The Political Report – 1/31/22

A new AP-NORC poll finds Donald Trump’s popularity among Republicans is declining somewhat, with 71% saying they have a favorable opinion of Trump compared with 78% in a September 2020 poll.

The new poll shows only a narrow majority of Republicans — 56% — want Trump to run for president in 2024.

Dan Balz: “No one should underestimate former president Donald Trump’s standing within the Republican Party, especially the passionate allegiance of a substantial part of the GOP base. But there are some signs that, since the assault on the Capitol last year, his support within the party may not be quite as robust as it once was.”

Mark McKinnon on a new Politico/Morning Consult poll: “Another interesting twist that the pollsters noted is that when Trump is removed from the equation, respondents who identify as Republican—or who lean that way—show no real consensus. DeSantis is out in front of that field, appealing to almost a quarter of those polled. But he’s nearly neck and neck—hard as it is to believe—with none other than Donald Trump Jr., who pulls in 24%.”

“Moreover, since this poll was taken before the Supreme Court news, it’s not a reach to suggest that Biden—at the time the survey was taken—was likely at the lowest point in his presidency. Even so, he still beats all projected Republican comers.”

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) told Insider that he does not want former President Donald Trump to run for president again.  Said Hutchinson: “I do not believe Trump is the one to lead our party and our country again, as president.”

James Carville said that he would support Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ.) if he launched a Senate bid, saying he did not believe Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) would win a primary against the congressman, The Hill reports.

Said Carville: “She’s not going to win a primary against Rep. Ruben Gallego, I’ll tell you that damn much. And I will personally volunteer to help him fundraise because I think we can keep that seat if he runs.”

“Members of the Democratic National Committee took aim at Iowa’s first-in-the-nation caucuses Saturday as the group considers changes to the 2024 presidential nominating process,” USA Today reports.

“Though there were few explicit mentions of Iowa and the collapse of its 2020 caucuses, those were the clear subtext of comments calling for the elimination of caucuses, restructuring the order of the early primary states and increasing diversity and inclusion throughout the presidential nominating process.”

PENNSYLVANIA U.S. SENATOR. “Pennsylvania’s Democratic Party committee members deadlocked Saturday in suburban Harrisburg on a vote to endorse in the party’s hotly contested primary race for U.S. Senate, giving Conor Lamb by far the most votes, but not enough for the party’s backing,” the AP reports.

“Winning an endorsement was a high hurdle to clear, requiring two-thirds of the party’s roughly 350 committee members.”

New York Times: “Spurred by opposition to then-President Trump, donors and operatives allied with the Democratic Party embraced dark money with fresh zeal, pulling even with and, by some measures, surpassing Republicans in 2020 spending, according to a New York Times analysis of tax filings and other data.”

“The analysis shows that 15 of the most politically active nonprofit organizations that generally align with the Democratic Party spent more than $1.5 billion in 2020 — compared to roughly $900 million spent by a comparable sample of 15 of the most politically active groups aligned with the G.O.P.”

“A Pennsylvania court struck down the state’s mail voting law Friday, saying the state Constitution requires voters cast ballots in person unless they meet specific requirements,” the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.

“That almost certainly won’t be the final word on the matter, as the state will likely appeal to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, triggering an automatic stay of that decision.”

Axios: “Three Republican judges sided with Republican challengers and ruled that no-excuse mail-in voting is prohibited under the state’s constitution. Two Democrats on the panel dissented.”

“Redistricting and a flood of departing incumbents are paving the way for more extreme candidates in this year’s midterm elections,” Axios reports. “At least 19 House districts in 12 states are primed to attract such candidates — hard partisans running in strongly partisan districts.”

“These 19 districts are open seats — with no incumbent running because of retirement, or the incumbent running for another office or district — and with PVI scores of at least +15R or +15D.”

Geoffrey Skelley: “For starters, inexperienced contenders just don’t face the same barriers they once did in attracting financial support from interest groups and donors. Traditionally, it’s been a challenge for newcomers to attract donations from political action committees, which are often key to congressional candidates raising enough money to win their elections.”

“Beyond money, though, voters are also increasingly disillusioned with our institutions, especially Congress, and are also attracted to anti-establishment rhetoric. As a result, they may assign less value to a candidate’s previous elected experience and may be more receptive to outsider candidates with messages promising to shake things up.”

“The increased success of inexperienced candidates may also speak to the weakness of our political parties, which serve less of a gatekeeping role than they once did.”

Cook Political Report: “We are still ten months from Election Day, but all signs point to a Democratic wipeout this fall.”

“Billionaire mega-donor George Soros is seeding a super PAC with $125 million, an enormous investment that will aid Democratic groups and candidates for the 2022 election cycle and beyond,” Politico reports.

Cyber Ninjas CEO Doug Logan says he will not turn over records from the review of Maricopa County’s 2020 election until he has a “clear” ruling he can appeal to the highest court, the Arizona Republic reports.

Former U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan is mulling a run against Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, the Chicago Tribune reports.

WISCONSIN GOVERNOR. Republican mega donor Dick Uihlein is backing Kevin Nicholson (R) in the GOP race for Wisconsin governor, but Republican mega donor Liz Uihlein — his wife — is supporting former Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch (R), the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports.

