Morning Digest: Landslide wins close out Hawaii’s biggest weekend primaries

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

Leading Off

Hawaii: The Aloha State held its primary Saturday, and we have a summary of each of the big contests below.

 HI-Gov: Lt. Gov. Josh Green defeated businesswoman Vicky Cayetano 63-21 in the primary to succeed their fellow Democrat, termed-out Gov. David Ige, while freshman Rep. Kai Kahele notched third with 15%. Green, who continued to work as a physician after going into politics, had a large media presence throughout the worst months of the pandemic, and he was the frontrunner from the start.

Green remains the favorite in November against former Lt. Gov. Duke Aiona, a two-time Republican nominee who scored a 50-26 victory over Ultimate Fighting Championship champion B.J. Penn. Aiona was defeated by former Rep. Neil Abercrombie 58-41 in the 2010 general election, and Aiona lost his chance for a rematch four years later when Ige beat the unpopular Abercrombie in the primary. Both parties believed that Aiona still had a real shot with another GOP wave looming and with conservative Democrat-turned-independent Mufi Hannemann threatening to siphon off votes from the Democratic ticket, but Ige turned back Aiona 49-37.

Joe Biden carried Hawaii 64-34 (he took each of the state’s two congressional districts by that same margin), and national Republicans haven’t shown any obvious sign of interest in targeting this seat again. Indeed, the RGA didn’t even respond for a Washington Post article that ran just before the primary.

 HI-01: Blue Dog Democrat Rep. Ed Case held off attorney Sergio Alcubilla by a lopsided 83-17 margin in this Honolulu-based seat. Alcubilla, who ran to Case’s left, had the backing of a few big unions, but he raised little himself and never attracted any serious outside spending.

 HI-02: Former state Sen. Jill Tokuda beat state Rep. Patrick Branco 58-25 in the Democratic primary to replace Kai Kahele in a constituency that includes northern Oahu and all of the state’s other islands.

Tokuda, who lost a tight 2018 primary to lieutenant governor to Josh Green, entered the race as the frontrunner, but a quartet of major outside groups—VoteVets, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, Web3 Forward, and Mainstream Democrats PAC— spent a total of $1.2 million to elevate Branco or attack her. While this ad barrage represented a truly massive amount for a Hawaii congressional race, it turned out to be far from enough to stop Tokuda.

Senate

FL-Sen: Democratic Rep. Val Demings' allies at EMILY's List have publicized a poll from Change Research that shows her deadlocked 46-46 against Republican incumbent Marco Rubio, a release that came days after two progressive groups unveiled their own survey from Clarity Campaigns that found a 45-45 tie. We have not seen any independent polls of this contest since winter.  

 NC-Sen: NBC reports that Republican Ted Budd and the NRSC will launch a joint ad campaign for $750,000, which will make this Budd's first TV commercial since he won the primary all the way back in May. Democrat Cheri Beasley, by contrast, has deployed $4.7 million since she won the nomination, though the NRSC has spent $6.3 million against her.

House

AK-AL: Anchorage Mayor Dave Bronson, a Republican whose city is home to about 40% of the state's population, has endorsed businessman Nick Begich III ahead of Tuesday's instant-runoff special.

Meanwhile another Republican, former state Interior Department official Tara Sweeney, announced Friday that she'd registered with the state as an official write-in candidate for the special "after repeated requests from supporters," though she said her main focus would be to advance out of the top-four primary for a full two-year term.

FL-01: Self-funding businessman Mark Lombardo's latest commercial against Republican incumbent Matt Gaetz opens with the primary challenger declaring, "As a member of Congress, Matt Gaetz took an oath to protect America's secrets. He broke that oath when he engaged in illicit behavior on foreign soil, leaving himself vulnerable to blackmail and putting our nation's secrets at risk." Lombardo doesn't let up as the ad goes on, continuing, "To cover up, he paid pedophile Jeffrey Epstein's attorney with donors' cash and pressured Trump for a pardon for any or all crimes."

FL-13: While 2020 nominee Anna Paulina Luna has always looked like the frontrunner to claim the Republican nomination again on Aug. 23 in this newly gerrymandered seat, attorney Kevin Hayslett's outside group allies are deploying a serious amount to stop her. Florida Politics reports that Stand for Florida, a PAC that was set up in February, has spent $860,000 in recent days, which takes its total investment here all the way up to $1.5 million.

Luna, though, has gotten plenty of outside help herself, as the Club for Growth has dropped over $1.8 million to promote her. Conservative Outsider PAC, which is funded in part by Club donor Dick Uihlein, is also using about $110,000 for a commercial that responds to a recent Hayslett commercial that featured a clip of Luna appearing to praise Obama. The audience sees Luna warning that undocumented immigrants will cost conservatives "this country," before the narrator notes that she's Trump's endorsed candidate.

The only recent poll we've seen here was a late July Hayslett internal that showed him trailing Luna 36-34 for this constituency in the St. Petersburg area.

FL-23: Broward County Commissioner Jared Moskowitz has earned endorsements from the National Education Association, the Florida Education Association, and the American Federation of Teachers ahead of this month's Democratic primary.  

NY-01: While Nick LaLota once appeared to have a smooth path through the Aug. 23 GOP primary for this competitive open seat, the chief of staff of the Suffolk County Legislature went up with a commercial against his main intra-party rival, cryptocurrency trader Michelle Bond, earlier this month.

The narrator insists that Bond is a "liberal D.C. lobbyist" with a history of "working for Obama and Biden as a registered Democrat." The spot also declares that Bond "bankrolled a Trump-hating senator [and] lives in a mansion in the Swamp." (That last bit is a reference to Bond's newly purchased estate in Maryland, which she said is one of the "multiple residences" she has.) The rest of the ad promotes LaLota as a loyal Long Island conservative and "Trump conservative."

Bond is airing her own ads (here and here) that tout her as a conservative businesswoman, though they do not mention LaLota. Bond has used her personal wealth to decisively outpace LaLota in the money race, and the outside spending has also very much benefited her. Stand for New York, a group that hasn't gotten involved in any other races, has dropped $580,000 to attack LaLota. Another committee called Crypto Innovation PAC has also spent another $160,000 to promote Bond: The group is funded by crypto notable Ryan Salame, who just happens to be her boyfriend. (Salame has also bankrolled American Dream Federal Action, another super PAC that's gotten involved in other GOP primaries.)

LaLota has not received any super PAC aid, though he does sport endorsements from the local Republican and Conservative parties. The contest to succeed GOP gubernatorial nominee Lee Zeldin also includes government relations firm executive Anthony Figliola, though he's attracted little money or attention. The winner will go up against Suffolk County Legislator Bridget Fleming, who has no Democratic primary opposition, in an eastern Long Island constituency that Biden would have carried by a tiny 49.4-49.2.

