A new University of Mary Washington Poll in Virginia finds Democrats with a narrow lead in the upcoming legislative elections, 40% to 37%. The most important finding: By a 57% to 35% margin, Virginians want abortion to remain legal “all” or “most” cases.
Susanna Gibson, a Democratic candidate for the Virginia state legislature, has dropped 10% in polling after videos of her online sex shows became public, the New York Post reports.
The poll also found “more than 80% of voters have already heard about Susanna Gibson’s online business and behaviors.”
Robert F. Kennedy Jr. plans to announce he will run for president as an independent on October 9 in Pennsylvania, Mediaite reports.
I’ve long thought a third candidate on the ballot is Joe Biden’s biggest threat to re-election, but Kennedy may be the exception to the rule. It might even be good news for Biden.
That’s because Kennedy probably takes away more votes from Trump than Biden. The polls are unambiguous on this. A No Labels candidate might be different, but that probably depends on what his or her position is on abortion. Any third party candidate who supports restricting abortion rights is going to be less of a threat to Biden.
President Joe Biden’s re-election campaign is kicking off a new TV advertisement in the heat of the college football season, with the ad set to air during the University of Colorado Buffaloes and University of Southern California Trojans game Saturday,” ABC News reports.
Associated Press: “As Biden faces concerns, including from voters in his own party, about his prospects in a grueling reelection campaign, a new generation of high-profile Democrats are fanning out for the 80-year-old president. Those close to the ambitious Democrats insist they are focused squarely on the 2024 campaign when Biden may face a tough rematch against Donald Trump.”
“But in building their national profiles, they’re also positioning themselves for what could be a contentious 2028 primary — and giving the party something of an insurance policy in case they are suddenly needed next year.”
Rep. Mikie Sherrill (D-NJ) told Punchbowl News that she won’t be running for Senate in New Jersey, ending speculation that the well-regarded Democrat will seek to unseat Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ).
“For months, Nikki Haley campaigned in relative obscurity,” NBC News reports. “But after two debates in which the former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations hammered her top-billed rivals while leaving virtually unscathed herself, and a summer in which her national and early-state polling improved while opponents stagnated, a growing number of Republicans see her entering a two-person contest with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis for second place, as each seeks to be the leading alternative to former President Donald Trump heading into the early states this winter.”
New York Times: Key GOP megadonor network will hear pitches from DeSantis and Haley camps.
“Donald Trump on Friday blasted his upcoming New York civil fraud trial and his four pending criminal cases as he asked supporters to donate to his 2024 presidential campaign ahead of a key finance deadline,” CNBC reports.
Said Trump, in a fundraising email: “After four sham arrests, indictments, and even a mugshot failed to break me, a Democrat judge is now trying to destroy my Family Business.”
New York Times: “The political action committee, called Win It Back, has close ties to the influential fiscally conservative group Club for Growth. It has already spent more than $4 million trying to lower Mr. Trump’s support among Republican voters in Iowa and nearly $2 million more trying to damage him in South Carolina.”
“But in the memo — dated Thursday and obtained by The New York Times — the head of Win It Back PAC, David McIntosh, acknowledges to donors that after extensive testing of more than 40 anti-Trump television ads, ‘all attempts to undermine his conservative credentials on specific issues were ineffective.’”
“The memo will provide little reassurance to the rest of the field of Mr. Trump’s Republican rivals that there is any elusive message out there that can work to deflate his support.”
CNN: “It’s been six presidential elections since a nonincumbent front-runner at this point in the primary cycle had a national polling lead larger than Donald Trump’s right now. That candidate, George W. Bush, would go on to handily become the Republican nominee in 2000.”
“As the 2024 GOP candidates emerge from their second debate, recent history suggests they should be cautious about their chances of toppling the undisputed front-runner, who again skipped the event.”
New York Times: “The moment — which largely escaped attention in real time but was noted by The Daily Signal, a news website published by the conservative Heritage Foundation think tank — clarifies Mr. DeSantis’s position on abortion, an issue that has split the Republican primary field.”
“Mr. DeSantis signed a six-week abortion ban in Florida this year, but had not clearly committed to supporting federal legislation restricting the termination of pregnancies.”
Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron (R), who is challenging Gov. Andy Beshear (D), made headlines last week when he seemingly softened his stance on exceptions to the state’s strict abortion law. This came after a devastatingly effective ad aired by Beshear.
However, new audio from a campaign stop this week finds Cameron has reverting back to his prior position. Said Cameron: “If the courts made us change that law… and made us add those, then of course I would sign that because I would have to.”
This is a great example of how Republicans are having trouble navigating the issue of abortion in a general election. What they promise to their primary voters is not what most voters want.
Cameron is not alone is having contradictory messaging but he’s becoming a case study of how Democrats can press the issue in the 2024 elections.
A state judge on Monday struck down Republican Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft’s “problematic” summaries for six proposed abortion rights amendments and certified new descriptions. Ashcroft, who is the frontrunner in next year’s primary for governor, quickly said he’d appeal.
The secretary of state had crafted language saying the amendments “allow for dangerous, unregulated, and unrestricted abortions, from conception to live birth, without requiring a medical license or potentially being subject to medical malpractice.” Judge Jon Beetem took issue with this and other portions of the summary in his decision and ordered new language asking voters if they supported changing the state constitution to “establish the right to make decisions about reproductive health care, including abortion and contraception.”
Robert Costa: “Some of the biggest Republican donors in the country will converge next month at the historic Cavalier Hotel in Virginia Beach for a two-day meeting to rally behind Gov. Glenn Youngkin.”
“The closed gathering, named the ‘Red Vest Retreat’ after the fleece Youngkin wore during his 2021 campaign, will begin Oct. 17 and be focused, officially, on the Republican effort to win full control of the General Assembly in Virginia’s upcoming elections. But unofficially, several donors tell me, it will be an opportunity for them to try to push, if not shove, Youngkin into the Republican presidential race.”
A new Pew Research poll finds that 65% of Americans “say the way the president is elected should be changed so that the winner of the popular vote nationwide wins the presidency.”
“A third favor keeping the current Electoral College system.”
“The current electoral system in the United States allows for the possibility that the winner of the popular vote may not secure enough Electoral College votes to win the presidency. This occurred in both the 2000 and 2016 elections, which were won by George W. Bush and Donald Trump, respectively.”
Joseph Rodota: “Opposition researchers — ‘oppo’ to political insiders — provide the kind of information that can make attacks stick to their targets. They pore through a rival candidate’s record and produce a list of perceived vulnerabilities and the facts to back them up. Oppo researchers ply their trade at every level of democracy, from the local school board to the White House.”
“They are often bookish and introverted, but they are also competitive and relentless. An oppo researcher can’t sleep peacefully until she’s unearthed a damaging quote or ‘smoking gun’ video that can give her candidate an edge.”
Donald Trump told the Daily Caller that the Republican National Committee should call off any future presidential debates. Said Trump: “They have to stop the debates. Because it is just bad for the Republican Party. They are not going anywhere. There is not going to be a breakout candidate.” He added: “I am very concerned about the RNC not being able to do their job.”
“Trump also confirmed he will not be going to the third debate in Miami, Florida, scheduled for November.”
Mona Charen: “The MAGA Republican party is less like the party that nominated Romney than it is like the party that nominated Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. And it’s a mistake, in my judgment, to minimize the role that fear now plays in assisting and enabling Trump’s continued dominance.”
“Romney is hardly alone among members of Congress in worrying about personal security. In the first year of Trump’ tenure, threats against members of Congress quadrupled from fewer than 900 to 3,930. Threats continued to rise throughout the Trump presidency, more than doubling by 2020. After January 6th, the Capitol Police estimated that there were more than 10,000 threats of violence or death against members.”
Nicholas Grossman: “It was surreal, how the debate moderators avoided the profound, historical question of nominating a man who will be on trial for federal felonies during the campaign. And it was ridiculous that no candidate mentioned that the man they trail in the polls makes anti-democracy assertions on a regular basis…”
“It felt like a broadcast from an alternate dimension—one where the Senate had convicted Donald Trump in the January 6th impeachment and barred him from office, freeing up Republicans to leave Trump and all his baggage behind them and hash out serious policy questions.”