Counting down to Election Day
Congress is still in recess, but we’re checking in quickly before our post-Election Day issue on November 10 (Thursday, since Friday is Veterans Day). Washington’s work continues even when the legislature is not in session . . .
Toomey, McHenry, other Republican leaders demand answers from Gensler
Oversight of the Securities and Exchange Commission will be a top priority for House and Senate Republicans if control changes in the next Congress. Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA) and Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC), ranking members of the Senate Banking Committee and House Financial Services Committee, asking him to respond to “significant concerns” raised in a recent Inspector General’s report that the agency is “trying to enact too many rules, too quickly—in some cases using temporary staff with little to no rulemaking experience.”
Rep. McHenry also joined senior House Republicans Jim Jordan (R-OH), James Comer (R-KY), and Tom Emmer (R-MN) in a ,” given reports that the SEC is using “off-channel” platforms such as Signal, WhatsApp, Teams, and Zoom to conduct official business. Last month, Rep. McHenry and Rep. Bill Huizenga (R-MI), ranking member of the Subcommittee on Investor Protections, Entrepreneurship, and Capital Markets, to invite Chair Gensler to testify before the full Committee about the Inspector General’s report and the “technical glitch” that kept some comment letters from being made available to the public.
Fed proposes to publish a list of master account holders
The Federal Reserve Board is asking for comment on a , known as “master accounts,” and payment services. The Fed adopted guidelines earlier this year to establish a for reviewing applications for master accounts, after controversy over requests from fintech companies. The proposal is open for comment for 60 days.
CFPB issues guidance on “junk fees”
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) issued guidance on two practices the agency said were probably violations of the Consumer Financial Protection Act: surprise overdraft fees and depositor fees charged to anyone who deposits a check that bounces. CFPB Director Rohit Chopra described these as “junk fees” in announcing and about them. Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA), ranking member of the Senate Banking Committee, as regulatory overreach, saying the Bureau had “chosen to sidestep the congressionally mandated rulemaking process.”
CFPB reopens comment period on tech firms’ payment platforms
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) will take an additional thirty days of comments on the published last October about how Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, PayPal, and Square collect and use data from individuals and businesses. “In particular, we are seeking additional public input on companies’ acceptable use policies and their use of fines, liquidated damages provisions, and other penalties,” the agency said.
FinCEN reports surge in ransomware attacks
Ransomware attacks reported through Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) filings more than doubled in number between 2020 and 2021, and a large majority of these attacks had some connection to Russia, according to the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network’s recent . BSA data suggests that at least 1,251 ransomware incidents occurred in 2021, up from 602 in 2020. In the second half of 2021, Russia-related ransomware variants accounted for 75% of those incidents. The Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) maintains a that includes checklists for responding to ransomware and a set of Frequently Asked Questions.
FHFA announces regional roundtables on Federal Home Loan Bank System
Continuing its , the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) held the first in a series of roundtables to gather feedback from stakeholders. The roundtable focused on the mission and purpose of the FHLBank System and included participants representing the Council of Federal Home Loan Banks, the National Community Reinvestment Coalition, the Opportunity Finance Network, the Independent Community Bankers of America, and the Consumer Federation of America. Future roundtables are scheduled for Chicago on November 17, focusing on FHLBank support for community development and affordable housing; Greenville, Mississippi on November 21, on housing and community development in the Mississippi Delta and other rural communities; and Washington, DC on December 8, on Native housing and community development. The Agency plans to schedule at least two additional roundtables before the end of the year.
The Week Ahead in Washington
November 8 Election Day. We certainly won’t have all the results on Tuesday night, but we’ll share what we do know in a special edition of The Golden Apple that will go out on Thursday, November 10.
November 11 Federal and state offices will be closed in honor of Veterans Day, and GrayRobinson’s offices will be closed as well.
The Ellis Insight
Jim Ellis on Political News
Arizona: Already in the closing days of the 2022 election cycle, the Arizona Senate race has been one of the most heavily polled. According to the four latest surveys, the closeness of this contest could send the counting process into political overtime.
The four pollsters, Insider Advantage, Remington Research Group, Highmark, and Civiqs, all surveying within the 10/29-11/2 period and questioning from 500 to 1,071 likely general election voters through various sampling techniques each independently found almost identical results. That is, Sen. Mark Kelly (D) and venture capitalist Blake Masters (R) are either tied or separated only by just one percentage point. This is a clear indication the race is a pure toss-up heading into Tuesday night.
Georgia: The University of Georgia, polling for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution newspaper, one of the more accurate of Peach State pollsters (10/16-27; 1,022 GA likely general election voters; live interview), now becomes the tenth of the most recent sixteen survey research entities to project Republican Herschel Walker to a slight lead over Sen. Raphael Warnock (D). The UGA result suggests the contest is a dead heat with Mr. Walker up only 46-45%.
We saw four pollsters releasing surveys, and three of the four show a break toward Mr. Walker. The Remington Research Group (11/1-2; 1,150 GA likely general election voters) posts Mr. Walker to a 49-45% edge over Sen. Raphael Warnock (D). Echelon Insights (10/31-11/2; 500 GA likely voters; live interview & text) arrives at exactly the same ballot test result as RRG. The Moore Information Group, polling for the Walker campaign, also came to virtually the same conclusion, 49-44%.
