Morning Digest: Vulnerable Senate Democrats are all outraising the competition

The Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest is compiled by David Nir, Jeff Singer, Stephen Wolf, Matt Booker, and Carolyn Fiddler, with additional contributions from David Jarman, Steve Singiser, Daniel Donner, James Lambert, David Beard, and Arjun Jaikumar.

Leading Off

3Q Fundraising: Daily Kos Elections is pleased to unveil our new charts rounding up third-quarter fundraising figures for the House and Senate. Our data includes the numbers for every incumbent (excluding those who've said they're not seeking re-election) and notable announced or potential candidates.

The Senate numbers show that, while Democrats unquestionably face a tough fight to hold the upper chamber, Team Blue's most vulnerable incumbents are bringing in enormous sums to defend themselves. The quarter's fundraising champ was Georgia Sen. Raphael Warnock, who took in an enormous $9.4 million and ended September with $17 million in the bank.

Former NFL star Herschel Walker, the longtime Texas resident whom Donald Trump recruited to run back in his home state of Georgia, raised a smaller but still credible $3.8 million and had $2.5 million to spend. Walker's haul was larger than any of his Republican primary opponents and left him with the most cash-on-hand, though several of his foes still have more than enough to get their own message out.

Campaign Action

Meanwhile, in Arizona, Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly raised $7.2 million and had $13 million available. Unlike in Georgia, though, no Republican has emerged as the big favorite to take on the incumbent. The GOP candidate who brought in the most money was businessman Jim Lamon, who raised a mere $133,000 from donors but self-funded $3 million and had by far the largest war chest in the primary with $3.6 million.

Thiel Capital chief operating officer Blake Masters was the one Republican to raise $1 million from contributors, and he had $865,000 to spend. But while Attorney General Mark Brnovich arguably begins the race with the most statewide name-recognition, the nunchuck enthusiast took in an underwhelming $560,000 and had only $515,000 on-hand.

Next door in Nevada, Democratic Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto raised $3 million and had $8.3 million on-hand. Adam Laxalt, the 2018 gubernatorial nominee who is the clear primary frontrunner to take her on, brought in $1.4 million since launching his campaign in mid-August and had a similar $1.3 million left over, but surprisingly, an unheralded intra-party foe also did well. Sam Brown, an Army veteran we hadn't previously mentioned, took in $1 million from donors and finished September with $655,000; Brown also launched TV ads on Fox last week, though there's no word on the size of his buy.

Another vulnerable Senate Democrat, New Hampshire's Maggie Hassan, raised $2.9 million and had $6.5 million to defend herself. Hassan, unlike her counterparts, doesn't currently face any well-funded opposition, but that would immediately change if Senate Republicans successfully recruit Gov. Chris Sununu.

There's much more to see in other Senate contests across the nation, including in Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and Wisconsin—all of which are states where Team Blue is on the offensive. A very expensive race is also shaping up in Florida where Rep. Val Demings outraised Republican Sen. Marco Rubio $8.4 million to $5.9 million. Rubio, though, still ended September with a $9.6 million to $6 million cash-on-hand lead.

The battleground is far less certain in the House thanks in part to redistricting, which will likely pit several pairs of incumbents against one another in both primaries and general elections. The only such matchup that's already set, though, is in West Virginia's new 2nd District, where Republican Reps. David McKinley and Alex Mooney said last week that they'd run against one another (albeit after each accidentally announcing for the wrong seat.)

McKinley represents far more of the new district, but Mooney begins with the financial edge: While Mooney only outraised McKinley $175,000 to $170,000 during the quarter, he ended September with an enormous $2.6 million to $630,000 cash-on-hand lead.

There's a lot to see, so check out our House and Senate charts.

Redistricting

TX Redistricting: Texas' Republican-run Senate and House, which had previously each passed new redistricting plans for their own chamber, gave approval to one another's maps on Friday, sending them to Republican Gov. Greg Abbott for his signature. Both maps will lock in GOP majorities by diminishing the voting strength of Black and Latino voters.

The two houses were not quite so agreeable with regard to congressional districts, however: The House made small modifications to the map on Sunday, only to have those changes rejected that same day by the Senate, which asked that the dispute be handed over to a conference committee made up of legislators from both chambers. That committee soon released a new proposal, which lawmakers still have to vote on. The current special session end of the legislature is set to end on Tuesday.

Governors

FL-Gov: State Sen. Annette Taddeo entered the Democratic primary to take on Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis on Monday, joining a field that includes Rep. Charlie Crist and state Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried. Though her opponents are both better-known, Taddeo, who was born in Colombia, stands apart as the only notable Hispanic candidate in the race.

Taddeo ran for office unsuccessfully several times before finally winning a special election to the state Senate in 2017. In 2008, she lost a bid to Republican Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen after the chair of the DCCC's Red to Blue program, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, refused to get involved in the race due to her fondness for the incumbent. Two years later, she sought a seat on the Miami-Dade County Commission but fell short; then in 2014, she actually served as Crist's running-mate in his gubernatorial comeback bid, which their ticket lost by just a 48-47 margin.

In 2016, she narrowly lost a primary for the 26th Congressional District to former Rep. Joe Garcia, who went on to get whooped by Republican Rep. Carlos Curbelo, the man who'd ousted him two years earlier. Luck finally broke Taddeo's way the following year, when Republican state Sen. Frank Artiles resigned after using racial slurs to describe fellow lawmakers. In an ensuing special election for Artiles' Miami-area district, Taddeo defeated Republican state Rep. Jose Felix Diaz by a 51-47 margin, then secured a full four-year term the following year.

Taddeo, whom the Miami Herald describes as "a frequent guest on Miami's Spanish-language radio stations," has long been critical of Democratic outreach to Latino voters, a key constituency that shifted sharply to the right last year. Though she starts out at a considerable disadvantage in name recognition and fundraising, she could chart a path to the nomination similar to the one taken in 2018 by former Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, who beat out better-funded opponents in part because his rivals were reluctant to attack a prominent Black man, knowing they'd need to rely heavily on African American voters to win in the general election.

OH-Gov: Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown endorsed Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley for governor on Monday, a few days after he backed Rep. Tim Ryan in the race for Senate. Whaley faces Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley for the right to take on Republican Gov. Mike DeWine next year.

OK-Gov: Oklahoma City-based pollster Amber Integrated has released a new poll showing Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt winning 49-33 over schools Superintendent Joy Hofmeister, who recently left the GOP and became a Democrat specifically to challenge Stitt. The governor is far better known, with a 46-37 favorability rating, while Hofmeister posts a 30-27 score. Amber Integrated is a Republican firm but appears to have conducted this survey on its own behalf.

VA-Gov: New fundraising reports show that Democrat Terry McAuliffe outraised Republican Glenn Youngkin $12.6 million to $7 million during the month of September and outspent him $17.5 million to $9.5 million. Despite spending more, however, McAuliffe still enjoyed a sizable cash advantage of $7.8 million to $3.5 million heading into the final stretch of the campaign.

Meanwhile, another McAuliffe ally is getting in on the action. Politico reports that the American Federation of Teachers is launching a "high six-figure" buy to run a new TV ad in which parents and educators slam Youngkin for wanting to reduce funding for public education and praise McAuliffe for his efforts on behalf of students and teachers.

WI-Gov: For whatever reason, Donald Trump issued a not-tweet over the weekend exhorting Sean Duffy, the former congressman and "Real World" star, to run for governor of Wisconsin … even though Duffy sold his home in central Wisconsin last month and now appears to live in New Jersey, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Duffy's name hasn't come up since a brief aside in Politico back in February, and he's never said anything about his potential interest. But what stands out most is Trump's snub of the most prominent Republican in the race, former Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch, who of course sought to tie herself as closely to Trump as possible when she kicked off her campaign just after Labor Day.

House

CA-21: Democratic Assemblyman Rudy Salas announced Monday that he would take on Republican Rep. David Valadao, a move that gives Team Blue a long sought-after candidate in a Central Valley seat that Joe Biden carried 54-44 last year. Salas represents over 60% of the current 21st Congressional District, though there's no telling what Valadao's constituency will look like after California's independent redistricting commission completes its work.

Salas ran in a competitive Assembly race in 2012 at a time when California Democrats were fighting hard to secure a two-thirds supermajority in the legislature that would allow them to overcome years of GOP intransigence. Salas ultimately beat Republican Pedro Rios 53-47 as Barack Obama was carrying his seat 56-42, and Democrats won what would prove to be a transformative supermajority. Two years later, he won a rematch 55-45 despite the horrible political climate for his party.

During his tenure, Salas established himself as the one of the leaders of the informal moderate Democratic caucus. Among other things, Salas pissed off the Democratic leadership in 2017 when he voted against a gas and vehicle registration tax to fund infrastructure and road repairs. Salas lost his chairmanship of the Business and Professions Committee as a consequence, but he was picked two years later to run the Joint Legislative Audit Committee. Though there was talk of him taking on Valadao in 2018, he decided to stay put, only to watch Valadao lose in a shocker to Democrat TJ Cox. (Valadao managed to unseat Cox two years later.)

The assemblyman joins a crowded top-two primary to take on Valadao, who was one of 10 House Republicans to vote to impeach Donald Trump. None of the other Democrats, though, had so much as $80,000 on-hand at the end of September, while Valadao had just over $1 million to spend. Valadao faces an intra-party challenge from former Fresno City Councilman Chris Mathys, who unsuccessfully ran for office in New Mexico in 2018 and 2020 before retiring to California. Mathys had just under $300,000 in the bank, almost all of it self-funded.

IL-03: Former Blue Dog Rep. Dan Lipinski responded to the release of draft congressional districts last week by publicly expressing interest in a third primary battle with freshman Democratic Rep. Marie Newman. "I've always said that I'd need to see the map before considering it," said Lipinski, adding, "Now that this map is out, I'm taking a look, understanding that the map may still change." Newman, who narrowly lost to Lipinski in 2018 but won a rematch in 2020, raised $230,000 during the third quarter and had $440,000 on hand at the end of September.

NC-04: Democratic Rep. David Price, who was elected in 1986, lost in 1994, and won again in 1996, announced Monday that he would not seek an 18th term next year in North Carolina's 4th Congressional District.

Price's constituency, which currently includes the Durham and Chapel Hill area, backed Joe Biden 67-32. The Republican legislature has drawn up the 4th to be safely blue turf in each of the three maps it passed over the last decade in order to strengthen its hold on other constituencies, and the new version of Price's district is likewise almost certain to remain heavily Democratic.

State Sen. Wiley Nickel quickly responded to Price's departure by declaring his candidacy to succeed his fellow Democrat. The Raleigh-area legislator had opened up a fundraising account all the way back in November without declaring what seat he was running for (his paperwork listed his race as "House District 00"), saying at the time that, while he didn't intend to run in a primary against Price or nearby Rep. Deborah Ross, "if there's an open seat, we'll strongly consider it." Nickel ended September with $192,000 on-hand for his bid for the 00th District, money he can now spend to win the 4th.

Nickel is unlikely to have the primary to himself, though. State Utilities Commissioner Floyd McKissick, a former state senator and the son and namesake of the late civil rights figure, told the News & Observer he was interested, though he acknowledged, "The biggest question is what the district will look like." State Sen. Mike Woodard and Durham County Commissioner Nida Allam also said they were considering, while state Sen. Natalie Murdock didn't rule it out, saying she also wanted to see what happened with redistricting. State Rep. Graig Meyer, though, quickly said no.

