The Political Report – 9/11/201

Pew Research: “The enduring power of the Sept. 11 attacks is clear: An overwhelming share of Americans who are old enough to recall the day remember where they were and what they were doing when they heard the news. Yet an ever-growing number of Americans have no personal memory of that day, either because they were too young or not yet born.”

“A review of U.S. public opinion in the two decades since 9/11 reveals how a badly shaken nation came together, briefly, in a spirit of sadness and patriotism; how the public initially rallied behind the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, though support waned over time; and how Americans viewed the threat of terrorism at home and the steps the government took to combat it.”

An AP-NORC poll conducted in August found 55% of Americans in favor of requiring government workers to be fully vaccinated, compared with 21% opposed.

Similar majorities also backed vaccine mandates for health care workers, teachers working at K-12 schools and workers who interact with the public, as at restaurants and stores.

A new Gallup poll finds 94% of U.S. adults now approve of marriages between Black people and White people, up from 87% in the prior reading from 2013.

A new UC Berkeley poll finds California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) is likely to retain his office and defeat the recall election next week by more than 20 points, 60% to 39% among likely voters.

A new SurveyUSA poll in California finds 54% opposed to recalling Gov. Gavin Newsom (D), while 41% support a recall.

The Democratic Party’s biggest guns are all coming out for Gov. Gavin Newsom with just days to go before Tuesday’s recall. Joe Biden is headed out to Long Beach in the Los Angeles area for a Monday rally with Newsom, while Barack Obama has recorded a direct-to-camera TV ad in which he exhorts Californians to vote “no” on the recall while touting Newsom’s efforts to fight the pandemic. (Kamala Harris was just in the Bay Area for an appearance with Newsom on Wednesday.)

Meanwhile, Republican Larry Elder’s latest—and closing?—ad is, as Politico’s Zach Montellaro puts it, “really working through some stuff.” The bizarre spot appears aimed at the incel vote: It features some guy named Brent Gold who directs a rant at Newsom that begins with him saying, “You remind me of the guy in high school who took my girlfriend, then went on to the next girl.” It only gets better from there.

MINNESOTA U.S. SENATOR — Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar announced on Thursday that she’d been treated for breast cancer earlier this year. In a statement, Klobuchar said that her doctors “determined in August that the treatment went well” and “believe that my chances of developing cancer again are no greater than the average person.” Klobuchar is not up for re-election until 2024.

Andrew Yang, who unsuccessfully sought the presidency and the New York City mayoralty as a Democrat, will launch a third party next month, Politico reports.

The move is likely designed in part to generate interest in his book out next month, Forward: Notes on the Future of Our Democracy. But it could also be a long shot bet that forces might align for a viable third party presidential candidacy in 2024.

WISCONSIN GOVERNOR — Former Wisconsin Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch on Thursday kicked off her long-anticipated campaign against Democratic Gov. Tony Evers, making her the first notable Republican to enter what will be one of the most closely watched gubernatorial races of 2022.

Kleefisch is very unlikely to have the primary to herself, though. State Rep. John Macco filed campaign paperwork last week, while the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel writes that lobbyist Bill McCoshen, who served as a member of former Gov. Tommy Thompson’s cabinet in the mid-1990s, is “expected to launch his campaign soon.” Additionally, 2018 Senate candidate Kevin Nicholson has repeatedly said that, while he’d run to succeed Sen. Ron Johnson if he retires, he’ll campaign for governor otherwise.

Kleefisch, who got her start as a local TV news anchor and later became a conservative radio contributor, sought office for the first time in 2010. In Wisconsin, candidates for governor and lieutenant governor run in separate primaries before campaigning as a ticket in the general election, an arrangement sometimes likened to a shotgun wedding; Kleefisch earned her spot as Scott Walker’s partner by decisively beating four opponents.

That was unwelcome news for Walker’s team, though. Years later, an investigation into Walker would publicize messages that included his top aide calling Kleefisch “radioactive and not worth the time,” while other members of his inner circle also mocked his running mate. Kleefisch herself ended up apologizing during that campaign for saying of same-sex domestic partnerships, “This is a slippery slope in addition to that—at what point are we going to OK marrying inanimate objects? Can I marry this table, or this, you know, clock? Can we marry dogs?” All of that didn’t matter much in amid the GOP wave, though, and the Walker-Kleefisch ticket swept to victory in the fall by a comfortable 52-46 margin.

Each member of the duo was targeted in 2012 recall campaigns, which this time required them to run in separate races: Kleefisch won 53-47, which was similar to the governor’s performance. The two Republicans, who reportedly became close despite the initial hostility from Walker’s camp, then went on to win as a ticket again in 2014, by a very similar 52-47 spread. Kleefisch soon played a role in Walker’s drive to bring the electronics manufacturing giant Foxconn to Wisconsin in 2017, a project that attracted massive skepticism from the very start and never came close to generating the jobs and revenue the Walker administration promised.

