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The Political Report – 6/19/22

“Even as an increasing share of Americans report familiarity with and tolerance for transgender people, most oppose allowing transgender female athletes to compete against other women at the professional, college and high school level,” according to a Washington Post-University of Maryland poll.

Josh Kraushaar: “It’s not the number of House seats that Republicans pick up that’s the relevant measure, but the overall number of seats won. So mark the number 248 (or +35 net) on your scorecards as a sign of a true political tsunami. Simply winning 242 seats (+29 net) would match the party’s 2010 standing.”

“And anything at 233 or higher (+20 net) would give Kevin McCarthy enough breathing room to manage his caucus effectively, without having to fear the most extreme House Republicans from disrupting his best-laid plans.”

ALABAMA U.S. SENATOR. A new Emerson College poll of Alabama runoff election for U.S. Senate finds Katie Britt (R) with a double-digit lead over Mo Brooks (R), 50% to 34% with 17% of Republican voters are undecided.

When these undecided voters are asked who they are leaning toward and allocated, Britt leads Brooks 59% to 41%.

“It’s quite clear that Donald Trump has no loyalty to anyone or anything but himself.” — Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL), quoted by AL.com, just a week after unsuccessfully begging Trump to re-endorse him in the Alabama Senate race.

GEORGIA U.S. SENATOR. Number of kids Georgia Senate hopeful Herschel Walker started with this week: 1

Number of kids he had on Tuesday: 2

Number of kids he has now: 4

On Thursday, two days after the Daily Beast’s Roger Sollenberger reported that Republican Herschel Walker has a 10-year-old son he’d never publicly acknowledged, Sollenberger published another story revealing that the candidate has another heretofore unrevealed son and daughter. “I have four children. Three sons and a daughter,” Walker said in a statement, “They’re not ‘undisclosed’—they’re my kids. I support them all and love them all.”

The candidate continued, “I’ve never denied my children, I confirmed this when I was appointed to the President’s Council on Sports, Fitness and Nutrition, I just chose not to use them as props to win a political campaign. What parent would want their child involved in garbage, gutter politics like this?” Walker’s 22-year-old son Christian Walker, who was the only child he’d ever mentioned prior to this week, has been an active surrogate in his campaign against Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock.

WASHINGTON DC MAYOR. Councilmember Robert White has publicized an internal from Lake Research Partners that shows him trailing Mayor Muriel Bowser only 41-37 ahead of Tuesday’s Democratic primary, with fellow Councilmember Trayon White at 6%. (The two are not related.) A previously unreleased March survey gave Bowser a far stronger 47-24 edge as Trayon White was similarly situated with 5%; the only other poll we’ve seen was conducted for the Washington Post in February, and it showed Bowser beating Robert White 47-19. It only takes a plurality to win the Democratic nod, which is tantamount to election in the District of Columbia.

Should Bowser win another four-year term this year, she would be the district’s first three-term executive since the late Marion Barry, whose political survival still bedevils many observers. Bowser, however, has a very different image than Barry, the so-called “Mayor for Life” who generated both passionate scorn and intense loyalty during his tumultuous time in office. The Washington Post writes that the incumbent “has become known to District residents as more of a low-key leader than a dynamic politician who engages easily and readily with constituents,” adding that “while her personality may not generate wild enthusiasm from voters, it also doesn’t create deep dislike.”

Robert White, though, is arguing that change very much is needed. White, who holds an at-large seat on the Council, has been one of Bowser’s most prominent left-wing critics, and he launched his bid last year arguing, “The systems of government are showing their age, and that means that we need the type of leader who’s going to dig deep into government, hold it accountable and be ambitious.” White has the backing of two influential unions, the Washington Teachers’ Union and AFSCME, and he’s raised a credible amount of money. Bowser, though, went into the final weeks with a huge cash edge, and she used her large war chest to launch a late TV ad labeling White someone “who can’t be trusted.”

Trayon White, for his part, made national news in 2018 with his antisemitic comments and disastrous trip to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. However, he’s still proved popular at home in Ward 8, a heavily Black constituency that none other than Barry represented until his death in 2014. White only narrowly made the ballot this year after many of his signatures were rejected, and while he’s earned no major endorsements, his presence could cost Robert White some vital anti-incumbent votes next week. James Butler, who took 10% against Bowser during her uneventful 2018 primary, is also running, but he’s generated little attention.

ARIZONA U.S. SENATOR. Wealthy businessman Jim Lamon is airing a new spot against former Thiel Capital chief operating officer Blake Masters that takes advantage of a Jewish Insider report about his Trump-backed opponent’s long-ago views and 2005 blog posts, a move that came days after Masters’ Club for Growth allies launched its own anti-Lamon commercial for the August GOP primary. Lamon’s narrator informs the audience, “Newly revealed documents show that before running for Senate, Blake Masters supported abortion and convinced friends to become pro-choice.”

Indeed, a now-former Masters friend named Collin Wedel told Jewish Insider’s Matthew Kassel, “Blake was the one who convinced me to be pro-choice,” continuing, “I remember him arguing with me. I mean, it was Tucson, Arizona, in the ’90s, so it was a very conservative evangelical community, and he was not that.” Wedel, who said the two stopped communicating years ago over Masters’ support for Trump, added, “If he had announced that he was running for Senate on some kind of weird libertarian, we-should-have-a-gold-standard platform, I think all of us would have said, ‘Well, yeah, that was Blake.'”

Lamon goes on to dredge up his rival’s 2005 LiveJournal writings, which Kassel says Masters penned when he was 19. The narrator says, “Blake Masters argued for total drug legalization, calling drug smugglers ‘heroes.’ Blake Masters even advocated for unrestricted immigration, and said open borders are the only choice.”

OKLAHOMA U.S. SENATOR B. Physician Randy Grellner, who has loaned his campaign at least $1 million ahead of the June 28 Republican primary, is airing a commercial attacking former state House Speaker T.W. Shannon that focuses on a topic we don’t think we’ve ever seen in a campaign ad before: Native American tribal sovereignty. A very fast-speaking narrator argues that Shannon’s “casino boss” donors “directed” him to support Jimcy McGirt, who was convicted in state court of raping a child, “[i]n order to divide Oklahoma.” She continues, “The decision destroys the rights of homeowners, farmers, and diverts their tax dollars to the casino bosses.”

The decision in question is a 2020 Supreme Court case called McGirt v. Oklahoma, which overturned McGirt’s conviction on the grounds that, because the incident occurred within the boundaries of the Muscogee Nation, only tribal or federal authorities could prosecute him. The decision continues to have far-reaching implications for justice in Native American nations, but, despite the hyperbolic claims of Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and other conservatives, the court didn’t “gave away half of Oklahoma, literally.” McGirt for his part, was sentenced to life in prison the following year in federal court.

Grellner also has another commercial in which he depicts Shannon and his many other rivals as inmates in a mental hospital to make his case that “[t]he definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting a different result. Quit electing career politicians.”

FLORIDA GOVERNOR. Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried has unveiled a Global Strategy Group internal showing her trailing Rep. Charlie Crist only 38-34 in the August Democratic primary to face Republican incumbent Ron DeSantis.

MINNESOTA GOVERNOR. Newly released campaign finance reports show that Democratic Gov. Tim Walz took in $1.8 million during the first five months of the year and ended May with nearly $4.5 million to spend. Former state Sen. Scott Jensen, who is the only notable Republican left in the running, raised a far smaller $470,000 during this time and had just over $660,000 available. Jensen, though, only emerged as the GOP frontrunner weeks before the end of this fundraising period when he won his party’s mid-May convention, so he may have the chance to expand his donor network now that he’s almost certain to be Team Red’s nominee.

MICHIGAN GOVERNOR. EPIC-MRA, working on behalf of the Detroit Free Press, gives real estate agent Ryan Kelley a 17% plurality in the August GOP primary in a survey that began the day after he was arrested on misdemeanor charges related to his role in the Jan. 6 riot. Just behind are chiropractor Garrett Soldano and wealthy businessman Kevin Rinke, who take 13% and 12%, respectively. Another 7% volunteered that they’ll write in former Detroit Police Chief James Craig, 5% go for conservative radio host Tudor Dixon, and just 1% opt for pastor Ralph Rebandt. Altogether, 45% remain undecided in this chaotic contest.

Soldano is hoping to establish himself as the far-right’s standard-bearer with an opening ad that depicts a future where pupils are informed over their school intercom, “All students are welcome to use gender reassignment services today in the gym. This is confidential—your parents will not be notified.” The Michigan Chamber of Commerce, for its part, has thrown its support behind Dixon despite her underwhelming showing in this poll.

