Democrats are known for their grassroots fundraising prowess, but the GOP is mounting a comeback.
The National Republican Congressional Committee has already raised more online in the first three months of 2017 than it did online in all of 2015, hauling in $1.7 million from January through March compared to their $1.3 million in the previous off-year.
A quarter-to-quarter comparison is even more impressive. With nearly 60,000 more online donors and a lower average donation, the committee digitally raised nearly six times as much as it did in the first quarter of 2015. And it raised almost twice as much as the first quarter of 2016, an election year.
The new NRCC numbers are notable for their growth but still lag their Democratic counterparts, who dwarfed the GOP in first quarter digital fundraising with $13.7 million. But House Republicans have been investing in their digital operation, and digital director Ted Peterson described “overwhelming enthusiasm from low dollar donors at levels we have never experienced in the history of the NRCC.”
Both campaign committees attribute some of their respective fundraising successes to the new president. Buoyed by President Trump‘s headlining of the annual March dinner, the NRCC had a gangbusters first three months of the year, raking in almost $36 million—almost twice what it raised during the same period of 2015. Meanwhile, Democrats say their surge in online donations are demonstrative of widespread Trump backlash.
— Ally Mutnick
For President Trump, “[t]he symbolic 100-day mark by which modern presidents are judged menaces for an image-obsessed chief executive whose opening sprint has been marred by legislative stumbles, legal setbacks, senior staff kneecapping one another, the resignation of his national security adviser and near-daily headlines and headaches about links to Russia.” (Politico)
KOCH MEETING. Trump met with two of the Koch brothers Saturday at Mar-a-Lago. “While Bill Koch supported Trump during the general election, David Koch and his older brother Charles Koch sidelined their massive political machine during the presidential campaign in protest of Trump.” The Koch network has been spending money against some parts of the Trump agenda. (Politico)
SYRIA REACTION. Some Trump supporters were wary, or angry about his decision to bomb Syria, expressing the decisions incongruence with Trump’s “America first” approach. (NBC News)
WHITE HOUSE STAFF ISSUES. “Trump is considering a major shake-up of his staff, a senior administration official said Friday, as he looks to build a more cohesive operation after a tumultuous start in the White House.” Trump is “increasingly unhappy over the feuding that has run through the West Wing and is determined to see it end, the official said. …Trump is specifically evaluating whether to keep his chief of staff, Reince Priebus, and his chief strategist, Steve Bannon, in their current positions.” (Wall Street Journal)
On Sunday, Politico reported that Trump “seems willing to give the Bannon-Kushner-Priebus detente time to try to take hold before making any drastic staff changes.” (Politico)
The New York Times reported on a book that’s influenced Bannon’s worldview. “‘The Fourth Turning,’ a 1997 work by two amateur historians, Neil Howe and William Strauss, lays out a theory that American history unfurls in predictable, 80-year cycles of prosperity and catastrophe. And it foresees catastrophe right around the corner.” (New York Times)
There was one actual departure from the West Wing over the weekend. “Deputy national security adviser K.T. McFarland is expected to leave her National Security Council post and is expected to be named U.S. ambassador to Singapore…McFarland…was named to her post by the previous national security adviser, Michael Flynn.” (Washington Post)
VISITOR LOG. “A coalition of government watchdog groups plans to sue the Trump administration on Monday with the aim of compelling the White House to continue President Barack Obama’s practice of releasing logs of lobbyists and others who visit the complex.” (Washington Post)
TRUMP TRAVEL COSTS. “In total, Trump has spent time at one or more Trump-branded properties on 28 of the days he’s been president — meaning that he visits a property that’s part of his private business empire more than one-third of the days he’s been in office, or once every 2.8 days. The frequency at which he golfs is lower: He’s golfed on 17.9 percent of the days he’s been president, or about once every 5.6 days.” (Washington Post)
“Trump’s trips to his luxury Florida resort have already cost the US taxpayer at least $24 million…roughly as much as Barack Obama spent on travel in the first two years of his presidency.” (Independent)
Democratic National Committee chair Tom Perez and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) will begin their cross-country unity tour on April 17 in Maine. The DNC could also make investments soon “in Nebraska – where Democrats hope to win back the mayoralty of Omaha – and in Montana, where” Democrat Rob Quist “a Sanders-backed House candidate has begun to attract attention ahead of a special election.” (Washington Post) After the first stop in Maine, the unity tour will take the pair to Kentucky, Florida, Nebraska, Utah, Montana, Arizona and Nevada. (release)
2016 REDUX. Sanders last “week launched a podcast version of his talk show ‘The Bernie Sanders Show.’” There are currently three episodes available for download. (The Hill)
“Over 2,500 people packed the ballroom of the new Marriott Marquis hotel in downtown Houston Friday afternoon to see one of Hillary Clinton’s rare public appearances since losing the presidential election in November. The occasion was a fundraiser for Annie’s List.” (Texas Monthly)
Idaho Republican Party Chairman Steve Yates “announced Friday that Lyndel Strong will take over for current Executive Director David Johnston on April 17.” (AP)
You Can’t Go Home Again. “They had 30 years of combined service in the House of Representatives, deep ties to the Republican Party’s conservative wing and the backing of a president who is popular with their party’s base.
