Delaware

The Political Report – 7/22/22

A new PBS NewsHour/NPR/Marist poll finds President Biden’s approval rate at 36% to 57%. “Biden’s numbers are trending more negative than any other modern president in a midterm cycle.”

President Biden’s public approval rating fell to 36% this week to tie the lowest rating of his 19 months in the White House as inflation takes its toll on American life, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll.

A new Quinnipiac poll finds President Biden with an upside down 31% to 60% job approval rating, the lowest score of his presidency.

Americans give Republicans in Congress a negative job approval rating, 23% to 68%, while Democrats in Congress get a similar 30% to 63% job approval.

In the generic ballot, 45% say they would want to see the Democratic Party win control of the House, while 44% say the Republican Party, and 11% did not offer an opinion.

Vox: Biden’s dismal poll numbers, explained in 9 charts.

The recent polls from CNN/SRSS and New York Times/Siena both show that Democrats on the generic congressional ballot are winning 19% of voters who also disapprove of President Biden.

In the 2018 midterm elections, Republican candidates won just 8% of voters who also disapproved of Donald Trump.

This “decoupling” — a phenomenon we explored earlier — potentially gives Democrats a much better chance in the 2022 midterms than the political environment might otherwise suggest.

This is because an unusually high number of voters who disapprove of Biden are also Democrats.

But they really don’t want to vote for Republicans. They may disapprove Biden, but Republicans haven’t given them any reason to cross party lines.

It’s a big reason this election may be a tougher one to forecast.

The question for Democrats is whether these voters will actually show up on Election Day or stay home.

MARYLAND GOVERNOR. Termed-out Gov. Larry Hogan on Wednesday responded to Trump-backed Del. Dan Cox’s victory in the previous evening’s Republican primary by tweeting that Trump has “selfishly colluded with national Democrats to cost us a Governor’s seat in Maryland,” a fatalistic take that came even though it remained unclear who Cox’s Democratic foe would be. Hogan’s spokesperson also confirmed that the outgoing incumbent would not cast a general election vote for the man he’d labeled a “conspiracy-theory-believing QAnon whack-job.”

Washington Post: Where does Larry Hogan go from here?

Cox was outpacing Hogan’s candidate, former state cabinet official Kelly Schulz, 56-40 as of Wednesday; the state will not begin tabulating mail-in ballots until Thursday so this margin may shift, but the Associated Press called the contest for Cox on election night. The AP, however, has not yet made a projection in the Democratic primary, where former nonprofit head Wes Moore leads former DNC chair Tom Perez 37-27 with 358,000 votes counted—a margin of 35,000 ballots.

It’s not clear exactly how many votes still remain to be counted. Maryland Matters writes that election officials had received 168,000 mail-in ballots from Democratic voters through Monday, while “[m]any additional mail ballots were likely returned on Tuesday.” Moore, who is also a nonfiction author, himself held off on declaring victory in his election night speech, while Perez expressed optimism he’d do significantly better with the remaining votes. Moore would be the Old Line State’s first Black governor, while Perez would be Maryland’s first Latino chief executive.

Hogan pulled off a 2014 general election upset against then-Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown in this very blue state by arguing that Democrats badly ran and overtaxed Maryland, but Cox has made it clear he’ll be a very different candidate. The new nominee played a role in the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol by organizing a busload of people to attend the rally that preceded it, and he tweeted later in the day that Mike Pence was a “traitor” for recognizing Biden’s win.

The delegate has continued to emphasize his fealty to the Big Lie since then. In April, Cox attended a QAnon-aligned conference in Pennsylvania where he delivered an address alleging he’d seen election fraud in that state and questioning Biden’s heavy 65-32 win in Maryland. Afterwards, the candidate came back on stage for a prayer led by a self-proclaimed prophet who had just told the audience that “the real president” was “coming back.” Cox has no love for Hogan either, and he introduced a hopeless impeachment resolution against him this year that accused the governor of “malfeasance in office.”

