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Meet the Press Blog Archive

Catch up with Meet the Press blog posts from past years leading up to May 17, 2022
Image: Illustration of photos depicting voters on line, voting booths, the Capitol, the White House and raised hands.
Chelsea Stahl / NBC News

Look back at our archive of previous Meet the Press blog posts.

For the latest posts from the journalists at NBC News and the NBC News Political Unit, click here.

402d ago / 11:00 AM UTC

Rising stars tapped to chair Democratic training organization

The nation’s largest Democratic training organization announced Thursday that its first honorary co-chairs will be Reps. Katie Porter, D-Calif., Lauren Underwood, D-Ill., and Nikema Williams, D-Ga., signaling a commitment to training an ideologically, geographically, and demographically diverse pipeline of candidates up and down the ballot ahead of the 2022 midterms

“The future of our party is about competing everywhere and lowering the barriers of intrigue for anyone who wants to make a difference,” Kelly Dietrich, who leads the National Democratic Training Committee, told NBC News, calling the co-chairs “pioneering women.” Both Porter and Underwood flipped their districts red to blue with their elections, while Williams is on the frontlines of Democratic efforts to keep Georgia blue from her seat, once held by the late Rep. John Lewis.

Image: President Joe Biden praises Congresswoman Lauren Underwood as they tour the Children's Learning Center at McHenry County College on July 7, 2021 in Crystal Lake, Ill.
President Joe Biden praises Congresswoman Lauren Underwood as they tour the Children's Learning Center at McHenry County College on July 7, 2021 in Crystal Lake, Ill.Stacey Wescott / Chicago Tribune via AP, Pool

The NDTC will use the congresswomen to amplify their free training programs for Democrats across the country hoping to run for office themselves, or looking to work on campaigns.

Underwood herself actually participated in NDTC trainings before running and winning one of 2018’s tightest races. Her advice for could-be candidates and the politically-inclined, she told NBC, is “don’t be shy about what you don’t know.”

The NDTC has seen more than 130,000 people sign up for trainings since the summer of 2016, fueled in part by a backlash to the election of former President Donald Trump. But since Trump’s departure, interest has remained high, to the tune of 32,000-plus so far this year according to the committee. Overall, more than half — 53 percent — of trainees have been women. And geographically, rural and suburban areas not typically falling for Dems are seeing high degree of interest.

To Underwood, the numbers tell a larger story about who’s engaging and why — and what it could mean for a candidate pipeline that, only until recently, had been filled by a majority of white male contenders.

“We’re seeing the activations of these social networks that might have been built from PTAs, or church groups, or neighborhood associations,” Underwood said. “These women who now understand that our democracy won’t be fixed passively. We have to get in there and work for it and the ladies are bringing the same skills, dedication, and mindset that we do to everything else in our lives to our politics. And we’re not afraid to ask for help.”

403d ago / 4:05 PM UTC

Progressive group gives air cover to moderate Democrats on Biden's $3.5 trillion budget

The liberal group Future Forward USA Action is launching an ad campaign to protect moderate Democrats who are under fire from conservatives over President Joe Biden's $3.5 trillion economic package.

The group said it will spend $1.4 million next week in seven key districts represented by Rep. Carolyn Bourdeaux, D-Ga., Rep. Cindy Axne, D-Iowa, Rep. Chris Pappas, D-N.H., Rep. Andy Kim, D-N.J., Rep. Tom Malinowski, D-N.J., Rep. Matt Cartwright, D-Pa., and Rep. Susie Lee, D-Nev.

The ad buy, first reported here by NBC News, comes as a response to the conservative group American Action Network's TV ad campaign launched last week, which targets a similar group of House Democrats over the budget with the goal of turning Democratic lawmakers against it.

It is an attempt to bolster the prospects of passing the so-called reconciliation bill, which is a centerpiece of Biden's economic agenda, and will require the vote of nearly every House Democrat to pass. It would be a major expansion of the social safety net, paid for with tax hikes on corporations and Americans who earn over $400,000.

The AAN ad campaign torches the package of a "socialist agenda" that will exacerbate inflation and hurt the middle class. The Future Forward response says the package will close corporate tax loopholes and tax the rich to lower costs on health care, utility bills and child care for most Americans.

"President Biden and Democrats in Congress are working to lower everyday costs for working families Right on cue, the special interests are going to pour in money to try to stop it from happening but we won't let their lies go unanswered," said Chauncey McLean, the president of Future Forward USA Action.

403d ago / 2:18 PM UTC

McAuliffe responds to Youngkin’s crime ad

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Well, that didn’t take long. 

One day after Virginia Republican gubernatorial Glenn Youngkin’s campaign released a new TV ad hitting Democratic former Gov. Terry McAuliffe on crime and linking him to Dem groups have called to “defund the police,” McAuliffe’s camp is out with this response ad

The Democratic nominee's spot features testimonials from current and former Virginia law enforcement officials: “Our job is to keep Virginia safe,” says one law enforcement official to camera.  “We know the truth about Terry McAuliffe’s record,” says another.  “When McAuliffe was governor, Virginia was the fourth-safest state in America,” says a third. 

And it goes on to try to turn Youngkin's argument around on the Republican, arguing that his comments on gun laws makes him a "threat to our safety."

As the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported last month, while Youngkin has spoken about protecting Second Amendment rights, he did not get an endorsement from the National Rifle Associaton. 

404d ago / 6:14 PM UTC

Youngkin plays the 'defund the police' card against McAuliffe in Virginia governor race

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In Virginia’s gubernatorial contest, Republican Glenn Youngkin is out with a new TV ad linking Democratic former Gov. Terry McAuliffe to “defund the police” advocates in his party.

The ad claims that "crime in Virginia is skyrocketing" and that "the murder rate is at a 20-year high."

“Former Gov. Terry McAuliffe is running again, but how can he keep us safe? His record as governor — murder jumped 43 percent, and now he refuses to even meet with Virginia police officers. Instead, he's touting endorsements by extreme left-wing groups that want to defund the police, abolish ICE and close prisons," the ad's narrator says, pointing to calls within the Democratic Party for a smattering of police reform running the gamut from slashing police funding to diverting it reform how police interact with people. 

It's a tactic the Youngkin campaign has been more vocal with in recent weeks, including in digital videos that echo similar points. 

McAuliffe's team pushed back on the ad with a statement touting McAuliffe's record:  "We know Glenn struggles with it, so here's the truth: As governor, Terry McAuliffe made Virginia the fourth safest state in the nation. He put in place one of the toughest laws in the country to combat domestic violence, and he has released a detailed plan to keep Virginians safe, including keeping guns out of dangerous hands. Glenn Youngkin's right-wing agenda would only make Virginia less safe — he's bragged about opposing any common-sense gun safety measures, and the Washington Post says his Trumpian economic plan would defund the police."

404d ago / 3:15 PM UTC

Former GOP Attorney General Laxalt is running for Senate in Nevada

Former Nevada Republican Attorney General Adam Laxalt announced Tuesday he's running for Senate, giving Republicans their most formidable challenge to Democratic Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto. 

Laxalt revealed his decision on Tuesday morning in a social-media video, which leans heavily on the conservative culture war and argues that "right now, it seems like the wrong side is winning." 

"The radical left, rich elites, woke corporations, academia, Hollywood and the media, they are taking over America. That’s your empire, right there, telling lie after lie; making excuses for chaos and violence; censoring truth that doesn’t fit their agenda; amplifying anger and envy, they demand control; ruthlessly enforcing conformity, canceling any who stand in their way," Laxalt says in the video. 

"We must stand in their way because it's not just about us — we owe it to our kids and generations to come." 

The video goes on to mention his Navy service, which he says was inspired by the attacks on 9/11, and his time as attorney general. 

Laxalt is instantly the favorite in the GOP primary, and Republicans believe that a strong midterm environment could give them fertile ground in a battle for Senate control. With the Senate currently evenly divided, and Vice President Kamala Harris serving as the tiebreaking vote, the dynamics in every competitive race could help decide control of the Senate in 2022. 

Adam Laxalt, former Nevada attorney general, speaks during the Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando, Fla., on Feb. 26, 2021.
Adam Laxalt, former Nevada attorney general, speaks during the Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando, Fla., on Feb. 26, 2021.Elijah Nouvelage / Bloomberg via Getty Images file

However, Democrats have had a string of recent successes in Nevada statewide elections — they've won every presidential election since 2004, flipped both Senate seats in 2016 and 2018, and flipped the governor's mansion in 2018 by defeating Laxalt, who was the GOP nominee.

And Democrats have pointed to Laxalt's unsuccessful 2018 gubernatorial bid, as well as his repeated attempts to cast doubt on the 2020 election results in the state, to message against his candidacy. 

"Failed politician Adam Laxalt has a history of corruption and consistently uses his public position to work against Nevadans. As Attorney General, he used his office to benefit his special interest donors, and he became Donald Trump’s main lackey in Nevada by orchestrating bogus lawsuits to prop up the Big Lie and overturn the 2020 election," Nevada Democratic Victory spokesman Andy Orellana said in a statement. "While Senator Cortez Masto is putting Nevadans first, Laxalt is only ever looking out for himself.”

405d ago / 3:48 PM UTC

Voters begin to get ballots as California gubernatorial recall heats up

Mail ballots are beginning to go out in California's recall election, and we've seen a flurry of activity in the race in recent days. 

The stakes are high for Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom. A new online poll from CBS/YouGov found that 52 percent of likely voters plan to vote "no" and keep Newsom in office, compared to 48 percent who want to recall Newsom.

The Democrat's approval rating among adults is 57 percent and 60 percent view his handling of the coronavirus outbreak as "very good" or "somewhat good." But the story has been the same for months — the question comes down to turnout, and polling has shown Republicans are more enthusiastic about voting to recall Newsom than Democrats are about saving him.

More Republican voters in the poll (78 percent) say they definitely will vote, when compared to Democrats (73 percent), and 72 percent of Republicans say they are very motivated to vote, when compared to 61 percent of Democrats. 

It's against that backdrop that we've seen a smattering of ad spending as of late. Since July 1, Democrats have outspent Republicans $11 million to $1.7 million, according to the ad-tracking firm AdImpact. 

The Democratic efforts' ads include appeals by key spokespeople, including Massachusetts Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren (who frames the recall as a costly attack by "Trump Republicans" on the results of the last gubernatorial election) and California Democratic Sen. Alex Padilla (who delivers a similar Spanish-language message). 

The Washington Post also reports that the Democratic effort is also out with a new spot that attacks surging Republican Larry Elder over recent comments opposing mask and vaccine mandates

The attacks on Elder come as he's gained traction recently. While 45 percent of voters said they were not sure who they'd vote for or would not vote for a candidate if Newsom was recalled, 23 percent said they'd support Elder, far-and-away the highest of any candidate on that question (Democratic YouTuber Kevin Paffrath scored 13 percent, while no other Republican eclipsed 3 percent. Republican Caitlyn Jenner captured just 2 percent).  

He's spent about $966,000 on TV and digital ads since the start of July, significantly more than any other Republican candidate. His recent ads have attacked Newsom on a handful of different topics — school choice, his state's Covid restrictions and his record broadly. 

Kevin Faulconer, the former mayor of San Diego, is also up with a spot that highlights his record on crime, him standing up to a "defund police mob," and on balancing budgets.

All voters in California are going to be mailed ballots, which they must get postmarked by the day of the recall, Sept. 14. However, those ballots have until Sept. 21 to make it to county elections offices. 

408d ago / 7:17 PM UTC

MTP Daily: What do the Census numbers mean for redistricting?

Thursday's Census data release revealed some major population trends that have shaped the American population growth over the last decade — America is becoming less white and more multi-cultural, with more and more people fleeing rural areas and moving to the cities and suburbs. 

How these macro-level trends have played out in communities across the country will have a profound impact on how congressional lines are drawn during the forthcoming redistricting cycle, the unofficial start of which began Thursday with the release of this Census data. 

Dave Wasserman — the House editor of the nonpartisan Cook Political Report with Amy Walter, and an NBC News contributor — joined Friday's MTP Daily to run down some of the biggest questions facing Republicans and Democrats ahead of redistricting. He also takes a look at how the GOP-controlled Texas, the Democratic-controlled New York, and Colorado, which uses an independent commission to draw congressional maps, may fare. 

409d ago / 5:21 PM UTC

Cuomo joins list of scandal-plagued N.Y. resignations

When Gov. Andrew Cuomo, D-N.Y., officially exits office on Aug. 24, he will join a lengthy list of recent, high-ranking New York politicians who resigned thanks to scandal. 

For Cuomo, the resignation follows the release of a devastating report by State Attorney General Letitia James, which found that he had sexually harassed nearly a dozen women. 

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks in Manhattan on May 11, 2021.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks in Manhattan on May 11, 2021.Eduardo Munoz / Reuters file

But Cuomo is hardly the first N.Y. politician who left their position early amid scandal. Here are some of the other most prominent Empire State politicians to resign in disgrace over the last 15 years (not including those who simply chose not to run for re-election): 

Gov. Eliot Spitzer — Resigned March 2008

The once-popular Democrat won the 2006 gubernatorial race with more than 65 percent of the vote and was widely viewed as a rising star in the party. But Spitzer departed the governor’s mansion just over one year into his first term after being implicated in a prostitution ring. The scandal became a global story as the one-time “Sheriff of Wall Street,” a nickname given to Spitzer during his tenure as the state’s attorney general, saw his political career come to a rapid end thanks to his own admitted lawbreaking. 

Rep. Chris Lee — Resigned February 2011 

Lee, a Republican, was first elected to Congress in 2008 to represent New York’s 26th Congressional District, which includes portions of both Erie and Niagara County. Shortly after winning reelection in 2010, the blog site Gawker revealed that the married Lee responded to a woman's dating ad on Craigslist by sending her a shirtless photo of himself. He resigned right after the article was released and was later replaced in a special election by none other than future New York Lt. Gov. (and soon to be governor) Kathy Hochul. 

Rep. Anthony Weiner — Resigned June 2011

Perhaps more infamous for his scandals since resigning, Weiner, a Democrat, first ran for Congress in 1998 to fill the 9th Congressional District seat vacated by a Senate-bound Chuck Schumer. 

Winning seven-consecutive elections in the district, Weiner served until the discovery that he’d used his public Twitter account to send a woman a link to a sexually explicit photo of himself. After initial denials, he soon admitted to exchanging sexually explicit photos with several women in the years prior and resigned. Weiner attempted to return to politics but was caught having more lewd conversations with women, despite being married. And Weiner eventually pleaded guilty after being charged with sending an explicit message to a teenager. He eventually served 15 months in prison and is now a convicted sex offender. 

Former Rep. Anthony Weiner arrives at U.S. Federal Court in New York on Sept. 25, 2017, for sentencing after pleading guilty to one count of sending obscene messages to a minor.
Former Rep. Anthony Weiner arrives at U.S. Federal Court in New York on Sept. 25, 2017, for sentencing after pleading guilty to one count of sending obscene messages to a minor.Lucas Jackson / Reuters file

Former state Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver — Resigned February 2015 

Silver, a Democrat, was a central power broker in New York politics for nearly 40 years. First elected to the New York State Assembly in 1977, he was elected speaker in 1994 and served in that role until he was arrested on federal corruption charges in 2015 related to bribery accusations and forced to resign. After a series of appeals in court, he was sentenced to over six years in prison last July. 

Former Attorney General Eric Schneiderman — Resigned May 2018 

The one-time Democratic state senator was first elected as New York’s attorney general in 2010 and reelected in 2014. Following reporting in the New Yorker at the height of the Me Too movement in 2018, where at least four women accused Schneiderman of physical abuse between 2013 and 2016, Schneiderman resigned. Soon after, Governor Cuomo assigned Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas to look into criminal charges against him. Ultimately, Schneiderman was not prosecuted by Singas, who said “legal impediments” and statutes of limitations stood in the way. 

Rep. Chris Collins — Resigned October 2019 

Collins, a Republican, was first elected to the House in 2013 following the ousting of one-term incumbent Kathy Hochul. After serving for several years, he was arrested by the FBI in August 2018 along with his son for insider trading and lying to the bureau. After narrowly winning reelection later that year, he eventually resigned from Congress and changed his plea to guilty on conspiracy to commit securities fraud and making false statements. Sentenced to 26 months in prison in January 2020, Collins, an ardent Trump supporter and a one-time member of his transition team in 2015, received a pardon from Trump in December of last year. 

Former Rep. Chris Collins, R-N.Y., enters U.S. District Court ahead of a sentencing hearing on Jan. 17, 2020, in New York.
Former Rep. Chris Collins, R-N.Y., enters U.S. District Court ahead of a sentencing hearing on Jan. 17, 2020, in New York.Scott Heins / Getty Images file
416d ago / 8:41 PM UTC

Republicans who voted against Electoral College certification see smaller fundraising gains

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Six months after about 140 House Republicans voted against the 2020 Electoral College certification after the violent Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, members who voted that way have seen smaller increases in their fundraising, on average, than their GOP colleagues who voted to certify the results.

That’s according to an analysis by NBC News, which examined the fundraising totals of 151 House Republican lawmakers through this June, versus their totals at this same point in 2019.

While Republicans as a whole are seeing promising fundraising signs in the race for the House majority on the whole, there appears to be a clear divide between the performance of those who objected to the Electoral College count and those who did not. Note: The period of time covered in the analysis coincides with pledges from many companies to re-evaluate and their political contributions in the wake of the Jan. 6 attack, although some have since gone back to business as usual.

The 96 Republicans included in the analysis who voted against certification have seen their fundraising totals increase by an average of almost 6 percent from the previous cycle.

By contrast, the 55 Republicans who did not object have witnessed their fundraising increase by an average of about 30 percent.

Among all those who objected, Rep. Michael Guest, R-Miss., has seen the largest drop in fundraising, raking in just over $23,000 so far this year, compared with more than $230,000 Guest had raised in the same time period in 2019.

Reps. Scott DesJarlais, R-Tenn., Jim Baird, R-Ind., and Jodey Arrington, R-Texas were among the other objectors who saw their fundraising totals decrease by more than 70 percent versus 2019.

But Republicans are proving, as a whole, to be strong fundraisers as they push to flip both the House and Senate. The 151 Republicans analyzed have increased their fundraising numbers overall cycle-to-cycle by an average of more than 14 percent. By comparison, the 196 Democrats analyzed have seen their numbers increase by an average of just 2 percent.

The fundraising analysis did not include any lawmaker who took office after 2019 for which there is no previous fundraising cycle to compare, including prolific fundraisers like Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga. And it does not include retiring lawmakers, or those running for higher or state-level office.

Two of the highest-profile Republicans who didn’t object to the Electoral College and who have positioned themselves against former President Donald Trump’s unfounded claims the election was stolen, Reps. Liz Cheney, R-Wy., and Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., have seen among the largest fundraising increases.

But prominent objectors have seen big fundraising gains too — Reps. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, and Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., are among the lawmakers who have at least doubled their fundraising from this point last cycle.

The objective was to compare incumbents’ fundraising before and after Electoral College certification of the 2020 presidential election. And certainly the debate over the certification of the election is not the only variable that could contribute to a change in fundraising.

Still, this analysis — coming in an atmosphere where there is increased attention on contributors after the Jan. 6 attack — suggests that GOP objectors have seen a decline in their fundraising even as some of those same companies who once swore off donating to objectors, including UPS and American Airlines, have since returned to that practice in the months since January 6

416d ago / 10:00 AM UTC

Democratic group launches ad campaign to tout Biden agenda in key states

A nonprofit aligned with President Joe Biden is launching a new million-dollar ad campaign that aims to do double duty: promoting the president’s agenda, and backing some of the key lawmakers he hopes to keep in office beyond the 2022 midterm elections.

New ads from Building Back Together share a similar script touting Democrats’ Covid relief law and plans to spend trillions more on infrastructure, education, manufacturing and caregiving. But each is tailored to voters in the key states and congressional districts. 

Spots airing in Arizona, Nevada, Georgia and New Hampshire, for example, say Biden and their Democratic senators’ “pulled our economy back from the brink. And now they’re fighting to create millions of good paying jobs and lower the costs of healthcare, child care and prescription drugs.”

All four states have a pair of Democratic senators. But only one in each — Arizona’s Mark Kelly, Nevada’s Catherine Cortez-Masto, Georgia’s Rafael Warnock, and New Hampshire’s Maggie Hassan — will face voters next November in contests critical to the party’s hopes of maintaining or growing a bare-minimum Senate majority.

The organization says the 30-second TV spots will air in each of the state’s biggest TV markets on broadcast and cable. Additional digital ads will run in more than 20 targeted House districts in 12 states. The seven-figure campaign is part of an effort by Biden’s outside political allies to sustain support for his agenda, aware of how Republicans and conservative groups began turning the tide against then-President Obama’s agenda in August 2009.

“Democratic Members of Congress have worked hand in glove with President Biden to bring our economy and our families back from the brink of crisis, and now they’re going to help the President deliver on the Build Back Better Agenda so that working families can finally get ahead,” Danielle Melfi, executive director of Building Back Together, said in a statement. 

CORRECTION (Aug. 5, 2021, 11:40 a.m. ET): A previous version of this article misstated Building Back Together's company status. It is a nonprofit advocacy organization, not a super PAC. 

417d ago / 8:28 PM UTC

Pelosi PAC urges donors to prevent the 'steal' of House majority in 2022

A fundraising pitch from Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., is urging her donors to prevent the “steal” of Democratic control of the House.

“They just outspent us by $14 MILLION to steal our Majorities,” warns an email under Pelosi's name to donors sent from her political action committee. The message claims that polling shows Republicans leading Democrats by one percentage point. “If we don’t regain the lead — NOW — Republicans will steal the House and decimate our Democratic Majority.”

It’s a strange turn for Pelosi, who has set up a select House Committee to investigate the insurrection at the Capitol on Jan. 6, when loyalists to then-President Donald Trump tried to prevent Congress from certifying the 2020 presidential election. They acted on the premise that, as Trump falsely asserted, the election had been stolen from him.

Pelosi aides did not immediately reply to a request for comment about whether she is less concerned now than she has been about the perils of undermining the credibility of the electoral system.

418d ago / 2:01 PM UTC

High-profile special House primaries have made for busy airwaves in Ohio

Voters are voting in two special House primaries that are serving as great microcosms for the battles that both parties are fighting these days. 

And those high-profile clashes have made for busy airwaves outside of Cleveland and Columbus.

In the Democrats’ 11th District contest, former state Rep. Nina Turner and Cuyahoga County Council Rep. Brown (plus their outside backers) have gone virtually punch-for-punch in the ad war. Turner has spent $2.3 million on TV, radio and digital advertising through Tuesday, per AdImpact, with her aligned Democratic Action PAC adding another $250,000. That’s matched by the Brown campaign’s $1.3 million on ads, plus an additional $1.1 million chipped in by the Democratic Majority for Israel PAC.

That race has gotten nasty, particularly on the airwaves. Brown and her allies are accusing Turner of stoking division and hitting her for criticizing President Joe Biden, while Turner's orbit is trying to frame Brown as corrupt. 

Things are even more crowded among the Republicans in the 15th District contest. The top spenders are businessman Tom Hwang, a self-funder running as an outsider, and the Protect Freedom PAC, which is backing Ron Hood, the state representative backed by Kentucky GOP Sen. Rand Paul. Both have spent just over $480,000 on advertisements.

Former Rep. Steve Stivers, who has endorsed Jeff LaRe, has actually spent more on ads than any other candidate besides Hwang, with $344,000 aimed at boosting LaRe

Then the Trump-aligned Make America Great Again PAC has spent $305,000 in support of the candidate Trump has endorsed, lobbyist Mike Carey, with Carey’s campaign spending another $265,000.

State Sen. Bob Peterson has spent $265,000, the anti-Carey Conservative Outsider PAC has spent another $241,000, LaRe’s campaign has spent $180,000, and former Columbus NAACP President Ruth Edmonds has spent $107,000.

419d ago / 6:30 PM UTC

Majority of adults approve of Biden on Covid, but think health agencies have sent mixed messages

The majority of American adults still approve of President Joe Biden's approach to the coronavirus pandemic, even as those numbers have slipped in recent months. 

Fifty-five percent of adults in Monmouth University's new poll say Biden has done a good job on the pandemic, compared to 38 percent who say he's done a bad job with it. Just 4 percent hold mixed opinions. 

The vast majority of Democrats, 92 percent, think Biden is doing a good job. Independents are split, with 45 percent saying he's done a good job and 46 percent saying he's done a bad job. And 26 percent of Republicans believe Biden is doing a good job on handling the pandemic, compared to 68 percent who think he's doing a bad job. 

Federal government health agencies also get strong marks in dealing with the pandemic, with 55 percent of adults saying they did a good job and 37 percent say they did a bad job.

But at the same time, 59 percent say that those federal health agencies, with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention specifically named, have been "giving mixed messages about Covid risks," including clear majorities of Republicans and Democrats. Thirty-nine percent say the agencies have been largely consistent, including a majority of Democrats. 

The poll comes amid rising caseloads and hospitalizations attributed to the more virulent, delta, strain, which is spreading across the country. The country hit 35 million cases this week, with Florida hitting records in new, daily cases as well as what the Florida Hospital Association called a new record of Covid hospitalizations. 

But while vaccination rates have slowed from their spring highs, the CDC reports that almost 50 percent of the total population is fully vaccinated against the virus. That includes 80 percent of those at least 65 years old, a group that has been particularly vulnerable to serious illness or death from the virus. 

Fifty-three percent of adults say they are either very concerned or somewhat concerned that someone in their family could become seriously ill from the virus, up from 42 percent a month ago but well below the levels of concern seen before widespread vaccinations began. 

Forty-eight percent are at least somewhat concerned about catching a new Covid variant, with those who have received at least one dose of a Covid vaccine more likely to feel that way than someone who is not vaccinated, according to Monmouth. 

With the CDC issuing new guidance that recommends more people wear masks, and some states issuing either new masking guidance or mandates themselves, 52 percent of American adults say they support either "instituting or reinstituting face mask and social distancing guidelines in their states," a sentiment that falls deeply on partisan lines. 

Monmouth polled 804 adults in the United States from July 21 to July 26. The poll has an error margin of +/- 3.5 percentage points.

419d ago / 2:57 PM UTC

Trump political operation banks more than $100 million in first six months of 2021

Former President Donald Trump amassed a war chest of more than $100 million over the first six months of 2022 across his four affiliated political committees as he repeatedly fundraised off of his false claims the election was stolen from him, and spent little from his political enterprise. 

New fundraising reports filed with the Federal Election Committee show that Trump has raised $62 million directly into his Save America leadership PAC, his primary fundraising vehicle for his post-presidential political life. That total includes money that may have been raised in 2020 by other affiliated committees but was transferred over to Trump's PAC this year — Save America closed June with $90 million in cash on hand, with his affiliated committees banking millions more. 

As he publicly floats another bid for president, Trump can't use money raised to Save America for any presidential campaign. But he has broad leeway to spend the money he raises on other political activities (individual donors can donate a maximum of $5,000 a cycle to the group). 

But over the first six months of 2021, Trump only spent $3.2 million, $1 million as a contribution to help fund the America First Policy Institute, a pro-Trump non-profit

Other notable expenses include: hundreds of thousands of dollars on consulting (including $40,000 to the company run by his former campaign manager, Brad Parscale), $68,000 to the "Trump Hotel Collection," and $66,550 to his pollster, McLaughlin & Associates, whose polling Trump pointed to in April to rebut arguments that his power within the party was waning. 

As the Washington Post reported last month, none of the money appears to have gone to directly fund any of the so-called "election audits" that pro-Trump politicians and political forces have pushed for in states like Arizona. 