Kleefisch was once again Walker’s running mate in 2018 as they sought a third term, but this time, the pair faced a hostile political climate. Kleefisch earned herself negative attention when she falsely claimed that Democratic foe Mandela Barnes, who was running to be Wisconsin’s first Black lieutenant governor, had knelt during the national anthem at the opening of the state fair. “I was looking at the flag and not my opponent,” Kleefisch later said, adding, “I was told later that he kneeled briefly and I repeated what someone else told me. And he has said that he didn’t do it and I have to believe him and I have to apologize for repeating something I was told.” Barnes responded, “It’s not necessarily apologizing to me—it’s apologizing because you got caught.”

The Evers-Barnes ticket ousted Walker and Kleefisch 50-48, and chatter quickly began that the now-former lieutenant governor would run in her own right. Walker himself encouraged the speculation, saying in 2019 that, while he wouldn’t run again himself, Kleefisch “would be a hell of a great governor if she was elected.”

Kleefisch herself used her Thursday announcement to link herself more closely to Donald Trump than to her old boss. “There are people who said it could not be done, but instead Donald Trump became one of the most successful policy presidents of our time, presiding over the best economy in American history,” said Kleefisch, who also went after Evers’ public health measures and accused the governor of “siding with rioters.”

ILLINOIS GOVERNOR — Venture capitalist Jesse Sullivan kicked off a bid for the Republican nomination to take on Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Thursday, and thanks to Illinois’ extremely lax campaign finance regulations, he’s already reported raising almost $11 million. Almost the entire sum was courtesy of four California tech titans, with $5 million donated by Chris Larsen (who was briefly the world’s fifth-richest person in 2018 thanks to cryptocurrencies) and another $4 million from Kevin Taweel, founder of the cell phone insurance company Asurion.

In launching his campaign, Sullivan said he supports vaccinating against COVID but attacked Pritzker’s public health measures to stem the pandemic. He also described himself as “nonideological” but said he opposes abortion rights. He joins a primary field that includes state Rep. Darren Bailey, businessman Gary Rabine, and former state Sen. Paul Schimpf. Rabine and Bailey attacked Sullivan for embodying the “values of Silicon Valley” and “San Francisco’s values.”

IOWA GOVERNOR — Democratic state Sen. Pam Jochum says she’s considering a bid against Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds next year, though she did not offer a timetable for making a decision. Jochum was a potential contender for governor in 2014 but declined to run. Two prominent Democrats, state Rep. Ras Smith and businesswoman Deidre DeJear, are already in the race.

MAINE GOVERNOR A new poll from SurveyUSA finds Democratic Gov. Janet Mills with a 46-41 lead on former Republican Gov. Paul LePage, which is not too different from the 45-38 advantage the firm found in late May. These are the only public numbers we have of next year’s race, but it’s important to note that the new poll’s sponsor, a progressive outfit called Swing Hard Turn Left, has an open agenda: recruiting state Senate President Troy Jackson to primary Mills from the left.

The Mills-LePage matchup was, fortunately, asked at the very start of the poll, but the rest of the survey consists of a long battery of questions designed to amp up support for Jackson. Even a seemingly straight primary head-to-head between Mills and Jackson comes after a lengthy, glowing description of Jackson as:

“someone that some people think would make a great Governor, Democratic Maine Senate President Troy Jackson. Troy grew up in Aroostook County, the son of a school teacher and logger. He followed in his father’s footsteps to become a fifth generation logger, where he still works to this day. In 2018, after having served in the Maine House and Maine Senate, he was selected by his peers to serve as Senate President. He has been a champion for working families and, as Governor, he would fight for the powerless to have a voice at the table.”

But after all that puffery, Mills still leads a hypothetical matchup 56-23. What then follows are 10 questions asking respondents whether they agree with a variety of bills passed by the legislature with Jackson’s backing this year, or Mills’ vetoes of those bills. Stunner of stunners, Jackson finally comes out ahead of Mills … and would stomp LePage, while Mills would trail him. The effort to inflate Jackson’s standing is so blatant that SurveyUSA’s accompanying memo offers a stern warning right at the top:

Important context: Respondents in this poll were not exposed to any overt attacks against Jackson. During the course of an actual campaign, negative messages about Jackson and positive messages about his primary and general election opponents would also be in circulation. Jackson’s performance in ballot test questions therefore should not be read as being predictive of what would actually happen in 2022 elections, but instead should be viewed as reflective of the “lift” that unopposed positive messaging could have.

Swing Hard is run by former Portland Mayor Ethan Strimling, who previously served in the legislature and has long been a presence in Maine’s political media scene. Strimling lost re-election in 2019 but was a prominent supporter of a largely successful effort to pass several local ballot measures last year, including one to increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour.

