The Political Report – 5/24/22

CBS News Poll: “Amid continued inflation and stock market declines, large majorities describe their mood as such, and the percentage who call the economy bad has hit highs for the Biden presidency. The number who say things in the country are going badly overall is at the highest level of President Biden’s tenure, too, as pessimism about the market, the economy and prices drives views looking forward — and outweighs optimism about both jobs and coronavirus, as we head into summer.”

CBS News Poll: “For starters, the Democratic Party — which controls Congress and the presidency — is not seen by a majority as either ‘effective’ or ‘in touch,’ which are, no doubt, important measures for a party in power. The Democratic Party is more apt to be described as ‘weak,’ a label applied by a slight majority of Americans, than it is ‘strong.’”

“The Republican Party, for its part, is described by a slight majority as ‘extreme,’ a term Americans apply to the GOP more so than to Democrats, though neither really escapes the label. Independents are more likely to call the GOP extreme.”

A new AP-NORC poll finds President Biden’s approval rating dipped to 39% — the lowest point of his presidency — with deepening pessimism emerging among members of his own Democratic Party.  Of particular concern for Biden ahead of the midterm elections, his approval among Democrats stands at 73%, a substantial drop since earlier in his presidency. In AP-NORC polls conducted in 2021, Biden’s approval rating among Democrats never dropped below 82%.

President Biden’s approval rating among Hispanic Americans has plummeted to 26%, according to a new Quinnipiac poll.

Former President Donald Trump is worried about his chances in the 2024 presidential election amid the wrath of “suburban women” furious about the expected gutting of Roe v. Wade, Rolling Stone reports.

Doug Sosnik: “The recent leak of a draft Supreme Court ruling overturning Roe v. Wade is the Democrats best, and probably last, hope of changing the outcome of the 2022 midterm elections. If the Court’s impending decision doesn’t alter the current political dynamics, we will look back at the events between July and early November of last year as the period of time that determined the outcome of this election cycle.”

But the window is about to close: “In the last four midterm elections, by June the public had made up its mind about the leadership in Washington and how they were going to vote in November. According to Gallup, Trump’s 39% job approval in early February 2018, Obama’s 41% approval in June 2014 and 45% approval in June 2010, and Bush’s 38% approval in March 2006 all matched their job approval on Election Day.”

Each of those presidents “suffered significant defeats and lost control of at least one branch of Congress.”

“That is why the stakes are so high as we enter this final period critical for the Democrats to seize the pending Court decision on Roe vs Wade as a way to alter the trajectory of the election. If they are not successful in reframing the terms of debate for the midterm elections around the pending decision by the Supreme Court on Roe, we will look back at Biden and the Democrats’ failures last summer and early fall as the reasons for their electoral defeats this November.”

New York Times: “Mr. Perdue’s impending downfall in Tuesday’s primary for governor looms as the biggest electoral setback for Mr. Trump since his own defeat in the 2020 election. There is perhaps no contest in which the former president has done more to try to influence the outcome. Mr. Trump recruited, promoted and cleared the field for his ally, while assailing Mr. Kemp, recording television ads and giving $2.64 million to groups helping Mr. Perdue — by far the most he has ever invested in another politician.”

“Yet the race has exposed the limits of Mr. Trump’s sway, especially against entrenched Republican incumbents.”

Amanda Carpenter: “After a year of threats and bluster, Trump is now nowhere to be seen in the Peach State.”

PENNSYLVANIA U.S. SENATOR. Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, the Democratic nominee in the state’s high-profile U.S. Senate contest, has been released from the hospital after a stay of more than a week following a stroke, the AP reports.

GEORGIA 7TH CD. Independence USA, a super PAC funded by billionaire former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg, has launched a $1 million TV and digital ad buy on behalf of Rep. Lucy McBath, who is a former staff member for Bloomberg’s Everytown for Gun Safety group, ahead of Tuesday’s Democratic primary, where she faces fellow Rep. Carolyn Bourdeaux. The TV ad relays how McBath became an advocate for gun safety reforms after her son Jordan Davis was murdered a decade ago, and it praises her for championing those reforms in Congress.

With the primary nearly finished, McBath has benefited from $5.1 million in help from outside spending, while no outside group has spent more than a token amount to aid Bourdeaux.

MARYLAND 4TH CD and ATTORNEY GENERAL. The Maryland AFL-CIO has endorsed a number of Democrats seeking office this year, including former Rep. Donna Edwards in her comeback bid for the state’s 4th Congressional District, as well as the man she’s hoping to succeed, Rep. Anthony Brown, who is running for state attorney general.

NEW YORK 1ST and 2ND CD. Suffolk County Legislator Kara Hahn dropped out of the Democratic primary in the 1st District following  the adoption of New York’s new congressional map and endorsed Bridget Fleming, a fellow member of the county legislature. That makes Fleming the likely Democratic nominee against Republican frontrunner Nick LaLota, who serves as chief of staff to the county legislature and reiterated his commitment to the race this weekend.

