The Political Report – August 10, 2023

Ohio voters on Tuesday rejected a Republican-backed measure called Issue 1, a proposed constitutional amendment that would have made it difficult to ever change the state’s constitution again, 57-43. The result means that pro-choice advocates will need to win a simple majority on Nov. 7 in order to pass their own amendment to enshrine abortion rights into the state’s governing document instead of the 60% supermajority that Issue 1 would have imposed.

The outcome also ensures that activists seeking to pass other amendments opposed by Ohio’s GOP-dominated state government will not need to contend with the dramatically increased signature requirements that Issue 1 would have required in order to qualify measures for the ballot. (Republicans in numerous other states have also been trying to make it tougher to pass progressive ballot change at the ballot box, mostly without success.) That’s good news for a 2024 effort to create an independent redistricting commission in place of a broken bipartisan board that tilts heavily to the GOP, as well as a campaign to raise the minimum wage from its current level of $10.10 per hour.

Both sides, however, chiefly viewed Tuesday’s contest as a proxy fight over abortion rights, with Republican Secretary of State Frank LaRose outright declaring in June, “This is 100% about keeping a radical, pro-abortion amendment out of our constitution.” The “no” side ran a barrage of ads highlighting those comments from LaRose, who is seeking the GOP nomination to challenge Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown, warning that “[c]orrupt politicians and special interests” were “trying to rig the rules to lock in Ohio’s extreme abortion ban and stop efforts to restore our rights.”

Conservative groups, though, seem to have decided that abortion rights were too popular to directly attack in a state where, according to Civiqs, voters agree 55-40 that the procedure should be legal in all or most cases. The “yes” side instead resorted to transphobia by insisting, “Out-of-state special interests that put trans ideology in classrooms and encourage sex changes for kids are hiding behind slick ads.” (Neither Issue 1 nor the abortion amendment has anything to do with any of these issues.)

Other right-wing ads insisted that Issue 1 was necessary to stop “radical groups” from “tak[ing] away parents’ ability to be informed and to make decisions for their children,” even though the November abortion amendment wouldn’t impact the state’s parental consent laws.

The pro-Issue 1 side further claimed it was trying to stop out-of-state interests from changing the state’s governing document for their own ends, despite the fact that much of their money came from one out-of-state billionaire, Illinois megadonor Richard Uihlein. But Uihlein’s deep pockets were not enough: AdImpact reports that the “no” side outspent its rivals $15.9 million to $10.7 million on TV and radio ads.

None of the GOP’s messages helped avert defeat on Tuesday, but it remains to be seen whether conservatives will adopt different tactics heading into the fall. And another expensive battle looms: The groups backing abortion rights tell NBC they’ll spend at least $35 million to pass their amendment, while their opponents at Protect Women Ohio say they’ve already booked $25 million in ad time.

It’s also possible that Buckeye State voters will have another amendment like Issue 1 to deal with again at some point in the future. State Senate President Matt Huffman responded to the amendment’s defeat by telling Ohio Public Radio his party “will probably ask this question again,” though not “in the same atmosphere.”

Mississippi Lt. Gov. Delbert Hosemann turned back a GOP primary challenge from state Sen. Chris McDaniel 52-43, which was the majority he needed to avoid an Aug. 29 runoff. The incumbent will be favored in November against Ryan Grover, who had the Democratic side to himself.

McDaniel, who infamously refused to accept his 2014 runoff loss against the late Sen. Thad Cochran, conceded to Hosemann on election night. The incumbent, for his part, said he was trying to “temper” his own words about McDaniel, whom he’s repeatedly accused of breaking campaign finance laws. However, Hosemann also pledged to use his powerful position as leader of the state Senate to strengthen those laws, declaring, “When you have this much dark money pumped into a race— almost $1 million in the last week—it screams for reform.” 

DESANTIS 2024. “In his third staff shakeup in less than a month, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis replaced his embattled presidential campaign manager with one of his most trusted, and most conservative, advisers: his gubernatorial office’s chief of staff, James Uthmeier,” The Messenger reports.

