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As US midterm elections loom, candidates scramble to get out the vote

Republicans Tammy Burke and Jamie Dick, a couple who attended the parade, voted for Ms. Comstock

Joshua Jamerson | WSJ  |  Manassas 

US President Donald Trump
US President Donald Trump. Photo: Reuters

With just three days until Election Day, candidates are all but done with trying to persuade undecided voters, and they are using the last weekend before the to encourage supporters to turn out on Tuesday.

Candidates and party leaders across the country fanned out for their final weekend of campaigning, from Virginia to New Jersey to Montana.

President also continued a series of rallies, mostly aimed at helping candidates, with plans to appear in five more states on Sunday and Monday before the polls open.

The midterms could have a crucial impact on his presidency. If Democrats gain control of the House, as many analysts are predicting, it could stymie his agenda and put his administration under withering scrutiny through House oversight hearings.

Speaking in Montana, Mr. criticized the state’s Democratic Sen. Jon Tester for voting against the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. “What he did was terrible,” Mr. said.

He also blamed Mr. Tester for sinking the since-withdrawn nomination of Rear Adm. Ronny Jackson as Veterans Affairs secretary. Dr. Jackson faced allegations that he had dispensed prescription drugs without proper paperwork. Dr. Jackson denied the allegations.

“I’ve never forgotten,” Mr. Trump said, as he praised Rep. Greg Gianforte (R., Mont.) and GOP candidate and urged voters to “send a message” to Democrats on Tuesday.

In Burlington, N.J., Democratic Sen. Cory Booker cast the state’s congressional races as a way to “change the destiny of this country.”

“We take back the House of Representatives, and we have a check and balance on the president’s power,” Mr. Booker told a group of about 60 people, mostly African-Americans, gathered in a meeting room at Tabernacle Baptist Church.

Democratic House candidate Andy Kim, a former national-security official, is trying to oust Republican Rep. of New Jersey. Mr. Kim said he decided to run after Mr. MacArthur offered an amendment to a health-care bill that would have required health insurers to sell plans to people with pre-existing conditions but permit states to remove several protections aimed at keeping those plans affordable.

“I got into this race because I was just so furious about what my opponent had done on health care,” Mr. Kim said in a brief interview.

In a closely watched U.S. House race in this exurb of Washington, D.C., GOP Rep. Barbara faces Democratic challenger Jennifer Wexton, a state legislator who is banking on support from voters here who backed in 2016. Mrs. Clinton beat President Trump in this district by 10 percentage points; the same year, Ms. won re-election by six points.

Wearing a bright red overcoat Saturday, Ms. walked in a parade celebrating veterans, shaking hands with people along her tree-lined parade route.

and Jamie Dick, a couple who attended the parade, voted for Ms. Comstock in the past and plan to vote for her again. They are part of a shrinking number of conservatives who live in this district, which includes nearby Loudoun County. The county has been moving Democratic for years as its population expands and diversifies.

Ms. Burke, a retired IT worker, said she supports Mr. Trump’s policies and agrees with the president that the #MeToo movement has resulted in a guilty-until-proven-innocent approach to allegations of sexual misconduct.

“It’s gone too far, in some ways,” she said of the movement. Ms. Burke, 53, pointed to what she viewed as the mistreatment of Justice Brett Kavanaugh, whose confirmation to the Supreme Court was rocked when Dr. Christine Blasey Ford of California alleged he assaulted her when they were teenagers.

Nevertheless, the Cook Political Report rates Ms. Comstock’s seat as leaning in Ms. Wexton’s favor, and the Democrat is ahead in public polling.

In an interview Saturday, Ms. Wexton said she still doesn’t feel the race is in the bag, pointing to millions of dollars that the National Republican Congressional Committee has committed. The NRCC has spent about $5 million to aid Ms. Comstock, according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive

“They don’t think it’s a lost cause,” Ms. Wexton said of the NRCC. “So, we don’t take anything for granted.”

Ms. Comstock’s campaign didn’t respond to several requests to make her available to comment for this article.

Endangered GOP incumbents like Ms. Comstock tend to represent suburban districts where Mr. Trump has turned off voters, giving Democrats a major tailwind heading into Election Day. Democrats must flip at least 23 seats to take a House majority, and the party appears poised to do so, analysts say.

Earlier in the day, Ms. Wexton’s campaign gathered about 30 people in nearby Sterling, Va., for a round of canvassing. The goal: to knock on doors in Loudoun County and encourage previously identified Wexton supporters to vote, a campaign official said.

One canvasser, Lillian Brown, said she remembers the Democratic strategist Donna Brazile years ago speaking positively about Ms. Comstock, who is friends with Ms. Brazile.

“She was saying, you know, ‘Comstock gets it,’ and stuff like that,” Ms. Brown said. “And, hearing that from someone like Donna Brazile, I voted for her. But not this time.”

Ms. Brazile didn’t immediately return a phone call seeking comment.

Ms. Brown said she doesn’t believe her two-term congresswoman effectively stands up to Mr. Trump, especially against his hard-line immigration stance.

“I’ve been appalled at the treatment of refugees, now being called invaders,” Ms. Brown, 64, said. “I didn’t hear (Comstock) speak up on that.”

Source: The Wall Street Journal

First Published: Mon, November 05 2018. 02:37 IST