Tue. Jun 18th, 2024

The battle for the GOP’s future comes to Texas: From the Politics Desk

By 37ci3 May28,2024

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, deputy politics editor Adam Vollner looks at tonight’s Texas runoff primaries. Plus, national political reporter Steve Kornacki explains how polls show how a guilty verdict in Donald Trump’s trial could change the 2024 race.

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The battle for the future of the GOP is coming to Texas

By Adam Vollner

Texas is hosting a primary runoff election today that will settle intraparty infighting and shape the future of the GOP in the traditionally conservative stronghold.

If no candidate clears the 50% threshold in the March primary, the top two vote-getters advance to a runoff, meaning their general election matchups will be officially set later tonight.

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GOP congressman faces backlash from the right: So far, every member of Congress seeking re-election this cycle has won a primary — except for Alabama’s Republican primary. pitted two officials against each other other following redistribution. GOP Rep. Tony Gonzalez is hoping to continue that streak in Texas’ 23rd District as he takes on pro-gun YouTuber Brandon Herrera. NBC News’ Alexandra Marquez reports.

Gonzalez faced attacks from the right and was condemned by the state GOP After the 2022 Uvalde elementary school shooting on the U.S.-Mexico border, he voted for a new gun law and in favor of protecting same-sex marriage.

Herrera described himself as a “gun rights advocate” and an ally of former President Donald Trump, who did not vote in the primaries. Gonzalez’s allies point to Herrera’s veteran suicides and past comments about Nazi machine guns. In March, Gonzalez won 45% of the vote to Herrera’s 25%, but today’s contest is still expected to be close.

There are several other congressional primary runoff races worth watching. GOP loyalties are split in the race to replace Rep. Kay Granger in Texas’ 12th District, with Gov. Greg Abbott lining up behind state Rep. Craig Goldman and state Attorney General Ken Paxton behind business owner John O’Shea.

And in the 28th District, retired Navy SEAL Jay Furman and farmer Lazaro Garza are vying for a chance to face impeached Democratic Rep. Henry Cuellar this month. federal charges bribery and money laundering. The congressman has denied any wrongdoing.

Paxton’s Revenge Tour: Down the ballot, Paxton’s initial revenge tour he will end up trying to knock out Republican state lawmakers who voted to impeach him last year.

His main target is one of the most powerful Republicans in Texas: state House Speaker Dade Phelan, who oversaw the impeachment proceedings against Paxton on corruption charges. The state House of Representatives impeached Paxton, but the state Senate refused to impeach and remove him from office.

Phelan now faces a primary challenge from conservative activist David Covey, who is running a major campaign backed by Paxton and Trump. In the March primary, Covey received 46% of the vote to Phelan’s 43%.

Phelan is among eight GOP state House lawmakers forced into a runoff after completely losing nine primaries two months ago. Many were defeated by Paxton or Abbott because they opposed his school voucher program. NBC News’ Jane C. Timm reports.

Another notable example: Former Trump campaign spokeswoman Katrina Pierson is running against Republican state Rep. Justin Holland, backed by Abbott and Paxton.

Polls show that Trump’s guilty verdict will boost Biden. Here’s why it’s not a sure thing.

By Steve Kornacki

Dependent Trump’s trial in Manhattan the main question was what effect the ruling would have on the presidential race, or whether it would have any effect at all.

And a pre-sentence national poll shows a clear answer. Ourselves NBC News survey Looked at it in February. In a head-to-head matchup, Trump led Joe Biden 47% to 42%. But when voters were asked what they would do if Donald Trump was found guilty and convicted of a crime this year, Biden led 45% to 43%.

Recently, a A Yahoo News/YouGov poll last week It found Trump and Biden tied at 45%. But when voters were asked how they would react if Trump was convicted of a felony in the hush money scandal, Biden won by 7 points, 46% to 39%.

And this month’s Marquette Law School survey divided the respondents into two groups. One was asked how they would vote if “Donald Trump is found guilty in a New York court.” Biden led on this question 43-39%. Another group was asked what they would do if “Donald Trump is found innocent in a New York court.” They sided with Trump 44%-38%.

So that settles it, right?

An important caveat comes into play here: All of these findings are based on a hypothetical scenario. Voters were asked how they would react to a potential conviction or acquittal, but whether they would actually handle the verdict that way won’t be known until a verdict.

After all, things do not happen in a vacuum. Trump’s ruling is likely to generate a lot of controversy and high public profile from all corners. Mastering all of this can shape (or reshape) how voters feel about the verdict. While one verdict will dominate the news, many other politically charged battles will also gain public attention between now and November, potentially undermining any impact of this trial.

It is also necessary to pay attention to recent history. The past nine years have been marked by periodic outbursts of Trump-related political toxicity. As we saw with the release of the Access Hollywood tape in 2016 and the January 6 riots in 2021, these were often accompanied by rapid voter declines. However, in this and other cases, Trump’s numbers eventually returned to baseline.

Still, in a close race like this one, even a small change in polling could be decisive. So if Trump is convicted and there is a small group of supporters who leave his camp and eventually don’t come back, the impact could be seismic.

But that’s a lot of “ifs.”

Read more about closing arguments in Trump’s trial today →

🗞️ The best stories of the day

  • 👮 Biden surge? The Biden campaign will send three police officers who defended the Capitol during the Jan. 6 riots to the war zone ahead of next month’s debate. More →
  • 🗣️ Debate preparation: The two presumptive candidates are expected to take different approaches to preparing for next month’s presidential debate, with Biden preparing for his 2020 strategy and Trump engaging in more informal discussions. More →
  • 🗳️ Buckeye voting: Democrats plan to hold a virtual challenge to nominate Biden so he doesn’t miss Ohio’s ballot deadline. More →
  • 🌵 Abortion in Arizona: A potential ballot initiative to enshrine abortion rights in Arizona’s constitution has broad support in the battleground state, but that doesn’t mean support for Biden — at least not yet. More →
  • 🔕 Adjusted: The New York Times examines how “organized voters” might fare in the 2024 presidential race. More →
  • 👀 Not good: Trump endorsed a primary challenger, House Freedom Caucus Chairman Bob Goode, who supported Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis during the presidential election. More →
  • 🧗Up the ranks: Rep. Joe Neguse of Colorado quickly rose through the ranks of the Democratic caucus, and his colleagues took notice. More →
  • 🎙️ Meet Surrogates: Actor Robert De Niro clashed with Trump supporters outside the former president’s trial today, calling them “thugs” during a press conference organized by the Biden campaign. 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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