“But three former congressmen now serving at the top ranks of the Trump administration misread their former House colleagues and failed, at least so far, in their effort to push an overhaul of the Affordable Care Act through the chamber. Now, Republican lawmakers have headed home for a two-week recess empty-handed and with a top legislative priority stalled, despite a concerted push by Vice President Mike Pence, White House Budget Director Mick Mulvaney and Tom Price, the secretary of Health and Human Services.
“Their inability to sway the House stands as one of the surprises of President Donald Trump’s tenure, with implications for tough legislative tasks ahead.” (Wall Street Journal)
A new digital ad from the liberal group Bridge Project hits several potential Senate candidates for the party’s plan to replace the health care law, including Reps. Luke Messer (R-IN 06), Todd Rokita (R-IN 04), Mike Kelly (R-PA 03), and Barbara Comstock (R-VA 10). (Axios)
TRUMP TALK. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) “is not worried about President Donald Trump backing primary challengers to the Kentucky Republican’s preferred candidates.”
“I think it’s safe to say we will be looking for — in these nonincumbent races — the most electable candidate possible, and I think the administration will defer to our judgement on Senate races,” he said.
McConnell added: “We intend to renominate all of our incumbents and we intend to play in primaries if there’s a clear choice between someone who can win in November and someone who can’t. The idea, I always remind people, is to win the election.” (Roll Call)
Former Fox News host Gretchen Carlson (R) “has been the focus of an under-the-radar recruiting effort by state GOP Chairman J.R. Romano” to challenge Sen. Chris Murphy (D). “Carlson spokeswoman Jodie Magid distanced her client from the report, but would not outright dispute it.” (Connecticut Post)
The political committee of Gov. Rick Scott (R), a potential challenger to Sen. Bill Nelson (D), hauled in more than $600,000 in contributions in March. “The largest contribution was $100,000 from U.S. Sugar. … Its biggest expenditure in March was more than $976,000 to On Message of Annapolis, Maryland for ‘media production.’ The PAC has run TV ads in recent weeks to back up Scott’s defense of the Enterprise Florida economic development organization and VISIT FLORIDA, the state’s tourism marketing arm.” (Florida Politics)
The Senate Leadership Fund released a digital ad slamming Sen. Claire McCaskill (D) as a “down-the-line liberal” after she voted against Neil Gorsuch’s confirmation. The spot, the group’s first targeting McCaskill, is backed by a five-figure buy and will run for a week. It is aimed at voters of President Trump in Missouri. (release)
DRAFT EFFORT. A group of Republican leaders in Missouri wrote a letter urging state Attorney General Josh Hawley (R) to run for McCaskill’s seat. The letter’s signatories include former state Sen. Jane Cunningham (R), former Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder (R), and former Sen. Jack Danforth (R). One excerpt says, “Noting that you led the ticket in the last election, we are convinced that you would be the strongest candidate for Missouri’s Senate seat. You have exceptional qualities of character and intellect that would bring honor to our state and leadership to our nation.” (release)
Sen. Bob Casey (D) announced he raised $2.7 million in the first fundraising quarter, ending the period with nearly $3.8 million in cash on hand. (release)
JUMPING IN. State Rep. Jim Christiana (R), a 33-year-old from Beaver who has been in the state House since 2009, said he will run for Casey’s seat, becoming the third Republican to enter the race. Christiana “said in a news release that he is running on ‘a record of enhancing government transparency and taxpayer accountability; ensuring government lives within its means; and working to fix a broken education system that continues to shortchange our children.’”
