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Republicans split on Trump’s effect on lackluster midterms as control of Congress hangs in balance

Source image: https://www.foxnews.com/politics/republicans-split-trumps-effect-lackluster-midterms-control-congress-hangs-balance

FIRST ON FOX: Republicans are split on former President Trump’s effect on the lackluster 2022 midterm elections as control of Congress hangs in the balance and has not been projected yet.

For months, Tuesday’s midterm elections were predicted to be a red wave that would see Republicans take the House by wide margins and potentially capture the Senate.

Two days after the election, Republicans are still projected to take control of the lower chamber — albeit by a much smaller margin than predicted — and could potentially control the upper chamber, should Nevada and Georgia go red.

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Republicans are split on how former U.S. President Donald Trump affected the 2022 midterm elections.

Republicans are split on how former U.S. President Donald Trump affected the 2022 midterm elections.
(Brandon Bell/Getty Images)

Trump undoubtedly had an effect on the midterm elections with countless endorsements and appearances in support of the candidates he threw his red hat behind.

However, Republicans are split on how Trump affected the midterm elections.

New Jersey Rep. Jeff Van Drew, who was once a Democrat before switching to the GOP, told Fox News Digital he believes the former president had a positive impact on the midterm elections.

“Trump helped out candidates in a lot of districts across the country. An overwhelming majority of his endorsements won,” Van Drew said. “Republicans are taking the majority, which was the goal in order for us to get America back on track.”

“Two years ago when Trump was in office, our country was much better off,” he continued. “We were #1 in everything, from energy to education, so I would be happy to have Trump return to office so we could return to the America we once were.”

Rep. Jeff Van Drew, R-N.J., told Fox News Digital he believes the former president had a positive impact on the midterm elections.

Rep. Jeff Van Drew, R-N.J., told Fox News Digital he believes the former president had a positive impact on the midterm elections.
(Reuters)

Conversely, another House GOP lawmaker said that he believes Trump impacted the election and that Americans are trying to “get away from the drama” and back to business addressing the country’s “real needs.”

The anonymous GOP congressman also predicted Trump will face “other worthy candidates” for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination.

“As one would expect, Trump certainly played a factor in the outcome of the midterm elections,” the Republican lawmaker said.

“As for 2024, there will be other worthy candidates who will put their names forward who may approach the conservative movement differently,” he continued.

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“Trump’s tenure, whether deserved or not, has been marked by drama and controversy,” the congressman added. “I think it is the sentiment now of a large number of Americans, both Republican and Democrat, to get away from the drama and get back to the business of the country and it’s real needs: fighting inflation, combating crime, and getting control of the southern border.”

Republican staffers also weighed in on Trump’s effects on the midterms, with a Georgia GOP campaign staffer saying the former president should pack it up and let Florida Governor Ron DeSantis take the reins to “lead the red wave.”

“In order to truly make America great, it’s time for Trump to hang up his red hat and let DeSantis lead the red wave Trump failed to,” the staffer said.

Former President Donald Trump speaks at a rally Saturday, Jan. 15, 2022, in Florence, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

Former President Donald Trump speaks at a rally Saturday, Jan. 15, 2022, in Florence, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

A senior House GOP staffer told Fox News Digital the “truly instructive fact in contrast to how 45’s candidates performed was how [Republican Georgia Governor Brian] Kemp and DeSantis performed in contrast.”

“These are both governors that took some heat from the former president, but what really mattered in the end was the fact that they led with a freedom agenda and provided a constructive vision that actually worked for the people they served,” the senior House GOP staffer said.

“Trump was successful when his vision was about making America great again, not himself as a 2024 candidate,” the staffer continued. “At the end of the day, this business has to be about delivering results to the American people who want people to fight for them.”

So far, the majority of the former president’s endorsed candidates have won their races.

“There is a fake news narrative that I was furious — it is just the opposite,” Trump told Fox News Digital, responding to reports that suggested he was less than pleased with the election results for his endorsed candidates. “The people I endorsed did very well. I was batting 98.6% in the primaries, and 216 to 19 in the general election — that is amazing.”

He added: “All these guys that are winning are my people.”

Trump touted the wins of Sen. Chuck Grassley in Iowa, Sen. Marco Rubio in Florida, Eric Schmitt in Missouri, JD Vance in Ohio, Ted Budd in North Carolina, Ron Johnson in Wisconsin and others.

Democrats also had a hand in elevating several of the Trump-backed candidates by boosting them in their primary elections in the belief that the candidates would be easier to beat.

Overall, though, Republicans did not perform as well as predicted, spurring intra-party criticism, and control of Congress has not been projected yet.

