The Political Report – February 27, 2023

A new Los Angeles Times poll in California finds Reps. Adam Schiff (D-CA) and Katie Porter (D-CA) are nearly tied in the race for U.S. Senate and hold a strong early lead ahead of two other hopefuls, Reps. Barbara Lee (D-CA) and Ro Khanna (D-CA).

Schiff has the support of 22%, with 20% backing Porter, 6% for Lee and 4% for Khanna.

“Under the state’s top-two primary system, voters can choose among candidates of any party, with the two who get the most votes advancing to the November election. In 2016 and 2018, two Democrats faced off in general election Senate races.”

“Because no prominent Republican has gotten into the 2024 race — or even publicly discussed entering it — this poll questioned only Democrats and nonpartisan voters about the contest.”

U.S. first lady Jill Biden gave one of the clearest indications yet that President Joe Biden will run for a second term, telling The Associated Press that there’s “pretty much” nothing left to do but figure out the time and place for the announcement.

She added: “How many times does he have to say it for you to believe it?”

President Joe Biden on Friday reiterated his intention to seek a second term and while he said it is “legitimate” for people to raise questions about his age, he said it is not part of his calculation on whether to seek reelection, ABC News reports.

Said Biden: “The only thing I can say is watch me.”

Democrats from the high-powered New York delegation are lining up behind New York City’s bid to host the 2024 Democratic National Convention, Punchbowl News reports.

“House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) is privately telling big-dollar donors that bad candidates for governor and Senate were a top reason the GOP didn’t win more House seats in 2022, emphasizing that quality candidates matter up and down the ticket,” Axios reports.

“The group of Ron DeSantis’ top donors and supporters gathering in Palm Beach, Fla., this weekend includes some longtime backers of former President Donald Trump,” Politico reports.

“The Florida governor’s three-day retreat at the Four Seasons hotel — just four miles down the road from Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate — kicked off Friday evening with a cocktail reception and dinner for the approximately 150 attendees. The event, billed as a celebration of the “Florida blueprint,” precedes a likely DeSantis presidential bid that would pit him against Trump. And the roster of people there shows that the governor is appealing to major GOP figures who’ve previously aligned themselves with the former president.”

Washington Post: “The Florida governor is expected to travel to dozens of cities in upcoming weeks, selling his new book and meeting with local Republican officials and donors. How DeSantis connects with voters and donors across the country, particularly those long loyal to Trump, remains to be seen. Polls show the two men in close competition atop the polls of the Republican primary.”

“People who have met with in recent weeks say he remains stilted in one-on-one conversations and sometimes struggles to make small talk or appear enthusiastic while engaging in the glad-handing critical to winning states such as New Hampshire, Iowa and South Carolina. Other Republicans dismiss criticisms of DeSantis’s retail politics skills or say he’s markedly improved. Trump’s team has recently ramped up his retail stops including at restaurants when he visits states, saying it shows a sharp contrast from DeSantis.”

“For years, Republicans have sought to win over voters by depicting Democratic-led cities as lawless centers of violence that need tough-on-crime policies. In Chicago, some of the Democrats running for mayor are deploying the same strategy as they debate how to make the city safer,” the AP reports.

“Even incumbent Lori Lightfoot, the first Black woman and first openly gay person to serve as Chicago mayor, has used language right out of the GOP playbook, accusing a top rival in her reelection bid of wanting to defund the police.”

“The shift in rhetoric reflects the degree to which concerns about crime have dominated Tuesday’s mayoral election in Chicago and threatened Lightfoot’s reelection bid. Far from being an outlier, the nation’s third-largest city is just the latest Democratic stronghold where public safety has become a top election issue.”

“Florida Democrats on Saturday are set to choose a new party leader after a disastrous midterm performance in the onetime presidential battleground state, with particularly abysmal results among Latinos,” the AP reports.

“The strongest contenders are former state Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried and former state senator Annette Taddeo, both of whom lost their own races last year.”

Mike Pence said Friday that he will make a decision “by the spring” about whether to seek the presidency and suggested that he would pledge to support the eventual GOP nominee if that’s a condition of participating in primary debates, NBC News reports. Said Pence: “If I’m a candidate, I’m sure I’ll meet whatever the requirement is for debates.”

Pence has declined an invitation to the Conservative Political Action Conference, ABC News reports. “Pence did not attend the event in 2022 and declined an invitation in 2021. This year’s absences come as the chairman of CPAC — which bills itself as the ‘largest and most influential gathering of conservatives in the world’ — is embroiled in a sexual assault scandal.”

“Republican leaders in Iowa say they are worried about Democrats crashing their 2024 presidential caucuses, a possible wild card as the pace of campaigning ramps up in the state that will start the GOP nominating process in less than a year,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“With Democratic voters potentially having little incentive to attend their own party caucus, GOP officials are contemplating ways to block potential interlopers who might want to make mischief, perhaps by backing a Republican candidate they think will be more easily beaten in the general election.”

“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.

“The Republican National Committee will hold its first presidential primary debate in Milwaukee in August, its debates committee decided in a vote on Thursday,” the New York Times reports.

“The committee is seeking to have all candidates sign a loyalty pledge vowing to support the eventual nominee in order to be part of the debates.”

Washington Post: “The MAGA vs. RINO dichotomy that defined the GOP for much of the last eight years is increasingly obsolete. In its place, a new dynamic emerged from interviews with more than 150 Trump supporters across five pivotal electoral states. In between Republicans who remain firmly committed or opposed to the former president, there’s now a broad range of Trump supporters who, however much they still like him, aren’t sure they want him as the party’s next nominee.”

“The foremost reason is electability. Even Republicans who said they still supported Trump and believed his false claims that the 2020 election was stolen acknowledged doubts on whether he could defeat President Biden or another Democrat in 2024…”

“It’s not the first time that Trump supporters have admitted their misgivings. But during his presidency, the only choices were to be with him or against him, so they stuck with him.”

“Now there is a new option — a way to still support Trump as the 45th president without being sold on him as the party’s best shot at becoming the 47th. Not anti-Trump, or even non-Trump — just post-Trump.”

“Nikki Haley had a busy first week as an official 2024 presidential candidate, announcing in her native state, then hustling to early voting New Hampshire and Iowa and going on a media blitz,” the AP reports.

“But as fundraising starts to build for the potential GOP field, she’s running into a potential home state conflict: donors waiting for the possible entrance of Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina. Both Republicans are popular among the state’s voters, and some previous Haley donors have said they’re waiting to see if Scott — stockpiling cash that he could ultimately transfer into a presidential bid — enters the race.”

“For now, Haley, who also served as United Nations ambassador during the Trump administration, hasn’t revealed how much money she’s taken in since her Feb. 15 launch.”

CNBC: Nikki Haley heads to fundraiser hosted by Wall Street executives.

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

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