Former President Donald Trump strongly hinted in a Fox News interview over the weekend that he’s running for president again in 2024. Said Trump: “I can’t reveal it yet, but I absolutely know my answer. And we’re gonna do very well and people are gonna be very happy.”
Of course, that means nothing at all.
Trump has every incentive to make you think he’s running for president:
- It allows him to continue raising money for his political operations.
- It allows him to exert control over the Republican party.
- It allows him to argue that current (and future) indictments against him, his company and his associates are just politically-motivated.
So even if everyone in his inner circle says Trump is definitely running for president again, it doesn’t mean he is.
“If it’s bad, I say it’s fake. If it’s good, I say that’s the most accurate poll ever.” — Donald Trump, quoted by Forbes.
“Pro-Trump candidates are racing to launch gubernatorial campaigns across the country, posing a test for the former president’s political brand in a number of key states going into 2022,” The Hill reports.
The state Republican Party over the weekend endorsed former state cabinet official Kelly Tshibaka’s intra-party bid against Sen. Lisa Murkowski. Murkowski has not yet confirmed if she’ll be seeking re-election in 2022, where Alaska will make use of its new top-four electoral system for the first time.
- AK-Sen: Kelly Tshibaka (R): $750,000 raised
- NV-Sen: Catherine Cortez Masto (D-inc): $2.8 million raised, $6.6 million cash-on-hand
- FL-Gov: Charlie Crist (D): $542,000 raised (in June)
- GA-Gov: Vernon Jones (R): $650,000 raised, $115,000 cash-on-hand
- SC-Gov: Henry McMaster (R-inc): $891,000 raised, $1.74 million cash-on-hand; Mia McLeod (D): $104,000 raised, $98,000 cash-on-hand
- TX-Gov: Don Huffines (R): $9.1 million raised (has not said if any self-funding involved)
- WI-Gov: Tony Evers (D-inc): $5 million raised (in six months), $7.3 million cash-on-hand
- FL-19: Byron Donalds (R-inc): $1.1 million raised
- IL-07: Kina Collins (D): $130,000 raised (in one month)
- IL-16: Adam Kinzinger (R-inc): $800,000 raised
- MA-04: Jake Auchincloss (D-inc): $700,000 raised, $1.4 million cash-on-hand
- NY-12: Rana Abdelhamid (D): $410,000 raised
- NY-18: Sean Patrick Maloney (D-inc): $498,000 raised
- TN-05: Odessa Kelly (D): $300,000 raised
- TX-15: Vicente Gonzalez (D-inc): $425,000 raised, $1.5 million cash-on-hand
- WI-03: Derrick Van Orden (R): $750,000 raised
- WI-08: Mike Gallagher (R-inc): $304,000 raised, $2.3 million cash-on-hand
Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers’ (D) reelection campaign raised $5 million through the first six months of the year and has more than $7 million cash on hand ahead of his bid for a second term, the Associated Press reports.
Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) set a second straight fundraising record last quarter, bringing in $1.88 million from April to June, Fox News reports.
Axios: “The impressive haul, an increase from the record-setting $1.5 million Cheney brought in during the first three months of the year, came during the period in which she was ousted as House GOP conference chair for her criticism of former President Trump.”
VIRGINIA GOVERNOR — Glenn Youngkin (R) will skip what is typically the premier debate of the Virginia governor’s race, saying he objects to the moderator, PBS NewsHour host Judy Woodruff, because she once donated $250 to the Clinton Foundation’s Haitian earthquake relief fund, the Washington Post reports.
“Former Carlyle Group co-CEO Glenn Youngkin may have earned Donald Trump’s endorsement in the Virginia governor’s race, but now he’s the one trying to tie the former president to his opponent,” Bloomberg reports. “After former Democratic Governor Terry McAuliffe ran an ad highlighting Trump’s endorsement of Youngkin, the Republican’s campaign responded with its own ad highlighting McAuliffe’s past ties to Trump.”
NEW YORK CITY MAYOR — Ray La Raja: “Primaries are about factional battles within parties, and Eric Adams won a major fight last week. The message from Adams’s win in New York City’s Democratic primary — echoing that of President Biden’s victory last fall — is that the Democratic Party is much more than the progressive left, even in the most progressive of cities.”
“His base of support, polling suggested, was not college-educated professionals but an ethnic and racial mosaic of older New Yorkers, many of whom lack college degrees.”
