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    It’s Time, Again, for My Brother Kevin

    This Thanksgiving, for the first time in years, my brother Kevin and I could both say we’ve had enough of Donald Trump. But that’s not to say he and I agree on much else. Once again, here’s Kevin with his annual view from the starboard side of the Dowd family:The midterms are over, and the results are disappointing. A red wave did not materialize, and the Democrats and President Biden were not made to pay for their actions of the past 22 months.These include the Afghanistan debacle; cashless bail, which favors criminals over victims; 40-year-high inflation; a two-year invasion at our southern border; record gas prices; a dangerous drawdown of the strategic petroleum reserve; the further decline of our education system; the weakening of our military; and the total embrace of wokeness to divide the country. All of that, with the president’s approval rating deep underwater and 81 percent of Americans believing that the country is headed in the wrong direction, should have produced the anticipated Republican surge. But the president emerged from the elections thinking that Democrats’ relatively good fortune was due to his policies, not in spite of them.Republicans must take a large share of the blame. Their messaging was late or nonexistent, letting Democrats persuade swing voters to believe the only issues that mattered were Trump, abortion and the supposed threat to our democracy.Candidates must fit their district. Don’t pick a conservative for a moderate district. Intrusions by Rick Scott and Lindsey Graham on hot-button issues hurt. The Republicans must persuade supporters to vote early, not wait for Election Day. Democrats often amass large leads from early voting, forcing Republicans to come from behind.Donald Trump is radioactive. His insistence on picking candidates based on their loyalty to him cost Republicans control of the Senate in consecutive elections, and his attacks on other Republicans are despicable. Historians will judge his presidency in more generous terms than the media does now, and we will be forever in his debt for saving the country and the Supreme Court from Hillary Clinton, but his effectiveness has passed.His announcement that he will run again was greeted with resounding silence from Republicans the next day. Rupert Murdoch stripped Trump of the formidable Fox defenses. Trump’s isolation was made plain at his announcement party, where the only member of Congress in sight was Madison Cawthorn, who lost his own primary.A third Trump run will simply settle old scores with political enemies and the press and ignore the repair work that the G.O.P. needs to be done.The Democrats’ better-than-expected results emboldened Mr. Biden, to the nation’s detriment. He will likely run again (he’d be 82 at his second inauguration) and said after the midterms that he intends to change “nothing.” “The more they know about what we’re doing, the more support there is,” he said, as if his policies were a luscious bœuf bourguignon simmering over the heat of roiling inflation.There are some bright spots. Republicans have won the House and ended the torturous reign of Nancy Pelosi. With that victory come the purse strings, which should put Democratic profligacy on the skids.Republicans’ first order of business should be impeaching the odious Alejandro Mayorkas, the homeland security secretary, who has presided over the disgraceful situation at the border, wearing incompetence like a badge of honor. In just the last fiscal year under his watch, over 2.4 million migrants have been encountered at the border, over 500,000 have evaded capture, and over 850 deaths have occurred.Republican hopes for 2024 must rest with their new superstar, Ron DeSantis, who won almost 60 percent of the vote in his race to be re-elected governor of Florida, paving the way for four new G.O.P. House members. His handling of Hurricane Ian was only his latest feat, building on his popular defense of parental rights in education, his support of the police and his fight against wokeism.The pandemic lockdowns, spurred by teachers’ unions, resulted in a disastrous drop in the nation’s test scores and pulled back the curtain to what children were being taught. I do not want my elementary school grandchildren hearing about sexuality from a stranger or being labeled an “oppressor.” Stick to math and reading; there is enormous room for improvement.Republicans must now wait two more years for redemption. The Senate field in 2024 has Democrats defending 23 seats. With two more years of Biden’s mistaken policies, rising crime in our major cities, bone-crushing inflation and an impending recession, Republicans should have another golden opportunity. Carpe diem.Here’s hoping for the new year,Kevin.The Times is committed to publishing a diversity of letters to the editor. We’d like to hear what you think about this or any of our articles. Here are some tips. And here’s our email: letters@nytimes.com.Follow The New York Times Opinion section on Facebook, Twitter (@NYTopinion) and Instagram. More

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    College Athletes and Ideals for Women’s Body Image