“Outgoing campaign manager Generra Peck will remain as chief strategist on the campaign as part of the restructuring.”

Philip Bump: “The presidential campaign of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced on Tuesday that it was revamping its leadership team. While such moves do not always augur a campaign’s imminent demise, the demise of political campaigns often follow such shake-ups.”

“In recent years, nearly every presidential candidate who has shed staff in the summer before primary voting failed to win the nomination.”

Gov. Ron DeSantis warned that Republicans will lose the upcoming election if the race becomes a “referendum” on the Jan. 6 Capitol attack and Donald Trump’s legal woes, Axios reports.

Said DeSantis: “If the election is a referendum on Joe Biden’s policies and the failures that we’ve seen, and we are presenting a positive vision for the future, we will win the presidency. If, on the other hand, the election is not about January 20th, 2025, but January 6th, 2021, or what document was left by the toilet at Mar-a-Lago, if it’s a referendum on that, we are going to lose.”

It may seem like Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) telling NBC News that Donald Trump lost the 2020 election should barely merit a mention. But the decision to call out Trump’s big lie comes with big risks too. That’s because just a quarter of Republican voters actually believe President Biden won the election.

But it appears DeSantis’ big donors — who have been increasingly critical of his campaign — wanted him to say it in order to rally the anti-Trump wing of the Republican Party. And it backs up DeSantis’ argument that an election about Donald Trump is a sure loser for his party. DeSantis’ campaign has been slowly fading in the polls since the day he announced he was running. With big donors fleeing, it’s now on life support. This move may be his only hope to bring it back to life.

“Same way a police officer would know. Same way somebody operating in Iraq would know. You know, these people in Iraq at the time, they all looked the same. You didn’t know who had a bomb strapped to them. So those guys have to make judgments.” — Gov. Ron DeSantis, quoted by the New York Times, explaining how he could differentiate between drug smugglers and migrants crossing the border.

“Ron DeSantis has settled on a new attack, arguing that Donald Trump’s giant COVID aid package is responsible for the nation’s current ills, from mail-in voting to rising national debt to freeloaders who won’t work,” Semafor reports.

“There’s just one problem: It implicates almost the entire Republican party — and possibly DeSantis himself.”

Key takeaway: “The original CARES Act was probably the least-controversial major bill of Trump’s presidency at the time — it passed the Senate with unanimous support and the House by voice vote as Covid-19 ravaged New York City.”

Washington Post: “The Florida governor is prominently featuring his three kids in his 2024 campaign and doing so in an unusually political way, observers said — not just regaling voters with parenting stories but also weaving them into sharp attacks on his frequent targets of criticism and referencing them as he taps into conservative angst about what kids learn about race, gender and sexual orientation in the classroom and beyond.”

“It’s nothing new for DeSantis, who in 2018 famously broadcast his allegiance to then-President Donald Trump with a gubernatorial primary ad that showed him reading Trump’s book to one child and teaching another to ‘build the wall’ with blocks.”

TRUMP 2024. “Donald Trump mocked Chris Christie, one of his rivals for the Republican presidential nomination, over eating habits and weight Tuesday,” NBC News reports.

Said Trump: “Don’t call him a fat pig. You can’t do that. Christie, he’s eating right now. He can’t be bothered.”

That’s when a man in the crowd shouted out to prod Trump: “Sir, please do not call him a fat pig. I’m trying to be nice. Don’t call him a fat pig. You can’t do that.”

Politico: “Former President Donald Trump and Chris Christie spent a day trading highly personal barbs about each other’s weight in near-dueling campaign events in New Hampshire. The former called the latter a ‘fat pig.’ The latter retorted by mocking the former’s preference for overdone meat.”

“It was campaigning at its most guttural form — hardly an amuse bouche for those Granite State voters with a more elevated palate. But, as befitting the situation for the longtime friends turned recent political foes, they are turning to such low-brow fare at a critical moment for both of their campaigns.”

“Donald Trump will seek to starve his rivals for the Republican nomination of the exposure they need to chip away at his frontrunner status,” Bloomberg reports.

