Election 2018

Trump Finally Weighs In On Moore

As for the open Alabama seat, Trump has remained unusually quiet, ignoring questions from reporters. But today, he couldn’t help himself.

This is worth noting because WH spokesperson Sarah Sanders had said on several occasions that Trump supported the RNC’s decision to cut off support for Roy Moore. Yeah, she lied.

When asked if it is better to have a child predator than a Democrat in that seat, Trump responded…

It’s better on video —

The Moore Accuser Count Is Up To 8

Via WaPo:

Roy Moore. Born in 1947. He moved out of Gadsden, Ala., in 1954, returning after his service in Vietnam in 1977. He joined the office of the district attorney that year. In 1982, he again left Gadsden, returning in 1985, the year he married his wife, Kayla. She was 24, and he was 38. In 1992, he was appointed to the circuit court.

Leigh Corfman. Born in 1965. Corfman alleges that in 1977, when she was 14, Moore introduced himself to her outside a child custody hearing at the local courthouse. He later called her and asked her on a date, during which, she alleges, he took her to his house and tried to initiate sexual contact. Moore was 32.

Wendy Miller. Born in 1963. Miller alleges that Moore first started talking to her while she was working as an elf at Gadsden Mall at the age of 14. Two years later, he began to ask her on dates. Her mother prevented her from doing so. Moore was 32.

Debbie Gibson. Born in 1964. Gibson alleges that Moore came to her civics class at Etowah High School to talk about serving as an assistant district attorney before asking her out on a date. They dated for several months while she was 17. Moore was 34.

Gloria Thacker. Born in 1961. Thacker alleges that she was working at a store at the mall at the age of 18 when Moore asked her out. They dated off and on for several months. Moore was 32.

Beverly Young Nelson. Born in 1961. Nelson was 16 when she worked at a restaurant called Old Hickory House in 1977. Moore, she said during a news conference this week, was a regular customer who, at one point, signed her high school yearbook. On one evening, he offered her a ride home. Nelson alleges that he instead drove behind the restaurant and assaulted her. Moore was 30.

Gena Richardson. Born in 1959. Richardson alleges that she was working at Gadsden Mall in 1977, at age 18, when Moore introduced himself. He called her at school, interrupting her trigonometry class, to ask her out. He was 30.

Tina Johnson. Born in 1963. Johnson told AL.com that she was 28 when she visited Moore’s office for a legal issue in 1991. Moore, she says, made several inappropriate comments and, as she was leaving, groped her. He was 44.

Moore has specifically denied the allegations levied by Corfman and Nelson.

That’s where things stand today — this morning.

 

More More Moore (How Do You Like It?)

Roy Moore is now adopting the “best defense is a good offense” strategy. He is setting up to hit the Washington Post with a lawsuit over the allegations that he had sexual contact with a 14-year-old girl while Moore was in his 30’s.

According to AP, Moore told his supporters in Huntsville, Alabama on Sunday that the WaPo story was “fake news” and “a desperate attempt to stop my political campaign.”

Moore added that the newspaper “will be sued,” a declaration that received applause from the crowd.

I put the chances of this at or about zero percent.  Why?

Discovery, that’s why.

This is like when Donald Trump threatened to sue the women who accused him of sexual harassment. The lawsuits never happened.

Meanwhile, at least five companies said over the weekend that they will no longer advertise their products during Fox News’ “Hannity” television show, which sparked an outpouring on Sunday of counter-protests on social media.

Keurig, Realtor.com, 23 and Me, Eloquii and Nature’s Bounty all pulled their ads from the television show, in response to Fox host Sean Hannity’s coverage of the sexual misconduct allegations against Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore.

Although Hannity is “in the tank” for Moore, his actual interview of Moore the day after the allegations broke was pretty aggressive, at least for Hannity.  He came back to several points and Moore readily admitted dating younger women, although he denied the worst allegations (fondling a 14 year old).

But that wasn’t what caused advertisers to balk.

On Thursday, the Fox News host spoke about the allegations against Roy Moore, the Alabama senate candidate who, The Washington Post had reported that day, made sexual advances toward teenage girls when he was in his early 30s, including a 14-year-old.

