The Political Report – November 20, 2023

“American Jews overwhelmingly approve of U.S. President Joe Biden’s handling of Israel’s war in Gaza following the Hamas attack, according to the first poll dedicated to U.S. Jewish voters since October 7,” Haaretz reports.

“U.S. Jewish voters back Biden’s overall approach, his emergency military aid package for Israel and his call for ‘humanitarian pauses.’”

The Messenger: “The president’s aides and allies remain confident their approach to the Middle East conflict is good policy and politics.”

New Jersey U.S. Senator. Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ) today endorsed Tammy Murphy (D) for the U.S. Senate, becoming the first member of the state’s congressional delegation to take sides in next year’s Democratic primary, the New Jersey Globe reports.

“Some members of Bob Menendez’s inner circle are no longer working with the three-term senator as he mulls a bid for re-election next year in a Democratic primary while under indictment,” the New Jersey Globe reports.

A day after kicking off her campaign for Senate, former financier Tammy Murphy locked up a second “county line” when the Democratic Party in Camden County gave her its backing. Camden, notably, is the home turf of longtime Democratic power-broker George Norcross, a very influential figure in New Jersey’s machine politics.

Murphy had previously secured the support of Democrats in Hudson County immediately following her Wednesday launch. These county-level endorsements will ensure Murphy enjoys favorable placement on primary ballots, which historically has conferred a large advantage. But the fight between Murphy and Rep. Andy Kim for the line in Jersey’s other counties remains ongoing.

The New Jersey Globe’s David Wildstein handicaps this race-within-the-race, calling Kim the “favorite” in Burlington, which makes up the heart of his congressional district, while saying that Murphy is “likely” to prevail in Cumberland, Gloucester, and Salem. He also identifies  Atlantic and Cape May counties as battlegrounds where the two contenders will duke it out for party support.

Labor leader Patricia Campos-Medina, who was mentioned as a possible primary challenger to Sen. Bob Menendez in September, “has said she is seriously considering running,” according to’s Amira Sweilem. There is no direct quote from Campos-Medina, however.

New Jersey Governor and 5th District. Politico reports that Democratic Rep. Josh Gottheimer has launched a “six-figure” digital ad buy that could serve as a prelude to a 2025 campaign for governor, which he’s previously said he’s considering. Gottheimer has no notable GOP challenger for 2024 in his 56-43 Biden district, but he did have an enormous $15.8 million in his campaign account at the end of September. It’s unclear how much of that he could transfer to a state campaign, but spending it on what is nominally his House race is one way he could use those funds to increase his name recognition ahead of 2025.

Utah U.S. Senator. Republican Rep. John Curtis, who recently said he was considering a Senate bid despite previously saying he would stay in the House, is now reportedly telling allies that he’ll jump into the race, according to Inside Elections’ Nathan Gonzales.

Virginia Governor. Rep. Abigail Spanberger, who launched her campaign for governor earlier this week, just secured an endorsement from the last Democrat who held the post, Ralph Northam.

Arizona U.S. Senator. Politico: “The Arizona Republican has given up — for now — the fire-and-brimstone approach she took in her failed gubernatorial bid last year, adopting a different tack in her current Senate campaign: diplomacy.”

“Lake has begun reaching out to Republicans she attacked last year, trying to mend the relationships she shredded. Whether she can repair the damage from 2022 — or if her attempts to do so will anger her loyal base — could determine how she fares in a potentially messy three-way race for Sen. Kyrsten Sinema’s seat.”

Oregon 4th District. Air Force veteran Monique DeSpain just launched a bid to unseat first-term Democratic Rep. Val Hoyle, whose other Republican challengers have yet to report raising a pennyHotline suggests, however, that DeSpain may be the choice of national Republicans.

Hoyle won a competitive race last year to succeed retiring Democratic Rep. Peter DeFazio, defeating Republican Alek Skarlatos by a 51-43 margin. She benefitted from the fact that Democrats in the legislature had made the 4th District, which covers the southern half of Oregon’s coast, several points bluer; under its present incarnation, it would have supported Joe Biden 55-42.

Nebraska Referendum. Abortion rights supporters have launched a ballot initiative effort to put a constitutional amendment before voters next year that would protect abortion rights in a state where Republicans this year enacted a ban on the procedure after 12 weeks of pregnancy. To get onto the ballot, supporters will need to gather signatures from 10% of registered voters, which is roughly 125,000 at present. However, the exact requirement won’t be known until the July 5, 2024 filing deadline because it’s based on the registration numbers at the time.

Importantly, supporters will also need to gather signatures from 5% of registered voters in at least two-fifths of the state’s 93 counties. This requirement significantly hinders progressives—but not conservatives—because the “bluest” two-fifths of counties include ones that Donald Trump won by landslide margins of up to 78-19. However, abortion rights advocates were able to overcome a similar requirement this year in Ohio, where voters approved an abortion rights amendment by 57-43 earlier this month.

