NBC News: “After youth turnout soared to record levels in 2020, fueled by Biden’s progressive agenda and a desire to send President Donald Trump home to Florida, Democratic strategists are sounding the alarm about the lack of enthusiasm among young voters. They fear it could cause dissatisfied younger Americans to sit out the 2022 elections and deliver a walloping for the party.”
“Preventing that, they say, will require more investment and outreach, as well as policy wins or evidence that Democrats are fighting for issues they care about.”
G. Elliot Morris: “My argument is that this unified progressive agenda does nothing to bring back into the fold the conservative working-class voters — mainly white, but growing significantly more Latino recently — who have abandoned the Democrats and caused the structural disadvantages that are dragging them down today.”
“The party needs a renewed identity as a pro-worker party, not one where coastal elites control the party line on policy and messaging. And it needs to be substantially more diverse in its approach to talking to voters in different areas of the country; messages that work in young, diverse urban cores do not work in educated white suburbs or shrinking exurbs.”
MISSOURI U.S. SENATOR. Marine veteran Lucas Kunce has released a Public Policy Polling survey of the August Democratic primary that finds him leading philanthropist Trudy Busch Valentine by 25-18 with a substantial 56% of voters undecided. This is the first publicly available poll we’ve seen from anyone so far.
NEW HAMPSHIRE U.S. SENATOR and GOVERNOR. The University of New Hampshire has tested some potential matchups between Democratic Sen. Maggie Hassan and a few of her Republican challengers, and their new poll finds Hassan in a very tight race this fall:
- 47-46 vs. 2020 candidate and retired Brig. Gen. Donald Bolduc
- 44-46 vs. state Senate President Chuck Morse
- 45-44 vs. former Londonderry town manager Kevin Smith
- 46-40 vs. Bitcoin millionaire Bruce Fenton
UNH also tested the Republican primary in September and found Bolduc with a large 33-4 lead over the nearest contender, but with 58% of voters undecided and Bolduc having significantly higher name recognition than his rivals thanks in part to his 2020 bid, that advantage could dwindle as his opponents become better known and more voters pick a candidate to support.
The GOP primary grew larger still on Thursday when author and investor Vikram Mansharamani kicked off his campaign. Vikram, who is also a lecturer at Harvard and the son of Indian immigrants, does not appear to have run for office before.
The UNH poll above also surveyed the election for governor, but the results are much less competitive than in the Senate contest. They have Republican Gov. Chris Sununu cruising to a 55-29 lead over state Sen. Tom Sherman, who is the only notable Democrat challenging the three-term incumbent so far.
OHIO U.S. SENATOR. “He was lagging in the polls. His cash was running low. With the state’s primary fast approaching, J.D. Vance’s chances of winning the Ohio GOP Senate nomination didn’t look promising,” Politico reports.
“But his fortunes have changed dramatically in just the last week since Donald Trump delivered his endorsement, an intervention that has upended one of the most contentious Republican primaries in the nation.”
Protect Our Values PAC, which is supporting venture capitalist J.D. Vance in the May 3 Republican primary, has publicized a Fabrizio, Lee & Associates poll that finds Vance pulling into a 25-18 lead over former state Treasurer Josh Mandel, with investment banker Mike Gibbons taking 13%, former state party chair Jane Timken earning 11%, and state Sen. Matt Dolan winning 9%. Those numbers are an improvement for Vance since their March survey, which had Vance, Mandel, and Gibbons in a three-way tie with 18% each followed by Timken at 11% and Dolan at 9%.
This is Fabrizio, Lee & Associates’ first poll since Donald Trump endorsed Vance on April 15, and it’s undoubtedly intended to support the idea that Trump’s support is helping put Vance ahead. However, it’s worth noting that nearly every other poll here in recent months has found Vance stuck further back in third or fourth place, though no other pollster has released a survey yet since Trump made his endorsement.
Meanwhile, Buckeyes for a Strong Ohio PAC, which is supporting Gibbons, has released a new ad calling Mandel a career politician and a “total fraud.” The spot disingenuously blasts Mandel for having supported Mitt Romney and former Gov. John Kasich without noting that Mandel did so when Romney at least was the 2012 GOP presidential nominee, not more recently when both he and Kasich have been among the few Republican Trump critics. The ad finishes by praising Gibbons as a businessman.
Far-right billionaire Peter Thiel has upped his support for Protect Ohio Values PAC, which is backing venture capitalist J.D. Vance in the May 3 Republican primary, adding $3.5 million on top of the $10 million donation he made last year.
Meanwhile, the Club for Growth began airing an ad against 2018 candidate Mike Gibbons last Friday, the same day Donald Trump endorsed Vance. The Club’s spot intersperses clips of Gibbons and Joe Biden speaking about taxes to portray Gibbons as supportive of tax increases on the middle class.
