Every. Single. Vote. Matters. Or, at least it's supposed to. On today's BradCast we've got a bevy of stories, almost a month after the midterm elections, to prove it. Also, a rightwing broadcast media behemoth --- the nation's largest single owner of local television stations --- faces new blowback for offensive, anti-immigrant commentary they forced their local news outlets to carry. [Audio link to today's jam-packed show is posted below.]
First today, in Kentucky, where nearly half a dozen state House races were determined by half a dozen votes or less, a Republican incumbent has now filed a contest in House District 13 after reportedly losing to his Democratic challenger by just one single vote. No matter how that challenge ends, and it may take a while, Republicans will still hold super-majority control in the Bluegrass State.
But, in Alaska --- which, incidentally, was struck by a major earthquake today --- one single still-uncounted "mystery ballot" in one single state House race may determine control of the entire body for the next two years. We explain.
Meanwhile, in Georgia (the nation's apparent new headquarters for mass voter suppression) the midterms aren't over yet either, with two statewide runoffs set for Tuesday in the Secretary of State and Public Service Commissioners race. But, on Thursday, the state Democratic Party sued the state to allow absentee mail ballots postmarked by Election Day to be counted. Their complaint charges that many counties in the state failed to timely send out requested vote-by-mail ballots until just one week before next week's December 4th runoff. That, they say, will not allow enough time for many voters to receive their ballots and mail them back to the county by Election Day, when state law says they are due.
Dems note that overseas and military votes are tallied, as long as they are postmarked by Election Day and arrive no later than three days after the election. They want the same rules applied to all absentee by mail voters, thanks to the Secretary of State and Counties' delay in sending out tens of thousands of ballots. The GA Sec. of State's office, incredibly, blames the delays on Democrats for trying to ensure all votes were tallied from the November 6th general election! [Post-air update!: GA agrees to count ballots that arrive by December 7th, if post-marked by Election Day!]
In North Carolina, the U.S. House election mystery in the 9th Congressional District has now fairly clearly become a GOP election fraud case. We've got new details today, based on affidavits from voters in Bladen County who describe an unlawful scheme, apparently by a GOP contractor for the Republican candidate, to collect absentee ballots and either alter them before delivery to the County or not deliver them at all. This follows on the surprise State Board of Election decision on Tuesday to not certify the NC-9 race, as previously expected, between Republican Mark Harris and Democrat Dan McCready. Until the new revelations of apparent election fraud, Harris had reportedly won the race by just 905 votes out of more than 280,000 cast. However, as recent analyses have revealed, Harris apparently received a virtually impossible number of absentee by mail votes in Bladen County. On Friday, the NC State Board of Elections decided to delay action until after a a hearing to review evidence in the matter on 6 December 21. They have the authority to, among other things, order a completely new election in the Congressional District.
Finally today, in a widely-reported skirmish at the U.S. southern border with Mexico near San Diego last weekend, U.S. officials fired tear gas into Mexico, sending many women and children migrants from Central American running for the lives. 42 arrests were made by U.S. Customs and Border officials, but AP reports this week that none of the migrants detained will actually be charged with any crimes!
Nonetheless, in the wake of the U.S. use of tear gas on asylum seekers, former Trump staffer Boris Epshteyn, who is now Sinclair Broadcast Group's Chief Political Analyst, offered a commentary in response which local news outlets at hundreds of Sinclair-owned television stations around the country were told to run. Epshteyn's offensive "must-run" commentary charges that migrants were "attempting to storm" the U.S. border in an "attempted invasion of our country. Period." The commentary, as usual, echoed the politics and rhetoric of Epshteyn's far-right nationalist fear-mongering former boss who had sent thousands of U.S. military troops to the border in the days before the midterm elections to, purportedly, help propel the so-called "invasion" by men, women and children fleeing violence and poverty in Central America by foot.
We're joined today by PAM VOGEL of Media Matters who has been documenting Sinclair's abuse of our public airwaves at otherwise-trusted local media outlets, which are now required to carry Epshteyn's "must-run" commentaries as often as five times a week. While Sinclair initially distanced themselves from their own Chief Political Analyst in a "tepid response" after public outrage emerged following Epshteyn's offensive "invasion" commentary, the company has since come out in his support, turning their efforts to false attacks on Media Matters instead. Vogel details the shameful story and how Sinclair could --- and indeed may --- face license renewal problems from the FCC for their abuse of our public airwaves with biased, false and far-right propaganda on their nearly two-hundred television stations across the nation.
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