Pluribus AM: Ohio legislators to consider abortion ban; red state leadership contests flare; and the final round of pre-election polls

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Good morning, and happy Election Eve. It’s Monday, Nov. 7, 2022. In today’s edition, Ohio legislators to consider abortion bills; GOP leadership races emerge; and the last round of pre-election polls:

Top Stories

WATER: The Supreme Court has agreed to review a 9th Circuit Court decision allowing the Navajo Nation to take more water from the Colorado River, based on treaty rights from 1868. (Los Angeles Times) Groundwater in the Colorado River Basin is disappearing at a faster rate than water storage in Lake Powell and Lake Mead, according to a new report based on data from NASA satellites. (Colorado Sun)

OHIO: Legislators returning to session next week will consider bills dubbed the Human Life Protection Act, creating a crime of criminal abortion and expanding the crime of abortion manslaughter. Neither the House nor the Senate version include exceptions in cases of rape or incest. Senate President Matt Huffman (R) said he doubted there would be time to pass the bills in the lame duck. (Cleveland Plain Dealer)

CALIFORNIA: Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) urged lawmakers to exempt forgiven student debt from state taxes. Current state law would treat debt forgiven by the Biden administration as taxable income. Newsom said his preliminary budget, to be introduced in January, would save 3.5 million borrowers up to $1.3 billion. (Los Angeles Times)

PENNSYLVANIA: The ACLU has filed suit in federal court seeking to have mail-in or absentee votes counted even if they lack proper dates on return envelopes. The state Supreme Court ruled last week that election officials could not count ballots that lack accurate, handwritten dates on return envelopes. (Associated Press)

ARIZONA: Conservatives are lining up behind state Sen. Warren Petersen (R) and state Rep. Joseph Chaplik (R) in advance of leadership elections to pick a new Senate president and House speaker in what lawmakers call an unprecedented campaign. Sens. David Gowen (R) and J.D. Mansard (R) are also running to be Senate president, while House Majority Leader Ben Toma (R) is seeking the Speakership. (Arizona Republic)

TEXAS: State Rep. Tony Tinderholt (R) will challenge state House Speaker Dade Phelan (R) in leadership elections this year. Tinderholt, an arch conservative, criticized Phelan for allowing Democrats to serve as committee chairs. (Texas Tribune) Phelan has clashed with Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (R), the powerful leader of the state Senate.

MARYLAND: State and local officials are worried an updated scoring system put out by the General Services Administration as it prepares to name a new FBI headquarters location disadvantages their proposed sites in Landover and Greenbelt. Virginia has proposed hosting the headquarters in Springfield. (Maryland Matters)

MASSACHUSETTS: State Auditor Suzanne Bump’s (D) office uncovered $13.6 million in welfare fraud committed over the last fiscal year, up 120% over the previous year. About a third of that fraud was related to Medicaid programs, and another third involved those who falsely claimed eligibility for low-income programs. (Lawrence Eagle-Tribune)

GEORGIA: State House Speaker David Ralston (R) will give up the gavel after a dozen years to deal with a health concern. Ralston was seen as a moderate who allowed conservatives to notch wins on social issues. State Rep. Barry Fleming (R), a conservative, has already said he will run; House Speaker Pro Tem Jan Jones (R) and Majority Leader Jon Burns (R) are also likely to run. (Pluribus News)

In Politics

LEGISLATORS: More than a quarter of the state legislative seats up for election tomorrow will not feature an incumbent seeking re-election. Hundreds lost renomination bids, and more than a thousand are not seeking new terms. (Associated Press) In states like Arizona, more than half the legislators who begin terms next year will be rookies.

MAINE GOV: Gov. Janet Mills (D) leads former Gov. Paul LePage (R) 52%-44% in a UNH Pine Tree State Poll, slightly narrower than her 53%-39% lead in September. Asked whether the coming election has been stressful, 45% of Maine voters said they were feeling high levels of stress — including 61% of Democrats.

IOWA GOV: Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) leads activists Deidre DeJear (D) 54%-37% in a new Iowa Poll conducted for the Des Moines Register by Ann Selzer. Another 4% say they’ll back Libertarian Rick Stewart. Attorney General Tom Miller (D) leads Guthrie County Attorney Brenna Bird (R) 47%-45% in the same poll. If Miller goes down, then it’s a wave.

NEW HAMPSHIRE GOV: Gov. Chris Sununu (R) is cruising to a new term, leading state Sen. Tom Sherman (D) 55%-43% in a new UNH Granite State Poll. And that’s actually an improvement for Sherman, who trailed 55%-37% in September. Get this: Generic ballot tests for state House (44% Republican, 43% Democratic) and Senate (47% each) are pretty well tied.

CALIFORNIA: A new UC Berkeley Institute of Government Studies poll finds Prop. 1, enshrining abortion rights, and Prop. 31, barring flavored tobacco, passing by wide margins. But Props. 26 and 27, two sports-betting measures, are training badly, 30%-53% and 22%-64%, respectively. Prop. 30, which would raise taxes on the rich to pay for electric vehicle infrastructure, leads 47%-41%, a slimmer margin than in previous polls. (Los Angeles Times)

WISCONSIN: Former President Donald Trump has recorded a robocall targeting Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R), who narrowly beat out a Trump-backed challenger in the August primary. That challenger, Adam Steen, is running in the general election as a write-in. (Wisconsin State Journal)

POLL TIMES: Check out this handy dandy chart from The Washington Post showing where polls close tomorrow. The first polls shut at 6 p.m. Eastern Time in Eastern Kentucky, while polls in Alaska and Hawaii are open until 1 a.m. Eastern.

Turnout Report

More than 40.5 million Americans have voted already this year, according to University of Florida political scientist Michael McDonald’s U.S. Elections Project. In the 23 states where voters register by party, Democrats hold a 43%-34% turnout edge. 

Nevada Democrats hold a lead of about 29,000 votes in Clark and Washoe counties after the end of early voting, higher than the 21,400-vote advantage they held in the 2018 midterms. Turnout in Clark County, home of Las Vegas, stands at 31.5%. Turnout in Washoe, home of Reno, is at 40.4%. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)

Turnout in Texas is expected to fall well below the 53% who turned out in 2018. That year, 40% of voters turned out early. This year, 31% of voters showed up early. (Dallas Morning News)

About 700,000 New Jersey voters have cast a ballot so far, up 9.9% from statewide elections last year. (New Jersey Globe)

North Dakota state elections coordinator Brian Newby expects 40% of voters — or about 110,000 people — to cast ballots before tomorrow. More than 80,000 ballots had been returned by Thursday. (Fargo Forum)

More than 1,000 ballots did not go out to Cobb County, Ga., voters who requested them after a “critical error” by county elections officials. Those voters will have to vote in person. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution) President Biden carried Cobb County with 56% of the vote in 2020.

About 32% of registered ballots in Washington State have returned their ballots, down from almost 35% at this point in 2018. (Seattle Times)

Oregon has topped 3 million registered voters for the first time, according to Secretary of State Shemia Fagan’s (D) office. (KCBY)

Conspiracy theorists who deny the 2020 elections are urging Republican voters to cast ballots as late as possible on Election Day. Activists in Pennsylvania, Colorado, Arizona, Michigan and Maryland are telling their voters to show up late, though elections officials say their systems are prepared to handle the influx. (AZ Mirror)

By The Numbers

$1,050,000: The amount former Department of Corrections Director Charles Daniels demanded the state pay him, the amount he said would cover his salary for the seven years left before he planned to retire. Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) asked Daniels to resign in September after a convicted killer escaped from prison. Daniels said he had filed a whistleblower complaint over his firing. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)

Off The Wall

If you cast an absentee ballot but you die before Election Day, does your vote count? Under state law, your vote counts in Arkansas, Florida, Maryland, Massachusetts, Montana, North Dakota, Tennessee and Virginia. Your vote would count in Connecticut, too, if you’re a member of the armed services. But you’re out of luck in Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, South Dakota and Wisconsin, where a dead voter’s ballot has to be tossed out. (Pluribus News) Anybody want to make the Illinois joke?

Nutmeggers, watch out for bears. Wildlife officials in Connecticut are warning residents to be wary of foraging bears after a bad acorn crop. The officials say bears storing fat for the winter may be more prone to root through garbage cans. (Associated Press)

Who’s into metaphors? A total lunar eclipse will create a “blood moon” over North America and parts of South America tomorrow night. (Deseret News)

Quote of the Day

“I’m not an attorney. I believe that gives me an advantage. I can bring a new perspective to the table.”

— Retired businessman Mike Tagliavia (R), running to be Vermont’s next Attorney General. He would be the only attorney general in America without a law degree. (VTDigger)