National Democrats, eager to avoid a repeat of the 2014 debacle, took action to ensure that the far-right Cox, rather than Schulz, would be the GOP nominee. The Democratic Governors Association spent $2 million on an ad campaign that, while nominally attacking the delegate, tried to make him more appealing to conservatives by emphasizing his Trump connections; Cox, by contrast, deployed only about $20,000 on ads for himself. Schulz tried to warn primary voters that Cox was a “nut” and a “pathological liar” who would cost the party the governorship, but it wasn’t enough to overcome Trump’s pitch that Republicans “don’t want Hogan’s anointed successor.”

Cox, for his part, responded to his win by making it clear he’d continue to run as a proud Trumpian in the fall in a state that, despite his conspiracy theories, Trump lost in a landslide. The new nominee repeatedly thanked Trump in his victory speech, and he said the next day, “The freedom movement is strong and the MAGA movement is here in Maryland.”

MARYLAND 4TH CD. Glenn Ivey, who is the former state’s attorney for Prince George’s County, beat former Rep. Donna Edwards 51-35 to win the Democratic nomination to succeed outgoing Rep. Anthony Brown in one of the bluest House districts in America.

The race was defined by a massive $6 million campaign by the hawkish pro-Israel group AIPAC―its largest investment in any contest to date―that argued Edwards did a poor job serving her constituents during her time in office from 2008 to 2017. (Edwards left to wage an unsuccessful campaign for the Senate, and Brown beat Ivey in the 2016 race to replace her.) J Street, a progressive pro-Israel organization that often finds itself at odds with AIPAC, responded with a considerably smaller $730,000 offensive portraying Ivey as a lobbyist for “big business,” but it wasn’t enough.

MARYLAND 6TH CD. Del. Neil Parrott earned his rematch against Democratic Rep. David Trone by defeating Matthew Foldi, a 25-year-old former writer for the conservative Washington Free Beacon, 64-15 in the Republican primary. Foldi sported endorsements from both Gov. Larry Hogan and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, but Parrott’s supporters castigated him as “a wealthy elitist” and a “kid.”

Trone beat Parrott 59-39 last cycle as Biden was carrying the old version of the seat by a similar 61-38 spread, but this contest will be fought on very different turf. Parrott sued after Democrats passed another map to protect Trone, and his efforts were rewarded after a judge threw out those boundaries earlier this year. Legislative Democrats and Hogan agreed on new lines soon after that created a 6th based in western Maryland and the D.C. exurbs that Biden would have won only 54-44, and the incumbent quickly emerged as a major GOP target. The wealthy Trone has been preparing for a tough fight, though, and he recently loaned his campaign $10 million.

MARYLAND ATTORNEY GENERAL. Rep. Anthony Brown beat former Judge Katie O’Malley 60-40 in the primary to succeed their fellow Democrat, retiring incumbent Brian Frosh, a win that puts him on course to become the state’s first Black attorney general. Brown lost the 2014 race for governor to Republican Larry Hogan, but he should have no trouble in the fall against Republican nominee Michael Peroutka, a former board member of the neo-Confederate League of the South who prevailed 58-42.

Peroutka, among many other things, has called the separation of church and state a “great lie;” dismissed public education as “the 10th plank in the Communist Manifesto;” and insisted that abortion and same-sex marriage both defy “God’s law.” And while Peroutka left the League of the South before it helped organize the infamous 2017 neo-Nazi rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, he’s still refused to denounce the group. The GOP last won the attorney general’s office in 1918.

BALTIMORE CITY STATE’S ATTORNEY. Defense attorney Ivan Bates holds a 41-32 lead over incumbent Marilyn Mosby with 48,000 votes counted in the Democratic primary, but the AP has not called the race. Prosecutor Thiru Vignarajah, who sported a cross-party endorsement from GOP Gov. Larry Hogan, has the remaining 27%. The winner will have no trouble in the fall in this reliably blue city.

Mosby, who rose to national prominence in 2015 just months into her first term when she charged six police officers in the death of Freddie Gray, was indicted in January for allegedly filing false mortgage applications and lying to federal prosecutors. Bates lost to Mosby 49-28 in 2018, but this time, he benefited from heavy spending from a super PAC funded by 2020 mayoral candidate Mary Miller.

BALTIMORE COUNTY STATE’S ATTORNEY. Attorney Robbie Leonard holds a tiny 51-49 edge against four-term incumbent Scott Shellenberger with 49,000 ballots tabulated in the Democratic primary, but it will likely take a while to determine the winner here. The eventual nominee will be favored in a county that supported Biden 62-35.

