Around the South for September 20th: VA, TN, & SC

Virginia: McAuliffe pondering 2020 run?  Former Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe (D) was in Iowa this week, supposedly to “promote candidates” running in the state’s midterms.  Feeling out the Iowa political scene though is a surefire sign that a candidate is feeling out a future presidential run, and McAuliffe wouldn’t rule out that possibility in interviews.  Tennessee: A WWE mayor.  Newly elected Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs has a side job – he’s a professional wrestler in the WWE.  Still actively performing under the stage name “Kane,” Jacobs is combining both of his occupations, asking and receiving from his employer a $100,000 donation to the Knoxville Public Safety Foundation, which aims to help first responders and their families.  Jacobs, a Republican, won the seat by a hefty margin in August.  South Carolina: McMaster back on the campaign trail.  After suspending his campaign to help deal with the fallout of Hurricane Florence, SC Gov. Henry McMaster (R) is back to campaigning this week.  His Democratic opponent, state Rep. James Smith, was called up for National Guard duty during the storm,  but he too is back on the...

Around the South for September 19th: TX, GA, & FL

Texas: Cruz up big in new poll.  A new poll from Quinnipiac shows Republican Texas Sen. Ted Cruz up 9 points, 54-45, over challenger Beto O’Rourke.  Those numbers show a bigger gap than some recent polls, which have showed the high profile Democrat within 5 points.  Georgia: Judge gives go-ahead for midterms.  A U.S. Attorney has decided not to force Georgia to swap to paper ballots ahead of the November midterms, but she wasn’t happy about it.  US District Judge Amy Totenberg said that “State election officials had buried their heads in the sand” when failing to properly audit their elections systems, which have been found to be outdated and highly vulnerable to cyberattacks.  However with such little time before November, she declined to force state officials to make the switch to paper ballots, calling it “logistically impossible.”  Secretary of State Brian Kemp, the man in charge of those elections systems, is currently the GOP’s candidate for governor in the state.  Florida: GOP boasts major fundraising haul.  The Florida Republican Party has raised a whopping $7.6 million since the primary elections, a period of just 17 days.  That number is likely to be matched by Democrats when they post their own totals, priming what figures to be a whirlwind final month and half heading into the...

Around the South for September 17th: LA, TN, & KY

Louisiana: Mayor backs off Nike ban.  Kenner mayor Ben Zahn last week reversed an order he had previously made that required all of the city’s recreation department, and booster clubs to refrain from buying Nike merchandise after former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s controversial Nike commercial. Zahn cited advice from the city attorney, and national controversy sparked by his decision to reverse the order.  Tennessee: Blackburn takes lead.  Republican U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn has retaken the lead in a poll released this week in the US Senate race against former Democratic governor Phil Bredesen. The poll showed Blackburn with a 47%-43% lead, after she had fallen behind Bredesen in the race last month to replace retiring senator Bob Corker.  Kentucky: Bevin supports independent candidate.  Governor Matt Bevin, a Republican, is turning against his party’s nominee in a state house district. Bevin is scheduled to be a special guest of independent candidate Stacie Earl at one of her fundraisers. Bevin calls Earl the only true conservative in the race when it comes to education issues, a major concern this year in...

Around the South for September 13th: TX, FL, & Carolinas

Texas: O’Rourke closing in on Cruz?  A new poll from Rasmussen has Democrat Rep. Beto O’Rourke down just 3 points to incumbent Sen. Ted Cruz in the most high profile race of 2018.  Cruz is fighting for his political life against the popular U.S. congressman, who has rallied his party’s base and has a real shot to pull the upset in the reliably red Longhorn State.  Florida: DeSantis resigns from Congress to focus on campaign.  (Now former) U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) has resigned from his seat in order to turn his full focus to his campaign for governor, where he faces a stiff challenge from former Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum.  The two are in a near-dead heat in the polls as the race reaches a fever pitch ahead of November.  Carolinas:  Locals flee as Florence approaches.  Thousands of North and South Carolina residents have evacuated their homes as Hurricane Florence bears down on the east coast, threatening to be the ‘storm of the century’ for the two states.  The storm is slated to make landfall sometime late Thursday, and already disaster relief crews are on standby as many coastal communities are expected to be...

Around the South for September 10th: VA, AL, & FL

Virginia: Stewart closes in on Kaine.  The US Senate race in Virginia between controversial state Rep. Corey Stewart, and U.S. Senator Tim Kaine is the closest it’s been in while based on a recent poll. Of the people polled, Kaine won support of 50.2% of likely voters, compared to 45.7% for Stewart. Kaine had an 18 point lead as recent as June, and is trying to avoid an unexpected election night nail-biter like the one experienced by his colleague Senator Mark Warner in 2014.  Alabama: Moore sues for libel.  Former Alabama US Senate candidate Roy Moore is suing comedian Sacha Baron Cohen for $95 million for defamation of character, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and fraud after appearing on Cohen’s show “What is America”. On the show that aired July 29, Cohen got Moore to submit to a test to determine if he was a pedophile, and Cohen determined on the show that he had failed. This comes after Moore had multiple accusations pointed to him of sexual assault of underage women while he was a young lawyer.  Florida: Marijuana legalization gains support.  A recent poll has found that 49.3% of Sunshine State respondents support the full legalization of marijuana. In the same poll, the governor’s race between Andrew Gillum and Ron DeSantis was pretty much a tie with Gillum holding a slight 47.6% lead to DeSantis’ 47.3%. For marijuana to be legalized in Florida in the form of a constitutional amendment, 60% of voters will have to approve of the measure, but with momentum forming, and the issue coming up in the governor’s race, supporters are starting to...

Around the South for September 6th: TX, WV, & TN

Texas: Cruz hits O’Rourke over ‘F word.’  U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz’s (R-TX) latest attack on opponent Beto O’Rourke has him slamming the Democrat for cursing too much.  A new ad implies that O’Rourke curses too much at his rallies, making him unsuitable for Texas families.  Dems laughed off the charges, saying that curse words were the least of the issues important in the campaign.  West Virginia: Manchin confident.  U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) is feeling confident in his re-election bid against Republican Patrick Morrisey, despite the fact that President Donald Trump has stepped into the race.  Trump, wildly popular in the state, endorsed Morrisey at a rally last month, giving a big boost to the underdog candidate.  Still though, Manchin remains unworried, an boasts an 8 point lead in recent polling.  Tennessee: Nashville sheriff endorses Bresden.  Nashville Sheriff Daron Hall has endorsed Democratic candidate for senate Phil Bresden, marking one of the first high profile endorsements of the former governor.   Bresden’s opponent, U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn, has some big name support of her own, specifically in the form of President Donald...