NY-10: Attorney Dan Goldman on Saturday earned the backing of the New York Times, which is arguably one of the few newspaper endorsements still capable of moving voters in a local Democratic primary, ahead of the packed Aug. 23 contest for this safely blue seat based in Lower Manhattan and northwestern Brooklyn. The Times’ nod was especially coveted here: City & State wrote earlier this month, “One campaign said they’ve probably had 20 supporters email or call members of the board to make their case,” while an unnamed operative added, “Everybody lobbies … The question is to what degree.”

Those candidates may have had good reason to lobby. City & State notes that the NYT’s endorsement last year provided a huge lift to then-Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia in the primary for mayor of New York City and helped establish her as a frontrunner. Garcia still narrowly lost the instant-runoff contest to Eric Adams, but she performed well in areas that overlap with the 10th District as well as the 12th, which is home to another big Democratic primary.

Politico's Joe Anuta also reports that Goldman has so far spent $2.8 million on TV ads, which is a truly massive sum for a campaign taking place in America's priciest media market. Goldman, though, is an heir to the Levi Strauss & Co. fortune, and he has plenty of personal wealth and connections: The candidate, who would be one of the wealthiest members of Congress, has self-funded $4 million so far and raised another $1.5 million from donors through Aug. 3.  

Anuta relays that only one Goldman opponent, 17th District Rep. Mondaire Jones, has joined him on television, and he's deployed a considerably smaller $784,000. The other contenders have stayed off the airwaves, which is a common strategy for candidates running in the massive New York City media market. (Over 20 million people live in this market, and relatively few can vote in the 10th District's primary.)

"You're wasting your spending on 90% of the people who see your ad," explained Matthew Rey, a strategist who isn't involved in this race. He added, "So is it a powerful way to persuasively and effectively reach that other 10%? Yes. But dollar-for-dollar, it's a luxury." Another unaligned consultant, Basil Smikle Jr., was even more skeptical, saying, "In a congressional race where you are expecting turnout to be low, there are much more efficient ways to spend your money than doing a large broadcast buy in the last couple of weeks."

Goldman, though, is betting that voters will indeed react well to his TV spots, including a new piece touting his work in civil rights law and "leading the impeachment of Donald Trump." The commercial also displays Trump's message on his Truth Social platform (which, yes, still exists) reading, "Dan Goldman puts in his ad used in running for Congress that he 'impeached Donald Trump'" to argue, "Donald Trump doesn't want Dan Goldman in Congress, but we do."

 NY-12: The New York Times on Saturday endorsed incumbent Jerry Nadler in his Democratic primary against fellow Rep. Carolyn Maloney and attorney Suraj Patel. 

NY-17: The New York City Police Benevolent Association, which endorsed Trump in 2020, has spent $310,000 to oppose state Sen. Alessandra Biaggi in her Democratic primary against Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney. The spot labels Biaggi an “anti-police extremist,” which is the type of rhetoric Republicans usually love to throw at Democrats in general elections.

 NY-19 (special): VoteVets has launched what Politico reports is a $450,000 ad buy to aid Democrat Pat Ryan, which makes this Team Blue's first major independent expenditure ahead of an Aug. 23 special election. The narrator echoes Ryan in framing the contest as a choice between a pro-choice candidate and "a Congress that'll pass a nationwide ban on abortion first chance they get." She adds that Ryan, who served with the Army in Iraq "sure didn't fight for our freedom abroad to see it taken away from women here at home."

The NRCC, for its part, is continuing to try to frame Ryan as weak on public safety in its new spot.

 OH-09: Democratic incumbent Marcy Kaptur's latest commercial argues that, while she's fighting to lower drug prices, Republican J.R. Majewski "made a rap video." Yes, you read that right: The QAnon-aligned candidate did indeed star in a piece called "Let's Go Brandon Save America," and Kaptur's spot treats viewers to a mercifully small piece of it. "Not to poke fun at dementia, it's a serious disease," raps Majewski, "But come on, man, squeeze your cheeks when you sneeze." Kaptur's narrator concludes, "We don't need celebrity wannabes, we need serious leaders tackling serious challenges."

 OK-02: The newest commercial in what's turned into a very expensive Aug. 23 Republican runoff is a spot from the Club for Growth affiliate School Freedom Fund starring Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who extols former state Sen. Josh Brecheen as an ardent "Trump conservative."

This group has deployed $1.8 million during the second round to promote Brecheen, who is a former Club fellow, or rip his opponent, state Rep. Avery Fix, in the contest for this safely red eastern Oklahoma constituency. Two other organizations, Fund for a Working Congress and American Jobs and Growth PAC, have dropped a similar amount to help Frix, who outpaced Brecheen just 15-14 in late June.

Other Races

 GA Public Service Commission: On Friday, an 11th Circuit Court of Appeals panel stayed a recent lower court ruling that had blocked Georgia from holding elections this fall for two seats on its Public Service Commission, which regulates utilities, on the grounds that the statewide election method violated the Voting Rights Act by discriminating against Black voters. The district court ruling had postponed the elections until Georgia lawmakers adopted a district-based election method next year, but the appellate judges ruled that it was too close to November to implement any election changes to ongoing 2022 elections and stayed the lower court's decision while Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger's appeal is pending.

Ad Roundup

Morning Digest: Democrat announces rematch against House Republican under fire for impeachment vote

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

Leading Off

MI-03: Attorney Hillary Scholten announced Tuesday that she would seek a rematch against Republican Rep. Peter Meijer in Michigan's 3rd Congressional District, a Grand Rapids-based constituency that the state's new map transformed from a 51-47 Trump seat to one Joe Biden would have carried 53-45. Meijer ran just ahead of the top of the ticket in his first bid for Congress in 2020 and beat Scholten 53-47 in a very expensive open seat race in this historically Republican area, but he has more immediate problems ahead of him before he can fully focus on another bout.

The incumbent was one of the 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Donald Trump, which is why Trump is backing conservative commentator John Gibbs' bid to deny Meijer renomination in the August primary. Gibbs, though, didn't do a particularly good job winning over furious MAGA donors during his opening quarter: Meijer outraised him $455,000 to $50,000, with Gibbs self-funding an additional $55,000. As a result, the congressman ended 2021 with a massive $1.2 million to $85,000 cash-on-hand lead. (A few other candidates are also competing in the GOP primary, but none of them had more than $3,000 to spend.)

Despite his huge financial advantage, however, Meijer will still need to watch his back in August. He currently represents just half of the revamped 3rd District, meaning there are many new voters he'll have to introduce himself to. Trump and his allies can also make plenty of trouble for Meijer over the next six months even if Gibbs' fundraising woes continue.

