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On the roster: On scandals and elections in the era of Trump - I’ll Tell You What: The swampiest swamp you can swamp - Fox News Power Rankings: 11 races shift left - Mueller team files complaint against Manafort trial judge - Catching them all IRL
ON SCANDALS AND ELECTIONS IN THE ERA OF TRUMPFiveThirtyEight: “In the era of President Trump, it’s become fashionable to presume that politicians can do whatever they like and get away with it. But if recent elections to Congress are any guide, scandals do have large and measurable effects. So when U.S. Rep. Chris Collins, the Republican from New York’s 27th Congressional District, was arrested on insider trading charges on Wednesday morning, it took a seat that had looked to be fairly safe for Republicans and put it into the competitive category. … On average, the scandal-ridden incumbents … won re-election by 21.5 percentage points! But that’s quite a bit worse than their projected margin of victory, which was 30.5 percentage points. The net effect of a scandal is about 9 points, therefore. … (There’s no evidence of the effect of scandals decreasing in recent elections; if anything, it’s increased slightly over the course of the data.) Moreover, the effect of scandals is potentially greater in competitive districts, where the other party has an opportunity to mobilize a real alternative.
Let’s use New York’s 27th Congressional District as a dividing line, for instance. It has a FiveThirtyEight partisan lean of R +22, meaning that it’s 22 points more Republican than the country as a whole based on its voting in recent presidential and state legislative elections. That type of district is ordinarily quite safe, but is just on the fringe of what could become competitive if everything breaks right for the opposing party — for example, in an election in a wave year against a candidate who just got arrested by the FBI. In districts less competitive than NY-27, scandals cost the incumbents only 4 percentage points, on average. But in districts that were as competitive or more competitive than NY-27, candidates with scandal issues underperformed their fundamentals by an average of almost 13 points.
So does that make Collins’s race a toss-up? You could do a little mental math: If the scandal costs him 13 percentage points, and the national environment favors Democrats by 6 points, that could produce a 19-point swing toward Collins’s Democratic opponent, Nate McMurray — almost enough to offset the strong Republican lean of the district. But you’d be leaving one thing out: Collins is still an incumbent, and incumbents usually outperform the partisan lean of their districts.”
THE RULEBOOK: THANKS GUYS! “The friends and adversaries of the plan of the convention, if they agree in nothing else, concur at least in the value they set upon the trial by jury; or if there is any difference between them it consists in this: the former regard it as a valuable safeguard to liberty; the latter represent it as the very palladium of free government.” – Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 83
TIME OUT: TWINKLE, TWINKLE Time: “This year’s Perseid meteor shower will be highly visible both Saturday and Sunday night, giving watchers ample opportunity to spot plenty of shooting stars. ‘The Perseids are perhaps the most popular meteor shower because … the weather is so much more accommodating than in the colder fall or winter months,’ Dr. Jacqueline Faherty, an astrophysicist at the American Museum of Natural History, tells TIME. This Perseid meteor shower will take place during a nearly new moon—meaning it won’t interfere with the show—and is expected to be the best meteor shower this year. … The Perseids takes place every year between July 17 and Aug. 24. The Perseid meteor shower peak happens from Aug. 11-13 with the night of Aug. 12-13 expected to be the best time to watch, according to Faherty. Stargazers should be able to see around 60-70 meteors per hour during the two peak nights.”Flag on the play? - Email us atHALFTIMEREPORT@FOXNEWS.COM with your tips, comments or questions.
