Delaware

The Political Report – 6/10/22

A new Quinnipiac poll finds Americans overwhelmingly support raising the minimum legal age to buy any gun to 21 years old nationwide, 74% to 24%.

Vast majorities also support requiring background checks for all gun buyers and a so called “red flag” law, but among registered voters support has weakened for a nationwide ban on the sale of assault weapons.

A new Politico/Morning Consult poll reveals a mixed reaction to reports that President Biden is preparing to forgive $10,000 in student loan debt for Americans who make less than $150,000 a year (or for married couples making less than $300,000):

  • 29% of voters felt that the income threshold ($150,000 for individuals, $300,000 for couples) was the “right one” to be forgiven.
  • 13% felt that threshold was too high.
  • 9% felt that threshold was too low.
  • 35% feel that $10,000 in student loan debt should not be forgiven for people at any income level.

Pew Research: “Americans remain deeply distrustful of and dissatisfied with their government. Just 20% say they trust the government in Washington to do the right thing just about always or most of the time – a sentiment that has changed very little since former President George W. Bush’s second term in office.”

This is stunning: 65% say most political candidates run for office “to serve their own personal interests.”

SOUTH DAKOTA REFERENDUM. Voters in South Dakota rejected Amendment C, which would have made it far tougher to pass future constitutional amendments, in a 67-33 landslide. The GOP-dominated state legislature put Amendment C before voters to try to stop a Medicaid expansion measure that will be on the November ballot: Had Amendment C passed, Medicaid expansion supporters would have had to win 60% of the vote instead of the simple majority they still need.

CALIFORNIA ATTORNEY GENERAL. Democratic Attorney General Rob Bonta leads with 55% with 3.3 million votes tabulated, but it’s not quite clear which Republican he’ll face in November. Former federal prosecutor Nathan Hochman holds an 18-17 edge over Eric Early, a more Trumpian candidate that Bonta’s allies tried to boost. While the attorney general may not get his preferred opponent, though, he’ll be relieved that Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert is a distant fourth with just 8%; Schubert is a former Republican who became an independent in 2018, and her allies believed her lack of a party affiliation would be an asset in a general election in this blue state.

LOS ANGELES MAYOR. Note that the next group of races below, which includes the contests for mayor in Los Angeles and San Jose, district attorney in Orange and Santa Clara counties, and Los Angeles County sheriff, are all formally nonpartisan. Leading vote-getters can avoid a November general election and win outright by earning a majority of the vote. The exception is the recall vote in San Francisco, where voters were presented with a simple yes or no on whether to remove District Attorney Chesa Boudin.

Billionaire developer Rick Caruso, a Republican-turned independent-turned-“pro-centrist, pro-jobs, pro-public safety Democrat,” leads Democratic Rep. Karen Bass 42-37 in the contest to succeed termed-out Democratic Mayor Eric Garcetti; City Councilman Kevin de Leon is well behind with 8%.

SAN JOSE MAYOR. Santa Clara County Supervisor Cindy Chavez secured first place with 39% while City Councilman Matt Mahan beat out colleague Dev Davis 32-11 for the second general election spot. Chavez and Mahan, like termed-out Mayor Sam Licardo, are Democrats, but there are some big differences between them.

Chavez is a longtime labor leader, though she also has benefited from super PACs funded by unions and even the San Francisco 49ers. Mahan and Licardo, by contrast, are allies of the area’s powerful business community, which often comes into conflict with unions in local elections. (Chavez’s decisive 2006 defeat to conservative Chuck Reed began a 16-year period of business-friendly mayors.) Licardo himself has not endorsed Mahan, though his super PAC spent heavily for him in the first round.

Whoever wins in November will be on the ballot again in two years because voters supported Measure B, which will move mayoral races to presidential cycles starting in 2024, by a 56-44 margin. As a result of this change the next mayor will be allowed to stay in office for a total of 10 years instead of the standard eight as long as voters re-elect them in 2024 and 2028.

SANTA CLARA DISTRICT ATTORNEY. Democratic incumbent Jeff Rosen turned back a challenge from former prosecutor Daniel Chung 59-24, while public defender Sajid Khan took 17%. Rosen, a Democrat who beat a GOP district attorney in 2010, argued he’s made needed criminal justice reforms, while Khan argued only he would be a “true, real progressive DA.” Chung, by contrast, pitched himself as a moderate.

LOS ANGELES SHERIFF. Sheriff Alex Villanueva, a conservative Democrat who has been the subject of numerous scandals during his first term, looks set for a general election fight against former Long Beach Police Chief Robert Luna. With 750,000 votes in Villanueva leads with 34% while Luna leads LASD Lieutenant Eric Strong 25-13, though the AP has not yet made a call for second. Luna has faulted the incumbent for having “mismanaged” the department and argued that he’ll “modernize” it.

