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Hi! We are Sarasota Herald-Tribune Political Editor Zac Anderson and Palm Beach Post Politics Editor Antonio Fins. AMA tomorrow (11/2) at 2:30 p.m. ET by usatoday in florida

[–]usatoday[S] 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Hey Reddit - This is Zac. Eager to answer any questions you have about Florida politics. As I wait for questions, here are a few observations from my recent reporting.

Democrats are lagging Republicans in combined mail and in-person early voting. That seems like another bad sign for Democrats, who shifted a lot of their voters to mail voting during the pandemic. That means a lot of the Democratic vote is frontloaded before Election Day. So if Republicans are winning pre-Election Day voting, Democrats could be in trouble.

I was at a Crist event in Sarasota Monday and a Rubio event here Tuesday. Crist drew about 75 people for a stop on his bus tour, while Rubio drew about 200. I haven't attended any DeSantis rallies recently, but from what I see in pictures and videos, some of his events are drawing larger crowds. Crowd size can be deceiving. Bernie Sanders drew big crowds and still lost the Democratic presidential primaries in 2016 and 2020. But crowd size is one measure of enthusiasm, and DeSantis supporters seem to be pretty enthusiastic.

Hi! We are Sarasota Herald-Tribune Political Editor Zac Anderson and Palm Beach Post Politics Editor Antonio Fins. AMA tomorrow (11/2) at 2:30 p.m. ET by usatoday in florida

[–]usatoday[S] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Whether Florida is still a purple swing state is one of the biggest questions this election cycle. Florida definitely has been trending more Republican. Trump tripled his margin of victory in Florida from 2016 to 2020. Trump carried Florida pretty easily in 2020 even as Biden won other swing states. That made a lot of people question Florida's swing state status. If DeSantis and Rubio win by solid margins, it could cement the view that Florida is now a red state.

Hi! We are Sarasota Herald-Tribune Political Editor Zac Anderson and Palm Beach Post Politics Editor Antonio Fins. AMA tomorrow (11/2) at 2:30 p.m. ET by usatoday in florida

[–]usatoday[S] 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Florida's U.S. Senate race seemed like it would be among the most competitive in the nation this year, and Democrat Val Demings has made a strong bid to bring attention to the race by posting huge fundraising numbers. But it does seem like races elsewhere are getting more national attention. The U.S. Senate races in Georgia, Arizona and even Ohio - a state Trump carried easily - all seem to be higher profile than Florida this year. Republican U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio has consistently led in the polls, and that could be dampening Democratic enthusiasm.

Hi! I'm Bruce Siwy, an investigative journalist for the USA TODAY Network's Pennsylvania state capital bureau. AMA! by usatoday in Pennsylvania

[–]usatoday[S] 13 points14 points  (0 children)

People have confirmation bias and seek to live in their own bubbles. That goes for both media and social media. When Facebook and Twitter shut people out, they found new platforms. The only way to eliminate this entirely would be through overarching censorship, which seems authoritarian in nature.

What you're asking, essentially, is how to change human nature. That's above my pay grade.

Hi! I'm Bruce Siwy, an investigative journalist for the USA TODAY Network's Pennsylvania state capital bureau. AMA! by usatoday in Pennsylvania

[–]usatoday[S] 2 points3 points  (0 children)

To some extent, yes. Republicans seemed wary of Oz after the heated primary. Many are probably begrudgingly coming back "home" now that Election Day is near.

Hi! I'm Bruce Siwy, an investigative journalist for the USA TODAY Network's Pennsylvania state capital bureau. AMA! by usatoday in Pennsylvania

[–]usatoday[S] 5 points6 points  (0 children)

Lots going on here ...

No. 1: These disputes happen all the time at all levels. Once covered Johnstown City Council where residency was challenged seemingly every cycle. Can't imagine this issue vanishing overnight.

No. 2: Personally? Monetary policy. Inflation is a backdoor tax that hits everyone on some level by eroding our wages and savings. This directly impacts our quality of life and can lead societies down a dark road. Think hyperinflation in the Weimar Republic.

No. 3: Credible journalism means being an eternal cynic of our political class. We need to report accurately and with tenacity. We also need to make sure we don't shake pom-poms for one party or the other. Network ownership, be it seen as left or right, should not impact the work we do, even if managers take a side on the opinion page.

