NEWS FOR THE WEEK OF MAY 9th 2022
9 Important Governor’s Races Happening This Year
New York Times
This November, voters in three dozen states will elect, or re-elect, their chief executive. Even before the candidate matchups are set, the contours of the debate in many of these races are clear. The races for governor are likely to be noisy, with fights over schools, managing the economy, residual Covid debates and race and gender politics.
In some of the most competitive races, the outcome has implications far beyond the governor’s mansion. With many Republican voters embracing debunked theories about former President Donald J. Trump’s loss in the 2020 election and pushing for new voting restrictions, governors in battleground states are at the front line in a fight over American democracy, determining how easy it is to vote and even whether election results will be accepted, no matter which party wins.
Here are some of the races we’re watching.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is facing voters in this swing state after angering many on the right by imposing strict Covid-19 safety measures and vetoing legislation she says perpetuates falsehoods about the 2020 presidential election results. With Democrats facing a particularly tough climate this year, a crowded field of Republican candidates has gathered to challenge her. James Craig, the former police chief of Detroit, appears to be the early front-runner among a group of 10 Republicans.
Like Ms. Whitmer in Michigan, Gov. Tony Evers was elected in the Democratic wave of 2018. And also like Ms. Whitmer, he has spent much of his term doing battle with a Republican-led Legislature. Mr. Evers blocked new restrictions on abortion and voting, at times branding himself as a firewall against a conservative agenda. Wisconsin Republicans, already divided over their party’s embrace of election falsehoods, are facing a contentious primary to challenge Mr. Evers. Among the contenders is a former lieutenant governor, Rebecca Kleefisch; Kevin Nicholson, a management consultant and former Marine; Tim Michels, a former candidate for U.S. Senate; and Tim Ranthum, a state lawmaker running on a fringe attempt to “decertify” the 2020 presidential election.
Gov. Tom Wolf, a Democrat, is prohibited from seeking a third term because of term limits, and Democrats hope Josh Shapiro, the state attorney general and likely nominee, can hold the seat for them. Mr. Shapiro will face the winner of the nine-person Republican primary, which includes Bill McSwain, a former U.S. attorney whom Trump harshly criticized for not investigating his claims of voter fraud in the 2020 election. State Senators Doug Mastriano and Jake Corman, as well as David White, a former Delaware County Council member, are also running.
Former President Donald J. Trump is trying to use the Georgia governor’s race — and other state contests — to seek revenge for his 2020 loss in the state. He endorsed former Senator David Perdue in an uphill battle against Gov. Brian Kemp, a Republican incumbent who resisted Mr. Trump’s pressure to overturn the election results. That divisive primary could hobble the winning Republican as he heads into a general election fight against Stacey Abrams, the likely Democratic nominee, whose narrow loss to Mr. Kemp in 2018 helped propel her to national prominence.
Term limits are creating an open race for governor in a state that has been seized by unfounded claims of election fraud since Mr. Trump’s loss in 2020. Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, a Democrat, started with a sizable fund-raising lead over her two primary opponents, Aaron Lieberman, a former state legislator, and former Mayor Marco López of Nogales, who worked for Customs and Border Protection in the Obama administration. Kari Lake, a former news anchor at a Fox television station in Phoenix, Ariz., who was endorsed by Mr. Trump, has had an edge in the crowded Republican field. Other Republicans include Karrin Taylor Robson, a former member of the Arizona Board of Regents, and Paola Tulliani Zen, a business owner.
Gov. Laura Kelly, a Democrat, was elected in this reliably red state with less than 50 percent of the vote in 2018. She is headed to another competitive race in November. The likely Republican nominee is Derek Schmidt, the state’s attorney general. Though she angered Republicans by vetoing legislation barring transgender athletes from women’s sports and raising the eligibility requirements for food stamps, Ms. Kelly’s first television ad features Mr. Trump and a bipartisan theme. Mr. Schmidt has been endorsed by Mr. Trump.
Governor J.B. Pritzker, a Democrat and billionaire, is up for re-election in this blue state with a history of electing Republican governors. Two billionaires looking to oust him are vying in a competitive, and most likely expensive, Republican primary. That race includes State Senator Darren Bailey, who has the backing of the billionaire Richard Uihlein, and Mayor Richard Irvin of Aurora, who has the financial support of Ken Griffin, the state’s richest resident and a longtime Pritzker rival. The race also includes Jesse Sullivan, a well-funded businessman and first-time candidate.
Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican, is running for a third term with a fund-raising advantage over his leading Democratic rival and having overseen a hard right turn in state government. Mr. Abbott has bused migrants from the southwest border to the nation’s capital, blocked mask and vaccine mandates, and pushed for criminal investigations of parents who seek transition care for transgender youths. His rival, Beto O’Rourke, is a former three-term congressman from El Paso, who nearly ousted Senator Ted Cruz, a Republican, in 2018, and ran for president in 2020. His comment that year — “Hell yes, we’re going to take your AR-15” — may have weakened, if not doomed, his chances with voters in gun-friendly Texas.
Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican, is widely believed to harbor presidential ambitions that are putting him on a crash course with the state’s other ambitious politician, Mr. Trump, whose endorsement helped Mr. DeSantis narrowly win the governor’s office just four years ago. Florida has transformed as Mr. DeSantis has increased and flexed his power to remarkable effect, opposing Covid-19 mandates, outlawing abortions after 15 weeks and restricting school curriculums that led to fights with Disney and the banning of math books. Mr. DeSantis has a fund-raising advantage over his likely Democratic opponent, Representative Charlie Crist, a Democrat and former Republican governor of the state, who is in a crowded primary that includes Nikki Fried, the commissioner of agriculture.
The 4 most interesting kinds of House primaries in 2022
Fewer competitive House districts means that some of 2022’s most consequential congressional elections are happening well before November. The real action in many districts is this spring and summer as Republican and Democratic candidates jockey for their parties’ nominations. But some primaries are more interesting than others; either because they offer a test of the direction of a party or they help determine how competitive a district will be in the fall or simply because of a high-profile candidate.
One of the biggest factors in this year’s primaries is former President Donald Trump. Ahead of a possible 2024 White House bid, Trump is wading into this year’s midterms, often seeking revenge against Republican incumbents who he believes crossed him by certifying the results of the 2020 election or by voting to impeach him after the January 6, 2021, insurrection at the US Capitol. And even when he’s not doling out endorsements, the former President’s influence can be felt as GOP candidates up and down the ballot embrace his “Make America Great Again” rhetoric. Democrats have their own internecine battles, including one that has attracted early involvement from President Joe Biden.
Here are four major categories of House primaries to watch.
GA-07 (May 24)
Georgia hosts the first primary between two Democratic incumbents. Rep. Lucy McBath, who flipped the current 6th District in 2018, is running in the new 7th District in the Atlanta suburbs after the GOP-controlled state legislature redrew her seat to be more safely red. She’s facing Rep. Carolyn Bourdeaux, the 7th District incumbent, who was the only Democrat to flip a competitive House seat from red to blue in 2020.
IL-06 (June 28)
The Democratic drama continues in June in Illinois, which lost a seat in reapportionment. Reps. Marie Newman and Sean Casten are both running for the new 6th District in the southwest Chicago suburbs. Newman is no stranger to taking on incumbents — she defeated longtime Rep. Dan Lipinski, one of the last anti-abortion Democrats in the House, in a 2020 primary. But now she, too, is an incumbent, and is facing a House Ethics Committee investigation for allegedly promising federal employment in exchange for political support. She has denied the allegations. Casten, who flipped a GOP district in 2018, has a fundraising advantage.
IL-15 (June 28)
Illinois Republicans have their own incumbent versus incumbent matchup, which has seen Trump and House GOP leadership at odds. Trump endorsed freshman Rep. Mary Miller, a controversial member of the House Freedom Caucus who had been left without a seat after redistricting. She then decided to run against fellow GOP Rep. Rodney Davis in the new 15th District. As CNN reported last year, Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene was among those lobbying Trump to back Miller, while GOP leadership was pleading with the former President to stay out of it. Davis, who served as co-chair of Trump’s campaign in the state, voted to certify Biden’s electoral victory.
MI-11 (August 2)
The race between two Democratic incumbents, both elected in 2018, for Michigan’s new 11th District captures some of the divides within the party. Rep. Haley Stevens belongs to the more moderate New Democrat Coalition, while Rep. Andy Levin, the son of longtime Rep. Sander Levin, is a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus and has backing from Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts. The American Israel Public Affairs Committee and Democratic Majority for Israel are backing Stevens while J Street is backing Levin, who is Jewish.
WV-02 (Mooney won on May 10)
In the first primary of 2022 between two incumbents, four-term Rep. Alex Mooney won an all-GOP face-off against six-term Rep. David McKinley, a result that represented a win for Trump’s endorsement power in Republican primaries. The congressmen were forced into the same district after West Virginia lost a seat in reapportionment following the 2020 census.
The Trump-backed Mooney objected to the certification of Biden’s election win and opposed the bipartisan infrastructure law. McKinley voted to certify Biden’s victory and supported the infrastructure law and an independent commission to investigate the January 6 insurrection, all of which Trump has railed against. McKinley had run with the support of Republican Gov. Jim Justice and Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin. Mooney is the heavy favorite for November against Democrat Barry Wendell in the deep-red district.
Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming is one of the 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump. Ten House Republicans voted for Trump’s second impeachment and many of them quickly earned Trump’s wrath. Four have decided not to run for reelection, and although Trump likes to take credit for pushing them out, some of those decisions likely had at least as much to do with how their seats changed in redistricting than with threats from the former President or his allies. Trump has endorsed challengers to all but one of the six in this group who are running for reelection.
Gonzalez of Ohio
One of Trump’s first post-impeachment endorsements was of former aide Max Miller against Rep. Anthony Gonzalez in the 16th District. But Gonzalez, first elected in 2018, announced seven months later that he would not run for reelection, citing family reasons as well as “the toxic dynamics inside our own party.” After redistricting, however, Miller is running in the 7th District, currently represented by longtime GOP Rep. Bob Gibbs. But Gibbs announced his retirement shortly before the GOP primary, which Miller won.
David Valadao of California
Valadao is the only California Republican who voted to impeach Trump, and the former President has not weighed in on his race. The congressman lost a perennial swing seat in 2018 and then won it back in 2020 at the same time that Biden was comfortably carrying his district. This year, after redistricting, he’s running in a slightly more competitive district that lost some conservative pockets.
Tom Rice of South Carolina
Trump endorsed state Rep. Russell Fry against five-term Rep. Tom Rice in February. The congressman defended his impeachment vote in a recent debate, where he spoke about the violence of the insurrection, according to the Charleston Post and Courier. He has argued that his vote was the right thing to do while pointing out that he supported most of Trump’s policies. Fry appeared at a Trump rally in the state in March, arguing that Rice “broke our trust” with his impeachment vote. The congressman had a fundraising advantage over Fry heading into April.
Adam Kinzinger of Illinois
Six-term Rep. Adam Kinzinger, one of two Republicans serving on the House select committee investigating the insurrection, announced last fall that he would not run for reelection shortly after the updated Illinois congressional map showed him drawn into the same district as another GOP incumbent. “I cannot focus on both a reelection to Congress and a broader fight nationwide,” Kinzinger said in a video at the time. The congressman has been an outspoken critic of the GOP’s embrace of Trump and misinformation. “I want to make it clear. This isn’t the end of my political future, but the beginning,” he said in the video. He hasn’t ruled out a White House bid in 2024.
John Katko of New York
Rep. John Katko, an elusive Democratic target in cycles past, announced in January that he would not seek a fifth term. He would have been in line to chair the Homeland Security Committee if Republicans win the majority in November, and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy had privately urged Trump not to back a challenger to Katko, CNN previously reported, given his experience holding the Empire State seat. But it wasn’t just his impeachment vote that put him out of step with his party — he backed the bipartisan infrastructure law and had negotiated a proposal for an independent commission to investigate the January 6 insurrection, which McCarthy later opposed and the Senate eventually killed.
Fred Upton of Michigan
Rep. Fred Upton, who was likely facing a race against another Republican incumbent thanks to redistricting, announced in April that he would not seek a 19th term. Trump had endorsed that other incumbent, Rep. Bill Huizenga, the month before. The former chairman of the powerful Energy and Commerce Committee, Upton is known for building relationships across the aisle — a rarity in today’s Trump-dominated GOP. Trump had first endorsed state Rep. Steve Carra against Upton, but then switched to backing Huizenga when the district was redrawn. Carra has since dropped out. Trump has endorsed John Gibbs, a former official in his administration, against first-term Rep. Peter Meijer. As CNN’s KFile has reported, Gibbs has a history of conspiratorial and inflammatory tweets and has defended a notorious anti-Semitic troll banned by Twitter. KFile’s first reporting on Gibbs, dating back to 2018, stalled his nomination to be Office of Personnel Management director and his nomination was never voted out of committee. Meijer has a strong fundraising advantage over Gibbs.
Jaime Herrera Beutler of Washington
Trump has backed Joe Kent, a retired Green Beret, against Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, who’s running for a seventh term. It was the congresswoman who first publicly mentioned Trump’s comment on a phone call to McCarthy that the would-be insurrectionists must have cared more about the election results than the California Republican did. Near the end of Trump’s second Senate impeachment trial, she called on her fellow Republicans to speak up about any conversations Trump had had on January 6. Kent is backed by billionaire tech mogul Peter Thiel, who’s funded groups boosting candidates like Ohio’s newly minted GOP Senate nominee J.D. Vance. Kent has been outspoken against Covid-19 public health measures, including claiming at a town hall that masks and vaccines “don’t work,” and he spoke at the right-wing “Justice for J6” rally on Capitol Hill. Kent is not the only Republican challenging Herrera Beutler. Under Washington state’s top-two system, candidates from all parties run together on the same primary ballot, which could benefit the incumbent if GOP opposition to her is split.
Dan Newhouse of Washington
Trump has endorsed 2020 GOP gubernatorial nominee Loren Culp to challenge four-term Rep. Dan Newhouse. The former police chief lost by more than 500,000 votes to Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee but refused to concede, repeating similar election lies as the former President. Newhouse had a significant fundraising advantage over Culp heading into April.
Liz Cheney of Wyoming
Trump’s highest-profile target of his revenge tour has been Rep. Liz Cheney, the vice chair of the House select committee investigating the January 6 insurrection. Underscoring the House GOP’s loyalty to Trump, Cheney, the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, was booted from her leadership position in the conference because of her outspokenness against Trump’s election lies. The former President has endorsed Harriet Hageman against the three-term congresswoman, as has McCarthy. Hageman, who also has support from Thiel, previously supported Cheney — she advised her during Cheney’s brief 2014 Senate bid — but now argues the incumbent “betrayed Wyoming” with her impeachment vote. Cheney has consistently outraised Hageman.
Other races where Trump has endorsed against an incumbent
GOP Rep. Nancy Mace of South Carolina didn’t vote to impeach Trump last year, but she did vote to certify the results of the 2020 election and was critical of Trump after the insurrection. The former President has endorsed Mace challenger Katie Arrington, a former state lawmaker who ran unsuccessfully for the seat in 2018. With backing from Trump four years ago, Arrington defeated then-Rep. Mark Sanford in the GOP primary, but she went on to lose the general election to Democrat Joe Cunningham.
Mace, the first woman to graduate from the Citadel, put the seat back in Republican hands two years later, narrowly unseating Cunningham. The district has become more Republican in redistricting, which could benefit Arrington in the primary. But Mace also has a significant local endorsement from former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, who served as Trump’s ambassador to the United Nations.
NC-01 & NC-04
A pair of open-seat primaries in North Carolina has been upended by outside spending against progressive candidates. In the state’s 1st District, state Sen. Don Davis has gotten a big lift from the United Democracy Project, an AIPAC-aligned group, against former state Sen. Erica Smith, the progressive headliner in the four-person race. UDP has spent nearly $900,000 supporting Davis, whose voting record on abortion rights has come under criticism. UDP has spent about the same for state Sen. Valerie Foushee in the new 4th District, where progressives favor Durham County Commissioner Nida Allam, the first Muslim woman elected to public office in North Carolina. Foushee lost the endorsement of the state Democratic Party’s progressive caucus over her UDP support, with its chairman citing AIPAC’s financial backing of GOP candidates who voted to overturn the 2020 presidential election. Former American Idol star Clay Aiken is also running here.
Rep. Kurt Schrader has been a thorn in the side of the Biden agenda, voting against a measure allowing Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices, against initial passage of the American Rescue Plan, and for Build Back Better only after working to decouple it from the bipartisan infrastructure bill — a move that progressives say effectively killed the President’s would-be signature policy achievement.
Despite it all, Biden gave Schrader his first congressional endorsement of 2022. The move underscored the party establishment’s desire to aid the endangered incumbent, who will be facing a lot of unfamiliar voters in a redrawn district where some local party leaders have endorsed his top rival, Jamie McLeod-Skinner, and requested that the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which routinely helps incumbents, “immediately stop campaigning for Schrader.”
Pennsylvania state Rep. Summer Lee, a progressive favorite backed by Justice Democrats, is up against a late blitz of attack ads from outside groups supporting lawyer Steve Irwin, a moderate who’s also vying for the Democratic nomination in this open Pittsburgh-area seat. If she won in November, Lee would be the first Black woman elected to represent the Keystone State in Congress.
Pittsburgh Mayor Ed Gainey — a progressive who defeated the incumbent mayor in 2021 — and other local Democrats have called on Irwin to condemn the ads, paid for by the AIPAC-connected United Democracy Project, saying they were “full of outright lies.” One spot says that Lee, the only Democratic elected official in the primary, has “done everything in her power to (dismantle the Democratic Party).” But the group, which has shelled out nearly $1.1 million on the race, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, has made clear it will continue spending against Lee.
Perhaps the most divisive Democratic House primary is the runoff between Rep. Henry Cuellar and Jessica Cisneros, the Justice Democrats recruit who’s challenging the incumbent for the second time in two years.
In a three-candidate race back in March, Cuellar finished about 2 points ahead of Cisneros but failed to cross 50% of the vote, which was needed to avoid a runoff. It was a disappointing result for Cisneros, who got a major boost in late January when the FBI raided Cuellar’s Laredo home and campaign office. The congressman has denied any wrongdoing, but the probe hung over the final month of the campaign. Since then, momentum seemed to be shifting back to Cuellar. In mid-April, his lawyer announced that Cuellar was not the subject of the FBI’s investigation.
