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The Political Report – 4/12/22

“The professionals who track American attitudes toward the economy say they can see the trouble coming,” Politico reports.

“Angry voters slammed by higher prices and scarred by two years of fighting the pandemic are poised to punish Democrats in midterm elections, according to some of the leading experts in consumer sentiment and behavior.”

“And with inflation persisting and Russia’s war on Ukraine stoking uncertainty, there are indications that public sentiment is getting worse, not better, posing a growing threat to Democrats’ already slim chances of holding onto Congress, they say.”

PENNSYLVANIA U.S. SENATOR. Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman (D), the Democratic frontrunner in next month’s high-profile Senate primary, told Jewish Insider that he was “eager to affirm” his “unwavering” commitment to bolstering ties between the United States and Israel, emphasizing that he will “lean in” on such efforts if he is elected to the upper chamber this November.

Daily Beast: “At issue among Trump’s most fervent supporters is the belief that Oz, a Turkish-American TV physician who has hobnobbed with Hollywood’s elite and has flip-flopped on the issue of abortion, isn’t a trustworthy ‘America First’ Republican candidate, compared to fellow candidate Dave McCormick, who has ex-Trump administration official Hope Hicks by his side.”

“Another Trumpworld stalwart, Stephen Miller, stopped all involvement and employment with the McCormick campaign after Trump’s Oz endorsement.”

Said Sean Parnell, the former Trump-backed candidate, who dropped out of the race after an abuse allegations surfaced:  “I have enormous respect for President Trump. I was honored to have his endorsement in PA. Twice. But I’m disappointed by this. Oz is the antithesis of everything that made Trump the best president of my lifetime.”

Washington Examiner: Pennsylvania conservatives react to Trump’s support of Oz.

Former Sen. Rick Santorum (R) will endorse Dave McCormick for the Republican nomination in the U.S. Senate race in Pennsylvania, Axios reports.

Penn Progress, the James Carville-backed super PAC that got its inaugural TV ad yanked from the airwaves the day it debuted for making false claims about Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, has now released a revised version. Instead of calling Fetterman a “self-described socialist”—he in fact has never described himself that way—the spot now says that Fetterman “sought the Democratic Socialists’ endorsement.”

Fetterman did indeed solicit the support of the Pittsburgh chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America in 2017 when he was running for lieutenant governor, but “sought” is the key word, because Fetterman did not receive DSA’s backing. Of note is Fetterman’s response to a DSA questionnaire, obtained by Politico reporter Holly Otterbein, in which he was asked, “Do you identify as a socialist?” His response: “No, I don’t consider myself a socialist.”

FRENCH PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION. President Emmanuel Macron will face the far right’s Marine Le Pen in France’s presidential run-off after topping the first round on Sunday with 28.1% of the vote, according to an Ipsos exit poll.  Le Pen received 23.3% of the first round vote. The runoff election is on April 24.

“The policies I represent are those of Trump and Putin.”  — French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen, defending the annexation of Crimea in 2017.

The Economist: “Our model still makes Mr Macron the favorite, with a 74% probability of re-election compared with 26% for Ms Le Pen. But the mood in France is nervous and rebellious, and the sitting president will have his work cut out trying to win over voters on the disappointed left and centre-right.”

John Ellis: “In the 2017 presidential run-off election, Marine Le Pen did very poorly in the one and only candidates’ debate. She went on to lose by a 2-1 margin. In the (multi-candidate) debates held so far this year, Ms. Le Pen has, by all accounts, ‘underperformed,’ which is consultant-speak for ‘did badly.’”

“There is one debate between now and election day (24 April). Everyone assumes Le Pen will ‘underperform.’ But what if she doesn’t? What if she does just fine? It’s an important question because the outcome of the election may hinge on the outcome of the debate.”

GEORGIA U.S. SENATOR. Georgia Public Broadcasting: “A review of Walker’s financial disclosure shows inconsistencies in reporting sources of income and positions (both compensated and uncompensated) held, as well as a failure to list any sources that paid Walker more than $5,000 in 2020 and 2021.”

