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State Elections

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Elected officials in a rural Nevada county became the last in the state to certify outstanding results of the June 14 primary election after a hand count of all ballots in an old mining town courthouse. Two county commissioners in Esmeralda County, Nevada's least populated, spent more than seven hours Friday counting all 317 ballots before formally voting to accept the results. Nevada’s other 16 counties already had certified the primary results. The largest counties in the western battleground state in Las Vegas and Reno were among those that acted earlier Friday over the objections of some who questioned the results.

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The U.S. Supreme Court has overturned Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that had provided a constitutional right to abortion. Friday's ruling is expected to lead to abortion bans in roughly half the states. In anticipation of the decision, several states led by Democrats have taken steps to protect abortion access. The decision also sets up the potential for legal fights between the states over whether providers and those who help women obtain abortions can be sued or prosecuted.

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South Dakota Republicans are meeting to choose candidates for attorney general, lieutenant governor and other offices with the impeachment conviction and removal of Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg hanging over the convention in Watertown. Former Attorney General Marty Jackley and Division of Criminal Investigation Director David Natvig both want to be considered for the role. Lt. Gov. Larry Rhoden, who is closely allied with Gov. Kristi Noem, faces a challenger from former House Speaker Steve Haugaard, who lost a primary campaign to Noem earlier this month. Delegates also will choose their nominee for secretary of state and will try to forge a united platform after months of Capitol infighting.

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Kentucky’s so-called trigger laws means abortion has largely been outlawed in the state upon the U.S. Supreme Court ruling overturning Roe v. Wade on Friday. The state’s only two abortion clinics, both in Louisville, halted abortions Friday. The Kentucky law passed in 2019 declares that abortion would become illegal “effective immediately” if Roe v. Wade is overturned. The measure contains a narrow exception allowing a physician to perform a procedure necessary to prevent the death or permanent injury of a pregnant woman. Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear said the ruling triggers a ban that also includes victims of rape or incest. Republican state Attorney General Daniel Cameron, a candidate for governor, hailed the ruling as “a new era.”

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Organized labor is urging Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont to do more to help fill numerous open positions in state government and across the state. Members of unions representing a range of professions, including mental health staff and custodians at state-run facilities and nurses at private hospitals, warned about the consequences of staffing shortages at Thursday's state AFL-CIO political convention. The group, which had high praise for the first-term Democratic governor, is expected to endorse him on Friday for a second term. Lamont's Republican challenger, businessman Bob Stefanowski, did not attend and did not fill out the group's questionnaire.

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Two days after losing a bitter primary to a rival she once deemed a “sellout” for occasionally working with Democrats, Katie Arrington appeared at a “unity rally” to urge South Carolina Republicans to come together and back Rep. Nancy Mace in the fall general election. Republicans, Arrington said, “may fight like banshees inside the house, but once we walk out that door, it’s one team, one fight.” The cordial tone is striking in a Republican Party increasingly defined by an absolutist approach to politics. Aware that the coastal congressional district is one of the few places in the state where Democrats have been competitive, Republicans say it is important to move past the party’s internal divisions.

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A state court judge says he is tentatively inclined to agree with the state elections office that the fifth-place finisher in a special primary for Alaska’s U.S. House seat cannot replace a candidate who abruptly dropped out. But Superior Court Judge William Morse says he will accept written pleadings before making a final decision. He planned to rule Friday. His comments came during a hearing on a lawsuit filed earlier in the day that argued that the Alaska Division of Elections misinterpreted state law. The lawsuit says the fifth-place finisher, Republican Tara Sweeney, should be put on the August special election ballot in place of independent Al Gross, who withdrew.

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Elected officials in a rural Nevada county have decided to postpone until Friday certifying results of the 317 ballots cast in their jurisdiction during the state’s June 14 primary election. Esmeralda County Commission Chairman De Winsor and Vice-Chairman Timothy Hipp promised to hand-count the votes themselves before an end-of-day Friday deadline set in state election law. The standoff in Nevada’s least populated county came a week after lawmakers in rural New Mexico’s Republican-leaning Otero County stalled before splitting their vote and approving election results. Officials there cited unspecified concerns with Dominion voting systems, which have been a target of widespread conspiracy theories since the 2020 presidential election.

