The Political Report – May 28, 2023

A new NPR/PBS News Hour/Marist poll found that 69% of registered independent voters said President Biden’s mental fitness is a real concern about his ability to be president, while 27% believe questioning Biden’s mental fitness is just a campaign strategy used by his opponents. 

A new CNN poll finds Donald Trump is the first choice of 53% Republican and Republican-leaning voters in the presidential primary, roughly doubling Ron DeSantis’ 26%.

But the survey also finds that wide swaths of Republican-aligned voters are willing to consider either of the two, as well as several other candidates.

A new Fox News poll finds Donald Trump leading the GOP presidential field nationally with 53%, followed by Ron DeSantis at 20%, Mike Pence at 5%, Nikki Haley at 4%, Vivek Ramaswamy at 4% and Tim Scott at 2%.

CNBC: “Biden’s joint fundraising committee, the Biden Victory Fund, is now raising campaign cash with all 50 state Democratic Party committees, along with Washington D.C.’s local committee.”

“The nationwide effort is shaping up to be larger than the strategy used during Biden’s 2020 run… The Biden team said the new effort represents the first time a candidate for president has joint fundraising agreements with every state party, along with D.C.”

The top two campaign officials for longshot Democratic presidential candidate Marianne Williamson resigned over the weekend,” Politico  reports.

CNN: “Biden advisers believe they can hold up what the GOP governor calls his ‘Florida blueprint’ as a warning to the country about what would happen if DeSantis or any other Republican wins the White House in 2024 – a human embodiment, essentially, of Biden’s argument that “MAGA extremism” goes beyond Donald Trump.”

“And along the way, they believe the Florida governor’s record may give them a chance at the state’s 30 electoral votes.”

TENNESSEE U.S. SENATOR. Democratic state Rep. Gloria Johnson, who earned national attention last month after her GOP colleagues came just one vote short of expelling her, tells the Nashville Banner she’s “definitely considering a run” against incumbent Sen. Marshall Blackburn. The senator fended off former Gov. Phil Bredesen 55-44 in her 2018 campaign in this dark red state, and she looks as secure as ever heading into next year.

Johnson, like any Democrat, would have a difficult time giving the party its first statewide win since Bredesen’s 2006 reelection, though she may have access to a wide donor base. She, along with fellow state Reps. Justin Jones and Justin Pearson, was part of the “Tennessee Three” that Republicans tried to remove from office for participating in a protest in favor of gun safety legislation on the chamber floor. Jones and Pearson, who are both Black, were expelled while Johnson, who is white, was not, and she told reporters afterwards that the disparate treatment “might have to do with the color of our skin.” Both Jones and Pearson returned to the legislature soon after their respective county governments reappointed them.

MICHIGAN U.S. SENATOR. Michigan State Board of Education President Pamela Pugh kicked off her campaign to succeed retiring Sen. Debbie Stabenow with a Tuesday announcement highlighting the fact that Congress’ upper chamber currently doesn’t have a single Black woman as a member—a state of affairs she says she’s eager to change by becoming the state’s first African American senator.

Pugh acknowledged to the Detroit News that she was in for a “tough race” as she prepares to do battle with the apparent frontrunner for the Democratic nomination, Rep. Elissa Slotkin, but insisted she was “up for it.” Her entry upends a narrative advanced by Stabenow and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer that Slotkin would enjoy a clear path to the general election thanks to their backstage maneuvering, which in March prompted Politico to conclude—prematurely, it seems—that the primary was “nearly over already.”

While it remains to be seen whether Pugh can in fact prevail, she brings a high profile to the contest. Pugh first earned an eight-year term on the eight-person education board by finishing first on the ballot in 2014. (The board’s members are elected statewide every two years in a contest where voters cast two votes and the top-two finishers are elected.) However, her most prominent role came when Flint Mayor Karen Warren appointed Pugh, who is a former official at the Saginaw County Department of Public Health, to serve as her chief public health adviser in 2016 as the city dealt with its water crisis.

Pugh stepped down from her position in Flint in 2019, and three years later, she once again placed first when she sought reelection to the Board of Education. Soon afterward, she was chosen by her colleagues to serve as the body’s president, but her name surfaced earlier this year for a much higher office following Stabenow’s retirement.

Pugh’s consideration of a Senate bid came at a time when, following Rep. Brenda Lawrence’s retirement early this year, there were no Black Democrats in Michigan’s congressional delegation for the first time since 1955. (Republican Rep. John James represents part of the Detroit suburbs.) “I think it would be a shame if we have not at least put some backing behind … a Black woman who would be in the U.S. Senate,” she told Politico, noting, “And there are none at this time.”

However, that changed earlier this month when former state Rep. Leslie Love launched her own campaign. Neither Pugh nor Love appears to have said anything publicly about the other’s campaign, though the Detroit-based Love also emphasized her desire to elect a candidate from southeastern Michigan. (Slotkin represents the Lansing area, while Pugh’s Saginaw home is located even further to the north.)

Actor Hill Harper, who is also Black, is eyeing the race as well, though Love alleged that “The Good Doctor” cast member “has never lived in Michigan and has no experience at all in politics or government” in comments to the Toledo Blade last month. (Harper, who met Barack Obama in law school and says he remains friends with the former president, bought a home in Detroit in 2018 and has said he’s raising his son there.)

Slotkin, who is white, has argued that she can appeal to Black voters. “All I can do is introduce myself to leaders in places like Detroit and Flint,” she said at her campaign kickoff in March, “and demonstrate that I care and I’m willing to fight on issues that are really important to people.” The field also includes Nasser Beydoun, a former head of the American Arab Chamber of Commerce who characterizes himself as a “moderate.”

One big question looming over the primary is whether any of Slotkin’s opponents can bring in enough money not just to compete with her in this expensive state but to establish themselves as her main rival. The congresswoman finished March with $2.3 million in the bank, and she proved during three competitive House campaigns that she can raise much more. New quarterly fundraising reports are due July 15.

NEVADA U.S. SENATOR. Attorney April Becker, who was the 2022 GOP nominee against Rep. Susie Lee, this week announced she’d campaign for a seat on the Clark County Commission rather than take on Democratic Sen. Jacky Rosen.

Becker this time is looking to unseat Commissioner Ross Miller, a former secretary of state and the son of former Gov. Bob Miller. The younger Miller’s promising political ascent was halted after the 2014 red wave helped Republican Adam Laxalt pull off an upset in the race for attorney general, but he returned to office six years later by beating Republican Stavros Anthony by 15 votes. (Anthony, who spread conspiracy theories about his defeat, won the lieutenant governor’s office in 2022.)

WISCONSIN U.S. SENATOR. GOP Rep. Bryan Steil this week once again didn’t quite rule out the idea of taking on Democratic Sen. Tammy Baldwin, though he doesn’t sound especially interested in going for it. “I’m not planning to run for the United States Senate,” he told Channel 3000, adding, “I think we have a lot of great candidates who will ultimately maybe make a decision to step up.”

MISSOURI GOVERNOR. State Sen. Bill Eigel, who earlier this month derailed several of his party’s major priorities during the final hours of the legislative session, told 97.1 FM on Monday he’d decide if he’d run for governor “before Labor Day.” Eigel, who formed an exploratory committee last year, added, “We’re going to come to a final decision … probably in the next 60 to 90 days.” (Labor Day is Sept. 4.)



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

0 comments on “The Political Report – May 28, 2023

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: