Delaware

The Political Report – August 3, 2022

Here is a huge polling dump for Senator and Governor races from over the weekend.

“A final stretch of primaries for state and federal offices kicks off Tuesday, setting the stage for a six-week battle inside a divided Republican Party pitting candidates loyal to former president Donald Trump and his false election claims against rivals looking to move past those fights in this fall’s midterm elections,” the Washington Post reports.

“Tuesday’s contests in Arizona, Kansas, Michigan, Missouri and Washington state could elevate more Republicans who, like Trump, have baselessly undermined faith in elections and pitch themselves as populist fighters against not just Democrats but the GOP establishment.”

CNN: Eight things to watch in today’s primaries.

MISSOURI U.S. SENATOR. Last night, the ex-president put out a baffling endorsement in the GOP Missouri Senate primary, declaring, “ERIC has my Complete and Total Endorsement!” and no one knows if he’s talking about disgraced ex-governor Eric Greitens (whose wife has accused him of domestic abuse) or state Attorney General Eric Schmitt.

The endorsement: “I trust the Great People of Missouri, on this one, to make up their own minds, much as they did when they gave me landslide victories in the 2016 and 2020 Elections, and I am therefore proud to announce that ERIC has my Complete and Total Endorsement!”

Greitens and Schmitt are, of course, very confident that the endorsement was for Greitens/Schmitt and are graciously thanking Trump for the endorsement he personally gave Greitens/Schmitt.

Missouri U.S. Senate candidate Billy Long (R) tweets: “I coined the phrase ‘Trump Train.’ I’ve been with him through thick and thin but I was taken aback when he came out with a full throated endorsement of me in #MOSen race! He said to pick BETWEEN the two ERIC’s – that’s ME! E.S. line 2 E.G. line 4 I’m BETWEEN the two on line 3!”

This comes after Eric Greitens (R) and Eric Schmitt (R) both claimed Trump endorsed them.

Politico: “Trump kicked off the private lobbying spree late Monday morning, when he posted on social media that he would be making his endorsement official that day — without mentioning that he apparently had not yet made his final choice. What transpired over the course of the afternoon illustrates the anarchical nature of Trump’s endorsement process.”

“While the much-coveted endorsement is one of Trump’s greatest assets and his chief political weapon, how he decides who gets one is often more improvisational than scripted.”

Rolling Stone: Missouri’s Senate race doubles as the toxic masculinity bowl.

“Former U.S. attorney John Wood, an independent candidate for U.S. Senate in Missouri who is seeking to appeal to moderate Republicans, said he collected 22,000 signatures to get his name on the November ballot,” the Kansas City Star reports.

PENNSYLVANIA U.S. SENATOR. Pennsylvania U.S. Senate candidate Mehmet Oz (R) had personal financial stakes in some of the health supplements he touted as a TV doctor, the Daily Beast reports.

Said medical ethics expert Arthu Caplan: “You simply cannot do what he’s disclosing he did… It’s not illegal… but certainly, ethically, it’s completely dubious.”

KANSAS REFERENDUM. Someone’s sending anonymous texts to Kansas voters urging them to vote “yes” on a constitutional amendment on abortion rights on today’s ballot in the state, which the text falsely claims “will give women a choice.”

“Vote YES to protect women’s health,” the anonymous text says, per the Kansas City Star.

Yeah, that’s a straight-up lie: Voting “yes” means adding language to the state’s constitution stating that it does not guarantee Kansans’ right to an abortion and allows the issue to go to the legislature, where the GOP majority will be empowered to pass an abortion ban. A “no” vote leaves the Kansas constitution as it is.

“Millions of dollars’ worth of advertising has flooded the airwaves in Kansas, part of a sudden burst of attention and spending as voters prepare for the country’s first electoral test addressing abortion since the Supreme Court struck down Roe v. Wade,” the New York Times reports.

“Kansans are voting on whether to add language to their State Constitution that would clear a path for Republican lawmakers to restrict or ban the procedure. So far, roughly $12 million has been poured into the race — split about evenly between both camps.”

Washington Post: Misleading Kansas abortion texts linked to Republican-aligned firm.

“About three dozen former Democratic House and Senate members have signed on to an open letter blistering national Democrats for their meddling in this year’s Republican primaries, often to the benefit of pro-Donald Trump hard-liners,” Politico reports.

Tim Miller has a good look at the Democratic efforts to prop up extreme candidates in Republican primaries.