CALIFORNIA 3RD CD. Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones, a Republican who lost a tight 2016 campaign against Democratic Rep. Ami Bera in the old 7th Congressional District, announced Monday that he’d compete for the new open 3rd District. Jones joins GOP Assemblyman Kevin Kiley and Democrat Kermit Jones, a physician and Navy veteran, in the June top-two primary for a seat in the eastern suburbs of Sacramento that would have supported Donald Trump by a small 50-48 margin.

Scott Jones was an all-star GOP recruit in 2016 when he took on Bera, a Democrat who had only narrowly won re-election during the previous cycle’s GOP wave. The congressman had gone on to alienate plenty of labor groups by supporting the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and Republicans relentlessly attacked him after his father was sentenced to prison for trying to illegally funnel money to Bera’s campaign (the congressman himself was never accused of any wrongdoing).

Jones, however, earned his own share of bad headlines after the public learned that a former subordinate had accused him of making unwanted sexual advances over a period of two years, from 2003 to 2005. Jones denied the accusations in a sworn statement, though in an odd aside in the Sacramento Bee’s write-up of the story, he apparently said he “never had any physical contact” with her “of an intimate nature” … “except once.” (The first two quoted remarks were from Jones’ statement; the latter was the paper’s wording.) The GOP nominee also had to grapple with Trump’s toxicity in suburban areas like the 7th.

Outside groups from both parties spent huge amounts here, though Bera himself enjoyed a massive financial edge over Jones. The 7th ended up backing Hillary Clinton 52-41 four years after it supported Barack Obama 51-47, and while Jones ran far ahead of the ticket, Bera ultimately held on 51-49 in a race that took weeks to call. That bloody campaign, though, didn’t end Jones’ political career in Sacramento County, which has long been a Democratic bastion in federal elections: The sheriff took 51% of the vote in the four-way June 2018 nonpartisan primary, which was just enough for him to win outright.

While Jones will be seeking a GOP-leaning constituency this time, however, his Sacramento County base makes up just 16% of the population of the new 3rd, though all of these residents also live within the boundaries of the old 7th. Kiley, by contrast, represents 58% of the new 3rd in the legislature.

COLORADO 5TH CD. The nonpartisan Office of Congressional Ethics released a report on Monday concluding that there is “substantial reason to believe” that Republican Rep. Doug Lamborn misused official resources by having congressional staff perform personal and campaign-related tasks for him and his wife, Jeanie. Those alleged tasks included running errands, moving furniture at the couple’s home, throwing a party for their daughter-in-law, and helping their son apply for jobs—even “assisting with mock interview questions.”

The report also said that Lamborn may have compelled his staff to give him and his wife gifts for their birthdays and on Christmas, something that violates House ethics rules and federal law. Lamborn claimed the gift-giving was mutual, but the OCE says it “did not find any evidence that staffers received the same type of gifts Rep. Lamborn and Mrs. Lamborn received during special occasions.”

These allegations were previously aired by a former aide named Brandon Pope, who last year filed a lawsuit accusing Lamborn of firing him in retaliation for raising concerns about the congressman’s “reckless” approach to COVID safety in his congressional office. Pope also claimed that Lamborn had allowed his son “to live in a storage area in the basement of the U.S. Capitol for a period of weeks,” though the OCE did not address that charge.

The office recommended that the House Ethics Committee continue to investigate the matter, which the committee said it would do.

MICHIGAN 13TH CD. State Sen. Adam Hollier on Monday that he would seek the Democratic nod for this open and safely blue Detroit-based seat. Hollier made his declaration the same day that Jewish Insider reported on a Target Insyght poll for the Michigan Democratic Black Caucus that showed two people who don’t appear to have even publicly expressed interest, former Detroit General Counsel Sharon McPhail and ex-Rep. Hansen Clarke, leading in a hypothetical August primary field, while the state senator himself has yet to gain traction among respondents.

McPhail and Clarke take 25% and 23%, respectively, with Detroit School Board member Sherry Gay-Dagnogo, who is running, in third with 11%. Another declared candidate, wealthy state Rep. Shri Thanedar, ties Michigan Civil Rights Commissioner Portia Roberson, who also isn’t currently running, for fourth with 7% each, while Hollier is just behind with 5%. Teach for America official Michael Griffie, who is running, has 4%, while just 1% goes to his rival, former Detroit Police Chief Ralph Godbee. Michigan’s filing deadline isn’t until mid-April, so it may be a while before the field firms up.

CALIFORNIA 9TH CD. Politico reports that former Trump aide Steven Cheung is considering running against Democratic Rep. Josh Harder, who is seeking re-election in a Stockton-based seat that would have favored Joe Biden 55-43. Cheung, writes Politico, “would likely earn a Trump endorsement, but it’s unclear whether that would actually boost his chances.”

NEW YORK 24TH CD. Syracuse Common Councilor Chol Majok, who serves on the local equivalent of a city council, announced Friday that he would compete for the Democratic nomination to succeed Rep. John Katko, a Republican who announced his retirement the week before. Majok as a child arrived in the United States as a refugee from what is now South Sudan, and he won his current post by unseating an incumbent in the 2019 primary.

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

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