    More from our inbox:Elizabeth Warren’s Election Analysis: We DisagreeEric Adams and the MidtermsSue Republican LiarsA Matter of SpaceAudra Koopman, who ran track and field at Penn State, said she felt pressured to avoid sweets and to trim down. But even as she did, she didn’t feel like she performed better.Rachel Woolf for The New York TimesTo the Editor:Re “Women in College Sports Feel Pressure to Be Lean at Any Cost” (Sports, Nov. 14):Thank you for raising awareness about the risks of scrutinizing body composition in college athletes. I am a clinical psychologist specializing in eating disorders, and the highlighted profiles echo stories I have heard many times over.No evidence suggests that participating in a sport causes eating disorders, but rates of these illnesses among athletes are higher than the national average. Athletes who participate in endurance, weight-class or aesthetic-based sports are at heightened risk.A focus on metrics like body fat percentage and body weight may breed an unhelpful hypervigilance on restrictive eating, body size and burning calories. College-age men and women are often still maturing physically, and by taking drastic measures to change their bodies risk their physical and psychological well-being.They also risk missing out on the greatest pleasures of sports: being a good teammate and finding joy in competition even while competing at a high personal level.Deborah R. GlasoferNew YorkThe writer is an associate professor of clinical medical psychology, Columbia Center for Eating Disorders, New York State Psychiatric Institute.To the Editor:Women in college sports are simply the tip of the spear when it comes to our affluent culture’s widely promoted ideal of thinness for women. I lived in Nigeria for many years, and there plumpness in a woman is seen as a desirable signifier of affluence. So this ideal for women’s bodies is anything but universal or timeless.Athletes and dancers perform in public, and the moves that make up their routines are easier when there is less body fat to contend with.This fact extends into other areas of daily life. But though men perform these activities too, and can also have eating disorders, the fact that women are the focal point of this discussion, as they were when I was a professor of women’s studies at Rutgers, says something about the larger issue of gender ideals in our culture.Katherine EllisNew YorkElizabeth Warren’s Election Analysis: We Disagree Kenny Holston for The New York TimesTo the Editor:In “Democrats, Let’s Seize This Moment” (Opinion guest essay, Nov. 14), Senator Elizabeth Warren claims, “The so-called experts who called Democrats’ messaging incoherent were just plain wrong — and candidates who ignored their advice won.”I beg to differ. Surveys show that a large majority of Americans favor most Democratic policies — legal access to abortion, a fair and progressive tax structure, strong environmental regulations and worker protection, a reasonable minimum wage, not cutting Social Security or Medicare, and the Affordable Care Act. Yet many Democratic candidates barely squeaked by, and the Democrats lost control of the House of Representatives.It’s easy to know what Republicans stand for — even if it’s based on lies. It’s all over the media. I’m not sure that most Americans can say what Democrats stand for, although a large minority of Americans seem to think that we steal elections, and want to curtail the police, open the borders and hand out large sums of money to people who refuse to work. Why? Because the Republican message (often lies) is getting through.Democratic politicians may have great ideas, but they’re terrible at communicating them. Otherwise they’d have a much bigger majority in government.Shaun BreidbartPelham, N.Y.To the Editor:Democrats squeaking by in the midterms is not an overwhelming endorsement of President Biden’s spending and other policies. In many cases it’s voting for the least worst candidate.Has Elizabeth Warren not seen the polls about dissatisfaction with both former President Donald Trump and President Biden? If “none of the above” were a choice, it would likely have won on many ballots.As a centrist, I want elected officials to stop talking and writing about how great they are and how bad their opposition is. Rather, focus on what you will accomplish, bipartisan cooperation and problem solving.Many of my moderate Democratic friends would vote for Liz Cheney if she were a presidential candidate. Sure, she is more conservative, but she has demonstrated integrity, bipartisanship and intelligence. That would be a refreshing change.Gail MacLeodLexington, Va.Eric Adams and the MidtermsMayor Eric Adams views the Democrats’ poor performance in New York as validation of his messaging about crime and his brand of moderate politics.Sarah Blesener for The New York TimesTo the Editor:Re “Democrats See Adams at Root of State Losses” (front page, Nov. 18):Mayor Eric Adams did not lose four New York congressional seats. Asserting that he is to blame says, in essence, that the majority of voters who elected Republicans in swing districts chose poorly and that if voters had not been told crime was a problem, the Democratic candidates in those districts would have won.Mr. Adams has identified crime as a priority for his administration. By virtue of winning election, he is entitled to set his agenda. Whether the current increase in crime is a surge or a blip can be debated, certainly, but the idea that he should soft-pedal concerns about public safety to help other Democratic candidates is inappropriate.On the other hand, the fact that Republicans exploited perceptions about crime for electoral gain may be deplorable, but it is well within the rules of the game.The Democrats’ loss of New York congressional seats resulted from hubris around redistricting and willful ignorance about public perception of issues like bail reform. Eric Adams had nothing to do with either.Rob AbbotCroton-on-Hudson, N.Y.Sue Republican LiarsTo the Editor:Re “Misinformation on Pelosi Attack Spread by G.O.P.” (front page, Nov. 6):The notion seems firmly rooted among Democratic political leaders that since politics is rough and tumble, they should rise above it when the G.O.P.’s fabrication machine spews ominous conspiracy theories and baseless slurs to obscure reality.But since Republican politicians aren’t restrained by shame, common decency or respect for the truth, tolerating their falsehoods only encourages the right wing to wallow in fact-free filth. Instead, the victims of right-wing slanders owe it to themselves — and to us — to seek money damages for defamation from reckless Republican liars.First Amendment law protects scorching invective. But there’s a limit. Under the constitutional principles that govern defamation law, a political speaker is not free to knowingly utter falsehoods or to speak with reckless indifference to truth or falsity.That principle plainly applies to unfounded Republican claims about Paul Pelosi. It likewise applies to Newt Gingrich’s assertion that John Fetterman has “ties to the crips gang,” and to Donald Trump’s lies about a voting machine maker.Multimillion-dollar damage awards might deter Republicans from fouling the political landscape with lies designed to conceal their lack of answers to America’s problems.Mitchell ZimmermanPalo Alto, Calif.The writer is an attorney.A Matter of Space Hiroko Masuike/The New York TimesTo the Editor:Re “Dimming Hope Office Buildings Will Ever Refill” (front page, Nov. 18):Not enough housing? Too much office space? Go figure.Deborah BayerRichmond, Calif. More

