“I said it was up to the citizens of Pennsylvania and of course, but I will tell you all this, if I lived in Pennsylvania, I would have already cast my vote for John Fetterman for many reasons,” Oprah Winfrey said last night in announcing her endorsement of Pennsylvania’s Democratic Senate candidate.

Fetterman’s race is among those that have grown tighter in recent weeks as polls showed rising support for his Republican competitor Mehmet Oz. The endorsement of Winfrey – an icon to many Americans, particularly women and African Americans – is seen as a shot at revitalizing his chances.

It’s likely also a bitter moment for Oz, who was a staple on Winfrey’s show before launching his own. “Doctor Oz loves Oprah and respects the fact that they have different politics. He believes we need more balance and less extremism in Washington,” a spokesman for his campaign told Politico.

Meanwhile, Fetterman tried to make the most of the endorsement on Twitter:

Key events

Poll after poll has shown that the economy is the biggest issue on voters’ minds as they decide who to support on their midterm ballot. Today, the government released its October employment report, which will be the last before Tuesday’s election and indicates the labor market is stronger than expected despite the high rate of inflation that has battered Democratic support:

The US economy added 261,000 jobs in October, the labor department announced on Friday in its last snapshot of the health of the employment market before next week’s midterm elections.

The latest report confirmed the remarkable strength of the US jobs market. The unemployment rate rose to 3.7%, still close to a 50-year low. The news comes after the Federal Reserve once again raised interest rates in a bid to slow investment and bring down inflation, a move that economists and the Fed predict will eventually cost jobs.

So far the Fed’s actions – the most drastic since the 1980s – seem to have had little impact on the US’s white-hot jobs market. Monthly job growth has averaged 407,000 thus far in 2022, compared with 562,000 per month in 2021. In 2019, before the coronavirus pandemic struck the US, job gains averaged 164,000 a month.

Intimidation isn’t all voters are worried about. A Washington Post-ABC News poll released today indicates a majority of Americans believe the country’s partisan divides have widened to such a degree that political violence is a possibility.

The survey was conducted following last Friday’s attack on Democratic House speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband Paul at their San Francisco home.

The survey finds 88% of respondents are concerned about the threat of violence, with six in 10 saying they are “very concerned”. Americans tended to blame the opposite party for the potential unrest, but Republicans were generally blamed more at 31%, while 25% blamed the Democrats. The survey said 32% blamed both parties equally.

Midterm voting has already begun in some states, bringing with it an increasing number of complaints about voter intimidation, Rachel Leingang reports:

In suburban Mesa, Arizona, people staked out an outdoor ballot drop box, taking photos and videos of voters dropping off ballots. Some wore tactical gear or camouflage. Some were visibly armed.

Others videotaped voters and election workers at a ballot drop box and central tabulation office in downtown Phoenix. They set up lawn chairs and camped out to keep watch through a fence which had been added around the facility for safety after 2020 election protests.

Some voters claim the observers approached or followed them in their vehicles. Other observers hung back, watching and filming from at least 75ft from the drop boxes.

In total, the Arizona secretary of state has received more than a dozen complaints from voters about intimidation from drop box watchers, many of which have been forwarded to the US Department of Justice and the Arizona attorney general as of late October, as well as a threat sent to the secretary of state herself. A federal judge issued a temporary restraining order on 1 November to limit the watchers’ activities.

House GOP doesn’t plan to wait till 2023 to go after Hunter Biden

House Republicans will as soon as Wednesday resume their attempts to get answers from the Treasury about the business activities of Hunter Biden, CNN reports.

The GOP has long sought to make the entanglements of Joe Biden’s son into a scandal to sap the president’s support, and James Comer, who is expected to become the House oversight committee chair if the party retakes the chamber in Tuesday’s midterm elections, told CNN the party won’t wait to take its seats before restarting their demands for answers.

“We’re going to lay out what we have thus far on Hunter Biden, and the crimes we believe he has committed,” Comer said. “And then we’re going to be very clear and say what we are investigating, and who we’re gonna ask to meet with us for transcribed interviews. And we’re going to show different areas that we’re looking into.”

He added that the week after the midterms, he’ll hold a press conference along with top Republican on the House judiciary committee Jim Jordan to lay out what they’ve discovered about Hunter Biden in their investigations thus far.

