Democrat John Fetterman blames 'the other side' and 'brutality of the campaign' for depression battle

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Sen. John Fetterman (D-Penn.) is blaming his depression on his brutal 2022 campaign and, presumably, Republicans.

In February, Fetterman checked himself in to Walter Reed Medical Center, where he was eventually diagnosed with clinical depression. Fetterman spent six weeks at the hospital and was discharged on March 31. He returned to the Senate in mid-April.

Speaking in a new interview with KDKA-TV, Fetterman attributed his depression to his intense campaign last year — and "the other side," a reference to Republicans.

"It was after the brutality of the campaign, the other side," Fetterman told the local Pittsburgh station. "Some people believe it was one of the most vicious political campaigns."

However, Fetterman did not directly blame Dr. Mehmet Oz, his Republican challenger, according to KDKA.

It's not clear, then, if Fetterman's "the other side" remark is a blanket reference to the Republican Party writ large. KDKA, unfortunately, did not ask a clarifying question to nail down the precise target of Fetterman's reference.

Exclusive interview with Sen. John Fetterman

The 2022 campaign for Pennsylvania's U.S. Senate seat was indeed brutal.

That's because it was one of the most important races of the election cycle. Republican Sen. Pat Toomey was retiring, which presented Democrats with an opportunity to pick up another Senate seat and solidify a majority. More than $370 million were spent on the race.

The race took a tragic turn when Fetterman, just weeks after securing Democratic nomination, suffered a massive stroke last May. The stroke nearly killed him, but he did not withdraw from the race. Instead, Democrats pushed Fetterman to continue campaigning despite the obvious health issues he was suffering from as a result of the stroke.

Fortunately, Fetterman told KDKA that he now feels "fantastic."

"A lot of people have been asking, 'Hey, how are you feeling, how's your depression?' It's in remission, and I am just so grateful to be feeling great," he said, explaining that he is physically and mentally fit for his duties as a senator.

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CNN anchors offer surprising reason to explain why Nevada's Democrat governor lost reelection: 'Workers were hit hard'

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Two CNN hosts demonstrated a surprising amount of self-awareness on Friday when analyzing why a Republican defeated Nevada's Democratic incumbent governor.

On Friday Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) conceded to Republican Joe Lombardo after the Associated Press declared Lombardo the winner. Lombardo, the sheriff of Clark County, won by 2.3%, or approximately 22,000 votes.

What did the hosts say?

Reacting to Sisolak's defeat, CNN anchors Dana Bash and Abby Phillip suggested that aggressive pandemic restrictions pushed voters away from Sisolak.

"This sort of bucks the trend of what we have seen in the governors races since Election Day, which is Democrats have done well," Bash said. 'This is not one.

"This is an incumbent Democrat who has actually been defeated in a state that was hit incredibly hard by COVID because, of course, Las Vegas in particular is so tourist and tourism-focused," she noted.

Phillip agreed, noting that just because Democrats are pro-union does not mean their policies are pro-worker — and workers in Nevada's tourism-based economy were hit particularly hard by COVID lockdown policies.

"One of the challenges going into this, as we’ve been discussing when it comes to the Senate race, is that the unions, which are a huge part of how Democrats get out the vote — it’s a huge part of their constituency — a lot of those workers were hit hard in ways that are hard to define with the numbers," Phillip said.

"The jobs came back, but not the ones that they had before. And so there was a lot of unsatisfaction with how that went in Nevada," she observed.

Part of Lombardo's successful campaign message, in fact, was connecting the economic downturn to pandemic lockdown policies, the Wall Street Journal explained.

"We were caught up in the Covid malaise and the economy...much longer than we should have been," Lombardo said at a debate last month.

Indeed, it was not until May of this year that Sisolak allowed the COVID-19 pandemic emergency in Nevada to end.

Anything else?

The race for Nevada's U.S. Senate seat between Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D) and Republican Adam Laxalt remains incredibly close.

As of Saturday morning, Laxalt leads by fewer than 1,000 votes with 95% of the vote counted.

Top Maricopa County election official blasts critics upset over slow ballot counting: 'Offensive'

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A top Maricopa County election official blasted critics who are frustrated over slow ballot counting that remains ongoing days after Election Day.