419d ago / 12:56 PM UTC

More than 100 state legislators to join Texas Democrats in D.C. to push for voting bill

Democratic state legislators from around the country will travel to Washington, D.C., this week to join Texas Democrats in a push for federal voting legislation, multiple participating state legislators told NBC News.

At least 104 legislator from 29 states and Puerto Rico are attending in person, a source familiar with the plans told NBC News.

They hope to secure meetings with senators, who are still in town to wrap work on a bipartisan infrastructure package ahead of a scheduled August recess, and are planning a march and rally for Tuesday, Florida state Rep. Anna Eskamani said.

Speakers at the rally are expected to include Democratic Sens. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, Jeff Merkeley of Oregon, Ben Casey of Pennsylvania, and Ben Ray Luján of New Mexico, according to Eskamani. The large delegation of state legislators will include Democrats from Georgia, Arizona, and Michigan, where Republicans have advanced or enacted sweeping voting restrictions.

An announcement of the plans is expected later Monday. The campaign comes after a group of Democratic senators began work on a slimmed-down bill they hope can garner more support.

Washington advocacy groups are footing the bill for lawmakers' travel and lodging, with funding coming from groups including Center for American Progress Action, End Citizens United, and Black Voters Matter Fund, the source familiar with the plans said. Eskamani said she is paying for her own flight, however.

The Orlando Democrat said she hoped the state legislators would be able to share the everyday reality of how the election changes affects voters and state legislatures. 

“When you’re a U.S. senator you’re representing an entire state, you’re not thinking about the districts or specific polling sites,” she said. “But we are, we see it every day.”

Democratic members of the Texas House of Representatives fled to D.C. last month to block passage of GOP-backed voting restrictions by denying the legislative chamber the quorum needed to conduct state business. Those state legislators have been lobbying for federal voting legislation with lobbying meetings and a steady stream of media events for weeks.

Still, there no clear path for federal voting legislation in the current Congress. At least two Democrats are unwilling to abolish or modify filibuster rules that require 60 votes — at least 10 Republicans in this Congress — to advance legislation. Republicans have largely remained opposed to any federal voting legislation.

422d ago / 10:00 AM UTC

Biden accepts posthumous Kosovo honor for late son's work

President Joe Biden is accepting one of Kosovo’s highest honors on behalf of his late son, saying the fledgling Balkan nation “is in the hearts of the entire Biden family.”

At a ceremony this weekend, Kosovo President Vjosa Osmani will present a posthumous Presidential Medal on the Rule of Law to Beau Biden, who traveled to Kosovo in 2001 to help establish the country’s judicial institutions and the rule of law as it was establishing its independence from Yugoslavia.

“Beau’s work in Kosovo was heartfelt. He fell in love with the country,” Biden said in a video message that will air during the presentation Sunday. “At the time, Kosovo still bore the fresh wounds of war and a justice system hollowed out by decades of totalitarian rule. But Beau could see what you could do, Beau could see even then the future that was possible for your proud country.”

It’s the second time Kosovo has offered a major tribute to Beau Biden, who served as Delaware’s attorney general and was readying a campaign for governor when he lost his battle with brain cancer in 2015. A year later, during his last year as vice president, Biden visited the country with members of his family for the dedication of a roadway near Camp Bondsteel in Beau Biden’s name. 

The president’s brand of diplomacy has always been grounded in personal connections. And because Kosovo’s independence is not universally recognized, it has worked to maintain its close ties with Washington. Kosovo’s capital city also includes major routes named for former Presidents Bush and Clinton. 

In his remarks, Biden said his son was “just one of many” people dedicated to Kosovo’s independence, and said he accepted the honor on behalf of all who helped build its institutions over the past two decades. He also said he was pleased to ensure that Kosovo would be receiving American doses of Pfizer’s Covid vaccine “within weeks.”

The U.S. ambassador to Kosovo will receive the medal at Sunday’s ceremony, which also includes a popular Kosovo singer performing songs from one of Beau Biden’s favorite bands, Coldplay

424d ago / 8:44 PM UTC

Teachers' union leader Weingarten backs new masking guidance

American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten is throwing her support behind masking students in schools, saying Wednesday that while vaccines are the “number-one, gold standard” when it comes to keeping schools open, masking can fill an important role, too.

During an interview on MTP Daily, Weingarten framed masking in schools as a necessary strategy right now, even if it’s not a convenient one. 

“I hate wearing a mask. Every time I wear a mask, I have a hard time breathing because I'm an asthmatic. But we figured out how to do it, and we figured out how to teach kids with it, and we figured out how to open schools with it,” Weingarten said.

“The bottom line is: If we want kids to be in school, and we want everybody to be safe, and we want to keep schools open, this is what the scientists, this is what the pediatricians are telling us we need to do because of Delta. And let's just all try to put the politics to the side and try to do this to keep, to get schools open.”

Her comments come one day after CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky announced new guidance recommending that all children wear masks in classrooms as concerns rise about the transmissibility of the new Delta Covid variant. But debates over mask mandates have already been raging ahead of this coming year, with some states like Texas outlawing mask mandates in schools. 

Some cities and states are requiring that employees, including public-school teachers, get vaccinated or be subjected to regular testing. 

When asked about vaccine mandates for staff, Weingarten explained that while over 90 percent of the union’s members are vaccinated, members are split on whether they want a vaccine mandate for themselves or kids.

“You need to negotiate any kind of vaccine mandate,” Weingarten says. She added that she’s a “big proponent of vaccines,” but the issue is developing trust around public health guidelines because of the politicization of vaccines.

424d ago / 7:11 PM UTC

McConnell to launch radio ads calling for people to 'take advantage of this miracle and get vaccinated'

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Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) will soon run radio ads in Kentucky to promote vaccination efforts, a source familiar with his plans confirmed to NBC News.

The new ads, paid for by McConnell's campaign account (he won reelection last year and doesn't face voters again until 2026), will connect McConnell's childhood polio diagnosis to the new fight against Covid, calling on Americans to "take advantage of this miracle and get vaccinated." 

"As a young boy, I faced a different disease. I contracted polio. Back then, it took decades for us to develop a vaccine. This time, thanks to American investment and ingenuity — and especially thanks to the tireless work of our scientists, doctors and health care heroes— it took less than a year for us to develop three highly effective Covid vaccines," McConnell says in the to-be-released ad. 

"This is not complicated. Ninety-seven percent of people hospitalized for Covid are not vaccinated. If you haven’t been vaccinated, do the right thing for you — for your family — and get vaccinated right now," he adds, directing listeners to the government vaccination website "Vaccines.gov." 

The push from McConnell comes as the highly contagious Delta variant spreads across the United States. Spikes in cases and hospitalization, as well as new developments in understanding the variant's effects, have led to new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance that all people wear masks in areas with low vaccination rates, and that school children should too, regardless of vaccination status. 

The spikes are particularly acute in states with low vaccination rates, many of which are in America's South. Covid-related hospitalizations in Louisiana increased by 169 between Monday and Tuesday, an increase the state's Department of Health called the largest since March 2020. 

Many prominent Republicans have criticized vaccine mandates and some have questioned the vaccines themselves. 

But as the virus rages, particularly in his home state, Louisiana Republican Sen. John Kennedy told NBC News that he's planning to release another public statement endorsing vaccines, and that he is listening to the recommendations of health care professionals when it comes to things like masking and vaccinations. 

"When a booster is available, I’m gonna take it. My wife’s taking it, my son’s taking it. And frankly, I’m so confident in it that [if] they told me, 'Kennedy, with the booster, you gotta take a shot in your eyeball,' I’d probably do it,” he said. 

"It scares the hell out of me, it’ll kill you dead as a doornail, I’ve seen it. And we’ve got a way to stop it. You don’t have to take it if you don’t want to — this is America — but it scares me to death."

424d ago / 4:56 PM UTC

Virginia governor ad watch: 'Election integrity' and puppies

It's a busy day on the airwaves in the Virginia gubernatorial race, with both candidates launching new ads in the race to define Republican Glenn Youngkin as the political newcomer seeks to upset former Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe. 

The new spot from the McAuliffe campaign plays into a strategy they've centered on in recent days — using Youngkin's comments during the primary to connect him to former President Donald Trump's lies about the 2020 election, notably as the issue finds its way back into the headlines amid Congress' investigation into the attack on the Capitol. 

The ad quotes Youngkin talking about the "election integrity" task force he launched "on week one" of his campaign in the GOP primary. 

It comes one day after McAuliffe called on Youngkin to drop out of a local GOP event billed as an "election integrity" rally, accusing the Republican of "promoting Trump's dangerous lies." 

"Glenn, enough is enough. Stop embarrassing Virginia and stop promoting Trump’s dangerous lies. Withdraw from this event," McAullife said. 

The Youngkin camp responded in a statement, criticizing McAuliffe for opposing "requiring a photo ID to vote, which undermines the integrity of our elections and makes it easier to cheat."

And as the hits keep coming from the McAuliffe camp and its allies, Youngkin is out with a new TV ad of his own that aims to make light of the attacks and soften his image. 

In an ad reminiscent to the one Georgia Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock launched during his 2020 bid, the narrator castigates the Republican for a slew of tongue-in-cheek "crimes" like leaving dirty dishes in the sink before Youngkin says he's not focused on the negative campaigning. 

"Here come the negative attack ads. Terry McAuliffe is going to try to scare you with lies about me, because he doesn't want to talk about his own extreme views. What's next? I hate dogs?" Youngkin says in the ad. 

424d ago / 2:25 PM UTC

What the NBC/WSJ poll got wrong in 2020 — and what we are doing to fix it

Political polls of all stripes swung and missed in the 2020 presidential election.

In fact, according to a recent American Association for Public Opinion Research report, the cumulative error was the largest in 40 years.

That includes the performance of our national NBC News/Wall Street Journal, which showed Joe Biden leading Donald Trump by 10 points in the final survey before the election, when Biden’s eventual popular-vote victory over Donald Trump was 4.5 points, 51.3percent to 46.8 percent.

In the months after the election, the bipartisan team of pollsters who conduct the national NBC News poll — the Wall Street Journal is no longer a partner — evaluated the poll and its 10,000 interviews in all of 2020 compared with actual voters from states’ voter files.

Some of the findings from the analysis:

  • The actual electorate was whiter and older than our poll showed: In our October merged surveys, 18 percent of voters were 65+ (when actual senior voters were 26 percent, per the modeled voter file), and 72 percent were white-non Hispanic (when they were actually 74 percent).
  • The poll overstated Biden’s support among seniors: One reason why is because of the percentage of Black seniors (versus white seniors) was higher than it turned out to be.
  • The poll overstated Biden’s support in urban areas (and also slightly in rural areas) compared with the actual results: "Our analysis of county-based data shows our over-estimation of Biden's margin over Trump was primarily concentrated in urban areas across geographies," the pollsters said.
  • The poll was slightly too Dem-leaning: The modeled party score from our voter file (D+9) and our October surveys (D+8) was more Democratic than the actual 2020 voters turned out to be (D+5).

The NBC pollsters found other complicating factors, including declining poll participation rates, the coronavirus pandemic (blue-collar voters made up 19 percent of registered voters for the poll in 2019 and 20 percent in the Jan. 2020 survey, but they were 17 percent for the rest of 2020), and Trump’s unique role (Biden was +10 on the ballot, but it was D+5 in congressional preference).

Going forward, here are the changes the pollsters are making:

  • They are adjusting samples to be slightly older and keep white non-Hispanics above 70 percent of registered voters.
  • They are incorporating additional quotas by age and ethnicity, and will use a geography-based sampling frame based on size and county type.
  • They will ask undecided voters again for a final preference between the Republican or Democratic candidate if forced to make a decision today.
  • And they will closely track the percentage of blue-collar workers in our surveys.
425d ago / 4:29 PM UTC

Tuesday marks election day in Texas House special election

Texans in the state's Sixth Congressional District will choose a new member of Congress Tuesday between two Republicans, Susan Wright and state Rep. Jake Ellzey. 

Democrats have no candidate on the ballot after Wright and Ellzey finished in the top slots of the first round of voting in May. Now, both Republicans are running for the right to replace the late former GOP Rep. Ron Wright, Susan Wright's husband. 

One major dynamic at play here has been the endorsement battle.

Wright has the backing of former President Trump (and a slew of other GOP voices like the Club for Growth, Sen. Ted Cruz, Texas, and Reps. Elise Stefanik, N.Y., Kay Granger, Texas, and Chip Roy, Texas. 

And Ellzey is supported by former Energy Secretary and Texas GOP Gov. Rick Perry and Rep. Dan Crenshaw, R-Texas.

While fundraising data from the race lags by a few weeks because of federal campaign finance deadlines, through July 7, Ellzey had a significant fundraising lead. He had raised $1.74 million up to that point, spending $1.25 million with $490,000 in cash on hand. By comparison, Wright had raised $740,000, spending $577,000 with $164,000 in cash on hand. 

But Wright has had the advertising edge, thanks to air-cover from the Club for Growth, which has spent $420,000 on ads benefitting Wright, according to AdImpact (that's more than any other individual entity in the race). 

Trump has repeatedly reiterated his endorsement over the race's final weeks, and recorded a robocall for the Wright campaign down the stretch. A pro-Trump super PAC reportedly linked to Trump's 2016 campaign manager, Cory Lewandowski, dropped $100,000 on last-minute TV-ads to boost Wright. 

426d ago / 5:34 PM UTC

Progressive group buys $2 million in ads to push tax hikes on wealthy

The advocacy group Tax March is giving air cover to President Joe Biden’s push for higher taxes on wealthy Americans, buying $2 million worth of ads over the next three weeks in swing states and districts calling on upper earners to pay more.

“If you can afford to launch yourself in space, you can pay your fair share in taxes,” a narrator in the ad says, featuring footage of Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk and Richard Branson, who have dabbled in space exploration.

The ads will run on TV and digital platforms in Washington, D.C., NBC News has learned, as well as in Wisconsin (targeting Republican Sen. Ron Johnson), New York’s 24th district (targeting GOP Rep. John Katko) and Iowa’s 1st district (targeting GOP Rep. Ashley Hinson), said Maura Quint, the executive director of Tax March.

The ads will begin Tuesday and last until Aug. 15, she said. They come as Democrats prepare to advance a $3.5 trillion budget measure that will serve as the vehicle for Biden’s proposed economic safety net expansions and tax hikes on corporations and those making above $400,000.

“Increasing taxes on the wealthy is a beneficial thing across the board,” Quint said in an interview, describing it as a means to bridge income inequality, pay for Biden’s economic spending proposals and prevent billionaires from attempting to buy politics.

Quint cited the popularity of tax hikes on high earners in surveys and said it “will be very disappointing” if Democrats cannot achieve that while they control the White House and Congress. “We’re going to be fighting very, very hard to push these policies.”

The group also said it's planning to buy a billboard to promote the cause in Times Square, the home of Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, a New York Democrat.

426d ago / 4:49 PM UTC

Trump records robocall for Texas' Wright ahead of special election runoff

Former President Donald Trump has recorded a robocall for Republican Susan Wright ahead of her face-off against GOP state Rep. Jake Ellzey in Tuesday's runoff election. 

Wright tweeted audio of the robocall this past weekend, with Trump reiterating his endorsement of Wright and calling on supporters to vote for her. 

"I'm asking you to go out and vote for a great Republican, a great woman, Susan Wright," Trump says in the robocall. 

"She's outstanding. Like me, she's strong on immigration, she's tough on crime, and she's going to cut your taxes." 

Wright and Ellzey are running in the Texas Sixth District runoff after both were the top vote-getters in the May election to replace the late Rep. Ron Wright, who died earlier this year. Texas election laws have the top-two candidates in a special election move onto a general election unless one wins a majority of the vote on the first ballot.  

Trump went on to praise the former congressman in the robocall, saying that his wife will "carry on Ron's legacy." The call notes that its distribution will be paid for by the Wright campaign. 

The news of the robocall wasn't the only Trump-related development in the race over the weekend. Make America Great Again Action Inc, a super PAC reportedly helmed by former 2016 Trump campaign manager Cory Lewandowski, reported a last-minute, $100,000 TV-ad expenditure aimed at boosting Wright. 

430d ago / 4:27 PM UTC

McAuliffe launches first TV ad of general election

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Virginia Republican gubernatorial nominee Glenn Youngkin has blanketed Virginia’s airwaves for months, and now his opponent, former Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe, is up with his first TV ad since clinching the Democratic nomination. 

The ad touts McAuliffe’s record as Virginia governor from 2014-2017, and it also ties Youngkin to former President Donald Trump.

“When I was governor last time, I worked with reasonable Republicans to get things done,” McAuliffe says in the ad. “We created thousands of new jobs, put billions into our infrastructure projects and a billion dollars into education.” 

“But let me be clear, Glenn Youngkin is not a reasonable Republican. He is a loyalist to Donald Trump.”

It's no surprise that Trump is a central figure in the ad — McAuliffe has, from even before he won the primary election, made Trump a centerpiece of his own bid, criticizing Youngkin and trying to tie him to the former president who lost the state in 2020 by 10 points. 

Youngkin even sought to push back at that messaging in a recent digital ad where he linked the Democrat to Trump. And on Wednesday night, Youngkin tried to frame McAuliffe as the partisan. 

The Republican nominee has had the airwaves largely to himself, at least in the general election, until today. From the day McAuliffe clinched the Democratic nomination (June 8), Youngkin has spent $3.6 million on TV and digital ads, according to AdImpact, compared to less than $300,000 in ad spending by McAuliffe, all on digital. But McAuliffe, a strong fundraiser, is expected to ramp up the TV spending in the months to come in the highest-profile race of 2021. 

430d ago / 2:15 PM UTC

Former Democratic Rep. Finkenauer running for Senate in Iowa

Former Iowa Democratic Rep. Abby Finkenauer is running for Senate, looking to win the seat currently held by longtime Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley. 

Finkenauer, 32, served one term in Congress after winning Iowa's First District in the 2018 midterms, but lost to now GOP Rep. Ashley Hinson in one of the top congressional races of 2020. An early endorser of President Joe Biden, Finkenauer emphasized the working class and those being "left behind" in her announcement video. She also includes a significant focus on the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, laying blame at the feet of Republicans like Grassley for not protecting democracy. 

"The politicians who have been there for decades don’t really want people like us there. They think they own democracy and they were silent when it was attacked. It’s politicians like Sen. Grassley and Mitch McConnell who should know better, but are so obsessed with power they oppose anything that moves us forward. Since the Capitol was attacked, they’ve turned their backs on democracy and on us," she said. 

Grassley hasn't said whether he'd run or not, but if the 87-year-old seeks re-election, he'd be the heavy favorite in a state former President Trump won twice and where he's been the senator for more than 40 years. 

In a statement, National Republican Senatorial Committee spokeswoman Katharine Cooksey framed Finkenauer as too liberal for the state.

“Abby Finkenauer and her far-Left positions are indistinguishable from those of Bernie Sanders, AOC, and the socialist squad, so it’s not surprising Iowans fired her just last year," she said.

Right now, Finkenauer is the highest-profile Democrat in the race. Rep. Cindy Axne hasn't ruled out a bid and former county supervisor Dave Muhlbauer is the other Democrat running right now.

431d ago / 3:39 PM UTC

New fundraising totals show how party committees are gearing up for crucial midterms

The Democratic National Committee edged out the Republican National Committee in fundraising over the first six months of the year, even as Republican congressional committees edged out their Democratic rivals over the same time period. 

The DNC raised $87.1 million through June, with $63.1 million left in the bank, new Federal Election Commission reports show. By comparison, the RNC raised $85 million but ended June with significantly more money, $81.7 million, in the bank, than the DNC. National party committees 

At the congressional-committee level, both the National Republican Senatorial Committee and the National Congressional Campaign Committee outraised their Democratic counterparts, with both parties flush with cash as the battle for control of Congress begins. 

The NRCC closed its June books having raised $79.3 million this year and with $55 million in the bank. The DCCC finished with $70.7 million and $44.3 million in cash on hand. 

The NRSC raised $51.2 million through June and banked $25.1 million, with the DSCC raising $46.6 million and banking away $11.6 million. 

The congressional committees are largely more flush with cash than they were ahead of the 2018 midterms, as Democrats' narrow majorities in the House and Senate mean that both chambers will be up for grabs in the 2022 midterms 

433d ago / 3:59 PM UTC

Early voting begins in Texas House special election

Monday marks the beginning of early voting in Texas’ 6th Congressional District special election runoff, as voters get ready to choose the Republican who will fill the empty seat. 

The seat’s been vacant since January, when GOP Rep. Ron Wright passed away. His widow, Susan Wright, and state Rep. Jake Ellzey are running against each other in a runoff because they were the two highest vote-getters in the first round of voting in May, but neither was able to win the race outright with the majority of the vote. 

Susan Wright, widow of GOP Rep. Ron Wright, and Rep. Jake Ellzey
Susan Wright, widow of GOP Rep. Ron Wright, and Rep. Jake EllzeySusan Wright for Congress; Jake Ellzey for Congress

Susan Wright is running with the backing of former President Donald Trump, Reps. Stefanik, Granger, Roy, Gohmert, Sen. Ted Cruz and more. She’s raised $740,000 for her bid, but has spent a little more than $576,000. 

While he lacks the marquee national endorsements, Ellzey is backed by former Texas Republican Gov. (and former Energy Secretary) Rick Perry, Texas GOP Rep. Dan Crenshaw and the Dallas Morning News’ Editorial Board. Plus, he’s the leading fundraiser in the race, having raised $1.7 million and spent almost $1.3 million. 

While Wright has been significantly outspent on the airwaves by Ellzey, she has received some significant air cover from a powerful ally: the conservative Club for Growth Action. The Club has spent almost $350,000 on ads for Wright, making the group the largest ad spender in the race, according to AdImpact, and pushing the combined pro-Wright spending above that of pro-Ellzey forces. 

436d ago / 7:40 PM UTC

What we learned from the second campaign fundraising deadline of 2021

Thursday marked the Federal Election Commission's 2nd Quarter deadline, covering fundraising for federal candidates largely from April through June (political action committees either file monthly, quarterly, or semi-annually and not included in this deadline).

While it’s still early in the 2022 election cycle, the reports are an important gauge as to how these key contests are shaping up. And that’s particularly important ahead of this cycle, where both the House and the Senate majorities are in play.

Here’s a look at some of what we learned from the 2nd Quarter FEC reports.

The battle for the Senate is drawing big money

With the balance of power in Congress up for grabs in 2022, Senate incumbents and top challengers are already hauling in eye-popping amounts of money.  

Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., leads the pack among incumbents raising money for their re-election — he raised $9.6 million in the second quarter, ending June with a $14.4 million warchest. Scott isn’t seen as particularly vulnerable, as the state hasn’t elected a Democrat to the Senate since 1998 and Democrat Jaime Harrison ended up losing his 2020 Senate challenge to Republican Sen. Lindsay Graham by about 10 points.

Ohio Republican Mike Gibbons raised more than any other challenger with $6.2 million, but almost $5.7 million of that was in loans. 

Not including personal loans, Rep. Val Demings, D-Fla., raised the most of any Senate challenger with $4.7 million raised and $3.1 million in cash on hand. Her would-be GOP opponent (assuming she wins the primary, in which she’s heavily favored), Sen. Marco Rubio, also had a strong quarter and raised $4 million to leave his cash on hand at $6.3 million.  

Ten other incumbents facing re-election raised more than $2 million this past quarter: 

  • Sen. Raphael Warnock, D-Ga., ($7.2 million)
  • Sen. Mark Kelly, D-Ariz., ($6 million)
  • Sen. Maggie Hassan, D-N.H., ($3.3 million)
  • Sen. John Kennedy, R-La., ($3 million)
  • Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, D-N.M., ($2.8 million)
  • Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., ($2.7 million)
  • Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., ($2.4 million)
  • Sen. Alex Padilla, D-Calif., ($2.2 million)
  • Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., ($2 million)
  • Sen. Todd Young, R-Ind., ($2 million).  

Other incumbent senators to note include:  

Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wisc., hasn’t announced whether or not he’s seeking re-election, but he raised $1.2 million last quarter should he opt to run again in this battleground state.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, who former president Donald Trump has publicly pledged to defeat, raised $1.1 million and is running in a field that includes a Trump-backed Republican challenger.

Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla. who is facing a primary challenger, raised under $800,000

Sen. John Boozman, R-Ark., who just drew a primary challenger, raised less than $900,000.

Senate challengers who raised over $1 million include: Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio,  ($3.1 million); Pennsylvania Democratic Lt. Gov. John Fetterman ($2.5 million); Ohio Republican Bernie Moreno ($2.3 million); Arizona Republican Jim Lamon ($2.2 million); North Carolina Democrat Cheri Beasley ($1.3 million); former North Carolina Republican Gov. Pat McCrory ($1.2 million); Pennsylvania Democrat Val Arkoosh ($1 million); and Pennsylvania Republican Jeff Bartos ($1 million).  

Corporate spigot beginning to turn on again, even among those who paused donations after Jan. 6

Many corporations that decided to re-evaluate their political donation policies after the vote on certifying the Electoral College results, as well as the attack on the Capitol by Trump supporters, are still sitting on the sidelines. But others have re-started their giving.  

Toyota has become one of the most prominent companies in this saga — after initially saying they would reassess their giving and then returning to donate to Republicans who voted against the certification, they reversed course and announced they’d no longer donate to lawmakers who objected to that Electoral College count.  

Cigna, American Airlines, Bloomin Brands, Boeing, and UPS are among the companies who expressed concerns about their political donations after Jan. 6 and have since begun donating to those who objected to the Electoral College count again.  

Even so, many of the Republican lawmakers who objected reported little to no corporate donations in the second quarter of 2021.

Anti-Trump Republicans can still raise good money, but so can Trump’s biggest allies 

For the handful of Republicans who voted to impeach Trump in January, their vote may have frustrated many within their party. But it hasn’t necessarily made a dent in their fundraising capacity.  

Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., raised $1.9 million last quarter, more than all but six members of Congress. And Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., raised more than $800,000, a significant uptick from his previous fundraising.  

Rep. Anthony Gonzalez, R-Ohio, facing a primary challenger blessed by Trump himself, raised over $600,000 last quarter, more than double what he raised during the same three-month stretch in 2020, months before an election.  

But tying yourself to Trump is still lucrative for a Republican. Rep. Jim Jordan’s, R-Ohio, $1.6 million raised was more than all but seven members of Congress. And Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., finished one just behind Jordan with almost $1.6 million raised, followed by Rep. Matt Gaetz’s, R-Fla., $1.4 million and Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., who raised $1.2 million as she successfully ran to take over Cheney’s spot in GOP House leadership.  

Other odds and ends 

As first reported by the Daily Beast, embattled Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz is burning some serious cash on consulting (and $15,000 to a firm linked to Trump ally Roger Stone.  

A handful of senators with presidential ambitions are filling their campaign coffers despite not having to worry about a race in 2022. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, raised almost $4.7 million last quarter, more than any incumbent senator besides Scott, despite not having to run again until 2024. And Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., raised $2.1 million last quarter and won’t face re-election until 2024 as well.  

Rep. Dan Crenshaw, R-Texas, also had a huge quarter for a House incumbent, raising more than $3 million, the most of any House member who isn't in leadership or running for Senate. 

436d ago / 4:11 PM UTC

In North Carolina, Democratic candidates open up in order to stand out

The Democratic candidates running for North Carolina’s soon-to-be-vacant Senate seat have held the traditional town halls and embarked on the usual county-by-county tours across the state — all to introduce themselves to voters before next year’s competitive primary.

And when it comes to digital space, several candidates have sought to differentiate themselves from a competitive field in unique ways: Using social media to discuss their personal finances on TikTok, capturing themselves at a progressive climate rally and providing a history lesson on Juneteenth.

