ABC News Race Ratings Show Tight Race for Control of US Senate

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- With several vulnerable Republican seats up for grabs in the U.S. Senate in the 2016 election, the two major parties are locked in a tight battle for control of Congress’ upper chamber this November.

ABC News ratings show control of the Senate will be a close contest in November: Republicans will likely finish with at lease 49 seats and Democrats, likely 47 seats -- with the four remaining seats rated as pure toss-ups that could go either direction.

Many of the seats the GOP won during the 2010 Tea Party wave are now up for re-election, so holding onto its 54-seat Republican majority was always going to be a tall order for the GOP.

But with competitive seats in battleground states like Florida and Ohio leaning red and seats in states like Pennsylvania and New Hampshire remaining tight, control of the chamber is very much in question headed into the final weeks of the campaign.

Only one-third of the seats in the Senate come up for election every two years, so 30 Republican seats and 36 Democratic seats are safe from re-election in 2016.

ABC News

Fourteen seats are rated Solid Republican vs. nine seats that are Solid Democratic. Another five seats are Lean Republican, two seats are Lean Democratic and four are pure toss-ups.

Solid Republican
Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah.

Leans Republican
Arizona, Florida, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio.

Indiana, Nevada, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania.

Leans Democratic Illinois, Wisconsin.

Solid Democratic California, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maryland, New York, Oregon, Vermont, Washington.

U.S. House of Representatives

The race for control of the House of Representatives is less competitive as Republicans currently hold a 30-seat advantage, 246-186 with three vacancies, likely enough to hold onto the chamber into 2017 and shape legislative action regardless of the fate of the U.S. Senate or the White House.

ABC News gives an advantage to Democrats in seven seats currently held by Republicans and rates 16 additional races as a tossup. Even if Democrats were to sweep those races and protect the one Democratic seat that is rated as turning red, the party would still trail the GOP by seven seats.

ABC News

206 seats are rated Solid Republican vs. 178 seats that are Solid Democratic. Another 22 seats are Lean Republican, 13 seats are Lean Democratic and 16 are pure toss-ups.

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Trump Repeats Call for Supporters to Watch Polling Places, Asks Obama Not to Pardon Clinton

ABC/ Ida Mae Astute(NOVI, Mich.) -- Donald Trump repeated his call Friday night for his supporters to not just vote for him on Election Day, but to watch out for any efforts to rig the results on November 8.

At the same time, Trump also issued a demand to President Obama that should Hillary Clinton ever face criminal charges under his watch, not to pardon the Democratic nominee.

"And here’s a demand I’m making today to President Obama," Trump told the crowd in Novi, Michigan. "Mr. President, will you pledge not to issue a pardon to Hillary Clinton and her co-conspirators for her many crimes against our country and against society itself.

"Will you make that pledge? No one is above the law," Trump said Friday night.

Over the summer, the FBI recommended no criminal charges for the former secretary of state and the Justice Department said it would not move forward with any case at this time.

Towards the end of his remarks, Trump also repeated his demand to watch out for rigging at voting booths.

"Make sure everything is on the up and up," the Republican nominee said. "So go to your place and vote. And go pick some other place and go sit there with your friends and make sure it’s on the up and up. Because you know what, that’s a big, big problem in this country and nobody wants to talk about it."

Earlier in the day, the Commission on Presidential Debates issued a statement admitting there had been some audio issues Monday night that affect the volume of Trump's microphone inside the debate hall at Hofstra University during the first Presidential Debate.

"It was just announced by the commission that holds the debate that Donald Trump’s microphone was defective as I’ve been saying," said Trump. "I mean, working that microphone was a hell of a lot more difficult than working crooked Hillary Clinton, that I can tell you."

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Clinton Describes Trump's Latest Twitter 'Meltdown' as 'Unhinged' SPRINGS, Fla.) -- After Donald Trump doubled down on his attacks on former Miss Universe Alicia Machado with a series of tweets earlier Friday, Hillary Clinton slammed the Republican nominee for finding "it a lot easier to insult women than to talk to the president of Mexico about building a wall."

"Who gets up at 3 o'clock in the morning to engage in a Twitter attack against a former Miss Universe. I mean, he hurled as many insults as he could. Really? Why does he do things like that?" Clinton asked the crowd of 2,300 in Coral Springs, Florida.

