A new Monmouth poll finds Joe Biden begins his term with a positive job rating of 54% approve and 30% disapprove.
“The current presidential rating is already higher than it was at any point during Donald Trump’s term in office. Still, opinion of the incumbent is sharply divided along partisan lines – 90% of Democrats, 47% of independents, and just 15% of Republicans approve of Biden.”
A new Morning Consult poll finds over half of Republican voters (56%) believe that Trump should either probably or definitely run for president again in 2024. Just over a third of Republican voters (36%) think he probably or definitely should not.
Republicans and Republican-leaning independent voters are closely split between the Republican Party and the notional Patriot Party that Trump recently floated. A third (33%) said they are more interested in being a member of the Republican Party, and 30% said they would be more interested in being a member of the Patriot Party. A small share (11%) expressed interest in neither party.
Politico: “Facebook and Google’s on-again, off-again bans on political ads are hitting campaigns during a crucial fundraising window, cutting off a key pipeline to potential supporters and disrupting early planning for the next round of elections, from state and local races this year to looming midterm elections in 2022.”
“The self-imposed bans — put in place, lifted and then reimposed in some form by both companies since the week before Election Day 2020 — have essentially pressed pause on a political industry that spent $3.2 billion advertising on Google and Facebook in the last two and a half years. Some digital political firms are freezing hiring due to the uncertainty surrounding their biggest ad platforms. And the bans have interfered with organizing and early fundraising efforts piggybacking off a new administration and the start of a new election cycle.”
WYOMING AL CD–A new political group founded by former Trump aide Corey Lewandowski is raising money to run a candidate against the third-ranking Republican in the House, Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY), Axios reports.
Politico reports that Air Force veteran Bryan Miller is “expected” to run against Rep. Liz Cheney, though in a brief quote, he doesn’t say anything about his plans. If he does enter, however, that might paradoxically be good news for Cheney, since she already landed one credible opponent, state Sen. Anthony Bouchard, just the other day. Contra Tom Rice in South Carolina, Cheney could escape with a plurality because Wyoming has no runoffs.
NORTH CAROLINA US SENATOR–State Sen. Jeff Jackson announced his entry into the race for North Carolina’s open Senate seat on Monday, making him the most prominent Democrat to join the contest to date. Jackson, an attorney and Afghanistan war veteran with the Army Reserve, considered a Senate bid last cycle but declined, claiming Chuck Schumer derided his plan to kick off his campaign with “100 town halls in 100 days.” Undeterred, Jackson pledged to visit all 100 North Carolina counties in his launch video “just as soon as it’s safe.”
Jackson, who is white, will face off against a one-time colleague, former state Sen. Erica Smith, with whom he has some unpleasant history. Smith unsuccessfully sought the Democratic nomination for Senate last cycle and subsequently appeared to endorse Jackson’s Republican challenger, Sonja Nichols, in September. Smith, who is Black, later claimed she never backed Nichols, but when asked at the time on Facebook whether she’d requested that Nichols stop touting her as an endorser, she declined to answer and retorted, “you cannot see beyond your sexist male privilege.”
TEXAS GOVERNOR–Former Democratic Rep. Beto O’Rourke said in a recent radio interview that a bid for governor next year is “something I’m gonna think about,” though he added, “[W]hether I’m a candidate for governor or I support someone who’s a candidate for governor, I want to make sure we have excellence in leadership.” Last year, O’Rourke declined to rule out a run when asked.
VIRGINIA GOVERNOR--Wealthy investor Pete Snyder announced he would enter the race for governor on the GOP side on Tuesday, joining several other notable candidates who are seeking the Republican nomination this year. The Washington Post also reports that the GOP’s convention will take place on May 1, though Republicans still have no idea how they’ll host one amid the pandemic.
GOP 2024–Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) told Business Insider that he is not running for president in 2024.
Associated Press: “The head of the Republican National Committee on Wednesday declined to encourage former President Donald Trump to run for the White House in 2024, saying the GOP would stay ‘neutral’ in its next presidential primary.”
GEORGIA US SENATOR–The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that former state Rep. Vernon Jones, a Trump-supporting former Democrat who joined the Republican Party this month, could also run for Senate. Jones made a bid for Senate once before when he was still a Democrat, losing the 2008 primary in a runoff to former state Rep. Jim Martin.
Politico: “Local and state Republican parties are censuring Republicans for disloyalty in states across the country. The lawmakers who broke with him are weathering a storm of criticism from Trump-adoring constituents at home, with punitive primary challenges already taking shape. In Washington, party leaders who once suggested Trump bore some responsibility for the Jan. 6 violence are backtracking.”
“On Tuesday, 45 Republican senators — all but five members of the GOP conference — voted that putting a former president on trial for impeachment is unconstitutional, all but guaranteeing the Senate won’t convict him. If the Republican Party seemed to be at a crossroads about its post-Trump future, it now appears to have concluded in which direction to travel.”