Former Babylon Town Councilwoman Jackie Gordon, meanwhile, switched over to the 2nd District, where her home is now located. Last cycle, she ran in the 2nd but lost to Republican Andrew Garbarino 53-46 in an open-seat race. Garbarino is seeking re-election.

NEW YORK 10TH CD. As a result of Democratic Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney’s decision to run in the 17th District rather than the 18th (despite representing three-quarters of the latter), freshman Rep. Mondaire Jones has decided to hop five districts to the south and run in the newly open 10th, which is now based in lower Manhattan and Brooklyn.

Maloney justified his decision by arguing that he’s the only incumbent who resides in the 17th, but Jones was born and raised in the area and had lived within the district’s confines until two years ago, when he moved to White Plains. At the time, White Plains was also in the 17th, but now it’s getting moved to the 16th. Had Jones run there, he’d have faced a primary against Rep. Jamaal Bowman, another progressive Black freshman. By contrast, had he stood his ground in the 17th, he’d have had to run against the chair of the DCCC—an unappealing set of options forced on Jones by Maloney’s selfishness.

Still, Jones is taking quite a leap: His home base of Rockland County in New York City’s northern suburbs is at least an hour away from the 10th (if you’re very lucky with traffic), and it’s not clear whether he has any meaningful ties to the city. He sought to explain his choice by saying of his new district, “Since long before the Stonewall Uprising, queer people of color have sought refuge within its borders.” (Jones, along with fellow New Yorker Ritchie Torres, was the first gay Black man elected to Congress in 2020.)

Jones will have to face some actual city-dwellers in the primary, including former Mayor Bill de Blasio, who said on Friday that he’d run here, and Assemblywoman Yuh-Line Niou, who kicked off a bid the following day. A large number of other Democrats are also considering, though state Sen. Brad Hoylman has already reconsidered: After saying he’d run earlier in the week, he abruptly dropped out on Saturday.

“Former President Donald Trump’s fear of getting hit in the face with a pie was so severe that he repeatedly instructed security guards to savagely beat any hooligan who tries, his ex-attorney recently testified behind closed doors,” the Daily Beast reports.

NEW YORK 12TH CD. Veteran Reps. Jerry Nadler and Carolyn Maloney both reaffirmed that they’ll run in the revamped 12th, just as they’d said they’d do after the draft map was issued last week. This will be a titanic battle between two powerful committee chairs, though it’s not yet clear whether they’ll have the Democratic primary to themselves, as various candidates who’d been challenging the two incumbents in their prior districts have yet to announce their plans.

NEW YORK 16TH CD. Westchester County Legislator Vedat Gashi, who’d been presenting himself as a more moderate alternative to Democratic Rep. Jamaal Bowman, says he’s continuing his primary challenge. However, Gashi’s hometown of Yorktown has now been drawn into the 17th.

NEW YORK 17TH CD. Republican Assemblyman Mike Lawler said on Saturday that he’d run against Democratic Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney.

NEW YORK 18TH and 19th CD. Ulster County Executive Pat Ryan announced on Saturday that he’ll seek the Democratic nomination for the open 18th District and confirmed that he’ll run in the special election for the old 19th District that will take place after Democratic Rep. Antonio Delgado leaves office to become New York’s new lieutenant governor. Delgado previously endorsed Ryan for the special, where nominees will be chosen by party committees rather than primary voters. About 29% of the new 18th is made up of the old 19th.

Meanwhile, Assemblyman Colin Schmitt, who’d been the leading Republican in the race, reaffirmed that he’ll seek the 18th.

Democratic attorney Josh Riley, who had been running for the 22nd District, said on Saturday that he’d switch over to the open 19th.

NEW YORK 23RD and 24TH CD. Republican Rep. Chris Jacobs, who represents the old 27th, says he’ll run for the new 23rd, while Republican Rep. Claudia Tenney, who represents the old 22nd, says she’ll run for the new 24th. The old 27th and new 23rd share a fair bit of DNA around Jacobs’ base in the Buffalo area, but the 24th will be almost entirely new to Tenney.

OREGON 5TH CD. The Associated Press reports that it could take a few weeks before we get a clear picture of who won the 5th District Democratic primary thanks to misprinted barcodes making it impossible for machines to count thousands of ballots in Clackamas County, a suburban Portland-area jurisdiction that is the state’s third largest. The misprint has affected up to 60,000 Clackamas ballots out of the nearly 90,000 returned countywide as of Friday, resulting in election workers having to laboriously copy over every voter’s markings onto new ballots with the proper barcode so that they can be machine-counted.

Consequently, we may not get a full count in the part of Clackamas County that is in the 5th until June 13, when Oregon is set to certify its vote totals, leaving the race between moderate incumbent Kurt Schrader and progressive challenger Jamie McLeod-Skinner still up in the air. However, the partial vote count we do have from Clackamas combined with the partial totals from the rest of the 5th District puts McLeod-Skinner ahead 60-40 and leaves her in a favorable position to prevail. Schrader would have to win a large majority of remaining ballots to pull ahead, but he only leads by 55-44 among the 4,000 ballots counted in Clackamas as of Thursday despite it being his home county.