Campaign Action

Scholten, for her part, is Team Blue's first notable candidate in a region that, in more than a century, has only once sent a Democrat to the House. The story of that upset begins in 1948, when a Navy veteran named Gerald Ford decisively unseated Rep. Bartel Jonkman, an ally of the powerful political boss Frank McKay, in the GOP primary for what was numbered the 5th District at the time. Ford, who eventually rose to House minority leader, never fell below 60% of the vote in any of his general election campaigns. When Richard Nixon tapped him to replace the disgraced Spiro Agnew as vice president in 1973, Republicans there anticipated they'd have no trouble holding his seat.

The unfolding Watergate scandal, though, gave Democrats the chance to pull off an upset of the ages early the next year. The party nominated Richard Vander Veen, who had badly lost to Ford in 1958, while the GOP opted for state Senate Majority Leader Robert Vander Laan. Vander Veen, though, gained traction by focusing his campaign on the beleaguered Nixon, reminding voters that Ford would take over if Nixon left the White House. In one memorable newspaper ad, Vander Veen castigated Nixon while tying himself to Ford, arguing, "Our President must stand beyond the shadow of doubt. Our President must be Gerald Ford."

Ford himself put in just one appearance for Vander Laan in a campaign that almost every observer still expected him to win, even if only by a small margin. Vander Veen, however, pulled off a 51-44 victory in what is still remembered as one of the biggest special election upsets in American history. Ford did become president months later after Nixon resigned, but thanks to the Watergate wave, Vander Veen won a full term 53-43 in November.

His tenure would be short, however. In 1976, as Ford was carrying Michigan during his unsuccessful re-election campaign against Jimmy Carter, Republican Harold Sawyer unseated Vander Veen 53-46. Ever since then, the GOP has continued to win each incarnation of whichever congressional district has been centered around Ground Rapids. The region momentarily slipped from the GOP's grasp in 2019 when five-term Rep. Justin Amash left the GOP to become an independent (and later a Libertarian), but he ultimately retired the next year. Meijer's win over Scholten kept Team Red's long winning streak going, but a combination of redistricting, the area's ongoing shift to the left, and intra-GOP troubles could give Scholten the chance to score a historic win this fall.

Redistricting

LA Redistricting: Lawmakers in Louisiana's Republican-run state Senate have introduced several different congressional redistricting proposals as well as one plan for the upper chamber ahead of a special legislative session that was set to begin on Tuesday evening. The plans will be made available here. No maps have yet been released for the state House.

NY Redistricting: New York's Democratic-run state legislature introduced new draft maps for both the state Senate and Assembly late on Monday, a day after releasing their proposal for the state's congressional districts. Lawmakers will reportedly take up the new maps this week.

Senate

AZ-Sen: The Republican firm OH Predictive Insights takes a look at the August GOP primary to face Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly, and it shows Attorney General Mark Brnovich leading retired Air Force Maj. Gen. Michael McGuire 25-11. OH's last poll, conducted in November, had Brnovich up by a similar 27-12 spread. The new survey also includes a scenario where Gov. Doug Ducey runs, which finds him beating Brnovich by a 35-13 margin.

FL-Sen, FL-Gov: Suffolk University is out with its first poll of Florida's Senate and gubernatorial races, and it finds both Republicans starting out with the lead. Sen. Marco Rubio defeats Democratic Rep. Val Demings 49-41, which is similar to the 51-44 advantage St. Pete Polls found in late November. (Believe it or not, no one has released numbers during the intervening period.)

In the contest for governor, incumbent Ron DeSantis outpaces Rep. Charlie Crist and state Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried 49-43 and 51-40, respectively. St. Pete Polls' last survey had DeSantis beating the pair 51-45 and 51-42; neither poll tested the third notable Democrat in the race, state Sen. Annette Taddeo.  

NM-Sen: Democratic Sen. Ben Ray Luján's office put out a statement Tuesday revealing that the senator had "suffered a stroke" on Thursday and "subsequently underwent decompressive surgery to ease swelling." It continued, "He is currently being cared for at UNM Hospital, resting comfortably, and expected to make a full recovery."

PA-Sen: Lt. Gov. John Fetterman has publicized a new poll from Data for Progress that shows him outpacing Rep. Conor Lamb 46-16 in the May Democratic primary, with state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta at 12%. Our last look at this contest came in the form of a mid-December GQR survey for Kenyatta that had him trailing Fetterman 44-20, though the poll argued the state representative would pick up more support after voters learned more about each candidate.

Governors

GA-Gov: Donald Trump stars in a rare direct-to-camera appeal for former Sen. David Perdue, who is spending $150,000 on this opening spot for the May Republican primary, and it's just pretty much the TV version of one of his not-tweets.

Trump immediately spews as much vitriol as he can at the man Perdue is trying to unseat as well as the all-but-certain Democratic nominee by claiming, "The Democrats walked over Brian Kemp. He was afraid of Stacey 'The Hoax' Abrams. Brian Kemp let us down. We can't let it happen again." He goes on to say, "David Perdue is an outstanding man. He's tough. He's smart. He has my complete and total endorsement."

MI-Gov: Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer hauled in $2.5 million from Oct. 21 through Dec. 31 and had $9.9 million to spend at the close of 2021, which left her with a far larger war chest than any of her Republican foes.

The governor also transferred $3.5 million to the state Democratic Party, money she was able to raise without any contribution limits thanks to multiple Republican efforts to recall her from office. Because those recalls all failed to qualify for the ballot, Whitmer was required to disgorge those additional funds, though the party can use that money to boost her re-election campaign. (A GOP suit challenging Michigan's rule allowing recall targets to raise unlimited sums was recently rejected.)

Things didn't go nearly as well for former Detroit Police Chief James Craig, who looked like the Republican frontrunner when he announced his campaign back in July. Craig raised $600,000 but spent $700,000, and he had $845,000 on-hand. Wealthy businessman Kevin Rinke, by contrast, raised a mere $5,000 from donors but self-funded $2 million, and his $1.5 million war chest was the largest of anyone running in the August GOP primary.

Two other Republicans, chiropractor Garrett Soldano and conservative radio host Tudor Dixon, took in $250,000 and $150,000, respectively, while Soldano led Dixon in cash-on-hand $315,000 to $96,000. A fifth GOP candidate, businessman Perry Johnson, entered the race last week after the new fundraising period began, but he's pledged to self-fund $2.5 million.

MN-Gov: Former Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek declared Tuesday that he would seek the Republican nomination to take on Democratic Gov. Tim Walz. He joins an intra-party battle that includes state Sen. Michelle Benson, former state Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka, former state Sen. Scott Jensen, dermatologist Neil Shah, and healthcare executive Kendall Qualls, who was the GOP's 2020 nominee for the 3rd Congressional District.

