A new Pew Research poll finds that only about 1 in 3 Republicans think Joe Biden won the 2020 presidential election, and only about 14% of them say he definitely won.
Philip Bump: “In other words, 6 out of every 7 Republicans are unwilling to say that Biden definitely won.”
Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball: “Thanks in large part to state courts ruling against Republican gerrymanders in North Carolina and Ohio and Democrats drawing an aggressive gerrymander of New York, the Democratic position has improved in our running assessment of House redistricting so far.”
Nonetheless: “Republicans remain favored to flip the House in 2022.”
Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chief Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY) “delivered an upbeat message to members Tuesday, emphasizing the party’s unexpected wins in the once-a-decade redistricting cycle,” Politico reports.
“We should be pointing to the fact that these successes are because of things that we did. Democrats need to take the win on how far we’ve come.” — Democratic pollster Brian Stryker, quoted by the New York Times, arguing that Democrats should celebrate the end of mask mandates.
“We’re addicted to telling other people what to think. You can’t really win many elections if you’re that self-righteous.” — Rep. Jim Cooper (D-TN), in an interview with Nashville Scene, on what Democrats need to do to win.
“The North Carolina State Board of Elections said on Monday that it has the power to block GOP Rep. Madison Cawthorn from running for reelection over his role in the January 6 insurrection — an open legal question at the center of liberal-backed efforts to disqualify him from future office,” CNN reports.
“The bipartisan election board made the assertion in a court filing in a case Cawthorn brought against the board, hoping to shut down the constitutional challenge to his candidacy.”
“The South Carolina House Tuesday amended an elections-related bill it passed last year to add a series of controversial election security measures opposed by Democrats, who said the changes on short notice took them by surprise,” the Columbia State reports.
“The amendment adds a prohibition on ballot drop boxes and expand the array of election audits the state can perform, among other things.”
The Hill: “State legislators who have begun or are preparing to start legislative sessions this year will consider more than 600 bills to expand or restrict the right to vote this year, a massive increase over recent years that were already noted for historic levels of action on elections procedures.”
GEORGIA GOVERNOR and U.S. SENATOR. Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) “is some timely reinforcements from one of his most powerful supporters,” the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports.
“For the first time in its history, the Republican Governors Association is financing a TV ad during a party primary to support an incumbent facing a GOP challenger. The group unveiled a pro-Kemp ad Wednesday – and put more than $500,000 behind it.”
Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams (D) apologized for the photo of her posing maskless with masked schoolchildren, the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports. Said Abrams: “In the excitement after I finished, because it was so much working with those kids, I took a picture. And that was a mistake,” Abrams said. “Protocols matter, and protecting our kids is the most important thing. And anything that can be perceived as undermining that is a mistake. And I apologize.”
Tim Miller: “Over the past two weeks, several Democratic politicians have found themselves in the Twitter barrel as a result of photographs featuring their maskless (gasp!) faces in situations where either a) officials from their party had instituted a mandate on masks or b) the plebeians who surrounded them were unable to show their pearly whites due to the stringent social covenant in their environs.”
“This is horrible optics—and thus bad politics! Because whether we like it or not optics is politics. Since some of you don’t seem to understand why these pictures in particular are so bad, let me lay it out for you.”
Atlanta Journal Constitution: “Stacey Abrams (D) amassed $9.2 million, outdoing both Gov. Brian Kemp and his Republican rival, former Sen. David Perdue. She collected nearly $2 million more in that span than Kemp did over a six-month period. Perdue tallied only about $1 million since December.”
“And Sen. Raphael Warnock (D) raised $9.8 million in the final three months of 2021, making him the nation’s top Senate fundraiser for the second quarter in a row. He easily outdid Herschel Walker, his top Republican rival, whose $5.4 million haul was the most of any GOP Senate challenger in the nation.”
Republican David Perdue finally released his first fundraising report, and unsurprisingly, it was a disappointing one: The former senator, who entered the race for governor in December, brought in just $1.1 million from donors and had under $1 million on-hand as of Jan. 31. By contrast, Gov. Brian Kemp said a week ago that he’d raised $7.4 million in the second half of last year and had stockpiled $12.7 million in his campaign war chest.
Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock has released his first TV ad of his re-election campaign, a minute-long spot he narrates himself. He begins by acknowledging that “[p]eople are hurting” and “wondering when things will get back to normal” and goes on to explain that’s why he’s working to “create jobs,” “make healthcare more affordable,” and “crack down on the corporations who are raising prices out of control.” AdImpact reports that Warnock is spending about $820,000 to air the spot.
John Dickerson: “There is no formal application for the presidency. If there were, it might contain a few prescreening questions to bounce the obviously unqualified. Is the applicant 35 years of age or older? Were they born in the United States? Have they ever tried to overthrow a lawful presidential election? If a candidate said no to the first two questions or yes to the third, their application would not proceed to the bin for further review. HR would send a note thanking them for their interest.”
“The first two questions are constitutional requirements. The third is not a constitutional requirement but an implicit one: Shredding the Constitution should disqualify anyone applying for a job protecting the Constitution. School-bus operators are not picked from a pool of drivers with a history of high-speed, child-imperiling joyrides. Museum guards are not selected from the ranks of art thieves.”
“This is obvious. But not to the Republican Party. The 2024 GOP presidential nominee will either be Donald Trump, who tried to overthrow the results of the 2020 presidential election, or it will be someone who passes the current purity test: agreeing to overlook the fact that Trump tried to overthrow an election.”
MARYLAND U.S. SENATOR. Term-limited Republican Gov. Larry Hogan announced on Tuesday that he would not challenge Democratic Sen. Chris Van Hollen despite an effort to recruit him by GOP leaders.
Hogan, who has cultivated a moderate profile in his two terms in office, has long been very popular with Marylanders and would have posed a worrying threat, especially given a typical midterm environment. Gubernatorial elections, however, can play out very differently from their federal counterparts: In recent years, we’ve seen multiple well-liked Democratic governors fall short in Senate bids in red states, including Steve Bullock in Montana and Phil Bredesen in Tennessee.
Hogan might well have faced the same difficulties in deep-blue Maryland. As his state’s top executive and a critic of Donald Trump, he’s been able to present himself as a free agent above party politics. That’s considerably harder to pull off in the context of a Senate race, when your opponents can readily link you to unpopular D.C. figures whose caucus you’re seeking to join. That dynamic helps explain why the Old Line State hasn’t elected any Republican senators since 1980.
Whether or not Hogan could have defied this trend, he would undoubtedly have made Van Hollen seriously sweat, and the last thing Democrats need is another competitive race this fall. Hogan acknowledged that dynamic at a Tuesday press conference, saying that he’d called his would-be Democratic opponent “to let him know that he can rest easy and get a good night’s sleep tonight.”
AP: “The governor’s decision, while not totally unexpected, marks a setback in the Republican Party’s broader fight to seize the Senate majority this fall.”
GEORGIA 10TH and 6TH CDs. Former Republican state Rep. Vernon Jones confirmed on Tuesday that he’d run in Georgia’s 10th Congressional District rather than the 6th, a day after he dropped his long-shot bid for governor. However, the dark-red 10th, which would’ve voted for Donald Trump 61-38, doesn’t overlap with the legislative district Jones most recently held, nor with DeKalb County, where he served as CEO in the 2000s. He also joins a field that includes a large number of Republican candidates already running, including one, businessman Mike Collins, who greeted Jones with a web video blasting him as a “corrupt, carpetbagging, lifelong Democrat from DeKalb County accused of rape.”
CNN previously reported that Donald Trump had offered to endorse the former Democrat if he dropped down to a House race.
“The number of competitive congressional districts is on track to dive near — and possibly below — the lowest level in at least three decades, as Republicans and Democrats draw new political maps designed to ensure that the vast majority of House races are over before the general election starts,” the New York Times reports. “With two-thirds of the new boundaries set, mapmakers are on pace to draw fewer than 40 seats — out of 435 — that are considered competitive based on the 2020 presidential election results.”
PENNSYLVANIA U.S. SENATOR. David McCormick (R) won the endorsement on Tuesday of former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in his drive to secure his party’s nomination for a U.S. Senate seat in Pennsylvania, Reuters reports.
“Since entering the Democratic Senate primary in Pennsylvania, Lt. Gov. John Fetterman has consistently enjoyed a huge leg up in fund-raising. He’s already known for his online small-dollar money machine, a Pennsylvania-size version of the repeat donor model pioneered by the likes of Bernie Sanders,” the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.