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    In Georgia Runoff, a Campaign Cliché Rules: It All Comes Down to Turnout

    With control of the Senate no longer at stake, the race between Herschel Walker and Raphael Warnock is drawing less attention. Both sides are pulling out all the stops to drive voters to the polls.ATLANTA — One month before the Nov. 8 midterm elections, several of Georgia’s grass-roots organizing groups huddled to plan for what they saw as an inevitable outcome: another Senate runoff.This plan, formulated by the same organizers who helped elect the Democratic senators Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff, included budgeting for an added month of canvassing and door knocking, increasing staff outside of the Atlanta area and recording robocalls that could start reaching voters the day after Election Day.Halfway into Georgia’s four-week runoff period, that plan is now in full swing. And grass-roots organizers are not alone. Georgia Democrats and Republicans have poured a combined $38 million into television ads, hired more than 700 additional field staffers and extended invitations to governors, senators and at least one former president ahead of Election Day on Dec. 6.Campaigns and allied groups are feverishly knocking on doors, waving signs and sending text messages imploring Georgians to head back to the polls for the second time in less than a month. All the while, Mr. Warnock and his Republican opponent, Herschel Walker, are traveling alongside high-profile surrogates to re-energize supporters.“If you want to be on top of your game in Georgia, you plan for runoffs,” said Hillary Holley, executive director of Care in Action, the political arm of the National Domestic Workers Alliance, who helped do just that before the general election.Yet, all of this activity is facing some new hurdles: A 2021 law shortened the window for campaigning, giving candidates just four weeks — including the Thanksgiving holiday — to make their final appeals to weary voters. And the stakes, along with national attention, diminished significantly when the Democrats clinched control of the Senate earlier this month, downgrading the race from a final battle over control of the chamber to a fight over whether Democrats would win a 51st vote.Herschel Walker, the Republican candidate for the Senate, during a campaign stop in Peachtree City, Ga., this month.Nicole Craine for The New York TimesA child colored in a drawing of Senator Raphael Warnock, the Democratic incumbent, during a campaign stop in Cumming, Ga.Nicole Craine for The New York TimesThat reality may have hit Republicans hardest. Mr. Walker’s troubled campaign must not only convince his voters to return but also try to persuade those who rejected him in November to change their minds.Democrats’ biggest challenge is fighting complacency, by finding a message that excites their base and at the same time appeals to voters who don’t often support the party.Georgia Senate Runoff: What to KnowCard 1 of 6Another runoff in Georgia. More

