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The Political Report – 1/27/22

A new Gallup poll finds that 60% of Americans think President Biden is likable and 59% think he is intelligent. However, just 37% say he is a strong leader and only 38% see him as an effective manager of government.

A new Pew Research poll finds that just 41% of adults approve of President Biden’s job performance, which is down slightly from September (44%) and substantially lower than last April (59%).

Just 21% of the public is satisfied with the way things are going in the U.S.

Philip Bump: “In new polling from the Pew Research Center, President Biden’s approval rating is at a remarkably low 41 percent. That’s in part because independents view him fairly negatively, as they have for a while. But it’s also because Democrats don’t love him as much as they used to.”

“In Pew’s data, Biden has gone from 95 percent approval among Democrats last spring to 76 percent in January. Since September, the percentage of Democrats who say they strongly approve of the job he’s doing has fallen from 27 to 21 percent. That’s a problem in part because approval ratings are a continuum: Voters don’t go from strongly approve to strongly disapprove in one fell swoop. First they transition from strong to less-strong approval — as many Democrats have.”

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) endorsed J.D. Vance’s Senate bid in Ohio on Tuesday, giving the Hillbilly Elegy author and venture capitalist the backing of one of the far-right’s most prominent elected officials, The Hill reports.

Vance on Twitter: “Honored to have Marjorie’s endorsement. We’re going to win this thing and take the country back from the scumbags.“

The hillbilly elegist’s latest attempt to out-Trump his Ohio Senate race rivals led to a spectacular belly flop in an interview with Spectrum News published on Monday.

While trying to defend his joke about the deadly shooting incident with actor Alec Baldwin, Vance made the argument that politicians should have a sense of humor because “unfortunately, our country’s kind of a joke.” 

Vance declared that he refuses to be one of those “fake politicians” who doesn’t joke about things like people getting fatally shot.

Joke’s on him.

A federal court threw out Alabama’s new congressional district map on Monday because it allows only one district to have a majority of Black voters.

The district lines needs to be redrawn to include two of those districts, the court ordered. If the court’s decision prevails on appeal, Democrats are likely to gain a second seat in Alabama.

The Republican-controlled state legislature has 14 days to draw a new map that has “two districts in which Black voters either comprise a voting-age majority or something quite close to it,” the court said.

This is the second time a state’s newly drawn district map has been quashed by the courts due to gerrymandering. The Ohio Supreme Court rejected the map from the state’s GOP-dominated redistricting commission less than two weeks ago.

TENNESSEE 5TH CD. Rep. Jim Cooper (D-TN) will not seek reelection following the Tennessee General Assembly’s plan to divide the 5th congressional district, the Tennessean reports.

Said Cooper: “Despite my strength at the polls, I could not stop the General Assembly from dismembering Nashville. No one tried harder to keep our city whole. I explored every possible way, including lawsuits, to stop the gerrymandering and to win one of the three new congressional districts that now divide Nashville. There’s no way, at least for me in this election cycle, but there may be a path for other worthy candidates.”

Cooper’s existing seat, which includes all of Nashville, backed Joe Biden 60-37; however, by splitting the city between the 5th, 6th, and 7th Districts, the GOP has created a new 5th that would have favored Donald Trump 54-43.

A few Republicans already started to express interest in running in the August primary for the revamped 5th District, which now includes several dark red areas near Nashville, even before Cooper made his decision public, though one person already has a head start. Music video producer Robby Starbuck launched his campaign back in June without much fanfare and ended September with $100,000 on-hand. Starbuck also attracted some attention last month when North Carolina Rep. Madison Cawthorn brought him onto the House floor, a move that likely violated the chamber’s rules; an unnamed source told The Hill at the time that the far-right congressman lied to security and claimed that Starbuck was one of his staffers.

Three more Republicans also told Axios last week that they were considering: former state House Speaker Beth Harwell, who took fourth in the 2018 primary for governor; Maury County Mayor Andy Ogles; and attorney Kurt Winstead, who is a retired brigadier general in the Tennessee National Guard.

On the Democratic side, community activist Odessa Kelly entered the primary against Cooper back in April and sounds like she plans to continue her campaign: Kelly tweeted Tuesday, “[P]eople-powered movements in this state have been building power for years and no map is going to slow us down.” The candidate filing deadline is in early April.

OHIO 13TH CD. Democratic state Rep. Emilia Sykes, who stepped down as House minority leader last month and faces term limits this year, announced a bid for Congress on Tuesday, though where she’ll be able to do so isn’t yet clear. Under the map adopted by Ohio Republicans in November, Sykes—who also served on the state’s GOP-dominated redistricting commission—would have run in the open 13th District, which included her home base of Akron. Last week, however, the state Supreme Court struck down the entire map as an illegal partisan gerrymander, and we likely won’t see new lines until next month at the soonest.

