The Political Report – 10/10/21

A new University of Virginia poll finds 84% of Donald Trump voters say they either strongly or somewhat agree that discrimination against whites will increase in the U.S. in the next few years.

Of those who voted for Joe Biden, just 38% said they felt the same way.

On discrimination against racial minorities, the respondents were flipped, with 87% of Biden voters saying they believe white people have advantages over people of color while just 38% of Trump voters said the same.

NORTH CAROLINA LT. GOVERNOR — North Carolina Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson (R) said that Christians must take control of public schools because children are being abused by being taught “filth.” Said Robinson: “There’s no reason anybody anywhere in America should be telling any child about transgenderism, homosexuality, any of that filth.” He added: “And yes I called it filth. And if you don’t like that I called it filth, come see me and I’ll explain it to you.”

IDAHO AUDIT — Idaho plans to bill MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell for the cost of auditing three counties to disprove allegations of election fraud, the Idaho Statesman reports.

ALASKA U.S. SENATOR — Alaska U.S. Senate candidate Kelly Tshibaka (R) has been cited and fined $270 for commercial fishing in a campaign ad without a commercial fishing crew license, the Anchorage Daily News reports.

PENNSYLVANIA GOVERNOR — The Republican firm Susquehanna Polling & Research’s newest poll of the GOP primary finds 2018 Senate nominee Lou Barletta well in front with 27%, while state Sen. Scott Martin, who has formed an exploratory committee but has yet to announce, is a distant second with 6%. Susquehanna this time did not test state Sen. Doug Mastriano, whom several media reports identify as a likely candidate: Back in March, Barletta led Mastriano 20-11.

PENNSYLVANIA U.S. SENATOR — Former Ambassador to Denmark Carla Sands is spending a hefty $1 million on her opening TV spots well ahead of next year’s Republican primary, and the Philadelphia Inquirer writes that the ads will air on Fox News.

It will probably not shock you to learn that Sands begins by playing up her ties to Donald Trump even though he’s already endorsed one of her intra-party foes, Army veteran Sean Parnell. A bit more surprisingly, though, Sands uses footage of Trump BFF Vladimir Putin in her montage of America’s adversaries accompanied by more familiar GOP targets like Chinese leader Xi Jinping.

LOS ANGELES MAYOR — EMILY’s List has endorsed Democratic Rep. Karen Bass ahead of next June’s nonpartisan primary for this open seat. Bass last week also unveiled endorsements from eight fellow Southern California House members, though only Reps. Ted Lieu and Lucille Roybal-Allard represent any of the city.

ATLANTA MAYOR — SurveyUSA’s new poll for WXIA-TV Atlanta finds former Mayor Kasim Reed leading the Nov. 2 nonpartisan primary with 18%, with City Council President Felicia Moore taking the second spot in the likely runoff with 8%. Four other contenders are just behind with 5% each: attorney Sharon Gay, City Councilmen Andre Dickens and Antonio Brown, and businesswoman Rebecca King, who has attracted little attention so far.

Fox News CEO Suzanna Scott told The Hollywood Reporter that Arnon Mishkin, the head of the network’s election decision desk whose early call of Arizona for Joe Biden in 2020 enraged many Republicans, will stay on the job through 2024.

Washington Post: “In June, the term was mentioned 993 times during Fox News programming, including overnight rebroadcasts of daytime and prime-time shows. In July, it was mentioned 921 times. That was after being mentioned only 132 times in all of 2020.”

“But the network seems to have largely moved on from critical race theory, which conservative activists and right-leaning media companies identified as a pressing threat as part of a backlash to the calls for greater attention to racial disparities that followed the police killing of George Floyd last year.”

“Overall, the drop has also been pronounced on Newsmax and One America News (OAN), two conservative upstart channels seeking to outflank Fox News Channel to the right.”

MASSACHUSETTS GOVERNOR — Donald Trump on Tuesday night issued an endorsement to 2018 Senate nominee Geoff Diehl, a former state representative who is challenging Gov. Charlie Baker from the right in next year’s Republican primary. Trump also used his not-Tweet to blast the “RINO” governor, who refused to support him in 2020, as “definitely not an American First or Make America Great Again kind of guy.” Baker, for his part, has not yet revealed if he’ll be seeking a third term, though he has ramped up his fundraising in recent weeks.

Voters in heavily Democratic Massachusetts have been very open to sending Republicans to the governor’s office as long as they portray themselves as moderates, but there’s little question that Diehl would be a disastrous nominee. Diehl campaigned as an ardent conservative during his bid against Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a campaign he lost 60-36, and his Monday declaration that “the 2020 election was rigged” underscores that he’s not moving to the center.

It’s far less clear how competitive a primary would be between the Trump-backed Diehl and Baker. On the one hand, Baker’s 64-36 primary win over an underfunded 2018 intra-party foe made it clear that a significant proportion of Bay State Republicans were already ready to cut him loose. And while we have yet to see any polls testing a horse race between the governor and Diehl, a March survey from Suffolk showed that Republicans only gave Baker a 53-43 approval rating even as he posted a 67-23 score with the electorate as a whole.