State Sen. Matt Dolan also has a new ad where he touts his record of “cutting taxes, protecting Ohio jobs, securing the border, and funding the police” and contrasts it with the childish name calling by his primary opponents.
Donald Trump told Club for Growth President David McIntosh to “go fuck yourself” in a text message after McIntosh refused to switch his organization’s endorsement in the Ohio Senate race from Josh Mandel (R) to J.D. Vance (R), who Trump endorsed last week, the New York Times reports.
OKLAHOMA U.S. SENATOR B. Friday was also the filing deadline for Oklahoma’s June 28 primaries, and the state has its candidate list here. A runoff would take place Aug. 23 for any contest where no one earned a majority of the vote.
Longtime Sen. Jim Inhofe announced in late February that he would resign, effective when the current Congress ends, and 13 fellow Republicans are competing for the final two years of his term in this dark-red state. Inhofe is pulling for his former chief of staff, Luke Holland, and a new super PAC called OkieWay has spent $475,000 on ads starring the outgoing senator praising his would-be successor. The GOP side, though, includes several contenders who start out with more name recognition than Holland, who is a first-time candidate.
One familiar name is Rep. Markwayne Mullin, who represents a seat in the eastern part of Oklahoma. There’s also former state House Speaker T.W. Shannon, who ran in the 2014 special election for the Sooner State’s other Senate seat but lost the primary to then-Rep. James Lankford by a surprisingly wide 57-34 margin: Both Mullin and Shannon would be the first Native Americans to serve in the upper chamber since Colorado Republican Ben Nighthorse Campbell retired in 2005, while Shannon would also be Oklahoma’s first Black senator. Another prominent contender is former state Attorney General Scott Pruitt, who later served as Trump’s first head of the EPA and resigned in the face of numerous scandals.
Also in the running is state Sen. Nathan Dahm, who took a close fourth in the 2018 primary for the Tulsa-based 1st Congressional District; Dahm, who was waging a longshot bid against Lankford before Inhofe announced his departure, has benefited from about $155,000 in TV ads so far from Protect Freedom PAC, which is allied with Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul. Rounding out the field is former Trump White House staffer Alex Gray, while the other seven contenders don’t appear to be serious.
Pruitt only entered the race just before filing closed last week so there are no fundraising reports available for him, but we have first quarter numbers from the rest of the GOP field:
- Holland: $620,000 raised, additional $200,000 self-funded, $773,000 cash-on-hand
- Mullin: $385,000 raised, additional $1 million self-funded, $1.96 million cash-on-hand
- Shannon: $245,000 raised, additional $150,000 self-funded, $392,000 cash-on-hand
- Dahm: $147,000 raised, $170,000 cash-on-hand
- Gray: $132,000 raised, additional $200,000 self-funded, $299,000 cash-on-hand
The only Democrat in the race is former Rep. Kendra Horn, who raised $343,000 and had $369,000 available.
ARIZONA GOVERNOR. First quarter fundraising reports are available for candidates seeking to replace term-limited GOP Gov. Doug Ducey, with the primaries for both parties taking place in August:
- Former TV news anchor Kari Lake (R): $970,000 raised, $701,000 cash-on-hand
- Board of Regents member Karrin Taylor Robson (R): $718,000 raised, additional $2 million self-loaned, $357,000 cash-on-hand
- Former Rep. Matt Salmon (R): $469,000 raised, $703,000 cash-on-hand
- Businessman Steve Gaynor (R): $35,000 raised, $4.1 million cash-on-hand (thanks to prior self-funding)
- Secretary of State Katie Hobbs (D): $748,000 raised, $1.6 million cash-on-hand
- Former homeland security official Marco López (D): $305,000 raised, additional $150,000 self-loaned, $450,000 cash-on-hand
- Former state Rep. Aaron Lieberman (D): $275,000 raised, $759,000 cash-on-hand
FLORIDA GOVERNOR. Sachs Media has conducted a Democratic primary poll on behalf of Florida Politics that shows Rep. Charlie Crist holding a 35-20 lead over state Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, while state Sen. Annette Taddeo is far behind with 4%. This is Sachs’ first publicly available poll; the few other pollsters who have released surveys here in recent months have also found Crist ahead but with a large share of voters still undecided with four months to go until the August primary.
GEORGIA GOVERNOR. Former Sen. David Perdue is running a new GOP primary ad, which is backed by a modest $320,000 buy that his campaign says will grow to $500,000, that embraces the Big Lie and various other far-right themes. Perdue hits Gov. Brian Kemp for letting radicals “steal the election,” by which he really means Kemp not helping Trump to actually steal it, and because of this he blames Kemp for inflation and other problems under Biden. Perdue touts Trump’s endorsement and vows to eliminate the state income tax.