Shellenberger, whose jurisdiction includes many of Baltimore’s suburbs (the city of Baltimore and Baltimore County have been separate jurisdictions since 1851), was on the receiving end of heavy spending by a super PAC affiliated with philanthropist George Soros. Leonard, for his part, positioned himself as a criminal justice reformer while also arguing that Shellenberger has done a poor job dealing with the local murder rate.

MONTGOMERY COUNTY EXECUTIVE. Wealthy businessman David Blair has a 40-38 lead against incumbent Marc Elrich with 73,000 ballots counted in the Democratic primary to lead this populous and dark blue suburban D.C. community, but this is another contest that will likely take a while to settle. Four years ago, it was Elrich who beat Blair in a 77-vote cliffhanger.

Blair, who spent around $5 million on his second campaign, argued that Elrich had done a poor job making the county more affordable or dealing with crime; the challenger also benefited from $900,000 in spending by a super PAC funded in part by Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz as well as developers and business groups. Bethesda Magazine writes that Elrich, whose “political base among civic and neighborhood groups often made him an outlier in three terms on the County Council on planning and development issues,” has also clashed repeatedly with business groups.

The incumbent, for his part, focused on his work during the pandemic while also accusing Blair and County Council Member Hans Riemer, who is in third with 21%, of supporting policies that were “very Koch brothers [and] Reaganesque—like let the private sector solve everything.”

MISSOURI U.S. SENATOR. The Kansas City Star reports that Missouri Stands United is spending $2 million on a new ad campaign promoting independent John Wood that stars his old boss, former GOP Sen. John Danforth. The group, which has now invested $5 million in this race, previously aired a commercial where Danforth called for voters to support an independent, though he didn’t mention Wood in that earlier spot.

Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts is among the biggest donors to a super PAC devoted to torpedoing Missouri Republican Eric Greitens’ Senate campaign, Politico reports.

GEORGIA U.S. SENATOR. “Anxiety is setting in among Republicans over Herschel Walker’s bid to oust Sen. Raphael Warnock (D) in Georgia after a series of unforced errors and negative headlines that have rocked the former football star’s general election campaign,” The Hill reports.

“Herschel Walker, Georgia’s Republican nominee for the U.S. Senate, gave a 10-minute stump speech on Tuesday in which he told no new whoppers, made no obvious mistakes and allowed reporters to witness the whole thing,” the New York Times reports.

“That seeming nonstory was actually news, given how Mr. Walker’s candidacy has been going recently, and it appeared to reflect the labors of a team of Republican operatives who have swooped in to turn around his campaign, after a string of unforced errors called into question his readiness for political prime time.”

OHIO U.S. SENATOR. Democrat Tim Ryan’s new commercial declares that, while Republican J.D. Vance set up a nonprofit ostensibly to combat the state’s opioid crisis, it “failed to fund a single addiction program.” Instead, the narrator charges, the money went towards Vance’s political advisor and toward polling.

Last year, Insider reported that, according to the group’s first year of tax filings, Vance’s group “spent more on ‘management services’ provided by its executive director — who also serves as Vance’s top political advisor — than it did on programs to fight opioid abuse.” Why only look at one year of filings, though? Insider explains, “The nonprofit raised so little in each of the last three years — less than $50,000 a year — that it wasn’t even required by the IRS to disclose its activities and finances.”

“Complaints about J.D. Vance and his Senate campaign are rising among Ohio Republicans after the conservative populist posted an anemic second-quarter fundraising report,” the Washington Examiner reports.

“As Ohio Senate candidate J.D. Vance (R) fell far short of his Democratic opponent Tim Ryan (D) in recent campaign donations, one of the Republican’s chief fundraising vehicles says it prioritizes paying off the campaign’s debt from the May 3 primary he won,” Roll Call reports.

“The campaign’s biggest creditor: Vance himself. He loaned his campaign $700,000 for the primary.”

FiveThirtyEight finds that out of 340 Republican nominees for Senate, House, governor, attorney general and secretary of state so far, 120 are full-blown election deniers (35 percent).

