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Monday, October 13, 2014
22 Days Until Election Day 2014
757 Days Until Election Day 2016
Federal Judge Strikes Down AK SSM ban, TX Gov "Wheelchair Ad," KY Senate Debate tonight, Senate Poliing Roundup completed, Suggested Reading for Columbus Day and Malal's Nobel win, and more: It's Monday, October 10, 2014, I'm Gabe Fleisher for this no-school, Columbus Day brunch edition of 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. To learn more about WUTP, visit the site: wakeuptopolitics.com, or read my tweets: twitter.com/Wakeup2Politics.
- Federal Judge Strikes Down Alaska Same-Sex marriage Ban U.S. District Judge Timothy Burgess ruled Sunday that a 1998 constitutional amendment in Alaska banning same-sex marriage violated the U.S. Constitution, under the Equal Protection clause.
- Burgess’ decision, which goes into effect Monday, reverses the nation’s first gay marriage ban, passed by Alaska voters in November 1998. A state official said Sunday that the Alaska Department of Vital Statistics will accept applications for marriage licenses from same-sex couples Monday.
- “Weelchair Ad” Brings Controversy to Texas Gubernatorial Race Democratic gubernatorial nominee Wendy Davis, a Texas state senator, charges state Attorney General Greg Abbott with hypocrisy, in a new ad capitalizing on her opponent’s partial paralysis.
- Abbott is a paraplegic, dating back to 1984 – before his political career began – when an oak tree fell on him as he was running. He sued the homeowner, winning a $10 million settlement. Ever since the incident, Aboott has used a wheelchair.
- The Davis ad shows an empty wheelchair as the narrator intones, “A tree fell on Greg Abbott. He sued and got millions. Since then, he’s spent his career working against other victims.” The ad goes on to cite cases Abbott worked on in different points in his career in which he advocated laws rolling back punitive damages – similar to those he was eligible for. With this argument, the Davis campaign attempts to paint Abbott as a hypocrite, although the Republican’s campaign says his 1984 suit did not seek punitive damages such as the ones he has tried to cap for victims of similar incidents.
- A statement from the Abbott campaign called the “wheelchair ad” a “historic low,” while Davis pollster Joel Benenson, a veteran of both Obama presidential campaigns, defended the ad, telling The Texas Tribune, “This ad is not about Greg Abbott in a wheelchair. This ad is about Greg Abbott’s behavior and action with other victims after he had his opportunity and rightly sought justice and received a substantial amount of money.”
- In the end, the “wheelchair ad” will go down as one of the nastiest campaign spots in history. But the implications for the election at hand will be small. This ad was a desperate attempt by a sinking campaign: Davis’ rising star status inside her own party has failed to pick up supporters in deep-red Texas, making for lagging poll numbers. The ad probably won’t pick up any new supporters for Davis, and certainly could gain her some new detractors…but the bottom line is Greg Abbott is still the probable winner of the race.
- McConnell, Grimes to Face Off in 1st Debate Tonight For the first, and perhaps last, time before midterm elections next month, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) will face off in a debate Monday night with his Democratic opponent, Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes.
- Tonight’s debate could affect a sizable bloc of Kentucky voters before they head to the polls, in a race that could decide whether McConnell will be become Senate Majority Leader…or lose his seat, and watch Democrats keep the majority.
- The debate, airing from 8 PM to 9 PM local time, and moderated by Kentucky Educational Television’s Bill Goodman, will be held in KET’s Lexington studios.
- In a race currently led by McConnell, Grimes will be the candidate to watch – as Kentuckians look to see if the Democrat can inspire and get her message across as she attempts to unseat the five-term senator.