“The former president plans to skip appearances with other GOP candidates and instead hold separate events flanked by his allies, according to the people, who requested anonymity to discuss the strategy. The approach is designed to allow Trump to draw attention away from lower-polling contenders and solidify his lead.”

Former Gov. Chris Christie (R) was interviewed by Robert Costa on CBS News:

COSTA: Are you saying you believe Trump wants to be a dictator?

CHRISTIE: I don’t think he’d have any objection to it if we were willing to give it to him.

COSTA: That’s serious stuff.

CHRISTIE: Do you come to any different conclusion than that?

COSTA: So, you think he’s a danger to democracy?

CHRISTIE: I don’t think he cares. And the proof of that are his own words, when he said, “It’s okay to suspend the laws and suspend the Constitution.” Preserve, protect and defend the Constitution is what the president takes an oath to do. And he said, “It’s okay to suspend it.” These are his own words.

“Former President Donald Trump and many of his supporters say he has locked up the race for the Republican nomination even with the first contests months away. That has prompted early jockeying among top Republicans to potentially be his running mate,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“Possible vice-presidential candidates range from staunch loyalists in Congress such as Rep. Elise Stefanik of New York and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia to other popular party figures, including former Arizona television host Kari Lake. One prominent critic, Rep. Nancy Mace of South Carolina, has been warming to the idea of supporting Trump and serving alongside him, people familiar with her thinking say.”

“Trump hasn’t engaged, aides said, and is focused on the GOP primaries, where he has built a strong lead in opinion polls. They say Trump wants someone who has a record of winning and is aligned with his agenda. Trump also likes people who do well on TV.”

“Some Republican presidential candidates voiced frustration Sunday as former President Donald Trump’s latest legal woes continue to be the dominant issue in the primary race,” Politico reports.

Said Chris Christie: “I want Republican voters to know, this is a preview of the election coming up if Donald Trump is the nominee. He’ll be talking about Donald Trump rather than Joe Biden. And what we should be focused on is talking about Joe Biden and his record, and that’s why he cannot be the nominee.”

Said Gov. Doug Bergum: “When we’re out talking to voters in Iowa and New Hampshire, they’re not asking about the indictments. If they want to, they can turn on a cable news network and watch that seven by 24.”

PENCE 2024. Former Vice President Mike Pence has met the requirements to qualify for the first Republican presidential nomination debate, Fox News reports.

After former Vice President Mike Pence qualified for the first Republican debate, his spokesman told USA Today: “Hopefully, former President Trump has the courage to show up.”

Mike Pence’s former national security adviser Keith Kellogg released a statement calling his old boss “unworthy of the presidency” and expressing admiration for Donald Trump, the Daily Beast reports.

Said Kellogg: “I’ve worked alongside many leaders in my years of service to this Nation. Among them, President Donald J. Trump stands apart as a figure of unwavering determination, a deep vision for America, and the courage to take a stand where others wilt.”

Politico: “Candidates will need to hit at least 3 percent in two national polls, or 3 percent in one national poll and 3 percent in two polls conducted from separate early nominating states (Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada), in order to qualify.”

“Additionally, the committee has raised the benchmark for the number of donors each candidate must have in order to get on the stage for the second debate. Candidates must have a total of at least 50,000 unique donors, with at least 200 unique donors from at least 20 states or territories.”

The second debate is scheduled for September 27.

“The Republican National Committee has picked Fox Business to host the second GOP presidential primary debate, which is set to be held next month at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute in Simi Valley, Calif.,” Politico reports.

“The decision means that Fox networks will televise the first two debates. The first debate, to be held Aug. 23 in Milwaukee, will be broadcast on Fox Business’ sister station, Fox News.”

ARKANSAS 3RD, IDAHO 2ND and GEORGIA 13TH DISTRICTS. Two House Republicans who identify with the declining institutionalist wing of the GOP, Arkansas’ Steve Womack and Idaho’s Mike Simpson, tell the Washington Post that they’re considering retiring from their safely red seats. A separate report from Politico also relays that Georgia Rep. David Scott’s colleagues in the Democratic caucus “widely expect him not to run” again in his dark blue seat; Scott, who has a history of siding with Republicans, has not commented publicly, though.

