The Political Report – 6/8/22

“Just 45% of Americans say Donald Trump is ‘solely’ or ‘mainly’ responsible for the rioters who overtook the U.S. Capitol during the Jan. 6 attack, versus a combined 55% who say the former president is only somewhat responsible or not really responsible,” according to a new NBC News poll.

T”hat’s a shift from the Jan. 2021 NBC poll — taken days after the attack — when 52% said Trump was either solely or mainly responsible, compared with 47% who disagreed.”

Wall Street Journal-NORC Poll: “Some 83% of respondents described the state of the economy as poor or not so good. More than one-third, or 35%, said they aren’t satisfied at all with their financial situation. That was the highest level of dissatisfaction since NORC began asking the question every few years starting in 1972 as part of the General Social Survey, though the poll’s 4-point margin of error means that new figures may not differ significantly from prior high and low points.”

“Just over one quarter of respondents, 27%, said they have a good chance of improving their standard of living—a 20-point drop from last year—while just under half of respondents, 46%, said they don’t.”

“The share of respondents who said their financial situation had gotten worse in the past few years was 38%. That marked the only time other than in the aftermath of the 2007-09 recession that more than three in 10 respondents said their pocketbooks were worse off.”

After a short break, the weekly primary streak resumes in California, Iowa, Mississippi, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico and South Dakota today.

Ryan Zinke, Trump’s embattled ex-Interior secretary, is running in the GOP primary in Montana’s First Congressional District. Zinke used to represent Montana in Congress before joining the Trump administration in 2017 and getting entangled in a host of ethics violations (besides wearing MAGA socks that broke the law).

Los Angeles Times: “The returns are a major drop off from the same period in last year’s gubernatorial recall election, as well as the last midterm election in 2018, according to data tracked by political analysts.”

“Election experts say the lackluster participation by Californians stems from a dearth of excitement over this year’s contests, which largely lack competitive races at the top of the ticket. It’s a stark contrast with other parts of the nation where voter turnout is exceeding expectations.”

“District Attorney Chesa Boudin declared his 2019 election victory a call by voters for radical change. He promised to do more than lock up criminals and embarked on a progressive agenda to reduce incarceration rates and scrutinize police misconduct,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“On Tuesday, Mr. Boudin faces voters again, in a recall election backed by business owners unhappy with his performance. Polls indicate his ouster is supported by the majority of residents in a famously liberal city that has seen, along with the rest of the nation, a spike in murder and other crimes.”

San Francisco Chronicle: Chesa Boudin’s recall is in the national spotlight.

ALABAMA U.S. SENATOR. Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL), who made it to a runoff GOP primary in the Alabama Senate race, is openly begging people to get Trump to “re-endorse” him after the ex-president yanked his coveted blessing away.

The brown-nosing in Brooks’ plea is off the charts: The Republican praises Trump for withdrawing the endorsement, which “gave our campaign the kick in the pants we needed.” In fact, Brooks making it to the runoffs may have been a result of Trump’s political prowess, the congressman speculates; that Trump thought taking away his endorsement would trick Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) into “thinking we couldn’t win” and would therefore stop attacking Brooks.

ILLINOIS 6TH CD. Rep. Marie Newman (D-IL) released a new ad hitting Rep. Sean Casten (D-IL) ahead of the Democratic primary on June 28.  Said Newman, as she picks up her dog’s excrement: “Unfortunately, you’re going to hear a lot of shit about me from my opponent, Sean Casten.”

KANSAS 3RD CD. Democratic Rep. Sharice Davids faces a rematch with former state GOP chair Amanda Adkins, who faces only minor opposition for renomination. Davids beat Adkins 54-44 in 2020 as Joe Biden pulled off an identical win in her suburban Kansas City seat, but Republican legislators passed a new gerrymander this year that slashes Biden’s margin to 51-47.

MICHIGAN 10TH CD. Former Macomb County Judge Carl Marlinga has dropped an internal from Target Insyght that shows him leading two-time GOP Senate nominee John James 44-40 in a general election contest in this swing seat, which is similar to the 48-45 edge he posted in January. The firm also gives Marlinga a 40-16 advantage over Warren Council member Angela Rogensues in the August Democratic primary.

NORTH CAROLINA 13TH CD. The DCCC has released an in-house survey that shows Democrat Wiley Nickel with a 45-43 advantage over Republican Bo Hines. This poll was conducted May 18-19, which was immediately after both men won their respective May 17 primaries in this competitive district in Raleigh’s southern suburbs; it’s also the first we’ve seen from this contest.

TEXAS 34TH CD SPECIAL ELECTION. The Texas Tribune reports that Republican Maya Flores and her outside group allies have spent close to $1 million on TV ahead of the June 14 all-party primary for this 52-48 Biden seat. By contrast, Democrat Dan Sanchez and the DCCC are spending $100,000 on a joint digital buy, but they don’t appear to be on TV yet. One other Democrat and Republican are also on the ballot, which could keep either Flores or Sanchez from winning the majority they’d need to avert a runoff.

NEW HAMPSHIRE 1ST CD. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy on Monday endorsed 2020 nominee Matt Mowers’ second campaign to take on Democratic Rep. Chris Pappas. Mowers lost to Pappas 51-46 as Biden was carrying the district 52-46, and he faces several opponents in the August GOP primary for a seat that barely changed under the new court-ordered map.

TENNESSEE 5TH CD. On Friday night, a state judge ordered music video producer Robby Starbuck back onto the August Republican primary ballot, though the Tennessee Journal predicted, “An appeal appears all but certain.” Party leaders ejected Starbuck and two others in April for not meeting the party’s definition of a “bona fide” Republican, but the judge ruled that the GOP’s decision was invalid because it violated state open meeting law. The deadline to finalize the ballot is Friday.

TEXAS 15TH CD. Army veteran Ruben Ramirez announced Monday that he would seek a recount for the May 24 Democratic runoff, a decision he made shortly after the state party’s canvas found that he still trailed businesswoman Michelle Vallejo by 30 votes. The eventual nominee will go up against 2020 Republican nominee Monica De La Cruz, who won the Republican primary outright in March, in a Rio Grande Valley seat that Trump would have taken 51-48.

NEVADA 1ST CD. Former 4th District Rep. Cresent Hardy startled observers when he filed to take on Democratic incumbent Dina Titus right before filing closed March 18, but the Republican still doesn’t appear to have gotten around to cluing in donors about his latest comeback attempt. Hardy, mystifyingly, waited until April 15 to even open a new fundraising account with the FEC, and he proceeded to haul in all of $9,000 through May 25 without spending a penny of it.  

Hardy faces intra-party opposition next Tuesday from conservative activist David Brog, Army veteran Mark Robertson, and former Trump campaign staffer Carolina Serrano, all of whom we can accurately say spent infinitely more than him. Titus herself is going up against activist Amy Vilela, who took third place with 9% in the 2018 primary for the 4th District.  

FLORIDA 7TH CD. Seminole County Commissioner Lee Constantine has announced that he’ll stay out of the August Republican primary for this newly gerrymandered seat.

MARYLAND 4TH CD. Former Rep. Donna Edwards has earned an endorsement from AFSCME Maryland Council 3, which is the state’s largest government employee’s union, as well as AFSCME Council 67 and Local 2250 for the July 19 Democratic primary.

OHIO 1ST CD. Democrat Greg Landsman has publicized a mid-May internal from Impact Research that shows him deadlocked 47-47 against Republican incumbent Steve Chabot. This is the first survey we’ve seen of the general election for a Cincinnati-based seat that would have supported Joe Biden 53-45.

NEW YORK 19TH and 23RD CDs SPECIAL ELECTIONS. Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul has officially set Aug. 23 special elections to succeed Democrat Antonio Delgado and Republican Tom Reed in the existing versions of the 19th and 23rd Congressional Districts, respectively. Both races will coincide with the primaries for the new congressional and state Senate districts. The 19th supported Biden 50-48, while the 23rd went for Trump 55-43.

In New York special elections, party leaders select nominees, rather than primary voters, and Democrats in the 23rd District picked Air Force veteran Max Della Pia over the weekend. Della Pia, who unsuccessfully ran in the 2018 primary, has also announced that he’ll run for a full two-year term to succeed Republican Rep. Chris Jacobs in the new 23rd, which contains much of Reed’s now-former constituency.

GEORGIA 14th CD. Disgraced far-right Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopoulos, whose resume got pretty thin after his comments about pedophilia and who now claims to be “ex-gay,” is now a 37-year-old intern at Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene’s (R-GA) office.

NEW YORK 23RD CD. In a stunning development late on Friday, Republican Rep. Chris Jacobs announced he will retire rather than seek re-election in the newly redrawn and safely red 23rd District, as had been his plan. Jacobs’ decision comes just a week after he unexpectedly said that he would support an assault weapons ban and related gun safety measures in the wake of recent mass shootings,  including one in Buffalo near Jacobs’ home turf.

Even before his comments on guns, Jacobs already had one major potential vulnerability in case a major primary challenger did emerge: He only represents 36% of his new district following redistricting, and much of the other 64% is rural territory outside his suburban Buffalo base where gun safety laws are staunchly opposed by Republican voters.

