoken critic of how votes were tallied during the 2020 election, who said in an Oct. 31 statement that she believes “someone was trying to point out how easy it is to get military ballots in Wisconsin.”
Brandtjen’s office says the ballots were found on Oct. 27 and then turned over to the Waukesha County sheriff’s office, who confirmed her account and said it was working with the Waukesha County district attorney’s office in this investigation.
The Milwaukee County district attorney’s office told CNN that it expects criminal charges to be filed against Zapata “in the coming days.”
Zapata’s attorney Michael Maistelman told CNN: “We will litigate this in the courtroom, not the media.”
Suspicious powdery substance found in absentee ballot submitted to a county in Colorado, officials say
From CNN’s Andy Rose
An absentee ballot that was received by election officials in Adams County, Colorado, this week contained a suspicious substance, a local government spokesperson told CNN Thursday.
“This is the first time it's happened in history of our county,” said the Adams County public information officer William Porter.
Porter said workers could feel the substance inside the bulging envelope — which was left in an official election drop box — and did not fully open it. “They were able to snip a small corner and pour it out,” he said.
Initial tests found mostly “flour and other cooking materials,” according to Porter, but “an unidentified chemical compound” also was detected. He said that the material had to be sent to an outside lab for further testing, with results expected on Monday.
“It's easy enough to assume that it was intentional, but what their intentions were aren't certain,” Porter said.
He added that it is not clear that the person who requested the absentee ballot is the same person who sealed the envelope or placed it in the drop box.
A criminal investigation is underway, and the ballot has been sequestered until it is deemed safe.
Porter said the immediate concern is not to discourage people from casting a ballot. “We want to assure the public it is safe to vote,” he added.
8:22 p.m. ET, November 3, 2022
Grassley vows to not give up on his investigation into Hunter Biden if elected to 8th term
From CNN's Jeff Zeleny in Sioux City, Iowa
Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley showered former President Donald Trump with praise Wednesday night, thanking him for hosting a rally to build excitement heading into next week’s election.
“I thank President Trump for having all you folks come together just a few days before the election,” the Iowa senator said, shouting over a whipping wind at the Sioux Gateway Airport. “I want you to know I don’t take a single vote for granted, so I humbly ask you for your vote.”
To booming applause from the crowd, Grassley also offered a promise if he wins.
“I’m not going to give up on my investigation of Hunter Biden because we follow the facts and we follow the money where it leads us,” he said. “There’s plenty of money to follow.”
Grassley, who at 89 is the oldest Republican in the Senate, is seeking reelection to an eighth term in the Senate. His aides acknowledge he is in a closer race than anticipated against Democrat Mike Franken, a retired Navy admiral, and was eager to appear before Trump’s loyal base of supporters.
“I love serving the people of Iowa,” Grassley said. “I want to go back to the United States Senate for another term so I can help turn around these policies of a failed administration.”
As supporters gathered for the Trump rally — the first of four the former president is holding before Election Day — temperatures fell more than 25 degrees in a few hours.
An unseasonably warm November day quickly became a blustery fall night, with Trump flags blowing in the stiff wind and a slowly-growing crowd that had not filled the rally space less than one hour before the former President was set to arrive.
8:59 p.m. ET, November 3, 2022
VP Harris says Democratic candidates are the "last line of defense" against draconian abortion laws
From CNN's Jasmine Wright
Vice President Kamala Harris urged Americans to vote Democrats into the office to serve as “the last line of defense” against Republicans trying to pass restrictive abortion bills and curtail other rights.
Stumping for Kathy Hochul, the vice president commended the New York governor for her efforts to preserve the right to an abortion after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. But she warned that voting for down-ballot races was essential to maintaining or expanding rights across the country as the decision about abortion rights has been kicked back to the states.
“We're going to need people in the state house and at a local level who have the courage to stand up and push back against what is happening in our country. And then that way, who is your governor matters. Who is your attorney general matters. Who is your lieutenant governor matters. Because they will be the last line of defense with what we're seeing happening around our country,” Harris told the crowd in New York, reciting threats of a national abortion ban.
Harris touted the Biden administration’s accomplishments made so far, flexing on the decision to cancel student loans despite the fact it remains in limbo.
“Because you voted, in spite of all of the criticism, we are canceling debt up to $20,000 of student loan debt,” she said to applause.