SOUTH DAKOTA AT LARGE CD. Sophomore GOP Rep. Dusty Johnson survived a scare by turning back state Rep. Taffy Howard, though his 59-41 margin was unimpressive for an incumbent. Howard had attacked Johnson for failing to promote the Big Lie to her liking and saw an infusion of half a million dollars in outside money for her cause. A super PAC close to party leadership came in with similar sums to save Johnson, who may once again have to face the MAGA brigades in years to come but for now will automatically earn a third term because no Democrats filed to run.

NEW MEXICO 2ND CD. Las Cruces City Councilor Gabe Vasquez romped to a 76-24 victory over physician Darshan Patel for the Democratic nomination to take on freshman Republican Rep. Yvette Herrell. Democrats heavily altered this southern New Mexico seat in redistricting, flipping it from a 55-43 margin for Trump to a 52-46 edge for Biden, making Herrell one of the more at-risk members of the GOP caucus.

NEW JERSEY 11TH CD. Democratic Rep. Mikie Sherrill will head into the general election against former prosecutor Paul DeGroot, who defeated Morris County Commissioner Tayfun Selen by a 40-35 margin despite the fact that Selen had won the endorsement of the largest county GOP organization in the district. Sherrill was yet another redistricting beneficiary, as her district in New York City’s western suburbs and exurbs jumped from a 52-47 margin for Biden all the way to 58-41.

NEW JERSEY 8TH CD. Port Authority Commissioner Rob Menendez, who’s the son of Sen. Bob Menendez, took 84% of the vote in the Democratic primary to succeed Rep. Albio Sires, who’s retiring from this safely blue seat in the Jersey City area.

NEW JERSEY 4TH CD. Longtime Republican Rep. Chris Smith, who earned Trump’s ire last year after supporting Joe Biden’s bipartisan infrastructure bill, turned back businessman Mike Crispi by a relatively anemic 58-37 margin. In most circumstances, a 21-point win would be a blowout, but incumbent members of Congress seldom take below 70% in their primaries, and even more rarely finish in the 50s. Trump never followed through on his pledge to endorse a challenger, but the results suggest a more concerted effort in the future could spell the end of Smith’s career—if he doesn’t decide to retire in the first place. For now, though, Smith will cruise to a 22nd term in this safely red district along the North Jersey Shore.

NEW JERSEY 5TH CD. Democratic Rep. Josh Gottheimer got his wish as investment banker Frank Pallotta defeated Marine veteran Nick De Gregorio 50-46 in the Republican primary. Gottheimer beat Pallotta two years ago by a 53-46 margin and had sent out mailers ostensibly attacking him as “too much like Trump” in an unsubtle effort to boost his standing with GOP voters. Gottheimer himself got a boost in redistricting, which upped Biden’s margin from 52-47 to 56-43, so he’ll have the advantage in defending this seat in the northwestern New York City suburbs and exurbs in November.

NEW JERSEY 7TH CD. The GOP establishment got its man once again as former state Sen. Tom Kean Jr. swept aside businessman Phil Rizzo 46-24 for the chance at a rematch with Democratic Rep. Tom Malinowski. (Democrats will wonder whether Kean, who took 79% in his primary two years ago, could have been stopped had he not faced five other opponents on Tuesday, but alas.) Malinowski beat Kean just 51-49 two years ago, and because fellow Democrats hung him out to dry in redistricting in order to make other seats safer, Biden’s margin dropped from 54-44 to 51-47. The incumbent will therefore be in for a very difficult ride as he tries to hold this district in New York City’s southwestern suburbs and exurbs.

MONTANA 1ST CD. Attorney Monica Tranel, a former Olympic rower, cruised to the Democratic nomination for western Montana’s brand-new 1st Congressional District with an easy 65-27 win over nonprofit executive Cora Neumann, but, rather surprisingly, we still don’t know who her Republican opponent will be. With an estimated 88% of ballots counted, per the AP, former Rep. Ryan Zinke was clinging to a skinny 41-40 lead on former state Sen. Al Olszewski.

The closeness of the race is unexpected, given Zinke’s high profile as a former Trump cabinet member (and Trump’s endorsement), plus his massive financial advantage, but Zinke faced serious scrutiny for reportedly spending more time in his wife’s hometown of Santa Barbara, California rather than in Montana. Still, even the wounded Zinke would be favored to carry this district, which Trump would have won 52-45.

Carl Paladino (R), whose new campaign for a House seat in New York has the endorsement of Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY), shared a Facebook post claiming the recent mass shootings in Buffalo and Uvalde were false flags and “the Texas shooter was receiving hypnosis training” apparently under the CIA’s direction.

NEW JERSEY 3RD CD. Wealthy yacht manufacturer, yoga instructor, and former punk rock singer Robert Healey held off businessman Ian Smith by a 53-38 margin after a nasty GOP primary that was unexpectedly hard-fought given Healey’s huge advantages in influential county party endorsements and fundraising. Healey will advance to take on Democratic Rep. Andy Kim, who saw his district in Philadelphia’s outer suburbs dramatically improve, from a 49.4-49.2 win for Trump to a 56-42 margin for Biden.

