The Political Report – July 9, 2023

Thomas Edsall: “One of the most significant developments in the run-up to the 2024 presidential election has emerged largely under the radar. From 2016 to 2022, the number of white people without college degrees — the core of Donald Trump’s support — has fallen by 2.1 million.”

“Over the same period, the number of white people who have graduated from college — an increasingly Democratic constituency — has grown by 13.3 million.”

“Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) has endorsed President Joe Biden’s reelection campaign, sending a strong sign of Democratic unity from one of the party’s most liberal members,” the AP reports.

Said Ocasio-Cortez: “I think he’s done quite well, given the limitations that we have.”

“Of the four early presidential primary states, Nevada has shown the strongest support for Donald Trump,” The Messenger reports.

“And Trump intends to keep it that way. During his first visit as a 2024 candidate Saturday to Las Vegas, he’ll announce his new Nevada campaign director: the current state Republican Party’s executive director, Alida Benson.”

“The hiring of Benson, who couldn’t be reached, underscores the close institutional ties Trump has with Nevada’s GOP. The party’s leadership is officially neutral, but many are attending Trump’s event Saturday, and their pro-Trump sympathies and pasts are clear. That includes some who served as so-called “alternate electors” in 2020, leading to a federal investigation of the former president’s efforts to overturn the election results.”

“Roger Stone, the political provocateur and strategist once pardoned by Donald Trump of multiple felony convictions, accompanied his longtime ally on the road on Friday,” NBC News reports.

“They were together at a campaign stop in Iowa and aboard the former president’s personal aircraft on a flight to Las Vegas.”

New York Times: “For Mr. DeSantis, Iowa is where his allies acknowledge he must first halt Mr. Trump’s momentum to prevent him from steam-rolling his way to a third consecutive G.O.P. nomination. For Mr. Trump, it is where he hopes to snuff out his challengers’ candidacies, and win where he did not in 2016.”

“And there is no politician in Iowa with greater sway than Ms. Reynolds, 63, who has overseen her party’s swelling state legislative majorities with an approval rating among Republicans near 90 percent. Republicans say she can command attention and shape the landscape even without making a formal endorsement.”

On July 1, 2022, Donald Trump had a 34-point lead over Gov. Ron DeSantis for the Republican presidential nomination, 52.8% to 18.5%.

Let’s look at what’s happened since then:

  • DeSantis won re-election in a landslide and filled a war chest with more than $100 million.
  • Trump announced his campaign early but let it languish, lost a civil suit for defamation and sexual abuse and was indicted twice on more than 70 criminal charges. More charges are likely coming.
  • Just over a year later, Trump’s lead over DeSantis is 32 points, 53% to 21%.

Even worse for DeSantis, he failed to scare off rivals and a huge Republican primary field has assembled.

The New York Times was brutal in assessing his candidacy: “Mr. DeSantis, who has not shown that he is a natural campaigner, has failed to take off in the polls, and his carefully choreographed public events have offered few headline-generating moments, as his campaign, until recently, has worked to shield him from potentially awkward unscripted interactions with voters and the news media.”

This same perception is mirrored across his campaign’s media coverage.

While anything can happen in politics and it’s still early, it’s hard to imagine what could happen to Trump at this point that would make the former president’s supporters jump to DeSantis.

MARYLAND U.S. SENATOR. Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) “has decided not to run for Maryland’s open Senate seat, and instead will seek reelection to the House, where he hopes to become the chair of the House Oversight panel,” Roll Call reports.

NEVADA U.S. SENATOR. The Nevada Independent’s Gabby Birenbaum flags that Army veteran Sam Brown, who’s reportedly a favorite of national Republicans, has a “special announcement” planned for Monday. So far, the only prominent Republican seeking to challenge first-term Democratic Sen. Jacky Rosen is notorious election conspiracy theorist Jim Marchant, who came very close to winning last year’s race for secretary of state.

“Ret. Army Capt. Sam Brown of Nevada, who made an unsuccessful run for Senate in 2022 but amassed grassroots support within the GOP, is likely to soon announce he will challenge Democratic U.S. Sen. Jacky Rosen, who is up for re-election,” NBC News reports.


OHIO U.S. SENATOR. East Carolina University’s new poll gives Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown small leads against a trio of Republican foes:

  • 45-44 vs. state Sen. Matt Dolan
  • 44-42 vs. Secretary of State Frank LaRose
  • 46-42 vs. businessman Bernie Moreno

LaRose hasn’t announced yet, though he unsubtly tweeted a picture of an FEC statement of organization form dated July 15.

VIRGINIA U.S. SENATOR. Navy veteran Hung Cao, who was last year’s GOP nominee against Democratic Rep. Jennifer Wexton, has filed FEC paperwork for what would be a longshot campaign against Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine.