Arizona GOP gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake, for example, has condemned the slow process as "an embarrassment." She admitted in an interview that she has "very little faith" in Maricopa County election officials, whom she described as "incompetent," and pledged to reform the ballot-counting process if she wins election.

On Thursday, Maricopa County supervisor Bill Gates pushed back, suggesting that demands for expediency are "offensive."

"Quite frankly it’s offensive for Kari Lake to say that these people behind me are slow-rolling this when they’re working 14 to 18 hours," he said. "So I really hope this is the end of that now. We can be patient and respect the results when they come out."

\u201c"Quite frankly, it is offensive for Kari Lake to say these people behind me are slow rolling this."\n\nBill Gates, chairman of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, is not very happy about some of the things being said about the elections department.\u201d
— KTAR News 92.3 (@KTAR News 92.3) 1668123564

Gates, who has said the process will not conclude until sometime next week, also responded on Friday to criticism from the Republican National Committee.

In conjunction with the Republican Party of Arizona, the RNC released a statement saying this election "exposed deep flaws in Maricopa County's election administration." Arizona voters "deserve better — transparency, certainty, and efficiency — and most importantly, an accurate and prompt announcement of election results," the statement added, threatening to take legal action to ensure the election outcome is lawfully decided.

Instead of publicly blasting Maricopa County, Gates — himself a Republican election lawyer — said the RNC should express their concerns directly.

"I would prefer that if there are concerns that they have, that they communicate those to us here. I’m a Republican. Three of my colleagues on the board are Republicans. Raise these issues with us and discuss them with us, as opposed to making these baseless claims," he said.

"They’re hyping up the rhetoric here, which is exactly what we don’t need to do," Gates added.

Responding to concerns over the delay ballot counting, Gates said Arizona law is to blame and, on average, it takes between 10 to 12 days to count all ballots in Maricopa County, the second-largest voting precinct in America.

Gates estimated there are 275,000 ballots left to count in Maricopa County.

Still, the highly contested Senate race between Sen. Mark Kelly (D) and Republican Blake Masters was called on Friday. Kelly won by more than 120,000 votes.

For the governors race, Democrat Katie Hobbs leads Lake by about 30,000 votes with just 83% of the vote counted.

Georgia Democrats speak out against Stacey Abrams after she loses second consecutive election in landslide

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Democrat Stacey Abrams implied in her concession speech that persecution is one reason among many why she lost her second consecutive campaign to become governor of Georgia.

But Georgia Democrats say Abrams must take responsibility for her convincing defeat.

What are they saying?

After her 2018 defeat, Abrams infamously refused to concede and for years attributed her loss to factors outside her control. Still, she quickly rose to stardom in the Democratic Party and became a national force who raised significant sums of money for Democrats.

But Abrams' second loss to Republican Brian Kemp — this time by a margin of 7.5% — has Democrats second-guessing her political prowess.

State Rep. Derrick Jackson (D) told the New York Times that black organizations urged Abrams to meet with them earlier this year, but she didn't because of her schedule. But when her poll numbers began dropping, she finally did.

"Stacey must own some of this," Jackson said. "If you’re running a statewide race, if you venture off and you nationalize it, then that’s problematic."

Moreover, David Brand, whom the Times described as "a veteran Atlanta Democratic strategist," said that many times Abrams was meeting with people virtually while her opponent was meeting them face to face.

"She’s having Zoom meetings with black businesspeople," Brand said. "Brian Kemp’s having cocktails with them.

Democrat Jason Carter, who lost the 2014 Georgia gubernatorial election, said that Abrams' national profile came with consequences, like twice losing an election in her home state.

"She had spent an enormous amount of time being a national figure on really crucially important issues," Carter told the Times. "That national profile is really important and has enormous value, but it also has consequences."

Anything else?

During her concession speech, Abrams quoted a famous Bible verse describing persecution in the early church, thus implying her circumstances are similar.

"I am ... reminded of what Scripture tells us," Abrams said before reciting 2 Corinthians 4:8, "We are troubled on every side yet not distressed. We are perplexed, but not in despair. Persecuted, but not forsaken. Cast dead on but not destroyed."

"I know the results aren't what we hoped for tonight, and I understand that you are hurting and you are disappointed — I am too," she continued. "We may not have made it to the finish line. But we ran that race. And we know this path and we know that running is what matters. That standing is what matters. That defending is what matters."

