The TAKE with Rick Klein
Progressive groups are arguing that suburban romps are proof that their messaging can play everywhere. Several more moderate candidates, though, are using the results in Virginia, Pennsylvania, Kentucky and elsewhere to argue just the opposite.
"I guarantee you that the gubernatorial candidate for the Democrats did not run on ‘Medicare for All' in Kentucky," said Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo.
"So if you are tired of the extremes in our politics," Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., said in celebrating Election Day, "you have a home with me."
Montana Gov. Steve Bullock even called the results, "a wake-up call for national Democrats" -- yes, Democrats
"The path to winning back the places we've lost isn't through impractical proposals or the latest Beltway obsessions," he said.
Election Day 2019 is unlikely to breathe new life into candidacies that were stalled. But this fight feeds into the broader one now playing out between former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who are offering competing perspectives on what it means to be a Democrat.
The 2019 contests didn't settle any arguments. But they may have brought new urgency to the distinctions that are defining the 2020 race.
The RUNDOWN with MaryAlice Parks
House Democrats announced Wednesday that the House Intelligence Committee will bring three U.S. diplomats into testify publicly as a part of the impeachment inquiry next week: Bill Taylor, the top American envoy in Ukraine, George Kent, the deputy undersecretary of state for the region, and Marie Yovanovitch, the former American ambassador to Ukraine.
All three witnesses have already spoken to lawmakers behind-closed doors.
In theory, the reason to bring them back to Capitol Hill now is to help Democrats lay out their case that the president abused his power and that his administration bribed a foreign government with military aid and diplomatic cooperation.
"Those open hearings will be an opportunity for the American people to evaluate the witnesses for themselves, to make their own determinations about the credibility of the witnesses, but also to learn firsthand about the facts of the president's misconduct," Rep. Adam Schiff, the Democrat leading the House impeachment probe, told reporters on Wednesday.
Big picture, with these new hearings expected to be televised, live from the Capitol, Democrats are switching gears from an investigation to a persuasion campaign.
The TIP with Kendall Karson
Trailing behind a Democrat in a deep red state can be a lonely place. With the Kentucky gubernatorial race still too close to call, according to the Associated Press, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and his allies are distancing themselves -- and the triumphant down-ballot Republicans across the Bluegrass state -- from Matt Bevin, the GOP governor since 2015 who is fighting to salvage his political life.
"Although we have a governor's race that is too close to call, Republicans have much to celebrate tonight," McConnell said in a statement on Tuesday's results. "A complete sweep of Constitutional offices with the Attorney General, Auditor, Commissioner of Agriculture, Secretary of State, and Treasurer is an amazing sign of strength for Republican governance in Kentucky."
But Bevin isn't bowing out just yet -- instead his campaign requested the secretary of state to conduct a recanvass, a post-election process in which the county elections board retallies the vote totals to ensure they were reported accurately to the State Board of Elections. It is slated for Nov. 14 and Bevin told reporters Wednesday that he's "confident that in the end the right results will be delivered."
Democratic challenger Andy Beshear hopes, "Bevin honors the results of the recanvass, which will show he received fewer votes," and signaled his eagerness to move forward, saying, "I'm done with running for office it's now time to govern."
ABC News' "Start Here" podcast. Thursday morning's episode features ABC News Senior Congressional correspondent Mary Bruce, who tells us who will be called first when public impeachment hearings kick off next week. http://apple.co/2HPocUL
ABC News' "Powerhouse Politics" podcast. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, joined ABC News Deputy Political Director MaryAlice Parks and Multi-platform Correspondent Serena Marshall to discuss the aftermath of contentious state elections in Kentucky and Virginia and what the results mean for suburban voters in 2020. They also talked about the buzz surrounding Brown as a potential vice president pick and his new book, "Desk 88: Eight Progressive Senators Who Changed America," which tells the stories of the senators who previously sat at his desk on the Senate floor. http://apple.co/2Zfz5nD
ONE MORE THING
Republican lawmakers looking to defend President Donald Trump against allegations of impropriety in the House impeachment inquiry are increasingly pointing to closed-door testimony from senior diplomat Kurt Volker, insisting his version of events means Trump never engaged in an improper "quid pro quo" when he pressed Ukraine's new president to investigate allegations against Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden. But whatever Volker's testimony means for Trump's possible impeachment, the career diplomat's account explicitly undercuts the actual allegations against Biden that Trump and his allies have been pushing online and on TV for months.
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