Seeing Red in Virginia

H/T DRGO.us.

 

Ed: Dr. Petrocelli plans to write Virginia state legislators along these lines about the perversions inherent in Red Flag laws. This is a good example of necessary citizen involvement with otherwise clueless and self-absorbed government representatives.]

I am writing to you to ask that you consider the following information before taking action on any so-called “Red Flag law.”

No one wants “dangerous” people armed. I have worked as a forensic psychiatrist in maximum security forensic psychiatric hospitals and prison special housing units, and am well aware of the harm persons with or without mental illness can do with guns. As I’ve written before, the aspirational goal of violence risk assessment—to identify persons who are likely to act violently—is laudable.  Red Flag laws are offered to intervene with such individuals who cannot be identified through either the criminal justice system or the mental health system.

In the abstract, this makes sense: there must be persons who are dangerous but not mentally ill and have not yet committed a crime. Without these laws, they could fall through the cracks and commit atrocities.  Those of us who oppose these laws realize that this abstraction doesn’t play out so neatly in reality, and are accused that our opposition means we want to arm dangerous persons.

The most solid argument against the red flag laws lies in the fact that there is no widely accepted, scientifically validated procedure to make such a determination. Don’t take my word for it—instead, take it from anti-gun David Rosmarin, MD, in his presentation to the Massachusetts Medical Society (emphasis added):

“While the base rate for violence may be 20% for forensic populations, the 6-month incidence of violence in even urban populations is closer to 6%. This yields a positive predictive value of .14, which results in a false positive rate of nearly 90%.

“Even a test with an impossible 0.9 accuracy for both true positives and true negatives will be wrong more than nine times out of ten at a base rate of 1% for severe violence.  Even with a 5-10% (hypothetically high)base rate of violence, the clinician who always predicts “no violence” will be more accurate than the clinician who identifies 20% as ‘violent’.”

We simply do not have methods of accurately assessing peoples’ risk of violence.  This gets worse when trying to predict rare events, for example, mass atrocities. In fact, our methods are so poor for uncommon events that our predictions would be wrong more than nine out of ten times.  This fits with the rest of the literature, which indicated that guns have to be removed from ten to twenty people to prevent one gun related suicide, notwithstanding the fact that once the guns are removed, suicidal people find other ways: “Connecticut’s estimated reduction in firearm suicides was offset by increased non-firearm suicides.”

Although there is great debate over how to approach risk assessment, it is generally agreed that the evaluator ought to use some structured method:

“Over the last two decades a number of actuarial formulas have been developed to predict various types of risk. Some have been the subject of extensive research and active debate in the field. Respected researchers have opined that risk assessment should be totally based on actuarial formulas, and asserted that such a procedure is superior to any clinical judgment (Quinsey et al., 1998). Others have decried reliance on these methods, saying that the day will never come when clinical judgment can be replaced by statistical calculations (Litwack, 2000). Still others have suggested that an integration of the two approaches may produce the most valuable results (Hanson, 1998).”

What do red flag laws offer in this regard?  Virginia’s Senate bill offers nothing of the sort.  Instead, it merely requires the court to entertain evidence of risk:

“In determining whether clear and convincing evidence for the issuance of an order exists, the judge shall consider any relevant evidence including any recent act of violence, force, or threat as defined in § 19.2-152.7:1 by such person directed toward another person or toward himself.”

There is no guidance as to how to reason about that evidence, or whether that evidence is outweighed by protective factors that mitigate the risk of violence-protective factors do not even have to be considered at all.  The irony of all of this is that the law requires the court to make a determination that, if offered as testimony by an expert, would fail to meet the requirements of admissibility, because the finding would not be based on any method commonly used by experts in the field. Nor would its reliability (or error rate) be known.  This is probably why New Jersey eliminated the rules of evidence for its red flag hearings.

Having established that risk assessment isn’t up to the challenge presented by red flag laws, these proceedings are an affront to the concept that underlies procedural due process:  fundamental fairness.  Fundamental fairness has been defined as the “most comprehensive protection of liberties,” and “the trenchant commitment to fair play and civilized decency in the relations between the state and the individual.”  How can there be “fair play” and “decency” towards red flag respondents when the arbiters of the fate of their inalienable rights have no scientifically valid procedure to apply to the evidence presented to them?