Mr. Hannity, describing those actions on his radio show while speaking with a co-host, Lynda McLaughlin, seemed to justify Mr. Moore’s reported conduct by calling one of the encounters “consensual. Later, on his television show, Mr. Hannity said that the statement “was absolutely wrong” and that he “misspoke.” He then brought up the possibility of accusers lying for money, or for political purposes.

On Friday, Angelo Carusone, the president of Media Matters for America, the partisan watchdog organization that has campaigned against Mr. Hannity since at least May, began to criticize advertisers for sponsoring his show in light of his comments about Mr. Moore.

Keurig responded to Mr. Carusone, and said that it had stopped an ad from airing during Mr. Hannity’s show.

Conservatives have responded to Keurig’s boycott with their own boycott of Keurig, although it is likely to grow except for a few viral videos like this:

This clearly annoyed Hannity who has tweeted about Keurig repeatedly over the past few days.

And while some on the left dutifully took up arms, tweeting in support of Keurig, others just seemed bemused (or amused).

“Sorry, I was off Twitter for a while,” wrote the author Geraldine DeRuiter. “It appears that people are destroying coffee machines to show their support of child molesters?”

It is unclear what impact any of this has on Alabama voters.  One poll puts Moore’s Democratic competitor, Doug Jones, up by 4.  Another poll, taken over the same span of days, has Moore up by 10.

Here’s a nice editorial from a leading Alabama newspaper. The author is worried that Moore, if elected, will become Alabama’s “brand” and will hurt business (he’s right):

The Republicans in Congress would REALLY like this go away, and even Senator McConnell came out (moments ago) and said he believes the women.

UPDATE — Here’s Moore’s response

Back to usual post….

Moore defenders — mostly Breitbart at this point — are trying lame attacks.  Like the 14 year old woman is lying, or was paid by the Washington Post. Proof of lying is scant, but they only need to convince those with a propensity to believe Moore, and that’s not hard.

Some are saying that, even if true, it’s not a big deal. Alabama state Auditor Jim Zeigler (R) told the Washington Examiner that the allegations are “much ado about nothing.” Zeigler said that even if the allegations are true, Moore never had sexual intercourse with any of the women. He also dismissed the revelations because the accusations are from “40 years” ago and Moore ”

Another tack is to say — so what?  Here is an ugly tweet about that:

Hard to believe. That’s the state of the GOP today: Democrats are worse than child molesters, literally.

The next chapter in the scandal is coming later today…..

More Moore to come….

UPDATE — The next accuser….

Beverly Young Nelson said Moore she was approached by Moore in 1975 in a Gadsen, Alabama restaurant where she worked. One night, Nelson said Moore offered her a ride home in his car. Instead of getting on the highway, Moore parked in the back of the Olde Hickory House restaurant. Nelson said she asked Moore what he was doing.

“Instead of answering my question, Mr. Moore reached over and began groping me, putting his hands on my breasts,” Nelson said. “I tried to open my car door to leave, but he reached over and locked it so I could not get out. I tried fighting him off, while yelling at him to stop, but instead of stopping he began squeezing my neck attempting to force my head onto his crotch. I continued to struggle. I was determined that I was not going to allow him to force me to have sex with him. I was terrified. He was also trying to pull my shirt off. I thought that he was going to rape me. I was twisting and struggling and begging him to stop. I had tears running down my face.

“At some point he gave up. He then looked at me and said, “You are a child. I am the District Attorney of Etowah County,” she continued. “If you tell anyone about this, no one will believe you.” He finally allowed me to open the car door and I either fell out or he pushed me out. I was on the ground as he pulled out of the parking area behind the restaurant. The passenger door was open as he burned rubber pulling away leaving me laying there on the cold concrete in the dark.”

