Josh Marshall

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Josh Marshall is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of TPM.

BREAKING: Hobbs Wins in AZ

NBC News and now all the other networks have called the Arizona Governor’s race for Democrat Katie Hobbs. Hobbs defeats arch-election-denier Republican Kari Lake.

This was a pretty close race, according to the polls. But Lake was expected to win this one. She had been consistently running two or three points ahead of Hobbs. There was also a lot of Democratic backbiting about Hobbs’ decision to refuse to debate. That can make sense to stigmatize and deny legitimacy to an opponent, to say this person is too outside the norm for me to validate them by agreeing to debate.

But that rings kind of hollow if that opponent who lacks legitimacy as a potential governor is actually beating you. Whatever the merits of that, Hobbs won. So either it was a good strategy or if it was a bad one then she got away with it. Democrats now hold the governorships in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin and Arizona, four critical states going into 2024. Republicans hold them in Nevada and Georgia.

Inside the Fetterman Campaign

Kate Riga and I just did our TPM Newsmaker Briefing with Fetterman campaign manager Brendan McPhillips. We got a lot of fascinating details. One was that the idea that the race looked basically like a jump ball in the final week of the campaign wasn’t just an artifact of spending too much time refreshing 538. It looked really tight based on the internal polling and other data that the campaign had on the inside. Another was the difference between in-state media’s reaction to Fetterman’s debate performance and the national media’s. A fairly stark difference, as he described it. McPhillips also told us that focus group reactions to Fetterman’s stroke recovery tended to be pretty sympathetic, even to a degree which was perhaps a little surprising to his own campaign. So we got the sense that the Fetterman team was able to have relative confidence that Pennsylvania voters were seeing Fetterman’s stroke recovery through a more sympathetic prism than most in the national press assumed or shared.

If you’re a member and you didn’t get a chance to join us live, we’ll be published the video here tomorrow in the Editor’s Blog.

Abortion, Democracy and The Bogey of Issue Literalism Prime Badge

One regular refrain of the last month of the 2022 midterm was that abortion and Dobbs had faded as a driving issue in the face of economic concerns. Another was that “democracy” was, for most voters, an abstraction without much relevance to more immediate concerns like inflation. That first bit of conventional wisdom always seemed overstated at best. But the election results point to something different that many observers missed in the narrow and perhaps over-literal way these issues were siloed in polls and election commentary: abortion, election denialism and other elements of GOP whackery melded together into a broader fear of Republican extremism that was larger than the sum of its parts.

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How’d The Fetterman/Oz Race Really Go Down?

The Fetterman campaign in Pennsylvania was the most closely watched and highest stakes race of the cycle. At 2 p.m. eastern today Kate Riga and I are going to do a live briefing with Fetterman campaign manager Brendan McPhillips. We’re going to learn how the race unfolded from the inside. If you’re a member, please join us live at 2 p.m. We sent out an email Thursday with instructions on how to register. We’ll be taking your questions during the briefing. If you’d like to get your question in in advance please send us an email at talk (at) talkingpointsmemo dot com with the subject line “Fetterman Briefing.”

See you at 2 p.m.

BREAKING: Dems Retain Senate

Newly counted ballots have given Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto an insurmountable lead in her Nevada Senate election. All the networks have now called it. That means that Democrats have retained control of the Senate.

Yes, She Might Still Be Speaker in January Prime Badge

As of this morning it’s more than a theoretical possibility that Democrats will remain in charge of the House next year. Dave Wasserman of The Cook Report this morning put it this way: When you put aside the races already called and the ones in which each party has a clear lead, you’re left with six seats he considers genuine tossups — #AZ01, #AZ06, #CA13, #CA22, #CA41, #WA03. If Democrats get all six, if they run the table, they stay in the margin 218-217.

That sounds unlikely and it is unlikely. But you also have to see it through the prism of the fact that Democratic candidates have been running tables, improbably coming from behind or coming out on top, since mid-Tuesday evening. So it could happen.

Let me add one sort of odd note here. There’s actually a pretty good argument that it’s in Democrats’ political interests not to get the majority here.

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It’s All About Trump Prime Badge

Let me follow up on yesterday’s post about this quasi-revolt against Mitch McConnell. I’ve tried to look more at the whole picture. Or perhaps I was still too sleep deprived yesterday afternoon. But all of these leadership questions and battles we’re seeing now are just proxy battles over Trump. One part of the GOP blames Trump for their disappointing showing and sees this as their best opportunity in years to push him aside, in most cases lining up behind Ron DeSantis, at least for now, as the vehicle to do that. These mini-revolts against McConnell are really just attempts to open up new fronts against McConnell to defend and protect Trump.

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Is There a Revolt Against McConnell? Prime Badge

Entirely predictably the knives are already out in the House for probable Speaker Kevin McCarthy. On cue they all come from the hard right of the caucus who believe the problem in 2022 is that Republicans weren’t sufficiently feral. More interesting is a push on the Senate side to delay the Republican leadership elections in the upper chamber. The wannabe mutineers don’t seem quite willing to say what they’re doing. They’re not coming out against McConnell, proposing an alternative leader or criticizing his management. But since McConnell’s leadership is almost universally assumed there’s only one logic and aim of delay.

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Where We Stand

ITEM One: I continue to be calmly stunned that the battle for control of the House still does not seem settled. Any Republican margin is likely to be so minuscule that it amounts to something of a poisoned chalice for Kevin McCarthy and the GOP generally. As I’ve noted repeatedly, the debt ceiling remains the sui generis, overriding thing. But if you set that aside, given that Democrats will not get 52 senate seats, in purely political terms there’s actually some real advantage in having Republicans hold the House by only one or two seats.

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Umm… What?

We need to remember that Donald Trump is a pathological liar. That said, I think this requires some explanation, if only a clear and definitive confirmation that this did not happen.

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