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The Political Report – September 27, 2022

A new Emerson College poll finds President Biden with his highest approval all year from an Emerson poll, at 45% approve and 49% disapprove.

Gallup: “Approval of Congress, which has been trending higher since August, is now 23%, its highest point in 2022. Still, roughly six weeks before the midterm elections, the vast majority of Americans — 75% — disapprove of the way Congress is handling its job.”

“Heading into the final weeks of the midterm election campaign, Americans are split nationally in their vote for Congress, with Republicans holding sizable advantages on the economy, inflation and crime and Democrats far more trusted to handle the issues of abortion and climate change,” according to a Washington Post-ABC News poll.

“At this point, both sides are highly motivated to turn out in November. Among registered Democratic voters, 3 in 4 say they are almost certain to vote compared with about 8 in 10 Republicans. Independents are less motivated.”

“Four years ago, Democrats were about as mobilized as Republicans and had a clear lead in overall support. Eight years ago, when Democrats suffered losses, Republicans were more motivated.”

“Pollsters know they have a problem. But they aren’t sure they’ve fixed it in time for the November election,” Politico reports.

“Since Donald Trump’s unexpected 2016 victory, pre-election polls have consistently understated support for Republican candidates, compared to the votes ultimately cast.”

“Once again, polls over the past two months are showing Democrats running stronger than once expected in a number of critical midterm races. It’s left some wondering whether the rosy results are setting the stage for another potential polling failure that dashes Democratic hopes of retaining control of Congress— and vindicates the GOP’s assertion that the polls are unfairly biased against them.”

PENNSYLVANIA GOVERNOR. Republican Doug Mastriano still has not so much as reserved any ad time for the general election, and he’s made it painfully clear just how abandoned he feels by his party. The QAnon ally recently recorded a Facebook live video where, as the Philadelphia Inquirer puts it, “he looked more dejected than we’ve ever seen him.” Mastriano sounded even worse, musing, “Really not finding a lot of support from the national-level Republican organizations.”

That’s an understatement if anything because, according to AdImpact, the only outside support he’s received at all has been the $7.8 million that Commonwealth Leaders Fund, a group funded by local conservative billionaire Jeff Yass, began spending against Democrat Josh Shapiro back in late July. Shapiro, by contrast, has dropped $32 million in the general election, while his allies at the DGA affiliate Put Pennsylvania First spent another $3.5 million earlier in the year.

Mastriano would very much like it if the Republican Governors Association backed him up, but while RGA chair Doug Ducey said earlier this month that he still sees this race as a “pickup opportunity,” the Arizona governor sounded wary about getting involved. “So we’re in a relationship with our candidate, but we’re saying to the candidates, you have to show us something,” Ducey said, adding, “You have to demonstrate that you can move numbers. That you can raise resources.”  

Mastriano tried to raise resources just before he made that mournful Facebook video by appearing on a podcast hosted by his fellow far-right extremist Steve Bannon. The nominee implored listeners to open their wallets because if he won, “I get to appoint the secretary of state.” He added, “Americans, wherever you live in the world, if you’re an American citizen, you can donate to my campaign.”

One of Mastriano’s allies, though, is trying a different approach to try to get the RGA involved. Jenna Ellis, the notorious 2020 election denier who now serves as Mastriano’s legal advisor, on Tuesday posted the RGA’s email address and the number for its general counsel on Twitter and wrote, “The Republican Governors Association would rather see an insane extremist Democrat win in Pennsylvania than have a Republican they can’t control. Doug Mastriano’s race is MORE CRITICAL THAN EVER for freedom from BOTH SIDES!!”

Ellis also used that tweet to implore her followers to “tell them DOUG FOR GOV!!” but we don’t know how many of them did before she deleted it.

PENNSYLVANIA U.S. SENATOR. “Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, the Democratic nominee for Pennsylvania’s open U.S. Senate seat, has logged hundreds of miles driving around Pennsylvania and touted that he is working for ‘Every county, Every vote,’” the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports.

“But some activists and elected officials say they are concerned that certain communities aren’t being fully reached by Mr. Fetterman, as he faces off against Republican celebrity physician Mehmet Oz. They say he may not be spending enough time courting big-city voters — in particular, Black voters — and ensuring this key part of the Democratic base will have strong turnout in November.”