- Polling Roundup: Part III In the third and final installment, of my Senate polling roundup, Wake Up To Politics takes a look at three more competitive Senate races:
- New Hampshire: Lean Democrat Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen is running for a third term against Republican Scott Brown. Shaheen has been involved in New Hampshire politics for almost four decades, as both Governor and U.S. Senator – the first woman in U.S. history to serve in both jobs. Brown, meanwhile, moved to the Granite State less than a year ago, after serving as U.S. Senator from Massachusetts. However, the Republican is using his charisma, celebrity status, and moderate voting record to try and deny Shaheen a second term.
- Polls from New Hampshire show a fairly close race, although Shaheen consistently leads, and sometimes by a large margin. The latest poll in the race, conducted by WMUR and the University of New Hampshire, shows the incumbent with 47% of the vote, to Brown’s 41%.
- North Carolina: Tossup Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan is running for a second term, following her 2008 defeat of Republican Sen. Elizabeth Dole with 53% of the vote. Now, in this Republican-trending state, Hagan is fighting for her political life, with establishment GOPer state House Speaker Thom Tillis tying her to Obama and the Affordable Care Act, both deeply unpopular in the Tar Heel State.
- This is one of the most competitive Senate races on the ballot in November, and no polls have shown either candidate at 50%. Recent polls show Hagan in the lead, but only within the margin of error, meaning this race really could go either way.
- South Dakota: Likely Republican Finally, we return to the deep-red state of South Dakota, where the race to replace retiring Democratic Sen. Tim Johnson has turned interesting with the entrance of an Independent candidate. The frontrunner in the race is the popular former Gov. Mike Rounds, a moderate Republican going up against businessman Rick Weiland, a nominee who has failed to enthuse national Democrats. And then there’s former Sen. Larry Pressler, running as an Independent. Pressler is taking away moderate votes from Weiland, who already faces an uphill climb in attempting to keep the seat in Democratic hands. Pressler’s main area will be with moderate Democrats, who believe Weiland is too liberal and Rounds is too conservative.
- Rounds leads the polls in this race, with most surveys showing him at almost 40% in a three-way election, and Pressler and Weiland neck-in-neck for second place, the Independent sometimes usurping the major-party candidate.
- Analysis In this three-part Senate polling roundup, we looked at eleven competitive races – for three seats currently in Republican hands (GA, KS, KY) and the rest held by Democrats (AK, AR, CO, IA, LA, MI, NH, NC, SD). In these races, Wake Up To Politics rated 1 as Lean Democrat (NH), 1 as Lean Independent (SD), 2 as Likely Republican (LA, SD), 3 as Tossup (CO, IA, NC), and 4 Lean Republican (AK, AR, GA KY).
- Suggested Reading on Columbus Indigenous People’s Day Today is the second Monday in October, and that means….Columbus Day. Or in some cities, Indigenous People’s Day.
- The holiday celebrating Christopher Columbus’ “discovery” of America never comes without controversy, and this year, for the first time, cities such as Seattle, are instead celebrating Indigenous People’ Day, in honor of the Native Americans Columbus encountered and terrorized upon arriving in America.
- On the topic of Columbus Day, my reading suggestion is a truly view-changing book, Lies My Teacher Told Me by James W. Loewen, which includes a whole chapter on Columbus and the lies surrounding his believed-discovery.
- Lies My Teacher Told Me is a fascinating and informative book; reading it will change your views not only on Columbus Day, but on the history of natives, blacks, wars, and more in our nation.
- Suggested Reading: Nobel News Also, to celebrate the inspirational 17-year-old Malala Yousafzai, Wake Up To Politics Person of the Year from 2013, I strongly suggest her memoir I Am Malala, which I reviewed in this column after reading it a few months ago. There is no better way to learn about the co-recipient of the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize than to read her story…as told by the girl herself.
- For more on Malala, her speech on receiving the award (delivered only after finishing school) is definitely worth a click…if you are prepared to be inspired by this amazing young lady.
White House Watch
- Biden’s Day Both Vice President Joe Biden, and his wife Dr. Jill Biden, are in Miami, Florida today campaigning for Charlie Christ, the former Florida governor vying to win his job back against Gov. Rick Scott, this November.