Several key races have yet to be decided, but Republicans are expected to still take control of the House.

Republican gubernatorial candidate for Florida Ron DeSantis waves to the crowd during an election night watch party at the Convention Center in Tampa, Florida, on November 8, 2022. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who has been tipped as a possible 2024 presidential candidate, was projected as one of the early winners of the night in Tuesday's midterm election. 

Republican gubernatorial candidate for Florida Ron DeSantis waves to the crowd during an election night watch party at the Convention Center in Tampa, Florida, on November 8, 2022. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who has been tipped as a possible 2024 presidential candidate, was projected as one of the early winners of the night in Tuesday’s midterm election. 
(GIORGIO VIERA/AFP via Getty Images)

The Senate is another question, with three races still in the air to decide control of the upper chamber: Arizona, Georgia, and Nevada.

A slog is expected for the Georgia Senate contest as the election officially moved into a runoff after neither candidate was able to get 50 percent of the vote.

The 45th president has teased for months that he will be making another run for the White House and is predicted to do so next week.

However, the school of thought that most Republicans will move out of the way in the wake of Trump’s expected announcement may not be as viable anymore.

Trump’s impact on the midterms may also spur prominent Republicans who are against running in light of the former president’s announcement to change their plans.

Republican Senator-elect J.D. Vance of Ohio was endorsed by former President Trump. He defeated Democrat Rep. Tim Ryan for the seat in a highly-watched contest.

Republican Senator-elect J.D. Vance of Ohio was endorsed by former President Trump. He defeated Democrat Rep. Tim Ryan for the seat in a highly-watched contest.
(AP Photo/Jay LaPrete)

DeSantis’ name has been floated since Biden took office as a potential GOP nominee to take back the White House in 2024, especially after the sweeping Florida elections that serve as a bright spot for Republicans in an otherwise underwhelming midterm cycle.

If DeSantis decides to run for the White House in spite of his former political pedagogue’s candidacy, one can reasonably expect other GOP candidates will follow suit and bring a robust primary election ahead of 2024.

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Still, most Republicans may move out of the way in the wake of Trump’s expected announcement, but there will likely be GOP challengers to the former president regardless in the primary.

Meanwhile, President Biden said he will make his decision on running for re-election “early next year.”

Fox News Digital’s Brooke Singman contributed reporting.

Source: https://www.foxnews.com/politics/republicans-split-trumps-effect-lackluster-midterms-control-congress-hangs-balance

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West Virginia House passes bill expanding advocate’s authority

West Virginia’s House of Delegates unanimously passed a bill Wednesday to expand the authority of the state foster care advocate to investigate allegations of abuse and neglect.

Before the 100-member House voted in unison in favor, Deputy House Speaker Republican Matthew Rohrbach said the bill is “really going to help to make this system accountable, which I think is something that everybody in here wants.”

Foster Care Ombudsman Pamela Woodman-Kaehler’s office is located within the Department of Health and Human Resources’ Office of Inspector General. But she works independently as an advocate for foster children and parents, investigating complaints and collecting data about the state’s foster care system.

Her position was created in 2019 when the number of children under state foster care had swelled to about 6,900, up more than 60% from 2015, as the state continued to be ravaged by the national opioid crisis.

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She is a former child protective services worker in Harrison County and was the state coordinator for a federally-mandated review panel of the state’s Bureau of Children and Families.

The bill advanced to the Senate Wednesday specifies that Woodman-Kaehler’s office has the authority to investigate deaths, abuse and neglect involving children in the juvenile justice system.

The West Virginia House OKs a bill expanding the states foster care advocates authority. This bill will investigate abuse and neglect allegations.

The West Virginia House OKs a bill expanding the states foster care advocates authority. This bill will investigate abuse and neglect allegations.

The bill also would protect the identities of people providing confidential information during investigations, prohibiting the ombudsman and her staff from being required to disclose information about investigations or identify informants in judicial or administrative proceedings. It makes all memoranda, work product, notes and case files developed and maintained as part of an official investigation confidential, and not subject to discovery, subpoena or other means of legal compulsion.

Woodman-Kaehler told a House Health and Human Resources Committee meeting that the bill would help build trust between her and people reporting abuse and neglect, and encourage more people to come forward with information during sensitive investigations.

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“This frees up the ombudsman to give them much more control,” Rohrbach said Wednesday.

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Indiana Gov. Holcomb’s public health expansion passes legislative panel

The Indiana governor’s proposal for a broad expansion of county-level public health programs won its first endorsement from state legislators on Wednesday.

The state Senate’s health committee voted 12-0 in support of a bill laying out the responsibilities that local health departments would have if county officials accept a major increase in state funding being sought by Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb.

