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The Political Report – 7/27/22

A new Politico/Morning Consult poll finds 58% of Americans support passing a federal bill to codify the right to same-sex marriage, including 44% who strongly back it, compared to 31% who oppose.

On interracial marriage, there’s even more support: 71% percent of voters support it, with just 15% opposing.

A new AP-NORC poll finds 67% of Americans say they favor term limits or a mandatory retirement age for Supreme Court justices, amid a sharp increase in the percentage of Americans saying they have “hardly any” confidence in the court.

OHIO U.S. SENATOR. Ohio U.S. Senate candidate J.D. Vance (R) “said people need to be more willing to stay in unhappy marriages for the sake of their kids—and seemed to suggest that in some cases, ‘even violent’ marriages should continue,” Vice News reports.

Said Vance: “This is one of the great tricks that I think the sexual revolution pulled on the American populace, which is the idea that like, ‘well, OK, these marriages were fundamentally, you know, they were maybe even violent, but certainly they were unhappy. And so getting rid of them and making it easier for people to shift spouses like they change their underwear, that’s going to make people happier in the long term.’”

He added: “And maybe it worked out for the moms and dads, though I’m skeptical. But it really didn’t work out for the kids of those marriages.”

NEW YORK 12TH CD. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) has a new, extremely pointed ad slamming Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY)  after the Supreme Court’s reversal of Roe v. Wade, Politico reports.

Said Maloney: “Being at the forefront of women’s rights has taught me we can fight back and win if we just don’t quit. I approve this message because it also taught me you cannot send a man to do a woman’s job.”

NEW YORK 17TH CD. State Sen. Alessandra Biaggi has released an internal from The Justice Research Group that shows her trailing Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney 34-21 in next month’s Democratic primary, with a 45% plurality undecided. The memo for this poll, which was conducted July 1-11, says that Maloney posted a 30-point lead in a June survey that was not made public, and it argues that Biaggi will pull ahead once voters learn more about her.

NEW YOK 10TH CD. Former Rep. Elizabeth Holtzman has publicized a Democratic primary internal from Change Research that went into the field right after former New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio dropped out, and it finds her narrowly trailing in her bid to return to the House after a 42-year-absence. The survey gives former federal prosecutor Dan Goldman a 14-12 edge over Holtzman; just behind with 10% each are 17th District Rep. Mondaire Jones; New York City Councilwoman Carlina Rivera; and Assemblywomen Yuh-Line Niou and Jo Anne Simon, while 30% are undecided.

We’ve seen two other polls this month, and they’ve each shown a different set of frontrunners. Data for Progress, which polled the contest independently, had Rivera edging out Niou 17-14 as Goldman and Holtzman grabbed 12% and 9%, respectively. The Justice Research Group’s internal for Niou and her allies at the Working Families Party, meanwhile, had her deadlocked with Rivera 16-16 with Goldman at 10% and Holtzman all the way back in sixth place with just 4%. What all three surveys agree on, though, is that a large plurality of voters are undecided in this safely blue seat.

NEW YORK 1ST CD. While Nick LaLota, who serves as chief of staff for the Suffolk County Legislature and has the backing of the local GOP establishment, has appeared to be on a glide path to the nomination, Newsday’s Mark Chiusano notes that he faces a very well-funded intra-party foe on Aug. 23. Michelle Bond, who leads a cryptocurrency trade group, finished June with an $810,000 to $330,000 cash-on-hand lead over LaLota in this open seat; much of Bond’s advantage comes from the $750,000 she self-funded during the last quarter, but she also outraised LaLota $240,000 to $120,000 with donors.

Bond has used debates to attack LaLota for having once worked for former Rep. Steve Israel, a Long Island Democrat who retired from the neighboring 3rd District in 2017. She’s also gone after her opponent for living just outside this seat, though she could also be vulnerable on residency issues. While Bond grew up in what’s now the 1st, Chiusano notes that she only registered to vote here in June after previously casting ballots in Maryland and D.C. Bond, who says she moved back to the area around then, also recently bought a place in Maryland, which she told Chiusano was one of the “multiple residences” she has.

The winner will go up against Suffolk County Legislator Bridget Fleming, who has no Democratic primary opposition: Fleming raised $360,000 during the last quarter, and she finished June with $520,000 in the bank. Biden would have carried the new version of this seat, which GOP Rep. Lee Zeldin is giving up to run for governor, by a tiny 49.4-49.2, a shift from Trump’s 51-47 showing under the existing lines.

MICHIGAN 3RD CD. “National Democrats are spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to boost a far-right, Trump-endorsed conspiracy theorist in one of the most closely watched House races in the country — further endangering one of the 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach former President Trump,” Axios reports.

“A new TV ad from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee portrays Republican John Gibbs as the true pro-Trump conservative in his effort to unseat Republican Rep. Peter Meijer (R-MI) — aligning with Gibbs’ own campaign messaging.”

“Trump endorsed Gibbs’ challenge after Meijer voted to impeach the former president over his role in fomenting the Jan. 6 Capitol siege.”