“But he’s also getting money through good old-fashioned snail mail.”
“New financial filings last week showed that Fetterman’s campaign received about $2.1 million in unitemized, direct donations that weren’t made online. Direct donations under $200 are unitemized, meaning that campaigns aren’t required to provide information on the donors.”
New York Times: “Republican attacks on Dr. Fauci are not new; former President Donald Trump, irked that the doctor publicly corrected his falsehoods about the virus, called him ‘a disaster’ and repeatedly threatened to fire him. Senator Rand Paul, Republican of Kentucky, has grilled Dr. Fauci in nationally televised hearings, and Dr. Fauci — true to his fighter-from-Brooklyn roots — has punched back.”
“But as the 2022 midterm elections approach, the attacks have spread across the nation, intensifying as Dr. Fauci draws outsize attention in some of the most important state and local races on the ballot in November.”
Republican sources tell Vanity Fair that “longtime Trump adviser and Republican operative Dave Bossie is floating a run for chairman of the Republican National Committee.” However, Bossie denied he was seeking to unseat RNC chair Ronna McDaniel.
LOUISIANA U.S. SENATOR. Louisiana U.S. Senate candidate Gary Chambers (D), whose opening campaign video of him smoking a marijuana joint went viral, released another provocative ad in which he burns the Confederate flag, the Lafayette Daily Advertiser reports. Said Chambers, as he lights the flag on fire: “It’s time to burn what remains of the Confederacy down.”
WYOMING AT LARGE CD. New York Times: “The wrath that national Republicans have unleashed on Ms. Cheney — the Republican National Committee voted to censure her the day before the Rock Springs gala — is nothing compared to the fury she is encountering from Wyoming Republicans. The state party not only censured her but adopted a resolution to effectively disown her.”
“Yet her response has been to become strangely invisible in her home state.”
Harriet Hageman (R), who is challenging Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) in a Republican primary, told the New York Times she didn’t know who the legitimate winner of the 2020 election was (“I don’t know the answer”) and couldn’t say if former Vice President Mike Pence had the authority to block congressional certification of President Biden’s election (“I’m not an elections attorney”).
Said Hageman: “I wasn’t there on Jan. 6. I can’t tell you everything Pence did or didn’t do. What you need to understand is that, for most people out in the real world, none of us really care that much about what happened on Jan. 6.”
Alabama congressional candidate Dale Strong (R) is fighting an effort to remove him from the Republican primary ballot for his part in moving a Confederate statue from the county courthouse grounds, AL.com reports.
Stan Pulliam (R), a leading candidate for the Republican nomination for Oregon governor, told Willamette Week that prior to entering the race, he and his wife, MacKensey, “explored relationships, mutual relationships with other couples, for a brief period of time before ultimately deciding that it wasn’t for us.”
Members of the Kansas state Senate overrode Gov. Laura Kelly’s (D) veto of the new congressional map, despite initially falling short of the votes to do so, the Kansas City Star reports. The override effort now heads to the state House.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) told Fox News that reports that his relationship with former President Trump has become frayed is “total bunk.”
Said DeSantis: “Donald Trump’s a friend of mine. He is proud when people do well, and it’s not just me, but obviously he’s a Florida resident, and he appreciates the job that we’ve done. He’s told me that many times, not only with helping with the election, but just how we govern the state.”
Rapid City Journal: “A review of more than 470 pages of individual donors listed in a campaign finance filing by Kristi for Governor — Noem’s reelection committee — showed a longtime right-wing extremist and an accused murderer among her financial supporters.”
Politico: “Every Republican who flipped a Democratic House district in 2020 was a woman or person of color, and party leaders want to replicate that success on a larger scale.”
Rep. Cori Bush (D-MO) says she’s not going to stop using the slogan “defund the police” ahead of this fall’s midterms — even though some of her colleagues have made that request, Axios reports.
“Former President Donald Trump is facing pressure from Republican donors and operatives to rescind his endorsement of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, who is entrenched in a primary election for his seat,” CNBC reports. “With many of the polls in Abbott’s favor, it’s unlikely that Trump will reverse course and pull his endorsement.”