Tom Kludt

Tom Kludt is a reporter for Talking Points Memo based in New York City, covering media and national affairs. Originally from South Dakota, Tom joined TPM as an intern in late-2011 and became a staff member during the 2012 election. He can be reached at tom@talkingpointsmemo.com.

Articles by Tom

In a statement provided to the Louisville Courier-Journal on Thursday, actress Ashley Judd did not rule out a potential challenge to Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) in 2014. Speculation is rife that Judd, a Kentucky native, could be the Democratic nominee against the vulnerable Minority Leader.

The statement:

I cherish Kentucky, heart and soul, and while I’m very honored by the consideration, we have just finished an election, so let’s focus on coming together to keep moving America’s families, and especially our kids, forward.

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday said that his country will resume "business as usual" with the United States in the wake of President Barack Obama's re-election.

"I've heard voices in recent days, of all places voices coming from among us, that are trying to create conflict between us and the United States. It won't help them; the alliance between Israel and United States is strong," said Netanyahu, quoted by The Jerusalem Post. 

Netanyahu was seemingly referring to remarks made by former prime minister Ehud Olmert, who issued sharp criticism toward Netanyahu on Wednesday for meddling in the U.S. presidential campaign.

"The prime minister has a right to prefer one candidate over another, but it would be better, obviously if he kept it to himself. What took place this time was a breaking of all the rules, when our prime minister intervened in the US elections in the name of an American billionaire," Olmert told Jewish leaders in New York, making a thinly veiled reference to Las Vegas casino magnate Sheldon Adelson.

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The Washington Post reports:

President Obama’s re-election team was confident he would win another four years in the White House. But even his top campaign aides were surprised at how quickly the television networks called the race in the president’s favor on Tuesday.

Obama had arrived at the Fairmont Hotel, where his aides were staying on Tuesday night, but they did not expect him to be declared winner so soon. In fact, the president had not yet gathered with his aides; he was with his family in their suite on the 37th floor, with the staffers in another room, said one senior aide who spoke on condition of anonymity to describe private moments.

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President Obama's prospects this year were supposed to be jeopardized by the specter of a steep dip in support among key components of his 2008 base, most notably voters younger than 30. But on Election Day, young voters again proved to be a huge part of the president's coalition.

Exit polls on Tuesday indicated that voters from 18 to 29 years old comprised 19 percent of the national electorate, a modest 1-point uptick since 2008 but one that defies the pre-election conventional wisdom that Obama would be left at the altar by young voters.

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Republicans pilloried President Obama throughout the campaign for being a purportedly weak ally to Israel, but Election Day research suggests that the strategy flopped with Jewish voters.

The exit poll, conducted by Democratic firm GBA Strategies on behalf of the liberal Jewish advocacy group J Street, shows that Obama once again won by a large margin among Jewish voters, and that the contentious debate over Iran's nuclear program was a virtual non-factor.

According to the survey, 70 percent of Jewish voters nationwide supported Obama on Tuesday — down just 4 points from his 2008 share. Romney picked up only 30 percent support. The poll also found a sharp aversion to the Republican nominee among Jewish voters: 64 percent have an unfavorable view of Romney.

As was the case with other constituencies, the economy ranked far-and-away as the top issue for Jews. Only 10 percent cited Israel as the most important issue, and a paltry 2 percent identified Iran as the top concern.

Jim Gerstein, a pollster for GBA Strategies, said the results signal that Obama has not lost credibility with with the reliably Democratic constituency — and that GOP saber-rattling on Israel's national security, policy areas that are trumped by other issues, failed to move the needle for Romney.

“The only problem Obama has with Jews is that there aren’t more of them," Gerstein told reporters during a conference call Wednesday. "A candidate must be seen as supportive enough of Israel and pass that credibility threshold, and then [Jewish voters] quickly move on to other issues.”


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Jim Graves, the Twin Cities hotel magnate and Democratic challenger to Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) in Minnesota's 6th Congressional District, released a statement Wednesday congratulating the three-term incumbent and one-time presidential candidate on her re-election.

I want to congratulate Rep. Bachmann on her victory last night. We wish her and her family the very best. I also want to thank all of the folks who worked so hard on our campaign over the last seven months. Their support has meant the world to me and my family and we are incredibly humbled by their dedication. We remain hopeful that our country can come together and address the pressing issues before us. Thanks again to all.

An effort to repeal the death penalty in California fell short at the polls on Tuesday.

With nearly all precints reporting, Proposition 34 — which would have supplanted capital punishment with life in prison without parole — was opposed by nearly 53 percent of California voters. The measure earned the support of 47 percent.

A proposed change to Minnesota's constitution that would have required photo identification in order to vote was rejected at the ballot Tuesday. 

The amendment finished with the support of 46 percent of Minnesota voters. Fifty-two percent voted against the measure.

The defeat of the amendment, which was passed by the state's Republican-controlled legislature in 2011, defies much of the pre-Election Day polling that indicated it was a favorite to pass.


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Polls in some states are set to close within the hour, and results will start coming soon after that. Here is the timeline of when the polls will close in each state. Some, marked with an asterisk, have multiple closing times. All times listed are Eastern.

6 p.m.: Indiana*, Kentucky*

7 p.m.: Florida*, Georgia, Indiana*, Kentucky*, New Hampshire*, South Carolina, Vermont, Virginia

7:30 p.m: New Hampshire*, North Carolina, Ohio, West Virginia

8 p.m.: Alabama, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida*, Illinois, Kansas*, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska*, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota*, Tennessee, Texas*

8:30 p.m.: Arkansas

9 p.m.: Arizona, Colorado, Kansas*, Louisiana, Michigan*, Minnesota, Nebraska*, New Mexico, New York, South Dakota*, Texas*, Wisconsin, Wyoming

10 p.m.: Idaho*, Iowa, Montana, Nevada, North Dakota*, Oregon*+, Utah

11 p.m.: California, Hawaii, Idaho*, Oregon*+, North Dakota*,  Washington+

12 a.m.: Alaska*

1 a.m.: Alaska*
* - multiple closing times
+ - mail-in states

Source: National Association of Secretaries of State

A Michigan voter emerged from an apparent brush with death on Monday with one concern trumping all others: did he finish casting his ballot?

From the Detroit News:

Ty Houston, 48, a home care registered nurse, was toiling on his absentee ballot Monday afternoon when things got strange at township offices on 13 Mile.

"I was filling out the form as were an elderly couple sitting at a nearby table," said Houston on Tuesday. "His wife, who was helping him fill out the ballot, asked him a couple of questions but he didn't respond. She screamed for help and I went over to see what I could do."

Houston laid the victim on the floor and went to work.

"He was dead," Houston said. "He had no heartbeat and he wasn't breathing. I started CPR, and after a few minutes, he revived and started breathing again. He knew his name and his wife's name."

What happened next astounded Houston and the victim's wife.

"The first question he asked was 'Did I vote?'"

Dumbfounded, the man's wife told him that whether he voted was the least of their concerns.

"She told him 'Your life is my concern,'" Houston said.

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