MISSISSIPPI 4TH CD. The AP has also called a GOP runoff between incumbent Steven Palazzo and Jackson County Sheriff Mike Ezell. Palazzo took a weak first with 32%, while Ezell edged out banker Clay Wagner 25-22 for second; Wagner on Wednesday endorsed Ezell over Palazzo, who is the subject of a long-running ethics investigation into charges that he illegally used campaign funds for personal purposes.

MISSISSIPPI 3RD CD. The Associated Press has called a June 28 Republican runoff for Rep. Michael Guest and Navy veteran Michael Cassidy. Cassidy, who has attacked the incumbent for voting for a Jan. 6 commission, shocked the political world Tuesday by leading Guest 47.5-46.9―a showing that put the previously unheralded challenger close to winning outright. Guest will now have three weeks to turn things around after that near-knockout.

IOWA 3RD CD. State Sen. Zach Nunn, an Air Force veteran who served in the Middle East, handily turned aside businesswoman Nicole Hasso, who had Ted Cruz’s endorsement, by a 66-19 margin. The outcome likely gives national Republicans their preferred choice to challenge Democratic Rep. Cindy Axne, whose Des Moines-based seat—which would’ve voted for Trump 49.2-48.8 per Dave’s Redistricting App—will be a top GOP target this fall.

CALIFORNIA 49TH CD. Democratic Rep. Mike Levin, who took 50% of the vote on Tuesday night, is still waiting to find out who his November opponent will be, though it’s looking like it’ll be San Juan Capistrano Councilman Brian Maryott, who currently leads Orange County Supervisor Lisa Bartlett 19-11. Levin beat Maryott 53-47 in 2020 for this suburban San Diego seat that changed very little in redistricting and would have voted 55-43 for Biden.

CALIFORNIA 42ND CD. Democratic Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia has advanced to November with 45% in this heavily Democratic open seat in Long Beach and its nearby suburbs, though his opponent isn’t yet certain. John Brisco, who was the sole Republican running here, holds a 29-13 lead over Democratic Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia as of Wednesday morning.

CALIFORNIA 41ST CD. Longtime Republican Rep. Ken Calvert will head to the general election with former federal prosecutor Will Rollins, a Democrat whom he leads 44-36. Redistricting extensively remade this once-conservative seat in the Riverside suburbs, dropping Trump’s margin to just 50-49 and potentially putting it in play for the first time.

CALIFORNIA 40TH CD. Democrat Asif Mahmood, a physician, holds a 40% lead and has secured a spot on the November ballot in this 50-48 Biden district in eastern Orange County. Although Democrats spent a sizable sum to try to secure a weaker GOP opponent this fall by boosting Mission Viejo Councilman Greg Raths against Rep. Young Kim, the incumbent and her allies fought back with significant last-minute spending, and she holds a 34-25 edge over Raths as of Wednesday morning for the yet-uncalled second spot this fall.

CALIFORNIA 37TH CD. Democratic state Sen. Sydney Kamlager leads with 42% and will advance to November in this heavily Democratic open seat in central Los Angeles and Culver City, though her opponent is not yet determined. Former Los Angeles City Councilwoman Jan Perry leads Culver City Vice Mayor Daniel Lee, a fellow Democrat, 19-16 for the second slot as of Wednesday morning.

CALIFORNIA 34TH CD. Rep. Jimmy Gomez holds a 52-36 lead over former prosecutor and fellow Democrat David Kim, who held Gomez to an unexpectedly small 53-47 win in 2020, with Republican Clifton Rio Torrado VonBuck taking the remaining 13% this go-round. Both Gomez and Kim have once more advanced to the November general election in this dark-blue district in downtown Los Angeles and nearby areas, setting up one of the most notable all-Democratic contests this fall.

CALIFORNIA 27TH CD. Republican Rep. Mike Garcia and former Democratic Assemblywoman Christy Smith will face off a third time in this district in the northern Los Angeles suburbs that would have gone 55-43 for Biden. Garcia leads Smith 50-35, with another Democrat, Navy veteran Quaye Quartey, far back at 6%. Garcia defeated Smith by 10 points in a 2020 special election but prevailed by just 333 votes in their rematch that fall.

CALIFORNIA 22ND CD SPECIAL ELECTION. Former Assembly Republican leader Connie Conway defeated Democrat Lourin Hubbard, who is an official at the California Department of Water Resources, 58-42 for the final months of Republican Devin Nunes’ term in a historically Republican Central Valley district that favored Trump 52-46. Conway, like Hubbard, did not file to run for a full term anywhere, so she’ll be out of office in January of next year. Whether Nunes will still be in charge of Trump’s disastrous social media operation then is an open question.

CALIFORNIA 22ND CD. Assemblyman Rudy Salas was the only Democrat running for this Central Valley seat that Biden would have carried 55-42, so it’s no surprise he snagged the first slot with 47% of the vote. But Republican Rep. David Valadao is in a scary spot, as he leads former Fresno City Councilman Chris Mathys just 26-19 for second, with many votes left to be counted. Democrats spent late in an effort to boost Mathys past Valadao, and they might yet succeed.

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

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