Kentucky’s governor requests a recanvass

As I mentioned yesterday, Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin narrowly lost his reelection bid to Andy Beshear. The margin was more than 5,000 votes, which is less than half of one percent of all the votes cast. But Bevin has not conceded yet. That means most media outlets are holding off on calling the race, even though the numbers appear to have it as a win for Beshear. So there are just a few options open to Bevin in Kentucky, which does not have a mandatory recount law for close elections.

Bevin does have the option of calling for a recanvass, so he has now done that. A recanvass is a far simpler process than a full recount, and is more like totaling up the math again, rather than actually going back and reviewing any ballots. In Kentucky history, a recanvass has never changed the outcome of an election—though in theory it could. Mistakes can be made, and there have been dozens of recanvasses in Kentucky over the years.

Reading from a CNN story by Adam Levy:

“All 120 counties in Kentucky are required to submit their certified vote forms by Friday. Those certified results will be recanvassed next week.
A recanvass is a reprint of the receipts from voting machines to check for reporting or clerical errors. After ballots are scanned, the machine tabulates those votes and prints out a receipt with the total.
During a recanvass, those receipts will be reprinted and checked again to make sure they were reported properly. It's not uncommon for some clerical errors to occur during the initial vote tabulation.
All 120 counties would then fill out and submit the same certification forms again with the recanvass results.”

So that’s basically the plan. If there are any changes based on the recanvass, the question is really—are they enough to change more than 5,000 votes?

After the recanvass, assuming the outcome doesn’t change enough to give the election to Bevin, Kentucky’s board of elections will certify the Beshear result by November 25th. After that, in theory Bevin could contest that result, which would be a whole other process involving the state legislature, and we’ll cross that bridge ifwe get to it.

It’s also worth noting that Bevin has claimed that his campaign received, “reports of irregularities,” on election night. But according to CNN, Bevin has offered no evidence backing up that claim.

The Trump impeachment stuff in three minutes or less

And now, the impeachment news in three minutes or less.

Late yesterday, House lawyers withdrew a subpoena that would have compelled testimony from Charles Kupperman. He’s a national security official, and one of many White House folks who have taken a legal strategy of saying they can’t comply with both the White House’s orders not to testify and Congress’s orders to testify. So to avoid drawing out the impeachment inquiry longer, the House has just dropped this one. Instead, they will look to a similar case in which White House counsel Don McGahn is already going through those motions in court. The idea there is basically, whatever the conclusion of the McGahn case is should inform the Kupperman case.

Today is notable because at least one person showed up. Jennifer Williams, an aide to Vice President Mike Pence, appeared for her deposition. We don’t know yet what happened in that testimony, but that should be coming up either through leaks or a transcript at some point. Meanwhile, as expected, former White House national security adviser John Bolton did not appear.

Starting on Wednesday next week, we will see the first public, televised hearings in the impeachment inquiry. There are currently three scheduled appearances.

Meanwhile, news broke that Attorney General Bill Barr, whom you may remember as the guy who summarized the Mueller Report, refused a very particular request from the President related to this Ukraine matter. According to a Washington Post report, Barr was asked by the president to hold a news conference declaring that President Trump had not broken any laws during that one phone call we keep talking about. Barr said no.

And finally in this segment, I’m going to read from the transcript of Bill Taylor’s testimony. Taylor is our top diplomat in Ukraine, and in this brief reading, he is questioned by Adam Schiff, Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee and leader of the impeachment inquiry. I’m gonna just read for a moment here, it’s a long QUOTE:

“Schiff: And when you say that, this was the first time I heard that the security assistance—not just the White House meeting—was conditioned on the investigation, when you talk about conditioned, did you mean that if they didn’t do this, the investigations, they weren’t going to get that, the meeting and the military assistance?
Taylor: That was my clear understanding, security assistance money would not come until the President [of Ukraine] committed to pursue the investigation.
Schiff: So if they don’t do this, they are not going to get that was your understanding?
Taylor: Yes, sir.
Schiff: Are you aware that quid pro quo literally means this for that?
Taylor: I am.”

The DNC pulls out of UCLA for the December debate

Here’s a quick item. The DNC has decided NOT to hold its December debate at UCLA as planned. This is because there’s an ongoing labor dispute there by the union representing workers at the university. In a statement emailed to press, DNC senior adviser Mary Beth Cahill wrote:

“In response to concerns raised by the local organized labor community in Los Angeles, we have asked our media partners to seek an alternative site for the December debate.”

That new location has not yet been determined. But we can pretty sure it’s none of the University of California campuses, all of which are affected by the dispute.

A new poll gives two candidates spots in upcoming DNC debates

Next up, some good news for two candidates who have been right on the bubble of getting into upcoming DNC debates. A new poll from Quinnipiac University of Iowa caucusgoers gave two important results: Klobuchar got 5% and Gabbard got 3%. Okay, so what does that mean? Well, it puts Gabbard in the November debate—which is just in time, since she had one more week until the polling deadline. It also puts Klobuchar in the December debate.