7:02 p.m. ET, November 3, 2022
Why counting votes on election night will take some time
Analysis from CNN's David Chalian
CNN political director David Chalian explained why counting votes on election night will take some time, including in states like Pennsylvania where a high-stakes Senate race could determine which party controls the chamber.
"In Pennsylvania, the election officials are not even allowed to open and process the absentee ballots until polls open on election day. So it takes awhile then for them to process them, sort them, get them counted and report them out," he said.
Chalian noted that Republicans tend to show up in larger numbers on election day to vote in person. Meanwhile, Democrats tend to show up in larger numbers in the pre-election period or vote absentee by mail.
On election night, Pennsylvania "will start filling in probably very red and then as those absentee ballots, which tend to be more Democratic in nature, get counted, get processed and counted and reported — then the blue will start filling in and we'll get a more realistic picture of what's going on there," Chalian said, as CNN's Brianna Keilar noted that what unfolds early on during election night could change drastically as time progresses.
Watch the full analysis:
7:34 p.m. ET, November 3, 2022
Biden reiterates warnings about the threat of democracy at New Mexico event
From CNN's Allison Malloy
President Joe Biden returned to the campaign trail in Albuquerque on Thursday and while he mostly focused his remarks on the economy, he also warned about threats to democracy should Republicans take Congress.
“They’re going after your right to vote and who’s going to count the vote,” Biden said of Republicans adding that “democracy is on the ballot.”
Biden delivered a familiar campaign speech and warned once again that the upcoming midterm elections are “not a referendum” but a “choice between two vastly different visions for America.”
The President called out several Republicans by name, including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Florida Sen. Rick Scott for their positions on Social Security and Medicare, calling it “reckless and irresponsible.”
“Five days – Five days to go until the most important election in our lifetime,” Biden told the audience. “So much is changing. This is not a referendum this is a choice — a choice between two vastly different visions for America.”
New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham spoke before Biden and acknowledged that Democrats are behind in polls, but said to the audience: “We’re a little behind but we catch up fast!”
7:25 p.m. ET, November 3, 2022
Hillary Clinton attacks GOP on crime and abortion while campaigning for New York Gov. Kathy Hochul
From CNN's Gregory Krieg
Hillary Clinton rallied Democrats in New York City on Thursday for Gov. Kathy Hochul, who is locked in a tighter-than-expected race with Republican Rep. Lee Zeldin as she runs for a first full term.
“This election, like every election is a choice. It’s not just a choice between two candidates, it is a choice between two very different ideas about who we are as a state and a country,” Clinton said.
Clinton, the first woman elected statewide in New York during her 2000 Senate run, made the case for Hochul, the state’s first female governor while hammering Zeldin over his votes in the House against the Violence Against Women Act, equal pay, raising the minimum wage and Medicare funding.
But Clinton’s speech offered a broader criticism of the Republican Party, especially on their messaging on crime — using the recent attack on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband, Paul, as her case-in-point.
“I want everybody to be safe. Honestly, who’s against that? But then a terrible crime happens in San Francisco. An intruder hits an 82-year-old man in the head with a hammer, who happens to be married to the speaker of the house, and Republicans joke about it. The woman running for governor in Arizona jokes about it. Now why would any sensible person want to give power to somebody who thinks it’s funny that someone gets assaulted in his own home,” Clinton said, referring to Arizona’s GOP gubernatorial nominee Kari Lake.
“They don’t care about keeping you safe, they want to keep you scared,” Clinton added.
Like Hochul, whom she introduced, and the speakers before her, including Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and New York Attorney General Letitia James, Clinton put a particular focus on Republican efforts to roll back abortion rights and other progressive advances from the past half-century.
“If you paid attention to this campaign, then Republicans make no secret about what they want to do. They actually say the quiet part out loud. Lee Zeldin, Kathy’s opponent, along with Donald Trump and their allies are literally fighting tooth and nail to turn back the clock,” Clinton said.
“Think about it, yes, of course, they want to turn back the clock on abortion. They spent 50 years trying to make that happen. But they want to turn back the clock on women’s rights in general, on civil rights, on voting rights, on gay rights. They are determined to exercise control over who we are, how we feel and believe and act in ways that I thought we had long left behind," she added.