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    The Democrats Should Run ____ in 2024

    More from our inbox:A Welcome Gay Marriage Bill, But …Let’s Keep Funding Covid Vaccines Illustration by The New York Times; Photograph by Brittany Greeson for The New York TimesTo the Editor:Re “Biden Is No Sure Thing for 2024. What About Buttigieg? Harris? Even Whitmer?,” by Frank Bruni (Opinion guest essay, Nov. 12):I was disappointed to see that you didn’t suggest Representative Tim Ryan, who lost the Senate race in Ohio, as a potential candidate for the 2024 Democratic Party presidential nomination. He is articulate, young, a moderate, a warrior for the working and middle class, and, like John Fetterman of Pennsylvania, perfectly suited to appeal to a broad range of Democrats and independents as a decent, reasonable choice during the current madness of the U.S. political landscape.His recent concession speech alone shows us how his values would enrich our country. He may not be well known outside of Ohio, but wasn’t Barack Obama in the same position before 2008?Glenn PetherickKingstowne, Va.To the Editor:As a Republican, I was dismayed and frustrated by the outcome of the midterm elections. If my party could not prevail in a climate of record inflation, rising interest rates, rampant crime, open borders, lousy public schools and spreading woke ideology, how could I possibly expect a better outcome in 2024?Then I read Frank Bruni’s article identifying Kamala Harris, Pete Buttigieg and Gretchen Whitmer as the most likely possibilities to be the Democratic presidential nominee in 2024. Thank you, Frank! You have given me renewed hope for a brighter future for my party.Joseph P. CunninghamHoustonTo the Editor:In your discussion of potential Democratic nominees for 2024, there are two other names that deserve mention. One is Senator Tammy Duckworth of Illinois. She lost both legs in Iraq, and I’d be eager to see her in a debate with the former president who got out of military service for — what was it again? — oh, that’s right, a bone spur.The other is the newly elected governor of Maryland, Wes Moore. As a Rhodes scholar and veteran, he has already compiled an impressive résumé, and at 44 years old is the same age as Ron DeSantis. I know he doesn’t have much experience yet, but then again neither did Barack Obama when he was elected.John J. ConiglioEast Meadow, N.Y.To the Editor:While many of the possible candidates highlighted have laudable credentials, I think Gina Raimondo has most of them beat. She is well seasoned, and not only has she had governing experience as Rhode Island’s governor from 2015 to 2021, but she was also treasurer and was able to stabilize the state pension plan. Many of the elections she’s won have been by a fairly wide margin.She spent earlier years as a venture capitalist, which gives her “street cred” with the business community. Her education encompasses economics and law at top-notch schools as well as having been a Rhodes scholar. I would think this background would have broad appeal and take us in a positive direction.Bonita WagnerStamford, Conn.To the Editor:It was hard to believe that Cory Booker did not make Frank Bruni’s A list of possible Democratic presidential candidates, or even the B, C or D lists. Cory Booker is a get-things-done senator, a passionate Democrat who speaks truth to power. He was the strongest debater on the primary stage in 2020. He has serious policy proposals and credibility.I wonder if he is perceived as too progressive.John PinskerAuburn, Wash.To the Editor:My response to Frank Bruni is: We must elect our first woman president! It is an embarrassment for the United States that we have had only male leaders.There are many highly qualified women candidates, but in my opinion, the most qualified and electable candidate is Amy Klobuchar. The Democrats cannot afford to nominate a progressive like Elizabeth Warren, as she would alienate moderates and independents.Ms. Klobuchar is smart, well spoken and experienced, with a good sense of humor. In addition, she is a respected senator who has worked successfully with both parties.Amy Klobuchar is a winner!Ruth MenkenMount Kisco, N.Y.To the Editor:I would suggest that Representative Adam Schiff be added to the list. He should be close to the top. True, he is from California, white and male. But he has served as a major spokesman for committees involved with the Trump impeachments and the Jan. 6 attack on our Capitol.I find him an articulate and timely transmitter of important information on national TV, making it understandable for a broad cross-section of our population.Russ YoumansCorvallis, Ore.A Welcome Gay Marriage Bill, But …Justice Clarence Thomas suggested in his opinion in the ruling that overturned the 50-year-old Roe v. Wade decision that the court also “should reconsider” precedents such as the one that enshrined marriage equality in 2015. Yana Paskova/Getty ImagesTo the Editor:Re “Gay Marriage Clears Hurdle in Senate Vote” (front page, Nov. 17):Senator Marco Rubio is quoted as saying that he knows “plenty of gay people in Florida that are pissed off about gas prices.” To Senator Rubio I ask: Are gay people not capable of feeling upset about gas prices and being worried about their marriage rights at the same time? Does it have to be one or the other?You also report that Senator John Cornyn views the bill as an attempt to scare gay people into thinking that the Supreme Court decision protecting gay marriage is in jeopardy. “I don’t believe it is,” Senator Cornyn said. To Senator Cornyn I ask: Have you learned nothing from the last Supreme Court term?Michael TaubWallingford, Pa.To the Editor:This newly proposed legislation that would allow same-sex marriages in all states also allows any business to retain the right to deny “services, facilities or goods” for weddings if they so choose. State-licensed businesses such as bakers, photographers, facilities and florists could legally refuse our L.G.B.T.Q. business.This proposed law still conveys discrimination and will continue to marginalize L.G.B.T.Q. citizens, and teach future Americans that we are “less than.” Still separate and still unequal.We await our Brown v. Board of Education ruling to affirm that we are all truly equal, and that no orientation or identity is better than another.Kate O’HanlanPortola Valley, Calif.The writer, a gynecologic oncologist, is former president of the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association.To the Editor:So 12 out of 50 Republican senators — fewer than a quarter — support letting gay people enjoy the same marriage rights as everyone else.It could not be more clear: The Republican Party of 2022 is the party of cruelty.Bruce BurgerSeattleLet’s Keep Funding Covid VaccinesWhile government funding helped to protect pharmaceutical companies in 2020 from the downsides of spending heavily on tricky vaccine research, there are no such assurances in 2022.Jack Guez/Agence France-Presse — Getty ImagesTo the Editor:Re “U.S. Falls Behind on Covid Vaccines as Funds Dry Up” (front page, Nov. 20):The U.S. risks making precisely the same budgeting decisions for pandemic preparedness that left the country vulnerable to outbreaks in the past. Neglect, panic, repeat is no way to manage catastrophic risks, particularly for events that, like Covid-19, could cost millions of lives and trillions of dollars.Douglas CriscitelloVienna, Va.The writer was an official at the Office of Management and Budget and the Congressional Budget Office. More

