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Wake Up To Politics - November 4, 2015

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Wednesday, November 4, 2015
370 Days until Election Day 2016
89 Days until the Iowa Caucuses It's Wednesday, November 4, 2015, I'm Gabe Fleisher for Wake Up To Politics, and reporting from WUTP world HQ in my bedroom - Good morning: THIS IS YOUR WAKE UP CALL!!!
To send me questions, comments, tips, new subscribers, and more: email me at wakeuptopolitics@gmail.com. To learn more about WUTP and subscribe, visit the site: wakeuptopolitics.com, or like me on Twitter and Facebook. More ways to engage with WUTP at the bottom.    Results Central

  • Tuesday’s Results: Winners and Losers Hundreds of elections were held Tuesday. Here are some of the winners and losers:
  • Winners
  • Diversity Jenean Hampton (R) was elected Lieutenant Governor of Kentucky, making her the first African-American elected to statewide office in the Bluegrass State.
  • Dynasties Two political dynasties were born Tuesday, with the election of Elizabeth Brown, daughter of Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), to the Columbus City Council and Andy Beshear’s election as Kentucky Attorney General. Beshear’s father is the state’s outgoing governor, Steve Beshear (D).
  • Outsiders Businessman Matt Bevin (R) was elected Governor of Kentucky, defeating state Attorney General Jack Conway (D). Although the state trends Republican in presidential and congressional elections, Kentucky has had just one Republican governor in the past 40 years (Bevin will be the second).
  • Bevin has never held political office, although he primary challenged Sen. Mitch McConnell in 2014, and has been compared to fellow political outsider Donald Trump. In fact, a Democratic Governors Association (DGA) statement acknowledging Conway’s loss read, “Attorney General Jack Conway ran a strong campaign…Unfortunately, he ran into the unexpected headwinds of Trump-mania, losing to an outsider candidate in the Year of the Outsider.”
  • Bevin won with 53.5% of the vote to Conway’s 43.8%; polling had shown the race much closer, in a dead heat or a Conway win. 3.7% went to Independent Drew Curtis, the founder of online news aggregator FARK.com, whose running mate was his wife, Heather Curtis.
  • Rand Paul Bevin’s win – and the loss of Kentucky state Auditor Adam Edelen (D) – gave Sen. Rand Paul (R) a very good night. Although he was not on the ballot himself, Paul can point to the success of other Kentucky Republicans (such as Bevin) to defend his focus on campaigning for President, rather than re-election to the Senate. Edelen’s defeat deals a huge victory to Paul’s Senate chances, as the Democrat was seen as the strongest challenger to Paul.
  • Losers
  • Chris Christie New Jersey Republicans fought hard to gain back a state Senate majority, or at least pick up some seats and make the Democratic majority smaller. In a blow to Gov. Chris Christie (R), Democrats actually picked up three Republican-held seats, and grew their majority.
  • LGBT Americans The Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO) was struck down by voters in the city. According to the Washington Post, HERO “aimed to extend civil rights protections in housing, employment and public facilities (in all senses of the term) to all Houstonians, regardless of race, color, ethnicity, national origin, age, religion, disability, pregnancy, genetic information, marital or military status, as well as sexuality and gender identity.”
  • Amidst that long list, opponents of the ordinance campaign solely against public facilities and gender identity, nicknaming the law the “bathroom bill,” and claiming it would allow transgender women (who were born male) into women’s bathrooms.
  • The ordinance was rejected by a vote of 61% to 39%.
  • Pot smokers Ohio voters opted against becoming the fifth state to legalize marijuana, voting against a ballot initiative that would have made medical and recreational use of the drug legal in the state. The measure was defeated in a 65%-35% vote.
  • Terry McAuliffe The Virginia governor campaigned all over his state leading up to Tuesday’s elections, in an attempt to win back control of the state Senate for his last two years in office. Instead, Republicans kept their 21-19 majority, meaning McAuliffe’s entire legislative agenda (including Medicaid expansion, gun control, universal pre-K, and other issues) is now down the drain.
  • Truck Drivers Gov. Phil Bryant (R-MS) was re-elected to a second term with 66% of the vote, defeating truck driver Robert Gray, the Democratic nominee.