However, Republicans won’t be the only ones who get to take part in the primary. Massachusetts allows voters who aren’t registered with either major party to cast a ballot in either side’s nomination contest, and independents are a huge and pro-Baker group.

In February, 57% of the state’s registered voters were unenrolled with any party (Democrats represented 32% of the electorate, while Republicans were just 10%), and Suffolk gave Baker a 68-21 approval rating with independents the following month. It would be up to the governor to convince them to turn out for his primary, especially since they could choose to vote in Democratic contests instead, but they give him a potential route to renomination even if his party turns on him.

A few Democrats have announced campaigns for governor. The top fundraiser in September was political science professor Danielle Allen, who raised $113,000 and had $413,000 on-hand. State Sen. Sonia Chang-Díaz took in $46,000 and had $222,000 to spend, while former state Sen. Benjamin Downing raised $29,000 and had $69,000 on-hand.

One major Democrat who hasn’t yet announced her 2022 plans is Attorney General Maura Healey, who has indicated she’ll decide this fall whether to run for governor. Healey brought in $35,000 last month and had $3.2 million on-hand, money she could use to take on Baker or run for re-election.

WISCONSIN U.S. SENATOR — Milwaukee Bucks executive Alex Lasry is using his first two TV ads (here and here) to tout his ties to the NBA champions; the Democrat’s campaign said the spots would run for two weeks, but they did not reveal the size of the buy.

Dan Balz: “For the past decade the state has been an incubator for the kind of tribal politics and deep divisions that characterize civic life in Washington and much of the rest of the nation. While Wisconsin has been closely divided for a long time — four of the last six presidential elections were decided by less than a percentage point — the widening gulf between the two parties exposed in 2011 foreshadowed the extent to which American politics would come to focus more on the extremes rather than the middle of the political spectrum.”

“This has made Wisconsin not a purple state, as many people suggest, but two states in one — the first comprising a few heavily populated blue enclaves and the second a red sea of rural, small-town and suburban geography that surrounds those blue pockets.”

COLORADO REDISTRICTING — Colorado’s legislative redistricting commission has released new maps for the state House and Senate that could wind up getting submitted to the state Supreme Court for its approval if commissioners don’t back an alternative. The panel, which is made up up four Democrats, four Republicans, and four independents, plans to hold final votes by Tuesday and would need the support of eight commissioners, including two independents, to adopt new districts. If such a consensus can’t be reached, the latest set of maps (known as the “third staff plans”) would be adopted by default.

MONTANA REDISTRICTING — The bipartisan redistricting commission in Montana, which is regaining a second congressional district for the first time in 30 years, has released nine different proposals for dividing the state in two, with five authored by Democrats and four by Republicans. The commission’s tiebreaking member, attorney Maylinn Smith, voted with each party to advance all nine proposals. Barring an eventual compromise between the parties, Smith, who was unanimously chosen by the state Supreme Court, will likely cast the deciding vote in terms of which map to adopt.

NEW MEXICO REDISTRICTING — Local reporter Joe Monahan says that a congressional redistricting proposal put forth by a group called the Center for Civic Policy is “believed by informed insiders to be in the running as a top pick,” presumably for Democrats in the state legislature who will control the remapping process. The plan features an aggressive gerrymander that would transform the reliably conservative 2nd District, currently held by Republican Rep. Yvette Herrell, into a blue-tilting swing seat that Democrats could recapture next year. Lawmakers won’t convene until late this year to take up new maps, though, so it’ll be a while before we know if this particular proposal actually has any traction.

HAWAII REDISTRICTING — Hawaii’s bipartisan redistricting commission will soon vote on a new congressional map, according to Jay Fierman of the invaluable Redistrict Network, but one proposal is … exactly the same as the current map. The other isn’t much different: To reduce population inequality, it moves a handful of precincts in the Honolulu area from the 2nd District to the 1st. Both plans, however, still deviate from the ideal population.

Normally, congressional districts must have identical populations to pass constitutional muster, unless a state can show that a deviation is necessary to fulfill what the Supreme Court called a “legitimate goal.” Those goals can include avoiding splitting counties or keeping districts compact, though with modern technology making it so easy to draw perfectly equal districts, courts tend to view deviations skeptically. (Less so for legislative maps, though, where a variance of as much as 10% between the smallest and largest districts is usually—though not always—allowed.)

A decade ago, Hawaii’s then-new districts had a deviation of about 0.1%; since then, growth patterns have left the current map with a 0.6% deviation, while the alternate proposal would reduce that to 0.34%. A challenge on the basis of this variance is possible should the commission move forward with one of these plans, though it appears no suits were filed over the existing map following its adoption in 2011.

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

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