The Political Report – March 23, 2023

A new Morning Consult poll of Republicans nationally finds Donald Trump leading the GOP primary field with 54%, while Ron DeSantis slipped to 26%.

A new Monmouth poll of Republican voters shows Donald Trump leading Ron DeSantis in a presidential primary, 41% to 27%.

Trump has made gains among nearly every voting bloc since the start of the year and is especially popular among strong MAGA supporters.

SCOTT 2024. “Sen. Tim Scott’s preparations for a presidential run are well underway, putting the South Carolina Republican on track to be the next candidate to formally mount a White House bid,” Politico reports.

Key takeaway: “In public polling of the potential Republican presidential field, Scott is still registering in the low single digits. But Scott, a prolific fundraiser popular with both the donor class and with small-dollar contributors, is the only prospective presidential candidate sitting on more than $20 million in hard federal campaign dollars.”

Playbook: “Scott’s working to carve out a lane with evangelical Christians, embracing a much calmer and optimistic style than other notable hopefuls and candidates. Whether it actually works in a party where Trump’s brand of politics has been dominant remains to be seen.”

ROGERS 2024. Former Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI) told Fox News that he’s mulling a presidential in 2024.  LOL, Who?

TRUMP 2024. Donald Trump took to Truth Social to say it would be unfair if Gov. Ron DeSantis were attacked for grooming young girls or being gay.

NBC News: “Trump’s post didn’t leave much to the imagination: It included a picture of a man, allegedly a younger DeSantis, standing with a group of young women, one of whom is holding a bottle.”

“The escalating criminal jeopardy confronting Donald Trump has restored him to his political comfort zone, according to advisers and allies: counterattacking, with prominent Republicans largely behind him,” the Washington Post reports.

“The former president’s campaign isn’t waiting for an official indictment or arrest to deploy an aggressive political response — already criticizing New York County District Attorney Alvin Bragg and key witness Michael Cohen, as Trump aides plot further attacks. Advisers are moving to capitalize on coverage in conservative media outlets, raising over $1.5 million since Saturday, a person familiar with the matter said.”

“And the campaign is working to turn the case into pressure on Trump’s primary rivals, forcing them to take questions about Trump and risk the blowback of offering anything less than full-throated support.”

“It does make the conversation of the primary all about Trump, which is a good dynamic he had going for him in 2016, everyone being asked to react to Trump. We’re right now fighting a primary so all that matters is the party, and we can deal with the general after…”  — A GOP operative, quoted by the Washington Post, on the impact of Donald Trump being indicted.

DESANTIS 2024. “Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) made his sharpest criticism yet of former president Donald Trump, indirectly rebuking the leadership style of his possible rival for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination and styling himself as a ‘winner,’” the Washington Post reports.

“DeSantis also appeared to portray himself as a more disciplined executive than Trump, whose term in the White House was marked by frequent changes of key personnel.”

Said DeSantis: “I get personnel in the government who have the agenda of the people and share our agenda. You bring your own agenda in, you’re gone… So, the way we run the government, I think, is no daily drama, focus on the big picture.”

New York Post: DeSantis rips Trump’s character, chaotic leadership style.

PENCE 2024. McKay Coppins: “Mike Pence is making little secret of his presidential ambitions. He’s written his book, he’s assembling his team, he’s mastered the art of the coy non-denial when somebody asks (in between trips to Iowa) if he’s running. In early Republican-primary polls, he hovers between 6 and 7 percent—not top-tier numbers, but respectable enough. He seems to think he has at least an outside shot at winning the Republican nomination.”

“And yet, ask a Republican voter about the former vice president, and you’re likely to hear some of the most withering commentary you’ve ever encountered about a politician.”

Washington Post: “During last year’s midterm elections, Iowa bucked the national trend and delivered a commanding victory for Republicans — reelecting Reynolds, flipping the one remaining House seat held by Democrats, winning all statewide offices save one and widening GOP majorities in both the state House and Senate.”

“Political analysts in the state say that Iowa’s swing has solidified over the past seven years as reliably Democratic working-class voters abandoned the party in favor of Donald Trump’s message, and the state’s large percentage of independent voters also moved toward the Republicans.”

NBC News: “In conversations with voters, strategists and advisers to GOP presidential candidates and potential candidates, NBC News found that the details to emerge from Dominion’s lawsuit against the network have so far failed to put a dent in its dominance over the 2024 GOP field.”

“Even Trump, who has not appeared on a weekday program since September and criticized the network’s leaders after their internal communications were made public, is open to returning soon, a top adviser said.”

MINNESOTA 2ND DISTRICT. Marine veteran Tyler Kistner, who was the Republican nominee here the last two cycles, told Axios that he isn’t ruling out a third bid next year and would assess things with his team in the next month. No notable Republican has yet joined the race against Democratic Rep. Angie Craig, but former Lexington Mayor Mike Murphy had previously filed paperwork to run, and he told Axios that he’s still considering and would make a decision “in the coming days.”

CALIFORNIA 41ST DISTRICT. Democrat Tim Sheridan, who lost two previous challenges to Republican Rep. Ken Calvert, has announced he’ll try a third time, though there’s good reason for him to be more optimistic this go-round. Calvert handily turned back Sheridan 66-34 in 2014 and then by a 59-41 margin two years later in what was then known as the 42nd District. But following the most recent round of redistricting, this suburban Riverside seat was not only renumbered as the 41st, it became significantly bluer thanks to the addition of the gay mecca of Palm Springs: While Donald Trump won the old version 53-45, he carried the new iteration by just a 50-49 spread.

As a result, Calvert faced one of the closest elections of his career last year, defeating Democrat Will Rollins 52-48. Thanks to his strong performance, Rollins was quickly mentioned for a possible rematch, though he has yet to say anything publicly. Sheridan, meanwhile, followed his losses to Calvert by earning a seat on the City Council in Lake Elsinore (pop. 70,000) in 2018 and won re-election four years later. Whoever emerges as the Democratic standard-bearer, though, Calvert will be a top target in 2024.

WISCONSIN SUPREME COURT. Progressive Judge Janet Protasiewicz has unveiled two new TV ads attacking her conservative opponent in the April 4 race for the Wisconsin Supreme Court. The first spot once again attacks Dan Kelly for his opposition to abortion rights, though this time, it features a woman who says she had an abortion “so our daughter wouldn’t suffer” due to her “severe health complications”; on-screen text explains the baby would not have been able “to survive on her own.” She then castigates Kelly for wanting to “uphold the criminal ban on abortion.”

The second ad goes in an entirely different direction, with several different people slamming Kelly as “corrupt” for recusing himself in a voter purge case, then “un-recusing” after the plaintiff’s family donated $20,000 to his unsuccessful campaign for election to a full term on the Supreme Court in 2020. The court ultimately ruled against the conservative foundation that brought the suit the following year, when Kelly was no longer on the bench.

RHODE ISLAND 1ST DISTRICT. Former CVS executive Helena Foulkes, who waged an unsuccessful bid for the Democratic nomination for governor last year, has announced that she won’t run in the expected special election for Rhode Island’s 1st Congressional District. Foulkes lost 33-30 to Gov. Dan McKee in the primary after partially self-funding her campaign.

The Democratic field did however grow larger on Tuesday with the entry of former state government official Nick Autiello, who finished third in a state Senate primary in 2018. Meanwhile, Democratic state Rep. Nathan Biah, who’d previously said he was considering the race, also filed paperwork with the FEC ahead of a possible campaign.

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

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