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The Political Report – 6/4/22

A new Trafalgar poll pretends to give some insight into who Americans blame for the inflation that’s taken grip of the U.S. economy in recent months.

The survey finds 60% blame President Biden’s “policies and spending” while 32% point to Russia’s war in Ukraine and 9% are unsure. The partisan breakdown is very predictable with Democrats overwhelmingly blaming the war and Republicans overwhelmingly blaming Biden.

There’s little doubt that the spending bills passed early in the Biden administration are an important factor in inflation. But they aren’t the only important drivers. Pent-up demand for goods after two years of pandemic — coupled with the related supply shocks and shortages — might be the biggest cause. It’s causing inflation around the entire globe. This was made worse by Russia’s war in Ukraine. And it’s compounded by China’s shutdown of cities where Covid-19 is once again on the rise.

There’s also a decent argument — made mainly by progressives — that corporations have been using inflation as a cover to push up prices because they can. There’s probably some truth to it. But it would be wrong to conclude — as this poll leads does — that Biden’s policies are primarily to blame.

Of the most prominent national politicians, Donald Trump now has the highest personal favorability based on the national polls tracked by Real Clear Politics.

NBC News: “Pennsylvania Democratic Senate nominee John Fetterman does not have a timetable for returning to the campaign trail, sparking some worries in the party nearly three weeks after he suffered a stroke and surgeons implanted a pacemaker with a defibrillator to regulate his heartbeat.”

“Fetterman, the state’s lieutenant governor, has appeared publicly only in recorded video since the stroke. His wife is speaking to the media on his behalf. And the situation has prompted Democrats to refresh their knowledge of state ballot-replacement law — the deadline is in August.”

Utah County Attorney David Leavitt called for an outside investigation and the resignation of the county’s top law enforcement officer, saying Sheriff Mike Smith has dredged up outlandish allegations accusing the county attorney of “cannibalizing young children” and participating in a “ritualistic” sex ring, the Salt Lake Tribune reports.

“The Florida Supreme Court refused on Thursday to consider a challenge to a new map of the state’s 28 congressional districts approved by the Republican State Legislature, paving the way for November elections to be based on districts that a lower court said diluted the voting power of Black residents, in violation of the State Constitution,” the New York Times reports.

“The court’s two-sentence denial said it was premature for the justices to consider a suit seeking to overturn the congressional map because the case had not yet wound its way through the state court system, which could take months or years.”

“Former President Donald Trump has endorsed Arizona Senate hopeful Blake Masters (R) in a move that aides believe will give the Republican significant momentum ahead of the state’s August primary,” CNN reports.

“Masters, who is also backed by conservative tech billionaire Peter Thiel, is running in a crowded field of GOP candidates seeking to take on Sen. Mark Kelly (D-AZ) in November.”

FLORIDA 13TH CD. Rep. Charlie Crist has endorsed former Defense Department official Eric Lynn in the race to succeed him in Florida’s 13th Congressional District. Lynn is the only notable Democrat still running after Republicans gerrymandered the district to make it considerably redder, such that Donald Trump would have carried it 53-46, compared to Joe Biden’s 52-47 margin under the previous lines.

Meanwhile, nonprofit founder Audrey Henson just dropped out of the GOP primary to run for the state House instead, though several other Republicans are still in the mix. The remaining field includes attorneys Amanda Makki and Kevin Hayslett as well as businesswoman Anna Paulina Luna, who was the GOP’s unsuccessful nominee in 2020.

ILLINOIS 16TH CD. Rep. Marie Newman copies Georgia Sen. Raphael Warnock’s legendary ads featuring a pet beagle in a new spot attacking her opponent in next month’s Democratic primary—right down to the starring breed of pooch. Walking a beagle of her own, Newman says that “unfortunately, you’re going to hear a lot of sh*t about me from my opponent, Sean Casten” as her dog squats to do its business (the offending word is bleeped out). It’s not clear what Newman might be referring to, however, as Casten has not aired any negative ads.

Calling herself a “lifelong progressive Democrat,” Newman then castigates Casten for voting “for anti-choice Republicans like George Bush.” (Casten cast his first vote in a presidential election for George H.W. Bush in 1992, when he was 20.) She also touts her rejection of “corporate money” while accusing Casten, a fellow member of Congress, of having “taken a million dollars from corporate PACs.”

