6 Actually Interesting Things You Missed in Thursday’s Midterm Races

Photo: Corbis

Here’s a weird fact about America in 2014: While many people aren’t following the midterm elections because they seem too long and dull, a sizable portion of the electorate is willing to read a seven-book series to find out who’ll wind up on the Iron Throne of Westeros.

HBO has yet to make a nudity-filled TV adaptation of the current election, but you can get up to speed with Intelligencer’s daily campaign recap. In this edition, Lena Dunham implores her girl army to vote, we learn you can still get a newspaper endorsement after threatening to break a reporter in half, and Scott Brown is accused of not knowing New Hampshire geography. This is what he gets for not flipping back to consult the map.

Girl’s Gotta Vote
Two years after she described losing her voting virginity to Barack Obama, Lena Dunham has made another political ad that’s considerably less controversial (though, you know, it’s Lena Dunham — some people aren’t taking it well). “I used to think that all that mattered was that you, you know, vote for Obama, then go back to eating Cheetos and reading gossip magazines,” the Girls creator jokes in the video posted by Glamour magazine. “But the fact is, the midterm elections matter.” Dunham goes on to urge young women to vote, saying, “When you show up to the polls, you empower yourself, you empower the women you love, and you take control of your own body back from politicians who don’t want the best for you.”

Baby’s First Political Ad
The wife of Representative Dan Maffei, a Democrat from upstate New York, works in D.C. and recently gave birth to their first child in a Washington hospital. When Republican John Katko cited this as evidence that Maffei is out of touch with New Yorkers, the congressman said his family is “out of bounds” — then featured them in a campaign ad to drive the point home.

Brown gave a vague answer, describing economic differences across the state and referencing “our ski areas and trails for snowmobiles,” which are mostly in the northern part of the state. Pindell interrupted twice, disputing where the county is relative to Concord, and saying, “We’re talking about Sullivan County and I think you were talking about the North Country.”

The exchange gave the impression that Brown didn’t know where Sullivan County was, which is particularly bad since there are only ten counties in the state. However, Pindell apologized after the debate upon learning that Brown was right, sort of. Sullivan County is both north and west of Concord, and Mount Sunapee is partially located there (though the ski area is in Merrimack County).

Scott Brown, Reporter Get New Hampshire Geography Lesson
Former Massachusetts senator Scott Brown’s alleged carpetbagging was highlighted again in the final debate of the Senate race in New Hampshire. The moderator, WMUR reporter James Pindell, asked Brown and Jeanne Shaheen, who both live on the state’s east coast, to discuss problems facing Sullivan County, which is on the state’s western border.

Marked Man
In an ad for Ginny Deerin, the Democrat trying to pull of an upset in the race for secretary of state in South Carolina, Jenny Sanford, the state’s former first lady, complains that she was “scammed” by Mark and has realized that he’s a “big waster.” The twist: She’s referring to Republican Mark Hammond, not her Appalachian Trail–hiking ex-husband, U.S. Representative Mark Sanford.

If It’s Tuesday, This Must Be Thom Tillis
If you’re the child of a big-name politician, now is the time to confess your misdeeds and ask for cash because they barely know where they are right now. After days of constant campaigning, Senator Elizabeth Warren has mixed up Vermont and New Hampshire, Michelle Obama has called Representative Bruce Braley “Bruce Bailey,” and now Mitt Romney has flubbed the position of North Carolina’s Republican Senate nominee. While introducing Thom Tillis on Wednesday, Romney described him as “a man who as secretary of state has demonstrated what he can do to make things happen for the people of this great state.” Tillis is actually the state House speaker.

Grimm Choices
Speaking of Tillis, he lost the Charlotte Observer’s endorsement to Senator Kay Hagan — though the paper isn’t particularly fond of the Democratic incumbent. While the paper recommends that voters “give her another chance,” it says of Hagan:

She has done about the minimum you’d expect from a U.S. senator, with few if any notable legislative achievements. She has a chronic reluctance to take firm positions on controversial issues, leaving voters wondering what she believes in and will act upon.

The same is true of the Staten Island Advance’s endorsement of Michael Grimm, the Republican incumbent facing a 20-count federal indictment. The paper notes that the choice before Staten Islanders is terrible, but says they should go with Grimm over Domenic Recchia, “a career Brooklyn Democratic pol” who “knows little about” the borough of Staten Island.

The Advance concludes that while Grimm’s indictment, “has been a black mark on this borough and has made it the laughingstock of the nation,” Recchia’s “astonishing incoherence in public statements only adds to the ridiculousness.”

6 Things You Missed in Thursday’s Midterm Races