State Health Commissioner Dr. Kristina Box, several medical organizations and business groups urged lawmakers to support the plan, pointing to Indiana’s poor national rankings in areas such as smoking, obesity and life expectancy.

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The governor’s plan would direct $100 million in the next state budget year and $200 million in the following year toward boosting Indiana’s county public health department funding from its 45th-place national ranking. The state now directs about $7 million a year to county health departments, which are primarily funded by local taxes.

While county officials would have the option of accepting the money and expanding services, some opponents with grievances over government-ordered COVID-19 precautions told the committee they feared the plan would result in the state health department gaining more authority.

The bill approved by the committee would establish “core public health services” to be provide by county departments. Those would include access to required childhood vaccinations, emergency preparedness, restaurant and sewage system inspections, communicable disease prevention and smoking cessation programs.

Indiana State Health Commissioner Dr. Kristina Box speaks alongside Gov. Eric Holcomb on the proposed expansion of the state's public health infrastructure

Indiana State Health Commissioner Dr. Kristina Box speaks alongside Gov. Eric Holcomb on the proposed expansion of the state’s public health infrastructure
(AP Photo /Tom Davies)

A commission appointed by Holcomb found that all but about six of Indiana’s 92 counties are spending less than half the national median per person on public health efforts.

“Where you live in Indiana currently determines whether your local health department can provide you the full range of public health services,” Box told the committee.

Leaders of the Republican-dominated Legislature have generally supported Holcomb’s proposal but have not committed to granting his full funding request. Lawmakers might not make that decision until a new state budget plan is completed in April.

Statewide organizations representing county officials told the committee Wednesday they believed local leaders would keep control by deciding whether to opt into the expansion program or maintain state funding levels.

Some county leaders, however, said they believed the expansion would eventually lead to state control of local health departments.

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“I would prefer the state to provide grants on a topic-by-topic basis with local control on whether to accept the grant or not and how we handle that guidance, not mandates, from the state after the COVID destructive mandates,” said Brad Rogers, a Republican county commissioner from northern Indiana’s Elkhart County.

Senators cited concerns about long-term health problems across the state, while plan opponents who spoke focused on issues such as complaints over federal approval of COVID-19 vaccines and Holcomb’s executive orders early in the pandemic for business closures and a face mask mandate. One opponent argued the plan would lead to what he called more government “tyranny.”

Similar grievances were aired to Indiana lawmakers as they debated a proposal last year that failed to win passage aiming to severely limit the COVID-19 vaccine requirements that businesses could impose on employees.

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“We have high infant mortality rates,” Republican Sen. Vaneta Becker of Evansville said as she voted in favor of the health plan Wednesday. “We have high obesity, lots of health issues in the state that need to be addressed.”

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President Biden’s physical delayed due to travel schedule, White House says

President Biden will receive a physical examination on Feb. 16 after weeks of delays that a spokesperson attributed to a “busy and evolving travel schedule in recent weeks.”

Biden, the oldest president in history, is expected to announce his bid for re-election in the coming weeks. He would be 86-years-old by the end of his second term.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre faced a series of questions on Biden’s physical in the new year and promised a shared report by the end of January.

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President Biden will receive a physical on Feb. 16 after broken promises from the White House to have one conducted by the end of the past two months.

President Biden will receive a physical on Feb. 16 after broken promises from the White House to have one conducted by the end of the past two months.
(Screenshot/Twitter)

“He will have one before the — by the time the end of this month is out,” Jean-Pierre said in January. “We will share the information. We will have more to share about that before the month is over.”

This followed a promise from Biden himself in November to have a physical conducted by the end of December.

“I’ve gotten my — I will get — part of my physical is already done, and I’ll be getting it before the end of the year,” Biden said.

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The White House said President Biden's delayed physical is due to his busy travel schedule.

The White House said President Biden’s delayed physical is due to his busy travel schedule.
(Getty Images)

While the White House said the delay is due to his travel schedule in January, Biden spent time at his Delaware properties every weekend that month — 13 days in total. Other travel included Mexico for a summit, then trips to Kentucky, Georgia, Maryland, Virginia, California and New York to tout his policy agenda.

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President Biden last had a physical in November 2021.

President Biden last had a physical in November 2021.
(Shawn Thew/EPA/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

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Speculations on Biden‘s health follow the delayed physical, consistent mental gaffes and an eight-hour stay at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in January as first lady Jill Biden had two cancerous skin lesions removed. The president’s last physical was reported in November 2021 and detailed his prescriptions for high blood pressure and blood thinner treatments.

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