The Political Report – 4/30/22

A new Reuters/Ipsos poll finds a bipartisan majority of U.S. voters — 68% of Democrats and 55% of Republicans — oppose politicians punishing companies over their stances on social issues, a cold reception for campaigns like Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ against Walt Disney Co.

However, when presented with a list of prominent politicians, a full 25% of Republican respondents said Ron DeSantis best represents the values of their party, second only to former President Donald Trump who was favored by 40% of Republicans. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott garnered 9%.

A new Morning Consult poll finds the top eleven most-popular governors in the United States are all Republicans, with the top three leading blue states.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) said that Christian organizations are working to resettle undocumented immigrants and refugees in the U.S. because “Satan’s controlling the church.”

Said Greene: “What it is, is Satan’s controlling the church. The church is not doing its job, and it’s not adhering to the teachings of Christ, and it’s not adhering to what the word of God says we’re supposed to do and how we’re supposed to live.”

“Marjorie Taylor Greene and Lauren Boebert look from the outside like MAGA twins, both loathed by Democrats for their incendiary right-wing rhetoric. But inside the House GOP, they’re not quite buddy-buddy,” Politico reports.

“Privately, Republicans say Boebert (R-CO) — who’s seen as more of a party team player than Greene — detests being tied to her Georgia colleague. And when the House Freedom Caucus board of directors gathered last month at its usual spot a few blocks from the Capitol, the two tangled over Greene’s appearance at a February event organized by a known white nationalist.”

“Chasing proof of vote-rigging conspiracy theories, Republican officials and activists in eight U.S. locales have plotted to gain illegal access to balloting systems, undermining the security of elections they claim to protect,” Reuters reports.

“All involved local Republican officeholders or party activists who have advanced Trump’s stolen-election falsehoods or conspiracy theories about rigged voting machines.”

Wisconsin gubernatorial candidate Rebecca Kleefisch (R) is escalating her criticism of how the last presidential election was carried out in Wisconsin, calling it a “rigged” contest despite rulings and recounts confirming the outcome, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports.

CNN: “Not since Anthony Scaramucci was fired a mere 10 days into his White House gig has someone fallen out of Donald Trump’s favor as quickly as David McIntosh. At an April 9 rally in North Carolina, the former president appeared delighted with the Club for Growth chief… But the duo’s partnership came to a screeching halt last week after the Club for Growth refused to end its negative ad campaign against Ohio Senate candidate J.D. Vance.”

“Four people familiar with the situation said the Club for Growth is grappling with frustrated board members and donors, who worry its influence will plunge if it doesn’t quickly patch things up with Trump. It’s the latest episode in the former president’s quest for singular influence over the GOP, further underscoring Trump’s expectation that allies either bend to his will or get out of his way.”

Meanwhile, the Club for Growth is now explicitly whacking Trump in their TV ads over his endorsement of J.D. Vance.

Mark Leibovich: “The best way for a Republican to depose Trump in 2024, they said, will be to call Trump a loser, as early and as brutally as possible—and keep pointing out the absurdity of treating a one-term, twice-impeached, 75-year-old former president like a kingmaker and heir apparent. In other words, don’t worry about hurting Special Boy’s feelings.”

“Trump’s wasn’t an ordinary election defeat, either. Some nervy Republican challenger needs to remind everyone how rare it is for an incumbent president to lose reelection, and also that Trump was perhaps the most graceless loser and insufferable whiner in presidential history—the first outgoing commander in chief in 152 years to skip his successor’s swearing-in. And that he dragged a lot of Republicans down with him.”

“When candidates for public office indulge in conspiracy theories like QAnon, it’s often with a wink and a nod,” the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.  “But just weeks before Pennsylvania’s May 17 primary election, such ideas are being promoted in plain sight. And high-profile Republican candidates for statewide office are treating talk of a ‘global satanic blood cult’ like regular campaigning.”

When Pennsylvania lieutenant governor candidate Teddy Daniels (R) was asked about his attendance at an event that promoted QAnon, he told the Philadelphia Inquirer: “At least I’m not a communist.”

“Teddy Daniels (R), a far-right Republican candidate for lieutenant governor of Pennsylvania, was removed from his home this week after his wife asked a court for emergency protections against abuse,” Rolling Stone reports.  “This is at least the third relationship in which Daniels has been accused in court documents of mistreating a female partner.”

ILLINOIS 5TH CD. Rep. Mike Quigley (D-IL) announced he will not run for Chicago mayor in 2023, the Chicago Tribune reports.

GEORGIA 7TH CD. The state AFL-CIO has backed Rep. Lucy McBath in her May 24 Democratic primary battle against fellow Rep. Carolyn Bourdeaux.

ILLINOIS 17TH CD. Rockford Alderman Jonathan Logemann has earned an endorsement from the state AFL-CIO ahead of the crowded June Democratic primary for this open seat.

SEIU Illinois, which represents more than 170,000 public sector employees and workers in private service sectors statewide, has endorsed former state Rep. Litesa Wallace in the June Democratic primary, which has no clear frontrunner yet. Wallace faces a field that includes former TV meteorologist Eric Sorensen, Rockford Alderman Jonathan Logemann, and Rockford Alderwoman Linda McNeely.