The Virginia Senate falsely compares its oppressive Red Flag law with Virginia’s civil commitment statutes because both begin with ex parte actions—so red flag laws’ must be constitutional. This is absurd, because what civil commitment lacks in front-end procedural due process it makes up for with fundamental fairness and decency.

Virginia’s mental health commitment scheme has three parts. The first, the Emergency Commitment Order, is issued ex parte, and orders law enforcement to bring a person to a place of evaluation for a short period of time. The subject is evaluated by a mental health professional authorized by the Commonwealth to perform assessments to determine whether or not the person is mentally ill and if so, on that basis, a danger to themselves or others.

Only then can the person be brought to a psychiatric hospital under a Temporary Detention Order (up to 72 hours). During that time the hospital staff evaluate whether or not the respondent needs commitment for treatment, can sign in voluntarily or should be released.

A full hearing, with counsel provided, is held before a Judge or Special Justice to determine whether or not the respondent should be committed for up to 180 days if that was recommended.  In summary, although civil commitment begins ex parte, two professional evaluations are done and a formal judicial hearing with the subject present with representation is required if further commitment is recommended.

Red Flag laws so far provide none of this. They require no expert evaluation before property is confiscated:  police arrive, announcing they have come to remove the respondent’s guns, and need not provide any additional information. This triggers notification to the NICS database that the respondent is now a prohibited person. Red flag laws do not permit the respondent to voluntarily and privately relinquish their guns once confronted. Instead, after two weeks of the seizure of their firearms and without mandatory counsel, a hearing is held to determine whether the guns should be returned or held for an additional 180 days.

Perhaps the greatest distinction between red flag laws and civil commitment is that civil commitment provides treatment under the doctrine of parens patriae—the State as parent to those who are in need of protection or care. The deprivation of rights that accompanies civil commitment is balanced against the need for that deprivation along with the treatment available to remediate the condition that led to the action in the first place.

Red Flag laws provide the respondent nothing: not counsel, not professional examination, and no intervention intended to restore the rights taken from them.  The importance of this divergence cannot be overstated. The courts have consistently held that intended purpose of civil commitment laws—provision of treatment—balances any up-front procedural deficiencies:

“The judicial approval of involuntary commitment rests upon the assumption that the state is pursuing beneficent purposes for the general society and for the person committed.”

Grafting procedural due process on to Red Flag laws does not rehabilitate them in the slightest.  Consider a pop culture analogy, Agent Smith’s interrogation of Neo in The Matrix. Just apprehended and facing a host of charges, Neo replies to Smith’s litany of allegations by saying “You can’t scare me with this Gestapo crap. I know my rights I want my phone call.”  Agent Smith replies, “What good is a phone call, if you’re unable to speak” and he disrupts the Matrix so that Neo cannot speak. In this scene Neo’s procedural rights are preserved—he is offered a phone, counsel, and presumably the opportunity to rebut the charges—but he is rendered unable to use them.

This parallels the problem with Red Flag laws. All the procedural due process in the world—being present for the hearing, confronting your accusers, etc.—does nothing to ensure fairness, decency or respect if the ultimate issue can be decided without the respondent’s participation in a meaningful evaluation or, perhaps even worse, by emotionally charged accusations of feared future violence.

Unfortunately, the fact that Red Flag laws do not function as billed is a feature, not a bug, because they are used as Trojan horses for even more infringement.  Consider Dr. Rosmarin again:

“So in our state of 6.7 million — almost twice that of Connecticut’s — we are petitioning only one-fifth as frequently. In my experience as a forensic psychiatrist, I see two dozen cases meriting petition a year, easily.

“Massachusetts should modify our ERPO law to allow certain categories of licensed clinicians to petition the courts for an extreme risk protection order. Clinicians should be allowed to do so via a downloaded document, such as exists for initiating mental health involuntary commitments. This will allow clinicians to petition the court without leaving their clinical settings.

“Massachusetts should also enact a law that allows certain categories of licensed clinicians to report to the police chief where the patient lives and that the patient should not have gun access. This should be based on a judgment about dangerousness, not mental illness. The disclosure of medical information relating to dangerousness should be as narrow as possible. Something like:

“Chief, this is Dr. Rosmarin. In my opinion this person is dangerous and should not have a gun.

“The chief would then have discretion to interview the owner, revoke the license and to seize any guns.”