LOUISIANA 2nd CD–A total of eight Democrats, four Republicans, and three others are competing to succeed former Rep. Cedric Richmond, a Democrat who resigned earlier this month to take a post as head of the Biden White House’s Office of Public Engagement.
GOP legislators gerrymandered this seat, which stretches from the New Orleans area west to Baton Rouge, to be safely blue turf in order to protect Republicans elsewhere, and there’s little question that Richmond’s replacement will take his place as the state’s only Democratic member of Congress. It’s also almost a certainty that the district’s new representative will be only the fourth African American to represent Louisiana in D.C. since the end of Reconstruction.
The two frontrunners appear to be a pair of Democratic state senators from New Orleans, Karen Carter Peterson and Troy Carter. Peterson, who would be the first Black woman to represent the state, served as state party chair from 2012 through 2020, and she has the support of EMILY’s List. Carter, for his part, has Richmond’s backing.
Another Democratic candidate worth watching is activist Gary Chambers, who said last week that he’d already raised $250,000. Chambers ran for the state Senate in 2019 in a Baton Rouge-area seat but lost 74-26 to Democratic incumbent Regina Ashford Barrow.
Chambers attracted national attention the following year, though, when he gave a speech at an East Baton Rouge Parish School Board meeting where he advocated for a school named for the Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee to be renamed. (It was shortly afterwards.) Chambers then used his address to decry a school board member he said had been shopping online instead of listening to “Black folks speaking up passionately about what they feel.”
However, as we’ve mentioned before, it will be difficult for a Baton Rouge-area candidate like Chambers to have an opening here. Orleans Parish, which is coterminous with the city of New Orleans, makes up 40% of the district, while another 26% lives in neighboring Jefferson Parish. East Baton Rouge Parish, by contrast, makes up only 14% of the seat, with the balance coming from the seven smaller parishes, which are known collectively as the River Parishes.
LOUISIANA 5th CD–Nine Republicans, two Democrats, and two others are running to succeed Luke Letlow, a Republican who was elected in December but died weeks later from complications of COVID-19 before he could take office. This northeast Louisiana seat, which includes Monroe and Alexandria in the central part of the state, is heavily Republican turf, and it’s likely to remain red without much trouble.
The clear frontrunner appears to be the congressman-elect’s widow, University of Louisiana Monroe official Julia Letlow. Letlow has the backing of Rep. Steve Scalise, the no. 2 House Republican and one of the most powerful GOP officials in Louisiana, and a number of other Republicans decided to defer to her rather than run themselves. None of Letlow’s intra-party foes appears to have the name recognition or connections needed to put up a strong fight, but it’s always possible one of them will turn out to be a surprisingly strong contender.
The Democratic field consists of Candy Christophe, who took third in last year’s contest with 17%, and Jessica Honsinger Hollister.
GEORGIA 1st CD–In a recent interview, former Chatham County Commissioner Al Scott hinted he might challenge Republican Rep. Buddy Carter, a possibility that would give Democrats their most prominent candidate in southeastern Georgia’s 1st District in quite some time. Scott launched his political career in the 1970s, serving 16 years in the state legislature, but after a long layoff following a couple of unsuccessful bids for statewide office, he was elected to the commission in Chatham County in 2012 and became known as a “political giant” in Savannah.
Facing term limits last year, Scott ran for county tax commissioner but lost the Democratic primary in an upset. At 73, most observers concluded that the defeat signaled the end of Scott’s time in office, but on a local podcast earlier this month, he said, “The only thing I haven’t done in my political life that I used to daydream about is go to Congress.”
It’s a dream that would be difficult to realize, though. Though the blue outpost of Savannah is by far the largest population center in the 1st District, it’s surrounded by a sea of red: According to Daily Kos Elections’ new calculations, it went 56-43 for Donald Trump in November, not much different from Trump’s 56-41 showing four years earlier. While redistricting will scramble Georgia’s map, Republican mapmakers will likely ensure Carter remains in a friendly district.
PENNSYLVANIA GOVERNOR AND US SENATOR–The Philadelphia Inquirer says that Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney, who’d previously been mentioned as a possible Democratic candidate for governor, is also considering a bid for Senate, according to an unnamed source “with direct knowledge” of the mayor’s thinking. A spokesman for Kenney wouldn’t directly confirm the report but did acknowledge that a campaign for governor or the Senate “may be future considerations.” One difficulty for Kenney, however, is that his city’s charter would require him to give up his current post, to which he was just re-elected for another four years in 2019, if he were to seek another office.
The same article also reports that State Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, who’d also been mentioned before, is “said to be eyeing” the Senate race. Meanwhile, the paper suggests that former Republican Rep. Lou Barletta, who previously said he was considering a Senate bid, may instead be more interested in a bid for governor.
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