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The Political Report – 10/22/21

A new Monmouth poll in Virginia finds Terry McAuliffe (D) and Glenn Youngkin (R) in a dead heat among registered voters, 46% to 46%.

A range of probabilistic likely electorate models shows a potential outcome – if the election was held today – of anywhere from a 3-point lead for McAuliffe (48% to 45%) to a 3-point lead for Youngkin (48% to 45%).

This is the first time the Republican has held a lead in Monmouth polls this cycle.

Said pollster Patrick Murray: “Suburban women, especially in Northern Virginia, have been crucial to the sizable victories Democrats have enjoyed in the commonwealth since 2017. However, their support is not registering at the same level this time around.”

Schoen Cooperman Research, which was in the field Oct. 9-12, shows Democrat Terry McAuliffe leading Republican Glenn Youngkin 47-43.

McAuliffe, meanwhile, is up with a commercial starring none other than Barack Obama, whose 2008 victory made him the first Democratic presidential nominee to carry the Old Dominion since Lyndon Johnson in 1964. The former president tells voters, “Not only are you choosing your next governor, but you’re also making a statement about what direction we’re headed in as a country.” Obama goes on to praise McAuliffe, saying he watched him “stand strong on the values we all care about: protecting every citizen’s right to vote, fighting climate change, and defending a woman’s right to choose.”

In New Jersey, Schoen Cooperman Research has Governor Phil Murphy leading Republican Jack Ciattarelli 50-41.

OHIO FIFTEENTH CD. The GOP firm Medium Buying reports that the NRCC will start a coordinated TV buy on Tuesday with Republican Mike Carey ahead of next month’s special election. However, unlike independent expenditures, which can be unlimited, the FEC sets a cap of $52,500 when party committees work directly with House campaigns. Separately, Democratic state Rep. Allison Russo said she’d raised $549,000 between July 15 and Oct. 13. Carey does not appear to have shared his fundraising numbers yet, though reports are not due at the FEC until Thursday.

OREGON FIFTH AND SIXTH CDs. In new remarks, Democratic Rep. Kurt Schrader’s team would not reveal whether the incumbent would run for the new 5th Congressional District, where he lives, or the bluer 6th District, which includes more of his constituents. His communications director merely said, “His home is in Canby, which remains in Oregon’s 5th Congressional District. While I can confirm Rep. Schrader is running for Congress again, I have no further announcements at this time.”

Several Democrats are eyeing the 6th District, but the moderate Schrader, who apologized earlier this year for comparing the idea of impeaching Donald Trump to a “lynching,” may be in for a primary even if he runs in the 5th. Fellow Democrat Jamie McLeod-Skinner, who recently finished a stint as interim city manager of the small community of Talent, last week confirmed her interest in the new 5th District. She addressed the possibility of taking on Schrader, saying, “Normally I wouldn’t consider challenging an incumbent Democrat. However, with Kurt Schrader, I don’t have to make much of an argument to persuade a lot of people.”

McLeod-Skinner served as the Democrat’s 2018 nominee in the safely red 2nd District, a race in which she raised $1.3 million but lost to Republican incumbent Greg Walden 56-39. She ran last year for secretary of state and took last in the three-way primary with 28%; the winner, with 36%, was Shemia Fagan, who went on to prevail in the general election.

On the Republican side, meanwhile, state Rep. Shelly Boshart Davis has said no to a bid for the 5th. Former state Rep. Knute Buehler, the GOP’s 2018 gubernatorial nominee who lost last year’s primary to succeed Walden, also made it clear he wasn’t running for Congress again.

Inside Elections’ Nathan Gonzales takes a look at the potential Republican field for the new 5th District, a constituency in the southern Portland suburbs and central Oregon that backed Joe Biden 53-44. The 5th District field already includes one noteworthy Republican, former Happy Valley Mayor Lori Chavez-DeRemer, who announced in July before the new maps were drawn up. Chavez-DeRemer raised $185,000 in her inaugural quarter, self-funded another $65,000, and ended September with $195,000 in the bank. Army veteran Nate Sandvig entered the race the previous month, but he hasn’t gained much traction with donors; Sandvig brought in just $42,000 in the third quarter and had $95,000 on-hand. Schrader, meanwhile, had $3.3 million to defend himself.