The three top Democrats vying for the open seat being vacated by Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., are former North Carolina Chief Justice Cheri Beasley, former state Sen. Erica Smith and state Sen. Jeff Jackson. The eventual nominee will face off against the winner of an equally competitive GOP primary in a state where Democrats narrowly lost both the presidential contest and a key Senate race last year. 

For Jackson, social media has allowed him to give voters a window into his daily life, which he says supports one of his campaign’s core goals of transparency. On TikTok, Jackson has posted videos breaking down his family’s finances and calling out lawmakers in the North Carolina Senate. On Twitter and Facebook, he’s regularly posted his answers to town hall questions and shared family moments with his kids.  

“In this cycle, playing it safe is just too risky,” Jackson said in an interview with NBC News. “You've got to be willing to hold yourself out there and let people get to know who you are. You have to be willing to take an energetic or a transparent approach, or we're just going to lose.”

For Smith, social media has given her the chance to showcase her progressive platform, her background growing up in rural North Carolina and her experience as a minister. On Twitter, she’s posted videos including her attendance at a Sunrise Movement climate protest in Washington D.C. last month as well as her North Carolina campaign stops with fellow progressive Gary Chambers of Louisiana. On TikTok, she’s advocated abolishing private prisons and releasing the body camera footage relating to the killing of Andrew Brown Jr. by North Carolina sheriff’s deputies in April.

“If you can scroll through 15 posts on someone's Twitter, and you don't know what they stand for or what they're fighting for, then they're hiding something from you,” Morris Katz, Smith’s communications director, said in an interview with NBC News.

For Beasley, she’s used social media to highlight her historic tenure as the state’s first Black chief justice and previous statewide wins in North Carolina, along with sharing the stories of those she’s met while touring the state. She’s also shared informational videos to Twitter, including one on the significance of Juneteenth.

“Our campaign is reaching North Carolinians in creative and diverse ways, including on social media through photos that tell the story of her visits with people all around the state, videos that allow her to speak directly to voters, and relevant and informational news clips and graphics,” Dory MacMillan, Beasley’s communications director, said in a statement to NBC News.

But with an increasingly fractured media environment and many voters who also aren’t online, the campaigns noted that this time around, efforts to reach voters across North Carolina need to be all-encompassing.

“It's increasingly hard to reach voters through any single avenue,” Katz said. “So you need to be doing everything. You need to be going to 100 different counties in North Carolina; you need to be talking to local papers; you need to be talking to national papers; you need to be talking through different social media channels.”

438d ago / 10:51 AM UTC

House Republican campaign arm bests Democrats in latest fundraising haul

The National Republican Congressional Committee raised more than $45.4 million in the second quarter of 2021, besting its Democratic counterparts by nearly $9 million as the battle for control of the House heats up, according to numbers shared by the GOP group.

The NRCC said it raised over $20 million in June, which is $5.6 million more than the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee brought in last month.

"We will take back the majority next fall and voters are doing everything they can to help us accomplish that goal," Rep. Tom Emmer, R-Minn., chair of the NRCC, said in a statement, adding, "Every vulnerable House Democrat should be eyeing the exits because if they choose to run, they will lose."

The NRCC said it raised nearly twice as much in the first half of 2021 as it did in the first half of 2019 — or the same timeframe from the previous cycle. It said the haul was its best first-half total in committee history while June saw the committee set a record for most cash brought in during an off-year month. It ended the quarter with $55 million in cash on hand.

The NRCC totals come after the DCCC announced its haul of $36.5 million for the second quarter earlier this month. Its June total was the second-best of any month this year, trailing March. It concluded the first half of 2021 with more than $44 million in the bank, about $19 million more than it held at this point in 2019, the organization said.

"While Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and House Republicans prioritize extremism and lies, Democrats in Congress are working each day to continue uplifting the American people," Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, D-N.Y., chair of the DCCC, said in a statement. "Our strong fundraising success shows American voters are rejecting Republican extremism and know just how critical a Democratic House Majority is to protecting our democracy and delivering for American families."

July fundraising reports are not due to the Federal Election Commission until Tuesday. The two groups have traded fundraising leads throughout the year with the NRCC topping the DCCC in January, March and May as the DCCC edging out its counterpart in February and April.

439d ago / 7:33 PM UTC

GOP groups take to the All-Star Game airwaves

Baseball may be America's pastime, but during Tuesday's Major League Baseball All-Star Game, the airwaves will be inundated with another national hobby — political disagreement.

This year's showcase of the league's top players has been wrapped up in politics since the MLB moved it to Denver amid protests of recent voting laws passed in Georgia. And now, several Republican groups are planning to run television ads during the game to highlight the controversy. 

The Republican National Committee announced Monday it is spending seven figures to run a new ad during the game on FOX, as well as on other channels, an ad that argues "Democrats stole our All-Star Game to push their divisive political agenda" and in the process harmed businesses in the Atlanta area. The ad goes on to tout popular voter ID policies, sharing party polling on the issue, amid a broad fight playing out across the country over voting laws and on the implications of former President Donald Trump's false claims he won the 2020 election. 

Democrats and voting rights activists have blasted Georgia's new voting laws, particularly highlighting new measures like identification requirements for mail-in voting and restrictions on giving voters waiting in line food and water. In a statement addressing the new GOP ads, the Georgia Democratic Party accused Republicans of waging a "misinformation campaign"  in order to "deflect blame from their bad, divisive policy." 

“The MLB All-Star Game would be played in Georgia today were it not for Brian Kemp and Georgia Republicans’ divisive, racist attack on voting rights – plain and simple. The GOP chose voter suppression and partisan politics over Georgia’s economy when it passed SB 202, driving investments like the All-Star Game out of our state in the process,” Scott Hogan, the state Democratic Party's executive director, said in a statement. 

Republicans have argued those concerns are overblown and that the changes were needed to shore up election security.

The GOP's Senate campaign arm, the National Republican Senatorial Committee, is getting in on the mix too with a spot (which ran during the Home Run Derby on Monday and will run again during the Tuesday game) that links Sen. Raphael Warnock, D-Ga., to the decision to move the game. 

"Baseball's midsummer classic, the All-Star Game, a $100 million boost to Georgia's economy until the radical left, woke crowd took it all away," the ad's narrator says, claiming Warnock "refused to oppose it." 

Before the MLB made the decision to move the game, Warnock told MSNBC's Rachel Maddow "we need Georgia businesses to stand up ... stand up against voter suppression," but did not explicitly support the idea of moving the game. After the MLB picked up and left, Warnock said in a statement that the "decision by MLB is the unfortunate consequence of these politicians’ actions" and that he hopes businesses "can protest this law not by leaving Georgia but by coming here and fighting voter suppression head on."

The Heritage Foundation is also running a six-figure ad campaign promoting the new Georgia law by boosting the GOP's arguments in favor of it while criticizing those who oppose it. 

And. at least one candidate is getting in on the fray — Rep. Buddy Carter, R-Ga., who is seen as a possible Senate candidate. In it, Carter sits at a baseball park lamenting the decision to move the game and highlighting how he's not "afraid to go toe-to-toe against the leftist Democrats to save America," touting his work with Trump in Congress. 

440d ago / 4:44 PM UTC

Youngkin drops new digital ad that tries to tie Democrat McAuliffe to Trump

Virginia Republican gubernatorial nominee Glenn Youngkin is trying to flip the script on his Democratic rival by trying to link former Gov. Terry McAuliffe to former President Donald Trump. 

Trump has endorsed Youngkin. And McAuliffe has spent much of his campaign trying to tie the two Republicans together after Trump lost the state by 10 percentage points. 

But in a new digital ad, the Youngkin campaign tries to push back on that frame by arguing that while McAuliffe "spends all his time attacking Donald Trump," he solicited money from Trump during his own political career. 

The ad points to a $25,000 donation from Trump to McAuliffe during his 2009 gubernatorial campaign (when Trump regularly donated to politicians of both parties, and well before his attacks on then-President Barack Obama's nationality). And it features comments both Trump and McAuliffe made during the 2017 National Governors Association dinner. At the time, McAuliffe helmed the NGA and attended the dinner at the White House, where Trump called him a "friend" and the Democrat toasted Trump as he called for governors to work together to make America stronger. 

"Come on, McAuliffe. Stop talking out of both sides of your mouth," the ad's narrator says. 

Christina Freundlich, a McAuliffe spokesperson, brushed aside the spot in a statement that needled the Republican over the ongoing debate negotiations in the race. 

"No amount of bogus advertising will hide Virginians from Glenn Youngkin's own words: that he is 'honored' to have Donald Trump's endorsement and 'Donald Trump represents so much' of why he's running. Glenn needs to buck up and face Terry McAuliffe in the Virginia Bar Association debate so they can hear him once again give praise to Donald Trump right from his own mouth," Freundlich said. 

McAuliffe's campaign has run digital ads amplifying Youngkin's comments about Trump as well as the former president's endorsement.

Trump also recently put out another statement praising Youngkin that included similar arguments to the one the Republican is making now. 

444d ago / 12:37 PM UTC

Kelly, Fetterman and Britt raise big money as 2022 Senate fundraising totals trickle in

Pennsylvania Democratic Senate hopeful Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, is out Thursday with his second-quarter fundraising total: $2.5 million. 

The Federal Election Commission’s second quarter ended in June, but campaigns have until July 15 to file their full fundraising reports. That means that any information about fundraising that trickles out before then comes from the campaigns themselves. 

One of Fetterman’s opponents, Montgomery County Commissioner Val Arkoosh, says she raised $1 million last quarter, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. Other Democratic primary hopefuls, notably state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, have not yet released their fundraising totals. 

Tom Wolf Sworn In For Second Term As Pennsylvania's Governor
Lt. Gov. John Fetterman introduces Gov.Tom Wolf during an inaugural ceremony on Jan. 15, 2019, in Harrisburg, Pa.Mark Makela / Getty Images file

Ahead of that deadline, here’s what we know so far from some of the 2022 Senate campaigns themselves (note: Unless they publicly volunteer the information, there’s no way to know if a candidate is relying on any form of self-funding until seeing the FEC filings).

Arizona

Incumbent Sen. Mark Kelly raised an eye-popping sum in the second quarter, almost $6 million according to the campaign, which it says leaves Kelly with more than $7 million in the bank. Kelly is running in what could be one of the more competitive races of the cycle, but has been a prolific fundraiser as both a candidate and as a senator. 

Ohio

Two of Ohio’s top GOP Senate candidates have already released their fundraising figures, and they’re quite similar. 

Josh Mandel, the former Ohio state treasurer, says he raised $1.5 million over the quarter, just above the $1.4 million raised by former state GOP chairwoman Jane Timken

Businessman Mike Gibbons, who has loaned significant amounts of his own money to his political career, says he raised $6 million over the quarter. But the campaign also says it had about 1,500 donors over the quarter, which suggests he loaned millions more to his campaign as well. 

On the Democratic side, Rep. Tim Ryan says he raised almost $2.3 million last quarter for his Senate bid. 

North Carolina

Former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Cheri Beasley reported raising almost $1.3 million in the second quarter in her bid to win the Democratic Senate nomination, despite her launching her campaign almost a month into the quarter. 

State Sen. Jeff Jackson’s campaign announced he raised $700,000 over the second quarter, according to the Charlotte News and Observer

Alabama

Katie Britt, the former chief of staff to the retiring Republican Sen. Richard Shelby, says she has raised $2.2 million since she announced her campaign less than a month before the end of the fundraising quarter. 

One of Britt’s primary opponents, former Ambassador Lynda Blanchard, has loaned her campaign millions of dollars but hasn’t yet released new fundraising figures. Neither has GOP Rep. Mo Brooks, who is also running and has been endorsed by former President Donald Trump. 

Florida

The Florida Senate race is also shaping up to be expensive. Democratic Rep. Val Demings' campaign announced Thursday it raised $4.6 million, while Republican Sen. Marco Rubio told Fox News he raised $4 million. 

445d ago / 9:05 PM UTC

Early voting begins in two Ohio special House elections

Voters can begin voting today in two special House elections in Ohio to fill seats vacated by former Reps. Steve Stivers and Marcia Fudge, a Republican and a Democrat respectively. 

Neither district is expected to be competitive in the general election, making the primaries the biggest game in town. And early voting ahead of the Aug. 3 primaries begins Wednesday. 

Here's a glimpse of the state of play in both districts, Ohio's 11th (formerly held by the Democrat Fudge) and 15th (formerly held by the Republican Stivers): 

Ohio's 11th Congressional District 

The Cleveland-area district has turned into a two-candidate race between Democrats Nina Turner and Shontel Brown. 

Turner is a former state senator who made headlines when she shifted allegiances in the 2016 Democratic presidential primary from Hillary Clinton to Bernie Sanders. Turner emerged as one of Sanders' most vocal surrogates, helming his allied political group Our Revolution and serving as his 2020 campaign co-chair.

She's won the backing of national progressives like Sanders, Massachusetts Democratic Sen. Ed Markey, the four members of "The Squad," and the co-chairs of the Progressive Caucus, Democratic Reps. Pramila Jayapal and Mark Pocan. But Turner has also won over prominent local endorsements from politicians like Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson, former state party chairman David Pepper and the Cleveland Plain Dealer. 

Turner has already spent about $1.2 million on television and digital ads, according to data from AdImpact, and through March (the most recent campaign fundraising deadline) had raised almost $1.6 million. 

Brown, a Cuyahoga County Council representative who lead's the county's branch of the Democratic Party, has won the backing of people including Clinton, Ohio Rep. Joyce Beatty (who chairs the Congressional Black Caucus, whose PAC has also endorsed Brown), California Rep. Pete Aguilar (a member of House leadership), and Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan. 

She's spent about $500,000 in digital and television ads, per AdImpact, with the allied Democratic Majority for Israel spending another $180,000. She had raised $640,000 through March

No other candidate had raised over $25,000 through March, and the winner of the primary will be a heavy favorite in a district President Joe Biden won with 80 percent of the vote (according to DailyKos' data). 

Ohio's 15th Congressional District 

The field is a bit wider in the Republican-leaning 15th district. Because Stivers announced his retirement  in April, after the first campaign fundraising deadline of 2021, there's no current information on how much money candidates are raising. 

So far, businessman Thomas Hwang has spent the most of any candidate on television ads, just under $150,000 per Advertising Analytics. Mike Carey, the coal executive backed by former President Donald Trump, has spent the second most, just under $100,000. 

While Jeff LaRe, the state representative endorsed by Stivers, has barely spent on the airwaves, Stivers has spent almost $290,000 with an ad asking voters to support LaRe. 

This is another race where the primary winner will be heavily favored — Trump won the district in 2020 with 56 percent of the vote. 

450d ago / 4:59 PM UTC

Fauci says uneven vaccination rates could lead to regional Covid spikes

Dr. Anthony Fauci, one of the nation’s foremost infectious disease experts, told “Meet the Press” that while he's not expecting a new, more transmissible Covid-19 variant to lead to another nationwide spike, he worries that uneven vaccination rates could mean regional spikes in infections. 

"I don't think you're going to be seeing anything nationwide because, fortunately, we have a substantial proportion of the population vaccinated. So it's going to be regional," Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said during an interview for a special edition of "Meet the Press" airing Sunday. 

"We're going to see, and I've said, almost two types of America. You know, those regions of America which are highly vaccinated and we have a low level of dynamics of infection. And in some places, some states, some cities, some areas, where the level of vaccination is low and the level of virus dissemination is high. That's where you're going to see the spikes."

The World Health Organization has warned that the new delta variant of Covid-19 is "the most transmissible" yet, leading Fauci to warn previously it's the "greatest threat" to America's attempts to stamp out the virus. Health officials are particularly concerned that the delta variant could wreak havoc on communities where vaccination rates are low. 

451d ago / 5:27 PM UTC

Two Senate hopefuls take the plunge

Two Senate hopefuls are taking the plunge on Thursday, announcing their candidacies in the hopes of winning a spot in the U.S. Senate next year. 

Charles Booker, the former Kentucky state lawmaker who narrowly lost Kentucky's Democratic Senate primary in 2020, is running again this cycle in the hopes of dethroning Republican Sen. Rand Paul. 

Booker had previously announced he was exploring a bid, but he made his campaign official in a new video released Thursday. 

"For so many people across Kentucky and across the country, freedom hasn't been freedom for us," Booker says in the video, before evoking Breonna Taylor, the Kentucky woman who was killed in a police raid on her house last year. 

"We can make freedom ring true, we could make it ring for everybody. We can build a future where Breonna's door isn't kicked in."

If Booker wins the Democratic nomination, he'll face Paul in an uphill battle. Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell won his re-election last year by almost 20 points, and Kentucky hasn't elected a Democrat to the Senate since 1992. That said, Democrat Andy Beshear won the governor's race in 2019.

There's also another candidate expected to jump into a Senate field today — author J.D. Vance, who has been eying a run for Senate in Ohio.

Vance is hosting a Thursday evening rally where he's promised a "special announcement," and filed documentation with Federal Election Commission to ready for a Senate bid.

Assuming he runs, the Republican will join a crowded field that's looking to replace the retiring Sen. Rob Portman. On the right, former state GOP treasurer Jane Timken, former secretary of state Josh Mandel and businessmen Bernie Moreno and Mike Gibbons are among the candidates looking for the GOP nomination, while Rep. Tim Ryan is the frontrunner among Democrats. 

452d ago / 6:08 PM UTC

Garcia defends ranked-choice voting after NYC errors mar mayoral primary vote count

Kathryn Garcia, the New York City Democratic mayoral hopeful, defended the ranked-choice voting process the city is using for its mayoral primaries after a Board of Elections error threw the vote count into chaos.

During an interview on Wednesday's "MTP Daily," Garcia said that "ranked choice isn't that complicated to do once you have the data." 

"The challenges we had yesterday were not related to rank choice voting, that was a human error, but ranked-choice voting does allow you to really be able to have a positive campaign, and to talk about issues rather than trying to tear down your opponent," she said.

"And so I was very pleased to have ranked-choice voting be part of this, because it's the campaign I wanted to run, was one where I got to talk about the things that were impacting New Yorkers, because we’ve got a lot of work to do."

452d ago / 4:59 PM UTC

A look at Texas' border counties as immigration fights heat up

As Republican lawmakers and governors repeatedly attack President Joe Biden's border policies, former President Donald Trump travels to the Texas-Mexico border with Gov. Greg Abbott, R-Texas, on Wednesday. 

Texas' heavily Hispanic border counties (as designated by the state) have seen some strong political shifts over the last decade and are home to some interesting demographic trends. Here's a look at some of the dynamics on the ground in these counties, which are at the center of the immigration debate. 

GOP gains serious ground from 2008 to 2020

Republicans improved their vote share at the presidential level in 20 out of the 32 Texas border counties between 2008 and 2020. The largest gains (of at least 10 percentage points) came in McMullen, Hudspeth, Jeff Davis, Kenedy, Dimmit and Jim Hogg counties. Those counties are all relatively small, with less than 10,000 people (two, Kenedy and McMullen, are among the 10 smallest counties in the state).

While McMullen saw the largest shift toward the GOP over that period — an almost 19-percentage-point improvement of vote share — the few Democratic gains were significantly smaller. In Sutton, the border county with the largest Democratic-vote-share improvement, Democrats gained just 5 percentage points. 

The largest counties in the state — Hidalgo, El Paso, Cameron and Webb all saw single-digit vote-share gains for Republicans over that period. 

Border counties are largely Hispanic, have lower rates of higher education

These counties are also heavily Hispanic — according to 2019 data from the Census' American Community Survey, 28 of the 32 are majority Hispanic, and the majority of households speak Spanish in 25 of the counties.

In fact, 13 of these counties have among the largest share of Hispanics in America compared to any county.

These counties also have other demographic trends in common too. In all 32 counties, less than half the population has a Bachelor's degree or higher, but the majority has graduated high school in all but one of the border counties. 

In all but five counties, the majority of the population are not U.S. citizens.  

And 23 counties, the population increased between 2010 and 2019, compared to nine counties that saw a decrease in population. 

Median household income in all 32 counties in 2019 ranges from $25,000 (Presidio County) to $62,000 (McMullen County). The median household income in the state is just under $62,000.

Covid-19 hits border counties hard, but they have high vaccination rates 

Western Texas, especially many counties along the border, was hit hard by the coronavirus. According to data from the New York Times, 25 percent of all Dimmit County residents had the virus; and 1 in 163 residents of Maverick County died because of it, for example. 

But many of these counties also have among the highest rates of people vaccinated for the coronavirus in the state. For example, 85 percent of those at least 12 years old in Presidio County are fully vaccinated; 71 percent are fully vaccinated in Starr County; 70 percent are fully vaccinated in Webb County; and 65 percent are fully vaccinated in El Paso County. 

453d ago / 2:09 PM UTC

Newsom sues California secretary of state to have his party ID included on recall ballot

Democratic California Gov. Gavin Newsom is favored to defeat the eventual recall election against him.

But he might have to deal with this hurdle: His political party — as of now — won’t be listed on the recall ballot thanks to what amounts to a small paperwork error back in 2020, when organizers were beginning the latest effort to recall him. 

According to Courthouse News, which first reported on the lawsuit, Newsom is suing California's secretary of state to argue he should be able to amend that paperwork, and that California voters have a right "to be accurately and fully informed about the recall election," which his legal team claims includes noting the governor's political party on the ballot. 

The Newsom recall is a two-question ballot: The first asks voters if they want to recall the governor, and the second asks them to choose from a (likely lengthy) list of replacement candidates if the governor is in fact recalled by a majority vote on the first question. 

While the party preference of the incumbent facing recall hadn't always been listed on ballots (it wasn't during the 2003 recall of then-Gov. Gray Davis, who was a Democrat), the law has since been changed to include it. 

There's no set date for the recall election, but the secretary of state confirmed last week that there are enough valid signatures to move forward with scheduling one. 

454d ago / 2:35 PM UTC

Youngkin begins Virginia general election with big spending advantage

Three weeks after the Democratic primary and the start of Virginia’s gubernatorial general election, Republican nominee Glenn Youngkin has jumped out to a 40-to-1 ad-spending advantage over Democratic nominee Terry McAuliffe, according to data from Adimpact.

Youngkin has spent more than $2.2 million in ads from June 9 (the day after McAuliffe’s primary win) through Monday, June 28, including more than $1.5 million over the Washington, D.C. area’s pricey airwaves to target Northern Virginia voters. (Here’s one of the new TV ads Youngkin has been airing.)

Image: Glenn Youngkin
Glenn Youngkin makes his closing remarks during a GOP gubernatorial candidate forum in Lynchburg, Va., on April 19, 2021.Kendall Warner / The News and Advance via AP file

By comparison, McAuliffe has spent just $55,000 on ads during that same time period — all of the amount on digital ads.

The wealthy Youngkin, the former executive of the Carlyle Group, has promised to raise and spend $75 million for his campaign, which the Washington Post says is more than the $66 million the Democratic and GOP campaigns spent, combined, four years ago in this race. 

As the fall general election gets closer, the traditionally well-financed McAuliffe will certainly narrow this spending gap and the former governor spent $5.9 million on ads during the Democratic primary.

But money is going to be one advantage Youngkin will enjoy throughout the course of this campaign.

458d ago / 8:31 PM UTC

Nearly 9-in-10 Americans say U.S. is more divided now than before pandemic outbreak

An overwhelming 88 percent of Americans believe the country is more divided now than it was before the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, which is up 11 points from a year ago, according to newly released results from a Pew Research Center poll.

Americans believe their country is more divided now than residents of every other advanced nation where Pew asked this question, including in the Netherlands (where 83 percent said their country was more divided than before the pandemic), Germany (77 percent), Spain (77 percent), France (68 percent), Italy (63 percent) and the United Kingdom (54 percent).  

The online poll was conducted Feb. 1-7 of nearly 2,600 U.S. adults — a month after the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol — and has a margin of error of plus-minus 2.7 percentage points.The Pew polls for the other nations were conducted this spring.  

To underscore the U.S. political divide over the pandemic, the survey found just 7 percent of liberals thinking there should have been fewer restrictions on public activity during the pandemic, compared with 52 percent of conservatives who said that.  Overall, 56 percent of all Americans surveyed said there should have been more restrictions on public activity during the pandemic over the course of the pandemic.   

458d ago / 6:38 PM UTC

Braun: Moment of 'Euphoria,' but long way to go on bipartisan infrastructure deal

Sen. Mike Braun, R-Ind., celebrated the new, bipartisan infrastructure deal on Thursday's "MTP Daily" even as he warned that lawmakers will still need to do a lot of work to get the bill passed with 60 votes. 

"Clearly, our roads and bridges, and even when you expand infrastructure further to include rural broadband, water, sewer treatment plans, it's a big need for investment," Braun said. 

"What we saw a moment ago was a moment of euphoria before a lot of behind-the-scenes work. I've never seen so many senators laughing in the same spot since I've been here." 

Braun, who was not one of the five Republican and five Democratic senators who decamped to the White House Thursday for negotiations, added that he thinks the deal has a "shot of making it through" if the bill has clear ways to pay for the new spending. But he questioned whether Republicans may balk at the deal because of Democratic promises to seek a second bill, which could be passed only with Democratic support, that includes costly Democratic wish-list issues that were left out of the agreement, like climate change mitigation. 

"It will beg the question: Is this just a way to get our attention by separating the stuff we like out of the bigger reconciliation? Believe me, you'll have many on my side of the aisle that may not be for the hard infrastructure part of it if they think it's just a gimmick to get, in two steps, what we probably would have been against if it had been its entirety," he said. 

"I want to give it the benefit of the doubt. I'm a fiscal hawk. As long as there are hard pay-fors, we need the infrastructure investment. 

459d ago / 8:02 PM UTC

Election Day was Tuesday in NYC's mayoral primaries. What happens next?

Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams took an early lead by Tuesday night in the New York City Democratic mayoral primary — emphasis on "early."

While the Associated Press projected that Republican Curtis Sliwa will be the Republican nominee (he ran against just one other candidate and is ahead by more than 40 points with votes still trickling in), it's unlikely Democrats will know their nominee for weeks, thanks to the massive field, late-arriving absentee ballots and the implementation of ranked-choice voting.

Adams had won 32 percent of the votes counted by midday Wednesday, with former city lawyer Maya Wiley at 22 percent, former sanitation commissioner Kathryn Garcia at 19.5 percent and former Democrat Andrew Yang (who conceded) at 12 percent. 

According to the city, those votes are all first-choice votes from both early and election-day voting, with absentee and affidavit votes to be counted next week. And since no candidate won a majority of the vote, under the ranked-choice system, votes will be re-allocated from the lowest-finishing candidates according to the preference a voter listed on their ballot. 

The city will ultimately release the first round of ranked-choice results on June 29, the next round on July 6, and again on subsequent Tuesdays until the city certifies the election after counting all the votes.

So while Adams' lead is significant right now, it will take weeks for New Yorkers to know for sure whose likely to be their next mayor (considering how Democratic-leaning the city is). 

460d ago / 8:47 PM UTC

GOP outside group spending $1 million in digital ads pressuring Mark Kelly to support keeping filibuster

A GOP outside group announced it is launching a one-million-dollar digital ad campaign pressuring Sen. Mark Kelly, D-Ariz., to support keeping the Senate filibuster, using Kelly's Arizona Senate colleague's words to up the heat on the Democrat.

The new digital ad from One Nation, a GOP group aligned with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, uses recent comments by Sen. Krysten Sinema, the Arizona Democrat who has repeatedly offered support for maintaining the filibuster, the Senate rule that effectively makes it so 60 senators must vote to debate on a piece of legislation. 

"Radical liberals want to change the rules of the Senate so they can ram through their extreme agenda on partisan lines," the ad's narrator says in the ad.

"Sen. Kyrsten Sinema says no way. But Sen. Mark Kelly won't say where he stands." 

The Hill first reported the details of the ad campaign. 