Here’s more from CNN:

The younger Biden, who is facing a federal investigation into potential tax violations and allegedly making a false statement over a gun purchase, has not been charged with any crime. But Republicans are planning to focus in large part on Biden’s overseas business dealings as they try to link him to his father, though it remains to be seen what if any evidence they have uncovered.

Hunter Biden has also denied wrongdoing in his business activities.

The fact that the Hunter Biden probe will be one the GOP’s first order of business following their anticipated takeover of the House next week underscores just how much investigations, hearings and subpoenas will dominate in a Republican majority. Most bills will be primarily messaging endeavors, unlikely to overcome the president’s veto or the Senate’s 60-vote threshold, though they would have to pass legislation to fund the government and raise the national borrowing limit to raise a debt default – an endeavor that is already alarming Democrats. The White House declined to comment on this story.

Biden has also denied wrongdoing in his business activities.

Here’s more from The Guardian’s Martin Pengelly about why another Trump campaign is a matter of when, not if:

As the midterm elections loom in the US and Republican hopes of retaking Congress rise, it appears it is now a matter of when, not if, Donald Trump will announce his third White House run.

The former president has trailed another campaign ever since his 2020 defeat by Joe Biden, a contest Trump refused to concede, pursuing the lie about electoral fraud which fueled the deadly attack on Congress and his second impeachment.

In Texas last month, Trump said: “In order to make our country successful, safe and glorious again, I will probably have to do it again.”

Now, a flurry of reports say Trump will move swiftly after the midterms, seeking to capitalise on likely Republican wins fueled by focusing on economic anxieties and law and order.

Trump eyeing 14 November to announce new presidential campaign

Donald Trump is considering announcing his new run for the White House on 14 November, with the intention of building on expected Republican victories in the midterms, Axios reports.

It’s no surprise that Trump has long been mulling another race for the White House, potentially setting him up for a rematch against Joe Biden in 2024. Axios notes that Trump’s plans are fluid and could change depending on the outcome of Tuesday’s elections, in which Republicans are expected to reestablish a majority in the House of Representatives and potentially the Senate. A weaker result for the GOP could delay his announcement, according to the report.

Axios reports that Trump has increasingly hyped up a potential run to his followers, saying in a Thursday appearance in Iowa, “In order to make our country successful and safe and glorious, I will very, very, very probably do it again … Get ready that’s all I’m telling you — very soon. Get ready.”

“I said it was up to the citizens of Pennsylvania and of course, but I will tell you all this, if I lived in Pennsylvania, I would have already cast my vote for John Fetterman for many reasons,” Oprah Winfrey said last night in announcing her endorsement of Pennsylvania’s Democratic Senate candidate.

Fetterman’s race is among those that have grown tighter in recent weeks as polls showed rising support for his Republican competitor Mehmet Oz. The endorsement of Winfrey – an icon to many Americans, particularly women and African Americans – is seen as a shot at revitalizing his chances.

It’s likely also a bitter moment for Oz, who was a staple on Winfrey’s show before launching his own. “Doctor Oz loves Oprah and respects the fact that they have different politics. He believes we need more balance and less extremism in Washington,” a spokesman for his campaign told Politico.

Meanwhile, Fetterman tried to make the most of the endorsement on Twitter:

Pivotal Democrat gets a belated October surprise when Oprah endorses his campaign

Good morning, US politics blog readers. Democrat John Fetterman is locked in a tight battle for Pennsylvania’s vacant Senate seat, but last night he got an assist from an unlikely party: Oprah Winfrey. The American talkshow host endorsed Fetterman’s campaign at a virtual event, potentially boosting his quest to give the Democrats another seat in the Senate. On Saturday, Fetterman will be joined by Joe Biden and Barack Obama as the Democrats double-down on a race that could prove pivotal to them controlling the chamber for another two years. We will get a sense of whether it matters when polls close in four days.

Here’s what else is happening today:

  • The labor market was in better shape than expected in October, according to government data released this morning. The world’s largest economy added 261,000 jobs, but the unemployment rate ticked up to 3.7%.

  • Joe Biden is in California where he will promote the Chips act intended to boost American technological innovation, before heading to Chicago for a rally this evening.

  • A big majority of Americans are concerned about increased political violence, a Washington Post-ABC News poll released this morning found.





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