The Political Report – August 28, 2023

A new Des Moines Register/NBC News/Mediacom Iowa Poll finds 46% of Iowa’s likely Republican caucusgoers describe themselves as “MAGA Republicans,” an indication of how entrenched Donald Trump’s influence has become in the first-in-the-nation caucus state. 

At the same time, 23% of poll respondents describe themselves as “anti-Trump,” indicating that roughly a quarter of Iowa’s likely Republican caucusgoers have ruled out supporting the former president.  

Harry Enten: “Polls show Donald Trump leading Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, his nearest rival for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, by about 40 points. You might think this would cause the former president’s GOP rivals to attack him in an attempt to eat into that support, which stands at north of 50% of the primary vote.”

‘Yet, most of his opponents seem hesitant, if not totally unwilling, to do so.”

“A look at the numbers reveals why. Those who have gone after him have seen their popularity among Republican voters suffer, while those who have risen in primary polling are either mostly not mentioning Trump or are praising him.”

“Donald Trump has turned his Georgia mugshot into a record-breaking fundraising haul,” Politico reports.

“The former president has raised $7.1 million since he was booked at an Atlanta jail Thursday evening… On Friday alone, Trump raised $4.18 million, making it the single-highest 24-hour period of his campaign to date.”

“Vivek Ramaswamy has charged back into Iowa, stoking curiosity and skepticism after his attention-grabbing performance in the first Republican presidential debate,” the AP reports.

“He is drawing new interest from Republicans who will participate in the nation’s first caucuses next year, but also apprehension from attendees at his events and pointed criticism from a former GOP governor. Much of the negative feedback is about his foreign policy ideas, notably his argument that the U.S. should stop providing arms and funding to Ukraine as it fights Russia’s invasion.”

Des Moines Register: After GOP debate showing, Vivek Ramaswamy sees his crowds growing in central Iowa.

New York Times: “During the two-hour debate in Milwaukee, Mr. Scott spoke for only 8 minutes 15 seconds… a full four minutes less than the leading talker, former Vice President Mike Pence. Mr. Scott flashed moments of humor but often faded entirely into the background. And he wasn’t targeted by his rivals, nor did he target them.”

“In the race to be the leading Republican alternative to former President Donald Trump, Mr. Scott had entered Wednesday’s debate seemingly primed for the first real moment of consequence for his campaign. He and his allies had flooded the airwaves in Iowa with the most advertising of any Republican. He had inched upward in the polls. The candidate he was most closely chasing, Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida, had slipped. And major donors were giving him fresh consideration.”

“But voters on Friday at three New Hampshire events in the capital city of Concord and the town of Hooksett said he had not yet set himself apart from the pack, even as they praised the senator’s positive message and likability. Several Republicans and independents open to supporting him expressed disappointment that Mr. Scott was not even visible enough to render a judgment.”

“The House majority next year could be determined in a state-by-state fight over redistricting that’s taking place right now,” Politico reports.

“And Democrats are calling in the big guns. Former President Barack Obama hosted a fundraiser for the National Democratic Redistricting Committee on Thursday.”

“During the 2016 race for the White House, then-candidate Donald Trump was responsible for making the Republican primary debates must-watch television events,” the Los Angeles Times reports.

“But even without Trump onstage, Fox News was able to attract the largest cable TV audience for a non-sports program so far this year with its Wednesday showdown between the candidates for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination.”

“An average of 12.8 million viewers watched the event telecast from Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee… The TV audience was larger than what any Republican presidential primary debate drew during the 2012 campaign season, four years before Trump emerged as the main attraction. It also surpassed audience of 12.5 million for Fox News’ January 2016 primary debate held in Iowa, which Trump skipped as well.”

New York Times: “For years, the Republican money class has been seeking an alternative — any alternative — to former President Donald Trump. In some ways, donors were the most consequential audience for Wednesday night’s debate, and many of them, including those who have not yet backed a candidate this cycle, were in Milwaukee.”

“While the official fund-raising totals won’t be known until October, when campaign quarterly filings are due, there were signs within hours of the debate — flurries of text messages, requests for introductions to campaigns and reports of fresh contributions — that the candidates’ performances, even if they might not change hearts and minds, could move piles of cash.”

NBC News: “Making the next debate will be tougher — and two candidates on the stage Wednesday night are the ones feeling the squeeze.”

“Eight candidates participated in the first debate, but North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum and former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson could miss the second one, which is set for Sept. 27 at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in California.”

“In 2018, Chris Christie purchased a $2.9 million New Jersey beach house — only to spend the next four years and millions more to tear it down and build a brand new property,” the New York Post reports.

“Situated in Bay Head, the oceanfront property is now worth more than $5.5 million, according to a Zillow estimate.”

“However, a source tells The Post they’re unsure how Christie, a Republican who’s currently running for the White House, is affording these expenses since leaving the governor’s office several years ago.”

New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu (R) called on Republican presidential candidates to go on the offense against Donald Trump, The Hill reports.

Said Sununu: “I think they have to take it to him. They don’t have to go nuclear, like Chris Christie does… but everyone in their own way has to find separation from him.”

He added: “Some of them are doing it, some of them aren’t.”

“Vivek Ramaswamy is one of the highest-profile candidates seeking the GOP presidential nomination, but he has not voted in a Republican primary recently enough to be affiliated with the party in his home state’s voting records,” NBC News reports.

“Never Back Down, the super PAC backing Ron DeSantis’ presidential campaign, made major additions to its advertising reservations Friday, spending more than $12 million booking airtime in the fall, mostly in Iowa,” CNN reports.

Vivek Ramaswamy has said that he wants Elon Musk as an adviser if he becomes president, The Guardian reports.

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

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