The Political Report – 1/14/22

New York Times: “There are those who say Democrats need to do more to appeal to white suburbanites, and those who think it’s more important to focus on growing core constituencies, like African Americans, Hispanics, and younger voters. And there are those, notably the influential data analyst David Shor, who say the party has drifted too far away from the interests of working-class voters of all backgrounds.”

“It’s a discussion that touches on everything from the policies that Democrats develop — Green New Deal or middle-class tax cuts? — to the messages they deliver to voters: Abolish ICE or secure the border first?”

“But where the debate gets especially concrete is over voter registration, a subject with a rich tradition closely identified with the civil rights movement of the 1960s.”

“The volatility is so great right now that voters are almost shellshocked. The way people describe it is they’re on a roller coaster and they want to get off.”  — Democratic pollster Celinda Lake, quoted by the Washington Post.

4Q FUNDRAISING. The House Republicans’ campaign arm raised $140 million in 2021, and $17.9 million in December alone, setting a new record for the committee’s off-year fundraising, Axios reports.

  • NC-Sen: Cheri Beasley (D): $2.1 million raised, $2.8 million cash-on-hand
  • UT-Sen: Evan McMullin (I): $1 million raised
  • WA-Sen: Patty Murray (D-inc): $1.5 million raised, $7 million cash-on-hand
  • GA-Gov: Brian Kemp (R-inc): $7 million raised (between July 1 and Jan. 9), $12 million cash-on-hand
  • KS-Gov: Laura Kelly (D-inc): $2 million raised (in 2021), $1.9 million cash-on-hand; Derek Schmidt (R): $1.6 million raised (in 2021), $1.3 million cash-on-hand
  • MN-Gov: Tim Walz (D-inc): $3.6 million raised (in 2021), $3.6 million cash-on-hand; Paul Gazelka (R): $545,000 raised (since August)
  • NV-Gov: Joe Lombardo (R): $3.1 million raised (since late June)
  • SC-Gov: Henry McMaster (R-inc): $909,000 raised, $3 million cash-on-hand; Joe Cunningham (D): $343,000 raised, $422,000 cash-on-hand
  • IA-02: Ashley Hinson (R-inc): $809,000 raised, $1.6 million cash-on-hand
  • KY-06: Andy Barr (R-inc): $538,000, $1.9 million cash-on-hand
  • NE-01: Patty Pansing Brooks (D): $210,000 raised (in six weeks)
  • NY-24: Francis Conole (D): $202,000 raised, $280,000 cash-on-hand
  • CO-Sen: Michael Bennet (D-inc): $2.1 million raised, $4.7 million cash-on-hand; Gino Campana (R): $450,000 raised, additional $500,000 self-funded, $760,000 cash-on-hand
  • NE-Gov: Jim Pillen (R): $5.4 million raised (since April), $4.1 million cash-on-hand
  • FL-10: Maxwell Frost (D): $407,000 raised
  • IL-14: Michael Koolidge (R): $100,000 raised (in six weeks)
  • MN-02: Angie Craig (D-inc): $875,000 raised, $2.9 million cash-on-hand
  • NH-01: Matt Mowers (R): $400,000 raised, $600,000 cash-on-hand
  • NJ-05: Nick De Gregorio (D): $403,000 raised, $375,000 cash-on-hand
  • NV-04: Steven Horsford (D-inc): $478,000 raised, $1.6 million cash-on-hand
  • OR-06: Matt West (D): $600,000 raised, $480,000 cash-on-hand

INDIANA 9TH CD. Republican Rep. Trey Hollingsworth announced Thursday that he would not seek a fourth term in Indiana’s safely red 9th District in a very unexpected move that bookends what has been a short but surprising congressional career. The revised version of this southeastern Indiana seat, which includes Bloomington, backed Donald Trump 63-35, and Republicans should have no trouble holding onto it.