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    Sarah Palin Loses as the Party She Helped Transform Moves Past Her

    The former Alaska governor, once the standard-bearer of the G.O.P.’s dog-whistling, no-apologies culture, was no match for the same forces she rode to national prominence.It is hard to overstate just how much of a jolt to the political system Sarah Palin delivered when she defeated her first fellow Republican 16 years ago.He was Frank Murkowski, the sitting governor of Alaska and a towering figure in the 49th state. She was a “hockey mom” and the former mayor of a small, working-class town who vowed to stick it to the “good ol’ boys.” That race put her on the map with the national Republican Party and set her on a path that would change her life, and the tenor of American politics for years to come.Then, Ms. Palin was at the vanguard of the dog-whistling, no-apologies political culture that former President Donald J. Trump now embodies.Today, having lost her bid for Congress after years out of the spotlight, Ms. Palin is a much diminished force.She was, in many ways, undone by the same political currents she rode to national prominence, first as Senator John McCain’s vice-presidential nominee in 2008 and later as a Tea Party luminary and Fox News star. Along the way, she helped redefine the outer limits of what a politician could say as she made dark insinuations about Barack Obama’s background and false claims about government “death panels” that could deny health care to seniors and people with disabilities.Now, a generation of Republican stars follows the template she helped create as a hybrid celebrity-politician who relished fighting with elements in her own party as much as fighting with Democrats — none more so than Mr. Trump, who watched her closely for years before deciding to run for president himself. He ensured this month that he would remain in the spotlight, announcing another bid for the White House in 2024.But as the next generation rose up, Ms. Palin’s brand of politics no longer seemed as novel or as outrageous. Next to Mr. Trump’s lies about a huge conspiracy to deny him a second term, or Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene’s casual allusions to political violence, Ms. Palin’s provocations more than a decade ago can seem almost quaint.The Aftermath of the 2022 Midterm ElectionsCard 1 of 6A moment of reflection. More

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    Why House Democrats Have Fallen in Line and Republicans Haven’t

