The Political Report – April 8, 2023

Just a third of Americans say President Joe Biden deserves to be reelected, according to a new CNN Poll, as a majority in his party say they would like to see someone else as the Democratic nominee for president next year.

Tara Palmeri: Among the 15-20 Republican mega-donors who control the purse strings in G.O.P. politics, there’s growing concern that Ron DeSantis, the great white knight from Tallahassee, might not be the one, or at least not yet. Most of these top dogs—Steve Schwarzman, Ken Griffin, Paul Singer, Ken Langone, etcetera—are moderate-ish Bush-era billionaires who loved Trump’s corporate tax cuts but have appeared ready to move on from the candidate, despite the former president’s efforts to win them back by circulating memos highlighting his poll numbers or working the room at John Paulson’s Palm Beach housewarming party.”

“Nevertheless, these are businessmen, hedge fund founders, and private equity moguls who appreciate optionality and are now looking to hedge their risk, as I reported last week.”

Said one: “If DeSantis is the guy, we’re ready to go for it and we’re ready to throw our weight behind him. We want one or two of them rather than Trump. DeSantis should not misread early support for him, which I’m sure DeSantis hates. We’re ready to support two Trump alternative candidates, because why wouldn’t we?”

“Donald Trump is moving to undercut what’s expected to be a major point of strength for rival Republican Ron DeSantis — reaching out to the Florida governor’s donors directly in an effort to steal some of his top backers,” Politico reports.

Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) made a surprise visit to Sarasota Wednesday near the New College of Florida campus, ripping Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) “during a meeting with students grappling with his conservative higher education experiment,” the Sarasota Herald-Tribune reports.

“A top supporter of former President Trump in the crucial early voting state of New Hampshire is jumping ship and joining rival Republican candidate Vivek Ramaswamy’s campaign,” Fox News reports.

“Longtime state Rep. Fred Doucette, who served as New Hampshire co-chair of Trump’s 2016 and 2020 presidential campaigns, is joining the Ramaswamy campaign as a senior strategist and co-chair in the Granite State, which holds the first primary and second overall contest in the GOP’s presidential nominating calendar.”

“Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ team is already plotting out a strategy to run against Donald Trump for the long haul. The plan focuses less on making a quick splash in places like Iowa or New Hampshire and more on outlasting the former president in a battle for Republican convention delegates,” NBC News reports.

“Even though it’s early and DeSantis isn’t officially a candidate yet, in talks behind the scenes, an expanded map is viewed as one of the keys to victory, three sources close to the governor said.”

“The Whitmer political dynasty might be expanding — into the New York City suburbs,” Politico reports.

“Liz Whitmer Gereghty, the Westchester County-based sister of Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, is seriously considering a run for one of the House’s most high-profile battleground seats this cycle.”

“If she runs, Gereghty would be targeting GOP Rep. Mike Lawler, who shockingly upset House Democrats’ campaign chief last cycle. A launch is tentatively planned for mid-April, according to a person familiar with her plans — which would likely make her the first Democrat to declare a bid. And Gereghty, who’s lived in the area for two decades, boasts connections to one of the party’s most prominent figures that could bring a dose of star power to any potential bid.”

Nikki Haley pulled in a sizable haul of more than $11 million across the first six weeks of her presidential campaign, Fox News reports. Also impressive: 67,000 of her 70,000 donations were under $200.

George Will: “Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is defining himself before his rivals can define him, but not to his advantage. He seems intelligent but unpleasant, forthright but prickly, accomplished but incapable of political grace notes. He also seems tightly scripted — perhaps for good reasons.”

“His unforced errors include describing Russia’s war of annihilation against Ukraine as a ‘territorial dispute.’ And backing a ban on abortion after six weeks, which is before women often know they are pregnant. (Is he trying to forfeit the female vote in suburbia, where the 2024 election might be decided?) And vowing, unintelligibly (see the Constitution’s Article IV, Section 2), that he will ‘not assist’ any extradition of Trump from Florida.”

‘In politics as in baseball, at which the young DeSantis excelled, ‘AAAA players’ are those who excel in AAA ball, the highest minor league, but fail above that. A presidential campaign is a rigorous apprenticeship that DeSantis, although still not an announced candidate, is, less than a mile into the marathon, flunking.”

Politico: “While polling, fundraising and public displays of enthusiasm indicate the indictment is emboldening Trump’s MAGA supporters, there is no evidence yet it has helped him expand his political base. In fact, many Republicans have expressed fears it may ultimately damage his prospects with swing voters the GOP will need to win the White House in 2024.”

McClatchy: Trump’s indictment puts GOP rivals in an awkward position.

Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) “is finding success wooing his Senate GOP colleagues to his side for a possible 2024 presidential run, with a number of his fellow senators personally encouraging him to get in the race,” The Hill reports.

“Of roughly a dozen Senate Republicans The Hill interviewed, three — Sens. John Thune (R-SD), Mike Rounds (R-SD) and John Cornyn (R-TX) — said they have outright encouraged Scott to run for the White House, while two others — Sens. Kevin Cramer (R-ND) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) said they’ve talked with him behind closed doors about his potential run.”

“Precision Strategies, a leading Democratic consulting firm with close ties to the White House, has taken the first step toward becoming a union shop for some of its employees,” Axios reports.

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

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