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The Political Report – 4/13/22

“As politicians spar over who’s to blame for recent increases in gas prices, a large majority of Americans say oil companies and Russian President Vladimir Putin are major culprits,” a new ABC News/Ipsos poll finds. “Along party lines, Americans are more likely to blame Democrats for the increase in gas prices than Republicans, according to the poll, which also found much greater enthusiasm about voting in this November’s elections among Republicans than among Democrats.”


A new Axios/Ipsos poll finds less than one in 10 Americans now describe Covid-19 as a crisis — with about three in four calling it a manageable problem and one in six saying it’s no problem at all.


CBS News Poll: “Many do say the job market is good and that jobs have increased over the last year – but it’s still inflation driving views, and even those who say the job market is ok still don’t rate the economy well. Americans are basing this on personal experience: two-thirds say higher prices have been difficult or even a hardship, and now forcing many to make cutbacks.”

“And while the White House has often stressed the jobs number, people’s focus on prices continues to bring negative ratings for both the economy and the president’s handling of it.”


Gallup: “Americans widely favor each of six proposals designed to limit greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change. Support ranges from 59% in favor of spending federal money for building more electric vehicle charging stations in the U.S. up to 89% for providing tax credits to Americans who install clean energy systems in their homes.”


A new Morning Consult poll finds that among Republican voters, Donald Trump’s favorability rating is 86% in Georgia, 87% in North Carolina, 80% in Ohio and 77% in Pennsylvania.

A new internal poll for Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) shows the incumbent extending his lead over primary challenger David Perdue (R), 49% to 33% with 12% undecided. Perhaps even more interesting is that 87% of GOP voters know about Donald Trump’s endorsement of Perdue and are still voting accordingly.

In the New York Governor’s race, Data for Progress finds Governor Kathy Hochul (D) leading Republican Lee Zeldin by 51% to 36%.

A new WRAL News poll in North Carolina finds Rep. Ted Budd (R) leading the GOP Senate race with 33% support, followed by Pat McCrory (R) with 23% and former U.S. Rep. Mark Walker (R) with 7%.

“The White House has long banked on the political benefits of taming Covid-19 and overseeing strong job recovery, but as midterm campaigning accelerates, President Biden has been unable to shake low approval ratings as voters remain focused on higher prices for gasoline and groceries,” the Wall Street Journal reports..

“Increasingly, polls show, Mr. Biden isn’t giving a boost to Democrats as they face an already-tough election climate. The president’s attempts to highlight economic success and legislative victories have been complicated by rapid inflation and overshadowed by the challenge of responding to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.”

Washington Post: “Two White House officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity to describe administration strategy, said the administration is trying to make its focus on lowering costs a centerpiece of its agenda. They also said to expect a greater emphasis by the White House on Republicans’ agenda, which the administration believes will contrast unfavorably to their plans to lower prices.”

1Q FUNDRAISING

  • NH-Sen: Chuck Morse (R): $750,000 raised 
  • SC-Gov: Joe Cunningham (D): $404,000 raised, $536,000 cash-on-hand 
  • CA-21: Jim Costa (D-inc): $248,000 raised, $1.23 million cash-on-hand 
  • IL-17: Eric Sorensen (D): $200,000 raised 
  • MN-02: Angie Craig (D-inc): $1 million raised, $3.7 million cash-on-hand 
  • MT-01: Ryan Zinke (R): $1.1 million raised, $1.2 million cash-on-hand 
  • OR-05: Jamie McLeod Skinner (D): $305,000 raised 
  • TN-05: Morgan Ortagus (R): $600,000 raised (in six weeks), $550,000 cash-on-hand
  • WY-AL: Liz Cheney (R-inc): $2.94 million raised, $6.8 million cash-on-hand

“Republican legislative leaders in Florida have given up trying to draw new congressional boundaries that can win Gov. Ron DeSantis’ signature and, in an unprecedented move, announced Monday that they intend to essentially cede this constitutional power to the executive branch,” CNN reports.  “Last month, DeSantis vetoed the new district boundaries approved by lawmakers — a rare public display of contention between the governor and a state legislature controlled entirely by his own party. DeSantis has demanded the legislature join his fight to eliminate two districts where Black residents are a plurality.”

Charlie Cook: “According to the PredictIt betting odds, there is an 84 percent chance that Republicans will capture the House in November, a 77 percent chance that the GOP wins a Senate majority, and a 72 percent chance that Republicans end up controlling both.”

“Generally speaking, I am not a big fan of the betting markets as indicators, and there are at least a dozen experts who follow congressional elections for a living whose opinion I would value more. But as a way of quantifying the conventional wisdom, the odds are helpful. At least at this point, all three sound more or less right to me, acknowledging that there are seven months between now and the midterm election.”

“Republicans are vowing to spend record amounts in key state supreme court races this fall, seeking to take advantage of a favorable national political environment to elect conservative judges at the state level amid deep political divisions,” Reuters reports.

