The Political Report – 7/24/21

Politico: “Biden’s return to the campaign trail for a rally Friday in Northern Virginia comes as Democrats in the state furiously try to yoke McAuliffe’s Republican opponent, the hedge-fund multimillionaire Glenn Youngkin, to former President Donald Trump.”

“But there are far bigger stakes for the White House. Biden, a self-described party guy, is keen on avoiding the down-ballot carnage that took place under presidents Trump and Barack Obama before him. And so, as Biden’s aides and allies put it, he’s tending to the store early.”

WISCONSIN U.S. SENATOR — Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) told the Wisconsin State Journal: “I want to make sure that this U.S. Senate seat is retained in Republican hands. You see what the media’s doing to me. I may not be the best candidate. I wouldn’t run if I don’t think I could win, if I don’t think I was the best person to be able to win.”

He also added: “I feel really bad that I’ve been here now probably 11 years and we’ve doubled the debt.”

Milwaukee Alderwoman Chantia Lewis joined the Democratic primary for Senate on Wednesday, just a day after one of the most prominent candidates to date, Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes, entered the race. Like Barnes, Lewis is hoping to become Wisconsin’s first Black senator. At least half a dozen notable contenders are seeking the Democratic nomination, while Republican Sen. Ron Johnson has yet to confirm whether he’ll seek reelection.

MARYLAND GOVERNOR Maryland Matters: “Michael Steele, the former lieutenant governor and one-time chairman of the Republican National Committee, has created an exploratory committee ahead of a possible run for governor in 2022.”

CALIFORNIA GOVERNOR — A new Emerson College poll in California shows 48% of voters want to keep Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) while 43% would vote to recall him.  Another 9% are still undecided.

A state court judge has reinstated conservative talk show host Larry Elder on the September recall ballot after finding that Elder was not required to submit five years of tax returns when he filed his candidacy under a new California law because the law only applies to primaries. A final list of certified candidates is available here.

GEORGIA U.S. SENATOR — Georgia House Speaker David Ralston (R) won’t be challenging Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-GA) in 2022, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.

Read into this what you will: Former Sen. David Perdue met with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on Tuesday and ignored questions from CNN reporter Manu Raju asking if he would run again. Perdue had considered challenging Democratic incumbent Raphael Warnock earlier this year, but he took his name out of contention in February.  

OHIO 11TH CD — “The Working Families Party, a progressive group, plans to spend at least $150,000 in support of Democrat Nina Turner’s congressional bid, escalating national investment in an Ohio special election that has become an ideological proxy battle,” the HuffPost reports.

ILLINOIS GOVERNOR — On Monday, Republican Rep. Rodney Davis responded to Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s announcement that he’d seek reelection by publicly expressing interest in taking him on. Davis made the dubious prediction that any Republican would beat the incumbent and added that “if I choose to make a race, I don’t get in it to lose.”

Democrats will once again be in charge of redistricting in Illinois, which will lose a House seat under the new map, and Davis may prefer to take his chances statewide rather than run in a transformed district.

CALIFORNIA 21ST CD — Angel Lara, who is a former aide to Sen. Dianne Feinstein, announced Thursday that he’d campaign as a Democrat against Republican Rep. David Valadao. The incumbent, who infuriated his fellow Republicans when he voted to impeach Donald Trump in January, already faced several opponents from both parties ahead of the top-two primary, but none of them so far have brought in much money from donors.

Chad Myers, a former Fresno city councilman who recently returned to the Central Valley after a pair of failed bids for office in New Mexico, had $200,000 on-hand at the end of June thanks almost entirely to self-funding. On the Democratic side, former Assemblywoman Nicole Parra and Delano Mayor Bryan Osorio had $54,000 and $33,000 to spend, respectively. Valadao, for his part, has an $820,000 war chest.

The current version of this seat backed Joe Biden 54-44, but Valadao regained his old spot in Congress last year by narrowly winning his rematch against Democratic incumbent TJ Cox. Cox said in April that, while he was considering another bout with Valadao, he wouldn’t make a decision until the state’s independent redistricting commission finishes its task, which it currently doesn’t have to do until the end of the year.

IOWA 3RD CD — Democratic Rep. Cindy Axne recently told KCCI that she was still considering a run for statewide office, though she sounded like she’d prefer to remain in the House. “This is one of the five majority maker seats, one of the most important seats in the entire country to your point,” said Axne, adding, “I hope to continue to hold it.” Republicans, though, have the power to make this very competitive Des Moines-area seat considerably more conservative, however, so a statewide campaign may very well look more enticing after redistricting is finished.

MAINE 2ND CD — On Friday, freshman state Sen. Trey Stewart became the first notable Republican to announce a bid against Rep. Jared Golden, who is one of just seven House Democrats in a Trump district.

Stewart, who is 27, was elected to the state House in 2016 by beating a Democratic incumbent, and he won a promotion to the upper chamber last year after he defeated another sitting Democrat. The state senator, unlike most prominent Republicans, expressed his support for an independent commission to probe the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, though he still took issue with Golden’s vote to impeach Trump afterwards.

PENNSYLVANIA 7TH CD — Businessman Kevin Dellicker, who is a veteran of Army and Air national guards, ​​said Thursday that he would seek the GOP nod to face Democratic Rep. Susan Wild in this competitive Lehigh Valley seat. Dellicker, unlike most Republicans, avoided mentioning Donald Trump in his kickoff, and he also sounded some very unTrumpy notes when he declared, “The best leaders didn’t come in and rile us up and get us upset. They calmed us down, they gave us the proper perspective and they helped us to focus and do our job.” Dellicker joins 2020 nominee Lisa Scheller in the primary.

TEXAS 30TH CD — Democratic Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson indicated two years ago that her 2020 campaign would be her last, and while she has yet to confirm if she’ll stick to that plan, the $0.00 she raised over the last three months strongly hints that the 85-year-old incumbent won’t be seeking a 16th term. This seat will almost certainly remain a safely blue Dallas-based district following redistricting, and there are many fellow Democrats who could run if Johnson retires.

GEORGIA 10TH CD — Retired Air Force Col. Alan Sims announced this week that he was joining the crowded Republican primary for this safely red open seat in the east-central part of the state. Meanwhile another contender, businessman Mike Collins, received an endorsement from former Speaker Newt Gingrich. Gingrich and Collins’ late father, former Rep. Mac Collins, served together in the state’s congressional delegation until the speaker’s 1998 resignation, and Gingrich supported the younger Collins’ failed 2014 run.

NEW HAMPSHIRE 1ST CD — Former White House staffer Karoline Leavitt announced Monday that she would seek the GOP nomination to take on Democratic Rep. Chris Pappas. Leavitt, who is 23 but will turn 25 in time for Election Day, is a former employee at WMUR, so she naturally kicked off her bid by attacking what she called the “biased fake news media.” The current version of this seat backed Joe Biden 52-46, but the GOP-dominated state government has the power to make it far more hostile for Pappas.

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

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