PENNSYLVANIA U.S. SENATOR. “So, that was a low point.”— Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA), quoted by The Messenger, remembering when the Philadelphia Inquirer compared him to oatmeal.

WASHINGTON GOVERNOR. Former Rep. Dave Reichert on Friday filed paperwork for a potential campaign for governor, which is the furthest the Republican has ever come to running for statewide office despite flirting with the idea several times during his career. Reichert, a former swing district congressman who is arguably his party’s most formidable candidate, has yet to publicly commit to entering the top-two primary.

WEST VIRGINIA GOVERNOR and U.S. SENATOR. 2020 Democratic nominee Ben Salango said Wednesday he’s decided not to run to succeed termed-out Gov. Jim Justice, the Republican who beat him 63-30. No serious Democrats have entered the race to lead what has become an inhospitable state for their party especially over the last decade, though Huntington Mayor Steve Williams responded to the news by reaffirming his interest to MetroNews.

“I said at the Juneteenth that I intend to run, but that it won’t be official until I intend to file and that wouldn’t be until sometime in July or August” said Williams, who runs West Virginia’s second-largest state. The mayor didn’t commit to anything, adding, “It’s never official until it’s official.”

The West Virginia Chamber of Commerce has publicized a survey of next year’s statewide GOP primaries from Orion Strategies (a firm that doesn’t appear to have released horserace polling in over a decade) as part of what it says is its effort to “start boosting interest in these important elections and encourage more people to learn about the candidates and be involved.” The poll gives Gov. Jim Justice a wide 56-19 edge over Rep. Alex Mooney in the contest to take on Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin, which is similar to what the few other surveys we’ve seen have shown.

But things are far different in the contest to succeed Justice: Attorney General Patrick Morrissey edges out Del. Moore Capito just 31-30, while Secretary of State Mac Warner takes a distant third with 9%. The only other public data on the contest came from a March survey for a pro-Morrissey group taken before he was even in the race, and it found the attorney general leading Capito 28-15.

MONTANA U.S. SENATOR. Rep. Ryan Zinke took himself out of the running for the right to take on Democratic Sen. Jon Tester by endorsing former Navy SEAL Tim Sheehy for the GOP nomination instead. But while Sheehy is a favorite of D.C. Republicans, he’s still likely to have company in the primary in the form of Montana’s other congressman, the hard-right Matt Rosendale.

“Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT) raised $5 million in the most recent fundraising quarter as he gears up for another battleground race in 2024,” NBC News reports. “The Montana Democrat ended the quarter on June 30 with more than $10 million in his campaign account.”

MICHIGAN U.S. SENATOR. Former Republican Rep. Mike Rogers, who previously said “never say never” in regard to a possible bid for Michigan’s open Senate seat, is now “seriously weighing” a campaign, according to two unnamed sources cited by Politico’s Burgess Everett. A consultant for Rogers, who’s been weighing a hopeless campaign for president, also declined to rule out the possibility in a statement.

Meanwhile, Time’s Mini Racker reports that John Tuttle, an executive with the New York Stock Exchange, “is likely to enter” the GOP primary, per an anonymous source, and could do so by the middle of this month. In May, NRSC chair Steve Daines praised Tuttle as “a strong potential recruit.” Racker’s source also says that former Rep. Peter Meijer is “seriously looking” at a campaign but “may wait months” to decide; earlier this year, Meijer would only say “no comment” when the New York Times asked about his interest.

The only noteworthy Republican in the race so far is state Board of Education member Nikki Snyder, though her presence hasn’t deterred anyone else. Democrats, by contrast, have largely coalesced around Rep. Elissa Slotkin, though she faces a few opponents, most notably state Board of Education President Pamela Pugh.

INDIANA U.S. SENATOR. Egg farmer John Rust, who is reportedly wealthy and could self-fund a bid for office, has filed paperwork to run in next year’s GOP primary for Indiana’s open Senate seat. Rust, however, has not yet commented publicly, so it’s not clear what kind of opening he might see for himself, given that Republican leaders have almost universally rallied behind Rep. Jim Banks’ campaign to succeed Sen. Mike Braun.

TEXAS U.S. SENATOR. The Dallas Morning News reports that state Sen. Roland Gutierrez will “likely” announce early this month that he’ll seek the Democratic nod to take on GOP Sen. Ted Cruz, a timeline the paper says comes from “numerous sources with knowledge of his plans.” That would set up a primary with Rep. Colin Allred, whose recently announced $6.2 million haul in his first two months of the race far outpaced Beto O’Rourke’s early fundraising efforts in his campaign against Cruz six years ago.

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

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