“Adams reminded us that less educated voters who make up most of the party have different priorities than the progressive left — notably on crime, a major issue in the race.”
NEW YORK GOVERNOR — Politico: “The uncertainty has paralyzed much of New York’s Democratic political apparatus. State lawmakers have put their parallel impeachment investigation on a very slow burn. Cuomo has not revisited his pre-scandal pledge to run for a fourth term in 2022. And potential Democratic primary challengers are waiting to see if they’d face a wounded Cuomo, a vindicated Cuomo, or perhaps no Cuomo at all.”
MONTANA 1ST AND 2ND CD –Donald Trump endorsed Ryan Zinke’s bid to return to the House on Thursday, a development that came about two and a half years after the Montana Republican resigned as secretary of the interior, reportedly due to Trump White House pressure, in the face of 18 federal investigations. Montana will gain a second congressional district following the 2020 Census and Zinke, who represented the entire state in the House from 2015 through 2017, has filed to run for the as of yet undrawn 2nd District.
The last two-district map divided the state west to east, which if drawn today would make the eastern district more safely red than the west, though no one knows exactly what the boundaries will look like this time, much less how competitive either seat will be. Republicans trying to assert greater control over the mapmaking process also rushed through a measure in April directing the state’s bipartisan redistricting commission to follow certain criteria when drawing new lines. However, the state constitution was revised in 1972 to mostly take redistricting out of the hands of legislators, and similar laws attempting to shackle the commission have been struck down in the past.
Another potential factor for Zinke is Congressman Matt Rosendale (R), who represents Montana’s at-large House seat. Rosendale and Zinke did face off in the crowded 2014 primary for the House, a contest Zinke won, but the two well-established politicians may be able to avoid running against one another now that the state will be divided in two. Complicating things, though, is that the two could wind up in the same seat when all is said and done: Rosendale moved to the city of Great Falls in western Montana last year, while Zinke’s hometown of Whitefish is located even further to the west.
If Rosendale and Zinke do run for different districts, though, Trump’s support for the former congressman may scare off many would-be Republican foes. The only other noteworthy Republican who has announced a campaign for the House so far is former state Sen. Al Olszewski, who fared poorly in the 2018 and 2020 primaries for Senate and governor, respectively.
MISSOURI U.S. SENATOR — Missouri Independent: “Those close to Nixon say he doesn’t want to jump into the race unless he sees a path to victory.”
“And while Nixon may seem appealing to party leaders who hope he can win back rural Democrats who voted for Trump in 2016 and 2020, that formula has failed in other states.”
“Former Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen, former Montana Gov. Steve Bullock and former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland each ran for Senate as elder statesmen who could appeal to white, working-class voters who had become reliable Republicans.”
Nixon is “considering the possibility very seriously.” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has mentioned Nixon as a potential candidate in calls to donors, while he hasn’t name-dropped any other names for this race.
Meanwhile on the GOP side, the conservative Washington Examiner writes that Rep. Billy Long is “poised” to run. There’s no word, though, when the congressman might make his final decision: Long himself said about a month ago that he was “getting really close on it,” though he’d previously insisted in April that he’d make up his mind “not before too long.”
ARKANSAS U.S. SENATOR — Former NFL player Jake Bequette (R) announced he’s challenging Sen. John Boozman (R-AR) in next year’s Republican primary, the Associated Press reports.
Bequette entered the contest with a well-produced video where he declared, “I’m no squish career politician. I’m a former All-SEC Razorback, a defensive end who sacked Tim Tebow, a Patriot who played with Tom Brady and won a Super Bowl, and an Army veteran who left the NFL and volunteered for the 101st Airborne in Iraq.” Bequette, though, did not mention why voters should fire Boozman, a low-key two-term senator who earned Trump’s endorsement back in March.
Bequette had a successful stint as a defensive end in college through the 2011 season, and he was a third-round draft pick for the Patriots in 2012. His career in the NFL, though, saw him play just eight games total over two seasons. Bequette was put on the practice squad in 2014 and didn’t play in the 2015 Super Bowl, but he still got a ring after his team won the game; Bequette was released later that year and went on to serve with the Army in Iraq.
“A melee broke out at Rep. Katie Porter’s (D-CA) district town hall meeting Sunday, with her backers scuffling with supporters of former President Trump who were loudly interrupting the congresswoman as she spoke,” the Los Angeles Times reports.
“Porter said that the acts of the protesters were premeditated.”
