The Political Report – April 29, 2023

“House Republicans in competitive districts dominated their Democratic counterparts in fundraising during the first three months of 2023,” Axios reports.

“Republicans have an early financial edge as they seek to expand their narrow majority and defend nearly 20 seats that went for President Biden in 2020.”

MICHIGAN U.S. SENATOR. The Detroit News writes that Michigan State Board of Education President Pamela Pugh said over the weekend she plans to announce “soon” that she’ll be joining Rep. Elissa Slotkin in the Democratic primary.

Another contender is Nasser Beydoun, who previously led the American Arab Chamber of Commerce and launched his own campaign for the nomination days later, and he says his exploratory committee raised $100,000. “I’m a moderate. A civil rights advocate, a human rights advocate,” said Beydoun, who waged an aborted 2006 GOP primary campaign for this seat. Slotkin, for her part, hauled in $3.1 million for her opening quarter and ended March with $2.3 million in the bank.

CALIFORNIA GOVERNOR. Former state Comptroller Betty Yee said Monday evening she’d be competing in the 2026 top-two primary for governor, a declaration that came hours after her fellow Democrat, Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis, became the first major candidate to enter the race. Both contenders would be the first woman to lead California, while Yee would also be the Golden State’s first Asian American governor.

Yee was appointed in 2004 to the Board of Equalization, the four-member body that administers tax collection across the state, and she decisively won her 2006 campaign to keep her seat. Her 2014 statewide bid for comptroller briefly attracted national attention on the night of the top-two primary when results initially showed two Republicans, Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin and a little-known contender named David Evans, ahead of Assembly Speaker John Perez and Yee.

Evans, though, quickly fell to fourth as more ballots were tabulated, though it took another month-and-a-half and a partial recount to confirm that Yee finished 481 votes ahead of Perez for that crucial second general election spot. She went on to beat Swearengin 54-46 during that red wave year, and Yee easily won re-election four years later.

OHIO U.S. SENATOR. Venture capitalist Mark Kvamme said this week he’d support businessman Bernie Moreno in the Republican primary rather than run himself.

TEXAS U.S. SENATOR. State Sen. Roland Gutierrez confirmed Tuesday that he’s considering seeking the Democratic nod to face GOP incumbent Ted Cruz, though he said his focus was on the legislative session that’s set to end May 29.

LOUISIANA GOVERNOR. The far-right Club for Growth on Tuesday both endorsed GOP Attorney General Jeff Landry and released a WPA Intelligence Poll showing their man well ahead in the October all-party primary. The survey puts Landry at 36% as former state Transportation Secretary Shawn Wilson, who is the only serious Democrat in the contest, beats out Republican Treasurer John Schroder 18-6 for the second general election spot.

MICHIGAN 7TH DISTRICT. The Associated Press reports that former state Sen. Curtis Hertel is considering running to succeed his fellow Democrat, Senate candidate Elissa Slotkin, though he doesn’t appear to have said anything publicly about his interest in this swing seat. Ingham County Clerk Barb Byrum, meanwhile, reaffirmed her interest in competing in a Democratic primary that has yet to draw any serious candidates, saying, “Within the next few months, we should have a candidate running for this seat.”

MICHIGAN 8TH DISTRICT. Democratic Rep. Dan Kildee said Saturday he’d left the hospital following his “successful surgery to remove a small cancerous tumor,” adding, “After surgery and recovery, my doctors have told me my prognosis is excellent.”

MARYLAND 8TH DISTRICT. Democratic Rep. Jamie Raskin said the night before his final chemotherapy treatment for Diffuse Large B Cell Lymphoma that “[t]he doctors tell me the chemotherapy has extinguished the cancer cells.” The congressman, who donned a bandana over his now-bald head, added that his physicians have “promised me that my eyelashes and my eyebrows and my hair will come one day soon.”

NEW YORK 17TH DISTRICT. Local school board trustee Liz Whitmer Gereghty filed FEC paperwork Sunday, a development that comes shortly after reported she’d told a political group she’d be seeking the Democratic nod to face GOP Rep. Mike Lawler.

Tom Bartley reported Thursday for that local school board trustee Liz Whitmer Gereghty, who is the sister of Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, told a local political group the previous weekend that she’d be seeking the Democratic nod to take on GOP Rep. Mike Lawler. Gereghty does not appear to have publicized an announcement, though Politico previously wrote that she was tentatively planning to jump in this month.

INDIANA 5TH DISTRICT. Howey Politics relays that state Rep. Chuck Goodrich plans to announce on May 5 that he’ll run to succeed his fellow Republican, retiring Rep. Victoria Spartz. Goodrich set up a campaign committee last month, and he quickly seeded it with $1 million of his own money.

CALIFORNIA 41ST DISTRICT. Democrat Will Rollins told the Bay Area Reporter last week he’d decide in “the next couple of weeks” whether he’d seek a rematch with Republican Rep. Ken Calvert, a 16-term incumbent whom Rollins held to a surprisingly close 52-48 victory last year. Another Democrat, Lake Elsinore City Councilor Tim Sheridan, launched his campaign on March 20, but he didn’t report raising anything in the 12 days before the end of the quarter. Donald Trump took this constituency, which includes the southern Riverside suburbs and Palm Springs, just 50-49.

NEW YORK REDISTRICTING. Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul signed New York’s new Assembly map into law on Monday, just hours after lawmakers in both chambers approved the plan with wide bipartisan support. The map, which was adopted by the state’s bipartisan redistricting commission last week, makes few changes to the districts used in the 2022 midterms, which elected 102 Democrats and 48 Republicans. Those lines had been drawn by the legislature, but state courts ruled that it lacked the power to do so and ordered the evenly divided commission, which deadlocked last year, to try again.

ALASKA REDISTRICTING. The Alaska Supreme Court has issued a unanimous opinion saying it “expressly recognize[s] that partisan gerrymandering is unconstitutional under the Alaska Constitution,” explaining in detail why, in brief expedited orders, it upheld a pair of lower-court decisions last year that found that the state’s Republican-dominated redistricting commission had impermissibly drawn a Senate district to favor the GOP.

After striking down two successive maps adopted by the commission, state court Judge Thomas Matthews ordered officials to use an alternative map on an interim basis for the 2022 elections, which saw the GOP’s margin in the chamber cut from 13-7 to 11-9. (Every Democrat and all but three Republicans ultimately joined a bipartisan governing coalition.)

In its newest ruling, the Supreme Court says, with evident reluctance, that it will give the commission a third chance at drawing a permanent map, but only if the panel can demonstrate “good cause” as to why the interim plan should not be used for the rest of the decade; if it cannot, then the interim map will remain in effect until after the next census in 2030.

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