Arizona's senators are getting pressed from both sides on the issue. One day before the GOP group announced it would go after Kelly on the filibuster from the right, a progressive group announced it would spend $1.2 million on TV and $200,000 on digital ads hitting Sinema from the left on the same issue

Kelly hasn't come down on either side of the debate, recently telling NBC News he is open to "considering and looking at any proposed changes in the rules. 

"I will ultimately make a decision based on: Do I feel — is this in the best interest of the state of Arizona and the country?" he said. "And I'm not looking for something that is in the best interest of just Democrats."

460d ago / 7:43 PM UTC

NYC mayoral primary latest experiment in ranked-choice voting

Voters are voting in New York City's mayoral primary, the most prominent election held under ranked-choice voting in modern American history. 

Unlike in other kinds of elections, ranked-choice voting allows voters to fill out a list of preferences (first choice, second choice, etc.) on their ballots. If no candidate wins a majority of first-choice votes, the votes from lower-finishing candidates are re-allocated by their voters' preferences until one candidate has the majority of re-allocated votes. But that process takes time, which means final results may take days or even weeks. 

Today's vote in New York City is not the first experiment with the unique voting style. Here's a look at some recent examples of ranked-choice elections, as well as where to look out for them next.

Maine 2018 and 2020 elections 

Two of the highest-profile ranked-choice elections in recent memory were in Maine during the last two election cycles. 

The state's 2020 Senate election, in which Republican Sen. Susan Collins ultimately won another term over a challenge by former Democratic state House Speaker Sara Gideon (as well as two other independent candidates), had been expected to be one of the closest in the nation that year. That had many political analysts opining on how ranked-choice could affect the ultimate result, speculating that Collins might lead in the first round but lose if Gideon consolidates the anti-Collins vote on the subsequent re-alignment. 

But Collins won the majority of the votes on the first ballot, rendering the ranked-choice scenarios moot.

The more prominent example of ranked-choice in action came two years prior in the same state, when then-Rep. Bruce Poliquin ultimately lost to Democrat Jared Golden. Poliquin had the most votes after the first round, but because he didn't have the majority, Golden was able to secure the victory after re-allocating the votes from the bottom two candidates. While Poliquin sued over the result, a federal judge tossed the complaint and Golden was ultimately sworn in. 

Alaska elections for 2022 and beyond

After voters passed a ballot initiative in 2020, the state's future state and federal elections will proceed with a modified version of ranked-choice. Instead of partisan primaries, candidates will compete in one blanket primary with all candidates of any party on one ballot. The top four candidates move onto a general election in the fall, regardless of party, and that election will be conducted under ranked-choice.

This could be an interesting dynamic particularly in the state's Senate race, where Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, is being challenged by a field that includes Kelly Tshibaka, an Alaska Republican backed by former President Donald Trump after Murkowski backed Trump's impeachment earlier this year. 

461d ago / 6:48 PM UTC

Markey on infrastructure: "No climate, no deal"

Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass., told "MTP Daily" on Monday that he would not support an infrastructure deal unless it either included robust commitments on addressing the climate, or he received assurances that Democrats would pass a climate-centered bill after a bipartisan compromise was reached. 

As Democrats weigh a two-track path —  bringing a bipartisan compromise across the finish line while also setting up a vehicle to pass a more robust bill with only Democratic support — Markey said that his vote will hinge on whether the Senate guarantees it will tackle climate in an infrastructure bill. 

"I cannot support a deal that does not have a climate added center. No climate, no deal," he said. 

"There has to be an absolute guarantee that climate is dealt with, that the votes are going to be there to deal with the climate issues that are central to our generation's response to this crisis." 

The framework of the bipartisan deal leaves out climate and focuses on things like roads and bridges, unlike broader proposals from Democrats. Markey's stance on climate is just one of a growing number of lines progressives are drawing for opposing the compromise.

On Sunday's "Meet the Press, Vermont Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders said he wouldn't support a proposal that included a gas tax, electric vehicle fees or the privatization of infrastructure. 

461d ago / 4:36 PM UTC

Poll finds broad supports for expanded early voting and photo ID requirement

A new survey from Monmouth University shows broad national support for boosting access to early in-person voting and for requiring photo ID to vote — two voting rules that have been vocally embraced by Democrats and Republicans, respectively. 

But the survey also shows that making it easier to vote by mail —a key Democratic proposal — is more controversial and faces a deep partisan divide. 

The survey, which was conducted June 9 to 14, 2021 and has a margin of error of +/- 3.5 percentage points, comes as Democrats brace for their sweeping federal voting rights legislation to be blocked by a Senate filibuster. Republicans have vowed to stop the For the People Act, and a compromise bill put forward by Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va, still lacks enough votes to overcome a 60-vote threshold. 

Manchin's compromise seeks to marry some policies from both sides of the aisle.  From the left, his outline tells states to offer 15 consecutive early-voting days in federal elections and state departments of motor vehicles to automatically register voters. From the right, it calls for mandatory voter identification at the polls with an expanded list of eligible documentation. 

People fill out ballots at the Brooklyn Museum during early voting for the primary election in New York on June 16, 2021.
People fill out ballots at the Brooklyn Museum during early voting for the primary election in New York on June 16, 2021.Shannon Stapleton / Reuters

In some encouraging news for Democrats, Monmouth found that 71 percent of American adults, including 89 percent of Democrats and 56 percent of Republicans, back making it easier to vote in person.  

But Republicans will likely point to the poll’s result showing eight-in-10 Americans – including 62 percent of Democrats — also back the requirement that voters showing a photo ID, a top GOP priority. 

And about half of the public — 50 percent — say it should be easier to vote by mail. Eighty-four percent of Democrats but just 26 percent of Republicans want to see increased access to mail balloting, which former president Donald Trump has baselessly derided as fraught with fraud. 

The survey did show an appetite for federal legislation about voting generally, with 69 percent of adults supporting “establishing national guidelines to allow vote by mail and in-person early voting in federal elections in every state.” But it’s worth noting that the proposed Democratic legislation also contains provisions that go much further than that.  

Overall, the public appears more sympathetic to the default Democratic position on voting rights — that disenfranchisement is a more urgent issue than potential fraud. Half of Americans say disenfranchisement is a major problem in the country, while 37 percent say voter fraud is a major problem. Sixty-one percent say voter fraud is either a minor problem or not a problem. 

To that end, just a third of all Americans — but two-thirds of Republicans — believe ongoing audits of the 2020 election results in states like Arizona are legitimate exercises rather than partisan posturing. 

And 32 percent of adults say President Joe Biden’s election was due to fraud, a number that has not changed since November.

— Ben Kamisar contributed

461d ago / 3:06 PM UTC

EMILY's List endorses in PA Senate race

EMILY's List is backing a candidate in the crowded Pennsylvania Senate Democratic primary —  Montgomery County Commission Chair Val Arkoosh. 

The Democratic group backs pro-choice women candidates by marshalling direct fundraising and supporting them with independent expenditures. It announced the move Monday morning in a statement. 

“Pennsylvania, like much of the country, is at a critical moment — from the continued health and economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic to national debates on how best to address systemic racism and climate change. If we want to continue making progress, we must expand our Democratic majority in the Senate with strong women leaders like Val, who will fight every day to improve the lives of all Pennsylvanians, and EMILY’s List is proud to stand with her," EMILY's List executive director Emily Cain said in a statement, pointing to Arkoosh's work as both a doctor and on the county commission. 

Arkoosh is the only female candidate in the field — Reps. Madeleine Dean and Chrissy Houlahan both decided not to run, so the field includes Lt. Gov. John Fetterman and state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, with Rep. Conor Lamb eying a potential bid too. 

The winner will face off against an open field of Republicans looking to win the seat being vacated by Republican Sen. Patrick Toomey, who is retiring at the end of this term. 

465d ago / 6:47 PM UTC

GOP Sen. Young predicts bipartisan infrastructure framework will lead to law

Sen. Todd Young, the Indiana Republican who is one of the 11 GOP Senators backing a bipartisan framework for an infrastructure bill, predicted on Thursday's "MTP Daily" that the deal would ultimately lead to legislation that will be passed into law. 

"It's a historic investment under the framework, without raising taxes, in core infrastructure," Young said about the agreement, which is supported by 11 Republicans and 10 Democrats in the Senate. 

"I think we get the votes to pass it out of the Senate, and I think with presidential leadership it passes out of the house and is signed into law."

While the agreement lacks many specifics that will need to be ironed out to craft actual legislation, it amounts to the most bipartisan support an infrastructure plan has received in the Senate. Even so, some Democrats have said they would vote against the package unless it addresses issues like climate change, which they have argued should be considered addressed by an infrastructure package. 

Young went onto argue that other pieces of the Democrats' infrastructure push, including "human infrastructure" and "the care economy" should be taken up separately. 

Also on "MTP Daily," Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif., said she wanted to "fight for a big and bold package" nonetheless. 

"When you look at the fact that the president and the Democrats in the Senate have been negotiating trying to get a bipartisan package, yes, that’s the ideal, but at this point, I think we have to go big, we have to go bold," she said, noting unified Democratic control of Congress and the White House. 

"We can’t forget we have the care economy that we must focus on, our elder care, child care, we have climate issues, we have health care issues. All of this should be in one package, because all of this speaks to the needs and the aspirations of the American people."

466d ago / 6:23 PM UTC

Former GOP congressman launches Arizona gubernatorial bid

Former Rep. Matt Salmon, R-Ariz., is running for governor of his home state in an attempt to return to elected office after a decade in Congress and multiple flirtations with higher office. 

Salmon, who announced his retirement from Congress in 2016, jumped in with an announcement video released on YouTube and on social media. Without mentioning former President Donald Trump by name, he called for an "Arizona first agenda," ticking off a laundry list of conservative grievances and criticizing what he called a liberal push to "turn Arizona into California."

"In the coming months, I'll be listening and learning from you, securing our border and enforcing our immigration laws, and stopping the flow of drugs and criminals into our neighborhoods; building on Arizona's strong economic foundation, cutting taxes and attracting new industries and jobs," Salmon says.

"Banning critical race theory, expanding school choice and hiring more math and science teachers to prepare our kids for the workforce; protecting the integrity of our elections, strengthening voter ID and banning ballot harvesting." 

Salmon's mention of election integrity comes amid a GOP-led audit of Maricopa County. While many Trump-backers across the country are visiting the audit site to show their support amid Trump's unfounded claims of widespread electoral fraud, the audit has exposed deep divisions within the party and prompted criticism from Democrats and others. 

The national conservative group Club for Growth quickly endorsed Salmon's bid, calling him "a conservative star."

Salmon becomes the first federal officeholder to jump into the GOP primary for the seat — incumbent Gov. Doug Doucey, R, is term-limited. The field of GOP opponents include state treasurer Kimberly Lee. On the Democratic side, Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs and former U.S. Customs and Border Protection official Marco López Jr. are running. 

466d ago / 3:58 PM UTC

New poll shows Biden approval rating lower amid inflation concerns

President Joe Biden's approval rating has dipped under 50 percent in a new poll that also shows his policy proposals winning high marks from Americans despite concerns about inflation. 

Forty-eight percent of adults surveyed in the new Monmouth University poll approve of Biden's job performance, down from 54 percent in Monmouth's April poll. While Biden lost some ground with Democrats and independents, he gained approval from Republicans since the April survey. Forty-three percent of Americans say they disapprove of his job. 

Majorities of adults support the Covid-19 stimulus package passed by Congress and championed by Biden (60 percent); Biden's infrastructure plan that includes spending on "clean energy" (68 percent); and plans to expand health care, child care, paid leave and college tuition support (61 percent). 

President Joe Biden speaks before an EU - US summit at the European Union headquarters in Brussels on June 15, 2021.
President Joe Biden speaks before an EU - US summit at the European Union headquarters in Brussels on June 15, 2021.Brendan Smialowski / AFP - Getty Images

But they're divided on how Congress and Biden should handle passing those plans — 46 percent say Democrats should pass them "as is" regardless of a lack of bipartisan support, while the same percentage believe legislation should be "significantly cut" to win more support from Republicans or shelved entirely.

While Democrats are overwhelmingly in favor of passing those plans as is, independents and Republicans are significantly more divided on a path forward.

Forty percent of Republicans want Congress to not pass the new spending plans at all, while 34 percent are looking for significant concessions to win bipartisan support and 18 percent say Congress should pass the plans as is. Thirty-six percent of independents want Congress to pass the plans as is, 27 percent want significant cuts, and 26 percent want Congress to give up on them entirely. 

A clear majority, 71 percent of adults, say that they are at least "somewhat" concerned that Biden's plans could lead to inflation in the future. 

The new poll also shows some regression on the question of whether the country is heading in the right direction, as well as significant concerns about inflation.

Fifty-seven percent say the country is on the wrong track while 37 percent say the country is on the right track. While that's close to the most pessimistic adults have been in Monmouth polls since Biden took office, the public remains more optimistic now than they were at any point of the Trump administration since the beginning of the pandemic. 

Monmouth University polled 810 adults between June 9 and 14th, by landline and cellular telephone. The error margin is +/- 3.5 percent. 

467d ago / 3:37 PM UTC

New York City mayoral fundraising reports show last-minute momentum, stalls

It's one week from when New York Democrats will head to the polls for the city's mayoral primary, and the most recent campaign fundraising figures provide another glimpse into who is gaining and losing momentum down the stretch. 

Kathryn Garcia, the former city sanitation commissioner who received recent endorsements from the New York Times and the New York Daily News, raised more this fundraising period (May 18 through June 7) than any other candidate, $700,000. That amounts to her tripling her fundraising clip from the previous fundraising period, which largely took place before those key endorsements. Garcia spent $2.8 million during the recent, three-week period.   

Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams raised $620,000 in the most recent period, doubling his previous fundraising rate. That increase comes as Adams has topped a handful of recent polls in the race, including one the WNBC/Marist/Politico/Telemundo 47 poll released Tuesday. Adams spent $5.9 million over that three-week stretch too, more than any other candidate in the race. 

Mayoral candidate Eric Adams arrives for debate at CBS
Mayoral candidate Eric Adams arrives for debate at CBS Broadcast Cente on June 10, 2021.Lev Radin / Pacific Press / LightRocket via Getty images

Former city lawyer Maya Wiley also saw a significant uptick in her fundraising rate too — she raised amost $290,000 during this period, during the end of which she was endorsed by prominent progressives like New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and spent $2.3 million. 

And then there's Andrew Yang, the former Democratic presidential nominee who had been seen as an early frontrunner. While other candidates increased their fundraising rates, Yang's stayed stable, which still allowed him to raise $440,000 during the most recent fundraising period but meant he didn't see the same fundraising improvements that his opponents did. Yang spent $3.4 million over this period. 

The new campaign finance reports include some other nuggets on lower-polling candidates too. Comptroller Scott Stringer, who has been accused twice of sexual misconduct, has seen his fundraising all but dry up — he raised under $50,000 over the three weeks, but still spent $2.9 million. Ray McGuire, the former Citigroup executive who has been spending big despite finishing with just 3 percent in the recent WNBC poll, raised $210,000 and spent $1 million. And Dianne Morales, whose campaign has been roiled by tumult among her staff, raised just $31,000 but spent $430,000. 

New York City also provides candidates who hit certain fundraising requirements additional matching funds. 

Early voting has already begun ahead of the final debate on Wednesday. And the race will be decided by ranked-choice voting, where the votes cast for low-finishing candidates will be reallocated along the voters' preferences until one candidate reaches a majority. 

468d ago / 6:47 PM UTC

Eric Adams has edge in new WNBC poll of New York City Democratic mayoral primary

Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams leads the Democratic field in the New York City mayoral primary with a little more than a week to go before voters head to the polls to choose their nominee, according to a new WNBC/Telemundo 47/POLITICO/Marist poll

Adams wins 24 percent support in the poll, ahead of former Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia's 17 percent, former city attorney Maya Wiley's 15 percent and former Democratic presidential hopeful Andrew Yang's 13 percent. 

And Adams holds the edge in the poll's modeling of what will happen on primary day, when the new ranked-choice system means that the bottom candidates' votes will be reallocated to voters' preferences for second, third, fourth and fifth choices, depending on whether those candidates are still viable. 

Click here to read more from WNBC

The poll was conducted between June 3 and June 9 with 876 interviews. The margin of error is +/- 3.8 percentage points. 

472d ago / 6:07 PM UTC

Hartzler jumps into crowded Missouri Senate race

Rep. Vicky Hartzler, R-Mo., officially jumped into her state's Senate race, making her the first woman to join what's already become a crowded field. 

Speaking in Lee's Summit, outside of Kansas City, Hartzler said that Democrats are "destroying the country you and I love, and they must be stopped," criticized government regulations meant to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus, pointed to her work on the Armed Services Committee as proof she supports the military, and touted her work to help her district respond to natural disasters. 

"Our nation is at crisis. The socialist Democrats are endangering our security, bankrupting our nation, killing our jobs, fueling inflation, harming our children, defunding our police and rewriting our history," she said. 

"We must stand strong for what is right. We must not give up or back down. And we in Missouri must lead the charge, that's why, today, I am announcing I am running for the U.S. Senate to protect our freedoms and preserve out greatness."

Hartzler is the first member of the state's congressional delegation to enter the race to replace retiring Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo. But she may not be the only one. Missouri Republican Reps. Ann Wagner, Billy Long and Jason Smith haven't ruled out bids either. 

But even if no one else decides to run on the GOP side, the field is already large. It includes embattled former Gov. Eric Greitens, controversial attorney Mark McCloskey and state Attorney General Eric Schmitt. 

The Democratic field currently includes former state Sen. Scott Sifton, activist Tim Shepard and Marine veteran Lucas Kunce. 

472d ago / 3:55 PM UTC

Virginia nominees for governor go on the offensive with field set

Now that the Virginia governor's election is set, Republican Glenn Youngkin and former Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe are trying to define the stakes for their high-profile clash this fall  — with the Democrat seeking to paint Youngkin as a near clone of former President Donald Trump and the Republican dismissing McAuliffe as old news.

The far-and-away favorite for the Democratic nomination, McAuliffee had been focusing most of his campaign on the general election already. But now that he's officially the nominee, he's stepped up the attacks on Youngkin and Trump in a new digital spot, as well as during a Wednesday interview with "MTP Daily."

"Donald Trump is still around. Glenn Youngkin, my opponent, has said he is in the race because of Donald Trump. Trump came out the next day and gave him his 'total endorsement.' I'm not sure if Donald Trump has the courage to come to Virginia," McAuliffe said Wednesday, goading the former president in a state that he lost by 10 percentage points. 

With McAuliffe focused on lumping Youngkin in with Trump, as well as arguing his record as governor means he deserves another term, Youngkin has argued he represents a new direction for the state, criticizing McAuliffe as the past. 

One of the GOP spots uses a McAuliffe primary opponent, former state Del. Jennifer Carroll Foy (who has since endorsed McAuliffe), to make that point. After a super-cut of Carroll Foy criticizing McAuliffe as a politician of "the past," Youngkin appears to briefly call for a "new kind of leader to bring a new day to Virginia. A second spot shows Youngkin walking against the flow of a group of men in suits as he says he'll be the antidote to politicians "taking us in the wrong direction." 

473d ago / 8:07 PM UTC

New Democratic super PAC aims to stop Sarah Huckabee Sanders in Ark. governor’s race

Democrats don't know who they will nominate for governor in Arkansas next year, but they're certain who they want to keep out of the office: Republican Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

A new super PAC called Liberty and Justice for Arkansas is announcing its formation Wednesday with a new digital ad imploring state voters to "stop Sarah Sanders," the onetime communications director in former President Donald Trump's White House and daughter of former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, NBC has exclusively learned.

The ad, produced by former Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee aide Martha McKenna, begins with images of the Jan. 6 Capitol riot and members of Trump's family, including Donald Trump Jr. and Ivanka Trump, who have been reported to have interest in possible future bids for office. 

Image: White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders talks to reporters outside of the White House on April 4, 2019.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders talks to reporters outside of the White House on April 4, 2019.Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images file

"Stopping Trump's power means stopping Sarah Sanders now," a narrator says. "Stop Sarah Sanders. Stop them all."

“Sarah Huckabee Sanders’ announcement to run for governor of Arkansas was the starting line of Trump’s plan to consolidate power and continue his legacy of divisiveness and hate” Celeste Williams, Liberty and Justice for Arkansas spokesperson, said in a statement provided to NBC News. “Her run for governor is part of Trump and his supporters’ broader strategy to infiltrate all levels of government across the country. Stopping Trump means stopping Sarah Huckabee Sanders. Arkansas is just the beginning.”

Leah Garrett, the group’s director, said one Arkansas donor gave $100,000 to get the super PAC's operations up and running but declined to name that individual. 

Sanders faces at least one opponent for the GOP nomination in state Attorney General Leslie Rutledge, while multiple Democrats, including 2018 lieutenant governor candidate Anthony Bland and businesswoman Supha Xayprasith-Mays, have announced bids. 

Trump, who has endorsed Sanders, won Arkansas 62 percent to 35 percent in 2020 and 61 percent to 34 percent in 2016. 

475d ago / 3:09 PM UTC

Eric Adams leads in new NY1/Ipsos poll of NYC Democratic mayoral primary

Eric Adams, the former police officer and current Brooklyn Borough President, leads a new poll of the New York City Democratic mayoral primary with weeks to go before the vote. 

The new NY1/Ipsos poll shows Adams with support from 22 percent of likely Democratic primary voters, an increase of 9 percentage points since the news outlet's last poll in April. Former Democratic presidential hopeful Andrew Yang sits behind Adams with 16 percent, 6 points lower than he sat in April. 

The big mover in the June poll is Kathryn Garcia, the city's former sanitation commissioner who has received endorsements from the editorial boards at both the New York Times and the New York Daily News. She has support from 15 percent of likely voters, up 11 points since April. 

Rounding out the top five are Comptroller Scott Stringer at 10 percent (down 1 point from April) and former city counsel Maya Wiley (up 2 points from April). Sixteen percent of likely voters say they're undecided, down from 26 percent in April, as voters begin to make up their minds before the election. 

Yang's drop from first place comes as voters say they're far more familiar with the Democratic field than they were back in April. 

But while the top-line of the poll shows who voters may prefer as their first choice, this race will be especially difficult to poll because it's being done through ranked-choice voting (here's the city's primer on ranked-choice, which allows a voter to rank up to five candidates in order of preference and redistributes votes from low-finishing candidates until one candidate wins the majority). 

When voters' first and second choices are combined, Adams leads with 36 percentage points, followed by Yang's 26, Stringer's 25, Garcia's 24 and Wiley's 21 percentage points. 

NY1 and Ipsos polled 906 likely Democratic primary voters through an online panel from May 17 through May 31. The poll has a credibility interval of +/- 2.4 percentage points. 

Since the poll only stretched through the end of May, the results don't include any potential movement generated by more recent flashpoints in the race, like Wiley winning the endorsement of progressives like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez or Stringer being accused of sexual misconduct by a second woman

479d ago / 6:25 PM UTC

Former Rep. Stivers goes up on airwaves to endorse his pick for successor

Former Rep. Steve Stivers, R-Ohio, launched a new television ad Thursday where he backed state Rep. Jeff LaRe to replace him in this fall's special election to fill the seat he vacated. 

In the new spot paid for by his former campaign, Stivers speaks directly to camera as he asks Republicans to back LaRe in the August primary election. 

"I'm proud to support Jeff LaRe for Congress. Jeff LaRe is a former law enforcement officer and a strong conservative leader who has fought to make our communities safer," Stivers says, adding LaRe will "protect our conservative values."

Stivers abruptly announced in April that he would step down the following month to lead the Ohio Chamber of Commerce, leaving his seat vacant. Per Ohio special election laws, the primary is scheduled for August and the special general election will be on Election Day 2021. 

LaRe is running in a crowded field in a seat that Republicans have had little trouble holding since the last round of redistricting. Stivers won re-election in 2020 with 63 percent of the vote, and former President Donald Trump won the seat by double digits during his two presidential elections, although 2012 Republican nominee Mitt Romney won it by single digits, per the Daily Kos

479d ago / 3:07 PM UTC

South Carolina state lawmaker aims to be state's first Black governor

South Carolina Democratic state Sen. Mia McLeod announced her bid for governor on Thursday as she hopes to make history as the state's first Black governor. 

McLeod announced her bid with a social-media launch video where she criticized the politicians of the Republican-dominated state for having "forgotten about all but those who agree with them or fund their campaigns." 

"Fixing what's broken is all of our responsibilities," she says in the video.

"I'm running for governor to build a South Carolina that can work for all of us, to bring new jobs to our state, and to support the people and industries that are the backbone of our economy." 

Having served in the state legislature for a decade, McLeod is one of the handful of Black women across the country running to be the first Black, female governor in American history. 

In an interview with The Associated Press, she said that she wants "to be the person that is running not because I’m a woman, and not because I’m Black, but because I am so connected to and so much like the people that I represent."

“It’s a tremendous responsibility, but it’s one that I’m excited about.”

Before she can take on the GOP's nominee, likely to be Gov. Henry McMaster, she'll face off against former Rep. Joe Cunningham, who served one term in Congress before losing his re-election last year. 

480d ago / 6:42 PM UTC

In Va. governor's race, Youngkin aided by his deep pockets; McAuliffe outraises Dem field

The Virginia Republican Party's nominee for governor, Glenn Youngkin, has raised more money this election cycle than any of his potential Democratic rivals, thanks in large part to significant personal loans to the campaign. 

Youngkin's new financial report, filed Tuesday, show he's raised almost $16 million this cycle — $12 million from personal loans. He ended the last fundraising period, which ended on May 27, with about $4.4 million left in the bank. The GOP nominee is a former CEO of a private equity firm.  

On the Democratic side, former Gov. Terry McAuliffe continues to hold a big money lead over his primary rivals. Since Aug. 12 of last year, McAuliffe has raised almost $13 million to his campaign account, including $2.8 million between April 1 and May 27. He closed that period with just under $3.3 million in cash on hand. 

Former State Del. Jennifer Carroll Foy has been the strongest Democratic fundraiser besides McAuliffe, but the entire field sits far behind the former governor. Since April 3, 2020, she's raised more than $4.7 million, about a million dollars coming in the most recent fundraising period. She ended that period with just $280,000 left over.

State Sen. Jennifer McClellan stepped up her fundraising this past reporting period, raising $1 million of the $2.7 million she's raised this cycle from April 1 through May 27. She ended that period with just $60,000 for the final stretch. 

Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax and state Del. Lee Carter have been relative non-factors in the Democratic fundraising race, each raising under $400,000 since they announced their candidacies. 

481d ago / 5:50 PM UTC

O'Rourke to travel Texas for voting-rights tour amid possible gubernatorial bid

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Former Rep. Beto O'Rourke, D-Texas, will hit the road this month for a series of events on voting rights against the backdrop of both the state Republican Party's push to enact new restrictions on elections as well as reports the Democrat could run for governor in 2022. 

Powered by People, the PAC O'Rourke founded after he dropped out of the 2020 presidential race, is holding events across the state featuring the former congressman in the hopes of rallying support for the For the People Act. That's the comprehensive voting and elections overhaul Democrats are trying to pass through Congress.

The early schedule on the Powered by People website shows O'Rourke scheduled for trips to Midland, Lubbock, Abilene, Wichita Falls and Denton, Texas over the next week, with more stops promised to be announced soon. 

The trip comes as the Republican-controlled legislature in Texas is pushing a sweeping new bill that would enact sweeping new election restrictions in the state, including limits on voting hours, a ban on drive-through voting and new restrictions on mail ballots. House Democrats successfully blocked the bill from being passed before the end of the state's bi-annual legislative session, but Republican Gov. Greg Abbott is expected to bring the bill up during a special session.