She continued, "I mean, his latest Twitter meltdown is unhinged, even for him. It proves, yet again, that he is temperamentally unfit to be president and commander in chief."

Machado, who won the Miss Universe title in 1996, was mentioned toward the end of Monday's presidential debate when Clinton claimed Trump had called the beauty queen "Miss Piggy" and "Miss Housekeeping."

Clinton called Machado Friday to thank her for what she's done for the Clinton campaign and for the courage she's shown after being thrust into the 2016 race, according to Clinton's spokesman Nick Merrill.

Machado told the Democratic nominee that she's supported her for a long time and is looking forward to voting for Clinton in November, the first time Machado will have the opportunity to participate in a U.S. election, Merrill said. Machado, 39, is a naturalized U.S. citizen.

Merrill said the two did not specifically touch on Trump's controversial tweets.

Machado also posted a lengthy response to Trump's tweets on her Instagram account next to a picture of her wrapped in the U.S. flag.

"The Republican candidate and his campaign team are again generating attacks, insults, and attempting to revive defamations and false accusations about my life,” she wrote in Spanish. “All this with the goal of intimidating me, humiliating me and throwing me off once more. The attacks that have come up are slanderous and cheap lies with bad intentions, that have no foundation.”

“Thus, I will keep standing, sharing my story, my absolute support in the name of woman going to Secretary Clinton, for my sisters, aunts, grandmothers, female cousins, female friends and the female community," she wrote.

On Tuesday morning, hours after leaving the debate stage at Hofstra University, Trump called into Fox and Friends and talked about how Miss Universe pageant organizers "had a tremendously difficult time with" Machado.

"She was the winner, and, you know, she gained a massive amount of weight, and it was a real problem,” Trump said. “We had a real problem. Not only that, her attitude, and we had a real problem with her.”

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Debate Commission Says There Were 'Issues' with Trump's Audio

JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The Commission on Presidential Debates admitted Friday that Republican nominee Donald Trump's audio was not working properly during Monday's night debate at Hofstra University.

"Regarding the first debate, there were issues regarding Donald Trump's audio that affected the sound level in the debate hall," according to a statement from the commission.

Janet Brown, executive director of the CPD, told ABC News that the audio issue did not impact the broadcast. The specific issues affecting Trump's audio were not clear.

The CPD said it will not replace the microphones in the remaining two presidential debates or the upcoming vice presidential debate, which will be held next Tuesday in Virginia.

Trump has openly complained about his faulty mic following the presidential debate.

"No sniffles. No. You know, the mic was very bad, but maybe it was good enough to hear breathing, but there was no sniffles. I don’t have -- I have no allergy," Trump said Tuesday morning on Fox News.

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Trump's Early AM Twitter Tirade Against Alicia Machado Highlights Dislike for Sleep

JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Donald Trump's early morning Twitter tirade about former Miss Universe Alicia Machado highlighted the real estate mogul's penchant for social media and distaste for sleep.

Trump posted a tweet at 3:20 a.m. Friday and then another at 5:14 a.m., again five minutes later, at 5:30 a.m. and then straight through the morning.

Clinton took aim at his early-morning Twitter rant, posting her own message later in the morning: "What kind of man stays up all night to smear a woman with lies and conspiracy theories?"

In one of the tweets, Trump called Machado, who he referred to as "Alicia M," disgusting. Machado has said Trump repeatedly called her "Miss Piggy" among other insults and Clinton invoked her name and story at the first debate.

Trump is not shy about his sleeping habits, and defended them in a subsequent tweet Friday afternoon:

He has repeatedly said that he only sleeps about four or five hours a night, and has spun it as an advantage.

At a rally in Springfield, Illinois, in Nov. 2015, it came up when he was talking about how he doesn't "like being ripped off."

"We’re being ripped off and I wouldn’t sleep, you know I’m not a big sleeper, like three hours, four hours, I toss and turn, I think, I wanna find out what’s going on," he said.

In an interview with CNN during the campaign, he said it was a sign of his happiness, saying that he only sleeps for four or five hours "because I love life.

