U.S. ELECTION WRAP: North Carolina Looms Larger in Clinton Electoral Math

Donald Trump's gains in Ohio and Iowa raise the stakes for Hillary Clinton in once-conservative stronghold of North Carolina.

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With new polls showing 2 key Midwestern states trending toward Donald Trump, Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton may need to start looking elsewhere to cobble together an electoral college victory, so it’s not surprising she picked North Carolina for her return to the campaign trail today.

  • Clinton and Trump are polling neck-and-neck in North Carolina, a state where conservative icon Jesse Helms once represented its political face but which has emerged during the last decade as a swing state
  • Clinton leads Trump by 0.6 ppts in the RealClearPolitics average of recent polls; a Republican-leaning Civitas poll from September 11-12 has the candidates tied among likely voters at 42% apiece
    • Libertarian Gary Johnson garnered 5% support in the new poll, while the Green Party’s Jill Stein didn’t make the ballot
  • North Carolina’s changing demographics and political culture were first spotlighted when President Obama carried it in 2008—the first Democratic presidential candidate to do so since 1976
    • Obama won it by just about 14k votes—his narrowest victory that year
    • He then lost it in 2012 by about 92k votes—his narrowest defeat
  • North Carolina, with 15 electoral votes, “has grown quite tremendously since 1990, much like other Sunbelt states,” said Rebecca Tippett, director of Carolina Demography at the Carolina Population Center at the University of North Carolina’s main campus in Chapel Hill
    • “We have an increasingly diverse representation of viewpoints, cultures and attitudes, and that has a strong influence on how the state’s electoral politics are changing as well,” she said
    • The state’s multiple vibrant metropolitan areas, including Charlotte and the “Research Triangle” that includes Raleigh and Durham, have produced a lot of job growth, and the state’s many universities keep attracting newcomers
    • But another driver of population growth has been North Carolina’s emerging position as a retirement destination for baby boomers from traditionally liberal states, Tippett says
    • While the number of Latinos registered to vote in the state is increasing, “their full impact on the electorate remains to be seen and won’t be felt until 2020 or beyond”
  • After being off the campaign trail since Sunday to recuperate from pneumonia, Clinton is holding her rally UNC-Greensboro
    • Chelsea Clinton stumped for her mother Tuesday at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem
  • The Clinton’s campaign focus on North Carolina comes as new polls, including one by Bloomberg Politics, show Trump pulling ahead in Ohio and expanding his advantage in Iowa
    • The two states, both of which Obama carried in ’08 and ‘12, combine for 24 electoral votes

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TRUMP AND THE ECONOMY

  • Trump outlined his economic plans at the New York Economic Club; said his proposals would create 25 million jobs in a decade and grow the economy by 3.5% a year; see full Bloomberg story here
    • Trump contended that Fed makes decisions based on politics as opposed to what is “right”; predicted that interest rates will remain low until President Obama is out of office; said there’s no scenario in which he would consider defaulting on U.S. debt
  • The GOP nominee also continued to decry Ford Motor’s plan to move North American small-car production from the U.S. to Mexico, calling it “a disgrace”
    • “It’s disgraceful that our politicians allow them to get away with it,” he said
  • Trump has dropped mention of a major tax cut for businesses organized as pass-through entities, including partnerships, from his tax overhaul proposals, Bloomberg’s Lynnley Browning reported, citing the latest version of those plans
    • Trump previously pitched the proposal for a 15% tax rate on income from partnerships and limited liability companies as a boon for small business—but many hedge funds, private equity firms and other large-scale businesses use the structure
    • Such businesses don’t pay income taxes themselves, but pass their earnings to their owners, who are taxed at individual rates
    • The top individual tax rate is 39.6%, meaning that the original proposal would have amounted to a tax cut for many

TRUMP AND HEALTH

  • Trump is in “excellent physical health,” according to his long-time doctor, Harold Bornstein, who on Thursday provided a range of details from the candidate’s laboratory reports for the first time; see full Bloomberg story here
  • Trump said on the Dr. Oz Show that birth control shouldn’t need a prescription, AP reported

CLINTON AND HIGH COURT

  • Clinton said she wouldn’t be bound by President Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court, hinting that she would consider a bolder choice if she takes office in January with the seat still unfilled; see Bloomberg story here
    • Clinton said she would “look broadly and widely for people who represent the diversity of our country” if she has the opportunity to make “any” Supreme Court nominations; she spoke in radio interview on the Tom Joyner Morning Show

ON THE TRAIL

  • After her stop in North Carolina, Clinton plans to attend a Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute gala in Washington
  • Trump will hold rally in New Hampshire tonight

POLLS

  • Trump’s lead over Clinton in Iowa has widened to 8 points, from 2 points in July, new Monmouth University Poll found
    • 45% of likely voters back Trump vs 37% for Clinton; 8% plan to vote for Libertarian Gary Johnson; 2% for Green Party candidate Jill Stein; 2% say they will vote for another candidate; 6% undecided
    • Clinton had support of 42% two months ago compared to 44% for Trump
  • Trump tops Clinton by 3 points in Ohio, a Suffolk University poll of the state’s likely voters found
  • Nationally, Clinton and Trump are tied at 42% apiece, with Johnson at 8% and Stein 4% among likely voters in the New York Times-CBS News Poll