An additional 48 nominees (14 percent) have expressed doubts about the election despite the multitude of evidence that it was legitimate.

In total, almost half of the GOP’s nominees for these offices have at least dabbled in false election claims.

ALASKA GOVERNOR. The Alaska Beacon has collected the fundraising reports from the period from Feb. 2 to July 15 for all the leading candidates competing in the Aug. 19 top-four primary.

  • Gov. Mike Dunleavy (R-inc): $925,000 raised, $768,000 cash-on-hand
  • Former Gov. Bill Walker (I): $832,000 raised, $751,000 cash-on-hand
  • Former state Rep. Les Gara (D): $575,000 raised, $656,000 cash-on-hand
  • Kenai Peninsula Borough Mayor Charlie Pierce (R): $64,000 raised, $22,000 cash-on-hand
  • State Rep. Christopher Kurka (R): $12,000 raised, $3,000 cash-on-hand

The RGA previously donated another $3 million to aid Dunleavy, money the Beacon says has not yet been spent.

Unlike in past cycles, the candidates are allowed to accept unlimited donations. That’s because a federal court last year struck down a 2006 ballot measure that capped donations at $500 a year, and the legislature adjourned this spring without adopting a new law.  

NEVADA GOVERNOR. Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak outraised Republican Joe Lombardo $1.7 million to $822,000 during the second quarter, which ended two weeks after Lombardo won his primary. Sisolak finished June with a huge $10.7 million to $1.2 million cash-on-hand lead.

OREGON GOVERNOR. Rep. Kurt Schrader announced Tuesday that he was endorsing independent Betsy Johnson for governor, a declaration that came about two months after the Blue Dog Democrat decisively lost renomination to Jamie McLeod-Skinner. 

new study confirms one in five Americans believes violence motivated by political reasons is—at least sometimes—justified. Nearly half expect a civil war, and many say they would trade democracy for a strong leader.

ARIZONA U.S. SENATOR and GOVERNOR. Cygnal’s new survey for the Gateway Pundit, a far-right blog infamous for peddling election conspiracy theories, finds Trump’s picks ahead in their Aug. 2 GOP primaries for Senate and governor. Former Thiel Capital chief operating officer Blake Masters posts a 30-20 lead over wealthy businessman Jim Lamon for the right to take on Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly, while former TV news anchor Kari Lake beats Board of Regents member Karrin Taylor Robson 45-34 in the contest for governor.

“Arizona Republican Blake Masters, who earned Donald Trump’s endorsement for the Senate race by embracing the former President’s lies that he won the 2020 election, has turned to questioning whether the 2022 midterm election will be legitimate, as he tries to lock up support among the party faithful ahead of next month’s primary,” CNN reports.

“That the first-time candidate is escalating doubts about the election system in Arizona — home to a months-long partisan review of 2020 ballots — is a sign of just how resonant some Republicans continue to believe those lies are with their base, even if similar pitches from Trump-backed candidates failed in Georgia, for example, earlier this year.”

Washington Post: Arizona Senate candidate embraces Trump’s extreme style.

Arizona gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake (R) — who was endorsed by Donald Trump — shared a post on Facebook stating that Trump was “Not My President” just days before the former president’s inauguration in 2017, Fox News reports.

Former Vice President Mike Pence will hold events on Friday for Karrin Taylor Robson (R) in the GOP primary race for Arizona governor, the Arizona Republic reports.

The same day, Pence’s old boss, former President Donald Trump, is set to hold a rally boosting rival candidate Kari Lake (R), “bringing the civil war within the Republican party to the battleground state with the primary election little more than a week away.”

Arizona Democrats are trying to use abortion politics to reclaim control (sub req) of the state Senate and even the state House, as well as other key state and local race. (Abortion is now mostly banned in the state, though there is still a court process over whether a 158-year-old territorial ban will be reinstated.) “Every political office up for election this year has an opportunity to impact this issue in one way, shape or form,” said state Sen. Martin Quezada, who’s running for state treasurer. In a video conference, Quezada appeared with Sen. Raquel Terán (who is also the head of the state party) and others to make their case. Terán flagged this site, defendchoice.org, which is put up by the DCCC and gives people ways to impact the choice issue in their states by working on local and congressional races.

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

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