NEW YORK 1ST CD. New York State United Teachers, which is affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers and National Education Association, has endorsed Jackie Gordon, who was the 2020 Democratic nominee for the old 2nd District.

FLORIDA 4TH CD. Jacksonville City Councilman Rory Diamond has announced that he’ll stay out of the August Republican primary for this open seat.

Navy veteran Erick Aguilar this week became the first notable Republican to announce a bid for the new 4th District, a Jacksonville area constituency that would be open should incumbent John Rutherford run for the 5th as fellow Republicans expect. The new 4th would have supported Trump 53-46.

Aguilar himself had been waging a second primary bid against Rutherford, who beat him in an 80-20 landslide two years before, before redistricting changed things. But while Aguilar’s doomed first campaign brought in all of $16,000, his second try is a far better-funded affair: Aguilar raised $320,000 during the first quarter of 2022, and he ended March with a hefty $812,000 on hand thanks in part to earlier self-funding.

FLORIDA 23RD CD. Republican state Rep. Chip LaMarca has announced that he won’t run to succeed retiring Democratic Rep. Ted Deutch in the new 23rd District, which contains most of Deutch’s existing 22nd District.

Hava Holzhauer, a former prosecutor who later served as a regional Anti-Defamation League director, has joined the August primary to succeed her fellow Democrat, retiring Rep. Ted Deutch. Holzhauer previously ran for the state House in 2010 but badly lost the general election during that GOP wave year.

ILLINOIS 3RD CD. SEIU Local 1, which represents maintenance workers, has backed Chicago Alderman Gilbert Villegas in the June Democratic primary.

HAWAII 2ND CD and GOVERNOR. Rep. Kai Kahele (D-HI) is planning to leave Congress after just one term to run for governor, Punchbowl News reports. Kahele faced controversy after it was disclosed he was still working part-time as a pilot for Hawaiian Airlines while serving in Congress.

The Democratic nomination contest to succeed Kahele back home in Hawaii’s 2nd Congressional District, which Biden would have carried 64-34, was getting underway before this news broke, though.

Honolulu City Council Chair Tommy Waters also filed fundraising paperwork earlier in the week, though he didn’t commit to anything: Waters instead said, “I am still strongly considering running should the seat be open.” State Rep. Pat Branco expressed interested in a campaign ​for an open seat as well earlier in the month, and more names will almost certainly surface should Kahele confirm his plans. Hawaii’s filing deadline is in early June, later than all but five other states, and the primary will be in August.

About 40% of the 2nd District, which was barely altered by redistricting, is located in Honolulu, the state’s capital and by far its largest community. The remainder of the constituency is made up of Hawaii’s more rural Neighbor Islands, the term for every island apart from Honolulu’s Oahu. Kahele, who lives on the island of Hawaii (nicknamed the Big Island), is the state’s first member of Congress from one of the Neighbor Islands.

State Sen. Jill Tokuda on Tuesday filed FEC paperwork for a potential bid for the House seat held by Rep. Kai Kahele, a fellow Democrat who is considering running for governor. Tokuda had been campaigning for lieutenant governor, a post she narrowly lost in the 2018 primary, but Civil Beat reports she recently dropped out of a debate for that race.

OHIO 11TH CD. Democratic Majority for Israel is airing its first negative spot of the year against former state Sen. Nina Turner ahead of her Democratic primary rematch next week against Rep. Shontel Brown. The narrator faults Turner for not supporting Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump in 2016 before declaring that the challenger “said voting for Biden was like eating ****.” (The screen flashes the words “EATING S**T.”) The super PAC, which recently began running positive commercials for Brown, has spent close to $600,000 so far.    

TEXAS 28TH CD.: Attorney Jessica Cisneros is focusing on abortion rights in her first spot for the May 24 Democratic primary runoff against conservative Rep. Henry Cuellar, a topic the Texas Tribune says she didn’t run many spots on during the first round. The narrator declares that Cuellar sided with Texas Republicans when they “passed the most extreme abortion ban in the country,” characterizing the incumbent as “the lone Democrat against a woman’s right to make her own decisions, even opposing life-saving care.”

Cuellar’s new ad, meanwhile, features people praising him for having “kept our businesses open during the pandemic and reduced taxes” and funding law enforcement and border security, language that’s usually more at home in GOP ads. The commercial then pivots to the left by commending him as a champion of healthcare and affordable college. One elderly woman goes on to make the case that he’s vital for the district, saying, “Henry helps us with prescriptions and Social Security benefits. If we lose him in Congress, we lose everything.”

Cuellar goes into the final weeks of the runoff with a cash-on-hand lead over Cisneros, but she’s managed to close much of what had been a massive gap. Cuellar ended March with a $1.4 million to $1 million edge, while he enjoyed a $2.3 million to $494,000 advantage three months before.

