Republican and Democratic strategists debate October surprises for 2022 midterms
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There have been numerous October surprises throughout American election history, but it remains to be seen whether this year’s midterm elections, which are less than 100 days away, will they could trade for a dominant news event.
Strategists across the political spectrum insist there are some events or stories that could drive voters to the polls, or away from them, before the election.
Things like the abortion debate, an announcement by former President Trump about his 2024 decision or President Biden officially announcing re-election efforts have the potential to sway voters in the election, strategists say.
To better understand whether there is potential for a dominant story or narrative to emerge that could drive the news cycle and affect the upcoming midterm elections, Fox News Digital reached out to political experts from both sides of the aisle to get the your evaluation
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Sarah Evangeline Norman, Democratic political strategist and senior digital advisor for Kamala Harris’ 2020 presidential campaign:
“The anti-choice leaders have been doing it, and now we’re going to see the consequences. Look at what happened in Kansas on August 2, in a state that Donald Trump won by fifteen points in 2020, a ballot initiative for allowing the ban on abortion was defeated by a margin of two to one. The sheer margin means that at least one in five Republicans voted to protect abortion rights. That is, the issue of banning abortion divides the Republican base, while uniting Democrats and most independents.”
“We’re going to see more stories like this in October. We’re going to hear about children being forced to give birth and women dying because their doctors are afraid of facing felony charges if they perform a medically necessary abortion. They will be horrified by these stories and by the callous reactions of the Republican candidates. In an election year when Republicans should have made big gains, their success in repealing Roe is poised to pull the rug out from under them.”, in other words , is not really surprising; it is a tragic but inevitable consequence of a fifty-year Republican campaign to strip women of control over their own bodies.”
Colin Reed, GOP strategist and co-founder of South and Hill Strategies who was the former campaign manager for former Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass.:
“With less than 100 days before America votes, the strategy of both political parties is clear: frame the election as a referendum on the 45th or 46th president. To change the conversation, Joe Biden will announce in October that will not seek a second term in 2024.”
“Of course, history says that an announcement along these lines is more likely after Nov. 8 — a political palate cleanse after a rough night for the party at the top. But clearing the decks early hampers GOP efforts to frame the candidates as Biden enablers. Yes, this news would instantly transform Biden into the lamest of lame ducks. In many ways, that label is already there. Members of their own party are asking the next 80 years to be done next to it”.
“The positive jobs report is not enough to offset rising inflation, interest rates and the cost of back-to-school supplies. With the releases of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve set to expire in October, gas prices could be headed in the wrong direction. Legislation on Capitol Hill, such as the new spending package or the American Online Choice and Innovation Act, threaten to make a bad situation worse.” .
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Laura Fink, founder and CEO of Rebelle Communications:
“2022 is not your father’s October surprise year. Late hits and damning media stories rarely come this late in the election cycle. With mail-in voting now established and popular, campaigns must define your opposition first.”
“This year, October’s most powerful surprise came early. In June, the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, eliminating a fundamental freedom in more than half the country. This government reach in the personal health care decisions ignited voters, doubling Kansas primary turnout from 2018. Kansans voted overwhelmingly to protect abortion rights and voters in districts and swing states across the country are ready to do the same this October, when the polls go down and early voting begins.”
“These voters will deliver an October shock to extreme Republicans this fall.”
Boyd Matheson, host of Inside Sources for KSL News Radio and former chief of staff to Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah:
“After several tumultuous years of pandemic, political division, and civil strife, predicting what may emerge as an ‘October Surprise’ in the 2022 midterms is a very interesting proposition. The possibilities are endless, but they can include: an indictment against former President Donald Trump or his children, new revelations in the Hunter Biden investigation, Democrats who bankrolled far-right candidates hoping for easy November victories suddenly stand to lose big, Republicans snapping defeat from the jaws of victory as weak general election candidates implode, President Biden announcing he will win. He won’t run in 2024, or former President Trump announcing he will.”
“Unfortunately, there is little that surprises anyone in politics anymore. I may be hoping against hope, but I will hold a surprise approach in the fall, not in what was, or even in what is, but in what follows. for the nation.”
“An honest conversation with the American people about real issues would be both a surprising and pleasant October surprise. In fact, I think whoever leads that conversation wins.”
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Lauren Claffey Tomlinson, Republican strategist and president of Claffey Communications:
“When we think of October surprises, we generally think of presidential campaigns and the high probability that the salacious opposition investigation will be dropped just before the election. With the legislatures this year, I would expect our October surprise is a little more macro. The number one issue on voters’ minds right now is inflation and the rising cost of goods and services. It beats abortion, health care, violence armada, everything.”
“What could disrupt these voters’ inclination to return power to Republicans? An announcement by former President Trump that he will seek re-election could give these voters who drifted away from Trump a reminder of why they voted Democratic in 2020 and in 2018. A major threat. to the country’s national security (specifically a direct attack on Americans) and a competent response by the Biden administration could overcome inflationary problems. Or a hard turn into a recession in October could push those voters even further into Republican arms.”
Kristen Hawn, partner at ROKK Solutions, former director of communications and chief policy advisor for the Blue Dog Coalition:
“It wouldn’t be an October surprise if we could predict it! One thing we know for sure is that inflation and the economy are at the top of voters’ concerns heading into the midterm elections. That’s true for Democrats , Republicans and registered Independents What remains to be seen is how some of the issues that weren’t at the top of voters’ lists 6 months ago will affect voter turnout, namely gun violence and legal protections to choose from women”.
“Many polls focus solely on what voters care about, but the bigger question is what matters so much to voters who will turn out in a year when the presidency is not at the polls. The prevailing sentiment is that the Republicans will fight for control of at least one – if not both – houses of Congress by Democrats this year, but if gas prices continue to fall, Democrats continue to post bipartisan wins in the Senate and the approval ratings of president rise, in October Republicans may face headwinds they didn’t expect just a few weeks ago.”
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The comments provided to Fox News Digital in this article are part of a weekend series in which strategists from across the political spectrum are asked the same questions related to hot political issues and given the opportunity to to offer their perspective.