We’ll start with Womack, a self-described “institution guy” who told the Post’s Paul Kane that the far-right’s antics have made serving in D.C. “so unpleasant” that he’s weighing retirement and would decide whether he’s had enough around Labor Day. After the article was published, though, the seven-term congressman backtracked somewhat. “To be clear, I am frustrated with the state of play in Congress,” he tweeted. “[H]owever I have every intention of running for reelection and using my work to fix the institution I love.” He still left the door open to leaving, though. “I have always used Labor Day as the time frame for these decisions,” he continued. “I take nothing for granted and I’m honored every day to serve my constituents in Arkansas’ Third District.”

But while Womack, in Kane’s words, is tired of seeing “his party’s leadership kowtowing to a small band of hard-right lawmakers,” the story notes that his friends fear one of those hardliners would simply replace him in this northeast Arkansas seat. Womack himself has never had trouble winning renomination, though that hardly means he’d be in for another easy campaign if he ran again: Last year, Rep. French Hill, another member of the GOP minority that recognized Biden’s victory, only won his primary for the neighboring 2nd District by a relatively soft 59-41 margin against a foe who was happy to spread the Big Lie.

Simpson, meanwhile, made it clear he shares Womack’s grievances. “I think there’s a lot of people like that, to tell you the truth,” he told Kane.” It’s just people considering: Is this really worth it?” And the answer for the Idaho Republican may be no: “Right now, I’m running again,” he said before, as Kane puts it, “pausing for effect” and finishing, “Right now.” Unlike Womack, though, Simpson did not provide a timeline for when he expects to make up his mind.

The 72-year-old Simpson is only six years older than his likeminded colleague from the South, but unlike Womack, Simpson just had to fend off an organized attempt to beat him in last year’s primary. In that matchup, the incumbent fended off attorney Bryan Smith 55-33 after an expensive fight for an eastern Idaho constituency Simpson first won in 1998. The congressman, who had also turned back Smith 62-38 in 2014, didn’t come close to losing, but his declining vote share could foreshadow more tough races to come―if he tries to stick around, that is.

Finally there’s Scott, whose performance as the top Democrat on the Agriculture Committee has been the subject of much intra-party frustration. His lack of a response to Republican efforts to cut food assistance programs—in a new report, Politico says that he hasn’t held a single press conference on the topic this year—apparently prompted Democrats to form a special task force, led by Mississippi Rep. Bennie Thompson, to take point on the issue.

The unusual move seems to have been prompted by concerns about Scott’s health. Last year, Politico reported that people close to Scott “acknowledged he’s noticeably slowed in the last few years, citing his increasingly halting speech and trouble at times focusing on a topic.” Politico’s article this week says that Scott “no longer speaks with reporters in the halls of the Capitol”; in June, when one reporter was actually able to ask the congressman how a hearing had gone, the congressman replied, “I don’t know.” “There are real questions about whether he’s with it,” an unnamed House colleague told Politico of the 78-year-old Georgian.

Scott, who was first elected in 2002 with support from his late brother-in-law, the legendary Atlanta Braves Hall of Famer Hank Aaron, has long been one of the more conservative members of his caucus. The Democrat crossed party lines in 2016 to back Republican Sen. Johnny Isakson’s bid for reelection, declaring, “He’s my friend. He’s my partner. And I always look out for my partners.” Scott, who donated to Utah GOP Rep. Mia Love’s campaign that year, has also sided with Republicans to undermine regulations aimed at reining in predatory payday lenders and preventing auto dealers from charging higher interest rates to people of color.

If the congressman does surprise his colleagues and run again, though, his renomination in this safely blue suburban Atlanta seat is hardly assured. Scott unexpectedly earned just 53% of the vote in a crowded 2020 primary against several underfunded foes—just a few points more than the majority he needed to avert a runoff against former state Rep. Keisha Waites. (Waites, who is now a member of the Atlanta City Council, took 25%.) The incumbent did better last cycle when he turned back South Fulton City Councilor Mark Baker 66-13, though that performance wasn’t emphatic for a longtime incumbent.

