The Political Report – June 11, 2023

There are a lot of reasons to doubt that Mike Pence will ever be elected president, but watching him at last week’s CNN town hall only confirmed most of them.

When Dana Bash asked Pence about Donald Trump being notified he’s a target of special counsel Jack Smith’s investigation, Pence urged the Justice Department to back down.

Said Pence: “Now more than ever, we ought to be finding ways we could actually come together. And this kind of action by the Department of Justice would only fuel further division in the country.

And let me also say, I think it would also send a terrible message to the wider world. I mean, we’re the emblem of democracy, we’re the symbol of justice in the world, and the serious matter—which has already happened once in New York—of indicting a former president of the United States sends a terrible message to the world.

I hope the DOJ thinks better of it and resolves these issues without an indictment.”

Bash then asked the perfect follow up: “Sir, I just want to clarify: What you’re saying is if they believe he committed a crime, they should not go forward with an indictment? You just talked before about committing to the rule of law.

Pence tied himself in knots trying to answer.  It was painful to watch

Daily Beast: “Since the news broke Thursday of Trump’s indictment, on charges related to his mishandling of classified documents, every serious GOP presidential contender, save for one, has leapt to the former president’s defense in some way.”

“Although their responses ranged from the tepidly sympathetic to the conspicuously Trump-adoring, the clear calculation for Trump’s presumptive primary foes is that it is better to be seen as with him than anywhere close to against him.”

Rolling Stone: “It wouldn’t be the first juvenile move by Team Trump in this young primary season. Already, Trump has suggested that DeSantis, his chief rival, might be secretly gay. He’s gone after DeSantis over pronunciation of his own last name. He has claimed to have salacious dirt on Florida’s governor, that he might release during the primary. Recently, Trump’s campaign went after one of DeSantis’ top aides, apparently insulting her physical appearance.”

“Now, some of Trump’s longtime advisers are even urging him to continuously make reference to the size of DeSantis’ penis, telling him such insults could stick with GOP primary voters and mess with his rival’s head.”

“It’s so childish. It’s so juvenile. He is such a spoiled baby. When a spoiled baby misbehaves, you send them to their room, not the White House.”— Chris Christie, responding on CNN to Donald Trump mocking his weight.

“The GOP presidential primary is looking more and more like 2016 — a rerun that plenty of Hill Republicans are watching with heartburn,” Politico reports.

“Among the many Hill Republicans who want to see someone other than Donald Trump atop the ticket, there’s clear concern that the surge of candidates entering the 2024 fray could make it harder to defeat President Joe Biden next year. Three more candidates jumped in this week alone.”

“A legal challenge that could eventually give New York Democrats a second crack at drawing new congressional district lines continued to work its way through the courts on Thursday, with a mid-level state appellate court hearing arguments that could restart redistricting by the end of the summer,” Politico reports.

“The gerrymandered lines drawn in 2022 that would have made Democrats the favorites in 22 of the state’s 26 congressional districts were thrown out on procedural grounds. That was the start of a rough year for Democrats in the state, who wound up winning only 15 of the 26 districts drawn by the courts and helped fuel Republicans’ ability to win back the U.S. House.”

Politico: “The divergent paths on education will likely be a top issue in the 2024 election cycle. Republicans have used state and local education policy to great effect in recent elections, scoring political victories by agitating voters about what’s happening in classrooms.”

“But now state-level Democrats believe they have a potent counterpunch by boasting about big funding hikes and new programs like free meals all aimed at improving student achievement.”

Politico: “Fundraising schemes where campaigns offer free shirts, books or other items in exchange for even the smallest donations can be expensive in the short-term, as campaigns spend heavily on merchandise and digital advertising. The minuscule donations hardly cover their costs. But the contributions afford longshot candidates the chance to appear on the debate stage.”

OHIO U.S. SENATOR. Leadership for Ohio Fund, a super PAC supporting Secretary of State Frank LaRose’s likely Senate campaign, has unveiled an internal from Causeway Solutions that shows him beating state Sen. Matt Dolan 24-11 in the Republican primary, with wealthy businessman Bernie Moreno at 6%. The Louisiana-based pollster, which shares its name with a pair of 24-mile bridges crossing Lake Pontchartrain, is a GOP firm that we’ve only encountered a handful of times over the years, though it has the honor of releasing the first survey we’ve seen of this contest.

KENTUCKY GOVERNOR. Democratic incumbent Andy Beshear is up with two more positive commercials touting his work on tornado recovery and economic development as his side continues to dominate the airwaves at this early point in the general election. The GOP firm Medium Buying reported Tuesday that the governor and his allies have spent $2.1 million on TV and radio compared to $380,000 from the RGA. GOP foe Daniel Cameron also has been off the air since his primary win three weeks ago.

MISSOURI U.S. SENATOR. St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Wesley Bell unexpectedly announced Wednesday that he’d seek the Democratic nomination to take on GOP incumbent Josh Hawley, who appears secure in what’s become a dark red state. Bell, who would be Missouri’s first Black senator, joins a primary that includes Marine veteran Lucas Kunce, who unsuccessfully sought the nod for the Show Me State’s other seat last year.

LOUISIANA GOVERNOR. Rep. Garret Graves on Wednesday became the first high-profile figure to endorse Stephen Waguespack, a former state Chamber of Commerce head who is campaigning in the October all-party primary. Graves, who represents part of the Baton Rouge area, has long been close to his fellow Republican, who served with him a decade ago in then-Gov. Bobby Jindal’s administration. (Waguespack was Jindal’s chief of staff, while Graves chaired the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority.)

INDIANA GOVERNOR. The Associated Press writes that former Attorney General Curtis Hill “expects to make a decision in the coming weeks” about whether to seek the GOP nod. Hill narrowly lost renomination at the 2020 convention to former Rep. Todd Rokita two years after multiple women accused the incumbent of groping them.

MARYLAND U.S. SENATOR. Maryland Matters reports that an unreleased Democratic primary poll conducted by Dynata included Baltimore Orioles chairman and CEO John Angelos, who is the son of owner Peter Angelos, as an option. The site was unable to reach the younger Angelos or one of his attorneys to ask if he was behind the survey.

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

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