The Political Report – November 2, 2023

A new Arab American Institute poll finds that only 17% of Arab American voters saying they will vote for President Biden in 2024 — a staggering drop from 59% in 2020.

Said pollster James Zogby: “This is the most dramatic shift over the shortest period of time that I’ve ever seen.”

“The damage isn’t limited to Biden: Just 23% of Arab Americans identify with the Democratic Party, marking the first time a majority did not claim to prefer the Democrats since the institute began tracking party identification in 1996. Those identifying as Independents rose to 31%, the highest it’s ever been.”

For clues about the strength of both parties’ messages heading into 2024, look no further than this suburban Northern Virginia enclave, where Democrats and Republicans are betting big on a hotly contested state Senate race,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“Typically, such local elections don’t have a major impact outside their direct communities. But this one could decide control of the Virginia legislature and Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s ability to enact conservative policies on abortion, taxes and education—making it closely watched in the run up to next year’s presidential race.”

ARIZONA U.S. SENATOR. An internal NRCC poll in Arizona finds Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ) leading the U.S. Senate race with 41%, followed by Kari Lake (R) at 37% and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (I-AZ) at 17%.

In a head-to-head matchup, Gallego leads Lake 49% to 44%.

UTAH GOVERNOR. State Rep. Phil Lyman, a Republican who has a long history of spreading election conspiracy theories, declared Tuesday that he would challenge Utah Gov. Spencer Cox for renomination.

“Utah was never meant to be a vassal state. It was meant to be an ensign for the nations,” said Lyman, who also released an announcement video that proudly showcased his mugshot from his 2015 arrest for misdemeanor trespassing. The state representative did not directly mention Cox, who has remained a Donald Trump criticeven as he declared, “If we find ourselves with a government that conjures emergencies to trample our rights, then in our republic, we have the right to choose new leaders.”

Lyman was a San Juan County commissioner in 2015 when he was convicted after leading an all-terrain vehicle group through a canyon the federal government had closed to protect Native American cliff dwellings. Prosecutors alleged that he recruited people who had recently taken part in far-right militant Cliven Bundy’s armed standoff with federal law enforcement officials. Lyman spent 10 days in prison, and Trump later pardoned him in late 2020.

That was hardly Lyman’s only brush with far-right politics, though. He successfully ran for the legislature in 2018 after courts ruled that San Juan County’s commission and school board maps discriminated against Native American voters in this majority-Navajo county. Navajo-backed candidates for local offices won historic majorities in that year’s elections after the courts imposed new districts, and Lyman, whose old district was struck down as an illegal gerrymander, proposed that a heavily white part of the county secede and form its own county.

That idea went nowhere, but Lyman soon turned his focus to advancing lies about the 2020 and 2022 elections. The state representative tried to eliminate the state’s universal mail-in voting system last year, arguing, “In Utah, we have a crisis of confidence in our elections.” (Democrats haven’t won a single statewide race since 1996, when Jan Graham won reelection as attorney general.)

The bill died in committee, but that didn’t deter Lyman months later when he threw out another evidence-free allegation insinuating that a voting machine had changed votes for Sen. Mike Lee to one of his GOP primary opponents. But while the state representative declared that the machines were “programmed with functionality” to switch votes from one candidate to another, state and local election officials quickly affirmed that this wasn’t true. Even Lee, who was involved in Trump’s efforts to steal the 2020 election, responded, “[O]ur campaign has every confidence in Utah’s elected county clerks and the Lieutenant Governor’s office to oversee free and fair elections.”

Unsurprisingly, elections aren’t the only topic Lyman puts his tin foil hat on for. Indeed, he hosted what the Salt Lake Tribune calls a “short-lived, conspiracy-driven podcast” with fellow state Rep. Mike Petersen: One late 2021 episode of “The Common Cause” featured a guest who declared that Utah’s digital driver’s license program was part of a United Nations plot to take over the state.

Cox’s reelection campaign may have the unpleasant task of having to listen to each episode of “The Common Cause” to find out what else their opponent said, but they wasted little time responding to his entry into the contest. “Gov. Cox was one of the very first people to contribute money to Phil’s legal defense,” said a spokesperson, “and he’s grateful that President Trump pardoned him.”

CALIFORNIA U.S. SENATOR. Rep. Robert Garcia, who represents the Long Beach area, on Monday became the first member of the state’s Democratic delegation to endorse fellow Rep. Katie Porter for Senate.

MARYLAND U.S. SENATOR. Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich has joined several other Democratic elected officials in endorsing Angela Alsobrooks, his counterpart in neighboring Prince George’s County.

UTAH U.S. SENATOR. Carolyn Phippen, a conservative activist whom the Salt Lake Tribune’s Bryan Schott says took part in the Jan. 6 “stop the steal” rally that preceded the attack on the Capitol, has a “special announcement” on Wednesday. Phippen last year waged a primary challenge from the right against state Rep. Jeff Stenquist and lost 52-48.

KENTUCKY GOVERNOR and SECRETARY OF STATE. While Daniel Cameron and his allies have spent months trying to portray Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear as the driver of the “radical transgender agenda,” the Republican may have decided he needs to adjust his tactics late in the campaign.

