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Democrats Moderate to Win Back a Battleground House Seat
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Democrats Moderate to Win Back a Battleground House Seat

Plus: A mini Q&A with Rep. Nancy Pelosi.

Happy Wednesday! If you or someone you know has amassed a hefty fortune in Bitcoin, you can use it to give to the Trump campaign, which began accepting cryptocurrency as a form of donation Tuesday.

Up to Speed

  • Former President Donald Trump sparked (more) controversy after his Truth Social account posted and later deleted a video that had obscured text promising a “unified reich” if he is elected. In a video detailing hypothetical headlines in a possible second Trump term, smaller text reads: “INDUSTRIAL STRENGTH SIGNIFICANTLY INCREASED … DRIVEN BY THE CREATION OF A UNIFIED REICH.” A Trump spokeswoman said a person from outside the campaign created the video, and a staffer posted it to the former president’s account without seeing the controversial text while Trump was in court for his hush money trial. President Joe Biden called the text “Hitler’s language—not America’s” at a fundraiser in Boston Tuesday.
  • For the first time this election cycle, Trump’s campaign apparatus raised more money in a calendar month than Biden’s, reflecting a slowdown in fundraising for the Democratic president. The Trump campaign and its affiliated committees (which includes the Republican National Committee) raised a total of $76.2 million in April, compared to Biden and the Democratic National Committee bringing in just $51 million in the same period, according to the New York Times. Biden remains well ahead in cash on hand, $84.5 million to Trump’s $48 million.
  • Meanwhile the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee outraised its Republican counterpart in April with a record $12.4 million, compared to the National Republican Congressional Committee’s $10 million. That total contributed to the Democratic House campaign arm’s total cash on hand of $75.9 million compared to the $59.8 million for the Republican House arm. Democrats have also enjoyed a fundraising advantage in the presidential race as Donald Trump attempts to catch up to President Joe Biden while the former president also pays his legal bills.
  • Former Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, who is running as the Republican nominee for the state’s Senate seat, released his campaign’s first TV ad Tuesday, in which he promised to codify Roe v. Wade. “I’ll support legislation that makes Roe the law of the land, in every state, so every woman can make her own choice,” he said in the ad. His comments mirror those he gave to the New York Times last week, describing himself as “pro-choice.” Notably, however, he put himself to the right of his Democratic opponent Angela Alsobrooks, supporting a more moderate bill to codify Roe than the one she has called for. 
  • Republicans in West Virginia are considering pulling Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin into the state’s governor’s race, the local MetroNews reported Monday. Those encouraging Manchin to run are dissatisfied with the result of the state’s Republican primary last week, which saw Attorney General Patrick Morissey defeat former state Delegate Moore Capito (son of Sen. Shelley Moore Capito), whom Republican Senate nominee Gov. Jim Justice endorsed via his pet bulldog, Babydog. Manchin previously served as governor of the state from 2005 to 2010 before he won his Senate seat in a special election. He was reelected in 2012 and 2018, defeating Morissey in the latter cycle.

Oregon Dems Spurn a Progressive for a Key House Seat

Janelle Bynum talks with a voter (Photo Courtesy Janelle Bynum for Congress)
Janelle Bynum talks with a voter (Photo Courtesy Janelle Bynum for Congress)

Democratic primary voters in an Oregon swing House district overwhelmingly rejected their previous, far-left nominee Tuesday in favor of a more broadly appealing candidate to take on first-term Republican incumbent Rep. Lori Chavez-DeRemer. 

The suburban Portland district, which President Joe Biden won in 2020 by nearly 9 points, is a major target of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) as it seeks to retake the House this fall. Tuesday’s battle saw state Rep. Janelle Bynum defeat attorney Jamie McLeod-Skinner by 38 points in the Democratic primary, denying the more progressive McLeod-Skinner a rematch of her 2022 race with  Chavez-DeRemer. The Cook Political Report rates the November contest as a toss-up.

The DCCC supported Bynum in the primary, and—given her and McLeod-Skinner’s electoral records—it is easy to see why. In 2022, McLeod-Skinner successfully primaried Blue Dog incumbent Rep. Kurt Schrader, who had held the seat for seven terms. In the general election, however, McLeod-Skinner lost to Chavez-DeRemer by 2 points, giving the seat to the GOP for the first time since the Clinton administration. 

Meanwhile Bynum, a more mainstream Democrat, has twice beaten Chavez-DeRemer in elections to the state legislature in 2016 and 2018, a fact she highlighted in the primary campaign.

“I’m running for Congress because working families in Oregon who are struggling with rising costs need a fighter who will deliver for them, and because I believe Oregon’s children deserve

the very best,” Bynum, asked what her pitch would be to voters to choose her over Chavez-DeRemer, told Dispatch Politics in an interview last week. “I’ve represented this area for nearly eight years—Democrats, Republicans, and independents alike—and I have a strong track record of proven bipartisan success. As a mom, a small business owner, and a state representative, this mission is personal for me.”

After Bynum’s victory Tuesday, McLeod-Skinner called for Democrats to rally behind their nominee.

“It’s now time for Democrats to unite behind our shared goal of defeating the MAGA extremist agenda and winning this seat in November so we can take back the House of Representatives,” she told supporters at her campaign’s election party.

Chavez-DeRemer, who was uncontested in the Republican primary, released a statement Tuesday extolling her own record.

