The Political Report – October 6, 2023

A new USA Today/Suffolk poll in New Hampshire shows Donald Trump leading the GOP presidential race with 49%, followed by Nikki Haley at 19%, Ron DeSantis at 10%, Chris Christie at 6%, Vivek Ramaswamy at 4% and Tim Scott at 4%.

A new Winthrop poll in South Carolina finds Donald Trump leading the GOP presidential race with 51%, followed by Nikki Haley at 17%, Ron DeSantis at 12%, Tim Scott at 6%, Vivek Ramaswamy at 5%, Chris Christie at 2% and Mike Pence at 2%.

A new Morning Consult poll finds Donald Trump leading the Republican presidential race with 61%, followed by Ron DeSantis at 13%, Nikki Haley at 7%, Vivek Ramaswamy at 7%, Mike Pence at 5%, Chris Christie at 3%, Tim Scott at 1% and Doug Burgum at 1%.

Every candidate except Trump has lost ground since the second debate — and he didn’t even participate.



  • OH-Sen: Bernie Moreno (R): $1 million raised, additional $3 million self-funded, $5 million cash on hand
  • CA-49: Margarita Wilkinson (R): $1 million raised (campaign did not respond to inquiry if this includes self-funding)
  • TX-18: Isaiah Martin (D): $307,000 raised (in 25 days)
  • TX-32: Julie Johnson (D): $300,000 raised
  • MI-Sen: Elissa Slotkin (D): $3 million raised, $5 million cash on hand
  • OH-Sen: Matt Dolan (R): $1.1 million raised, additional $3 million self-funded, $6.8 million cash on hand
  • TN-Sen: Marsha Blackburn (R-inc): $2.7 million raised, $6.5 million cash on hand; Gloria Johnson (D): $1.3 million raised
  • MT-01: Monica Tranel (D): $730,000 raised, $600,000 cash on hand
  • TX-32: Brian Williams (D): $350,000 raised

CALIFORNIA U.S. SENATOR. Democratic Sen. Laphonza Butler was sworn in Tuesday to replace the late Sen. Dianne Feinstein, but she says she’s unsure if she wants to enter the top-two primary for a full six-year term. “I have no idea. I genuinely don’t know,” she told the Los Angeles Times the previous day.

California’s filing deadline is Dec. 8, but Inside Elections’ Jacob Rubashkin notes that another important date will pass next week. Democratic candidates have until Oct. 13 to say that they want to compete for the party endorsement at the November convention, and no major candidate will want to pass up the opportunity to be listed by name in a special section of the voter guide that each county sends to all voters. As we’ve written before, this is a bit like having someone else pay for a mailer to every voter in the state, a real boon in an expensive contest like this one.

Meanwhile, Data Viewpoint finished a poll just before Butler’s appointment was announced Sunday that did not include her as an option. It found Democratic Reps. Adam Schiff and Katie Porter both advancing past the top-two primary with 19% each as Democratic Rep. Barbara Lee and Republican Eric Early took 6% apiece.

“Rep. Adam Schiff has solidified himself as a fundraising powerhouse, hauling in $6.4 million in the third fundraising quarter of 2023 spanning July through the end of September as the former House Intelligence Chair makes his bid for the Senate,” The Messenger reports.

“The campaign announced that they entered October with over $32 million cash on hand and that 95% of donations were under $100. The average donation was $32.”

ARIZONA U.S. SENATOR. “A powerful abortion-rights group is throwing its support behind Democratic Rep. Ruben Gallego in the Arizona Senate race after having backed Democratic-turned-independent Sen. Kyrsten Sinema in her last election,” NBC News reports.

Election conspiracy theorist Kari Lake has filed FEC paperwork ahead of her planned Oct. 10 announcement rally. Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer, a fellow Republican who is suing Lake for defamation, responded to the news by tweeting, “Just a reminder that if you really believed that the 2020 and 2022 elections were rigged and controlled by the people behind the curtain, thereby depriving the candidate of all agency, you wouldn’t rationally run for election in 2024.”

PENNSYLVANIA U.S. SENATOR. A new Quinnipiac poll in Pennsylvania finds Sen. Bob Casey (D) leading challenger David McCormick (R) in the U.S. Senate race, 50% to 44%.

The state GOP on Saturday endorsed rich guy Dave McCormick, who faces no serious intra-party opposition in his campaign to unseat Democratic incumbent Bob Casey. The following day, ABC27 aired an interview where the challenger did not provide an actual answer to host James Crummel’s question, “How many days in the past year have you lived here in Pennsylvania?”

NEW JERSEY U.S. SENATOR. A new Public Policy Polling survey in New Jersey finds Rep. Andy Kim (D-NJ) crushing Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) in a Democratic primary, 63% to 10%.

“The indictment of Sen. Bob Menendez has unleashed a season of wild maneuvering in New Jersey politics with ambitious Democrats angling for his seat and former President Donald Trump discussing a run for it with one of his congressional allies,” Politico reports.

Indicted Sen. Bob Menendez responded to NBC’s questions about his reelection plans Wednesday by saying, “When I make that decision, I will announce it,” comments that came right after he insisted, “I’m not going to jeopardize any seat in New Jersey under any circumstances.” Menendez’s corruption trial is scheduled to begin May 6, which is less than a month before the Democratic primary.