In an interview Saturday, Christiana said, “Those issues have been important to me ever since I first ran for public office. Fortunately, over the years, I’ve been able to work with Democrats and Republicans, and we’ve been able to deliver monumental solutions on those initiatives.” (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
He joins Berwick Councilman Andrew Shecktor (R) and state Rep. Rick Saccone (R) in the GOP field.
TOWN HALL TIME. At a town hall Casey held Sunday, “several speakers questioned … Casey’s recent supportive statements regarding … [President] Trump’s airstrikes in Syria.”
“One man asked why … Casey would support ‘attacking a country which did not attack the United States’ without Congressional authorization. The senator responded that Syrian President Bashar Assad’s use of chemical weapons against civilians warranted such a response.”
“However, … Casey said he believed the president must seek a new Authorization for the Use of Military Force from Congress if he intends to take any further military action.” (Early Returns)
Sen. Ted Cruz (R) raised $1.738 million “in the first three months of this year across his Senate reelection campaign, his political action committee and the Ted Cruz Victory Committee. He now has $5.2 million across those three committees, and $4.8 million of that is in his Senate reelect account.” (Politico)
Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-20) has already declared a challenge to Cruz, while Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-16) is weighing a bid.
“Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said he has talked to Mitt Romney about a possible run for the U.S. Senate in 2018, but that he will back” Sen. Orrin Hatch (R) if Hatch seeks reelection.
“I’ve had some conversations with Mitt Romney,” McConnell said Friday. “Obviously, I’m an Orrin Hatch supporter. Orrin Hatch has to decide what he wants to do. If he wants to run again, I’m for him.” (Washington Examiner)
SURVEY SAYS. A new poll from Dan Jones & Associates (March 22-29; 844 RVs; +/- 3.4%) finds that “that 65 percent of Utahns ‘strongly’ or ‘somewhat’ favor [former Gov. Jon] Huntsman (R) running for the U.S. Senate in 2018. Twenty-eight percent say he shouldn’t run.”
“It has also been rumored that Huntsman could run not as a Republican, but as an independent who would caucus with Senate Republicans should he win. Jones finds Utahns split on that idea, 44 percent said Huntsman should run as a Republican, 38 percent said he should run as an independent, and 18 percent don’t know.” (Utah Policy)
Sen. Tim Kaine (D) raised $2.9 million in the first fundraising quarter, giving him $5.5 million as he heads into his 2018 race.
No Republican has announced a challenge to him yet. (Washington Post)
The advocacy group Save My Care is launching a seven-figure TV ad blitz hitting seven vulnerable House Republicans for their support of the failed American Health Care Act. During the two-week recess, the ads will run in the districts of Reps. Mike Coffman (CO-06), Carlos Curbelo (FL-26), Darrell Issa (CA-49), Tom MacArthur (NJ-03), Brian Mast (FL-18), Martha McSally (AZ-02), and David Valadao (CA-21). (Hotline reporting)
Also on the air: “Americans for Prosperity, the biggest group within the Koch brothers’ network, is up Tuesday with a new ad urging members of Congress to oppose the border adjustment tax. AFP is spending six-figures on the cable TV buy, which runs nationwide for a week and tells consumers they’ll see higher prices if the BAT comes in.” (Axios)
The DCCC “will send staffers in charge of overseeing House races in California, Nevada, Oregon and Washington to work out of an Irvine office in an effort to make inroads in Republican strongholds that have traditionally been sure bets for the GOP. … DCCC spokesman Tyler Law said the committee hasn’t had a full-time senior staffer stationed out west since the 2000 election cycle.”
Los Angeles City Councilman Jose Huizar (D) backed state Assemblyman Jimmy Gomez (D) in the race to replace former Rep. Xavier Becerra (D), the new state attorney general.
Praising his work to secure “resources to clean our air and water, open new parks, and fulfill our transit needs,” Huizar said he “enthusiastically” supports Gomez. The councilman, who represents 40 percent of the district, did not endorse in the primary. His former aide, Sara Hernandez (D), was also seeking a spot in the runoff. (Los Angeles Times)
Gomez will face former L.A. city planning commissioner Robert Lee Ahn (D) on June 6.
