2018 midterm elections
November 27, 2018

Democrats gained as many as 40 House seats in the 2018 midterms, and while that falls short of the 63 seats Republicans flipped in the 2010 election, they beat Republicans this year by the largest margin ever notched by either party in a midterm, NBC News reports. With votes still being counted, Democrats have a national popular vote lead of 8,805,130, beating the previous record, 8.7 million votes, that Democrats set in the 1974 midterms, right after President Richard Nixon resigned amid the Watergate scandal. (In the 2010 red wave, Republicans won 5.8 million more votes than Democrats.) Democrats won 53.1 percent of the 111 million votes cast this election, versus 45.2 percent for Republicans.

Cook Political Report's Dave Wasserman, whose own count gives Democrats a national lead of more than 9.1 million votes, has some other data from the midterms (assuming Democrats flip California's 21st Congressional District), including that while Republicans will represent 17 percent fewer House seats in January, they lost only 5 percent of their land area. Also:

Of course, the House is elected by individual districts, not a national vote, and Democrats actually lost a seat or two in the Senate. But bragging rights aren't nothing when you control only one half of the three branches of government. Peter Weber

November 4, 2018

On Sunday, the office of Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp announced it is investigating the Democratic Party of Georgia over an alleged attempted hack of the state's voter registration system.

Kemp is also the Republican gubernatorial candidate, and his office did not provide any evidence or say why the state's Democratic Party is being investigated as part of the probe. For months, people have been calling on Kemp to step down from his role overseeing the election that he is running in, and the Democratic Party of Georgia said in a statement this is "yet another example of abuse of power by an unethical secretary of state," adding his "scurrilous claims are 100 percent false." Kemp's office said the FBI and Department of Homeland Security have been notified.

The announcement comes just two days before Election Day, and this is "problematic," Edgardo Cortes, Georgia's former elections commissioner, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "It all just sounds very strange," he said, noting that Kemp's office said no personal data was breached in the alleged cyber attack and the system is secure. "It is kind of hard to make that determination without actually going through and doing a thorough investigation," he said. Read more about Kemp's office, and earlier hacks and breaches that it did not take seriously, at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Catherine Garcia

October 31, 2018

As of Wednesday, 24,024,621 million early and absentee ballots have been counted in the United States, NBC News reports.

There are six days to go before Election Day, and at this same time in 2014, during the last midterms, fewer than 13 million early or absentee ballots had been counted. The NBC News Data Analytics Lab has been focusing on several key states — Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Montana, Nevada, Tennessee, and Texas — and found that in each state, the six-day-out total is higher now than it was in 2014.

Of the early voters this year, 43 percent are Republicans and 41 percent are Democrats; at this time in 2014, 44 percent were Republican and 40 percent were Democrats. Catherine Garcia

October 25, 2018

A federal judge on Wednesday ordered that Georgia election officials stop tossing out absentee ballots that are being rejected due to suspected signature mismatch.

Voting rights activists, including the American Civil Liberties Union, sued the state, arguing that by throwing out absentee ballots without telling voters or giving them the opportunity to fix the issue, their rights of equal protection and due process are being violated. Georgia election officials countered that this could compromise the integrity of the voting process, but Judge Leigh Martin May said the court "does not understand how assuring that all eligible voters are permitted to vote undermines integrity of the election process. To the contrary, it strengthens it."

May ordered that the ballots be included in the provisional vote tally, with the affected voters given up to three days after the Nov. 6 election to prove their eligibility. It's a blow to Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp, who is also the Republican gubernatorial candidate. He is a champion of the 2017 "exact match" voting law, which lets officials reject voter registration applications that do not match 100 percent with the information available in state databases. At least 53,000 registration applications have been put on hold because of the law. Catherine Garcia

October 22, 2018

Monday was the first day of early voting in Texas, and lines were already forming well before dawn.

At one Houston polling place, thousands of people waited hours for doors to open, including Cody Pogue, who arrived at 8:30 p.m. Sunday night. Pogue wanted to be one of the first people in the state to vote for Democratic Senate candidate Rep. Beto O'Rourke, telling the Houston Chronicle this is "one of the most important elections of our lifetime."

Voter registration is at a record high of more than 15.7 million voters, with about 400,000 people added to the rolls between the March primary and the last day of voter registration this month, the Chronicle reports. Much of the excitement is due to the Senate race between O'Rourke and Sen. Ted Cruz (R). On Tuesday afternoon, the Texas Secretary of State's office will release Monday's early voting numbers. Catherine Garcia

October 12, 2018

Sheldon Adelson, the Las Vegas casino magnate and Republican mega donor, is doing his part to help the GOP ahead of the midterm elections, giving tens of millions of dollars to a pair of super PACs, two senior Republicans familiar with the matter told Politico on Thursday.

Adelson, a major ally of President Trump, and his wife, Miriam, contributed at least $25 million to the Senate Leadership Fund and Congressional Leadership Fund. They had already made hefty contributions to the groups earlier this year: $25 million to the Senate GOP super PAC and $30 million to the House GOP super PAC. The funding comes as more and more ads for Democratic candidates are hitting the airwaves, fueled by smaller donations from an enthusiastic base. Catherine Garcia

October 1, 2018

If you gain fans or followers, look out — you may have accidentally just become a cult leader.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) told Fox & Friends on Monday that Rep. Beto O'Rourke (D-Texas) is like a cult leader for "George Soros policies," and predicted Texans would ultimately be "hostile" to his ideas come Election Day.

After host Steve Doocy described O'Rourke's agenda as seeking "higher taxes, more regulation, open borders, and not supporting law enforcement," Abbott concurred that his platform would ultimately fail due to its radical nature.

"He's been a cult-like, very popular figure, the way that he's run the campaign," said Abbott. "But you don't vote on cult, you don't vote on personality when you get to the United States Senate. You vote on issues." The governor characterized O'Rourke's platform as related to investor George Soros, who some conservative conspiracy theorists believe is the secret puppetmaster of all liberal politics.

O'Rourke is challenging Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) in a closely watched race. Cruz's lead has been steadily shrinking, perhaps because Texans view him as a "serpent covered in Vaseline," but Abbott predicted the campaign would end as his did four years ago, when he defeated Democrat Wendy Davis by 20 percentage points. Watch the moment below, via Fox News. Summer Meza

September 20, 2018

Paulette Jordan, the Democratic gubernatorial candidate in Idaho who is vying to become the nation's first Native American state leader, has been in coordination with a political action committee in ways that may violate campaign finance rules, the Idaho Statesman reported Thursday. Jordan's team has reportedly been advising and fundraising for the super PAC, and even secured a major donation for it this month.

The Strength and Progress federal super PAC, created in July "to accept donations from the Coeur d'Alene Tribe ... for spending on Federal First Nations' issues," is allowed to raise and spend unlimited amounts of money but is not supposed to partner with any specific campaign. Jordan, formerly a representative in the Idaho state legislature, is a member of the Tribe. Her campaign was reportedly involved in creating the PAC, which could be a problem if expenditures show that the group contributed to her candidacy.

Jordan's campaign manager, Michael Rosenow, resigned last week, saying he would rather "have no part or complacency with this PAC," the Statesman reported based on internal emails. Rosenow, along with the campaign's communications director and event scheduler, resigned suddenly after just two months, raising eyebrows about whether the departures were really a simple "leadership transition," as Jordan's campaign said. Now, emails show that Rosenow resigned over a "lack of accountability in spending and acquiring campaign resources." He felt the team was "growing a PAC" instead of funding the campaign, calling it "detestable, loathsome, if not repulsive."

Strength and Progress, the Coeur d'Alene Tribe, and Jordan's campaign all say that there has been no improper coordination and that the groups are all operating independently. The Idaho Democratic Party says it is taking the potential violations "very seriously." Read more at the Idaho Statesman. Summer Meza

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