Monday morning news: November 5, 2018

Candidates and supporters make final appeal to voters » Candidates and their supporters are out in force today, making the final push ahead of tomorrow’s election.

DONNELLY: This is a very, very close election and every vote counts. Your vote is your voice! 

That was Democratic Indiana Senator Joe Donnelly campaigning Sunday. An average of recent polls gives him a slim one point edge over GOP challenger Michael Braun. That’s one of several critical races that could decide the balance of power in the U.S. Senate.

Former President Barack Obama stumped in Indiana Sunday in hopes of pushing Donnelly across the finish line.

OBAMA: The healthcare of millions is on the ballot. A fair shake for working families is on the ballot. 

The former president also campaigned yesterday for Democrats in Illinois.

Other big Senate races to watch include Nevada where polls give Republican Senator Dean Heller a one-and-a-half point edge over Democrat Jacky Rosen.

And polls suggest a dead heat in Missouri, where Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill is hoping to hold off Republican Josh Hawley.

In Florida, Governor Rick Scott is running for the U.S. Senate…

SCOTT: I’m going to go to Washington to have a can-do attitude to represent you wholeheartedly to make sure our federal government takes care of us when we need them. 

It’s a tight race, but Scott is trailing Democratic Senator Bill Nelson by two points.

And in Arizona, recent polls show a trend in Democrat Kyrsten Sinema’s direction, but that race also remains tight. An average of polls gives Sinema a one point lead.

Meantime, President Trump is hoping to help his party hang onto the governor’s mansion in Georgia. Republican Brian Kemp has a three point lead over Stacey Abrams.

Campaigning in Georgia Sunday, the president predicted a good day for Republicans tomorrow and said Democrats are backpedaling on their predictions of a blue wave.

TRUMP: I haven’t heard the term blue wave, but you better get out and vote. Otherwise, I’m going to look very bad with this statement. 

But polls still suggest Democrats are well positioned to reclaim a majority in the House and make substantial gains at the state level.

However, analysts say it’s more likely than not that Republicans will keep control of the Senate.

U.S. soldier killed in Afghanistan identified » A Utah mayor who also served as an officer in the Army National Guard was identified as the soldier fatally shot in Afghanistan last week. Brent Taylor was training Afghan commandos when one of his trainees turned his weapon on Taylor.

The 39-year-old guardsman had taken a yearlong leave of absence as mayor of North Ogden for his deployment to Afghanistan.

He was a military intelligence officer with Joint Force Headquarters and was expected to return to his mayoral job in January.

Taylor leaves behind a wife and seven children.

Pompeo to meet with North Korean official amid renewed threats from Pyongyang » Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Sunday that he will sit down this week with North Korea’s number two official, Kim Yong-chol. They’ll meet in New York to resume nuclear talks.

The announcement came just after Pyongyang said it will “seriously” consider reviving its nuclear weapons program unless the U.S. lifts sanctions.

A statement from the North Korean Foreign Ministry stated that—quote—“improvement of relations and sanctions is incompatible.”

But Pompeo said on that point, the White House will not budge.

POMPEO: President Trump’s made his position very clear. No economic relief until we have achieved our ultimate objective. 

And that objective is complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chair refers Kavanaugh accuser for criminal investigation » Senator Chuck Grassley, who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee, has asked the Justice Department to open a criminal investigation into a woman who accused Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault.

Grassley’s referral alleges that during Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing, Judy Munro-Leighton fabricated claims that Kavanaugh and a friend raped her and anonymously stated those claims in a letter to lawmakers under the alias “Jane Doe.”   

Grassey said that when questioned by committee investigators, she recanted her accusation and denied writing the letter. She later said she’d never met Kavanaugh.

The criminal referral follows Grassley’s request last week that the Justice Department investigate lawyer Michael Avanati. That referral alleged Avenatti conspired with his client, Julie Swetnick, to provide false statements to Congress. Swetnick accused Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct at college parties in the early 80s, but later recanted some of her claims.

(AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh) A sign displays outside of Genesis Convention Center before former President Barack Obama attends to support Indiana Democratic congressional candidate U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly during a campaign rally in Gary, Ind., Sunday, Nov. 4, 2018. 

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