SCOREBOARDTrump job performance Average approval: 41.2 percentAverage disapproval: 53 percentNet Score: -11.8 pointsChange from one week ago: down 0.4 points [Average includes: Gallup: 41% approve - 54% disapprove; IBD: 41% approve - 50% disapprove; NPR/PBS/Marist: 41% approve - 51% disapprove; Quinnipiac University: 38% approve - 58% disapprove; NBC/WSJ: 45% approve - 52% disapprove.] Control of HouseRepublican average: 41.4 percentDemocratic average: 48 percentAdvantage: Democrats plus 6.6 pointsChange from one week ago: Democratic advantage down 1.6 points [Average includes: IBD: 45% Dems - 45% GOP; NPR/PBS/Marist: 47% Dems - 40% GOP; Quinnipiac University: 51% Dems - 39% GOP; NBC/WSJ: 49% Dems - 43% GOP; Fox News: 48% Dems - 40% GOP.]I’LL TELL YOU WHAT: THE SWAMPIEST SWAMP YOU CAN SWAMP A vacationing Chris Stirewalt joins Dana Perino to discuss the Special Election in OH-12, Washington’s top-two primary and Missourians rejection of a right-to-work law. Plus, Dana holds the mailbag and Chris answers way too easy trivia.LISTEN AND SUBSCRIBE HERE
FOX NEWS POWER RANKINGS: 11 RACES SHIFT LEFT Fox News: “What key midterm races indicate about the balance of power in Congress; analysis from Colin Reed, senior vice president of Definers Public Affairs, and Dave Brown, Democratic strategist.”[Ed. note: Brianna here! With Chris on vacation we may not have his usual analysis to go with our changes, but we do have a clip from “The Daily Briefing with Dana Perino” that we hope you’ll enjoy instead. As always, you can view all of the 2018 Power Rankings on our website.]
Kobach’s lead gets cut in half - AP: “Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach's lead over Gov. Jeff Colyer in the Republican primary has shrunk to only 91 votes after election officials discovered a mistake in the listing for one county's results in the state's tally of votes. The lead is minuscule when compared with the 311,000 votes cast. The final, unofficial results posted on the secretary of state's website show Kobach winning Thomas County in northwest Kansas, with 466 votes to Colyer's 422. But the tally posted by the Thomas County clerk's office shows Colyer with 522 votes, or 100 votes more for him, a number the clerk confirmed to The Associated Press on Thursday. Bryan Caskey, state elections director, said county officials pointed out the discrepancy Thursday following a routine request for a post-election check of the numbers to counties by the secretary of state's office. County election officials have yet to finish counting late-arriving mail-in ballots or provisional ballots provided to voters at the polls when their eligibility wasn't clear.”
Uncounted votes discovered in Ohio special race - Fox News: “The nail-biter playing out in Ohio’s 12th Congressional District got even closer Wednesday after 588 uncounted votes were found in a suburb of Columbus, according to county officials. The ballots were tallied and Democrat Danny O’Connor gained 190 votes on Republican Troy Balderson. The GOP candidate, who was endorsed by President Trump, currently leads by 1,564 votes. The Franklin County Board of Elections said in a news release that the newly discovered ballots had not been ‘processed into the tabulation system,’ and the issue was corrected. O’Connor, who is from Franklin County, celebrated the news by tweeting red sirens and informing his followers that he is confident he will soon be declared the winner. He asked for donations to continue to fight that the votes are ‘counted fairly.’”
One Kansas congressional candidate could make history - Fox News: “With her congressional primary victory, Sharice Davids moved one step closer to making history: if she wins in November, she'll be the first lesbian Native American woman ever elected to Congress. Davids, 38, beat out five others in the Kansas Democratic primary for Congress in the 3rd congressional district. She will face incumbent Republican Kevin Yoder in the fall. ‘The fact that we are in 2018 and we are still seeing all these firsts is mind-boggling to me,’ Davids told The Guardian. ‘When I stop and think about it, it makes me very proud to be a part of this movement that is happening in our country. I feel like all of us are playing a role in this.’ ‘This unprecedented number of women running for office – myself and a couple of other candidates are native women – makes me very proud,’ she added. Davids is a member of the Ho-Chunk Nation, a Native American tribe in Wisconsin.”
Rashida Tlaib poised to become the first Muslim woman elected to Congress - Fox News: “Former state Rep. Rashida Tlaib won the Democratic primary for Michigan’s 13th district – setting her up to be the first Muslim woman elected to Congress. Tlaib beat out a crowded field of Democrats to replace Rep. John Conyers, the 89-year-old Democrat who retired in December, citing health reasons. Conyers, who was the longest-serving congressman, made the decision to step down just weeks after multiple sexual harassment allegations surfaced. ‘I want people across the country to know that you don’t need to sell out,’ Tlaib told supporters early Wednesday morning, according to The New York Times. ‘You don’t have to change who you are to run for office – and that is what this country is about.’ No Republicans or third-party challengers ran in the election, meaning she is set to run unopposed for the seat in November.”Nevada pimp running for state Assembly loses brothel license - Fox News: “Dennis Hof, the infamous pimp and Nevada state Assembly candidate who has likened himself to President Trump, has officially lost his brothel license. Nye County officials voted on Tuesday to permanently yank Hof’s license after he did not apply for a renewal or pay the fees for his Love Ranch brothel, located about 80 miles northwest of Las Vegas. Following the vote, police obtained a warrant and seized Love Ranch’s licenses and the prostitutes’ required work cards without confrontation.”
