Delaware

The Political Report – 6/17/22

Republicans Sarah Palin and Nick Begich, independent Al Gross and Democrat Mary Peltola solidified their leads in the race to advance to August’s special general election for Alaska’s lone U.S. House seat, the Anchorage Daily News reports.

Donald Trump congratulated Rep. Nancy Mace (R-SC) after her victory in Tuesday night’s primary against state Rep. Katie Arrington (R), whom Trump had endorsed, The Hill reports.

“Even as national Democrats set off alarms over the threats posed by far-right Republican candidates, their campaign partners are pursuing an enormously risky strategy: promoting some of those same far-right candidates in G.O.P. primaries in hopes that extremists will be easier for Democrats to beat in November,” the New York Times reports.

Mark Mellman: “In the eight worst midterms for the party in control of White House since 1938, the party holding executive power lost between 45 and 81 House seats. Two years later, that same party won reelection to the White House in more than half — five of the eight — cases.”

“The three worst midterm performances occurred in 1938, 2010, and 1994. Two years later, each of the Democratic presidents who presided over those debacles won reelection.”

Mark Leibovich: “Let me put this bluntly: Joe Biden should not run for reelection in 2024. He is too old…”

“Stepping aside would permit Biden to shed the demands of being a disciplined candidate (never his strong suit). It would be immediately liberating, allowing the president to focus on what he’s extremely well suited to: being a familiar mensch and champion and consoler to a country in dire need of one. He could off-load all of the burdens and suspicions that come with electoral ambitions. Nothing buys goodwill for a politician like self-removal from consideration.”

“The age issue will only get worse if Biden runs again. The ‘whispers’ are becoming shouts. It has become thoroughly exhausting—for Biden and his party and, to some extent, the country itself. But the question quiets considerably when no one’s calculating how old a president born during Franklin D. Roosevelt’s administration will be in 2028.”

“Nevada Republican Jim Marchant insisted there hadn’t been a legitimate election in his state in more than a decade. All of Nevada’s election winners since 2006, he said on a recent podcast, were ‘installed by the deep-state cabal,’” the AP reports.

“But when Marchant won the Republican nomination for Nevada secretary of state this week, he immediately celebrated the victory as legitimate.”

“Such inconsistency has become a hallmark of election deniers in Republican primary contests across the U.S. in this year’s midterms.”

NEW MEXICO. “New Mexico’s Supreme Court on Wednesday ordered the county commissioners in rural Otero County to do their jobs and certify election results, two days after they refused, citing unsubstantiated concerns about fraud,” the Washington Post reports.

2024. Sources close to Donald Trump told CNN he is nevertheless closer than ever to announcing another run for office.  “As more and more Republicans add Iowa and New Hampshire to their schedules and work to gauge the party’s appetite for fresh leadership, Trump has been telling friends and advisers he wants to put his potential rivals on notice — and soon.” Several people close to Donald Trump recently told NBC News that they had been asked informally to hold July 4 as a date for a possible announcement for his 2024 presidential campaign.

While Trump obviously still casts a long shadow over the Republican party, he hasn’t frozen the potential GOP presidential field. Gov. Ron DeSantis, Mike Pence, Mike Pompeo, Nikki Haley, and Sens. Tom Cotton (R-AR) Josh Hawley (R-MO) and Ted Cruz (R-TX) are all actively plotting potential bids while meeting with supporters, endorsing candidates and visiting early primary states.

By being the first Republican candidate to formally announce, Trump could actively raise money and lock down supporters. That could derail plans of some of his potential competitors. But there’s another advantage to announcing early that Trump is surely considering. With possible criminal indictments looming from multiple investigations, formally announcing a presidential campaign could make any charges appear as politically-motivated. It might even make prosecutors reconsider their cases.

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) “huddled with two dozen of his top donors Tuesday morning to describe his planning for a potential 2024 White House campaign,” Politico reports. “Cotton said he was prepared to run and detailed the work he’s done to develop an infrastructure for a national campaign. He emphasized that he wouldn’t defer to any other would-be candidates — including Trump — and said he planned to make a final decision on whether to run after this year’s midterm election.”

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) continued to hint at a presidential run as he told a group of attorneys that he was starting to “lay the foundation” for a 2024 campaign, the Arkansas Democrat Gazette reports.

The PredictIt political futures market now has Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) as the frontrunner to win the Republican presidential nomination in 2024.

GEORGIA U.S. SENATOR. “A day after… the news that Herschel Walker (R) had a secret 10-year-old son he fathered out of wedlock, the football star-turned-politician confirmed late Wednesday night that he has yet another son with a different woman that the public doesn’t know about—as well as a daughter that he had in college,” the Daily Beast reports.

“The second of Walker’s previously undisclosed sons was born to a woman living in Texas and is now 13 years old. Walker’s other son is 10, and Christian Walker, who has played a major role in Herschel’s political efforts and public persona, is 22.”

New Republic: Herschel Walker is running to be the Senate’s dumbest liar.

