The Political Report – 6/14/22

A new Politico/Morning Consult poll finds 57% of Americans say Donald Trump is “very” or “somewhat” responsible for the U.S. Capitol riot on January 6, 2021, while 31% say he is “not too” or “not” responsible.

NEW YORK 23RD CD. State Republican Party Chair Nick Langworthy said Friday morning that he would indeed run to succeed retiring GOP Rep. Chris Jacobs, a decision Langworthy revealed hours before candidate filing closed.

Republican leaders on Thursday chose Steuben County party chair Joe Sempolinski as their nominee in the Aug. 23 special election for the final months of former GOP Rep. Tom Reed’s term. Sempolinski, who is not seeking a full term in Congress this year, will go up against Democrat Max Della Pia in a constituency Trump took 55-43.

NEW JERSEY 7TH CD. “Tom Kean Jr., a New Jersey Republican locked in the state’s most competitive congressional race, has refused to debate his primary opponents,” the New York Times reports.  “He has avoided talking to most reporters. And he has dodged questions about whether he agrees with the Republican National Committee’s characterization of the deadly Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol as ‘legitimate political discourse.’”

“Mr. Kean, the scion of a storied political family, has adopted what appears to be a core strategy as he tries to avoid alienating moderate swing voters while facing challengers from the right: to keep his mouth, basically, shut.”

NEW YORK 17TH CD. “Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) is endorsing Alessandra Biaggi (D) in her bid to unseat Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY), putting the progressive leader in direct opposition to the chairman of the powerful Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee,” the New York Times reports.

“The endorsement, which will include a fund-raising email on Tuesday, will add progressive credibility to Ms. Biaggi’s campaign and intensifies the threat at home to Mr. Maloney, who is overseeing the party’s strategy nationally as Democrats try to maintain their tenuous hold on the House.”

AOC last month took Maloney to task for choosing to campaign for the new 17th District rather than the 18th, a more competitive seat that contains most of his current turf, a decision that threatened to instigate a primary battle against Rep. Mondaire Jones. Jones ultimately decided to run for the 10th, but Biaggi herself highlighted Maloney’s move when she launched her own campaign against him days later.

NORTH CAROLINA 11TH CD. “Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-NC) and his allies, looking back at the polarizing conservative’s primary loss to GOP nominee Chuck Edwards last month, are pointing fingers at Rep. Adam Kinzinger’s (R-IL) PAC. And the retiring Kinzinger is more than happy to take credit for Cawthorn’s demise,” Politico reports.

Said Kinziner: “It’s a huge badge of honor, especially because before I announced I wasn’t running again, Madison did some tweet where he said he personally was going to take down my political career. So… I will say as a side note, it is pretty ironic.”

“House Republicans’ campaign arm is laying down its first round of fall TV ad reservations, a $52.3 million investment that sketches out a path back to the majority in 2023,” Politico reports.

“The bulk of the buy, which is spread across more than two dozen media markets, is targeting Democratic-held seats — a signal that a favorable political environment has created a plethora of pickup opportunities for the GOP.”

Washington Post: “With months to go before the midterm elections, the shadow campaign for the 2024 Republican nomination is well underway, with at least 15 potential candidates traveling the country, drawing up plans, huddling with donors or testing out messages at various levels of preparation. The quadrennial circus — described by more than 20 people with direct knowledge who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss private machinations — has kicked into gear despite the public hints from Trump that he too plans to join the scrum ‘a third time.’”

“Interviews with over a dozen GOP operatives indicate he is not clearing the field, and a range of candidates plan to take him on from different angles.”

Washington Post: “As chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, Emmer needed to set expectations right… He was also trying to explain a bit of modern political science, tamping down a building sense of irrational exuberance among some Republicans and utter despair among some Democrats. There are many more less-competitive seats now than there were in the 1990s, before redistricting turned into a science.”

“Plus, voters have grown so polarized that straight-party voting has become the norm, leading to fewer seats that swing back and forth, according to Charlie Cook, an independent election analyst. Republicans gained more than 10 House seats in the 2020 elections even as Joe Biden won the presidential popular vote by more than 7 million. That historic anomaly left Emmer on the precipice of the majority, needing a net gain of five seats, but it also means there are few seats for Republicans to win.”

Washington Post: “Behind the scenes, several prominent Democrats have been pushing to make attacks on the greed of oil and gas companies a centerpiece of the party’s message, in the hopes of making Democrats the party of fighting inflation by the midterms.”

“They argue that the issue of gas prices needs to be reframed as a choice between Democratic support for proactive measures — like suspending the gas tax or prodding oil companies to drill on existing leases — and Republican opposition to taking action.”

“Midway through the 2022 primary season, many Democratic lawmakers and party officials are venting their frustrations with President Biden’s struggle to advance the bulk of his agenda, doubting his ability to rescue the party from a predicted midterm trouncing and increasingly viewing him as an anchor that should be cut loose in 2024,” the New York Times reports.

“As the challenges facing the nation mount and fatigued base voters show low enthusiasm, Democrats in union meetings, the back rooms of Capitol Hill and party gatherings from coast to coast are quietly worrying about Mr. Biden’s leadership, his age and his capability to take the fight to former President Donald Trump a second time.”

“Interviews with nearly 50 Democratic officials, from county leaders to members of Congress, as well as with disappointed voters who backed Mr. Biden in 2020, reveal a party alarmed about Republicans’ rising strength and extraordinarily pessimistic about an immediate path forward.”

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) would not commit to backing President Joe Biden in the 2024 presidential election, saying instead that “we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it,” CNN reports.  Said Ocasio-Cortez: “We should endorse when we get to it, but I believe that the President’s been doing a very good job so far, and, you know, should he run again, I think that I, you know, I think… we’ll take a look at it. But right now, we need to focus on winning a majority instead of a presidential election.”

“Groups linked to Democrats appear to be trying to use pricey television ads and mailers to boost the profiles of three conservative — and controversial — candidates in Colorado running in important Republican primaries this year,” the Colorado Sun reports.

“The effort seems to be aimed at giving Democrats a leg up in the general election. It’s not the first time Democrats have deployed such tactics in Colorado, and in the past they’ve been successful.”

MONTANA 1ST CD. The Associated Press on Thursday evening called the June 7 Republican primary for former Rep. Ryan Zinke, who outpaced former state Sen. Al Olszewski by a surprisingly slim 41-40 margin. But despite his name recognition, support from Trump, and financial advantage, Zinke faced serious scrutiny for reportedly spending more time in his wife’s hometown of Santa Barbara, California rather than in Montana, as well as over his myriad of ethics issues from his time as Trump’s secretary of the interior.

Zinke will go up against Democratic nominee Monica Tranel, an attorney and former Olympic rower, for a western Montana seat that Trump carried 52-45.

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

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