Gonzales mentions as possible GOP candidates state Sen. Tim Knopp and former state Rep. Cheri Helt, but there’s no word on either of their interests. He also name-drops state House Minority Leader Christine Drazan, whom some influential party figures are reportedly trying to recruit for governor, and 2020 nominee Amy Ryan Courser, who raised little last time but held Schrader to a 52-45 win.

Finally, Gonzales mentions another former Schrader foe, Clackamas County Board of Commissioners Chair Tootie Smith, as a possibility for the 5th or the 6th. Smith was the GOP nominee in 2014 but attracted very little money or attention, and the red wave didn’t stop Schrader from beating her by a convincing 54-39.

TEXAS EIGHTH CD. Christian Collins, who previously served as campaign manager for retiring Rep. Kevin Brady, announced Monday that he would seek the Republican nomination to succeed him. This seat, which includes Houston’s northern suburbs, has been safely red turf for a long time, and that’s not going to change after redistricting.


TEXAS TENTH CD. Manor Mayor Larry Wallace, a Democrat, announced Friday that he was suspending his campaign against Republican Rep. Michael McCaul. The Texas Tribune notes that the GOP legislature is set to make the new 10th District redder and leave out Wallace’s community.

TEXAS THIRTY-SEVENTH and THIRTY-FIFTH CDs. Democratic Rep. Lloyd Doggett announced on Monday that he’d seek re-election in the proposed 37th District, a safely blue seat that would include much of the city of Austin, rather than in the 35th, which he represents now. The new 35th would also remain deep blue and largely retain its current configuration, a preposterous gerrymander that links the Austin area with San Antonio by means of a pencil-thin corridor along Interstate 35.

Julie Oliver, who was the 2018 and 2020 Democratic nominee against Republican Rep. Roger Williams in the current 25th District, filed FEC paperwork on Tuesday for a possible primary campaign against longtime Rep. Lloyd Doggett in the new and safely blue Austin-based 37th District.

Oliver’s first campaign against Williams in the current 25th District, which supported Donald Trump 55-40 in 2016, attracted little outside attention and ended in a 54-45 defeat for the Democrat. Oliver’s 2020 bid, though, generated more buzz, especially after the DCCC released a poll in July showing Williams up just 45-43 as Biden led 47-46.

Oliver ultimately raised $2.2 million, considerably more than the $645,000 she brought in for 2018, and Democrats hoped this could be a longshot pickup opportunity on a strong election night. It was not to be, though, as Williams won by a stronger 56-42 margin as Trump carried the 25th 54-44.

Doggett’s decision to run for the new Austin-based 37th District means that there will be an open seat race in the 35th, ​​which he represents now.  

The first notable Democrat to make a move following Doggett’s proclamation was Austin City Councilman Greg Casar, who announced Tuesday that he’d formed an exploratory committee. Casar also unveiled endorsements from Austin Mayor Steve Adler and 2020 congressional candidate Wendy Davis, who previously hadn’t ruled out another bid for an Austin-based seat.

Another elected official from Texas’ capitol city, state Rep. Eddie Rodriguez, also confirmed his interest. Rodriguez sought a promotion to the state Senate in a special election last year but lost the all-party primary to his fellow Democrat, former Travis County Judge Sarah Eckhardt, 50-34. (Eckhardt actually finished just a smidge under the majority she needed to win outright, but Rodriguez dropped out rather than force a runoff.)

State Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer, who hails from the San Antonio side of the new district, also says he’s thinking about running, and he may already be doing more than just contemplating it. The Austin American-Statesman writes that a late change to the redistricting plan placed Martinez Fischer’s home in the new 35th. Republican state Sen. Joan Huffman, whom the paper calls “architect of the new map,” says the move was made at Martinez Fischer’s request.

Axios, finally, name-drops Julián Castro, who served as mayor of San Antonio before serving as Barack Obama’s secretary of housing and urban development. There’s no indication that the 2020 presidential candidate is interested in joining his identical twin, 20th District Rep. Joaquin Castro, in the House, though he did not respond for Axios’ story.

VIRGINIA SEVENTH CD. Republican Del. John McGuire, who attended the infamous Jan. 6 Trump rally that preceded that day’s attack on the Capitol, indicated this week that he was interested in a second campaign against Democratic Rep. Abigail Spanberger.