But Survey USA (10/29-11/2; 1,171 GA likely voters; online) and Marist College (10/31-11/2; 1,009 GA likely voters; multiple sampling techniques) saw the race differently. S-USA found Sen. Warnock holding a 49-43% advantage, while Marist found a 48-48% tie.
Iowa: In the closing days of this Iowa Senate race, 89-year-old incumbent Sen. Chuck Grassley (R) is looking much stronger after two separate polls suggested the race had closed to within three percentage points. The new Cygnal firm’s Hawkeye State poll (10/26-27; IA likely general election voters) projects the Senator to be holding a 54-43% advantage over retired Navy Admiral Mike Franken (D).
Mr. Grassley’s favorability index, however, is down to 49.9 – 43.5% favorable to unfavorable. The pollsters find the generic question breaks +14 for Republicans. Though this is down from their previous poll, such a rating is substantial and should prove favorable for the GOP up and down the ticket Tuesday night.
New Hampshire: While retired General Don Bolduc (R) had been consistently gaining on Sen. Maggie Hassan (D) since mid-October, we now see two surveys posting the GOP challenger to an emerging lead. St. Anselm College (10/28-29; 1,584 NH likely general election voters; online) sees Gen. Bolduc pulling into a 47-46% lead. The Trafalgar Group (10/30-11/1; 1,241 NH likely general election voters; multiple sampling techniques) confirms the St. Anselm result. They see the race at 47-46% in Gen. Bolduc’s favor. Should this trend continue, the New Hampshire race could be the upset of the night.
Ohio: Two polling entities, surveying within the same time period, arrive at diametrically different results. In fact, both project the Ohio Senate candidate they see as the leader to a five-point advantage. Center Street PAC (10/24-26; 508 OH likely general election voters) posts the race in Rep. Tim Ryan’s (D-Warren/ Youngstown) favor with a 47-42% margin. The Cygnal polling firm (10/22-26; 1,817 OH likely general election voters; multiple sampling techniques) comes to a wholly different conclusion: Republican J.D. Vance leading 49-44%.
The preponderance of October polling is more consistent with Cygnal’s findings. In the last 16 surveys, Mr. Vance has led in 12 of the ballot tests, Rep. Ryan in two, and in another two the candidates were tied. So far, however, early voting slightly favors the Democrats.
Pennsylvania: Insider Advantage became the first to publish a survey after the Pennsylvania Senate debate and projected the Republican nominee, Dr. Mehmet Oz, to be holding a 48-45% edge. Now, we see six more pollsters coming to similar conclusions, while two continue to see Mr. Fetterman holding the edge. In one poll, the candidates were tied.
For example, the Wick Insights research firm tested the PA electorate (10/26-27; 1,000 PA likely general election voters; online) and sees a 48-46% Dr. Oz lead. The co/efficient firm was also in the field (10/26-28; 1,716 PA likely general election voters; live interview & text) and likewise found a 48-45% Oz edge over Lt. Gov. John Fetterman (D). The Suffolk University and Fox News polls were the two that posted Fetterman to an advantage.
The co/efficient poll found both Senate candidates saddled with upside down favorability indexes. Dr. Oz, as he has for most of the election cycle, records a higher negative than positive ratio, 37:46%. Mr. Fetterman now joins Dr. Oz in negative territory with an index of 43:49%.
Washington: We now see two separate polling firms coming to the conclusion that the Washington Senate race, always on the periphery of competitiveness, is closing in challenger Tiffany Smiley’s (R) favor. The Trafalgar Group poll (10/25-28; 1,207 WA likely general election voters; multiple sampling techniques) released their results finding Sen. Patty Murray’s (D) lead over Ms. Smiley dropping to a bare 49-48%. Insider Advantage, in their one-day flash poll on October 31st (550 WA likely general election voters) sees a very similar 48-46% split. The IA polling analysis suggests a post-televised debate surge of independent voters to Smiley accounts for the status change.
FL-4: The Republican drawn congressional map created a new open seat in the Jacksonville area that is poised to elect a new Republican member. A just-released University of Northern Florida survey (10/20-27; 413 FL-4 likely general election voters) suggests that the draw will remain true. The poll finds state Senate President Pro Tempore Aaron Bean (R-Jacksonville) leading businesswoman LaShonda Holloway (D) by a double-digit margin, 50-38%. Mr. Bean was an easy winner in the Republican primary and should have little problem adding this seat to the GOP column.
FL-13: The vacant 13th Congressional District in Pinellas County has been viewed as a must-win for the GOP if they are to score big on election night. Until he resigned to concentrate on his statewide race, ex-Representative and former Governor Charlie Crist (D-St. Petersburg) represented the district. After redistricting, this seat became much more Republican, R+12 according to the FiveThirtyEight data organization.
A St. Pete Polls survey (10/26-27; 509 FL-13 likely general election voters; interactive voice response system) sees Republican Anna Paulina Luna only slightly ahead of former Defense Department official Eric Lynn (D), however. This will be yet another race to closely monitor on election night.
