The Political Report – 12/16/21

A new Politico/Morning Consult poll finds 70% of Republican voters think Donald Trump should probably or definitely run for president again. That’s compared to a 63% of Democrats who think Joe Biden should seek reelection.

Bad news for both men: A majority of independent voters are hoping neither runs, with 59% saying no to Trump and 67% saying Biden shouldn’t seek a second term.

Former President Donald Trump said that Mike Pence is “mortally wounded” inside the Republican Party, CNN reports.

Said Trump: “I was disappointed in one thing, but it was a big thing. Mike should have sent those crooked votes back to the legislatures and you would have had a different result in the election, in my opinion.”

He added: “I think Mike has been very badly hurt by what took place in respect to January 6. I think he’s been mortally wounded, frankly, because I see the reaction he’s getting from people.”

ALABAMA U.S. SENATOR. A new McLaughlin & Associates (R) poll in Alabama finds Mo Brooks (R) leading the GOP Senate primary with 31%, followed by Katie Britt (R) at 24%, Michael Durant (R) at 17% and Jessica Taylor (R) at 4%.

When respondents were asked about a potential Brooks-Britt head-to-head matchup, 39% backed Britt and 37% backed Brooks, while 25% were undecided.

TEXAS GOVERNOR. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) “frequently blocks out his daily schedule for eight hours of fund-raising calls,” the New York Times reports.

Monday brought us our first filing deadline of the 2022 election cycle, as candidates in Texas were required to submit their names to appear on the March 1 primary ballot; runoffs will be held on May 24 for contests where no one takes a majority of the vote.  Texas Tribune’s Patrick Svitek has compiled a list of candidates who’ve filed to run at every level of the ballot in Texas.

At the top of the ticket is the race for governor, which will see Republican incumbent Greg Abbott seek a third term. Abbott has long been one of the most conservative governors in America, but he faces two notable intra-party foes who don’t think he’s right-wing enough: former state party chair Allen West, a one-time tea party star who was elected to the U.S. House from Florida in 2010 only to lose two years later; and former state Sen. Don Huffines, who lost re-election in 2018. Few polls have been released here, but the numbers we’ve seen have all shown Abbott taking well over a majority of the vote.

There is another candidate running in the Republican Primary for Governor. “Rick Perry is running for governor — but not that Rick Perry,” the Texas Tribune reports.

“The Republican Party of Texas updated its list of candidate filings Monday — hours before the deadline for the March primary election — to include a Rick Perry running against Gov. Greg Abbott. The party quickly confirmed that it was not Rick Perry, the former governor and U.S. energy secretary. Instead it’s Ricky Lynn Perry, a man from Springtown, a town in Parker County northwest of Fort Worth. On the form, the man listed ‘Rick Perry’ as the version of his name that he wants to appear on the ballot.”

The Democratic frontrunner is former Rep. Beto O’Rourke, who doesn’t face any serious primary opposition. O’Rourke came shockingly close to beating Republican Sen. Ted Cruz in 2018, but he’ll face a very tough general election in a state where Democrats haven’t scored a single statewide victory since 1994.

NEBRASKA GOVERNOR. Former Gov. Dave Heineman said Tuesday that he would not enter next year’s Republican primary for his old job.

GEORGIA GOVERNOR. Former Sen. David Perdue has publicized an internal poll from Fabrizio Lee that gives him a 47-44 lead over Gov. Brian Kemp in a head-to-head Republican primary matchup. The campaign did not release numbers testing the two against former state Rep. Vernon Jones, Kandiss Taylor and Jonathan Garcia, however, even though this trio was included in a subsequent question asking respondents what they’d do if they “knew that President Donald Trump endorsed and fully supported David Perdue for Governor.” (This question results in Perdue leading Kemp 46-32.)

Kemp’s allies at Georgians First Leadership Committee (more on that below), meanwhile, are already launching an early $1 million ad campaign well ahead of the May primary that uses some very familiar arguments against Perdue. “Millionaire David Perdue built a career putting himself first,” explains the narrator, continuing, “Searching for cheap labor, Perdue outsourced jobs to countries like China. He made a fortune for himself, but left communities broken, families ruined.” The spot goes on, “Perdue even bragged, ‘Yeah, I spent most of my career doing that.'”