The committee did not announce how much it was spending, but the Detroit News’ Melissa Nann Burke relays that the size of the buy is $425,000. Biden would have carried the redrawn version of this Grand Rapids seat 53-45, and there’s little question that the far-right Gibbs would be an easier opponent for Democrat Hillary Scholten to beat than Meijer. (Meijer defeated Scholten 53-47 in 2020 as Trump was taking the old 3rd 51-47.)

The D-Trip ostensibly attacks Gibbs for being “too conservative,” the very phrase that Democrats have used in numerous ad campaigns this cycle as they’ve tried to pick their own opponents. The narrator then informs the audience that Gibbs was “[h]andpicked by Trump to run for Congress” and that he supports a “hardline against immigrants at the border and so-called ‘patriotic education’ in our schools.”

The DCCC’s meddling comes at a time when Meijer and his allies have been swamping Gibbs in spending. The incumbent has outspent Gibbs $2.1 million to $340,000 through mid-July, and Politico says that the challenger has yet to air a single TV ad. OpenSecrets also reports that, before the DCCC offensive began, outside groups deployed a total of $1.8 million promoting Meijer or attacking Gibbs, while a mere $40,000 had been spent on the other side. We’ve seen no recent polls, though, to give us an idea of the state of the race.

WYOMING AT LARGE CD. Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WI) told CNN that she hasn’t decided whether she will run for president in 2024. Said Cheney: “At this point, I haven’t made a decision on 2024… I’ll make a decision on 2024 down the road.”

She added: “But I do think as we look towards the next presidential election, as I said, you know, I believe that our nation stands on the edge of an abyss and I do believe that we all have to really think very seriously about the dangers we face and the threats we face and we have to elect serious candidates.”

“I’m fighting hard, no matter what happens on August 16th, I’m going to wake up on August 17th and continue to fight hard to ensure Donald Trump is never anywhere close to the Oval Office ever again.”  — Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY), quoted by Axios, saying that protecting American democracy is a higher priority than maintaining a seat in the House.

OHIO 9TH CD. Democratic Rep. Marcy Kaptur’s newest commercial not only reminds viewers that Republican J.R. Majewski took part in the Jan. 6 attack, but it also uses audio of Majewski himself speaking favorably of secession. The audience hears the GOP nominee muse, “Every state that went red should secede from the United States,” to which the narrator asks, “Does Majewski really want Ohio to secede?”

MICHIGAN 13TH CD. The crypto-aligned Protect Our Future recently spent $760,000 to support state Sen. Adam Hollier ahead of next month’s Democratic primary for this safely blue seat, which makes it the latest well-funded organization to get involved on his behalf. The Detroit News notes that AIPAC has dropped a massive $3.23 million to promote Hollier and attack self-funding state Rep. Shri Thanedar, while VoteVets has spent another $760,000 for the same purpose. Seven other Democrats are on the ballot, but no major outside groups have spent anything to help or hinder any of them.

Target Insyght’s new survey of next week’s Democratic primary finds self-funding state Rep. Shri Thanedar leading Portia Roberson, a Michigan Civil Rights commissioner who sports an endorsement from retiring Rep. Brenda Lawrence, 22-17. The poll, which was in the field July 19-22, shows state Sen. Adam Hollier just behind with 16% as two more contenders, hedge fund manager John Conyers III and former Detroit General Counsel Sharon McPhail, take 7% each.

The last poll we saw was another Target Insyght survey from May that showed a very different state of affairs. Back then McPhail outpaced Conyers 20-15, with Thanedar at 12%; Roberson and Hollier, for their part, clocked in with just 9% and 6%, respectively.

Since then, though, Thanedar has deployed a hefty amount of his own money while Hollier has benefited from a massive amount of outside spending mainly from a trio of groups: AIPAC, VoteVets, and the crypto-aligned Protect Our Future. However, while Hollier’s allies have aired ads attacking Thanedar, they’ve so far ignored Roberson and the rest of the field.

MICHIGAN 12TH CD. A recently formed group called Urban Empowerment Action PAC has spent $200,000 opposing Rep. Rashida Tlaib ahead of the Aug. 2 Democratic primary, and the Detroit News reports that it plans to deploy a total of $750,000 to promote her main opponent, Detroit City Clerk Janice Winfrey. The PAC’s TV spots are not available online, but the paper says that one goes after Tlaib over “her support for defunding the police.”

The organization was created earlier this year with the stated goal of supporting “the educational empowerment and economic uplift of Black communities,” though it quickly made it clear that this race would be its top priority. Bakari Sellers, a former South Carolina legislator turned TV pundit, is the group’s most high-profile supporter, and he specifically faulted Tlaib for casting a vote from the left last year against the Biden administration’s infrastructure bill.

Sellers also told Politico he was concerned that Detroit, which is partially located in this safely blue seat, would not have an African American representative in the next Congress; Winfrey is Black, while Tlaib is the daughter of Palestinian immigrants. Tlaib’s existing 13th District forms just over half of the new 12th.