Price's departure will end a long career in both politics and academia. The Tennessee native, who attended the University of North Carolina for his undergraduate degree, first arrived on Capitol Hill in 1963 as an aide to Alaska's first U.S. senator, Democrat Bob Bartlett. Price went on to earn his doctorate in political science and teach at Yale in Connecticut, where his wife successfully ran for local office, before returning to the Tar Heel State in 1973 to teach at Duke. He concurrently worked for Jimmy Carter's 1976 state campaign and served as the North Carolina Democratic Party's executive director.

Price was chair of the state party in 1984, a disastrous year for Democrats that included the loss of three House seats, but it proved formative: He'd later recount that he "made a fairly quick decision to try to recapture one of those seats." Price did just that in 1986 when he went up against Republican Rep. Bill Cobey, a freshman who had narrowly defeated a Democratic incumbent two years earlier. Price won the primary 48-32 ahead of an ugly general election against Cobey, who apologized that September for his fundraising appeal arguing the Democrat wouldn't "take a strong stand for the principles outlined in the word of God."

Price dispatched Cobey 56-44 and had no trouble holding on until the 1994 GOP wave hit him hard. His Republican foe that year was Fred Heineman, who stepped down as Raleigh police chief to run and dealt Price a 50.4-49.6 defeat. The ex-congressman went back to teaching but was by no means done with politics, soon seeking a rematch with the new incumbent.

Heineman turned out to be a bad fit for this Democratic-leaning seat, but he became best know for remarks he made early in his tenure declaring, "When I see a first-class individual who makes $80,000 a year, he's lower middle class. When I see someone who is making anywhere from $300,000 to $750,000, that's middle class. When I see anyone above that, that's upper middle class."

Price made use of those comments in a 1996 spot titled, "Earth to Fred" and likewise made sure to tie the incumbent to Speaker Newt Gingrich's hardline policies. Heineman himself was also forced off the campaign trail for weeks after being hospitalized with a serious fever, and he scarcely appeared in public during the remainder of the race. While both sides saw a close race just weeks ahead of Election Day, Price ended up reclaiming his seat by a comfortable 54-44 margin.

Price never had another tough race for the rest of his career. It looked that his lucky streak might end in 2012 after the GOP legislature placed Price together in the same district with fellow Democratic Rep. Brad Miller, but Miller decided to retire rather than go through a primary in which he acknowledged he'd have been the "the underdog."

Price himself would continue to write political science texts from Congress, including his 1992 work "The Congressional Experience: An Institution Transformed." Price, who just published the fourth edition of that book this year, explained, "A political science colleague persuaded me that I should keep a journal and at some point write up what it's like to get elected and get situated in an institution. And so I reluctantly did that [and] found out that I actually enjoyed it more than I thought I would."

OH-15: The GOP firm Medium Buying reports that the NRCC will start a coordinated TV buy on Tuesday with Republican Mike Carey ahead of next month's special election. However, unlike independent expenditures, which can be unlimited, the FEC sets a cap of $52,500 when party committees work directly with House campaigns. Separately, Democratic state Rep. Allison Russo said she'd raised $549,000 between July 15 and Oct. 13. Carey does not appear to have shared his fundraising numbers yet, though reports are not due at the FEC until Thursday.

OR-05, OR-06: In new remarks, Democratic Rep. Kurt Schrader's team would not reveal whether the incumbent would run for the new 5th Congressional District, where he lives, or the bluer 6th District, which includes more of his constituents. His communications director merely said, "His home is in Canby, which remains in Oregon's 5th Congressional District. While I can confirm Rep. Schrader is running for Congress again, I have no further announcements at this time."

Several Democrats are eyeing the 6th District, but the moderate Schrader, who apologized earlier this year for comparing the idea of impeaching Donald Trump to a "lynching," may be in for a primary even if he runs in the 5th. Fellow Democrat Jamie McLeod-Skinner, who recently finished a stint as interim city manager of the small community of Talent, last week confirmed her interest in the new 5th District. She addressed the possibility of taking on Schrader, saying, "Normally I wouldn't consider challenging an incumbent Democrat. However, with Kurt Schrader, I don't have to make much of an argument to persuade a lot of people."

McLeod-Skinner served as Team Blue's 2018 nominee in the safely red 2nd District, a race in which she raised $1.3 million but lost to Republican incumbent Greg Walden 56-39. She ran last year for secretary of state and took last in the three-way primary with 28%; the winner, with 36%, was Shemia Fagan, who went on to prevail in the general election.

On the Republican side, meanwhile, state Rep. Shelly Boshart Davis has said no to a bid for the 5th. Former state Rep. Knute Buehler, the GOP's 2018 gubernatorial nominee who lost last year's primary to succeed Walden, also made it clear he wasn't running for Congress again.

PA-18: Pennsylvania Rep. Mike Doyle, who was one of the rare House Democrats to flip a seat during the 1994 Republican wave, announced Monday that he was retiring after 14 terms in office. The current version of the 18th Congressional District, which includes most of Pittsburgh, supported Joe Biden 65-34, and there's little question it will remain safely blue turf after redistricting is complete.

The Democratic field here already includes law professor Jerry Dickinson, who was seeking a rematch against Doyle after losing last year's primary 67-33. Dickinson, who ended September with $160,000 on-hand for his new campaign, probably won't be the only notable candidate for long, however, as state Rep. Summer Lee filed FEC paperwork hours before the congressman made his plans known. WPXI reported a few weeks ago that Lee intended to challenge the congressman for renomination, though she hadn't publicly signaled her interest before Monday.

Doyle got his start in local politics as a Republican when he was elected to the Swissvale Borough Council in 1977. Two years later, he went to work as chief of staff to the newly elected Republican state Sen. Frank Pecora. Doyle still held that post in 1992 when Pecora switched parties, a move that gave Democrats control of the chamber for the first time in 12 years. (They would lose it in 1994 and have yet to regain power in the Senate.)

Doyle, who himself had also recently joined the Democratic Party, decided to run for the 18th District in 1994 to succeed none other than Rick Santorum, the hardline Republican congressman who was leaving to challenge Democratic Sen. Harris Wofford. Two years earlier, Santorum had decisively defeated Pecora, who'd won an extremely crowded Democratic primary amidst what Congressional Quarterly called "easily the most convoluted House race in the state, if not the nation." However, George H.W. Bush's poor performance in the Pittsburgh area seat made Team Blue optimistic about taking the seat back.

Like his old boss, Doyle also took part in a packed nomination battle that included many of the same foes Pecora had beaten in 1992. Doyle ended up squeaking past Mike Adams, who was also the runner-up in the prior primary, 19.9-18.0, an accomplishment that makes him one of very few sitting House members to win a nomination with less than 20% of the vote.

Doyle's general election opponent was John McCarty, who had served as an aide for the late Sen. John Heinz, a moderate Republican (whose widow Teresa would later marry Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry). This turned into an unusual contest between a Republican who identified as pro-choice and the anti-abortion Doyle. While 1994 was a devastating year for Democrats across the nation, Doyle flipped the seat by a decisive 55-45 margin. (Three other House Democrats also picked up open GOP-held House seats that year. Santorum, meanwhile, ousted Wofford 49-47.)

The new congressman won the following cycle 56-40 and never came close to losing re-election during the rest of his career. Doyle continued to oppose abortion, but unlike Dan Lipinski, his former colleague from Illinois, he rarely inflamed the base. In 2011, for example, Doyle explained his vote against a law barring women from receiving tax credits or deductions for abortion procedures by saying, "This is a huge step beyond restricting federal funding for abortion – it would limit how Americans spend their OWN money and deny American women access to a full range of health care services, and I can't support that."

Doyle, though, remained a supporter of the infamous Hyde Amendment, which keeps federal money from funding most abortions, until 2019, something Dickinson used against the incumbent in their primary last year. Though Doyle won 67-33, the margin was his smallest in a nomination fight since his initial 1994 squeaker.

TX-08: Christian Collins, who previously served as campaign manager for retiring Rep. Kevin Brady, announced Monday that he would seek the Republican nomination to succeed him. This seat, which includes Houston's northern suburbs, has been safely red turf for a long time, and that's not going to change after redistricting.

TX-10: Manor Mayor Larry Wallace, a Democrat, announced Friday that he was suspending his campaign against Republican Rep. Michael McCaul. The Texas Tribune notes that the GOP legislature is set to make the new 10th District redder and leave out Wallace's community.

TX-37, TX-35: While redistricting is still incomplete in Texas (see our separate TX Redistricting item above), Democratic Rep. Lloyd Doggett announced on Monday that he'd seek re-election in the proposed 37th District, a safely blue seat that would include much of the city of Austin, rather than in the 35th, which he represents now. The new 35th would also remain deep blue and largely retain its current configuration, a preposterous gerrymander that links the Austin area with San Antonio by means of a pencil-thin corridor along Interstate 35.

VA-07: Republican Del. John McGuire, who attended the infamous Jan. 6 Trump rally that preceded that day's attack on the Capitol, indicated this week that he was interested in a second campaign against Democratic Rep. Abigail Spanberger.

McGuire's team announced that he'd brought in $372,000 for the quarter to use in his re-election to his heavily Republican legislative seat and added, "If McGuire were running in a congressional race, his total would be the largest amount raised by any GOP congressional candidate or incumbent in the state of Virginia." If McGuire were running in a congressional race, of course, he couldn't actually use any of this money for that campaign, nor could he take advantage of Virginia's nonexistent contribution limits.

McGuire ran for Congress in 2020 but lost the GOP’s nominating convention 56-44 to fellow Del. Nick Freitas, who went on to lose to Spanberger 51-49.

Mayors

Los Angeles, CA Mayor: Democratic Rep. Karen Bass picked up an endorsement Friday from Antonio Villaraigosa, who served as mayor from 2005 to 2013.

Obituaries

Former Republican Rep. Dan Benishek, who flipped a northern Michigan seat in the 2010 GOP wave after winning a primary by 15 votes, died Friday at the age of 69. Benishek went on to win a tight 2012 general election before easily prevailing in 2014, and while he initially planned to blow off his pledge to serve just three terms, he ultimately retired for the 2016 cycle.

Benishek worked as a surgeon before he decided to run against veteran Rep. Bart Stupak, a well-known leader of conservative Democrats, in Michigan's 1st District, which included the state's Northern Peninsula as well as areas to the south. The previously little-known contender attracted national attention when he appeared as a Sean Hannity guest in April of 2010. He got even better news days later when Stupak, who had always won by double digits, decided to retire.

However, while Democrats quickly consolidated around state Rep. Gary McDowell in their quest to hold this seat, which had backed Barack Obama 50-48 two years earlier, Benishek now had to make it through an incredibly messy primary. State Sen. Jason Allen jumped in following Stupak's retirement and consolidated establishment support, while Benishek pitched himself as a conservative outsider. Benishek ultimately prevailed by just 15 votes in a contest that took two weeks to settle, but the political climate helped propel him to a decisive 52-41 win over McDowell in November.