Minnesota Morning Take reports that Stanek, just like all the other notable GOP candidates, will, in local parlance, "abide" by the endorsement process at the Republican convention in May. That means that none intend to continue on to the party's August primary if someone else wins the support of 60% of delegates required to earn the official Republican stamp of approval. Stanek launched his campaign hours before the start of precinct caucuses, which are the first step towards selecting convention delegates, so it may be too late for any other Republicans to get in if they want a shot at the endorsement.

Stanek, who previously served in the Minneapolis Police Department, is a longtime politician who got his start in the state House in 1995 and resigned from the chamber in 2003 when Gov. Tim Pawlenty appointed him state public safety commissioner. Stanek quit his new post the next year after acknowledging he'd used racial slurs during a 1989 deposition that took place after he was accused of police brutality (Minnesota Public Radio reported in 2004 that this was "one of three police brutality lawsuits brought against him"), but the scandal did not spell the end of his political career.

Stanek made a comeback by pulling off a landslide win in the officially nonpartisan 2006 race for sheriff of deep-blue Hennepin County (home of Minneapolis), and he had no trouble holding it in the following two elections. The sheriff's base in the state's most populous county made him an appealing candidate for governor in 2018, but Stanek opted to seek a fourth term instead. His luck finally ran out in that Democratic wave year, though, and he lost a very tight race for re-election.

OH-Gov: Former state Rep. Ron Hood, who unsuccessfully sought the GOP nod in last year's special election for Ohio's 15th Congressional District, has now set his sights on the Buckeye State's gubernatorial race. Hood, described by cleveland.com as "among the most conservative lawmakers" in the legislature, joins former Rep. Jim Renacci in challenging Gov. Mike DeWine, potentially splitting the anti-incumbent vote in the race for the Republican nomination. He didn't make much of an impact running for Congress, though, finishing third with 13% in the primary.

Financially, though, DeWine doesn't have too much to worry about. New fundraising reports, covering the second half of 2021, show the governor raised $3.3 million and had $9.2 million in the bank. Renacci, meanwhile, brought in just $149,000 from donors, though he self-funded an additional $4.8 million and had $4.1 million left to spend.

On the Democratic side, former Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley outraised former Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley $1.3 million to $1 million, but the two campaigns had comparable sums on hand: $1.8 million for Whaley and $1.9 million for Cranley.

RI-Gov: The declared candidates in Rhode Island's race for governor—all of whom, so far, are Democrats—just filed fundraising reports covering the final quarter of last year, showing Gov. Dan McKee with a narrow cash lead. McKee brought in $176,000 and finished with $844,000 banked. Figures for his three main opponents are below:

  • former CVS executive Helena Foulkes: $971,000 raised, $100,000 self-funded, $831,000 cash-on-hand
  • Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea: $162,000 raised, $770,000 cash-on-hand
  • former Secretary of State Matt Brown: $63,000 raised, $38,000 cash-on-hand

House

CO-07: State Sen. Brittany Pettersen, who earned the backing of retiring Rep. Ed Perlmutter last week, now has endorsements from Colorado's other three Democratic U.S. House members: Reps. Diana DeGette, Joe Neguse, and Jason Crow.

GA-07: Rep. Lucy McBath's allies at Protect our Future, a new super PAC funded in part by cryptocurrency billionaire Sam Bankman-Fried, have released a Data for Progress survey of the May Democratic primary that shows her with a 40-31 edge over fellow incumbent Carolyn Bourdeaux, with state Rep. Donna McLeod a distant third at 6%. The only other poll we've seen here was a mid-December McBath internal from 20/20 Insight that gave her a far larger 40-19 advantage over Bourdeaux.

This may end up being the most expensive incumbent-vs.-incumbent primary of the cycle, especially if it goes to a runoff. McBath outraised Bourdeaux $735,000 to $430,000 during the fourth quarter, but both had sizable campaign accounts at the end of 2021: $2.5 million for McBath and $2 million for Bourdeaux. McLeod did not have a fundraising report available on the FEC site as of Tuesday evening.

IN-09: State Rep. J. Michael Davisson declared Tuesday that he was joining the May Republican primary for this very red open seat. Davisson, an Army veteran who served in Afghanistan and Iraq, was appointed to the legislature last fall to succeed his late father, and this appears to be his first run for office. Indiana's filing deadline is on Feb. 4, so the field will take final shape before long.

MI-04: State Rep. Steve Carra has decided to test how "Complete and Total" Donald Trump's endorsement really is by announcing a campaign for Michigan's new 4th District, a move that sets him up for a very different primary than the one he originally got into. Carra picked up Trump's support back in September when he was waging an intra-party campaign in the old 6th District against Rep. Fred Upton, who'd voted for impeachment months before. Upton still hasn't confirmed if he'll run in the new 4th, but fellow GOP Rep. Bill Huizenga very much has. Carra unsurprisingly focused on Upton in his relaunch, though he argued, "It doesn't matter whether there's one or two status quo Republicans in the race."

The state representative, for his part, says he grew up in the southwest Michigan district, which would have backed Trump 51-47, though his legislative district is entirely located in the new 5th District. (Republican Rep. Tim Walberg is campaigning there, and he's unlikely to face any serious intra-party opposition.) Carra himself has spent his first year in the GOP-dominated state House pushing bills that have gone nowhere, including a resolution demanding that the U.S. House "adopt a resolution disavowing the January 2021 impeachment of President Donald J. Trump or expel [California] U.S. Representative Maxine Waters for continuing to incite violence."

Upton, meanwhile, seems content to keep everyone guessing about whether he'll actually be on the ballot this year. The congressman initially said he'd decide whether to run once more in January, but the month ended without any resolution. Upton told a local radio station on Jan. 25 that he was looking to see if the new map survives a court challenge, but he also said to expect a decision "in the coming days."

If Upton does run, he'd begin with a modest edge over his fellow incumbent in the cash race. Upton took in $720,000 during the final quarter of 2021 compared to $395,000 for Huizenga and ended the year with a $1.5 million to $1.1 million cash-on-hand lead. Carra, meanwhile, raised $130,000 and had $205,000 available.

MI-11: Rep. Haley Stevens has released an internal poll from Impact Research that gives her a 42-35 lead over fellow incumbent Andy Levin in their August Democratic primary, the first numbers we've seen of the race. Stevens raised $625,000 in the fourth quarter compared to $335,000 for Levin (who self-funded another $30,000), and she went into the new year with nearly $2 million on-hand compared to $1.1 million for her opponent.

MS-04: State Sen. Chris McDaniel told the conservative site Y'All Politics on Monday that he still hasn't ruled out a primary challenge to Republican Rep. Steven Palazzo, who is facing an ethics investigation into charges that he illegally used campaign funds for personal purposes. The two-time U.S. Senate candidate argued, "My polling numbers are stronger than they've ever been, so I'm keeping all of my options open at this time."

Several other notable Republicans, including state Sen. Brice Wiggins, Jackson County Sheriff Mike Ezell, and banker Clay Wagner, are already taking on Palazzo in the June 7 contest, where it takes a majority of the vote to avert a runoff that would be held three weeks later. The candidate filing deadline is March 1.

RI-02: Former state Sen. James Sheehan said Tuesday that he'd stay out of the Democratic primary for this open seat.

SC-07: Donald Trump on Tuesday threw his backing behind state Rep. Russell Fry's intra-party challenge to Rep. Tom Rice, who voted for impeachment after the Jan. 6 attack, in the crowded June Republican primary. The congressman responded, "I'm glad he's chosen someone. All the pleading to Mar-a-Lago was getting a little embarrassing." Rice continued, "I'm all about Trump's policy. But absolute pledge of loyalty, to a man that is willing to sack the Capitol to keep his hold on power is more than I can stomach."

TX-26: There's little indication that 10-term Rep. Michael Burgess, who is perhaps one of the most obscure members of Congress, is in any danger in his March 1 Republican primary for this safely red seat in Fort Worth's northern exurbs, but the Texas Tribune's Patrick Svitek notes that he does face an opponent with the ability to self-fund. Businesswoman Raven Harrison loaned herself $210,000, which represented every penny she brought in during the fourth quarter, and she ended 2021 with $127,000 on-hand. Burgess, meanwhile, took in just $150,000, and he finished the quarter with $290,000 available.

TX-35: Former San Antonio City Councilwoman Rebecca Viagran has picked up the support of Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff, who is retiring this year after more than two decades in charge of this populous county, ahead of the March 1 Democratic primary. ("County judges" in Texas are not judicial officials but rather are equivalent to county executives in other states.)

Clearly bothered, Marco Rubio responds to Val Demings’ Senate run with insults and arrogance

After tweeting last month that she's "seriously considering" running for Republican Sen. Marco Rubio's U.S. Senate seat, Rep. Val Demings, of Florida, confirmed on Wednesday that she's more than seriously considering it: she announced she's running. "I'm running for U.S. Senate because I will never tire of standing up for what is right," Demings said in a tweet. "Never tire of serving Florida. Never tire of doing good.”

In a 2 minute and 58 second campaign video, Demings said when asked where she got her "tireless faith that things can always get better," she got it in Jacksonville, Florida. "When you grow up in the South, poor, black, and female, you have to have faith in progress and opportunity," Demings said. “My father was a janitor, and my mother was a maid. She said, ‘Val, never grow tired of doing good. Never tire. Work hard, not just for yourself but for others.’”

I'm running for U.S. Senate because I will never tire of standing up for what is right. Never tire of serving Florida. Never tire of doing good. Join my campaign today: https://t.co/rHVPBuSzKU pic.twitter.com/HuWB80Mrxh

— Val Demings (@valdemings) June 9, 2021

Demings, a former Orlando police chief and the first woman to hold the title, was a House manager in former President Donald Trump’s Senate impeachment trial, and she has been an important voice in seeking accountability for his embarrassing response to the coronavirus pandemic. Rubio voted to protect Trump in the face of his second impeachment trial for inciting a riot at the U.S. Capitol in January. A month earlier, the Florida Republican helped himself to a COVID-19 vaccination in short supply in his state at the time. 

He responded to Demings’ campaign announcement with the predictable arrogance and insults of a Florida Republican. “Look, I’ve always known that my opponent for the Senate was gonna be a far-left, liberal Democrat. Today, we just found out which one of them Chuck Schumer’s picked,” Rubio said in a video shared Wednesday on Twitter. “I’m looking forward to this campaign because it’s going to offer the people of Florida a very clear difference.”

No matter who wins the democratic Senate primary in #Florida my opponent will be a far left extremist#Sayfie #flpol pic.twitter.com/quy0pMUHS6

— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) June 9, 2021

Rubio went on to call Demings a “do nothing House member with not a single significant legislative achievement in her time in Congress.” “By comparison one nonpartisan group ranked me the most effective Republican in the entire Senate,” Rubio said. He is referring to a ranking released by the Center for Effective Lawmaking in March that based his ranking on “107 bills he put forward, ten of which passed the Senate, and six of which became law” under the 116th Congress. Let’s not forget, the senator had a majority-Republican Senate working in his favor.

Federal voting rights legislation top of Democrats' agenda is being held up in the Senate by a filibuster requiring 60 votes instead of a simple majority for a vote on proposed legislation. The filibuster has been used as a partisan weapon for decades,” Demings told the Orlando Sentinel. “We were not elected to be obstructionists. … We were elected to get things done. And when we talk about protecting some of the most basic rights in this country, the filibuster blocks those things, and we need to get rid of it.”

But beyond the filibuster, the more important question with regards to Rubio’s legislative record boasted as effective is: Does an effective Republican equate to what’s best for most Floridians? The answer to that is a clear no. 

In Florida, Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis signed into law legislation on "disruptive protests" that could put protesters in jail for up to 15 years if police determine at least nine people took part in a riot. “Under this bill, peaceful protesters could be arrested and charged with a third-degree felony for ‘committing a riot’ even if they did not engage in any disorderly and violent conduct,” the ACLU of Florida said in a news release. “It would also prohibit local governments from determining how to allocate funding for police reform to address critical needs in their local communities and seek to protect counter-protesters from civil liability if they injure or kill a protester.” 

State legislators also passed a bill requiring voters to submit requests each election cycle to vote by mail."It would require voters to submit vote-by-mail requests each election cycle, restrict secure vote-by-mail drop boxes, and demand sensitive personal information from voters requesting a mail ballot,” the ACLU of Florida wrote in a news release. “Like the law recently passed in Georgia, this bill also criminalizes people who provide food or water to Floridians waiting in line to vote.”

Rubio has done nothing to enact the kind of federal legislation that would combat state-level voter suppression or anti-protest measures. “Marco Rubio voted against stimulus checks, he voted against COVID relief for our schools and our small businesses,” Demings said in the Orlando Sentinel. “And he voted against helping those on the frontlines, our first responders or teachers, our health care workers.” 

RELATED: Val Demings says she's 'seriously considering' running against Marco Rubio

RELATED: Florida governor rebrands bill to silence Black Lives Matter as response to Capitol riot

Val Demings says she’s ‘seriously considering’ running against Marco Rubio

Rep. Val Demings of Florida, is considering throwing her hat in the ring for Republican Sen. Marco Rubio's U.S. Senate seat next year instead of launching an expected bid for governor of the state. Her name was trending through much of the morning on Tuesday after Politico reported on the prospect of Demings running. “I'm humbled at the encouraging messages I'm seeing today,” she tweeted. “I know the stakes are too high for Republicans to stand in the way of getting things done for Floridians, which is why I'm seriously considering a run for the Senate. Stay tuned.” 

Alex Sink, a former chief financial officer who unsuccessfully ran against former Florida governor and now-Sen. Rick Scott, told Politico he would’ve supported her bid for governor “but this is the right fit for her and for us.”

Rubio voted to protect former President Donald Trump when he was facing his second impeachment trial for inciting a riot at the U.S. Capitol in January. A month earlier, the Florida Republican helped himself to a COVID-19 vaccination in short supply in his state at the time. “She’s going to draw a contrast between who she is and how she represents Florida vs. Marco Rubio, who a lot of people where I live never see him,” Sink said.

Demings tweeted on Tuesday: “This is my Twitter account as Representative for the People of Florida’s 10th District. For my campaign Twitter, see @val_demings.” On her campaign account, she had pinned a video in early May of her running for a seat in Congress and highlighted Rubio’s disappointing history as a senator.
“A great example of a flip-flopper,” Demings called Rubio on Friday then defined the phrase as ”when a Senator says that the former President ‘would shatter the party and the conservative movement’ and then raves he ‘was lucky enough to be one of his first posts’ in a fundraising email.” ”Leadership matters. Florida can do better,” Demings tweeted. She would be undeniably better.

Demings, a former Orlando police chief and the first woman to hold the title, was a House manager in Trump’s Senate impeachment trial, and she has been an important voice in seeking accountability for the former president for his embarrassing response to the coronavirus pandemic. "At the very least, we ought to be able to have a leader that we can trust,” she told MSNBC last May. “We don’t have that right now.” Demings said at a point she was no longer able to “endure or bear” Trump’s daily coronavirus briefings because the words coming out of his mouth have been “unbelievable.” She said they “risk lives all over this country.”

"No one—the president or the governor here in Florida—should be taking a victory lap when people are continuing to lose their lives because of COVID-19,” Demings said.

She’s been just as outspoken about a movement that spread like wildfire to save Black lives following the death of George Floyd, who was unarmed when former Minneapolis cop Derek Chauvin kneeled on Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes. "I believe that what Derek Chauvin did was brutal, it was senseless, and it was murder," she told the nonprofit website The 19th earlier this month. "We had no choice but to try to look at what we could do as a legislative body to make the system better and prevent tragedies like that from happening.”

legislation, which the House passed but Senate Republicans have stalled, would ban no-knock warrants, chokeholds, and racial and religious profiling as well as establish a national database to monitor police misconduct. “As members of Congress, our primary responsibility is the health, safety, and well-being of the American people," Demings said last June. "We have made progress. We've come a long way, but we still have a ways to go."

Demings spoke just as passionately when she attempted to prevent the GOP from holding hostage the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act, a bipartisan effort aimed at discouraging hate crimes against Asian Americans in the wake of a deadly shooting at an Atlanta spa in March. Republicans tried to randomly tie the Hate Crimes Act to an amendment preventing police department defunding efforts. "I want to make it quite clear that this amendment is completely irrelevant," Demings said at a House Judiciary hearing in April. The Hate Crimes Act, which the Senate passed, is expected to pass the House soon despite Republican Rep. Jim Jordan trying repeatedly to derail the process and disrespect Demings in the process.

"I served as a law enforcement officer for 27 years,” Demings told her peers. “It is a tough job. And good police officers deserve your support.

“You know, it's interesting to see my colleagues on the other side of the aisle support the police when it is politically convenient to do so,” the Democrat added. “Law enforcement officers risk their lives every day. They deserve better, and the American people deserve ..."

Jordan tried to interrupt Demings, but she continued. “I have the floor Mr. Jordan. What? Did I strike a nerve?” the congresswoman asked. “Law enforcement officers deserve better than to be utilized as pawns.”

Demings instead of Rubio should be an easy decision for Floridians should the mother of three decide to run for his seat. Take a look at what Twitter users have to say about the prospect:

I may be the first Black woman to have run for Senate in Florida, but @RepValDemings is going to be the first to WIN! Let’s make is so. Let’s go BIG and INVEST in building a permanent community facing infrastructure that can actually disseminate the messaging to defeat the

— Pam Keith, Esq. (@PamKeithFL) May 18, 2021

Val Demings voted IN FAVOR of covid relief for Floridians. Marco Rubio voted AGAINST it. Your RT and small donation helps us blast him for his bad decision making, and defeat him in 2022. https://t.co/Bj8tAptG4o

— BrooklynDad_Defiant! (@mmpadellan) May 18, 2021

Representative Val Demings to run for senate against Marco Rubio. I support this 100%. Even if you don’t live in Florida, the entire nation needs to get behind this. pic.twitter.com/wZfNjgS8eM

— Mike Sington (@MikeSington) May 18, 2021

Ask yourself this question every day for the next 19 months. What have you done today to help Val Demings unseat Marco Rubio?

— Chris Hahn (@ChristopherHahn) May 18, 2021

Shit just got real for Florida’s little political windsock. Hope ⁦@RepValDemings⁩ holds Rubio accountable for all the shape-shifting and putting craven politician ambition, over the needs of a Floridians. https://t.co/VxQTMzpv14

— Ana Navarro-Cárdenas (@ananavarro) May 18, 2021

RELATED: 43 Republicans turn their backs on their country to side with Trump, and we're listing them all

RELATED: Marco Rubio advocates for COVID-19 vaccinations by helping himself first

Three ‘very friendly’ Republican senators met with Trump’s defense lawyers

At the beginning of an impeachment trial, senators swear an oath to “do impartial justice.” Most Republican senators have made clear throughout both of Donald Trump’s impeachment trials that this was a lie—at best, a fig leaf they used to get out of answering questions about how they saw the evidence. Then there’s Lindsey Graham, Mike Lee, and Ted Cruz. Those three met with Trump’s defense lawyers Thursday evening to offer advice.

The “very friendly guys,” according to Trump lawyer David Schoen, were making sure Trump’s lawyers were “familiar with procedure.” Probable translation: Wanted to be sure these clowns didn’t screw this thing up too badly for even Republicans to ignore. Was that ethical, though? “Oh yeah, I think that's the practice of impeachment,” Schoen claimed. 

How badly do Graham, Lee, and Cruz think Trump’s lawyers are going to screw up their defense arguments? Alternatively, how worried are they that some Republicans were persuaded by the House impeachment managers’ case? All but six Republicans already voted against holding an impeachment trial at all on the obviously false grounds that it was unconstitutional, giving them an excuse to vote to acquit without engaging the substance of what Trump did at all. 

Sens. Roy Blunt and Marco Rubio are sticking with that claim, for instance. “My view is unchanged as to whether or not we have the authority to do this, and I’m certainly not bound by the fact that 56 people think we do,” Blunt said. “I get to cast my vote, and my view is that you can’t impeach a former president. And if the former president did things that were illegal, there is a process to go through for that.”

And Rubio: “The fundamental question for me, and I don’t know about for everybody else, is whether an impeachment trial is appropriate for someone who is no longer in office. I don’t believe that it is.”

Do Cruz, Lee, and Graham think Schoen and immediately notorious idiot Bruce Castor need their advice to get through what’s forecast to be a very abbreviated day of arguments? Or are they still trying that pathetically hard to suck up to Trump? They do seem to have gotten the attention of his inner circle, with sleazeball adviser Jason Miller repeatedly mentioning their involvement on Newsmax, making absolutely clear the senators were there to build the case for Trump. “It was a real honor to have those senators come in and give us some additional ideas,” he said.

Republican senators have that “not constitutional” sham to hide behind, and they are energetically doing so. They have state parties ready to attack them the minute they step out of line. Donald Trump has his own defense lawyers, albeit not exactly the prime talent of conservative law. And as of Thursday, he officially has three of the people sworn to do impartial justice actively strategizing to help him get off.

The House impeachment managers, on the other hand, had the truth of what happened, and it was too powerful for Republicans to fully ignore. But that is unlikely to be enough.

Watch Florida Republican try to explain why he thinks Trump impeachment trial is ‘stupid’

Appearing on Fox News Sunday to chat with host Chris Wallace, Sen. Marco Rubio delved into his feelings on former President Donald Trump. What about Trump, specifically? Oh, just the articles of impeachment against him. In a word, Rubio said he finds the trial “stupid.”

In a very slightly more eloquent attempt to express himself, Rubio said he feels, “We already have a flaming fire in this country,” and that a trial would amount to “a bunch of gasoline.” Basically, just another way of arguing that a trial would rupture unity efforts, even though as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi argued last week, ignoring all that’s gone is actually what is more likely to sow division in the country. Why? Because we need accountability. 

As of Sunday morning, at least one Republican sees the impeachment trial differently than Rubio, however. We can check out more of what Rubio said below, as well as what one of his peers in the Senate argued.

Rubio said he does think Trump “bears responsibility for some of what happened” and that it was “certainly a foreseeable consequence of everything that was going on.” It would be fascinating to hear what Rubio qualifies as “some” of what happened when a group of pro-Trump rioters surged into the U.S. Capitol and effectively terrorized elected officials. Rubio, instead, stressed he thinks that is “separate” from the idea of revisiting it and “stirring” it up. 

Here’s that clip.

Marco Rubio acknowledges Trump "bears responsibility" for the Capitol insurrection, but insists holding him accountable with an impeachment trial is the wrong move because it'll "stir up" the country again pic.twitter.com/egtvNAgrS8

— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) January 24, 2021

Also related to the Trump family, Wallace asked Rubio how he feels about whispers that Trump’s daughter, Ivanka Trump, may run for a senate seat in Florida. Given that Rubio is up for reelection in 2022, a primary challenge is considerably important. Rubio, however, dodged the meat of the question by declaring that he doesn't “really get into the parlor games of Washington.”

He did say that if he wants to be “back in the U.S Senate, I have to earn that every six years” and that he doesn’t own his seat. Which is true, but would ring as a touch more meaningful if Florida didn’t have rampant voter suppression issues. 

Wallace also spoke to Sen. Mitt Romney about the impeachment trial, posing the same question to both Republicans. Did they agree with fellow Republicans who argued that the trial should be thrown out under the alleged basis that it’s unconstitutional to convict a former president? Rubio said yes, he’d definitely vote to nix the trial, but Romney thinks the proceedings are constitutionally solid. (Which, of course, they are.)

“if you look at the preponderance of the legal opinion by scholars over the years,” Romney explained, “the preponderance of opinion is that yes, an impeachment trial is appropriate after someone leaves office.” Romney, who did vote to convict in the first trial, however, did not say how he would vote either way a second time, noting they have yet to actually hear arguments and evidence from both sides. 

Republicans claiming they want the party to break with Trump can start by removing him from office

Following Donald Trump's attempt to violently overthrow the U.S. government, Republicans have quickly retreated into two camps: Those who have had the sudden epiphany that they must break with Trump to save the party and those who are clinging to him like a life vest to buoy the party’s future.

Make no mistake, they have all been complicit in building Trump and his rabid base into the monster that has swallowed the party whole. Decades of GOP lawmakers carefully nurturing the ignorance of their followers left GOP voters uniquely susceptible to the manipulation of a buffoonish yet dangerous conspiratorial carnival barker like Trump. He is the pinnacle of their creation—able to say and do absolutely anything with impunity to the mindless acceptance and adoration of the Republican base.

The Republican lawmakers who want to stay the course even after Trump's shameful betrayal of the country this week are an irredeemable stain on the conscience of America. That's particularly true for House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who eagerly supported a lawsuit backing Trump's fraudulent challenge to the election results, voted to object to certification of those results even after Trump's insurrectionists terrorized the Capitol complex, and then issued a statement Friday saying impeachment would "only divide our country"—never mind the fact that Trump poses an existential threat to the republic. McCarthy and his ilk helped plant the seeds of fascism Trump has supercharged, and they very obviously would gladly disenfranchise the American people to cement their enduring power if that opportunity were to materialize. 

But for those who now claim they want to break with Trump and indeed must do so in order to save the party, they can all start by telling the truth to their constituents—that Trump bamboozled his supporters, betrayed his oath of office, and must be removed from office immediately. Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah at least got the truth part of that equation right when he spoke from the Senate floor on Wednesday following the melee. "The best way we can show respect for the voters who were upset [by the election results] is by telling them the truth," Romney said.

The Republicans who now seem eager to leave Trump in the rear view mirror vary between people like Romney, who has at least repeatedly criticized Trump and even voted against clearing him of impeachment charges, to squishy opportunists like Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, who has consistently stoked Trump fervor over the years. Rubio, who unequivocally celebrated the caravan of Trumpers that forced a Biden campaign bus off a Texas highway in November, has now lamented the siege at the Capitol as a "national embarrassment" and told GOP voters that "some misled you" about the Vice President's ability to reject certification. 

Somewhere in between there's someone like Sen. John Thune of South Dakota, a member of the GOP leadership that has done everything in its power to coddle Trump while capitalizing on his populist appeal. 

“What happened in Georgia, what happened today are all indicative that we have to chart a course,” Thune told the New York Times. “I think our identity for the past several years was built around an individual, we got to get back to where it’s built on a set of principles and ideas and policies.” Whatever Thune’s motivations, his diagnosis of the problem is at least somewhat clear eyed. 

But if any of those Republicans are serious about redeeming and reclaiming their party at any level, they must start by making an unmistakable break with their past. That seems unlikely as only one GOP senator (Senator tally here) has expressed an openness to considering the removal of Trump: Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska. Even Romney advised Americans to just "hold our breath for the next 20 days" until Biden is sworn in rather than invoke the 25th Amendment. Sorry, but that's not going to cut it. It won't save the Republican Party and it certainly won't save the country from the party, which is now little more than a haven for radical extremists awaiting an opportunity to mount a violent coup.

In fact, just look at where the GOP rank and file in the states are. State party chairs, thrilled with the post-election results of their down-ballot candidates, have said they don’t want to change a thing about the Trumpist direction of their party despite Trump's failure at the top of the ticket.

“As far as I’m concerned, everything’s great,” Stanley Grot, a district-level Republican Party chair in Michigan, said last month even after Trump lost the state by some 150,000 votes.

On Thursday, Trump was reportedly "greeted with applause when he dialed into a breakfast at the winter meeting of the Republican National Committee." On Friday, RNC chair Ronna McDaniel betrayed not even a hint of remorse or reflection about Trump’s insurrection when she enthusiastically told the gathering, "Democrats, get ready. Buckle your seatbelts, because we are coming."

If any congressional Republicans truly believe it's time for a different course, they are going to have to take decisive action. These weak whiffs of passive resistance nearly all of them are currently offering are a pathetic mismatch for the present political moment. One would think they might have learned a little something after spending four years registering their discontent by whispering to each other in the cloistered recesses of the Congress. 

And if they're not concerned enough about the preservation of the country to take a stand, they may want to think about the fact that if the pitchforks come the next time, they won't be coming for Democrats alone. Just ask Vice President Mike Pence.

Behind closed doors, apparently 21 Senate Republicans are just as sick of Trump as the rest of us

Journalist Carl Bernstein is reminding us all that he owes Senate Republicans nothing, least of all protection as they cower in public and let President Donald Trump make a mockery of our democracy. Bernstein tweeted Sunday: “I'm not violating any pledge of journalistic confidentially in reporting this: 21 Republican Sens–in convos w/ colleagues, staff members, lobbyists, W. House aides–have repeatedly expressed extreme contempt for Trump & his fitness to be POTUS.”

They represent almost 40% of the 53 Senate Republicans. “With few exceptions, their craven public silence has helped enable Trump’s most grievous conduct—including undermining and discrediting the US the electoral system,” Bernstein tweeted

He listed senators:

  • Rob Portman, of Ohio;
  • Lamar Alexander, of Tennessee;
  • Ben Sasse, of Nebraska;
  • Roy Blunt, of Missouri;
  • Susan Collins, of Maine;
  • Lisa Murkowski, of Alaska;
  • John Cornyn, of Texas;
  • John Thune, of South Dakota;
  • Mitt Romney, of Utah;
  • Mike Braun, of Indiana;
  • Todd Young, of Indiana;
  • Tim Scott, of South Carolina;
  • Rick Scott, of Florida;
  • Marco Rubio, of Florida;
  • Chuck Grassley, of Iowa;
  • Richard Burr, of North Carolina;
  • Pat Toomey, of Pennsylvania;
  • Martha McSally, of Arizona;
  • Jerry Moran, of Kansas;
  • Pat Roberts, of Kansas; and
  • Richard Shelby of Alabama

Rubio's inclusion on the list comes as no surprise. He called Trump "a con artist" about to take over the Republican party in 2016. And much opportunistic flip-flopping aside, the Florida senator has ceased many opportunities since then to criticize the Trump administration. Bernstein, however, told CNN’s Alisyn Camerota it wasn’t just Rubio, that most of those he listed were “happy to see Donald Trump defeated in this election” as long as Senate Republicans remained in control. 

“We are witnessing the mad king in the final days of his reign willing to scorch the earth of his country and bring down the whole system,” Bernstein said, “to undermine our whole democracy, strip it of its legitimacy, poison the confidence of our people in our institutions and the constitution for Donald Trump's own petulant, selfish, rabid ends."

"We have a President of the United States for the first time in our history sabotaging this country. That’s where we are."

The Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist said Republicans know what Trump has done “to undermine confidence in our institution.” They are living through a pandemic, witnessing Trump’s “homicidal negligence” that is responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Americans,” he said. “McConnell knows what’s going on,” Bernstein said. “And finally I’m told in the last 24/48 hours, I believe he and some others are attempting to find a way to somehow bring the country off the ledge that we are on because of the mad king and what he is doing.”

The 21 Senators Carl Bernstein names would be enough for an emergency impeachment and removal of Trump. They should’ve stood up during the Ukraine impeachment instead of voting to not even hear evidence. https://t.co/6KWuQhxz2a

— Tom Joseph (@TomJChicago) November 23, 2020

RELATED: 'It's over': GOP leaders start to come to grips with reality of Trump's loss

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Watch this ‘Daily Show’ truck blast clips of Trump mocking senators in downtown Washington D.C.

Donald Trump has a long history of insulting people, including senators. Unsurprisingly, he has no problem insulting progressives, like calling Sen. Bernie Sanders “crazy” and Sen. Elizabeth Warren “Pochahontas.” He’s also insulted a number of Republicans, including saying that Sen. Mitt Romney is “not a smart person,” and of course, dubbing Sen. Ted Cruz “Lyin’ Ted.” Now, The Daily Show has compiled clips of these insults into a loop video that’s playing on the side of a truck that’s bopping around Washington D.C. during his impeachment trial, as reported by the Washingtonian. Because this video focuses on senators, we don’t even need to get into all of the times he has insulted women, including Hillary Clinton.

Here is the original video.

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Here is what The Daily Show truck driving around downtown Washington D.C. looks like.

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The Washingtonian reports that The Daily Show has been airing 30- and 60-second versions of this video on local news channels in D.C. The publication says the truck has been on the move in the Capitol since Monday.

“We’re trying to always think of ways to take jokes that we have and take them outside the boundaries of 11:00 to 11:30. Like, how can we exist in the real world? How can we get closer to the people that we’re covering?” Ramin Hedayati, a producer at The Daily Show, told the Washingtonian in an interview. “Literally driving a truck outside of the building they’re in is a way to do that.”

Of course, it’s far from the first time The Daily Show has taken the Trump administration to task. On Monday, host Trevor Noah called out Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham, as well as Trump’s defense lawyers.

Trump attacks everyone from government officials to private citizens seemingly with little regard to the possible consequences. People say that actions speak louder than words, but with Trump, his words and actions actually line up pretty well—and it’s nothing good.