Two years later, Moore signed Nelson’s yearbook:

More Fallout From More Pedophilia

  • Republican Alabama State Representative Ed Henry said on Friday that he wanted someone to bring charges against the women who accused GOP Senate candidate Roy Moore of making sexual advances on them when they were teenage. This has brought huge backlash against Henry, naturally.
  • Vulnerable GOP Senator:

  • The national Republican Party is creating distance. Locals, however, are running to the candidate’s defense. A joint fundraising committee benefitting Moore and a handful of Republican Party organs filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission on Friday removing the National Republican Senatorial Committee as one of its beneficiaries. Going forward, the committee’s fundraising will benefit Moore’s Senate campaign, the Alabama Republican Party, and the Republican National Committee but not the NRSC.
  • Roy Moore’s brother reportedly defended him against allegations of sexual conduct with a minor, comparing the situation to the persecution of Jesus Christ, according to CNN.
  • Buzzfeed News reports:

    Moore and Democrat Doug Jones are tied at 46% in the survey, which was conducted Thursday by Opinion Savvy and commissioned by Decision Desk HQ in the aftermath of a bombshell Washington Post report in which the accuser, now 53, went on record with her story.

    The results also suggested that a write-in campaign by another Republican could tip the seat to Democrats — a prospect that once seemed far-fetched in deep-red Alabama. A three-way race — with Moore, Jones, and interim Sen. Luther Strange as a write-in candidate — would favor Jones with roughly 44% of the vote, followed by Moore at 41%, and Strange at 12%.

Roy Moore Sex Scandal

The woman is a god-fearing, Trump-voting Republican:

Leigh Corfman says she was 14 years old when an older man approached her outside a courtroom in Etowah County, Ala. She was sitting on a wooden bench with her mother, they both recall, when the man introduced himself as Roy Moore.

It was early 1979 and Moore — now the Republican nominee in Alabama for a U.S. Senate seat — was a 32-year-old assistant district attorney. He struck up a conversation, Corfman and her mother say, and offered to watch the girl while her mother went inside for a child custody hearing.

“He said, ‘Oh, you don’t want her to go in there and hear all that. I’ll stay out here with her,’ ” says Corfman’s mother, Nancy Wells, 71. “I thought, how nice for him to want to take care of my little girl.”

Alone with Corfman, Moore chatted with her and asked for her phone number, she says. Days later, she says, he picked her up around the corner from her house in Gadsden, drove her about 30 minutes to his home in the woods, told her how pretty she was and kissed her. On a second visit, she says, he took off her shirt and pants and removed his clothes. He touched her over her bra and underpants, she says, and guided her hand to touch him over his underwear.

“I wanted it over with — I wanted out,” she remembers thinking. “Please just get this over with. Whatever this is, just get it over.” Corfman says she asked Moore to take her home, and he did.

Two of Corfman’s childhood friends say she told them at the time that she was seeing an older man, and one says Corfman identified the man as Moore. Wells says her daughter told her about the encounter more than a decade later, as Moore was becoming more prominent as a local judge.

Aside from Corfman, three other women interviewed by The Washington Post in recent weeks say Moore pursued them when they were between the ages of 16 and 18 and he was in his early 30s, episodes they say they found flattering at the time, but troubling as they got older. None of the women say that Moore forced them into any sort of relationship or sexual contact.

Wendy Miller says she was 14 and working as a Santa’s helper at the Gadsden Mall when Moore first approached her, and 16 when he asked her on dates, which her mother forbade. Debbie Wesson Gibson says she was 17 when Moore spoke to her high school civics class and asked her out on the first of several dates that did not progress beyond kissing. Gloria Thacker Deason says she was an 18-year-old cheerleader when Moore began taking her on dates that included bottles of Mateus Rosé wine. The legal drinking age in Alabama was 19.

Of the four women, the youngest at the time was Corfman, who is the only one who says she had sexual contact with Moore that went beyond kissing. She says they did not have intercourse.

In a written statement, Moore denied the allegations.

“These allegations are completely false and are a desperate political attack by the National Democrat Party and the Washington Post on this campaign,” Moore, now 70, said.

The campaign said in a subsequent statement that if the allegations were true they would have surfaced during his previous campaigns, adding “this garbage is the very definition of fake news.”

None of the women have donated to or worked for Moore’s Democratic opponent, Doug Jones, or his rivals in the Republican primary, Luther Strange, according to campaign reports.

Corfman, 53, who works as a customer service representative at a payday loan business, says she has voted for Republicans in the past three presidential elections, including for Donald Trump in 2016. She says she thought of confronting Moore personally for years, and almost came forward publicly during his first campaign for state Supreme Court in 2000, but decided against it. Her two children were still in school then and she worried about how it would affect them. She also was concerned that her background — three divorces and a messy financial history — might undermine her credibility.

The sad thing is that this woman is going to get death threats and be dragged through the mud, and it is unclear if she will even be believed. Obviously, Trump supporters (including herself!) don’t think sexual harassment is an impediment to holding public office. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

That said, I’m not even a little bit surprised.

These women did not seek out the Post and are not looking for the limelight. They only revealed their story after some coaxing:

The implication of this is actually pretty big. If Moore loses the Alabama Senate race in the special election next month (and Doug Jones wins), the Senate is in play. Dems might be able to retake it in 2018.

UPDATE:  Apparently, it is too late to take Moore off the ballot, even if he withdraws, and even if the GOP pulls him.  Furthermore…

Then again…

Election 2017

Yes, it is an off off year for elections, but what happens today is a good bellwether for what will happen in the midterm elections in 2018.

There was some concern that the Democrats might not do too well. Polls in some states were very close. But it looks like Democrats have done very very well, and this spells very bad news for Trump and Trumpism.

Perhaps the closest watched race was the Virginia governor race between Democrat Ralph Northam and Republican Ed Gilliespie. But Northam not only one, but he won by a huge margin, 9 points. Again, Gilliespie ran on Trump values and policies. On the last few weeks of his campaign, he even talked a lot about conserving Confederate monuments. Steve Bannon gave an interview virtually praising Gilliespie and how his “victory” would confirm everything about Trump’s brand of politics. Virginia went very deep blue, almost electing a Democratic majority for their state legislature (it looks like it will be a 50/50 split — 5 races area close enough for a recount. But even that means that Dems have virtually erased a 32 seat advantage in the VA House).

And 88 nights ago, white supremacists marched with torches in Virginia. Tonight, Virginia elected Justin Fairfax its second African-American lieutenant governor.

Elsewhere New York City Mayor are Democrat Bill DeBlasio won a second term and there is now a Democratic governor of New Jersey, replacing Chris Christie.

Maine voted to expand Medicare under ObamaCare.

Hoboken has a Sikh mayor.

The first black mayor in Montana history (Go Helena!)

Closer to home, Democrat Vi Lyles easily defeated Republican Kenny Smith on Tuesday to become Charlotte’s first African-American female mayor.

And here’s something sweet: Danica Roem (D) has defeated 26-year Del. Bob Marshall (R) in HD13 in Virginia, becoming the first transgender person elected to VA’s state legislature. Marshall was one of the authors of Virginia’s anti-transgender bathroom bill and proudly called himself a homophobe.

One caveat: If you’re looking at Virginia, the counties that were pro-Trump in 2016 were very hard Gillespie. He still has pull where he has pull. But the anti-Trump pull proved to be even stronger in the counties that went against Trump in 2016.

UPDATE: Fox News Went 100 Minutes Tuesday Night Without Discussing the Republican Loss in Virginia – read the story

UPDATE 2: Like an old guy reliving the time he caught the touchdown pass in high school….

I don’t think he is taking these election results well.

Teflon Don? Not So Much

Politico, this morning:

Teflon Don confounds Democrats

Democrats tried attacking Donald Trump as unfit for the presidency. They’ve made the case that he’s ineffective, pointing to his failure to sign a single major piece of legislation into law after eight months in the job. They’ve argued that Trump is using the presidency to enrich himself, and that his campaign was in cahoots with Russia.

None of it is working.

Data from a range of focus groups and internal polls in swing states paint a difficult picture for the Democratic Party heading into the 2018 midterms and 2020 presidential election. It suggests that Democrats are naive if they believe Trump’s historically low approval numbers mean a landslide is coming.

Really?

In focus groups, most participants say they’re still impressed with Trump’s business background and tend to give him credit for the improving economy. The window is closing, but they’re still inclined to give him a chance to succeed.

More than that, no single Democratic attack on the president is sticking — not on his temperament, his lack of accomplishments or the deals he’s touted that have turned out to be less than advertised, like the president’s claim that he would keep Carrier from shutting down its Indianapolis plant and moving production to Mexico.