"I love doing this. I love doing my business. I love life! If you don't love life you probably -- I have friends, they sleep 12 hours a day but they're all unhappy people," he told CNN.

His lack of sleep goes well past his presidential campaign, however.

He even listed it as one of the 10 ways he urged readers to "Think Like a Billionaire" in his 2004 book of the same title.

"Don't sleep any more than you have to," he wrote as rule number three. "I usually sleep about four hours per night. I'm in bed by 1 a.m. and up to read the newspapers at 5 a.m. That's all I need, and it give me a competitive edge. I have friends who are successful and sleep ten hours a night, and I ask them, 'How can you compete against people like me if I sleep only four hours?' It rarely can be done. No matter how brilliant you are, there's not enough time in the day."

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Hillary Clinton Leads Donald Trump in ABC News' Electoral Ratings

ABC/Ida Mae Astute(WASHINGTON) -- Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton appears to be maintaining a decided advantage in the Electoral College this November, strengthening her grip around states tipping her way while forcing Republican nominee Donald Trump to defend a handful of typical GOP strongholds.

But a narrow path still exists for Trump. Toss-ups in Florida, New Hampshire, North Carolina and Ohio -- as well as optimism that states like Pennsylvania, Virginia and Colorado might tip back into play -- leave supporters hopeful.

So ABC News dug through states’ voting history, demographic shifts and head-to-head polling to develop these electoral ratings. ABC News puts Clinton at 272 electoral votes and Trump at 197, when including both solid and leaning states, which would give Clinton enough states right now in the solid and lean blue columns to hand her the White House. Sixty-nine electoral votes are in toss-up states.

Still, this election cycle has shown that this race can be unpredictable, and Trump has vowed to shake up the traditional map and put several blue states in play. A candidate needs 270 electoral votes to win the White House.

Solid Democratic

Despite Trump’s hopes of putting New York’s 29 electoral votes in play this election, the Empire State would be expected to pull for Clinton, along with other reliably liberal-leaning swaths of the mid-Atlantic. Most of the rest of the historically liberal Northeast would likely remain solidly Democratic in November. In the Midwest, Minnesota and Illinois would likely deliver Clinton a combined 30 electoral votes.

California, which boasts the largest share of electoral votes, at 55, has not voted Republican since George H.W. Bush in 1988. Recent polling there shows Clinton leading Trump by double digits, keeping the Golden State safely in the Democratic column, along with Oregon and Washington. New Mexico is predicted to vote Democratic for the third consecutive presidential election.

Leaning Democratic

Seven more states across the Mountain West and Rust Belt would give Clinton another 75 electoral votes, but Trump is hopeful that he could pick off at least of one them. Colorado voted for Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012, and growing Hispanic populations in both states may keep these states in the blue column for good.

Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania are usually reliably Democratic states, but Trump’s popularity among working-class whites may put these states in play. A win would be an upset for Trump: Democrats have won every presidential race in Michigan and Pennsylvania since 1992 and Wisconsin since 1988.

Virginia, home to Democratic vice-presidential pick Tim Kaine, is also expected to tip toward Clinton, having voted for Obama in 2008 and 2012. New Hampshire polling also shows a Hillary Clinton advantage there. And polling in Maine, another classic Democratic state, has shown the state's at-large electoral votes could be up for grabs.


Four toss-up states, worth 69 electoral votes, could tip the election Clinton’s way, as Trump would likely need to win nearly all those states in order to reach the White House. Ohio will be one of the key states to watch: The Buckeye State has voted for the winner of the White House every year since 1960.

Other toss-up states this year include large electoral vote prizes like Florida and North Carolina, both of which were decided by just a few percentage points in the 2012 election. Nevada could also go either way in this year’s presidential race, as could Maine's second Congressional District -- a rural area that could hand Trump a single electoral vote.

Leaning Republican

Georgia has voted for the Republican nominee in seven of the last eight presidential elections, but white voters are quickly making up a smaller proportion of active registered voters in the state. White voters made up 68 percent of registered voters in 2004, but they now make up only 58 percent of registered voters, according to data from the Pew Research Center.

Arizona, which has gone red in nine of the last 10 presidential elections, may be moving to the middle. Polling in Iowa also shows Trump with a slight advantage there, mostly thanks to an overwhelmingly white electorate. Nebraska's Second Congressional district, which Obama won in 2008, is also showing signs it could tip Hillary Clinton's way in 2016.

