The Political Report – October 28, 2023

“Former Vice President Mike Pence, who spent four years dutifully serving President Donald Trump but refused to carry out Mr. Trump’s demand that he block the 2020 election results, ended his presidential bid on Saturday, with a final appeal for his party to return to conservative principles and resist the ‘siren song of populism,’” the New York Times reports.

“The surprise announcement came at the end of his remarks before a crowd of Jewish Republican donors in Las Vegas, and was met with gasps of surprise. Mr. Pence had received a warm welcome and a standing ovation, and opened his speech with a full-throated endorsement of Israel’s military operations in Gaza.”

Associated Press: “Most of the Republican presidential candidates are in Las Vegas for the Republican Jewish Coalition’s annual meeting, which has taken on greater significance this year because of the Israel-Hamas war.”

“Trump, the front-runner for the party’s nomination, will follow his speech before that group with an evening appearance at a campaign organizing event where his team will try to lock in commitments from voters who may attend the Feb. 8 caucuses.”

Fox News: “The gathering is only the second time Trump, the commanding frontrunner for the GOP nomination as he makes his third straight White House run, is taking part in an event with his 2024 rivals.”

Jack Shafer: “If Dean Phillips thinks Biden’s approval numbers portend his defeat at the hand of Donald Trump next year, which could very well be the case, Phillips must have plans to improve those numbers if he’s so lucky to take Biden’s place on the ballot but continue those policies.”

“But if that were such a doable task, wouldn’t it make more sense to simply give his secret plan to Biden for execution?”

Axios: Biden yawns at primary challenge from Dean Phillips.

X, formerly known as Twitter, appears to have suspended the campaign account for Rep. Dean Phillips (D-MN), who only just officially launched his 2024 presidential campaign to challenge President Biden in the Democratic primaries, CBS News reports.

Rep. Dean Phillips (D-MN) told Tim Alberta that “everybody, without exception” in the Democratic Party shares concern about Biden’s ability to beat Donald Trump, but won’t say so.

Said Phillips: “I’m just so frustrated—I’m growing appalled—by the silence from people whose job it is to be loud.”

Donald Trump Jr. told Iowans while volunteering for his father’s 2024 presidential campaign that Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s candidacy is just a Democrat ploy, The Messenger reports.

Said Trump Jr.: “It legitimately always felt like it was a Democrat plant to hurt the Trump thing. He wouldn’t be there if the Democrats didn’t want him.”

Gov. Ron DeSantis suggested Donald Trump’s mental abilities were in decline in scathing remarks made in New Hampshire on Tuesday.

Said DeSantis: “And what Donald Trump does now, he is wedded to the teleprompter. He can’t get off that teleprompter, any time he does, he says things like ‘Don’t vote.’ He’s telling people not to vote like we have all the votes we need. Really? Wait a minute, you lost the popular vote to Hillary Clinton in 2016. You don’t have all the votes you need.”

He added: “And so I think that it’s just shown this is a different Donald Trump in 2015 and 16. Lost the zip on his fastball.”

PENNSYLVANIA U.S. SENATOR. Franklin & Marshall College’s newest poll shows Democratic incumbent Bob Casey beating wealthy Republican Dave McCormick 46-39, which matches Casey’s 42-35 margin from the school’s April survey.

NORTH CAROLINA GOVERNOR. State Treasurer Dale Folwell responded to the passage of the new congressional gerrymander (see our NC Redistricting item above) by making it clear that he would still continue his uphill GOP primary battle against Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson rather than seek another office.

The Republican Party of Virginia mailed out several thousand explicit political fliers to voters featuring screenshots from state House candidate Susanna Gibson’s (D) public porn livestream, WWBT reports.

The envelopes read: “Do not open if you are under the age of 18,″ and “Warning: Explicit material enclosed.”

Puck: “Until now, Elon’s attendance at the Ramaswamy fundraiser, the only 2024 finance event he has attended, was kept a secret. But their bromance is now playing out in full public view.”

“Behind the scenes, far from Iowa and New Hampshire, presidential candidates have been competing to warm up the world’s richest man. At least four different campaigns and their supporters have recently been trying to curry favor with Elon to get him to send a supportive tweet to his 160 million followers, cut him a check, or at least not sic his fanatical supporters on them.” 

Pew Research: “In 2016, 51% of U.S. adults said they followed the news all or most of the time. But that share fell to 38% in 2022, the most recent time we asked this question.”

“In turn, a rising share of Americans say they follow the news only now and then. While 12% of adults said this in 2016, that figure increased to 19% by 2022. And while 5% of adults said in 2016 that they hardly ever follow the news, 9% said the same last year.”

Daily Beast: “This time around, Trump’s rally schedule has been significantly diminished, settling at around two per month in the run up to Iowa.”

“It’s a reduction due to a confluence of factors, ranging from his legal peril and crowded court schedule to the cost savings and messaging upside of keeping the MAGA festivals to a minimum. His events are increasingly billed as speeches instead of rallies, with the next one scheduled for Nov. 8 at Ted Hendricks Stadium in Hialeah, Florida on the night of the third GOP debate, marking only his seventh major venue rally this year.”

Punchbowl News: “Let’s be blunt: Many GOP donors have no idea who Johnson is. The Louisiana Republican has raised roughly $5.5 million during his entire congressional career; McCarthy raised more than three times that in the last quarter alone.”

“Johnson isn’t a fixture on the fundraising scene. Contemporary party leaders spend more than 100 days annually on the road raising hundreds of millions of dollars for their party committee and the party’s super PAC.”

“The NRCC isn’t having a great cycle. The committee has $36 million on hand, while the DCCC has $44 million. The DCCC has raised $93 million overall this cycle, $23 million more than the NRCC.”

“The inflammatory language targeting a reproductive rights measure on Ohio’s fall ballot is the type of messaging that is common in the closing weeks of a highly contested initiative campaign — warning of ‘abortion on demand’ or ‘dismemberment of fully conscious children’ if voters approve it,” the AP reports.

“Only the messaging isn’t just coming from the anti-abortion groups that oppose the constitutional amendment. It’s being promoted on the official government website of the Republican-controlled Ohio Senate.”

“And because the source is a government website, the messaging is being prioritized in online searches for information about Issue 1, the question going before Ohio voters Nov. 7 to enshrine abortion access in the state Constitution.”

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

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