Voters are also generally unimpressed by claims that Trump exaggerates or lies, and they don’t see the ongoing Russia investigation adding up to much.

Well, these are the same pollsters who told us Trump would lose in the first place. Maybe they are overcompensating?

If you read further into the article, it almost seems to contradict itself:

“The question has to be what counts as working — the guy’s approval ratings are in the mid-30s,” Burton said of Trump. “So the other way of looking at this is, everything is working.”

Fortunately, we don’t have to guess.

Throughout the country, there have been 35 special elections in statewide races since Trump was elected.  In twenty-nine of them, the incumbent party (whether D or R) held the seat.  In the six that flipped, they ALL flipped from Republican to Democrat (three in OK, two in NH, and one in NY).  Two of these elections were yesterday.

More importantly, in almost all the special elections, the Democrat fared better — an average of 13% better — that Clinton did over Trump — even when they lost.  And 9% better on average than Obama over Romney in 2012.

Here’s the data (you might want to enlarge it):

That’s not a focus group.  That’s real data from real elections.

So yeah. Maybe Trump still is president. But he’s not helping Republicans.

GA-6 Fallout

Ossoff lost in the 6th District of Georgia last night. With 99 percent of the vote counted, Handel leads Ossoff 53 percent to 47 percent in a race that many expected to be much closer. Handel had 127,021 votes to the Democrat’s 114,390 ballots.

And so now the Republicans are gloating…

… and the Democrats are engaged in a circular firing squad.

What’s the lesson?  Why did the Democrats lose Georgia 6th and South Carolina 5th?  And the other two special elections that were supposedly referenda on Trump?

I said it yesterday…. WHEN YOU ARE NOT EXPECTED TO WIN, YOU SHOULDN’T MOURN THE LOSS.

The story isn’t “Dems Lost”. It is “Dems Making Huge Gains Into Republican Districts”.

Look at these special election results:

The GOP drops by double digits since Election Day 2016.  That’s double digit drop in seven months!!

Nate Silver does a lot of number crunching and concludes:

As compared to the 2016 presidential results, Democrats have outperformed their benchmarks by an average of 14 percentage points so far across the four GOP-held districts to have held special elections to date. As compared to the 2012 presidential election, their overperformance is even larger, at almost 18 points. They’ve also outperformed their results from the 2016 and 2014 U.S. House elections by roughly 11 points, after one accounts for the fact that the special elections were open-seat races rather than being held against incumbents.

DEMOCRATIC SWING IN SPECIAL ELECTION RELATIVE TO BENCHMARK*
DISTRICT 2016 PRESIDENT 2012 PRESIDENT 2016 HOUSE 2014 HOUSE
Kansas 4 +22.5 +22.6 +17.8 +15.8
Montana +16.6 +11.5 +2.7 +7.3
Georgia 6 -0.1 +23.5 +12.5 +17.5
South Carolina 5 +17.4 +12.2 +10.1 +3.6
Average +14.1 +17.5 +10.8 +11.1
Democrats continue to substantially outperform their benchmarks
* Result relative to national popular vote, also adjusted for incumbency in the case of congressional incumbents.

How might this translate for Democrats next November, when all 435 seats are up for grabs? The results simultaneously suggest that an impressively wide array of Republican-held seats might be competitive next year — perhaps as many as 60 to 80 — and that Democrats are outright favorites in only a fraction of these, perhaps no more than a dozen. To some extent, this configuration is a result of Republican-led gerrymandering in 2010. Republicans drew a lot of districts where their members are safe under normal conditions, but not in the event of a massive midterm wave.

In order to win a net of 24 seats next year — enough to flip the House — Democrats may therefore need to target dozens of Republican-held seats and see where the chips fall. They can variously attempt anti-Trump, anti-Republican or anti-incumbent messages depending on the district.

They say the same thing over at The Cook Political Report:

Measured against the Cook Political Report’s Partisan Voter Index (PVI), Democrats have outperformed the partisan lean of their districts by an average of eight points in the past five elections:

A Smarter Way to Interpret 2017’s Special Elections

If Democrats were to outperform their “generic” share by eight points across the board in November 2018, they would pick up 80 seats. Of course, that won’t happen because Republican incumbents will be tougher to dislodge than special election nominees. But these results fit a pattern that should still worry GOP incumbents everywhere, regardless of Trump’s national approval rating and the outcome of the healthcare debate in Congress.

