The Political Report – 3/21/22

“The campaign arm for House Democrats raised $19.3 million in February, beating the committee’s personal record for the month by $2.3 million,” according to numbers first shared with CBS News.

“This record comes as the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee faces an intimidating midterm election in November, with Republicans within just single digits of retaking control of the chamber.”

Rep. Don Young (R-AK) died Friday, the Anchorage Daily News reports.  “Young, a Republican and the longest-serving member of Congress, lost consciousness on a flight from Los Angeles to Seattle and couldn’t be resuscitated.”

“The North Carolina attorney general’s office has asked the State Bureau of Investigations to look into former Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows’ voter registration in North Carolina,” WRAL reports.  “Meadows, also a former congressman for western North Carolina, is registered to vote in Macon County, at an address where he doesn’t live.”

New York Times: “Voter fraud is exceedingly rare — and often accidental. Still, ambitious Republicans across the country are making a show of cracking down on voter crime this election year. Legislators in several states have moved to reorganize and rebrand law enforcement agencies while stiffening penalties for voting-related crimes. Republican district attorneys and state attorneys general are promoting their aggressive prosecutions, in some cases making felony cases out of situations that in the past might have been classified as honest mistakes.”

“It is a new phase of the Republican campaign to tighten voting laws that started after former President Donald J. Trump began making false claims of fraud following the 2020 election. The effort, which resulted in a wave of new state laws last year, has now shifted to courthouses, raising concern among voting rights activists that fear of prosecution could keep some voters from casting ballots.”

Stacey Abrams had a cameo in the season finale of Star Trek Discovery as the president of United Earth.  Deadline has the backstory.

New York Times: “Her first days on the campaign trail have been spent largely in small, rural towns like Cuthbert, where she is more interested in discussing Medicaid expansion and aid to small businesses than the flagship issue that helped catapult her to national fame.”

“Ms. Abrams’s strategy amounts to a major bet that her campaign can survive a bleak election year for Democrats by capitalizing on Georgia’s fast-changing demographics and winning over on-the-fence voters who want their governor to largely stay above the fray of national political battles.”

“Top figures from Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign are privately encouraging Ro Khanna to run for president in 2024 if Joe Biden doesn’t seek a second term, giving the California congressman an important stamp of approval from progressives as the party looks to its post-Biden future,” Politico reports.

“Democratic officeholders are reluctant to speak publicly about their ambitions in a potential open race in 2024 out of concern that they could undermine the president, who has said he plans to campaign for a second term if he is in good health. There are also sensitivities surrounding Vice President Kamala Harris, who is atop the list of possible candidates but faces skepticism from some party insiders who fear she cannot win a general election.”

“If you call up Republican officials in Iowa and New Hampshire, one potential 2024 presidential candidate’s name comes up again and again: Tom Cotton,” BuzzFeed News reports.

“Politicians are expected to parade through the early states well ahead of 2024, and many Republicans are, even with the looming possibility that former president Donald Trump will run again. But few have been the fixture that is Cotton, the Arkansas senator, party officials say.”

Idaho Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin (R) apparently didn’t like being asked about her appearance at a white nationalist conference.

The Republican National Committee has narrowed down the sites for its 2024 national convention to two cities, Milwaukee and Nashville, CNN reports.

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp’s (R) latest financial report reveals his wealth has grown by more than $3 million since he took office in 2019, the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports.

Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC) pointed out that Rep. Madison Cawthorn’s (R-NC) recent remarks calling Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelensky a “thug” are being “replayed over and over by Russian state propaganda outlets.”

Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) told The Hill that she will make a bid to join Senate Republican leadership starting in 2023.

“As the Democratic National Committee considers changes to its primary calendar, New Jersey Democrats are pitching themselves for consideration as one of the early presidential primary states,” ABC News reports.

OHIO U.S. SENATOR. Former state Treasurer Josh Mandel demonizes undocumented immigrants in his latest spot as he seeks the GOP nod, telling the audience, “We shouldn’t spend a penny on illegals as long as we have even one American veteran living on the street.” Mandel’s former drill instructor also appears with him and tells the audience that the Marines are “America’s 9-1-1.”

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem (R) “denies any involvement in the latest targeting of lawmakers vetting the impeachment of Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg (R),” the Sioux Falls Argus Leader reports.

“But legislators on the receiving end of the attack ads say mounting evidence suggests otherwise.”

“While the billboards echo public statements made by Noem, both her office and her campaign deny being behind both the billboard ads… Noem has been open about her desire to see Ravnsborg impeached and her frustration with an impeachment process dragging out for months.”

UTAH U.S. SENATORS. Salt Lake Tribune: “Do Utah Democrats send a candidate to November’s ballot in the U.S. Senate race, which most likely extends the party’s five-decade-long losing streak? Or, should they compromise their values to make an uneasy alliance with a conservative candidate in hopes of denying Sen. Mike Lee another term in Washington?”

“Distilled to its essence, it is a choice between principles and practicality, and neither are particularly great choices for Utah’s minority party.”

Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes (R), who backed Donald Trump’s efforts to challenge the 2020 election results, is preparing for a 2024 Senate run that could pit him against Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) in a GOP primary, Politico reports.

Romney’s response: “Were I to run again, the best news I could get would be that Sean Reyes was my opponent.”

Ohio Senate hopefuls Mike Gibbons (R) and Josh Mandel (R) almost turned a Republican primary debate into a fistfight with Mandel even calling Gibbons a “pussy.”

ALABAMA U.S. SENATOR. Rep. Mo Brooks has gone up with a new spot in which he proudly showcases the Jan. 6 speech he delivered to the pro-Trump rally that preceded the attack on the Capitol, an ad that comes just after Donald Trump publicly mused about unendorsing the congressman for not believing in the Big Lie firmly enough.

Viewers of this ad, a group that Brooks certainly hopes includes Trump, see footage of the candidate telling a cheering throng last year, “America does not need any more weakling, cowering, wimpy Republican congressmen and senators!” Brooks then speaks directly to the camera in a far quieter setting and proclaims, “On Jan. 6, I proudly stood with President Trump in the fight against voter fraud.”

Images then flash by of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney, and Katie Boyd Britt, the former Business Council of Alabama head who is Brooks’ main rival in the May primary, as the congressman decries “debt junkie, weak-kneed, open-border RINOs who sell out our conservative values.” Brooks goes on to remind the viewer that he’s Trump’s endorsed candidate, which is at least still true as of this writing.

Britt, meanwhile, is running a commercial starring Shelby County Sheriff John Samaniego, who praises her as “a strong conservative who will keep your family safe.”

Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL) “is preparing to pour as much as $6 million into the race by transferring his campaign coffers into a super PAC supporting Katie Britt, a former Shelby aide who is running for the Senate seat,” Politico reports.

“She’s locked in a three-way battle with a stumbling Brooks (R-AL) and surging Army veteran Mike Durant, and Shelby confirmed in an interview he’ll do what it takes to ensure that Britt emerges from the May primary with a place in a runoff.”

OKLAHOMA U.S. SENATOR B. Scott Pruitt (R), the former head of the Environmental Protection Agency, is weighing a run for an open Senate seat in Oklahoma, CBS News reports.

PENNSYLVANIA U.S. SENATOR. TV personality Mehmet Oz’s latest ad against former hedge fund manager David McCormick, who appears to be his chief opponent in the Republican Senate primary, accuses McCormick of having “fired Pennsylvanians and bragged about shipping their jobs to Asia.” Oz then tells a crowd that, like Trump, he came from “outside politics,” a statement that’s followed by old footage of Trump appearing on his show.

OHIO GOVERNOR. Former Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley’s opening ad for the Democratic primary features the candidate talking about her working-class upbringing. “Dad worked at the GM plant,” she tells the audience, “When he got laid off, Mom picked up the slack at the laundromat.” Whaley goes on to call for “a governor who puts improving the economy for families like ours first.”

OREGON GOVERNOR. Consultant Bridget Barton’s bid for the Republican nomination has generated little attention so far, so like so many other underdog candidates before her, she’s hoping to change that with a commercial that contains some (censored) swearing. The candidate shows up in basketball attire with a pair of horses as the narrator proclaims, “Some horse s**t,” before the candidate decries where things are going in Oregon. Barton herself gets bleeped later, and yes, there’s an obligatory shot of horse manure at one point.

MICHIGAN 13TH CD. Retiring Rep. Brenda Lawrence has endorsed Michigan Civil Rights Commissioner Portia Roberson in the crowded August Democratic primary to succeed her.

OKLAHOMA 2ND CD. Muskogee Chief of Police Johnny Teehee on Thursday became the latest Republican to announce a bid for this dark red seat in eastern Oklahoma.

CALIFORNIA 3RD CD. Candidate filing closed Wednesday in California for races where incumbents chose not to file for re-election, and below we’ll be running down the state of play for the June 7 top-two primary in the Golden State’s five open congressional districts: the 3rd, 13th, 15th, 37th, and 42nd. The secretary of state will publish an official candidate list in the coming weeks, but in the meantime, we’re relying on an open-source spreadsheet created and maintained by California political operatives. You can find our post-filing analysis for the state’s other big races to watch here.

We begin in the 3rd District, where two Republicans and three Democrats are competing for a seat in Sacramento’s eastern suburbs that Trump would have taken 50-48. The GOP lineup consists of Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones, who lost a tight 2016 race against Democratic Rep. Ami Bera in the old 7th District, and Assemblyman Kevin Kiley, who attracted little attention when he competed in last year’s failed recall campaign against Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom. Jones has the backing of Rep. Tom McClintock, who represents 58% of the seat (McClintock is running in the more conservative 5th, a move made possible by Devin Nunes’ resignation), while Kiley is the state GOP’s endorsed candidate. Kiley’s legislative district is also home to 58% of the 3rd’s denizens, while only 16% live in Jones’ jurisdiction.

For the Democrats, the only candidate who appears to be running a credible campaign is physician Kermit Jones, a Navy veteran who would be the first Black man to represent the state in Congress since Los Angeles Democrat Julian Dixon died in 2000. However, Kermit Jones, who has the state party endorsement, will still need to consolidate sufficient support in June to ensure that Scott Jones and Kiley don’t both advance and lock Team Blue out of the general election.

CALIFORNIA 13TH CD. Three Democrats and four Republicans are running for a seat in the mid-Central Valley that would have supported Biden 54-43. Team Blue’s two leading candidates look like Assemblyman Adam Gray and financial advisor Phil Arballo, who lost to Republican incumbent Devin Nunes in 2020 in the old 22nd District; the other contender is Angelina Sigala, who was waging a longshot intra-party bid against Rep. Josh Harder before redistricting changed the map. (Harder is now running for the 9th District, an option that became available to him after fellow Democrat Jerry McNerney announced his retirement,)

Arballo has been arguing that Gray, who has been one of the most prominent business-friendly moderates in the state capitol, is too close to special interests. However, the Assemblyman has the backing of well-known Democrats like Gov. Gavin Newsom, Sen. Alex Padilla, and Rep. Jim Costa, who represents just over half of the new 13th, as well as the state party. Arballo so far has attracted far less big-name support, though he has SEIU California on his side. Gray also enjoys a big geographical edge: While he represents about 60% of the 13th in the legislature, there’s no overlap between this congressional district and the old 22nd, where Arballo ran last cycle.

Things are far less defined on the GOP side. The field includes businessman David Giglio, who has an endorsement from Rep. Tom McClintock; agribusinessman John Duarte; Elizabeth Heng, who lost to Costa in 2018 and is now campaigning in the special election for the existing 22nd District; and Diego Martinez, who earned all of 0.1% of the vote in last year’s recall campaign against Newsom.

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

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