FLORIDA 1ST CD. Former FedEx executive Mark Lombardo said Wednesday that he would challenge far-right Rep. Matt Gaetz, who reportedly remains under federal investigation for sex trafficking of a minor and other alleged offenses, in the August Republican primary, adding that he’d spend $1 million of his own money on the effort. Lombardo, who like many in this military-heavy area is a veteran, argued, “Washington is broken because of people like Matt Gaetz. If you want to change Washington, send a Marine. I’ll get the job done.”

Lombardo didn’t hold back on explaining why he believes Republican voters in this safely red constituency should eject Gaetz. “The people of Northwest Florida need a Congressman who will put them first,” the challenger said in a statement that continued, “Matt Gaetz is a professional politician who has dishonored his constituents with unnecessary drama, childish gimmicks, and is reportedly entangled in a federal investigation for sex-trafficking a 17-year-old girl to the Bahamas.” He added, “Displaying the highest level of arrogance imaginable, he hired pedophile Jeffrey Epstein’s attorneys and used the money from his hard-working America-first donors to pay the bill.”

FLORIDA 13TH CD. 2020 nominee Anna Paulina Luna has released an internal from Spry Strategies giving her a 36-16 edge over attorney Kevin Hayslett in the August GOP primary for this Democratic-held open seat.

FLORIDA 4TH CD. State Rep. Jason Fischer announced Tuesday that he was leaving the Republican primary for the 4th District and returning to the 2023 contest Duval County property appraiser, an office he’d been seeking before the new GOP gerrymander created an open seat in the Jacksonville area. Fischer quickly earned an endorsement for his resurrected campaign for appraiser from Gov. Ron DeSantis; Politico’s Matt Dixon suggests that the governor had been instrumental in pressuring Fischer to get out of the House race in order to help another contender, state Sen. Aaron Bean. DeSantis, however, has not yet publicly taken sides in the race for the 4th.

FLORIDA 10TH CD and U.S. SENATOR. Former Rep. Alan Grayson announced Tuesday that he was abandoning his little-noticed Senate campaign in favor of running to succeed his now-former intra-party rival, Rep. Val Demings, in the safely blue 10th District in the Orlando area. He joins an August primary that includes state Sen. Randolph Bracy; gun safety activist Maxwell Alejandro Frost; pastor Terence Gray; and civil rights attorney Natalie Jackson, all of whom, like Demings but unlike Grayson, are Black.

The Orlando Sentinel notes that several Florida Democrats have argued that this area should continue to be represented by an African American. Indeed, Orange County Democratic Chair Wes Hodge notably said in April, “My intent is to try to keep it [a Black] access seat because it is important to our community,” though he predicted, “But, you know, someone can show up at noon on the last day of qualifying with 10 grand in their pocket, and boom, they’re on the ballot.” Grayson himself had just over $240,000 on-hand at the end of March, a paltry sum for a statewide contest but enough to put up a fight in a House race.

GEORGIA 10TH CD. We have less than a week to go before the Republican runoff for this safely red seat in northeastern Georgia and, even by 2022 standards, it’s a truly nasty contest.

Businessman Mike Collins recently sent out mailers describing former state Rep. Vernon Jones, the Trump-backed former Democrat who would be the first Black Republican to represent Georgia in the House since Reconstruction, as a “RADICALLY ANTI-WHITE RACIST.” Collins has also continued to attack Jones, who never represented any part of the 10th District in previous elective posts he’s held, as an interloper and a phony. Jones, for his part, has run commercials depicting his rivalwhose late father ​did ​previously represent the area, as a little boy whose only rationale for running is, “My daddy was in Congress.”

Things escalated even further this week when Collins sent out a tweet that featured a picture of a rape whistle emblazoned with the web address for an anti-Jones site, an item that references an accusation of rape leveled against Jones in 2004​ (he was never charged), alongside an image of a gun. “Although some use a rape whistle for protection against sexual assault, a 9mm is the more preferred form of protection,” wrote Collins. Jones in response filed a report with police in Morgan County arguing that his rival was encouraging “violence against me.” The Atlanta Journal-Constitution writes, “Authorities say they will not investigate.”

Collins outpaced Jones 26-22 in the first round of voting last month, and we’ve seen no polls since then.

ILLINOIS 3RD CD. Politico’s Shia Kapos reports that VoteVets, which is supporting Chicago Alderman Gil Villegas in the June 28 Democratic primary, is spending $430,000 on a new ad that opens with the sound of gunfire before the narrator accuses state Rep. Delia Ramirez of wanting to “defund the Chicago Police Department immediately.”

Kapos explains that this line of attack is based on a 2020 letter Ramirez signed accusing Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot of using the force “to beat, arrest, and terrorize the demonstrators and journalists gathered in Grant Park tonight.” That missive concluded, “We are ready to work to defund the Chicago Police Department immediately, and we call on our colleagues of conscience to join us.” Ramirez this April said, “I’m not the ‘Defund the police’ candidate. I actually helped secure $200 million for violence prevention and pension benefits for police and firefighters.”

ILLINOIS 6TH CD. Rep. Sean Casten’s office announced Monday evening that his 17-year-old daughter, Gwen Casten, had died that morning. Fellow Rep. Marie Newman, who is Sean Casten’s opponent in the June 28 Democratic primary, said in response that her campaign “is working to cease all comparative paid communications immediately.”    

