Perry Bacon Jr.: “Despite Republicans losing the White House and Senate in 2020, and thus being totally swept out of power in Washington, there’s been no official ‘autopsy’ or widespread consideration of appointing new leaders or anything else. In the period after the 1988 presidential election, the Republican Party has lost the popular vote in all but one presidential race (2004). It has lost three of the last four presidential elections and allowed itself to be dominated by former President Donald Trump, who was twice impeached for breaking with democratic values. But it is moving forward like none of that really happened.”
“The collective decision of conservative activists and Republican elected officials to stay on the anti-democratic, racist trajectory that the GOP had been on before Trump — but that he accelerated — is perhaps the most important story in American politics right now.”
- CA-Sen: Alex Padilla (D-inc): $2.6 million raised
- NC-Sen: Jeff Jackson (D) $1.3 million raised
- OH-Sen: Jane Timken (R): $2.1 million raised
- PA-Sen: Chrissy Houlahan (D): $580,000 raised, $3.5 million cash-on-hand (has not announced a bid); Jeff Bartos (R): $1.2 million raised
- CO-03: Lauren Boebert (R-inc): $700,000 raised
- MI-03: Peter Meijer (R-inc): $500,000 raised
- NC-11: Jasmine Beach-Ferrara (D): $380,000 raised (in one month)
- OH-11: Nina Turner (D): $1.55 million raised; Shontel Brown (D): $640,000 raised, $550,000 cash-on-hand
- OH-16: Max Miller (R): $500,000 raised
CALIFORNIA U.S. SENATOR — Rep. Ro Khanna isn’t ruling out a challenge next year to fellow Democrat Alex Padilla, whose appointment in January to succeed Kamala Harris made him the first Latino senator in California history. In new remarks to Politico, the Bay Area congressman said he’s “keeping [his] options open” regarding a potential Senate bid.
PENNSYLVANIA U.S. SENATOR — Montgomery County Commissioner Val Arkoosh kicked off a bid for the Senate on Monday, making her the third notable Democrat to enter the race to succeed retiring Republican Sen. Pat Toomey.
Arkoosh, a physician, unsuccessfully ran for the House in 2014 for what was then numbered the 13th District, finishing last in a four-way primary with 15% of the vote. (The nomination was won by Brendan Boyle, who now represents the redrawn and renumbered 2nd District.) The following year, though, Arkoosh was tapped to fill a vacancy on the Montgomery County Council, a large suburban county just outside of Philadelphia, and won election in her own right that fall. In 2016, her fellow commissioners selected her as the board’s first woman chair, and she easily won a second term in 2019.
If Arkoosh were to prevail in next year’s race, she’d also be the first woman to represent Pennsylvania in the Senate. First, though, she’ll have to get past a primary that already features Lt. Gov. John Fetterman and state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, with more poised to join.
UTAH U.S. SENATOR — The Salt Lake Tribune runs down a whole host of possible primary challengers to Republican Sen. Mike Lee, who is largely drawing heat from those dismayed by his wholehearted embrace of Trumpism. In any other state, that would be unimaginable, but a sizable contingent of Mormon voters remain nonplussed with the GOP’s direction over the last half-decade—enough, at least, to spur chatter about trying to take down Lee.
The roster of potential candidates includes former state Rep. Becky Edwards, whom we’d previously identified as running based on her statement that she was “all in.” There’s also businesswoman Ally Isom, who was previously reported to be interested but has now confirmed she’s looking at the race. Isom quit the GOP in 2016 over Trump but re-registered as a Republican last year; like Edwards, she encouraged Mormon women to vote for Joe Biden in 2020.
Meanwhile, real estate executive Thomas Wright, who ended up last with just 8% in last year’s four-way Republican primary for governor, didn’t rule out a bid, saying that “there continues to be a desire to serve.” However, the third-place finisher in that race, former state House Speaker Greg Hughes, flat-out said he wouldn’t run and would back Lee for re-election.
The Tribune adds that there have been “persistent rumblings” that Tim Ballard, the head of a nonprofit that combats child trafficking, could run, but there’s no word on his interest. As for former CIA officer Evan McMullin, who took 22% in Utah running as a conservative independent in 2016’s presidential race, the Tribune says any hope he might enter is “probably more wishful thinking than reality at this point.”
TEXAS GOVERNOR — Former Democratic Rep. Beto O’Rourke pointedly did not rule out a bid for governor in new remarks on Friday, saying only, “I’ve got no plans to run.” After making this statement, his team released a further statement to clarify. “I’m not currently considering a run for office,” said O’Rourke. “I’m focused on what I’m doing now (teaching and organizing.) Nothing’s changed and nothing I said would preclude me from considering a run in the future.”
In November of 2018, O’Rourke said, “I will not be a candidate for president in 2020. That’s I think as definitive as those sentences get.” O’Rourke launched a bid for president in March of 2019.
VIRGINIA GOVERNOR — Former Democratic state Del. Jennifer Carroll Foy’s campaign for governor just received a $500,000 infusion from a political advocacy organization thanks to state laws that place no caps on political giving. The PAC that made the donation, Clean Virginia, was created by a wealthy former Goldman Sachs executive named Michael Bills in an effort to oppose Dominion Energy, which the Virginia Mercury describes as “the state-regulated utility many progressives see as exerting undue control” over state lawmakers.
Clean Virginia had previously given $100,000 each to Foy and another rival in the June 8 Democratic primary, state Sen. Jennifer McClellan. It does not appear that the group gave a comparable donation to McClellan this time. Meanwhile, in an aside buried deep in a long profile piece, the New York Times indicates that former Republican Rep. Denver Riggleman is still thinking about a bid. Riggleman, who lost renomination at a party convention last year and has since become a vocal critic of of Trump-fueled disinformation, has until June 8—the same day as the state’s primaries—to file as an independent.
TEXAS 6TH CD — Former Trump official Sery Kim unleashed a racist anti-Chinese rant at a candidate forum in Texas’ 6th Congressional District last week, prompting two Asian American Republicans in Congress to withdraw their endorsements.
In her opening remarks, Kim launched into a conspiracy theory about the COVID-19 pandemic, baselessly claiming, “We were lied to for the last one year and two months and stayed at home because China created coronavirus in a Wuhan lab.” Later, when answering a question about immigration, Kim said of Chinese immigrants, “I don’t want them here at all. They steal our intellectual property, they give us coronavirus, they don’t hold themselves accountable.” She added, “And quite frankly, I can say that because I’m Korean.”
California Reps. Young Kim and Michelle Steel, who were the first Korean American Republican women to win seats in Congress with their victories last year, took sharp exception to Sery Kim’s remarks. Saying that she’d refused their demands that she apologize, the two congresswomen said, “We cannot in good conscience continue to support her candidacy.” Kim responded by claiming that “the liberal media is targeting me” and filing a lawsuit seeking $10 million in damages against the Texas Tribune for calling her statements “racist.”
On an entirely unrelated note, Democrat Jana Lynne Sanchez has launched her first TV ad ahead of the May all-party primary, which the Tribune says is backed by a “six-figure buy on cable and satellite.” The spot features some basic biographical details (she “put herself through college and started a business from scratch”), then bashes “Washington politicians like Ted Cruz” for opposing $1,400 relief checks. Displaying a photo of Cruz lugging his suitcase through an airport during his notorious trip to Mexico amid Texas’ devastating ice storm last month, Sanchez adds, “They even abandoned us when the lights went out.”
NEW YORK CITY MAYOR — Politico reports that a PAC named New Start NYC has reserved $2.74 million on TV ads through early May in support of Shaun Donovan, a former director of the Obama-era Office of Management and Budget, ahead of the June Democratic primary. The group has received $1 million from the candidate’s father, tech executive Michael Donovan.
BOSTON MAYOR — State Rep. Jon Santiago earned an endorsement on Friday from the Laborers Local 223, a high-profile construction union that was led by Marty Walsh until he was elected mayor in 2013. The group is now run by Walsh’s cousin, who also happens to be named Marty Walsh; the Boston Herald’s Sean Philip Cotter tweets that the current union head is identified as “Big Marty” to distinguish him from his famous relative and the many other Marty Walshes in Boston politics.