OH-Gov: Former Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley has debuted the first negative ad in the May 3 Democratic primary, comparing the performance of Cincinnati during his recent tenure with Dayton under former Mayor Nan Whaley, his primary rival. Cranley’s spot points to Cincinnati’s population growth (which was a rate of 4% between the 2010 and 2020 censuses) in contrast to Dayton’s decline (-3%) as evidence of his successful economic leadership and supposed mismanagement by Whaley. He argues he is the best Democrat to take on GOP Gov. Mike DeWine in the fall.
ILLINOIS GOVERNOR. Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin’s latest GOP primary ad tries to portray state Rep. Darren Bailey as a phony conservative by highlighting how Bailey said last month that, “I might have voted for Biden,” while the rest of the spot hits Bailey for having supported property tax increases while he was on a local school board.
However, the ad omits how Bailey was speaking about voting in the 2008 Democratic primary, which he claimed he had done as a way to stop Hillary Clinton, not the more recent 2020 general election. The Chicago Tribune noted that Irvin himself had refused to say whether he voted for Trump shortly after joining the race and that he had voted in the 2016 and 2020 Democratic primaries, which Irvin justified by saying he was voting for conservative Democrats in local races.
People Who Play by the Rules PAC, which is funded by billionaire megadonor Richard Uihlein, has a new GOP primary ad that goes after Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin over his past statements from 2021 supporting Black Lives Matter, making the baseless claim that BLM “destroyed cities” and arguing that Irvin supports a movement that stands for looting and defunding the police. Irvin has been trying to distance himself from those past statements, running an ad earlier this year where he calls himself a former “tough-on-crime prosecutor” and says, “All lives matter. It isn’t about color.”
NEBRASKA GOVERNOR. State Sen. Brett Lindstrom’s newest ad ahead of the May 10 Republican primary shows the candidate talking up his record of cutting taxes, and he says he’s “just getting started.”
Meanwhile, another GOP gubernatorial candidatre, Charles Herbster, “is digging into denial of any misconduct as his campaign readies a lawsuit to counter sexual assault allegations from multiple women,” the Omaha World-Herald reports.
In the wake of last Thursday’s story from the Nebraska Examiner where several women accused businessman Charles Herbster of sexual assault, state Sen. Brett Lindstrom has unveiled a poll of the May 10 Republican primary from 3D Strategic Research to argue that Herbster’s advantage in the polls was eroding even before the publication of last week’s bombshell news. The survey, which was conducted from April 10-12, finds Lindstrom tied 27-27 with University of Nebraska Regent Jim Pillen while Herbster, who has Trump’s endorsement, is close behind in third at 23% and state Sen. Theresa Thibodeau is far back at 6%.
Lindstrom had previously released another poll from the same firm taken in early March that had Herbster ahead of Pillen by 30-23 and Lindstrom back in third with 20%, and the few other publicly available polls to date had also found Herbster in the lead, all of which were also conducted before the accusations against Herbster became public.
Herbster has launched his first ad in the May 10 GOP primary since several women accused him of sexual misconduct last week, and it’s a minute-long spot where Herbster doesn’t acknowledge the scandal but says “the establishment” is lying about him just like they supposedly did with Trump.
In response to ads that have alleged he really lives out of state and paid his taxes late, Herbster argues he’s a bona fide Nebraskan whose business successes don’t stop at the state line. He claims early in his career that he once faced the tough choice of paying his employees or his taxes and chose the former but that he later paid “every penny” he owed in taxes and fees after turning his business around.
Another Republican, University of Nebraska Regent Jim Pillen, began airing a positive spot last week where he’s surrounded by his young grandchildren who ask him policy questions on issues such as taxes, “amnesty,” and inflation, with Pillen responding each time with a pig-related phrase such as “hogwash” or “when pigs fly.”
MARYLAND GOVERNOR. The filing deadline for Maryland’s July 19 primary passed Friday, and the state has a list of contenders available here. (Both dates were twice postponed because of legal challenges to congressional and legislative maps.) The congressional and state legislative lists aren’t quite final, though, as the State Board of Elections says, “These candidates are listed in the district where they live now. After election officials make changes to County, State, and Congressional districts based on final redistricting plans, some candidates may be assigned to a different district.” The BoE adds that this will be finished “in late May or early June.”
Republican Gov. Larry Hogan is termed out, and 10 Democrats and four Republicans are competing to succeed him in a state that Joe Biden carried 65-32. The only sitting elected official on either side is state Comptroller Peter Franchot, a moderate Democrat who has enjoyed a good relationship with Hogan. The Democratic field also includes two former members of the Obama cabinet: former Secretary of Education John King and former Secretary of Labor Tom Perez, who later went on to head up the Democratic National Committee.