Solid Republican

The bulk of Trump’s electoral votes would likely come from historically Republican portions of the Great Plains, West and Midwest, as well as the Bible Belt, which stretches from South Carolina to Texas and boasts large numbers of evangelical Christian and social conservative voters.

West Virginia, which has seen unemployment levels rise under Obama, is expected to vote Republican for the fifth presidential election in a row, as is Alaska, which has not voted for a Democrat since Lyndon Johnson in 1964.

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Clinton Touts National Service Agenda While Taking a Few Shots at Trump

Barbara Kinney for Hillary for America(FORT PIERCE, Fla.) -- Hillary Clinton on Thursday touted her plans to increase national service as president, while taking shots at her opponent Donald Trump, who, she said, in contrast thinks only of himself.

“You may have noticed that my opponent and I have different views about, well, nearly everything,” the Democratic nominee said during her speech on national service at the Sunrise Theatre in Fort Pierce, Florida. “And not just about what makes America great and what we should do to make it even greater, but also about that basic question of how progress happens at all.”

Clinton accused Trump of believing in a “strongman approach” to governing and knocked him for saying, “I alone can fix it” during his remarks at the Republican National Convention.

“'I alone,'” Clinton said. “Well, we've learned that that’s his way: One person getting supreme power and exercising it ruthlessly.”

“That’s why he admires dictators like Vladimir Putin so much,” she added, referring to Trump’s praise of Russia’s president.

Clinton then announced parts of her national service plan, which would include tripling the number of young people in AmeriCorps from 75,000 annually to 250,000 and doubling the size of participants' college scholarships. She would increase the size of the Peace Corps as well.

Clinton also announced plans for a new “National Service Reserve” that would allow people to serve their communities without a full-time commitment.

“Here’s the idea,” the candidate explained. “If you join the reserve, you’ll receive some basic training. And when your city or state needs you, you’ll get the call.”

Clinton said her goal is for five million people, particularly those under age 30, in all 50 states to participate in national service. She didn't say how she would pay for any of these plans.

Clinton’s speech is her fourth in a “Stronger Together” series focusing more on issues and less on her opponent. Other topics she's addressed in this series include disabilities, faith and the economy.

On Friday, however, Clinton didn’t hold back from taking shots at Trump.

“Now, I don't think you'll hear any of this from my opponent,” she said. “And you know what? That’s a shame because national service has always been a bipartisan goal. Yes, President Kennedy started the Peace Corps, and my husband started AmeriCorps, but President Nixon signed the Domestic Volunteer Service Act, President George H.W. Bush created the White House Office of National Service, and both President George W. Bush and President Obama have been huge champions of service.”

“This is something we should all be able to get behind," Clinton said. "And in times like these, when it can seem so hard to find any common ground, it’s even more important that we come together wherever we can."

Clinton got a warm reception, with those in the audience giving their loudest applause when the candidate asked if they watched the presidential debate Monday and at the end when she called for Americans to join together and roll up their sleeves to serve. She also got a standing ovation at the end of her remarks when she seemed to lose her voice for a moment.

Meanwhile, in a sign of how close the race is in Florida, Clinton’s motorcade pulled in back of the theater just as a group of Trump supporters gathered in front to protest the Democratic candidate.

“Lock Her Up!” they chanted. “Lock Her Up!”

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Donald Trump Doubles Down on Attacks Against Beauty Queen

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Donald Trump has doubled down on his attacks on a former Miss Universe in a stream of early-morning tweets.

Trump's verbal barbs directed at Alicia Machado, who won the Miss Universe title in 1996, started after the first presidential debate Monday when Hillary Clinton mentioned her and claimed that Trump used to call her "Miss Piggy" and "Miss Housekeeping."

Rather than back away from the accusations, Trump has repeatedly defended his criticisms of the woman and her weight.

His latest came online Friday morning:

He posted a third tweet in which he makes reference to her past, but doesn't mention specific allegations.

The Twitter tirade wasn't the first round of shots he has fired this week at Machado, 39, a naturalized U.S. citizen who won Miss Universe two decades ago representing Venezuela.