Yes, I like the way this looks.

Good News In The Offing

(1)  Georgia On My Mind

In Georgia 6th district, the special election to replace Tom Price in the House, Jon Ossoff received 48.1 percent of the vote, just short of the 50 percent threshold needed to win the seat, and he will face Karen Handel, the top Republican vote-getter, in a June runoff.

This is a terrific showing from a young 30 year old Democratic for a seat once held by Newt Gingrich. Combined with Democrats’ better-than-expected performance in a special House election in Kansas last week, the Georgia result will be an immediate boon to Democratic groups, lifting their fund-raising and bolstering candidate recruitment efforts, while sobering Republicans who are assessing whether to run in Mr. Trump’s first midterm election.

Ossoff still has to win the runoff,  against Handel. Handel, who took 19.8 percent, is a former Georgia secretary of state and chair of the Fulton County Commission who has unsuccessfully run for governor and Senate. But in recent years, Handel is probably best known—and notorious—for her time at Susan G. Komen for the Cure, which ended after her failed, politically motivated effort to get the organization to cut off funding for Planned Parenthood to perform cancer screenings.

But win or lose in the runoff, the Ossoff win last night shows that Democrats can compete even in non-swing districts.

And don’t believe the White House spin that this was not a rebuke of the President. It clearly was. The more closely aligned a candidate was with President Trump, the worse that candidate did.

(2)  The No-Bill Zone

Many anonymously-sourced news stories are out there that say the following:

A well-placed source said Tuesday afternoon that representatives for Fox and O’Reilly have begun talking about an exit. But this prompted a denial from sources in O’Reilly’s camp.

Even one person close to O’Reilly, however, said he will probably not be back on “The O’Reilly Factor.”

The original well-placed source said an announcement about O’Reilly’s fate was likely by the end of the week.

The fact that none of these sources were willing to go on the record speaks to the delicate maneuvering underway.

The network’s parent company, 21st Century Fox (FOX), will hold a board meeting on Thursday, a spokeswoman told CNNMoney. One of the sources said O’Reilly will be a primary topic.

The Murdochs, the men who control 21st Century Fox, are pointedly not commenting on any of this.

But conversations inside Fox have already turned to possible O’Reilly successors.

The Murdochs have had loyalty to O’Reilly, but they have greater loyalty to money. And with advertisers fleeing O’Reilly by the dozens (he had virtually none in his last aired show, and had to end 10 minutes early), it is hard to see how O’Reilly survives this.

Good riddance.  He was an out-and-out liar.  And pervert.  Next stop, Sean Hannity.

UPDATE: From NY Mag

The Murdochs have decided Bill O’Reilly’s 21-year run at Fox News will come to an end. According to sources briefed on the discussions, network executives are preparing to announce O’Reilly’s departure before he returns from an Italian vacation on April 24. Now the big questions are how the exit will look and who will replace him.

Wednesday morning, according to sources, executives are holding emergency meetings to discuss how they can sever the relationship with the country’s highest-rated cable-news host without causing collateral damage to the network. The board of Fox News’ parent company, 21st Century Fox, is scheduled to meet on Thursday to discuss the matter.

Sources briefed on the discussions say O’Reilly’s exit negotiations are moving quickly. Right now, a key issue on the table is whether he would be allowed to say good-bye to his audience, perhaps the most loyal in all of cable (O’Reilly’s ratings have ticked up during the sexual-harassment allegations). Fox executives are leaning against allowing him to have a sign-off, sources say. The other main issue on the table is money. O’Reilly recently signed a new multiyear contract worth more than $20 million per year. When Roger Ailes left Fox News last summer, the Murdochs paid out $40 million, the remainder of his contract.

According to sources, Fox News wants the transition to be seamless. Executives are currently debating possible replacement hosts. Names that have been discussed include Eric Bolling, Dana Perino, and Tucker Carlson, who would move from his successful 9 p.m. slot and create a need for a new host at that time. One source said Sean Hannity is happy at 10 p.m. and would not want to move.