Cuellar is the lone remaining House Democrat to consistently vote against abortion rights legislation and, with the issue now front and center to many in the party, it’s a position that could cost him precious votes — even if top House Democrats don’t seem bothered. Majority Whip James Clyburn, the No. 3 Democrat in the House, recently campaigned for the congressman.
These are now the 10 tightest 2022 House races in California
With June primaries swiftly approaching for this year’s United States House of Representatives’ elections, analysts have updated their ratings on which races could decide whether Republicans or Democrats hold the power in 2023. Several elections in California could determine if the GOP and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, control the chamber. The party of the president — now Joe Biden, a Democrat — tends to perform poorly in midterm elections. With Biden’s approval rating slipping on inflation, gas prices and pandemic policies, many experts have predicted that Republicans have an upper hand. Major election trackers updated their ratings after the release of first-quarter campaign fundraising reports this month, with Republicans making gains. Editors for organizations rate races in congressional districts based on if they are solidly, likely, leaning or a toss-up for either party.
The analysts previously set their guidance in January following redistricting, the once-a-decade redrawing of legislative boundaries that rejiggered California’s districts to absorb a seat around Los Angeles. California lost a seat in Congress because of sluggish population growth, dropping its House delegation to 52 representatives beginning in 2023. “Californians feel the pain of rising costs every time they get gas or go shopping. They know Democrats are to blame and will vote them out in November,” Torunn Sinclair, a spokeswoman for the National Republican Congressional Committee, the House’s GOP arm, said in a statement on the changed ratings in April. “Republicans in California abandoned their constituents with their relentless attacks on our democracy, our fundamental reproductive rights, and the cost-cutting policies Democrats have championed,” Maddy Mundy, a spokesperson for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the House’s Democratic arm, said in response to a question on the changed ratings.
Mundy said that Democrats were “on the offense” in California and specifically mentioned targeting three GOP incumbents in toss-up races. These are the 10 most hotly contested House races in California, according to the editors of Sabato’s Crystal Ball, the Cook Political Report, Inside Elections and Elections Daily, as of May 5, 2022.
3RD DISTRICT- The district that stretches along the Nevada border would have voted for former President Donald Trump in 2020 by a 2% margin, which suggests that it would be open to a GOP candidate in 2022. Assemblyman Kevin Kiley of Rocklin and Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones are the Republicans vying for this seat. Both are listed as NRCC-backed candidates through its “On the Radar” program, which offers candidates support. Dr. Kermit Jones, a lawyer and navy veteran, and David Peterson, a small businessman, are the Democrats. While three of the analysis organizations call it a “likely” Republican seat, Elections Daily rates this election as a “safe” Republican win.
40TH DISTRICT – Rep. Young Kim, R-Fullerton The Orange County district would have gone for Biden in 2020 by 2 percentage points. But in 2020, Kim won in a district that offered Biden a 10% margin. Kim faces Republicans Greg Raths and Nick Taurus and Democrat Dr. Asif Mahmood. Raths, a former fighter pilot, contested Rep. Katie Porter in 2020. Taurus is a self-described “American nationalist;” Mahmood is a pulmonologist and internal medicine doctor. Elections Daily says the race “leans” Republican.
41ST DISTRICT – Rep. Ken Calvert, R-Corona The district holding Riverside would have gone to Trump by 1 percentage point in 2020. Calvert’s old district gave the former president a 7% margin. The Corona Republican has not had an election in which a challenger came within 3 percentage points since 2008. He faces Democrats Shrina Kurani, an engineer, and Will Rollins, a former federal prosecutor; Republican John Michael Lucio, a construction project manager; and Anna Nevenic, a nurse who has no party preference. Elections Daily considers this district a “safe” Republican seat.
22ND DISTRICT Incumbent: Rep. David Valadao, R-Hanford Valadao’s old district voted for Biden in the last presidential election with an 11% margin. The newly drawn district, which stretches from Hanford past Wasco, would have voted for the president by a 13% margin. The dairy farmer is no stranger to tough elections: Valadao lost and regained his seat to former Congressman TJ Cox, a Democrat, in 2018 and 2020, respectively. The moderate Republican has represented the Hispanic-majority area for the better part of the last nine years. Challenger Assemblyman Rudy Salas is in the DCCC’s “Red to Blue” program, which is trying to flip the district. Salas has less than $310,000 on hand for his campaign compared to Valadao’s more than $1.6 million, according to their most recent campaign finance reports. Valadao outraised Salas by about $153,000 over the last three months. Valadao also faces Republicans Chris Mathys, a former Fresno City Council member who unsuccessfully sued to be identified on the ballot as a “Trump conservative,” and Adam Thomachris Medeiros, a businessman.
27TH DISTRICT Incumbent: Rep. Mike Garcia, R-Santa Clarita Garcia lost right-leaning Simi Valley when California’s redistricting commission shaped the 27th district. It is settled right above Los Angeles. Instead of a district that went to Biden by a margin of 10 percentage points, this one would have went to the president by 12. The change is minor, but Garcia barely won in 2020 when he bested former Democratic Assemblywoman Christy Smith by 333 votes. He faces a slew of challengers, including Smith. Other Democrats are John Quaye Quartey, a former naval intelligence officer, and Ruth Luevanos, the first Latina elected to the Simi Valley City Council. Republicans are David Rudnick, a veteran and businessman, and Mark Pierce, who develops training materials for administrators of federal government contracts.
45TH DISTRICT Incumbent: Rep. Michelle Steel, R-Seal Beach Steel was forced into an inland district that does not hold Seal Beach. Her new district reaches up from parts of the old one in a crescent shape through Cypress and into parts of Fullerton. It contains much of Little Saigon, where Steel found a lot of support to oust former Congressman Harley Rouda, a Democrat, in 2020. Asian Americans are the largest voting-age ethnic group in the district. Steel faces Democratic challenger Jay Chen, a small business owner and naval reservist, and Republican Long Pham, an engineer and businessman. Chen is another DCCC “Red to Blue” candidate.
13TH DISTRICT – The Democrats facing off in this San Joaquin Valley district — which holds Merced County and chunks of Modesto and Turlock — are Assemblyman Adam Gray and Phil Arballo, who ran against former Congressman Devin Nunes in 2020. Republican candidates include Diego Martinez, David Giglio and John Duarte. The NRCC has Duarte, a businessman and farmer, “On the Radar.” Martinez, a business owner, previously ran in the recall election against Gov. Gavin Newsom; Giglio, a teacher and business owner, is a first-time candidate. The Cook Political Report and Sabato’s Crystal Ball say the race leans Democratic, but Inside Elections and Elections Daily say the seat is “likely” to go to a Democrat.
47TH DISTRICT – Rep. Katie Porter, D-Irvine captures Porter’s hometown of Irvine, even though two-thirds of the voters are new to the representative. Like her old Orange County district, it would have voted for Biden by 11 percentage points. She faces Republicans who are running on strong conservative platforms, including Errol Webber, Amy Phan West and Brian Burley. Porter also faces Scott Baugh, once the Republican leader of the California State Assembly, who is in a different NRCC program. The Cook Political Report and Elections Daily agree that the race leans Democratic, but Inside Elections rates it as likely.
49TH DISTRICT – Rep. Mike Levin’s district got a boost of Biden voters, going from a margin of victory of 7% to 11%. But with national headwinds against Democrats, election trackers have the San Diego district on their radar. He has five Republican challengers. Three are “On the Radar” for the NRCC: Brian Maryott, a former mayor of San Juan Capistrano who Levin bested by just over 6 percentage points in 2020 for the seat; Lisa Bartlett, a former mayor of Dana Point; and Christopher Rodriguez, an Oceanside City Council member and veteran. Josiah O’Neil, once a special agent with the U.S. Department of State, and Renee Taylor, an Air Force veteran, join them. Nadia Smalley, a nurse and businesswoman, is Levin’s sole Democratic opponent. Elections Daily also writes that the race leans Democratic, but the Cook Political Report and Inside Elections rate it as likely.
9TH DISTRICT – Rep. Josh Harder, D-Turlock – Though Inside Elections thinks a Democrat will safely win the Stockton-centered district, Sabato’s Crystal Ball, the Cook Political Report and Elections Daily rate the race in here as just likely going Democratic. After Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Stockton, said he would not run there again, the Turlock native moved north from the 13th district. Harder faces Republicans Tom Patti, Jonathan Madison and Jim Shoemaker. Patti, a San Joaquin County supervisor, is part of the NRCC’s “On the Radar” program. Madison is an attorney and business owner. Shoemaker is the president of the California Republican Assembly, San Joaquin Chapter, and businessman. Democratic challengers include Harpreet Chima, a union organizer; Karena Feng, a real estate and political consultant; and Khalid Jeffrey Jafri, an engineer and farmer. Independent Mark Andrews, a business owner, is also running.
10 Critical House Races to Watch this Year
New York Times
Only a handful of races in November will determine if Democrats hold onto their slim majority over Republicans in the House of Representatives — an outcome that is critical to the political fate of President Biden. Most of the 435 seats in the House are safely controlled by one party or the other, thanks to gerrymandering and political polarization. If Democrats hang on to their majority, Mr. Biden stands a better chance of enacting his domestic agenda. If Republicans take over, he could spend the next two years facing gridlock and congressional investigations by his political foes.
California’s 45th District
Representative Michelle Steel is a Republican in a Democratic-leaning district — and she narrowly fended off a Democratic opponent in 2020. But Ms. Steel has raised more than $3.7 million, far more than her nominal Republican challenger, Long Pham, and about $1.7 million more than the Democrat she’ll face in November, Jay Chen.
Michigan’s Seventh District
Representative Elissa Slotkin, a Democrat from a Republican-leaning district, is hoping her conservative stance on border security and commanding fund-raising advantage can help fend off her likely Republican challenger, State Senator Tom Barrett. He prompted a backlash in April when he falsely said in a fund-raising message that President Biden was forcing children to learn about gender transition surgeries.
Michigan’s Eighth District
Representative Dan Kildee, a Democrat, was first elected to the House in 2012, succeeding an uncle who had been in Congress for 36 years. But Mr. Kildee’s new district leans Republican, and his likely G.O.P. challenger, Paul Junge, is a former television anchor who served in the Trump administration and nearly won a seat in a neighboring congressional district two years ago.
Ohio’s 13th District
Can Republicans pick up this northern Ohio district — which is chock-full of the kind of white working-class voters that the Democratic Party has been hemorrhaging — now that Representative Tim Ryan, a Democrat, is leaving the seat to run for the Senate? The general election will be a contest between Emilia Strong Sykes, a Democrat who co-founded an organization to help elect Black women, and the Republican Madison Gesiotto Gilbert, a former Trump campaign spokeswoman and Ohio beauty queen.
New York’s First District
New congressional maps have not been finalized, but all the same: Representative Lee Zeldin, a Republican, is leaving his Democratic-leaning district on Long Island to run for governor. Jackie Gordon, Bridget Fleming and Kara Hahn are among the Democrats who will try to pick up the seat. Nick LaLota, a former elections commissioner from Suffolk County, appears to be the front-runner in the Republican primary.
New York’s 11th District
By merging the progressive bastion of Brooklyn’s Park Slope into a single district with Trump-friendly Staten Island, Democrats hoped to create a pickup opportunity — but a court ordered new maps to be drawn. The Democrat Max Rose is trying to win back the seat he held for one term by defeating the Republican who ousted him in 2020, Representative Nicole Malliotakis.
Texas’ 15th District
In this newly created, predominantly Hispanic tossup district that touches the U.S.-Mexican border, Monica De La Cruz could become the first Republican Hispanic woman in Congress. But first, she will have to prevail over the winner of the May 24 Democratic runoff: Ruben Ramirez, an Army veteran, is competing against Michelle Vallejo, a small-business owner who is running to his left.
Texas’ 28th District
Representative Henry Cuellar, who is among the highest-ranking and most conservative Democrats in Congress, is in a May 24 primary runoff against Jessica Cisneros, a lawyer running to his left — a rematch more than two years in the making. A federal investigation that included a search of Mr. Cuellar’s home in January heightened attention on the race. The Republican runoff pits Cassy Garcia, a former aide to Senator Ted Cruz, against Sandra Whitten, the only Republican who ran for the seat in 2020.
Colorado’s Eighth District
In this newly created, slightly Republican district on Denver’s north side, Democrats selected a pediatrician and state legislator, Dr. Yadira Caraveo, to take on the winner of the June 28 Republican primary: Mayor Jan Kulman of Thornton; Barb Kirkmeyer, a state senator; Lori Saine, a Weld County commissioner; or Tyler Allcorn, an Army veteran.
North Carolina’s 13th District
Five Democrats and more than half a dozen Republicans are running for the open seat in this competitive district. Mr. Trump’s endorsement of Bo Hines, who was a star college football player, has riled local Republicans. State Senator Wiley Nickel, who worked in the Obama administration, has led the Democratic field in media attention and fund-raising. The primary is on May 17.
10 Senate Races to Watch this Year
New York Times
A single state could shift power in the Senate, where Democrats maintain a tenuous advantage by virtue of having the tiebreaking vote of Vice President Kamala Harris. Thirty-five Senate seats are at stake in 2022, but the list of races considered competitive is much smaller. Most are in states that President Biden and former President Donald J. Trump contested fiercely in 2020.
J.D. Vance won a contentious Republican primary in Ohio
J.D. Vance, the “Hillbilly Elegy” author, had Mr. Trump’s backing among the many Republicans who were seeking to replace Senator Rob Portman, who is retiring. Among those defeated by Mr. Vance: Josh Mandel, Ohio’s former treasurer; Matt Dolan, a state senator; Jane Timken, the state party’s former chair; and the businessman Mike Gibbons. Mr. Vance will now face Representative Tim Ryan, a Democrat who has the support of Ohio’s other senator, Sherrod Brown, in the fall.
Big money and big names in Pennsylvania
A duel between two ultrawealthy candidates — Dr. Mehmet Oz, a celebrity doctor whom Mr. Trump endorsed, and David McCormick, a former hedge fund executive — has been the focus of the Republican primary to replace Senator Patrick J. Toomey, a Republican who is retiring. Kathy Barnette, a former financial executive, and Jeff Bartos, a real estate developer, are also seeking the G.O.P. nomination. Democrats have several seasoned candidates, including Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, Representative Conor Lamb and Malcolm Kenyatta, a state representative from Philadelphia.
A key race in North Carolina
Several members of the G.O.P. rushed to fill a vacuum created by the retirement of Senator Richard M. Burr, a Republican who voted to convict Mr. Trump during his second impeachment trial. They include Pat McCrory, a former governor; Representative Ted Budd, who has been endorsed by Mr. Trump; and Mark Walker, a former congressman. Cheri Beasley, a former chief justice of North Carolina’s Supreme Court and the first Black woman to have served in that role, is seeking the Democratic nomination.
The Georgia seat that was critical to Democrats
Herschel Walker, the Trump-backed college football legend, is the favorite among eight Republicans challenging Senator Raphael Warnock, whose victory in 2021 helped Democrats gain control of the Senate.
A test in Nevada for the first Latina U.S. senator
Catherine Cortez Masto, the first Latina senator, faces her first re-election test since her milestone victory in 2016. She is expected to win her primary, and in the fall, she is likely to face Adam Laxalt, a former Nevada attorney general endorsed by both Mr. Trump and Senator Mitch McConnell, the minority leader.
Republican challengers to Mark Kelly in Arizona
Senator Mark Kelly, a Democrat who won office in a special election, is seeking a full term. The Republicans who want the chance to stop him are Mark Brnovich, Arizona’s attorney general since 2015; Mick McGuire, a retired major general in the U.S. Air Force; Jim Lamon, a businessman; Blake Masters, chief operating officer of an investment firm run by Mr. Trump’s tech ally Peter Thiel; and Justin Olson, a member of the Arizona Corporation Commission.
A Democratic effort against Ron Johnson in Wisconsin
Several Democrats are trying to oust Senator Ron Johnson, a Republican whose approval rating has fallen amid an onslaught of television ads criticizing him for casting doubts about Mr. Biden’s election. They include Mandela Barnes, the lieutenant governor; Sarah Godlewski, the state treasurer; Alex Lasry, a vice president for the Milwaukee Bucks; and Tom Nelson, the top elected official in Outagamie County.
Trump’s move against Lisa Murkowski in Alaska
Mr. Trump endorsed Kelly Tshibaka to run against Senator Lisa Murkowski, who voted for Mr. Trump’s impeachment. Ms. Murkowski is seeking a fourth term. Ms. Tshibaka, a former commissioner in Alaska’s Department of Administration, is trying to capitalize on right-wing antipathy to Ms. Murkowski, which was inflamed when she voted in 2017 to preserve the Affordable Care Act and in 2018 to oppose Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh’s confirmation.
The two Republicans will not go head-to-head in a traditional primary, however: Alaska’s primary is open to candidates and voters of any political stripe. The top four vote-getters will compete on a ranked-choice ballot in November, under election rules that were engineered by Ms. Murkowski’s allies.
A test of Marco Rubio’s strength in Florida
In Mr. Trump’s adopted state of Florida, Senator Marco Rubio is seeking a third term. He is likely to face Representative Val B. Demings, a Democrat with name recognition, this fall.
The New Hampshire Republicans (not) targeting Maggie Hassan
The dismal approval numbers of Senator Maggie Hassan, a Democrat, have emboldened the G.O.P.’s hopes of a pickup. But Republicans could not recruit Gov. Chris Sununu or Kelly Ayotte, whom Ms. Hassan unseated by about 1,000 votes in 2016. Several lesser-known Republicans have stepped forward, including Chuck Morse, the State Senate president, and Don Bolduc, a tough-talking retired Army general
NEWS FOR THE WEEK OF APRIL 25th 2022
2022 Midterm Election Calendar
Information Source – 270 to Win
Click here scheduled for dates for each state’s 2022 primary election. 46 states hold traditional single party contests. In nine of those states, some races may require a runoff election to be decided. A tenth state, Maine, uses a ranked choice voting tabulation, where necessary. Nominated candidates meet in the November 8 general election.
In the four remaining states, all candidates from all parties appear on a single ballot. The top two finishers in California and Washington advance to the general election, while in Alaska the top four advance. The Alaska system is being used for the first time, after being approved by voters in a 2020 referendum. Louisiana has a hybrid system, with no nominees determined prior to a November 8 all-party primary. A candidate can win an election that day by getting a majority of the vote, otherwise there is a top two runoff.
