Fri. May 24th, 2024

Moderate Republicans prepare to fend off challenges from the right: From the Politics Desk

By 37ci3 Apr23,2024



Welcome to the online version of From the policy deskevening bulletin that brings you the latest reporting and analysis from the campaign trail, the White House and Capitol Hill from the NBC News Politics team.

In today’s edition, national political reporter Bridget Bowman focuses on moderate House Republicans facing major challenges from the right in the coming weeks. Plus, national political reporter Steve Kornacki explains how high voter turnout could boost Donald Trump this fall.

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Pennsylvania’s primary offers an early test for GOP moderates facing threats from the right

By Bridget Bowman

Speaker Mike Johnson is not the only Republican facing threats from the right. Tuesday’s Pennsylvania primaries kick off another round of intra-party battles this election cycle between GOP lawmakers and opponents who argue those lawmakers aren’t conservative enough.

Brian Fitzpatrick, Pennsylvania’s 1st District, is seeking to defeat anti-abortion activist Mark Hawke in the AKP primary. Primary battles are nothing new for Fitzpatrick, who has fended off opponents from the right since being elected in 2016.


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Fitzpatrick, a former FBI agent, built a bipartisan brand that helped him land a competitive seat in the Philadelphia suburbs that President Joe Biden is carrying in 2020. But this year, Fitzpatrick and allied foreign groups hit the airwaves. Acquiring Houck is a sign they view him as a bigger threat than Fitzpatrick has faced in the past.

Two other moderate House Republicans — Rep. Don Bacon of Nebraska, who represents the district Biden won, and Tony Gonzalez of Texas — will face primary challengers next month.

Outside groups also got involved in the races, with the Congressional Leadership Foundation, a super PAC aligned with House leadership, and its nonprofit arm the American Action Network boosting all three Republicans.

In Bacon’s competitive 2nd District, the four-term congressman faces businessman Dan Frei in the state’s May 14 primary. Frei has some grassroots support and won the endorsement of the Nebraska Republican Party in January. (State party did not support any incumbents this year the Nebraska Examiner reported).

In southwest Texas’ sprawling 23rd District, which leans heavily toward Republicans, Gonzalez will face YouTuber Brandon Herrera, a self-proclaimed “Second Amendment activist,” in a May 28 primary runoff. In 2022, he supported a bipartisan gun control measure after the mass school shooting in Uvalde, his district. This vote won him over criticism from the state GOP.

Even if Fitzpatrick, Bacon and Gonzalez win their primaries, the early spending by their campaigns and allies is good news for Democrats, who want to see these Republicans empty their campaign accounts ahead of tough battles in November. Incumbents have been tough targets for Democrats in the past and may be difficult to win again this year, but first they need to win their primaries.

Read more about what to watch in tonight’s Pennsylvania primary →


Trump trial, Day 6: Witness details abusive stories, judge addresses controversy over gag order

by Katherine Doyle

Testimony in Donald Trump’s historic silence case continued on Tuesdayprosecutors urged the court to hold the former president in contempt for attacking witnesses and others, and former tabloid impresario David Packer returned to the stand with details linking Trump’s circle to a series of derogatory stories.

Here’s what happened Day 6 of Trump’s trial:

Peker returned to the stand: Packer, a former publisher of the National Enquirer, described giving instructions to implement the deal with Trump to help the 2016 campaign. Packer said the Enquirer “embellished” stories about some of Trump’s opponents at the request of Michael Cohen. including a cloth about Senator Ted Cruz’s father’s involvement in the assassination of John F. Kennedy.

The publication “mashed photos” of Lee Harvey Oswald and Cruz’s father, Packer said, admitting that the article, which Trump cited repeatedly during the campaign, was a fabrication.

The seller reserved its decision on the plug order: The attorney for the district attorney’s office argued that Trump “appears” to be arrested by knowingly and repeatedly violating the gag order.

Prosecutors had sought contempt for Trump for attacking witnesses and others in the case, saying they did not want him jailed but fined for at least 10 violations.

