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The Political Report – 3/9/22

A new Morning Consult/Politico poll finds President Biden’s approval rate has ticked up to 45% to 51% over the last week.

Playbook: “On the Ukraine question in particular, the change is especially notable among independents, whose approval of Biden’s handling of the conflict rose by more than 5 percentage points the past week; and Republicans, whose support grew by 2 points over that period.”

A new Quinnipiac poll finds that Americans would support a ban on Russian oil even if it meant higher gasoline prices in the United States, 71% to 22%.

As for the steps the Biden administration has taken so far to punish Russia for invading Ukraine, 56% say they are not tough enough, while 30% say they are about right, and 3% say they are too tough.

Said pollster Tim Malloy: “Americans are ready to put a chokehold on Russia’s key financial lifeblood, oil, no matter what the consequences are at the pump.”

Catherine Rampell: “Republicans are setting a trap for President Biden. They’re demanding he take actions that will raise gasoline prices — with obvious plans to attack him politically after the prices rise.”

Donald Trump “has been grumbling about” his new social network’s shaky launch “behind the scenes, even as he’s tried to put on a brave face publicly,” the Daily Beast reports.

In recent weeks, sources have heard the former president on the phone swearing gratuitously and asking things like, “What the fuck is going on?”

TEXAS PRIMARY. “About 10,000 mail ballots were tabulated but not counted in Texas’ most populous county on the day of last week’s election, adding to the delay in determining some winners in the nation’s first primary of the 2022 midterms,” the AP reports.

OKLAHOMA 2ND CD. Republican Chris Schiller, who serves as CEO of the local chain Economy Pharmacy, has filed FEC paperwork for a potential bid for this safely red open seat in eastern Oklahoma.

NORTH CAROLINA 12TH CD. Democratic Rep. Alma Adams faces only one little-known primary opponent in a seat that includes part of Charlotte and its northern suburbs; Biden would have prevailed 64-34 here.

NORTH CAROLINA 8TH CD. Republican Rep. Dan Bishop, who currently serves the old 9th District, faces no intra-party opposition in the new 8th, a seat in Charlotte’s eastern suburbs that Trump would have won 66-32.

NORTH CAROLINA 6TH CD. While the two maps passed by the Republican legislature would have placed freshman Rep. Kathy Manning in a Trump seat, the Democrat faces no serious opposition in a Greensboro area district that Biden would have taken 56-43.

NORTH CAROLINA 5TH CD. Republican Rep. Virginia Foxx faces just one little-known primary opponent in her quest for a 10th term in this seat in Winston-Salem and northwestern North Carolina, turf that Trump would have carried 60-39.

NORTH CAROLINA 3RD CD. Republican Rep. Greg Murphy faces four primary foes in this coastal North Carolina constituency, but there’s no indication that any of them pose a serious threat. Trump would have won 62-37 here.

ILLINOIS 3RD CD. State Rep. Delia Ramirez has earned an endorsement from 9th District Rep. Jan Schakowsky ahead of the June Democratic primary for this safely blue open seat.

COLORADO 7TH CD. Sen. John Hickenlooper endorsed state Sen. Brittany Pettersen on Thursday, which gives her the support of Colorado’s entire Democratic delegation in her campaign to succeed retiring Rep. Ed Perlmutter.

VERMONT AT LARGE CD. Lt. Gov. Molly Gray last week earned an endorsement from former Gov. Howard Dean, who left office in 2003 but went on to run for president in 2004 and later served as chair of the Democratic National Committee.

MICHIGAN 11TH CD. Rep. Andy Levin has released a Lake Research Partners internal that shows him deadlocked 36-36 with fellow incumbent Haley Stevens in the August Democratic primary. We’ve seen two other surveys here: In late January, a Stevens poll from Impact Research had her winning 42-35, while the local firm Target Insyght released numbers soon after that found a 41-41 tie.

NORTH CAROLINA 10TH CD. Rep. Patrick McHenry, who has long been an influential member of the Republican leadership, is running for a 10th term in a west central North Carolina constituency that, at 69-30 Trump, is the reddest in the state under the new map. McHenry has four primary foes, but there’s no sign any of them are capable of putting up a fight.

NORTH CAROLINA 9TH CD. Rep. Richard Hudson, a Republican who holds the old 8th District, has three primary foes in the new 9th, but there’s no sign any of them are any threat in this south central North Carolina constituency. The only Democrat running for this 53-45 Trump district is state Sen. Ben Clark, but he had only $23,000 on hand at the end of 2021.

NORTH CAROLINA 2ND CD. Freshman Democratic Rep. Deborah Ross got her chance to run for the House last cycle after court-supervised redistricting created a new and safely blue seat, and she should have no trouble staying there. Ross faces no intra-party opposition in a district that Biden would have carried 63-35, a constituency that includes Raleigh and northern suburbs.

NORTH CAROLINA 13TH CD. Law student Bo Hines and Army veteran Kent Keirsey have each announced that they’ll seek the Republican nomination for this competitive open seat. We hadn’t previously mentioned Keirsey, who ended 2021 with $323,000 on hand thanks in part to self-funding.

LOS ANGELES MAYOR. Rep. Karen Bass has picked up the support of Speaker Nancy Pelosi ahead of the June nonpartisan primary.

NEW YORK 16TH CD. Pastor Michael Gerald, who serves as a deputy commissioner at the Westchester County Department of Correction, announced this week that he would challenge freshman Rep. Jamaal Bowman in the June Democratic primary. Gerald, in an interview with Jewish Insider, explained his decision by saying, “Rather than the congressman focusing his attention on solving the issues of our district, he would rather turn his attention to making a national name for himself.” Bowman also faces intra-party opposition from Westchester County Legislator Vedat Gashi.

WEST VIRGINIA 2ND CD. Rep. Alex Mooney is running yet another commercial slamming fellow incumbent David McKinley as a “RINO” ahead of their May primary battle. “McKinley calls himself a Trump conservative, but he’s weak on the border,” says the narrator, “backing amnesty for illegal immigrants.” After reminding the audience yet again that Mooney is Trump’s preferred candidate, the commercial says his mother is “a Cuban refugee” and his father is “a veteran who battled communism.”

NORTH CAROLINA 4TH CD. Singer Clay Aiken has filed to seek the Democratic nomination for this open seat, which puts an end to what reporter Colin Campbell said was “speculation about whether he’d still run” after state courts ordered the adoption of a map that differed considerably from the one in place when Aiken first announced his campaign.

Veteran Rep. David Price is retiring from a 67-32 Biden seat (his best in the state under the new map) that’s home to the college towns of Durham and Chapel Hill, and eight fellow Democrats are campaigning to succeed him. The contest also includes two elected officials: Durham County Commissioner Nida Allam, who in 2020 became the first Muslim woman to win elective office in North Carolina, and state Sen. Valerie Foushee, who would be the first Black woman to represent this area in Congress. Both began running last year, and Allam ended 2021 with a $245,000 to $133,000 cash-on-hand lead.

Aiken, the former “American Idol” star who unsuccessfully ran against Republican Rep. Renee Ellmers several maps ago in 2014 for what was then the safely red 2nd District; Aiken would be the Tar Heel State’s first gay member of Congress. None of the other five Democrats have generated much attention so far.

NEW YORK 22ND CD. Tompkins County Legislator Mike Sigler, whom The Ithaca Voice identifies as a “moderate Republican,” announced last week that he would campaign for the open 22nd District, which Joe Biden would have won 58-40. Another new GOP candidate is Navy veteran Brandon Williams, who has the backing of several county-level Conservative Parties. Williams, unsurprisingly, is campaigning as anything but a moderate, baselessly claiming that Democrats used the pandemic to “drive through mandates that were meant to reinforce the fear.”

NEW YORK 23RD CD. While Republican state Sen. George Borrello last month declined to rule out running for Congress based on an extremely slender hope that the GOP will successfully challenge the new map in court, he seems to have since committed to running for re-election. Earlier this week, the Chautauqua County Republican Committee endorsed Borrello’s bid for another term in the legislature at the same time it was backing Rep. Claudia Tenney in the redrawn 23rd Congressional District.

ILLINOIS 1ST CD. State Sen. Jacqueline Collins on Friday committed to running in the June primary to succeed her fellow Democrat, retiring Rep. Bobby Rush. Collins back in January said she would collect petitions for both the 1st Congressional District and for re-election to the legislature and would make her final decision later, but she’s now announced that she’s chosen the former option. She launched her bid with the backing of several legislators including fellow state Sen. Elgie Sims, who had been considering running here as well, and Senate President Don Harmon.

NORTH CAROLINA 7TH CD. Republican Rep. David Rouzer briefly seemed to be in for a serious fight last month after the legislature passed a map that would have made him choose between two competitive seats, but the court-drawn boundaries made his life considerably easier. Rouzer faces just one underfunded primary opponent in a southeastern North Carolina constituency that Trump would have taken 56-43. One of the four Democrats running here is state Rep. Charles Graham, who ended last year with $109,000 on hand.

OHIO 13TH CD. Former state Rep. Christina Hagan has begun collecting signatures to seek the Republican nomination for the 13th Congressional District under the map that was approved Wednesday by the GOP-dominated redistricting commission, though the state Supreme Court has yet to say if these boundaries can be used in 2022. Hagan herself did not commit to anything either, instead telling Cleveland.com she was “praying through” her decision. Hagan ran for Congress during the last two cycles under the old map: She lost the 2018 primary for the 16th to now-Rep. Anthony Gonzalez, and the 2020 general election for the 13th to Democratic incumbent Tim Ryan.

OREGON 5TH CD and GOVERNOR. Former Gov. Barbara Roberts, who left office in 1995, has weighed in in a pair of Democratic primaries: She’s backing state Treasurer Tobias Read in the race for governor, and she’s also supporting attorney Jamie McLeod-Skinner’s effort to unseat Democratic Rep. Kurt Schrader in the redrawn 5th District. When Schrader first ran for Congress in 2008, Roberts supported one of his opponents in that year’s primary, but she aided him in the general election.

PENNSYLVANIA 17TH CD. A consultant for Allegheny County Council member Sam DeMarco, who also leads the county Republican Party, says he’s considering running to succeed Democratic Senate candidate Conor Lamb in a suburban Pittsburgh seat that Joe Biden would have carried 52-46.

DeMarco is the only Republican who holds countywide office in this very blue community, though that’s not necessarily a sign that he has crossover appeal. That’s because, while there are two at-large spots on the Allegheny County Council, each party may only select one nominee. The Democrats in 2015 and 2019 outpaced DeMarco by margins of 60-31 and 65-35, respectively, but DeMarco’s distant second-place finishes each earned him a spot on the body.

NORTH CAROLINA 14TH CD. The new court map created a new 57-41 Biden seat that includes part of Charlotte and its western suburbs, and Democratic state Sen. Jeff Jackson is the heavy favorite to claim it for his party. Jackson, an Army veteran who has been talked about as a rising star for years, spent most of 2021 running for the U.S. Senate before dropping out in December, and he recently said he still has almost all of the $830,000 war chest he ended that campaign with.

Jackson’s only intra-party foe is Ram Mammadov, who badly lost a 2020 general election last year for a state Senate seat in South Carolina. Two Republicans are also in, but it remains to be seen if either can put up a fight in a constituency this blue.

NORTH CAROLINA 1ST CD. Four Democrats and eight Republicans are running to succeed retiring Democratic Rep. G.K. Butterfield in a northeastern North Carolina seat where redistricting slightly lowered Biden’s margin from 54-45 to 53-46. The two main Democratic candidates appear to be state Sen. Don Davis, who is one of the more prominent moderates in the legislature, and former state Sen. Erica Smith, who badly lost the 2020 primary for the upper chamber and was waging a second Senate campaign before Butterfield retired. Davis ended 2021 with a $132,000 to $97,000 cash-on-hand lead over Smith, while the other two Democrats haven’t attracted much attention yet.

Things are less defined on the Republican side. The only elected official in the contest is Rocky Mount Mayor Sandy Roberson, who had $1 million on hand thanks almost entirely to self-funding. Also in the running are attorney Billy Strickland, who badly failed to beat an incumbent state senator in a 2020 primary, and 2020 nominee Sandy Smith, who lost to Butterfield 54-46. Strickland held a $250,000 to $206,000 cash-on-hand edge over Smith, with both of them doing some self-funding. Another self-funder is businessman Brad Murphy, whose $163,000 war chest mostly came from himself.