Mississippi U.S. Senator. A Republican super PAC called Elect Principled Veterans Fund has begun airing a TV ad in support of GOP Sen. Roger Wicker, who is a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel, and AdImpact says the commercial is part of a $153,000 buy over the next two weeks. Wicker recently drew a primary challenge from retired Marine Col. Ghannon Burton, but there’s little indication yet whether the 16-year incumbent is actually in danger of losing renomination in this solidly red state.

California U.S. Senator. Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) has been endorsed by the majority of House Democrats representing California, in the highly competitive race to fill the Senate seat vacated by the late Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), The Hill reports.

Michigan U.S. Senator. Actor Hill Harper filed new financial reports saying he has no bank accounts and earned no income during the last two years, reports the Detroit News’ Melissa Nann Burke, despite self-funding a large portion of his campaign for Michigan’s open Senate seat.

Harper, who is seeking the Democratic nod, gave his campaign $463,000 in the last quarter, to go along with $559,000 raised from donors. His team offered no explanation for the apparent omissions, saying in an email to the paper that it “believe[s] the information provided is sufficient” but would “submit an amendment if it is necessary.”

Harper is not the first politician to submit financial disclosures that lack similar details. The Daily Beast recently reported that newly elevated House Speaker Mike Johnson has never reported owning a bank account and said he had no assets at all in 2022.

Texas 26th District. Businesswoman Luisa del Rosal has announced she’ll run to succeed retiring GOP Rep. Michael Burgess, making her the first notable Republican in the primary for this heavily gerrymandered seat in the suburbs north of Fort Worth. Del Rosal was born and raised in Mexico but later immigrated to the U.S., and she previously served as chief of staff to GOP Rep. Tony Gonzales, who represents the 23rd District along the border with Mexico.

The new Republican hopeful’s previous campaign for office in 2020 saw her challenge a Democratic state House incumbent in Dallas. While she lost that race by 54-46, that margin was nonetheless significantly closer than Joe Biden’s 58-40 victory in a suburban seat that had swung sharply toward Democrats in the Trump era. However, none of Dallas is located in the 26th District, which is primarily based in suburban Denton County.

A number of other Republicans could run here, where it will take a majority in the primary to avoid a runoff between the top two candidates. State Rep. Ron Simmons says he’s considering and will decide “shortly,” while the Texas Tribune’s Patrick Svitek relays that both Keller Mayor Armin Mizani and Southlake Mayor John Huffman have said they’re thinking about joining the race. However, state Sen. Tan Paker indicated he won’t run.

Illinois 7th District. The Chicago Tribune reported on Tuesday that the city’s Board of Ethics found “probable cause” that city Treasurer Melissa Conyears-Ervin committed ethics violations by firing two aides who had accused her of abusing her powers. The Tribune writes that the board may not make a final decision for months, which could result in a fine, though the matter threatens to derail her challenge to longtime Rep. Danny Davis just four months before the March 19 Democratic primary in this dark blue district.

The allegations against Conyears-Ervin surfaced earlier this year when the city released a 2020 letter where two of her former top aides—Ashley Evans and Tiffany Harper—accused the treasurer of misusing government money and personnel. The pair claimed Conyears-Ervin hired an unqualified employee “for personal services;” used official resources for electoral matters, including sending money to religious organizations that supported her; and threatened to retaliate against any subordinates who wouldn’t help her. Evans and Harper later received a total of $100,000 in a 2021 settlement after arguing they were fired in just such an act of illegal retaliation.

While that settlement was public knowledge, then-Mayor Lori Lightfoot, who was a Conyears-Ervin ally, spent years trying to keep this letter from becoming public. However, new Mayor Brandon Johnson, a fellow Democrat who defeated Lightfoot and other challengers in elections earlier this year, released the letter earlier this month.

Ohio 6th District. It looks like another Republican congressman may soon call it quits. Youngstown State University voted to offer the job of president to Rep. Bill Johnson on Thursday, though Johnson did not immediately accept the job. Instead, he said that “if I determine this opportunity to lead YSU is a good fit, I’ll have a very difficult decision to make.” Johnson’s 6th District in southeastern Ohio voted for Donald Trump by a 64-35 margin, so the action to succeed him should he leave office would focus on the GOP primary.

Maine 2nd District. Mortgage broker Rob Cross, who announced a campaign in April but reported raising just $20,000 in the third quarter of the year, has dropped out of the GOP primary to take on Democratic Rep. Jared Golden. National Republicans won’t be displeased, though: Just before the end of the quarter, they landed state Rep. Austin Thierault, who is reportedly their preferred choice.

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

0 comments on “The Political Report – November 20, 2023

Leave a Reply