McConnell warns about Senate GOP 'candidate quality'
Judge open to partial release of Mar-a-Lago investigation details
Also in today’s edition of “Regular Order” for August 19, 2022:
GOP group plunges big money into Ohio Senate race.
Georgia’s Governor fights a subpoena in Trump probe.
August brings some far-flung CODEL trips.
SENATE. While Republicans are busy predicting that the GOP will take over both houses of Congress in November's midterm elections, Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell was downplaying such expectations for the Senate - and basically pointing the finger at some of the candidates backed by Donald Trump.
MCCONNELL. In remarks to a Chamber of Commerce lunch in northern Kentucky, McConnell refused to forecast a Red Wave in the Senate. "I think there is probably a greater likelihood the House flips than the Senate," McConnell said. "Candidate quality has a lot to do with the outcome."
CANDIDATE QUALITY. McConnell didn't go into detail on where he thinks the GOP might be lacking in candidate quality, but you could probably start with Pennsylvania and Ohio, and add in Georgia and Arizona where the GOP candidate has already had issues.
KEYSTONE. Pennsylvania might be the biggest problem right now for the GOP, as polls show Dr. Mehmet Oz far behind. His issues this week have been how many homes he owns and a video where he botched the name of the grocery store he was in while talking about the rising price of crudité.
RED WAVE. This year, the midterm table should be tilted in favor of the GOP. But we’re not seeing that in a lot of polls for Senate races. Could the polling be off? Sure it could. But you’re saying Fox News polling has a liberal bias?
OHIO SENATE. Republicans had pretty much banked on winning the U.S. Senate race in Ohio this year. But since Donald Trump's candidate J.D. Vance won the GOP primary, things have stalled. Vance has run a very quiet campaign, and now McConnell’s Senate Leadership Fund will pour $28 million in ads into Ohio.
VANCE. The Vance bid reminds me of the campaign run by Rep. Jody Hice (R-GA), who lost a primary for Georgia Secretary of State. It almost seemed like Hice banked on the idea that a Trump endorsement was all that was needed. Hice didn’t come close to winning.
RYAN. Vance is running against Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH), who has spent this summer running ads unopposed on the air, going after Vance as an elitist. Again - this is not a race the GOP should have been worried about in a midterm year where momentum is in favor of Republicans.
TRUMP’S GOP. The Republican Party hasn’t really been focused on inflation or the economy for much of the past six weeks — instead, it’s mainly been about Donald Trump again. This isn't 1994 and the Contract with America, as Trump’s return has muddled the midterm message of the GOP. More from my column in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
REGULAR ORDER. We welcome back our weekly readers today. Please think about upgrading to a daily subscription - or give the gift of straight news to someone you know. You can support my independent reporting from Capitol Hill, and keep the three Dupree kids in line.
COVID RELIEF. When Democrats and President Biden pushed through $350 billion in aid for state and local governments as part of a COVID aid package, they probably never imagined that a GOP Governor would use that money to hand out checks just before the 2022 elections. Ladies and gentlemen, let me present - the state of Georgia.
KEMP. There is nothing illegal about what Gov. Brian Kemp (R) is doing in Georgia. He has the power to dole out unused COVID relief funds, and this $1.2 billion plan gives $350 relief checks to 3 million state residents who receive Medicaid, food stamps, or welfare payments in Georgia.
OPPOSITION. Obviously, we must note that Republicans bitterly opposed the COVID relief plan in Congress. And Kemp was one of those GOP officials. But now - he's using that exact tub of money as he sees fit, 12 weeks before Election Day. That's what I call the power of incumbency.
JUST SAYING. Imagine a Democratic Governor, a Democratic Congress, or a Democratic President handing out $350 checks right now. What kind of reception would that get from the GOP? Comment below.
TRUMP RAID. A federal judge in Florida gave the Justice Department until next Thursday to file possible redactions to the affidavit used to get a search warrant at Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate. It wasn't immediately clear how much material would be made public by Judge Bruce Reinhart.
TRUMP LEGAL. As for Trump's lawyers, they remained silent on the matter, not filing any motions to agree or disagree with the effort to unseal the affidavit - which would be a highly unusual move in any investigation.