Vote Your Ossoff

Voters in a suburban Atlanta congressional district will decide today whether Democratic candidate Jon Ossoff will win outright a special election for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, in a district the Republican Party has held since 1979. The closely watched contest has drawn national attention as the first political bellwether of the Trump era, after the district nearly split its vote between the Republican leader and Hillary Clinton in last year’s presidential election. It even drew the president’s personal attention Monday, when the White House occupant criticized Ossoff in a tweet.

Clearly, Republicans are nervous — as Trump fired off two more tweets this morning:

In order to avoid a runoff, Ossoff must get more than 50%. Republicans hope he fails to reach 50%, thus placing him against a Republican around whom all the GOP will unite.

Nate Silver does not see this happening:

And his answer to that question? Ossoff will win the runoff by 4 percentage points, but that “win” has a large margin of error (8 points).

This is more than about one seat in the House obviously. It will show Democrats that they can win in 2018 — even take back the House.

I expect early returns to be misleading. Georgia 6th has early voting — and motivated Dems will have come out for that. That will be reflected in the early voting.  I don’t expect a win today for Issoff, just the runoff.  But if he gets the win sans runoff, that would be…. yuge.

SIDENOTE: I am a bit concerned about this and wondering why others aren’t:

COBB COUNTY, Ga. – Channel 2 Action News has learned that critical voting machines were stolen just days before polls will open for a special election.

State officials are investigating after equipment was taken from a Cobb County precinct manager’s vehicle. According to Secretary of State Brian Kemp, the equipment was stolen on Saturday evening while the vehicle was parked at the Kroger on Canton Road.

Was Trump Wrong About Orlando Shooter Motive? (Were We All?)

Just a second there, stupid politician man.

Palm Beach Post:

A former classmate of Omar Mateen’s 2006 police academy class said he believed Mateen was gay, saying Mateen once asked him out.

Officials say Mateen shot and killed 49 people and injured 53 others at an Orlando nightclub early Sunday morning.

The classmate said that he, Mateen and other classmates would hang out, sometimes going to gay nightclubs, after classes at the Indian River Community College police academy. He said Mateen asked him out romantically.

“We went to a few gay bars with him, and I was not out at the time, so I declined his offer,” the former classmate said. He asked that his name not be used.

He believed Mateen was gay, but not open about it. Mateen was awkward, and for a while the classmate and the rest in the group of friends felt sorry for him.

“He just wanted to fit in and no one liked him,” he said. “He was always socially awkward.”

L.A. Times:

The gunman who attacked a Florida LGBT nightclub had attended the club before the attack and had used a gay dating and chat app, witnesses said.

Kevin West, a regular at Pulse nightclub, said Omar Mateen messaged him on and off for a year before the shooting using the gay chat and dating app Jack’d.

But they never met – until early Sunday morning.

West was dropping off a friend at the club when he noticed Mateen – whom he knew by sight but not by name – crossing the street wearing a dark cap and carrying a black cellphone about 1 a.m., an hour before the shooting.

“He walked directly past me. I said, ‘Hey,’ and he turned and said, ‘Hey,’” and nodded his head, West said. “I could tell by the eyes.”

At least four regular customers of Pulse, the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender nightclub where the massacre took place, told the Orlando Sentinel on Monday that they believed they had seen Mateen there before.

“Sometimes he would go over in the corner and sit and drink by himself, and other times he would get so drunk he was loud and belligerent,” said Ty Smith, who also uses the name Aries.

He saw Mateen at the club at least a dozen times, he said.

And the Daily Mail quotes his ex-wife as saying he had “gay tendencies“.

It would be unusual for an ISIS adherent to be gay.  And it suggests that Mateen’s motive was based, at least in part, on self-loathing.  There is nothing to suggest that ISIS personally recruited him.  This was a lone wolf.  He may have simply latched on to ISIS as the reason, simply because self-loathing gays aren’t that aware of the self-loathing.  He was trapped between two worlds — the rigid tenets of his faith (perhaps buttressed by his anti-gay father), and his inner desires.  He chose one — violently.  (Not an excuse, of course.  Just a possible explanation).