McGuire’s team announced that he’d brought in $372,000 for the quarter to use in his re-election to his heavily Republican legislative seat and added, “If McGuire were running in a congressional race, his total would be the largest amount raised by any GOP congressional candidate or incumbent in the state of Virginia.” If McGuire were running in a congressional race, of course, he couldn’t actually use any of this money for that campaign, nor could he take advantage of Virginia’s nonexistent contribution limits.

McGuire ran for Congress in 2020 but lost the GOP’s nominating convention 56-44 to fellow Del. Nick Freitas, who went on to lose to Spanberger 51-49.

“The lone Democratic candidate for governor of Pennsylvania, state Attorney General Josh Shapiro, has just over $10 million on hand in his campaign account ahead of next year’s election,” the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports.

CALIFORNIA TWENTY FIFTH CD. Former Democratic Rep. Katie Hill told Vanity Fair that she had decided against running for Congress in 2022, though she didn’t rule out a future bid for office. Hill, who is the subject of a long piece in the magazine covering her life since resigning in 2019 after a revenge porn attack, said, “Then I guess by November, next year, after the midterms, I can kind of take stock again.”


ILLINOIS SEVENTEENTH CD. Rock Island County Board member Angie Normoyle announced Wednesday that she was launching a campaign to succeed her fellow Democrat, retiring Rep. Cheri Bustos. Normoyle, who is a former member of the Moline school board, was elected in 2019 to the 25-member County Board in what is the most populous county in the district. She joins Rockford Alderman Jonathan Logemann in the primary for a district whose new lines are not yet finalized.


MISSOURI SEVENTH CD. Former U.S. Attorney Tim Garrison said this week that he would not compete in the Republican primary for this open seat.

PENNSYLVANIA EIGHTH CD. 2020 Republican nominee Jim Bognet announced Tuesday that he would seek a rematch against Rep. Matt Cartwright, who is one of only seven House Democrats in a Trump seat.

Bognet, who served in the Trump administration as a senior vice president for communications for the Export-Import Bank, last year won a crowded GOP primary 28-24 against businessman Teddy Daniels, but he struggled in the general election. While the 8th District, which includes the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre area and northeastern Pennsylvania, swung hard in 2016 from 55-43 Obama to 53-44 Trump, Cartwright’s decisive 2018 win over a self-funding foe gave the GOP reasons to be pessimistic about beating him.

National Republicans didn’t get any more enthusiastic as the year went on, as they ended up spending very little to aid Bognet. The DCCC canceled its own TV reservations late in the campaign in a big sign of confidence, though its allies at House Majority did spend $860,000 to help Cartwright. Bognet himself tried to appeal for support with an October poll showing him down only 48-43 as Biden led 48-46 in the seat that included the future president’s childhood home of Scranton, but it was no use.

Ultimately, though, while Cartwright ended up winning 52-48, a margin almost identical to what Bognet’s survey found, it was Trump who carried the 8th District 52-47. Bognet soon filed a lawsuit arguing that Pennsylvania’s highest court had improperly extended the mail-in ballot deadlines to three days after Election Day, but the U.S. Supreme Court rejected it in April.

Unless redistricting completely scrambles the playing field, Bognet will need to get through a primary rematch against Daniels, who posted a video on Jan. 6 of the rioters chanting with the caption, “I am here. God bless our patriots.” Daniels raised $270,000 during the third quarter and ended September with $210,000 in the bank. Cartwright himself brought in $485,000 during this time and had $1.3 million available.

“As Rep. Matt Gaetz gears up for potential charges to drop, the Florida Republican has gotten much quieter, with fewer cable appearances and campaign events—and that decision is manifesting itself in one distinct way: fundraising,” the Daily Beast reports.

“Contributions to Gaetz’s campaign committee, Friends of Matt Gaetz, have cratered, with the congressman posting a $100,000 net loss on the quarter after donations fell off by well more than half.”

TEXAS TWENTY-FOURTH CD. Democratic state Rep. Michelle Beckley said Wednesday that she was suspending her campaign against Republican Rep. Beth Van Duyne “due to the extreme gerrymandering” in the congressional map the GOP legislature passed this week. She’s not exaggerating: The current version of this seat in Dallas-Fort Worth suburbs backed Joe Biden 52-46, but the new constituency went for Donald Trump by an ugly 55-43 margin. The only other notable Democrat still in the running here is Marine veteran Derrik Gay.

