The Political Report – June 12, 2023

Mark Mellman: “We Democrats have some extremists too, but they are far fewer and far less extreme than the Republicans. It’s all readily apparent to us. But not to ordinary voters.”

“Equal numbers see the two parties as extreme…”

“Neither party has a lock on the extremist label. While we Democrats are quick to assign that moniker to the Republicans alone, voters overall and in key segments, whether demographic or geographic, attach it to both parties.”

MD-06: Montgomery County Councilmember Laurie-Anne Sayles tells Maryland Matters she’s considering joining the Democratic primary for this open seat, and the story says she’ll make her decision “over the next several weeks.” Sayles, who would be the first Black woman to represent this constituency, last year won one of the four at-large seats in a county that forms about a third of this district.

TX-32: Democratic state Rep. Rhetta Andrews Bowers unexpectedly announced Thursday that she’d seek reelection to the legislature despite sounding ready to run to succeed Senate candidate Colin Allred days ago, though she may have given herself a small opening to change her mind. The Dallas Morning News’ Gromer Jeffers writes, “When asked if she still planned to run in the Democratic primary to replace Allred, Bowers texted, ‘Not at this time.'” Texas’ candidate filing deadline, which is always one of the earliest in the nation, is in mid-December.

VA State Senate: Former Del. Lashrecse Aird this week earned endorsements from the two most prominent Democrats in the state, Sens. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine, for her June 20 primary challenge against conservative state Sen. Joe Morrissey. Also in her corner is Rep. Jennifer McClellan, whose 4th Congressional District covers all of the 13th State Senate District that Aird and Morrissey are competing for, as well as Reps. Bobby Scott and Abigail Spanberger. McClellan herself defeated the scandal-ridden Morrissey 85-14 in December’s special party-run “firehouse primary” for Congress.

North Carolina Republicans continue to feel uneasy about their party’s current gubernatorial frontrunner, firebrand Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson. But no coherent strategy yet exists to knock him out in a primary,” The Dispatch reports.

“Those with concerns about Robinson fear his controversial views, as well as his checkered personal and campaign finance history, will alienate suburban and independent voters in 2024 as Republicans try to flip the the gubernatorial seat of term-limited Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper.”

PA-AG: Former Bucks County Solicitor Joe Khan declared Wednesday that he was joining the primary to succeed appointed incumbent Michelle Henry, a fellow Democrat who is not seeking a full term in 2024. Khan launched his campaign one week after former Auditor General Eugene DePasquale kicked off his own bid for the Democratic nod.

Khan lost the 2017 party primary for Philadelphia district attorney to Larry Krasner, who would soon become one of the most prominent criminal justice reformers in the country, 38-20. In 2020, though, the new Democratic-led Board of Supervisors in neighboring Bucks County appointed Khan to serve as solicitor, a post he left three years later as he mulled a statewide run.

NH-Gov: Republican incumbent Chris Sununu told WMUR Monday that he’ll decide “this summer” if he’ll seek what would be a historic fifth two-year term, a declaration that came the same day he said he wouldn’t be running for president after all. (Summer, for those keeping track, starts June 21 and ends Sept. 23.) This could mean a long wait for everyone including former state Senate President Chuck Morse, who has said he’d run if his fellow Republican stepped aside. A consultant for Morse, who narrowly lost last year’s U.S. Senate primary, reiterated to the Boston Globe that his client would continue to get ready for a campaign until Sununu “makes his intentions known.”

NV-Sen: The Nevada Globe reports that Jeffrey Ross Gunter, who had a turbulent tenure as Trump’s ambassador to Iceland from 2019 to 2021, is considering seeking the GOP nod to face Democratic Sen. Jacky Rosen. Gunter did not directly confirm his interest, saying instead, “I continue to assess the role I can play in furthering the Make America Great Again agenda and delivering an America First and Nevada First victory in this must-win seat in 2024.”

Gunter, who works as a dermatologist, was a Trump donor during and after the 2016 elections, and the administration went on to make him ambassador to a country he’d never visited. He made news in 2020 in what’s usually a low-profile post, though, when sources told CBS he was “paranoid” about his safety and wanted a gun and a “stab-proof vest” even though there was no indication he was in danger. An Office of the Inspector General report later said he’d been responsible for a “threatening and intimidating environment.”

Bucks County, PA Board of Commissioners: Democratic incumbents Diane Marseglia and Bob Harvie had jointly released an internal from Global Strategy Group that shows them narrowly holding their seats in a tight November general election, a result that would keep the party in control of this populous and competitive county outside of Philadelphia. Marseglia and Republican Commissioner Gene DiGirolamo grab 42% and 41%, respectively, while Harvie edges out county Controller Pamela Van Blunk 39-36 for the crucial third seat.

As we’ve written before, each party may nominate up to two candidates for the three countywide spots, so there will be a 2-1 split no matter what: The question is which party will get the vital second seat they need to control the body. The answer was always the GOP from 1983 through 2015, but Marseglia and Harvie’s wins four years ago finally put Democrats in power.

“In their first remarks since former president Donald Trump’s federal indictment, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and former vice president Mike Pence rushed to defend their rival,” Axios reports.

“It foreshadows a tightrope that the other candidates running for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination will walk through the primary season.”

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

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