The Political Report – 7/3/21

Jonathan Bernstein: “Republicans, as a party, are increasingly similar to that politician who has given up on understanding larger and larger portions of their districts.”

“Given partisan polarization among voters, that may not impede re-election in solidly Republican House districts or states. But it produces a breakdown in representation nonetheless.”

“We expect politicians to be more concerned with their primary and re-election constituencies — their strongest supporters and those who will or might vote for them — than with the rest of the district. But district representation in the U.S. has always worked in part because elected officials paid at least some attention to all the voters in their constituency. They think of themselves as representing Omaha or Oklahoma or some set of towns in central Connecticut — not simply as Democrats or Republicans unmoored from geography and specific citizens.”

PENNSYLVANIA 7TH CD — Republican businessman Kevin Dellicker, who has been considering a bid against Democratic Rep. Susan Wild, says he’s “leaning towards running” and will make an announcement on July 15. Meanwhile, former Lehigh County Commissioner Dean Browning, who lost last year’s GOP primary to businesswoman Lisa Scheller by a 52-48 margin, tells PoliticsPA that “he does not have any plans to run” for office next year. Scheller, whom Wild defeated 52-48, is already running again.

OHIO 11TH CD — Democrat Shontel Brown is out with a new positive ad featuring South Carolina Rep. Jim Clyburn, who endorsed Brown earlier this week. In the spot, Clyburn favorably compares Brown to Marcia Fudge and Stephanie Tubbs Jones, the last two holders of this Cleveland-based seat. The commercial also shows an image of Brown with Joe Biden, continuing a trend of Brown tying herself to the president in ads.

NEW YORK 11TH CD — Former Democratic Rep. Max Rose announced on Wednesday that he would be stepping down from his position on the Defense Department’s COVID-19 task force, which will soon wind down and see its work absorbed into what Rose called “normal operations” at a press conference. The move would allow Rose, who briefly considered a bid for New York City mayor earlier this year, to contemplate a comeback for his old House seat, which he lost to Republican Rep. Nicole Malliotakis 53-47 in 2020. Though the 11th District backed Donald Trump 55-44 last year, Democrats could make it bluer in redistricting.

NEW JERSEY 11TH CD — Businessman Tom Toomey, who served as an RNC staffer during the 2020 elections, has kicked off a bid against Democratic Rep. Mikie Sherrill in New Jersey’s 11th Congressional District. Some bigger-name Republicans, including 2020 nominee Rosemary Becchi, have reportedly been considering, but so far, none have entered the race.

NEBRASKA 2ND CD — Nebraska Democratic Party chair Jane Kleeb says she believes that state Sen. Tony Vargas and 2020 Senate candidate Alisha Shelton are considering bids against Republican Rep. Don Bacon in the state’s 2nd Congressional District. A report from April previously said that Vargas is looking at the race, but then as now, he’s declined to answer questions.

Alisha Shelton, who also appears not to have discussed her interest publicly, ran in last year’s Democratic Senate primary but came in third with 23%. However, Nebraska Democrats disavowed the winner, businessman Chris Janicek, after he sent sexually explicit messages about a campaign staffer to a group text that included the aide and backed Shelton to replace him. Janicek refused to budge, though, and won just 24% of the vote against Republican Sen. Ben Sasse in November.

KENTUCKY U.S. SENATOR — Former Democratic state Rep. and 2020 Senate candidate Charles Booker kicked off a bid to take on Sen. Rand Paul in this deep red state on Thursday. Booker ran in the Democratic primary last year against Amy McGrath, a contest that saw McGrath enjoy a strong edge in fundraising and name recognition for most of its duration, so much so that she behaved as the presumptive nominee from the outset.

Late in the race, though, Booker experienced a surge in momentum due to his high-profile role in the protests that followed the police killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor (who was killed in Booker’s hometown of Louisville). He was also buoyed by endorsements from much of the Bluegrass State’s Democratic establishment. In the end, though, Booker’s last-minute push fell just short, as McGrath prevailed 45-43. McGrath went on to lose to Mitch McConnell 58-38.

While Booker is one of the Kentucky Democrats’ brightest stars, he’ll likely face a fate similar to all Democrats who’ve run for Senate here over the last three decades. But it’s always worth having the strongest candidate possible on the ballot in case the unexpected happens—just ask Doug Jones.