Democratic Majority for Israel PAC, which has backed more moderate Democrats against more progressive opponents in numerous contests this cycle, has launched a TV ad calling Democratic Rep. Marie Newman corrupt. The ad cites the Office of Congressional Ethics’ conclusion back in January that there was “substantial reason to believe” Newman had violated government ethics rules and federal law by signing a contract promising a job in her congressional office to a potential primary opponent in exchange for him not running against her, which the OCE had forwarded to the House Ethics Committee since the OCE itself lacks the power to punish members for ethics violations.

The quid pro quo allegedly took place during Newman’s successful 2020 primary challenge rematch against conservative Democratic Rep. Dan Lipinski and involved professor Iymen Chehade, a progressive activist and former Newman policy adviser who later sued her for breach of contract after she didn’t end up hiring him following the primary, which Newman narrowly won 47-45. Newman and Chehade ended up reaching a settlement and signing a nondisclosure agreement, and Chehade is waging a longshot Democratic primary bid for the open 3rd District this cycle.

MICHIGAN 3RD CD. A new Public Policy Polling survey for Democrat Hillary Scholten finds her narrowly edging past Republican Rep. Peter Meijer 39-37 while leading conservative commentator John Gibbs, who has Donald Trump’s endorsement, by a larger 44-35 margin. This is the first public poll of the race for Michigan’s 3rd District, one of a handful of seats Democrats are hoping to flip in November.

MINNESOTA 3RD CD. In Minnesota’s 3rd District, Democratic Rep. Dean Phillips and Navy veteran Tom Weiler, his Republican challenger, are the only candidates running here after businessman Mark Blaxill declined to continue on to the primary after losing to Weiler at the GOP convention.

MINNESOTA 4TH CD. Longtime Democratic Rep. Betty McCollum faces a primary challenge from the left by Saint Paul Department of Human Rights & Equal Economic Opportunity official Amane Badhasso, who has raised a competitive amount of money so far. A few other minor candidates are running in the Democratic and GOP primaries for this solidly blue seat.

MINNESOTA 5TH CD. Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar, who is one of the most outspoken left-wing members of Congress, is running for a third term and faces a primary challenge from her right by former Minneapolis City Council member Don Samuels. Several other obscure candidates are running for both parties in this heavily Democratic district.

NEW YORK 10TH CD. Former federal prosecutor Daniel Goldman, who served as House Democrats’ lead counsel during Donald Trump’s first impeachment, has joined the crowded primary for New York’s open 10th District, a safely blue district in lower Manhattan and Brooklyn. Goldman briefly ran for state attorney general last year but dropped out after incumbent Tish James abandoned her bid for governor and decided to run for re-election instead.

New York City Councilwoman Carlina Rivera and Assemblywoman Jo Anne Simon are the latest Democrats to join the increasingly crowded primary for this lower Manhattan and western Brooklyn seat, which includes former Mayor Bill de Blasio, Rockland County Rep. Mondaire Jones, Assemblywoman Yuh-Line Niou, and former Rep. Elizabeth Holtzman.

NEW YORK 12TH CD. The Working Families Party, a labor-backed party that has often played an important role in New York politics over the last two decades, has endorsed Democratic Rep. Jerry Nadler in his member-vs.-member primary against fellow Rep. Carolyn Maloney. The WFP’s backing serves as a progressive seal of approval and could also yield key on-the-ground support for Nadler if unions decide to deploy their membership on his behalf.

Community organizer Rana Abdelhamid has dropped her bid for Congress after the state’s new court-imposed map removed her Queens base from New York’s 12th Congressional District and imposed a Manhattan-only district incorporating the Upper East and West sides for the first time in more than a century. Abdelhamid’s decision leaves three candidates in the Democratic primary: Reps. Carolyn Maloney and Jerry Nadler, and attorney Suraj Patel, who tried to unseat Maloney in 2018 and 2020.

CALIFORNIA 22ND CD. The Congressional Leadership Fund has now spent more than $470,000 to boost Republican Rep. David Valadao ahead of California’s June 7 top-two primary, despite the fact that his two GOP rivals are both badly underfunded. The effort includes at least $170,000 on TV behind a spot touting Valadao as the answer to high gas prices (and framing Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom as the bogeyman). CLF’s counterpart on the Democratic side has likewise spent $260,000 promoting Assemblyman Rudy Salas, the only Democrat in the race. Almost half of the redrawn 22nd District is new to Valadao, who was one of 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Donald Trump. Uniquely, though, Trump did not endorse a challenger.