The former senator was on the receiving end of attacks over outsourcing both during his successful 2014 campaign against Democrat Michelle Nunn and his failed re-election effort against Jon Ossoff this year and last. Kemp’s allies conclude their spot by trying to portray Perdue as opposed to Trump, who recruited him to run in the first place. “That’s not America first,” says the narrator, “That’s David Perdue putting China and himself first.”

Georgia audiences should expect to see many more commercials from Georgians First Leadership Committee in the new year. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution notes that the group was created earlier this year after Kemp signed into law a bill that lets the governor and certain other statewide candidates “create funds that don’t have to adhere to contribution caps.” Importantly, these committees will also be able to accept donations during the legislative session, when the governor and lawmakers are otherwise forbidden from fundraising.

This legislation won’t be any help for Perdue, though, unless and until he wrests the GOP nomination from Kemp. And while Stacey Abrams is the overwhelming favorite to be the Democratic standard bearer again, she also won’t be able to create this kind of committee until her primary is officially over.

NEW YORK ATTORNEY GENERAL. While several notable candidates entered the Democratic primary for attorney general during the six weeks that incumbent Tish James spent campaigning for governor, they all exited the race in the days following James’ Thursday re-election announcement. One contender, former Department of Financial Services Superintendent Maria Vullo, had initially said she would remain in the primary, but she joined the rest of the field in dropping out on Monday.

IDAHO ATTORNEY GENERAL. Republican incumbent Lawrence Wasden announced late last month that he’d seek a historic sixth term, and the Idaho Capital Sun’s Kelcie Moseley-Morris reports that he quickly raised $24,000 through Dec. 9. That’s still considerably less than the $175,000 that former Rep. Raúl Labrador, who is his main foe in the May primary, brought in after launching his campaign the previous week.

Another candidate, attorney Dennis Colton Boyles, has raised $35,000 so far and self-funded an additional $49,000. Boyles recently represented Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin, who is challenging Gov. Brad Little for renomination, when the Idaho Press Club successfully sued her for not releasing public records.

VERMONT AT LARGE CD. State Senate President Pro Tempore Becca Balint on Monday launched her bid to succeed Rep. Peter Welch, a fellow Democrat who is leaving behind this statewide seat in order to run for the Senate. Balint became the first gay person to lead the Vermont Senate at the start of the year, and she would again make history if she won this office.

Balint joins Lt. Gov. Molly Gray, who like her would be the first woman to ever represent Vermont in Congress, in the August primary. State Sen. Kesha Ram Hinsdale also is considering entering the race.

GEORGIA THIRTEENTH CD. South Fulton City Councilman Mark Baker has announced that he’ll wage a primary campaign against Rep. David Scott, who has long been one of the lousiest members of the Democratic caucus, in this safely blue seat based in Atlanta’s southern suburbs.

Scott was first elected in 2002 with the high-profile support of his brother-in-law, the late baseball legend Hank Aaron, and he’s often angered progressives during his long tenure. Notably, Scott vocally sided with Republicans during the Obama years to undermine regulations aimed at reining in predatory payday lenders and preventing auto dealers from charging higher interest rates to people of color.

The congressman still regularly won renomination without any trouble until he unexpectedly took just 53% of the vote against three underfunded foes last year, which was almost enough to force him into a runoff.

MARYLAND FOURTH CD. Former Prince George’s County State’s Attorney Glenn Ivey has released a Public Policy Polling survey that gives him a 31-8 lead over former Del. Angela Angel in the June Democratic primary for this safely blue seat, with Del. Jazz Lewis in third with 5%. Ivey campaigned here in 2016 to succeed Donna Edwards but lost the primary to Anthony Brown, who is now leaving Congress to run for Maryland attorney general.

Maryland Matters, meanwhile, relays that Edwards herself “reportedly is mulling the race,” though there’s no other information. Edwards left the House in 2016 to run for the Senate, but she lost the primary 53-39 to fellow Rep. Chris Van Hollen. She sought a comeback two years later when she campaigned for Prince George’s County Executive but also lost the Democratic nomination 62-34 against Angela Alsobrooks.

Three residents of The Villages in Florida were recently arrested and face charges of casting more than one vote during the 2020 election, the Orlando Sentinel reports.

It’s unclear which candidate they voted for, but all three are registered Republicans.

 “The U.S. Postal Service pursued a project to build and secretly test a blockchain-based mobile phone voting system before the 2020 election, experimenting with a technology that the government’s own cybersecurity agency says can’t be trusted to securely handle ballots,” the Washington Post reports.