Are gun owners content with the idea that their clinicians can petition law enforcement online after determining them to be “dangerous”?  Will the police chief be more likely to phone the respondent for an interview, or conduct a no-knock raid out of “an abundance of caution” and a desire to “err on the side of public safety”?

Let’s put all this in the context of the events surrounding the Virginia Citizens Defense League’s annual Lobby Day.  I was pleased to be able to speak directly with my Delegate and Senator before attending the rally. I was too late to enter the fenced in, gun-free Capitol grounds, as 10,000 attendees were already there by 9:30 am, so I participated from outside the fence.  I met people from all walks of life, all ethnic backgrounds and all political persuasions, who were united in advocating for their inalienable Second Amendment rights.

Many openly carried the guns that our Governor seeks to prohibit. Despite the presence of all those guns, there was no violence. The Governor insisted that he and law enforcement “diffused a volatile situation” but the attendees were never “volatile.”  Criminals, not lawful gun owners, are the problem, and we were shocked that every real crime bill was left tabled in committee. This is an unconscionable response to the criminal homicide problem that exists in inner cities related to gangs and drugs.

The Virginia House of Delegates must recognize reality about Red Flag laws, and direct their efforts instead towards mental health and crime.  Red Flag laws address neither, and are an affront to the constitutions of our Commonwealth and our nation, and to the inalienable rights these governments exist to protect.

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McCarthy Breaks GOP Fundraising Record as Party Fights to Take Back The House

H/T The Washington Free Beacon.

The GOP will retake the House and Hold the Senate.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R., Calif.) broke the all-time House Republican fundraising record in 2019, significantly boosting his party’s 2020 bid to take back control of the House of Representatives.

McCarthy’s team raised $52.35 million last year, outpacing the previous record set by former speaker Paul Ryan, who raised $44 million in 2017. Of the funds raised in 2019, more than half has already been transferred to the National Republican Congressional Committee and GOP incumbents.

“House Democrats are the greatest threat to the greatest economy in our lifetime,” McCarthy said in a statement to supporters. “The American people don’t want socialism. They want success, and a House Republican Majority in 2021 with a re-elected Trump presidency will be ready to achieve it.”

McCarthy also said he expects “another Republican revolution” in 2020, citing high recruitment levels as the determining factor in previous victory waves for the GOP.

In 2010, Republicans fielded more than 770 candidates for election, breaking a 30-year recruitment record for both parties. Republicans have already filed 1,017 candidates for the upcoming 2020 election.

An Economist/YouGov poll conducted last week shows the GOP leading by 11 points with independent voters.

Armed Citizen A “Hero”, Say Victims Of Felony Assault

H/T Bearing Arms.

A good guy with a gun was in the right place at the right to stop an assault.

An armed citizen in Florida was in the right place at the right time to help a group of strangers in desperate need of a Good Samaritan. According to WINK-TV, the group was hanging out at Rusty’s Bar in Cape Coral, Florida last Thursday when a man identified as Henry Lesniak, Jr. began buying them drinks. Ashley Gallagher was there with her daugher-in-law Emily, and says the encounter turned from harmless to terrifying in the blink of an eye.

“I think he was trying to hit on my daughter-in-law and definitely get her to go home with him, or whatever it was. And I think when he realized that wasn’t going to happen, that’s when he said we were taking advantage of him by spending his money,” Ashley said.

“All of a sudden, like, ‘boom,’ he turned violent, angry,” Emily said.

The group tried to leave and get in their car and that’s when, investigators say, Lesniak chased after them.

“That’s when we saw the white pickup truck and honestly, like, he had no choice but to say, like, yes. We kind of just screamed, ‘help,’ begging him to let us into his truck,” Emily said.

Amir Rossi was the driver of the pickup truck. He says he wasn’t sure what was happening when the women suddenly appeared by his truck shouting for help, but he quickly responded.

“It just got heated and it got heated so quick,” Rossi said. “They ran in front of my car, they jumped in my truck and they were just like, ‘Go! Go! Go!” And the next thing I know, this guy’s reaching in my car trying to grab me up and that’s when I got my firearm and at that point, he realized that I had a gun and he backed off the car and he disappeared.”

But the story doesn’t end there. Police say Lesniak then rammed the good Samaritan’s truck several times.

That’s when Rossi pulled out his gun, fired several shots into the back of Lesniak’s truck and held him at gunpoint until police arrived.

