Sen. John Fetterman (D-PA) “is returning to the Senate next week after two months of treatment for clinical depression, and swing voters who helped him get into office feel confident he’s fit to lead,” Axios reports.
“A pair of focus groups convened by Axios and Engagious/Sago found that the voters didn’t feel misled into voting for Fetterman despite a plethora of health problems that have plagued the early part of his tenure.”
Politico: “The reaction has been, overall, a shocking and pleasant surprise to Fetterman’s team, which worried about their boss and felt anxious about how the public would respond to revelations that he has depression. What they and others have discovered is that the country is increasingly open about it. And that the politics are changing around it.”
A new University of Georgia poll finds Donald Trump has a huge lead over Ron DeSantis among likely Republican primary voters in Georgia, 51% to 30%.
MARYLAND U.S. SENATOR. Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD) “raised just $15,000 in the first fundraising quarter amid speculation that he might not run for re-election,” NBC News reports.
“While Cardin’s campaign still has money to spend if he runs, his fundraising haul is a paltry one for a senator up for re-election in 2024. His three-month financial total pales in comparison to Cardin’s fundraising at the same point in his last race: In the first quarter of 2017, Cardin’s campaign raised $325,000.”
ARIZONA U.S. SENATOR. Washington Post: “At a meeting in a Scottsdale conference room, state party Chair Jeff DeWit urged the candidates to avoid destructive personal attacks on one another in a bid to avoid a rerun of 2022, when nearly every Republican running for statewide office lost following toxic primaries.”
Said GOP strategist Doug Heye: “They want to ensure as best they can that we have candidates who are sane and can win.”
SCOTT 2024. Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) told NBC News that if elected president, he would support the “most conservative pro-life legislation” that Congress sends him, leaving open the possibility that it could be as early as six weeks but not committing to a specific time frame.
TRUMP 2024. Possible candidates for Senate races in key swing states like Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Montana have sidestepped questions about endorsing Donald Trump for president in 2024, Insider reports.
“Donald Trump stood before Republican National Committee donors on Saturday to make his case for a return to the White House, arguing that he deserves another chance to finish a dramatic party transformation that he started nearly eight years ago,” Politico reports.
“In his remarks to GOP elite gathered at the Four Seasons Hotel, Trump traded the election grievance rhetoric that has defined his last two years in the public eye for a different type of message — his vision for the future, while arguing that he single-handedly ‘saved’ the Republican Party from ‘the establishment class’ when he won in 2016.”
“Donald Trump still gets top billing at this weekend’s exclusive gathering of Republican donors. But for a full 24 hours before the former president was scheduled to speak on Saturday evening, the Republican National Committee provided a platform for some of Trump’s loudest critics,” Politico reports.
“That the Republican committee invited dissenters of Trump, even prospective challengers in next year’s presidential primary, points to the fact that even though Trump has first place in the polls, there are still many months of fighting ahead of him. His potential nomination is unlikely to come as a coronation.”
“The party’s donors are still weighing whether there is a viable alternative to Trump, though there is still no clear consensus on the matter, several said in interviews this weekend.”
DESANTIS 2024. The super PAC allied with Gov. Ron DeSantis released its first TV ad, smacking Donald Trump with the question: “What happened to Donald Trump?”
Axios: “The ad is the starting shot for a vicious fight between the top two contenders for the 2024 Republican nomination, even though DeSantis hasn’t formally entered the race.”
Dan Pfeiffer: “DeSantis’s decision to delay launching his campaign left a vacuum that Trump intends to fill. Trump, who has an instinctual sense for the jugular, is trying to introduce DeSantis to the voters before the Florida Governor can do it himself. And the picture Trump wants to paint is of DeSantis as an establishment-friendly, awkward weirdo. Trump has an instinct for the jugular and knows Americans don’t like to vote for weirdos.”
If you missed it, it’s worth watching the ad, Pudding Fingers.
Top Republican donor Thomas Peterffy told the Financial Times that he is halting plans to help finance the presidential bid of Gov. Ron DeSantis due to his extreme positions on social issues.
Said Peterffy: “I have put myself on hold. Because of his stance on abortion and book banning . . . myself, and a bunch of friends, are holding our powder dry.”
NEW YORK 3RD DISTRICT. Rep. George Santos’ (R-NY) campaign finances are in a dire state, as the embattled Long Islander has had a net loss of $3,000 so far this year, Axios reports. Santos raised about $5,300 in the first three months of 2023 but refunded roughly $8,300 to donors during the same period.
The New York Post reports Santos plans to announce his reelection bid as soon as Monday.
HALEY 2024. “Earlier this month, Nikki Haley’s presidential campaign touted an impressive number: A news release said the former South Carolina governor and U.N. ambassador had raised more than $11 million in the six weeks since launching her campaign for the GOP nomination,” the Washington Post reports.
“But filings on Saturday with the Federal Election Commission show that her campaign drastically overstated its haul. The campaign appears to have double-counted money it moved among various committees.”
BIDEN 2024. President Biden inched closer on Friday to formally announcing his re-election campaign, telling reporters that he would do so “relatively soon,” the New York Times reports.
Said Biden: “I’ve already made that calculus. We’ll announce it relatively soon. But the trip here just reinforced my sense of optimism about what can be done.”
Asked if that meant he had made a decision, he responded, with a hint of impatience: “I told you, my plan is to run again.”
CALIFORNIA U.S. SENATOR. CNN: “In the closely watched race to succeed California Sen. Dianne Feinstein, Rep. Adam Schiff outraised the rest of the Democratic field, bringing in $6.7 million during the first quarter – topping the nearly $4.5 million raised by Rep. Katie Porter and roughly $1.3 million collected by Rep. Barbara Lee.”
“Schiff also led the field in available cash, ending March with more than $24.6 million stockpiled in his campaign account.”
CNN: “The Kennedys have been through a lot. They don’t want to go through this… They’re frustrated, sad and completely opposed. They say they love him. They use words like ‘heartbroken’ and ‘tragic.’”
YOUNGKIN 2024. “Gov. Glenn Youngkin, the Republican whose surprising election in a blue-trending state set off instant talk of a presidential run, has tapped the brakes on 2024, telling advisers and donors that his sole focus is on Virginia’s legislative elections in the fall,” the New York Times reports.
“Mr. Youngkin hopes to flip the state legislature to a Republican majority. That could earn him a closer look from rank-and-file Republicans across the country, who so far have been indifferent to the presidential chatter surrounding him in the news media, and among heavyweight donors he would need to keep pace alongside more prominent candidates. He has yet to crack 1 percent in polls about the potential Republican field.”
POMPEO 2024. Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told Fox News that he will not run for president in 2024.