The Political Report – January 14, 2021

A new CBS News/YouGov poll finds 55% of Americans support impeaching President Trump for inciting an insurrection.

“The challenge by some Republicans to the 2020 election results last week is fueling a rift between the party and big companies and could accelerate changes to the GOP’s fundraising base,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“In the week since more than 100 Republicans objected to the certification of President-elect Joe Biden’s win, at least a dozen U.S. corporations said they would reconsider donating money from their political-action committees to lawmakers who sided with President Trump’s challenge to the results.”

CALIFORNIA SENATOR: Not that anyone was expecting otherwise, but Democrat Alex Padilla, who will fill Kamala Harris’ Senate seat as soon as she’s sworn in as vice president, has confirmed that he’ll run for election to a full six-year term next year.

NEW MEXICO 1st CD: Former state Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn announced last week he would run for this Albuquerque-area seat if Rep. Deb Haaland is confirmed as Joe Biden’s secretary of the interior. While the Albuquerque Journal notes Dunn plans to run as an independent, he has spent time as a member of both the Republican and Libertarian parties.

Dunn was the GOP nominee for state land commissioner in 2014, narrowly turning back Democratic incumbent Ray Powell 50.07-49.93. In 2018, Dunn became a Libertarian and sought the party’s nomination for Senate that year. After he won the nomination, however, he decided to drop out of the race (former Gov. Gary Johnson was named his replacement and took 15% of the vote).

The GOP is already a longshot in a seat that backed Biden by a 60-37 spread, but Dunn’s presence could make things even more difficult for Team Red. This would represent the inverse of the last special election this district hosted in 1998, when a Green Party candidate took 13% of the vote, allowing Republican Heather Wilson to narrowly win.

NEW JERSEY 5th CD: Former Rep. Scott Garrett is all but guaranteed to lose his specially created job at the Securities and Exchange Commission when Joe Biden becomes president, and remarkably, the New Jersey Globe reports that some fellow Republicans think he could make a comeback bid for his old seat. Garrett himself didn’t rule out the possibility when contacted by the Globe, saying only, “I appreciate your phone call. I am no longer a public figure.”

But unless Republicans hit the redistricting jackpot, Garrett is unlikely to find himself at the top of the GOP’s wishlist. Garrett was ousted after seven terms in Congress by Democrat Josh Gottheimer after his Wall Street allies abandoned him thanks to his virulent anti-gay rhetoric, and he was so unpopular with his former colleagues that the Senate refused to advance his nomination when Donald Trump named him to run the Export-Import Bank—a federal agency that Garrett had long sought to abolish.

Garrett later wound up with an even better-paying position (at $215,000 a year) in the office of the general counsel at the SEC, which Politico reported had been set up for him alone. Garrett was hired without any sort of competitive process, or even having to submit a job application, even though the commission was in the midst of a hiring freeze. As the Globe notes, though, that plum gig is unlikely to survive the coming Biden housecleaning.

NEW MEXICO GOVERNOR: Republican state Rep. Rebecca Dow says she’s weighing a bid for governor but will not decide until after the conclusion of New Mexico’s legislative session, which is scheduled to start next week and end on March 20.

Meanwhile, Republican Mark Ronchetti, whose name surfaced as a possible candidate for governor or Congress following his closer-than-expected 52-46 loss in last year’s Senate race, has given up the campaign trail for the TV studio. Ronchetti, who’d been a meteorologist for an Albuquerque news station before his Senate bid, returned to his old job on Monday, delivering the weather forecast with little fanfare.

NEW JERSEY GOVERNOR: Former New Jersey Republican Party chair Doug Steinhardt, who announced a bid for governor just a month ago—and left his post as head of the state GOP to do so—has now dropped out of the race. Steinhardt claimed that “unforeseen professional obligations have made it untenable for me to continue,” but the New Jersey Globe suggests that former Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli’s consolidation of party support in several key counties was an important factor in Steinhardt’s departure.

Ciatterelli hasn’t completely cleared the field just yet, though. Former Somerset County Commissioner Brian Levin says he’s still considering a bid for the GOP nomination and will make up his mind this week.

“He lied about the election being fixed. He incited an attack that left five dead at the U.S Capitol. He got impeached. Twice. But polling indicates Republicans still have his back — and views — by vast majorities,” Axios reports.

“Anyone who thinks Trump is a politically dead man walking appears pointedly dead wrong.”

Washington Post: QAnon reshaped Trump’s party and radicalized believers.

NEW JERSEY 3rd CD: Republican Assemblyman Ryan Peters, who last month sounded like he might be gearing up to challenge sophomore Democratic Rep. Andy Kim, has decided not to seek re-election to the legislature this year. While such a move might normally presage a bid for higher office in a state like New Jersey, where the fact that state elections take place in odd-numbered years can pose an obstacle to running for Congress, it seems instead that Peters is giving up on politics for now.

Citing his obligations as “a father, husband, coach, Naval officer and volunteer,” Peters said in a statement that he feels compelled “to shift where and how I should spend the limited hours we have each day.” The New Jersey Globe added that Peters “has no plans to run” against Kim next year. Of course, that could always change, but for the moment at least, we’re counting Peters out.

VIRGINIA GOVERNOR: The field seeking the GOP nomination for Virginia’s governorship this year is getting more crowded: Sergio de la Peña, a former official in Trump’s Defense Department, just joined the race, while an aide to wealthy finance executive Glenn Youngkin says a formal campaign kickoff is coming this week. Already running are state Sen. Amanda Chase and Del. Kirk Cox. Republicans previously decided to select their nominee through a convention rather than a traditional primary.

MASSACHUSETTS GOVERNOR: While Republican incumbent’s Charlie Baker’s meager fundraising in recent months has fueled speculation that he’ll retire in 2022, the Salem News reports the governor’s $165,000 haul for December was his largest monthly total in over two years. Baker himself has not publicly announced if he’ll seek a third term next year.

Delaware politics from a liberal, progressive and Democratic perspective. Keep Delaware Blue.

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