OREGON 6TH CD. The Associated Press has called the 6th District Republican primary for businessman Mike Erickson, who was the GOP’s 5th District nominee back in 2008. Erickson held a wide 35-18 lead over state Rep. Ron Noble in the primary as of Friday afternoon, and he’ll go on to face Democratic state Rep. Andrea Salinas this fall in this newly drawn open seat, which Joe Biden would have won by 55-42.

ILLINOIS 1ST CD. State Sen. Jacqueline Collins has released the first poll we’ve seen of the packed June 28 Democratic primary to replace retiring Rep. Bobby Rush, and her internal from Lake Research Partners finds her tied for second place. In first with 19% is businessman Jonathan Jackson, who is the son of two-time presidential candidate Jesse Jackson, while Collins and Chicago Alderman Pat Dowell are deadlocked with 14% each; former Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership CEO Karin Norington-Reaves, who has Rush’s endorsement, takes fourth with only 5%.

MINNESOTA 1ST CD. Defending Main Street, which is close to the old GOP establishment, is airing what appears to be the first negative commercial of Tuesday’s special election primary against state Rep. Jeremy Munson, who has long antagonized his party’s legislative leaders. The narrator declares that Munson “voted against emergency aid for small businesses trying to survive the pandemic.”

Defending Main Street, which supports former Department of Agriculture official Brad Finstad, has spent $920,000 here, while the crypto-aligned American Dream Federal Action has dropped another $570,000 on Finstad’s behalf. Munson, meanwhile, has benefited from $1.3 million in support from Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul’s allies at Protect Freedom PAC. There are several other GOP candidates competing to succeed the late Rep. Jim Hagedorn, but none of them have received any outside support.

Former state party chair Jennifer Carnahan did get some press days ahead of the primary to replace her late husband, but she’s very unlikely to want headlines like the Star Tribune’s, which reads, “Late Rep. Jim Hagedorn’s family sues his widow for medical expenses.” As the article explains, Hagedorn’s  mother, stepfather, and sister all allege that they helped pay for Hagedorn’s cancer treatments after Carnahan promised that if the treatments failed, she’d reimburse them using money she’d inherit from the congressman―a promise they say she has not kept. Carnahan’s campaign responded with a statement saying Hagedorn’s estate needs to go through the courts to “determine the disposition of assets in accordance with Minnesota law.”

MISSOURI 1ST CD. Freshman Rep. Cori Bush pulled off a major upset two years ago when she unseated veteran Rep. Lacy Clay in the Democratic primary, and the high-profile progressive now faces four intra-party opponents in what remains a safely blue St. Louis-based seat. The only serious contender appears to be state Sen. Steve Roberts, who has gone after Bush for casting a vote from the left against the Biden administration’s infrastructure bill and portrayed her as too interested in being a celebrity. Bush’s team, meanwhile, has already highlighted how Roberts was accused of sexual assault by two different women in 2015 and 2017, though he was never charged.

MISSOURI 2ND CD. Republican Rep. Ann Wagner faces a well-funded Democratic foe in the form of Ben Samuels, a former aide to Massachusetts GOP Gov. Charlie Baker, but GOP mapmakers worked to protect her from general election opposition. While the old 2nd District was the closest district in the nation on the presidential level, voting for Donald Trump by a margin of just 0.03%, the new one would have supported him 53-45; Republicans accomplished that by adding rural areas to the west of St. Louis to this largely suburban constituency. State Rep. Trish Gunby is also seeking the Democratic nod, but she’s raised little money.

MISSOURI 4TH CD. Rep. Vicky Hartzler is leaving to run for Missouri’s open Senate seat, and seven fellow Republicans remain in the contest for what remains a safely red constituency in the western part of the state. There’s no obvious frontrunner, and no one ended March with a notable financial edge over the rest of the field.  

The only current elected official is state Sen. Rick Brattin, though former Boone County Clerk Taylor Burks is running as well. The contest includes two others who have name recognition from apolitical activities: Mark Alford, who recently left Kansas City’s Fox affiliate after 23 years, and former NHL right wing Jim Campbell, who played for the St. Louis Blues from 1996 to 1999. Also in the race are cattle farmer Kalena Bruce, retired Navy SEAL Bill Irwin, and real estate developer Kyle LaBrue.

MISSOURI 7TH CD. This safely red southwestern Missouri constituency is open because another GOP congressman, Billy Long, is also running for the Senate, and eight Republicans are competing to replace him.

The best-funded candidate at the end of March was former state Sen. Jay Wasson, whose $840,000 war chest was largely self-funded. State Sen. Eric Burlison was in second with $390,000, but he sports an endorsement from the well-funded Club for Growth. The GOP field also includes fellow state Sen. Mike Moon; physician Sam Alexander; Alex Bryant, a pastor who would be the first African American Republican to represent Missouri in Congress; and three others who haven’t attracted much attention yet.

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

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