In May, 12 states will hold primaries. June (17 states) and August (16) are the busiest months.
What Can Special Elections So Far Tell Us About The 2022 Midterms?
Information Source – FIVETHIRTYEIGHT
At this point in the cycle, special elections are one of the main indicators we have for understanding what the midterm election environment might look like. If a party consistently outperforms its typical margins in these irregularly scheduled elections — like Democrats did in 2017 and early 2018 — it is usually a sign that the political environment is leaning in its direction.
This cycle’s special elections aren’t pointing in as obvious a direction as those of the last midterm cycle. But that could be changing, as Republicans recently had a particularly strong special election performance in California.
On April 5, voters in California’s 22nd Congressional District went to the polls to choose a successor to former Rep. Devin Nunes, who resigned from Congress on Jan. 1 to run former President Donald Trump’s new social-media site. It was just a primary, but under California’s rules for special elections, all candidates run on the same primary ballot regardless of party — and if no one gets a majority, the top two finishers advance to a general election. That’s what happened in this case: One Republican and one Democrat will now advance to the general election in June. But the first-round results were also notable because the four Republican candidates combined outperformed the two Democratic candidates combined by more than 32 percentage points (66 percent to 34 percent).
This is significant because the 22nd District has a lean of R+11, meaning that, in a neutral political environment, we’d expect Republicans to win it by only 11 percentage points. Republicans, in other words, outperformed their partisan baseline here by almost 22 points!
Of course, this doesn’t mean we’re in an R+22 national environment. For one thing, Republicans lead polls of the generic congressional ballot, which asks voters which party they plan to vote for for Congress without naming specific candidates, by an average of only 3 points. For another, there are plenty of reasons why this special election may have been special.
There’s the fact that it was an all-party primary, which means it wasn’t a straightforward Republican vs. Democrat race like most special elections. What’s more, the campaign had the unusual distinction of being an election for a seat that will soon cease to exist. California’s new congressional map carves up the current 22nd District and parcels it out to four neighboring districts — all of which already have incumbent congressmen running in them. In other words, the winner of the special election was very likely to be a lame duck immediately upon their election. Finally, with the special election having little bearing on control of the next Congress or the area’s future representation, many residents didn’t bother to vote. Only 21 percent of registered voters in the district cast a ballot.
Situations like this are why it’s generally a bad idea to draw conclusions about the midterms from just one special election. It’s better to look at a party’s average overperformance in all special elections for the cycle. And when you throw in the seven other congressional special elections that have taken place since President Biden was inaugurated, the picture is much more mixed. Republicans have overperformed the partisan lean of these districts by an average margin of just 2 points — not exactly the red tsunami suggested by the California 22nd race.
The margins in those special elections have been really inconsistent, too. Republicans have done really well in some races, like those for the California 22nd and Texas 6th. But Democrats have also punched above their weight in districts like the Louisiana 2nd and New Mexico 1st. So the picture is still more confusing than clear at this point.
It’s possible, though, that the California 22nd represents the beginning of a trend, and that special elections from this point on will reveal a more unambiguous Republican advantage. (This was, after all, the first special election to take place since Republicans opened up a significant lead in generic-ballot polling.) If so, we won’t have to wait long to find out.
No fewer than five special elections are on the calendar for the summer: On June 7, Republican former state Assembly Minority Leader Connie Conway and Democratic water resource manager Lourin Hubbard will face off in the runoff for the California 22nd. Then, Alaska’s at-large House seat and Texas’s 34th District will hold all-party primaries on June 11 and 14, respectively. Next, Republican state Sen. Mike Flood and Democratic state Sen. Patty Pansing Brooks will go head-to-head in Nebraska’s 1st District on June 28. Finally, Minnesota’s 1st District will also hold a special general election on Aug. 9.
If Republicans (or, for that matter, Democrats) outperform partisan lean in all of these races, it will be a lot more obvious what special elections are telling us about November. But if these five races produce another batch of contradictory results, we may have to conclude that the strong GOP performance in the California 22nd was a fluke. Either way, we’re about to get a lot of data about the way the electorate is feeling ahead of the 2022 midterms
Democrats Ring Alarm Bells Over Young Voters and the 2022 Elections as Biden’s Ratings Slip
Information source – NBCnews.com
Mary Collins voted for President Joe Biden in 2020. A year and a half later, Collins, 25, of Raleigh, North Carolina, gives the White House and the Democratic-led Congress a 4 out of 10 on performance. “It just doesn’t seem like there’s a lot of progress,” she said. “You hear some good things the Biden administration has done, but otherwise it is very underwhelming.” She said she’s struggling to afford health care and pinched by rising gas prices. She wants action to mitigate student debt. She worries about climate change. “Frankly, life’s been really hard for all of us,” Collins said. “The disappointment is there because I fully expected there would be something happening to relieve pressure. But it feels like the longer this goes on, the harder it’s getting.”
Scores of Americans like Collins — young, liberal-leaning, economically anxious and disappointed that Democratic-controlled Washington hasn’t done more to improve their lives — hold substantial power in the 2022 elections. Democrats need Gen Z and millennial voters to turn out to have any hope of keeping the House or the Senate. And they don’t habitually vote in midterms. Collins said she does plan to vote this fall — “unfortunately” for Democrats. A registered independent, she’s open to alternatives but turned off by the GOP’s opposition to abortion rights, dismissal of climate change and denigrating of migrants and non-Christians.
After youth turnout soared to record levels in 2020, fueled by Biden’s progressive agenda and a desire to send President Donald Trump home to Florida, Democratic strategists are sounding the alarm about the lack of enthusiasm among young voters. They fear it could cause dissatisfied younger Americans to sit out the 2022 elections and deliver a walloping for the party. Preventing that, they say, will require more investment and outreach, as well as policy wins or evidence that Democrats are fighting for issues they care about. Biden won 58 percent of millennial and Gen Z voters in 2020, crushing Trump by 20 points after he struck an alliance with Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., his main Democratic rival and a favorite of young Americans. Among voters under 35, Biden’s approval rating stood at 56 percent in the combined NBC News polls in April and August 2021. It fell to 42 percent last month.
“Biden is not doing well with young voters,” said Cristina Tzintzún Ramirez, the president of NextGen America, a liberal group focused on youth turnout. “There is an enthusiasm problem with young progressives. I can’t promise a candidate will win with the youth vote, but I can promise you a Democratic candidate will lose without it.”
In the 2018 midterms, 28.2 percent of Americans under 30 voted, according to a Tufts University analysis. Democrats made broad gains in the House and in governor’s races that fall. But in 2014 and 2010, the last two midterm elections under a Democratic president, they were 21.3 percent and 20.4 percent, respectively, and the party faced devastating defeats across the country. Biden’s approval ‘most similar to his predecessor,’ Donald Trump, at this point in presidency. Among voters under 35, the NBC News poll last month found that 28 percent express high interest in the 2022 election. Alarmingly for Democrats, that’s the same level of interest that group expressed before the 2014 contest. By contrast, 39 percent of voters under 35 expressed high interest ahead of the 2018 election. Numerous millennial and Gen Z voters interviewed for this article said they would be more supportive of Biden and his party if they canceled federal student debt. Others said they want to see progress on his stalled 2020 campaign promises, such as climate action, health care cost relief and affordable housing.
Ramirez said that some young voters can be motivated to vote when they are reminded of GOP plans to roll back abortion rights, target LGBTQ people and ignore climate change but that others need to be convinced that Democrats care about them and are fighting for their futures.
“A lot of young voters don’t understand why we control the House, Senate and White House and the agenda hasn’t moved forward,” she said. “So being able to get done what we can is critical. Many young people voted for the first time in 2020 because they felt like fascism versus democracy was on the ballot. They also voted to make their lives better.”
Biden has faced roadblocks seeking to enact more of his 2020 campaign agenda — slim Democratic congressional majorities with some uncooperative members, aggressive Republican opposition and a conservative Supreme Court.
Seth Voegele, 25, a financial analyst based in Dallas, said he recognizes Biden was dealt a tough hand and faces constraints. “However, I will say that I am not impressed. I think there’s definitely more that could be done,” he said, adding that his confidence in the president has reduced since he voted for him in 2020. “To be honest, he’s showing his age.” Passing what Democrats can of the Build Back Better Act would brighten their prospects this fall and help avoid another brutal low-turnout election like 2014, some strategists say. “Youth engagement has reduced dramatically this cycle — and in midterm environments, engaging your base is a key component of success,” said Sean McElwee, the executive director of Data for Progress, which has polled young voters with NextGen America. “We must avoid a 2014-style midterm, and the best way to do that is to raise taxes on the wealthy to secure clean energy independence.”
Polling by NextGen America and Data for Progress found that among Americans ages 18 to 36, the Democratic Party’s net favorable rating is 11 points underwater in Arizona and 19 points underwater in Nevada, two key swing states. In Pennsylvania, the party has a net positive rating of 11 points. Jennifer Ingram, 35, of Wilmington, North Carolina, said she wants Democrats to hold firm on LGBTQ rights and pursue action on gun control, mental health, marijuana legalization and student debt. “A lot of my friends around my age or younger are really struggling to make ends meet,” she said, urging some action on student loan debt. “Older generations don’t quite realize the devastation it’s having for kids my age and younger adults.”
Asked about the president’s struggles with young people, a Biden adviser said, “Elections are about choices,” arguing that Democrats are fighting to lower costs while Republicans stand in the way and favor tax hikes on the middle class and cuts to Social Security. The adviser said Biden would “continue to communicate directly with the American people” about his plans and tout his achievements, including the American Rescue Plan, the infrastructure law, 8 million new jobs and 3.6 percent unemployment. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., said Biden could cancel $50,000 per borrower in federal student debt using executive power. The administration has resisted that call, but it has kept the door open to further action before the November elections after recently having extended the pause on federal loan repayments.
“Cancellation of student loan debt is hugely important to young Americans,” she said, describing it as an issue of equality, racial justice and gender justice. “The president made promises back during the campaign, and young people across America want to see that he’s fighting on their side.” Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., the chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, said young people aren’t interested in “process arguments” for why things aren’t getting done. The caucus has presented Biden with a list of proposed executive actions on health care, prescription drug costs, wages and immigration, along with student loans.
“I always worry, because I think the political system is so inaccessible to so many young people,” she said. Rep. Dean Phillips, D-Minn., said that when he speaks to young people, three issues regularly come up: climate change, gun violence and student debt. “Do I understand why a young person would be disappointed right now?” he said. “Yeah, of course I understand.”
Phillips said Democrats should “open our ears” and acknowledge their concerns. He noted that House Democrats have passed major legislation on climate action and background checks for gun purchases, which have stalled in the Senate, where residents of small red states are overrepresented, and most bills require 60 votes to pass. “Our founders very much designed a system to make progress difficult. And it works really well,” he said.
5 takeaways on Spending in Senate and Congressional Races in N.C.
As both political parties vie for control of the U.S. House and Senate in the 2022 election, cash is flooding into North Carolina races
Information source – Axios Charlotte (politics)
Why it matters: North Carolina is once again in the spotlight with the primary election in less than a month. Here are five takeaways from the candidates’ first quarter campaign finance reports, which were due recently:
- McCrory leads GOP field in cash
What’s happening: Even as former Gov. Pat McCrory has in recent weeks slipped in the polls for North Carolina’s Senate GOP primary, he raised slightly more money than his competitors, the latest Federal Election Commission filings show.
- McCrory received some $1.13 million in contributions between January and March and had the most cash on hand compared to his opponents at the close of the latest fundraising period, with $2.24 million.
- S. Rep. Ted Budd, who is ahead of McCrory by double digits according to some polls, received $1.125 million.
Of note: In yet another sign that North Carolina’s U.S. Senate race will be both highly contested and pricey, Politico reported Monday that a Republican super PAC aligned with Sen. Mitch McConnell will spend $141 million this fall on ads in an effort to flip the U.S. Senate.
- Of that, the PAC is slated to drop $27 million in North Carolina.
- Meanwhile, a Democratic PAC aligned with Sen. Chuck Schumer plans to spend $106 million this fall, but that strategy does not include North Carolina. Some Republican political operatives say that suggests that Democrats aren’t currently prioritizing North Carolina’s Senate race over other battleground states.
- Eastman out-raises Walker
Marjorie Eastman, a political newcomer and combat veteran who is also running for U.S. Senate, brought in more than triple the amount of former U.S. Rep. Mark Walker.
- Eastman raised more than $371,700, including a $160,000 loan to herself, and Walker brought in $104,700.
- Still, Eastman likely didn’t raise enough to help her pull ahead of the two front runners in the final month of the race.
- Beasley’s advantage
Former North Carolina Supreme Court Chief Justice Cheri Beasley, who is expected to be the Democratic nominee, outraised everyone in the field, bringing in $3.7 million. She also has $5.1 million cash in her campaign coffers.
- Charlotte’s two congressional races
What we’re watching: Charlotte has one Democrat in Congress, Rep. Alma Adams, but the party has a shot at picking up another seat in the area after legal challenges to redistricting led to a more favorable map for the party.
Context: North Carolina gained a 14th congressional seat due to its population growth in the last U.S. Census. That district now cuts across Charlotte diagonally, stretching from southeast Charlotte to Gaston County.
- Jeff Jackson,a former U.S. Senate candidate who dropped out of the race late last year, is running for the seat.
- Jackson received $281,895 in contributions in the first quarter. He has $843,659 in cash on hand, most of which was left over from his Senate campaign.
A campaign finance report was not available for Jackson’s opponent, Ram Mammadov, an immigrant from Azerbaijan whose grandmother fled Ukraine during World War II.
On the GOP side, Pat Harrigan, a combat veteran and owner of a firearms manufacturing company, raised $105,137. No campaign finance report was posted for the other Republican candidate, Jonathan Simpson.
In the 12th district, which covers north Charlotte, Davidson, Cornelius, Huntersville and parts of Cabarrus County, U.S. Rep. Alma Adams is running for reelection.
- She raised $110,864 and has $481,047 in cash on hand. A campaign finance report was not available for her Democratic challenger, John Sharkey.
- On the GOP side, real estate investor Tyler Lee received $9,335. Campaign finance data was not available for the two other Republican candidates, Nalini Joseph and Andrew Huffman.
- Cawthorn’s big spending
U.S. Rep. Madison Cawthorn — the 26-year-old who made headlines in recent weeks after he alleged that he had seen a fellow member of congress use cocaine while others invited him to an orgy — spent more money than he raised for the 11th District Republican primary.
- Cawthorn still out-raised one of his biggest competitors — state Sen. Chuck Edwards, who is endorsed by top Republicans in North Carolina, including U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis and state Senate leader Phil Berger. But Edwards had more cash on hand than Cawthorn at the close of the reporting period.
Biden’s Dismal Poll Numbers Imperil Dem Senate Control
Information source – Politico
Democrats’ path to saving their narrow Senate majority comes down to defending four states this fall. And in all of them, President Joe Biden is underwater in the polls. Biden’s drag on swing-state incumbents is emerging as a pivotal factor in the midterm Senate elections, where the loss of just one Democratic-held seat in November could put Republicans in control.
Acutely aware of the need to get distance from the president, the four most endangered Democratic incumbents — Arizona Sen. Mark Kelly, Georgia Sen. Raphael Warnock, Nevada Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto and New Hampshire Sen. Maggie Hassan — are increasingly taking steps to highlight their independence from the president and underscore their differences.
Their public pushback against Biden’s plan to lift the Trump-era border restriction known as Title 42 is the most visible expression of the effort to get distance from the president. But the four Democrats are also finding other ways of signaling to voters. They’ve visited the border wall and blocked his nominees. A month before a Trump-appointed judge struck down Biden’s mask mandate on mass transit, three of the four voted in favor of a Republican bill to do just that.
On social media, where they shy away from praise of the president and instead focus on their efforts to prod the White House to action, it’s hard to tell they’ve voted in line with Biden no less than 96 percent of the time. “In these four states, these are senators just doing the work, keeping their head down, getting things done for their states while the Republicans are obviously tearing each other apart in these primaries,” said Martha McKenna, a Democratic ad maker who previously worked for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.
“They are not people who go looking for conflict, they’re not grandstanders. They’re hard-working senators willing to say, ‘Yes, I agree with Biden on child tax credits or health care, but look, I’ve got an issue on this issue, or that issue.’” Less than two years ago, Biden carried Arizona, Georgia, Nevada and New Hampshire. Today, however, his approval rating is dangerously low in each of them. In Nevada, a Suffolk University poll released last week put the president’s approval rating at an anemic 35 percent. Numbers like that explain why the four senators haven’t mentioned Biden or touted the Democratic brand in their ads this year. Nor have the liberal outside groups buying television spots on their behalf tied them to Biden. In Nevada, when the Democratic super PAC American Bridge launched an ad Tuesday praising Biden’s accomplishments, there was no mention of Cortez Masto, the Democratic senator atop the ticket this year. Both Warnock and Kelly have declined to answer questions about whether they would welcome Biden campaigning with them. But, when presented with the opportunity Tuesday, Hassan chose to welcome him, appearing with the president on Tuesday in Portsmouth, where he touted passage of the bipartisan infrastructure bill — and her role in passing it. Afterward, Hassan tweeted that she would continue to work with Biden and her “colleagues on both sides of the aisle” to deliver results for constituents.
NEWS FOR THE WEEK OF APRIL 11th 2022
House Democrats to Showcase ‘Deliverables’ in Bid to Preserve Majority
In the face of stiff national headwinds that threaten one of the narrowest majorities in recent history, House Democrats say they will showcase the local results they have delivered since seizing control of Congress and the White House just over a year ago.
In interviews, party leaders and the incumbents who face difficult re-election bids say they will illustrate the results of measures like the coronavirus relief legislation known as the American Rescue Plan and the bipartisan infrastructure bill, which gave members the opportunity to deliver major projects to their districts — and then to brag about those projects at ribbon-cuttings and grant presentations.
“I think that what we have prioritized is deliverables,” said Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-N.Y.), who chairs the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. “I’m a big believer that the most important deliverables are the ones that you had something to do with, that had the biggest local impact.” Maloney pointed to Rep. Jared Golden (D-Maine), who has touted deals to build several new Navy warships at Bath Iron Works, and to Rep. Angie Craig (D-Minn.), who sponsored legislation that passed the House to reduce the price of insulin.