AOC lashes out at her party after Republicans shock with election performance in New York

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Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) is demanding accountability among her own after Republicans made significant gains across the Empire State on Election Day.

What did AOC say?

Reacting to Election Day results, Ocasio-Cortez demanded that Jay Jacobs, the New York State Democratic Party president, resign from his position.

"NYS Dem party leadership, which was gutted under [former Gov. Andrew] Cuomo, stuffed with lobbyists, works to boost GOP, and failed to pass a basic state ballot measure to protect NY redistricting, must be accountable," Ocasio-Cortez said.

"I called for Jay Jacob’s resignation a year ago and I still hold that position," she added.

\u201cNYS Dem party leadership, which was gutted under Cuomo, stuffed with lobbyists, works to boost GOP, and failed to pass a basic state ballot measure to protect NY redistricting, must be accountable.\n\nI called for Jay Jacob\u2019s resignation a year ago and I still hold that position.\u201d
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez) 1668005582

To say that Democrats underperformed in New York is an understatement.

Election data shows that Republicans performed better in every single county in New York compared to their 2020 results. In fact, Republican Lee Zeldin, who challenged Gov. Kathy Hochul (D), completely flipped eight New York counties from blue to red.

Because of the poor performance, Ocasio-Cortez believes her party's leaders must be held accountable.

"Last night’s NY underperformance is a testament to years of prioritizing calcified machine politics and favoring over performance, strategy, & organizing," she said. "To win from here, Jacobs must go and we must recenter the party to better value community leadership and small-d democracy."

What is the background?

This is not the first time Ocasio-Cortez has called for Jacobs to step down.

Last year, Jacobs was accused of comparing India Walton — a black woman who ran for mayor of Buffalo — to former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke. The backlash against Jacobs included Ocasio-Cortez demanding his resignation.

"Jay Jacobs absolutely should resign over his disgusting comments comparing a Black single mother who won a historic election to David Duke," Ocasio-Cortez said at the time.

"As a federally elected official in the NY Dem party, I have 0 confidence in Jay Jacobs’ ability to lead an NY Dem party that is inclusive & respectful of all," she added. "This is just his latest incident. Jacobs is a toxic presence in the party and his continued post as Chair is shameful."

Marco Rubio goes viral over direct question about delays in election outcomes: 'How can it take days?'

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Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) went viral on Wednesday after posing a question about why some states experience significant delays in determining the outcome of elections.

What did Rubio say?

On Wednesday afternoon, Rubio questioned why Florida — the third-most populous state — can determine election outcomes within hours of polls closing, but other states require many days to officially declare winners and losers.

"If #Florida can count 7.5 million ballots in 5 hours how can it take days for some states to count less than 2 million?" Rubio asked.

\u201cIf #Florida can count 7.5 million ballots in 5 hours how can it take days for some states to count less than 2 million?\u201d
— Marco Rubio (@Marco Rubio) 1668021581

The question clearly resonated, because it received nearly 20,000 "retweets" and more than 100,000 "likes" by Thursday.

Even with control of the Senate hinging on important races in Nevada and Arizona, both states, for example, are still counting ballots. It could take days still before the winners of those elections are announced, especially if the difference is a few thousand votes.

So why the delay?

The delay in ballot counting can be boiled down to state laws that impose differing regulations about when election officials can begin tabulating votes and how long mail ballots can be tabulated.

Florida, for example, can begin processing mail ballots before Election Day. Only 38 states permit pre-election mail ballot processing. However, it's not just about when processing can begin, but about when all mail ballots are delivered.

While Arizona can begin processing before Election Day, nearly 300,000 mail ballots were dropped off in Maricopa County — the nation's second-largest voting precinct — on the morning of the election. Obviously, it takes time to both tabulate and verify those ballots.

"When people are told to drop off their early ballot on Election Day, those can't be counted that night. You can't just run them through a machine. They have to be signature checked, scanned first, signature checked, then processed by a bipartisan board before they can be counted," former Maricopa County recorder Helen Purcell told WSAZ-TV.

Meanwhile, in Nevada, state law permits mail ballots to be received for days after the election — so long as they're postmarked by Election Day.

"[T]o be clear, we said all along that we would only have some of the results on election night," Nevada secretary of state spokeswoman Jennifer Russell told NBC News. "By law, Nevada counties have until Nov. 12 to receive mail ballots."

Overall, the delays are connected to the proliferation of voting by mail, which became a widespread practice in 2020.

"We're all used to elections where it was as simple as plugging in USB sticks and running the results," a spokesperson for Washoe County, Nevada, told the Reno Gazette Journal. "We can't do that now because there are so many paper ballots. It's going to take longer.

"This is the new normal for election night," the spokesperson declared.

Former top Trump official suggests Trump should stay out of Georgia runoff — but DeSantis 'should be welcome'

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Fox News co-host Kayleigh McEnany suggested Wednesday that former President Donald Trump should not campaign in Georgia ahead of the runoff between Sen. Raphael Warnock (D) and Republican Herschel Walker.

McEnany's comments are particularly eyebrow-raising because they indicate that even former Trump loyalists like herself (she was White House press secretary through the end of the Trump White House) realize that Trump may be hurting, not helping, the Republican Party.

What did McEnany say?

Speaking on "Outnumbered," McEnany said "every last ounce of Republican energy" must go into pushing Walker across the finish line.

"I know there’s a temptation to starting talking about 2024 — no, no, no, no, no, 2022 is not over," McEnany said. "Every Republican energy needs to go to grinding the Biden agenda to a halt, and that could go straight through the state of Georgia."

When asked about Trump, McEnany said "he needs to put it on pause," an apparent reference to a major announcement that Trump is scheduled to deliver next week. Many political observers believe Trump will announce his 2024 presidential campaign.

Should Trump campaign for Walker? According to McEnany, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is better suited for that task.

"I think we've got to make strategic calculations," she explained. "Gov. DeSantis, I think he should be welcome to the state given what happened last night. You've got to look you got to look at the realities on the ground. And Herschel Walker— we've got to win the Senate. That's it, guys. Got to win the Senate."

Anything else?

McEnany's implied suggestion — that Trump should stay away from Georgia — appears to be the prescription Republicans need.

The Wall Street Journal editorial board demonstrated why this is the case. Across the board, Trump-endorsed personalities either lost election or won by significantly smaller margins than did Republicans in the same state who are not big Trump-backed candidates.

"Since his unlikely victory in 2016 against the widely disliked Hillary Clinton, Mr. Trump has a perfect record of electoral defeat. The GOP was pounded in the 2018 midterms owing to his low approval rating. Mr. Trump himself lost in 2020. He then sabotaged Georgia’s 2021 runoffs by blaming party leaders for not somehow overturning his defeat," the editorial board explained.

"Now Mr. Trump has botched the 2022 elections," the board added.

On the other hand, DeSantis has transformed Florida from a generational swing state into reliable GOP territory.

Stacey Abrams cites famous Bible verse invoking persecution of early church in concession speech: 'Persecuted, but not forsaken'

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Democrat Stacey Abrams invoked a well-known Bible verse in her concession speech Tuesday in an apparent comparison of her situation to the early persecution of Christians.

What did Abrams say?

While speaking to supporters after Gov. Brian Kemp (R) was declared the victor of Georgia's gubernatorial election, Abrams said the moment reminded her of when the apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthian church members about persecution.

"I am ... reminded of what Scripture tells us," Abrams said before reciting 2 Corinthians 4:8, "We are troubled on every side yet not distressed. We are perplexed, but not in despair. Persecuted, but not forsaken. Cast dead on but not destroyed."

"I know the results aren't what we hoped for tonight, and I understand that you are hurting and you are disappointed— I am too," she continued. "We may not have made it to the finish line. But we ran that race. And we know this path and we know that running is what matters. That standing is what matters. That defending is what matters."

Stacey Abrams delivers concession speech in 2022 Georgia governor race

In contrast to her 2018 post-election speech, in which she did not concede her loss, Abrams conceded that she is no longer a candidate for governor.

"Now, tonight I am doing what is clearly the responsible thing. I am suspending my campaign for governor," she said.

"I may no longer be seeking the office of governor, but I will never stop doing everything in my power to ensure that the people of Georgia have a voice," she vowed.

At the beginning of the speech, Abrams congratulated Kemp on his second consecutive victory.

Anything else?

Kemp defeated Abrams by approximately 7.5%, which translates to about 300,000 votes. By comparison, Kemp only defeated Abrams by 1.4% in 2018, or about 50,000 votes.

