With less than a month until elections, our reporters are tracking candidates around the nation. The Los Angeles City Council was embroiled in scandal, Mitch McConnell declared his support for Herschel Walker, and Nevada’s Senate and governor candidates were looking for endorsements.
Here is a glance at the political news from the past week:
The revelation that three members of the City Council participated in a covertly taped conversation including racial remarks shook Los Angeles. Nury Martinez, the Council president, resigned in the face of widespread public censure, including that of President Biden, while the other two officials have so far remained in their positions.
The Democratic incumbent senator in Nevada, Catherine Cortez Masto, won the support of 14 family members of her Republican challenger, Adam Laxalt. The largest teachers’ union in the state declared that it will not support any contender in the contest for governor.
According to Georgian polling, Herschel Walker, the Republican candidate for the Senate, received fewer support from female, Black, and independent voters. He is only three points behind Senator Raphael Warnock, which is within the range of error. Senator Mitch McConnell declared that he will “stand with Walker,” an opponent of abortion who has been charged with financing an abortion.
Before the midterm elections, two Democratic organizations declared they would spend millions of dollars on municipal contests in a dozen states in an effort to retake legislatures. The rights to vote and access to abortion are of particular importance to the organizations, the States Project and the National Democratic Redistricting Committee.
Even though Mr. Walker is running on his opposition to abortion, his posture revealed that he needed to put up a good display after weeks of unfavorable stories, most notably a former girlfriend’s claims that he paid for one abortion and advised her to kill a second pregnancy.
The national Republican Party has supported its candidate despite his problems by providing professional campaign reinforcements and debate coaching, and those actions appear to have paid off.
After running a very right-leaning campaign, Mr. Walker changed course on Friday, retreating from some of the cornerstones of his agenda. He had been certain for months that he intended to put an end to all abortions. On Friday, he stated that he agreed with Georgia’s legislature’s decision to allow six-week abortions for women whose pregnancies were deemed futile, in circumstances of medical crises, and in cases of rape or incest.
In December 2020, Mr. Walker said said: “I can assure you that Joe Biden did not receive 50 million votes. People still believe he won the election, nevertheless. He declared that Mr. Biden had won the election on Friday night.
You’re asking me who will run in ’24? Mr. Warnock declined to say whether he thought Mr. Biden should seek re-election. In three days, the people of Georgia will choose their senator. Additionally, he supported several of the president’s programs, such as the cancellation of student loans.
When he claimed he wanted Georgians to switch from government health care to the type of insurance Mr. Warnock had, which is government-subsidized health care, Mr. Walker occasionally stumbled with his phrasing and policy specifics.
During a discussion on insulin costs, Mr. Walker stated that while he supported lowering the cost of the medication, “at the same time, you got to eat right,” adding that “unless you’re eating right, insulin is doing you no good.” At one point, Mr. Walker also appeared to blame people with diabetes for their condition.
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Overall though, Mr. Walker held his own after he and his campaign made a concerted effort to dampen anticipations prior to the debate. The candidate admitted in jest a month earlier that he was “a country kid” and “not very smart.” He predicted that Mr. Warnock would “come up and humiliate me.”
Although that did not occur, Mr. Walker’s main objective was to dispel any skepticism over his suitability for the position.
It is unknown if he was successful. He persisted in categorically refuting his ex-allegations girlfriend’s about the abortion. He declared, “I stated that was a lie, and I’m not backing down.
The most aggressive move made by Mr. Warnock was when he changed the subject from a query about “defunding police” to Mr. Walker’s violent past and exaggerated resume, which included a claim that he had worked in law enforcement.
“I’ve never pretended to be a police officer, and I’ve never threatened a gunfight with the police,” replied Mr. Warnock. Mr. Walker then appeared to support his opponent’s claim and broke the debate’s prop ban by pulling what appeared to be a badge out of his pocket.
Mr. Walker needed to land some punches, so he tried to paint Mr. Warnock as a dodger. This line of attack came from an newspaper articles report that Ebenezer Baptist Church had allegedly attempted to evict some inhabitants from an apartment complex that it owns.
Even claiming that his opponent had defiled the pulpit where the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once delivered sermons, Mr. Warnock claimed that the church had not expelled anyone. But Mr. Walker simply implied that he was lying as a result of that.
“My opponent has a problem with the truth,” Mr. Warnock shot back.
A consistent focus on Mr. Walker’s baggage, which includes accusations of domestic violence, his unmarried children, and run-ins with the law, was absent from the discussion. The moderators of the hour-long debate, which was held in Savannah by Nexstar Media, regularly cut off discussions about personalities and backgrounds in an effort to keep the discussion on the issues. However, Mr. Walker appeared to benefit from this strategy.
When allusions to Mr. Walker’s personal issues were made, he reiterated his claims that he had mental illness in the past but had now received effective treatment. He also made the attempt to claim that by scrutinizing Mr. Warnock’s past, he was stigmatizing mental illness.
According to Mr. Walker, he is no longer receiving treatment for dissociative identity disorder, the mental condition he has historically attributed to violent behavior.
He declared, “I am prepared to serve.”
By comparing Mr. Warnock, who he claimed repeatedly had consistently voted in Mr. Biden’s favor “96 percent of the time,” he attempted to emphasize that point.
In the closing moments of the discussion, a more irritated Mr. Warnock said, “It is apparent that he has a point that he tried to make time and time again.
Before agreeing to the debate on Friday, the two candidates argued back and forth for months about whether, where, and when to have it.
In order to avoid direct confrontations with his opponent, Mr. Warnock tried to run a campaign that focused heavily on policy in the run-up to the debate. However, Democrats ran millions of dollars’ worth of negative advertising on his behalf, highlighting accusations of domestic abuse made by Mr. Walker’s ex-wife, Cindy Grossman, and his son, Christian Walker.
On Friday, Mr. Walker made a direct pitch to those “who are anxious about voting for me, a non-politician,” acknowledging that some voters could be apprehensive about his campaign.