Local factors keep races close in unexpected places: The Note
Issues like inflation and abortion are all likely to matter, just not equally.
The TAKE with Rick Klein
The election was always going to come down to states like Georgia, Pennsylvania and Nevada -- presidential battlegrounds where enough money has been spent on Senate races to make them almost feel like that level of race in miniature.
But there weren't many worlds where major races in Iowa, Kansas, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Utah or Washington were on potentially relevant maps. The fact that those states and others still feature close races points out the huge variety of factors driving voters -- and soft spots inside both parties down the stretch.
President Joe Biden spent Thursday campaigning in New Mexico and southern California. Vice President Kamala Harris joined former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in New York City hoping to boost Gov. Kathy Hochul, D-N.Y., after a parade of prominent Republicans came to the state to help in a race that Rep. Lee Zeldin has kept surprisingly close.
Former President Donald Trump, meanwhile, kicked off a final series of rallies in Iowa, where Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley is vying for another term that Democrats have kept on the expanded map. And Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has cut a TV ad in Utah to boost Sen. Mike Lee, who is facing down a challenge from an independent who has the support of the state Democratic Party.
The potential pickups and pitfalls speak to the separate and sometimes overlapping campaigns that make up the 2022 midterms. Candidates do matter, and Senate battlegrounds have different environments than both red and blue states that have gotten less attention.
In the end, big issues like inflation, abortion and the future of democracy are all likely to matter. They just won't matter equally, in terms of either geography or the total number of motivated voters.
The RUNDOWN with Averi Harper
Ahead of Election Day, election officials are trying to get ahead of both attempts to cast doubt on race outcomes and efforts to disrupt the voting process.
Many urge patience because with an increase in the amount of early and absentee votes to count, and because of those who may seek to impede the process, a wait for unofficial results doesn't indicate that anything nefarious has occurred, but rather that the process is working.
"We anticipate folks will try to interfere with the process, try to slow it down and of course that could lead to a delay and unofficial results," Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson said during a call with reporters on Thursday. "That's why we are managing expectations to say within 24 hours of the polls closing on Election Day you can anticipate knowing the unofficial results in Michigan, but we hope to potentially have those done even sooner."
For many who worry about those who aim to disrupt or cast doubt on election outcomes, those worries are coupled with concerns about those who may seek to intimidate poll workers or voters at the polls.
According to the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll, out Friday, 88% of adults express concern that political divisions have gotten to the point that there's an increased risk of politically motivated violence in this country. But while concerns may be at a high, experts caution that most Americans are able to vote without incident.
"There would be nothing that extremists and election deniers would like more than for voters to feel scared about whether they should vote and they shouldn't," David Becker, the executive director for the Center for Election Innovation and Research, said during a call with reporters on Thursday. "Voters are showing that you can vote in complete safety in this election."
Becker said that while reports of voter intimidation and harassment have occurred in states such as Arizona, he said those incidents have been "sporadic."
The TIP with Alisa Wiersema
Before candidates in Pennsylvania's statewide races go head-to-head on the ballot Tuesday, their parties' top surrogates are slated to headline dueling rallies over the weekend to boost turnout in the key battleground state.
On Saturday, President Biden and former President Barack Obama will headline a rally in the Democratic stronghold of Philadelphia on behalf of Senate candidate John Fetterman and gubernatorial candidate Josh Shapiro. That same day, Obama will also travel to Allegheny County -- one of just two blue counties in the western part of the state -- for a rally in Pittsburgh with Fetterman.
Former President Trump will also head west that same day for a rally in neighboring Westmoreland County, where he will be joined by both Senate candidate Dr. Mehmet Oz and gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano. The event will mark Trump's second visit to the red county this year, signaling that the area will be critical for Republicans' hopes of cutting into Democratic margins.
In the run-up to the last two presidential elections, Pennsylvania served as the last stop for Democrats in their closing arguments. In 2016, Hillary Clinton rallied with Obama in Philadelphia the night before the election, and four years later, Biden held a drive-in rally in Pittsburgh amid the ongoing pandemic.
The state also cinched the presidency for Biden, who topped Trump by just over 80,000 votes. The ensuing fallout over the outcome of the 2020 election in Pennsylvania was riddled with false allegations of election fraud from the outgoing president and some of his hardline supporters. The heavy political presence across the Keystone State the weekend before this year's general election could forecast another drawn-out battle for the last votes in both statewide contests on the horizon.
"Power Trip: Those Seeking Power and Those Who Chase Them" follows 7 young reporters as they chase down candidates in the lead up to the midterms with George Stephanopoulos guiding them along the way.
ONE MORE THING
A new ABC News/Washington Post poll shows broad, bipartisan numbers of Americans are concerned that political divisions are increasing the risk of politically motivated violence in this country, with majorities across the board highly concerned about it.
ABC News' "Start Here" podcast. "Start Here" begins Friday morning with a rundown from ABC's Martha Raddatz of North Korea's missile activity near South Korea and Japan. Then, ABC's Kiara Alfonseca discusses recent steps by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis to ban medical or surgical gender-affirming care for transgender youth under 18. And, ABC's Juju Chang reports on the surge of online gambling addictions impacting teens across the nation. http://apple.co/2HPocUL
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW THIS WEEKEND
- President Biden delivers remarks at 2:45 p.m. ET at an American technology company in San Diego that will benefit from the passage of the CHIPS and Science Act and more chips being made in America.
- The president attends a political reception in Chicago at 8:30 p.m. ET.
- Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, Pennsylvania Senate candidate, is scheduled to appear on "The View," airing on ABC at 11 a.m. ET.
- ABC’s “This Week”: Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ), Governor Glenn Youngkin (R-VA), 538 Editor-in-Chief Nate Silver, and insights from our New ABC News/Washington Post poll. Roundtable: Former New Jersey Governor and ABC News Contributor Chris Christie, Former DNC Chair and ABC News Contributor Donna Brazile, Former Justice Department Spokesperson and ABC News Contributor Sarah Isgur, and Democracy for America CEO and ABC News Contributor Yvette Simpson.
Download the ABC News app and select "The Note" as an item of interest to receive the day's sharpest political analysis.
The Note is a daily ABC News feature that highlights the day's top stories in politics. Please check back next week for the latest.