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Gov. Andy Beshear has taken executive action to activate the state’s price gouging laws. He's touting it as a consumer protection measure amid sky-high gas prices straining Kentuckians’ budgets. The Democratic governor signed an executive order Thursday declaring a state of emergency. It's in response to gas prices hovering close to $5 per gallon. With his action, Kentucky consumers can report suspected price gouging at the pump to Attorney General Daniel Cameron’s office. Beshear says “every little bit helps” in trying to buffer consumers from increasing fuel prices. Cameron is urging Kentuckians to alert his office to any signs of price gouging.

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The House Jan. 6 committee used its hearing Thursday to show how Donald Trump's pressure on the  Justice Department could have led to a “constitutional crisis” after the 2020 election. The then-president wanted to install new leadership at the department to pursue his false claims of voter fraud and stop the certification of Joe Biden's victory. That's the word from former department leaders. It’s the latest account of how perilously close the United States came to a constitutional crisis if the department leaders had not threatened to resign and the defeated incumbent was able to orchestrate a plan for the U.S. government to overturn election results in several pivotal states.

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The former Wisconsin Supreme Court justice hired to investigate President Joe Biden’s victory in the battleground state testified that he routinely deleted records, and deactivated a personal email account, even after receiving open records requests. Michael Gableman testified in a court hearing Thursday about whether the person who hired him, Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, should face penalties after earlier being found in contempt for how he handled the records requests from American Oversight. Dane County Circuit Judge Valerie Bailey-Rihn deciding against penalizing Vos for contempt, but said she would determine later whether to penalize Vos for how he handled open records requests.

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Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp and his Democratic challenger Stacey Abrams continued their bidding war on public safety Thursday. Abrams is proposing a big pay increase for state police and prison guards. The Republican incumbent says Georgia will spend at least $8 million more on school safety after a Texas shooting that killed 19 students and two teachers. Each is attacking the other on safety and violence. Kemp says Abrams backs “a far-left agenda” that includes defunding the police, a charge Abrams denies. Democrats say Kemp is made Georgians less safe by abolishing required permits for carrying concealed guns in public

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A U.S. Senate candidate in Colorado, Joe O'Dea, is a rarity in the Republican Party as a supporter of abortion rights. O'Dea is running for his party's nomination to challenge Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet in a state that's grown increasingly liberal. On other issues, O’Dea sounds like a typical conservative. He wants to cut back government regulation and expand oil and gas production. But his support for abortion rights in most cases stands out in a party for which opposition to abortion has become a bedrock principle. O'Dea's chief rival in Tuesday's primary is state Rep. Ron Hanks, who opposes abortion in all circumstances.

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The lawyer for the ex-wife of Missouri U.S. Senate candidate Eric Greitens says the family has been subjected to “serious threats” in the days since Greitens released a violent campaign video in which he declares he’s hunting RINOs, or Republicans in Name Only. During a Thursday hearing in the couple's child custody case in Columbia, Missouri, attorney Helen Wade said the video “has created a situation where others may perceive it as a call to arms.” Greitens was not at the hearing but his attorney called it “disingenuous” to suggest that Greitens “would want harm to befall" his ex-wife.

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Colorado’s secretary of state has appointed a supervisor to monitor Tuesday’s primary elections in a third county after some residents received ballots with wrong state House districts and others received ballots that didn’t include a county commissioner’s race. The state Republican Party had called for supervision of the Democratic clerk and recorder’s office in Pueblo County after Secretary of State Jena Griswold, a Democrat, appointed supervisors to oversee elections in two other counties where GOP clerks were accused of tampering with voting equipment. Griswold appointed Drake Rambke, whom she described as a professional elections administrator, to supervise clerk Gilbert Ortiz’s office after receiving formal complaints of ballot errors committed by his office.

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Republican gubernatorial candidate Scott Jensen is calling for tax cuts and a clampdown on government spending and regulations to help Minnesotans cope with inflation. Though his plan was short on specifics on how he’d get there, Jensen told reporters Thursday his goal is to return around $4,000 to $5,000 for every family of four. Democratic Gov. Tim Walz a day earlier renewed his call for one-time tax rebate checks of $1,000 for individuals and $2,000 for couples to help them cope with high gas and other prices. Jensen and Republican legislative leaders are calling for permanent tax cuts instead.