In criticizing the push by Texas Republicans, people like President Joe Biden pointed to their hope that Congress would pass federal legislation concerning voting rights. 

O'Rourke's trip also comes days after the Associated Press reported he hasn't ruled out a bid for governor against Abbott. 

481d ago / 3:20 PM UTC

Nina Turner's campaign touts internal poll showing large lead in special Ohio House primary

CLEVELAND — Former Ohio Democratic state Sen. Nina Turner is far outpacing her rivals in the special election for Ohio’s 11th Congressional District, according to an internal poll released Tuesday by the campaign of Turner, the high-profile ally of Vermont Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders.

Turner led an eight-candidate field with 50 percent among 600 Democrats likely to vote in the Aug. 3 primary. Her closest competitor, Cuyahoga County Councilwoman Shontel Brown, had 15 percent, with 21 percent of respondents undecided.

The poll, conducted by Tulchin Research, has a margin of error of 4 percentage points. Voters were reached by phone calls to both landlines and cell phones, as well as by email and text message, from May 20-26.  

“I am proud to be known as a leader who will partner with anyone who puts the interest of the people first, has the courage to ask for more and the unique ability to build a broad coalition to get things done on their behalf," Turner said in a statement issued by her campaign.

Image: Joe Biden And Kamala Harris Introduces More Members Of Their Incoming Administration
Rep. Marcia Fudge, D-Ohio, delivers remarks after being introduced as U.S. President-elect Joe Biden' nominee to head the Department of Housing and Urban Affairs at the Queen Theater on Dec. 11, 2020 in Wilmington, Del.Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images file

The poll also found Turner with wide leads among both Black and white Democratic voters. The Ohio 11th encompasses a historically majority-minority district.

The race to succeed Housing Secretary Marcia Fudge is seen nationally as an early test of the progressive left’s energy and strength in a party led by President Joe Biden. Turner has been endorsed by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., and other members of The Squad, the group of liberal lawmakers of color who often push back on the Democratic Party's establishment.

Brown, who chairs the Cuyahoga County Democratic Party, has called attention to Turner’s past criticism of Biden and pledged to be an unflinching White House loyalist. Turner, though, is a former top Ohio Democratic Party official with a deep reservoir of support among Cleveland-area Democrats, including Mayor Frank Jackson and former colleagues in the Legislature.

Thirteen Democrats have qualified for the Aug. 3 primary, but Turner's poll shows most lacking significant support from voters.  Jeff Johnson, a former Cleveland City Council member and state lawmaker, was at 4 percent, former state Sen. Shirley Smith at 3 percent, and former state Rep. John Barnes and Navy veteran Tariq Shabazz each at 2 percent. Pollster Ben Tulchin told NBC News that the Turner campaign opted to offer respondents eight choices to make the ballot more manageable. The other seven candidates included in the poll, not including Turner, accounted for a combined 31 percent.

Two Republicans also are seeking the Ohio 11th seat, though the district is drawn overwhelmingly to favor Democrats. The special election between the partisan primary winners is set for Nov. 2.

487d ago / 5:11 PM UTC

Analysis: Where's the deal on infrastructure?

Infrastructure talks are still up in the air, despite pessimism from Democrats and Republicans alike that the two sides are at an impasse after the White House put out a $1.7 trillion offer that included both physical infrastructure and funding for the “care economy.”

A GOP working group led by Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W. Va., said they would present a new offer of up to $1 trillion in spending on Thursday. Meanwhile, a second bipartisan group that includes Sens. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, and Joe Manchin, D-W. Va., is working on another plan. Both would stay limited to what Manchin calls “traditional” infrastructure items like transportation and broadband.

The big obstacle so far is how to pay for it. Capito’s group has said undoing any of the 2017 Trump tax cuts is a nonstarter, and has called for repurposing Covid-19 relief funding that’s already been approved. The Washington Post reported on Tuesday that the bipartisan working group is considering a mix of existing COVID-19 funding, raising gas taxes in line with inflation, imposing new fees on electric vehicles and increasing tax enforcement (an idea Biden has endorsed).

“We’ll work on the pay-fors as we need to. There’s a reasonable path forward, but you got to pay for it,” Manchin told reporters on Tuesday.

Image: Senators Hold Weekly Policy Luncheons
Sen. Shelley Moore speaks on the phone outside of a Senate Republican Policy luncheon on May 18, 2021 in Washington.Kevin Dietsch / Getty Images

Repurposing pandemic aid money seemed like a nonstarter earlier this year, and so far the White House has not warmed to the idea. But with state budgets looking stronger than expected, coronavirus cases plummeting, and more than 60 percent of adults at least partially vaccinated, there may be at least some flexibility.

In theory, there’s upside to Democrats working out a bipartisan deal on what Manchin called “traditional” infrastructure, leaving them free to potentially pass Biden’s proposals on things like electric vehicles, caregiving, and schools separately. For one, it could make it easier to pay for the rest of his agenda, where Democrats appear divided on some of Biden’s plans to tax wealthy investors, heirs, and corporations and could water down the available revenue.

But Democrats are nervous about getting bogged down in long negotiations, especially with a fragile minority in both chambers. Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., set a goal early on of passing a bill by July 4. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., also named a July target on Tuesday “regardless of the vehicle” used to pass a bill. He may not have a choice, though. So long as the White House and especially moderate Democrats like Manchin want to keep talking, it will be difficult to move forward.

487d ago / 2:26 PM UTC

New poll shows a majority of likely California voters remain opposed to recalling Newsom

A new poll shows that 57 percent of likely California voters are against recalling Gov. Gavin Newsom from office, numbers that come as the Democrat is expected to face his state's voters in a recall election later this year. 

The new data from the Public Policy Institute of California shows that 40 percent of likely voters back removing Newsom from office, the same portion that held that sentiment during the last PPIC poll in March. The vast majority of Republicans, 78 percent, back a Newsom recall, compared to a fraction of Democrats, 11 percent. Of independents, 47 percent support the recall. 

Newsom's 54 percent approval rating among likely voters is also virtually the same as it was in PPIC's March and January polling. And 61 percent of likely voters support his approval of the pandemic. 

PPRI data shows Californians' views on the state's work at distributing the Covid-19 vaccine have improved significantly since January, 86 percent say the worst of the pandemic has already passed, and 28 percent are concerned they will contract the virus and need to be hospitalized (down 19 percentage points since March). 

Even so, economic worries are still commonplace as the country and the state tries to claw out from the virus's negative effects on the economy, and as concerns about things like inflation still rage. Fifty-three percent of Californians believe the state is in a recession. But while the majority of Californians say they are in a similar financial place to where they were a year ago, 29 percent of those making under $40,000 say they are in a worse financial place. 

Seventy percent of adults, and 61 percent of likely voters, support Newsom's proposal to dole out more stimulus checks, with significant majorities of both adults and likely voters backing Newsom's rent-relief plan

Newsom is expected to face a runoff election later this year after opponents appeared to secure enough signatures to force an election — while those opponents have tried for years to recall Newsom, their movement gained new momentum amid the pandemic, particularly when Newsom was caught dining maskless at a posh restaurant while calling on Californians to stay home.  

Voters will be asked two questions — first if Newsom should be kicked out of office, and if so, who should replace him. If a majority of voters support removing him, they'll choose from what's expected to be a long list of replacements, a list Newsom cannot be on. 

The most prominent Republican candidates looking to replace him are former Olympian Caitlyn Jenner, former gubernatorial hopeful John Cox, former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer and former Rep. Doug Ose. So far, no prominent Democrats are running.

488d ago / 2:30 PM UTC

New York City Democratic mayoral debate will now be live as Covid-19 restrictions ease

New York City will hold its next debate for the Democratic mayoral nomination in person next week, the first officially sanctioned debate of the race that will put candidates on the same stage amid the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Amy Loprest, the executive director of the New York City Campaign Finance Board, which oversees the debates, announced the change in a statement Monday. 

"The Board is thrilled that WABC will be able to hold the debate on June 2 in-person. We appreciate all of the work that will go into making this debate compelling for the voters and safe for the candidates, moderators, and WABC personnel," she said, referencing the local news station carrying the debate. 

The race's first official debate was held virtually on May 13. But as vaccination rates have improved and case-loads have decreased, the board made the decision to move to an in-person debate. 

Eight Democrats have qualified for the debate, according to WABC — Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, former OMB Director Shaun Donovan, former Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia, former Citi exec Ray McGuire, former nonprofit CEO Dianne Morales, Comptroller Scott Stringer, former MSNBC contributor and Civilian Complaint Review Board chair Maya Wiley, and former 2020 Democratic presidential hopeful Andrew Yang. 

489d ago / 6:54 PM UTC

Florida Democrat Murphy won't run for Senate against Rubio

Rep. Stephanie Murphy, D-Fla., announced Monday that she will not run for Senate, less than a week after fellow Democratic Rep. Val Demings signaled her intention to challenge incumbent GOP Sen. Marco Rubio. 

In a tweeted video, Murphy says “We’ve had too many close losses in Florida, and so I wanted to use my experience from winning tough races to help the party prepare itself.”

“The reality is that Marco Rubio will not be an easy opponent especially if it’s on the heels of a bruising primary where Democrats spend millions attacking each other instead of using those millions to build the infrastructure we desperately need to win.  So I have decided instead of running for the U.S. Senate, I will devote my energy to helping make our party stronger.

POLITICO first reported her decision.

Murphy told NBC News in February she was "seriously considering" a Senate bid in 2022 or 2024, when GOP Sen. Rick Scott's term is up. She also told NBC at the time she was launching a virtual listening tour. 

A Murphy/Demings primary would have pitted two of the Florida Democrats' rising stars against each other — Demings was on President Biden's shortlist for vice president and Murphy co-chairs the Blue Dog Coalition — so Murphy's decision to skip a Senate bid leaves Demings as the clear favorite. 

You can read more about the Florida race from our First Read analysis last week here.

489d ago / 3:39 PM UTC

Democrat heads toward New Mexico special House election with cash advantage over GOP opponent

New Mexico Democratic state Rep. Melanie Stansbury leads her GOP opponent, state Sen. Mark Moores, in fundraising ahead of next month's special House election, new campaign finance documents show. 

Stansbury raised about $1.2 million between April 1 and May 12 and closed the period with $525,000 in the bank, according to a Thursday filing with the Federal Election Commission, the last fundraising glimpse candidates must provide before the June 1 election. Moores raised $344,000 over that same period and had $126,000 cash on hand. 

The Democrat received cash from dozens of her would-be House colleagues (or their political groups) including Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif; Rep. Madeleine Dean, D-Pa.; Rep. Mark Takano, D-Calif.; Rep. Derek Kilmer, D-Wash.; Rep. Gwen Moore, D-Wis.; Rep. Teresa Leger Fernandez, D-N.M.; and Rep. Debbie Dingell, D-Mich.

She also received donations from both of her state's Democratic senators, Sen. Ben Ray Luján and Sen. Martin Heinrich, as well as groups like EMILY's List, the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence's political group, Giffords' PAC and labor unions. 

Moores didn't receive nearly as much support from House Republicans, securing donations from the National Republican Congressional Committee and Rep. Yvette Herrell, R-N.M. Other financial supporters include New Mexico politicians and political parties, as well as the National Rifle Association's political group. 

That fundraising edge for Stansbury translated into a spending edge too — she spent $772,000 over that period to Moores' $470,000. 

The two will face off at the ballot box on June 1 for the right to replace former Rep. Deb Haaland, who is now the Interior Secretary. Haaland won each of her congressional elections by double-digits before leaving the House, and the Democratic presidential nominee won the district in each of the last three presidential elections (the three presidential elections since the last round of redistricting) by double digits too. 

The election comes as Democrats have a slim majority, 219-211, in the House with five vacant seats (three previously held by Democrats and two previously held by Republicans), and ahead of next year's pivotal midterm elections that will decide which party controls the House. 

493d ago / 2:48 PM UTC

Fetterman poll shows him with a large lead in Democratic Pennsylvania Senate primary

Lt. Gov. John Fetterman holds the lead in a rare early poll of the Pennsylvania Democratic Senate primary, winning 40 percent of likely Democratic voters, with Rep. Conor Lamb, D-Pa. — who is weighing a bid but isn't officially a candidate — in second place with 21 percent.

The survey was conducted by Data For Progress, a progressive firm tapped by the Fetterman campaign, and first reported here by NBC News. It's based on a weighted sample of 302 likely Democratic primary voters and has a margin of error of plus or minus 6 percentage points.

Tom Wolf Sworn In For Second Term As Pennsylvania's Governor
Lt. Gov. John Fetterman introduces Gov.Tom Wolf during an inaugural ceremony on Jan. 15, 2019, in Harrisburg, Pa.Mark Makela / Getty Images file

The poll shows the other prospects in single digits: State Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta has 9 percent, Rep. Chrissy Houlahan, D-Pa., has 8 percent, Montgomery County Commissioner Val Arkoosh has 5 percent and State Sen. Sharif Street has 2 percent. Fourteen percent say they aren’t sure who they’ll vote for in the primary.

A larger sample of 651 likely voters surveyed by Data For Progress found that in hypothetical general election races, Fetterman leads Republican businessman Jeff Bartos by 48 percent to 38 percent, and leads former GOP House candidate Sean Parnell by 48 percent to 40 percent. Both are outside the margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

Sean McElwee, the executive director of Data For Progress, said the results show that "John has unrivaled support amongst Democrats and independents across the state."

495d ago / 6:53 PM UTC

In Virginia governor's race, Democrats take their pitches to the airwaves

Virginia's Democratic gubernatorial hopefuls are taking to the airwaves weeks before their party's voters choose a nominee to take on Republican businessman Glenn Youngkin in November. And the messages they're choosing say a lot about what their respective campaigns are pitching to voters. 

Take one of the ads from former Gov. Terry McAuliffe, who has made his prior experience as the state's governor the centerpiece of his bid. 

One recent ad centers on the story of a son whose father left jail to build a life for him and his family, but lost the right to vote until McAuliffe restored it as part of his broad push to restore voting rights to felons who served their sentences. 

"Terry McAuliffe believed in my dad. He believes in all of us," the son says in the ad. 

Two other candidates are also up on the air, former state Del. Jennifer Carroll Foy and state Sen. Jennifer McClellan, are using their ads to play up similar strategies: Upping their name recognition with the electorate while arguing for new leadership in the state. 

McClellan's new ad makes that call for new leadership quite explicit with a direct dig at McAuliffe. After running through her experience, she adds that "for 245 years, the perspectives of Virginia's governors, while different in some ways, have had more in common than not," as the ad ticks through photos of Virginia's governors, all white men except former Gov. L. Douglas Wilder, the state's only black governor.  

"The time for a new perspective is now," McClellan says. 

Carroll Foy uses a similar strategy in one of her recent ads, which points to her work in the legislature as well as being a foster mom and public defender to argue "I've spent my life helping people beat the odds."

"We can do so much better than the status quo to lift up every last one of us," she tells supporters.

 

So as the airwaves break down between the arguments of experience and a new direction, there's also the big question of cost. While McAuliffe is vastly outspending his rivals, according to ad-tracking firm Medium Buying, Carroll Foy is the only other candidate with more than $1 million in TV/radio spending. 

By comparison, McClellan is at just $51,000, which means she's had far less saturation on the airwaves (she released her first television ad today) than either McAuliffe or Carroll Foy. 

496d ago / 5:24 PM UTC

Georgia Lt. Gov. says he won't run again after bucking Trump on election

Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan, R-Ga., announced Monday he would not see re-election in 2022 and will instead work to "heal and rebuild" the Republican Party, which he has said has been damaged by former President Donald Trump's unfounded claims the 2020 presidential election was rigged. 

Duncan revealed his decision during an interview with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, calling his final year-and-a-half in office "an opportunity — a moment in time we can change the trajectory of the Republican Party that can last a generation." 

"Any narrative from a Republican that the election was stolen, that it was a rigged election, is wasted energy. And it only continues to make the pathway to winning for Democrats even easier,” he told the paper.

“It may be only a bold few to start with who join me, but I believe an overwhelming majority will eventually get there and get this party back on track.”

Shortly after the interview published, he released a statement on Twitter

Duncan joined "Meet the Press" earlier this year, where he preached a similar message about rebuilding the "GOP 2.0," and adding that Trump's "divisive" tone and unfounded allegations lost the GOP "credibility" and is a path that's "unwinnable in forward-looking elections." 

Watch the full "Meet the Press" interview with Duncan below. 

500d ago / 4:39 PM UTC

This week on the campaign trail: Gov and Senate races heat up

Six months since Election Day of 2020, the pace is already picking up on the campaign trail ahead of elections this fall as well as next year's midterm elections.

Here are some top headlines you may have missed: 

Sean Parnell jumps into open Pennsylvania Senate race

The former Republican congressional hopeful and Army veteran launched his Senate campaign this week in the hopes of filling the seat being vacated by the retiring Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa.

Parnell joined a lawsuit to overturn his state's decision to certify President Joe Biden's win there, a suit the Supreme Court refused to take up last year and a suit Parnell has said he stands by. 

He'll be running in a crowded field that includes businessman and former Republican lieutenant governor nominee Jeff Bartos, and a field that could get bigger as a handful of others consider running too. 

Trump's former campaign manager advising on a possible primary bid against DeWine 

NBC reported on Wednesday that Brad Parscale, who previously served as former President Donald Trump's campaign manager for much of his re-election campaign, is advising former Rep. Jim Renacci, R-Ohio, on a potential primary bid against Republican Gov. Mike DeWine.

Renacci lost a bid to unseat Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, in 2018, but is considering whether to run against DeWine. Last year, Trump mused on Twitter about who may run for governor in Ohio in 2022, a message many believed was a tacit call for a primary challenge to DeWine

Virginia governor's race heats up 

The biggest development in Virginia's gubernatorial race, 2021's marquee election? Republicans have a nominee, businessman Glenn Youngkin, after a complicated but relatively smooth primary process. Youngkin's challenge was made even more clear right after his victory — Trump immediately endorsed him in a move Republicans hope will keep the party together, but Democrats immediately used the endorsement to argue Youngkin is not the right fit for a state Trump lost by double-digits in 2020.

Democrats still have a month before they choose their nominee, with the field looking to break out and cut into former Gov. Terry McAuliffe's lead. Former Delegate Jennifer Carroll Foy's campaign announced Thursday she's been backed by feminist leader Gloria Steinem

Two Texas-sized developments 

Gov. Greg Abbott, R-Texas, was involved in two new developments on the elections front this week.  First, he set the runoff election date for the 6th Congressional District (vacated by the death of the late Rep. Ron Wright, R-Texas) for July 27. Both candidates who advanced to the runoff are Republicans, meaning voters will choose between Wright's widow, Susan Wright, and state Rep. Jake Ellzey. 

And Abbott drew a primary challenger this week too — former state Sen. Don Huffines, who appears to be trying to hit the governor from the right, even as polling shows Abbott has a solid favorable rating in the state.

502d ago / 2:38 PM UTC

Trump endorses VA GOP gov. nominee Youngkin

Former President Donald Trump has endorsed Glen Youngkin, the GOP nominee for Virginia's gubernatorial race, on Tuesday in a statement released by his political action committee. 

The quick endorsement came the morning after Youngkin was named the party's nominee in a protracted, ranked-choice drive-in convention. It gives the GOP hope the party can unify around Youngkin after a contentious convention that prompted frustration about the complicated process, but it also could play into the hands of Democrats who want to tie Youngkin to Trump in a state the former president lost by double-digits in 2020. 

"Congratulations to Glenn Youngkin for winning the Republican nomination for Governor of Virginia. Glenn is pro-Business, pro-Second Amendment, pro-Veterans, pro-America, he knows how to make Virginia’s economy rip-roaring, and he has my Complete and Total Endorsement!" Trump said. 

The rest of Trump's statement ripped former Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe, his party's frontrunner in their gubernatorial primary. But McAuliffe hasn't won the nomination, he's running against four other candidates in a primary that Democratic voters will decide on June 8. 

503d ago / 4:30 PM UTC

McConnell says 'proper price tag' for infrastructure bill is $600-$800 billion

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said in a new interview that the "the proper price tag for what most of us think of is infrastructure is about six to $800 billion," a shift from McConnell saying on May 3rd that "we're open to doing a roughly $600 billion package." 

The top Senate Republican made the comments in an interview with Renee Shaw on Kentucky PBS station KET. President Joe Biden is calling for a $2.25 trillion infrastructure plan while the GOP proposal, led by Sen Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.V., clocks in at just under $600 billion.

McConnell predicted "I think they'll see if they can pass this thing by getting everybody in line, if they can't, then we're open to talk about infrastructure and how to pay for it."

Biden will meet with McConnell and the rest of the two parties' leaders in the House and Senate this week, a meeting where infrastructure is likely to come up. He's also planning to meet with Republican senators Thursday on the issue. 

506d ago / 8:37 PM UTC

Analysis: Trump’s hold on the GOP is more than primary threats

The expected purge of Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo. from her position in House GOP leadership has some asking: Why are Republicans looking to recover from a loss in 2020 by rallying around President Trump, who just months earlier lost them the White House, Congress, and the Senate? 

One reason is that he commands the loyalty of many base voters, who can potentially primary his opponents. But just as important, he can credibly threaten to take those voters away from the GOP entirely, dragging down Republicans of all stripes. 

This reality undergirds a political argument Senator Lindsey Graham, R-.S.C. made for standing by Trump after criticizing him over the insurrection in January. 

“I would just say to my Republican colleagues: 'Can we move forward without President Trump?' The answer is no,” Graham said on Hannity on Thursday. “I've always liked Liz Cheney, but she's made a determination that the Republican Party can't grow with President Trump. I've determined we can't grow without him.” 

Graham has little to fear from a primary; he won re-election in November. But he does care a lot about the overall state of the GOP and he’s concerned that Trump’s economic populism brought in millions of new voters who might leave without him.

But why can’t Republicans like Graham just run on economic populism without entertaining Trump and his election lies, which are currently tearing their party apart and rallying the Democratic base in opposition? One problem is that Trump can take the party down with him in response.

In 2015, Republicans leaders resisted calls to expel Trump, who was seen as dragging down the party’s brand, in part because he was threatening to run as an Independent — and they believed him. Unlike other Republicans, he’s never made a pretense of putting the party’s health over his own ambitions.

This dynamic returned earlier this year as the party momentarily wavered on whether to abandon him over the Capitol attack. While they deliberated, reports suddenly emerged that Trump was considering a new third party. He ruled it out shortly after his acquittal in the impeachment trial. 

It’s important to note Cheney’s argument is being made primarily as a defense of truth and American democracy, not as a political feint justified by raw vote totals.

But if Trump were to withdraw his support for Republicans in 2022 or declare the elections fatally compromised, the results could be devastating. His campaign to delegitimize the vote in Georgia may have cost Republicans the Senate by depressing conservative turnout, prompting statehouses around the country to pass new voting restrictions aimed in part at reassuring Trump voters who believe his false claims.

President Lyndon B. Johnson reportedly said he would prefer to keep a party rival “inside the tent peeing out, then outside the tent peeing in." This isn’t quite the same thing: There’s nothing Republicans can do to keep Trump from making a mess. But the alternative might be Trump taking out the tent poles and crashing the entire structure. 

509d ago / 2:39 PM UTC

Charlie Crist announces Florida gubernatorial bid

Rep. Charlie Crist, D-Fla., is running for governor, he announced Tuesday, an attempt to return to the state's executive mansion — this time, as a member of the other party.

Crist governed the state from 2007-2011 — while elected as a Republican, he finished out his term without any party affiliation after a failed 2010 Senate bid. He later joined the Democratic Party (after an unsuccessful 2014 gubernatorial bid) and is in his third term in Congress. 

Now he wants to take on Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, who has been seen as a rising star on the right and has been trumpeting his state's response to the pandemic. 

Crist's announcement video tries to make a contrast with DeSantis as it runs through Crist and supposed Floridians looking back fondly on his time in the governor's mansion, as well as his work in Congress during the pandemic. 

"Today, Florida has a governor that's only focused on his future, not yours. While COVID took the lives of 35,000 Floridians, DeSantis attacked doctors and scientists," Crist says. 

"DeSantis is stripping away your voting rights, he's against a $15 minimum wage, he doesn't believe in background checks for guns, doesn't believe in a woman's right to choose, doesn't listen, doesn't care, and unless you can write him a campaign check, you don't exist." 

And for the eagle-eyed political junkie, the video also includes praise from former President Barack Obama during a 2009 event on the Great Recession, an event where the then-Republican embraced the Democratic president in an image that helped to sink his career within the GOP

The announcement makes him the first major Democrat to throw their hat into the ring, but he's not expected to be alone. Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried has repeatedly nodded at the prospect of running, and has been a vocal critic of DeSantis. Rep. Val Demings, D-Fla., released a social-media bio spot produced by her congressional campaign on Tuesday, shortly after she retweeted a call for Florida's next governor to be a woman. 

DeSantis has become one of the more visible governors during the pandemic, often clashing with reporters and Biden administration public health officials about things like vaccine mandates and public-health restrictions. 

During a press conference on Monday where he signed a bill that prohibited businesses from requiring customers to certify they've been vaccinated for Covid-19 before entering, the Republican took a victory lap on his handling of the pandemic. 

"We focused on lifting people up. We wanted people going back to work, we wanted our kids to be in school," DeSantis said, criticizing liberal cities across the country for implementing new Covid-19 related restrictions. 

"We wanted our economy to be healthy, we wanted our society to be healthy, we wanted people to be happy living in Florida. That was the path that we trodded, it was the road less traveled at the time, but. think we're sitting here now seeing the state is much more prosperous as a result of that." 

510d ago / 8:48 PM UTC

Liberal group launches $12 million TV ad buy to boost Democrats' sweeping elections bill

The liberal group End Citizens United is launching a $12 million TV ad campaign nationally and in key states Tuesday, aimed at getting the Democrats’ sweeping election overhaul bill over the finish line.

The ads, first reported by NBC News, include a national spot and separate ads for five states that include key Democratic senators: Arizona, GeorgiaNew HampshireNevada and West Virginia.

The House has passed the bill and a Senate committee plans to mark up S.1, titled the “For The People Act” on May 11. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., has indicated the full chamber will consider the bill.

West Virginia will be a focal point because Sen. Joe Manchin is the only Democrat in the 50-member caucus who hasn’t cosponsored the bill. He said Friday on WV MetroNews Talkline that it is “a far-reaching, 800-page bill which I do not support in its totality,” and has called for bipartisan policies to protect trust in elections. 

The group's West Virginia ad doesn’t mention Manchin by name and appears aimed at creating political space for the centrist Democrat to support the bill. “Now's our moment,” a narrator says. “Together we can give power back to people, limit the influence of corporate special interests, get big money out of our politics.”

Manchin “has talked about how important it is to protect free and fair elections and reduce the influence of money in politics. He has a record of supporting many of the proposals in this bill, which have broad bipartisan support,” said Tiffany Muller, the president of End Citizens United and Let America Vote Action Fund.

The other four states are home to Democratic senators who face re-election and are top Republican targets. In Arizona, there are English and Spanish-language ads giving air cover to Sen. Mark Kelly, who comes before voters next fall; and thanking Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, a moderate Democrat who sometimes breaks with her party, for backing the bill.

"End Citizens United/Let America Vote is ramping up all aspects of our campaign as the bill continues to move closer to a vote on the Senate floor, where we expect it to pass,” Muller said.

“This bill will stop billionaires from buying elections, counteract the wave of voter suppression being carried out across the country, and put in place ironclad ethics laws to make Washington work for everyone.”

Democrats have a slim 50-50 majority in the Senate and no support for the bill among Republicans, who have blasted it as a partisan-power grab. Even if Democrats were to unify their caucus and secure a majority, they would need to eliminate or get around the 60-vote threshold to pass the legislation.