Rossi says he’s no hero, and was just doing what he hopes others would do in the same situation, but the victims of Lesniak’s attempted assault beg to differ with Ashley Gallagher calling Rossi an “amazing person” and a hero who saved their lives.

Rossi is the “average American” who people like Mike Bloomberg think shouldn’t be carrying guns in public places. Bloomberg thinks that right should be reserved for people like him who can afford to outsource their right of self-defense to armed security. Thankfully, the Gallaghers were vacationing in a state where more than a million average Americans possess a concealed carry license and are equipped to help strangers in desperate need of protection. If Mike Bloomberg and the gun control movement gets their way, however, armed citizens like Amir Rossi will be few and far between, and guys like Henry Lesniak, Jr. will have nothing to fear as long as they stay away from those wealthy or powerful enough to afford their own private protection.

Further Trial Information

Pacific Paratrooper

Tokyo trials, Japanese war criminals

The Allies also established the United Nations War Crimes Commission (the UNWCC) in 1943.  The UNWCC collected evidence on Axis war crimes and drew up lists of suspected war criminals for Allied prosecution after the war.  In 1944, a sub-commission of the UNWCC was established in Chungking to focus on the investigation of Japanese atrocities.

Japanese war crimes’ spectator pass

By the later part of 1945, the Allied Powers had agreed on war crimes trials as a means of pursuing justice. This set the stage for post-WWII trials. A select group of higher-ranking military and political Axis leaders would be jointly tried by the Allies at the Nuremberg Trial (19 November 1945 – 1 October 1946) and the Tokyo Trial (3 May 1945 – 12 November 1945). In addition and separate from the Nuremberg and Tokyo Trials, individual Allied Powers and countries held national trials…

View original post 625 more words

FBI and ICE Probing Whether Ilhan Omar Married Her Own Brother in Immigration Scheme: Report

H/T Western Journal.

I want to see her perp-walked off the House floor into a cell.

Less than a week ago, Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar announced she is up for re-election to represent Minnesota in the federal government.

Now, according to the New York Post, it looks like she’s up for being potentially investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation for allegedly marrying her own brother as part of an immigration scheme.

She’s repeatedly denied the allegations, but they haven’t gone away.

If the re-election bid works out for her, she could be spending two more years in Congress.

If the FBI review turns into a criminal investigation, she could be spending up to five years in jail.

At issue is a marriage the Somali-born Omar entered into in 2009 with a British citizen identified as Ahmed Nur Said Elmi, according to the Post: And it’s that marriage that has attracted the attention of the FBI, the Department of Education, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

The Post reporting follows an article published by TheBlaze in mid-January that described how the FBI was working with the Department of Education to look into a claim that Omar’s marriage to Elmi was part of a plan to allow him to obtain a green card in the United States and potentially commit fraud related to higher education.

(Omar herself became a citizen in 2000 at the age of 17, according to The Associated Press.)

TheBlaze report, by David Steinberg — a writer who has spent years on this story — states that Omar enrolled at North Dakota State University in Fargo in 2009, shortly after the marriage. Her husband enrolled in the school a year later.

The married couple permanently separated in June 2011, about the same time Omar completed her degree at the school, Steinberg reported.

At the time she married Elmi in 2009, according to the Post, Omar was legally single, but had borne two children to Ahmed Hirsi, a man she’d married in a Muslim ceremony in 2002.

Throughout the period of her marriage to Elmi, according to Steinberg and the Post, the couple lived with Hirsi and the two children Omar and Hirsi had together.

Is any of this sounding suspicious?

Clearly, investigators at the federal level think it might — and the stakes are considerable.

As the Post reported: “If Omar did marry her brother, she could be found guilty of committing marriage fraud — a felony offense punishable with a prison sentence of up to five years and a fine of up to $250,000.”

According to the Post, Omar did not respond to requests for comment on the latest story, published Sunday, but has publicly called the allegations “disgusting lies.” (She used exactly those words during her run for Congress in 2018 according to the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

After separating from Elmi, Omar had a third child with Hirsi, according to Post. As it turned out, however, she didn’t get around to getting a legal divorce from Elmi until 2017, which freed her up to marry Hirsi again — in a civil, legally binding ceremony this time.

That’s all complicated enough, but according to the Post and Steinberg’s reporting, Omar might have committed perjury in getting the divorce because she claimed he was in the United Kingdom and she had no contact with him. The truth might have been otherwise.