“The founder of a successful electronics company and a proud gadgets geek, Rep. Darrell Issa (R) built a reputation as not only one of the few Republicans with a keen interest in protecting online privacy, but a go-to member of Congress when it came to the topic. … But Issa and other Republicans are under fire from pro-digital privacy organizations after they voted for a bill that lets internet service providers continue to sell or give away their customers’ browser history, including medical, shopping, and banking information searches, as well as mobile app usage and geolocation information. Some of those groups had long lauded Issa for his stands.” (San Diego Union-Tribune)
State Rep. Brittany Pettersen (D) announced Sunday she is running for Rep. Ed Perlmutter’s (D) seat. In a release she vowed to “stand up to Donald Trump and fight for” healthcare access, good school and against cuts to Social Security. (release)
Perlmutter announced last weekend he is running for governor in 2018. State Sen. Andy Kerr (D) will also seek his seat.
“Perlmutter’s decision not to seek a sixth term in the House will leave open a solid Democratic seat, but one that Republicans are more optimistic about winning without the incumbent running — if they can field a competitive candidate. … National Republicans are most excited about Jefferson County Commissioner Libby Szabo, a former assistant minority leader in the state House. She could appeal to the district’s Hispanic population. … Other Republicans looking at the race include state Rep. Lang Sias, who succeeded Szabo in the state House. Former Aurora city Councilman Ryan Frazier may also run again.” (Roll Call)
Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R) “said Friday that embattled presidential adviser Steve Bannon should be completely ousted from the White House because he has un-American views. … Ros-Lehtinen sits in a Miami congressional district that President Trump lost. Her son, Rodrigo Lehtinen, is transgender.” (Politico)
“State Rep. Betty Price (R) took to the airwaves on Monday to urge conservative voters to defend her husband’s U.S. House seat, as antsy Republicans aim to prevent a surging Democrat from notching an upset victory.” The radio spots, airing through the April 18 primary, “are the latest salvo from the Congressional Leadership Fund,” which “has spent $2.2 million on ads.” (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
MoveOn.org “is ramping up its activity in the Georgia special election, launching a six-figure TV and digital ad buy backing” former congressional staffer Jon Ossoff (D). The group is also mobilizing 15,000 of its members in the district to volunteer and vote.” The TV and digital ads tout Ossoff’s opposition to the GOP’s health care plan. (Politico)
Former Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel (R) and former state Sen. Dan Moody (R) released new ads late last week. In Handel’s TV ad, she accused her opponents of playing games while her husband mocks her rivals’ spots by pretending to drain a swamp. In his 30-second spot, Moody links himself to Donald Trump, highlighting his support for term limits and lower taxes.
Ends Citizens United is also on the air with a new ad highlighting Ossoff’s “record fighting corruption and advocating for broad-ranging campaign finance reform.” (release)
BIGGER PICTURE. “Even as they try to win over the sort of conservative activists dedicated enough to participate in a rare April election, the Republicans are casting themselves more as can-do pragmatists in the spirit of Mr. Trump than unwavering ideologues. At the forum and in individual interviews afterward, three of the Republicans in the 18-person field invoked some variation of Ronald Reagan’s maxim that it is better to get 80 percent of what you want than nothing at all. Few embraced the Tea Party moniker. And none of the highest-polling candidates pledged to join the Freedom Caucus. … To Republican veterans, the turn toward half-a-loaf politics on the right does not represent any sort of great awakening, just activists aligning themselves with the preferences of a new president.” (New York Times)
GETTING IT RIGHT. “A local Georgia radio station has edited out a false claim made in an NRA attack ad” about the location in which former congressional staffer Jon Ossoff grew up. “CNN’s KFile flagged the NRA Political Victory fund ad on Thursday for incorrectly stating that Ossoff ‘grew up in Washington, DC.’ Ossoff grew up in Georgia’s 6th congressional district, where he is running to fill the seat vacated by” former Rep. Tom Price (R). (CNN)
State Rep. Abby Finkenauer (D) “filed paperwork Friday to” challenge Rep. Rod Blum in 2018. She said she’s “still formulating plans and will not make a formal announcement until after the legislative session ends this spring.” (Des Moines Register)
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) will join state Treasurer Ron Estes (R) “at an airport rally Monday in Wichita, a day before voters in southern Kansas head to the polls to pick a new congressman. Vice President Mike Pence is also scheduled to record a robocall on Estes’ behalf, according to a state party official.”
House Speaker Paul Ryan “sent out a ‘personal request’ on Estes’ behalf to GOP donors. Sent last week, Ryan warned “that Estes’ opponent would ‘be well-funded by liberal special-interest groups in Washington and their vast resources.’ Estes has actually held a fundraising advantage over Thompson for most of the race.”
“The news … comes after a flurry of late campaign spending by the National Republican Congressional Committee, which steered roughly $92,000 this week toward television and online advertising for the final days of the campaign. On Friday, the campaign” of civil rights attorney James Thompson (D) “asked KWCH in Wichita to pull one of” the NRCC’s ads, “which attacks Thompson on the issue of abortion. The ad says Thompson supports using tax dollars to pay for late-term abortions and supports sex-selective abortions.” Thompson’s campaign “called the ad ‘outright false.’” (Kansas City Star)
GETTING STARTED. “A county commissioner reported that 13,500 early vote ballots have been cast. Of those, 5,057 voters were Democrat, 6,518 were Republican, 1,879 were unaffiliated and 63 were Libertarian.” (KWCH)
That’s higher Democratic turnout than previous elections. “Thompson’s campaign said it raised a substantial portion of its last-minute fundraising ― about $85,000 ― via its website over the weekend. Daily Kos appeals accounted for about $143,000 of the total raised, while Democracy for America appeals brought in $12,000. Our Revolution, the progressive group aligned with” Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), “helped contribute $900.” (Huffington Post)
Thompson and Estes are running for the seat formerly held by Rep. Mike Pompeo (R), Trump’s CIA director.
Attorney Darlene Domanik (D) said she will run for Rep. Mike Bishop’s (R) seat.
“Domanik says she believes Bishop can be unseated in the normally conservative-voting 8th District because he has lost touch with average residents and is, in her opinion, aligned with corporate interests that don’t represent the middle class. … Domanik says her top issue will be the environment.” (WHMI)
Health care executive Angie Craig, “who narrowly lost to” Rep. Jason Lewis (R) “in November said last week that she is ‘strongly considering’ a rematch next year.”
Lewis “is carving out his own identity. He declined to join the conservative House Freedom Caucus and highlighted the bipartisan nature of his juvenile justice initiative. He spoke out in favor of allowing states to set their own marijuana laws, as the Justice Department under President Trump considers stricter federal oversight. And in response to Trump’s decision to launch missiles into Syria last week, Lewis publicly cautioned that ‘any escalation of military action must get approval from Congress.’” (Minneapolis Star Tribune)
ROAD TRIP. Rep. Rick Nolan (D) and Lewis carpooled back home on Friday after their flights were cancelled.
Nolan: “We’ve been threatening to get together for a cup of coffee, but I haven’t gotten around to it… I found Jason to be just wonderfully delightful, a good heart and soul, and tried getting to know him.” (Twin Cities Pioneer Press)
State Rep. Tim Miller (R) announced Friday he will challenge Rep. Collin Peterson (D) in 2018. “Miller, 51, said his experience running for the state House shows he can beat a Democrat. He won in 2014, after failing in 2012, in a district that had belonged to Democrats for three decades.” A spokeswoman for Peterson said the congressman will “make his decision about running again early next year.” (Twin Cities Pioneer Press)
President Trump won Peterson’s Western Minnesota district by 30 points last year, boosting an unknown and underfunded challenger to within 5 points of unseating the incumbent.
Gov. Steve Bullock (D) “used his veto power Friday to resurrect the possibility of allowing counties to hold an all-mail ballot for Montana’s May 25 special congressional election. Last week, House Republicans in the Legislature killed a measure, Senate Bill 305, that would have allowed the mail-ballot option.
“The measure now returns to the House and Senate for an up-or-down vote on whether to accept his changes.” But a “key difference in the political dynamic is that Bullock’s change, and the bill, can be approved by a simple majority of both the House and Senate.” (MTN News)
BALLOT BUSINESS. “The U.S. District Court in Great Falls declined to order the names of the minor party candidates who sued to be added to the ballot for the Montana special congressional election” to replace former Rep. Ryan Zinke (R), the new Interior secretary. “The complaint was filed by Missoula’s Thomas Breck, a member of the Green Party, and Bozeman’s Steve Kelly, an Independent.” (KTVQ)
SHOW OF SUPPORT. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) “has offered to travel to Montana to help boost” musician Rob Quist. “My impression is [Quist]’s a very strong candidate who stands up for working people, understands that we need a government that represents all of us and not the one percent. So if we can be of help to Quist, happy to do that as well,” he said. (Huffington Post)
The National Republican Congressional Committee “paid to have a truck-mounted billboard drive around” Rep. Josh Gottheimer’s (D-05) “district in Bergen County. The billboard urged people to call Gottheimer and tell him to oppose Obamacare” and “government-run health care.”
“The mobile ad’s appearance more than a year and a half before the next election shows how much interest the NRCC has in Gottheimer’s seat. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee … is also making an early start, attacking some New Jersey Republican incumbents, using automated phone calls aimed at” Reps. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-11), Leonard Lance (R-07), Frank LoBiondo (R-02), and Tom MacArthur (R-03). (Bergen Record)
Prince William County School Board Chairman Ryan Sawyers (D) unveiled a bid to unseat Rep. Rob Wittman (R).
“So far, Edwin Santana of Stafford County and Vangie Williams of King George County have also entered the race to represent Wittman’s sprawling district, which stretches from Prince William down Virginia’s eastern shore to the Hampton Roads area. … Sawyers faces quite the uphill battle against Wittman — the incumbent has never received less than 56 percent of the vote since he first won a special election in 2007.” (Daily Kos)
Trump won the district by 13 points last year.
“It Is becoming clear that Robert Bentley (R) will not last the week as governor. Sources in Montgomery say his lawyers have been involved in negotiations to step down from the governorship and plead to lesser charges, allowing Lt. Gov. Kay Ivey to step up as governor.
“Sources believe he will resign the governorship by Wednesday.
“Bentley has been under fire for the better part of the year but pressure over the last several days has mounted to untenable heights. The Alabama Ethics Commission last week found reason to believe he committed four crimes, all of them felonies. If he agrees to a deal it is thought he will have to plead to at least a misdemeanor. Leaders of his party, along with the Senate Majority Leader and the Speaker of the House, have demanded he resign.” (AL.com)
“The leadership of Alabama’s Republican Party” called for “the immediate resignation of” Bentley in “a resolution passed Sunday.”
“The resolution comes after a damning House report released Friday alleging the governor misused state resources to cover up his affair with former adviser Rebekah Caldwell Mason.
“The House is set to begin impeachment proceedings against the two-term Republican governor tomorrow.” (AL.com)
“If the House votes to impeach Bentley, he will automatically be removed from his duties and can only be returned to office if acquitted in a trial-like proceeding before the Alabama Senate.” (AP)
State Sen. Mike Dunleavy (R) “announced he’s leaving the Senate majority, before the Senate passed its budget on Thursday. … He said he felt constrained in the majority, which requires members to support the budget. … Dunleavy said the Senate should have cut the budget deeper, and should not reduce Alaskans’ Permanent Fund dividends.”
“He denied that leaving the caucus lays the groundwork for him running for governor next year.”
Dunleavy: “There’s been people talking about, because the election’s coming up, who is going to run for governor. … People have asked me if I’m going to run. I’ve not committed to run for governor. I’m not going to dismiss it, but that’s not what this is.” (KTOO)
2014 schools superintendent candidate David Garcia (D) “is expected to announce next week that he’s running for governor in 2018, according to people familiar with his plans.”
“Thursday’s passage of a sweeping expansion of Arizona’s school-voucher program appeared to give Garcia the issue he needed to propel a campaign for governor.” (KPNX)
Marketing executive Noah Dyer (D) is already running. State Sen. Steve Farley (D) is expected to run as well.
Correction: This post has been updated to reflect the size of the current primary field.
Former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s (D) “campaign last week released an internal poll by The Feldman Group, Inc., that puts Villaraigosa’s support at 20 percent — behind both” Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) at 26% and businessman John Cox (R) at 22%. “That’s a tighter margin than in public polls.” (Politico)
HE’S GOT PLACES TO STAY ON THE TRAIL. “Airbnb employees have given $225,850 to” Newsom. “Meanwhile, potential opponents, … Villaraigosa and California Treasurer John Chiang (D), reported their largest contributions from any one source have barely topped $100,000. … Newsom has emerged as a major political booster of the gig economy, which also includes services Uber and Lyft, both based in San Francisco.” (San Francisco Chronicle)
Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D) “officially announced his run for governor to a crowd of several hundred people on Sunday, telling them he will work with residents across the state and fight radical changes that don’t reflect residents’ priorities and values.”
Perlmutter: “[W]e’ve begun to see part of Colorado’s way of life and economy threatened by the Trump administration when it comes to the environment, public lands, immigration, health care and our national labs. … Some of the most important issues of our time are deadlocked in D.C. right now. That’s why continuing strong leadership at the state level is more important than ever.”
