Campaign Report – Trump Test in South Carolina
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South Carolina and Nevada host key primaries
Four-state primaries and a special election in Texas are on the agenda today, including several key races that are the latest test of former President Trump’s endorsement.
In Caroline from the southTrump backed the Reps challengers. Nancy Mace (R) and Tom Rice (R) after Mace criticized the former president following the Jan. 6, 2021 Capitol riot and Rice voted to impeach him.
While Mace did not vote in favor of impeaching the former president, she also did not vote against certifying President Biden’s 2020 election victory as Rice did. Rice told Politico in an interview late last year that he regretted the decision.
“In retrospect, I should have voted to certify,” Rice told Politico. “Because President Trump was responsible for the attack on the Capitol.”
Those votes and statements drew the ire of Trump, who backed the former state representative. Katie Arrington (R), who is running against Mace, and State Rep. Russell Fry (R), who is running against Rice. Both Trump-backed challengers have described themselves as being more loyal to the former president.
This has led some top Republicans to run in both races. Former UN ambassador Nikki Haley and former Trump White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney endorsed Mace, while former House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) campaigned for Rice.
Voters will ultimately decide whether Trump’s rejection of Mace and Rice will be enough to sway their opinions. Rice won his last re-election by more than 20 points while Mace flipped his House seat red again in 2020, but by just over a percentage point.
Trump also waded into several Nevada races, including his gubernatorial race and the GOP primary to decide who will challenge Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D).
In April, the former president endorsed Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo in the race for Governor of Nevada. Lombardo, who has touted his credentials in the military and law enforcement, faces several other candidates, including the former senator. Dean Heller (R-Nev.). Heller received Trump’s endorsement in 2018 when he ran for Senate re-election, but ultimately lost his seat to Sen. Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.).
A Nevada Independent/OH Predictive Insights poll released on Friday has Lombardo leading the field of Republican gubernatorial candidates among likely GOP voters, maintaining a 13% lead against the Reno attorney. Joey Gilbertwho finished second in the poll.
Another key primary to watch in the Silver State is the GOP race for the Senate. Former Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt has already won endorsements from Trump and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) and polls show him outperforming the Army combat veteran Sam Brownhis closest political rival.
Trump isn’t the only one weighing in on the Nevada primaries. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) last week endorsed a challenger for Rep. Dina Titus (DN.V.), Amy Vilela, who was a national surrogate in Sanders’ last presidential campaign.
All three races will be watched closely, as Cook Political Report classifies them all as “hits” in the general election.
And don’t forget the Republican primary in Maine’s 2nd Congressional Districtbetween former Rep. Bruce Poliquin (R-Maine), who once held the spot before Rep. Jared Golden (D-Maine) overthrew him, and a small business owner Liz Caruso.
Also classified by Cook Political Report as a ‘toss and drop’, Golden recently voted against a major gun package the lower house passed last week, and he was the only House Democrat to vote against it. Build Back Better last fall.
Here’s more on five things we’ll be watching tonight.
Turning the political tables
Politically speaking, 2022 is not looking good for Democrats. President Biden’s approval rating is stuck underwater, inflation remains at its highest level in decades and gasoline prices hit a record high over the weekend, averaging $5 a gallon .
It’s no wonder, then, that Democrats are eyeing the ongoing hearings into the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol as a way to turn the political tide.
The party hopes to use the six hearings to overhaul the 2022 midterm elections as a way to hold Republicans and Trump to account, who has continued to falsely claim the 2020 presidential election was stolen from him.
The hearings so far have contained embarrassing revelations for Trump. Former Attorney General Bill Barr said in recorded deposition that he feared the former president was “detached from reality.” The committee of inquiry into the Jan. 6 riot accused Trump’s campaign of deliberately lying to supporters about voter fraud to raise funds. Jason Miller, a former Trump campaign adviser, told the January 6 panel that former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani (right) was “definitely drunk” on election night when he urged Trump to declare victory.
Here is the problem: While such revelations would almost certainly prove damaging in any other political environment, a recent poll suggests that voters are focused on other things: rising gas prices and inflation, crime and fears of a coming economic recession.
At the same time, the shock and outrage that immediately followed the Jan. 6 riot has largely faded into the background for many voters after more than a year.
But the hearings aren’t over yet, and there’s still time for Democrats to argue that handing Republicans control of the House and Senate in November would reward the party that aligned itself with a former president determined to erode American democracy and who is considering a return to the White House in 2024.
If you missed yesterday’s hearing, catch up here and here.
ON THE TRACK
Map enlargement: The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) is adding 11 more candidates to its “Red to Blue” program as it seeks to expand its pick-up opportunities before November.
The program generally focuses on top candidates vying against vulnerable Republican incumbents, but the slate also includes candidates running for open Democratic seats who have become more competitive due to redistricting.
Here are the latest additions:
- AZ-01: Jevin Hodge, who challenges Rep. Dave Schweikert (R-Arizona).
- FL-27: Annette Taddeo, challenging Rep. Maria Elvira Salazar (R-Fla.).
- NC-01: Don Davis, who is running for an open seat against Republican Sandy Smith.
- NC-13: Wiley Nickel, who is running for an open seat against Republican Bo Hines.
- NC-14: Jeff Jackson, who is running against Republican Pat Harrigan in the new 14th District.
- NY-01: Bridget Fleming, who is running for a vacant seat currently held by a Republican.
- NY-22: Francis Conole, who is seeking an open seat.
- OR-04: Val Hoyle, who is running for the open seat currently held by incumbent Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.).
- OR-05: Jamie McLeod Skinner, who defeated Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-Ore.) in a primary last month and will now face Republican Lori Chavez-DeRemer in the general election.
- OR-06: Andrea Salinas, who is running for the state’s new 6th District and takes on Republican Mike Erickson.
- PA-17: Chris Deluzio, running for the open seat currently held by Rep. Conor Lamb (D-Pa.).
Holder Protection: The DCCC also added four more House Democrats to its “Frontline” incumbent protection program. Each of the legislators – Reps. Res. David Trone (D-Md.), Ann McLane Kuster (DN.H.), Teresa Leger Fernandez (DN.M.) and Frank Mrvan (D-Ind.) — have been made more vulnerable by redrawing this year.
MONITOR THE AD
First on air: Rep. Val Demings (D-Fla.) unveiled the first television ad of her campaign against Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) on Monday, highlighting her 27-year career in law enforcement and her time as the Orlando Police Chief. This is not only Demings’ first TV spot since launching his Senate campaign, but the first statewide media buy from a Florida Senate candidate this cycle. You can view the announcement here.
- Rubio’s response? “Convener Val Demings’ debut ad conveniently ignores her voting record with Nancy Pelosi 100% of the time and being a champion of Biden’s disastrous policies, which have led to record gas prices and inflation in arrow,” Elizabeth Gregory, Rubio’s chief communications officer, said in a statement.
Jobs, jobs, jobs: Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers has come out with the latest announcement of his re-election bid. The 30-second spot — part of a $3.5 million buy for statewide broadcast and cable — talks about the governor’s desire to fund job training and apprenticeship programs in as part of an effort to fill high-demand jobs in the state. Check out the announcement here.
IN THEIR OPINION
That’s all for today. Thanks for reading and check out The Hill’s campaign page for the latest news and coverage. We will see each other Thursday.
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