WISCONSIN U.S. SENATOR — EMILY’s List has endorsed state Treasurer Sarah Godlewski in the Democratic primary to take on Republican Sen. Ron Johnson next year (though Johnson still has yet to say whether he’ll seek re-election). Godlewski is the most prominent woman running in a field that includes Milwaukee Bucks executive Alex Lasry, state Sen. Chris Larson, and Outagamie County Executive Tom Nelson, and it could yet grow further still.

GEORGIA GOVERNOR — Trump apparatchik Corey Lewandowski claims he’s recruiting a “known commodity” who’s held public office “in an area where traditionally Republicans don’t get elected” to run against Gov. Brian Kemp in next year’s GOP primary, though he’s not saying who. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, however, thinks he’s talking about wealthy businessman Ames Barnett, who recently tweeted then deleted a photo of himself with Lewandowski.

Barnett also served two terms as the mayor of Washington, a 4,000-person Black-majority city in east Georgia, in the previous decade. But his electoral history doesn’t show what Lewandowski thinks it does: In a lengthy 2011 article, the Washington Post profiled the divisive campaign that saw Barnett unseat the town’s first Black mayor, Willie Burns, for a post the paper called “mostly ceremonial,” thanks to a bitter split between Black and white voters.

In late March, the AJC reported that Barnett was considering a bid for Georgia’s open 10th Congressional District and was supposedly going to decide in a week. However, we’ve heard nothing from him since.

MARYLAND GOVERNOR — Republican Del. Dan Cox, who organized a three-bus caravan that took supporters to the Jan. 6 Trump rally in D.C. that turned into a violent assault on the Capitol, has filed paperwork to run for governor next year though he hasn’t yet commented on his plans. On that fateful day, Cox also tweeted “Pence is a traitor” after the former vice president refused Trump’s directive to overturn the results of the election.

The only notable Republican running so far is state Commerce Secretary Kelly Schulz, an appointee of term-limited Gov. Larry Hogan. One political scientist quoted by Maryland Matters described a potential matchup between Schulz and Cox as “a primary that pits the establishment, or Hogan, wing of the party against the Trump wing.”

OREGON GOVERNOR — Baker City (pop. 10,000) Mayor Kerry McQuisten has announced she’ll seek the Republican nomination in next year’s race for governor. She joins 2016 nominee Bud Pierce and businesswoman Jessica Gomez in the race. The Democratic field for this open seat has been slow to develop, with just Yamhill County Commissioner Casey Kulla running so far.

Wall Street Journal: “More GOP women have announced plans to run for House seats in 2022 at this point than in any recent election cycle, feeding confidence that the party is positioned to build on its big gains in sending women to Congress last year.”

“Democrats have long outpaced Republicans in electing women to the House. But GOP women were some of the stars of Election Night 2020, accounting for 11 of the 14 Republican victories over Democratic incumbents.”

“This cycle, 127 Republican women have already indicated they plan to run for House seats. That’s more than double the 50 women at about this point in the 2020 cycle.”

Natalie Jackson: “It is increasingly clear that how a poll contacts people — formerly a key heuristic for assessing poll quality — no longer tells us what it used to about accuracy.”

“The 2020 primary pre-election polling task force report found that whether the survey was online or by telephone had no bearing on accuracy, and the new task force report presentation indicated the same finding. As a result of their own analysis showing the same thing, FiveThirtyEight has retired the landline and cell phone live-caller survey as the ‘gold standard.’”

“The field letting go of its attachment to one source as more accurate than others will allow other methodologies to become more prominent and encourage further experimentation with new methodologies.”

VIRGINIA GOVERNORAssociated Press: “While creating big profits for the firm’s investors, Carlyle’s deals sometimes triggered layoffs, outsourced jobs and complaints from the people served by the companies acquired.”

“Carlyle made investments in several companies under Youngkin’s leadership that moved at least 1,300 American jobs offshore.”

Featured Photo: President Joe Biden delivers remarks to Air Force personnel and their families on Wednesday, June 9, 2021, at Royal Air Force Mildenhall, England. (Official White House Photo by Adam Schultz)

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

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