    We spoke with Julie Hirschfeld Davis, the congressional editor at The Times, about the latest maneuvering and drama in Washington.In the expectations game that is American politics, losing is the new winning.Republicans are putting their would-be House speaker, Representative Kevin McCarthy of California, through a grueling series of public tests, with his ultimate fate uncertain. So far, at least five Republicans have said they will oppose McCarthy’s bid when it comes up for a vote of the full House in January. He needs 218 votes.By contrast, House Democrats have all but anointed their new leaders, a triumvirate of Representatives Hakeem Jeffries of New York, Katherine Clark of Massachusetts and Pete Aguilar of California.By the end of a process that took place largely in private, over the course of months, the three lawmakers quietly secured overwhelming support and boxed out possible rivals, like Representatives Adam Schiff of California and Pramila Jayapal of Washington. If the election or the leadership transition exposed any major ideological cracks in the Democratic firmament of the House, they are not evident yet.Speaker Nancy Pelosi stepped aside, as did her lieutenants, Steny Hoyer of Maryland and James Clyburn of South Carolina. Assuming all goes as planned, the average age of the Democrats’ House leadership trio will plummet from 82 to 51 years old.To unpack why Democrats have fallen in line while Republicans have not, I chatted with Julie Hirschfeld Davis, the congressional editor at The New York Times. Here is what she said:Democrats seem to have stage-managed their transition to new House leaders with as little drama as possible, while Republicans may be in for a rocky few weeks. What explains the difference?You have to look at how different the personalities and political situations of the two parties are right now.Republicans are coming off a historically disappointing midterm election that delivered them a very slim majority and only one chamber of Congress, so they are in finger-pointing and recrimination mode, and that always exacerbates divisions.The Aftermath of the 2022 Midterm ElectionsCard 1 of 6A moment of reflection. More

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    Herschel Walker, Running in Georgia, Receives Tax Break for Texas Residents

    Mr. Walker, Georgia’s Republican nominee for Senate, is benefiting from a homestead exemption meant for primary residents of Texas.ATLANTA — Herschel Walker, the Republican candidate for Senate in Georgia, is receiving a tax exemption on his Texas home that is meant for primary residents of the state, despite currently living and running for office in Georgia.Public tax records first reported by CNN show that this year Mr. Walker will receive a homestead tax exemption of roughly $1,500 for his home in the Dallas area, which he listed as his primary residence. He has received the tax relief for his home since 2012, according to an official in the tax appraisal office of Tarrant County, where Mr. Walker’s home is located.Under the Constitution, Senate candidates are required to reside in the state they will represent only once they are elected. In Georgia, candidates must meet a handful of stipulations to establish residency in the state before filing their bids for office. Mr. Walker’s tax exemption in Texas suggests that his primary residence remains outside Georgia.A spokesman for Mr. Walker’s campaign did not respond to a request for comment.According to the Texas comptroller, Mr. Walker’s use of the tax exemption while running in Georgia is legal. The comptroller’s website states that you may still receive the tax break after moving away from home temporarily, if “you do not establish a principal residence elsewhere, you intend to return to the home, and you are away less than two years.”Mr. Walker, who grew up in Georgia and was a phenom for the University of Georgia football team, has made his roots a centerpiece of his campaign. His decisive primary victory in May and support from Republican voters were driven in large part by his stardom in the state. He will face Senator Raphael Warnock, a Democrat, in a runoff election on Dec. 6, after neither candidate cleared the 50 percent threshold needed to win in Georgia on Nov. 8.This is not the first time Mr. Walker has faced questions about his residency. Before announcing his Senate campaign in 2021, Mr. Walker lived in Texas for more than two decades. He registered to vote in Georgia in August 2021, days before he declared his candidacy.Andra Gillespie, an associate professor of political science at Emory University, said that Mr. Walker’s tax exemption was unlikely to endanger his qualification for office or turn off the Republicans who supported him in the general election. But she added that in the final weeks of his runoff campaign against Mr. Warnock, the information could add more fodder to Democrats’ argument that Mr. Walker moved back to the state solely for his political career.“Herschel Walker was never making the claim that he was a recent resident of Georgia — he was a native-son candidate,” she said. “If the Democrats can mobilize some additional people based on these allegations, then they will use it that way.”Alyce McFadden More

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    Justice Dept. Seeking to Question Pence in Jan. 6 Investigation