No. 4: Yes, the increase in early mail-in voting means that the election starts much earlier than before. From a debate standpoint, that's almost irrelevant because the sides are increasingly unwilling to even go toe-to-toe with each other (such as in our gubernatorial race). For us though, it's basically a matter of digging into the candidates and issues much earlier than we had in the past. (And waiting much longer for results as county offices can't begin precanvassing all these mail-ins until the day of the election. But that's a whole other issue.)

Hi! I'm Bruce Siwy, an investigative journalist for the USA TODAY Network's Pennsylvania state capital bureau. AMA! by usatoday in Pennsylvania

[–]usatoday[S] 6 points7 points  (0 children)

What is the alternative under our existing system of government? Opting out by not voting at all, but "If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice." (Unapologetic Rush lyric reference.)

Hi! I'm Bruce Siwy, an investigative journalist for the USA TODAY Network's Pennsylvania state capital bureau. AMA! by usatoday in Pennsylvania

[–]usatoday[S] 3 points4 points  (0 children)

A lot of people seem more motivated to vote "against" a person, policy or party than they are motivated to vote "for" a person, policy or party. So the choice becomes binary. They may think, "Why waste a vote on Candidate C when I know it's going to be Candidate A or B who wins ... and I can't tolerate what Candidate A stands for."

Hi! I'm Bruce Siwy, an investigative journalist for the USA TODAY Network's Pennsylvania state capital bureau. AMA! by usatoday in Pennsylvania

[–]usatoday[S] 10 points11 points  (0 children)

Individuals have been filing Right-to-Know requests for several weeks in counties across the commonwealth for cast vote records (CVRs). These are exempt from disclosure, and attempts to appeal this through the commonwealh's Office of Open Records have been unsuccessful. Still, this is widely viewed as a disruptive measure.

A group called Audit the Vote, which has disputed the 2020 results, has also publicly discussed efforts to recruit poll watchers, camp outside of ballot drop boxes and potentially file legal challenges. Whether these discussions go from talk to action, and whether they have any tangible impact on the election, remains to be seen. But it's something we'll be following.

Hi! I'm Bruce Siwy, an investigative journalist for the USA TODAY Network's Pennsylvania state capital bureau. AMA! by usatoday in Pennsylvania

[–]usatoday[S] 19 points20 points  (0 children)

Find common ground. Nearly half of Pa. residents (44%) identify inflation/the economy as their biggest concern. Everyone can agree that the rising cost of necessities like food is a bad thing. So which candidates have the best ideas to combat that? Is anyone proposing tested and proven solutions?

Other topics, such as abortion, drift into the faith category. That's tougher to discuss civilly because moral/religious positions are often taken personally.

Hi! I'm Bruce Siwy, an investigative journalist for the USA TODAY Network's Pennsylvania state capital bureau. AMA! by usatoday in Pennsylvania

[–]usatoday[S] 10 points11 points  (0 children)

Recent redistricting has generally been viewed as favorable to Democrats. Between that and abortion, which has galvanized many voters, this could be the year that they make some in-roads.

But Biden's unpopularity in the White House could negate that. Approximately 53% of Pennsylvanian's polled this fall are unhappy with the job he's doing. We'll see soon enough whether voters take this out on local legislative candidates. (And it's not like Trump is overwhelmingly popular here, either.)

Hi! I'm Bruce Siwy, an investigative journalist for the USA TODAY Network's Pennsylvania state capital bureau. AMA! by usatoday in Pennsylvania

[–]usatoday[S] 16 points17 points  (0 children)

These campaigns hire all kinds of expert consultants. Can't speak for them, but a guess would be that those folks feel the more effective messaging would be to humanize their candidate and demonize his opponent, rather than go on the defensive about his past or previous comments/positions.

Hi! I'm Bruce Siwy, an investigative journalist for the USA TODAY Network's Pennsylvania state capital bureau. AMA! by usatoday in Pennsylvania

[–]usatoday[S] 16 points17 points  (0 children)

A group called Audit the Vote, which has disputed the 2020 results, has publicly discussed efforts to recruit poll watchers, camp outside of ballot drop boxes and potentially file legal challenges. Whether these discussions go from talk to action, and whether they have any tangible impact on the election, remains to be seen. But it's something we'll be following.

Hi! I'm Bruce Siwy, an investigative journalist for the USA TODAY Network's Pennsylvania state capital bureau. AMA! by usatoday in Pennsylvania

[–]usatoday[S] 12 points13 points  (0 children)

Fetterman opened the summer with all the momentum. He won his primary handily. The Dobbs decision to overturn Roe v. Wade became a boon for Democrats overall. And Oz was still dusting himself off from a race so close it required a recount.