“A string of decisions throwing out Republican-drawn congressional maps in Ohio, North Carolina and Pennsylvania has intensified the party’s determination to install justices who could give lawmakers fresh opportunities to muscle through more advantageous maps.”

CNN: “Sources said Ginni Thomas leveraged existing connections to conservative figures and sought inroads with Trump staffers, to become a recurring presence at his White House. She became part of a larger group of Republican activists who met in the White House on a near-monthly basis, though not with Trump, a source told CNN. Along the way, sources said she became a persistent nuisance to some of the Trump aides tasked with managing her entreaties.”

“Already a firm believer that hostile “deep state” forces had infiltrated the Trump administration, Ginni Thomas later embraced even more militant conspiracies about the 2020 election being stolen, raising a flurry of ethical red flags for her husband on the Supreme Court, who has already ruled on one January 6-related case and is facing pressure to recuse himself from future cases.”

Politico: “At least a dozen potential candidates for president in 2024 have active nonprofit groups aligned with them, according to a review of corporate filings, campaign disclosures and financial records obtained by Politico. Some of them, like the nonprofits affiliated with Pompeo or Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC), have never been publicly revealed before. Others, like those supporting President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump, have been operating in the open for years.”

“What they all have in common is the ability to pay staffers, fund polling and policy research, run ads and accept money from megadonors without divulging those funders’ names — or much information about any spending until many months after the fact. It’s the latest escalation in a fundraising arms race that has seen personal benefactors, super PACs and now secret money become common building blocks of presidential campaigns.”

“House Republicans are so confident of snagging easy seats en route to regaining the majority this November, their big-spending outside super PAC is now targeting congressional districts President Biden won by as much as 16 points,” Axios reports.  “In targeting seats the president won in 2020 by an average of 8 points, the Congressional Leadership Fund is putting Democrats on notice it plans to play offense in previously safe Democratic districts.”

KENTUCKY GOVERNOR. Campaign finance reports are in for the first quarter of the year, and Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear raised $1 million and has $2.2 million stockpiled ahead of what will be a challenging 2023 re-election bid in this conservative state. The incumbent begins with a massive financial advantage over his declared GOP foes, but as we’ll discuss, there are plenty of other Republicans who are eyeing this contest.

State Auditor Mike Harmon announced his campaign back in July, but he doesn’t appear to have made good use of his head start. Harmon informed the Lexington Herald Leader this month he’s raised a mere $30,000 so far and had $14,000 on hand, though he insisted he’s “still in the early stages” when it comes to collecting money and understood that “the closer we get, the more I’m going to have to put a lot more focus on fundraising.” The field also includes Eric Deters, an attorney whose license has been suspended several times, who told the paper that he’s willing to self-fund more than $1 million; so far, though, Deters has thrown down just $23,000 of his own money and raised another $12,000.

Neither Harmon or Deters, though, will likely deter many fellow Republicans from getting in. Attorney General Daniel Cameron, who is a former legal counsel to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, recently made news when he once again declined to rule out a campaign against Beshear, saying, “we’re looking at everything that’s on the table.” Cameron is the Bluegrass State’s first Black attorney general, and he’d make history again if he were elected to the top job in 2023.

Former Ambassador to the United Nations Kelly Craft, who has long been one of the state and national GOP’s most prominent donors, also reiterated in February that she was “leaning heavily toward running for governor.” Commissioner of Agriculture Ryan Quarles, state Sen. Max Wise, and Somerset Mayor Alan Keck each previously expressed interest last summer.

Rep. James Comer also said at that time he had “no plans on running for governor at this moment” and intended to stay in Congress, which he even acknowledged wasn’t quite a no. “My goal for Kentucky is to get a good conservative governor, said the congressman, who lost an excruciatingly close 2015 primary for this office to eventual winner Matt Bevin, adding, “And if I see a good candidate out there that I’m friends with that I think can win, then I’ll certainly support that candidate.”  

Secretary of State Michael Adams also declined to rule it out last year, though he said it was unlikely, while the Herald Leader adds that state Rep. Savannah Maddox hasn’t said no either. Finally, while Bevin doesn’t appear to have said anything about running to avenge his narrow 2019 loss to Beshear, political observers have speculated about that idea for some time.

The filing deadline is set for the first week of 2023, and if the last two governor races are any indication, we won’t know for sure who’s running until then. In 2015 Bevin, who had just badly failed to deny renomination to McConnell, announced his ultimately successful bid on the very last day possible. Four years later, the unpopular governor delayed filing to run again despite announcing he was in, which led to plenty of talk that he’d pull the plug on his re-election campaign. Comer, who had lost the primary to Bevin by 83 votes, also made it known he was considering a rematch if the incumbent did run.

Bevin did indeed make it clear he was running just days before the 2019 deadline, though he also used that occasion to announce he was dropping Lt. Gov. Jenean Hampton from his ticket in favor of adding state Sen. Ralph Alvarado. Comer, for his part, finally announced two days later he had “zero desire to run against a multi-millionaire incumbent Governor in a Primary regardless of how unpopular he was.” It would have almost certainly been better for Republicans if they’d swapped Bevin out for Comer (or pretty much anyone else) as Beshear narrowly unseated the incumbent.

