Former President Donald Trump issued a written statement which called on Fox News to fire Karl Rove as a political commentator, calling him a RINO “of the highest order,” USA Today reports. Said Trump: “Karl Rove has been losing for years, except for himself.”
From the editorial: “Former Presidents and Vice Presidents have told us how psychologically difficult the early months of lost political power can be. We can therefore empathize if former President Trump is frustrated these days, and perhaps that explains his attack on us Thursday over his role in the GOP’s loss of the Senate.”
More: “For someone who says we don’t matter, he sure spends a lot of time reading and responding to us. Thanks for the attention.”
Playbook: “After Kevin McCarthy visited Donald Trump at Mar-a-Lago in late January, the House minority leader released a picture of the two men smiling side by side. The image — accompanied by a statement announcing Trump had ‘committed’ to helping the GOP flip the lower chamber — suggested all was well between the House GOP and the ex-president.” “It wasn’t.”
“Sources tell Playbook that McCarthy has been trying to persuade Trump not to seek revenge against 10 Republicans who voted to impeach the former president — members who could be critical to McCarthy’s bid to retake the House and become speaker.”
WISCONSIN U.S. SENATOR — Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) told the Wisconsin State Journal that he hasn’t yet decided whether he’ll run for his seat in 2022, although he said keeping to his pledge to not seek a third term is “probably my preference now.”
However, Johnson also said his pledge of serving just two terms is no longer operative: “I think that pledge was based on the assumption we wouldn’t have Democrats in total control of government and we’re seeing what I would consider the devastating and harmful effects of Democrats total control just ramming things through.”
NORTH CAROLINA U.S. SENATOR — “Joan Higginbotham, a former NASA astronaut and the third Black woman to go to space, is seriously considering running for Senate in North Carolina as a Democrat,” Politico reports.
David Wasserman notes that Florida is poised to gain two House seats in redistricting. The current map has 16 Republicans and 11 Democrats, but with a state Supreme Court that has turned sharply right, Republicans might be even more aggressive in how they draw districts. At the extreme end, Wasserman thinks Republicans could attempt a 21 Republican to 8 Democrat gerrymander — which could cost Democrats almost their entire House majority.
Wall Street Journal: “The presidential-election results left the impression that mail-in voting increased turnout and propelled President Biden to victory. But the reality is that voting by mail didn’t do either, Stanford researchers say in a new paper based on the latest data. That finding is notable because mail-in voting has become a controversial topic as many state legislatures debate restricting its use in future elections.”
ABC News: Mail-in voting emerges as main target in renewed voting-rights battle.
TEXAS GOVERNOR — “Beto O’Rourke is on the road again, criss-crossing Texas and broadcasting his stops in small towns live,” CNN reports.
“His efforts have been focused on the crises that have gripped the state: Widespread power outages brought on by the failure of the state’s electric grid during last month’s freezing temperatures, and the battle against the coronavirus pandemic — which Republican Gov. Greg Abbott effectively abandoned this week by dropping the state’s mask mandate and its business restrictions.”
“But O’Rourke’s public re-emergence — and with it, the return of his from-the-road livestreams on Facebook, with 35 videos in the last two weeks — has ignited hopes in his supporters and among prominent Democrats in the state that the former congressman will take on Abbott next year. Increasingly, Democrats say they see Abbott as politically wounded and believe the former congressman who reinvigorated a moribund state party with his 2018 Senate run could offer the best chance of winning the governor’s office in more than a quarter-century.”
TEXAS 13TH CD — The Department of Defense on Wednesday released its long-awaited inspector general’s report into allegations against freshman Republican Rep. Ronny Jackson from his time as chief White House physician, and it concluded that he displayed egregious behavior during his tenure.
The report concluded that Jackson “engaged in inappropriate conduct involving the use of alcohol” during two presidential trips; “disparaged, belittled, bullied, and humiliated” subordinates, which included “sexual and denigrating” comments against one; and “took Ambien during official travel, raising concerns about his potential incapacity to provide medical care during his travel.”
WISCONSIN 3RD CD — Republican Derrick Van Orden, who previously had not ruled out a rematch against Democratic Rep. Ron Kind, says he is “very seriously considering” another bid, though he did not say when he might decide.