“In divorce papers asking to dissolve their marriage by alternate means in 2017, Omar swore under penalty of perjury that she had no way of contacting Elmi and said his last known location was London in June 2011,” the Post reported.

“But lease and eviction records and traffic violations reviewed by The Post suggest Elmi was in the US the whole time — living just 2.6 miles away from her at an apartment in downtown Minneapolis.”

As most of the political world knows by now, Omar’s marriage to Hirsi didn’t last – they broke up after she was accused of having an affair with a married political consultant who was paid buckets of money by Omar’s campaign. The accusation is in divorce papers filed by the consultant’s wife, as reported by the Post in August.

Hirsi remarried a little more than a month after the divorce was finalized.

Omar has not, though the Post reported she has been photographed on several occasions leaving the same Washington apartment as the consultant whose wife accused her.

Her love life though, troubled as it might be, could be the least of her worries.

And that re-election bid she announced last week might not be her biggest challenge in the coming year.

With the FBI and inspectors for Immigration and Customs Enforcement looking into her knotty, possibly criminal, domestic affairs, it’s not getting back into Congress Omar should be thinking about.

It’s staying out of jail.

Why wasn’t Auschwitz bombed by the Allies

H/T War History OnLine.

That is a good question way wasn’t Auschwitz bombed?

GETTY
GETTY

On a cold April morning in 1944, two Jewish men somehow found themselves on the right side of the Auschwitz barbed wire.

Rudolf Vrba and Alfred Wetzler made their way undetected through Nazi occupied Poland to Slovakia, freedom and were able to tell the world of the atrocities taking place at the death camp.

The sun rises early in the morning behind the ruins of a gas chamber, the barbed wire fences and watchtowers of the former Auschwitz-Birkenau extermination camp. Photo: Kay Nietfeld/dpa (Photo by Kay Nietfeld/picture alliance via Getty Images)
The sun rises early in the morning behind the ruins of a gas chamber, the barbed wire fences and watchtowers of the former Auschwitz-Birkenau extermination camp. Photo: Kay Nietfeld/dpa (Photo by Kay Nietfeld/picture alliance via Getty Images)

In May their story reached Rabbi Michael Weissmandl, who sent it to Roswell McClelland at the War Refugee Board in neutral Switzerland.

McClelland sent it on to the Allied Command and also to his headquarters in Washington D.C. along with a plea that Auschwitz be bombed.

 

McClelland’s boss, John Pehle put the document and recommendation in front of John McCloy, Assistant Secretary of War, but he was unable to divert resource at the time, branding such an action ‘unfeasible’.

The Nazis killed an estimated one million people, mostly Jews, at the camp during World War II. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)
The Nazis killed an estimated one million people, mostly Jews, at the camp during World War II. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

Allied Air Command, the American War Refugee Board and the Jewish Agency discussed an attack with British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, who was minded to mount a campaign in order to stop further atrocities taking place.

Today we might send in a drone or take the facility out with cruise missiles, unfortunately, seventy-five years ago, the Allies could only dream of such firepower.

The options open to the Allies at the time were far less accurate. Indeed, Auschwitz did suffer damage from a bombing raid, but the bombs that landed were meant for the IG Farben factory. Forty prisoners were killed along with fifteen SS troops.

Estimates suggested by the makers of a recent documentary, ‘Secrets of the Dead: Bombing Auschwitz’ put the number of bombs per crematorium at 220 in order to achieve a ninety per-cent hit-rate.

Early in the morning, deer walk past a watchtower of the former Auschwitz-Birkenau extermination camp. Kay Nietfeld/dpa (Photo by Kay Nietfeld/picture alliance via Getty Images)
Early in the morning, deer walk past a watchtower of the former Auschwitz-Birkenau extermination camp. Kay Nietfeld/dpa (Photo by Kay Nietfeld/picture alliance via Getty Images)

The documentary is part of a raft of special programs and commemorations surrounding the seventy-fifth anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz by Russia’s Red Army on January 27th, 1945.

The date has been enshrined as the International Holocaust Remembrance Day, with major ceremonies taking place in Israel and around the world.

Vrba and Wetzler were the first witnesses to tell the Allies of the horrors of the Nazi ‘Final Solution’.