VIRGINIA 10TH CD. Businessman Caleb Max, who is a grandson of former 17-term Rep. Frank Wolf, has decided to test just how blue Northern Virginia’s 10th Congressional District has become by launching a bid for the GOP nod to take on Democratic Rep. Jennifer Wexton. Wolf easily won his final term in 2012 as Mitt Romney was narrowly taking the old version of the 10th, but the area swung hard to the left during the Trump era. The new 10th would have backed Joe Biden 58-40, which makes it just a smidge redder than his 59-40 performance in the old version of the district.

MISSOURI U.S. SENATOR. Rep. Billy Long is airing a TV spot on the far-right channels Newsmax and One America News well ahead of the crowded August Republican primary, though there’s no word on the size of the buy. The ad itself is about as bad as you’d expect given the venues involved, with Long declaring, “I was one of the first to support Donald Trump for president. … But the Democrats rigged the election.”

ILLINOIS 1ST CD. Construction contracting firm owner Jonathan Jackson has confirmed that he’s interested in competing in the June Democratic primary for this safely blue seat and will decide in “the next week or two.” Jackson is the son of two-time presidential candidate Jesse Jackson and the younger brother of former Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., who resigned from the neighboring 2nd District in 2012 and later was sentenced to 30 months in prison for spending campaign money on himself.

Real estate executive Nykea Pippion McGriff, meanwhile, also says she’s thinking about campaigning to succeed retiring Rep. Bobby Rush.

Nonprofit head Jonathan Swain, who is a former chairman of the Chicago Zoning Board of Appeals, has filed with the FEC for a potential bid to succeed his fellow Democrat, retiring Rep. Bobby Rush.

IOWA GOVERNOR. 2018 secretary of state nominee Deidre DeJear essentially has the Democratic primary to herself, but she went into the new year in precarious financial shape. DeJear spent most of the $280,000 she raised since August and ended December with all of $8,500 on-hand. Gov. Kim Reynolds, the Republican DeJear is hoping to unseat, by contrast had $4.8 million in the bank.

ARIZONA U.S. SENATOR. Republican Gov. Doug Ducey, who said over year ago that “I’m not running for the United States Senate,” was asked about his interest again on Thursday and replied, “The answer hasn’t changed.”

National and Arizona Republicans recently speculated to Politico that the governor will take on Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly despite his public lack of interest, but Ducey recently got a reminder of the kind of abuse a campaign would bring him. Donald Trump responded to the Politico story by not-tweeting, “Rumors are that Doug Ducey, the weak RINO Governor from Arizona, is being pushed by Old Crow Mitch McConnell to run for the U.S. Senate … He will never have my endorsement or the support of MAGA Nation!” The Grand Canyon State’s candidate filing deadline isn’t until early April.  

 “Vice President Kamala Harris landed here for a few hours on Monday and Democrats exhaled,” NBC News reports.

“They saw a visit from the vice president in January as not just a sign the Biden administration is taking Wisconsin seriously as it recalibrates its messaging before the midterm elections, but say that the cause Harris took up — replacing lead pipes to provide clean drinking water — is a serious issue that disproportionately affects the Black city residents Democrats struggled to engage in the 2020 presidential race.”

“Those are precisely the voters Democrats need to win over to expand support in this Midwestern battleground state where Biden beat Donald Trump by just more than 20,000 votes.”

COLORADO GOVERNOR. University of Colorado Regent Heidi Ganahl, who is the Republican frontrunner, actually ended 2021 with a $341,000 to $205,000 cash-on-hand lead over Democratic incumbent Jared Polis, but that edge will almost certainly disappear whenever the extremely wealthy governor decides to pour more of his own money into his bid.

Polis, who almost entirely self-funded his 2018 campaign, raised just $38,000 from donors during the last three months of the year (the Colorado Sun says the Democrat doesn’t accept contributions larger than $200) and gave himself another $300,000. Ganahl, meanwhile, raised $271,000 and self-funded another $200,000, which put her well ahead of her intra-party opponents.

4Q FUNDRAISING

  • IN-Sen: Todd Young (R-inc): $1.5 million raised, $6 million cash-on-hand
  • MN-Gov: Scott Jensen (R): $1.23 million raised (since March), $800,000 cash-on-hand
  • PA-Gov: Josh Shapiro (D): $6.3 million raised, $13.5 million cash-on-hand
  • CA-45: Michelle Steel (R-inc): $810,000 raised, $1.7 million cash-on-hand
  • NJ-11: Mikie Sherrill (D-inc): $776,000 raised, $5.1 million cash-on-hand
  • NV-03: Susie Lee (D-inc): $620,000 raised, $1.79 million cash-on-hand
  • OR-05: Kurt Schrader (D-inc): $427,000 raised, $3.56 million cash-on-hand

TEXAS 28TH CD. Human rights attorney Jessica Cisneros has released her first TV ad of the race (in both English and Spanish), which is focused on healthcare. When her aunt “had cancer but no insurance,” says Cisneros, “we did what many families do: We sold steak plates to pay for her care.” By contrast, she charges that her opponent in the March 1 Democratic primary, Rep. Henry Cuellar, “holds thousand-dollar-a-plate fundraisers, taking from the drug and insurance companies charging high prices—or even denying us care.” She concludes by touting her support for Medicare for All.