GEORGIA 2ND CD. Businessman Wayne Johnson, who took third in the GOP primary last week with 19%, has endorsed Air Force veteran Chris West over Army veteran Jeremy Hunt in the June 21 runoff. Also backing West are perennial candidate Vivian Childs and teacher Paul Whitehead, who together had won another 10% in the initial primary, where Hunt led West 37-30.

NORTH CAROLINA 11TH CD. Buncombe County Commissioner Jasmine Beach-Ferrara, who is the Democratic nominee, has publicized a poll from Survey 160 that shows Republican state Sen. Chuck Edwards with a modest 46-40 lead while Libertarian David Coatney takes 6%. This is the first poll we’ve seen here since Edwards defeated far-right Rep. Madison Cawthorn in an upset in the mid-May primary.

NEW HAMPSHIRE 1ST CD. Republican Russell Prescott, who had previously served on New Hampshire’s five-member Executive Council and in the state Senate, has kicked off his campaign for the GOP nomination to take on Democratic Rep. Chris Pappas.

NEW HAMPSHIRE 2ND CD. Keene Mayor George Hansel, a businessman who leads a town of 23,000 people, has announced he’s running in the September Republican primary, and GOP Gov. Chris Sununu endorsed Hansel at his launch event.

NEW YORK 11TH CD. Former Rep. Max Rose announced on Tuesday that he’s continuing his comeback bid in New York’s 11th Congressional District, despite the fact that the state’s new court-drawn map returned the district to a configuration that would have favored Donald Trump.

Under the plan approved by Democrats in February, the 11th would have incorporated liberal Brooklyn neighborhoods like Park Slope, meaning Joe Biden would have carried it 54-45. The court-imposed map, by contrast, reunites Staten Island with the more conservative Bensonhurst area in southern Brooklyn; as a result, Trump would have won the district 53-46, much closer to his 55-44 margin under the old lines.

Rose unseated Republican Rep. Dan Donovan in 2018 in the prior version of the 11th thanks to that year’s blue wave, but he lost to Republican Nicole Malliotakis two years later. Before he can square off against Malliotakis again, though, Rose first faces a primary with Army veteran Brittany Ramos DeBarros, who is running to his left.

OREGON 5TH CD. Just before the holiday weekend, the AP called the Democratic primary for Oregon’s 5th Congressional District for challenger Jamie McLeod-Skinner, who defeated Rep. Kurt Schrader by running to his left. Due to a ballot printing error in Clackamas County that’s necessitated a slow manual copying of voter entries onto new ballots, the final results of the May 17 primary are not yet known, but McLeod-Skinner led Schrader 55-45 as of Tuesday afternoon. She’ll face former Happy Valley Mayor Lori Chavez-DeRemer, who defeated businessman Jimmy Crumpacker 43-29 for the GOP nomination

SOUTH CAROLINA 1ST CD. Winning for Women, a PAC that supports first-term Rep. Nancy Mace, has publicized a Basswood Research poll of the June 14 Republican primary that shows Mace leading 44-24 over former state Rep. Katie Arrington, who has Donald Trump’s endorsement and was the 2018 nominee here. A runoff would take place on June 28 if no candidate wins a majority in the initial primary.

Mace has unveiled a new ad ahead of the June 14 GOP primary that opens with ominous notes on threats from authoritarian regimes in Russia, China, and Iran before going on to argue that voters can’t trust former state Rep. Katie Arrington to “keep America safe,” claiming that Arrington’s Defense Department “top security clearance” was revoked because of concerns she had disclosed classified information.

Meanwhile, Arrington is firing back with a spot that ties Mace to Democratic New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to argue the incumbent is a liberal before showing footage of Trump bashing Mace at a rally and urging voters to reject her.

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

1 comment on “The Political Report – 6/4/22

  1. The Dems should contest every race they lose and throw the “forensic audits” back in the Republicans collective face. But they will not, and it’s not all the fault of the pathetic “centrists”. We will never break the grip of minority rule until we all vote in every single election.

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