The forensic details of their time behind the barbed wire, the beatings, the gas chambers, the forced labour and the starvation made harrowing reading for the Allied command.

The washroom where women stripped before execution is displayed at the Museum of the former Nazi German Auschwitz I concentration and extermination camp in Oswiecim,  (Photo by Beata Zawrzel/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
The washroom where women stripped before execution is displayed at the Museum of the former Nazi German Auschwitz I concentration and extermination camp in Oswiecim,  (Photo by Beata Zawrzel/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

While bombing the concentration camp would have certainly killed many Jewish prisoners along with their Nazi guards and torturers, the argument for the bombing raids walked a fine moral line balancing the deaths of those already imprisoned and those that were still to be rounded up.

The documentary searches through this difficult dilemma, dramatizing the arguments that raged on both sides of the Atlantic, taking in first hand accounts from survivors and experts.

Historians also point out that there was a reluctance among politicians at the time to make any special effort on behalf of the Jewish lobby when the war was being waged on so many fronts.

Professor of History and National Security Strategy at Pennsylvania’s US Army War College, Tami Davis Biddle, is certain that there was a level of antisemitism within establishment ranks that also held strategist back from bombing Auschwitz.

But pressure grew on the authorities, Chaim Weizmann and Moshe Shertock took the dossier to Churchill’s Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden who had also received a memo from his Prime Minister.

Meanwhile Phele, coming up against intransigence in Washington, finally leaked the document to the press.  The story spread across the Atlantic and reached the Nazi High Command who began dismantling the gas chambers as the tide of the war began to turn against them.

In December 1944 the Washington Post ran an editorial entitled ‘Genocide’ and a month later the terrible truth was revealed when the Red Army liberated Auschwitz Birkenau.

The 27th January 2020 marks the 75th anniversary of that fateful day and the commitment to never forget the Holocaust.

Beto Pours Political Capital Into Texas House Race Considered Bellwether

H/T The Washington Free Beacon.

Little Bobby O’Rourke thinks people are going to do his bidding and elect the DemocRat in this special election.

Fresh off a bruising end to his 2020 presidential campaign, Beto O’Rourke is pouring his efforts into a Texas state house race observers consider a bellwether for whether Democrats can turn the state legislature blue later this year.

O’Rourke and national Democrats are boosting Democrat Eliz Markowitz as she tries to flip suburban Houston’s District 28 in Tuesday’s special election. O’Rourke, who founded the political action committee Powered by the People last month to fund Texas Democrats, told a crowd Jan. 10 that he had found “purpose and function again” through the District 28 race.

“There was a time when we were … wondering just what our purpose was on this planet,” O’Rourke told supporters. “But in doing this for Eliz, and being part of Powered by the People, I really have found that purpose and function again and I’m really hopeful about our country, about this race, about Texas, but just on a very personal level.”

Politico described the race as an “early test” for both parties in the nationwide battle over state legislatures in 2020, and the Texas Observer called it a “weathervane for the Texas suburbs.” O’Rourke’s efforts reflect the emphasis Democrats are placing on the special election to replace a retiring Republican legislator.

[I’m] very focused on helping to mobilize volunteers in critical state House races like HD 28 in Fort Bend, and others in the Fort Worth/Dallas area, so that we can win the state House,” O’Rourke said earlier this month, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

O’Rourke has made District 28’s Fort Bend County his “second home” over the past month, the Texas Tribune reports, spending days at a time campaigning for Markowitz against Republican Gary Gates. He said Powered by the People brought 1,000 people to the district.

O’Rourke isn’t Markowitz’s only supporter among past and present 2020 contenders. Former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg has organized volunteers for the Democrat, and former vice president Joe Biden and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) have endorsed her.

Democrats need to flip nine house seats to gain a majority. The Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee touted a poll Sunday showing Markowitz “neck and neck” with Gates.

However, the Tribune reported Democrats are lowering expectations in the final days before the election and shifting attention to other districts, while Republicans feel confident Gates will win after a strong showing in the early voting period. A decisive victory could be a blow to Democratic confidence, given the hundreds of thousands of dollars Markowitz has received in outside spending.

O’Rourke, a former three-term congressman from El Paso, catapulted to state and national stardom during his failed 2018 bid to defeat Sen. Ted Cruz (R., Tex.). He used his narrow loss as a springboard for a presidential campaign, but he never gained traction in the crowded field and dropped out in November.