The GOP presidential field has been stuck in neutral over the last few weeks. But things could pick up quickly this month, as Republicans appear to be nearing decisions on whether they’ll jump in.
Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie told conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt on Wednesday that he’d decide “in the next two weeks.”
South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, who has been traveling the country as part of his exploratory committee phase, is expected to launch a presidential bid officially on May 22.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis — NBC News’ Matt Dixon and Natasha Korecki reported last month that the governor is expected to launch an exploratory committee in mid-May, with an official announcement to come soon after.
And former Texas Rep. Will Hurd continues to talk like a candidate and is set to return to New Hampshire later this month, Fox News reports.
The movement all comes ahead of the party’s first debate in August — and while it’s so far unclear what criteria the party wants to use to determine who makes it onto the debate stage, candidates who want to make sure they’re included may need to hit the ground running soon.
In other campaign news …
On the air: Biden launched his second TV ad of his re-election campaign — a minute-long spot focused on his economic plans. The ad is part of a “seven-figure” buy, per a campaign press release, and will air in eight battleground states: North Carolina, Florida, Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. AdImpact tracked a new $671,000 ad buy from the Democratic National Committee and the Biden campaign.
Meanwhile, in Florida: Florida’s GOP legislature continues to bolster GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis ahead of an expected presidential bid. On Tuesday legislators passed a bill shielding DeSantis’ travel records from public disclosure. On Wednesday legislators passed a measure barring transgender people from using bathrooms that match their gender identity, which DeSantis is expected to sign, per the Washington Post. But legislators bucked DeSantis by not taking up a measure targeting the press, per the New York Times.
Caucus chaos: Iowa Democrats are proposing holding their first-in-the-nation caucuses but not releasing the results until after other states’ primaries, in a bid to comply with the DNC’s proposed new primary calendar, per the Associated Press.
He’s running: Democratic Rep. David Trone announced Thursday that he is running in Maryland’s open Senate race, telling NBC News in a brief interview that he will “put in the dollars necessary to bring it home.”
A taxing issue: Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, who is in a competitive re-election race, potentially violated state tax rules for claiming a tax credit on two properties and was late in paying taxes on his Cleveland house, NBC News’ Henry J. Gomez reports. Brown paid the late payment penalty and repaid the county where he owns a condo.
Speaking of Ohio: Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose, who is considering a Senate run, recently cast doubt on Trump’s endorsement power at a private meeting with Ohio Republicans that there is a sizable portion of Republicans who “doesn’t care” who Trump endorses.
Taking sides: Rep. Jim Clyburn, D-S.C., the assistant Democratic leader, took sides in California’s Senate race, endorsing Democratic Rep. Barbara Lee.
Cameron making the case: Kentucky Republican Attorney General Daniel Cameron and his allies are up with two new TV ads hammering home both his work as attorney general and criticizing his top opponent, former United Nations Ambassador Kelly Craft.
CA-47: California state Sen. Dave Min, a Democrat running to succeed Rep. Katie Porter in Congress, was arrested Tuesday night for drunk driving. Min, who has Porter’s endorsement in the race, apologized, writing in a Facebook post that his decision to drive was “irresponsible” and he accepts “full responsibility.”
Bernie’s pick: Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., became the latest high-profile progressive to back former Philadelphia City Councilmember Helen Gym in the city’s mayoral race, which is set for May 16.