We know that at least one Republican House will be getting the boot after West Virginia lost a seat in reapportionment, and Reps. David McKinley and Alex Mooney are fighting to make sure they’re not the one who needs to look for new work on Wednesday morning. Nebraska Republicans will also pick a nominee for governor after a truly nasty race, while Democrats in the Omaha area will be choosing their candidate to try to flip a district Biden would have carried. You can find details on these contests in our preview.
● NH Redistricting: Gov. Chris Sununu on Friday signed into law the newest Republican gerrymanders for the state Senate as well as for the Executive Council, the five-member body tasked with approving several important decisions in state government such as the governor’s judicial appointments.
● AL-Sen: The Republican firm Moore Information, which the Alabama Political Reporter says is working on behalf of a “private third party,” finds former Business Council of Alabama head Katie Britt taking first place with 27% in the May 24 GOP primary, while Rep. Mo Brooks and Army veteran Mike Durant deadlock 20-20 for the second spot in the all-but-assured June 21 runoff. An unreleased March poll had Durant beating Brooks 34-24, with Britt lagging in third with 21%.
● MO-Sen: Disgraced former Gov. Eric Greitens has publicized an internal from Fabrizio, Lee & Associates that gives him a 26-19 edge over Rep. Vicky Hartzler in the August Republican primary, with Attorney General Eric Schmitt in third with 14%.
● PA-SenFormer hedge fund manager Dave McCormick is airing a new commercial questioning Donald Trump’s decision to endorse TV personality Mehmet Oz for next week’s Republican primary, a tactic that didn’t go well when Josh Mandel’s Club for Growth allies tried it for the Ohio Senate race. McCormick’s commercial features a clip of Fox News talking head Laura Ingraham asking a guest, “Do you think the Trump endorsement of Oz was a mistake?” The audience is then treated to clips of Oz doubting conservative orthodoxy on abortion before the spot jumps back to Ingraham answering her own question: “I’ll say it. I’m not afraid to say it. It was a mistake to endorse Oz. “
McCormick is also airing what may be the most transphobic commercial for a primary that’s been full of them. It opens with old clips from Oz’s show where he says, “Imagine your child is transgender… could you make a decision to let your child live as the other sex… even alter their body?” It later deploys debate footage of McCormick trashing Oz for “supporting those conversations about transgender transitions.”
● HI-Gov: Freshman Rep. Kai Kahele announced Saturday that he’d enter the August primary to succeed his fellow Democrat, termed-out Gov. David Ige, rather than seek a second term in the House. Kahele joins a nomination contest that includes Lt. Gov. Josh Green, who has enjoyed huge leads in the few polls we’ve seen, and businesswoman Vicky Cayetano.
Kahele, who would be the second person of Native Hawaiian ancestry to lead the state (the first was John Waihee, who was governor from 1986 to 1994), also revealed that he would rely on public funding. Civil Beat’s Nick Grube explains that, in order to qualify for the state’s matching funds program, the congressman would need to raise at least $ 100,000 from donors who contribute no more than $ 100: While participating candidates can also raise money in larger increments, Kahele says he ‘ll decline any donation larger than $ 100. What Kahele cannot do, though, is transfer the $ 456,000 he has in his federal war chest to his new campaign for state office.
If he successfully brings in $ 100,000 from small donors, the Hawaii Campaign Spending Commission would supply Kahele with that amount in matching funds; candidates taking part in the program can receive a maximum of just over $ 208,000 from the state for the primary, and they’d be required to restrict their spending to about $ 2 million. (The amounts are the same for the general election.) The last gubernatorial candidate to qualify for matching funds was Ige in his successful 2014 primary bid against Gov. Neil Abercrombie, though he started his own campaign far earlier in the cycle than Kahele is now.
Kahele has attracted negative attention in recent weeks for casting numerous proxy votes from outside DC and for continuing to work part-time as a Hawaiian Airlines pilot. The congressman, who says he will remain in office as he runs for governor, has defended his proxy votes by saying that he’s worried about bringing coronavirus variants to his multi-generational home.
● NE-Gov: Conservative Nebraska, a super PAC funded in part by termed-out Gov. Pete Ricketts, has launched a late commercial against wealthy businessman Charles Herbster for Tuesday’s GOP primary that tells the audience, “Herbster joined pageants from Nebraska to Ohio to Bangkok, Thailand all so he could judge countless young women and teen-age girls.” The narrator continues, “What Herbster did? You decide: Unusual, bizarre, or inappropriate.” The commercial does not mention that eight women have accused Herbster of groping and other forms of sexual assault at several different venues, including beauty pageants.
Herbster himself recently went up with his commercial slamming University of Nebraska Regent Jim Pillen, who is Ricketts’ endorsed candidate, saying, “Pillen gave a radical chancellor millions of your tax dollars to teach racist students, hateful views of our nation.” The narrator continues, “On illegal immigration, court documents say Pillen hired illegals, falsified documents, all to avoid paying taxes.” Tuesday’s contest also includes state Sen. Brett Lindstrom, whom the Conservative Nebraska has previously attacked.
