The Political Report – 10/20/21

new memo from Third Way, the centrist think tank, warns Democrats that without a deal on President Biden’s agenda the party will lose their congressional majority: “If they don’t, our Democratic majority will reap a whirlwind of political destruction.”

“We narrowly avoided a second term of the Trump presidency by uniting Democrats under a very big tent. Debates inside that tent are healthy, but now it’s time to prove that Democrats can govern. That means moderates and progressives must reach a deal to mutually assure success.”

Also interesting is that the group admits the two bills won’t be separated: “The fate of the bipartisan infrastructure bill is now affixed to the Build Back Better reconciliation package, despite lines drawn in the sand by some moderates.”

From a new Boston Globe/Suffolk University poll:

This shows pretty clearly how a provocative slogan like “defund the police” can easily alienate people who might otherwise agree with your overall public policy priorities.

TEXAS REDISTRICTING. “Texas Republicans approved redrawn U.S. House maps that favor incumbents and decrease political representation for growing minority communities, even as Latinos drive much of the growth in the nation’s largest red state,” the AP reports.

“The maps were approved late Monday night following outcry from Democrats over what they claimed was a rushed redistricting process crammed into a 30-day session, and one which gave little time for public input. They also denounced the reduction of minority opportunity districts — Texas will now have seven House districts where Latino residents hold a majority, down from eight — despite the state’s changing demographics.”

Texas Tribune: “In complete control of the redistricting process, Republicans designed a map that will tighten their hold on diversifying parts of the state where the party’s grip on power was waning and lock in the GOP’s majority in the 38-seat delegation for the U.S. House.”

Texas’ Republican-run Senate and House, which had previously each passed new redistricting plans for their own chamber, gave approval to one another’s maps on Friday, sending them to Republican Gov. Greg Abbott for his signature. Both maps will lock in GOP majorities by diminishing the voting strength of Black and Latino voters.

Ron Brownstein: “The two candidates in the Virginia governor’s race are talking more about Donald Trump, the former President, than they are about Joe Biden, the White House’s current occupant.”

“That disparity in the dialogue between Democrat Terry McAuliffe and Republican Glenn Youngkin points toward an unusual, even unprecedented, dynamic looming over this November’s gubernatorial elections in Virginia and New Jersey, and next year’s midterm contests for control of Congress and dozens of governorships.”

“No defeated president has ever been as visible immediately after his term ended as Trump — nor hinted so quickly that he intends to seek the job again in the next election. That visibility has positioned Trump to become a greater factor in elections under his immediate successor than any former president in modern times — and maybe ever.”

Virginia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe rolled out an ad invoking his response as governor to the 2017 far-right riots in Charlottesville in his latest effort to tie his GOP opponent Glenn Youngkin to former President Trump, The Hill reports.

FLORIDA GOVERNOR. State Sen. Annette Taddeo entered the Democratic primary to take on Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis on Monday, joining a field that includes Rep. Charlie Crist and state Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried. Though her opponents are both better-known, Taddeo, who was born in Colombia, stands apart as the only notable Hispanic candidate in the race.

Taddeo ran for office unsuccessfully several times before finally winning a special election to the state Senate in 2017. In 2008, she lost a bid to Republican Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen after the chair of the DCCC’s Red to Blue program, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, refused to get involved in the race due to her fondness for the incumbent. Two years later, she sought a seat on the Miami-Dade County Commission but fell short; then in 2014, she actually served as Crist’s running-mate in his gubernatorial comeback bid, which their ticket lost by just a 48-47 margin.

In 2016, she narrowly lost a primary for the 26th Congressional District to former Rep. Joe Garcia, who went on to get whooped by Republican Rep. Carlos Curbelo, the man who’d ousted him two years earlier. Luck finally broke Taddeo’s way the following year, when Republican state Sen. Frank Artiles resigned after using racial slurs to describe fellow lawmakers. In an ensuing special election for Artiles’ Miami-area district, Taddeo defeated Republican state Rep. Jose Felix Diaz by a 51-47 margin, then secured a full four-year term the following year.