Trump’s lawyer, Todd Blanche, said they were “trying to comply” with the gag order. “President Trump is being very careful,” he said.

Judge Juan Mercan said: “You lose all credibility before the court.”

Read more here →


Why Republicans, not Democrats, should be hoping for a high turnout this fall

By Steve Kornacki

Although he is ahead of Joe Biden by 2 points, there is a clear caveat for Donald Trump. our latest NBC News poll: He’s counting on supporters who can’t actually vote this November.

Our pollsters were able to cross-check many (though not all) respondents with their voter registration information. This allows them to see which respondents in the election actually voted and how often they did so. When this data was applied to the Biden-Trump race, some notable differences emerged:

As you can see, Trump does best with people who won’t vote in either the 2022 midterms or the 2020 presidential election. And he’s ahead of Biden among those who voted in 2020 but skipped the midterms. Trump is trailing Biden in only those who participated in both elections.

The good news for Trump is that in both the 2016 and 2020 elections, he has shown an ability to turn out otherwise politically disengaged voters: they support Trump when he’s on the ballot, but seem indifferent to Republican candidates. in other elections. It’s a good bet that the vast majority of such voters will be at the polls this fall.

And of course, it’s true that presidential elections usually attract many people who don’t follow politics closely or vote for the first time. So if voter turnout this November approaches 2020’s record-breaking levels of nearly 160 million votes cast, it would likely indicate that most respondents who did not vote in 2022 or 2020 actually did. time – this would bode well for Trump.

But here’s where he has a warning for Trump. When asked about their level of interest in this year’s elections, 64% said it was very high. That’s actually the lowest level our survey has found at around this point in the presidential campaign since we started asking the question in 2008.

When it comes to predicting potential turnout differences among each party’s base, it can be a much more imprecise indicator than November. (In fact, Trump is actually 2 points ahead of those who say they have very high interest.) But what this does highlight is that turnout is actually likely to be much lower this year than in the past. in 2020.

Just look at the consistently strong Democratic performances to see the problem this could pose for Trump last special election — most notably the party’s 8-point victory in February to fill former New York GOP Rep. George Santos’ Long Island seat. This margin was larger than many expected and talked about strong motivation of the core segment Democratic base: college-educated suburbanites.

These voters have proven their determination to vote against Trump and his party at every opportunity. In low-turnout situations like snap elections, this enthusiasm can be decisive. In very high activity environments, less. So the lower the turnout this November than it was in 2020, the more effective these deeply committed voters will be.

This reverses conventional wisdom: this time it’s Trump and Republicans who are hoping for a high turnout.



🗞️ The best stories of the day

  • 👮 Wray weight: FBI Director Christopher Wray told NBC News in an exclusive interview that the agency is working with college campuses to “stay ahead” of potential violence amid anti-Semitic threats and protests over the Israel-Hamas war. More →
  • 😨 RFK Jr. concerns about: Despite public statements that Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s independent candidacy would hurt Biden, Trump has privately raised questions about how it could affect his own campaign. More →
  • Another obstacle has been removed: The Senate voted to advance a $95 billion package that would aid Ukraine and include a provision that could lead to a nationwide ban on TikTok. The measure is expected to clear a final vote in the chamber before heading to Biden’s desk Tuesday night. More →
  • ☀️ Florida, Florida, Florida: Biden He performed in Florida today, he blamed the state’s six-week abortion ban on Trump. Politico does an in-depth investigation into how Democrats don’t think they can win the Sunshine State, but instead want to use it as a “cautionary tale” for GOP policies. More →
  • 🌵 Another flip? Arizona Republican Senate candidate Kari Lake has opposed the state’s almost complete abortion ban, telling an Idaho news outlet that Arizona officials “unfortunately” will not enforce the ban. More →
  • ⚖️ Juveniles in court: Some New York teenagers decided not to sleep in on their Easter break, instead going to the Manhattan courthouse to see Trump’s silent money trial up close. More →

For now, that’s it from The Politics Desk. If you have feedback – like it or not – send us an email politicsnewsletter@nbcuni.com

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