ARIZONA U.S. SENATOR — “Blake Masters, a top aide to billionaire entrepreneur Peter Thiel, entered the Republican field of candidates hoping to unseat Democratic U.S. Sen. Mark Kelly in 2022,” the Arizona Republic reports.
“Thiel has donated $10 million to a legally separate political-action committee that can raise and spend money to help bolster Masters’ bid.” Masters is a 34-year-old first-time contender who argued that “[b]eing a conventional politician and being in office forever is sort of overrated,” but he does have one very prominent figure in his corner.
Masters, who launched his campaign questioning the legitimacy of Joe Biden’s victory and supporting the ongoing and utterly bogus “audit” of Maricopa County’s 2020 vote, joins what’s become a crowded primary to take on Kelly. The contest includes businessman Jim Lamon; retired Maj. Gen. Michael McGuire; and Mark Brnovich, the state attorney general that Donald Trump derided as “lackluster” for accepting the legitimacy of Joe Biden’s 2020 victory in the state.
CALIFORNIA GOVERNOR — “California’s Democratic governor, Gavon Newsom, cannot identify his political affiliation on the ballot during an upcoming recall election,” NBC News reports.
“State Superior Court Judge James Arguellas denied Newsom’s request that his party be listed on the ballot after he failed to identify his political preference by a filing deadline.”
Board of Equalization Member Ted Gaines, a longtime Republican politician who serves on the four-member elected body that administers tax collection across the state, has announced that he’ll compete in the September recall campaign against Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom. The filing deadline is Friday, so other would-be contenders have only a little time left to make up their minds.
Gaines, who previously represented the state’s conservative northeast corner in both chambers of the legislature, has run statewide once before, but he lost that 2014 general election for state insurance commissioner by a wide 58-42 margin. Gaines went on to win his 2018 campaign for District 1 on the Board of Equalization, which spans most of the inland eastern part of the state, 51-49 as Republican John Cox was edging out Newsom there 50.3-49.7.
Jonathan Bernstein: “The key to 2022 is that it’s the first midterm after a party change in the White House — but one in which the incoming party had disappointing results in congressional races. The modern elections that might fit that definition would include the ones after the 1960, 1968, 1976, 1992, 2000 and 2016 contests. I’ll toss out 2000 and 2016, in which the presidential-election winner lost the popular vote, since those pose different challenges for the president’s party. I’ll also eliminate 1968, when President Richard Nixon’s Republicans gained ground in both chambers of Congress, but still fell way short of majorities. That, too, is different from what Biden and the Democrats are dealing with now.”
“So that leaves three midterms to look at: those after the elections of John Kennedy in 1960, Jimmy Carter in 1976 and Bill Clinton in 1992. In all three of those election years, Democrats retained majorities in Congress, but lost some ground. And in each case, that probably made it harder to get much done.”
Stuart Rothenberg: Why comparing the 2022 midterm dynamics to 1966 is risky.
LOS ANGELES MAYOR — President Joe Biden announced Friday that he was nominating Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti to become ambassador to India. Multiple media outlets reported just before Memorial Day that Biden planned to choose Garcetti, who is termed-out of his current job in 2022, for this post, but it remains to be seen who will take over as the leader of America’s second-largest city.
If the mayor is confirmed by the U.S. Senate, much of what would happen next would be up to the Los Angeles City Council. The 15-member body’s leader, Council President Nury Martinez, would automatically become acting mayor upon Garcetti’s resignation, which would make her the first woman to lead the city. She may not be there long, however, as the Council can vote to select her or a different person to serve as interim mayor. Indeed, Martinez has expressed interest in running in her own right next year, so several of her colleagues may be reluctant to select her or another potential candidate as interim mayor.
The City Council also has the option to hold a special election for the remainder of Garcetti’s term, though two members have already said they don’t want this to happen because of the expenses involved. No matter what, though, the regularly-scheduled nonpartisan primary will go forward in June of next year in this heavily Democratic city. The only notable declared contenders so far are City Councilman Joe Buscaino and City Attorney Mike Feuer, but others are considering.
Former Texas state Rep. Matt Rinaldi (R) is the next chairman of the Texas Republican Party, the Texas Tribune reports. “Rinaldi was one of the most conservative members of the House during his time there. Rinaldi has already endorsed one of Abbot’s GOP primary challengers, former state Sen. Donald Huffines of Dallas.”