P.S.: Marty Walsh, as in the former mayor turned U.S. secretary of labor, said last month that he would not be endorsing in this year’s mayoral race.
NEVADA GOVERNOR / U.S. SENATOR — The Las Vegas Review-Journal takes a deep look at the developing Republican fields to take on the two leading Nevada Democrats up in this swing state in 2022, Gov. Steve Sisolak and Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto. Republicans seem to agree that former Attorney General Adam Laxalt, who was the Republican’s 2018 nominee for governor, would have little trouble winning the Senate primary should he run, but the gubernatorial field appears to be wide open.
Sisolak, though, may have more immediate worries. Clark County Commission Chair Marilyn Kirkpatrick is considering challenging the governor in the primary, though she has yet to confirm her interest. There’s no word on why Kirkpatrick might want to unseat a member of her own party, though she’s come into conflict with the governor before.
No matter what, though, Democrats will need to prepare for a tough general election as they seek to hold the governor’s office. Until now, the only notable Republican who had publicly talked about running was Rep. Mark Amodei, who reaffirmed his interest this month. Former Lt. Gov. Mark Hutchison and Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo, who share a consultant, are considering; neither man has said anything publicly, though Amodei relays that he’s spoken to him about this contest recently.
While things are unsettled now, there may be a Republican frontrunner before too long. “The belief in Republican political circles is the potential candidates will come to an agreement in the next month and not compete against one another in a primary.” Other Republicans, though, may decide to run no matter what any member of this trio does. Casino owner Derek Stevens, whom is described as a “newcomer,” is thinking about getting in.
A few other Silver State politicos may also take their chances. North Las Vegas Mayor John Lee, who previously served in the state Senate as a conservative Democrat, acknowledged he’s been “approached by different people in both parties” about switching to the GOP and running for governor. Lee didn’t rule the idea out, saying, “I’m flattered, but at this point, I’m still focused on some big projects in North Las Vegas, and I don’t want to be distracted.”
GOP state Sens. Ben Kieckhefer and Heidi Gansert, whom Appleton characterizes as “wildcards,” also could run either against Sisolak or Cortez Masto. Kieckhefer said he was “still thinking about what a race for governor looks like” and “has had a few conversations about the Senate.” Kieckhefer, who portrayed himself as a moderate focused on “consensus building and problem solving in a bipartisan way,” said he hoped to make up his mind in June.
Gansert, for her part, was more evasive, but she did not reject the idea of a statewide campaign. Gansert, who is a former chief of staff to former Gov. Brian Sandoval, said, “I certainly see the growing frustration over the lack of checks and balances and the one-party rule in our government, but I have a lot to get done in the legislature.”
There are two big GOP names from yesteryear, though, who probably won’t run for anything in 2022. Former Sen. Dean Heller is mentioned as a possible gubernatorial candidate, though Amodei and most Republican operatives doubt he’ll campaign for anything this cycle “unless the waters change.”
It is also reported that, while both sides are watching to see if Sandoval will run for the Senate, few expect him to. Republicans tried hard to recruit him to run here six years ago, but he never seemed particularly interested in joining Congress. Sandoval is currently serving as president of the University of Nevada, Reno, and a spokesperson says that he “would prefer to keep his time and attention focused on that role.” Sandoval, who was a relative moderate during his time in office, could also be deterred from running by the threat of a difficult GOP primary against a possible conservative alternative.
“More than half of the states in the U.S. are at ‘extreme risk’ of congressional districts being drawn to unfairly favor one party, according to a new analysis of state redistricting processes by RepresentUs, a non-partisan advocacy group focused on election reform,” Axios reports.
“Danny Moore, the chair of Colorado’s Independent Congressional Redistricting Commission, was removed as the chairman of the commission on Monday after posting election conspiracy theories and derogatory statements regarding the coronavirus on social media,” KMGH reports.