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The Political Report – February 17, 2023

Gallup: “Americans’ satisfaction with the level of immigration into the U.S. has fallen six percentage points over the past year, from 34% in January 2022 to 28% today.”

“This is the lowest reading in a decade, though not the least satisfied Americans have been on this issue over the past 23 years.”

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) “made it clear to his supporters on Monday night that he’s running for re-election to the Senate, and not for the White House,” the Houston Chronicle reports.  Said Cruz: “I’m on the ballot in 2024. I’m running for re-election.”

“It was the most direct indication yet that the Texas Republican — who came in second to former President Donald Trump in the 2016 GOP primary and has been open about wanting to make another run for the White House — does not see a path for himself next year.”

Former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) ramped his Facebook ad spending to $85,000 — more than every other possible GOP contender put together, FWIW reports.

“You should know this about me: I don’t put up with bullies. And when you kick back, it hurts them more if you’re wearing heels.”— Nikki Haley, in a video launching her presidential campaign.

Ron Brownstein: “The key to that breakthrough was Trump’s success in carving a new fault line in the GOP primary electorate. Traditionally, a critical divide among Republican voters has been between those who identify as evangelical Christians and those who do not.”

“But Trump in 2016 split the GOP electorate more along lines of education, drawing commanding support from voters without a four-year college degree, whether or not they identified as evangelical Christians. Trump’s big margins among those non-college evangelicals proved critical in allowing him to win a series of culturally conservative states, especially across the South, that Sen. Ted Cruz, Trump’s principal rival on the right in 2016, had expected to propel him to the nomination.”

“If anything, those blue-collar evangelical Christians may be even more important to Trump’s prospects in 2024.”

“Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL) has nabbed an early endorsement in his bid for reelection, with the conservative Club for Growth, one of the top-spending GOP super PACs, offering its support,” Politico reports.  “The Club’s endorsement of the Florida Republican also comes with a rebuke of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a further sign that the party’s fissures remain deep and unresolved as it enters the 2024 cycle.”

Nikki Haley told NBC News that she “didn’t ask” for a blessing when she spoke to former President Donald Trump before announcing her 2024 White House bid this week.  Said Haley: “I told him that I thought that we needed to go in a new direction.”

Donald Trump told Fox News that he is “glad” Nikki Haley is running for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination. Said Trump: “I’m glad she’s running. I want her to follow her heart — even though she made a commitment that she would never run against who she called the greatest president of her lifetime.”

He added: “She should do what she wants to do and not be bound by the fact that she said she would never do it.”

“An earlier presidential primary date won’t just bring a wave of political advertising and more attention to Georgia. It could also bring a surge of spending that generates thousands of new jobs and a nine-figure economic impact,” the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports.

“Those findings are outlined in a new economic analysis by Thomas More Smith, an Emory University finance professor who drafted an 11-page report on the effort by Democrats to make Georgia the fourth state to vote in next year’s presidential primary.”

Nikki Haley, the newly minted Republican presidential candidate, called on Wednesday for mandatory “mental competency tests” for politicians over the age of 75, an implied dig at President Biden and her one-time boss, former President Donald Trump, The Hill reports.

Jonathan Bernstein: “While the presidential election is still 20 months away, the likelihood that multiple credentialed candidates will pursue the nomination also suggests that the Republican Party is open to change, whether in a more moderate direction or toward more conservative policy extremism.”

“Both Trump and DeSantis appear formidable, at least in public. They dominate the polls nationally and in the early states and have received the bulk of early endorsements from high-profile Republicans. There is no obvious political comparison to Trump in the modern era, but any former president is presumed to be a strong candidate. His polling numbers among Republican voters are still good, and he has far more support from the Republican Party than he did in his first run in 2016.”

“While Trump might wind up with the nomination, it’s significant that other contenders clearly aren’t frightened of publicly opposing him. It tells us that many Republicans believe that Trump will be in a worse position when voters in Iowa and New Hampshire make their choices early next year. And their hesitation is understandable for several reasons, not the least of which is that the former president is facing multiple investigations that could lead to criminal charges.”

“Republicans seeking the party’s 2024 presidential nomination have so far ignored an issue that’s been central to the conservative movement for decades: abortion,” NBC News reports.

“Embattled Rep. George Santos (R-NY) is contemplating a nightmare scenario for House Republicans: Trying to stick it out in Congress, even if he is indicted on criminal charges,” CNN reports.

“After previously signaling to Republicans he wouldn’t seek reelection, Santos has recently been telling people he is considering running for a second term and privately insists he will ultimately be cleared of all wrong-doing and that his treasurer will face scrutiny over his finances.”

“Donald Trump’s campaign has split with its longtime TV ad maker, Jamestown Associates,” Politico reports.

“One of the firm’s partners has decided to work with a Trump rival in 2024: Nikki Haley, the former South Carolina governor and ambassador to the United Nations who launched her presidential bid on Wednesday. The former president’s campaign, in turn, has decided that it would not renew its relationship with Jamestown, which crafted commercials for Trump during the 2016 and 2020 elections. Trump’s team also used the firm after he left the White House.”

Washington Post: “As DeSantis gears up for a potential presidential run in 2024, Black activists and political strategists around the country are organizing, protesting and preparing to highlight the particular danger they say he and his anti-“woke” movement pose to civil rights and to their push to tackle racism as a systemic issue. Some say they are determined not to repeat what they consider a tepid and belated response to former president Donald Trump’s rise in 2016, and argue that DeSantis’s political strategy is even more rooted in racial division than Trump’s.”

“These Black leaders view Florida’s recent rejection of an Advanced Placement African American history course as part of a pattern of dismissing their community’s concerns and enacting policy that threatens their rights.”

Politico: “After the influential Koch network announced this month that it would endorse a rival candidate to former President Donald Trump, donors aligned with Mike Pence privately reached out in hopes of securing its backing.”

“Despite those ties, however, the Koch network is, so far, content to keep its powder dry, looking to survey the field before deciding how to shape it.”

Rep. Harriet Hageman (R-WY) announced her endorsement of former president Donald Trump in his presidential run in 2024, Wyoming Public Radio reports.  She called Trump one of the best presidents of her lifetime.

“You have an ex-president who remains very popular with the base, and I think that you have a lot of senators — again, I don’t want to speak for anybody in particular, this is just my sense — a lot of senators who probably would be very interested in running.” — Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO), quoted by the Washington Post, on how Donald Trump has frozen the presidential ambition of many Republican senators.

Wall Street Journal: “The 2024 presidential candidate remains critical of various forms of early voting, advisers say, but his campaign is nonetheless mounting an effort to pursue such votes after Democrats excelled at doing so in recent elections.”

“His team is studying state laws governing absentee and mail-in voting as well as ballot collection, called ‘ballot harvesting’ by critics, in which third parties gather and turn in votes, people familiar with the effort said.”

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

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