Conservative groups have been vocal about their opposition to the legislation, too. The American Action Network launched digital ads against it in key swing districts back in March, and the Heritage Action announced that month it would spend $10 million on what it dubbed an "election integrity campaign," which includes opposing the Democratic plan. 

514d ago / 6:58 PM UTC

Ossoff is latest tapped for commission on China

WASHINGTON – Amid growing momentum in Congress for comprehensive legislation to confront China, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., appointed freshman Sen. Jon Ossoff, D-Ga., to a bipartisan commission focused on human rights abuses in the region. 

The Congressional Executive Commission on China, created in 2000, is tasked with “monitoring human rights and development of the rule of law in China” and is required to submit an annual report to the president. 

This past January, the commission on China revealed new evidence in a report accusing China of possibly committing “genocide” in its treatment of minority Muslims, like Uighurs, in the Western province of Xinjiang. 

“The whole world faces a stark choice between government based on the consent of the governed, rule of law, and universal human rights, or totalitarianism and oppression,” Ossoff said in a statement provided to NBC. “I will apply my experience investigating human rights abuses and war crimes to expose and demand accountability for political repression and human rights abuses in China or anywhere on Earth.”

Sen. Jon Ossoff, D-Ga., attends the Senate Appropriations Committee in the Dirksen Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill on April 20, 2021.
Sen. Jon Ossoff, D-Ga., attends the Senate Appropriations Committee in the Dirksen Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill on April 20, 2021.Evelyn Hockstein / Pool via AFP - Getty Images file

Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., will serve as the chairman of the commission on China, while Rep. James McGovern, D-Mass., will be the co-chairman.

Congressional leaders are responsible for naming the remaining 16 members, with Schumer expected to announce that Sens. Diane Feinstein, D-Calif., Gary Peters, D-Mich., and Angus King, I-Maine., will be  joining the commission, according to multiple people familiar with the process. Reps Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., Tom Malinowski, D-N.J., Chris Smith, R-N.J., and Brian Mast, R-Fla., are also expected to be among the members named, according to those familiar with the commission.

514d ago / 3:05 PM UTC

Poll: Americans divided over the future of filibuster

As some frustrated Democrats advocate for an end to the Senate filibuster, a new poll from Monmouth University shows the American public divided over the rule — with a significant share still unsure about what it is at all. 

The survey, which was conducted April 8-12, found that Americans are about evenly divided over approval of the filibuster, which the poll defines to respondents as “a procedure used in the Senate to block a bill from being put to a vote until a supermajority of 60 senators agree to end debate on it.” About a third approve (34 percent), a third disapprove (34 percent) and a third have no opinion (33 percent)

But most people may be a little fuzzy on the facts.

Just one in five Americans (19 percent) say they’re very familiar with the filibuster, while 40 percent say they’re only somewhat familiar. An additional 12 percent say they’re not too familiar or not familiar at all with it, and about one in three Americans — 29 percent — say they have never heard of the Senate filibuster.

The poll also shows little enthusiasm nationally for throwing out the filibuster wholesale, although reforms to it are more popular. Only about one in five Americans (19 percent) say they support completely eliminating the filibuster, while 38 percent say it should be kept but with reforms. Another 38 percent say the filibuster should be kept in place as it is. 

The data also show a partisan gap, reflecting Democrats’ recent frustrations with their inability to pass what they believe are popular agenda items — like gun ownership reforms — because a sufficient number of Republicans don’t cross the aisle to support them.  

Two-thirds of Republicans (64 percent) want to keep the filibuster as it is. But despite a push among some progressives to ditch it entirely, the critical mass among Democrats appears to be around reform rather than a wholesale elimination of the filibuster. A third of Democrats (30 percent) want to kill it entirely, while 49 percent support keeping it with changes. 

 

The survey was conducted April 8-12 and has an overall margin of error of +/- 3.5 percentage points.

515d ago / 2:19 PM UTC

GOP Rep. Budd jumps into North Carolina Senate race with Club for Growth endorsement

Rep. Ted Budd, R-N.C., announced Wednesday that he's running for Senate in 2022 to fill the seat that will be vacated by the retiring incumbent Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C.

The third-term congressman launched his bid with a three-minute video where he pokes fun at the extravagance of some announcement video, evokes former President Trump with video of Trump praising him at a campaign rally, echoes conservative frustrations about cancel culture and accuses congressional Democrats of "shredding our Constitution."

"I'm a small businessman who was so fed up by the liberals' attacks on our faith, our family and our way of life that I ran for Congress to stand and fight alongside Donald Trump, drain the swamp and take our country back," Budd says. 

"We all know that Joe Biden is a weak leader who won't stand up to the radical left. Today, the U.S. Senate is the last line of defense against having a woke socialist wasteland, and I'm running to stop that, period."

Budd joins a Republican primary field that includes fellow Congressman Mark Walker and former Gov. Pat McCrory. Trump's daughter-in-law, Lara Trump, has also said she's interested in running but hasn't decided yet. 

Shortly after Budd's announcement, the conservative Club for Growth PAC backed Budd in statement from its president, former Rep. David McIntosh, R-Ind.

517d ago / 8:22 PM UTC

Trump backs Susan Wright, widow of former congressman, in special election

Former President Donald Trump has endorsed Texas Republican Susan Wright in the special election to replace her late husband, former Republican Rep. Ron Wright. 

Trump made the endorsement through an emailed press release — he remains banned from virtually all social media platforms in the wake of the January attack on the Capitol by his supporters — hewing very closely to the boilerplate language he typically uses while backing a candidate. 

"Susan Wright will be a terrific Congresswoman (TX-06) for the Great State of Texas. She is the wife of the late Congressman Ron Wright, who has always been supportive of our America First Policies," Trump said.

"Susan will be strong on the Border, Crime, Pro-Life, our brave Military and Vets, and will ALWAYS protect your Second Amendment."

Wright is running in a crowded race to fill the seat vacated by the death of her husband, who served one term before passing away in February. There are 23 candidates in the special election, which pits every candidate on the same ballot, regardless of party. If no candidate wins a majority on the first ballot, the top two move onto a runoff. 

Loyalty to Trump has been a big theme on the Republican side of the race. One candidate, Michael Wood, has spoken out against Trump. But many of the other Republicans, in a field that includes multiple former Trump administration officials, have tried to hug him tight. One candidate, former WWE wrestler Dan Rodimer, has pointed to his 2020 congressional endorsement from Trump to argue he's "the only one that has ever been endorsed by President Trump." That comment prompted Trump adviser Jason Miller to tweet last week clarifying that Trump hadn't yet weighed on the special election. 

517d ago / 6:24 PM UTC

Former Democratic Rep. Cunningham running for governor of South Carolina

Former Rep. Joe Cunningham, D-S.C., is running for governor in an underdog bid to become the first Democrat elected governor of South Carolina since 1998. 

After weeks of speculation, the Democrat broke the news on social media, tweeting out a video announcement focused primarily on his family and his own biography. He criticized the South Carolina state government as too extreme for the state, pointing to new restrictions on abortion and voting, as well as the decision to loosen restrictions on the open carry of firearms. 

Cunningham then turned his criticism to Gov. Henry McMaster, the Republican he hopes to defeat next November.

"Gov. McMaster has been cheering them on every step of the way. It's embarrassing. The challenges we face aren't because of our people, they're because of our politicians," he said.

"After 20 years of trying the same thing, it's time for something different, something new, which is why I'm announcing that I'm running for governor of SOuth Carolina because my son, and your kids, deserve something better. We all do."

Cunningham is a one-term congressman who served in Congress from 2019 to 2020 after winning the Charleston-area seat once represented by the state's former GOP Gov. Mark Sanford. Sanford lost his primary in 2018 to Republican Katie Arrington, who Cunningham narrowly beat. He lost two years later to Republican Nancy Mace, who now represents the district in Congress. 

The Democrat has experience winning over a Republican-leaning area — he pointed to his 2018 victory, where he won in a district that voted for then-President Donald Trump by double-digits just two years prior, in his announcement video. But no Democrat has won statewide there since the 2006 election for superintendent of education, according to The Post and Courier

521d ago / 7:21 PM UTC

NRA will spend $2 million on ads opposing Biden's gun policy and ATF nominee

The National Rifle Association is pledging to spend $2 million in digital and television ads, as well as supporter outreach as it looks to rally opposition to President Joe Biden's gun policies and his pick to lead the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. 

The efforts include $600,000 in digital advertising across seven states (Maine, Arizona, Montana, West Virginia, North Carolina, Florida and Pennsylvania), $400,000 in television ads in Maine, West Virginia and Montana, and $500,000 in mail pieces sent to supporters in 12 states (Maine, Arizona, Montana, West Virginia, North Carolina, Florida, Pennsylvania, Utah, Alaska, Wisconsin, Ohio and Indiana). 

Examples of the digital and television ads shared by the NRA show the opposition centered on Biden's nomination of David Chipman to lead ATF as well as a broad claim that Biden wants to ban "commonly owned firearms and magazines," calling on senators to oppose both Biden and Chipman. 

After a mass shooting in Colorado last month, Biden reiterated his call to ban assault-style weapons and high-capacity magazines, as well as to expand the use of background checks

Last week, Biden took executive action aimed at limiting homemade firearms that don't have traceable serial numbers and to call on the Justice Department to lay out model "red flag" laws for states. These laws allow courts to temporarily block someone from having a firearm if family members believe they are a danger to themself or to others. He also announced Chipman's nomination alongside those actions. 

"Americans should not be forced to live in fear in a political climate in which government leaders are outrightly hostile to a fundamental and guaranteed freedom enshrined in our Bill of Rights," Amy Hunter, an NRA spokeswoman, told NBC. 

“We will fight Chipman’s nomination and the bad bills that now are in the Senate. And, this is just the beginning.”

The NRA has recently been marred by accusations of mismanagement and is in the midst of bankruptcy proceedings. 

Everytown for Gun Safety, a group that has organized as a counterweight to the NRA's institutional power in the gun arena, launched a seven-figure ad campaign of its own last monthaimed at convincing Congress to pass new background check expansions. 

521d ago / 3:39 PM UTC

EMILY's List endorses Democrat Carroll Foy in VA Gov race

In the crowded Democratic primary for Virginia governor, Jennifer Carroll Foy’s campaign has been adamant that the race has turned into a two-person contest — between her and former Gov. Terry McAuliffe.

Now, EMILY’s List has decided to endorse the former state delegate over state Sen. Jennifer McClellan this morning.

Both Carroll Foy and McClellan are vying to be the state’s first woman — and first Black woman — governor. And Carroll Foy has edged out McClellan in fundraising so far, even as McAuliffe has far more resources. 

But McClellan got a boost of her own this morning as she attempts to frame herself as the non-McAuliffe alternative — CNN is reporting that two prominent Democratic donors in California are asking their network to send money to her. 

Polling in the race has shown McAuliffe with a huge lead over the field ahead of the June 8 primary, with the rest of the field, that also includes Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax and state Del. Lee Carter, in a pile-up far behind him. 

—Ben Kamisar contributed

521d ago / 3:05 PM UTC

Biden administration kicks off social media push on vaccines with celebrity help

The Biden administration on Thursday plans to kick off the next phase of its campaign to combat vaccine hesitancy with a new effort that targets young people through celebrities and their social media platforms, according to administration officials. 

The idea is for doctors, scientists and other health officials to take over the social media platforms of famous people, including Olivia Holt, Eva Longoria, Kelly Ripa and Ryan Seacrest, for live events about the vaccine aimed at their millions of followers, according to a release detailing the effort. The initiative, called “We Can Do This: Live,” will include Instagram Live questions and answers and other virtual events where followers can ask questions and get information about the vaccine.

The NBA, WNBA, NASCAR, the Recording Academy and others such as Walter Kim, president of the National Association of Evangelicals, political strategist Ana Navarro, Barbara Corcoran and Mark Cuban are also participating in the events.

The timing of the new phase comes as availability for the vaccine has been expanded to all adults, and the administration is trying to reach some of the core groups that are still hesitant to get vaccinated. “It’s time to pull all the levers we have,” one administration official said.

The goal, according to the release, is to reach Americans, particularly young people, “directly in the places where they already consume content online, including social media, podcasts, YouTube, and more.”

523d ago / 5:17 PM UTC

John Bolton-sponsored poll suggests Trump's grip on GOP is losing steam

new poll of likely Republican voters commissioned by former President Trump’s National Security Advisor, John Bolton, suggests the intensity of support for Trump within the GOP has been slipping, even as he remains a popular and influential figure within the party. 

The poll, commissioned by Bolton's super PAC, finds that 85 percent of likely Republican general election voters view Trump favorably, compared to 13 percent who view him unfavorably. But under the surface, Bolton argued that enthusiasm for Trump is beginning to wane, pointing to the fact that 58 percent of respondents say they have a “very favorable” view of Trump while 27 percent say they just view him “somewhat” favorably. 

Bolton and his pollster, veteran North Carolina political operative Carter Wrenn, compared the data to polls taken before Election Day in 2020 that found significantly higher numbers of Republicans who viewed Trump strongly or very favorably. 

“I was motivated on this poll in part because in the commentariat and among some politicians, there didn’t seem to be a recognition that things changed on Jan. 20th,  when Trump had gone from sitting in the most powerful office in the world to sitting by a swimming pool at Mar-a-Lago. That’s going to have an effect over time as it is for any incumbent president,” Bolton said in a call with reporters discussing the poll's findings. 

“I hoped and believed, as somebody who had been in Republican politics for a long time that we had not become a cult of personality,” he added, saying he’s encouraged by the poll’s finding that 82 percent of Republicans say they care more about a candidate’s stance on issues than whether they’re loyal to Trump. 

Bolton’s super PAC polled 1,000 likely midterm general election voters by phone (with an oversample of 600 likely Republican general election voters in that larger total) from April 3-7. The Republican section has a margin of error of 4 percent. 

Bolton, who has long been a fixture in GOP politics, joined the Trump administration for a little over a year. He left the administration amid a disagreement whether he resigned or was fired, and both Trump and Bolton have repeatedly criticized each other publicly since.  

Jason Miller, a former Trump campaign aide who continues to advise him, tweeted a criticism of Bolton Tuesday in response to the polling. 

"John Bolton has never recovered from being fired. President Trump used Bolton’s idiocy to the benefit of Americans in negotiating deals with other countries because they knew Bolton was a crazed lunatic," Miller said

Trump won a significant plurality in a hypothetical 2024 GOP presidential primary matchup against six other potential Republican hopefuls — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, former Vice President Mike Pence, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem.  

Forty-four percent of those GOP primary voters backed Trump, but 56 percent were either undecided or backing another candidate. Among those who have a “very favorable” view of Trump, 70 percent said they’d back him in 2024, while 30 percent said they were undecided or backing another candidate. 

Behind Trump in the hypothetical GOP presidential primary matchup were: DeSantis and Haley at 9 percent each; Cruz at 7 percent; Pence at 6 percent; Rubio at 2 percent; Noem at 1 percent; and 21 percent who were undecided.

Views on Trump’s policies and personality also served as a strong proxy for voters’ choice in 2024 — 71 percent of voters who like both Trump’s policies and personality backed him, while 64 percent who liked his policy but disliked his personality were not supporting him. 

And the poll found that for a majority of Republicans, 52 percent, whether Trump personally opposed a candidate made no difference as to a voter’s decision on that candidate (29 percent said they’d be more likely to vote against that candidate while 19 percent it would make them more likely to vote for that candidate). 

Wrenn pointed to those numbers specifically to argue that part of the GOP softening on Trump is related to his personality, and that Trump’s hold on the 2024 field, and the party at large, may not be as strong as some may think. 

“Among Washington consultants, it’s a mantra: If Trump runs, you can’t win. I think that’s a fiction,” he said. 

The poll is not the first to examine the future of the GOP, and not the only one from a principal with a personal connection to the administration. As Axios first reported last month, Fabrizio, Lee & Associates(which polled for Trump’s presidential campaign) found that the plurality of GOP voters, 23 percent, were most concerned about fiscal issues, with 19 percent considered “extremely conservative” and 17 percent focused on individual freedom.

523d ago / 3:17 PM UTC

Here are some initial takeaways from the most recent FEC reports

Friday's first-quarter fundraising deadline gave reporters and the public the first glance at the state of 2021 campaign fundraising during a hectic three months that included the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, objections to the Electoral College, an impeachment vote, serious jockeying for higher office and many other flashpoints. 

Here are some key things we've learned from those filings so far: 

Most corporate PACs appear to have followed through on donation pauses

After the Electoral College objections and the Capitol attack, dozens of corporations put out statements ranging from condemnations to calls to re-evaluate their giving or blanket bans on donations to those who objected to President Joe Biden's victory. And this first, preliminary look, makes clear that most followed through. 

The majority of Republicans who objected to the Electoral College certification saw a decrease in political action committee donations in the first quarter of 2021 when compared to the first quarter of 2019 (only counting those who were in Congress during both eras). 

And most of the organizations that spoke out in the wake of the attack didn't donate to these members (note: Many of these corporate PACs file semi-annually, while federal candidates file quarterly).

Only a small group, including companies like Toyota, the National Association of Realtors, JetBlue and Cigna did, giving to a handful of lawmakers who voted against certifying the 2020 presidential election. But those groups issued more broad statements after the Congressional vote, not specifically promising the end to donations to those who objected to the Electoral College.  

Toyota is one good example of how some of those companies are handling the issue. In January, Toyota told E&E that "given recent events and the horrific attack on the U.S. Capitol, we are assessing our future PAC criteria." But when asked by NBC News about its donations, a Toyota spokesman said its donations are "based on their position on issues that are important to the auto industry and the company."

"We do not believe it is appropriate to judge members of Congress solely based on their votes on the electoral certification. Based on our thorough review, we decided against giving to some members who, through their statements and actions, undermine the legitimacy of our elections and institutions," the spokesperson added, noting that the company generally gives to lawmakers who represent areas where Toyota has operations and that the company gave both to Democrats this quarter, as well as four of the 10 House Republicans who backed former President Donald Trump's impeachment

But many of those who objected raised a lot of small-dollar money 

If the money isn't coming in from corporations, then a candidate has to find new revenue sources. Many of those who objected to the Electoral College got a bump from small-dollar donors (per Politico, a majority of them), particularly some of the most outspoken objectors. 

Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., who vocally helped to lead the opposition to the Electoral College vote, raised an eye-popping $3 million over the single quarter, almost two-thirds from donations of under $200. In the first quarter of 2019, Hawley raised just $44,000. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., also raised about $3 million, a massive sum for a House member and more than all but House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and House Minority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La.

And Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., another GOP lawmaker who repeatedly cast doubt on the veracity of the Electoral College (and more recently is facing investigations into sexual misconduct allegations) raised $1.8 million that quarter, more than three-quarters in donations under $200. 

The GOP spent the Trump years trying to leverage Trump's success with small-dollar donors into helping the party as a whole. And it remains clear that if big donors will be slow to donate to those who objected to the Electoral College, these small-dollar donors will only become more important to these members as they look toward re-election or higher office. 

Trump critics raised significant money, some spending big on security  

We didn't just see big quarters from those who backed Trump's attempts to throw out the Electoral College — some of the former president's most vocal Republican critics raked in cash too. Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., raised $1.5 million, more than all but 12 House members. And the $1.2 million haul from Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., was good enough to get him into the top 20 of all members last quarter. 

But some of those seen as major Trump critics, either who supported his impeachment or have otherwise spoken out against him, have spent big money on security during the first quarter. Sen. Patrick Toomey, R-Pa., spent $69,000 of the $112,000 spent by his campaign all quarter on security services or consulting (Toomey is retiring at the end of 2022). His campaign had previously reported spending a total of $6,600 on security over the last decade. 

Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, who joined with Toomey to vote to impeach Trump, spent almost $44,000 on security expenses in February — he had spent about $2,000 on security previously out of his campaign account. 

Race for the Senate begins to come into focus

It's still early, but these reports also provided the first glimpse of what resources notable Senate candidates are beginning to amass. 

In the heated Ohio Senate GOP primary, former state GOP chairwoman Jane Timken loaned her campaign $1 million and raised another $1.1 million. Her primary opponent at this point, former state treasurer Josh Mandel, actually lost money in his primary campaign account apparently because his investments took a $130,000 hit. But a spokesman told Cleveland.com his campaign will net about $700,000 through fundraising in his joint fudraising committee.  

On the other side of the aisle, Rep. Tim Ryan, the Democrat seen to be eying a bid, posted a $1.2 million quarter with nothing from his own personal funds. 

Some incumbents likely to face serious challenges raised big money — for example, Sen. Mark Kelly, D-Ariz., raised almost $4.4 million; Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., raised more than $1.6 million; Sen. Raphael Warnock, D-Ga., raised $4.6 million from Jan. 26 through March; Sen. Maggie Hassan, D-N.H., raised $2.9 million; and Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto raised $2.3 million. 

Others, like Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., raised less as they continue to weigh whether they'll run again. 

524d ago / 3:53 PM UTC

Dayton mayor launches Ohio gubernatorial bid presenting herself as antidote to decades of Republican rule

Nan Whaley, the Democratic mayor of Dayton, Ohio, declared her candidacy for governor Monday by characterizing Republican incumbent Mike DeWine as an avatar of complacence and compliance in the face of economic distress and corruption. 

“I think the people of Ohio agree that they deserve better,” Whaley, 45, said in a telephone interview with NBC News. 

“People are working longer and longer hours, sometimes even two jobs, getting paid less, and not being able to provide for their families,” Whaley added. “And we've had three decades with the same corrupt politicians in Columbus, who care more about the extreme interests and lining their personal and political pockets, rather than folks who are trying to provide for their families and want their kids to have actual opportunities in Ohio.”

Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley speaks alongside Democrats from the House of Representatives and Senate at the Capitol on Sept. 9, 2019, in Washington.
Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley speaks alongside Democrats from the House of Representatives and Senate at the Capitol on Sept. 9, 2019, in Washington.Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images file

DeWine, 74, has not been implicated, but a scandal involving other prominent Ohio Republicans and legislation viewed as a bailout for two nuclear power plants has become a potential liability for GOP officials. Larry Householder, the former speaker of the Ohio House, has pleaded not guilty to federal charges that he orchestrated a $60 million bribery scheme around the legislation.

“What's gonna matter,” Whaley said, “is that people are going to see that the leadership and Columbus has been completely interested in self-dealing, and they're paying for it on their electric bills every month.”

Republicans have held the governor’s chair and most partisan statewide offices in Ohio for all but four years since 1990. DeWine has been a GOP mainstay since the 1980s, serving the state in the U.S. House and Senate and as lieutenant governor and attorney general.

Whaley and DeWine previously had enjoyed a cordial relationship, but the mayor believes the governor’s leadership on the pandemic — once lauded by those on both sides of the aisle as bold and decisive, especially when compared to former President Donald Trump and other Republicans — has worsened the more he fears backlash from his party’s base. Several Republicans, including former Rep. Jim Renacci, are considering challenging DeWine in next year’s primary largely on the basis that they think he’s been too restrictive in his approach to the coronavirus.

“There are actually examples over and over again in the midst of the pandemic where I think he puts his wanting to protect his power over his principle,” Whaley said of DeWine.

In an emailed statement, Ohio Republican Party Chairman Bob Paduchik criticized Whaley’s two terms as mayor, noting high crime and poverty rates in the city.

“Now, Nan Whaley wants a promotion. Ohioans deserve leaders who serve to better our communities, not build their own political resumes,” Paduchik said.

Whaley has long been seen as a rising star in Ohio. She briefly ran for governor in 2018 but dropped out once it was clear Democratic establishment leaders were coalescing behind Richard Cordray, the state’s former attorney general and the former head of the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Cordray lost to DeWine by less than 4 percentage points.

Since 2018, Whaley has elevated her state and national profile, first by leading an unsuccessful effort to draft Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, into the 2020 presidential race and then by becoming a surrogate for Pete Buttigieg’s White House bid. Her leadership of Dayton through several crises — including destructive tornadoes and a mass shooting that left nine dead in August of 2019 — also put her in front of national audiences. When Trump visited after the shooting, Whaley found herself the target of his angry tweets, even though she had said victims and first responders were grateful for his appearance.

“It's true that I am not the same person that ran four years ago,” Whaley said Monday. “And it is not through any fault of Dayton that we were tested so often through these challenges.”

Another Democrat, Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley, has been raising money for several months as he explores seeking the party's nomination for governor.

Dayton is not among the three metro areas — Cincinnati, along with Cleveland and Columbus — that traditionally produce statewide candidates. Whaley addresses that reality while alluding to the city’s recent challenges in her launch video, which begins by asking: “What does somebody from Dayton know about tough?”

The strength theme continues throughout the video, which hits on the corruption scandals and features footage of DeWine in Dayton after the 2019 shooting as Whaley talks about leaders who are “too weak to do something.” “Do Something” became a rallying cry for gun-safety advocates who chanted the phrase at DeWine during that visit. 

DeWine has at times signaled interest in gun control legislation but has not been able to sell the GOP-controlled General Assembly. After suggesting that he would veto “stand your ground” legislation that removed the duty to retreat before shooting in self-defense, DeWine in January signed the bill.

524d ago / 2:32 PM UTC

Party-switching candidate attacks GOP Gov. Kemp as he launches primary challenge

and

Georgia Republican gubernatorial hopeful Vernon Jones, a former Democratic state representative who backed former President Donald Trump's re-election and ultimately switched parties, blasted the state's current governor during an appearance on Fox Business days after he announced his primary challenge. 

During his TV appearance, Jones criticized Republican Gov. Brian Kemp by accusing him of being responsible for GOP losses in the state in 2020, and arguing he "cannot beat Stacey" Abrams, the Georgia Democrat who may be eying another gubernatorial bid after she lost to Kemp in 2018.

"Our governor failed when we lost two United States Senate seats. He was directly responsible for this," he said on Fox Business. 

"Brian Kemp cannot beat Stacey. He's caved into her one time and we don't want him to cave in again." 

The broadsides on Kemp echo criticism from Trump and his allies, who still hold a grudge against Kemp because they say he didn't do enough to support Trump's unfounded claims of widespread electoral fraud. But other Republicans have said that Trump's repeated calls for states like Georgia to overturn the election results helped cost the GOP both Senate seats in the January runoffs there. 

As Trump has continued to criticize Kemp, the governor has become the face of the state's controversial new voting restrictions, which he signed into law last month

The former president has not yet endorsed in this race, although he did back Republican Rep. Jody Hice's primary bid against Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, another top Georgia Republican Trump criticized in the wake of his loss. 

528d ago / 7:16 PM UTC

What all the new poll numbers tell us about Biden and his agenda

In the last 24 hours, we’ve seen four major national polls — Monmouth, Quinnipiac, NPR/PBS/Marist and Pew — release findings on President Biden’s first three months in office and the popularity of his legislative priorities.

And despite differing methodologies (Pew is an online poll, the others are live-caller) and differing overall numbers, these polls tell five clear stories about how Americans view the president and his early agenda. 

1. As he nears 100 days in office, Biden’s approval rating remains above water

Biden’s job rating

Monmouth: 54 percent approve, 41 percent disapprove

Quinnipiac: 48 percent approve, 42 percent disapprove

NPR/PBS/Marist: 53 percent approve, 39 percent disapprove

Pew: 59 percent approve, 39 percent disapprove

2. Americans are feeling more optimistic

According to the Monmouth poll, 46 percent of Americans believe the nation is headed in the right direction, versus 50 percent who think it’s on the wrong back. 

A month ago in the same poll, it was 34 percent right track, 61 percent wrong track.