Hollingsworth had given no obvious indication that he was looking to hit the eject button, especially since he had no serious primary or general election opponent on the horizon. The congressman, though, used an op-ed for IndyStar to remind readers that he’d pledged to only serve four terms total, continuing, “I want to be the change I want to see in this world, so, as I contemplate how I can work for you in new and better ways in the future, I won’t run for reelection this year.” Hollingsworth added, “I ran for Congress to return this government to the people from the career politicians who had broken it, and I will be damned if I become one in the process.”

CALIFORNIA 3RD CD. Assemblyman Kevin Kiley on Thursday became the first notable Republican to announce a bid for the redrawn 3rd District following GV Wire’s report that GOP Rep. Tom McClintock would campaign for the new 5th rather than here. The revamped 3rd, which is based in the eastern suburbs of Sacramento, would have supported Donald Trump by a small 50-48 margin according to data from Dave’s Redistricting App.

Kiley, who won a seat in the Assembly in 2016, sought a promotion in 2019 when he campaigned in a special election for the state Senate, but he lost an ugly all-GOP general election to colleague Brian Dahle 54-46. Kiley, who spent 2020 attacking Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom’s pandemic safety measures, went on to self-publish a book called “Recall Gavin Newsom: The Case Against America’s Most Corrupt Governor.” That tome didn’t help the assemblyman much when he ran in last year’s recall campaign, though, as Kiley finished sixth on the moot replacement-candidate question with just 3.5% of the vote.

Kiley, who during that contest refused to acknowledge Joe Biden was legitimately elected, has also clashed with the Democratic leadership of the chamber he’s sought to leave. Speaker Anthony Rendon last month ejected him from the Education Committee, though Rendon’s office denied Kiley’s claim that the move was meant as retaliation for what the Republican depicted as his fight “against the corrupt school shutdown.” Rendon previously had Kiley exiled to the least desirable office in the state capitol, nicknamed “the dog house,” after a 2019 clash with committee Democrats.

Kiley currently represents 58% of the new 3rd Congressional District in the legislature, which gives him a good geographic base of support. The only other notable declared candidate is physician Kermit Jones, a Democrat who spent months campaigning against McClintock before redistricting altered the battlefield. The filing deadline for the June top-two primary will take place in mid-March.

ILLINOIS 1ST CD. Democratic state Sen. Jacqueline Collins tells the Chicago Crusader she’ll “pursue the prospects of running” for this safely blue open seat.

Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership CEO Karin Norington-Reaves announced over the weekend that she was joining the June primary to succeed her fellow Democrat, retiring Rep. Bobby Rush. Norington-Reaves also revealed that she was stepping down as head of her group, which the Chicago Tribune says was created by Cook County and the city of Chicago “to centralize and streamline workforce development efforts.” The only other notable candidate running for this safely blue seat so far is Chicago Alderman Pat Dowell, though plenty of others have expressed interest. However, activist Ja’Mal Green has taken his name out of contention.

NEW JERSEY 8TH CD. Port Authority Commissioner Robert Menendez Jr. finally confirmed Thursday that he was entering the Democratic primary to succeed retiring Rep. Albio Sires in this 72-28 Biden seat, a declaration that came weeks after he picked up endorsements from Sires, Gov. Phil Murphy, Sen. Cory Booker, Jersey City Mayor Steve Fullop, and the Democratic parties of Hudson and Union counties. Menendez is the son and namesake of Sen. Robert Menendez, who represented a previous version of this North Jersey constituency before he was appointed to the upper chamber in 2006.

The younger Menendez is likely to be the heavy favorite to win the nod in a state where party establishments still carry a massive amount of influence. Indeed, no other notable Democrats have announced since Sires announced his retirement just before Christmas.

COLORADO 7TH CD. Colorado Rep. Ed Perlmutter, a Democrat first elected to Colorado’s 7th District during the 2006 blue wave, announced Monday that he would not seek a ninth term this year. The redrawn version of Perlmutter’s seat—which includes most of populous Jefferson County in the Denver suburbs, all of the neighboring City and County of Broomfield, and rural areas to the south—would have backed Joe Biden 56-42, according to Dave’s Redistricting App.