“Three campaign finance and government ethics experts who reviewed Walker’s disclosures said the lack of required information could prevent voters from understanding potential conflicts of interests if he becomes a U.S. senator.”

COLORADO U.S. SENATOR. “Colorado Republicans on Saturday voted to place on their U.S. Senate primary ballot a state representative who attended the Jan. 6 rally that preceded the attack on the U.S. Capitol and is a supporter of former President Donald Trump’s lies about the 2020 presidential election,” the AP reports.

“The gathering is a key step toward garnering the party’s nomination to face Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet in November. State Rep. Ron Hanks was the lead choice of 3,700 delegates to the state GOP’s assembly, winning 39% of the vote.”

IOWA U.S. SENATOR. A judge ruled that former Rep. Abby Finkenauer (D-IA) cannot appear on Iowa’s June 7 Democratic primary ballot, the Des Moines Register reports.  A pair of Republicans brought the challenge against Finkenauer, saying she failed to properly qualify for the ballot because she did not submit enough valid signatures on her nominating petitions.

MISSOURI U.S. SENATOR. “Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R) is surging toward the front of the pack in Missouri’s GOP Senate primary, reordering a crowded race that’s long been marked by former Gov. Eric Greitens’ (R) lead in the polls,” Politico reports.

“For the first time since he entered the primary a year ago, Greitens’ grip on the Republican base has lifted — a slide in support in recent weeks attributed to new allegations of domestic violence raised by Greitens’ ex-wife.”

THE BIG LIE. Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey (R) went all in on Donald Trump’s “Big Lie” with her campaign ad blasting those who supposedly “stole” the election from the former president, Mediaite reports.

Said Ivey: “The fake news, Big Tech and blue state liberals stole the election from President Trump.”

She added: “But here in Alabama, we are making sure that never happens. We have not, and will not, send absentee ballots to everyone and their brother. We banned corrupt curbside voting, and our results will always be audited.”

Philip Bump: “From the earliest days of his candidacy, Donald Trump forced Republicans and the conservative media to figure out how to make his most extreme rhetoric defensible, if not palatable. Trump would say something and his base of supporters would quickly seize on it. His allies were left playing catch up, needing to both nod along with Trump in order not to alienate voters or viewers but while still often insisting on some tether to reality.”

“So the specific claim that Trump Tower had been wiretapped became a story about intelligence agencies revealing the identity of someone who had been talking to Russia’s ambassador. The insistence that the Russia probe was a witch hunt — offered even before we learned anything about its genesis — became a complicated story about improperly obtained warrants and, more recently, a false claim that it was all Hillary Clinton’s fault.”

“When Trump lost in November 2020, the party might have been forgiven for assuming that the defeat marked the end of the pattern.”

Donald Trump opened up Kid Rock’s concert in Indiana last week with a video message, and after the singer performed a song targeting Black Lives Matter supporters and Dr. Anthony Fauci, Insider reports.

LOS ANGELES MAYOR. A new UC Berkeley/Los Angeles Times poll finds “voters upset over crime and a seemingly limitless geyser of cash have propelled Rick Caruso (D) to the front of the race for mayor, reshaping the contest and offering Los Angeles a stark contrast between the billionaire developer and his chief rival, Rep. Karen Bass (D).”

“If the primary were today, Caruso, with backing from 24% of likely voters, and Bass, with 23%, would move to the November runoff.”

ALASKA AT LARGE CD. A new Must Read Alaska poll finds that Sarah Palin (R) has both a chance of winning the race for Congress, but also has a high negative factor and could hand the race to the leading candidate supported by Alaska Democrats — Al Gross (I).

Palin leads with 31%, followed by Gross (I) at 26% and Nick Begich (R) at 21%.

Key caveat: “This survey did not dive into the ranked choice voting methodology that Alaskans will use in August and in November.”