Politico reports that Cisneros is spending $60,000 to air the spots, the same amount Cuellar has put behind his own TV ads that recently began running. Cuellar also put out some new media of his own on Tuesday: a homemade-looking video in which he stands in front of what he says is his childhood home, insists he hasn’t done anything wrong in spite of his home and campaign HQ getting raided by the FBI last week, and says he’ll continue to run for re-election.

MINNESOTA GOVERNOR. Former Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek has acknowledged he’s interested in seeking the Republican nomination, though he’s denied that he’s made up his mind yet.


GEORGIA 7TH CD. Rep. Carolyn Bourdeaux has earned an endorsement from Sam Nunn, who represented Georgia in the Senate from 1972 to 1997, in her May Democratic primary showdown with fellow incumbent Lucy McBath.


INDIANA 9TH CD. Howey Politics reports that former Rep. Mike Sodrel, a Republican who served one term in a previous version of this seat from 2005 to 2007, has filed to run again.

Army veteran Stu Barnes-Israel, who earned a Bronze Star in Afghanistan, announced Friday that he would compete in the May Republican primary to succeed retiring Rep. Trey Hollingsworth in this safely red seat in southeastern Indiana. The only other notable Republican candidate so far is state Sen. Erin Houchin, who lost the 2016 primary to Hollingsworth, and the Feb. 4 filing deadline isn’t far off.  

RHODE ISLAND 2ND CD and GOVERNOR. Nonprofit head Omar Bah and former state party chair Ed Pacheco are the first two notable Democrats to announce bids to succeed retiring Democratic Rep. Jim Langevin, while state Sen. Jessica de la Cruz is seeking the Republican nod. Bah, who survived torture in The Gambia before immigrating to the United States, heads a group that aids in refugee resettlement and he would be Rhode Island’s first Black member of Congress, while Pacheco is a former state representative. De la Cruz, meanwhile, serves as minority whip in the state Senate, where her party holds just five of the 38 seats.

However, much of the chatter in recent days has been about people who aren’t currently running. The Boston Globe reported over the weekend that unnamed Democratic “[p]owerbrokers” fear that a packed September nomination fight could give two-time Republican gubernatorial nominee and possible congressional candidate Allan Fung an opening in what’s currently a 56-43 Biden seat, and that they’re hoping to clear the field by convincing one of Gov. Dan McKee’s three serious primary foes to run here instead.

Two of them, Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea and former CVS executive Helena Foulkes, quickly made it clear they were staying in the gubernatorial primary, but the third sent some very different signals. State Treasurer Seth Magaziner, reports Rhode Island Public Radio’s Ian Donnis, “called supporters Sunday morning to say he was switching” to the congressional race, but he’d “put the brakes, at least for now” on that plan by the end of the day. Magaziner himself put out a statement that very much didn’t rule anything out, saying, “While I feel I owe it to those who have reached out to consider that possibility, I also believe strongly in our campaign to bring strong economic leadership to the governor’s office and remain in the race for governor at this time.”

Several more Democrats, meanwhile, are talking about joining Bah and Pacheco in the contest to succeed Langevin. Perhaps the most high-profile new name is outgoing Rhode Island Department of Health Director Nicole Alexander-Scott, who had already announced her departure prior to Langevin’s retirement declaration last week. Alexander-Scott, like Bah, would be the state’s first Black member; the health director would also be the second ever-woman elected to represent Rhode Island in D.C., a distinction that would be shared by de la Cruz as well as several potential candidates. (Republican Claudine Schneider was elected to a previous version of the 2nd in 1980, and she gave it up a decade later to wage an unsuccessful Senate campaign.)

More Democrats also have also said they’re interested in running: Joy Fox, who is a former Langevin staffer; former state Rep. Stephen Ucci; and National Education Association of Rhode Island executive director Robert Walsh. The Globe, additionally, reports that state Rep. Joseph Solomon is considering. State Rep. Carol McEntee also said Saturday she would “be saying more this coming week,” while state Sen. Joshua Miller has promised a decision in “the coming days.”

State Rep. Teresa Tanzi, meanwhile, said she wouldn’t run if Alexander-Scott got in. We also got definitive noes from a few Democrats: former Rhode Island State Police Superintendent Brendan Doherty; Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza; state Senate Majority Leader Michael McCaffrey; and state Rep. Thomas Noret.

Multiple media outlets report that former state Democratic Party chair Ed Pacheco will announce a bid for this open seat in the coming week, while former state Sen. James Sheehan also says he’s considering running himself. On the GOP side, state Sen. Jessica de la Cruz has publicly expressed interest.

An aide to Providence City Council President John Igliozzi has acknowledged that he’s interested in entering the Democratic primary for this open seat, while Democratic state Rep. Joseph Solomon has also acknowledged he’s thinking about competing here.

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

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