“The system was never deployed in a live election and was abandoned in 2019… That was after cybersecurity researchers at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs conducted a test of the system during a mock election and found numerous ways that it was vulnerable to hacking.”

BuzzFeed: “Individual election deniers and grassroots groups are canvassing for election fraud in states lost or even won by former president Donald Trump in 2020, including New Hampshire, Arizona, Colorado, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Florida, North Carolina, Utah, and Nebraska.”

COLORADO FIFTH CD. State Rep. Dave Williams announced Tuesday that he would challenge Republican Rep. Doug Lamborn for renomination in Colorado’s 5th Congressional District, setting up yet another primary battle for an incumbent who’s faced many. Williams notably kicked off his campaign just days after the House Ethics Committee announced that it was extending its probe into Lamborn and promised to “announce its course of action” by Jan. 24.

The committee didn’t divulge the subject of its investigation, but it likely has to do with allegations leveled against the congressman by a former aide named Brandon Pope. Pope has claimed that Lamborn allowed his adult son to live in a storage unit in the Capitol basement (!); directed his staff to do personal tasks for him, including helping his son with job interviews; and retaliated after Pope complained about unsafe working conditions during the pandemic. Williams seemed to allude to the investigation in his launch when he declared, “Lamborn’s lack of effective leadership and compromised integrity have cost our community dearly over the last 15 years.”

The Colorado Sun notes that the Williams has cultivated a hard-right reputation during his three terms in the legislature, noting that the lawmaker has backed “legislation to expand who can request an election recount, prohibit abortions after 22 weeks of pregnancy[,] and allow Colorado law enforcement to arrest people living in the U.S. illegally.”

Oh, that’s not all: The challenger, the Sun adds, also “cosponsored unsuccessful legislation in 2020 which would have imposed prison sentences on doctors who provide gender-transition treatment to people under 18, let businesses refuse to serve LGBTQ people on the basis of religious beliefs[,] and banned same-sex marriage.” Additionally, Williams was part of an unsuccessful push to do away with party primaries in 2022 and instead allow GOP leaders to hand-pick nominees.

Lamborn himself has always been an ardent conservative, but he’s faced surprising struggles to win over Republicans back home in Colorado Springs for well over a decade. His past problems may have been more about personality than ideology: Back in 2006, retiring Rep. Joel Hefley accused Lamborn of running the “most sleazy, dishonest campaign I’ve seen in a long, long time” after Lamborn very narrowly defeated one of his former aides, and the bad blood never really went away.

Lamborn earned just 44% of the vote in his 2008 renomination contest, and while his prospects seemed to improve after he won without opposition two years later, his problems were far from over: In 2014, the incumbent beat underfunded foe Bentley Rayburn, a retired Air Force general who took third in 2006 and 2008, just 53-47.

His true near-death experience came in 2016, though, when delegates at the GOP convention in the district favored little-known legislative aide Calandra Vargas by a wide 58-35 margin. Colorado allows candidates to reach the primary ballot by collecting the requisite number of signatures and/or by taking 30% of the vote at their party gathering, but because Lamborn had decided to pursue only the second route, he came extremely close to getting eliminated from contention. The incumbent rallied to beat Vargas 68-32 in the primary a few months later, but that experience foreshadowed another tough race.

In 2018, two notable Republicans decided to take on Lamborn: state Sen. Owen Hill and El Paso County Commissioner Darryl Glenn, who was the GOP’s 2016 nominee for Senate. Lamborn this time decided to gather petitions and skip the convention, but that decision almost blew up in his face when the state Supreme Court knocked him off the ballot after ruling he’d violated state law by hiring a circulator to collect petitions who did not meet the state’s residency requirements.

The congressman successfully sued in federal court to overturn that law and decisively won the crowded primary, but his performance wasn’t impressive: Lamborn this time claimed just 52%, with Glenn far back at 20%. The congressman, despite his bumpy 2018 ride, had no intra-party opposition last year, but Williams is betting that his troubles are far from over.

While Lamborn may have plenty of problems at home, at least redistricting doesn’t seem to be one of them. The new map cost the 5th District some territory but didn’t add any new turf, so the incumbent currently represents 100% of his revamped constituency.

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

1 comment on “The Political Report – 12/16/21

  1. Abandon 2022? Bold of you (whoever is pushing that) to assume a magat congress will allow any 2024 outcome other than a trump win.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: