The Political Report – 3/24/22

Gallup: “Initial public support for judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s confirmation to the Supreme Court ties as the highest Gallup has measured for any recent nominee.”

“Fifty-eight percent of Americans say the Senate should vote in favor of Jackson serving on the Supreme Court. Only current Chief Justice John Roberts, at 59% in 2005, had a level of support on par with that for Jackson.”

A new Politico/Morning Consult poll finds 73% of voters said they would support “a temporary break” from federal gas taxes, while 72% support a similar move with state gas taxes.  In addition, 63% said it’s time for the U.S. to release oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.

Former President Donald Trump in a statement: “I am hereby withdrawing my Endorsement of Mo Brooks for the Senate.”  Explained Trump: “When I endorsed Mo Brooks, he took a 44-point lead and was unstoppable. He then hired a new campaign staff who ‘brilliantly’ convinced him to ‘stop talking about the 2020 Election. Very sad but, since he decided to go in another direction, so have I.”

Mark Barabak: Is Trump losing his mojo?

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) sidestepped saying if former Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens, who is running for Senate, should drop out in the wake of allegations of abuse by his former wife, The Hill reports.

Said McConnell: “Well look I think all of the developments of the last 24 hours are things the people of Missouri are going to take into account both the primary and I would assume would take into account in the general.”

ILLINOIS 3RD CD. Chicago Alderman Gilbert Villegas has earned an endorsement from 10th District Rep. Brad Schneider, a moderate Democrat who represents Chicago’s northern suburbs and exurbs.

MICHIGAN 12TH CD. The Michigan Democratic Party’s Black Caucus has endorsed Lathrup Village Mayor Kelly Garrett over Rep. Rashida Tlaib, which is the first we’ve heard of the mayor running in this safely blue Detroit-based seat. Garrett, who leads a 4,000-person community, has not yet filed paperwork with the FEC, and she doesn’t appear to have a website up yet either.

FLORIDA 7TH CD. Democratic state Rep. Joy Goff-Marcil has announced that she’ll run for the state Senate rather than for the open 7th Congressional District.

FLORIDA 22ND CD. Attorney Chad Klitzman, state Rep. David Silvers, and Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis have each announced that they won’t compete in the August Democratic primary to succeed retiring Rep. Ted Deutch. The only notable contender remains Broward County Commissioner Jared Moskowitz, who earned Silvers’ support.

NEW YORK 18TH CD. A new Global Strategy Group poll conducted for Democratic Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, who also chairs the DCCC, finds him leading Republican Assemblyman Colin Schmitt by a 49-37 margin. Last month, Schmitt released his own internal that had the challenger ahead 38-37—a questionably low score for the incumbent, who has been in office for a decade and represents 71% of the redrawn 18th District.

FLORIDA 24TH CD. Former Miami-Dade County Commissioner Audrey Edmonson announced Tuesday that she would challenge six-term Rep. Frederica Wilson in the August Democratic primary for this safely blue seat in northern Miami. The Miami-Herald writes that Edmonson, who served on the Commission for 14 years until she was termed-out in 2020, was once a “frequent ally” of Wilson, but she’s very much soured on the congresswoman.

Edmonson, who acknowledged that she and Wilson “agree on most issues,” faulted the incumbent for continuing to make use of House proxy vote rules implemented earlier during the pandemic that allow members to cast votes without being physically present. “It is disappointing and regrettable that our very own Congressional District 24 congresswoman has become an absent member of Congress,” said Edmonson, who also cited work by the conservative Ripon Society to argue, “She is the number one proxy vote.”

Oddly, while the paper reports that “an organizer of the announcement said Monday to expect endorsements at the event,” no such endorsements were forthcoming at Edmonson’s kickoff the following day.

ILLINOIS 1ST CD. While former 3rd District Rep. Dan Lipinski thankfully will not be on the ballot this year, he’s endorsing pastor Chris Butler, who shares his anti-abortion views, in the June Democratic primary to succeed retiring Rep. Bobby Rush. Lipinski represented about 10% of the new 1st until he left Congress early last year following his 2020 primary loss to Marie Newman.

IOWA 1ST CD. Freshman Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks, a Republican who won the old 2nd District by all of six votes last cycle, faces Democratic state Rep. Christina Bohannan in a southwestern Iowa seat that Trump would have carried 50-48. Bohannan has no opposition in the primary, while Miller-Meeks should have no trouble getting past her one intra-party opponent.

IOWA 2ND CD. Republican Rep. Ashley Hinson, who unseated Democratic incumbent Abby Finkenauer last cycle in a close race for the old 1st District, now faces Democratic state Sen. Liz Mathis in a northeast Iowa seat that Trump would have taken 51-47. Neither Hinson nor Mathis, who were once coworkers at the TV station KCRG (Hinson was a morning news anchor while Mathis hosted the evening news program) have any primary opposition.