NEBRASKA 1ST CD. Republican leaders unsurprisingly have nominated Mike Flood in the June 28 special election to succeed former GOP Rep. Jeff Fortenberry, while Democrats chose fellow state Sen. Patty Pansing Brooks. Flood faces only minor opposition in next month’s primary for the full term now that the convicted Fortenberry has ended his re-election campaign and resigned, while Brooks is similarly situated.

NEW YORK 1ST CD. Democrats Serve PAC, which backs Democrats “with public service backgrounds,” has announced that it will spend $600,000 on digital ads and mail to support Suffolk County Legislator Kara Hahn in the June primary for this open seat. The group explained it was supporting her because her “background as a social worker, legislative aide, and legislator gives her a unique perspective and expertise on the frontlines of policy delivery.”

INDIANA 1ST CD. Air Force veteran Jennifer-Ruth Green, a Republican we hadn’t previously mentioned, is running a spot where she touts her military service and pledges to “advance President Trump’s America first policy.” Green faces frontrunner Blair Milo, who is the former mayor of LaPorte, in the May 3 primary to take on Democratic incumbent Frank Mrvan in a seat that Biden would have carried 53-45.

CALIFORNIA 22ND CD SPECIAL ELECTION. The Associated Press has called a June 7 special general election between Republican Connie Conway and Democrat Lourin Hubbard, neither of whom are running for a full term in Congress anywhere this year. Conway took 35% in last week’s all-party primary to succeed former Rep. Devin Nunes, while Hubbard, who is a California Department of Water Resources official, outpaced Republican Matt Stoll 19-16 for second.

NORTH CAROLINA 4TH CD. State Sen. Valerie Foushee has received an endorsement from EMILY’s List ahead of the May 17 Democratic primary for this open seat.

NORTH CAROLINA 11TH CD. While freshman Rep. Madison Cawthorn’s failed district swap, pro-Putin declarations, and evidence-free “orgy” allegations have motivated several prominent North Carolina Republicans to try to beat him in next month’s primary, the party’s biggest name is still very much in his corner. Donald Trump used his Saturday rally in the state to praise the congressman, telling his acolytes, “[m]an, I love him.” Cawthorn’s own speech at that event featured him proclaiming, “We will investigate Anthony Fauci and send him to jail for lying to Congress.”

TENNESSEE 5TH CD. The latest bad news for Trump’s endorsed candidate, former State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus, came Saturday when the Tennessee Republican Party’s executive committee removed her, as well as music video producer Robby Starbuck and businessman Baxter Lee, from the August primary for not meeting the party’s definition of a “bona fide” Republican. However, Tennessee Lookout’s Holly McCall explains that this isn’t necessarily the end for any of them, as they’ll soon have the chance to appeal their ejections in this newly gerrymandered seat.

But just why did the state GOP throw them off the ballot in the first place? The GOP’s bylaws say that, in order to be a bona fide party member, a candidate must have voted in at least three of the last four statewide primaries or been “actively involved” in state or county Republican activities; Democrats have a similar requirement, except candidates only need to have participated in three of the last five nomination contests.

There’s a considerable amount of flexibility to this rule, though. Party leaders can vote to classify a candidate as bona fide if someone vouches for them, and they can also act if a contender appeals the initial rejection. The parties even have the choice not to pursue objections, as Democrats showed over the weekend after someone filed a challenge to gubernatorial candidate Jason Martin for voting in the 2016 GOP presidential primary. Martin defended himself by saying he’d cast that vote so he could oppose Trump, and the challenge was dropped after party leaders recommended he remain on the ballot.

Additionally, the parties can bar someone over ideological issues. In 2020, for instance, Democrats punished state Rep. John DeBerry for supporting too many Republican policies. DeBerry, who angrily responded that Democrats just wanted him “sitting there like a brainless idiot and letting them tell you what to do,” tried to keep his seat by running as an independent, but he lost the general election to Democrat Torrey Harris.

Ortagus herself only moved to Tennessee last year from D.C., so she certainly hasn’t voted in enough state primaries to count as bona fide. The GOP-dominated legislature also put a different obstacle in her way last month by passing a bill that would impose a requirement that House candidates reside in their districts for three years before becoming eligible to run, a move that observers widely saw as aimed at blocking her. The legislation, which Gov. Bill Lee hasn’t acted on, is already being challenged in court by a well-financed group called Tennessee Conservative PAC.

Starbuck, on the other hand, relocated to the state three years ago, and while he says he meets the residency requirements of the legislature’s new bill, he didn’t survive the weekend’s bona fide test either. It’s not clear why Lee was rejected, though the right-wing Tennessee Star says he voted in the 2016 Democratic primary. McCall writes that state law gives state party executive committees until Thursday to formally notify candidates that they were rejected, and that these contenders will have another seven days to appeal.

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

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