“Andy Beshear is a nice enough guy, but our approach is different,” Cameron acknowledges in a new ad, though he goes on to deliver familiar lines like “Andy caves into the far left.” The Lexington Herald-Leader’s Austin Horn tweets that this switch in tone “is a message some Rs have been asking for for some time. It contrasts the ‘lyin’ Andy’ or ‘crazy Andy’ attacks we’ve seen.”

One of Cameron’s ticketmates, meanwhile, is going even further by actually linking himself to Beshear. Republican Secretary of State Michael Adams, who is favored against Democrat Buddy Wheatley, features a prominent photo of him shaking hands with Beshear; there is no accompanying shot of him with Cameron.

Beshear, for his part, is hoping that voters will hold the GOP’s slash-and-burn tactics against Cameron. “My opponent’s campaign is built on attacks and lies,” the governor declares in what his campaign says is its last ad, “but you know me. And you know it isn’t true.” The governor goes on to tout “tens of thousands of new jobs, our lowest unemployment rate ever.”

MISSOURI GOVERNOR. Businessman Mike Hamra, whose eponymous company operates almost 200 restaurants nationwide, announced Thursday that he’d seek the Democratic nomination to lead what’s become a tough state for his party. Hamra will face state House Minority Leader Crystal Quade in the August primary.

MISSISSIPPI GOVERNOR. AdImpact’s newsletter The AdVantage reports that Republican Gov. Tate Reeves enjoys a modest $8.3 million to $7.3 million advertising edge over Democrat Brandon Presley ahead of their Nov. 7 showdown.

Mississippi allows organizations like the RGA and the DGA to donate unlimited amounts of money directly to candidates, so it’s no surprise that AdImpact also relays that no outside groups have spent a serious amount of money on commercials. This race is already far more expensive than the 2019 contest, where Reeves’ side outspent Democrat Jim Hood just $3.5 million to $3.2 million.

OHIO REFERENDUM. Public Policy Polling’s new survey of next week’s election for former Ohio Democratic Party chair David Pepper finds a strong 55-38 majority in favor of Issue 1, which is described to respondents as a state constitutional amendment “which would protect reproductive freedom and an individual right to one’s own reproductive medical treatment, including but not limited to abortion.”

Pepper writes that this summary “approximates the first sentences voters will read on the ballot but doesn’t get into all the details that appear later.” Those details include ballot summary language written by the GOP-led Ohio Ballot Board that, among other things, substitutes the words “unborn child” in place of “fetus.” Pepper argues, “I believe that all the attack ads and disinformation have made this narrower in reality” than what the toplines show even though the numbers demonstrate that “Ohio remains a pro-choice state.”

The only other poll we’ve seen this month was conducted by Baldwin Wallace University and SurveyUSA in mid-October, and it also found a 58-34 majority in favor of Issue 1. The description provided in that poll said that the proposed amendment “would protect the right to reproductive freedom, including “access to contraception, fertility treatment, continuing one’s own pregnancy, miscarriage care, and abortion,” as well as “allow the state to prohibit abortion after fetal viability, unless ‘it is necessary to protect the pregnant patient’s life or health.'”

PPP also shows voters backing Issue 2, a statutory measure to legalize recreational marijuana, 59-39, which is comparable to the 57-35 edge BWU and SurveyUSA found. PPP additionally quizzed voters about the proposed 2024 amendment to “create an independent commission, made up of Ohio citizens and not politicians, to draw fair congressional and state legislative district lines,” and respondents say they’d support it 57-15.

TEXAS ATTORNEY GENERAL. A judge on Monday scheduled Republican Attorney General Ken Paxton’s trial for April 15, which will be close to nine years after he was charged with securities fraud.

Paxton has been reelected twice while under indictment, and while he was suspended from office in May when the state House impeached him in a different matter, the upper chamber acquitted him last month. Special prosecutor Kent Schaffer unsubtly highlighted how Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick received $3 million from a pro-Paxton organization before presiding over his trial, declaring, “Unlike the impeachment, this is going to be a fair trial. This judge is not corrupt. This judge is not on the take.”

If Paxton is forced from office this time, GOP Gov. Greg Abbott would nominate a successor; this person would require the support of two-thirds of the Senate in order to be confirmed.

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

2 comments on “The Political Report – November 2, 2023

  1. cassandram

    That Semafor article really does not go far enough — or at least wants to reduce the internal GOP disarray to the fates of two men who are getting out of the arena. I still think that if the GOP could have had enough courage to impeach Trump in Jan 2021 AND abandoned his scheme to not certify the election they would have created a ton of space and time for leadership to marginalize Trump and Trumpism. As long as they continue to talk nice to the monster in the corner, the monster will keep intimidating them and will keep marginalizing them.

    I listen to some of the Never Trumper media and they are currently in spinning up a vision where Nikki Haley is able to prevail in the GOP primary. That vision magically gets rid of Trump and gives normie Republicans a way to come out of the cold. It is amazing to me that the people who abandoned their party (mostly) over Trump won’t wrestle with the real work it will take to get their party back. And Nikki Haley isn’t their answer.

  2. cassandram

    I’ve seen some discussion on that Zogby poll that may indicate some method issues with it. Still, it is important this far out from the Presidential election to not make these polls do too much work. Right now this is likely a referendum on Biden’s performance and policy. Closer to the election we would be seeing more a reflection of choices people are making. Which isn’t to say that Arab Americans may make other choices in 2024, but right now I’d look at this as a group of Americans understandably angry at the Biden Admin.

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