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Midterm Elections 2018: Campaigns Enter the Final Stretch

Midterm Elections 2018: Campaigns Enter the Final Stretch

Midterm Elections 2018: Campaigns Enter the Final Stretch

Midterm Elections 2018: Campaigns Enter the Final Stretch

Midterm Elections 2018: Campaigns Enter the Final Stretch

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After all the debates, rallies, ads and barbs, the United States is entering the final stretch of the 2018 midterm elections. On Tuesday, voters will choose the winning candidates for 435 seats in the House of Representatives and nearly three dozen seats in the Senate. Thirty-six states will elect governors this year, including in high-profile contests in Florida and Georgia.

New York Times journalists are reporting from around the country this weekend as candidates make their final pitches to the voters who will help reshape the United States for the next two years.

Follow along with us here for updates from the campaign trail.

• Just getting started? Here’s everything you need to know about the midterm elections.

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Andrew Gillum, the Democratic candidate for governor of Florida, at a campaign event on Friday in Miami.CreditScott McIntyre for The New York Times

The shoving began shortly after “We Are the World.”

It was an outdoor rally earlier this week for Andrew Gillum, the Democrat who, if he defeats Ron DeSantis on Tuesday, would be the state’s first black governor. And — initially, at least — kumbaya spirits were high. People swayed to Michael Jackson and company. Signs bopped in the open-air parking lot: “Caribbean Americans for Gillum” and “Bring It Home” — the candidate’s slogan.

Then a man with an National Rifle Association poster moved in, standing sentinel in the crowd. Mr. Gillum’s fans surrounded the man, attempting to block his message from view. A small scuffle broke out. Officers swarmed. Fingers pointed.

In front of them, a roster of speakers on stage spoke of “civility” in politics. Behind them, another heckler with a bullhorn — and ties to the conspiracy-mongering site Infowars — tried to drown them out.

“Bring it home,” Mr. Gillum shouted, leading a chant.

“With violence,” the man cried.

“Bring it home.”

“With violence.”

Florida in election season. Never dull.

Days before another characteristically significant election here — with tight races for governor, Senate and several contested House seats — the state has resumed its status as the consummate, unruly purple corner of the electoral map.

Read more about Ron DeSantis | • Read more about Andrew Gillum

Canvassers are canvassing. Rally-goers are rally-going. Emissaries are descending.

The president wants in. “This is my state also,” President Trump reminded a Republican crowd outside Fort Myers at a recent rally, alluding to his second home at Mar-a-Lago.

The former president wants in. “The character of our country is on the ballot,” Barack Obama said in Miami on Friday, stumping for Mr. Gillum and Senator Bill Nelson, who is running for re-election.

Democrats have said they find the recent tumult galvanizing — days after the arrest of a Florida man accused of sending mail bombs to Mr. Trump’s opponents — sharpening their resolve to elect the state’s first black governor.

“It’s time,” said Delores Thompson, 65, from Sunrise, Fla.

It’s time, at least, to find out.

— Matt Flegenheimer in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Wonder why you’re seeing so many campaign ads on TV?

Follow the money.

The 2018 midterms are being called the $5 billion election. Not only are this year’s House and Senate elections expected to set a spending record, they’re also expected to surpass previous records by nearly $1 billion, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

The money is coming from both ends of the financial spectrum.

About 100 extremely wealthy donors (think former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg) are spending $1 million or more — and, in at least one case, more than $100 million — to push their preferred candidates.

Then there are more than 6 million other regular people who are giving tiny amounts — $5 here, $10 there. An average of about $40 each.

“I feel like this is a powerful statement from small dollar donors that they want to have a meaningful voice in democracy,” said Erin Hill, who runs a nonprofit portal called ActBlue that donors use to send money to progressive candidates.

The portal has already collected a record $1.5 billion this cycle, a figure that also includes money for local and state races, all of it for Democrats.

Michael Malbin, executive director of the Campaign Finance Institute in Washington, said the big story is how small donors are sending money across state lines.

“If you’re in the middle of safe district, but you care about control of Congress, it’s relatively easy now,” he said.

The top beneficiary appears to be Beto O’Rourke, the Texas Democrat who is hoping to unseat incumbent Senator Ted Cruz. Mr. O’Rourke’s campaign has raised more than $69 million. The average donation in the last quarter was less than $50.

That Senate race alone is expected to cost more than $100 million, also a record.

— Stephanie Saul and Rachel Shorey



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