Taddeo, whom the Miami Herald describes as “a frequent guest on Miami’s Spanish-language radio stations,” has long been critical of Democratic outreach to Latino voters, a key constituency that shifted sharply to the right last year. Though she starts out at a considerable disadvantage in name recognition and fundraising, she could chart a path to the nomination similar to the one taken in 2018 by former Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, who beat out better-funded opponents in part because his rivals were reluctant to attack a prominent Black man, knowing they’d need to rely heavily on African American voters to win in the general election.

OHIO GOVERNOR. Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown endorsed Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley for governor on Monday, a few days after he backed Rep. Tim Ryan in the race for Senate. Whaley faces Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley for the right to take on Republican Gov. Mike DeWine next year.

OKLAHOMA GOVERNOR. Oklahoma City-based pollster Amber Integrated has released a new poll showing Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt winning 49-33 over schools Superintendent Joy Hofmeister, who recently left the GOP and became a Democrat specifically to challenge Stitt. The governor is far better known, with a 46-37 favorability rating, while Hofmeister posts a 30-27 score. Amber Integrated is a Republican firm but appears to have conducted this survey on its own behalf.

VIRGINIA GOVERNOR. New fundraising reports show that Democrat Terry McAuliffe outraised Republican Glenn Youngkin $12.6 million to $7 million during the month of September and outspent him $17.5 million to $9.5 million. Despite spending more, however, McAuliffe still enjoyed a sizable cash advantage of $7.8 million to $3.5 million heading into the final stretch of the campaign.

Meanwhile, another McAuliffe ally is getting in on the action. Politico reports that the American Federation of Teachers is launching a “high six-figure” buy to run a new TV ad in which parents and educators slam Youngkin for wanting to reduce funding for public education and praise McAuliffe for his efforts on behalf of students and teachers.

WISCONSIN GOVERNOR. For whatever reason, Donald Trump issued a not-tweet over the weekend exhorting Sean Duffy, the former congressman and “Real World” star, to run for governor of Wisconsin … even though Duffy sold his home in central Wisconsin last month and now appears to live in New Jersey, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Duffy’s name hasn’t come up since a brief aside in Politico back in February, and he’s never said anything about his potential interest. But what stands out most is Trump’s snub of the most prominent Republican in the race, former Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch, who of course sought to tie herself as closely to Trump as possible when she kicked off her campaign just after Labor Day.

CALIFORNIA TWENTY-FIRST CD. Democratic Assemblyman Rudy Salas announced Monday that he would take on Republican Rep. David Valadao, a move that gives the Democrats a long sought-after candidate in a Central Valley seat that Joe Biden carried 54-44 last year. Salas represents over 60% of the current 21st Congressional District, though there’s no telling what Valadao’s constituency will look like after California’s independent redistricting commission completes its work.

Salas ran in a competitive Assembly race in 2012 at a time when California Democrats were fighting hard to secure a two-thirds supermajority in the legislature that would allow them to overcome years of GOP intransigence. Salas ultimately beat Republican Pedro Rios 53-47 as Barack Obama was carrying his seat 56-42, and Democrats won what would prove to be a transformative supermajority. Two years later, he won a rematch 55-45 despite the horrible political climate for his party.

During his tenure, Salas established himself as the one of the leaders of the informal moderate Democratic caucus. Among other things, Salas pissed off the Democratic leadership in 2017 when he voted against a gas and vehicle registration tax to fund infrastructure and road repairs. Salas lost his chairmanship of the Business and Professions Committee as a consequence, but he was picked two years later to run the Joint Legislative Audit Committee. Though there was talk of him taking on Valadao in 2018, he decided to stay put, only to watch Valadao lose in a shocker to Democrat TJ Cox. (Valadao managed to unseat Cox two years later.)

The assemblyman joins a crowded top-two primary to take on Valadao, who was one of 10 House Republicans to vote to impeach Donald Trump. None of the other Democrats, though, had so much as $80,000 on-hand at the end of September, while Valadao had just over $1 million to spend. Valadao faces an intra-party challenge from former Fresno City Councilman Chris Mathys, who unsuccessfully ran for office in New Mexico in 2018 and 2020 before retiring to California. Mathys had just under $300,000 in the bank, almost all of it self-funded.

ILLINOIS THIRD CD. Former Blue Dog Rep. Dan Lipinski responded to the release of draft congressional districts last week by publicly expressing interest in a third primary battle with freshman Democratic Rep. Marie Newman. “I’ve always said that I’d need to see the map before considering it,” said Lipinski, adding, “Now that this map is out, I’m taking a look, understanding that the map may still change.” Newman, who narrowly lost to Lipinski in 2018 but won a rematch in 2020, raised $230,000 during the third quarter and had $440,000 on hand at the end of September.

NORTH CAROLIA FOURTH CD. Democratic Rep. David Price, who was elected in 1986, lost in 1994, and won again in 1996, announced Monday that he would not seek an 18th term next year in North Carolina’s 4th Congressional District.

Price’s constituency, which currently includes the Durham and Chapel Hill area, backed Joe Biden 67-32. The Republican legislature has drawn up the 4th to be safely blue turf in each of the three maps it passed over the last decade in order to strengthen its hold on other constituencies, and the new version of Price’s district is likewise almost certain to remain heavily Democratic.

State Sen. Wiley Nickel quickly responded to Price’s departure by declaring his candidacy to succeed his fellow Democrat. The Raleigh-area legislator had opened up a fundraising account all the way back in November without declaring what seat he was running for (his paperwork listed his race as “House District 00”), saying at the time that, while he didn’t intend to run in a primary against Price or nearby Rep. Deborah Ross, “if there’s an open seat, we’ll strongly consider it.” Nickel ended September with $192,000 on-hand for his bid for the 00th District, money he can now spend to win the 4th.

Nickel is unlikely to have the primary to himself, though. State Utilities Commissioner Floyd McKissick, a former state senator and the son and namesake of the late civil rights figure, told the News & Observer he was interested, though he acknowledged, “The biggest question is what the district will look like.” State Sen. Mike Woodard and Durham County Commissioner Nida Allam also said they were considering, while state Sen. Natalie Murdock didn’t rule it out, saying she also wanted to see what happened with redistricting. State Rep. Graig Meyer, though, quickly said no.

PENNSYLVANIA EIGHTEENTH CD. Pennsylvania Rep. Mike Doyle, who was one of the rare House Democrats to flip a seat during the 1994 Republican wave, announced Monday that he was retiring after 14 terms in office. The current version of the 18th Congressional District, which includes most of Pittsburgh, supported Joe Biden 65-34, and there’s little question it will remain safely blue turf after redistricting is complete.

The Democratic field here already includes law professor Jerry Dickinson, who was seeking a rematch against Doyle after losing last year’s primary 67-33. Dickinson, who ended September with $160,000 on-hand for his new campaign, probably won’t be the only notable candidate for long, however, as state Rep. Summer Lee filed FEC paperwork hours before the congressman made his plans known. WPXI reported a few weeks ago that Lee intended to challenge the congressman for renomination, though she hadn’t publicly signaled her interest before Monday.

ATLANTA MAYOR. Three different candidates competing in the Nov. 2 nonpartisan election each received a notable endorsement over the last few days.

The International Brotherhood of Police Officers Local 623, which represents most of the city’s police officers, threw its backing behind former Mayor Kasim Reed on Thursday. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution notes that Reed and the union often clashed over pay raises and pensions when he led the city from 2010 to 2018: In 2015, when the police and fire unions were part of an unsuccessful lawsuit against Reed over the latter, they even put up a billboard reading, “Mayor Kasim Reed does not care about public safety.” However, Reed said Thursday that his new allies have since recognized that his pension reform plan helped the city overall.

The following day, City Councilman Andre Dickens unveiled an endorsement from former Mayor Shirley Franklin, whose eight years in office directly preceded Reed’s. Franklin and Reed were once allies, and Reed even served as her campaign manager during the 2001 race that made her the first Black woman to lead a major Southern city. The two have since had a very public falling out, though, and Franklin in June made news when she responded to Reed’s comeback launch by saying she was “embarrassed by his lack of ethical leadership.”

Also on Friday, EMILY’s List endorsed City Council President Felicia Moore, who several polls show is the most likely candidate to compete with Reed in a runoff.

“Infighting within the Massachusetts GOP intensified Friday after Gov. Charlie Baker (R) called on the party chairman, Jim Lyons, to resign, and Lyons sniped back that the governor should ‘reconsider his party affiliation,’” the Boston Globe reports.

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

1 comment on “The Political Report – 10/20/21

  1. RBK is running to replace Pettyjohn (soon), and Dave McBride might be seeking a Senate seat again (but not his old one):

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