FLORIDA U.S. SENATOR. The Messenger’s Marc Caputo reports that businessman Stanley Campbell is interested in seeking the Democratic nomination to take on GOP incumbent Rick Scott even though former Rep. Debbie Mucarsel Powell has emerged as the party’s frontrunner. Campbell, who is the brother of 2 Live Crew’s Luther Campbell, has not said anything publicly, though he quietly filed FEC paperwork last week.

Caputo writes that Campbell served in the Navy and went on to form multiple companies, including an artificial intelligence firm whose work helped lead to the 2005 apprehension of serial killer Dennis Rader. Campbell went on to become one of the few African Americans to own a golf course in 2021 when he purchased Martin Downs Golf Club in southeastern Florida’s Treasure Coast region.

MICHIGAN U.S. SENATOR. Former Detroit Police Chief James Craig confirmed Tuesday that he would seek the Republican nomination to succeed retiring Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow, a declaration that comes the year after he was ejected from the 2022 primary ballot for governor of Michigan over fraudulent signatures. “I’m not doing it for ego,” said Craig, whose last campaign experience would have humbled almost anyone else.

Protestors disrupted his 2021 kickoff rally for his quest to take on Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, and that was just the start of his troubles. Craig’s campaign would experience several major shakeups, including the departure of two different campaign managers in less than four months, and it would also draw unfavorable press coverage for heavy spending.

The former chief also lost a high-profile endorsement from Rep. Jack Bergman, a northern Michigan Republican who griped that his former choice ignored his region “in favor of a self proclaimed Detroit-centric approach.” Still, polls showed Craig well ahead in the primary as he sought to become the Wolverine State’s first Black governor.

Everything changed in May, though, when election authorities disqualified Craig and four other contenders from the ballot after they fell victim to a huge fraudulent signature scandal and failed to turn in enough valid petitions. The former frontrunner decided to forge ahead with a write-in campaign to win the GOP nod, blustering, “I’m going to win.” However, Craig instead became an afterthought even before far-right radio commentator Tudor Dixon emerged as the new frontrunner, and he ended up taking all of 2% of the vote.

Craig went on to endorse U.S. Taxpayers Party nominee Donna Brandenburg, who had also been ejected from the Republican primary, saying that Dixon’s extreme opposition to abortion rights went too far even for him. (James himself was recorded the previous year responding in the affirmative when asked if he’d stop Democrats “from undoing the law that makes abortion illegal in Michigan.”) Whitmer soon won 54-44, with Brandenburg in fourth with just 0.4%.

The former chief launched his new effort weeks after former Rep. Mike Rogers joined the nomination fight, and Craig has already worked to position himself as the Trumpiest candidate. The new contender published a pro-Trump op-ed last month in the far-right Daily Caller, and the GOP’s supreme master responded by sharing it on social media.

Rogers, by contrast, has had a bumpier relationship with Trump. While the former congressman briefly served on Trump’s 2016 transition team, he told the Washington Post last year that “Trump’s time has passed.” Rogers, who considered waging his own presidential bid, also said of the Jan. 6 riot, “There is never a time in American democracy when violence accomplishes what you want … It is giving up on our Constitution when you storm the Capitol to try to change an election.”

But Rogers, whom multiple outlets say the NRSC recruited to run for the Senate, now seems to have realized that Trump’s time very much has not passed for the primary voters who will be determining his fate next year. The former congressman echoed the far-right voices in his party last week in a video proclaiming, “[W]hat we are seeing right now is a politically motivated DOJ waging war against the leading Republican presidential candidate on behalf of President [Joe] Biden.” “This is not the mike Rogers i knew,” tweeted former Illinois Rep. Adam Kinzinger, who was one of the 10 House Republicans who voted for impeachment after Jan. 6. “How did you fall so far mike?”

The GOP field also includes state Board of Education member Nikki Snyder, who struggled to raise money during the first half of the year, and it may swell still further. Former Rep. Peter Meijer, who lost renomination last year after voting for impeachment, formed an exploratory committee just before Labor Day. Wealthy businessman Perry Johnson, who got thrown off the 2022 gubernatorial ballot along with James, also said last week he was considering abandoning his doomed presidential bid to run for the Senate; the Detroit News also reported in August that another rich guy, 2018 primary loser Sandy Pensler, is thinking about another try, and the paper wrote Tuesday that he was still mulling it over.

On the Democratic side, Rep. Elissa Slotkin is the frontrunner in a field that includes actor Hill Harper, who launched his campaign in early July. Observers are waiting to learn if Harper or any of the other contenders raised a credible amount of money during the third quarter of the year or if Slotkin ended September as the only Democrat with enough money to run a serious operation.

UTAH U.S. SENATOR. Republican Rep. John Curtis declared that he’d remain in the House rather than run for the Senate in a Deseret News op-ed that was published days after the congressman sounded very likely to seek a promotion. KSL NewsRadio asked him Thursday to rate his likelihood on a scale of one to 10, to which Curtis responded, “It’s up there in the nine-plus region.”

KENTUCKY GOVERNOR. The far-right Club for Growth on Wednesday publicized a late-September survey from WPA Intelligence that shows Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear leading its endorsed candidate, Republican Daniel Cameron, 48-42, which isn’t much different from the 48-40 edge the incumbent enjoyed in an unreleased poll from almost a month ago. The Club, though, still insists that Beshear remains vulnerable because he hasn’t cleared a majority of the vote in this two-way contest. The last survey we saw was an early September Beshear internal from Hart Research Associates that found him ahead 51-42.

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

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