3. Biden’s infrastructure bill is popular, and it pretty much matches his overall job rating 

Quinnipiac: 44 percent support it, 38 percent oppose it

Quinnipiac -- if it raises taxes on corporations: 53 percent support, 39 percent oppose

NPR/PBS/Marist: 56 percent support, 34 percent oppose 

4. Increasing taxes on corporations and those making $400,000 or above is popular

Quinnipiac on raising corporate taxes: 62 percent support, 31 percent oppose

Quinnipiac on raising taxes on those making $400K+: 64 percent support, 31 percent oppose 

NPR/PBS/Marist on $400K+: 65 percent support, 33 percent oppose

5. Biden’s personal ratings are higher than his policy ratings 

In the Pew poll, 46 percent of Americans say they like the Biden conducts himself, while 27 percent disagree and another 27 percent have a mixed opinion.  

That’s compared with a combined 44 percent who say they like all or many of his policies. 

And another 44 percent in the Pew poll say Biden has changed the tone of the political debate for the better; 29 percent say he’s changed it for the worse; and 27 percent say he hasn’t changed it much either way. 

The Monmouth poll was conducted April 8-12, and it has an overall margin of error of plus-minus 3.5 percentage points.  

The Quinnipiac poll was also conducted April 8-12, and has a margin of error of plus-minus 2.8 percentage points. 

The NPR/PBS/Marist poll was conducted April 7-13, and it has a margin of error of plus-minus 3.3 percentage points. 

And the Pew poll was conducted April 5-11, and it has a margin of error of plus-minus 2.1 percentage points.

528d ago / 3:08 PM UTC

Poll: Majority of Americans say a "not-guilty" verdict in Chauvin trial would be a negative step for race relations

Six-in-ten Americans say that a verdict of “not guilty” for the former Minneapolis police officer charged with murder in the death of George Floyd would be a negative step for race relations in America, according to new poll data from Monmouth University. 

But the country is more divided on whether a conviction for Derek Chauvin would actually improve race relations, with almost half of Americans saying it’s not likely to make much of a difference. 

The survey, which was conducted April 8-12, finds that 63 percent of Americans said it would be a negative step for race relations if Chauvin, who is charged with murder in Floyd’s death last year, is found not guilty.  

But, asked about the possibility that Chauvin is instead found guilty of murder, 46 percent said a guilty verdict won’t make a significant difference for race relations. Thirty-seven percent say a guilty verdict would have a positive effect. 

Chauvin faces second-degree and third-degree murder charges, as well as a manslaughter charge. 

The Hennepin County Government Center on April 14, 2021, in Minneapolis.
The Hennepin County Government Center on April 14, 2021, in Minneapolis.Stephen Maturen / Getty Images

The survey finds significant differences between white Republicans and other white partisans on this issue. Among white Republicans, just 13 percent say a guilty verdict would be a good step for race relations. A majority — 56 percent — of white Democrats and independents say the same thing. 

About half of Americans– 49 percent – also said that police officers are more likely to use excessive force against a Black person than against a white person in similar circumstances. That’s down from the 57 percent who said the same last June, but still much higher than in previous surveys.

About a third – 30 percent — of Americans say there’s more racism among police officers than among other groups, while 14 percent say there’s less and 51 percent say there is not more or less racism among police officers compared to the rest of society. 

The survey comes at a time when there is very high awareness of the ongoing Chauvin trial. Almost two-thirds of Americans say they have heard a lot about it, with another 31 percent saying they’ve heard a little. 

The Monmouth survey was conducted April 8-12 and has a margin of error of +/- 3.5 percentage points.

529d ago / 3:33 PM UTC

Poll: Forty-three percent of Republicans say they will avoid vaccine if possible

A new poll from Monmouth University finds that about one-in-five Americans say they plan to avoid  getting a Covid-19 vaccine if possible, a share that remains virtually unchanged since the beginning of the year.  

The survey, which was conducted April 8-12 — before federal health authorities called for a pause in the administration of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine due to very rare cases of blot clots in some women — found that 21 percent of Americans overall say they likely won’t get the vaccine if they can avoid it. That’s compared to a statistically similar 24 percent in both January and March polls. 

Those shunning the jab include 43 percent of Republicans but just 5 percent of Democrats and 22 percent of independents. 

Image: Volunteer medical staff administer Covid-19 vaccines to walk-in patients during a pop-up clinic at Western International High School on April 12, 2021 in Detroit, Mich.
Volunteer medical staff administer Covid-19 vaccines to walk-in patients during a pop-up clinic at Western International High School on April 12, 2021 in Detroit, Mich.Matthew Hatcher / Getty Images

But the poll also has some good news for vaccine advocates. The share of Americans who say they want to wait and see how the vaccine rollout goes before getting a shot is down from 21 percent in March to just 12 percent now. 

Overall, 51 percent of Americans say they’ve received at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine. Another 14 percent say they plan to get one as soon as they can. 

The poll also finds President Joe Biden’s approval rating above water, with 54 percent approving and 41 percent disapproving of his performance in office so far. 

That’s compared with a 51 percent approve/42 percent disapprove rating last month. 

The poll of 800 respondents was conducted April 8-12 and has a margin of error of 3.5 percentage points.

 

529d ago / 2:47 PM UTC

McCrory makes it official, announces N.C. Senate bid

Former North Carolina Republican Gov. Pat McCrory says he’s in for the 2022 Senate race. 

McCrory made the announcement on his Charlotte-area radio show Wednesday morning, saying he is “simply the best for this job of any of the people talking about running for it.” 

In a separate announcement video, McCrory emphasized the stakes of the next Senate contest, noting the 50/50 split between the parties in the upper chamber and the fact that ties are currently broken by Vice President Kamala Harris.

“It’s time we join together and take back the Senate from Kamala Harris,” he says in the video. “So I’m in.” 

Former GOP Rep. Mark Walker has already announced a bid for the seat, which will be open after the retirement of Republican Sen. Richard Burr. Rep. Ted Budd is also reportedly considering a run.

McCrory enjoys high name recognition in the state from his stint as governor. But former President Donald Trump’s daughter-in-law, Lara Trump, has also been floated as a candidate whose last name would immediate make her a top-tier contender for the seat.

531d ago / 9:32 PM UTC

Former N.C. Gov. McCrory to run for open Senate seat

The North Carolina Senate race is about to get more crowded. 

Former Republican Governor Pat McCrory plans to announce on Wednesday that he is running for the open seat to replace retiring Sen. Richard Burr, according to two sources familiar with his plans. 

North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory speaks in Raleigh on Nov. 9, 2016.
North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory speaks in Raleigh on Nov. 9, 2016.Jonathan Drake / Reuters file

McCrory, who led the state from 2012 until he lost his re-election in 2016, will enter what is expected to be a crowded Republican primary that already includes former Rep. Mark Walker, who took a shot at McCrory on Monday upon the news of his potential bid. 

Sources say the GOP field could also include Lara Trump, former President Donald Trump’s daughter-in-law, and possibly Rep. Ted Budd, D-N.C.

The Democratic primary is expected to get bigger soon, too. Former N.C. Supreme Court Chief Justice Cheri Beasley could announce her candidacy as early as this week, three sources tell NBC News. 

Beasley, an African American woman, lost a close re-election in 2020 as the top judge in the state. Her race went to a recount. She would be running against former state Sen. Erica Smith and state Senator Jeff Jackson, who have both already announced their bids. Jackson's campaign said he raised $1.3 million in the first quarter of 2021. 

The outcome of the election in the swing state will be critical in the battle for the Senate, which is currently evenly divided. 

Former President Donald Trump won the state in 2016 and 2020 but voters in those elections also elected Democratic Governor Roy Cooper on the same ballot. 

“Arguably North Carolina is the swingiest state in the nation,” Democratic consultant Morgan Jackson said. “It’s the right recipe for a really big Senate race.”

531d ago / 4:07 PM UTC

Progressive Kentucky Democrat explores Senate bid against Rand Paul

Former state Rep. Charles Booker, the progressive Democrat who narrowly lost the party's Democratic Senate primary in 2020, is launching an exploratory committee for a potential bid against Republican Sen. Rand Paul. 

Booker made the announcement in a video posted to social media where he recounted his 2020 campaign's rise amid the backdrop of public outcry after police shootings of Black people, all amid a global pandemic. And he criticized the push by Republican legislators across the country to enact new voting restrictions after former President Donald Trump lost the presidential election. 

"As we made our stand together, I could not have imagined the new world we were about to step into — the height of racial tension, the pandemic, an insurrection. While Kentuckians lost their livelihoods and their homes, a handful of privileged politicians chose to continue criminalizing poverty. While our loved ones were brutalized they chose to do nothing," Booker says in the video. 

"Those folks building walls between us, they're scared now. They saw how close we came to shifting the scales, our forward motion knocking them on their heels. And they'll stop at nothing to drag us backwards." 

Booker fell just three percentage points short of winning the 2020 Senate Democratic primary to former fighter pilot Amy McGrath. McGrath, who massively outraised and outspent Booker, went on to lose to then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell by almost 20 points.

Booker shares many ideas with the Democratic Party's progressive wing, supporting the Green New Deal and  Medicare for All. He's also been an outspoken advocate for racial justice — he rallied Kentuckians after the shooting death of Breonna Taylor in Louisville, which happened during the primary campaign. 

While Booker hasn't officially declared a bid, if he decides to challenge Paul, it will be difficult sledding — while Democrats did successfully flip the governor's mansion in 2019, Republicans have held both Senate seats since the turn of the century. Paul first won his seat in the 2010 midterms, winning a second term in 2016 after he dropped out of the presidential race. 

535d ago / 12:32 PM UTC

Virginia Gov. Northam backs Terry McAuliffe's bid to return to governor's mansion

Virginia Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam announced Thursday that he is endorsing Terry McAuliffe to be the state's next governor, a move that gives McAuliffe another big backer in his corner as he looks to leverage his experience, deep pockets and relationships with establishment Democrats in the state to help him secure another, non-consecutive term as governor. 

In a statement released by the McAuliffe campaign, Northam pointed to the former governor's experience as a key attribute that can help the state as it claws out of the health and economic crises created by the Covid-19 pandemic. 

"The longer-term impacts of this pandemic, however, will be around long after I leave office, and it's critical that our next governor has the plans and experience to continue the fight to rebuild Virginia into a stronger, more equitable future. That's why I am so proud to support Terry McAuliffe to be our next governor," Northam said. 

"When Terry puts his mind to something, he'll move heaven and earth to make it happen. I've worked side-by-side with him for years, and simply put, he always gets the job done. Virginians need and deserve Terry's committed leadership as our next governor to continue to move us forward and build on the incredible progress Democrats have made over the past eight years."

Northam served as McAuliffe's lieutenant governor from 2014-2017 and won McAuliffe's endorsement to succeed him, an endorsement that served particularly helpful in the 2013 Democratic primary. Virginia elects governors to one, four-year term, after which they can't immediately run for re-election. However, they can run for non-consecutive terms, as McAuliffe is attempting to do. 

Image: Ralph Northam
Terry McAuliffe, left, and Ralph Northam, celebrate Northam's win in the Democratic Gubernatorial primary on June 13, 2017 in Crystal City, Va.Cliff Owen / AP file

McAuliffe has been touting his experience as the centerpiece of his bid — he left office well-liked and has remained a fixture in the state's political scene, as well as the national one (House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., has endorsed him). Mark Bergman, one of Northam's top political advisers, told the Associated Press that the governor was choosing between Northam and two other candidates — former state Delegate Jennifer Carroll Foy and state Sen. Jennifer McClellan.

Both Carroll Foy and McClellan are trying to fashion themselves as candidates who represent a new direction for the state, with Carroll Foy specifically criticizing McAuliffe in recent weeks as a return to politics of the past. Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax, who has been accused of sexual assault, is also running, as is state Delegate Lee Carter, a marine veteran and socialist. 

While Northam's reputation in the state has rebounded, he faced a smattering of calls to resign in 2019 after a photo emerged from his medical school yearbook page that showed one man posing in blackface and another donning a Ku Klux Klan robe. While denying he was in that photo, he admitted to using shoe polish to darken his face while impersonating Michael Jackson in a dance contest in 1984. McAullife initially called on Northam to step down, Northam never did and the pressure campaign faded away. 

536d ago / 3:40 PM UTC

Pence launches new policy and advocacy group to champion Trump-era policy and oppose Biden agenda

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Former Vice President Mike Pence has launched his new policy and advocacy group, called Advancing American Freedom, the biggest brick yet in the foundation Pence is building toward a potential future bid for president. 

The group, according to a new statement announcing the launch, will “promote the pro-freedom policies of the last four years that created unprecedented prosperity at home and restored respect for America abroad, to defend those policies from liberal attacks and media distortions, and to prevent the radical Left from enacting its policy agenda that would threaten America’s freedoms.”

Advancing American Freedom is incorporated in Indiana, but will have office space in Washington D.C., according to a source involved with the group. 

Vice President Mike Pence speaks at a rally on Dec. 04, 2020, in Savannah, Ga.
Vice President Mike Pence speaks at a rally on Dec. 04, 2020, in Savannah, Ga.Spencer Platt / Getty Images file

The announcement comes as Pence begins to tiptoe back into the public eye after a high-profile break with former President Donald Trump over whether he could overturn the 2020 election results. He's expected to make his first public speech since leaving office later this month in South Carolina. 

Advancing American Freedom's messaging previews the pitch Pence may make to GOP voters during presidential primary season: that he's the person who can carry on the Trump message on behalf of the voters the former president brought into the Republican fold in 2016, while also speaking to more traditional GOP base. 

“Mike Pence is looking to chair this new organization in a direction that continues to fuse those different parts of our movement together because that's a winning formula,” former Pence chief of staff Marc Short, the group's co-chair, said on Fox Business Wednesday morning. 

Along with Short, senior advisor Marty Obst and political strategist Chip Saltsman are also co-chairing the group. The group’s executive director, Paul Teller, worked as one of Pence’s liaisons to Capitol Hill.

Its advisory board includes a handful of former Trump administration officials and top allies, including former Senior Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway, former United States Ambassador to the United Nations Kelly Craft, Arizona Republican Gov. Doug Ducey, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, former U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See Callista Gingrich, former Director of the National Economic Council Larry Kudlow, former U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, former Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma, former Office of Management and Budget Director Russ Vought and former Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker. 

And the group's announcement makes clear how it views the Biden administration, adding that "In addition to articulating and advancing a policy agenda, Advancing American Freedom will oppose the expansion of government under Joe Biden and Kamala Harris’ radical Left policy agenda from Washington, D.C., into communities across the country.

536d ago / 1:35 PM UTC

Trump backs Mo Brooks, key ally in unfounded election fraud push, for Alabama Senate

Former President Donald Trump has endorsed the Senate campaign of Rep. Mo Brooks, the Alabama Republican and key ally who played a central role in promoting the former president’s unfounded claim that he won the 2020 presidential election and that Congress could overturn the result. 

Trump announced the endorsement in an emailed statement Wednesday, as he remains banned from most social media platforms in the wake of his false claims about the election and the subsequent attack on the Capitol by his supporters. 

“Few Republicans have as much COURAGE and FIGHT as Alabama Congressman Mo Brooks.  Mo is a great Conservative Republican leader, who will stand up for America First no matter what obstacles the Fake News Media, RINOs, or Socialist Democrats may place in his path,” Trump wrote. 

“Mo Brooks has my Complete and Total Endorsement for the U.S. Senate representing the Great State of Alabama.  He will never let you down!”

Brooks is running for the Senate seat that will be vacated by Republican Sen. Richard Shelby’s decision not to run for another term. The president is siding with Brooks over Lynda Blanchard, Trump’s former ambassador to Slovenia. Blanchard has also tried to position herself as a loyal Trump ally, pointing to her work in the administration, and has deep pockets from which to self-fund her race. 

Image: Mo Brooks makes a campaign announcement in Huntsville, Alabama
Mo Brooks announces his campaign for senate during a rally in Huntsville, Ala., on March 22, 2021.Elijah Nouvelage / Reuters file

The congressman repeatedly echoed Trump’s claims of widespread electoral fraud after the 2020 election, helping to spearhead the attempt by over 100 Republican members of Congress to object to the Electoral College results. 

Brooks also spoke, along with Trump, at a Washington D.C. rally that coincided with the vote. Many of those rallygoers then headed to the Capitol, and some attacked police officers as they stormed the building.

Trump won Alabama in 2020 with 62 percent of the vote, his highest vote share of any state. It's not the first time Trump waded into Alabama's Senate race — when Brooks was running in 2017, Trump endorsed sitting Sen. Luther Strange, who had been appointed to the seat after then-Sen. Jeff Sessions left to become Trump's attorney general. Strange advanced to a runoff against Republican Roy Moore, who defeated Strange but lost the general election after he was accused by multiple women of sexually harassing them when they were teenagers. 

537d ago / 7:48 PM UTC

Ohio doctor who led state's coronavirus response decides against seeking Portman's Senate seat

Dr. Amy Acton, the former Ohio health director who helped navigate the state through the early days of the coronavirus pandemic, said Tuesday that she won't seek the Senate seat being left by retiring Republican Rob Portman next year.

"While I am not entering the race for U.S. Senate, I recognize there is a genuine longing for a fresh approach to leadership that is honest, collaborative, and empowering," Acton, who served under Republican Gov. Mike DeWine and was exploring a run, said in an emailed statement.

"Ohioans — do not accept anything less from your elected officials," Acton added. "Our leaders’ words and actions matter. We must set the bar higher."

Several prominent Democrats had encouraged Acton to run, including Connie Schultz, a nationally syndicated columnist married to the state's other senator, Sherrod Brown.

Image:
Dr. Amy Acton, Ohio Department of Health Director, discusses the confirmation of Ohio's first three cases of coronavirus, as Gov. Mike DeWine, right, studies an update on the cases provided to him, during a news conference on March 9, 2020, in Columbus. Lt. Gov. Jon Husted is at left.Andrew Welsh-Huggins / AP file

A national group working to draft science, technology, engineering and math professionals to run for office — 314 Action — also tried to get Acton to run. The organization commissioned a poll that measured Acton, who was a daily presence at DeWine's televised coronavirus briefings, with a high favorability rating. The polling also found Acton within the margin of error in a hypothetical primary matchup with Democratic Rep. Tim Ryan, who is expected to launch a Senate bid soon.

Acton resigned as DeWine's health director last June and remained as an adviser until August. Acton, who is Jewish, had been a target of anti-Semitism and other vitriol from those unhappy with the governor's stay-at-home orders and lockdowns in the first months of the pandemic. 

"Let our future honor the dignity of true public service and citizenship," Acton said in her Tuesday statement. "I know many of us are tired of the vitriol and hate. We are weary from the battle. No one has gone untouched and much has been exposed and revealed. Yet as we cautiously re-emerge this spring, we dare to hope that a new way is possible. The opportunity for repairing and reimagining is at hand: a rebirth for ourselves, our relationships, and for the institutions of our civil society."

Ryan announced last week that his campaign account, which can be applied toward a Senate bid, raised $1.2 million in the first quarter of 2021. On the Republican side, former State Treasurer Josh Mandel, former Ohio GOP Chair Jane Timken, and Cleveland-area businessman Bernie Moreno — who launched his candidacy Tuesday — are already running. Others, including Reps. Mike Turner and Steve Stivers and "Hillbilly Elegy" author J.D. Vance, also are considering entering the GOP primary.

537d ago / 5:22 PM UTC

Hastings seat to be filled by special election scheduled by Gov. DeSantis

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Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis has broad authority on the timing to schedule a special election to fill the U.S. House vacancy left by Democratic Rep. Alcee Hastings' death on Tuesday

State law says a special election "shall be held" when there's a vacancy in Florida's congressional delegation, but the state's governor gets to set the dates for the election.

Unlike in other states, where election laws allow state parties to choose their special-election nominees (like New Mexico) or hold a special election with every candidate of any party on the same ballot (like Lousiana), Florida voters will choose their party's nominees during the special election primaries. 

The current 20th district is far from a competitive one. Hastings, who was first elected in 1992, won 79% of the vote in 2020 and ran unopposed in the 2018 general election. A majority of district residents — 53% — are Black. 

That said, the Republican-controlled legislature will have the chance to redraw congressional district lines through the redistricting process before the 2022 midterms, so the district may look different in future elections.

537d ago / 3:07 PM UTC

With Colorado poised to be new home for MLB All-Star Game, here's a look at its voting laws

After Major League Baseball pulled its July All-Star Game from Atlanta in protest of Georgia's new voting restrictions passed into law last week, the game is being relocated to Colorado (ESPN first reported the move, which has since been confirmed by Major League Baseball

With voting laws at the center of the decision to move from Georgia, here's a look at Colorado's rules: 

  • Colorado has had universal mail balloting since 2013.  The state is one of five that allows elections to be conducted by mail (there are also early in-person voting options for those who do not wish to vote by mail, but only about 6% of voters in 2020 chose to do that.) 
  • All active eligible voters are automatically mailed a ballot, which can be returned by mail or at drop boxes. 
  • The state has same-day registration for both in-person voters who choose to vote early or on Election Day. It also has automatic voter registration through the DMV.  
  • Voters who choose to vote in-person must provide an ID. Those voting by mail for the first time may also need to include a photocopy of their ID. 
  • A study from Northern Illinois University in 2020 identified Colorado as the seventh easiest state to vote
A mail-in ballot collection box sits on the floor at Edgewater City Hall on Nov. 3, 2020 in Edgewater, Colo.
A mail-in ballot collection box sits on the floor at Edgewater City Hall on Nov. 3, 2020 in Edgewater, Colo.Marc Piscotty / Getty Images file
538d ago / 7:21 PM UTC

Manchin balks at level of tax increases in Biden infrastructure plan

President Joe Biden is facing opposition from at least one Senate Democrat to a key aspect of his $2 trillion infrastructure proposal — how to pay for it. 

Senator Joe Manchin, D-W.V., told West Virginia Radio Host Hoppy Kercheval on Monday he wants the plan rewritten. “As the bill exists today it needs to be changed,” Manchin said pointedly, adding that he doesn’t support tax hikes other than raising the corporate tax rate. “I'm not talking about raising taxes, other than I think corporate should have never been below 25.”

But even then, the Democrats’ key swing vote doesn’t support raising the corporate tax rate to 28 percent, telling the radio host he won’t back the bill in its current form. 

Asked if Democrats could push the bill through by way of reconciliation, the technical procedure they used to pass the latest Covid-19 relief package with just a majority vote instead of requiring 60 yes votes, Manchin says, “No, they can’t,” citing at least half-dozen Democrats who may feel the same way as him. 

“If I don’t vote to get on it it’s not going anywhere. So we’re going to have some leverage here — It's more than just me there are six or seven other Democrats who feel very strongly about this. We have to be competitive and we’re not going to throw caution to the wind," he added. 

Image: Senator Joe Manchin
Senator Joe Manchin speaks during a confirmation hearing for Representative Deb Haaland, in Washington, on Feb. 23, 2021.Jim Watson / Bloomberg via Getty Images file

Another Senate Democrat, Mark Warner, D-Va., told the reporters in the Capitol on Monday that he also has some reservations about the package. Warner says he spoke to the White House, but wouldn’t divulge those details. “It was more outreach, it was more heads up than input into the package. I have already expressed some concerns.”

Republicans have so far balked at the tax increases, with Mississippi Sen. Roger Wicker telling "Meet the Press" on Sunday that the infrastructure bill was "a tax increase on small businesses, on job creators in the United States." 

Biden, though, stood by his proposal to raise the corporate tax rate from 21 percent to 28 percent, saying he isn’t worried that the hike would further harm the economy. “Not at all,” Biden said when asked. “There’s no evidence of that.”

538d ago / 4:10 PM UTC

Group of former Democratic members of Congress, candidates, starting PAC to defend moderate Dems

Seven Democrats who lost their 2020 congressional bids — including five former House members and two unsuccessful candidates — are teaming up to launch a new Political Action Committee aimed at protecting moderate Democratic incumbents as the party looks to hold onto the House majority in 2022. 

Former Reps. Anthony Brindisi of New York, Joe Cunningham of South Carolina, Kendra Horn of Oklahoma, Ben McAdams of Utah and Xochitl Torres Small of New Mexico, as well as former candidates Jackie Gordon of New York and Christina Hale of Indiana, announced the creation of the group, called Shield PAC, in an op-ed in USA Today

The group pointed to GOP lines of attack used against them in 2020 — including attempts to frame them as socialists as well as lump them in with progressives who support policies like a ban on fracturing or the "defund the police" movement — to warn Democrats that they will be levied against swing-district Democrats again in 2022. 

"The GOP already has spun up its attack machine to lie about those members, as they did about us. Unless their voters learn more about them, those lies could take hold," they wrote."

"We are teaming up to do something about it. We helped create and now serve as advisers to Shield PAC, a new political action committee to define and shield the most at-risk House moderates from Republican efforts to tie them to socialism and other ideas that are toxic in their districts.

Third-Way, the moderate think-tank, is joining with the Democrats to launch the PAC. 

Brindisi, Cunningham, Horn, McAdams and Torress Small all won their House seats in the 2018 midterm election, when a wave of Democrats won Republican-held seats and delivered their party the House majority. 

But while Democrats had strong success in those 2018 elections, they did not fare nearly as well in 2020. Even though their party won back the White House, Republicans won every single race rated by the Cook Political Report as a "toss-up," leaving Democrats with a very narrow majority. A handful of Democrats specifically pointed to the messaging as one main reason for their losses.  

Since the president's party typically performs poorly in a midterm election, and with the possibility that redistricting could help Republicans shore up some more seats, Republicans have a strong chance at being able to take back control of the House after the 2022 election, and they've been optimistic that their 2020 success, even as their presidential candidate lost, is indicative of their chances in 2022. 

A November memo from the National Republican Congressional Committee trumpeted how Republicans framed the election as "a choice between Republicans’ message of freedom versus Democrats’ radical socialist agenda," and added that "the results speak for themselves."

542d ago / 2:23 PM UTC

New Mexico congressional special election matchups set

Democratic state Rep. Melanie Stansbury will face off against Republican state Sen. Mark Moores in the New Mexico special House election to replace newly-minted Interior Secretary Deb Haaland after both parties selected their nominees over the last week. 

Republicans tapped Moores last week, while Stansbury won a runoff among the New Mexico Democratic Party's State Central Committee on Tuesday, narrowly edging out state Sen. Antoinette Sedillo Lopez.

While Sedillo Lopez finished with a significant lead after the committee's first vote on Tuesday, she fell short of the majority needed to secure the nomination and was forced into a runoff, where Stansbury leapfrogged her. 

The candidates will face off, along with Libertarian Chris Manning, for the right to fill the seat vacated by Haaland. Instead of holding primary elections where voters could choose their party's nominees, in New Mexico, the party committees choose their own nominees instead. 

Image: Deb Haaland
Rep. Deb Haaland, D-N.M. and secretary of the interior nominee, testifies during her confirmation hearing in Washington on Feb. 24, 2021.Leigh Vogel / AFP - Getty Images file

Democrats hold the upper hand in the race — Haaland won re-election in 2020 by more than 16 points, and Democratic presidential nominees won the district by double-digits in each of the last three presidential races (per data from the Daily Kos). But special electorates are notoriously difficult to predict because they are not held during the traditional election cycle. 

543d ago / 3:42 PM UTC

Majority of California voters don't support Newsom recall

A majority of California voters say they want Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom to stay on the job, as opponents work to unseat him through the state’s recall process.

A new poll from the Public Policy Institute of California finds that 56 percent of likely California voters say they do not support recalling Newsom, while 40 percent want him ousted. 

California Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks after touring the newly reopened Ruby Bridges Elementary School on March 16, 2021, in Alameda.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks after touring the newly reopened Ruby Bridges Elementary School on March 16, 2021, in Alameda.Justin Sullivan / Getty Images file

While verification is still being officially finalized, opponents say they have submitted sufficient signatures to force a recall election in the fall. If that occurs, California voters would receive a ballot with two questions — the first asking if Newsom should be recalled, and the second (valid only if a majority say yes to the first question) offering alternative candidates.

