Today’s installment of campaign-related news items from across the country.
* Confronted with allegations of sexual misconduct, Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-Texas) has decided to retire at the end of this term rather than seek re-election. The Texas Republican reportedly plans to stay in office through next year, however, despite calls for his resignation.
* As of this morning, Alabama’s Roy Moore (R) still hasn’t conceded the Senate race he lost on Tuesday. The right-wing candidate released a video through his campaign last night, in which he said, “We are indeed in a struggle to preserve our republic, our civilization, and our religion, and to set free a suffering humanity. And the battle rages on.”
* Sen.-elect Doug Jones (D-Ala.), meanwhile, fielded a wide variety of phone calls yesterday, including one from Donald Trump. The incoming senator described the president’s call as “very gracious.”
* The latest Monmouth University poll, released yesterday, showed Trump’s approval rating dropping to 32% – a new low in this survey – but more alarming for the right is the Democratic lead on the generic congressional ballot. Monmouth shows Dems leading Republicans, 51% to 36%.
* Now that Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton (D) has formally announced plans to appoint Lt. Gov. Tina Smith (D) to Al Franken’s (D) Senate seat, Minnesota will become only the fourth state currently represented by two women. The other states are California, New Hampshire, and Washington.
* As Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) adopts a more sycophantic posture towards Donald Trump, the senator tweeted this morning that Steve Bannon “should have followed” the president’s lead in supporting appointed Sen. Luther Strange (R) in Alabama. Graham added, “Trump’s instincts on the Alabama race proved to be correct.”
* The Nevada Independent reported yesterday that Rep. Ruben Kihuen (D-Nev.) “made repeated and unwanted sexual advances toward a female lobbyist while he was a state senator.” Democratic leaders on Capitol Hill have already called on Kihuen to step down.
* And as Rachel noted on the show last night, Republicans won a state Senate special election in Iowa on Tuesday, but by a closer margin than anyone expected. In a district Donald Trump carried by 41 points last year, the GOP candidate in this week’s special election won by 10 points.