“We’re going to run on a record of results,” he said.
But some members acknowledge that delivering a concise message in a complicated environment has never been the party’s strong suit. “We are a party that is not easily condensed to a ball cap slogan. We are representative of the people, and people are complicated,” said Rep. Chrissy Houlahan (D-Pa.). “There’s a lot of different levers that we are working with to try to bring people better lives and better livelihoods, and I think that’s the thing that we sometimes struggle with. It’s not easy to encapsulate that message into three words.” Democratic strategists have urged members to lay out a clearer narrative of their achievements over the last few years. In an address to House Democrats in February by Zoom, former President Obama urged his party to compare the state of the nation today to where it was in 2020, when the pandemic raged and the economy stumbled.
“We got a story to tell. Just got to tell it,” Obama told a reporter recently as he visited the White House to celebrate the anniversary of the Affordable Care Act. Houlahan connected the dots between the measures Democrats have approved and the message she plans to take to voters in November. “The American Rescue Plan I think is an unsung colossal success in terms of what it has done to allow our economies to get back up to speed as quickly as they have been able to, our schools opened, our people healthy so that they can be confident in returning to our jobs,” she said. “The message is that we will continue to be working on behalf of the people we represent, rather than the special interests or any other sort of outside organizations or entities that might not necessarily carry the values of our community.”
The effort to overcome troubling atmospherics is made all the more urgent for Democrats who are watching polls that show voters favor handing control of Congress back to Republicans. Recent national surveys have shown Republicans leading a generic congressional ballot question by margins of two points, in recent NBC News and Fox News surveys, to four points in a Quinnipiac poll and five points in an Emerson survey last month. Typically, because of the way voters are dispersed, Democrats need a multi-point advantage to hold ground, and a larger gap to pick up seats. At the same time, President Biden’s approval ratings sit at historical lows. Polls out this week from Quinnipiac and CNBC both peg his approval ratings south of 40 percent. Historically, incumbent presidents suffer congressional losses in their first midterm elections in all but the rarest of circumstances, and those losses become landslides when a president’s ratings are below 50 percent.
The ominous warning signs for Democrats make the strategy of forging local ties seem necessary. But to some — like the Republicans who tried the same tactics in the 2018 midterm, which featured a similarly unpopular incumbent president — the decision to play the local angle brings back uncomfortable memories. “We had to” tout local achievements that year, “because the national environment for Republicans wasn’t great,” said Matt Gorman, who was at the time the communications director for the National Republican Congressional Committee. “Sometimes you can pull a moonshot and overcome a disastrous overall environment, but a lot of times you can’t.”
That year, Democrats picked up 41 seats, the largest gain they had achieved since Watergate. In an interview, Maloney said he did not believe House Democrats would spend time developing a singular message. “It’s not really our job here, although we’re obviously deeply concerned and care about the kind of crispness of the national brand and the message, and we suffer the consequences of having to outperform,” he said. “I wish there were a national entity with a budget that was doing Democratic branding. And I think that the White House, understandably, has a kind of central role here. And so we, whether we like it or not, we’re sort of going to ride under that brand.”
“We would obviously love to see the president doing better. But I do think he’s done some remarkable things, and especially in foreign policy and the war, but also on infrastructure and the COMPETES bill, which will get done, and the rescue plan,” Maloney said. Maloney said Biden is still a welcome presence in Democratic districts — he posed with Rep. Cindy Axne (D-Iowa) during a stop in her district this week, a photo which Axne promptly tweeted out. Houlahan, too, said she would welcome Biden or any member of his administration to her district. Republicans are making bold predictions about the size of their advantage going into the midterms. NRCC chairman Tom Emmer (R-Minn.) has said his party may defeat as many as 70 Democrats, in what would amount to one of the largest drubbings in a century.
“Voters know Democrats’ record and poll after poll has shown they despise it. We hope Democrats will run on their record of rising prices, rising crime and open borders,” said Mike Berg, an NRCC spokesman. “I think the other guys have an assumption that they’re going to get a big wave,” Maloney said. “They don’t really have a plan, they have an assumption that there’s going to be this kind of historic precedent, this big wave.” “We have a plan,” he said. “The plan is to outperform the brand, like you have to in a tough seat. And you know the question is, how much do you have to have outperformed by? At some point, it becomes more than you can do. But if you’re talking seven to ten points or something, most people do that anyway. I mean, I outperformed Biden by nine points in my district, and I outperformed Hillary [Clinton] by a little more.”
The Supreme Court and Capitol Hill
A milestone Supreme Court confirmation that endured a flawed process. The collapse of a bipartisan compromise for more pandemic funds. The departure of a stalwart of the dwindling band of moderate House Republicans.
Party-line fights on Capitol Hill are as old as the republic, and they routinely escalate as elections approach. Yet three events from a notable week illustrate how Congress’ near- and long-term paths point toward intensifying partisanship.
Democrats rejoiced recently, when the Senate by 53-47 confirmed Ketanji Brown Jackson as the first Black female justice. They crowed about a bipartisan stamp of approval from the trio of Republicans who supported it: Sens. Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, and Mitt Romney of Utah. Yet by historical standards, the three opposition party votes were paltry and underscored the recent trend of Supreme Court confirmations becoming loyalty tests on party ideology. That’s a departure from a decades-long norm when senators might dislike a nominee’s judicial philosophy but defer to a president’s pick, barring a disqualifying revelation.
Murkowski said her support for Jackson was partly “rejection of the corrosive politicization” of how both parties consider Supreme Court nominations, which “is growing worse and more detached from reality by the year.”
Republicans said they would treat Jackson respectfully, and many did. Their questions and criticisms of her were pointed and partisan, with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., saying “the Senate views itself as a co-partner in this process” with the president.
Yet some potential 2024 GOP presidential contenders seemed to use Jackson’s confirmation to woo hard-right support. Sens. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Josh Hawley, R-Mo., misleadingly accused her of being unusually lenient on child pornography offenders. Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., suggested she might have defended Nazis at the Nuremburg trials after World War II before she was born. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Richard Durbin, D-Ill., said some Republicans “went overboard, as far as I’m concerned, to the extreme,” reflecting “the reality of politics on Capitol Hill.” Cotton was “fundamentally unfair, but that is his tradition,” said Durbin.
Senate approval of high court nominees by voice vote, without bothering to hold roll calls, was standard for most of the 20th century. Conservative Antonin Scalia sailed into the Supreme Court by 98-0 in 1986, while liberal Ruth Bader Ginsburg won 96-3 approval seven years later.
There were bitter fights. Democrats blocked conservative Robert Bork’s nomination in 1987 and unsuccessfully opposed Clarence Thomas’ ascension in 1991 after he was accused of sexual harassment.
Hard feelings intensified in early 2016. McConnell, then majority leader, blocked the Senate from even considering President Barack Obama’s pick of Merrick Garland to replace the deceased Scalia. McConnell cited the presidential election nearly nine months away, infuriating Democrats. Donald Trump was elected and ultimately filled three vacancies over near-unanimous Democratic opposition.
Democrats opposed Brett Kavanaugh after he was accused of sexually assaulting a woman decades earlier, which he denied. They voted solidly against Amy Coney Barrett after Trump and McConnell rushed through her nomination when a vacancy occurred just weeks before Election Day 2020, a sprint Democrats called hypocritical. Senators from both parties agreed to a $10 billion COVID-19 package that President Joe Biden wants for more therapeutics, vaccines, and tests. With BA.2, the new omicron variant, washing across the country, it seemed poised for congressional approval.
Bargainers led by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, seemed blindsided when their compromise was derailed. Republicans wanted to add an extension of an expiring crackdown on migrants crossing the Mexican border that Trump imposed in 2020, citing the pandemic’s public health threat. Many Republicans were skeptical that more COVID-19 money was necessary. But their demand for an immigration amendment transformed a fight over how much more to spend on a disease that’s killed 980,000 people in the U.S. into a battle over border security, tailor-made for GOP political campaigns ahead.
Immigration divides Democrats, and Republicans believe the issue can further solidify their chances of winning congressional control in November’s elections. Playing defense, Schumer postponed debate on the COVID-19 bill.
Democrats deserved some blame for being outmaneuvered. House Democrats shot down a $15 billion agreement in March, rejecting compromise budget savings to pay for it.
And in glaringly tone-deaf political timing, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced April 1, just as bargainers were completing their latest compromise, that the Trump-era immigration curbs would lapse May 23.
That gave Republicans an irresistible political gift to pursue.
Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., announced his retirement recently. He’s the fourth of the 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump last year to say they won’t seek reelection.
Upton attributed his departure to running in a new district, but that didn’t stop Trump from proclaiming: “UPTON QUITS! 4 down and 6 to go.” The House impeached Trump over his incitement of supporters who attacked the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, but the GOP-run Senate acquitted him. Now in his 18th term, Upton’s departure subtracts another moderate from a GOP that’s shifted rightward in recent years, particularly when it comes to showing fealty to Trump.
The pro-business Upton, 68, was a driving force on one law spurring pharmaceutical development and has worked with Democrats on legislation affecting energy and the auto industry. His bipartisan work and affability placed him in the ever-smaller group of Republicans who draw Democrats’ praise.
“To him, bipartisan and compromise are not forbidden words,” said Rep. Debbie Dingell, D-Mich. Pitched battles are now habitual over bills financing federal agencies and extending the government’s borrowing authority. When those disputes are resolved and federal shutdowns and defaults averted, lawmakers hail as triumphs what is their most rudimentary task — keeping government functioning. Despite the divisions over COVID-19 money and Jackson, there has also been cooperation.
Congress overwhelmingly voted Thursday to ban Russian oil and downgrade trade relations with that country following its invasion of Ukraine. There’s progress on bipartisan trade and technology legislation, and a bipartisan $1 trillion infrastructure measure became law last year.
Paid Time Off to Vote? Pa. Rep. Cartwright Wants to Make it Happen – Employers Would Have to Provide at Least Two Hours of Paid Time Off for Federal Elections
From the legislative roadblocks thrown up by Republican-controlled state legislatures (including Pennsylvania) to outright voter suppression, there are plenty of impediments that stand in the way of Americans getting to the polls to exercise their constitutionally protected right to vote.
One of the biggest, however, may be time. For too many working Americans squeezing in that extra couple of minutes to cast their ballot may mean being late for work or trying frantically to get home from work to pick up the kids from childcare.
But if one Pennsylvania lawmaker gets his way, American employers would be required to provide at least two hours of paid time off so that their workers can cast their ballots in federal elections. U.S. Rep. Matt Cartwright, D-8th District, teamed with fellow Democratic U.S. Reps. Cheri Bustos, of Illinois, Nikema Williams, of Georgia, and Andy Levin, of Michigan, on a bill they’re calling the “Time Off to Vote Act.” “Voting should not be a luxury that only the well-off can afford,” said Cartwright, who floated a similar proposal in 2019. “This bill, which ensures that American workers can cast their ballots without risking their paychecks, is an important addition to the critical voting rights legislation passed by the House earlier this year.” Williams and Levin separately echoed that sentiment.
“This November, Georgia will once again be the center of the political universe. In the last two elections, countless Georgians waited in line for hours to vote. Many waited all day. The Time off to Vote Act will make it easier for working people to exercise their sacred right to vote. Everyone deserves free and fair access to the ballot box, regardless of where they work or their flexibility while on the clock,” Williams, the co-chair of the Congressional Voting Rights Caucus, said in a statement. Levin added that it’s “incredibly important that America’s workers have an unbridled ability to vote in any local, state or federal election. By mandating paid leave on election days, this bill would ensure no worker has to sacrifice their wages or jeopardize their job security to exercise their sacred right to vote.”
More than half of states require businesses to allow their employees some time off to vote, according to GovTrack. Twenty-three (No, not you, Pennsylvania) require employers to provide paid time off, according to WorkPlaceFairness.org. And if you don’t think this is a problem, think again. In 2014, two-thirds of voters said they didn’t show up at the polls because of time constraints, with about a third of voters (35 percent) specifically telling the Pew Research Center that voting conflicted with their work or school schedules.
Voters of color, who are most likely to support Democrats, are among those hardest hit by workplace restrictions, one veteran political observer told the Capital-Star. Black voters also are more inclined to vote in-person than other voters because of skepticism about their mail-in ballots being counted fairly and accurately, the observer, who asked for anonymity to speak candidly, said. Thus, Republican efforts to limit Sunday voting in some states, when most people do not work, disproportionately fall on Black voters. Research by the Brennan Center for Justice, for instance, found that Black voters in Georgia were more inclined to vote on Sunday than were white voters
Separate research found that “Sunday voters do not seamlessly transition to other days after cuts are made. For example, when Sunday voting was outlawed in Florida in 2012, Black voters who voted on Sunday in 2008 were especially likely to abstain from voting,” according to the Brennan Center. Why does that matter? Just like this year, the 2014 canvass was a mid-term election when voter turnout already is pretty anemic. Republicans romped during that election midway through former President Barack Obama’s second term. As noted above, Black voters and voters of color make up a key part of the Democratic coalition — which makes turnout critical.
And unless something dramatic happens between now and November, congressional Democrats stand a real chance of losing control of one, or both, chambers on Capitol Hill. Democrats will need to close a real enthusiasm gap with Republicans if they hope to retain their majorities.
In their statement Monday, Cartwright and his congressional colleagues noted that their proposal had received the backing of a wide array of advocacy groups, including Common Cause and the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund. “All Americans deserve to have their voices heard and votes counted. Especially as some states pass discriminatory voter suppression laws, the Time Off to Vote Act is needed more than ever,” Sylvia Albert, Common Cause’s director of voting and elections, said in a statement. Adam Lioz, the senior policy counsel for the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, reiterated that “as another important federal election fast approaches, Black and Brown Americans face the greatest assault on the freedom to vote since Jim Crow.” The Democrats’ proposal would be “a strong addition to critical voting rights legislation the House has already passed this year. Congress must stay laser focused on delivering essential protections voters need and deserve, and must pass the full package without delay,” Lioz added.
NEWS FOR THE WEEK OF APRIL 4th, 2022
All Politics is Local – Redrawn Election Maps May Not Stand
In a move that could still alter the upcoming campaign for New York’s First Congressional District, a Supreme Court Justice in Steuben County declared all of the state’s recently redrawn legislative district maps unconstitutional last Thursday, blocking their use in the June 28 primary elections and Nov. 8 general elections.
An Appellate Division of State Supreme Court issued a stay at least temporarily keeping in place the district maps that had been prepared by the Democratic-dominated State Legislature, for the upcoming primary and general elections. A hearing will ultimately determine the outcome and with it the course of this year’s elections.
As control of the United States House of Representatives hangs in the balance with the midterm elections approaching, the State Legislature voted in February to redraw the state’s congressional districts in a way that made a Democratic gain of three seats more likely. The redrawing of the First District to encompass more Democratic-leaning territory and lose the Republican-heavy western part of Southampton Town to the Second District significantly improved Democrats’ odds of flipping the seat held by the Republican Representative Lee Zeldin since he ousted the Democrat Tim Bishop in 2014.
But then a group of Republican voters sued, arguing that the new district boundaries violated a 2014 constitutional amendment meant to protect against partisanship in the preparation of district maps. The redrawn maps, they said, were a flagrant example of gerrymandering, the manipulation of electoral boundaries to favor one party over another. Gerrymandering is practiced in many states and by both major political parties.
Justice Patrick F. McAllister sided with the Republicans, granting a permanent injunction preventing the use of the redrawn maps “for this or any other election in New York, including but not limited to the 2022 primary and general election for Congress, State Senate, and State Assembly.” He set a Monday deadline for the Legislature to submit “bipartisanly supported maps to this court” for review. Should the Legislature fail to do so, he wrote, “the court will retain a neutral expert at state expense to prepare said maps.”
The move could delay primary elections, but Democrats will challenge the ruling.
Rob Ortt, the State Senate Republican leader, wrote on Twitter last Thursday that “Albany Democrats ignored the will of New Yorkers who demanded fair, independent redistricting. Instead, they adopted partisan maps to protect themselves. Today a judge ruled their gerrymandered maps are UNCONSTITUTIONAL. This is a victory for ALL New Yorkers.”
But in a joint statement, Gov. Kathy Hochul and State Attorney General Letitia James vowed to appeal the ruling. Mike Murphy, communications director for the State Senate Democrats, also said that the decision would be appealed. He wrote on Twitter last Thursday that “This is one step in the process. We always knew this case would be decided by the appellate courts. We are appealing this decision and expect this decision will be stayed as the appeal process proceeds.” He later taunted Mr. Ortt, again on Twitter, writing, “Remember when you declared victory after the election day in 2020 only to lose everything you thought you won?”
The battle for Congress is playing out in New York’s First District, control of which has historically flipped between the major parties. Mr. Zeldin won it handily in three of the last four elections but is now seeking his party’s nomination for governor of New York.
“Albany Democrats made it clear from the beginning they had no intention of allowing the constitutionally required independent commission to deliver a map that best serves New Yorkers,” Mr. Zeldin said in a statement, “and today, a judge recognized this blatant partisanship. Instead of hijacking the redistricting process for political gain, overriding the will of New York voters, Albany must redraw the maps in good faith and put New Yorkers, not their partisan games, first.”
Where the First District once spanned the five East End towns, Brookhaven, and part of Smithtown, in its redrawn configuration it would stretch from the East End into Nassau County, encompassing parts of Islip, Babylon, Huntington, and into Oyster Bay, apparently concentrating more Democratic-leaning voters.
As noted by Suffolk County Legislator Bridget Fleming, a candidate for the Democratic Party’s nomination for the First Congressional District, voters within the redrawn district went for President Biden by 11 points in 2020, versus the old district’s 4-point margin of victory for former President Trump in 2020.
“We are watching the case,” Ms. Fleming said in an email, “but we’re continuing to run our race and connect with voters across the district. We have completed our signature drive and will be filing — our petitions — with almost 2.5 times the number of signatures needed within the next few days.”
Anthony Figliola, a candidate for the Republican nomination in the First District, said in an interview, “My volunteers and I have knocked on the doors of thousands of voters in this new district. While the lines have changed, I am excited for the opportunity to serve those communities from the East End to Bethpage and Plainview.” His campaign will continue to monitor the court case, he said.
The redrawing of New York’s election districts, which Governor Hochul signed on Feb. 3, came amid the backdrop of a nationwide struggle for control of Congress, where Democrats hold a narrow majority at present. With looming midterm elections that historically favor the party that does not control the White House, Republicans hope to regain a majority. The Legislature’s vote to redraw districts followed a long and ultimately futile bipartisan effort to come up with new maps. In 2014, voters in the state approved creation of the Independent Redistricting Commission to reform the redistricting process to introduce greater independence, conduct “rational line-drawing,” according to its website, and protect minority voting rights.
But the commission, comprising an equal number of Democrats and Republicans, could not agree on redrawn maps, and the matter was relegated to the Legislature, where Democrats held a majority in the Assembly and Senate.
The Legislature’s vote prompted cries of gerrymandering, which has become so precise as to allow creation of districts that, while bizarrely contorted on a map, practically guarantee one or the other party’s control. The result is incumbents and candidates who effectively choose their voters, and not the other way around.
Republicans More Likely Than Democrats to Say Partisan Control of Congress ‘Really Matters’
With the midterm congressional elections still more than seven months away, registered voters are evenly divided between the two major parties in their election preferences. At the same time, Republican voters are more likely than Democratic voters to say it “really matters” which party gains control of Congress in this fall’s midterms.
At this early stage of the campaign, President Joe Biden is much more of a motivating factor for Republican than Democratic voters: 71% of Republican and Republican-leaning voters say they think of their vote as being “against” Biden; far fewer Democrats and Democratic-leaning voters (46%) view their vote as a vote “for” the president.
The new Pew Research Center survey of 10,441 U.S. adults, including 9,021 registered voters, conducted March 7-13, 2022, finds that most voters (63%) say which party wins control of Congress in this year’s elections “really matters,” similar to the share who said this in early 2018 (65%). Today, in contrast with 2018, Republican registered voters (70%) are more likely than Democratic voters (60%) to say which party wins control of Congress this year really matters. Four years ago, there were only slight partisan differences on this measure (67% of Democrats and 65% of Republicans said it really mattered which party-controlled Congress following the elections) and that remained the case throughout the 2018 campaign.
The new survey finds that equal shares of registered voters say, if the elections were held today, they would support the Republican candidate or the Democratic candidate (43% each) in their district. Another 10% say they are not sure who they would support, while 4% would vote for other candidates. Early in the 2018 midterm cycle, Democratic candidates had a double-digit edge over Republicans on the generic congressional ballot. Democrats went on to gain the majority in the U.S. House of Representatives that year.
As in previous midterms, voters are more likely to view their vote as an expression of opposition than support for the president. That is the case today: 36% say their midterm vote is against Biden, while 24% think of it as a vote for Biden; 38% say Biden is not much of a factor in their voting decision.
The partisan disparity in these views is wide: Nearly three times as many Republican voters think of their vote as being against Biden and say the president is not much of a factor in their vote (71% vs. 26%); by contrast, Democratic voters are about equally likely to say Biden is not much of a factor (47%) as to say their midterm vote will be “for” him (46%).
Amid the continuing conflicts over the 2020 election, a majority of Americans say they are very (23%) or somewhat confident (40%) that the midterm elections will be conducted fairly and accurately. However, there are sizable partisan differences in confidence: While 76% of Democrats say they are confident the fall elections will be conducted fairly and accurately (32% are very confident), only about half of Republicans (47%) say the same (12% say they are very confident).
Seven-in-ten adults are also very or somewhat confident that all citizens who want to vote in the congressional elections will be able to do so. There are partisan differences in these views as well: Democrats are about 20 percentage points less likely than Republicans to express confidence that all citizens who want to vote will be able to do so (61% of Democrats vs. 83% of Republicans).
Top election issues for Republicans and Democrats
About eight-in-ten voters (78%) say the economy is very important to their vote this fall, making it the top issue out of 15 asked about in the survey. Republicans are particularly likely to say the economy is very important to their vote in the fall: 90% say this, compared with 68% of Democrats.
Roughly two-thirds of Republican voters say that immigration (68%), foreign policy (67%) and violent crime (67%) are very important to their vote, while nearly as many (62%) say this about the size and scope of government. Democratic voters are less likely than Republicans to say each of these is very important, though the gap is particularly pronounced on the issues of immigration (just 34% of Democrats say immigration is very important to their vote in the fall) and the size and scope of government (just 26% of Democrats say this is very important to their vote).
By comparison, health care is the top issue for Democratic voters in the fall, with 74% saying it is very important to their vote; just 44% of Republican voters say the same. About two-thirds of Democratic voters point to voting policies (66%) and education (also 66%) as very important to their vote, modestly higher than the shares of GOP voters naming these issues as very important to their vote.
But the partisan gap over climate change is one of the largest in the survey: Democratic voters are 50 percentage points more likely than Republican voters to name it as an important issue in their vote (64% vs. 14%) and are 40 points more likely to say the same about issues around race and ethnicity (54% vs. 14%). Just a third of voters say that the coronavirus outbreak will be a very important issue in their vote this fall, though Democrats are more than twice as likely as Republicans to say this (46% vs. 19%).
Congressional vote preferences
Overall, voters are split on who they would vote for if the elections were held today: 43% say they would vote for the Republican candidate in their district, while an identical share say they would vote for the Democratic candidate; 4% say they would vote for another candidate and 10% say they are not sure.
There are wide differences in vote preference based on race and ethnicity, age, and education.
About half of White voters (51%) say they would vote for the Republican candidate, while 37% would vote Democratic. By contrast, a large majority of Black voters (72%) say they would prefer the Democratic candidate, while 7% prefer the Republican candidate. Asian voters favor Democratic over Republican candidates by about two-to-one (59% vs. 31%); Hispanic voters also favor Democrats (50%) over Republicans (28%).
As in recent elections, older voters remain more supportive of Republican candidates than Democrats: Half of voters ages 65 and older say they would vote for a Republican if the elections were held today, while 41% say they would vote for a Democrat. By contrast, about half of voters under 30 say they would vote for a Democratic candidate if the elections were held today, while 29% say they would back the GOP candidate. Voters under 30 also are about twice as likely as voters 65 and older to be unsure about who they would vote for (13% vs. 7%).
Voters with college degrees, especially those with postgraduate degrees, are more supportive of Democrats than Republicans this fall, while Republicans hold an advantage among voters with some college or less education.
NEWS FOR THE WEEK OF MARCH 28th 2022
Democrats, Republicans Crafting Messages for November’s Crucial Midterm Elections
As the coronavirus pandemic eases and Americans anxiously watch the war in Ukraine, Democrats and Republicans are honing their pitches to voters in this year’s critical midterm elections. The outcome of elections hinges on message, momentum, and money. Both parties, particularly their incumbents, will have the resources needed to compete in the general election. So, the money factor will likely be a wash.
But Republicans have history on their side. The party that controls the White House routinely suffers catastrophic losses during midterm elections. With President Joe Biden struggling in the polls, Democrats are bracing for the prospect of losing the House, and perhaps the Senate. Since the money game is a push and momentum is currently on the side of the GOP, the message Democratic and Republican candidates deliver to voters could determine not only November’s general election, but which party has the driver’s seat going into the 2024 presidential contest. “We have to carry the message that we’re here to ensure safe communities,” said U.S. Rep. Michael Burgess (R-TX). “We want an economy that’s secure and prosperous. We’d like to see success for our kids in schools. Our government needs to be accountable to the people.”
Democrats control the White House and both chambers of Congress. They acknowledged that they need to improve their messaging to voters to be successful in November. “We do need to talk about what we’ve done and the legislation that we have passed,” said Rep. Colin Allred, D-TX). “That legislation is so big, like the American Rescue Plan and the bipartisan infrastructure bill, that people sometimes forget what was in it. You have to actually go through and kind of tell people why this legislation is important.”
Republicans this year need to pick up five seats to take control of the U.S. House. The GOP needs a net gain of one seat to take control of the Senate, as they currently hold 50 seats. Democrats have nominal control of the 50-50 chamber because Vice President Kamala Harris can cast tiebreaking votes. The outcome of midterm elections is typically predictable. The president in power is almost always humbled. In 2018, when Donald Trump was president, Democrats rallied voters angry that Republicans were trying to repeal the Affordable Care Act. They picked up 41 seats to seize control of the House. While Trump suffered a midterm meltdown in 2018, Barack Obama presided over defeats during the midterm elections during his presidency, including the 2010 contests in which Republicans picked up 63 seats to win the House.
The last time the party in power held serve was in 2002, when President George W. Bush and Republicans managed to hold the House and win the Senate. Only four times in history (1902, 1934, 1998 and 2002) has the president in power picked up House seats in a midterm election. “The magnitude of the Republican victory this November could be so large, and it could carry over into 2024 for whoever is the Republican nominee for president,” Burgess said. But Republicans are at a slight risk of being tripped up in November by Trump, a problem from 2020. Trump wants GOP candidates to acknowledge his grievances, notably the unfounded claim that the 2020 election was stolen from him.
Earlier this month, he rescinded his backing of Alabama Rep. Mo Brooks, a Senate candidate who said the former president can’t move past the 2020 elections. “President Trump has asked me to rescind the 2020 elections, immediately remove Joe Biden from the White House, immediately put President Trump back in the White House, and hold a new special election for the presidency,” Brooks said. Trump said Brooks had joined the ”woke” crowd. Burgess warned against party squabbling. “We have an opportunity to put the brakes on the bad stuff and bring it back to the center,” Burgess said. “We can’t squander it. We can start aiming at each other, but then we won’t accomplish what history is now making available to us to accomplish.”
It’s possible for Republicans to bash Biden, offer a conservative agenda and mollify Trump all at once. But the notion of a Trump comeback could chase away general election voters who are otherwise not thrilled with Biden. For their part, Democrats must aggressively explain their accomplishments. And they need to address the rising cost of goods and services, including food and fuel. “We have to acknowledge the pain that some folks are going through with the increased costs because so much of this has been driven by the pandemic,” Allred said. “[Candidates] have to acknowledge that and make sure people understand what the drivers are, and then talk about what we’re doing to actually fix it.” Allred praised Biden’s first term. “When you look around, unemployment is low and we’re getting the pandemic under control,” Allred said. “It’s because of the bills that we passed.” Colin Allred (D-TX) said Democrats could prevail in November. “Republicans don’t have a plan,” Allred said. “They just want to criticize us for things that are outside of our control.”
The 10 Senate Seats Most Likely to Flip in 2022
The war in Ukraine has shifted attention overseas, but even if President Joe Biden‘s approval has ticked up nominally, the national environment heading into the 2022 midterms still looks treacherous for his fellow Democrats as they try to hold their Senate majority. Russian President Vladimir Putin has given Biden a convenient foil on whom to blame high gas prices. (“Putin’s price hike,” he has called it.) But Republicans are hammering Democrats for rising inflation, which they argue predates the conflict in Ukraine.
Democrats point to the pandemic and stuck supply chains for the current inflation woes, blaming corporations for pocketing profits while Americans pay the price at the pump. The most vulnerable Democratic Senate incumbents — Raphael Warnock of Georgia, Mark Kelly of Arizona, Catherine Cortez Masto of Nevada and Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire — have tried to get ahead of the inevitable GOP attacks by introducing legislation that would suspend the federal gas tax through the end of the year. In a sign they’re trying to distance themselves from the national party, most of them also sided with Republicans on a recent vote to overturn the requirement that passengers wear masks on public transportation. Establishing their own brands in their states, independent of Biden, will be a challenge for Democrats running in November if the President’s approval rating remains in the low 40s. The party in the White House traditionally loses seats during the first midterm of a new president’s term.
Despite those obstacles, the Senate seat most likely to flip is still a pickup opportunity for Democrats. Pennsylvania has led this list since its incarnation — a testament to it being an open seat in a state Biden carried in 2020. The ranking is based on CNN’s reporting and fundraising and advertising data, as well as historical data about how states and candidates have performed. Two seats have traded places on the latest list, however, which underscores the difficult environment for Democrats: New Hampshire slides above North Carolina as more likely to flip.
Republicans have their own challenges, though, mostly candidate driven. May primaries in Ohio and Pennsylvania are heating up as GOP candidates jockey for former President Donald Trump‘s blessing. At the same time, candidates who do have his backing are finding that it doesn’t solve all their problems. (Trump just rescinded his endorsement for the open Senate seat in Alabama, where Rep. Mo Brooks’ campaign was underwhelming.) He’s backed candidates in two competitive states with May primaries — Georgia and North Carolina.
Much to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s chagrin, the chair of the GOP committee charged with flipping the Senate recently released an 11-point plan that calls for all Americans to pay income tax. Expect Democrats to tie all Republicans, even those who have disavowed the tax proposal, to Florida Sen. Rick Scott’s plan (released by his campaign, not the National Republican Senatorial Committee). It’s a tactic that House Democrats successfully used against the GOP in 2018, when they tied even Republicans who had voted against repealing Obamacare to that effort, and that Republicans used against Democrats in 2020 in linking the entire party to the “defund the police” movement.
The paid media (i.e., television advertising) portion of the campaign is just taking off in many of these races, so we’ll see how much that message sticks in the months to come. Here are the 10 Senate seats most likely to flip with less than eight months to go before Election Day:
Incumbent: Republican Pat Toomey (retiring)
Pennsylvania once again tops the list of seats most likely to flip. Republican candidates and super PACs have spent nearly $40 million in the open-seat race to succeed retiring GOP Sen. Pat Toomey ahead of the May 17 primary, with much of it coming from Mehmet Oz and David McCormick and their allies. Trump has yet to weigh in after his chosen candidate dropped out in November, which is fueling even more spending as Republicans try to prove their loyalty to the former President.
So, what are all the attacks about? Much of the rhetoric is standard GOP primary fare, enlivened with some quirks from the candidates’ biographies. Oz and allies of the former daytime host have attacked McCormick, a former hedge fund executive, as a “Wall Street insider” and said he “invested billions in China,” while casting Oz as an outsider like Trump. (His ads often cut to clips of Oz shaking hands with Trump as he welcomed him on his TV show.) McCormick and his allies have tried to tie Oz to Oprah Winfrey, Hollywood and former first lady Michelle Obama and say he “promoted Obamacare.” McCormick has his own “fight China” message and has argued Oz’s dual citizenship precludes him from putting “America first.” (Oz has since vowed to renounce his Turkish citizenship if elected.) McCormick led Oz 24% to 15% in a Fox poll of GOP primary voters conducted in early March. Businessman Jeff Bartos, former US ambassador to Denmark Carla Sands and political commentator Kathy Barnette all drew single digits. But nearly a third of primary voters were undecided, per the Fox poll.
As the GOP field has grown, the Democratic one has thinned with Val Arkoosh — a doctor and the only woman in the primary — dropping out in February. Lt. Gov. John Fetterman and US Rep. Conor Lamb, both from Western Pennsylvania, are on the air, mostly with positive bio spots that give the primary a noticeably different tone than the GOP contest. Fetterman is seen as the current front-runner because of his fundraising advantage and statewide name recognition. But Lamb has a record of winning tough House races, with his ads touting that he’s previously beaten “the Trump machine.” Lamb has also picked up the endorsement of the Philadelphia Democratic Party. State Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, who hails from the vote-rich city, has some significant labor endorsements but is not on TV.
The bottom line here is that both parties think the other side’s primary will take the eventual nominee too far to the extremes. But, given how much the GOP primary is pushing candidates toward Trump in a state Biden won (and all the millions of dollars putting that message in front of voters), this Democratic pickup opportunity is still the most likely to change party hands.
Incumbent: Democrat Raphael Warnock
Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock is running for a full six-year term after winning a special election runoff last year. He has impressed with strong fundraising and is on the air with positive spots leaning into his background as a pastor and touting the legislation he’s co-sponsored that would temporarily suspend the federal gas tax.
Former NFL star Herschel Walker is the prohibitive Republican favorite in the May 24 primary, with both McConnell and Trump behind him. But attacks from his primary rivals and recent negative headlines over his business record could preview some of the scrutiny to come in the general election as Democrats gear up to face a first-time candidate whom much of the GOP establishment was bad mouthing this time last year.
But even with an untested likely opponent and a fundraising prowess that bests longer-serving Democratic incumbents on this list, Warnock is highly vulnerable because of the fundamentals of Georgia. He narrowly overperformed Biden in 2020, but both won by close margins in this purple state. And given Biden’s sagging approval ratings, the senator will need to maintain — and grow — his margins over the President. Turnout will be a crucial question in a midterm year, but in that regard, Democrats are excited that Stacey Abrams’ candidacy for governor may help energize nonwhite voters.
Incumbent: Republican Ron Johnson
As the only Republican running for reelection in a state Biden won in 2020, Sen. Ron Johnson remains the most vulnerable GOP incumbent this year. A Marquette University Law School poll conducted at the end of February found that 45% of registered Wisconsin voters had an unfavorable view of him with only 33% seeing him favorably. Democrats were ecstatic that Johnson decided to break a pledge to serve only two terms, and they see political hay in his penchant for controversial remarks. See, for example, his recent call for Republicans to repeal the Affordable Care Act if they win control of Congress. That’s a debate Democrats are happy to have after running on defending Obamacare in the 2018 midterms, when the law was much more popular than when Johnson last faced voters, in 2016. (Johnson later issued a clarifying statement, saying he he did not mean to suggest that repealing and replacing Obamacare should be a top priority for his party.)
Still, Republicans note that Johnson has been underestimated before and has come from behind to win. And while Biden narrowly carried the Badger State, his approval rating is at 43% (with 52% disapproving), according to the same Marquette poll. The Democratic field remains largely unknown. Even Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes, whom the Marquette poll found in the lead among Democratic primary voters with 23%, was unknown to 53% of them. Two of his challengers who have poured their own money into their campaigns — Milwaukee Bucks executive Alex Lasry and state Treasurer Sarah Godlewski — are on TV, so voters’ familiarity with them could grow ahead of the August primary.
Incumbent: Democrat Mark Kelly
The biggest news in Arizona over the past month is that GOP Gov. Doug Ducey said (again) that he would not run for Senate, which was a major relief for Democrats as Sen. Mark Kelly runs for a full six-year term in the purple state. The crowded field of GOP challengers, all jockeying for a Trump endorsement, is pulling the candidates to the right, potentially complicating the eventual nominee’s ability to make a general election pivot after the August primary. (Former Sen. Martha McSally, whom Kelly defeated in a 2020 special election, struggled with this dynamic in her races for Senate.)
