Heard on the Hill

Word on the Hill: What’s Buzzing on Capitol Hill?

By Alex Gangitano

Could a Blue Wave Miss Nevada?

By Bridget Bowman

The confessions of The Man in the Green Hat — who supplied booze to the House and Senate for a decade during Prohibition — made front-page news just weeks before the 1930 midterm elections. And the Democrats ended up making huge gains in the House that November. Deputy editor Jason Dick shares the remarkable story of George Cassiday, bootlegger to Congress and one of the original October surprises.

(Featuring illustrations from District Comics: An Unconventional History of Washington, DC)

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The campaign arm of House Republicans is investing more than a million dollars in Georgia’s 6th District, which was home to the most expensive House election in history last year. 

The National Republican Campaign Committee has made a $1.4 million TV buy on Atlanta broadcast, set to begin this week. It’s the first outside spending from one of the party committees in a race that has thus far looked safer for Republicans than it did in 2017 during its high-profile special election. 

GOP Rep. Karen Handel, who won last year’s election, is facing a challenge from gun control activist Lucy McBath, who has outraised her and is benefitting from millions of dollars in outside support on the airwaves from Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund. The group has spent more than $2.3 million in the general election.

McBath had been the national spokeswoman for advocacy group Everytown for Gun Safety but is currently on an unpaid leave of absence. Her son was shot and killed at a gas station in Florida in 2012 by a man who complained his music was too loud.

Handel raised $541,000 during the third quarter that ended Sept. 30, finishing with $979,000 in the bank. McBath raised $962,000 during the same period, ending with $706,000. Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates the race Likely Republican

Democrats targeted the 6th District last year since it only narrowly voted for President Donald Trump. Jon Ossoff, the Democratic nominee, had a massive fundraising advantage, but Handel benefited from spending from outside Republican groups and defeated him in a runoff by 4 points. 

Watch: 12 Ratings Changes for House, Senate and Gubernatorial Races — 4 Toward GOP, 8 Toward Democrats


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LAS VEGAS — The start of early voting in Nevada always brings out the stars, and 2018 was no exception.

President Donald Trump concluded a western swing Saturday morning with a rally in the remote city of Elko just after former Vice President Joe Biden fired up Democrats here in Las Vegas in the crucial Senate race.

Trump and vulnerable GOP Sen. Dean Heller urged the GOP faithful in rural Nevada to get out and vote early.

“You know, a big portion of your state does do early voting, which is surprising. Very unusual,” the president said. “But you’re a very unusual state.”

Nevada is not the only state where significant numbers of voters cast their ballots ahead of Election Day.

Heller argued that high turnout among early voters outside Clark County — which accounts for almost three-quarters of the state’s population and includes Las Vegas — could send a message to the Democrats and the campaign of his challenger, Rep. Jacky Rosen.

Heller and state Attorney General Adam Laxalt, the GOP nominee for governor, were invited to join Trump onstage separately, and the two men had nothing but praise for the president.

“Mr. President, you know a little something about gold. In fact, I think everything you touch turns to gold,” said Heller, noting the gold mining production in nearby Eureka County.

Meanwhile, more than 300 miles to the south in Las Vegas, Biden said Democratic control of Congress wasn’t just about moving forward on the party’s priorities.

“My name is Joe Biden and I work for Harry Reid,” the former vice president said, opening his remarks by invoking the name of the former Senate majority leader and de facto party boss of Nevada Democrats.

Lamenting that Republicans were, in his view, “putting their party over their country,” the potential 2020 presidential contender said a Congress run by Democrats could change that. 

“When we win back the House and the Senate … you’re going to see somewhere between 15 and 20 Republicans in the House starting to vote their conscience when they know it can matter,” Biden told supporters gathered here outside the Culinary Workers Union on the first day of early voting. “And you’re going to see between three and six Republicans in the Senate begin to vote the right way.”

“They don’t want to be the only guy out there on that deciding vote. And if they know the consensus of the body is to do the right thing, they will join,” the former vice president said. 

Trump joked about the differing crowd sizes between the Nevada State Democratic Party event with Biden and his Elko rally, but in some respects the two men had different intentions. Biden was in town to fire up members of the powerful Culinary union, which has proved to be the engine of the Democratic ground game.

In contrast to the diverse group of workers behind the Las Vegas tourism business, when Trump asked his Elko rally crowd about Hispanic turnout there, the response was less than tepid.

“Eh, not the most, not the most. I’d give it 5 percent,” he said. “That’s OK.”

Back in Las Vegas, Biden predictably voiced support for Rosen, who faced off against Heller in their first and only debate of the campaign the previous night. Polls have shown a tight race. 

The Silver State is the Democrats’ best pickup opportunity in the Senate this cycle, with Heller the only Republican facing a competitive race in a state  Trump lost in 2016. Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates the contest a Toss-up

Biden said the lack of consensus in Congress had caused power to flow to the presidency.

“The House and Senate become irrelevant, which they basically have,” he said. “And that’s when you see this incredible abuse of power.”  

Biden, who also represented Delaware in the Senate for 36 years, issued a sharp rebuke of Trump, accusing him of sullying the country’s reputation around the world. He blasted Trump’s foreign policy and accused him of purposely dividing the country. 

And he told supporters this was the most consequential election in recent memory. 

“We’re in a battle for the soul of America, folks,” the former vice president said as the morning sun beat down on the crowd.

Watch: House GOP Candidates Are Shying Away From Trump As Midterm Nears

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Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., captured 50 percent to Republican challenger Gov. Rick Scott’s 45 percent of likely voters surveyed in a new poll — a wider lead for Nelson than in prior studies showed. 

Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates the race a Toss-up.

The poll was conducted for CNN by SSRS and surveyed likely voters from October 16 to 20. The margin of error is plus or minus 4.2 percentage points. 

Likely voters in Florida ranked health care and the economy as their top priorities as they weigh the Senate candidates, CNN reported. Just 11 percent of likely voters told interviewers they might change their mind before Election Day.

The poll also indicated that in the gubernatorial race, Democratic candidate Andrew Gillum holds a double-digit advantage over Republican opponent Rep. Ron DeSantis, a 52-42 spread. CNN released the poll hours before the candidates faced off in their first debate, which the network broadcast to a national audience. The DeSantis campaign picked apart CNN’s methodology, alleging it oversampled Democrats, and said the poll “is not worth the paper it is written on,” the Miami Herald reported.

The survey could be an outlier or reflect a surge of enthusiasm among Democrats, CNN said.

Pollsters interviewed about about 1,000 people, via both landlines and cellphones. 

12 Ratings Changes for House, Senate and Gubernatorial Races: 4 Toward GOP, 8 Toward Democrats

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Senior presidential adviser Jared Kushner answered questions about the Trump administration’s relationship with Saudi Arabia in the wake of the death of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi. At the CNN Citizen panel in New York on Monday, Kushner emphasized that the president is continuing to put American interests first.

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Scenes From Early Voting in Nevada

By Bill Clark