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State Sen. Sonia Chang-Díaz is ending her campaign for governor of Massachusetts. That leaves state Attorney General Maura Healey as the only viable Democrat still in the running. Chang-Díaz made the announcement Thursday. That's one year after she declared she was entering the race. She says she will turn her focus to make sure that “down-ballot candidates who share her values and approach to put courage over politics” get elected. Chang-Díaz’s name will remain on the Sept. 6 primary ballot. The two Republicans still in the race are former state Rep. Geoff Diehl and Wrentham business owner Chris Doughty.

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A rural New Mexico county’s initial refusal to certify its primary election results sent ripples across the country last week. It was a symbol of how even the most elemental functions of democracy have become politicized pressure points amid the swirl of lies stemming from the 2020 presidential outcome. After the Otero County Commission finally relented, one question persisted: Why New Mexico, a state that has not been a political battleground and where Joe Biden beat Donald Trump handily two years ago? The seeds of the short-lived election crisis had been planted months before, when conspiracy theories and false claims about the last presidential election began to dominate political discussion in the heavily Republican county.

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One Republican incumbent Georgia state House member was pushed out of office in a Tuesday runoff after being targeted by Republican House Speaker David Ralston. Meanwhile, a longtime Democrat survived a challenge. Cumming Republican Sheri Gilligan lost to banker Carter Barrett in House District 24 in southwestern Forsyth County. Gilligan is a retired intelligence officer who had served four terms in the state House. Atlanta Democrat Roger Bruce narrowly bested Rashaun Kemp in House District 61 in southern Fulton and northeastern Douglas counties. Bruce has served in the House for 20 years.

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The Alaska Division of Elections has determined that Republican state Rep. David Eastman is eligible to run for reelection. Eastman’s candidacy faced challenges over his affiliation with the far-right Oath Keepers group. Division of Elections Director Gail Fenumiai in a written response to the challenges said a preponderance of evidence supports his eligibility. The division released copies of complaints that were filed challenging the eligibility of candidates to run, along with responses from Fenumiai. Fenumiai says the division received 24 challenges to Eastman’s candidacy. It also received a challenge to state Sen. Lyman Hoffman's residency. The division also determined Hoffman is an eligible candidate.

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A federal lawsuit is challenging a decades-old Missouri law that limits the extent to which volunteers can provide ballot-booth help to people who have disabilities or are unable to read or write. The lawsuit filed Wednesday targets a 1977 Missouri law that says people can only provide voting assistance to one other person per election, unless they are election judges or immediate family members. The suit contends that violates the Federal Voting Rights Act. The lawsuit is the latest among dozens of cases challenging election procedures across the country. A similar lawsuit is pending against an Arkansas law.

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South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem got an emphatic victory when the Senate removed Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg from office by convicting him of impeachment for killing a pedestrian with his car. Noem pressed impeachment through the Republican-controlled Legislature. She provided crucial support on an effort that at times faced razor-thin vote margins.  Though her aggressive approach riled some lawmakers, Ravnsborg’s ouster provides Noem with some key benefits. She can name his replacement, discredit a one-time adversary who had investigated her and claim political independence because she held a fellow Republican accountable.

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem got an emphatic victory when the Senate removed Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg from office by convicting him of impeachment for killing a pedestrian with his car. Noem pressed impeachment through the Republican-controlled Legislature. She provided crucial support on an effort that at times faced razor-thin vote margins.  Though her aggressive approach riled some lawmakers, Ravnsborg’s ouster provides Noem with some key benefits. She can name his replacement, discredit a one-time adversary who had investigated her and claim political independence because she held a fellow Republican accountable.

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem got an emphatic victory when the Senate removed Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg from office by convicting him of impeachment for killing a pedestrian with his car. Noem pressed impeachment through the Republican-controlled Legislature. She provided crucial support on an effort that at times faced razor-thin vote margins.  Though her aggressive approach riled some lawmakers, Ravnsborg’s ouster provides Noem with some key benefits. She can name his replacement, discredit a one-time adversary who had investigated her and claim political independence because she held a fellow Republican accountable.

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An attorney working as a senior investigator for the U.S. House committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection will leave the post amid calls urging him to run for a Missouri U.S. Senate seat as an independent. John F. Wood’s resignation is effective Friday. The resignation was confirmed Wednesday by Steve Crim, a political consultant working with the group formed to back Wood as a Senate candidate. Crim says Wood has not declared a Senate run, but is exploring the possibility. The possible independent run comes as some Republicans are worried that former Gov. Eric Greitens could win the August primary but lose to a Democrat in November.

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