“Donald Trump got a big bounce among Republican primary voters after his indictment in New York in late March — but now that swell of support seems to be fading fast,” according to a new Yahoo News/YouGov poll.
“Just two weeks ago, Trump was lapping Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida, his strongest potential challenger, by 26 percentage points in a one-on-one matchup among voters who describe themselves as Republicans or Republican-leaning independents (57% to 31%). It was the former president’s widest lead to date.”
“Since then, however, Trump’s advantage over DeSantis has shrunk by 10 points (52% to 36%).”
A new University of New Hampshire poll finds Donald Trump way ahead of his Republican presidential primary rivals with 42%, followed by Ron DeSantis at 22%, Chris Sununu at 12% and Liz Cheney at 4%.
Wall Street Journal Poll: “Mr. DeSantis’s 14-point advantage in December has fallen to a 13-point deficit, and he now trails Mr. Trump 51% to 38% among likely Republican primary voters in a hypothetical head-to-head matchup.”
“The GOP candidate field is still developing, and the first primary balloting is more than eight months away. But as of now, Mr. Trump also trounces all competitors in a test of a fuller, potential field of 12 Republican contenders, winning 48% support to 24% for Mr. DeSantis.”
“A top Republican legal strategist told a roomful of GOP donors over the weekend that conservatives must band together to limit voting on college campuses, same-day voter registration and automatic mailing of ballots to registered voters,” the Washington Post reports.
“Cleta Mitchell, a longtime GOP lawyer and fundraiser who worked closely with former president Donald Trump to try to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election, gave the presentation at a Republican National Committee donor retreat in Nashville on Saturday.”
“President Biden and his team are preparing to announce his reelection campaign next week, with aides finalizing plans to release a video for the president to officially launch his campaign,” the Washington Post reports.
“Biden and his aides have targeted Tuesday for the release of the video to coincide with the four-year anniversary of his 2020 campaign launch.”
New York Times: “There has been increasing discussion among the broader Biden team about the notion of a low-key video announcement on April 25, the fourth anniversary of his entrance to the 2020 race — the kind of symmetry that Mr. Biden is said to appreciate.”
New York Times: “The political durability of the Republican front-runner, former President Donald Trump, has added to Mr. Biden’s ability to keep a coalition of Democrats together, including progressives who have at times taken issue with some White House policies. Mr. Trump, who has continued leading polls despite being indicted by the Manhattan district attorney this month, has proved to be a glue holding factions of the Democratic Party in place since 2020, when Mr. Biden won the South Carolina primary after losing the first two early state contests.”
Robert Bigelow, “who was also the single-largest donor to DeSantis’s 2022 reelection bid, confirms that he has already donated a little more than $20 million to Never Back Down,” Time reports.
“He says that’s just a start. The super-rich businessman plans to continue putting his wealth behind sending the Florida governor to the Oval Office.”
Said Bigelow: “I will give him more money and go without food.”
Former Rep. David Trott (R-MI) emails Playbook: “I sat right next to DeSantis for two years on the Foreign Affairs Committee, and he never said a single word to me. I was new to Congress, and he didn’t introduce himself or even say hello.”
Trott continued his thoughts in a phone interview: “If you’re going to go into politics, kind of a fundamental skill that you should have is likability. I don’t think he has that. He never developed any relationships with other members that I know of. You’d never see him talking on the floor with other people or palling around. He’s just a very arrogant guy, very focused on Ron DeSantis.”
“He wasn’t really liked when he was in Congress. And now it’s coming home to, you know, prove out as some of the Florida delegation endorsed Trump and and some of the donors, you know, think he’s kind of awkward in terms of how he interacts with them. If his pre-presidential campaign was playing out differently, then I’d say, ‘Well, maybe he just didn’t like me.’ But I think there’s something more at work here.”
In short, Trott concluded: “I think he’s an asshole. I don’t think he cares about people.”
Rep. Michael Waltz (R-FL) became the latest Florida Republican to endorse Donald Trump over Gov. Ron DeSantis in the 2024 GOP presidential primary on Thursday, Breitbart reports.
Will Saletan: “Donald Trump is pummeling Ron DeSantis in the battle for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination. He accuses DeSantis of exaggerating Florida’s economic success, failing to control crime, and locking down businesses during Covd. But Trump’s main line of attack comes straight out of the Democratic playbook: He says DeSantis would cut Medicare and Social Security and would raise the eligibility ages for these programs.”
“Essentially, Trump is running a Democratic campaign in a Republican primary. It’s the kind of attack that often works in a general election, because most voters oppose cuts to entitlement programs. But will it work in a Republican primary?”
“Yes, it will. It may not decide the nomination, but it will certainly help Trump. The reason is that Republican voters are willing to cut lots of programs, but not Medicare or Social Security. And they’re strongly inclined to vote on this issue, even in a primary.”
“Amid all the attention on this month’s elections in Wisconsin and Illinois, one outcome with major implications for 2024 flew under the national radar: School board candidates who ran culture-war campaigns flamed out,” Politico reports.
