Former president Barack Obama on Monday threw his support behind Andrew Gillum, the Democrats’ nominee for governor. Gillum, the mayor of Tallahassee, is a progressive who won an upset victory in the party’s primary and is running against a Trump-allied Republican, Ron DeSantis.
Will it help? Maybe. It’s no huge surprise that a Democratic former president would endorse a Democrat running for governor in a major state, but Obama twice won the state in 2008 and 2012, in contrast to the 2016 election when Donald Trump defeated Hillary Clinton there.
But he’s hardly alone. Obama’s 260 endorsements announced on Monday also included Ben Jealous, who is running for governor against an incumbent Republican in Maryland. Both men would be their state’s first black governor if elected. But Jealous’s campaign is running seriously behind.
Democrats to pursue Trump taxes if they win the House
Democrats are planning to use an obscure law to get hold of Trump’s tax returns if they win the House. The president memorably refused to release his taxes during the 2016 election, the first nominee in decades to do so, but lawmakers could now conceivably obtain and even release them if control of Congress changes.
How would it work? A century-old law allows the chairmen of Congress’s tax committees to look at anyone’s tax returns, Politico reported. Democrats say they would use the law to examine Trump’s documents. “Probably the approach would be to get all of it, review it and, depending on what that shows, release all or part of it,” Representative Lloyd Doggett of Texas told Politico.
A bigger question. How much confidential information could lawmakers release and would it end up going beyond Trump to other officials?
Trump kicks off midterms tour
Trump has kicked off a week of rallies in five states, seeking to shore up support for Republican congressional candidates in areas where he is popular. The rallies will go on all week and are likely to produce a flood of headlines.
What will it look like? Trump was his typically provocative self at a rally on Saturday in West Virginia, railing against sexual assault allegations that have imperiled his supreme court nominee Brett Kavanaugh as the work of a “horrible, horrible, radical group of Democrats”.
Hitting the base. Trump will be playing to his base, with stops scheduled in Johnson City, Tennessee, on Monday; Southaven, Mississippi, on Tuesday; Rochester, Minnesota, on Thursday; and Topeka, Kansas, on Saturday.
Poll of the day
A new poll shows the race between the New Jersey senator Bob Menendez and his Republican challenger Bob Hugin in a dead heat. Menendez leads with 45% to Hugin’s 43%, according to the Stockton University poll. The gap is within the poll’s margin of error.
What does it mean? It’s bad news for Democrats. The New Jersey seat should be a safe one for a Democratic incumbent: registered Democrats outnumber Republicans by a two-to-one margin, Hillary Clinton easily won the state over Donald Trump, and a Republican senator has not been elected there since 1972.
What’s happening? Menendez is vulnerable after he was charged and tried on corruption allegations. The case ended in a mistrial, but Menendez was reprimanded by a Senate ethics panel. If he loses, it will be a major setback to Democrats’ effort to take control of the Senate.
Ad of the day
New York’s Conservative party put out a radio ad urging voters to support the Republican nominee for governor, Marc Molinaro, by linking him to Trump. “Send a message that you stand with President Trump because there’s more to do to make America great again,” the ad says.
Will it help? It could actually hurt. By linking the Republican nominee to Trump, the ad does exactly what Molinaro himself has been scrupulously avoiding. In a state that voted overwhelmingly against its native son, Molinaro has distanced himself from many of Trump’s policies and pointed out that he did not vote for Trump.
Why is Andrew Cuomo smiling? The incumbent governor, Andrew Cuomo, on the other hand, has frequently derided his challenger as a Trump “mini-me”, and his campaign wasted no time seizing on the pro-Trump ad to argue Molinaro’s “extreme conservative views fly in the face of New York values”.
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