WEST VIRGINIA 2ND CD. The Club for Growth isn’t letting its current estrangement from Trump (see our OH-Sen item above) stop it from running a new ad arguing that Rep. David McKinley is lying about his own pro-Trump credentials. The Club, which along with Trump backs fellow incumbent Alex Mooney in the May 10 Republican primary, claims that McKinley digitally inserted himself into a photo so it looked like he’d appeared next to Trump at a rally. The Club has spent at least $517,000 on this contest so far.

IDAHO 2ND CD. Bloomberg reports that a new organization called America Proud has launched a $413,000 buy against Republican Rep. Mike Simpson, which makes this the first outside spending ahead of his May 17 primary rematch against 2014 foe Bryan Smith. The spot digs up Simpson’s 2016 criticism of Trump and faults him for supporting “Pelosi’s Jan. 6 witch hunt.” The second half of the ad praises Smith as a Trump loyalist who backs term limits.

OHIO 9TH CD. State Sen. Theresa Gavarone last week earned the backing of 5th District Rep. Bob Latta, who represents just over half of this redrawn constituency, ahead of Tuesday’s Republican primary to take on longtime Democratic incumbent Marcy Kaptur in the newly gerrymandered 9th District.

Gavarone’s main intra-party foe, state Rep. Craig Riedel, previously won the endorsement of 4th District Rep. Jim Jordan, who has plenty of influence in far-right politics even though his existing turf doesn’t overlap with the new 9th: Riedel himself went up with an ad weeks ago pledging to “join Ohio’s own Jim Jordan and other true conservatives in the House Freedom Caucus to fight for what we believe.”

State Rep. Craig Riedel and state Sen. Theresa Gavarone are each running new commercials ahead of the Tuesday Republican primary to face longtime Democratic Rep. Marcy Kaptur, though considerably more viewers may see the former’s messaging. That’s because AdImpact, per NBC, says that Riedel has outspent Gavarone $290,000 to $43,000 on ads.

Riedel begins his spot with a narrator asking, “What’s worse than the radical left and their destructive agenda? Weak, spineless RINOs who play right into their hands.” That second bit is accompanied with a graphic of Gavarone along with Mitt Romney, Liz Cheney, and Illinois Rep. Adam Kinzinger, though the narrator never explains why the state senator should be linked with three of Trumpworld’s most hated Republicans. The rest of the ad argues Riedel is an ardent conservative who will “protect election integrity” and stands “with President Trump all, not just some, of the time.”

Gavarone, by contrast, turns to 5th District Rep. Bob Latta, who represents just over half of the newly gerrymandered 9th District, in her spot. Latta tells the audience that “conservative leaders know we need” Gavarone to join his fight against Democrats and commends her as the only candidate supported by Ohio Right to Life.

ALASKA AT LARGE CD. Anchorage Daily News: “In the special primary election, voters will be asked to pick one of 48 candidates vying to temporarily fill the U.S. House of Representatives seat vacated by the March death of Congressman Don Young. The top four vote-getters will advance to the Aug. 16 special general election, which will use ranked-choice voting to determine who will serve out the rest of Young’s term.”

“Ballots for the primary will begin arriving in the mailboxes of Alaska voters this week.”

TEXAS 15TH CD. 314 Action has publicized a survey from GBAO that shows businesswoman Michelle Vallejo beating its endorsed candidate, Army veteran Ruben Ramirez, 49-37 in the May 24 Democratic primary runoff. The group almost certainly released those unfavorable numbers because the poll finds that Ramirez ultimately takes the lead after respondents hear about his progressive beliefs.

NORTH CAROLINA 11TH CD. GOPAC, a Republican super PAC that says it hasn’t endorsed anyone in this race, is out with a survey from Differentiators Data that shows freshman Rep. Madison Cawthorn leading state Sen. Chuck Edwards 38-21 in next month’s Republican primary. That’s a notable drop from the 49-14 edge Cawthorn enjoyed in a previously unreleased March survey from the firm, but it’s still above the 30% mark that the incumbent would need to clear in order to avert a July runoff. The only other poll we’ve seen is a March internal for Edwards that found him trailing 52-20.

KENTUCKY 3RD CD. The crypto industry-aligned Protect Our Future PAC has dropped a hefty $972,000 in support of state Senate Minority Leader Morgan McGarvey ahead of the May 17 primary to succeed his fellow Democrat, retiring incumbent John Yarmuth, in this Louisville district. McGarvey, who has Yarmuth’s endorsement, already had a huge resource advantage over his one intra-party rival, state Rep. Attica Scott, even before the PAC came to his aid: McGarvey finished March with a $952,000 to $26,000 cash-on-hand lead, and no outside groups have spent on Scott’s behalf yet.

NORTH CAROLINA 4TH CD. The Huffington Post reports that AIPAC’s United Democracy Project is spending $720,000 to boost state Sen. Valerie Foushee in the May 17 Democratic primary, which is considerably more than the $294,000 amount that we’d previously seen. Foushee, as we wrote earlier in the week, is also benefiting from $861,000 in support from Protect Our Future PAC, a group funded by crypto billionaire Sam Bankman-Fried. The only outside support that Durham County Commissioner Nida Allam has received, by contrast, is $139,000 in get-out-the-vote aid from the Working Families Party, while no major groups have spent yet on behalf of singer Clay Aiken.

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

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