“Democrats and teachers’ unions boasted candidates they backed in Midwestern suburbs trounced their opponents in the once-sleepy races. The winning record, they said, was particularly noticeable in elections where conservative candidates emphasized agendas packed with race, gender identity and parental involvement in classrooms.”
“The results could also serve as a renewed warning to Republican presidential hopefuls like Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis: General election voters are less interested in crusades against critical race theory and transgender students than they are in funding schools and ensuring they are safe.”
“President Joe Biden’s campaign didn’t respond to the Robert F. Kennedy Jr. campaign kick-off because, though there is now a major donor summit on the books for next week, there still technically is no Biden campaign,” CNN reports.
“What there is instead is an acceptance among most Democratic leaders that they may still have to wait a while for Biden to make it official – and a grudging embrace of that.”
Doug Sosnik: “Educational attainment has not replaced race in that respect, but it is increasingly the best predictor of how Americans will vote, and for whom. It has shaped the political landscape and where the 2024 presidential election almost certainly will be decided. To understand American politics, candidates and voters alike will need to understand this new fundamental.”
“Americans have always viewed education as a key to opportunity, but few predicted the critical role it has come to play in our politics. What makes the “diploma divide,” as it is often called, so fundamental to our politics is how it has been sorting Americans into the Democratic and Republican Parties by educational attainment. College-educated voters are now more likely to identify as Democrats, while those without college degrees — especially white Americans, but increasingly others as well — are now more likely to support Republicans.”
WISCONSIN U.S. SENATOR. Businessman Scott Mayer on Wednesday told NBC that he hopes to decide by Labor Day if he’ll enter the Republican primary to take on Democratic Sen. Tammy Baldwin, though he didn’t sound especially excited about the idea. “If there’s some quality candidates stepping up, then I would feel like I wouldn’t have to do it,” he said, adding, “If no one else comes up to the plate, then I might do it.”
Mayer also disclosed that he’d “probably” back abortion access during the first trimester, a stance that is not shared with most GOP primary voters. While the would-be candidate identified himself as “absolutely pro-life,” he continued by saying that “70% of people want some access to abortion.” Mayer argued, “Even if my views are different, if I’m truly representing the people, I’d want to do what 70% of the people want.”
ELDER 2024. Conservative talk radio host Larry Elder announced Thursday that he’s launching a 2024 presidential campaign, joining a growing list of Republicans vying for the GOP nomination, CNN reports.
VIRGINIA STATE SENATE. One of the most important elections of 2023 will take place in Virginia, where the Democrats’ narrow majority in the state Senate is currently the only thing standing in the way of total Republican control of the state government.
“Fighting Joe’s” primary fight. The first test for progressives comes on June 20 as former Del. Lashrecse Aird looks to deny renomination to conservative state Sen. Joe Morrissey, who has confounded observers for years by surviving numerous serious scandals. Much of the focus in the Democratic primary this time is on Morrissey’s anti-abortion views, and several of his colleagues are backing the challenger.
A tough new map. Two incumbent senators, Republican Siobhan Dunnavant and Democrat Monty Mason, are defending transformed constituencies that became significantly more difficult for each of them. Both parties are also working hard to win a pair of open seats that backed Joe Biden before flipping to Republican Glenn Youngkin in the 2021 governor’s race.
How “Trump in heels” could cost the GOP a seat. Far-right state Sen. Amanda Chase faces a competitive primary battle against two foes, including a former colleague who argues she’d jeopardize the party’s prospects in the fall despite her district’s conservative lean.
NEW YORK REDISTRICTING. New York’s bipartisan redistricting commission reached a consensus for the first time ever on Thursday and voted to adopt a new Assembly map, sending the plan to the Democratic-controlled legislature for its approval. A two-thirds supermajority in each chamber is necessary to pass the map into law because one party controls both chambers, though it’s very unclear what would happen if legislators don’t sign off.
That scenario probably won’t come to pass, though, since the proposed new districts are very similar to those drawn by Democratic lawmakers after commissioners deadlocked last year. That map, however, was struck down by the courts, which determined that the legislature lacked the power to draw a new one, but it was used temporarily in 2022 since the challenge came too close to the election to implement an alternative.
Following the ruling last year invalidating the map, the courts ordered the commission to devise a new set of districts to propose to lawmakers. Just hours after the commission greenlighted the new map, the state’s highest court turned back a further appeal challenging the commission process as untimely.
SOUTH DAKOTA REFERENDUM. Activists looking to introduce the top-two primary to South Dakota got the green light to gather signatures this week to place a constitutional amendment on the November 2024 ballot. The campaign has until May of next year to turn in just over 35,000 signatures, which represents 10% of the total number of votes cast in the last gubernatorial election.
The proposal would impact future races for governor, Congress, state legislature, and county elections. Republicans, unsurprisingly, are ardently against changing the rules in a state they’ve long dominated, with the state party chair declaring, “We are 110% opposed to the idea.”