● NY-Gov: Wealthy businessman Harry Wilson has launched an ad for the June 28 GOP primary bashing Rep. Lee Zeldin for voting for Democrat Andrew Cuomo’s budgets as a state senator, and it even uses an old clip of Zeldin gushing to the not-yet-disgraced governor, “If you were in the White House right now, our nation would be a better place. “
State of Politics notes that Zeldin’s praise comes from a decade ago when Republicans were only too happy to extol the popular Cuomo and favorably contrast him to Barack Obama; things began to change, though, in 2013 when Cuomo supported gun safety legislation following the Sandy Hook massacre, and few Republicans were sorry to see him resign last year.
● HI-02: State Rep. Patrick Branco said Thursday that he would compete in the August Democratic primary to succeed Rep. Kai Kahele, an announcement that came two days before Kahele himself confirmed he’d be running for governor. Branco, who is a former U.S. State Department diplomat, also noted that he’d be only the third Native Hawaiian to serve in Congress after Kahele and the late Sen. Daniel Akaka.
Democratic state Sen. Jill Tokuda announced her own campaign last month for this 64-34 Biden seat, which was barely altered by redistricting, and more names will likely surface ahead of the June 7 filing deadline. About 40% of the 2nd District is located in Honolulu, the state’s capital and by far its largest community: The remainder of the constituency is made up of Hawaii’s more rural Neighbor Islands, the term for every island apart from Honolulu’s Oahu.
● IL-03: Chicago Alderman Gilbert Villegas on Monday earned the backing of former 4th District Rep. Luis Gutierrez, who retired in 2019 from a constituency that forms just under half of the new 3rd, ahead of the June 28 Democratic primary.
Gutierrez, whose 1992 win made him the first Latino to represent Illinois in Congress, argued that groups that want to “defund the police” are supporting Villegas’ main intra-party rival, state Rep. Delia Ramirez. Ramirez, who picked up an endorsement from current 4th District Rep. Chuy Garcia months ago, pushed back with a statement extolling her for voting for “more than $ 100 million in funding training and pension benefits for police officers and first responders.”
● MN-01: Protect Freedom PAC, a group run by allies of Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, is spending at least $ 1 million on an ad campaign for state Rep. Jeremy Munson ahead of the May 24 special Republican primary. The spot, like pretty much all of the PAC’s advertising, features Paul pitching his candidate as someone who will “join me in demanding Fauci’s fired and removed from office.”
The only other major outside spending so far has been a $ 600,000 buy from Defending Main Street on behalf of a rival contender, former Department of Agriculture official Brad Finstad; its commercial promotes Finstad as an ardent conservative who served in the Trump administration.
● MN-05: Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar over the weekend earned the endorsement of the state party on the second ballot after her very narrowly failed to receive the 60% needed in the first round. Former Minneapolis City Council member Don Samuels, who ultimately lost that vote to Omar 62-37quickly made it clear he’d keep running in the August primary.
● NC-01, NC-04: AIPAC’s United Democracy Project has ramped up its spending yet again in two different May 17 Democratic primary contests in North Carolina. In the 1st District, the group has now deployed $ 1.5 million on ads promoting state Sen. Don Davis. Former state Sen. Erica Smith, by contrast, has benefited from only about $ 100,000 in outside spending.
In the 4th, meanwhile, OpenSecrets reports that AIPAC has now dropped nearly $ 1.5 million in messaging supporting state Sen. Valerie Foushee. Altogether AIPAC, the crypto-funded Protect Our Future PAC, and a few other groups have spent close to $ 2.5 million for Foushee. Durham County Commissioner Nida Allam, meanwhile, has received about $ 205,000 in support, with most of it coming from the Working Families Party. No one has made any independent expenditures to aid the third major Democratic candidate, singer Clay Aiken.
● NJ-05: The New Jersey Globe reports that Democratic Rep. Josh Gottheimer has been sending out mailers ostensibly attacking his 2020 GOP rival, Frank Pallotta, for being “too much like Trump,” which the site argues is the incumbent’s attempt to boost Pallotta in the June 7 primary. Pallotta, whose Gottheimer beat 53-45 last time, has badly trailed Marine veteran Nick De Gregorio in fundraising.
● TX-15: Businesswoman Michelle Vallejo has picked up an endorsement from former Rep. Rubén Hinojosa, who retired in 2017 after two decades representing this area, for the May 24 Democratic runoff against Army veteran Ruben Ramirez. Hinojosa previously supported nonprofit official Eliza Alvarado, who went on to take a close fourth place in the first round of the primary in March.
● ID-AG: Remington Research finds former Rep. Raúl Labrador beating Attorney General Lawrence Wasden 43-34 in Tuesday’s Republican primary, which makes this the third poll we’ve seen giving the former tea party champion the advantage. The Idaho Dispatch, which reported the newest survey, did not mention if Remington was working on behalf of anyone.
● Suffolk County, MA District Attorney: Boston Mayor Michelle Wu has endorsed Boston City Councilor Ricardo Arroyo’s campaign to defeat appointed incumbent Kevin Hayden in the September Democratic primary. Arroyo, who is campaigning as a criminal justice reformer, previously picked up the support of Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey.
Dollar amounts reflect the reported size of ad buys and may be larger.