State Sen. Brittany Pettersen became the first Democrat to kick off a bid for Colorado’s open 7th Congressional District on Tuesday, a day after Rep. Ed Perlmutter announced his retirement. Pettersen sought this seat once before in 2017 when Perlmutter ran for governor, but after the congressman abandoned his bid and later decided to seek re-election, she dropped out of the primary (as did every other notable Democrat).

Pettersen is unlikely to be the last contender to emerge, though. The Denver Post mentions two other Democrats as possible candidates, state Rep. Chris Kennedy and Jefferson County Commissioner Andy Kerr, who also ran in 2017. Kerr did not respond to a request for comment from Colorado Politics.

Republicans will have a tough time putting this seat into play, though it could be worth watching in a strong GOP year. State Rep. Colin Larson told the Sun he was considering running, declaring, “I’ll make a final decision and announcement soon.” Larson bragged, “I’m the last Republican elected official in Jefferson County at the state or federal level, and I know how to fight and win here,” though at just 49-48 Biden, his current state House district is far less blue than the open 7th is.

CALIFORNIA 41ST CD. Assemblyman Chad Mayes, a former Republican leader who became an independent in 2019, said Monday that he wasn’t closing the door on challenging longtime GOP Rep. Ken Calvert in California’s revamped 41st Congressional District. Mayes, who announced earlier in the day that he was retiring from the legislature, said, “I’m not ruling it out, but I’m not ruling it in.”

But no matter what Mayes does, Calvert may still face notable opposition in the June top-two primary for this new seat in the Riverside southern suburbs, which would have backed Donald Trump by a narrow 50-49 margin. Former Trump apparatchik Richard Grenell attracted attention over the weekend by tweeting, “It’s time for California’s Congressional District 41 to be represented by a fighter. There is too much at stake.”

It’s not clear if Grenell thinks he can be that “fighter,” though, because he seems to have someone else in mind as he told the Palm Springs Desert Sun that he was encouraging GOP state Sen. Melissa Melendez to run. The paper writes that a spokesperson for Melendez, who has formed an exploratory campaign for a possible campaign for lieutenant governor, “did not immediately respond to a request for comment.” A few Democrats are also running, including engineer Shrina Kurani, teacher Brandon Mosely, and former federal prosecutor Will Rollins.

MISSOURI 4TH CD. Retired Navy SEAL Bill Irwin announced this week that he was joining the crowded Republican primary for this safely red open seat.

CALIFORNIA 15TH CD. While Redwood City Mayor Giselle Hale had mulled campaigning for this safely blue open seat last year, the Democrat announced this week that she would run for the state Assembly instead.

WEST VIRGINIA 2ND CD. Rep. Alex Mooney has released a Public Opinion Strategies poll that gives him a 45-32 lead in his May Republican primary showdown against fellow incumbent David McKinley. That’s very different from the 44-29 McKinley edge we saw in October from National Research on behalf of GOPAC, a group that has donated to McKinley in the past.

NEBRASKA 1ST CD. The Omaha World-Herald’s Don Walton recently asked state Sen. Mike Flood if he had anything to do with a reported poll testing him in a hypothetical May Republican primary against indicted Rep. Jeff Fortenberry, to which Flood notably responded, “No comment.”

Flood previously served as speaker of Nebraska’s unicameral state legislature from 2007 until he was termed out in 2013, and he returned to the chamber last year. (Nebraska forbids legislators from serving more than two consecutive  terms, but they can come back after a break.) The senator is also the owner of News Channel Nebraska, which Walton describes as “a network of radio and television stations that combine into a statewide media network.”

Fortenberry, whom federal prosecutors have charged with lying to investigators as part of a probe into a foreign billionaire who used straw donors to illegally funnel $180,000 to four different GOP candidates, has a trial date tentatively set for Feb. 15, which coincidentally is the day that Flood would need to make a final decision by. That’s because Nebraska has a unique law that sets up two filing deadlines, one for current elected officials and one for everyone else. All office-holders who want to be on the 2022 ballot need to file by Feb. 15, even if they’re seeking a different post than the one they currently have, while the deadline for everyone else comes two weeks later on March 1.