CONNECTICUT 5TH CD. Former state Sen. George Logan has publicized a late June internal from the Republican firm Public Opinion Strategies that shows Democratic Rep. Jahana Hayes outpacing him 46-41, which makes this the first survey we’ve seen here. Biden would have prevailed 55-44 in a northwestern Connecticut constituency that barely changed at all following redistricting.

Hayes ended last month with an imposing $1.7 million to $200,000 cash-on-hand lead over Logan, who has the Aug. 9 GOP primary to himself, but national Republicans have taken an interest here. The conservative Congressional Leadership Fund earlier this year reserved $1.75 million in fall TV time, though major Democratic outside groups have yet to book anything.

ARIZONA 2ND CD. Navy SEAL veteran Eli Crane earned Donald Trump’s endorsement on Friday for the Aug. 2 GOP primary to face Democratic Rep. Tom O’Halleran. That decision led Trump’s own audience to boo him at his Arizona rally hours later when he mentioned Crane; Trump meekly responded, “But you like me?”

Crane, unsurprisingly, is an ardent Big Lie spreader who has called for decertifying the 2020 election. He’s far from the only election conspiracy theorist in the field, though: Roll Call writes that the one candidate at a recent event who acknowledged that Trump lost was Andy Yates, a businessman who has brought in little money.

Trump made his move days after Crane released a Moore Information Group survey showing him in first place in the crowded nomination contest with 19%, with state Rep. Walt Blackman and businessman Mark DeLuzio tied 12-12 for second; a 34% plurality were undecided, while Yates clocked in with 3%. (Another 14% selected “None of these Candidates,” which is an option in neighboring Nevada but not in Arizona.) This seat in northern and eastern rural Arizona would have backed Trump 53-45, which is a significant shift from Biden’s 50-48 win in the 1st District that O’Halleran currently holds.  

MAINE 2ND CD. Democratic Rep. Jared Golden on Friday earned the backing of the Maine Lodge of the Fraternal Order of Police, an organization that usually supports Republicans. The group notably backed Golden on the same day that it endorsed Republican Paul LePage’s bid to take back his old job from Democratic Gov. Janet Mills.

ARIZONA 6TH CD. In a little-noticed development with just a week to go before Arizona’s Aug. 2 primaries, the Congressional Leadership Fund has now spent more than $1 million to help its preferred candidate in the GOP primary for the swingy 6th District, Juan Ciscomani. The infusion is notable because Ciscomani, an aide to termed-out Gov. Doug Ducey, had far outspent his only notable foe, former mortgage banker Kathleen Winn, by a huge margin as of July 13, $1.3 million to $262,000.

But Winn is not a political unknown. She’s a longtime community outreach director for the state attorney general’s office, and in 2018, she won a nonpartisan election for an at-large spot on the governing board of the Maricopa County Community Colleges, a position that’s elected countywide in this giant jurisdiction of 4.4 million people.

She also has the backing of notorious far-right figures like former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio and Arizona Rep. Paul Gosar, and she recently earned an endorsement from Kari Lake, the former TV news anchor and Big Lie enthusiast who’s running to succeed Ducey with Donald Trump’s blessing. And just as the unhinged Lake has been giving fits to what remains of the GOP establishment, Winn may as well.

Ciscomani is a highly touted recruit, so much so that his campaign was the hook for a New York Times feature last month on GOP efforts to put forward a more diverse slate of candidates nationwide—one that quotes the president of the Congressional Leadership Fund, which is closely tied to Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and is the largest Republican super PAC involved in House races. The bulk of the CLF’s spending has come in just the last month and includes online advertising, mailers, and a TV ad praising Ciscomani for being tough on the border.

But that same Times piece shows exactly why Ciscomani could face trouble from the MAGA wing of the party: Reporter Catie Edmondson described him as “running with a laserlike focus on inflation, border security, and an explicit appeal for unity”—a message that “stands in sharp contrast to the language used by other Republicans in the Arizona delegation” like Gosar, who was stripped of his committee assignments last year after he posted a video that portrayed him killing New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Voters, Ciscomani told Edmondson, are “tired of the infighting and bickering. They want government to go do their job. To go actually protect our border, to handle this inflation, stop the overspending, and get things under control.” He added, “We have to be very disciplined in saying there are more things we agree on than disagree on.” That might be a winning message in a general election, but it’s seldom one Republican primary voters are interested in.

Despite CLF’s apparent worries, it would nevertheless be quite an upset should Winn prevail. Most notably, Maricopa County, where Winn holds local office, isn’t actually in the 6th District, which is based around the southern Arizona city of Tucson. According to her campaign website, Winn was once a local TV reporter in Tucson, but the extent of her ties to the area these days are unclear. But if Trumpist voters are looking for a more red-meat alternative to Ciscomani, that’s the sort of flaw that’s easy to overlook.

Democrats have a competitive primary of their own for this open seat between state Rep. Daniel Hernandez and state Sen. Kirsten Engel, though neither has benefitted from any outside spending. And unlike in many other races across the country where Democrats have sought to meddle in GOP primaries to boost less electable candidates, we haven’t seen any similar efforts here, nor are we likely to given how little time is left before the primary.

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

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