1Q FUNDRAISING

  • MN-01: Jeff Ettinger (D): $148,000 raised (in 17 days)
  • MT-01: Cora Neumann (D): $401,000 raised, $877,000 cash-on-hand
  • NY-22: Josh Riley (D): $360,000 raised, $550,000 cash-on-hand
  • TN-05: Beth Harwell (R): $350,000 raised (in five weeks)
  • VA-02: Elaine Luria (D-inc): $1.18 million raised, $3 million cash-on-hand
  • WA-08: Kim Schrier (D-inc): $1.1 million raised, $4.7 million cash-on-hand

Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) “is prepared to announce that it raised an eye-popping $2.94 million in Q1 of 2022, bringing her total haul for the cycle to more than $10 million. With four months left to go in the primary campaign, Cheney has $6.8 million on hand,” Politico reports.

“In previous cycles, it was common for Cheney to raise a few hundred thousand dollars in a quarter, mostly from Wyoming residents. With the national attention her race has received, money has poured in from across the country.”

PENNSYLVANIA GOVERNOR. Campaign finance reports are in covering the period of Jan. 1 to March 28, and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has collected the numbers from the main Republicans competing in the May 17 primary:

  • Former U.S. Attorney Bill McSwain: $1.4 million raised, $546,000 spent, $1.7 million cash-on-hand
  • Businessman Dave White: $790,000 raised, additional $1 million self-funded, $4.1 million spent, $171,000 cash-on-hand
  • State Senate President Pro Tempore Jake Corman: $590,000 raised, $2.38 million spent, $271,000 cash-on-hand
  • Former Rep. Lou Barletta: $431,000 raised, $318,000 spent, $356,000 cash-on-hand
  • State Sen. Doug Mastriano: $373,000 raised, $326,000 spent, $1.09 million cash-on-hand

Four other Republicans are also running, but none of them took in more than $150,000 during this time. McSwain, meanwhile, has also benefited from an additional $5.8 million in spending from Commonwealth Leaders Fund, a group funded by the state’s wealthiest man, Jeff Yass.

Democrat Josh Shapiro, who has no intra-party opposition, raised $4.53 million, which is almost as much as those five Republicans put together. The attorney general spent $1.9 million and had $16 million on-hand.

OKLAHOMA GOVERNOR. Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs Director Joel Kintsel announced Thursday that he would challenge his boss, Gov. Kevin Stitt, in the June Republican primary, arguing that “the Stitt administration is rife with corruption, self-dealing and cronyism, and Oklahomans deserve another choice.” Kintsel, who is a former state House parliamentarian but has never run for office before, did not point to any specific allegations in his launch statement.

There’s been little indication that Stitt, who self-funded his successful 2018 bid, is vulnerable to an intra-party challenge. His allies at the RGA, though, recently announced that it would spend $577,000 to support him this month through its State Solutions Inc. affiliate.

NEBRASKA GOVERNOR. State Sen. Brett Lindstrom earned an endorsement late last month from Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert ahead of the May 10 Republican primary.

MISSISSIPPI GOVERNOR. State House Speaker Philip Gunn last summer made plenty of news when he refused to rule out a 2023 Republican primary bid against Gov. Tate Reeves, and while he’s said little publicly since then, Mississippi Today’s Adam Ganucheau recently wrote that the speaker “is still flirting” with the idea.

GEORGIA GOVERNOR. A group called Get Georgia Right is airing an ad that bludgeons Gov. Brian Kemp with the Big Lie ahead of the May 24 Republican primary. As ominous drums sound, the narrator claims, “Kemp refused to call a special session before the [Senate] runoff, and the widespread illegal ballot harvesting continued, electing two Democrat [sic] senators. If Kemp can’t beat voter fraud, he won’t beat Stacey Abrams.” There is no word on the size of the buy.

OHIO U.S. SENATOR. The influential anti-abortion group Ohio Right to Life has backed venture capitalist J.D. Vance in the May 3 Republican primary.