Whoever emerges with the GOP nod will likely go up against state Sen. Patty Pansing Brooks, a Democrat who currently faces no serious intra-party opposition. The new version of the 1st District, which includes Lincoln and rural areas in the eastern part of the state, supported Donald Trump 54-43.

NEW JERSEY 7TH and 11TH CDs. Phil Rizzo, a Republican who took a distant second in last year’s gubernatorial primary, announced Wednesday that he was switching from the 11th to 7th Districts following redistricting and would now take on Democratic Rep. Tom Malinowski. Rizzo will have a very tough task ahead of him, though, if he’s to defeat the local and national establishment favorite, former state Sen. Tom Kean Jr., in a June nomination contest that also includes Assemblyman Erik Peterson.

NEW JERSEY 7TH CD. Democratic Rep. Tom Malinowski announced on Monday that he’ll seek a third term in November, despite the fact that members of his own party made his district redder in redistricting. In an apparent attempt to shore up other incumbents, New Jersey Democrats proposed a map that shifted the 7th Congressional District several points to the right: Under the old lines, it voted for Joe Biden 54-44, but the redrawn constituency would have backed Biden by a considerably narrower 51-47 spread.

Malinowski was already facing a difficult rematch with Republican state Sen. Tom Kean Jr., whom he beat by just a point in 2020, as well as a House Ethics Committee investigation into whether he made improper stock trades. For those reasons, Politico’s Matt Friedman speculated last month, Democrats were prepared to “sacrifice” Malinowski in order to shore up other vulnerable incumbents, trading numbers for safety. That appears to be exactly what they did, as the 3rd, 7th, and 11th all became decidedly bluer while Malinowski’s turf went the other way.

NEW JERSEY 11TH CD. Lobbyist Rosemary Becchi, who was the GOP’s nominee against Democratic Rep. Mikie Sherrill in 2020, has closed her campaign committee with the FEC, a likely signal that she does not intend to seek a rematch. While Becchi could of course form a new committee, the New Jersey Globe notes she still owes $6,000 to a fundraising consultant, who previously filed a claim over the unpaid debt. Democrats also made the 11th District considerably bluer in redistricting.

VIRGINIA 1ST, 5TH and 7TH CDs. The 7th District Republican Party announced over the weekend that it would hold a traditional June party primary to select its nominee to take on Democratic Rep. Abigail Spanberger in this redrawn constituency, a switch from two years ago. Virginia allows parties to use a primary, party convention, or party-run “firehouse primary” to pick their candidates; last cycle, the local GOP chose a convention.

The Virginia Scope’s Brandon Jarvis also says that Republicans in the neighboring 1st District have decided to do a primary as well, while the party will once again use a convention in the 5th. Republican Reps. Rob Wittman and Bob Good currently face no serious intra-party opposition in seats that backed Donald Trump by margins of 52-46 and 53-45, respectively.

VIRGINIA 7TH CD. The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports that Del. Elizabeth Guzman and Prince William School Board Chair Babur Lateef are each considering challenging Democratic Rep. Abigail Spanberger for renomination now that redistricting has relocated a majority of populous Prince William County to the new 7th District. However, two other Northern Virginia Democrats, state Sen. Jeremy McPike and Del. Luke Torian, say they won’t campaign here, while county party chair Tonya James relays that former Del. Jennifer Carroll Foy has also told her she won’t run.

On the Republican side, 2020 candidate Tina Ramirez announced this week that she was ending her campaign now that redistricting has moved her out of the 7th. Ramirez will instead challenge state Sen. Amanda Chase, who also dropped out of the congressional race this month, for renomination in 2023. Green Beret veteran Derrick Anderson, a Republican who launched a campaign months before redistricting was complete, has announced that he’ll continue his bid against Democratic Rep. Abigail Spanberger in the revamped 7th District.

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

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