McDowell sought a rematch despite that wide loss, and this time, their race almost ended very differently. McDowell went after the new congressman's support for Speaker Paul Ryan's budget, which the Democrat said would "end Medicare within 10 years." Mitt Romney carried the district 54-45, but Benishek only survived by a 48.1-47.6 margin. That close call gave Democrats hope they could retake the seat in 2014, but another GOP wave helped the incumbent turn back retired Army Gen. Jerry Cannon 52-45.

Benishek announced in March of 2015 that he was disregarding the term-limits pledge he’d made in 2010, but it quickly became clear that he'd be in for a rough ride. Fellow Republicans, including his old foe Allen, began making noises about challenging him in the primary, while former state Democratic Party chair Lon Johnson soon emerged as a formidable rival.

Benishek, citing that formerly abandoned term-limits promise, ended up declaring months later that he would retire after all, and the outgoing congressman went on to back state Sen. Tom Casperson to succeed him. GOP voters, however, opted to go with retired Marine Lt. Gen. Jack Bergman over Casperson and Allen, and the new GOP nominee went on to decisively hold the seat in the fall.

Restaurant Owner Says She Doesn’t Want To Serve Biden Supporters

One restaurant owner in Florida says she is through with serving anyone who supports President Joe Biden.

On the front door of The DeBary Diner in DeBary, Florida is a sign that reads, “If you voted for and continue to support and stand behind the worthless, inept and corrupt administration currently inhabiting the White House that is complicit in the death of our servicemen and women in Afghanistan, please take your business elsewhere.” 

RELATED: MAGA Rep. Boebert Calls For Biden And Harris Impeachment, Pelosi To Be Removed Over Afghanistan Withdrawal

Restaurant Owner Furious About Biden’s Afghanistan Disaster

The restaurant’s owner, Angie Ugarte, said, “It was the only thing I felt like I could do.”

The sign went up on the same day a suicide bomber took the lives of 13 U.S. service members in Afghanistan. 

“I was just angry. I was just let down,” Ugarte said. “I felt like one of those mothers, or wives, or sisters who were gonna get that knock on the door.”

Ugarte says that a lot of her regular customers are veterans and she has been serving them since her restaurant’s doors opened almost five years ago. One wall of her business is dedicated to honoring men and women who serve.

Ugarte blames Biden for the recent deaths in Afghanistan.

“If you really, really still stand behind what’s allowed this to happen and the way it happened – which was unnecessary then I really don’t want to be associated with you in any way and I certainly don’t want your business,” Ugarte said.

RELATED: Republican Introduces Bill To Award Congressional Gold Medal To 13 Servicemen Killed In Terror Attack

Mixed Reactions From Customers

Ugarte talked about some of the customer reactions.

“I’ve had people come to the door and look at it and turn around and walk away,” she said. “And I’ve had people come into the kitchen while I’m cooking and say, ‘Hey, I love your sign.”

How long will the sign remain?

Ugarte says until the ordeal in Afghanistan is over for the U.S., noting that Americans are still stranded in the country.

 

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Mitch McConnell Won’t Fight To Impeach Biden – Says He ‘Is Not Going To Be Removed From Office’

On Wednesday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said that he and his party would not fight to impeach President Joe Biden and said Republicans should focus more on the midterm election.

McConnell argued that it’s better to wait and vote – and that impeachment won’t happen because Democrats are in charge.

“Well, look, the president is not going to be removed from office,” McConnell said at a Kentucky event. “There’s a Democratic House, a narrowly Democratic Senate. That’s not going to happen.”

Democrats hold a razor thin majority in both houses of Congress.

RELATED: Republican Introduces Bill To Award Congressional Gold Medal To 13 Servicemen Killed In Terror Attack

McConnell: ‘There Isn’t Going To Be An Impeachment’

When McConnell was asked if Biden’s botched Afghanistan withdrawal warranted an impeachment, McConnell sternly answered, “There isn’t going to be an impeachment.”

Republicans in both the House and Senate have called for the president’s resignation over the Afghanistan debacle, or have called for forcible removal via the 25th Amendment for what they view as Biden’s dereliction of duty as Commander-in-Chief.

McConnell urged Republicans to focus on the upcoming midterm elections where high public disapproval of Biden could work to Republicans’ advantage.

McConnell said voters in the upcoming election could hold Biden and his party accountable. 

“The report card you get is every two years,” McConnell said. “I think the way these behaviors get adjusted in this country is at the ballot box.”

RELATED: New Poll Shows Majority Believe U.S. Has ‘Seriously Gone Off On The Wrong Track’ – And Wow, Ya Think?!

McConnell Won’t Fight

“I do think we’re likely to see a typical kind of midterm reaction to a new administration. … Typically there is some buyer’s remorse,” he said. 

“Most of you are not political junkies, you’ve got better things to do than that,” McConnell continued. “But you’ll be interested in one statistic: only twice in American history – only twice – has the president gained seats in Congress two years into the first term.”

“I think the American people have to decide what kind of government they want,” McConnell added. “I have a feeling the American people didn’t think they voted for this government.”

 

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Report: Some Democrats Want Biden Administration Officials Fired Over Afghanistan Debacle

The Washington Post is reporting that some Democrats are privately expressing their concerns about the handling of the Afghanistan crisis and would like to see top Biden administration officials fired over the debacle.

“In private discussions, some House Democrats have raised the prospect of whether Secretary of State Antony Blinken and national security adviser Jake Sullivan — two of Biden’s most trusted aides — should lose their jobs,” the Post revealed this past weekend.

Seems like a reasonable proposition considering the botched withdrawal of US forces in Afghanistan, culminating with last week’s suicide bombing which claimed the lives of 13 American soldiers and as many as 170 civilians.

That is, until you start digging a little deeper into the article where you find the true reason they’d like to see Blinken and Sullivan fired over what transpired in Afghanistan.

RELATED: Psaki Responds To Calls For Biden’s Resignation: ‘Not A Day For Politics’

Why Do They Want Them Fired Over Afghanistan?

Remarkably, the Washington Post doesn’t try very hard to sugar coat why some Democrats want to see Blinken and Sullivan fired over Afghanistan.

It’s not for accountability or some semblance of justice for the 13 service members who unnecessarily lost their lives.

It’s the Democrat agenda they care about.

Take a listen to John Jackson, the chairman of the DeKalb County Democrats in Georgia.

He tells the Washington Post, “I just worry about his ability to achieve his agenda.”

Really? That’s his concern as 13 flag-draped coffins were sent home from the scene in Afghanistan over the weekend?

It sure seems like that’s the main concern as the Post goes on to suggest Democrats are simply hoping to “weather the storm” with the negative Afghanistan news so they can focus on ‘more important’ things. Things like infrastructure and their social agenda.

“They see positive developments on the horizon if they can weather the storm over Afghanistan,” the Post writes, “such as the prospect of signing legislation making historic investments in roads, bridges and social programs.”

RELATED: Republicans File Articles Of Impeachment Against Biden’s Secretary Of State Blinken

Nobody Held Accountable

As it stands, the only person held accountable for the tragic turn of events in Afghanistan has been Lt. Col. Stuart Scheller who was reportedly relieved of duty for daring to demand accountability from military leaders following the terror attack.

Scheller had posted a viral video demanding answers.

“I’m not making this video because it is potentially an emotional time,” he said. “I’m making it because I have a growing discontent and contempt with my perceived ineptitude at the foreign policy level. I want to specifically ask some questions to some of my senior leaders.”

On Friday, House Reps. Ralph Norman (R-SC) and Andy Harris (R-MD) introduced articles of impeachment against Blinken citing “failures in leadership over [the] Afghanistan situation.”

It’s unclear why they introduced the articles against a Cabinet Secretary rather than the Commander-in-Chief, Joe Biden.

There have been calls for President Biden himself to resign over what has transpired in Afghanistan, an idea White House press secretary Jen Psaki swatted away by saying it is “not a day for politics.”

Not a day for politics – and yet, Democrats want Blinken and Sullivan fired over Afghanistan in part because of how it reflects on their party politically.

The Post describes President Biden as having a “devastating month of his tenure in office” in August and said such crises as the resurgent pandemic and the Afghanistan mission have “sent waves of anger and worry through his party as his poll numbers decline.”

If only Democrats could get just as angry over the coffins of young American soldiers being sent home from faraway lands.

 

 

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Task Force Concludes Cuomo’s Nursing Home Policy Did Lead To More Nursing Home Deaths

The NYSBA (New York State Bar Association) Task Force on Nursing Homes and Long-Term Care determined that Governor Andrew Cuomo’s executive order policy forcing nursing homes to take on patients that had tested positive for COVID-19 led to more deaths.

The report is a devastating indictment on the Democrat governor’s policies and their effects on the elderly in the Empire State during the early stages of the pandemic.

The task force, according to the New York Post, defined Cuomo’s directive as “unreasonable” in both its “absoluteness” and the length of time it was left in effect.

While they were unable to put a particular number on that effect, the NYSBA was able to determine “there are credible reviews that suggest that the directive, for the approximately six weeks that it was in effect, did lead to some number of additional deaths.”

RELATED: Report: Cuomo Being Investigated For Retaliating Against Sexual Harassment Accusers

Task Force: Cuomo Nursing Home Policy Led To More Deaths

Governor Andrew Cuomo issued an executive order on March 25th which forced nursing homes to take on patients that had tested positive for coronavirus.

The order prohibited nursing homes from requiring incoming patients “to be tested for COVID-19 prior to admission or readmission.”

Cuomo’s directive remained in place for over six weeks while well over 15,000 senior citizens succumbed to the virus.

The New York Democrat and his top aides have also been accused of hiding the data on those nursing home deaths and stripping numbers from DOH (Department of Health) reports.

For months Cuomo touted a DOH report which contained an explicit quantifier that the order forcing the care facilities to take on COVID-positive patients was “not a driver of nursing home infections or fatalities.”

The NYSBA task force determined that was not accurate.

“The Department of Health issued a report in 2020 in which it argued unconvincingly that the admission of 6,326 COVID-positive residents during the period the Health directive was in effect had no impact,” the report states.

“That cannot be the case, and has now been shown not to be the case.”

RELATED: Fox News’ Janice Dean: My Family Didn’t Have To Die, Cuomo’s Policy Helped It Happen

Cuomo’s Order Cost Lives

The report that Governor Cuomo’s executive order for nursing homes did lead to more deaths is a small measure of vindication for Fox News meteorologist and author Janice Dean, who has argued for months that his policies led to the deaths of more seniors than in any other state.

She argued in an op-ed column for USA Today over the summer that very point.

Dean’s in-laws were the unfortunate victims of COVID-19, where nursing homes in New York played a significant part.

“At first we didn’t blame anyone for my in-laws’ deaths. This is a pandemic, after all,” she wrote. “Then we learned about a policy that put them in danger.”

Dean’s column featured a sub-heading arguing, “My family didn’t have to die.”

Governor Cuomo is under investigation and impeachment inquiry for a slew of scandals, not the least of which involves the nursing home executive order and subsequent effort to obstruct justice by hiding the numbers.