    Prosecutors want to speak with the former vice president as a witness to former President Donald Trump’s efforts to remain in power, and he is said to be considering how to respond.The Justice Department is seeking to question former Vice President Mike Pence as a witness in connection with its criminal investigation into former President Donald J. Trump’s efforts to stay in power after he lost the 2020 election, according to two people familiar with the matter.Mr. Pence, according to people familiar with his thinking, is open to considering the request, recognizing that the Justice Department’s criminal investigation is different from the inquiry by the House Jan. 6 committee, whose overtures he has flatly rejected.Complicating the situation is whether Mr. Trump would try to invoke executive privilege to stop him or limit his testimony, a step that he has taken with limited success so far with other former officials.Mr. Pence was present for some of the critical moments in which Mr. Trump and his allies schemed to keep him in office and block the congressional certification of Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s victory. An agreement for him to cooperate would be the latest remarkable twist in an investigation that is already fraught with legal and political consequences, involving a former president who is now a declared candidate to return to the White House — and whose potential rivals for the 2024 Republican nomination include Mr. Pence.Thomas Windom, one of the lead investigators examining the efforts to overturn the election, reached out to Mr. Pence’s team in the weeks before Attorney General Merrick B. Garland appointed a special counsel on Friday to oversee the Jan. 6 investigation and a separate inquiry into Mr. Trump’s handling of classified documents, according to one of the people familiar with the matter. Mr. Garland has said that the appointment of the special counsel, Jack Smith, will not slow the investigation.Officials at the Justice Department declined to comment. A spokesman for Mr. Pence also declined to comment.The discussions about questioning Mr. Pence are said to be in their early stages. Mr. Pence has not been subpoenaed, and the process could take months, because Mr. Trump can seek to block, or slow, his testimony by trying to invoke executive privilege.Mr. Trump has cited executive privilege to try to stop other former top officials from talking with investigators. While those efforts have generally been unsuccessful in stopping testimony by the officials to a federal grand jury, they have significantly slowed the process.Mr. Trump’s efforts to slow or block testimony included asserting executive privilege over testimony from two of Mr. Pence’s top aides: his former chief of staff, Marc Short, and his general counsel, Greg Jacob. But both men returned for grand jury interviews after the Justice Department, in a closed-door court proceeding, fought the effort to apply executive privilege.Mr. Pence, who rebuffed Mr. Trump’s efforts to enlist him in the plan to block certification of the Electoral College results, has been publicly critical of Mr. Trump’s conduct in the run-up to the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol and on the day of the attack, when members of a pro-Trump mob were chanting “Hang Mike Pence.”Understand the Events on Jan. 6Timeline: On Jan. 6, 2021, 64 days after Election Day 2020, a mob of supporters of President Donald J. Trump raided the Capitol. Here is a close look at how the attack unfolded.A Day of Rage: Using thousands of videos and police radio communications, a Times investigation reconstructed in detail what happened — and why.Lost Lives: A bipartisan Senate report found that at least seven people died in connection with the attack.Jan. 6 Attendees: To many of those who attended the Trump rally but never breached the Capitol, that date wasn’t a dark day for the nation. It was a new start.During an appearance in New Hampshire in August, Mr. Pence indicated he was open to appearing before the House Jan. 6 committee, which had been pushing to have him tell his story, but he offered a caveat.“If there was an invitation to participate, I’d consider it,” Mr. Pence said at the time. But he added that he was concerned that speaking to a congressional committee would violate the doctrine of separation of powers between the executive and legislative branches. “But as I said, I don’t want to prejudge. If ever any formal invitation” came, he said, “we’d give it due consideration.”However, in interviews for the release of his new book, “So Help Me God,” Mr. Pence has been more emphatic in his opposition to providing testimony to the House committee, asserting that “Congress has no right to my testimony” about what he witnessed.