“As an independent voice for Oregon, I’ve worked across the aisle to lower costs, tackle the fentanyl crisis and reduce crime,” she said. “I’m honored to have such a strong coalition of support from Oregonians of all backgrounds—Republicans, Democrats, and Independents.”

Fundraising data is more recent for Bynum than for Chavez-DeRemer, but it shows the incumbent Republican with a sizable cash advantage. Chavez-DeRemer had more than $1.8 million on hand at the end of March, compared to Bynum’s $339,000 at the beginning of May. 

Pelosi: Dems’ Ground Game Will Be the Difference in 2024

LAS VEGAS—Rep. Nancy Pelosi rallied the Democratic faithful in Nevada over the weekend, steeling activists and party leaders for a tough campaign as they labor to reelect President Joe Biden, while she also reserved time to mock presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump.

Addressing delegates to the biennial Nevada Democratic Party convention, the California Democrat and former two-time speaker of the House of Representatives said Biden “inherited an economy that what’s-his-name had driven into the ground.” Explaining her nickname for Trump, Pelosi said later in the 30-minute speech that, “I don’t like to use his name because it’s kind of a curse word for me.”

But Pelosi’s keynote remarks mostly focused on what Biden, and everyone in the audience, have to do to overcome challenging public opinion polls to ensure the president wins a second term. Pelosi, 84, assured the room Biden would defeat Trump—again. But reading between the lines, it seemed apparent Pelosi was predicating those assurances on both Biden and Democratic activists doing what is necessary to win.

For the president, she said, that means focusing on the future, not resting on first-term accomplishments. For nervous party stalwarts in Nevada, where Trump leads Biden in polling averages by 4.6 percentage points, that means turning out the vote. Afterward, Dispatch Politics caught up with Pelosi for a quick, impromptu interview as she walked to her next engagement through the corridor of the MGM Grand Conference Center.

The following was edited for length and clarity:

Dispatch Politics: What is the biggest challenge the president faces versus “what’s-his-name,” as you like to call him?

Pelosi: People have to know that elections are competitive. As I said—they said we were going to lose 30 or 40 seats in the last election, I don’t place a whole lot of value on naysayers. And I think he just has to show who he is, and he’s wonderful. He’s been working very hard to get the job done, and also his global role. Now he has to be out on the campaign trail, and you heard what I said about Nevada. In fact, for a women’s right to choose, it makes all the difference in the world if he’s president, or if what’s-his-name is. It’s stunning the difference is so great. But people have to pay attention. Lincoln said: “Public sentiment is everything. With it you could accomplish almost anything, without it, practically nothing.” But if public sentiment’s going to prevail, people have to know. And we just have to make sure they know.

Dispatch Politics: Do you have any thoughts on why Trump is so resilient, politically? 

Pelosi: I’m not sure he is that. I don’t even accept that. Again, there are different categories. There are people who are never going to be for a Democrat; okay, let’s put them in their category—whatever negativity they have about women, or LGBTQ or newcomers to our country or something. Then you have people who have genuine concerns about innovation, globalization, immigration, things that change where they came from. And that’s legitimate and we have to show them an economic path—and I think that’s what the president has to do. 

Then you have very rich people who don’t want to pay taxes, and I put it all at their doorstep—the risk to our democracy—because they don’t want to pay taxes. Look, [Trump] asked the fossil fuel industry to raise him $1 billion. Why? So that they can keep the Republicans in their pocket for these votes. Not one Republican voted for our climate initiative, not one. Isn’t that amazing? So, I think it’s big money, big negativity, and some genuine concern that has to be respected. That’s what the campaign is about.

But I have no doubt that Joe Biden will be president. Our country cannot withstand another what’s-his-name administration. Our legal system, our economy—imagine, one bill, 83 percent of the benefits to the top 1 percent, $2 trillion to the national debt, and instead we could be investing in our children and our future. I just think it’s about a campaign. We will own the ground. They may have money, but we have people, we will own the ground. We will have a message that is unifying. 

Dispatch Politics: Anything else to add?

Pelosi: We want to be, I mean—I’m a smart aleck to say, “I don’t like to say his name.” But we have to be more unifying than that. And again, we’ll have enough resources to win.

Notable and Quotable

“I say to every young man thinking of getting married, marry into a family with five or more daughters. I did. My wife’s the oldest of five sisters. You know why? One of them will always love you.”

—President Joe Biden at a campaign speech in New Hampshire, May 21, 2024

Charles Hilu is a reporter for The Dispatch based in Virginia. Before joining the company in 2024, he was the Collegiate Network Fellow at the Washington Free Beacon and interned at both National Review and the Washington Examiner. When he is not writing and reporting, he is probably listening to show tunes or following the premier sports teams of the University of Michigan and city of Detroit.

David M. Drucker is a senior writer at The Dispatch and is based in Washington, D.C. Prior to joining the company in 2023, he was a senior correspondent for the Washington Examiner. When Drucker is not covering American politics for The Dispatch, he enjoys hanging out with his two boys and listening to his wife's excellent taste in music.

Michael Warren is a senior editor at The Dispatch and is based in Washington, D.C. Prior to joining the company in 2023, he was an on-air reporter at CNN and a senior writer at the Weekly Standard. When Mike is not reporting, writing, editing, and podcasting, he is probably spending time with his wife and three sons.