So. What that means for November is that right now we have TEN CANDIDATES—and here, I thought we were done with large stages, but no—ten candidates onstage in November. None of the other seven candidates are even close, so I’m going to give you the probably-definitive list of November debate participants. Here we go, in alphabetical order since we don’t have an official podium order yet:

Biden, Booker, Buttigieg, Gabbard, Harris, Klobuchar, Sanders, Steyer, Warren, and Yang.

And for December, there is still a good chunk of time for candidates to qualify. Right now here’s the qualified list of six:

Biden, Buttigieg, Harris, Klobuchar, Sanders, and Warren.

The candidates who have one or more qualifying polls are Gabbard, Steyer, and Yang. They all need some more polls, but all have more than a month to get them. Given how this has worked out so far, I would no longer be surprised to see a nine-person stage in December. So. Get ready for that possibility.

Sanders is about to begin massive TV advertising

Next up, a story about TV ads. Senator Bernie Sanders is about to start a $30 million dollar TV ad buy. Now, that is spread across now through early March, so it’s not like he’s just shelling it all out at once on a Super Bowl ad. But it does point to the major strength of Sanders in fundraising and cash on hand. Reminder: Sanders currently has MORE than $30 million dollars in cash in his campaign account, and that’s just going to increase as he continues to raise money. Reading from a New York Times article by Reid Epstein and Sydney Ember:

“Mr. Sanders, who began his 2016 campaign relatively unknown outside of Vermont, spent more money on TV ads during that primary contest than any other candidate in either the Democratic or Republican race.
“There were states where we would move 10 points, 20 points in a two-week period,” [Sanders adviser Jeff] Weaver said in an interview Wednesday, referring to Mr. Sanders’s standing in public opinion polls. “You would add TV and it would spike almost straight up.”
Because Mr. Sanders already has near-universal name recognition among Democrats, his campaign’s task in this primary is less about introducing him to voters than it is reminding those who backed him four years ago why they supported him.”

Yang has begun TV advertising focused on Iowa

While we’re on topic of TV ads, Andrew Yang has also begun spending on TV for the first time in Iowa. According to Ad Analytics, Yang has reserved over $630,000 dollars in TV ad time in Iowa specifically between today and November 14th.

So that’s a healthy dose of spending leading up to the debate the following week. His first TV ad is already up on YouTube, and there is a link to that in the show notes. Now, to put the size of this ad buy in context—as I reported earlier this week, Julián Castro just began a $50,000 dollar ad buy in Iowa. So the Yang buy is an order of magnitude larger. And the Sanders buy is yet another order of magnitude larger as well.

Warren gets a key endorsement

Well, the final member of The Squad has spoken. After Senator Bernie Sanders got endorsements from three members of the group of first-term Congresswomen, the final member, Representative Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts, endorsed Senator Elizabeth Warren. They are from the same state, they know each other well, and have shared political history. Reading from a New York Times article by Astead Herndon:

“…Ms. Pressley was a delegate for Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election and has close relationships with the party’s traditional power brokers. She is also considered a prospective candidate for Ms. Warren’s Senate seat should Ms. Warren win the White House.
Some in Massachusetts have speculated that Ms. Pressley could play the role of television surrogate for Ms. Warren, serving as a progressive ally who would implicitly counteract perceptions of her campaign as geared toward white elites. …”

In her endorsement video posted to Twitter, Pressley gave several reasons for endorsing Warren. But the most pointed was a statement about power.

“You’ve all heard about the Senator’s plans — but here’s the thing. The plans are about power. Who has it, who refuses to let it go, and who deserves more of it. For Elizabeth and me, power belongs in the hands of the people.”

Trump begins selling Christmas merchandise

Here’s a quick item. President Trump’s campaign has released his lineup of Christmas campaign merchandise. I dropped by his online store today, and there are a few standout products. One is a wooden truck, like an eighteen-wheeler, with the Trump/Pence logo on it. That’s $35 bucks. Then you’ve got a Trump/Pence wrapping paper set for $30 bucks. And don’t forget the “Keep America Great” collectible hat ornament for hanging on the tree. That is $60 dollars, though apparently it’s made of brass, so it should last a while. All of these items are made in the USA.

Castro goes on The Daily Show

Last night, Julián Castro went on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah. Among other issues, he discussed his experience with people of color, and essentially escalated an ongoing beef with Mayor Pete Buttigieg. Let me play you a clip from that appearance. Noah speaks first. Listen in:


In the tweet where Castro highlighted that clip, he wrote:

“Our nominee must be able to resonate with Black and Latino voters. If we’re going to beat Trump, we’re going to need people from all communities.”