MUELLER TEAM FILES COMPLAINT AGAINST MANAFORT TRIAL JUDGE Fox News: “After days of being dressed down by the judge overseeing the Paul Manafort case, federal prosecutors sought Thursday to put their foot down -- filing a motion complaining that Judge T.S. Ellis III had unfairly admonished them in front of the jury. Ellis has memorably and repeatedly criticized Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team during the trial for the former Trump campaign chairman. On Wednesday, Ellis ripped into prosecutors for letting a witness, IRS Agent Michael Welsh, sit in the courtroom before his testimony. But in a five-page motion filed Thursday, Mueller deputy Andrew Weissmann and other attorneys on the team claimed Ellis had actually granted permission earlier in the trial for the witness to remain in the room during proceedings. ‘The court’s reprimand of government counsel suggested to the jury—incorrectly—that the government had acted improperly and in contravention of court rules,’ the prosecutors wrote. ‘This prejudice should be cured.’ Ellis responded by expressing regret in court Thursday.”
The Judge’s Ruling: Watch your words - This week, Fox News Senior Judicial Analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano explains why the president shouldn’t voluntarily talk to Mueller: “[Trump] has said countless times that he wants to talk to Mueller. Yet President Trump does not use an economy of words. Experience teaches that the undisciplined use of words by the subject of a criminal investigation is a prosecutor's dream when it takes place in an official inquiry. It is Giuliani's job to prevent that dream from becoming reality by convincing his client, perhaps through an aggressive mock question-and-answer session conducted by Giuliani himself, that no good for Trump could come from a Mueller interview. I have seen many criminal cases in which potential defendants who thought they could talk prosecutors out of an indictment tried to do so and made matters worse for themselves.” More here.
PLAY-BY-PLAY Pence unveils plan to establish ‘Space Force’ as branch of the U.S. military - WaPo
Kavanaugh documents from Bush White House made public - AP
Report: Former Apprentice star Omarosa Manigault-Newman secretly recorded Trump - Daily Beast
Charlottesville, DC prepare for anniversary of violent rally - Fox News
AUDIBLE: THAT’S DEEP “THE COURT: Mr. Rabin, may I ask you, please, to speak up? THE WITNESS: Yes, sir. THE COURT: My hearing is not what it once was. THE WITNESS: I understand. Mine too. THE COURT: Nothing is what it once was.” – A Zen-like moment from the Manafort trial between Judge T.S. Ellis III and Democratic admaker Daniel Rabin.
Share your color commentary: Email us at HALFTIMEREPORT@FOXNEWS.COM and please make sure to include your name and hometown.CATCHING THEM ALL IRLBBC: “If you're going to catch them all, you need to have the right kit. Grandfather Chen San-yuan has rigged 11 smart phones on his bicycle to play the augmented reality game, Pokémon Go. He plans to add four more. The Taiwanese man, affectionately known as Uncle Pokémon, learnt about the game from his grandson, and can play up to 20 hours straight before he runs out of battery power for his devices. He currently spends more than £1,000 ($1,290) a month on his habit. Mr. Chen uses portable battery packs to power his multiple devices, enabling him to stay out late at night to catch Pokémon in the capital city, Taipei. He was unaware of his popularity until Taiwanese news channel EXP.GG found him and interviewed him, when he was only using nine phones to play.”
AND NOW, A WORD FROM CHARLES…“Every democracy needs an opposition press. We damn well have one now.” – Charles Krauthammer writing in the Washington Post, March 23, 2017.
Brianna McClelland contributed to this report. Want FOX News Halftime Report in your inbox every day? Sign up here.
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