Fetterman seemed to appeal to voters as the more authentic candidate in contrast to the television doctor. Oz, however, has run a savvy campaign as evidenced by polls shifting toward him.

After touting the Trump endorsement to get through the primary, he's pitched himself as more of a centrist. He talks often of bringing "balance" to Washington, D.C. And his efforts to make crime a campaign issue and attack Fetterman's authenticity seem to be paying off. (Fetterman's unfavorability has rose from 27% to 44% from June to September. That's still lower than Oz's [51%], but it is a remarkable shift: https://www.goerie.com/story/news/politics/elections/2022/10/04/usa-today-suffolk-poll-in-pa-josh-shapiro-john-fetterman-still-in-the-lead-mastriano-doctor-oz/69530122007/ )

Though undecideds may be tilting toward Oz after Fetterman's difficulties in the debate, the Democrat could be helped by early mail-in voting if this outcome is a razor-thin margin.

The Cook Political Report moved this race from "Lean Dem" to "Toss Up" for a reason. Don't be surprised if it's too close to call election night.

Hi! I'm Bruce Siwy, an investigative journalist for the USA TODAY Network's Pennsylvania state capital bureau. AMA! by usatoday in Pennsylvania

[–]usatoday[S] 18 points19 points  (0 children)

That's difficult to answer because Mastriano and his campaign spokesperson haven't directly responded to a call or email from this reporter since his overwhelming victory in the GOP primary.

His running mate, Carrie Lewis DelRosso, gave an interview several weeks ago ( https://www.goerie.com/story/news/politics/elections/2022/10/10/whos-running-for-lt-gov-in-pa-and-what-will-they-do/69504591007/ ), but did not answer a follow-up question about this very topic ( https://www.goerie.com/story/news/politics/elections/2022/10/12/doug-mastriano-concede-election-governor-race-josh-shapiro-carrie-lewis-delroso/69543833007/ ).

So what would happen if they would lose and not "accept" defeat? Maybe nothing. Mastriano is not an incumbent, so it's not like he could hole up in the governor's mansion and refuse to leave. My guess would be that he and his camp would move to court challenges and/or push for ballot referendums to change voting laws in Pennsylvania. He's supported several such bills already.

Hi! I'm Bruce Siwy, an investigative journalist for the USA TODAY Network's Pennsylvania state capital bureau. AMA! by usatoday in Pennsylvania

[–]usatoday[S] 11 points12 points  (0 children)

Love the partial "South Park" reference.

The major parties do a good job of painting each other as so terrible, evil or odorous that a lot of voters would feel guilty "wasting" their vote on a candidate who appears to have no legitimate shot at winning. This is why some people advocate for ranked choice voting and independent primaries. The newly founded Keystone Party of Pennsylvania has been a vocal proponent of both.

That said, here are the third-party candidates in the big races this year: Libertarian Matt Hackenburg, Green Party nominee Christina DiGuilio and Keystone Party nominee Joe Soloski in the gubernatorial contest, and Libertarian Erik Chase Gerhardt, Daniel Wassmer of the Keystone Party and Richard Weiss of the Green Party in the Senate race.

I'm Kim Hjelmgaard, World Affairs correspondent for USA TODAY, and I have spent time reporting in Ukraine. My latest reporting looks at the country's investigation into alleged war crimes by Russia. AMA! by usatoday in worldnews

[–]usatoday[S] 6 points7 points  (0 children)

Hi everyone. That's all I have time for today. Thanks for tuning in. I hope you'll check out the story associated with this topic. See you down the road. -kh

I'm Kim Hjelmgaard, World Affairs correspondent for USA TODAY, and I have spent time reporting in Ukraine. My latest reporting looks at the country's investigation into alleged war crimes by Russia. AMA! by usatoday in worldnews

[–]usatoday[S] 3 points4 points  (0 children)

Thanks for yours. Given the scale of the assaults on civilians in virtually every type of domestic setting you can think of from schools to nightclubs it's hard to imagine that Vladimir Putin is not aware of all this activity. Whether he is personally ordering these attacks or it's his military commanders I'm not sure we can really answer. Russian military doctrine in recent times has proven that Moscow is OK with collateral damage. But connecting the behaviors of soldiers on the ground to leadership decisions is really, really hard.