Nevada: We’ve seen a plethora of polling for the Nevada statewide races, and most numbers during the last month have shown the Republican candidates either tied or slightly ahead with the Democratic incumbents below 50%. But, we’ve seen very little data concerning the three competitive Las Vegas congressional districts.
Emerson College just released their polling results in the three districts from surveys taken during the October 26-29 period, sampling between 480 to 530 likely voters. In the 1st District, Republican Mark Robertson (R) has a commanding 54-42% lead over incumbent Rep. Dina Titus (D-Las Vegas) in a very surprising result. At the time of the legislature passing redistricting, however, Ms. Titus warned that the new 1st District draw would endanger her.
In the new 3rd, Republican April Becker has a smaller, but substantial, 52-47% lead over two-term Rep. Susie Lee (D-Las Vegas). In the slightly more Democratic 4th CD, incumbent Steven Horsford (D-Las Vegas) claims a slight 51-48% edge over Republican businessman Sam Peters.
MI-7: Mitchell Research, polling as they often do for the MIRS news service (11/2; 402 MI-7 likely general election voters; interactive voice response system) sees the contest between Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Holly) and state Sen. Tom Barrett (R-Lansing) falling into a statistical 48-48% tie, with the state legislator leading on the actual count by less than a percentage point. Should Mr. Barrett win, it would virtually guarantee that the Democrats will take the loss over Michigan dropping a congressional seat in national reapportionment.
New Hampshire: The latest two polls in the Granite State’s pair of congressional districts detect flipped results in both races. We reported on the co/efficient research organization’s surveys over the October 25-26 period that saw Democratic Rep. Chris Pappas (D-Manchester) leading Republican Karoline Leavitt in the 1st District race, 48-44%, while they found GOP challenger Robert Burns edging Rep. Annie Kuster (D-Hopkinton/Concord), 44-43%, in the 2nd District race.
St. Anselm College, a regular New Hampshire polling entity, released the results of their set of October 28-29 surveys and they produce opposite results. In the 1st District, St. A’s sees Ms. Leavitt pulling ahead of Rep. Pappas in the district that has defeated more incumbents than any seat in the country since 2004, by a surprising 51-45% count.
Turning to District 2, St. Anselm posts Rep. Kuster to a 50-42% advantage over Mr. Burns. Once again, we see different pollsters arriving at differing results for the same races. Compiling the data suggests that both of these swing races are too close to call.
NM-2: The Democratic redistricting operation made New Mexico’s southern congressional district as favorable as possible for the party’s 2022 nominee, but polling continually shows this race will go down to the wire.
While Las Cruces City Councilman Gabe Vasquez (D) leads in surveys, his margin is only two percentage points, 47-45%, over freshman Rep. Yvette Herrell (R-Alamogordo) according to the latest Research & Polling company survey (10/20-27; 410 NM-2 likely general election voters; live interview). Since the poll has an error factor of 4.8%, this race can clearly go either way. This is the fourth poll released of this race since July. All show a margin for Vasquez of two points or less.
Arizona: The aforementioned quartet of pollsters (see Arizona Senate above), Insider Advantage, Remington Research Group, Highmark, and Civiqs, also see Republican gubernatorial nominee Kari Lake leading Democratic Secretary of State Katie Hobbs. The Lake margin ranges from one to three points. Though her leads are small, they are consistent through 17 recent studies that project her as the leader. Only two pollsters since October 11th find Ms. Hobbs holding the ballot test edge, and then only by one percentage point in both instances. Therefore, it is fair to give Ms. Lake the edge heading into election day.
Georgia: The aforementioned University of Georgia poll for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (see Georgia Senate above) also tested the state’s competitive Governor’s race. Here, incumbent Gov. Brian Kemp (R) has led former state House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams (D) in polling throughout the election cycle. The UGA poll is consistent with this common finding. Again, running far ahead of Republican Senate nominee Herschel Walker, Gov. Kemp posts a 51-44% advantage, well beyond the polling margin of error for such a statewide poll.
Three of the four pollsters that tested the Senate race in the last few days also asked a question about the Governor’s campaign. Remington Research, Echelon Insights, and Survey USA all find Mr. Kemp leading Ms. Abrams by 14, 7, and 7 points, respectively. It also appears clear that Gov. Kemp is headed toward a clear victory once ballot counting officially begins.
New York: US Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley/East Long Island) has now clearly made the Governor’s race into a tight contest according to a pair of polling firms, although a third disagrees. Three more polls were released testing his candidacy against that of Gov. Kathy Hochul (D), and two of the results find a virtual tie.
KA Consulting (10/27-29; 501 NY likely voters; live interview) projects Gov. Hochul’s lead at only 46-45%, while the Trafalgar Group (10/27-31; 1,198 NY likely voters; multiple sampling techniques) sees Mr. Zeldin actually pulling into a lead by just under one full percentage point. Conversely, Emerson College’s results (10/28-31; 1,000 NY likely voters; multiple sampling techniques) claims that Gov. Hochul maintains a lead well beyond the polling margin of error at 52-44%. We will see which firms are closer to the end result early this week.