Mia Love Sues To Stop Ballot Count In Utah

Yet another election lawsuit has been filed as Rep. Mia Love (R-Utah) has asked a judge to stop the ballot count in her congressional district. Love’s campaign is seeking approval to challenge the county verification of signed envelopes that accompany absentee ballots.

Love was reported to have lost on election night, but the race is very close and has not yet been officially decided. Yesterday, the Salt Lake Tribune reported that Love has narrowed the race and trailed Democrat Ben McAdams by 873 votes.

Love alleges that her campaign representatives have been allowed to observe the counting, but that challenges to the authenticity of voter signatures have been ignored, notes the Daily Caller. A hearing was scheduled on the lawsuit for Thursday afternoon, but Salt Lake County continued counting ballots in the meantime, releasing the updated count Wednesday night.

Love was mocked by President Trump the day after the election for her loss. The president singled her out for failing to ask for an endorsement of her re-election campaign, saying, “Mia Love gave me no love and she lost. Too bad. Sorry about that, Mia.”

Love’s opponent, Democrat Ben McAdams tweeted in response to the lawsuit, “It is the job of election officials to decide what votes count, not political candidates. Rep. Love’s decision to sue only in SLCo as she continues to trail in this race is unfortunate and smacks of desperation. Utah voters deserve better than this.”

Utah’s four congressional districts were all represented by Republicans prior to the midterm elections. Rep. Love’s fourth district, which includes part of Salt Lake City and its southern suburbs, is the only district in danger of being controlled by Democrats.

In other parts of the country, election results continue to trickle in with new gains for Democrats. The race for Maine’s second district was finally decided today in favor of Democrat Jared Golden. Golden, a Marine veteran, defeated Republican incumbent Bruce Poliquin. Golden’s victory brings the total Democrat gains in the House to 35 seats with seven races still undecided.

BREAKING: Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz Will Not Finish His Term

We knew this was coming, as the news first leaked several weeks ago.

Now, it has been made official.

Utah Representative Jason Chaffetz will not only not be seeking reelection, but he will not finish his current term.

Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) is expected announce Thursday that he is resigning before the end of this congressional term, according to three sources familiar with his plans.

Chaffetz currently serves as the chairman of the House Oversight Committee and is deeply embroiled in the ongoing investigation into potential Russian interference in the 2016 election, as well as possible entanglements of Donald Trump’s campaign staff and aides with Moscow.

When Chaffetz first announced that he would not seek reelection, he said it was because he wanted to spend more time with his family.

Sources are saying he will leave Congress on June 30.

Rep. Jason Chaffetz Considers a Career Change

Last month, rumors began to fly about Utah Representative Jason Chaffetz, and his future in Congress.

According to reports, Chaffetz was giving up on life in Washington and would not be seeking reelection.

Shortly after that, the rumor mill was further whipped up, as it was revealed that Chaffetz would possibly bail his post before the current term was over.

After a short stint away to have emergency surgery on his foot, Chaffetz came barreling back, but it didn’t take long for the latest bit of news to emerge.

From The Hill:

The Utah Republican, who announced in April he would not seek reelection in 2018, may have plans to take on a “substantial role” on air at Fox News, Washingtonian reported.

The report cited two GOP lawmakers and four senior House Republican aides who have knowledge of Chaffetz’s plans.

The role could start as early as July, according to the publication.

You have to imagine that talking about what goes on in Washington is likely much easier than actually working in Washington.

And the pay has to be better.

“Let’s just say that when Jason told us he was headed to Fox, no one was surprised,” one senior House Republican aide said.

A House Republican member close to Chaffetz said he was “gunning for it.”

“Fox was his first choice once he announced his plans,” the House Republican member said.

“He’s probably one of the most media-capable members in the House,” another senior House Republican aide said, “just based on total time spent on a television camera.”

Rep. Chaffetz has spent quite a bit of time on-camera with Fox News and other outlets.

Will this be the absolute end of Chaffetz in the realm of public service?

Probably not. He has indicated that he may run for office again one day, but that day won’t be in 2018.

Senator Mike Lee Urges Lawmakers to Keep Their Promise of an Obamacare Repeal

Consistently, with every conservative think tank group, Utah Senator Mike Lee is rated the most conservative lawmaker in Washington.

He has repeatedly shown himself to be fearless in speaking out about issues that conservative voters care about, and he is near-always on the right side.

After many months and years of voters screaming for the repeal of Obamacare, and an election that gave the GOP the power to do exactly that, what the voters got was an “amended” act, and not the full repeal that desperately needs to happen.

In fact, as the day has drawn out and more and more information has been released, it becomes increasingly clear that this might even be worse for the people than Obamacare.

With his customary boldness, Senator Lee released a statement through his Senate website condemning this hasty, ill-advised effort, and I hope his colleagues are listening.