No matter what Womack, Simpson, or Scott do in 2024, however, there’s almost certainly plenty of other House members from both parties who are thinking about whether they want to remain in office. Currently just two representatives―California Democrat Grace Napolitano and Indiana Republican Victoria Spartz—have announced they’re leaving the chamber and not campaigning for another office. And while just two outright retirements might seem like very few so far, that’s in keeping with patterns over the last two decades.

According to data compiled by Daily Kos Elections since the 2005-06 election cycle, an average of about three House incumbents have decided to say goodbye to elective politics altogether before Aug. 1 of each odd-numbered year. That means we can expect many more to call it a career ahead of the 2024 elections, though we’ll likely be waiting well into the new year for some decisions.

ILLINIOS 7TH DISTRICT. Kouri Marshall, a former aide to Gov. J.B. Pritzker, entered the race to unseat longtime Rep. Danny Davis in next year’s Democratic primary on Thursday, though the growing field of challengers could ultimately wind up saving the incumbent. Already running is gun safety activist Kina Collins, who held Davis to just a 52-46 win last year, while Chicago City Treasurer Melissa Conyears-Ervin appears poised to join the contest this fall.

Incumbents are typically most vulnerable in one-on-one matchups, which is essentially what unfolded in 2022 (one minor candidate netted the remaining 2%). But in bona fide multi-way races, there’s a greater risk that voters unhappy with the office-holder in question will split their vote among multiple challengers, potentially allowing the incumbent to escape with a plurality of the vote. (Illinois does not require runoffs if no candidate wins a majority.)

Such scenarios can also make it harder for a single challenger to gain sufficient traction, making it easier for the incumbent to secure a majority. That’s what may have happened in 2020, when Collins first challenged Davis. That year, the congressman took a relatively soft 60% in the primary, but his three opponents split the remainder of the vote, each taking around 13-14%. But the presence of multiple opponents is not a guarantee of incumbent survival: Last year, for instance, Madison Cawthorn, the notorious North Carolina Republican, lost his bid for renomination despite facing seven other candidates.

TEXAS 28TH DISTRICT. A former spokesperson for Jessica Cisneros reiterates to the Daily Beast that she hasn’t decided whether she’ll challenge conservative Democratic Rep. Henry Cuellar for renomination again after a back-to-back pair of tight losses.

INDIANA 6TH DISTRICT and INDIANA LT. GOVERNOR. A spokesperson for Republican Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch told The Republic over the weekend that she’d asked Rep. Greg Pence “to consider being her running mate” as she campaigns to succeed termed-out Gov. Eric Holcomb. Pence, who is the older brother of Mike Pence, did not respond to the paper’s questions about his interest, though this isn’t the first time the idea has come up. Politico’s Adam Wren relayed all the way back in January that Indiana political watchers had “widely gossiped” about the possibility of the congressman forgoing reelection in order to be Crouch’s number two.

To complicate things, the nominee for lieutenant governor of Indiana is chosen by party delegates rather than primary voters or the candidate for governor. Crouch herself also has a tough primary ahead of her next year in a primary that includes Sen. Mike Braun, so she may not be in a position to urge delegates next year to select Pence or anyone else as her running mate. The eventual nominees for governor and lieutenant governor will run together as a ticket in the general election.

But as we wrote in January, it’s possible that Pence would hedge his bets and seek reelection to the House while holding out hope he’ll be nominated for lieutenant governor later. Indeed, then-Gov. Mike Pence won his 2016 primary for another term only to withdraw his name right ahead of the July deadline when Donald Trump chose him to be his own running mate: Indiana party leaders soon selected Holcomb to be their new nominee for governor.

