Happy Monday! Thankfully, the White House press office cleaned up the transcript of Vice President Kamala Harris’ latest word salad so we didn’t have to. Here’s Harris speaking Friday before a friendly audience at Coppin State University: “When we invest in clean energy and electric vehicles and reduce
population [pollution], more of our children can breathe clean air and drink clean water. (Applause.)”
Up to Speed
- Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ presidential campaign, facing financial challenges, has fired roughly a dozen staffers, with more firings expected in the coming weeks, NBC reports. Despite raising $20 million between late May and the end of June, DeSantis’ campaign finished June with only $12.2 million to spend, $3 million of which can be used only in a general election bid. More than two-thirds of the $20 million DeSantis raised is from donors who’ve already reached the legal campaign contribution limit. To reassure donors, DeSantis’ campaign issued a “confidential” memo downplaying the chances of alternative candidates and stating the campaign “will not dedicate resources to Super Tuesday that slow our momentum in New Hampshire.”
- While some of his Republican challengers burn through their cash, Biden’s campaign spent just $1.1 million in the second quarter of this year, an expenditure less than the campaigns of several Democratic Senate candidates. During the second quarter, the campaign had only four paid employees, spent nothing on rent, and spent a mere $1,500 on travel, accommodations, and airfare.
- The normally bipartisan National Defense Authorization Act passed largely along party lines on Friday after House Republicans inserted several controversial amendments, including those banning funding for abortion-related procedures, transgender surgeries, and hormone treatments. The amendments are unlikely to pass in the Democrat-controlled Senate.
- Former President Donald Trump gave a shout-out to Ohio Republican Senate contender Bernie Moreno on Saturday, one day before Secretary of State Frank LaRose launched his bid with a Monday morning announcement video. “We love Ohio, and we love Bernie Moreno,” said Trump. Days earlier, GOP Senate campaign chief Steve Daines declined to endorse a candidate in Ohio, where state Sen. Matt Dolan also is seeking the party’s nomination. “When you have three candidates that any one could win the general election, we don’t stay up late at night worrying about that,” Daines said in an interview with CBS News.
- In a video published by the New York Post on Saturday, Democratic presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. said, “COVID-19 is targeted to attack Caucasians and black people. The people who are most immune are Ashkenazi Jews and Chinese.” Kennedy defended his remarks on Twitter, saying, “I have never, ever suggested that the COVID-19 virus was targeted to spare Jews,” but “COVID-19 appears to disproportionately affect certain races.”
Ted Cruz Faces Another Tough Reelection Battle in Texas
Sen. Ted Cruz isn’t known for modesty. But the Texas Republican delivered what might be characterized as a modest second quarter fundraising report, collecting $4.4 million and reporting $4.8 million in cash on hand.
It’s not the stuff that bulletproof incumbents are made of. It’s hardly the picture of fundraising prowess Cruz exhibited as the runner-up for the Republican presidential nomination eight years ago. But veteran GOP operatives in Texas say Cruz is still more likely than not to win a third, six-year term in 2024, even as they concede the journey from here to there could be a little bumpy.
“It could get below 3 percent,” said a Republican strategist with Texas ties. Sound familiar? In 2018, in a midterm election that produced a Democratic wave, Cruz was significantly outraised by his Democratic challenger, then-Rep. Beto O’Rourke, and scraped by with a margin of victory—50.9 percent to 48.3 percent—that fell below 3 percent.