“This is not the Obamacare repeal bill we’ve been waiting for. It is a missed opportunity and a step in the wrong direction,” Sen. Lee said.

“We promised the American people we would drain the swamp and end business as usual in Washington. This bill does not do that. We don’t know how many people would use this new tax credit, we don’t know how much it will cost, and we don’t know if this bill will make health care more affordable for Americans.”

“This is exactly the type of back-room dealing and rushed process that we criticized Democrats for and it is not what we promised the American people.”

“Let’s fulfill our Obamacare repeal promise immediately and then take our time and do reform right. Let’s pass the 2015 repeal bill that Republicans in both houses of Congress voted for and sent to the White House just 15 months ago. Once Obamacare has been properly sent to the dustbin of history then we can begin a deliberative, open, and honest process to reform our nation’s health care system.”

How difficult is that?

Just repeal, then start from scratch.

Senator Lee is right, and if his colleagues continue on this path, storming the gates of Big Government, the backlash of voters in 2018 could prove devastating to the advances made since the 2016 election.

Attacks on Evan McMullin Escalate

After Evan McMullin’s sudden surge in Utah, the Trump campaign is taking him seriously and attacks are mounting. The situation in the deep red state was serious enough that Mike Pence made a late-in-the-campaign visit to Beehive State in an attempt to shore up hemorrhaging support in the wake of three disastrous debates and Trump’s sexual harassment scandal.

The first attack came from Lou Dobbs who tweeted that McMullin was “nothing but a Globalist, Romney and Mormon Mafia Tool.” McMullin responded on CNN a few days later saying, “A hallmark of Donald Trump’s campaign has been to attack people based on their race and religion and all of this and so it’s not a surprise to me at all.” McMullin supporters on Twitter started a tweetstorm of jokes about the bizarre insult.

The attacks continued over the weekend when Trump lashed out at McMullin and Bill Kristol in an interview on Fox News. “I love the people of Utah. I have great relationships in Utah,” Trump said. “But you have a guy named Bill Kristol who’s called it wrong for two years. He’s a loser. He’s called me wrong. He’s called everything wrong. He’s called the wars wrong. Everything he does is wrong. He gets his puppet to go and run in Utah.”

Trump continued, “The guy [McMullin] takes votes away from me. You know, we’re going to win Utah. But he takes votes away from me, this man who I never heard of….   Now, if for some reason we lose Utah that could have a very devastating impact on the overall.” Utah has six electoral votes.

McMullin responded in Trumpian fashion: With a tweet. The independent candidate posted, “@realDonaldTrump, Yes you’ve never heard of me because while you were harassing women at beauty pageants, I was fighting terrorists abroad.” McMullin is a 10-year veteran of the CIA where he served as a clandestine agent in the Middle East. Donald Trump received student and medical deferments that exempted him from the draft, but told Howard Stern that not contracting a sexually transmitted disease was his “personal Vietnam” and made him feel like a “great and very brave soldier.”

McMullin added another tweet attacking Trump on substance. “@realDonaldTrump, you’re an authoritarian, life-long liberal who disrespects life, liberty, & equality. We can’t trust you on justices.” The Trump campaign did not respond to the tweet.

Then things got really nasty. Over Halloween weekend, McMullin was the target of robocalls in the new battleground state of Utah. Salt Lake City’s KUTV describes the call by William Johnson, a self-described “white nationalist” which attacks McMullin’s mother, a lesbian who is married to another woman, and alleges that McMullin, who is single, is a “closeted homosexual.”

Spoiler alert: Evan McMullin is not gay. Louise Mensch of Heat Street wrote of her earlier conversation with McMullin prior to an August interview. McMullin told her that “his greatest aspiration is to be a husband and a father.” Part of the reason that he left the CIA was his desire to one day be married and have a family, something that would be difficult for a CIA operative.

As to his mother, McMullin talked about her in an interview with the Salt Lake Tribune on Oct. 26. “I believe in the sanctity of traditional marriage. It is an important part of my faith,” McMullin said. “My mother has a different view. That is OK. I love her very much.”

McMullin told CNN that the robocall was not a surprise. “This is exactly the narrative, the approach the Donald Trump campaign has had. So it didn’t even surprise when I heard news of the robocall, I just thought of course this is more of the same.”

The Trump campaign had quickly denied involvement in the robocall. Sean Spicer, the RNC communications director, said, “The call was disgusting. It’s reprehensible and it was appropriately denounced by the campaign.” Spicer continued, “But for him to then turn it back on them is almost as reprehensible. We live in a country of over 300-plus million people. Not everybody who supports Donald Trump, not everyone who supports Hilary Clinton, are exactly the kind of people that you want as supporters.” Spicer was denounced in turn for calling McMullin’s response to the insults “reprehensible.”

Then a remarkable thing happened. William Johnson, who is a Trump delegate, did something that Donald Trump hasn’t done. He issued a heartfelt apology and stopped the calls. “I am truly sorry,” he told the LA Times. “I am sorry for the mean-spirited message and I humbly retract its contents.”

Finally, Pax Dickinson, founder and CTO of Wesearchr, a pro-Trump website tweeted, “America hasn’t boasted a popular movement favoring genocide of Mormons for well over a century but @EvanMcMullin is working to change that.” Another tweet threatened a “Mormoncaust” if McMullin “succeeds and throws the election to Hillary.”

As another Twitter user replied, “This does not strike me as the argument that will finally win over Mormons for Trump.”

The disdain for McMullin and Mormons shown by Trump and his supporters has undoubtedly helped fuel the McMullin campaign. When Trump complained about “this character that’s running all over the state … going from coffee shop to coffee shop,” McMullin’s reply shed light on Trump’s problem.

“ The funny thing is a lot of people in Utah are Mormons,” McMullin said on Politico, “they don’t drink coffee. So, we’ve done zero campaigning in coffee shops. If Donald Trump were truly interested in the state and in the voters, he might know a thing or two about that.”

Evan McMullin’s Odds Are Improving

Evan McMullin’s star is rising. The insurgent candidate has only been on the campaign trail for two and a half months, an unbelievably short time for a presidential campaign, but he is already poised to win a state, a feat not accomplished by the Libertarian Party in its 44-year history (although the party has received one electoral vote from a faithless elector).

McMullin received some welcome publicity earlier in October when the FiveThirtyEight political blog rated his chances of winning the White House as high as three percent. Since then, McMullin surged to the lead in one Utah poll and a statistical tie in two others.

Due to extreme interest in McMullin’s campaign, FiveThirtyEight recently revisited the few Utah polls available. The analysis found that McMullin actually has a better chance of winning Utah than the average of polls indicates.

The problem with the polls is that several pollsters treat third party candidates differently than the main party candidates. Two polls that heavily favor Trump had issues that might have hurt the outcome for McMullin. A YouGov poll that gave Trump a 17-point lead only allowed respondents to select McMullin if they first selected “someone else.” Another poll by Monmouth gave Trump a 14-point lead over McMullin and six over Clinton. This poll listed third party candidates as an initial choice, but not as a secondary choice for undecided voters.

Another poll may have given McMullin an unfair boost. A poll by Rasmussen that showed McMullin one point behind Trump listed McMullin’s political affiliation as “independent conservative” when he will actually be listed on the Utah ballot as “unaffiliated.” FiveThirtyEight noted that the description as a conservative may have helped McMullin in the deeply conservative state.

The analysts at FiveThirtyEight make predictions on two models, one using polls and the “nowcast,” an estimate of what would happen if the election were held today. Using all available polls, McMullin has an estimated 14 percent chance from the polls-only forecast and 22 percent from the nowcast. When polls that didn’t treat McMullin the same as the major party candidates were excluded, his chances rose to 23 and 38 percent respectively.

The bettors on the political betting site, Predict It, seem to agree with the FiveThirtyEight assessment. Bets that McMullin will win Utah are currently trading at 36 cents. Bets that he loses are 67 cents. This is very close to the FiveThirtyEight estimate of McMullin’s chances of success.

Winning Utah is only part of McMullin’s overall strategy to deny the presidency to Trump and Hillary though. To win the election, McMullin must throw the Electoral College into a tie by denying both Trump and Hillary 270 electoral votes. FiveThirtyEight rates that possibility at less than one percent.

The blog doesn’t provide an estimate of McMullin’s chances of going all the way to the White House. They say that what would happen if the election were forced into the House of Representatives by an Electoral College deadlock “is entirely speculative.” Nevertheless, they do say that pollsters should “treat him like a candidate who has a chance to win. Because he does.”

McMullin has even earned a spot on Predict It’s market for who will win the presidential election. A bet on McMullin can currently be placed for one cent compared to 81 cents for Hillary Clinton and 21 cents for Donald Trump. In a year in which rules seem made to be broken, a one cent bet that pays a dollar if McMullin becomes president might be a good investment.

Mike Lee is What a Leader Looks Like

Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) went on NewsMax TV last night and was asked by the host why the Senator has not endorsed Donald Trump. Senator Lee, unlike so many of his colleagues, exercised bold leadership merely by being honest and telling the truth.

“We can get into the fact that he accused my best friend’s father of conspiring to kill JFK. We can go through the fact that he’s made statements that some have identified correctly as religiously intolerant. We can get into the fact that he’s wildly unpopular in my state, in part because my state consists of people who are members of a religious minority church. A people who were ordered exterminated by the governor of Missouri in 1838. And, statements like that make them nervous.”

More of this, please.