GOP. The number of social media posts from Congressional Republicans about Trump's situation has definitely dwindled in recent days. But there are still die hard supporters. "The FBI RAIDED Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home to try to destroy him - end of story," tweeted Rep. Brian Babin (R-TX).
GEORGIA. Lawyers for the GOP Governor of Georgia now have a court date for next week, as Gov. Brian Kemp (R) tries to get out of a subpoena for his testimony about Donald Trump's efforts to reverse his election loss in 2020. The hearing is set for 10:30 am on August 25.
KEMP. I'll say this again about Gov. Kemp - he has managed to say almost nothing in public about what he saw and heard after the 2020 election in Georgia. Investigators want to know if Trump or Trump associates contacted him in a bid to overturn Joe Biden's win in Georgia.
TESTIMONY. Kemp was supposed to testify this week, but a long simmering fight with investigators boiled over yesterday, as Kemp asked a judge to quash his subpoena. The 121 page document is pretty interesting.
PORT BACKLOG. While cargo is moving better through the Port of Los Angeles in recent months, the Port of Oakland is having trouble - and that's causing concern in California wine country. Witness a letter sent this week by Rep. Mike Thompson (D-CA) to the Golden State Governor.
LETTER. The problem is not shipping wine out - but getting cargo containers to wineries in Northern California, in order to deliver barrels to hold wine products. "I have been told that between 20,000 and 30,000 barrels are waiting to be released," Thompson wrote.
BOTTLES. I'm also told some California wineries have had problems with the supply of glass bottles. It's a reminder of how messed up supply chains have caused problems for all sorts of U.S. industries - and caused inflationary price spikes as well.
MRS. GREENE OF GEORGIA. One issue that a number of conservatives have hotly opposed in recent months is sex change surgery for children. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) said Thursday that she's introducing a bill to outlaw such procedures.
SURGERY BAN. "My legislation would immediately make it a felony to subject children to puberty blockers or horrific 'sex change' genital surgeries," Greene said last night.
UKRAINE. While the White House is reportedly ready to announce additional military aid for Ukraine as soon as today, we have to note one crowdfunding effort to help Ukraine's military fight off a Russian invasion. Some people have raised money for drones, guns, night vision goggles, and more. But how about a satellite?
ICEYE. One group has ponied up enough money to a satellite company in Finland to provide Ukraine's military with high-quality satellite imaging multiple times per day. This is not your grandfather's war.
CODEL. After visiting Taiwan earlier this week, a bipartisan delegation led by Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) made a stop in Phnom Penh. I don’t know of too many trips by lawmakers to Cambodia.
MOZAMBIQUE. If you think going to Cambodia is a far-flung destination for members of Congress, Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) showed up in Mozambique this week.
MUSE OF HISTORY. August 19, 1842. One can only imagine the sticky nature of the U.S. Capitol building on this date - pre air conditioning. It was also a testy day as lawmakers wrestled with major tariff legislation. "The excitement and confusion were very great throughout the House," the Congressional Globe noted, along with a "tremendous cry of 'order, order.'" The Chair at one point recognized 'the gentleman from Pennsylvania' - but three members from the Keystone State were all trying to get recognized. "Hats off - down in front," said Rep. Samson Mason of Ohio, as the House was unable to agree on a tariff bill.
The House next has votes on September 13.
The Senate next has votes on September 6.
President Biden’s daily schedule link.
Follow me on Twitter @jamiedupree. Email me at email@example.com
As a Georgia resident, I’ll gladly cash a check if Gov. Kemp wants to send me one. I’m still voting for Stacey Abrams. Why? The heartbeat bill has now become law here and it’s poised to drive away medical professionals and new business. My friend, a bright former colleague (she and her husband, a tech guy, now live in Tennessee) explained it best to me this week: “I’ll be damned if my girls reach puberty living in Tennessee.” If abortion bans remain in red states, there’s no telling who will still be living there in a few years. The progressives with the means to do so, will quite possibly be gone. Here in Georgia, with our demos shifting so rapidly (thanks to an influx of new progressive residents), we still have a chance to NOT be Tennessee.
Very stupid voters want very stupid people to represent them. That's how the GOP ended up with the candidates they have.