Sun. May 19th, 2024

Self-funded candidates roil congressional races: From the Politics Desk

By 37ci3 May7,2024



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, we dive into the flow of self-funded money that wealthy candidates are pouring into congressional campaigns across the country. Plus, senior political editor Mark Murray enters the veepstakes.

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Rich people are spending more than ever to run for Congress. A big challenge is coming to Maryland.

By Ben Kamisar

Wealthy office-seekers spent more of their own money last year running for Congress than ever before. Now the biggest hurdle is facing an important one.

Democratic Rep. David Trone has given more than $57 million of his own money to his Maryland Senate campaign ahead of next week’s primary election. But he’s not alone: ​​Self-funded congressional candidates gave their campaigns $131 million in 2023, more than in any other single year going back to at least 2003, according to an NBC News review of campaign finance reports.


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Taking in nearly $37 million from Trone last year alone, it’s part of a recent outburst by wealthy candidates that has fundamentally changed the way campaigns are won and lost — and perhaps made it harder than ever for the not-so-wealthy to get it. Washington because candidates are not bound by donation limits and can give unlimited amounts to their campaigns.

The trend affects everything from open-seat primaries for deep red or blue districts to Senate races across the country.

Trone continues to spend heavily to win the Democratic primary to unseat retiring Sen. Ben Cardi, ahead of a costly November battle with former Gov. Larry Hogan, a Republican. Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks, who has the support of some of Maryland’s most prominent Democrats but was outscored 9-1 by Trone, is also running hard for the Democratic nomination.

More →


The courtroom where Trump is on trial is becoming a test of strength for the former president and judge

By Peter Nicholas

The remarkable aspect of Donald Trump’s criminal trial is the no-nonsense approach of Judge Juan Merca and the extent to which he – and he alone – controls the proceedings.

The judge is the judge in the courtroom, not the former president. Merchan continued Monday’s court by wishing Trump “Good morning.” That was perhaps the only kind word from former Trump Organization comptroller Jeffrey McConney in hours of testimony.

When the judge entered the courtroom, Trump stood with everyone else. When the judge sat down, Trump sat down. As the jurors spoke during a break, they avoided eye contact with the famous defendant, who stood silently as they passed.

All of this is normal protocol for a criminal trial. However, it became known that the protocol would fall apart when Trump was indicted.

The judge in the January defamation trial, Lewis Kaplan, threatened to eject Trump from the courtroom after the former president’s accuser, E. Jean Carroll, made vocal comments during his testimony. The judge told Trump at one point to “keep his voice down.”

Merchan minimizes theatrics. He pleaded guilty to a $1,000 fine at the start of Monday’s proceedings, marking Trump’s 10th violation of the gag order.

Fines are not an effective deterrent, Merchan warned, so the stakes have been raised. Additional violations could land Trump in prison, the judge said.

“The last thing I want to do is put you in jail,” Merchan said. “You are a former president of the United States and you may be the next president.”

Trump just sat and listened.

Read more about Trump’s trial here →


It’s VP audition time and the candidates are imitating Trump

By Mark Murray

Senator Tim Scott, RSC, voted to confirm the results of the 2020 election, and he supported a 15-week federal abortion ban during his short-term presidential bid.

But “Meet the Press” Scott on Sunday refused to say he would accept the results of the 2024 election regardless of who wins, and he reiterated Donald Trump’s position that abortion policy should be left up to the states, not Congress — a position Scott criticized during the GOP primary debates.

North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum, who is running for president on CNN the same day “Small Town Values” He assessed Trump’s criminal trial in New York as “politically motivated”.

Welcome to VP audition time as the possible candidates — Scott, Burgum, Fla. Sen. Marco Rubio, South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem and others flooded the Sunday shows after appearing at a key donor party for Trump.

And they largely mimicked Trump’s rhetoric and defended his controversial positions.

“Donald Trump broke the policy. I think that’s a good thing,” Noem told CBS News. “We’re not going back to the days of Mitt Romney or the Bushes because there’s a new way to talk and talk to the American people, and they appreciate it.”

Rubio, who later ran against Trump in the 2016 presidential election, also commented on Trump’s legal problems: “What we’re seeing right now across the country is the weaponization of our criminal justice system.”

There’s more from Burgum, who conceded that Joe Biden won the 2020 presidential election but added that there were “irregularities” in the election.

CNN: Do you believe Joe Biden will win the 2020 election?

BURGUM: I believe that Joe Biden won the 2020 election, but I also based on the number of votes, but I think that because of Covid, there were a lot of violations because we changed a lot of rules in certain places, in certain precincts, in certain states.

All of this underscores how Trump has transformed today’s Republican Party, from his platform to the actual Republican officials. Look no further than how the various VP candidates are unwilling to contradict the GOP’s presumptive presidential nominee — even on issues they’ve differed on in the past.



🗞️ The best stories of the day

  • 📱On the phone: Biden spoke with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday amid cease-fire talks, and Hamas later announced it had accepted the cease-fire offer. More →
  • 🤫 Behind closed doors: GOP donors gathered in Palm Beach, Fla., over the weekend, and Trump campaign officials He filed suit to target Minnesota and Virginia . During the closed-door retreat, Trump also discussed his legal troubles and accused Biden of running a “Gestapo administration.” More →
  • 🐘Whatley weighs : Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Whatley sat down with NBC News in Palm Beach and made a push to oust Speaker Mike Johnson, push for more Republicans to embrace early and mail-in voting and challenge the 2024 election results. More →
  • 🤝To attack: After Republicans blocked a bipartisan border security bill this year, Democrats are planning a new immigration strategy, considering possible executive actions and planning to force Republicans in Congress to take some tough votes. More →
  • 🤠 Missing all the hats and cattle?: Montana’s Senate race will help decide control of the Senate, and Democrats are counting on it use a familiar playbook Against Republican Tim Sheehy and a focus on public lands. Sheehy is among the wealthy candidates Senate Republicans have hired this election cycle, and The Associated Press is investigating how they face scrutiny over their residences and backgrounds. More →
  • ⛰️Back to the Granite State: Former New Hampshire GOP Sen. Kelly Ayotte is seeking a political comeback, this time as the Granite State’s next governor. And his run drew more attention to his time in the corporate world after losing a 2016 Senate race. More →
  • 🏃🏼He runs: Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., announced Monday that he will seek a fourth term. More →
  • 🗣️Speaking of speeches: Biden’s speeches have become noticeably shorter recently as his campaign tries to sharpen its message to voters. More →

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

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