Nate Silver: “Their chances of winning the Senate now stand at 55 percent. That’s up from 47 percent from forecast launch on June 30. It’s also up from 40 percent in a retroactive forecast dated back to June 1.”

“This is matched by Democrats’ improved position on the generic congressional ballot, which asks voters which party they would support in a congressional election. Democrats are now essentially tied with Republicans in our generic ballot polling average, after having trailed by 2 to 3 percentage points over most of the late spring and early summer.”

“Republican missteps, weak candidates and fund-raising woes are handing Democrats unexpected opportunities in races for governor this year, including in two states with departing Republican chief executives and in a number led by Democrats where G.O.P. contenders now face far longer odds than they had hoped,” the New York Times reports.

“The potential to at least limit their statehouse defeats offers Democrats a bright spot in a midterm election in which they’re likely to suffer heavy congressional losses, as President Biden’s approval ratings plunge below 40 percent and the vast majority of voters remain convinced the country is on the wrong track amid fears of a recession.”

The RNC has been relying on a stable of the party’s most prolific spreaders of false stolen-election theories to pilot a sweeping “election integrity” operation to recruit and coach thousands of poll workers in eight battleground states, according to new recordings of organizing summits held this spring in Florida and Pennsylvania, Politico reports.

Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) “has denied preparing to run for president, despite writing a book which says he is,” The Guardian reports.

The publisher of Sen. Tim Scott’s (R-SC) forthcoming memoir had to issue an awkward apology for the copyright page which suggested the GOP senator was preparing to launch a presidential bid, the Charleston Post & Courier reports.

WISCONSIN U.S. SENATOR. Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes all but locked up the Democratic nomination for Senate on Friday when his last remaining major rival, state Treasurer Sarah Godlewski, abandoned her campaign and gave him her endorsement ahead of Wisconsin’s Aug. 9 primary.

The development capped a remarkable week for Barnes: On Monday, Outagamie County Executive Tom Nelson quit the contest and backed the lieutenant governor, while two days later, former Milwaukee Bucks executive Alex Lasry did the same. Following Lasry’s departure, Godlewski insisted she’d remain in the race, but despite self-funding $4 million, she trailed badly in the polls and had little chance of overtaking the frontrunner.

Barnes had spent a year battling this trio for the right to take on Sen. Ron Johnson, the most vulnerable Republican senator up for re-election in November. If he’s successful, he’d be the state’s first Black member of the Senate, a journey that would cap a swift rise over the last decade.

Barnes, now 35, first won office in 2012 by ousting a Democratic member of the state Assembly after castigating the incumbent for his support of school vouchers. He then ran for lieutenant governor in 2018, easily winning his own primary and then, as part of a ticket with Tony Evers, narrowly ousting Republican Gov. Scott Walker and his number two, Rebecca Kleefisch (who is now running against Evers for her old boss’s job).

Barnes’ toughest assignment remains ahead of him, however. Wisconsin is the very definition of a swing state, and Johnson, unlike most Republicans running for the Senate, has actually raised a legit amount—almost $18 million—and is also very rich. Barnes to date has brought in a much smaller $7 million, but his fundraising is sure to skyrocket now that the entire Democratic Party has rallied around him.

Lasry is also providing a gracious boost: The wealthy ex-candidate, who’d given his own campaign $15 million, still had $584,000 in paid-for but unused TV airtime after bowing out, so he decided to run a flight of ads hammering Johnson for outsourcing jobs.

Ultimately, far more will be spent on this race, which will be one of the most expensive in the country. But Barnes now gets a week-and-a-half head start for a critical three-month sprint that may determine whether Democrats retain control of the Senate.

COLORADO U.S. SENATOR. The NRSC is spending $240,000 on a cable buy, which is a modest sum but marks their first foray into the contest here between Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet and businessman Joe O’Dea, his Republican challenger.

WISCONSIN GOVERNOR. Mike Pence has endorsed former Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch ahead of the Aug. 9 GOP primary, setting up another proxy fight between the former vice president and Donald Trump, who had previously backed wealthy businessman Tim Michels.

IOWA U.S. SENATOR and 1ST CD. Former GOP Rep. Jim Leach, who lost in the 2006 wave to former Democratic Rep. Dave Loebsack after representing part of eastern Iowa in the House for 30 years, has announced he is switching parties to Democratic and endorsing retired Navy Vice Adm. Mike Franken for Senate and state Rep. Christina Bohannan in the 1st District. Leach said he was prompted to make the change in reaction to Jan. 6 and Republicans lying about the 2020 election results.