The Democratic side also consists of two contenders who took second place in primaries for governor during the last decade: former Attorney General Doug Gansler, who lost in 2014, and former Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker, who unsuccessfully campaigned four years later and is now the only candidate taking part in Maryland’s public financing system. Also in the contest are former nonprofit leaders Jon Baron and Wes Moore as well as Ashwani Jain, a one-time Obama administration official who lost a 2018 primary for the Montgomery County Council; two little-known candidates round out the list.
The only recent poll we’ve seen was a March internal for Baker that showed him trailing Franchot 23-15, with Perez and Moore at 11% and 10%, respectively. New campaign finance reports aren’t due until mid-June (the last available numbers are from mid-January), so it will be a while before we get a fresh look at everyone’s financial strength.
On the GOP side, Hogan is backing Kelly Schulz, whom he previously appointed as state Commerce Secretary. Donald Trump’s endorsed candidate, meanwhile, is Del. Dan Cox, who played a role in the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol by organizing a busload of people to attend the rally that preceded it. Also in the race are wealthy perennial candidate Robin Ficker, who decided to continue his bid despite getting disbarred, and Some Dude Joe Werner.
OKLAHOMA GOVERNOR. Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt has three intra-party foes, with Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs Director Joel Kintsel looking like the most serious of the challengers. The Trump-endorsed incumbent’s biggest threat, though, likely comes from a pair of dark money groups that together have spent at least $3.3 million on negative ads. Stitt has fired back with his own messaging arguing he’s the victim of a smear campaign by “insiders and casino bosses,” and he’s also received $577,000 in help from the RGA. The Democratic side is a duel between Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister, who left the GOP last year, and former state Sen. Connie Johnson, who lost the 2018 primary for this office.
OREGON GOVERNOR. State Treasurer Tobias Read has released a poll from FM3 Research that finds Read trailing state House Speaker Tina Kotek 25-20 with just weeks to go until the May 17 Democratic primary. However, with a hefty 56% of voters undecided, the pollster argues that the contest is still “wide open” and that Read has a path to victory.
Meanwhile, Nelson Research shows an even less certain primary on the Republican side. The pollster, who didn’t reveal whom if anyone the poll was conducted on behalf of, sees 2016 nominee Bud Pierce taking 11, former state House Minority Leader Christine Drazan earning 8, and Sandy Mayor Stan Pulliam, former state Rep. Bob Tiernan, and 1998 nominee Bill Sizemore each winning 5. The main story, however, is that an enormous 68% of primary voters are undecided with one month left to go.
Both of these polls are the first we have seen all year in either party’s primary, which have been relatively low-key despite this year being the first contest in two decades to have neither an incumbent nor a former governor on the ballot.
ALABAMA U.S. SENATOR. Former Business Council of Alabama leader Katie Britt is running a new ad ahead of the May 24 Republican primary where Britt says she learned to respect the Second Amendment growing up in Alabama. The commercial shows her at a shooting range shooting clay pigeon targets with a shotgun every time she mentions one of Joe Biden’s supposed policies on topics such as taxes, inflation, immigration, and abortion.
GEORGIA U.S. SENATOR. Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock’s latest ad features the senator telling how he isn’t a magician who can fix Washington overnight but instead has focused on providing more jobs, fixing infrastructure, and expanding healthcare.
NORTH CAROLINA U.S. SENATOR. The Club for Growth is spending $1.5 million on a new ad where far-right Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson talks to the camera trying to portray former GOP Gov. Pat McCrory as a liberal, arguing he “put liberals in charge of state textbooks” and “backed liberal Democrat judges,” after which Robinson says Rep. Ted Budd is the true conservative in the race. In an interview with WRAL, McCrory defended himself by arguing that state law required that he appoint members to the textbook commission recommended by the state education superintendent, who at the time was Democrat June St. Clair Atkinson.
PENNSYLVANIA U.S. SENATOR. Penn Progress, the James Carville-backed super PAC that is supporting Rep. Conor Lamb in the May 17 Democratic primary, is airing yet another ad that tries to paint Lt. Gov. John Fetterman as too extreme to win the general election by tarring him as a socialist. The PAC continues on this line of attack even though their first ad using that label was pulled off the air after it relied on an erroneous and since-corrected news report to falsely claim Fetterman is a “self-described socialist.”
Touting Lamb’s record as a former prosecutor and Marine who won three tough elections and fought Republicans to protect Social Security, the spot points out by contrast how Fetterman once sought an endorsement from the Democratic Socialists of America and that he’s been called a “silver spoon socialist.” However, the narrator elides the fact that Fetterman didn’t get that endorsement in part because he told DSA he doesn’t identify as a socialist, and they downplay how the silver spoon quote comes from a former state Republican Party chairman.