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April 13, 2021
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What the Data Says About Two Top-Tier Senate GOP Recruiting Targets

Govs. Chris Sununu (R-N.H.) and Doug Ducey (R-Ariz.) have been floated as star recruits in the GOP’s effort to wrest control of the Senate from Democrats next year. While Morning Consult Political Intelligence tracking suggests Sununu is the stronger potential candidate, strategists involved in the states believe those dynamics could change as the GOP looks to unseat two relatively popular Democratic incumbents.


At this stage, Sununu is more popular than Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.). Still, natural partisanship and thorny federal issues could challenge that were he to enter the Senate contest. Ducey is less popular than Sen. Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.), but the latter is entering a challenging period as Democrats in Washington move past their popular COVID-19 relief legislation.


Click here to dig into the data and my reporting on how this dynamic is playing out in the two states.


Top Stories

  • Out of an “abundance of caution,” officials at the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention called for an immediate pause in use of Johnson & Johnson’s coronavirus vaccine after six U.S. women ages of 18 to 48 developed a disorder involving blood clots after receiving the single-dose drug. Almost 7 million people have received the company’s COVID-19 vaccine, and some 9 million more doses have been shipped to the states, making it a key part of the Biden administration’s mass vaccination campaign. (The New York Times)
  • President Joe Biden announced two nominees to lead the Department of Homeland Security’s key immigration agencies. Ur Jaddou, who worked at the immigration advocacy group America’s Voice and served as U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services counsel during the Obama administration, will be nominated as USCIS director and Tucson Police Chief Chris Magnus of Arizona will be tapped to head U.S. Customs and Border Protection. (Roll Call)
  • Biden tapped Christine Wormuth to be Army secretary. If confirmed by the Senate, the former top policy official at the Defense Department during the Obama administration would be the first woman to hold the civilian role overseeing the military branch. (Politico)
  • Biden met for nearly two hours with a bipartisan group of lawmakers as he sought to lure Republican support for his infrastructure plan. Senate Commerce Committee ranking member Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), who was in attendance, said Biden was “highly engaged” during the meeting, but the tax increases included in his plan will be “almost impossible to sell.” (Politico)

Chart Review


Events Calendar (All Times Local)

Tuesday, April 13
Sen. Scott participates in Washington Post online event Read More 9:00 am
Rep. Smith participates in Reagan Institute online event on defense spending Read More 9:00 am
Schumer, Pelosi hold press conference on anti-Asian hate Read More 10:00 am
IRS commissioner testifies to Senate Finance Committee Read More 10:00 am
Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee holds hearing on racial discrimination in housing Read More 10:00 am
CNN hosts online event on Biden and the border Read More 10:00 am
Capitol memorial service for slain Capitol Police officer Read More 10:30 am
White House Council of Economic Advisers chair participates in Hamilton Project online event on rethinking unemployment insurance and housing support Read More 10:30 am
The Washington Post hosts online event on COVID-19 vaccines and variants Read More 11:00 am
Senate session Read More 12:00 pm
White House press secretary holds briefing Read More 12:30 pm
Vice President Harris participates in event on Black women’s maternal health Read More 12:30 pm
Michigan governor participates in Washington Post online event Read More 1:30 pm
Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs subcommittee holds hearing on student debt Read More 2:30 pm
Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation subcommittee holds hearing on travel and tourism during COVID-19 Read More 3:00 pm
Sen. Paul participates in Heritage Foundation online event on election laws Read More 4:00 pm
The White House Historical Association hosts online event on George Washington Read More 5:00 pm
Georgetown Institute of Politics & Public Service hosts online event on election integrity Read More 5:30 pm
House session Read More 7:00 pm
Wednesday, April 14
Senate Intelligence Committee holds global threats hearing Read More 10:00 am
Senate Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs committee holds hearing on the COVID-19 response Read More 10:00 am
Agriculture secretary testifies to House appropriations subcommittee Read More 10:00 am
House Energy & Commerce subcommittee holds hearing on substance abuse Read More 10:30 am
Washington governor participates in The Hill online event on the environment Read More 11:30 am
Fed chair participates in Economic Club of Washington, D.C., online event Read More 12:00 pm
Sen. Gillibrand participates in Axios online event Read More 12:30 pm
House Natural Resources Committee holds hearing on Puerto Rico statehood Read More 1:00 pm
Reps. Rush, Westerman participate in The Hill online event on energy Read More 1:30 pm
Joint Economic Committee holds hearing on COVID-19 vaccinations and economic recovery Read More 2:30 pm
Sen. Carper, AFL-CIO president participate in The Hill online event on sustainability Read More 4:00 pm
View Full Calendar

What Else You Need To Know

White House & Administration

Biden picks former New Jersey attorney general to lead DEA
Dan Diamond and Devlin Barrett, The Washington Post

President Biden has selected Anne Milgram, a former state attorney general, prosecutor and longtime advocate for reform of the criminal justice system, to lead the Drug Enforcement Administration, the White House announced on Monday.


