The Political Report – February 26, 2023

A new PRRI national poll finds 64% of Americans say that abortion should be legal in most or all cases, while 34% say it should be illegal in most or all cases.

More granularly, 30% say abortion should be legal in all cases, 34% say it should be legal in most cases, 25% say it should be illegal in most cases, and just 9% say it should be illegal in all cases.

Republicans see fentanyl and other opioids as the biggest threat to Americans’ public health, while Democrats say it’s guns, according to a new Axios-Ipsos survey.

“It wasn’t enough that Herschel Walker’s ill-fated Senate campaign in Georgia had a rough run,” the Daily Beast reports.

“Now the feds want to know more about financial moves the campaign made after Walker lost—including tens of thousands of dollars stashed in a ‘recount’ fund long after Walker had conceded defeat.”

One campaign finance expert said it looked like a “dumping ground for excess contributions.”

David Brooks: “I suppose all contemporary young politicians dream of meeting their moment. At the enthusiastic dawn of their politico careers, they entertain a fantasy that some day, as a great historical challenge looms into view, their future selves will rise to the occasion — and masterfully dodge it!”

“They envision themselves bobbing and weaving, triangulating and feinting — filling the air with meaningless clichés so that no one knows where they stand and no one can hold them accountable. Their political career sails on, soaring upward, their electoral viability unbruised and glorious!”

“Ron DeSantis is now trying to live out that dream.”

FiveThirtyEight has banned any polls coming from former polling firm executive director Sean McElwee after an investigation brought to light that he’d bet on elections.

Associated Press: “It’s early yet, but next year’s presidential race may feature something the political world hasn’t seen in the last 50 years: no Texans.”

“The Texas-size hole in the field will be on stark display Friday at a closed Republican donor event outside the state capital, Austin, featuring the likes of former Vice President Mike Pence, who is expected to mount a campaign, and former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, who announced her bid last week.”

Marianne Williamson confirmed to Medill News Service that she will indeed jump into the Democratic presidential primary.

“Williamson described the country as in the midst of a threat of authoritarianism, where corporate oligarchs, fossil fuel companies, gun manufacturers, and the military industrial complex ‘suck the juice’ out of democracy.”

Tallahassee Democrat: “DeSantis said he will push Florida lawmakers to approve enhanced penalties for human smuggling, require businesses to use the federal E-Verify system when hiring workers, and impose further blocks on undocumented immigrants seeking drivers’ licenses or attempting to vote.”

Some “middle-class” wealthy donors are annoyed by the lack of attention from Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, Semafor reports.

“As U.S. Sen. Tim Scott inches closer to an expected 2024 presidential run, he called for a revival of American hope through conservative ideals in a pair of Des Moines-area speeches Wednesday, urging Iowans to support a vision he said will help bring people into the party and help Republicans win elections,” the Des Moines Register reports.

Associated Press: Scott speaks of “new American sunrise” as he mulls White House bid.

PHILADELPHIA MAYOR. Former City Councilmember Cherelle Parker on Wednesday publicized an endorsement from the Philadelphia Building Trades Council, which has long been one of the most influential endorsements in city politics, ahead of the May Democratic primary for mayor. The Trades Council, which is home to more than 30 individual unions, spent a serious amount of money in 2015 to help now-Mayor Jim Kenney win his primary, and it’s deployed resources in other state and local contests.

However, the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Sean Walsh notes that the race to succeed the termed-out Kenney will be a test to see if the Trades Council has maintained its power following longtime leader John Dougherty’s 2021 departure after his conviction for federal bribery charges. The article adds that Dougherty’s old union, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 98, was one of just two that abstained from endorsing Parker, which Walsh says “opened up the question of whether” it will “commit the same level of resources to her as it did Kenney.”

The Trades Council’s new president, Ryan Boyer, also said Wednesday that this endorsement comes at a time when Parker doesn’t appear to be the favorite. “It’d be very easy for us to just take a poll, and we get on the so-called frontrunner,” Boyer said, adding, “But these building trades have never been a thermometer, where we measure stuff. We’re a thermostat, and we’re going to turn it up.”

Parker is one of nine candidates competing in a primary where it takes just a plurality to win the all-important Democratic nod, but former Lt. Gov. Mike Stack said Tuesday that he would not be candidate number 10. It’s unlikely anyone serious will mount a last-minute campaign, either: Contenders have until March 7 to submit at least 1,000 valid signatures, and Billy Penn says they’ll likely collect far more both to shield themselves from any challenges and “as a chest-beating display.”

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) said he’s willing to spend what it takes in the next election to help President Biden keep his job — and keep Republicans like Ron DeSantis and Donald Trump out of the White House, Bloomberg reports.

Said Pritzker: “It’s very important to me that we elect a Democratic president and that we make sure to keep DeSantis, Trump and the retrograde views that they carry out of the White House. I’ll continue to support Democrats in the best way I can to help them get elected.”

CALIFORNIA 12TH DISTRICT. Assemblywoman Mia Bonta has not ruled out a potential bid to succeed newly minted Senate candidate Barbara Lee in this dark blue seat, but colleague and fellow Democrat Buffy Wicks took her own name out of contention on Wednesday. Former Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, who endorsed Lee upon the latter’s campaign kickoff on Tuesday, also said regarding the House that she is “not at this time planning to run for Congress,” which isn’t quite a firm no.

CALIFORNIA 18TH and 16TH DISTRICTS. Former San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo confirms that he’s interested in running for House somewhere but has not reached a decision on anything just yet, saying, “I’m still looking at different ways I can serve and Congress is certainly not the only one.”

Liccardo’s most likely options for the House would be the 18th or 16th Districts, both of which are deep blue constituencies that take in parts of central San Jose and many nearby parts of Silicon Valley. However, both districts currently have incumbents who are fellow Democrats, Reps. Zoe Lofgren and Anna Eshoo, respectively. Lofgren recently said that Liccardo had called her to inform her that he’s looking at running, to which she responded saying she plans to run again regardless of whether he runs.

Lofgren recounts, “(Liccardo) said he was assessing his options. He wants to be in Congress… And I told him it’s a free couunty. He can run if he wants.” She added, “But I plant to run and I don’t usually run to lose.” Liccardo himself told Spotlight in December just before leaving office that when it comes to a House bid, “I’ve considered different options, but right now that’s not an option because San Jose’s got four districts and we’ve got four members of Congress there.” (The other two constituencies are the 17th and 19th Districts, which are respectively held by Democratic Reps. Ro Khanna and Jimmy Panetta.) Liccardo said back then, “If one of those folks suddenly decides they’re not there, well then that’s a conversation.” That calculus appears to have now changed, though Liccardo hasn’t said anything publicly yet. The 75-year-old Lofgren, who adds that Liccardo told her he’d paid for an unreleased poll testing a possible matchup between the two, said she’d retire in what Kadah calls “the near future,” but that she doesn’t plan to go anywhere yet. Eshoo, who is five years older than Lofgren, has yet to confirm that she’ll run again, though.

RHODE ISLAND 1ST DISTRICT. Former Providence City Councilwoman Nirva LaFortune now says she’s considering running to succeed Democratic Rep. David Cicilline once the latter resigns later this year to head a philanthropic foundation, joining a long list of Democrats who are eyeing this safely blue seat. Meanwhile, state Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education Angelica Infante isn’t ruling out running herself, but one name we can cross off the list of potential candidates is Clay Pell, who unsuccessfully ran in the 2014 primary for governor and is the grandson of the late Sen. Claiborne Pell.

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

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