ILLINOIS 7TH CD. The Justice Democrats have launched a $120,000 ad buy supporting gun safety activist Kina Collins’ bid against longtime Rep. Danny Davis in the June 28 Democratic primary, which makes this the first outside spending on Collins’ side. (A group called Opportunity for All Action Fund has deployed a similar amount for the incumbent.) The spot, writes Primary School, faults Davis for missing House votes as crime and inflation remain a serious problem, and pledges that the challenger would be a more focused representative. Davis fended off Collins 60-14 two years ago in this safely blue Chicago seat.

MISSOURI 4TH CD. The influential Missouri Farm Bureau has endorsed cattle farmer Kalena Bruce in the August Republican nomination contest, which the Missouri Times says makes this the first time the group has ever taken sides in a primary for an open House seat. The move comes a week after Gov. Mike Parson also threw his backing behind Bruce.

WYOMING AT LARGE CD. The Club for Growth announced this week that it was backing attorney Harriet Hageman’s bid against Rep. Liz Cheney in the August GOP primary and had launched a $300,000 ad campaign to support the challenger. The commercial reminds viewers that Donald Trump, whose relationship with the Club has soured in recent months, is supporting Hageman, and it features footage of Trump praising her as “a true champion for the people of this state.”

MAINE 2ND CD. Former Rep. Bruce Poliquin will get his rematch with Democratic incumbent Jared Golden, but Poliquin’s 60-40 win in the Republican primary against Liz Caruso, an underfunded member of the Board of Selectman for the tiny community of Caratunk, was surprisingly underwhelming for such a well-known politician.

It’s possible that a significant number of Republicans are just tired of Poliquin, who lost re-election to Golden in a tight 2018 contest whose outcome he still refuses to recognize, but Caruso also had some important connections. Most notably, she was the spokesperson for the high-profile 2021 ballot initiative that succeeded in blocking the Central Maine Power hydropower corridor project. Caruso also spent the evening before the primary on Tucker Carlson’s Fox News show; Carlson, notes the Bangor Daily News, is a part-time Maine resident and a fellow corridor foe.

NEVADA 1ST CD. The Associated Press has called the Republican primary for Army veteran Mark Robertson, who defeated conservative activist David Brog 30-17. Robertson will now go up against Democratic Rep. Dina Titus in an eastern Las Vegas area where legislative Democrats—much to the frustration of the congresswoman—slashed Biden’s margin from 61-36 to 53-45 in order to make the 3rd and 4th Districts bluer.

NEVADA 4TH CD. The AP has also called the GOP primary for Air Force veteran Sam Peters, who beat Assemblywoman Annie Black 48-41 in this constituency in the northern Las Vegas area. Peters lost the 2020 GOP primary to former Assemblyman Jim Marchant, a fellow Big Lie enthusiast who is now the party’s nominee for secretary of state, but he’ll now get his chance to take on Democratic Rep. Steven Horsford in a redrawn seat that would have supported Biden 53-45.

SOUTH CAROLINA 4TH CD. While sophomore Rep. William Timmons secured renomination in his safely red Greenville-area constituency, his 53-24 GOP primary victory over unheralded far-right foe Mark Burns left him surprisingly close to being forced into a runoff. (Burns took just 2% here when this seat, which barely changed following redistricting, was last open in 2018.) Timmons, unlike many other vulnerable Republican House members, had Trump’s endorsement, and he doesn’t appear to have taken any votes that would alienate a significant portion of the base.

However, the Greenville News notes that the congressman’s opponents argued he was absent from his job. Timmons pushed back by citing his duties as a JAG officer in the South Carolina Air National Guard, but that explanation seems to have left a sizable minority of primary voters cold.  

CALIFORNIA 40TH CD. The Associated Press on Monday night projected that Rep. Young Kim had defeated her fellow Republican, Mission Viejo Councilman Greg Raths, for the second spot in the general election despite a late Democratic effort to boost Raths. Democrat Asif Mahmood took first in last week’s top-two primary with 41%, while Kim beat Raths 34-23 after she and her allies launched a significant last-minute spending spree to turn back the perennial candidate. Biden would have carried this eastern Orange County constituency 50-48.

VIRGINIA 2ND CD. The Democratic group Patriot Majority has launched a commercial designed to help far-right activist Jarome Bell win next week’s Republican primary to take on Democratic incumbent Elaine Luria, which makes this the latest contest where Democrats have tried to pick their opponents. The narrator tells the audience, “Bell is a Navy veteran who calls himself an ‘America First conservative’ … He supports Trump’s election audit in all 50 states, and Bell wants to outlaw abortion.” Unsubtly, the narrator concludes, “If Jarome Bell wins, Donald Trump wins too.” There is no word on the size of the buy.

Trump himself has not made an endorsement here, but House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy is all-in for one of Bell’s intra-party rivals, state Sen. Jen Kiggans. A late May internal for a pro-Kiggans group showed her decisively beating another primary candidate, Air Force veteran Tommy Altman, 43-9, with Bell at 8%.

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

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