State Attorney General Mark Brnovich is seen as the GOP front-runner, considering he’s already won statewide, but he’s struggled with fundraising. Venture capitalist Blake Masters picked up the backing of the anti-tax Club for Growth and already had the support of a super PAC funded by tech entrepreneur Peter Thiel, his onetime boss, so he’s not suffering for lack of outside assistance. Solar energy entrepreneur Jim Lamon, who had loaned his campaign $8 million by the end 2021, is up with plenty of ads talking about immigration. With the GOP primary still in flux, Kelly’s using his massive fundraising advantage to run positive spots about infrastructure and his work to address supply chain issues, with Democrats also spending on Spanish-language ads. Like Warnock, Kelly overperformed Biden in 2020, but the national environment has gotten worse for Democrats since and they cannot count on presidential-level turnout this year.
Incumbent: Democrat Catherine Cortez Masto
Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto is running ads featuring hospitality and restaurant workers touting her pandemic recovery efforts — another Democratic incumbent who’s using her campaign coffers to go up with positive spots while she has the airwaves to herself. Her campaign and Democratic outside groups are also running Spanish-language ads — an important early investment in the Silver State. Former state Attorney General Adam Laxalt, who has the backing of Trump and McConnell, is expected to win the June Republican primary, but he still faces a well-funded opponent. Laxalt is the grandson of a former governor and senator with the same last name, but he lost his most recent election, the 2018 governor’s race. Voters may know him more recently for serving as Trump’s state campaign co-chair and echoing his election fraud claims, which Democrats point to in calling Laxalt too extreme for the state.
But Biden didn’t win Nevada by all that much (about 2 points), and in a challenging national environment — with voters here especially worried about inflation and the economy — Cortez Masto is likely in for a tough race. The former Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee chair hasn’t raised nearly as much money as two of her higher-profile colleagues up for reelection (Warnock and Kelly) and has less recent experience trying to distance herself from the national party when facing voters. She won with about 47% of the vote in 2016, underperforming Hillary Clinton, to become the first Latina elected to the US Senate.
- New Hampshire
Incumbent: Democrat Maggie Hassan
Democratic Sen. Maggie Hassan is in for a competitive race, even without a challenge from GOP Gov. Chris Sununu. Yes, the Granite State has gone blue in every federal election in the past six years. And yes, by the numbers, it’s the most daunting for Republicans given that Biden carried it by 7 points. But given Biden’s low approval rating and a sour national mood, even a Republican with a much lower profile than Sununu should be able to keep this one close. Fifty-five percent of New Hampshire adults disapproved of Biden’s job performance while 43% approved, according to a University of New Hampshire poll conducted in late February. Ratings of his handling of the economy were worse. Those may be difficult numbers for Hassan, a first-term senator, to overcome in an era when Senate races are increasingly nationalized.
Just how competitive November’s race is, however, may depend on what kind of campaigns Republicans Chuck Morse and Kevin Smith put together. There’s still time for these relatively unknown candidates to introduce themselves, but a September primary also doesn’t give them much time to position for the general election. Democrats think New Hampshire is one state where the abortion issue may prove to be particularly salient if the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade this year, because of the higher concentration of college-educated voters in the Granite State. Nearly two-thirds of New Hampshire adults in that UNH poll (which was taken before Biden nominated Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court) said they wanted him to pick a justice who would vote to uphold Roe v. Wade.
- North Carolina
Incumbent: Republican Richard Burr (retiring)
Trump took sides in the GOP primary in June, but his chosen candidate, US Rep. Ted Budd, hasn’t cleared the field. “He’s loved by, especially, the conservative wing of the party — highly respected guy,” Trump told the Washington Examiner earlier this month. Budd has had plenty of help on the airwaves from the political arm of the Club for Growth, which has spent millions attacking former Gov. Pat McCrory ahead of the May 17 Republican primary. The latest back-and-forth in this race is about Putin. McCrory’s first statewide TV ad accused Budd of being “friendly” toward Russia, selectively splicing comments the congressman has made about the Russian President, including calling him a “very intelligent actor.” The club responded with an ad calling McCrory’s attack a “low-down, dirty hit job” and surfacing footage of Budd calling Putin “evil” and expressing support for Ukraine.
Former Rep. Mark Walker and combat veteran Marjorie K. Eastman are still in the race but even if they peel some votes away from Budd or McCrory, it may not be enough to spoil an outright victory since the threshold needed to avoid a primary runoff is only 30%. The Democratic field is essentially set, with Cheri Beasley seeing her most viable opponents drop out. The former state Supreme Court chief justice hasn’t raised as much money as some Democrats in other races. And even though she doesn’t have a voting record, her judicial record could provide fodder for Republicans to try to paint her as soft on crime, similar to the way they’ve gone after Jackson since her Supreme Court nomination. Democrats are hopeful that a Black woman who’s previously been elected statewide will help mitigate the turnout problem they’ve often faced in North Carolina, especially in midterm years, but that may not be enough to overcome any anti-Democratic headwinds in a Trump state.
Incumbent: Republican Marco Rubio
GOP Sen. Marco Rubio, who’s likely to face Democratic Rep. Val Demings in the fall, starts this race ahead in a state that Trump carried twice. The war in Ukraine has brought plenty of earned media opportunities for the vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee. His campaign has attacked Biden and Democrats for not doing more to increase domestic oil production amid a surge in gas prices. Demings, who has impressed with her fundraising, has a compelling profile — she’s a former Orlando police chief with firsthand experience fighting crime, a detail that appears prominently in her campaign media. But Republicans are signaling they will continue to tie her to the national party, even on the issue of rising crime rates.
Incumbent: Republican Rob Portman (retiring)
The Buckeye State is playing host to one of the nastiest Republican primaries of the election cycle. But regardless of how badly dinged the eventual nominee emerges from the primary, he or she will start with the advantage for this open seat in an increasingly red state that Trump twice won by 8 points. Democratic Rep. Tim Ryan faces a primary, too, but he’s largely consolidated party support. It’s possible the May 3 primary will be delayed because of uncertainty over state legislative and congressional maps. That would only give Republicans more time for the kinds of attacks that have made this a topsy-turvy race, with poll leads fluctuating depending on who’s on the receiving end of the most televised vitriol.
Businessman Mike Gibbons and former state Treasurer Josh Mandel led the pack in a Fox poll conducted in early March, with a quarter of GOP primary voters undecided. Things got so heated between them at a recent candidate forum that they had to be physically separated. Gibbons is leaning hard into the outsider businessman persona. “Let’s tell politicians, ‘You’re fired,'” he says in one recent spot. (There are plenty of similar ads — he had loaned his campaign more than $11 million by the end of last year.) As CNN’s Gabby Orr reported, Trump has expressed concern about the general election viability of Mandel and is hung up about critical things “Hillbilly Elegy” author JD Vance has said about him in the past. Others in the race include former state GOP chair Jane Timken and state Sen. Matt Dolan. The Club for Growth’s political arm, which is backing Mandel, has tried tying Timken to Russia, but she has the backing of retiring Sen. Rob Portman, the co-chair of the Senate Ukraine Caucus. (Ohio has a significant Ukrainian American population, although Portman’s is not an endorsement that would go over well with Trump.) By far the biggest motif in GOP advertising isn’t Russia, but something a little closer to home, although still some 1,500 miles away from Ohio — the US southern border with Mexico.
Incumbent: Republican Roy Blunt (retiring)
The prospect of former Gov. Eric Greitens winning the GOP nomination was already causing headaches in a red state that has no other reason to go blue. Those pains got more intense when Greitens’ ex-wife alleged he was physically abusive toward his children and her, according to court documents filed last week. (Greitens has denied this.) His primary opponents immediately called for him to drop out of the race, with some members of GOP leadership in Washington, DC, echoing that. Later in the week, Trump, who had previously left the door open to endorsing Greitens, gave US Rep. Billy Long reason to hope when he issued a positive statement about the former auctioneer. “Have the great people of Missouri been considering the big, loud, and proud personality of Congressman Billy Long for the Senate?” Trump said. “This is not an Endorsement, but I’m just askin’?”
Plenty of other candidates are vying for Trump’s backing too. Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt held a fundraiser at Mar-a-Lago with Trump earlier this month. Sen. Josh Hawley, who called for Greitens to resign as governor in 2018, has already backed US Rep. Vicky Hartzler. The primary isn’t until August 2, and so far, there’s no sign Greitens is going anywhere. Democrat Lucas Kunce, a Marine veteran, outraised most of the top GOP candidates as of Dec. 31, 2021, but the Democratic nominee would not have an easy path to victory in a state that backed Trump by 15 points in 2020. The worsening headlines for Greitens could cause more Democrats to take another look at the race, but there’s not much time before the candidate filing deadline on March 29.
Pelosi Extends House Proxy Voting Despite COVID Pandemic Winding Down
While tourists can now roam the halls of the Capitol and members of Congress can mingle mask-free, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has once again extended the COVID-imposed policy of proxy, or remote voting. Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced on Monday that she would not require members to be physically present for votes until mid-May at the earliest, extending the order she put in place at the start of the 117th Congress in January 2021.
Pelosi cited a Monday letter from House Sergeant-at-Arms William J. Walker stating that the public health emergency “remains in effect” “I am hereby extending the ‘covered period’ designated on January 4, 2021 … until May 14, 2022,” Pelosi wrote in a Dear Colleague letter. Instead of being physically present on the floor, members can continue to submit their votes on legislation and other matters through designated members.
The Senate has not implemented such a rule despite the pandemic, requiring all 100 members to be present for their votes. Members of the House on both sides of the aisle have repeatedly used the order since it was first implemented. While its intent was to allow for social distancing and caution during the early days of the pandemic, many members have taken advantage of the order in order to cross other items off their personal agenda. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and GOP members previously sued House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for authorizing proxy voting.
In one instance, Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif.) requested to vote by proxy in order to file paperwork in Los Angeles to run for mayor, according to the LA Times. Bass submitted her intent to vote by proxy two days before.
Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), who has frequently voted by proxy, reportedly used the practice in order to conduct a video interview in his car with the Philadelphia Inquirer, according to the same outlet. “We have a long vote series today, so I got to step out of the Capital and I’m excited about having this conversation,” he said in the interview. Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.) reportedly also used the practice last month in order to campaign for Senate. Rep. Bill Johnson argued coronavirus isn’t a valid excuse to continue proxy voting. Even House GOP Conference Chair Elise Stefanik (R-NY) voted via proxy earlier this year, on the same day she appeared with former President Donald Trump for a fundraiser at his Mar-a-Lago home.
Currently, there are 43 active letters of intent to use proxy voting among the House. The oldest one was submitted by Rep. Albio Sires (D-NJ), who submitted it on December 2nd of last year. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) blasted the extension Tuesday, calling it the “show-up-if-convenient policy,” in a statement to The Federalist. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy accused Democrats of being obsessed with “control.” “This has nothing to do with science, but everything to do with Democrats insatiable obsession with control,” he said. McCarthy challenged the order as unconstitutional soon after it took effect in May 2020, taking the matter all the way to the Supreme Court, which rejected it in January.
Rep. Bill Johnson (R-Ohio) echoed the minority leader’s criticism on Twitter, saying Democrats were “abusing” the practice. “Nancy Pelosi can do what she wants- she’s the Speaker. But let’s no longer pretend that Covid is the reason for continued proxy voting. Democrats are abusing it, and it should end…and it will next year,” he wrote. If Republicans do take back the House in this fall’s midterm elections, McCarthy has vowed to eliminate proxy voting. “Our very first day is rules,” he recently told Punchbowl News. “We’re no longer going to do proxy voting. People are going to be here.”
While Pelosi holds up the pandemic regulation, state and local governments have lifted most COVID-19 restrictions, including mask mandates and vaccine requirements. More than 80% of US citizens have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccines, according to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, with hospitalizations and deaths continuing to drop.
How Redistricting, Biden and Trump Shaped the Battle for the House
Redistricting has forged a new House map with a small group of Democrats in a perilous place at the center: defending turf that former President Donald Trump carried in 2020. All but four states have finalized their political lines, offering the clearest picture yet of a new House battleground that will force Democrats to protect at least five incumbents in districts Trump carried last election — the most politically hazardous place to be for the midterms. Adding to their burden, another five Democratic members abandoned Trump-won seats and left them open rather than seek reelection there.
Republicans must protect some challenging districts as well, with 15 GOP members in President Joe Biden-won seats, and any Democratic path to another majority involves picking off a number of those.
But the new midterm math of the House landscape shows Democrats are in a much tougher spot, grappling with factors including a contracting battlefield and a diminished president. The sitting president’s party has gotten wiped out of most of their “crossover districts” — along with plenty of others where the previous presidential race was close — in each recent midterm election. And a net loss of just five seats will be enough to flip the House.
“It’s hard to run away from an unpopular president, especially in the midterm,” said Democratic Rep. Ron Kind, who is retiring from a rural southwestern Wisconsin seat Trump won by 5 points. “And so, the president’s numbers have to get healthier going into the fall, or there will be a lot of Democrats struggling this year.”
So far redistricting has shrunk the number of truly competitive seats — those decided by less than 5 points at the presidential level in 2020 — down to just 31, according to a POLITICO analysis. (Before the redraws, there were about 50 seats decided by that margin.) Democrats have bolstered a number of incumbents’ districts, but they have also seen potential offensive targets disappear, leaving them with less room for error.
With Biden’s approval in the low 40s, Republicans expect their swing-seat incumbents will need less outside help, freeing up party resources and time to target Democratic incumbents in blue-leaning districts and potentially catch them sleeping.
“There really are not very many swing seats left,” said Dan Conston, the president of the Congressional Leadership Fund, the chief House GOP super PAC. “That is forcing us to look at many more Democrat-leaning districts. But the political environment is good enough that we should be able to compete in traditional Democrat territory that we couldn’t in a normal election cycle.” “Outside of redistricting-created problems, there’s not going to be a lot of defense that will need to be played,” he added.
Thanks to redistricting, retirements and increased polarization and a decline in ticket splitting, the number of members in a district carried by the opposite party’s presidential nominee is relatively low. But if history is any indication, it’s also possible that Republicans could take back the House by sweeping away all the Democrats in Trump districts.
When Democrats won control of the House in 2006, 10 of the 18 Republicans lost reelection in districts carried by John Kerry in 2004. When the GOP wrested back the gavel in 2010, 36 of the 48 Democrats in John McCain-won seats were defeated. And four years ago, victorious House Democrats captured all but three of the 25 Republicans districts Hillary Clinton carried.
Democrats Begin Building a Latino Vote Firewall in the West
Democrats need to hold onto Senate seats in Arizona and Nevada to preserve their slim majority. And to win those states, they’re spending big to win over Latino voters.
The midterm election is eight months away, yet more than $650,000 has already been spent on Spanish-language TV and radio ads designed to reelect Nevada Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto. In neighboring Arizona, more than twice that amount has been plowed so far into Spanish-language ads backing Sen. Mark Kelly.
The large — and unusually early — expenditures are a sign that Democrats are beginning to take seriously the gains Republicans are making among Latino voters. Yet they’re also a reflection of something else: the key role the two battleground states will play in determining control of the Senate in November.
Democrats will have a hard time preserving their slim majority if Cortez Masto and Kelly are defeated. And the two first-term senators probably can’t win unless Latino voters turn out in strong numbers for them.
“These are states where it’s going to be so close — so, losing 2 or 3 percentage points of the Latino vote compared to the last [midterm] election would be devastating for Kelly or Cortez Masto,” said Chuck Rocha, a Democratic strategist and former senior adviser to Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-Vt.) presidential campaign. “Not only do Democrats need to get Latinos to perform — they need to overperform if they’re going to win.”
Latinos have long been regarded as a key constituency for Democrats in both states. Arizona, where Kelly won his 2020 special election by fewer than 79,000 votes, is home to about 1.2 million eligible Latino voters, who represent one-in-four eligible voters. In Nevada, Cortez Masto — the first and only Latina ever elected to the Senate — won her seat in 2016 by fewer than 27,000 votes. More than 400,000 Latinos are eligible to vote there, making up 20 percent of the state’s total.
But the early Democratic spending on Spanish-language ads in the two races represents a marked shift after years of complaints from Latino operatives that the party waits until the last minute to spend on Latino outreach.
In Arizona, Majority Forward, the nonprofit arm of Senate Democrats’ super PAC, has spent more than $1.5 million on Spanish-language television and radios in March alone, according to a spreadsheet created by a leading media buying company and shared with POLITICO by a Democratic consultant. The ads have largely run across the Phoenix, Tucson and Yuma areas. Kelly’s campaign also spent almost $28,000 on Spanish-language radio ads in the Tucson market.
In Nevada, Majority Forward has spent more than $640,000 on Spanish-language TV and radio ads in the Las Vegas and Reno areas this month, in addition to the more than $14,000 spent by Cortez Masto’s campaign. “I haven’t seen spending from Democrats on Spanish-language ads this early in a Senate race in my entire career,” Rocha said.
The National Republican Senatorial Committee has been running Spanish-language TV, radio and digital ads in both states since last year, though Republicans have not spent on those ads recently.
Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.), chair of BOLD PAC, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus’s campaign arm, said the amount spent on Spanish-language ads in Arizona so far is huge, considering that there have been elections when $1.5 million was spent on such ads over the course of an entire year.
“Clearly, lessons have been learned by Democrats,” Gallego said.
Still, Latino organizers and leaders in both states emphasize that Republicans are executing their own effort on the ground — and it’s going to take much more than Spanish-language ads to ensure Democratic victories in November.
“It’s going to be harder than we think it is. While Republicans may not be making big buys in Spanish radio or TV, we’re certainly seeing them on the ground,” said Melissa Morales, president of Somos PAC, a Latino voter mobilization organization that targets battleground states. “They’re running Latino-focused events in Nevada right now… They know we’re there and they’re there, too.”
Morales noted that Somos has gotten funding from donors earlier than ever before, signaling to her that there is a recognition within the party of the importance of courting Latino voters. While she welcomed the ad spending so far, she cautioned that TV and radio ads are not nearly enough to ensure a strong performance in the fall.
“I want to remind that… this is going to take one-on-one conversations, it’s going to take organizing and it’s going to take reaching people personally where they’re at,” Morales said.
Arizona and Nevada stand out as two of only three battleground states — the other is Colorado — that are expected to see significantly increased Hispanic turnout this year, according to projections from the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials Educational Fund. Arizona is expected to see a 9.6 percent increase in Latino voters, while Nevada will see a 5.8 percent jump, compared to 2018.