On Tuesday morning, hours after leaving the debate stage at Hofstra University, Trump called into Fox and Friends and talked about how the pageant organizers "had a tremendously difficult time with" Machado.

"She was the winner, and, you know, she gained a massive amount of weight, and it was a real problem,” Trump said. “We had a real problem. Not only that, her attitude, and we had a real problem with her.”

Machado has been speaking out since the debate, defending Clinton's accusations against Trump.

"He was really aggressive,” Machado said of Trump on CNN Tuesday. “He was really rude. He was a bad person with me. And that is the story that I need to share.”

She added that there are less-than-stellar moments in her personal history, and did not deny the allegation when CNN’s Anderson Cooper asked her about media reports that she drove a getaway car during an attempted murder allegedly committed by her then-boyfriend.

"You know, I have my past. Of course, everybody has. Everybody has a past,” she said. “And I'm not a saint girl. But that is not the point now.”

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Trump Foundation Lacks Certification to Operate as Charity: Source

ABC News(NEW YORK) — The Trump Foundation, which is under investigation by the New York Attorney General's office, never obtained the necessary certification to solicit money from the public during its nearly 30-year existence, an investigation by the state's attorney general's office has found, a source briefed on the investigation tells ABC News.

New York State law requires any charity that solicits more than $25,000 a year from the public to obtain a specific kind of certification.

The allegation about the Donald J. Trump Foundation's lack of certification, first reported by the Washington Post, comes about two weeks after New York State attorney general Eric Schneiderman — a Hillary Clinton supporter — announced he had opened a broad inquiry into the foundation.

The Trump campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment and the AG's office declined comment.

In a statement released when the inquiry was announced earlier this month, Trump campaign Jason Miller blasted Schneiderman.

"Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is a partisan hack who has turned a blind eye to the Clinton Foundation for years and has endorsed Hillary Clinton for President," he said. This is nothing more than another left-wing hit job designed to distract from Crooked Hillary Clinton’s disastrous week."

Tax forms for the foundation list Trump as its president and Allen Weisselberg, the CFO of the Trump Organization, as the treasurer. As of 2006, Trump's three eldest children — Donald Trump Jr., Ivanka Trump and Eric Trump — have been listed as directors of the charity.

The broad inquiry into the foundation focused on a $25,000 donation the organization gave to a group supporting Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi. The donation drew scrutiny because Bondi's office declined to join a lawsuit against Trump's now-shuttered Trump University.

Both Trump and Bondi have denied the allegations or any impropriety. But Trump did pay a $2,500 fine to the IRS because charities are not allowed to give to political causes. Trump also reimbursed the foundation $25,000

As ABC News previously reported, the foundation's financial forms for 2001 through 2014 are currently available.

The biggest contributor from 2011 to 2014 was Richard Ebers, a man associated with an event-ticketing company, Inside Sports and Entertainment, according to the 990 forms.

Ebers donated more than $1.8 million to the foundation from 2011 to 2014, and he was the largest contributor each of those years.

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Joe Biden: Donald Trump's Comments About Avoiding Paying Taxes 'Anger Me, Quite Frankly'

Andrew Lipovsky/NBC(NEW YORK) — Joe Biden is still dumbfounded by Donald Trump's performance at this week's presidential debate.

During his first-ever appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon Thursday night, Fallon asked the vice president if he watched Monday's debate between Trump and Democratic rival Hillary Clinton.

Biden, who is Catholic, responded by crossing himself, and saying in jest, "Bless me, Father, for I'm about to sin."

Biden continued of the debate, "I've never seen anything quite like that. I haven't."

Fallon asked Biden, "Have you ever seen that [much] fact-checking? It seemed like fact-checking was a big thing."

Biden shot back, "I'll tell you what. I've never seen anybody who knew as few facts ... It's not a joke ... It's like whoa."

Added Biden: "You know what surprised me? I'll be serious for just a second. What amazes me about Donald Trump — and he's probably a decent guy — is his lack of sensibilities ... I mean, the way he talks ... 'I paid no taxes, that makes me smart.' What does that make us? Suckers?"

A puzzled Biden continued, "Can you think of a president ... who would say anything like that. Name one. It angers me quite frankly. The American people don't like being played for suckers."

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