Biden Names N.S.A. Veteran to Be First National Cyber Director
Michael D. Shear and Julian E. Barnes, The New York Times

President Biden said on Monday that he would nominate Chris Inglis, a 28-year veteran of the National Security Agency, to be the first national cyber director, choosing a longtime proponent of doing more to harden government and industry computer systems against hacks and other online intrusions.


Number of unaccompanied migrant children in Customs and Border Protection custody falls 45%
Priscilla Alvarez, CNN

The number of unaccompanied minors in US Customs and Border Protection custody, akin to jail-like conditions, has dropped 45%, according to the latest government data, amid an ongoing effort by the Biden administration to find suitable spaces to accommodate kids after facing scrutiny for overcrowded facilities.


After Nuclear Site Blackout, Thunder From Iran, and Silence From U.S.
Patrick Kingsley et al., The New York Times

The last time the centrifuges crashed at Iran’s underground nuclear fuel-production center at Natanz, more than a decade ago, the sabotage was the result of a joint Israeli-American cyberattack intended to slow Tehran’s progress toward nuclear weapons and force a diplomatic negotiation.


Taliban Back Out of Turkey Talks, Dealing a Blow to Afghanistan Peace Efforts
Jessica Donati and Nancy A. Youssef, The Wall Street Journal

International efforts to broker a peace settlement in Afghanistan suffered a setback on Monday after the Taliban backed out of participating in a U.S.-backed summit that was slated to start later this week in Turkey, officials said.


U.S. reaches agreements with Mexico, Honduras and Guatemala to increase enforcement against migration
Michael D. Shear, The New York Times

The Biden administration announced Monday that it had reached agreements with the governments of Mexico, Honduras and Guatemala for those countries to increase enforcement against migration toward the United States border.


Biden weighs Ken Salazar for ambassador to Mexico
Hans Nichols, Axios

The Biden administration is vetting Ken Salazar, a former senator and Interior secretary, to serve as U.S. ambassador to Mexico, Axios has learned.


Biden keeping Trump’s pick for Moscow ambassador in place
Kylie Atwood and Kevin Liptak, CNN

The Biden administration recently decided to keep the Trump-appointed US ambassador on the job in Moscow for the foreseeable future, two senior administration officials told CNN, demonstrating a willingness to nurture areas of stability in the US-Russia relationship after it got off to a tumultuous start.


Kenneth Polite, former New Orleans U.S. attorney, gets nod for top Justice Department post
Matt Sledge, NOLA.com

Kenneth Polite, who formerly served as U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Louisiana, is being nominated to one of the highest ranking positions in the U.S. Department of Justice, the White House said Monday.


Biden DOJ refuses to release key Trump admin documents about zero tolerance family separation policy
Jacob Soboroff and Julia Ainsley, NBC News

The Justice Department has refused to disclose key documents from the Trump administration’s planning of the “zero tolerance” policy that separated thousands of migrant families at the U.S. border, according to a document filed in a class action lawsuit in Arizona late Friday.


Republicans pray for truce after Trump attacks on McConnell
Burgess Everett and Marianne Levine, Politico

Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell’s relationship simply can’t go on like this for Senate Republicans.


Democrats dare GOP to filibuster Asian American hate crimes bill
Nicholas Wu et al., Politico

Senate Republicans are weighing whether to mount the first official filibuster of the new Congress — a move that would re-ignite debate over whether the minority has too much power to block most bills.


Clyde says he will take magnetometer fine matter to federal court
Chris Marquette, Roll Call

Rep. Andrew Clyde says he will go to federal court to fight $15,000 in fines he incurred for dodging security screening at the entrance to the House floor.


‘Felt like a setup’: WhatsApp chat shows Gaetz ally scrambling to contain fallout
Marc Caputo et al., Politico

The feds were closing in. And Rep. Matt Gaetz’s friend, Joel Greenberg, was in a panic.


GOP senators seek FBI investigation into Biden Pentagon nominee
Brett Samuels, The Hill

A group of 18 Republican senators on Tuesday wrote to FBI Director Christopher Wray seeking an investigation into President Biden’s nominee for a top role in the Pentagon over whether he disclosed or solicited classified information after leaving his government job in the Obama administration.


Dem pollsters acknowledge ‘major errors’ in 2020 polling
Steven Shepard, Politico

A group of top Democratic Party pollsters are set to release a public statement Tuesday acknowledging “major errors” in their 2020 polling — errors that left party officials stunned by election results that failed to come close to expectations in November.


Subpoenaing the Brookings Institution, Durham Focuses on Trump-Russia Dossier
Charlie Savage and Adam Goldman, The New York Times

Exiled from Twitter, former President Donald J. Trump issued a sarcastic statement recently inquiring about the ongoing public silence from John H. Durham, the special counsel who has been investigating the Trump-Russia inquiry since May 2019.