They include:

  • Numerous sexual misconduct allegations including a police report involving forcibly groping an aide.
  • Bullying and threatening fellow lawmakers and members of the media.
  • Under investigation for a $5.1 million book deal profiting off the pandemic by having aides write and edit portions using state resources.
  • Provided priority COVID-19 testing for his family and associates, also allegedly using state resources.

“It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out admitting over 9,000 Covid patients into nursing homes for 46 days would increase the amount of deaths, but if a 242-page report from the NY State Bar association proves [Cuomo] lied and people died, so be it,” Dean tweeted.

The Fox News personality has suggested many people in the Cuomo administration belong in prison over the nursing home scandal.

“I really feel like he should go to jail,” Dean has said. “And all these people surrounding him that covered this up for so many months, they should go to jail.”

The NYSBA report relied in part on a study by the Empire Center for Public Policy that tied “several hundred and possibly more than 1,000” deaths of nursing home residents to Cuomo’s executive order.

There is now a straight-line correlation between his policies and the deaths of the elderly during the pandemic. The question is, will anybody in New York state do anything about it?

 

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Fox News Janice Dean Slams ‘Despicable’ Cuomo Over $10,000 Per Ticket Fundraiser This Month

Fox News meteorologist and author Janice Dean slammed New York Governor Andrew Cuomo over news that he will be hosting a $10,000 per ticket fundraiser for his re-election later this month.

The event is being dubbed a “summer reception” with the governor and offers single tickets at the aforementioned price, as well as dual admission at a cost of $15,000.

“You. Can’t. Make. It. Up,” Dean seethed in a tweet sharing the report. “[$10,000] to meet the Luv Guv in person this month.”

The reference to Cuomo as the ‘Luv Guv’ is a likely jab at both he and his brother, CNN anchor Chris Cuomo, who helped hype the Governor during the pandemic by playfully referring to his single status.

“I am the Luv Guv,” the Democrat said to his little brother at one point. “I’m a cool dude in a loose mood, you know that. I just say let it go, just go with the flow, baby.”

In a subsequent tweet hours later, Dean referred to Cuomo as “despicable.”

The $10,000 per ticket event does not have a specific location listed on the invitation but does indicate it will be held somewhere in New York City.

RELATED: Bombshell Report Indicates Cuomo Aides Repeatedly Blocked Release Of Nursing Home Deaths

Cuomo Fundraiser In Between Multiple Investigations

The extravagant fundraiser comes as Andrew Cuomo’s political future is in turmoil, the subject of multiple investigations and impeachment inquiries.

The scandals embroiling him are wide-ranging and numerous, including:

  • Forcing nursing homes to take on COVID-positive patients.
  • Hiding the data on those deaths and stripping numbers from DOH reports.
  • Numerous sexual misconduct allegations including a police report involving forcibly groping an aide.
  • Bullying and threatening fellow lawmakers and members of the media.
  • Under investigation for a $5.1 million book deal profiting off the pandemic by having aides write and edit portions using state resources.
  • Provided priority COVID-19 testing for his family and associates, also allegedly using state resources.

Dutchess County Executive and 2018 Republican gubernatorial candidate Marc Molinaro joked that the fundraiser might well just be going to Cuomo’s legal defense fund.

Dean has been a leading voice on the nursing home scandal involving Governor Cuomo, her in-laws being the sad and unfortunate victims of COVID-19, where nursing homes in New York played a significant part.

Cuomo issued an executive order last March forcing care facilities to take in COVID-positive patients. The order was not reversed for months.

bombshell report from the New York Times in April led Dean to suggest many people in the Cuomo administration belong in prison.

The Times report indicated top aides to the Governor overruled his own health experts, blocked the release of the pandemic’s true death toll numbers at nursing homes for five months, and did so all while they were helping him write a book using state resources.

“I really feel like he should go to jail,” Dean said at the time. “And all these people surrounding him that covered this up for so many months, they should go to jail.”

RELATED: Cuomo Admin Accused Of ‘Criminal Conspiracy’ Following Bombshell Report They ‘Stripped’ Data From Report On Nursing Home Deaths

Janice Dean Should Attend Cuomo’s $10,000 Shindig

Dean, along with Rensselaer County Executive Steve McLaughlin, had some ideas for Cuomo’s $10,000 per ticket fundraiser.

“Maybe a good old-fashioned protest outside this cash grab at the end of the month?” wondered Dean.

McLaughlin tweeted, “Someone should start a GoFundMe and get a ticket for [Janice Dean] … Now THAT would be interesting.”

Dean responded to McLaughlin’s suggestion saying she would “definitely call and find out where the event is.”

She later advised that Governor Cuomo, instead of holding a $10,000 per ticket fundraiser for re-election, should meet with the families of the victims of his nursing home scandal.

“I think he should meet with many of us who lost loved ones in nursing homes. But he’s a coward,” lamented Dean. “He would never show up.”

State Attorney General Letitia James, a Democrat, is also conducting an investigation of allegations that the Governor used state resources and state employees to write his book on leadership during the pandemic.

The book earned Cuomo a $5.1 million payday.

The Albany Times Union is accusing the Cuomo administration of refusing to release records involving the book.

The New York Post is reporting that Cuomo’s fundraiser is the first since being hit with state and federal investigations.

 

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Morning Digest: Mega MAGA perennial candidate is throwing a scare into New Jersey GOP’s frontrunner

The Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest is compiled by David Nir, Jeff Singer, Stephen Wolf, Carolyn Fiddler, and Matt Booker, with additional contributions from David Jarman, Steve Singiser, Daniel Donner, James Lambert, David Beard, and Arjun Jaikumar.

Leading Off

NJ-Gov: It looks like the Democratic Governors Association wants to stir up some GOP anxiety by releasing a poll of New Jersey's June 8 Republican primary for governor that shows the ostensible frontrunner, Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli, leading perennial candidate Hirsh Singh just 29-23.

But with Hudson County pastor Phil Rizzo taking 8% and former Franklin Mayor Brian Levine at just 2%, according to the survey from Public Policy Polling, that means 38% of voters are undecided, so there's lots of room left for wiggling. Perhaps most surprisingly, PPP's numbers also suggest that a recent Singh poll that had him up 22-20 weren't completely bonkers.

Ciattarelli seems to agree. As the New Jersey Globe's David Wildstein notes, he just went up with ads criticizing Singh for "attacking our men and women in blue" alongside "the woke mob" and aggressively criticized his rival in the lone debate of the race on Tuesday night. Singh has portrayed himself as the only true Trump acolyte running, which explains why Ciattarelli's ad labels him a "fake MAGA candidate."

Campaign Action

It's all quite a turnaround from where we were just last month: Ciattarelli was acting as though he had the nomination sewn up, seeing as he was firing off a barrage of ads attacking Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy. We'll know in less than two weeks how premature his pivot to the general election really was.

Senate

MO-Sen: The Missouri Independent reports that, according to unnamed "sources familiar with her plans," Republican Rep. Vicky Hartzler will announce a Senate bid early next month.

OH-Sen: Republican Rep. Bill Johnson, who'd been considering a Senate bid ever since Rob Portman unexpectedly announced his retirement in January, has opted against joining the race. Johnson cited the presence of several well-funded candidates already seeking the GOP nod (including some with personal wealth) as an obstacle, explaining, "I'm not going to deny that coming from a base in Appalachia, where fundraising is a challenge under the best of circumstances, it can be exceptionally slow in a contested primary." Johnson's 6th Congressional District ranks 359th in the nation in median household income.

WI-Sen: State Sen. Chris Larsen kicked off a bid Wednesday for the Democratic nomination to take on Republican Sen. Ron Johnson (who still hasn't said whether he's seeking re-election). Larsen has represented a seat in the Milwaukee area for a decade and has twice sought the position of Milwaukee County executive, including an extremely tight 2020 race that he lost 50.05-49.52 to fellow Democrat David Crowley.

Larsen is the fourth notable Democrat to enter the race, after state Treasurer Sarah Godlewski, Milwaukee Bucks executive Alex Lasry, and Outagamie County Executive Tom Nelson.

Governors

CA-Gov: The nonpartisan Public Policy Institute of California finds the likely recall election of Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom failing by a 57-40 margin, virtually unchanged from its 56-40 result in March.

NV-Gov: Politico's Alex Isenstadt reports that former Sen. Dean Heller is "preparing to run for governor" next year and is meeting with party leaders about a bid at a conference hosted by the Republican Governors Association, according to unnamed sources "familiar with the conversations." Heller's apparent interest in running—and the RGA's interest in him—is particularly notable because of the recent entry of Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo, who just gave the GOP a high-profile candidate with experience winning in Nevada's most populous (and bluest) county.

But that's precisely why Lombardo's conservative bona fides might come into question. Two years ago, for instance, he ended the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department's collaboration with ICE to detain individuals arrested on local charges until federal officials can apprehend them if they are also suspected of immigration violations.

Heller, however, may not be the antidote. These days, fealty to conservative dogma is entirely subordinate to fealty to Donald Trump when it comes to Republican primary voters, and the ex-senator has not scored well on that front. Most vividly, he earned undying Trumpist ire when he initially voted against repealing the Affordable Care Act in 2017, then sealed his doom when he later voted in favor of doing so. The painful flip-flop played a key role in his 50-45 loss to Democrat Jackie Rosen, which Trump himself claimed came as a consequence of Heller being "extraordinarily hostile" to him.

So who will claim the Trump mantle? The third notable candidate in the race, North Las Vegas Mayor John Lee, was a Democrat until last month (albeit a conservative one), a resume that poses its own obvious problems. That could leave an opening for someone else, but the most prominent name still considering the race, Rep. Mark Amodei, has been an imperfect disciple: Just two years ago, after he expressed a vague openness to Trump's first impeachment, the extremist (and extremely well-funded) Club for Growth threatened to back a primary challenger. Amodei wound up voting against impeachment, of course, but as far as the die-hards are concerned, it's very hard to erase the taint of sinning against Trump in the first place.

VA-Gov: As the June 8 Democratic primary for Virginia’s open gubernatorial race approaches, we have a rundown of candidate spending on TV ads. According to Medium Buying, former Gov. Terry McAuliffe is outspending former Del. Jennifer Carroll Foy on the airwaves $3.28 million to $1.33 million. The pair are dwarfing the rest of the field as the third-biggest spender, state Sen. Jennifer McClellan, has shelled out just $108,000.

On the Republican side, businessman Glenn Youngkin, who already has the nomination locked up, is out with his first general election spot. In the commercial, he plays up his business experience and attempts to paint himself as an outsider. He also takes a veiled swipe at McAuliffe, the Democratic frontrunner, when he proclaims, “What we need isn’t a politician or worse: the same politician”.

House

FL-10: With Rep. Val Demings running for Senate, fellow Democrats are lining up to succeed her in Florida's 10th Congressional District, located in the Orlando area. Former State Attorney Aramis Ayala, who served one term as the top prosecutor in Orange and Osceola counties, had been considering a Senate bid herself but quickly shifted gears and announced a bid for Demings' seat. State Sen. Randolph Bracy has jumped in as well; he, too, reportedly had his eye on statewide office—in his case, the governorship.

Civil rights attorney and Navy veteran Natalie Jackson also kicked off a campaign this week. She is best known for her work on behalf of a number of families who've lost relatives to police violence, including those of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd.

