It’s Thursday, November 4th, and this is your Morning Wire. Listen to the full podcast:
1) Republicans Win Big Nationwide
The Topline: Republicans won big in multiple statewide and local races on Tuesday.
In the New Jersey governor’s election — a race where most experts predicted an easy Democrat win — Democrat incumbent Phil Murphy narrowly won, escaping with a 20,000 vote lead.
Remember: New Jersey voted for President Biden by 16 points a year ago.
Another noteworthy race in New Jersey was between Republican Ed Durr and Democrat Steve Sweeney. Sweeney was the president of the state senate, and the longest serving legislative leader in New Jersey’s history. Durr was a truck driver who reportedly spent $153 on his race and didn’t have a campaign website. Durr won.
On Tuesday, voters in Minneapolis went 56-44 against a proposal to replace the city’s police force with a public safety agency. Polling in Minneapolis last year was more supportive of defunding the police, but this year has seen record rates of gun violence and homicide.
In Austin, Texas, people voted against a measure which would’ve hired hundreds of new police officers in the city. It failed 68-31.
In New York City, Democrat Eric Adams won the mayoral race. Adams is a former police captain who opposed defunding the police and made restoring law and order one of his key issues.
2) Supreme Court Hears Texas Pro-Life Arguments
The Topline: On Monday, the Supreme Court heard arguments on two cases involving the new Texas pro-life law, which has already reportedly reduced abortions in the state by 50%.
The Justices heard arguments from cases brought by the Justice Department and abortion providers who were challenging the new pro-life law in Texas.
The law bans most abortions after fetal cardiac activity can be detected, which is typically around six weeks of pregnancy. Private citizens can sue if someone breaks the law, a technicality leading the Supreme Court to decline to block it earlier this year.
The first case involves the Biden administration, which previously announced they were suing Texas. Last month, they asked the high court to weigh in on the law and temporarily halt it while legal actions continue. In response, the Supreme Court said it wouldn’t halt the law, but would consider if the United States was allowed to bring suit in federal court against the state.
The second case included abortion providers challenging the law.
The high court is essentially deciding if a challenge should be permitted in federal court. Most decisions are made a few months after arguments are heard, but this one could be sooner.
Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh called the lawsuit by the DOJ “unusual” and questioned what power the department had to issue a lawsuit over a state law.
Kavanaugh has also pointed to a brief put forward by Second Amendment supporters in favor of the abortion providers. The group claimed that by the same legal precedent, other states could copy Texas’s pro-life law and effectively get rid of constitutional rights.
Justice Amy Coney Barrett seemed to be concerned whether the law could prevent abortion providers from being able to defend themselves fully if someone sues them.
Chief Justice John Roberts said the DOJ’s case was broad and questioned if the department was looking for “an injunction against the world.”
3) San Francisco Crime Skyrockets
The Topline: In recent years, there has been an explosion of crime in the city of San Francisco, sparking a movement to recall the city’s District Attorney, Chesa Boudin.
One Safeway store in San Francisco used to be open 24 hours a day, but late last month, it reduced its hours to 6am to 9pm in response to rampant shoplifting. The grocery store reached out to San Francisco Supervisor Rafael Mandelman, saying in the last six months, crime has been “off the charts in terms of how bad it’s been.”
Mandelman said he was trying to broker a meeting between city police, Safeway, and San Francisco’s District Attorney. Safeway also said police rarely arrest anyone for theft by the time they respond to a report.
Earlier this year, Walgreens said theft in its San Francisco stores was four times their national average, and they had to close 17 locations where too much product was being stolen.
In 2014, California introduced Proposition 47, which reclassified nonviolent theft as a misdemeanor if the total value of stolen goods in one act of theft was less than $950.
San Francisco has seen twice the property-crime rate per resident compared to the rest of California, and the city’s rate of violent crime per resident is 50% higher than California as a whole.
San Francisco’s DA, Chesa Boudin, started in January 2020, and made reducing charges for non-violent offenses like shoplifting central to his strategy, as well as ending cash bail, releasing prisoners and avoiding prison sentences in the first place.
In the year he assumed the role of DA, burglaries skyrocketed in San Francisco by 50%, even though the rate of burglaries in the United States dropped over the same time period. Motor vehicle theft went up by 22%. Violent crime, home invasions, drug dealing, and property theft all spiked as well.
Now, there’s a growing movement in San Francisco to recall Boudin, which includes former members of his own department.
Key Point: Families in certain parts of the city are hiring private security to patrol their neighborhood.
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