IOWA 3RD CD. Three Republicans are competing to take on Rep. Cindy Axne, who emerged from the 2020 elections as Iowa’s only Democratic representative, in a district based in Des Moines and southwestern Iowa that Trump would have carried by a tiny 49.2-48.9 edge. The only elected official in the primary is state Sen. Zach Nunn, who is going up against businesswoman Nicole Hasso and Gary Leffler; Leffler, who took part in the Jan. 6 Trump rally that preceded the attack on the Capitol, didn’t report any fundraising during his first quarter in the race.

NEVADA 1ST CD. Democratic Rep. Dina Titus is defending a seat in the eastern Las Vegas area where her party, in order to make the 3rd and 4th Districts bluer, cut Biden’s margin of victory from 61-36 to 53-45, and eight Republicans are now running against her. The most prominent name belongs to former 4th District Rep. Cresent Hardy, who launched a surprise bid just before filing closed on Friday; only 4% of the new 1st’s residents live in the old 4th, but, because both seats are located in the Las Vegas media market, he should be a familiar presence here.

Hardy was a state assemblyman in 2014 when he waged what appeared to be a longshot campaign against Democratic Rep. Steven Horsford in a seat that Barack Obama had carried 54-44. However, the GOP wave hit Nevada hard, and with a little-known Democrat leading the statewide ticket against popular Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval, Team Blue’s turnout was a disaster. Both parties began spending serious amounts of money in the final weeks of the race, but it was still a bit of a surprise when Hardy won 49-46.

Hardy was immediately a top Democratic target in 2016, and state Sen. Ruben Kihuen ended up unseating him 49-45 as Hillary Clinton was taking the 4th 50-45. Kihuen, though, didn’t seek re-election after multiple women accused him of sexual harassment, and both Hardy and Horsford ended up campaigning for the unexpectedly open seat. Both parties spent huge amounts of money for their rematch, but this time, a favorable political climate helped Horsford prevail 52-44.

Both Titus and Hardy have primaries ahead of them before they can fully focus on one another. Titus’ only intra-party foe is progressive activist Amy Vilela, who also ran in the 4th in 2018 and took third place in the primary with 9%. The GOP field includes conservative activist David Brog, who previously ran a group funded by the late casino magnate Sheldon Adelson; Army veteran Mark Robertson; and former Trump campaign staffer Carolina Serrano.

NEVADA 2ND CD. Republican Rep. Mark Amodei learned Friday that he’d have the pleasure of a primary fight against Douglas County Commissioner Danny Tarkanian, who ended his legendary losing streak last cycle after relocating from the Las Vegas area. Three other Republicans are also running for this northern Nevada constituency that would have backed Trump 54-43, and while none of them look formidable, they could cost Tarkanian some needed anti-incumbent votes.

Tarkanian previewed his strategy in a video posted just before he filed, saying that the incumbent has “voted for amnesty for illegal immigrants, for giving your money to Planned Parenthood, for voting for the $1.5 trillion budget which gave him a 20% increase.” The challenger continued, “Mark Amodei was the first GOP congressman to join the Democrats in support[ing] President Trump’s first impeachment inquiry, and he also blamed President Trump for Jan. 6.”

Amodei, of course, never voted to impeach Trump, but he did piss off conservatives nationwide in September of 2019 when he became the first House Republican to identify as impeachment-curious, saying of the inquiry into Trump, “Let’s put it through the process and see what happens.” Hardliners immediately called for his ouster, and while the congressman soon protested that “[i]n no way, shape, or form, did I indicate support for impeachment,” Trump’s campaign notably snubbed the Silver State’s only GOP member of Congress by leaving him off its list of state co-chairs for 2020.

Amodei avoided a serious primary fight, but he wasn’t done inflaming Trumpists. Right after the Jan. 6 attacks, the congressman told Nevada Newsmakers, “Do I think he (Trump) has a responsibility for what has occurred? Yes.” The congressman, though, this time used his interview to say upfront that he’d oppose any impeachment effort, and he soon joined most of his party colleagues in voting against impeachment. Tarkanian, however, is betting those anti-impeachment votes won’t actually matter to a base looking to purge the party of anyone who’s shown even a hint of disloyalty toward Trump.

NEVADA 3RD CD. Democratic legislators sought to protect Rep. Susie Lee in this southern Las Vegas area seat by extending Joe Biden’s margin of victory from just 49.1-48.9 to 52-46, but five Republicans are still campaigning against her. The frontrunner appears to be attorney April Becker, who narrowly failed to unseat state Senate Majority Leader Nicole Cannizzaro by a 50.5-49.5 margin last cycle; Becker then tried to challenge her 631-vote loss in court and demanded a “revote,” but she failed to get what she wanted. None of the other four Republicans have generated much attention yet.