WASHINGTON 4TH CD — Far-right ex-cop Loren Culp, who lost a bid for governor by a 57-43 margin to Democratic incumbent Jay Inslee last year, suggested this week that he might run against Rep. Dan Newhouse in Washington’s 4th Congressional District next year. Newhouse, of course, is one of just 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Donald Trump, earning him the ire of local GOP officials and conservative activists alike.
However, a Culp campaign could actually benefit him. That’s because Republican state Rep. Brad Klippert already launched a challenge in January, meaning that the high-profile Culp might only help fracture the disaffected Trumpist vote on the right. Klippert does have one advantage, though: His entire legislative district is contained in the 4th, while Culp, notes NCWLIFE’s Jefferson Robbins, doesn’t even live in Newhouse’s district but rather in the 5th.
MICHIGAN 3RD CD — Audra Johnson, whose MAGA-themed wedding went viral a couple of years ago, says she’ll run against Rep. Meijer in next year’s GOP primary, because that’s the world we live in now. Meijer was one of 10 Republicans who voted to impeach Donald Trump in January and had already earned a challenge from a minor 2018 opponent.
OHIO 4TH CD — The FEC recently sent 10 letters to Republican Rep. Jim Jordan’s campaign asking it explain the source of nearly $3 million in discrepancies in its fundraising filings dating back to 2018. The campaign blamed a former treasurer for “inadvertently double-report[ing] certain fundraising expenses,” but as the Daily Beast’s Roger Sollenberger notes, that claim only addresses spending and doesn’t account for the fact that Jordan’s reports were off by almost $1.3 million in terms of how much he’d raised.
Jordan has until early April to respond. Several experts say that the sheer magnitude of the errors could prompt the FEC to start an enforcement action, though the bar for doing so is high, and even if it does take that step, the commission would not publicly reveal it had done so.
NEW YORK CITY MAYOR — On Wednesday, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams earned an endorsement from the Hotel Trades Council, which is one of the major unions in city politics, for the June instant-runoff Democratic primary.
ST. LOUIS MAYOR — St. Louis on Tuesday became the first large city in America to host a race using an “approval voting” system, which allows voters to cast as many votes in the primary as there are candidates, and City Treasurer Tishaura Jones and Alderman Cara Spencer advanced to next month’s nonpartisan general election.
Tishaura Jones, who narrowly lost the 2017 Democratic primary to retiring incumbent Lyda Krewson under the old system, won support from 57% of voters, while 46% selected Cara Spencer as a choice. A third Democratic contender, Aldermanic President Lewis Reed, earned the backing of 39% of voters, while 19% selected Republican Andrew Jones.
Tishaura Jones and Cara Spencer will compete again in the April 6 general election, where voters will only be able to select one of them. Tishaura Jones would be the city’s first Black leader since 2001.
ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA MAYOR — St. Pete Polls, working on behalf of Florida Politics, surveys the August nonpartisan primary of its namesake city and finds three Democrats in a close fight for the two spots in a likely general election, though with a large plurality of voters still undecided. City Councilwoman Darden Rice leads with 15%, while former Pinellas County Commissioner Ken Welch and former state Rep. Wengay Newton are each just behind with 14%; another five candidates were tested, but none of them took more than 5% of the vote.
St. Pete also tests a hypothetical November matchup between Rice and Welch and finds Welch ahead 31-24.
BOSTON MAYOR — John Barros, who recently stepped down as Boston’s economic development chief, announced Thursday that he would join the September nonpartisan primary. Barros, whose parents are originally from Cape Verde, is competing in a contest where each of the other four declared candidates would also be the first person of color elected mayor.
Barros, who is a former member of the city’s School Committee, ran for mayor in 2013 and took sixth place with 8% of the vote. Barros backed Marty Walsh the following month ahead of a close general election, and the victorious Walsh soon picked his former opponent to be the city’s economic development chief.
Barros may face another former member of Walsh’s cabinet. Karilyn Crockett resigned Monday as Boston’s first equity chief, and multiple media sources report that she’s considering joining the race. The candidate filing deadline is May 18, so it may take a while longer for the field to fully take shape. Perhaps the biggest question looming over the contest is whether City Council President Kim Janey, who would become mayor in the very likely event that Walsh is confirmed as U.S. secretary of labor, will seek a full term or if the city will have a rare open-seat race.