Rocha called Arizona and Nevada the top two states with sizable Latino populations that will be “crucial for Democrats to keep their majority,” followed by Florida, Georgia, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.
A nonprofit founded by Biden allies, Building Back Together, has bolstered Democratic efforts by touting the president’s wins — and the senators who helped make them possible — to Latinos in Arizona and Nevada. The group is spending nearly $1 million in bilingual ads across TV, radio and digital platforms in battleground states.
Recently, the group ran Spanish-language TV ads exclusively in both states promoting Biden’s role in helping small businesses with loans amid the pandemic. They also placed Spanish-language billboards in Arizona touting how Biden, in his first year in office, had invested $2.7 billion in loans for Latino-owned small businesses, child tax credit checks for 17 million Latino children and heath care for 730,000 Latinos.
Mayra Macias, chief strategy officer of Building Back Together, explained that one of the reasons the group is targeting Arizona and Nevada, as well as other battleground states with large Latino populations, is because “those are states where it’s going to be important for [Biden] to have folks that will back up his agenda.”
At the same time, there is a keen awareness of frustrations among some Latino leaders and organizers who argue that the Biden administration hasn’t followed through on all its campaign promises and needs to push harder to get more done this year.
“Both the administration and the party are falling short of delivering on the promises our communities were expecting and that they showed up for [by voting] in the middle of a pandemic,” said Alejandra Gomez, co-executive director of LUCHA, a grassroots organization in Arizona that plans to knock on hundreds of thousands of doors this year.
“So, I ask: How bad do Democrats want to win? Because Latinos are ready,” she added. “They’re turning out… but we need to give people something to be excited for.”
Election Precedent? Maryland Congressional Redistricting Trial Poses Question of Court’s Reach
A Judge in Maryland opened an election-year trial this week with an important legal question: How far can she go if she finds the General Assembly enacted a congressional district map that illegally disadvantages Republican voters?
In two Anne Arundel County Circuit Court lawsuits being considered together, Republican elected officials and voters are asking Lynne A. Battaglia, a retired state appeals court judge, to toss out the map approved by the Democrat-controlled legislature in December.
One of the GOP groups, led by Del. Neil Parrott of Washington County, is asking Battaglia to order the state to fashion a new map or — in the interim — to use one in the June 28 primary that was created by a commission appointed by Republican Gov. Larry Hogan that included Democratic, Republican and independent voters.
Another participant in the case, longtime gerrymandering opponent Stephen M. Shapiro of Montgomery County, has submitted a “friend of the court” brief proposing a handful of alternative maps that he says would remove any “impermissible elements” from the boundary lines approved by the General Assembly.
Battaglia, in remarks before testimony began, said she had authority to issue an injunction blocking use of the current map, under which Democrats likely would retain control over seven of the state’s eight congressional seats. The sole district represented by a Republican, the Eastern Shore-based seat of U.S. Rep. Andy Harris, would become more competitive.
But the judge suggested it was unclear what might happen next. Noting the replacement maps proposed in the case, she said she did not know if the court could use one as a substitute if it finds the Democrats’ map deficient.
“I’m not clear that this court has the authority to do that,” Battaglia said. Doug Mayer, a former Hogan aide working with an advocacy group called Fair Maps Maryland that organized the map challenges, declined to be interviewed about possible outcomes while the trial is ongoing. A spokesperson for Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh, a Democrat defending the state’s position, also declined to comment.
Courts around the country historically have employed a variety of remedies in redistricting cases. Those fixes have included redrawing the maps themselves or ordering the state legislature to craft new boundaries.
According to legal experts, the Maryland case could be appealed by either side and ultimately be decided by the Maryland Court of Appeals.
The process of integrating another new map into the election would take considerable time. After new lines are drawn and approved, elections officials must find polling places and adjust voter information to reflect those boundary shifts. The state has indicated that any significant, court-ordered changes to the map likely would force the election to be delayed.
Democratic leaders say their map represents an improvement over Maryland’s current congressional map, which was adopted in 2011, because it makes most districts more compact and makes six of the eight at least somewhat more competitive.
But Sean Trende, an election analyst for RealClearPolitics, recently testified that — based on analyses of districts’ compactness and other characteristics — the Maryland map appeared highly partisan. He said its creators had “produced seven districts where Democrats would be overwhelmingly favored.”
Trende, called by Republican plaintiffs, was the first in a progression of expert witnesses expected to be summoned by both sides in the trial, which may last the rest of the week.
States are required to redraw their electoral maps once every decade to adjust for population changes since the last census and ensure that voters have roughly equal say in electing politicians to the U.S. House of Representatives.
Courts around the country have been dealing this year with complaints of alleged “gerrymandering.” Gerrymandering commonly involves stacking large numbers of the opposite party’s voters into a limited number of districts, leaving that party with too few voters to compete everywhere else.
In December, three Republican state delegates and others challenged the legality of the Maryland General Assembly-approved map of delegates’ and state senators’ districts. The three delegates say the maps don’t abide by Maryland constitutional guidelines. That case is ongoing.
In Baltimore County, a federal judge is deciding whether a new map of County Council districts is acceptable under the Voting Rights Act. The council’s original map was rejected on Feb. 22 by the court, which said it would disadvantage Black voters.
NEWS FOR THE WEEK OF MARCH 14th 2022
A Roadmap to the 2022 Midterm Elections
The outcome of November’s Congressional elections will serve as a referendum on President Joe Biden’s first two years in office and set the table for the 2024 presidential campaign. Recently, President Biden and Congressional Democrats scored some legislative victories and are poised to confirm a history-making pick to the Supreme Court in Ketanji Brown Jackson.
However, economic anxiety highlighted by inflation concerns combined with exhaustion over the coronavirus pandemic has tilted the political environment in favor of Republicans, who also have electoral history on their side. There is also a unique dynamic to these midterms, with former President Donald Trump eyeing a potential return to the White House and looking to lay the groundwork by endorsing candidates in GOP primaries.
The majority in the Senate, currently split 50-50 with Vice President Kamala Harris serving as a tiebreaker, is expected to come down to a handful of competitive races. There are four Democratic incumbents running in battleground states Biden won in 2020: Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, and New Hampshire. Republicans have incumbents seeking reelection in Wisconsin and Florida, and they’re defending three open seats in Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and Ohio. In total, 34 Senate seats will be decided in November.
In the House, Republicans need a net gain of five seats to win control of the chamber. More than 40 members, mostly Democrats, have announced they are leaving Congress. Some of those decisions were driven by redistricting, the once-a-decade process of redrawing congressional and state legislative boundaries. In states with partisan control of the process, both parties have tried to draw new maps to their advantage: to pick up more seats, shore up incumbents or reduce the number of competitive districts.
There are currently 27 Republican governors and 23 Democratic governors — with 36 seats up for grabs this November — including several in battleground states that could play a significant role in deciding the outcome of the 2024 election. Beyond elections for governor, state races for secretary of state and attorney general will receive unprecedented attention, as the battle over how elections are handled intensifies in the aftermath of the 2020 campaign.
2022 is a Midterm Election Year – Things to Know About Midterm Elections
American politics has perhaps one ironclad rule: The sitting president’s party almost always loses House seats in the midterms. Going back to Harry Truman’s presidency, the president’s party has lost, on average, twenty-nine House seats in each president’s first midterm election. Focusing on a president’s first midterm election here makes sense because 2022 will be President Joe Biden’s first—and perhaps, only—midterm election.
Looking at elections since the end of World War II, has the president’s party ever gained seats during his first midterm? Yes. Exactly once. That’s out of thirteen tries. It happened in 2002, when George W. Bush was president. The Republicans picked up eight House seats. That unusual outcome twenty years ago highlights the fact that House midterm elections function as a referendum on the president. In the fall of 2002, Bush was benefiting from the lasting rally-round-the-flag effect generated by the September 11 attacks. His public approval rating stood in the low sixties.
That’s a number that most presidents can only dream of heading into their first midterm. Since Truman’s time, seven of thirteen presidents entered their first midterm with their public approval rating below 50 percent. Those presidents saw their party lose, on average, forty-three House seats. President Barack Obama, whose approval rating stood at 45 percent in 2010, took the biggest midterm loss. Democrats lost sixty-three House seats.
What about the Senate? Here the numbers are less lopsided. The president’s party sometimes gains Senate seats in a president’s first midterm election. The president’s party has picked up seats in five such elections. The most recent instance came in 2018. Republicans gained two seats during President Donald Trump’s second year in office.
Why the difference in the outcomes of midterm voting for the House and Senate? Many factors are at play. One of the most significant is that only a third of Senate seats is up for grabs in any election. By the luck of the draw, that mix of seats may favor the president’s party.
Inside the Numbers…Why Republicans Are Optimistic
Republicans are feeling good heading into the 2022 midterms.
- President Biden’s current average job approval ratingis 42 percent. To put that in perspective, only Truman in 1946 (33 percent) and Trump in 2018 (41 percent) had a lower approval rating at the time of the midterm election.
- Democrats hold 222 seats in the House, or four more seats than are needed to hold the majority. So Republican candidates could grossly underperform historical averages and still retake the House.
- So far thirty-one incumbent House Democrats—or roughly one out of seven—have announced they will not run for reelection. It is generally easier to win an open seat than to defeat an incumbent.
- Inflation is at a forty-year high. Nearly six in ten Americans say that inflation is causing hardshipfor them or someone in their household.
- More than 1,500 Americans a daycontinue to die of COVID-19.
- Americans moved toward the Republican Party in 2021. Gallup foundat the start of the year that Democrats led Republicans in party identification by nine percentage points. By the end of the year, Republicans led by five points. That fourteen-point swing is among the largest Gallup has ever recorded.
Why Democrats Still Have Hope
Democratic lawmakers and strategists have been warning for months that the November elections could be a debacle for the party. But Democrats might fare better than expected for several reasons:
- The midterms are still eight months away. Again, that can be a lifetime in politics.
- House Democrats lost thirteen seats in the 2020 election. But in 2022 it means that many of the most vulnerable Democratic seats have already been lost. On the flip side, House Republicans have more marginal districts to defend.
- The decennial redistricting of House seats has gone well for Democrats. Several state courts have thrown outor curtailed redistricting plans that would have disproportionately benefited Republicans. Conversely, several states have adopted plans that will benefit Democrats. New York State, for example, enacted a redistricting plan that could add as many as three Democratic House seats to the state delegation.
- The Senate math favors Democrats. They are defending just fourteen Senate seats. Only three of those seats look to be at significant risk, and in each case the incumbent is running for reelection: Arizona (Mark Kelly), Georgia (Raphael Warnock), and Nevada (Catherine Cortez Masto). Conversely, Republicans are defending twenty-one Senate seats. Three of those races look to be very competitive. Two of them—North Carolina and Pennsylvania—are open seats with the incumbents (Richard Burr and Pat Toomey) having opted to retire. In Wisconsin, the incumbent (Ron Johnson) is seeking reelection.
- The rightward drift of Republican voters means that the Republican primaries could nominate ideologically extreme candidateswho will alienate the centrist voters needed to win in the general election. This risk is greater in Senate than House races because state-wide races are generally more competitive than those in gerrymandered House districts. Not surprisingly, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has tried to recruit more mainstream Republicans to run in the primaries.
Election Security or Voter Suppression?
A major issue in the run-up to the November vote will be the rules governing how ballots are cast and counted. Nineteen states enacted legislation in 2021 that tightens voter registration and curtails or ends procedures like mail-in and drop-off voting. More such laws are poised to pass this year. Democrats have denounced these changes as designed to suppress the Democratic vote. Republicans counter that Democrats are pushing legislation under the banner of expanding voting access that would make elections less secure.
It is unclear what precise impact these new voting laws will have. But the perception that they benefit one party or the other, or that they changed the outcome in specific races, will only deepen the polarization gripping the country.
Why the 2024 Presidential Election is Likely to be Very Close
Is President Joe Biden going to run again? He has said he plans to, but if he doesn’t, who emerges as the Democratic nominee? Is former President Donald Trump going to run again? Would anyone seriously challenge him for the Republican nomination?
If recent history is any guide, we do know one important thing: The 2024 election is very likely to be extremely close. That point is made powerfully in a new paper from William A. Galston and Elaine Kamarck published by the Progressive Policy Institute that lays out the challenges — and dangers — for Democrats in the coming presidential race.
“Of the 17 presidential elections between 1920 and 1984, 10 were settled by margins of 10 percentage points or more in the popular vote. … But in the nine elections between 1988 and 2020, no candidate has come close to a 10-point victory margin, and five of the past six have been settled by margins of less than 5 percentage points.”
In fact, when you combine all the votes — approximately 1 billion — cast for the two major party nominees over those last nine elections, Democrats took 51.2% of the total vote, while Republicans took 48.2%, as Galston and Kamarck note.
The reality those numbers expose is that we have been — and remain in — a period of instability in which neither party has been able to secure the electoral upper hand over a long period of time. (In the nine most recent presidential elections, control of the White House has changed five times.)
“Until one political party breaks the stalemate and forges an enduring national majority, close elections will remain the rule, swing voters in swing states will remain the key to victory, and grandiose interpretations of victory will prove to be hollow if not downright dangerous.”
Does the Supreme Court Have a Say in Elections?
Democrats got a break from the Supreme Court recently when the justices essentially decided not to let Republicans draw congressional maps in two states that are battlegrounds for control of Congress, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania. That means members of Congress in those states will run on maps drawn by state courts that are more favorable to Democrats than they would have otherwise been.
But then four conservative justices opened the door to something else much more worrisome for the left: They indicated they’re open to letting state lawmakers run federal elections without state courts or even the state constitution having a say.
It’s based on a conservative push of something called the “independent state legislature” doctrine, and it would be a drastic change from the way the Supreme Court has seen the role of state courts. Here’s what the doctrine means and how it could change elections, perhaps by 2024.
What the “independent state legislature” doctrine means…it’s an extremely literal reading of the Constitution, specifically the part that governs elections, which says: “Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof.” It’s a legal theory that’s been pushed by conservatives for two decades. George W. Bush tried to use it in his contested 2000 election to argue that Florida’s Supreme Court was taking away the legislature’s right to decide who won in that state; it drew only three votes.
But it regained prominence in the 2020 election, when former President Trump urged legislatures in states he lost to overturn the popular vote based on claims of fraud. Around this time, some conservatives on the Supreme Court — such as Justices Brett M. Kavanaugh, Neil M. Gorsuch and Samuel A. Alito Jr. — were sympathetic to GOP arguments about the legislature having absolute authority over elections.
This year, the doctrine came to the attention of the Supreme Court in gerrymandering cases. Republicans in North Carolina argued that the Supreme Court should allow them and only them to draw maps, because they are the majority in the legislature, and the Constitution says the “legislature.”
How redistricting is shaping the 2022 U.S. House map…recently, four conservative justices seemed open to GOP legislators’ arguments. Alito called the issue “an exceptionally important and recurring question of constitutional law.” Kavanaugh said it was too close to an election to decide this now, but he essentially urged Republicans to bring up the case next term. In 2020, Gorsuch endorsed the idea, writing: “The Constitution provides that state legislatures — not federal judges, not state judges, not state governors, not other state officials — bear primary responsibility for setting election rules.”
The case against it…did the Founding Fathers, who so carefully weighed checks and balances in government, really mean to give one body absolute authority over elections? The longer-standing reading of the elections clause in the Constitution is that when it says “the Legislature thereof,” it means all of state government — the legislature, state courts, the governor, ballot initiatives by citizens, and the state constitution that governs it all.
Hey American Horse Council Members…Mail-In Balloting for the November Elections Just Got Easier…Congress Passes Bill to Overhaul Postal Service
Criticism of the Postal Service peaked in 2020, ahead of the presidential election, as cutbacks delayed service at a time when millions of Americans were relying on mail-in ballots during the first year of the COVID-19 crisis.
The long-fought postal overhaul has been years in the making and comes amid widespread complaints about mail service slowdowns. Many Americans became dependent on the Postal Service during the COVID-19 crisis, but officials have repeatedly warned that without congressional action it would run out of cash by 2024.
But recently Congress mustered rare bipartisan support for the Postal Service package, dropping some of the more controversial proposals to settle on core ways to save the service and ensure its future operations. The House approved the bill, 342-92, with all Democrats and most Republicans voting for it. This week, the Senate sent it to President Biden’s desk on a 79-19 vote.
What’s in it? The Postal Service Reform Act would lift unusual budget requirements that have contributed to the Postal Service’s red ink and would set in law the requirement that the mail is delivered six days a week, except in the case of federal holidays, natural disasters, and a few other situations.
Postage sales and other services were supposed to sustain the Postal Service, but it has suffered 14 straight years of losses. Growing workers’ compensation and benefit costs, plus steady declines in mail volume, have contributed to the red ink, even as the Postal Service delivers to 1 million additional locations every year.
The legislation approved by Congress is supported by President Biden, the Postal Service, postal worker unions and others.
New Poll Shows Americans (in terms of the November elections) are Focused on Inflation and Education and not COVID
- A new CNN poll shows that voters are more concerned about economic issues than they have been in two decades
- Most voters 89%, said the economy will be either extremely or very important to their congressional vote in the midterm elections
Voters are entering the midterm season primarily focused on economic matters and seemingly unconcerned with the Covid-19 pandemic.
A new CNN poll shows that voters are more concerned about economic issues than they have been in two decades. Exhausted from the pandemic, voters now seem to have turned their attention to inflation levels not seen in 40 years and matters like school closures and masking policies. Most voters 89%, said the economy will be either extremely or very important to their congressional vote in the midterm elections, while 83% said the same of inflation, and 76% on taxes.
A majority of voters, 59%, said the economy was ‘extremely important’ to their vote, the highest rank they could give it in the poll, and 55% said the same of inflation. Concerns about the economy were not so prevalent in a midterm year CNN poll since 2002. Only 38% of voters cited coronavirus as extremely important to their midterm vote, but 27% said it was ‘very important,’ one rank behind. Voting rights were also extremely important in the survey to 55% of respondents.
Education has emerged as a top issue, where 46% of voters rank it as extremely important to their vote. Half of Democrat-aligned voters, 50%, said so, while 42% of Republicans said the same.
Voters were about split in their preference for the political parties – 44% said they would prefer a Republican candidate, 43% said they would prefer a Democrat.
Forty-one percent said the country would be better off if Republicans took over Congress, 36% said it would make things worse. Twenty-two percent said it would make no difference.