NEVADA U.S. SENATOR. Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto is airing her first ad focusing on Republican Adam Laxalt’s role in promoting the Big Lie, a topic that not many Democrats have put front and center in their general election spots.

“They stormed the Capitol because they were told the election was stolen,” says the narrator, before he describes Laxalt as “[t]he proud face of the Big Lie in Nevada.” The commercial continues by charging the Republican with “[r]epeatedly pushing conspiracy theories without any real evidence” before the narrator finishes, “Now, Laxalt says he’ll try to overturn this year’s election if he doesn’t like the results.”

Laxalt unsuccessfully sued to overturn Biden’s victory in the state after claiming that “illegal votes” were cast, and he spent the next year trying to delegitimize Biden’s presidency. The Nevada Independent last month wrote that in September of 2021, the month after he kicked off his Senate campaign, Laxalt called for rural Douglas County to audit its results. County Clerk-Treasurer Amy Burgans said she’d told Laxalt that this wasn’t allowed under state law, and that he’d refused her offer to see the relevant statute.

“More than anything, I am just letting you know due to the amount of misinformation that is out there,” Burgans emailed an official at the secretary of state’s office, continuing, “I am sure you are aware of it, but I was baffled as to why he wouldn’t want me to educate him on election laws, especially since he was the former Attorney General!!!” Burgans predicted, “I believe next year ALL candidates will be running on ‘election integrity’ as a platform without a basic understanding of what the law requires.” Laxalt’s spokesperson told the site in response, “This is absurd. Adam has never had a concern with the integrity of elections in Douglas County.”

Finally, the Republican firm Insider Advantage has polled the race, but there’s a major warning sign. The right-wing site that hired them, American Greatness, denies the results of the 2020 elections, calling them “rigged” in the very same post in which they publicized these new results.

OHIO U.S. SENATOR and GOVERNOR. The progressive group Red Wine and Blue has released an internal from the Democratic firm Change Research conducted in the first week of September that gives Democrat Tim Ryan a 47-42 edge over Republican J.D. Vance for Senate. The poll also shows Republican Gov. Mike DeWine turning back Democrat Nan Whaley 45-39, which is closer than what most other firms have found.  

Cleveland Plain Dealer: “Vance and his allies have spent about $30.6 million on ads. Ninety-two percent of that is coming from outside groups, nearly all of which is from Senate Leadership Fund PAC, which has close ties to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. About $2.4 million is coming directly from Vance’s campaign.”

“Even though Vance and his allies are spending almost three times as much as Ryan, they’re only getting about 20% more airtime. That’s largely because candidates, under federal law, get much better prices compared to outside PACs.”

KANSAS GOVERNOR. “When Kansas voters overwhelmingly rejected a constitutional amendment that would have removed language enshrining reproductive rights in their state, Democrats across the country pounced even harder on the issue as a flash point they said would drive huge turnout following the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade,” NBC News reports.

“But back in Kansas — where Gov. Laura Kelly, a Democrat, is fighting a tough re-election battle— the issue is almost nowhere to be seen.”

“Kelly, who polls show is in a dead heat with her Republican challenger, state Attorney General Derek Schmidt, has instead focused almost exclusively on the economy, tax cuts and education.”

“Everybody is waiting to see what Trump decides. And the reality is he is going to do what he wants to do. I don’t know if he is going to run for president. Nobody else does, either… If he doesn’t run, everybody runs.” — Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), speaking about the 2024 presidential field.

Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) “reiterated this weekend that she would campaign against election deniers, singling out Republican gubernatorial nominees in Arizona and Pennsylvania who’ve floated conspiracy theories about the 2020 presidential race,” ABC News reports.

BIDEN 2024. “Many Democratic leaders, operatives and officials are cautiously warming to the idea of President Joe Biden running for reelection in 2024,” CNN reports. “But just like many voters and donors – as poll after poll shows – they’re still not sure he should do it, or that he will.”

“A majority of Democrats and Democrat-leaning independents want the party to replace President Joe Biden as its 2024 nominee,” according to a Washington Post-ABC News poll

“Just 35% of this group prefer Biden for the nomination, while 56% say the Democratic Party should pick someone else.”

WISCONSIN U.S. SENATOR. Everytown for Gun Safety is spending $1 million on an ad campaign arguing that Republican incumbent Ron Johnson’s opposition to gun safety laws has endangered public safety, a message the super PAC has urged Democrats to adopt to counter the GOP’s crime-themed commercials.

Everytown’s spot opens with footage of the aftermath of mass shootings, as well as the very same clip of a group of people scattering in panic during a shooting that a conservative group recently used to attack Democrat Mandela Barnes. (That ad drew a red circle around one of the gunmen next to on-screen text reading “Mandela Barnes,” something his supporters highlighted as one of the racist messages being deployed against the man who would be the state’s first Black senator.)

But while the GOP has used clips of violent scenes to argue that Barnes’ support for criminal justice reform is putting Wisconsinites at risk, Everytown’s narrator declares that it’s Johnson who is “making things worse.” She continues, “He abandoned law enforcement, voting against funding the police, preventing local departments from hiring more officers, but supported flooding our streets with guns and making it easier for violent criminals and domestic abusers to get them.”

ALASKA GOVERNOR. Former independent Gov. Bill Walker and former Democratic state Rep. Les Gara each used a recent debate to make it clear they’d be ranking the other as their second choice in the Nov. 8 instant-runoff contest against Republican incumbent Mike Dunleavy. These sorts of informal alliances occur sometimes in ranked choice races, and it could make it easier for Walker or Gara to convince the other’s supporters to also rank them second as well.

GEORGIA GOVERNOR. Patinkin Research Strategies (D) for Progress for Georgia (pro-Stacey Abrams): Brian Kemp (R-inc): 50, Stacey Abrams (D): 47

FLORIDA 22ND CD. Democratic Rep. Ted Deutch tells Jewish Insider that his resignation from Congress will take effect at the end of this month. Deutch announced back in February that he both wouldn’t seek re-election and would leave office at some point before the end of the 117th Congress in order to take over as CEO of the advocacy group the American Jewish Committee, though at the time he didn’t say when exactly he’d be departing.

NEW YORK 1ST CD and MAINE 2ND CD. Democrat Bridget Fleming has earned the backing of the Suffolk County Police Benevolent Association in the contest to succeed Republican Rep. Lee Zeldin even though the group is supporting Zeldin’s bid for governor as well as Long Island’s other three GOP House candidates.

Police unions across the country have largely lined up behind Republicans in this year’s competitive general elections, though the Maine Lodge Fraternal Order of Police is backing Rep. Jared Golden in the state’s 2nd District. Golden is now running a commercial touting the endorsement, which features members praising him as “a different type of Democrat.”

OHIO 9TH CD. A day after the NRCC pitched him into the sea, J.R. Majewski’s campaign continues to sink beneath the waves. The QAnon candidate in Ohio’s 9th District, who was busted by the AP on Wednesday for falsely claiming he’d served in combat in Afghanistan, held a seven-minute press conference on Friday morning during which he insisted he couldn’t provide further details on his deployments because they were “classified.” That, of course, must be why he breezily chatted about them on far-right podcasts such as “Red Pill News.”

According to the Toledo Blade’s Luke Ramseth, Majewski also said he was “considering suing AP” and would “push for a law that would make it a crime to ‘besmirch veterans'”—plus that he “might share” photos of himself in Afghanistan. We’ll be waiting for a while: The AP’s Brian Slodysko, who broke the original story, tweeted out a list of Majewski’s supposed Air Force postings provided by his campaign, none of which mention the word “Afghanistan.”

There’s also one other unresolved detail worth mentioning. While multiple outlets confirmed on Thursday that the NRCC had canceled its entire $960,000 ad reservation in the Toledo media market (which covers almost the entire district) for the final six weeks of the election, we haven’t yet heard about the fate of a similar booking made by the committee’s allies at the Congressional Leadership Fund. That giant super PAC said in April that it had reserved $705,000 in Toledo, but is that money still there, or has CLF also cut Majewski loose? We’d love to know.

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

1 comment on “The Political Report – September 27, 2022

  1. I don’t think I can recall a time when congress broke 30% approval. The interesting thing is, individual congress people poll much higher with their constituency than congress as a whole. I don’t think there is any way to fix that.

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