GA-10: Wealthy businessman Matt Richards is the latest Republican to enter the race for Georgia's deep-red 10th Congressional District. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has reported that he's prepared to self-fund at least $1 million in his bid for this open seat.

ME-02: Republican state Rep. Mike Perkins, who said last month that he was exploring a bid against Democratic Rep. Jared Golden, has now filed paperwork to create a campaign committee with the FEC.

NM-01: Democrat Melanie Stansbury is out with a positive ad ahead of Tuesday’s special election. The spot touts her background in the district and also attempts to tie herself to the Biden administration. Stansbury is pictured with Interior Secretary Deb Haaland (whose confirmation to that position opened this seat) and first lady Jill Biden as the voiceover says “In Congress, she’s ready to get to work with President Biden.”

Stansbury was endorsed by Biden himself earlier this week, and second gentlemen Douglas Emhoff is slated to campaign with her on Thursday.

Attorneys General

OK-AG: Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter abruptly announced his resignation on Wednesday, a day after The Oklahoman sent him questions about an alleged extramarital affair with a state employee. Hunter, who filed for divorce last week, did not respond to the questions or address any details, but in a statement he said, "Regrettably, certain personal matters that are becoming public will become a distraction for this office."

Hunter, a Republican, was appointed to the office by then-Gov. Mary Fallin in 2017 after the incumbent at the time, Scott Pruitt, was tapped by Donald Trump to run the EPA. He easily won election in his own right the following year, defeating Democrat Mark Myles 64-36, and had been gearing up to run for a second full term next year. Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt, who had experienced some friction with Hunter, will now be able to name a replacement of his own.

Mayors

Boston, MA Mayor: There's no doubt that Boston will elect a person of color as mayor for the first time ever now that candidate filing has closed in this year's all-Democratic race, but as Gabby Deutch notes in her deep look at the field for Jewish Insider, this year's contest is very different from those of the past in another key way: None of the six serious contenders, writes Deutch, "are actively seeking the endorsement of the city's police union."

Of this sextet, only City Councilor Annissa Essaibi George has spoken out against the idea of reallocating funds from the police budget to other areas, though she's acknowledged that "tough conversations" are needed on the future of law enforcement. The rest of the field consists of acting Mayor Kim Janey, who was elevated from City Council president to the top job earlier this year; City Councilors Andrea Campbell and Michelle Wu; state Rep. Jon Santiago; and the former head of economic development for the city, John Barros. All have called for changes in how the police conduct their work.  

While a major part of this shift is due to the national movement aimed at reforming law enforcement, two unrelated scandals involving senior Boston police officials have also dominated the headlines in recent months. In April, the public learned that former officer Patrick Rose, who would later go on to head the police union, remained on the force in the mid-1990s even though a contemporary internal report concluded there was enough evidence to charge him with molesting a 12-year-old.

Other documents said that Rose had been placed on administrative duty, but even this limited sanction was withdrawn after the union threatened to file a grievance on his behalf. Rose is currently under indictment for allegedly abusing other children during the subsequent decades.

The second matter is a still-unfolding debacle that began in late January, after then-Mayor Marty Walsh was nominated to become secretary of labor but before he was confirmed. Boston Police Commissioner William Gross announced his resignation shortly after Joe Biden tapped Walsh for his cabinet, prompting Walsh to immediately appoint Gross' close friend and chief of staff, Dennis White, to succeed him.

Just days later, though, Walsh placed White on leave after the Boston Globe began asking about allegations that the new commissioner had abused his wife in 1999. Walsh also commissioned a report into what had happened, but it was still unfinished when Janey took over as acting mayor in March.

That report was released this month, though, and it revealed a previously unknown 1993 confrontation between White and a 19-year-old. The investigator, Tamsin Kaplan, also said that both the police and the Walsh administration had interfered with her probe, with Kaplan writing, "One retired BPD officer told me that they had received at least five phone calls directing them not to talk with me."

Janey quickly announced she would fire White, who went to court in an effort to block her from doing so. Gross also filed an affidavit saying that Walsh had known about the allegations against White when he made the appointment, something that the labor secretary quickly denied. It may be some time before all of this is settled: While a state judge ruled that Janey could fire White, she issued a stay the next day, allowing the commissioner to keep his job while he appeals.

It remains to be seen how this ongoing mess will impact September's officially nonpartisan face-off, which will winnow the field down to two ahead of the November general election. The entire field agrees that White needs to be replaced, though Essaibi George still accepted an endorsement from Gross, who briefly considered running for mayor himself. (A far-less controversial public safety group, the local firefighters union, is also backing her.)

There has been little polling here, though a MassINC survey conducted last month found a 46% plurality undecided. That poll also showed Wu leading Janey 19-18, while fellow Campbell was in third with 6%.

Janey's ascension to the mayor's office in March made her the city's first Black mayor, as well as its first woman leader, and she would again make history if she won the post in her own right this year. Wu, Campbell, and Essaibi George would also each be the first woman elected to the top job.

All of the contenders would also achieve another historic first. Wu, who has the backing of Sen. Elizabeth Warren and many of the young activists who helped propel Ed Markey to victory in his own Senate primary last year, would be the first Asian American person to lead Boston. Campbell or former city administration official John Barros, meanwhile, would be the first Black person elected in a city that still has a reputation for racism targeting African Americans. State Rep. Jon Santiago, meanwhile, would be Boston's first Latino chief executive, while Essaibi George would be its first Arab American leader.

New York City, NY Mayor: A new poll from Core Decision Analytics on behalf of Fontas Advisors, a lobbying group that is not working for any candidates, shows Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams leading 2020 presidential candidate Andrew Yang 18-13 in the June 22 Democratic primary, with former city Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia at 13%. That’s a notable shift from March, when this firm had Yang beating Adams 16-10 as Garcia barely registered with just 2% of the vote.

Garcia was endorsed by the New York Times earlier this month, and another survey also shows her gaining ground since then. Yang recently released a Slingshot Strategies poll that found him edging out Adams 19-16, with city Comptroller Scott Stringer and Garcia at 13% and 10%, respectively; in late April, Slingshot showed Yang leading Stringer 24-16, with Garcia at 3%. This May survey has Yang beating Adams by a narrow 51-49 after simulating the instant runoff process.

Meanwhile, another candidate is in bad shape heading into the final weeks. Three senior staffers for nonprofit head Dianne Morales, including her campaign manager, resigned over the last few days over what Politico calls “accusations of mistreatment, inadequate pay and lack of unionization and health care.” Morales responded by saying she “accepted accountability in my role as the head of this campaign that allowed for this harm to occur.”

Prosecutors

Manhattan, NY District Attorney: The June 22 Democratic primary to succeed Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance is coming up quickly, and voters got another reminder of the power of this office on Tuesday when news broke that the retiring incumbent had convened a grand jury to weigh potential charges for Donald Trump. It remains to be seen what role Vance's eventual successor would have in this matter, but there's no question that whoever wins the primary in this extremely blue borough will be the overwhelming favorite to head what's arguably the most prominent local prosecutor's office in America.

Eight Democrats are competing in a race where it takes just a plurality to win the Democratic nomination. (While New York City voters backed a 2019 referendum to institute instant-runoff voting in primaries for many local offices, the measure does not apply to state-level posts like this one.) Almost all of the contenders have pitched themselves as progressives who will bring much-needed changes to the post, but as the New York Times' Jonah Bromwich explained in March, there are some important differences between them.

"The race can be divided into two camps," wrote Bromwich, "with three candidates who have not worked as prosecutors and five who have." The former group consists of civil rights attorney Tahanie Aboushi, public defender Eliza Orlins, and Assemblyman Dan Quart, who is also the only elected official running. This trio, wrote Bromwich, has argued that the D.A.'s role needs to involve a shift "toward reducing incarceration and cutting back prosecution of low-level crimes."

The five ex-prosecutors in the contest are Alvin Bragg, Liz Crotty, Diana Florence, Lucy Lang, and Tali Farhadian Weinstein. Crotty, a self-described centrist backed by several police unions, has run to the right of the field and cast doubt on reform efforts, saying at one debate, "I am the candidate who from the beginning of my campaign has talked about public safety." The remainder, says Bromwich, have "pitched themselves as occupying a middle ground, focused on less sweeping changes."

(The Appeal's Sam Mellins has also detailed the candidates' views on key issues, including sentencing and sex work, with helpful graphics breaking down where the field stands.)

As Bromwich noted, every contender save Quart would achieve a historic first should they prevail. Six of the candidates would be the first woman to win this office, while Aboushi would additionally be the first Muslim or Arab American to hold the post. Bragg, meanwhile, would be Manhattan's first Black district attorney.

There's still no clear frontrunner, but two of the candidates have significantly more resources than the rest of the field. Farhadian Weinstein, who is married to wealthy hedge fund manager Boaz Weinstein, took in $2.2 million from mid-January to May 17, with the Wall Street Journal reporting that more than half of her haul "came from four dozen donors, many of whom work in the financial sector."

Bragg raised a considerably smaller $710,000 during this time, though he led Farhadian Weinstein, who has been spending heavily, in cash-on-hand for the stretch run, $1.2 million to $805,000. Bragg also has the backing of three of the city's most politically influential unions, and he's benefited from $1 million in outside spending from Color of Change.

Aboushi had the third-largest war chest with $560,000 on-hand, while Quart and Orlins had $555,000 and $525,000 in the bank, respectively. Lang, who has been self-funding much of her race, had $400,000 available , while Crotty was further back with $250,000; Florence brought up the rear with $115,000 on-hand.

Obituaries

John Warner, a Republican who served as Senator from Virginia from 1979 through 2009, died Tuesday at the age of 94. Warner cultivated a reputation for moderation and bipartisanship during his 30 years in the Senate, and he was long willing to oppose Republicans he disliked. In 1994, rather than back Iran-Contra figure Oliver North’s campaign against Democratic colleague Chuck Robb, Warner recruited another Republican, 1989 gubernatorial nominee Marshall Coleman, to run as an independent, a development that helped Robb win in that disastrous year for Democrats.

Warner served as secretary of the Navy during the Nixon administration from 1972 to 1974, and he attracted global attention in 1976 when he married the famed actress Elizabeth Taylor. Warner ran for an open Senate seat in 1978 but lost the GOP nominating convention to a more conservative opponent, Richard Obenshain. Obenshain, though, died in a plane crash two days later, and party officials selected Warner as their new nominee.

Warner was often overshadowed by his famous spouse during that campaign. The most remembered incident of the contest occurred in the Appalachian community of Big Stone Gap, where Taylor was hospitalized after a chicken bone became lodged in her throat, an experience that made it to “Saturday Night Live.” Warner ultimately ended up very narrowly beating his Democratic opponent, former state Attorney General Andrew Miller, 50.2-49.8, a margin of fewer than 5,000 votes. Warner spent his first few years in office still known mostly as Taylor’s husband, though their marriage ended during his first term in 1982.

Warner himself easily won re-election two years later, and he had no Democratic opposition at all in 1990. In 1996, though, he faced a serious general election challenge from wealthy businessman Mark Warner. The race was defined by the novelty of a contest between the two unrelated Warners: The challenger ordered “Mark, not John” bumper stickers that were sometimes mistaken for a biblical reference, while the incumbent urged voters to “make your mark for John.” The Republican, though, appeared safe, so it was a surprise when he held off Mark Warner just 53-47.

John Warner won his last term in 2002 again without Democratic opposition, and almost no one guessed this would be the last time Team Red would win a Virginia Senate race through today. Warner decided not to run again in 2008 and was easily succeeded by his old opponent Mark Warner, who had been elected governor during the ensuing years.

John Warner went on to back the Democratic incumbent in 2014, an endorsement that may have made the difference in what proved to be an unexpectedly tight race. Warner would go on to support Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden over Donald Trump and back a number of Democratic congressional candidates, though he still endorsed Republican nominee Ed Gillespie’s failed 2017 run for governor.

Bombshell Report Indicates Cuomo Aides Repeatedly Blocked Release Of Nursing Home Deaths

A bombshell report from the New York Times indicates top aides to Governor Andrew Cuomo overruled his own health experts, blocking the release of the pandemic’s true death toll numbers at nursing homes, and did so all while they were helping him write a book.

The crux of the Times column refers to the length of time aides spent in trying to cover up the number of deaths in nursing homes – five months – a particularly sore spot with the governor who had issued an executive order forcing care facilities to take in COVID-positive patients.

The order was not reversed for months.

Cuomo aides clearly sensed the fallout, doing their best to minimize the numbers by not counting seniors who were transported to hospitals and died there.

“By the time the policy was rescinded less than two months later, it had become clear that not all the deaths were being included in that tally: Those who died after being transferred to hospitals were not counted as nursing home deaths,” the Times writes.

When Cuomo’s own top health officials tried to get a more accurate count, his aides rebuffed them time and again. In fact, they fought release of the true numbers for five months, according to the report, a “far greater (effort) than previously known.”

RELATED: Cuomo Now Being Investigated Over $4 Million Book Deal Celebrating His Pandemic Leadership, Janice Dean Calls It ‘Disgusting’

Cuomo’s Unbelievable Nursing Home Scandal

While critics were noting the role of Governor Cuomo’s nursing home executive order in a large number of elderly deaths during the pandemic, the state Health Department was preparing a report on the matter in the spring of 2020.

Secretary to the Governor, Melissa DeRosa, according to an email reviewed by the New York Times, told health officials: “We are getting anxious over here on this report.”

That report was eventually published in July but contained an explicit quantifier that the order forcing the care facilities to take on COVID-positive patients was “not a driver of nursing home infections or fatalities.”

It also included a much lower number – not counting hospital deaths – in the report that the Times states was “rewritten several times by senior advisers to Mr. Cuomo.”

The department report listed just over 6,400 deaths. As of this month, more than 15,500 nursing home residents died from COVID-19.

In February, the New York Post revealed that DeRosa told leading Democrats that they tried to suppress the numbers because the administration feared the data could “be used against us” by the Justice Department saying, “basically, we froze.”

“We were in a position where we weren’t sure if what we were going to give to the Department of Justice, or what we give to you guys, what we start saying, was going to be used against us while we weren’t sure if there was going to be an investigation,” she said.

The New York Times reported in January that attorney general Letitia James, a Democrat, accused Cuomo and his administration, particularly officials at the State Health Department, of undercounting COVID deaths at nursing homes by as much as 50%.

A subsequent report by the Wall Street Journal in early March accused the aides of a very explicit cover-up by the Cuomo administration in the nursing home scandal.

“Cuomo’s top advisers successfully pushed state health officials to strip a public report of data showing that more nursing-home residents had died of Covid-19 than the administration had acknowledged,” they detailed.

Much of the pressure by the Health Department to suppress the numbers on the nursing home deaths was being applied by the administration itself.

“Aides overruled state health officials on releasing the figures over the span of at least five months, The Times reports,” according to The Hill.

“The effort included halting the publication of a scientific paper, which included the true tally, and the sending of two letters drafted by the Health Department and intended for state lawmakers.”

RELATED: Cuomo Admin Accused Of ‘Criminal Conspiracy’ Following Bombshell Report They ‘Stripped’ Data From Report On Nursing Home Deaths

‘They Should All Go To Jail’

The New York Times report notes that much of the effort to halt the release of the true figures in the Cuomo nursing home scandal revolved around the Governor’s efforts to write a book celebrating his ‘leadership’ during the pandemic.

“The actions coincided with the period in which Mr. Cuomo was pitching and then writing a book on the pandemic, with the assistance of his top aide, Melissa DeRosa, and others,” the report reads.

State Attorney General Letitia James, a Democrat, is currently conducting an investigation of allegations that the Governor used state resources and state employees to write his book on which he received a multimillion-dollar advance.

Fox News meteorologist and author Janice Dean, a leading voice on the nursing home scandal involving Governor Cuomo, expressed her optimism that justice may finally be served.

Dean’s in-laws were the unfortunate victims of COVID-19, where nursing homes in New York played a significant part.

“I feel like all of these months, close to a year now, it feels like it finally is happening, that all of the things we’ve been yelling about and trying to shine a light on, it’s finally happening,” Dean said.

Many of the things I’ve covered here at The Political Insider as well, things that should have been revealed much earlier if not for a complicit New York media that spent more time fawning over Cuomo than reporting on him.

On May 18th, nearly one full year ago, I labeled Cuomo’s executive order on nursing homes a “scandal” and noted at the time that the Governor seemed uninterested in accountability.

He even suggested it wasn’t his fault because “older people … are going to die.”

In an interview with Fox News, Dean didn’t hold back on what she felt should happen to the governor and those in his administration complicit in the nursing home cover-up.

“I really feel like he should go to jail,” she said. “And all these people surrounding him that covered this up for so many months, they should go to jail.”

The following is a list of scandals in which Cuomo is currently embroiled, most of which have resulted in investigations, calls for his resignation, and impeachment inquiries:

  • Forcing nursing homes to take on COVID-positive patients.
  • Obstructing justice by hiding the data on those deaths and stripping numbers from DOH reports.
  • Numerous sexual misconduct allegations including a police report involving forcibly groping an aide.
  • Bullying and threatening fellow lawmakers and members of the media.
  • Under investigation for a $4 million book deal profiting off the pandemic by having aides write and edit portions using state resources.

In an incredibly cold and callous comment last May, Cuomo snapped at a reporter for asking about grieving families of nursing home patients seeking justice.

“What is justice? Who can we prosecute for those deaths? Nobody. Nobody,” he rationalized. “Mother nature? God? Where did this virus come from? People are going to die by this virus.”

It’s time somebody from the administration is prosecuted, if not the governor himself. That would be justice.

 

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Morning Digest: Check out our roundup of 1Q 2021 fundraising reports for the House and Senate

The Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest is compiled by David Nir, Jeff Singer, Stephen Wolf, Carolyn Fiddler, and Matt Booker, with additional contributions from David Jarman, Steve Singiser, Daniel Donner, James Lambert, David Beard, and Arjun Jaikumar.

Leading Off

1Q Fundraising: Daily Kos Elections is pleased to unveil our new charts rounding up first-quarter fundraising for the House and Senate. Our data includes the numbers for every incumbent (excluding those who've said they're not seeking re-election) and notable announced or potential candidates.

Early fundraising reports give us our first glimpse at which candidates have the ability to raise the serious sums needed to run for Congress. However, what matters isn't necessarily who's outraising whom but rather which contenders will have the resources to get their message out and which ones won't.

It's not uncommon for candidates to win primaries or general elections despite being dramatically outspent. But what is uncommon is for them to win without having the money to run ads, hire a skilled staff, build a field operation, and pay for all the other things it takes to run a credible race. And of course, it costs much more to air ads in some markets than others, so what might look like a decent fundraising haul in North Dakota can be underwhelming in New Jersey.

Campaign Action

While these opening totals are important, by no means do they tell us everything. Many hopefuls in past cycles have posted underwhelming early numbers only to haul in stronger totals as Election Day draws closer. That's been especially true in the last two election cycles, when we've regularly seen grassroots donors, especially on the Democratic side, flock to newly-minted nominees in competitive races and help them raise sums that not long ago would have been unimaginable.

The 2022 cycle is also particularly unpredictable because of the upcoming round of redistricting. Most House candidates do not yet know exactly where they'll be running, and some will wind up facing off against different opponents once new maps are finally in place. Many other would-be contenders are taking a wait-and-see approach, so it's likely we'll see a flurry of new campaigns launched later this year.

There's a lot to see, so check out our House and Senate charts.

Senate

AZ-Sen, AZ-Gov: While Grand Canyon State politicos have long expected Republican Attorney General Mark Brnovich to run for governor in 2022, David Drucker of the conservative Washington Examiner writes that he's now leaning towards challenging Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly instead. Brnovich himself has yet to say anything publicly about this contest.

Brnovich's reported interest in the Senate race comes months after Gov. Doug Ducey, whom the attorney general has clashed with in the past, announced that he would not run. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has tried to get Ducey to reconsider, but Drucker relays that the governor "continues to wave off the encouragement from fellow Republicans."

There are a number of other Republicans who could challenge Kelly, and Drucker name-drops former Ambassador to Mexico Chris Landau as a possibility. There is no word on Landau's interest in this contest.

CA-Sen: This week, appointed Sen. Alex Padilla unveiled endorsements from 40 of California's 42 Democratic House members in his bid for a full term. The only two who aren't currently supporting the incumbent are Rep. Ro Khanna, who has not ruled out an intra-party challenge, and Rep. Maxine Waters, whom Politico says "could endorse Padilla shortly."

MO-Sen: Republican Rep. Jason Smith responded to Sen. Roy Blunt's retirement a month ago by saying he'd be considering in "the coming days" whether to run to succeed him, but like so many politicians before him, Smith has disregarded that timeline. When CNN asked the congressman Monday when he'd be making up his mind, Smith responded, "Not for a while."

OH-Sen: We'll get right to it: Josh Mandel announced he'd raised $1.3 million for the quarter when he actually brought in just $33,000 for his campaign. Indeed Mandel, a Republican who ostensibly spent eight years as treasurer of Ohio, actually lost money during this time, though thanks to leftover cash from his aborted 2018 Senate bid, he still had $4.2 million on-hand.

So, where did that $1.3 million number come from? Seth Richardson of Cleveland.com writes that Mandel raised that much through a joint fundraising committee that consisted of his campaign, his PAC, and the Delaware County Republican Party. Richardson, though, notes that Mandel can't take in all that money for his campaign: Even his spokesperson says that they'll only get about $700,000, or a little more than half. Adds Richardson, "He did not say why Mandel opted to fundraise using the committee instead of his campaign."

Another Republican, former state party chair Jane Timken, took in $1.1 million from donors and loaned her campaign an additional $1 million. Timken, like many wealthy contenders, did not distinguish between the money she'd raised and the amount she self-funded when she announced her $2.1 million haul earlier this month, but unlike Mandel, she at least can spend all that cash.

Governors

CA-Gov: Former reality TV star Caitlyn Jenner used Twitter on Sunday to publicly express interest for the first time in competing as a Republican in this year's likely recall election against Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom. Jenner added that she would "decide soon."

MD-Gov: Former U.S. Secretary of Education John King announced Tuesday that he would seek the Democratic nomination for this open seat. King, who would be the state's first Black governor, joins a primary that currently consists of state Comptroller Peter Franchot and former Obama administration official Ashwani Jain, though plenty of others are considering getting in.