U.S. Budget Deficit Widened to a Record $1.7 Trillion for Six Months, as Stimulus Checks Fueled Spending
John McCormick, The Wall Street Journal

The U.S. budget deficit grew to a record $1.7 trillion in the first half of the fiscal year as a third round of stimulus payments sent federal spending soaring last month.


Can Ukraine deploy U.S.-made weapons against the Russians?
Lara Seligman and Natasha Bertrand, Politico

As Russia amasses the highest number of troops on Ukraine’s border since 2014, the question for Kyiv now becomes: Is it time to start putting U.S.-made weapons in the field?


Protest after chief says officer meant to use Taser, not gun
Mohamed Ibrahim and Mike Householder, The Associated Press

Police clashed with protesters for a second night in the Minneapolis suburb where an officer who authorities say apparently intended to fire a Taser, not a handgun, fatally shot a Black man during a traffic stop.


Trump Says New York Tax Law Doesn’t Apply Because He’s Not President
Joe Schneider, Bloomberg

Donald Trump said a New York law enabling Congress to ask for his state tax returns no longer applies because he isn’t president.


Former N.C. governor expected to launch Senate bid this week
James Arkin, Politico

Pat McCrory, the former Republican governor of North Carolina, is planning to launch his campaign for the state’s open Senate seat this week, according to people familiar with his plans.


Charles Booker launches exploratory committee to consider challenge to Rand Paul
John Bowden, The Hill

Former Kentucky state Rep. Charles Booker (D) launched an exploratory committee Monday to examine the possibility of challenging Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) for the state’s U.S. Senate seat as Paul faces reelection next year.


The GOP’s fundraising is ticking back up—but there’s a price
Kirk A. Bado, National Journal

Downballot Republicans have struggled to keep pace with their Democratic counterparts in campaign contributions, especially when it comes to the increasingly important online donations that powered the Democrats’ green path to the House majority in 2018.


Nikki Haley says she’ll support and not challenge Trump if he runs in 2024
Paul LeBlanc, CNN

Former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley on Monday said she would back her onetime boss, former President Donald Trump, if he decides to run for the Republican Party’s presidential nomination again in 2024 and not mount a bid against him.


Pro-Trump attorney Lin Wood makes chaotic appearance in Charleston ahead of SC GOP chair bid
Thomas Novelly, The Post and Courier

Chaos erupted at the Charleston County GOP meeting when attorney Lin Wood pushed conspiracy theories that Donald Trump won the 2020 election.


Michigan’s Plea for More Vaccines Is Rejected by Biden Team
Fiona Rutherford, Bloomberg

The Biden administration on Monday put Michigan’s Democratic governor on notice that her plea for more vaccine to be sent to the state isn’t going to happen, despite a surging Covid-19 outbreak there.


Virginia attorney general launches civil rights probe of Black Army officer’s violent traffic stop
Laura Vozzella and Justin Jouvenal, The Washington Post

Virginia Attorney General Mark R. Herring (D) on Monday said he had launched a broad civil rights probe of the police officers and department involved in the violent traffic stop of a Black Army officer.


‘Bond Girl’ Talk and Groping: Albany’s Toxic Culture for Women
Sydney Ember et al., The New York Times

A legislative aide in New York’s state capital grabbed the thigh of a lobbyist so hard at a fund-raiser that he left finger-shaped bruises on her skin. A top official at a state agency projected a picture of a colleague in a bikini for all to see in a meeting she was attending.


Executives Call for Deep Emission Cuts to Combat Climate Change
Lisa Friedman, The New York Times

More than 300 businesses, including Google, McDonalds and Walmart, are pushing the Biden administration to nearly double the United States’ target for cuts to planet-warming emissions ahead of an April 22 global summit on climate change.


Hot-button issues from voting rights to tax hikes redraw the lines in corporate America
Taylor Telford and Jena McGregor, The Washington Post

The nation’s top business leaders are pushing back against President Biden’s plans to raise corporate taxes to pay for his infrastructure plan, as corporate America wades further into a growing number of hot-button policies that put it at odds, by turns, with lawmakers and stakeholders, and test the development of its public voice.


Top private law firms plan ‘SWAT teams’ to fight voting restrictions in court
Jane C. Timm, NBC News

First, it was the businesses. Now, it’s the bar.

Opinions, Editorials and Perspectives

Bipartisanship on Infrastructure Is Possible Unless It’s ‘My Way or the Highway’
Rep. Sam Graves (R-Mo.) and Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Ill.), Morning Consult

Infrastructure is a hot issue in Washington, and it’s one that every American can relate to. During the COVID pandemic, even with much of our day-to-day travel curtailed, our transportation network and workers have kept the economy moving, bringing critical goods and services to our doorsteps.


Presidential ‘fast starts’ come with electoral risk
Stuart Rothenberg, Roll Call

“President Donald Trump is off to a fast start,” I wrote in a Jan. 30, 2017, column for Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales, before warning that the same “aggressiveness could produce the same sort of reaction that Barack Obama’s fast start did in 2009: It could lead to a midterm election in which voters apply the brakes.”


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