State GOP chair Nick Langworthy’s supporters were reportedly circulating ballot petitions in case he ran against Jacobs, though Langworthy had yet to comment on his intentions before Jacobs bailed. Sigler, meanwhile, had said he was watching to see what Langworthy does and might re-evaluate his decision if the party chair joins the race, while Republican state Sen. George Borrello didn’t ruling out running shortly before Jacobs pulled the plug.

Developer Carl Paladino launched his bid over the weekend to succeed retiring Republican Rep. Chris Jacobs, and the 2010 GOP gubernatorial nominee immediately picked up an endorsement from the House’s third-ranking Republican, 21st District Rep. Elise Stefanik. Paladino won’t have a glide path to the nomination, though, as state party chair Nick Langworthy reportedly will also enter the August primary ahead of Friday’s filing deadline. Trump would have carried this seat in southwestern upstate New York 58-40.

Langworthy hasn’t said anything publicly about his plans, but Tompkins County Legislator Mike Sigler has abandoned his own nascent campaign to support him. Paladino himself told the Buffalo News he tried to deter the chair from running, but added, “He’s all about himself and is using party resources to pass petitions so he can go down to Washington and act like a big shot.”

Both Paladino and Langworthy have longtime ties to Trump, and the two even made an unsuccessful attempt to recruit him to run for governor in 2014. Paladino was all-in for Trump’s White House bid in 2016, and he even dubbed none other than Stefanik a “fraud” for refusing to endorse the frontrunner. (Stefanik has since very much reinvented herself as an ardent Trumpist.) Langworthy himself also was all-in for Trump well before the rest of the GOP establishment fell into line.

Trump’s transition committee condemned Paladino in late 2016 after the then-Buffalo School Board member said he wanted Barack Obama to “catch[] mad cow disease” and for Michelle Obama to “return to being male” and be “let loose” in Zimbabwe; Trump and Paladino, though, have predictably remained buds. Langworthy, for his part, reportedly had Trump’s support in his successful bid to become state party chair.

TEXAS 28TH CD. Democratic Rep. Henry Cuellar’s lead over progressive challenger Jessica Cisneros increased from 177 votes immediately following their runoff two weeks ago to 281 with the final county-by-county canvass of votes that concluded on Friday. Cuellar again declared victory, but Cisneros said on Monday that she would seek a recount.

HAWAII 2ND CD. EMILY’s List has endorsed former state Sen. Jill Tokuda in the Democratic primary for Hawaii’s open 2nd Congressional District.

FLORIDA 4TH CD. Republican state Senate President Pro Tempore Aaron Bean has confirmed that he’s running in this red-leaning open seat. Bean joins an August primary field that includes state Rep. Jason Fischer and Navy veteran Erick Aguilar.

SOUTH DAKOTA AT LARGE CD. Republican Rep. Dusty Johnson appears to be taking no chances in his bout against state Rep. Taffy Howard and is running a pair of ads shortly before the June 7 primary. The first ad shows Johnson touting how he helped pass a number of bills during his tenure and criticizing Howard for failing to pass any bills of her own in the state legislature. The second ad decries unmentioned attacks against Johnson and features him highlighting how he opposed a number of policies from the supposed “Biden agenda.”

NEW HAMPSHIRE 2ND CD. Former Hillsborough County Treasurer Robert Burns has announced he’s running here in a September GOP primary field that includes Keen Mayor George Hansel. Hansel, who recently joined the race with Gov. Chris Sununu’s endorsement, calls himself pro-choice and is positioning himself as a relative moderate, setting up a contrast with the staunchly conservative Burns in the race to take on Democratic Rep. Annie Kuster in this blue-leaning seat this fall.

NEVADA 2ND CD. The Congressional Leadership Fund, which is the main super PAC of the House GOP leadership, is reportedly spending $220,000 to help Rep. Mark Amodei ahead of his June 14 primary battle with perennial candidate Danny Tarkanian. In fact, CLF’s ad begins by slagging Tarkanian, who shockingly managed to win a seat as a Douglas County commissioner in 2020, as a six-time loser who only trekked up to northern Nevada from Las Vegas in his never-ending quest for public office. It then berates him on immigration, claiming Tark “attacked President Trump’s strong immigration policies.”

There hadn’t previously been much indication that Amodei was especially vulnerable, though these days, any Republican with even the least whiff of establishment-y-ness about them is at risk from a more MAGA-fied opponent. However, the With Honor Fund, which backs military veterans in both parties, recently put about $250,000 into the race to boost Amodei (he served in the Army JAG Corps), while the previously unknown America First Voices dropped $70,000 on mailers attacking the incumbent last month. CLF may just be playing it safe, or it may be seeing real signs that Amodei is in trouble.

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

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