MARYLAND GOVERNOR. Campaign finance reports are now out covering the period of Jan. 13 to June 7, and Maryland Matters has a roundup of all the major candidates for the July 19 primary for governor. We’ll start on the Democratic side:

  • Author Wes Moore: $2 million raised, $2.1 million cash-on-hand
  • former DNC chair Tom Perez: $1.5 million raised, $1.2 million cash-on-hand
  • former U.S. Secretary of Education John King: $880,000 raised, $830,000 cash-on-hand
  • Comptroller Peter Franchot: $620,000 raised, $1.6 million cash-on-hand
  • former Attorney General Doug Gansler: $290,000 raised, additional $800,000 self-funded, $1.1 million cash-on-hand
  • Nonprofit head Jon Baron: $200,000 raised, $1.6 million cash-on-hand

Franchot, as a statewide official, was forbidden from taking in money during the three months the legislature was in session, though running mate Monique Anderson-Walker was allowed to fundraise for their joint account.

On the Republican side, former Commerce Secretary Kelly Schulz, who is termed-out Gov. Larry Hogan’s pick, took in $940,000 and had $780,000 on-hand. Del. Dan Cox, who has Trump’s endorsement, was far behind with $170,000 raised and another $20,000 self-funded, and he had only around $180,000 to spend. That was even smaller than the $330,000 that Robin Ficker, a self-funding perennial candidate who has mostly been self-funding his latest bid, had available.

ALASKA AT LARGE CD. The Associated Press on Wednesday evening called three of the four spots in the Aug. 16 special election to fill the late Rep. Don Young’s House seat after another 25,000 ballots were tabulated from Saturday’s top-four primary, though it has not yet made a projection yet for the final slot. Two Republicans, former reality TV show star Sarah Palin and businessman Nick Begich III, are taking 28% and 19%, respectively, with a total of 134,000 votes counted, while independent Al Gross is at 13%.

The battle for fourth has former Democratic state Rep. Mary Peltola holding a 9-6 edge over a third Republican, former state Interior Department official Tara Sweeney, a slight increase from Peltola’s 7-5 edge on Saturday evening. The next counts are set for Friday, with another tabulation on June 21; certification is expected June 25.

CALIFORNIA 13TH CD. Republican agribusinessman John Duarte took first with 34%, while Assemblyman Adam Gray beat out a fellow Democrat, financial advisor Phil Arballo, 31-17 for the second spot in the Nov. 8 general election. Biden would have carried this newly-drawn mid-Central Valley constituency, which does not have an incumbent, 54-43.

CALIFORNIA 15TH CD. Assemblyman Kevin Mullin finished in front with 42% while another Democrat, San Mateo County Supervisor David Canepa, defeated Republican Gus Mattammal 24-17. The winner will succeed retiring Rep. Jackie Speier, who supports Mullin, in a dark-blue seat that includes most of San Mateo County as well as a portion of San Francisco to the north.

CALIFORNIA 42ND CD. Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia, who had the backing of much of the state Democratic establishment, won the top slot 47%, while Republican John Briscoe edged out Democratic Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia 27-13. That’s very welcome news for Robert Garcia, who would be the first gay Latino to represent California in Congress, as he’ll have little to fear from Briscoe in this open 72-26 Biden seat; indeed, the mayor and his allies did what they could to make sure Brisco was his opponent instead of a fellow Democrat.

CALIFORNIA 49TH CD. Democratic Rep. Mike Levin took 49% while San Juan Capistrano Councilman Brian Maryott beat another Republican, Orange County Supervisor Lisa Bartlett, 19-11 for second. 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; the congressman unsuccessfully worked to elevate a third Republican, Oceanside City Councilman Christopher Rodriguez, who scored 10%.

CALIFORNIA 22ND CD. With 37,000 votes tallied, Democratic Assemblyman Rudy Salas is in first with 44% as Rep. David Valadao holds a 26-22 advantage over a fellow Republican, former Fresno City Councilman Chris Mathys. Democrats spent late in an effort to boost Mathys past Valadao to give themselves a better shot of taking back a Central Valley seat that Biden would have carried 55-42.

CALIFORNIA 37TH CD. State Sen. Sydney Kamlager remains far in front with 44% after 72,000 ballots were counted, while two fellow Democrats, former Los Angeles City Councilwoman Jan Perry and Culver City Vice Mayor Daniel Lee, are at 19% and 17%, respectively. The ultimate winner will succeed Rep. Karen Bass, who is running for mayor of Los Angeles and backs Kamlager here.

CALIFORNIA ATTORNEY GENERAL. Democratic incumbent Rob Bonta is well ahead with 55% with 5.9 million votes in, while former federal prosecutor Nathan Hochman maintains a 19-17 edge over fellow Republican Eric Early. Bonta’s allies took action during the campaign in an effort to ensure Early, a far-right Trumpy candidate, would be his opponent, though it appears that it’ll be Hochman instead. However, the contender Bonta very much didn’t want to face, independent Anne Marie Schubert, fell far short of advancing after she grabbed just 8% of the vote.

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

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