SEATTLE MAYOR. The Democratic firm Change Research’s poll for Northwest Progressive Institute, which says it is not supporting either candidate in the Nov. 2 general election, gives former City Council President Bruce Harrell a wide 48-32 edge over current City Council President Lorena González. Two independent polls released last month also showed Harrell with a clear lead, while a September González internal had the race tied.

Former President Trump announced the upcoming launch of his own social media network, a new site to be called TRUTH Social.  Said Trump: “We live in a world where the Taliban has a huge presence on Twitter, yet your favorite American President has been silenced. This is unacceptable.”

Within hours of former President Donald Trump announcing his new social network, “pranksters found what appeared to be an unreleased test version and posted a picture of a defecating pig to the ‘donaldjtrump’ account,” the Washington Post reports.

“The site has since been pulled offline — evidence that Trump is to likely face a daunting challenge in building an Internet business that can stand on its own.”

The stock price of the shell company behind Donald Trump’s new social media company has rocketed up more than 90% in trading so far today, CNBC reports.

MASSACHUSETTS GOVERNOR. With a mischievous twinkle, the Democratic Governors Association has released a Public Policy Polling survey of next year’s Republican primary that finds Donald Trump’s endorsed candidate, 2018 Senate nominee Geoff Diehl, crushing Gov. Charlie Baker 50-29. This is the first survey we’ve seen testing Diehl against Baker, who has yet to announce his 2022 plans.

If this poll is on-target, though, then Baker could be in for a world of pain if he runs for a third term, but as we’ve written before, the governor has a chance to drive friendlier voters to the polls. That’s because Massachusetts allows voters who aren’t registered with a major party to cast a ballot in either side’s nomination contest—and that’s most voters. In February, which is the most recent time registration figures were published, 57% of the state’s voters were unenrolled with any party and just 10% belonged to the GOP. (Democrats represented 32% of the electorate, while the balance belonged to minor parties.)

Past polls have shown that independents are a very pro-Baker group, so it would be up to the governor to convince enough of them to vote in his primary when they might otherwise be inclined to take part in the Democratic contest or just stay home. It’s also especially hard to assess what the 2022 GOP primary electorate will look like because it’s so rare for Bay State Republicans to even have a competitive statewide primary for any offices they have a shot to win.

“Former New York governor Andrew Cuomo (D) wants a new investigation into allegations that he sexually harassed nearly a dozen women, including state employees,” Bloomberg reports.

VIRGINIA REDISTRICTING. Virginia’s bipartisan redistricting commission has all but abandoned work on a new congressional map, likely punting the process to the state Supreme Court—just as it did with the state’s legislative maps earlier this month. While the panel still has until Nov. 8 to finalize a map, the prospect looks remote after commissioners unanimously voted to adjourn indefinitely at a Wednesday meeting.

After the heated breakdown of the legislative redistricting process, acrimony on the commission crescendoed this week when a Democratic member, Del. Marcus Simon, revealed that the GOP’s official redistricting arm had secretly drawn a map that former Republican Rep. Tom Davis had proposed to the panel—a map that bore a very close resemblance to a plan that commissioners themselves had recently voted to advance.

There’s still no explanation as to why Democrats on the commission greenlighted that map, which was widely castigated as amounting to a Republican gerrymander even before Simon shined a spotlight on the GOP plan it shared so much DNA with. (Those similarities were first called out by analyst Sam Shirazi, who brought the matter to Simon’s attention.) That conclusion was supported by the nonpartisan site Planscore, which found the map would tilt toward Republicans despite the fact that Democrats have dominated in Virginia for many years.

With the commission’s abdication, responsibility for drawing new maps now falls to the state’s highest court, pursuant to the same constitutional amendment that voters approved last year creating the commission in the first place. While the court will still be bound by the same criteria commissioners were obligated to follow, including a ban on maps that intentionally and unfairly favor a particular party or candidate, conservatives have a majority on the bench. That fact is one among many that some Virginia Democrats cited in opposing the amendment last year.

Though the justices are unlikely to draw any obvious gerrymanders, there are countless subtle ways they could craft maps that tilt toward the GOP—and most of the court’s members in fact owe their jobs to such maps. Virginia is one of just two states (along with South Carolina) where supreme court justices are chosen by a majority vote of both houses of the legislature, and all of the conservatives on the court ascended to the bench thanks to Republican majorities secured through gerrymandered maps.

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

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