OKLAHOMA 3RD DISTRICT. GOP Rep. Frank Lucas’ office said over the weekend that the congressman had been hospitalized for “non-life threatening injuries” Friday after he was “injured while working at his ranch.” His team added, “Congressman Lucas will be back on the ranch and in the district soon and expects to make a speedy recovery.”

MINNESOTA 3RD DISTRICT. From the Good for the Goose Dept.: With Rep. Dean Phillips openly mooting a primary challenge to Joe Biden (“Democrats are telling me that they want, not a coronation, but they want a competition”), the third-term congressman might soon find out just how unpleasant his own medicine tastes. According to Morning Take, a local Minnesota tipsheet, “The buzz within” Democratic Party circles is whether Phillips “will draw a primary challenger” thanks to his effort to derail the president’s path to renomination.

To that end, the publication cites former state Sen. Melisa López Franzen as a “name that is floated frequently,” though she hasn’t said anything publicly. Franzen was first elected to the state Senate in 2012 and served for a decade, rising to the post of minority leader in her final two years. However, following the most recent round of redistricting, she opted not to run again in 2022 after new maps paired her with a fellow Democratic incumbent, Ron Latz. (Democrats went on to win back the Senate last year, earning their first trifecta in a decade.)

Franzen’s old legislative district in the Minneapolis suburbs largely overlaps with Phillip’s 3rd Congressional District, which would give her a base of support should she run. And Phillips would have no choice but to encourage her: “Democrats in the country need competition,” he said on CBS’ “Face the Nation” Sunday. “It makes everything better.”

CALIFORNIA 31ST DISTRICT. Former Democratic Rep. Gil Cisneros announced Monday that he’d stepping down from his post at the Department of Defense sometime in “early September,” a move that comes weeks after an unnamed advisor told the Los Angeles Times he was being encouraged to run to succeed retiring Democratic incumbent Grace Napolitano. Cisneros flipped the old 39th District in an expensive 2018 battle against Republican Young Kim, but he lost their rematch two years later: According to data from Daily Kos Elections, all of five of Napolitano’s current constituents live within the boundaries of Cisneros’ old seat.

OHIO 13TH DISTRICT. Politics1 tweeted Friday that it received “a tip” from an unnamed source saying that former state GOP chair Jane Timken “is in the field polling on a possible run” against freshman Democratic Rep. Emilia Sykes. Timken last cycle competed in the crowded primary to succeed retiring Sen. Rob Portman, but the senator’s endorsement wasn’t enough to spare her from a distant fifth-place loss with 6% of the vote.

The GOP field to take on Sykes already includes 2022 nominee Madison Gesiotto Gilbert, who lost their first bout 53-47. Donors don’t seem excited about Gilbert’s second try, however, as she finished June with just $37,000 in the bank. Sykes had $450,000 available to defend this 51-48 Biden constituency, though Republicans may have the chance to pass a new gerrymander this cycle.

PENNSYLVANIA 7TH DISTRICT. María Montero, who is the director of public affairs for the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia, announced Monday that she was joining the GOP nomination battle to face Democratic Rep. Susan Wild, a declaration that came weeks after Montero filed with the FEC. Montero joins state Rep. Ryan Mackenzie and 2022 primary runner-up Kevin Dellicker in the contest for this 50-49 Biden constituency in the Lehigh Valley.

Montero previously served as director of the Governor’s Advisory Commission on Latino Affairs under former Gov. Tom Corbett, and she tried to win a seat in the House in 2019 when she ran in the special election for the dark red 12th District. (The old 12th, which was situated in the rural northern part of the state, does not overlap with Wild’s 7th District.) Party officials, rather than primary voters, decide nomination contests in Pennsylvania specials, and Montero was eliminated after the third convention ballot shortly before state Rep. Fred Keller prevailed.

OREGON 6TH DISTRICT. Former state Sen. Denyc Boles on Monday became the first notable Republican to announce a campaign against freshman Democratic Rep. Andrea Salinas for a constituency in the Salem area and southwestern Portland suburbs that Joe Biden took 55-42. Salinas won a tight 50-48 victory two years later as Republican Christine Drazan was carrying this seat 46-44 against her Democratic rival, now-Gov. Tina Kotek; another 9% went to independent Betsy Johnson.

