The Political Report – April 28, 2023

A new Morning Consult poll find Donald Trump has expanded his lead over Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) in a Republican presidential primary, 58% to 21%.

A new Morning Consult poll finds that 54% of potential Republican primary voters say Donald Trump has the best chance of defeating President Biden in the 2024 presidential election, compared with just 25% who say Ron DeSantis.

“Donald Trump has secured one of his most important Capitol Hill endorsements for a 2024 presidential bid: Senator Steve Daines of Montana, the chairman of the Senate Republicans’ campaign arm,” the New York Times reports.

“While top Republicans in the Senate have been lukewarm about the prospects of another election cycle dominated by Mr. Trump, the endorsement gives him a foothold with a key party fund-raiser.”

Politico: “As chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, Daines is charged with helping his party win back control of the Senate. His backing of Trump suggests a comfort with the former president atop the ticket that is not shared by others in his party, including some potential candidates that top Republicans would like to see run.”

Donald Trump is already suggesting that he might skip the Republican presidential debates.

“Nikki Haley received stock options worth close to $300,000 roughly six weeks after jumping into the 2024 presidential race as part of a real-estate company merger that could deliver even more lucrative payouts in the years ahead,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“Her continued involvement with a corporate board is relatively unusual for a presidential contender and highlights the choices candidates sometimes have to make about whether to put their private-sector careers on hold.”

“Nikki Haley is seeking to differentiate herself from her GOP presidential rivals on the issue of abortion, stepping forward as a Republican urging her party to grapple now with the political challenge it faces after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. Her pitch: Messenger and tone matter,” the Washington Post reports.

“The focus of the speech will be less about policy details — including the number of weeks in state bans, the exact federal role or the terms of exceptions for rape, incest and life of the mother. Rather, Haley wants to change the way abortion is discussed, returning to the less aggressive strategy adopted by the antiabortion movement in the late 1990s.”

Associated Press: “Inside the Florida statehouse, Gov. Ron DeSantis’ Republican allies say they’re working ‘at warp speed’ to finish their legislative business. In South Carolina and Nevada, early voting states that are critical in a presidential primary, his operatives are moving quickly to build out a political team that is essentially a campaign in waiting. And in Washington, his most vocal supporters are urging him to announce his White House intentions now.”

“A super PAC supporting former President Donald Trump has already spent more than $6 million on television ads attacking Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, even before DeSantis has declared his presidential candidacy,” ABC News reports.

“Since April, the super PAC — Make America Great Again, Inc. — has been launching a $1.5 million ad campaign every week.”

Donald Trump is out with a new ad attacking Ron DeSantis for not being “grateful” enough for Trump’s help getting him elected governor.

Dan Drezner: “Trump is winning on three levels in his shadow primary against DeSantis. First, to the extent that polls matter this early in the race, Trump has widened the gap between himself and DeSantis since the start of 2023.”

“Second, Trump has out-hustled and out-maneuvered DeSantis on endorsements from elected officials.”

“Third, in outworking DeSantis on endorsements, Trump is also making it easy for the press to explain in excruciating detail all of the ways in which DeSantis is blowing it.”

“I am the viable Trump alternative.”- Former Gov. Chris Christie (R), in an interview with the Daily Beast.

“The Republican National Committee responded to President Biden’s re-election announcement Tuesday with an AI-generated video depicting a dystopian version of the future if he is re-elected,” Axios reports.

“The video features AI-created images appearing to show Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris celebrating at an Election Day party, followed by a series of imagined reports about international and domestic crises that the ad suggests would follow a Biden victory in 2024.”

“Nearly six months ago, Kenneth Griffin, the Republican megadonor and hedge fund executive, seemed poised to be a powerful financial backer of Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida in his anticipated run for president,” the New York Times reports.

“These days, Mr. Griffin is keeping his cards closer to the vest, and his intentions are harder to discern. A person familiar with his thinking, noting that Mr. DeSantis had not yet made his run official, said Mr. Griffin was still evaluating the Republican primary race as it unfolded.”

“Tech billionaire and Republican megadonor Peter Thiel, an early backer of former President Donald Trump who later broke with him, has told associates he is not planning to donate to any political candidates in 2024,” Reuters reports.

“Thiel is unhappy with the Republican Party’s focus on hot-button U.S. cultural issues, said one of the sources, a business associate, citing abortion and restrictions on which bathrooms transgender students can use in schools as two examples.”

“More than one in five local election officials will be working their first presidential election in 2024, according to a new poll out Tuesday – a sign of the continued strain on election workers who faced waves of threat and harassment after the 2020 election,” CNN reports.

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