“October Surprises” That Shook Up Presidential Elections

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Candidates on both sides of the political spectrum have put pressure on Donald Trump to release his tax returns. Republicans in the past nine presidential elections have done so, but Trump, their 2016 nominee, hasn’t. He says it’s because he’s being audited (although that turned out to be false). Then a New York Times report surfaced after someone anonymously delivered three pages from a 1995 tax report that showed Trump reported $916 million loss, which would have allowed Trump to skip paying federal income taxes for the following 18 years.

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The findings were published in early October, meaning voters didn’t have to wait very long for an October Surprise — aka an event that shakes up a campaign. This tax revelation teamed with a subpar first debate against rival Hillary Clinton has given her a bump in the polls. Whether it’s the last October Surprise of this election cycle — and we doubt that considering Wikileaks has claimed to possess damning info about Hillary Clinton — it is the first. But, will it have the same impact as some of these other October Surprises …

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Christie Embraces Obama (2012)
In this case, the October surprise was a destructive and deadly hurricane that killed 285 people. Dubbed “Superstorm Sandy,” the hurricane formed October 22 and made landfall in Jamaica two days later. On Oct. 29, Sandy blasted New Jersey and Atlantic City. All told, 24 states were affected in the U.S. from Florida to Maine and all the way up to Michigan and Wisconsin. The total damage: $71.4 billion.

A week before votes went to the polls, President Barack Obama toured the wreckage left by Superstorm Sandy in New Jersey, meeting with the state’s pugnacious Republican Governor Chris Christie, who publicly embraced the president and praised his handling of the disaster. Conservatives were none too pleased. His attaboy to Obama made the president look good, while New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg endorsed Obama after seeing how he handled the storm’s aftermath. It didn’t help that Romney suggested getting rid of FEMA the previous year didn’t play well with voters. Still, on Nov. 4,  Obama beat Mitt Romney (332-206).