QAnon Backer Gets Path to Congress as Foe Quits: Campaign Update
(Bloomberg) -- A Q-Anon-supporting congressional candidate is left unopposed. President Donald Trump says election night unrest would amount to “insurrection.” And the Trump campaign ran a Facebook ad touting his “Noble” Peace Prize nomination.
There are 53 days until the election.
QAnon-Supporting Candidate Is Left Unopposed
Congressional candidate Marjorie Taylor Greene, a Georgia Republican who has expressed support for the far-right conspiracy theory Q-Anon and been criticized for racist comments, is now running unopposed after the Democratic opponent dropped out Friday.
Kevin Van Ausdal, in an announcement on Facebook, said he was dropping out for family and personal reasons, and leaving the state of Georgia. He did not explain further. But even as he bowed out, he took a parting jab by saying the campaign’s rhetoric has taken a turn to “dangerous extremism, like the candidacy of Marjorie Greene.”
The open-seat race is for Georgia’s 14th Congressional District, currently held by retiring Representative Tom Graves, a Republican.
Greene, the owner of a construction company who has made offensive remarks about African Americans, Jews and Muslims, said that Q, the anonymous high-ranking government official supporters of the QAnon movement believe in, is “a patriot” and “on the same page as us” and “is very pro-Trump.” Trump tweeted after her primary win that she’s a “future Republican Star.”
-- Billy House and Daniel Flatley
Trump Says Election Night Unrest Would Be ‘Insurrection’ (3:10 p.m.)
Trump called potential election night unrest by his opponents “insurrection” and vowed to “put them down very quickly.”
In a taped interview set to air Saturday, portions of which were released Friday, Fox News host Jeanine Pirro asked Trump how he would respond if there were riots if he was declared the winner on election night.
“Look, it’s called insurrection,” he said, using a term for a crime punishable by fines as well as up to 10 years in prison.
Trump, who has been criticized for his use of federal law enforcement against protesters demonstrating against racial injustice, said that his administration would respond to any unrest.
“We’ll put them down very quickly if they do that,” he said. “We have the right to do that. We have the power to do that if we want.”
A coalition of progressive groups have held discussions recently about public protests in the event that problems with voting lead to an unclear result or Trump refuses to concede, according to The Daily Beast.
Trump Campaign Ad Touts ‘Noble’ Peace Prize Nomination (10:25 a.m.)
A Facebook ad from the Trump campaign that ran Thursday misspelled the name of the Nobel Peace Prize in huge letters.
In an ad touting Trump’s nomination by a far-right Norwegian lawmaker, a graphic notes that “President Trump was nominated for the Noble Peace Prize,” although the smaller ad copy at the top spells the award correctly. Separately, a Trump campaign fund-raising email depicted the Nobel prize as a large trophy. In fact it’s a small medal.
Trump himself has made the same spelling mistake several times on Twitter in what appeared to be references to the Pulitzer Prize, an award given to journalists. He later claimed that the spelling was intentional sarcasm.
“When will all of the ‘reporters’ who have received Noble Prizes for their work on Russia, Russia, Russia, only to have been proven wrong...be turning back their cherished ‘Nobles,’” he tweeted in April.
Any national legislator can nominate someone for the Nobel Peace Prize. Eighteen Republican members of Congress nominated Trump in 2018. The only U.S. presidents to receive a Nobel Peace Prize are Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, Jimmy Carter and Barack Obama.
The Trump campaign didn’t respond immediately to a request for comment.
Biden Tallies Trump’s TV Watching (7:14 a.m.)
The Biden campaign quickly put together a video Thursday evening criticizing Trump’s comments on the news programs he’s watched recently.
At a press conference earlier in the day, Trump rattled off a list of Fox News shows he’d seen recently as a source of information on a Justice Department investigation he has been following.
“I watch some of the shows,” he said. “I watched Liz MacDonald. She is fantastic. I watched Fox Business. I watched Lou Dobbs last night, Sean Hannity last night, Tucker last night, Laura. I watched ‘Fox and Friends’ in the morning.”
The Biden video shows Trump making the remarks, as a counter tallies up the number of minutes it would take to watch all of those shows, and a second counter tallies U.S. deaths from the coronavirus on the same day.
“Minutes of television watched: 480,” text on the ad said. “U.S. COVID-19 deaths yesterday: 1,176.”
Early Voting Begins Monday in Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania will become the second battleground state to begin voting in the general election on Monday.
Through a process paradoxically named “in-person absentee voting,” Pennsylvania voters will be able to go to their local elections office, request an absentee ballot, fill it out, and hand it right back.
This form of early voting will run through Tuesday, Oct. 27, one week before Election Day.
Another battleground state, North Carolina, began sending out vote-by-mail ballots last Friday. As of Thursday, 4,485 ballots have been returned, with 59% coming from Democrats, 29% from unaffiliated voters and 12% from Republicans, according to the political science blog Old North State Politics.
Kentucky will also begin mailing absentee ballots on Monday.
Trump Campaign Lowers Expectations for Biden at Debate, Again
The Trump campaign’s message: Joe Biden is a skillful debater with years of experience who will short-circuit within minutes at this year’s face offs.
Earlier this week, campaign manager Bill Stepien used the tried-and-true technique of building up the opposing candidate’s debate skills in order to be able to claim later that your own candidate beat expectations.
That ran counter to Trump’s own consistent claims that Biden is just shy of senile. And a new Facebook ad undercut it even further.
The ad alters footage of moderator Chris Wallace at a 2016 debate between Trump and Hillary Clinton, asking a question about their views of the Constitution.
Clinton is replaced by an old-fashioned TV set showing clips of Biden’s controversial “you ain’t Black” comment in May and the time in August he said that a reporter’s question was like him asking if the reporter was on cocaine.
The TV then shorts out, with Biden’s image flipping back and forth like the Max Headroom character from the 1980s.
Biden and Trump will both visit the Flight 93 memorial in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, to commemorate those killed in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
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