ENDORSEMENTS

  • New Hampshire’s conservative-leaning Union Leader newspaper endorsed Johnson, writing in an editorial that the publication refuses to choose the “lesser of two evils” when there’s a “reasonable, and honorable, alternative”

ETC

  • House Speaker Paul Ryan told reporters Trump should release his income tax returns, but it’s up to him to decide when
  • Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., questioned whether Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf should keep his job amid allegations that the bank opened millions of accounts without customers’ knowledge
    • See full Bloomberg story here
    • The latest Washington spotlight on Wall Street could result in more debates about financial regulation in both the presidential and congressional races
  • Speculation that Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg would be picked as Treasury secretary under a Clinton presidency is growing, Politico’s Morning Money reported
  • Trump said if elected he would “absolutely get out in some form” of doing business in countries facing potential sanctions
    • “I don’t think we have too many of those companies,” he told Fox News
    • Trump also said he “would absolutely sever” connections with the Trump Organization and would have his children and executives run the company
  • Clinton in an interview declined to discuss Colin Powell’s hacked e-mails, joking that she has already talked enough about her own electronic communications, CNN reported
    • In hacked e-mails, Powell wrote: “Everything (Hillary Clinton) touches she kind of screws up with hubris”
    • “I have a great deal of respect for Colin Powell, and I have a lot of sympathy for anyone whose e-mails become public,” Clinton said on Tom Joyner radio show
    • “I’m not going to start discussing someone else’s private e-mails. I’ve already spent a lot of time talking about my own, as you know”
  • Trump today criticized the pastor of a black church in Flint, Michigan, who interrupted his remarks at the church yesterday; see full story by Bloomberg’s Ben Brody here

CONGRESSIONAL ELECTIONS

SENATE RACES (Republicans hold 54-46 majority)

  • FUNDRAISING: Save Our Senate Committee will raise funds jointly for nine Republican candidates, including seven senators, according to Federal Election Commission filing
    • Committee will distribute money to Reps. Joe Heck in Nev., Todd Young in Ind., and Sens. Kelly Ayotte in N.H., Richard Burr in N.C., Ron Johnson in Wis., Mark Kirk in Ill., Rob Portman in Ohio, Marco Rubio in Fla., Pat Toomey in Pa.
  • IN: Senate Majority PAC, Democratic super-PAC, in TV ad attacked Young on Social Security, accused him of saying he was “proud” to vote to cut benefits
    • Ad cites 2011 press release in which Young said he was proud to back Republican “cut, cap, and balance” plan to cap federal spending at 19.9% of GDP, require balanced budget, raise taxes only with supermajority of votes
    • Senate Majority PAC backs Democratic ex-Sen. Evan Bayh
  • NC: Burr told Ripon Society yesterday that Americans “are as angry as I’ve ever seen them,” next president “will likely nominate three Supreme Court Justices,” according to release from the centrist GOP group
    • National Rifle Association’s Political Victory Fund spent $1.3m against Democratic nominee Deborah Ross, ex-state legislator, according to FEC filing
  • WI: Johnson’s campaign in TV ad features Green Bay woman praising incumbent’s work to expedite her adoption of child from Democratic Republic of the Congo
    • Johnson seeks second term against Democrat Russ Feingold, who he defeated in 2010

HOUSE RACES (Republicans hold 246-186 majority)

  • CA-24: National Republican Congressional Cmte in TV ad said election pits “fresh, new ideas” of GOP businessman Justin Fareed vs. “stale ideas of career politician” Salud Carbajal, Democratic Santa Barbara County supervisor
    • Democratic Rep. Lois Capps eschewing re-election in mildly Democratic-leaning district that includes Santa Maria, Santa Barbara
  • FL-18: NRCC in TV ad said Republican Brian Mast embodies “service over self on the battlefield and here and home”
    • Mast, military veteran who lost both legs in Afghanistan, opposing Democratic businessman Randy Perkins for competitive southeastern district held by Democratic Senate nominee Patrick Murphy
  • NV-04: GOP Rep. Cresent Hardy’s campaign released TV ad in which narrator says Hardy “doesn’t ask who you voted for or what party you belong to; he asks how he can help, then he gets to work”
    • Freshman Hardy opposed by Democratic state Sen. Ruben Kihuen in Democratic-leaning district that includes part of Las Vegas
  • NY-19: Democrat Zephyr Teachout and Republican John Faso debated today on WAMC Northeast Public Radio
    • Teachout, law professor who ran against Gov. Andrew Cuomo in 2014 primary, said she’d work to overturn Citizens United decision, noted that billionaire Paul Singer gave $500k to super-PAC backing Faso
    • Faso, ex-state representative, said he’s lived/worked in district for 33 years whereas Teachout “parachuted in from Brooklyn,” has “no connection to the district”
    • Bernie Sanders will campaign with Teachout tomorrow in New Paltz, Daily Freeman reported
    • GOP Rep. Chris Gibson isn’t seeking re-election in politically competitive central Hudson Valley district
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