MICHIGAN GOVERNOR — Republican rich guy Kevin Rinke, who’s been considering a bid for governor, says he’s formed an exploratory committee—an entity that still does not exist under Michigan law. The trend to create made-up campaign vehicles started in July, when former Detroit Police chief James Craig launched an exploratory committee for this same primary, then admitted just hours later, “I am running.”

NEVADA GOVERNOR — A mystery group called Better Nevada PAC is spending a reported $171,000 to air radio and TV ads boosting Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo’s bid for the GOP nomination for governor, the first major media outlay of the race. The TV spot features a narrator saying, “This is what radical anti-police riots looked like in other cities,” as footage of violent protests rolls. That’s supposed to be a contrast to Las Vegas: “But Sheriff Joe Lombardo said, not in his back yard,” the voiceover continues.

But as the Nevada Independent’s Riley Snyder points out, Vegas did in fact experience some violence during protests of police brutality after the murder of George Floyd, including one shooting that left an officer on Lombardo’s force paralyzed from the neck down. Lombardo faces a primary field that includes venture capitalist Guy Nohra and North Las Vegas Mayor John Lee, and could grow to include former Sen. Dean Heller.

VIRGINIA GOVERNOR — Republican Glenn Youngkin is out with two new ads. The first features five Virginia sheriffs bemoaning what they say is rising crime in the state while claiming that “extreme Democrats supporting Terry McAuliffe would defund the police.” The ad does not specify which McAuliffe backers have expressed this view, nor does it try to ascribe it directly to the former governor, who has said he opposes the idea.

This is the second commercial from Youngkin to feature sheriffs discussing crime, following a recent spot that spotlighted Chesterfield and Montgomery counties’ sheriffs. Those sheriffs are back for this ad and are joined by the top law enforcement officials from Loudoun, Prince William, and Virginia Beach. Interestingly, all of these jurisdictions backed both Ralph Northam in the 2017 governor’s race and Joe Biden last year. Youngkin is also out with an ad that focuses on the price of groceries and finds the candidate pledging to eliminate Virginia’s grocery tax.

McAuliffe has also launched a new positive spot that touts some of the economic accomplishments of his governorship during the 2010s. The commercial follows a Richmond-area businessman who says McAuliffe’s policies led to the creation of his and 200,000 other jobs.

WYOMING AT LARGE CD — As expected, Donald Trump endorsed attorney Harriet Hageman on Thursday, prompting Rep. Liz Cheney to issue a two-word response: “Bring it.” In his announcement, Trump claimed that Hagemen also has the support of Sen. Cynthia Lummis, to which Lummis responded, “I’ve known Harriet Hageman for decades. She is a fabulous choice for President Trump—and I’m just leaving it at that.” A spokesperson added, “While Senator Lummis is not making an endorsement at this time, she believes President Trump has made an inspired choice in backing Harriet Hageman.”

Trumpworld operatives also claim they’ve “received verbal commitments from many of the candidates to drop out” following Trump’s pick, according to Politico, but it’s not clear who, exactly might have made such a pledge. We’ll only know for sure if and when anyone actually bails in the weeks or months ahead.

ILLINOIS 17TH CD — Democratic state Rep. Mike Halpin, who’d been considering a bid for Illinois’ open 17th Congressional District, announced this week that he’d instead run for state Senate. Last month, WHBF’s Jim Niedelman reported that “other prominent Democrats” (whom he did not name) had told him they were waiting for Halpin to make a decision before announcing their own plans.

MINNESOTA GOVERNOR — Jennifer Carnahan, who resigned in disgrace as state GOP chair last month, indicated on Sunday that she was interested in taking on Democratic Gov. Tim Walz. Carnahan said in a Facebook post, “I’ve received thousands of calls for action to take my leadership in Minnesota to the next level. From running again for Chair on October 2nd to running for Governor and other ideas in between, the calls are loud, strong and encouraging.” She added, “What will I do next? Stay tuned.”

Carnahan, who is the wife of Rep. Jim Hagedorn, faced widespread calls for her departure as state party chair last month after Tony Lazzaro, a close friend and party donor, was arrested on sex-trafficking charges. Carnahan denied knowing about the allegations against Lazzaro and argued that the people trying to oust her were just her old internal enemies.

Carnahan’s own stewardship of the state party, though, was also the subject of much criticism, with the Associated Press writing she was “also accused of creating a toxic workplace environment in which personal and professional lines were blurred, concerns about sexual harassment ignored, and employees who didn’t fall in line were subjected to retaliation.” Carnahan finally announced her resignation on Aug. 20, though only after she’d cast the deciding vote to give her three months of salary as severance.

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

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