RHODE ISLAND GOVERNOR. Former Rep. Patrick Kennedy, who left office more than a decade ago but whose family remains one of the most famous in New England politics, endorsed former CVS executive Helena Foulkes in her bid for governor late last week. While Kennedy no longer lives in Rhode Island, WPRI’s Ted Nesi describes Foulkes as a “longtime family friend whose uncle, former Connecticut U.S. Sen. Chris Dodd, was a close friend” of Ted Kennedy, Patrick Kennedy’s father. At the same event, Foulkes also picked up the support of Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza, who surprised Ocean State politicos last year when he opted to stay out of the governor’s race.

MINNESOTA GOVERNOR. A new internal poll from Cygnal for likely GOP nominee Scott Jensen finds him trailing Democratic Gov. Tim Walz by a 50-46 margin. However, the survey did not include any of the other candidates whose names will appear on the November ballot, including two different pro-marijuana parties that achieved “major party” status in 2018 and will choose nominees at the Aug. 9 primary. It also did not mention Hugh McTavish of the Independence Party, which is no longer recognized as a major party (meaning its candidates have to individually petition their way on the ballot) but has had an impact in previous years, sometimes scoring in the double digits.

KANSAS GOVERNOR. Far-right state Sen. Dennis Pyle, who left the GOP and announced a bid for governor as a conservative independent in June, submitted almost 9,000 signatures in order to get on the November ballot on Monday—well above the 5,000 required by law. The Sunflower State Journal’s Brad Cooper reports that officials do not appear to have a set deadline to review Pyle’s signatures but say they intend to do so by Sept. 1.

Democrats are hoping that Pyle—who seems to hate the GOP’s likely nominee, Attorney General Derek Schmidt, as much if not more than he does Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly—will siphon off votes from Schmidt and thereby boost Kelly during what will be a very difficult re-election campaign. Indeed, a Democratic state lawmaker and a union that supported Kelly in 2018 were among those who helped Pyle gather signatures. However, no polls have been made public since Pyle’s entry, so there’s no telling yet how much this gambit might or might not be helping.

FLORIDA GOVERNOR. State Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried is launching her first TV ad ahead of Florida’s Aug. 23 primary that goes after her chief rival, Rep. Charlie Crist, without ever mentioning him by name. Walking through a field of mannequins standing in for Florida’s previous governors, Fried says, “Florida’s had 46 Governors, some good, some bad—and one, depends on which way the wind’s blowing”—a reference to the party-switching Crist, who was elected to lead the state as a Republican in 2006, became an independent in 2010, and joined the Democratic Party in 2012.

Fried goes on to describe herself as the “only statewide elected Democrat, only pro-choice Democrat, only Democrat to have never taken a dime from the National Rifle Association.” Crist has said he supports abortion rights but has also called himself “for life,” including in an interview this spring after the Supreme Court opinion overturning Roe was leaked. Politico reports that Fried has booked a $1.5 million buy across the state.

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

1 comment on “The Political Report – August 3, 2022

  1. John Kowalko

    I have posted the following on my Facebook page. Please feel free to repost or link on your site or invite your readers to do the same.
    Appreciatively,
    Representative John Kowalko
    I am sure that most of you are aware that I have chosen to make this my final term in office. It has been a privilege and a pleasure to serve my 25th District and constituency and all of the families in Delaware.
    I am pleased and proud to announce that a highly qualified, well-informed and compassionate candidate has stepped forward to succeed me as your 25th District State Representative.
    Cyndie Romer is that person. I have met with Cyndie on quite a few occasions, and I am positive that she will be the person who bests represents the people in the 25th District. Her interests and passion for the community align with mine. She is a strong and consistent supporter of good government and transparent government. She is relentless in her advocacy for the families and taxpayers of Delaware. Cyndie Romer is a talented and hard-working individual who is dedicated to true public education reform and has tirelessly and unequivocally supported equity and equitable treatment for all people regardless of ethnicity, gender, race or socioeconomic status.
    Cyndie Romer’s candidacy reassures me that the only special interest that will be served is that of the public when she is elected as your 25th District Representative. I need all of you to let your friends and neighbors in the 25th know that they should vote for Cyndie Romer in the Democrat primary on Tuesday, September 13th. This will be one of the most important votes they will cast.
    If you or anyone has questions for me please feel free to call me at 302 547 9351.
    For more information on Cyndie, please visit her website at http://www.romerfordelaware.com

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