King, who is running for office for the first time, became the Obama administration's second and final secretary of education in 2016 after a previous stint as New York's education commissioner. King went on to lead The Education Trust, a nonprofit focused on closing education gaps among students of color.

ME-Gov: While former Gov. Paul LePage appeared to unequivocally announce last November that he was challenging his successor, Democratic incumbent Janet Mills, the Bangor Daily News writes that many of his fellow Republicans still aren't certain if he'll run. It's not hard to see where the confusion comes from: Last year, LePage's political strategist, Brent Littlefield, said he had no "impending or planned announcement," and Littlefield added Monday that the former governor, "has no announcement to make."

Still, everyone in Maine politics seems to agree that the GOP nomination is LePage's if he wants it. No other notable Republicans have expressed interest, and this week, his allies in the state party leadership waived a rule that would have prevented the Maine GOP from helping candidates before the primary is over.

NE-Gov: Republican state Sen. John Stinner said this week that running for governor is "not a serious consideration right now," and while that's not quite a no, he still sounds very unlikely to get in. The western Nebraska legislator said he was "just getting too old to play the game" and added that he doubted that a candidate from his section of the state could raise enough money or win enough votes to prevail.

NY-Gov: Gov. Andrew Cuomo faces a new criminal investigation by state Attorney General Tish James into allegations that he used state resources to help write and publicize his book, "American Crisis: Leadership Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic," last year. The matter was referred by state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli to James, who by law can only investigate criminal matters when asked to do so by other state or local officials.

Cuomo, who reportedly earned a $4 million advance from Crown Publishing Group, did not dispute that state employees had worked on his book, including editing drafts and printing manuscripts, but claims they did so voluntarily. A Cuomo spokesperson attacked the investigation itself, saying, "Both the comptroller and the attorney general have spoken to people about running for governor, and it is unethical to wield criminal referral authority to further political self-interest‎." Cuomo, James, and DiNapoli are all Democrats.

Meanwhile, several actual and potential GOP candidates for governor recently addressed a meeting of county-level party leaders from across the state, including Rep. Lee Zeldin, the most prominent declared Republican to enter the race so far. Also on the list of speakers, though, was a name we hadn't seen mentioned before, former state housing commissioner Joe Holland, who served under Gov. George Pataki. Holland briefly ran for governor in 2018 before dropping out, then sought the Republican nomination for attorney general but declined to run in the primary after losing to attorney Keith Wofford at the GOP convention.

TX-Gov: The Dallas Morning News generated plenty of attention over the weekend when it released a UT Tyler poll showing actor Matthew McConaughey leading Republican Gov. Greg Abbott 45-33 in a hypothetical general election, but there's a big reason to be skeptical that the Oscar winner would start out with anything like that advantage if he ran.

The survey did not include the party affiliation for either man, instead simply asking, "Matthew McConaughey has been talked about as a potential candidate for Governor of Texas. If he ran, would you be likely to support him more than Governor Abbott?" That omission makes it tough to draw any conclusions from this survey, especially since the self-described "aggressively centrist" McConaughey has refused to say what party banner, if any, he'd run under.

If McConaughey campaigns as a Democrat, it's likely that many of the respondents who opt for him now (including the 30% of the Republicans in the sample) simply would no longer consider him as a viable option. And should McConaughey instead campaign as an independent, he'd almost certainly face a Democratic opponent who would take many anti-Abbott votes from him. The dynamics of the race would also be dramatically different if McConaughey decided to run in a Republican primary against Abbott.

McConaughey himself has talked about running for governor but hasn't taken any obvious steps towards running, so we may never find out how he'd do under any of these scenarios. However, there's still an important lesson to be drawn here about the importance of including party affiliation (or noting the lack of it) in horserace surveys, even ones looking at very hypothetical races like this one. As we've written before, if a pollster doesn't include this, then they're leaving out important information and failing to accurately mimic the way voters will make their choices when they actually cast their ballots.

House

CA-21: While former Rep. TJ Cox announced in December that he'd seek a rematch against Republican incumbent David Valadao, the Democrat said Monday that he wouldn't decide on any 2022 plans until he sees the new congressional map.

FL-20: Democratic state Rep. Bobby DuBose announced Tuesday that he would run in the still-unscheduled special election to succeed the late Rep. Alcee Hastings. DuBose, who serves as his party's co-leader in the lower chamber, is a veteran elected official in the Fort Lauderdale area. The Florida Sun-Sentinel notes that another declared primary candidate, state Sen. Perry Thurston, also represents much of the same area as DuBose, so they could end up competing for the same base of geographic support.

Another Democrat, former Palm Beach County Commissioner Priscilla Taylor, also recently filed with the FEC, though she doesn't appear to have publicly announced yet. Taylor was last on the ballot in 2019 when she took last place with 20% in the three-way race for mayor of West Palm Beach.

MN-02: Marine veteran Tyler Kistner, who was the 2020 Republican nominee, announced Tuesday that he would seek a rematch against Democratic Rep. Angie Craig. Kistner is the first major Republican to announce a campaign against Craig in a state where neither party has control over redistricting.

Kistner spent much of last cycle looking like the underdog in a suburban Twin Cities seat that had backed Donald Trump 47-45 in 2016 but had moved to the left two years later. Kistner raised a serious amount of money in the final months, though, and the race took an unexpected turn in October when it was briefly postponed following the death of Legal Marijuana Party Now candidate Adam Weeks. Biden ultimately took the 2nd District 52-46, but Craig won by a smaller 48-46 margin, with Weeks posthumously taking 6%.

OH-15: Rep. Steve Stivers' Monday resignation announcement took the Buckeye State political world by surprise, but the field to succeed him has already started to take shape. Trump carried Ohio's 15th District, which includes the southern Columbus area and the college town of Athens, by a 56-42 margin.

On the GOP side, state Rep. Brian Stewart and state Sen. Bob Peterson each announced Monday that they were running in the upcoming special election. Stewart, who like Stivers is an Iraq War veteran, is a first-term state representative, while Peterson was first elected to the legislature during the 2010 GOP wave.

Both men may have company in the primary before long. State Rep. Jeff LaRe said Monday he was "extremely interested and very serious," while Mehek Cooke, who served as an attorney for the administration of now-former Gov. John Kasich, also said she was thinking about it. The Columbus Dispatch's Laura Bischoff reports that state Sen. Stephanie Kunze and Tim Schaffer are also considering.

For the Democrats, state Sen. Tina Maharath; state Reps. Allison Russo and Adam Miller; Franklin County Auditor Michael Stinziano; and Upper Arlington City Councilmember John Kulewicz each told Bischoff they were thinking about getting in; Stinziano added that he'd decide as soon as he could. Columbus City Attorney Zach Klein also has not ruled out a bid. Cleveland.com additionally mentions former state Sen. Lou Gentile and ex-Rep. Zack Space as possibilities.

It will be some time before the dates for the special can be set, though. Stivers announced Monday that his resignation would be effective May 16, and GOP Gov. Mike DeWine's office says the contest to succeed him can't be scheduled until the seat is officially vacant.

TX-06: Campaign finance reports are in ahead of the May 1 all-party primary for the period covering Jan. 1 to April 11, and we've collected the numbers for all the candidates in our quarterly House fundraising chart. The seven Democrats who filed a report reported bringing in a total of $915,000, while the six Republicans hauled in a combined $1.6 million.

The top fundraiser on either side was GOP state Rep. Jake Ellzey, who took in $504,000 from donors. Next was former Department of Health and Human Services official Brian Harrison, a fellow Republican who raised $356,000 from donors and self-funded an additional $285,000.

Harrison, who deployed $258,000 during this time, was also the top spender of the race; two Democrats, 2018 nominee Jana Lynne Sanchez and education advocate Shawn Lassiter, each outpaced the rest of the field by spending just over $200,000. The candidate who had the most money left on April 11 was Ellzey, who led Harrison $400,000 to $383,000 in cash-on-hand.

GOP activist Susan Wright, who is the wife of the late Rep. Ron Wright, has taken one of the top two spots in the few polls we've seen, but she doesn't have access to as much money as many of her rivals. Wright raised $286,000 and spent $158,000, and she had $128,000 for the final weeks.

Mayors

New York City, NY Mayor: The United Federation of Teachers, which was the last major union in city politics to make an endorsement in the June Democratic primary, backed City Comptroller Scott Stringer on Monday. Attorney Maya Wiley previously earned the endorsement of the health care union 1199 SEIU, while Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams has the Hotel Trades Council, 32BJ, and DC37 (which represent hotel workers, building and airport employees, and municipal workers, respectively) in his corner.

Meanwhile, Rep. Gregory Meeks, a longtime congressman from Queens, has thrown his support behind former financial executive Raymond McGuire.

Obituaries

Deaths: Walter Mondale, a Democrat who represented Minnesota in the Senate from 1964 until just after he was elected vice president in 1976, died Monday at the age of 93. Mondale is most remembered for being the first truly influential vice president in modern American history and for his 1984 loss to Ronald Reagan, but, as is our wont at Daily Kos Elections, we'll devote ourselves to taking stock of his downballot political career.

Mondale got his start in politics in 1948 when Minneapolis Mayor Hubert Humphrey was campaigning to unseat Republican Sen. Joseph Ball. Mondale served as Humphrey’s organizer in the southern part of the state, and he became close to both the candidate and his campaign manager, Orville Freeman. Humphrey decisively won, and the connections Mondale made during that race would serve him well at a time when Democrats were making gains in what had been a Republican dominated state.

Freeman became governor in the 1950s, and he appointed the 32-year-old Mondale in 1960 to fill the vacant post of state attorney general. Mondale defended the post 58-42 that year, and he was re-elected in 1962 by an even larger margin. During his tenure, Mondale led an amicus brief in support of Clarence Gideon, who had been forced to represent himself when he couldn’t afford a lawyer; in 1963, the U.S. Supreme Court issued the landmark Gideon v. Wainwright decision that established that all defendants had the right to legal counsel.

Mondale was appointed to the Senate in 1964 by Gov. Karl Rolvaag to succeed Humphrey, who had just been elected vice president on Lyndon Johnson’s ticket, and he was up for a full term two years later. This was a tough cycle for Democrats nationwide in large part because of the increasing unpopularity of the Vietnam War, but Mondale prevailed 54-45 even as Rolvaag was losing re-election.

Mondale’s colleague, George McGovern, asked him to be his running mate in 1972 after Ted Kennedy declined, but he also turned the South Dakota senator down. Mondale instead sought re-election and prevailed 57-43 even as Richard Nixon was carrying Minnesota 52-46, which marked the last time the state’s electoral votes wound up in the GOP column.

Mondale considered a presidential run in 1973 only to decide not to. Mondale later wrote, “I had pulled about even with 'None of the Above' in national opinion surveys, and I dropped that bid — to widespread applause.” Mondale, though, would be on the national ticket in 1976 as Jimmy Carter’s running mate.

Mondale’s time in state politics seemed to be over following his ascension to the vice presidency and subsequent 1980 re-election loss, as well as his landslide defeat to Reagan in 1984. In 1990, some Democratic leaders tried to recruit him to challenge Republican Sen. Rudy Boschwitz but he declined, arguing the party needed new voices; Boschwitz would go on to lose to Democrat Paul Wellstone, while Mondale would later serve as Bill Clinton’s ambassador to Japan.