NEVADA 4TH CD. Three Republicans are challenging Democratic incumbent Steven Horsford in a northern Las Vegas area seat where Democratic legislators doubled Biden’s margin from 51-47 to 53-45. The only elected official of the trio is Assemblywoman Annie Black, who attended the Jan. 6 Trump rally the preceded the attack on the Capitol. She was later censured by her colleagues on a party-line vote for refusing to comply with the chamber’s COVID mitigation rules. Also in the running is Chance Bonaventura, who works as an aide to another far-right politician, Las Vegas Councilwoman Michele Fiore (Fiore herself recent ditched a longshot gubernatorial bid to run for state treasurer instead). Finally, there’s Sam Peters, an Air Force veteran and businessman who took second place in the 2020 primary to face Horsford. However, while professional boxer Jessie Vargas announced he was running last year, the secretary of state doesn’t list him as a candidate

“Donald Trump’s vow to exact revenge on Brian Kemp has morphed into an all-out effort to also punish the governor’s closest allies,” the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports.

 “For the second time in as many weeks, the former president endorsed a little-known Republican challenger to Kemp’s closest political loyalists. In both cases, the Trump-backed candidates launched last-minute campaigns against incumbents just ahead of a March deadline.”

Donald Trump has more cash on hand in his political action committee than the two major political parties combined, Politico reports.

NEW YORK 1ST CD. 2020 2nd District nominee Jackie Gordon has earned an endorsement in the June Democratic primary from 4th District Rep. Kathleen Rice, who represents a seat on the other end of Long Island.

NEW YORK 4TH CD. Retiring Rep. Kathleen Rice has backed former Hempstead Supervisor Laura Gillen in the June Democratic primary to succeed her in this Nassau County-based seat. The congresswoman’s endorsement comes not long after Jay Jacobs, who chairs both the state and county parties, publicly talked down Gillen’s chances, though he did not explain his rationale. Rice, though, has made it clear she’s not at all a fan of Jacobs: Earlier this month, after the chair implored donors to refrain from contributing to anyone “until we have had an opportunity to discuss the complexities of the race,” she responded by tweeting, “No wonder Democrats in Nassau county lose with this kind of leadership.”

Gillen has also publicized an endorsement from former Rep. Carolyn McCarthy, who represented previous versions of this seat from 1997 to 2015, for the June Democratic primary.

NEW YORK 16TH CD. Pastor Michael Gerald last week ended his nascent Democratic primary bid against freshman Rep. Jamaal Bowman, telling Jewish Insider, “Rather than crash-landing, I think it was the best thing for me to do.” Little-known opponent Manuel Casanova exited the race days later and endorsed Westchester County Legislator Vedat Gashi, who is now Bowman’s only intra-party foe.

OREGON 5TH CD. Attorney Jamie McLeod-Skinner, who is challenging moderate Rep. Kurt Schrader from the left in the May 17 Democratic primary, has released a survey from Patinkin Research Strategies that shows the incumbent edging her out just 37-34. This poll, which sampled 406 primary voters from Jan. 31 through Feb. 4, is the first we’ve seen of this contest.

PENNSYLVANIA 12TH CD. EMILY’s List has backed state Rep. Summer Lee in the May Democratic primary for this reliably blue open seat. Retiring Rep. Mike Doyle has thrown his backing behind former Pennsylvania Securities Commission head Steve Irwin in the May Democratic primary to succeed him in this Pittsburgh-based seat. Irwin also has received an endorsement from Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald.

RHODE ISLAND 2ND CD. Former state Democratic Party chair Ed Pacheco announced Tuesday that he was dropping out of the crowded September primary for this open seat after deciding that “it would be extraordinarily difficult to raise the money in this election cycle.”

WEST VIRGINIA 2ND CD. The West Virginia Chamber of Commerce, which does not appear to have taken sides in the May Republican primary, has unveiled a survey from the GOP firm North Star Opinion Research that gives Rep. David McKinley a 38-33 edge over fellow incumbent Alex Mooney. The only two polls we’ve seen this year have both been from Mooney’s side, and unlike North Star, they’ve found him beating McKinley: A January Mooney internal showed him ahead 45-32, while his allies at the Club for Growth dropped numbers the following month giving their man a similar 43-28 advantage.

SOUTH CAROLINA 7TH CD. On Monday, the State Law Enforcement Division confirmed it was investigating allegations leveled by former Myrtle Beach Mayor Mark McBride, who said that a blogger named David Hucks tried to bribe him to quit the June Republican primary at the behest of another candidate, Horry County school board chair Ken Richardson. Both McBride and Richardson are trying to deny renomination to Rep. Tom Rice, though they’ve each been overshadowed in recent weeks by Trump-endorsed state Rep. Russell Fry.

McBride claimed in early March that Hucks told him in a call, “There’s an opportunity for you, there’s a $70,000 job opportunity for you to step out of this race and support another candidate.” Hucks responded both by denying the bribery allegation and that he’d “taken a cent from Ken Richardson.” Richardson himself was asked about McBride’s claims at a March 7 candidate forum and declared, “I didn’t know anything about this until you dropped your bomb. I didn’t know anything about it.”

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

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