“He reminded attendees that he worked to stop Nike from developing a huge complex on South Table Mountain and helped to replace three members of a Jefferson County school board who drew fire for taking right-leaning stances on charter schools and the district’s budget. He also highlighted the part he took in leading one of the biggest school construction initiatives in state history during the 2004 Jefferson County bond election, and the work he did to secure funding for the National Renewable Energy Lab in Golden.” (Denver Post)
TUNE IN. Former state Treasurer Cary Kennedy (D) will announce her candidacy for governor live on Facebook at 11:30 a.m. (release)
Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim (D) “took a tentative step Friday toward a possible campaign for governor in 2018, asking the State Elections Enforcement Commission to clear him for the state’s public financing program, despite his corruption conviction.” (Connecticut Mirror)
“In an already crowded field, Ganim has been said to be eyeing an under ticket spot in 2018, such as lieutenant governor.” (Connecticut Post)
BEST WISHES. Trumbull First Selectman Tim Herbst (R) “announced Friday that he is facing thyroid cancer, but says he will be fine.” (Hartford Courant)
A “poll conducted … by the Democratic Governors Association” (March 6-9; 600 LVs; +/-4%) showed businessman Chris Kennedy (D) at 40%. Billionaire J.B. Pritzker (D) and Chicago Ald. Ameya Pawar (D) followed at 10% each. Madison County Schools Superintendent Bob Daiber (D) had 5%. The DGA denies it conducted the poll. (Chicago Sun-Times)
OH COME ON, EMANUEL. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel (D) “declined to endorse a candidate in the Democratic race for governor Friday.”
Emanuel: “I’m not picking in that area. The good news is, we have good candidates running. Not just those two, but you have good candidates at every level.” (Chicago Tribune)
PRITZKER PICK-UPS. “A number of African-American and Latino aldermen and other present and former officials turned out for J.B. Pritzker’s (D) campaign kickoff. “They say the [D]emocratic billionaire is also close to everyday people. Among Aldermen at Grand Crossing Park to cheer J.B. Pritzker’s announcement were Pat Dowell, Michelle Harris, George Cardenas and Walter Burnett who said he’s known Pritzker for 30 years.” (WBBM)
“A lot of the tech community has been as giddy about Pritzker’s candidacy. … Pritzker has won a lot of friends and admirers, and a few rivals, among tech entrepreneurs over the past 20 years.” (Crain’s Chicago Business)
RICH MAN ATTACKS RICH MAN’S WEALTH. “At what point does someone become too rich to be trusted to serve as governor of Illinois? For … Kennedy, it’s somewhere between his millions and … Pritzker’s billions. One day after welcoming Pritzker into the governor’s race with oblique warnings about ‘the disastrous consequences of people trying to buy elections,’ Kennedy drew the target directly at Pritzker and his superior wealth.”
Kennedy: “Do I think that J.B. Pritzker is going to act like a tyrant like Bruce Rauner has? I don’t know that. But why take the risk? … He doesn’t need your money. He doesn’t need your advice. He doesn’t need your help. He doesn’t need to listen.” (Chicago Sun-Times)
Former state Democratic Party Chair Andy McGuire (D) announced Monday she will run for governor in 2018.
McGuire: “For too long, those in power seem to only get things done for the special interests – behind closed doors. It’s a broken political system that works for them – not us. And it’s leaving hard-working Iowans behind.”
McGuire also announced endorsements from Former Rep. Leonard Boswell (D-03), former state Attorney General Bonnie Campbell (D), former U.S. Attorney Roxanne Conlin, former state Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal (D), 2016 IA-01 candidate Gary Kroeger (D), former state Reps. Linda Nelson (D) and Phyllis Thede (D), Student Leadership Council for Iowa Safe Schools President Ryan McDaniel (D), The Black Caucus of the Iowa Democratic Party Chair Jamie Woods, and former Lt. Gov. Jo Ann Zimmerman (D). (release)
McGuire’s campaign manager Ethan Susseles, who managed campaigns for WI-08 nominee Nelson (D) and MD-08 candidate Kathleen Matthews (D) last year. (Hotline reporting)
Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno (R) “is challenging petition signatures submitted by” Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli (R). “Guadagno and her allies are claiming certain … irregularities in the signatures.” (InsiderNJ)
“If the attempt is successful, Ciattarelli would be off the ballot. But that seems unlikely. Guadagno is challenging 723 of his signatures, including Ciattarelli’s own signature, according to his campaign. Guadagno would have to invalidate 675 of those signatures to win her challenge. (Ciattarelli apparently filed a retaliatory challenge, but Guadagno has more than 4,000 signatures so I don’t think she needs to worry).” (Politico)
Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb (R) “has filed paperwork indicating his plan to run for governor in 2018. … Lamb filed a statement of organization on Friday with the Oklahoma Ethics Commission and issued a statement in which he said he was ‘strongly considering’ running in 2018.” (AP)
The DGA-backed nonprofit America Works USA has spent $175,000 since March 23 on a TV and digital buy promoting Gov. Gina Raimondo (D). “On March 22, … America Works USA registered a lobbyist — Corey Platt — in Rhode Island.“
DNC Chair Tom Perez on Thursday “whooshed in from Washington, D.C., to Rhode Island College to talk up Raimondo’s free-tuition proposal and how it fits into the bigger picture.”
She has also “been out and about from here to California raising money, though she remains unwilling to disclose details, such as the names of those hosting events for her.”
Raimondo: “When I took office, we had the highest unemployment rate in America. We are now lower than the national average and things are going well, but every person in politics today who is on the ballot is vulnerable, so if I run … when I run for reelection, we’re going to run a big, aggressive campaign and get the message out.” (Providence Journal)
President Trump nominated state Sen. Mark Green (R) to be his secretary of the Army on Friday. (release)
Green’s confirmation by the Senate would halt his campaign for governor in 2018.
Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam’s (D) campaign announced Monday that he “raised nearly $1.5 million in 46 days” between his campaign and his Stronger Together PAC. “Northam has over $3.32 million cash on hand as of the March 31st reporting deadline.”
The campaign said it “received more than 44,972 contributions, and 12,119 in the first quarter alone, with 92% of all contributions being $100 or less. 85.5% of the total amount raised came from Virginians.” (release)
SHOWTIME. Northam and former Rep. Tom Perriello (D) announced Friday they will appear at five debates together between April 29 and May 22. They’ll also appear at three joint fora between April 22 and May 13. The primary is in June. (release)
STATUS CHECK. “Clearly, the Perriello campaign is winning the social media war over the Northam campaign, while Northam’s winning the straw poll battle decisively over Perriello.” (Blue Virginia)
Northam released a video endorsement featuring an endorsement from Leslie Cramer, a Women’s March organizer. (release)
“On Saturday Republicans held straw polls in three Virginia counties,” Loudon, Bland, and Giles Counties. Former RNC Chair Ed Gillespie (R) “was overwhelmingly the winner in all three.” (Bull Elephant)
AT A CROSSROADS. “Gillespie disclosed more names of his 2016 consulting clients on Friday. They include the Institute for Energy Research, a think tank that has given President Donald Trump advice on energy, … communication company Brunswick Group, and public affairs and communication company DCI Group.” (Richmond Times-Dispatch)
“Slowly and quietly, Gillespie has shed his high-powered connections to the group that he helped found, American Crossroads, ignoring some of its elite donors and forging a new political identity as he stares down a Republican challenge eager to highlight Gillespie’s role unleashing the modern campaign-finance system that Trump says he deplores. … It’s led to an unusual dynamic: A super PAC founder running in one of this year’s marquee races who is largely not taking advantage of the big-money system that he helped pioneer. …
“[A] survey of a dozen recent Crossroads donors this week revealed numerous major givers who say they have surprisingly not heard from Gillespie, even though some would gladly cut him a check should he call. … Donors to Crossroads — such as Home Depot founder Bernie Marcus or new Trump Cabinet members Linda McMahon and Betsy DeVos — are responsible for just over $350,000 to Gillespie’s gubernatorial political operation, $100,000 of which came solely from the DeVos family. One longtime Crossroads donor, St. Louis billionaire Rex Sinquefeld, met with Gillespie twice since he announced his run for governor. … But Gillespie failed to draw a check out of him.” (CNN)
SET THE RECORD STRAIGHT. “Perriello … is profiting off a pipeline project that he opposes. … Perriello … filed a required state and local statement of economic interests ethics disclosure on March 29 that shows he owns stock valued between $5,001 and $50,000 in the Fluor Corporation.” (Washington Free Beacon)
" Are we just going to sit here and pee on each others’ shoes for the rest of our adult lives? " Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE), on what motivated him to try to save the filibuster, Politico, 4/8.
Sens. Bob Casey (D-PA) and Bill Nelson (D-FL), who face reelections next year in states with similarly narrow victories by President Trump, had almost the same amount of money in their war chests at the end of the March. Casey’s had nearly $3.8 million, while Nelson touted $3.6 million in the bank.