NORTH CAROLINA 11TH CD. Far-right freshman Rep. Madison Cawthorn caught a break on filing day when a federal judge rejected a lawsuit that tried to keep the Republican off the ballot in this western North Carolina seat because of his actions both in the lead-up to and during the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

Plaintiffs argued that Cawthorn, who among many other things said that day—as rioters were breaching barricades—that “the battle is on the house floor,” stood in violation of a 14th Amendment prohibition banning anyone who has “engaged in insurrection or rebellion” from holding office unless two-thirds of Congress grants them amnesty. But Judge Richard Myers, a Donald Trump appointee, disagreed, saying that the Amnesty Act of 1872 granted absolution to anyone who might participate in any future rebellion, not just former Confederates.

Legal experts have shredded this theory on a number of grounds, not least the fact that an act of Congress cannot nullify an amendment to the Constitution. The State Board of Elections said it was “reviewing the court’s decision with its counsel” but did not yet say whether it would appeal.

If he remains on the ballot, though, Cawthorn will face seven primary foes, in part because of hijinks he engaged in last year. After the legislature passed its first map, the congressman responded by announcing that, rather than run again in the seat that was the obvious successor to his existing constituency, he’d instead campaign for an even more conservative district in the Charlotte area that he barely represented. The court-drawn map, however, cut off that option, so Cawthorn ultimately decided to run for the revamped 11th, a 54-44 Trump seat in the state’s western mountains where almost all of the residents are already his constituents.

But that brief period when Cawthorn planned to hop districts inspired some notable candidates to kick off bids to succeed the congressman, and several of them have refused to defer now that Cawthorn is staying put.

State Sen. Chuck Edwards, who has largely self-funded his campaign, ended 2021 with $329,000 in the bank. Inn owner Bruce O’Connell, who began campaigning against Cawthorn all the way back in July, has poured even more of his money into the race and had almost $1 million available. Also in the mix is Michele Woodhouse, a former GOP chair for the 11th District, though she only has $20,000 on hand. Cawthorn, by contrast, had just $282,000 socked away, but his high profile ensures he can raise much more if he needs it.

Six Democrats are running as well, though the only one who appears to be running a serious campaign is Buncombe County Commissioner Jasmine Beach-Ferrara, who closed last year with $404,000 in her coffers. Pastor Eric Gash was also making a go of it, but he announced shortly before filing closed that he would instead support Beach-Ferrara.

NORTH CAROLINA 13TH CD. The Democratic primary for this competitive open seat in Raleigh’s southern suburbs only fully took shape hours before filing closed when former state Sen. Sam Searcy announced that he would run. Searcy, a businessman who started both a distillery and a company specializing in clinical research contracts, self-funded $470,000 back in 2018 when he ran what was then numbered the 2nd Congressional District, but he dropped out to run for the legislature. He resigned shortly after winning a second term, which the News & Observer says was because Gov. Roy Cooper persuaded him to take a post at the State Board of Community Colleges.

Searcy joins three other Democrats in the nomination contest, though the only other notable candidate at this point appears to be his former colleague, state Sen. Wiley Nickel. Nickel had been campaigning to succeed retiring Rep. David Price before redistricting moved his Wake County base to the new 13th, and he ended 2021 with $379,000 on hand, about a third of which came from him.

Republicans have eight candidates, and all six major contenders had been campaigning last year under the first GOP-passed map. The best-known of them may be former Rep. Renee Ellmers, who represented part of the greater Raleigh area in the House from 2011 to 2017 in a brief career that was defined by some very wild swings of fortune. Lately, though, her political luck has been all bad: She decisively lost the 2016 nomination to fellow incumbent George Holding after mid-decade redistricting led to their confrontation, and she earned a mere 7% of the vote in her 2020 primary for lieutenant governor. Ellmers launched her newest campaign in early December but only had $9,000 to spend a few weeks later.

The only other notable candidate who didn’t do a significant amount of self-funding in 2021 is party activist DeVan Barbour, who had $154,000 on hand. Perhaps the best-connected contender is law student Bo Hines, who played as a wide receiver at North Carolina State in 2014 before transferring to Yale: Hines, who began running back in January of 2021 against Republican Rep. Virginia Foxx but later sought different versions of open seats, had $397,000 to spend, and he’s since earned the backing of the deep-pocketed Club for Growth.

Army veteran Kent Keirsey, meanwhile, had $323,000 available, while pastor Chad Slotta had $232,000. Attorney Kelly Daughtry, who is the daughter of a former state representative, finished the year with only $151,000, but she likely has far outpaced her many opponents in the money race since then: NC Insider’s Brian Murphy reported in late February that Daughtry just self-funded an additional $2 million.

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

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