2016 Central

  • Whiteboard Wednesday Every week, I draw out the STATE OF THE RACE for President on my whiteboard:
  • On the whiteboard, the brown percentage shows the candidate's average polling support this week; the number next to the brown represents the change that candidate saw from their average last week (green is a gain, red is a loss). Here’s what else the whiteboard shows:
    • GOP: In the first post-debate polls, we saw about what was expected: Carson had huge gains, stealing the lead in the race from Trump, who sees just a small loss, but enough to move him down to #2. The race between the two political outsiders is still close, however: Carson's average was just 0.5% higher than Trump, a small victory - but huge in its removal of Trump from frontrunner status. Then, Rubio and Cruz both see expected gains after their well-received debate performances. Jeb Bush, who has failed to get the revival he has sought, symbolically remains stagnant, with the same average he got last week. Then, notably, the rest of the field all lost ground. This may be a sign that those at the bottom of the pack are starting to lose support to the top tier, which may cause some dropouts in the weeks to come (looking at you, Christie/Huckabee/Kasich/Paul). The biggest loss is Carly Fiorina's, whose momentum from her debate August/September debate victories seems to be fading.
    • DEM: This was the first week of polling with a three-candidate field for the Democratic race, after Lincoln Chafee and Jim Webb ended their campaigns (and Joe Biden's announcement that he would not run). As a result, support that had gone to that trio seems to have been spread across the remaining candidates. Sanders has the biggest gain from the previous week, although Clinton still leads him by a staggering 23% margin. Even Martin O'Malley gains some ground, although he can't seem to break through the 3% floor. 
  • The Debates over Debates: GOP Candidates Back Out of Letter to Networks A number of Republican presidential campaigns have begun to back out of the much-discussed letter they had planned to write to TV networks to control of debate negotiations.
  • Following CNBC’s poor moderating of last week’s Republican debate, campaign managers of 12 GOP presidential candidates met Sunday to discuss a letter to sponsors of future debates. Dissatisfied with the Republican National Committee’s negotiating on their behalf, the campaigns’ sat down to write a letter and take debate negotiating into their hands.
  • But many in the top tier of the Republican field have begun to back out of the letter. Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, Ted Cruz, Carly Fiorina, John Kasich, and Donald Trump have all said they will not sign the letter, even as Ben Carson and other candidate push ahead with plans to send it.
  • What will such a letter look like? GOP superlawyer Ben Ginsberg sat in on the Sunday meeting, and drafted a letter for the candidates. Ginsberg’s draft included a number of questions for the networks (“What format do you envision – podiums, table, other?” “Will there be a gong/buzzer/bell when time is up?” “Will there be questions from the audience or social media? How many?”) and even more demands from the candidates, who asked for a ban on “lightening rounds” or questions where candidates had to raise their hands, asked that shots of the podiums from behind not be shown, that their microphones be off during break, among others.
  • The final demand of the Republican candidates for President? “Can you pledge that the temperature in the hall be kept below 67 degrees?”
  • 2016 Storylines A rundown of the stories developing with the 2016 candidates in the past 24 hours:
  • Jeb Bush jokingly apologized to the people of France Tuesday for making light of their work ethic at the last Republican debate. “I now know that the average French workweek is actually greater than the German workweek,” Bush told the press in New Hampshire. “So, my God, I totally insulted an entire country—our first ally—that helped us become free as a nation! And I apologize. That did a huge disservice to France.” Bush criticized Marco Rubio at last week’s debate by asking how he couldn’t show up for Senate votes, when the chamber is in session so little, adding “What is it, like a French work week?”
  • Hillary Clinton set a specific rate of minimum wage increase she supports Tuesday. “I want to raise the federal minimum wage to $12, and encourage other communities to go even higher,” she announced at an Iowa campaign stop. Clinton’s two opponents for the Democratic nomination, Vermont senator Bernie Sanders and former Maryland governor Martin O’Malley, have both previously announced support for a $15 per hour minimum wage.
  • Marco Rubio picked up the endorsements of two Republican senators this week: Cory Gardener of New Jersey, on Monday, and Steve Daines of Montana, on Tuesday. Gardener and Daines were the first of Rubio’s Senate colleagues to back his presidential bid; they follow billionaire Paul Singer, who announced he was throwing his support (and money) to Rubio on Friday.
  • Donald Trump published a new book, “Crippled America: How to Make America Great Again,” Tuesday. Trump’s 208-page blueprint for America, featuring a scowling Trump on the cover, includes17 pages of “About the Author”; the rest is mostly a lengthened version of the business mogul’s stump speech. However, the book also includes a number of attacks on presidential rival Carly Fiorina, conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt, conservative group Club for Growth, Vice President Joe Biden, President Barack Obama, and others.

Capitol Hill News

  • House Republicans Choose Ryan’s Successor As Ways and Means Chairman The House Republican Steering Committee meets today to choose the new chairman of the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee. Paul Ryan gave up the Ways and Means gavel to become Speaker of the House last week.
  • Reps. Kevin Brady (R-TX) and Pat Tiberi (R-OH) are the two candidates for the Ways and Means chairmanship. Both are friends of Ryan, and both wield subcommittee gavels (Brady chairs the Subcommittee on Health; Tiberi, the Subcommittee on Select Revenue Measures).
  • Brady has more seniority in the House and the Ways and Means panel (he has served in Congress since 1991, and is the second-most senior member of the committee). Tiberi, who was first elected to the House in 2001, is No. 4 in seniority on the panel.
  • In addition to seniority, there are other considerations that could be taken into the Steering Committee’s decision. “Tiberi has spent years raising money for and dishing out funds to fellow House Republicans, but he is seen as a critical figure in Boehner's universe, which could hurt him,” Politico writes. Meanwhile, “Brady could be helped by his home-state connection to the largest House Republican delegation, or hindered by a sense that six Lone Star State committee chairmen is enough. Brady would be the seventh chairman from Texas if he’s chosen over Tiberi,” according to Roll Call.
  • Technically, today’s vote is just the first step into the selection of the next Ways and Means chairman. After the Steering Committee makes its recommendation (which it will do today, after hearing speeches from both candidates), the full Republican Conference will vote on the chairmanship. The Steering Committee vote is rarely overruled.
  • The Steering panel is made up of 32 lawmakers: the leaders of the House Republican Conference, six committee chairmen, and other appointed members. All members have one vote, except for Speaker Paul Ryan, who has five votes, and Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who has two votes. The configuration of this committee was one of the promises Ryan made when running for Speaker, although his changes have not yet been announced.
  • There is no consensus frontrunner for the chairmanship, and the race between Brady and Tiberi could go either way.

Question of the Day

  • Monday’s Answer The trivia question Monday: who was the only President to be elected to office on his birthday?
  • The answer: Warren Harding, who was elected President of the United States on November 2, 1920 AND turned 55 years old on the same day.
  • GREAT JOB: Christa Van Herreweghe, Marlee Millman, Jeremy Cohen, Steve Gitnik!

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For more on Wake Up To Politics, listen to Gabe on NPR's "Talk of the Nation, the Political Junkie podcast, and St. Louis Public Radio; watch Gabe on MSNBC's "Up with Steve Kornacki, and read about Gabe in Politico, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Globe, and the St. Louis Jewish Light