Mondale, though, would compete in one more election. Wellstone died in a plane crash 11 days before the 2002 election, and party leaders chose the former vice president as their replacement candidate. Democrats were in for another tough cycle thanks to George W. Bush’s popularity following the Sept. 11 attacks and the leadup to the invasion of Iraq, and this time, Mondale wasn’t able to run ahead of the tides during his six days as a candidate.

Allies of Republican Norm Coleman, who had been locked in a close race with Wellstone, loudly argued that Team Blue had turned the senator’s funeral into a partisan event, a tactic that likely harmed the new nominee’s prospects. Coleman triumphed 50-47 in what was Mondale’s only defeat in his home state, a defeat that when combined with his 1984 presidential loss also gave Mondale the unwelcome distinction of being the only person in American history to lose an election in all 50 states as a nominee of one of the two major parties, a feat that looks very unlikely to be repeated by anyone for the foreseeable future.

Morning Digest: California nominates first Filipino American to become its state attorney general

The Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest is compiled by David Nir, Jeff Singer, Stephen Wolf, Carolyn Fiddler, and Matt Booker, with additional contributions from David Jarman, Steve Singiser, Daniel Donner, James Lambert, David Beard, and Arjun Jaikumar.

Leading Off

CA-AG: California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced on Wednesday that he was nominating Democratic Assemblyman Rob Bonta to serve as state attorney general to replace Xavier Becerra, who recently resigned to become U.S. secretary of health and human services.

Bonta, who emigrated from the Philippines to escape the dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos, became the first Filipino American to serve in the Assembly in 2012, and he would also make history as attorney general. Bonta would also be California's second Asian American attorney general after Kamala Harris, who held this post when she was elected to the Senate in 2016.

Bonta, who has made a name for himself as a criminal justice reformer, still needs to be confirmed by his colleagues in both chambers of the legislature before he can take office, but it would be a huge surprise if he had any trouble in the heavily Democratic body. Bonta would then be up for a full term in 2022 along with California's other statewide office holders.

Bonta would be guaranteed to attract national attention as attorney general of America's largest state, and the job has also set up many of its occupants for larger things. Harris' predecessor was Jerry Brown, the state's once-and-future Democratic governor; Brown's father, Pat Brown, also held this office when he was elected governor himself back in 1958.

Senate

MO-Sen: Former U.S. Attorney Tim Garrison said Thursday that he would not run in next year's Republican primary.

Campaign Action

Meanwhile on the Democratic side, former Gov. Jay Nixon didn't rule out a Senate bid when asked, instead merely saying, "That's not what I'm focused on right now." Unnamed sources close to Nixon told the Missouri Independent about two weeks ago that he was giving some "serious thought" to a bid, but they still believed it was "highly unlikely he'll give up life in the private sector."

SD-Sen: Politico's Burgess Everett writes that, while Sen. John Thune's Republican colleagues are "certain" that he'll seek a fourth term next year in this very red state, the incumbent is continuing to publicly refrain from talking about his plans. Thune, who is the number-two Republican in the chamber, noted that he usually announces his campaigns in the fall, saying, "In this day and age, these campaigns are so long. And I think they start way too early."

Thune did add, "We're moving forward doing all the things that you do. And at some point, we'll make everything official." However, Everett points out that his statement "sounds a little like two GOP senators, Roy Blunt of Missouri and Rob Portman of Ohio, who sent all the right signals about running again — until they bowed out." Thune himself also admitted that serving in the Senate is "probably as challenging today as it's ever been, given the political environment."

One Republican who would like to see someone other than Thune holding that seat is Donald Trump. In December, during what turned out to be his last weeks on Twitter, Trump wrote, "RINO John Thune, 'Mitch's boy', should just let it play out. South Dakota doesn't like weakness. He will be primaried in 2022, political career over!!!" Trump then went on to call for Gov. Kristi Noem to take on the senator, but she quickly said no. We haven't heard any notable politicians so much as mentioned as possible Thune primary foes since then.

Governors

FL-Gov: On behalf of Florida Politics, St. Pete Polls has released a survey showing Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis deadlocked 45-45 in a hypothetical general election matchup against Democratic Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried. That's a very different result than the 51-42 DeSantis lead that Mason-Dixon poll found last month against Fried, who is currently considering running but has not yet announced a gubernatorial bid.

NY-Gov: Fox meteorologist Janice Dean has attracted plenty of attention over the last year as a vocal critic of Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo, but for now at least, she doesn't seem to be looking to challenge the scandal-ridden incumbent. City & State recently wrote of Dean, "Thus far, she has resisted calls by some Republicans for her to run." The Associated Press also said that she "waves off thoughts of a political future," though it notes that this hasn't stopped others from speculating.

PA-Gov: Pennsylvania politicos have long anticipated that Democratic Attorney General Josh Shapiro will run for governor next year, and Shapiro himself told Philadelphia Magazine' Robert Huber last month, "I expect to be a candidate." Shapiro stopped short of announcing a campaign, though, adding, "And if you tweet that tomorrow, I'm going to be very upset."

Shapiro, as Huber notes in his detailed profile of the attorney general, has been a very big name in Pennsylvania politics for a long time. In 2015, national Democrats tried to recruit Shapiro, who was serving as chair of the Montgomery County Commission at the time, to take on Republican Sen. Pat Toomey, but he ended up successfully campaigning for attorney general instead.

Major Pennsylvania Democrats talked openly about Shapiro running for governor even before he was re-elected last year. In 2019, when Gov. Tom Wolf was asked about the contest to succeed him, he notably pointed at Shapiro and said, "That's my guy right there." Republicans looking to unseat Shapiro in 2020 tried to portray him as "a career politician already looking to run for governor," but he won his second term 51-46 as Joe Biden was carrying the Keystone State by a smaller 50-49 spread, which also made Shapiro the only one of the three Democrats running for statewide executive office to win last year.

So far at least, Shapiro appears to have deterred any major Democrats from running for governor. While Team Blue could end up with a crowded primary next year for the state's open Senate seat, we've barely heard anyone else so much as mentioned as a prospective gubernatorial opponent all year. The one exception is Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney, who didn't rule out running for governor or Senate back in January.

House

AL-05: Madison County Commissioner Dale Strong filed FEC paperwork this week for a potential bid to succeed Rep. Mo Brooks, a fellow Republican who is running for the Senate, but Strong may not have an open seat race to run for when redistricting is over.  

That's because the state is likely to lose one of its seven congressional districts, and Brooks' departure could make it easy for map makers to eliminate his northern Alabama seat. The only Alabama seat that borders Brooks' seat is the 4th District to the south, which is held by longtime Republican Rep. Robert Aderholt. (The 4th District happens to also be the Trumpiest seat in all of America.)

AZ-02: State Rep. Randy Friese announced Thursday that he would run to succeed his fellow Democrat, retiring Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick. Friese joins state Sen. Kirsten Engel in the primary for a Tucson-area seat that backed Joe Biden 55-44.

Friese was a trauma surgeon who operated on then-Rep. Gabby Giffords and others after a gunman sought to assassinate the congresswoman in 2011. Friese got into politics soon after and narrowly unseated a GOP incumbent to win a Tucson-area state House seat in 2014, convincingly winning re-election ever since.

Friese's new campaign quickly earned the praise of 314 Action, a group that seeks to recruit candidates with backgrounds in science to compete in Democratic primaries; while 314 said it wasn't formerly endorsing, an unnamed source tells Politico that it plans to spend $1 million to help Friese win the nomination.

WY-AL: On Wednesday, the Wyoming state Senate voted down a bill that would have required a runoff in any primaries where no one earned a majority of the vote.

The legislation attracted national attention earlier this month when it was championed by Donald Trump Jr., who argued that its passage would make it easier to defeat Rep. Liz Cheney in next year's Republican primary. However, a committee ended up amending the bill to only take effect in 2023, which would be too late to be used against Cheney this cycle.

This week, several state senators also expressed skepticism that there was any need for a runoff, especially given the cost of holding another election, and they voted 15-14 to kill it.

Mayors

New York City, NY Mayor: Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams on Wednesday accepted the endorsement of District Council 37, a union that the New York Daily News says represents 150,000 current city municipal workers and 60,000 retirees, in the June Democratic primary.

Grab Bag

Deaths: Bill Brock, whose 1970 victory made him second Republican ever elected to represent Tennessee in the Senate, died Thursday at the age of 90. Brock, who lost re-election six years later, went on to serve as chair of the Republican National Committee and in the Reagan cabinet as U.S. trade representative and secretary of labor before he mounted one last Senate bid in 1994 in Maryland.

Brock grew up in a Democratic family; his grandfather and namesake had even briefly served in the Senate from 1929 to 1931. The younger Brock, though, got active in Republican politics in the 1950s before deciding to run for the House in 1962 in a Chattanooga-based seat that was the home of his family's candy manufacturing company.

While other parts of East Tennessee had been heavily Republican turf since the Civil War, Democrats had controlled the 3rd District for generations. However, Democratic Rep. J.B. Frazier had just lost renomination to Wilkes Thrasher, an attorney that Republicans successfully tied to a Kennedy administration that was becoming unpopular in the region. Brock won 51-49, and he decisively held the seat over the following three campaigns.

Brock then sought a promotion in 1970 by taking on Democratic Sen. Al Gore Sr., the father of the future vice president, at a time when Tennessee was rapidly veering towards the Republicans. Howard Baker had won the state's other Senate seat in 1966, the GOP had taken control of the state House two years later as Richard Nixon edged out segregationist George Wallace, and Winfield Dunn was waging a strong and ultimately campaign for governor in 1970.

Gore, who had a reputation as a civil rights supporter, was in a tough position where he had to win over Wallace voters to prevail, and it didn't help that he'd barely won a majority of the vote in the primary. Brock, meanwhile, targeted Gore's opposition to the Vietnam War and opposition to Nixon's Supreme Court nominees and portrayed him as an opponent of school prayer. Brock, who also attacked "the disgraceful forced busing of our school students" went on to win 51-47 after a campaign that writer David Halberstam soon dubbed "the most disreputable and scurrilous race I have ever covered in Tennessee."

Brock faced a very different climate in 1976, though. Watergate had badly damaged the GOP brand nationally, and the senator's Democratic opponent, former state party chair Jim Sasser, attacked Brock as "a special interest senator who represents exclusively money interests." Brock also attracted bad headlines less than a month before Election Day when he acknowledged he'd paid only a very small amount of his large income in taxes; The senator's foes soon created buttons reading, "I Paid More Taxes Than Brock." Sasser, who had been Gore's campaign manager six years before, avenged that loss by unseating Brock 52-47 as Jimmy Carter was carrying Tennessee 56-43.

Sasser would go on to be defeated for re-election in the 1994 wave, but ironically, Brock was also losing a Senate race that year in his new home in Maryland. Brock, who had completed a stint in the Reagan administration a few years before, took on Democratic Sen. Paul Sarbanes, who portrayed the Republican as an outsider. Brock gave Sarbanes the closest fight in his five re-election campaigns, but he still lost by a wide 59-41.