Meanwhile, 29 Democrats have already announced retirement. The party that is not in the White House historically has done well in midterm elections.
Potential Lawmakers Scramble
With election district lines still uncertain in many states, potential candidates for state legislatures and Congress are facing challenging decisions about whether to run in districts that may not exist.
Pandemic delays already had pushed back the release of census data needed for drawing new district lines, which must be redrawn every 10 years to account for population changes. In Georgia, Maryland, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, that’s been compounded by court challenges, creating a perfect storm of election uncertainty.
Here’s an example…Stephen Kellat of Ashtabula, Ohio, had planned to run as a Republican for a seat in the state House, hoping to build his campaign around economic opportunity in the form of expanded broadband, road repairs and waterfront improvements to draw more shipping traffic. But by the time the Feb. 2 filing deadline arrived, new district maps had cut off his home from most of his supporters in a nearby church, so he decided to forgo the race.
Here’s another example…Teneah Chambers, a teacher, also faces uncertainty over her plans to run for state Senate as a Democrat. She wanted to represent rural parts of Licking County, where she says people feel ignored by the state legislature, but the new maps cut her off from that constituency, forcing her to either move or face a Democratic incumbent.
The confusion is also creating problems for candidates for the U.S. House. Ohio’s deadline for filing as a candidate for Congress was March 4, two days after the latest maps were submitted for court approval.
“All of this is a huge pain for candidates,” said J. Miles Coleman, a political cartographer at the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics. In Maryland, state and local election officials are “losing sleep right now thinking about how they’re going to deal with whatever emerges” from Republican court challenges to state maps, said Andrea Trento, an assistant attorney general speaking in court for the state board of elections. A judge moved deadlines for Maryland candidates to March 22 amid the uncertainty.
Even in some places where maps were not challenged, redistricting was a nightmare for local officials. In Shasta County, California, elections staff had to change districts for 112,000 voters — a task usually scheduled to take four months — in a two-week period ending March 1. A local recall election had to be held under old maps, and the system could not accommodate both sets of data. Supply chain issues forced a scramble for scarce envelopes to notify voters of new districts.
“It’s really been a very heavy lift,” said Shasta County Clerk Cathy Darling Allen. “Every election is a huge undertaking, and this just added a lot to our plate.” California’s primaries were originally set for this month but were pushed back to June to account for the redistricting delays caused by the pandemic-slowed census. That left candidates with one month to decide whether to run in the newly drawn districts, compared with the seven months they had after the 2010 census, wrote Eric McGhee, a senior fellow at the nonpartisan Public Policy Institute of California, in a March 3, 2021, post.
“Candidates are required to file almost three months before a primary, and they need time to decide if a campaign makes sense,” McGhee said. “So, the districts should be redrawn at least three months before the primary, and realistically much earlier than that.”
The Equine Industry has Friends in Congress…
The American Horse Council published its Congressional Scorecard in January 2022, which is a snapshot of those lawmakers (House and Senate) who have displayed support for the equine industry by sponsoring legislation, cosponsoring legislation, working with the American Horse Council, and/or attending American Horse Council events. As a reminder…this is a list of those on Capitol Hill who have shown strong support for the industry…
Senator John Barrasso (R-Wyoming)
Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-West Virginia)
Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine)
Senator Mike Crapo (R-Idaho)
Senator Steve Daines (R-Montana)
Senator Kevin Kramer (R-North Dakota)
Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kansas)
Senator James Risch (R-Idaho)
Senator Mike Rounds (R-South Dakota)
Senator Kyrsten Sinema (D-Arizona)
Senator John Thune (R-South Dakota)
Senator Roger Wicker (R-Mississippi)
Senator Ron Wyden (D-Oregon)
Representative Jodey Arrington (R-Texas)
Representative Andy Barr (R-Kentucky)
Representative Sanford Bishop (D-Georgia)
Representative Ted Budd (R-North Carolina)
Representative James Comer (R-Kentucky)
Representative Henry Cuellar (D-Texas)
Representative Andrew Garbarino (R-New York)
Representative Michael Guest (R-Mississippi)
Representative Ashley Hinson (R-Iowa)
Representative David Kustoff (R-Tennessee)
Representative Debbie Lesko (R-Arizona)
Representative Billy Long (R-Missouri)
Representative Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-Missouri)
Representative Ralph Norman (R-South Carolina)
Representative Scott Perry (R-Pennsylvania)
Representative Adrian Smith (R-Nebraska)
Representative Van Taylor (R-Texas)
Representative Glenn Thompson (R-Pennsylvania)
Gambling on Horse Racing in Georgia
A state Senate panel has passed legislation that would ask voters whether Georgia should expand gambling to allow horse racing in the state. Supporters say an expansion of the gambling industry could bring thousands of jobs and generate hundreds of millions of dollars to fund things such as education, health care or rural broadband. Conservative groups and religious organizations oppose expanding any form of gambling because they find it immoral and an addictive habit that breeds crime.
The Senate Regulated Industries Committee passed Senate Resolution 131 recently to ask voters whether they support allowing horse racing, followed by the passage of Senate Bill 212, which would establish a Georgia Horse Racing Commission tasked with licensing and regulating up to five racetracks in the state.
“I have a huge passion for horse racing,” said state Sen. Billy Hickman, a Statesboro Republican who breeds and races horses in other states. “At the same time as I got a huge passion, I’ve got to remember I’m a (certified public accountant) and things got to make economic sense to me for me to go forward.”
A recent study by Georgia Southern University, done at Hickman’s request, said building three horse racing tracks in the state would create a $1.28 billion industry with more than 8,500 jobs. A previous proposal called for the state to allow up to three tracks.
Proponents of expanded gambling have spent more than seven years trying to pass legislation that would allow Georgia voters to decide whether gaming should be expanded beyond the lottery, which was approved in 1992. Adding horse racing to the types of gambling available in the state would require Georgians to approve a constitutional amendment allowing the expansion. Constitutional amendments need two-thirds of each chamber to clear the General Assembly and then a majority vote in an election.
If voters approve the gambling expansion, SB 212 would require racetracks to pay the state a 3.75% tax on the total money wagered at their facilities. That money would be used for gambling addiction services, education, health care and addressing rural development needs. Betters could wager on live races happening at one of the Georgia tracks or another track being simulcast at the Georgia facility. No other form of gambling, such as slot machines, would be allowed.
NEWS FOR THE WEEK OF FEBRUARY 28th 2022
Democrats and Republicans Will Battle Over US Senate Seats in Nine Key States in November That Will Determine Who Controls the Senate Next Year
Supreme Court Asked to Intervene in Congressional Maps Case
A New Normal in State Legislatures…Florida House – Senate Working Toward Passing Election Changes
Senator Mitch McConnell Says a Potentially Elected GOP-Led Senate (next year) Would Focus on “Inflation, Energy, Defense, the Border and Crime”
Democrats and Republicans Will Battle Over US Senate Seats in Nine Key States in November That Will Determine Who Controls the Senate Next Year
There will be 34 US Senate elections this year, but control of the US Senate will hinge on just nine races. Both Democrats and Republicans are focused on the key swing states of Arizona, Georgia, Florida, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Wisconsin. All are considered competitive.
At stake for both parties is control of the US Senate, and whoever holds power come January 2023 will determine what, if anything, President Biden can accomplish in the final two years of his first term. Currently, the Senate divide is 50-50 between the two parties, with Vice President Kamala Harris serving as a tiebreaker (the chamber’s two independents, Vermont’s Bernie Sanders and Maine’s Angus King, caucus, and vote with Democrats).
On voter’s minds right now, inflation and pandemic frustration. Recent polling shows voters are frustrated with Democrats, mostly due to economic concerns. An ABC News poll from February found that Republican congressional candidates have a seven-point edge over Democratic candidates among registered voters.
Here are the key states…
Primary date: August 2, 2022
Retired astronaut…now Senator Mark Kelly will run for his first full Senate term this November after winning a special election in 2020. Senator Kelly’s campaign is flush with cash, as he ended 2021 with more than $18 million in his campaign’s account.
So far, nine Republicans are in the primary to take on Kelly this fall. While both of Arizona’s US Senators are currently Democrats, the two seats were held for decades by Republicans. The current governor, Doug Ducey, is a Republican.
Arizona was one of the most hotly contested states in the 2020 presidential election. Joe Biden won the state, but Donald Trump refused to accept the result, highlighting widespread conspiracy theories among his supporters – that inevitably were disproven, yet spurred a number of bills in the state legislature aimed at protecting “election integrity.”
Primary date: May 24, 2022
Like Arizona, Georgia will be one of the most closely watched Senate races in the country due to its vulnerable incumbent, Raphael Warnock, and its significance for voting rights advocates.
Warnock, who is also a pastor of a church in Atlanta, won an upset victory against Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler in a special election on January 5, 2021. Jon Ossoff, a second Democrat, also unseated Republican David Perdue in a runoff election that day. The dual victories handed Democrats narrow control of the Senate.
Republicans would like one of their old seats back. As of early March, seven candidates have jumped into the Republican primary, but none have gained as much traction so far as Herschel Walker, a former NFL star turned Senate candidate who has won Trump’s endorsement.
Primary date: August 23, 2022
Incumbent Republican Senator Marco Rubio is running for his third term in the Senate, but he faces a challenge from several Democrats, most notably Rep. Val Demings, an Orlando-area congresswoman who was once floated as a potential vice-presidential pick for Biden.
A February poll released by the public opinion firm Mason-Dixon found that Rubio was leading Demings 49-42%, with 9% of voters undecided.
Primary date: June 14, 2022
Democrats are playing defense in Nevada, where Cortez Masto is running for her second Senate term. The former state attorney general is considered one of the four most vulnerable Democrats in the Senate.
Four Republicans have so far entered the race, but former Nevada attorney general Adam Laxalt has gone to the front of the pack thanks to an endorsement from Trump. Laxalt, who is the grandson of former Nevada Governor and Senator Paul Laxalt, has cast himself in a Trumpian mold for the primary. However, he’s not a guaranteed lock for the Republican nomination. Sam Brown, an Army veteran who was injured while deployed in Afghanistan, raised $2 million in 2021 and is gaining prominence in conservative media circles.
Primary date: September 13, 2022
Republicans are looking at New Hampshire as one potential place where they could expand their Senate majority. But in late 2021, two of the GOP’s most promising potential candidates decided not to run, leaving the party searching for a new candidate to unseat incumbent Senator Maggie Hassan, a Democrat.
Gov. Chris Sununu, a Republican, reportedly considered a Senate run but decided not to enter the race, citing dysfunction in Congress. Former Sen. Kelly Ayotte, who Hassan narrowly defeated in 2016, quickly announced that she would not run, either.
With the Republican field devoid of a sure pick, other state officials are jumping into the race. So far, state Senate President Chuck Morse has declared his candidacy, as has former gubernatorial candidate Kevin Smith. Both lag significantly behind Hassan in terms of fundraising but would likely get a boost from the national GOP should either win the primary.
Primary date: May 17, 2022
With incumbent Sen. Richard Burr, a Republican, retiring, North Carolina provides an opening for both parties. Republicans are hoping to keep the seat in their hands, while Democrats see an opportunity to make gains in a state that Trump narrowly won in 2020.
On the Democratic side, Cheri Beasley, a former chief justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court, is seen as a frontrunner. Beasley made history in 2019 when Gov. Roy Cooper, a Democrat, appointed her chief justice. But she lost re-election to the post in 2021 to a Republican, Paul Newby.
Republicans, meanwhile, are assembling their own slate of candidates, but the race appears to be narrowing to a showdown between former Gov. Pat McCrory and current Rep. Ted Budd, who represents parts of Charlotte and Greensboro. Budd, who as a congressman, supported objections to certifying the 2020 election results and won Trump’s endorsement almost instantaneously.
Primary date: May 17, 2022
Pennsylvania is gearing up to one of the most expensive showdowns of the 2022 primary season so far. Republican Sen. Pat Toomey’s retirement has opened the door for a free-for-all primary season that is drawing in stars of both politics and popular culture.
On the Democratic side, Lt. Gov. John Fetterman currently leads the pack. However, he faces a serious challenge from Rep. Conor Lamb, who represents parts of suburban Pittsburgh and made national headlines for flipping a Trump-won district in 2018. State Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, who would be Pennsylvania’s first Black and openly gay senator if elected, has won endorsements from progressive entities like the Working Families Party, and the backing of numerous celebrities like director Lee Daniels, comedian Wanda Sykes, and feminist activist Gloria Steinem.
The Republican primary features a cast of candidates that includes Mehmet Oz, the celebrity TV doctor who technically lives in New Jersey but has thrown his candidacy into the Pennsylvania Senate race.
The Republican field, which is about a dozen candidates, features notable supporters of Trump’s bid to overturn and undermine the results of the 2020. Rep. Lou Barletta, who supported Trump as a so-called “alternate elector”, has momentum in the race. State Sen. Doug Mastriano, who was outside the Capitol on January 6, 2021, was recently subpoenaed by a House committee investigating the insurrection…but is running for Senate regardless.
Primary date: May 3, 2022
Ohio will have an open Senate seat this year thanks to the retirement of Sen. Rob Portman, a Republican. JD Vance, the author of “Hillbilly Elegy,” has recast himself in a Trumpian mold, though he’s struggled at times to convince voters of his loyalty to the former president. Instead, former Ohio state treasurer Josh Mandel seems to be winning the Republican nomination. Former Ohio Republican Party Chairwoman Jane Timken, state Sen. Matt Dolan, and investment banker Mike Gibbon are also running for the seat.
On the Democratic side, which is getting considerably less attention, Rep. Tim Ryan, who briefly ran for president in 2020, is the most nationally known candidate. But also putting up a strong fight for the nomination are attorney Morgan Harper, a progressive who challenged Rep. Joyce Beatty to represent the Columbus area in 2020; and Traci Johnson, a longtime state employee who is now a tech executive.
Whoever wins the Democratic nomination will face off against one of the most conservative candidates of the 2022 cycle, and the race will likely become a referendum on how much power Trump still has to sway national politics to his liking.
Primary date: August 9, 2022
Democrats are warily optimistic about Wisconsin, where Republican Sen. Ron Johnson will seek another term.
Democrats have a reason for hope in a statewide election; Biden narrowly won Wisconsin in the 2020 election. And the state currently has a Democratic governor, Tony Evers, but Republicans control both houses of the state legislature. Regardless, several Democrats have jumped into the race.
The highest-profile Democratic Senate candidate so far is Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes, who has raised about $2.3 million so far. Barnes has won endorsements from prominent Democrats like Senators Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Cory Booker of New Jersey.
Supreme Court Asked to Intervene in Congressional Maps Case
A group suing over Pennsylvania’s new map of congressional districts asked the U.S. Supreme Court recently to reconsider whether they are entitled to an emergency order to halt the plan. The petition came three days after U.S. District Judge Jennifer P. Wilson in Harrisburg denied their request for a temporary restraining order against the 17-district map, saying she first would sort out “jurisdictional issues.”
The six plaintiffs said those issues concern whether they have standing to challenge the map. The U.S. Supreme Court asked for a response by late Thursday. The plaintiffs, including two Republicans running for Congress this year, claim the new map favors Democrats, by putting Republican U.S. Reps. Glenn Thompson and Fred Keller into the same central Pennsylvania district. The Legislature must approve the congressional map, they argued. “Relief is urgently needed because candidates are already campaigning for office under this unconstitutional map, and the statutory deadline for obtaining the needed signatures on nomination petitions is March 8,” the plaintiffs told the U.S. Supreme Court.
A congressional districting plan passed by Republican majorities in the General Assembly had been vetoed by Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf. Unless state lawmakers and Wolf produce a new set of district lines, they want this year’s congressional election to be run “at-large,” rather than district-by-district. That would have voters in all parts of the state picking all seventeen members of Congress. The Democratic-majority state Supreme Court last week made its choice for a new map and revised the petition-gathering schedule for congressional and statewide candidates. “Having a court ‘suspend’ or delay the primary-election calendar to accommodate the judicial creation of a new congressional map is not an option,” the plaintiffs argued in the U.S. Supreme Court filing.
A New Normal in State Legislatures…Florida House – Senate Working Toward Passing Election Changes
Florida House and Senate Republicans could be ready to pass an election plan that includes creating a new office to investigate voting irregularities, increasing penalties for voting fraud and looking at changes in the vote-by-mail system. Florida Democrats though, question the need for legislation creating an Office of Election Crime and Security in the Florida Department of State. They argue that the state has evidence of widespread voter fraud, particularly after a successful 2020 election in Florida. The bills are heading for the House and Senate floors as session nears its schedule March 11 end.
Gov. Ron DeSantis has made a priority of creating the Office of Election Crimes and Security. Also, the House and Senate bills would require the governor, working with the commissioner of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, to appoint special officers to investigate allegations of election violations, with at least one officer in each region of the state. “The whole purpose of this (creating the new office) is to make sure that we have the additional resources to make sure that we support the supervisor of elections locally so that they can carry out their job duties,” stated House Republican Daniel Perez from Miami (author of the legislation).
The bills also would increase financial and criminal penalties for violating elections laws, such as what has become known as “ballot harvesting,” which can include collecting and delivering vote-by-mail ballots for multiple people. The penalty for ballot harvesting would increase, under the bills, from a first-degree misdemeanor to a third-degree felony.
Senator Mitch McConnell Says a Potentially Elected GOP-Led Senate (next year) Would Focus on “Inflation, Energy, Defense, the Border and Crime”
Senator Rick Scott (R-FL), Chairman of the Republican party’s Campaign Committee, released an 11-point plan, to serve as a blueprint for how Republicans would govern if they (Republicans) take over the Senate in November. However, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) took task with the plan.
If the GOP gains control of the Senate next year, McConnell recently said, “I’ll be the majority leader. I’ll decide in consultation with my members what to put on the (Senate) floor.”
“Let me tell you what would not be a part of our agenda,” he said. “We would not have as part of our agenda a bill that raises taxes on half the American people and sunsets Social Security and Medicare within five years. That will not be part of a Republican Senate majority agenda.”
McConnell said a potential GOP-led Senate would focus on “inflation, energy, defense, the border and crime.”
A section of Scott’s blueprint reads: “All Americans should pay some income tax to have skin in the game, even if a small amount. Currently over half of Americans pay no income tax.” Another part reads: “All federal legislation sunsets in 5 years. If a law is worth keeping, Congress can pass it again.”