Boles, for her part, has been appointed three times to the legislature, but she’s only won one election to remain there. Marion County commissioners picked her to fill a vacancy in 2014 after she told them she wouldn’t run for a full term, and she kept her word. Boles returned to the chamber the same way four years later but said this time she’d campaign in the next election, and she successfully defended her seat.

Boles was soon appointed to the upper chamber after state Sen. Jackie Winters died in office, but she faced a tough 2020 campaign to keep her new post. Boles ended up losing to Democrat Deb Patterson by a tight 48.5-47.8 as Biden was winning her 10th District 52-45.

NEW YORK 16TH DISTRICT. Westchester Deputy Corrections Commissioner Michael Gerald this week became the first candidate to launch a Democratic primary bid against Rep. Jamaal Bowman, an announcement that comes more than a year after the challenger first waged a brief intra-party campaign. Gerald’s kickoff comes at a time when Westchester County Executive George Latimer is publicly mulling an intra-party challenge to the congressman.

Gerald, who is a Baptist pastor, said in 2022 that Bowman needed to go because he was more interested in “making a national name for himself” than solving local problems. Gerald dropped out weeks later, though, telling Jewish Insider, “Rather than crash-landing, I think it was the best thing for me to do.”

PENNSYLVANIA 8TH DISTRICT. The Standard-Speaker reported late last month that Jim Bognet, who lost the 2020 and 2022 general elections to Democratic Rep. Matt Cartwright, has taken a new job with the GOP pollster co/efficient, though that doesn’t necessarily mean that he won’t campaign here again next year. “For today, I’m focused on this new opportunity,” he said of a possible third attempt for this 51-48 Trump seat in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre area. An unnamed GOP source told Inside Elections in April that there was “definitely donor fatigue” with Bognet, but no serious contenders alternatives have announced over the following three months.

MARYLAND 6TH DISTRICT. Montgomery County Councilmember Laurie-Anne Sayles this week filed FEC paperwork, though she says she hasn’t yet decided if she’ll run to succeed her fellow Democrat, Senate candidate David Trone. Sayles, who would be the first Black woman to represent western Maryland and the northwestern D.C. exurbs in Congress, says she’ll make up her mind sometime this month.

Former GOP Del. Brenda Thiam has announced that she’s joining the primary to succeed Democratic Senate candidate David Trone in this 54-44 Biden seat. Thiam became the first Black Republican woman to ever serve in the legislature after she was appointed to a vacant seat in 2020, but Democrat Brooke Grossman unseated her 54-46 two years later

VIRGINIA 7TH DISTRICT. Inside Elections’ Erin Covey takes a look at the candidates who could run to succeed Democratic Rep. Abigail Spanberger next year in the event that, as Politico reports she will, the congresswoman retires to prepare for a 2025 bid for governor. (Spanberger herself has yet to confirm or deny that story.) Covey begins on the Democratic side, where she mentions several new names for this 53-46 Biden constituency:

  • former Del. Joshua Cole
  • Marine veteran Joel Griffin
  • Del. Elizabeth Guzman
  • Prince William County Supervisor Margaret Angela Franklin
  • Del. Candi King
  • Del. Michelle Maldonado
  • Del. Briana Sewell
  • 2020 5th Congressional District nominee Cameron Webb

Cole and Griffin are each competing this November in competitive races for the state House and Senate, respectively, and like the rest of this group, they’ve said nothing about their interest in a congressional bid. But Del. Danica Roem, who is seeking a promotion to the state Senate, unambiguously told Covey she was “not running and won’t be running for VA-07 under any circumstance.”

On the GOP side, Covey relays that unnamed party operatives want Green Beret veteran Derrick Anderson to run again a year after he lost the primary to Prince William County Supervisor Yesli Vega 29-24. She also mentions Vega, who went on to lose to Spanberger 52-48; Navy SEAL veteran Cameron Hamilton; and retired Army Gen. Tim Kadavy as possible contenders.

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

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