Still, Abrams has alleged that an election security law enacted last year disenfranchised voters. Those allegations came despite record-high voter turnout for a midterm election.

In fact, on Saturday, Abrams claimed that voters turned out despite "barriers" erected by Republicans.

"We know that people turned out early because they understand that [Republicans] put barriers in place," she said on MSNBC.

"Let's be clear, the false narrative that voter turnout has felled the idea of voter suppression misunderstands the effectiveness of suppression," she claimed. "It has never been about stopping all voters. It is about clogging the arteries of the process and stopping certain voters. There is a precision to voter suppression."

Abrams has never provided evidence backing her claims of voter disenfranchisement.

Four states approve ballot measures officially banning slavery under all circumstances

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Multiple states officially outlawed slavery through ballot referendums on Tuesday.

Wait, slavery is legal?

The 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which outlaws slavery, does not actually prohibit the practice under all circumstances.

The one exception is that slavery can be imposed, according to the amendment, "as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted."

Because of the wording, prisoners are often exploited for cheap labor. Thus, in recent years, criminal justice reform advocates have pushed for states to amend their constitutions to ban the practice. Colorado became the first state to do so in 2018.

What happened on Tuesday?

Voters in five states — Alabama, Oregon, Tennessee, Vermont, and Louisiana — had the opportunity to approve amendments to their state constitutions that would ban the practice of prisoner slave labor.

Tennessee's proposal, for instance, read, "Slavery and involuntary servitude are forever prohibited. Nothing in this section shall prohibit an inmate from working when the inmate has been duly convicted of a crime."

But only four of those states — Alabama, Oregon, Tennessee, Vermont — approved the measures, the Associated Press reported.

The AP explained why voters in Louisiana rejected theirs:

In Louisiana, a former slave-holding state, voters rejected a ballot question known as Amendment 7 that asked whether they supported a constitutional amendment to prohibit the use of involuntary servitude in the criminal justice system. Ahead of Election Day, state Rep. Edmond Jordan, a Democrat from Baton Rouge and author of the amendment, reportedly asked voters to reject the measure because its wording on the ballot differed from his proposal.

After Tuesday's results, more than a dozen states will still have language in their state constitutions permitting slavery or involuntary servitude for prisoners.

Last year, Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) and Rep. Nikema Williams (D-Ga.) reintroduced legislation that would amend the Constitution to declare, "Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude may be imposed as a punishment for a crime."

Congress has not approved the amendment. If or when two-thirds of Congress does, the amendment would require three-fourths of states to ratify it.

Fox News pundit says election was 'searing indictment' of GOP — and Republican vote margins prove it

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Conservative writer Marc Thiessen implored the Republican Party to engage in deep introspection after failing to deliver the promised "red wave."

In a political environment unfavorable to Democrats, how could Republicans not decisively win nationwide, especially when they are generally on the favorable side of important issues like the economy and crime?

The result, according to Thiessen, is a "searing indictment" of the Republican Party.

"We had the worst inflation in four decades, the worst collapse in real wages in 40 years, the worst crime wave since the 1990s, the worst border crisis in U.S. history. We have Joe Biden, who is the least popular president since Harry Truman — since presidential polling happened — and there wasn’t a red wave," the Fox News contributor said late Tuesday.

"That is a searing indictment of the Republican Party," he continued. "That is a searing indictment of the message that we have been sending to the voters. They’ve looked at all of that, and looked at Republican alternative, and said no thanks."

Given the disappointing results, Thiessen said the GOP "needs to do a really deep introspection look in the mirror right now" to understand the "absolute disaster" of an election cycle.

GOP midterm results are an 'absolute disaster': Bush speechwriter

Although he did not mention former President Donald Trump by name, Thiessen said the Republican Party needs to look to Republicans like Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, and Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp as the future of the GOP.

Election Day seems to have proven Thiessen correct.

For instance, Kemp won reelection by 7.5%. But Republican Herschel Walker, whom Trump endorsed, trails incumbent Democrat Raphael Warnock by nearly 1%. In Ohio, DeWine won by more than 25%, but Trump-endorsed Republican J.D. Vance won by less than 7%.

This proves that many people — likely independent voters — supported proven Republican leaders but refused to support Trump-endorsed candidates.

Meanwhile, Florida has become a deep red state under DeSantis, who has proven yet again that he can win support from groups of voters Republicans have historically struggled with.