“There’s profound separation-of-powers issues,” Mr. Pence told The New York Times in an interview. “And it would be a terrible precedent.”But Mr. Pence, according to people familiar with his thinking, sees the Justice Department inquiry differently given that it is a criminal investigation. His testimony could be compelled by subpoena, though none has been issued.The former vice president is being represented by Emmet Flood, a veteran Washington-based lawyer who served as the lead Trump White House lawyer dealing with the investigation by Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel, into possible conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia in 2016.Mr. Flood is representing several other top White House officials who find themselves as witnesses in the range of congressional and Justice Department investigations into Mr. Trump, including Mr. Short.An increasing number of high-ranking officials in Mr. Trump’s administration have received grand jury subpoenas as part of the Justice Department’s inquiry into a wide array of efforts to overturn the election, including a plan to create fake slates of pro-Trump electors in key swing states that were won by Mr. Biden.The wide-ranging subpoenas sought information on a host of subjects that included the fake elector plan, attempts to paint the election as having been marred by fraud and the inner workings of Mr. Trump’s main postelection fund-raising vehicle, the Save America PAC.The effort to seek an interview with Mr. Pence puts both the department and the former vice president in uncharted territory.Mr. Pence is considering a campaign for president in 2024, in a race that Mr. Trump has already announced his candidacy for. And Mr. Biden’s Justice Department is seeking to use Mr. Pence as a potential witness against Mr. Trump; either could end up as rivals to Mr. Biden should he run again, which he has indicated is likely.Mr. Pence has written in detail in his book about Mr. Trump’s efforts to stay in power and the pressure campaign he imposed on his vice president beginning in December 2020.Among other interactions he describes, Mr. Pence details how Mr. Trump summoned him to the Oval Office on Jan. 4 to meet with a conservative lawyer named John Eastman, who repeatedly argued that Mr. Pence could exceed the ceremonial duties of overseeing the Electoral College certification by Congress. Mr. Eastman was promoting the notion that Mr. Pence had the power to set aside the results from states where Mr. Trump was still trying to challenge the outcome.Mr. Pence writes about telling Mr. Trump that he did not have such authority. In an interview with The Times in connection with the book, Mr. Pence was forceful, saying that he was blunt with Mr. Trump that he could not do what he wanted.“In the weeks before Jan. 6, I repeatedly told the president that I did not have the authority to reject or return electoral votes,” Mr. Pence said in the interview. “It was clear he was getting different legal advice from an outside group of lawyers that, frankly, should have never been let in the building.”In that period of time, Mr. Trump began to publicly pressure Mr. Pence, as well as officials in Georgia, to go along with his efforts to remain in office. At the same time, Mr. Trump began using his Twitter account to try to draw a crowd to Washington for a “protest” at the Ellipse near the White House on Jan. 6, the day of the congressional certification.The Times has previously reported that Mr. Pence’s chief of staff, Mr. Short, called Mr. Pence’s lead Secret Service agent, Tim Giebels, to his West Wing office on Jan. 5, 2021. When Mr. Giebels arrived at Mr. Short’s office, the chief of staff said that the president was going to turn on the vice president, and that they would have a security risk because of it, a conversation that Mr. Short described to the House select committee. The committee released a video snippet of Mr. Short discussing it at one of its public hearings this year.Mr. Trump addressed the crowd at the Ellipse at midday on Jan. 6 and again pressured Mr. Pence, whom he had called a few hours earlier in a further effort to persuade him to go along with the last-ditch plan to block the certification.In his address at the Ellipse, Mr. Trump said: “You’re never going to take back our country with weakness. You have to show strength and you have to be strong.”He went on: “So I hope Mike has the courage to do what he has to do. And I hope he doesn’t listen to the RINOs and the stupid people that he’s listening to.”A short time later, Mr. Trump’s supporters marched to the Capitol, where Mr. Pence was. Hundreds of them stormed the building, smashing windows and barreling through doors, forcing Mr. Pence, his wife and his daughter to flee his office in the Capitol and take refuge on a loading dock underground. He stayed there, working to get the situation under control as Mr. Trump watched the coverage of the riot on television at the White House.Mr. Pence wrote about the experience in his book, and has since described his anger that Mr. Trump was “reckless” and “endangered” Mr. Pence and his family.Despite Mr. Pence being a witness to a range of Mr. Trump’s actions in office, an interview of the former vice president would be the first time that he has been questioned in a federal investigation of Mr. Trump.Mr. Pence was in the room for many of the key events examined by Mr. Mueller in the obstruction investigation, but Mr. Pence’s lawyer at the time managed to get him out of having to testify.The lawyer, Richard Cullen, met with Mr. Mueller and his team, telling them that Mr. Pence believed Mr. Trump had not obstructed justice and what he would say if questioned.Mr. Mueller’s team never followed up to question Mr. Pence, and he was never cited as a witness against Mr. Trump in Mr. Mueller’s final report.Glenn Thrush More