NORTH CAROLINA U.S. SENATOR. The Republican firm Cygnal is the latest pollster to find Trump-endorsed Rep. Ted Budd taking the lead over former Gov. Pat McCrory ahead of the May 17 Republican primary. Cygnal’s survey for the conservative John Locke Foundation (which merged with the Civitas Institute last year) has Budd ahead 32-21, which is a big shift from McCrory’s 24-19 edge in its January numbers. The last poll we saw giving the former governor the advantage was, ironically, from an early March internal for Budd.

FLORIDA 13TH CD. State Rep. Ben Diamond has received an endorsement from House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer in the August Democratic primary for this open seat.

NEW YORK 22ND and 24TH CD. Army veteran Steven Holden has left the June Democratic primary for the open 22nd District to instead challenge Republican Rep. Chris Jacobs in the reliably red 24th.

OREGON 6TH CD. A new group called Justice Unites Us is spending at least $847,000 to support economic development adviser Carrick Flynn in the May 17 Democratic primary for this new seat. Flynn has already benefited from $4.79 million in aid from the crypto industry-aligned Protect Our Future PAC.

NEW YORK GOVERNOR. Thursday was the filing deadline for New York’s June 28 primary, but despite much chatter and speculation, the state Board of Elections mercifully did not receive a filing from Andrew Cuomo for any office.

Politico’s Bill Mahoney wryly writes of the disgraced former governor, “If his supporters covertly knocked on tens of thousands of doors in recent weeks and every one of the people they interacted with kept it a secret, then he could still appear on the primary ballot if he put the signatures in a mailbox on Thursday and they arrived at the board by Monday — which is the final deadline.” Needless to say, even Agent Mulder would question the existence of a clandestine statewide signature-gathering conspiracy, but if Cuomo wanted to challenge Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul as an independent, he would have until May 31 to submit petitions.

It will still take a little time before we know exactly who’s on the June ballot for governor and U.S. House seats, though. New York allows statewide candidates to earn an automatic place in the primary by taking at least 25% of the vote at their respective party conventions, but the only gubernatorial candidates to hit that threshold were Hochul and Republican Rep. Lee Zeldin.

Everyone else running to lead the state needed to submit 15,000 petitions (with at least 100 each coming from half of the state’s 26 congressional districts), though Mahoney explains that because “it’s fairly easy to get a lot of these thrown out for irregularities, the long-standing rule of thumb has been that the goal should be about 30,000.” Indeed, New York campaigns have long been aggressive about going to court to challenge the validity of their opponent’s signatures. “Fuck them!” former Brooklyn Democratic Party leader Frank Seddio recently said of anyone who might get knocked off the ballot this way. “Breathing shouldn’t be the only qualification for running for office.”

Two Democrats, at least, are prepared to show they can do more than inhale and exhale: New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams and Rep. Tom Suozzi each said they turned in 40,000 signatures in their quest to deny Hochul the nomination. For the GOP, wealthy businessman Harry Wilson announced that he’d submitted 36,000, while 2014 nominee Rob Astorino’s team said he’d filed 20,000 “solid signatures.” Former Trump aide Andrew Giuliani, meanwhile, wouldn’t reveal how many petitions he gathered, while Lewis County sheriff Michael Carpinelli acknowledged his campaign was kaput because he’d fallen short.

Major party candidates for the House, meanwhile, need to turn in 1,250 valid petitions, though they too want to provide considerably more to guard themselves against challenges. The state does publish a list of candidates who’ve filed for Congress, but it doesn’t include all House seats: Candidates running for a district that is contained entirely within either a single county or New York City file with their local election authorities, while everyone else files with the state. Under the new congressional map, 10 districts (the 6th through the 15th) are located wholly within the city, while the lone single-county seat anywhere else in the state is the open 4th District in Nassau County.

Election officials can take a few weeks to release their lists of contenders, so it’ll be a little while before we know exactly who will be running for Congress in all 26 districts. We’ll be taking a look at the state of play in each competitive congressional race after first quarter campaign finance reports are in following the FEC’s April 15 deadline.

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

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