But the poll indicates that Newsom remains in a strong position to beat back that effort, despite rivals’ hopes that pandemic fatigue has weakened the governor politically. 

Newsom’s approval rating stands at 54 percent among all adults, down from a high of 65 percent last spring but stable since the start of 2021.

And nearly three-quarters of Californians said that the worst of pandemic is behind us.

544d ago / 6:10 PM UTC

Kentucky legislature overrides governor's veto, mandating Senate vacancies be filled by member of same party

Kentucky's Republican-majority legislature overrode Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear's veto on Monday to enact a new law that requires the governor to temporarily fill a vacant U.S. Senator's seat with an appointee from the same party.

Governors previously had the power to appoint a temporary successor from any party. But the new rules, enacted over Beshear's veto, restrict the governor by mandating a replacement must be chosen from a list of three choices selected by the party of the senator who previously held the seat.  The new law also changed some rules around how a special election would be called to fill any vacant Senate seat. 

While 79-year-old Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has given no indication that he is planning to retire, if he were to retire during Beshear's term, McConnell supported the legislature's plan, according to the Associated Press and local news organizations.

The state's other Senate seat is also filled by a Republican, Sen. Rand Paul. 

Image: Mitch McConnell
Mitch McConnell steps into an elevator following procedural votes on the nomination of Xavier Becerra at the Capitol, on March 11, 2021.J. Scott Applewhite / AP file

In the hypothetical scenario where McConnell retired before the law was changed, Beshear could have filled his seat temporarily with a Democrat until the special election. That would have had serious consequences on the balance of power in Washington — the Senate is currently equally divided among Republicans and Democrats, with Vice President Kamala Harris serving as the tie-breaking vote. So a shift in the balance of power by just one seat, even temporarily, would have significant ramifications. 

Kentucky is one of 37 states where governors can fill a Senate vacancy. Seven of those states, including Kentucky, restrict the governor's appointments to a member of the same party, according to the National Council of State Legislatures

544d ago / 1:01 PM UTC

Everytown for Gun Safety launches $300k TV and digital ads calling for background check expansion

Everytown for Gun Safety, among the most prominent groups pushing for reforming America's gun laws, is dropping a new, $300,000 television and digital ad buy calling for the Senate to move to expand background checks for gun sales. 

The new ads, shared first with NBC News, call on the Senate to do more than just "thoughts and prayers" after a shooting and pass a background check expansion. 

"Elected leaders owe us more than thoughts and prayers to prevent gun violence. They owe us action," the group's TV ad says, after a super-cut of politicians offering those sentiments after a slew of mass shootings, as well as news coverage of the shootings.

“We’re sending a message to the Senate that we need more than thoughts and prayers –– we need action, and that means passing lifesaving background check legislation,” John Feinblatt, Everytown's president, said in a statement. “We’ll stop at nothing to get legislation through the Senate and onto the President’s desk, and this campaign is just the beginning.”

The buy is part of Everytown's seven-figure ad campaign, which it announced last week and expects to last "several weeks and months." The group added that former New York Mayor and Democratic presidential hopeful Michael Bloomberg, a co-founder of Everytown, will triple-match donations to the group during the push. The group is also planning grassroots events aimed at mobilizing supporters alongside the paid media effort. 

“It’s been 25 years since Congress last passed meaningful gun safety laws, and our grassroots volunteer network will be relentless in demanding more than thoughts and prayers, before more lives are lost," Shannon Watts, the founder of the associated Moms Demand Action group, said in a statement. 

There's been a new push by the Democratic-controlled Congress to pass new gun safety legislation in recent weeks, particularly after the high-profile shootings at Atlanta-area spas and a Colorado grocery store. 

Key senators from both sides of the aisle told "Meet the Press" Sunday that they believed compromise on the issue was possible, but said they did not believe the background check expansions passed by the House earlier this month can reach the 60 votes needed to move a bill through the Senate.  

While Everytown has supported the House's background check expansion, the new ads call more broadly for action, keeping the door open for a compromise that could get enough Republican support to ultimately become law. 

While the National Rifle Association has been hamstrung by serious financial issues, the Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday that the group plans to lobby against new gun laws. 

545d ago / 9:16 PM UTC

As Congress weighs new gun laws, what has it done lately on the issue?

Mass shootings in Atlanta, Ga., and Boulder, Co., this month have once again prompted a new round of debate about whether Congress will pass any meaningful changes to gun safety laws.

On Sunday, a special edition of "Meet the Press" looked at how little the country’s gun laws have changed over the past two decades, even as regular mass casualty events at schools, stores and other public spaces have become grimly routine in the news.

There has been congressional movement on the issue, but most changes to the nation’s gun laws have been modifications around the edges, with even modest tightening of regulations only taking place when a Republican has been president. In fact, when it comes to legislation alone, gun rights actually expanded under President Barack Obama due to the expansion of gun possession laws on Amtrak and in national parks.  

Here’s are the major actions Congress has taken since the mid-1990s on gun laws: 

2019 — Congress authorizes $25 million to study gun violence to study gun violence through the CDC and NIH.

2019 — Violence Against Women Act allowed to expire (This month, the House passed a bill renewing the law and included new firearms restrictions for convicted domestic abusers).

2018 – FIX NICS Act, which helped improve enforcement of existing background check laws, passes.

2017 — Measure to prevent Social Security Administration from sharing data w/NICS (Congress overturned a regulation put in place by President Obama).

2013 — Extension of requirements that guns contain enough metal to be detectable in security screenings. 

2013 — VAWA reauthorization, following 2011 expiration — expands to LGBTQ, Native, and additional populations.

2009 — Allowing guns on Amtrak. 

2009 — Allowing guns in national parks.

2008 — NICS Improvement Amendments Act, which encouraged stronger data-sharing with the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, passes

2006 — Prohibition on firearm seizures by federal officials during major disaster or emergency. 

2005 — New civil liability protections for firearms manufacturers and dealers. 

2005 — Head of ATF made Senate-confirmable position. 

2005 — Violence Against Women and Department of Justice Reauthorization Act of 2005.

2004 — Allowance of concealed carry for active and retired law enforcement — superseding state laws. 

2004 — Assault weapons ban expires. 

2004 — Congress cuts direct funding for Bush initiative cracking down on black market gun crimes. 

2003 — New curbs on ATF’s ability to investigate gun crimes & prosecute gun dealers. 

2002 — Reorganization of ATF. 

1999 — New requirements for federal firearms licensees and restrictions on certain gun transfers.

1997 — Prohibition on domestic abusers from possessing guns & ammo.

1996 — Gun Free School Zones Act.

—Carrie Dann contributed. 

545d ago / 8:56 PM UTC

Progressive coalition push Democrats to go fast and go big with trillions at stake

As President Biden weighs his next big legislative package, progressive groups are looking to sell voters on his first one and push Democrats to go keep going big. 

A coalition of progressive and labor groups, Real Recovery Now!, are launching a $1 million advertising campaign and $1 million organizing campaign timed around Biden’s trip to Pittsburgh Wednesday, where he will begin to lay out his infrastructure plan.

The ads, which include digital banners (and real-life airplane ones), credit Democrats in competitive states with securing $1,400 checks and money for schools while naming Republicans who voted against them. They refer to the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan as a “down payment” and promote Biden’s “Build Back Better” plan to go further. 

Backers who spoke to NBC News say they hope to whip Democrats to move quickly with a maximalist agenda on investments in clean energy and caregiving jobs as well as a path to citizenship for millions of undocumented or temporary immigrants, rather than slow down to court Republican votes. 

“Our main focus is this needs to be done speedily,” Rahna Epting, executive director of MoveOn, told NBC News. “The longer this drags out, the more time Republicans have to try to spread lies and rumors — which they will do — to drag down the popularity of an already incredibly popular potential package.” 

The joint effort reflects the high stakes of the next set of legislation in Biden’s “Build Back Better” plan as the White House weighs $3 trillion or more in spending on infrastructure and other economic priorities. Every interest group in the progressive sphere is jockeying to make sure their policies are included, especially given the long odds of passing items outside of the 50-vote reconciliation process. 

“We get once every several generations an opportunity to reset our economy and democracy for the next era,” Ai-Jen Poo, a senior advisor to Care in Action, said. “Oftentimes those moments come on the heels of crises and times when social movements have organized and mobilized. This is a time like that.”

Some of the toughest fights could be over immigration, where there are questions about whether Senate rules will allow Democrats to include significant provisions and some moderates may be wary of loading too much onto an infrastructure bill.

The House recently passed bills that would provide a path to citizenship for DREAMers and farmworkers that Real Recovery Now! Is pushing to include. The coalition is also calling for a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants who are considered essential workers. 

“There is a core belief among advocates in this movement for immigrant justice that there need to be early breakthroughs on immigration,” Lorella Praeli, co-president of Community Change and a longtime immigration activist, said.

545d ago / 7:32 PM UTC

Ohio GOP Rep. eyeing Senate bid raps potential primary foes for courting Trump's support

Rep. Mike Turner, R-Ohio, who on Monday took a step toward a possible Senate bid in 2022, thinks little of would-be GOP primary rivals who’ve been auditioning for former President Donald Trump’s endorsement.

“I think this race should be about Ohio, and I think their focus certainly communicates to the state that Ohio voters come second,” Turner told NBC News when asked about reports that four Republicans running or preparing to run for the seat soon-to-be-vacated by Sen. Rob Portman traveled to Florida last week to have an audience with Trump. 

The side meeting during a Trump-hosted fundraiser for a House candidate in Ohio — described to Politico as a “Hunger Games”-like exercise in political survival — included former State Treasurer Josh Mandel, former Ohio GOP Chair Jane Timken, and businessmen Mike Gibbons and Bernie Moreno. Each had a chance to talk up his or her campaign and field questions from Trump, who has not endorsed in the race. Mandel and Timken are the only announced candidates, and both have been strenuously courting Trump and his supporters.

“I think Ohio voters are what's important in this race,” Turner said. “I have a record, and I can understand if people who have no record have to seek other people to validate them.”

Rep. Michael Turner, R-Ohio, questions Gordon Sondland during a House impeachment inquiry hearing on Capitol Hill on Nov. 20, 2019.
Rep. Michael Turner, R-Ohio, questions Gordon Sondland during a House impeachment inquiry hearing on Capitol Hill on Nov. 20, 2019.Samuel Corum / Pool via AP file

A 10-term congressman from Dayton, Turner will launch a listening tour of Ohio that he said will help him decide whether to launch a full-fledged Senate campaign. He would run as a Trump ally. (He earned a Twitter attaboy from Trump after defending the then-president during the first impeachment hearings.) But fealty to Trump would not be his core argument to win. He said he’s received “pressure” to join the race from other Republicans unhappy with the developing field.

“Obviously my communications with people about this race are very different than the others running, because I actually can talk about what I've done,” said Turner, who plans to emphasize his service on the House Armed Services Committee.

In announcing the tour listening tour Monday, Turner released a 3-minute video with flourishes of the Trump era sprinkled in. One 25-second montage is nothing but footage of cable news hosts and talking heads introducing Turner to their viewers or mentioning him in coverage. Another clip shows Trump praising Turner. And Turner himself, in straight-to-camera remarks, asserts himself as an “America First” lawmaker. 

There also are moments that seem designed to neutralize potential rivals. The video opens with Turner touting his Appalachia and Rust Belt roots, reminiscent of the personal story J.D. Vance — whom GOP mega-donors, including Peter Thiel and the Mercer family, are attempting to lure into the race with more than $10 million in donations to a super PAC — wrote in his bestselling memoir “Hillbilly Elegy.” And there are choices that present Turner as an original: a Republican who can win in Democratic Dayton and also has a second-degree black belt in Taekwondo.

Turner won re-election last year by nearly 17 points against an upstart candidate with a national fundraising profile. But Democrats have long seen his district as one that could flip under the right circumstances. This year’s redistricting could change the boundaries.

“My congressional district is a swing district,” Turner said. “In order for us to have anybody who wins in November, they have to win all of Ohio, and that means bringing people together and being able to support issues and communicate across the state.”

No Democrat has announced a candidacy for the Senate seat. Rep. Tim Ryan of the Youngstown area, former Ohio health director Amy Acton, and Danny O’Connor, the elected recorder of property deeds in Franklin County, are among those considering the race.

548d ago / 6:09 PM UTC

Colorful GOP ad maker signs on with Josh Mandel's Senate campaign in Ohio

Fred Davis, a Hollywood-based ad maker who specializes in attention-grabbing political commercials, said Friday that he is working with Senate hopeful Josh Mandel in Ohio.

It’s a pairing of two in-your-face Republicans. 

Davis is known for the 2008 “Celeb” ad comparing Barack Obama to Paris Hilton and Britney Spears, the bizarre “Demon Sheep” web video on behalf of Carly Fiorina’s California Senate bid in 2010, and Christine O’Donnell’s “not-a-witch” spot from that same year. (O’Donnell, a Senate candidate in Delaware at the time, was trying to walk back past comments that she had dabbled in witchcraft.)

A Marine Corps veteran and former state treasurer now running as a devotee to former President Donald Trump, Mandel is known for his combative presence on Twitter.

Image: Josh Mandel
Josh Mandel speaks to the crowd gathered for the Ohio Republican Party election night event following the announcement of his loss to Democrat Sherrod Brown on Nov. 6, 2012 in Columbus, Ohio.Joel Prince / for The Washington Post via Getty Images file

He frequently trolls one of his GOP rivals, Jane Timken, and Ohio’s Republican governor, Mike DeWine, whom Mandel has branded as a Joe Biden Democrat. Twitter briefly restricted Mandel’s account last week after he violated the social media site’s rules against hateful conduct. Mandel had posted a poll asking which type of undocumented immigrants — “Muslim terrorists” or “Mexican gangbangers” — will commit more crimes.

Mandel also has criticized Timken for her past support of former Ohio Gov. John Kasich, a vocal Trump critic. Davis produced ads for Kasich’s super PAC during the 2016 presidential primaries. One memorable spot depicted other Republican candidates, including a mean-mugging Trump and a water-chugging Marco Rubio, covered in mud. 

The first spots from Mandel are set to debut next week, over Easter weekend. A Mandel representative did not disclose how much the campaign is spending on the opening salvo. But Davis’s more memorable ads have a way of earning free media coverage beyond what campaigns pay for on TV.

549d ago / 12:57 AM UTC

Bipartisan group of 16 senators meets to discuss immigration

A bipartisan group of 16 senators – 8 Republicans and 8 Democrats – met Wednesday to discuss prospects for  immigration legislation, according to two Senate aides. 

The meeting was convened by Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Ill., and comes as challenges mount for the Biden administration and prospects for passing immigration legislation in the Senate have diminished. 

Durbin has been speaking with senators individually for a couple of months.  The in-person meeting inside the Capitol had no specific policies on the agenda but was an initial discussion to determine whether consensus on any immigration sub-issue exists. 

One Democratic aide described the meeting as a test to determine whether Republicans are serious about wanting to find a solution to immigration problems. 

In addition to Durbin, the Democratic senators in the group are Alex Padilla of California, Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, Chris Coons of Delaware, Michael Bennet of Colorado, Bob Menendez of New Jersey, Catherine Cortez Masto of Nevada and Ben Ray Luján of New Mexico. The Republicans invited were Sens. Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Mike Crapo of Idaho, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Thom Tillis of North Carolina and Mike Rounds of South Dakota. 

Murkowski and Crapo were unable to attend but sent staff instead, signaling that they want to be part of the conversation. 

The group agreed to meet again, most likely after the two-week recess that starts Friday. 

A group of 19 Republican senators are traveling to the border on Friday, including Graham, Tillis and Collins, who attended the Durbin meeting.  

Republicans have been slamming the Biden administration for the influx of immigrants, including thousands of unaccompanied minors crossing the border. 

“It’s a crisis. It is a crisis that was created by the Biden administration by their own policies as soon as Joe Biden was sworn in as president,” Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, said Wednesday. Cruz was not in the Durbin meeting.  

Graham has introduced legislation addressing the asylum system. It would require immigrants to apply for asylum in their country of origin.

550d ago / 8:32 PM UTC

Republican faith in elections dropped quickly as Trump spread unfounded claims of fraud

The debate over voting access and election integrity continued Wednesday, as a key Senate committee debated Democrats’ sweeping legislation to set federal standards for early and mail-in voting.

Democrats describe the bill as a much-needed bulwark against efforts — many coming from GOP-led state legislatures nationwide — to roll back expanded ballot access. Republicans say the legislation is a major federal overreach that would further erode faith in elections and invite fraud. 

With that backdrop, it’s worth taking a look back at what faith in America’s elections looked like leading into the 2020 presidential election — and how it eroded after former President Trump’s loss and subsequent unfounded claims of fraud. 

According to the national exit polls for the general election between Donald Trump and Joe Biden in November, few American voters were actually worried that their own vote wouldn’t be counted fairly. 

An overwhelming 86 percent of voters said at the time they were polled that they were very or somewhat confident that the votes in their state would be counted accurately. 

Image: Mail-in ballots are counted in Lehigh County, Pennsylvania
Mail-in ballots are counted in Lehigh County, Pa., on Nov. 4, 2020.Rachel Wisniewski / Reuters

It’s true that Biden voters were somewhat more confident than their Trump-backing counterparts nationwide; of the 18% of all voters who said they were NOT confident, two-thirds backed Trump. 

But big majorities of both Biden and Trump supporters did NOT have significant qualms about the count in their state as of November, despite the then-president’s warnings that the vote could be “rigged.”

How did the election results, and Trump’s loss, change those attitudes? Georgia offers an interesting test case. 

As of exit polling up to Election Day in November, 84 percent of Georgia voters said they were confident that votes in the state would be counted accurately. In fact, more Georgia Trump voters were confident (89 percent) than Georgia Biden voters (79 percent). 

But the exit polls from the January 5 special runoff election in Georgia showed a different story. 

While overall faith in the vote count remained high, it fell by 10 percentage points — down to 74 percent.  

And while just 10 percent of Trump voters in Georgia in November said they did NOT have faith in the vote count, that was up to 47 percent for backers of Republican Senate candidate Kelly Loeffler and 46 percent for those backing Republican Senate incumbent David Perdue in January. 

550d ago / 3:05 PM UTC

Missouri AG jumps into race for Senate while Alabama Dem will skip her state's Senate contest

Two high-profile, potential Senate candidates are making moves in Alabama and Missouri, with one jumping into a marquee Senate race and one deciding to sit one out. 

Missouri Republican Attorney Gen. Eric Schmitt announced his bid for Senate Wednesday morning on Fox News.

"You look around and increasingly it feels like our culture and our country is slipping away. And all the levels of power right now in Washington D.C. are tilted toward the Democrats," he said. 

He went on to frame his role as attorney general as "defending President Trump and the America First agenda and all the prosperity that came with that," saying now he's "spending my time pushing back against Joe Biden as he tries to dismantle that." 

"Washington D.C. needs more fighters, needs more reinforcements to save America. So after a lot of reflection, support from folks back home and on behalf of the people of the great state of Missouri, I'm announcing my candidacy for the United States Senate," he added. 

Schmitt's announcement came two days after former Republican Gov. Eric Greitens announced his own bid on the same channel. The two men are the only high-profile Republicans in the race right now, but the field remains fluid. 

On the Democratic side of the aisle, there was another development in Alabama's 2022 Senate race. Democratic Rep. Terri Sewell, who had been actively considering a bid for Senate in the heavy Republican-leaning state, said Wednesday she would not run because she wanted to focus on her work in the House. 

"The unfinished business of my home district, Alabama’s 7th Congressional District, is far too important for me to seek higher office at this time," she said, pointing to her push to get voting rights reforms enacted in Congress and to "expand economic opportunities for my constituents." 

Sewell is the only Democrat representing Alabama in Congress, and had been among the highest-profile Democrats considering a bid. But winning the seat would be difficult for any Democrat, as both former President Donald Trump and future Republican Sen. Tommy Tuberville won their November elections by more than 20 points. 

On the GOP side, former Ambassador Lynda Blanchard and Rep. Mo Brooks are running, Brooks having announced his campaign this week. 

551d ago / 11:42 AM UTC

Slim majority of GOP backs gay marriage, highest mark in the poll's history

For the first time, a new annual survey from the Public Religion Research Institute shows that a slim majority of Republicans now support allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry legally.  

Data from the sweeping American Values Atlas survey, which was conducted between February and November of 2020, finds that 51 percent of Republicans back legal gay marriage, up from 47 percent support in 2019. 

Overall, about two-thirds of Americans — 67 percent — say that gay and lesbian couples should be able to marry legally, also an all-time high for the poll. The two-thirds majority represents nearly a doubling of support since the late 2000s, when similar studies found only a third of Americans in favor of same-sex marriage. 

Support for same-sex marriage is also at an all-time high for independents, with backing from 72 percent; among Democrats, support stands at 76 percent. 

Majorities among various religious groups also back legal marriage for gay and lesbian couples, a finding that may be particularly notable among Catholics.  

Last week, the Vatican said that the Roman Catholic Church “does not have and cannot have” the power to bless nuptials between same-sex couples. But the poll finds that 75 percent of white Catholics and 71 percent of Hispanic Catholics support such marriages. 

In fact, support for same-sex marriage is the minority position only in one major American faith group: White evangelical Protestants. Just 43 percent favor allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry. 

The poll also finds that, overall, 76 percent of Americans back laws to protect LGBT Americans from discrimination. That’s a slight uptick from previous years, when support for such measures clocked in closer to 70 percent. Just one in five Americans — 19 percent — oppose such nondiscrimination protections.

While 85 percent of Democrats back those anti-discrimination measures, it’s 79 percent for independents and 62 percent of Republicans, although younger Republicans remain notably more supportive of LGBT protections than their older counterparts. 

Six-in-ten Americans — 61 percent — also oppose allowing a small business to refuse service to gay and lesbian people for religious reasons, including 73 percent of Democrats and 42 percent of Republicans. White evangelical Protestants are split, with 49 percent in favor and 46 percent opposed.

552d ago / 6:59 PM UTC

Who are the House Democrats representing Trump country?

Last week, we took a look at the House Republicans representing districts that President Joe Biden won in 2020. Now, we'll look at the other side of that coin: Who are the House Democrats representing districts that former President Donald Trump won? 

The number of these "crossover districts" continues to dwindle, and there are just seven currently represented by Democrats, according to the data folks at The Daily Kos. Here's a look at those seven: 

Iowa 3: Rep. Cindy Axne 

Just two years after Democrats held three of the four Iowa congressional seats, Axne is the lone Democrat remaining. Her district narrowly backed Trump by 0.2 percentage points in 2020, down from 3.5 percentage points in 2016, but backed Obama by just under 4 percent in 2012. In recent months, she's sought to play up the Covid relief legislation's effect on her district, as well as other legislation on issues like flood insurance.

Illinois 17: Rep. Cheri Bustos 

After going 17 percentage points for Obama in 2012, Trump won the district narrowly each of the past two presidential elections. But Bustos, who took office after the 2012 election, has bucked the trends. During her tenure in the House, she also ran the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and been a member of Democratic leadership. 

Maine 2: Rep. Jared Golden 

Representing another district that went for Trump twice after going for Obama in 2012, Golden, a former staffer for Republican Sen. Susan Collins, has repeatedly bucked his party on high-profile votes. He voted against the recent Democratic Covid-relief package (he said it wasn't targeted enough); he voted against gun background-check expansions passed by Democrats earlier this month (he said existing laws need to be enforced more strongly; and he voted against the Democrats' police reform bill (he had concerns with how it handles protections for officers and wanted a bipartisan agreement). 

Michigan 8: Rep. Elissa Slotkin 

Slotkin's district backed Trump by less than 1 point in 2020, after backing him by almost 7 points in 2016 (and Mitt Romney by 2 points in 2012), making her the only one on this list whose district went for the GOP in the three presidential elections over the last decade. Slotkin has leaned into her past experience in the Defense Department and the Central Intelligence Agency and is vocal on foreign policy issues. 

New Jersey 3: Rep. Andy Kim 

While Obama won this seat by about 3.5 points in 2012, Trump won the seat by about 6 points, before Biden narrowed Trump's victory to just 0.2 percentage points. Hes recently promoted a fix for prescription drug costs and has been outspoken about racism against Asian Americans. 

Pennsylvania 8: Rep. Matt Cartwright 

Like many of these members, Cartwright has faced repeated, well-funded attempts to wrest him from his seat, which backed Trump twice after going for Obama in 2012. As Republicans have criticized Democrats over the politics of school reopenings, Cartwright has pointed to the latest round of Covid relief as a way to get kids back into school. 

Wisconsin 3: Rep. Ron Kind 

Kind's district also went from supporting Obama to backing Trump twice. He was one of the only Democrats who didn't back Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., for Minority Leader in 2017. Kind joined Golden in voting against a measure to extend the length of time needed for gun background checks in a vote this month.

552d ago / 3:26 PM UTC

White House misses its own 60-day review deadline for border wall construction

President Joe Biden's administration has missed its own, self-imposed, 60-day review into whether border-wall construction projects should be resumed, modified or terminated.

Biden issued a pause on all current border-wall construction on the day he took office, a timeout meant to allow the review to make recommendations for next steps. But the White House says the assessment has not been completed or presented to the president.

“When the Administration took office, funds had been diverted from military construction and other appropriated purposes toward building the wall, and wall construction was being challenged in multiple lawsuits by plaintiffs who alleged that the construction was creating serious environmental and safety issues,” a spokesman for the Office of Management and Budget said. “Under those circumstances, Federal agencies are continuing to develop a plan to submit to the President soon.” 

Image: Border wall
A wall under construction along the Texas-Mexico border on March 19, 2021.Julio Cortez / AP

Biden’s Inauguration Day proclamation stipulated that the review should be completed within 60 days, which was this past Sunday.

That order — among the first signed by Biden — also made it U.S. policy that no more taxpayer dollars would be diverted to build the border wall and it revoked the national emergency that former President Trump had declared in order to access funds for construction.   

It's unclear how much longer the White House is taking to complete the review, as officials did not provide a detailed explanation for the delay.

Once the proposal is complete, Defense Sec. Austin and Homeland Security Sec. Mayorkas are expected to deliver it to the president and then “take all appropriate steps to resume, modify, or terminate projects and to otherwise implement the plan.” 

556d ago / 7:03 PM UTC

Fudge's move to HUD will leave House seat vacated until November

Ohio Republican Gov. Mike DeWine announced Thursday that the state will hold the special election to replace newly-minted Housing and Urban Development Secretary Marcia Fudge in November, leaving the seat empty for eight months in the process. 

The primary will be on Aug. 3, with the general election to follow on Nov. 2. 

Under state law, special elections are only allowed to be held "on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in May, August, or November," and Ohio can't have May special elections except during a presidential primary year, per the Ohio Secretary of State's office

Image: Housing and Urban Development Secretary Marcia Fudge speaks at a press briefing at the White House on March 18, 2021.
Housing and Urban Development Secretary Marcia Fudge speaks at a press briefing at the White House on March 18, 2021.Andrew Harnik / AP

The seat is overwhelmingly favored to be retained by Democrats, as Fudge never won the seat with fewer than three-quarters of the vote.

That's why it's attracted a large group of Democratic congressional hopefuls, including Nina Sanders, the former co-chair for Vermont Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders' presidential bid, who is backed by a bevy of progressive members of Congress and figures, Cuyahoga County Councilor Shontel Brown, who has the backing of Rep. Joyce Beatty, D-Ohio, and a host of other candidates, including a handful of state lawmakers.

While the seat will remain empty for a significant amount of time, Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose's office pointed out the length of time the seat will remain vacant is similar to the schedule after two republicans, former Speaker John Boehner and Rep. Pat Tiberi, resigned from Congress in the last few years.