Baltimore’s top prosecutor was just indicted. It might boost her re-election odds

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Bates and others argued she’d done a poor job dealing with the city’s high homicide rate ahead of her first re-election campaign, but Mosby prevailed handily. This time, however, her detractors came into the race thinking they’d have a better opening. Bates actually managed to outraise Mosby $234,000 to $190,000 in 2021, which doesn’t include the additional $128,000 he self-funded, and he enjoyed a $226,000 to $194,000 cash-on-hand lead. (Hanna, meanwhile, took in a distant $39,000 and had about that much to spend.)

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That opening may have grown larger following Mosby’s Jan. 14 indictment, in which federal prosecutors accused her, as the Baltimore Sun put it, of lying “when she claimed to have suffered financial hardship from the coronavirus pandemic to obtain an early withdrawal from her retirement savings to purchase two Florida homes.” The incumbent responded by declaring, “I am innocent of the charges that have been levied against me and I intend to fight with every ounce in my being.” Her attorney went further and asserted that Mosby, who is Black, is being unfairly prosecuted because of her race and her progressive record.

No one, though, is quite sure how this news will actually impact the campaign, and some have speculated it could even make Mosby stronger. Several local political experts told the Sun that the charges against the state’s attorney give her the chance to amp up her base, with radio host Kaye Whitehead arguing, “If you’re a Marilyn Mosby supporter or someone who understands what it’s like to be an underdog, it is going to rile you up.” Her opponents so far have held off on bringing up the indictment, turning the focus back to crime within the city when asked about it.

4Q Fundraising

The deadline for federal candidates to submit their fourth quarter fundraising totals is Jan. 31.

  • KS-Sen: Jerry Moran (R-inc): $782,000 raised, $4.8 million cash-on-hand
  • ME-02: Jared Golden (D-inc): $450,000 raised, $1.4 million cash-on-hand
  • NJ-05: Josh Gottheimer (D-inc): $1.1 million raised, $12 million cash-on-hand
  • OR-06: Kathleen Harder (D): $130,000 raised (in six weeks), additional $17,000 self-funded, $123,000 cash-on-hand
  • TX-38: Wesley Hunt (R): $1 million raised, $1.5 million cash-on-hand

Senate

KY-Sen: Mason-Dixon: Rand Paul (R-inc): 55, Charles Booker (D): 39

NC-Sen, NC-07: Former Rep. Mark Walker announced Thursday evening that he would remain in the Senate race even though he’s badly fallen behind his two main Republican primary rivals, former Gov. Pat McCrory and Trump-backed Rep. Ted Budd, in both polling and fundraising. While Walker’s team claimed that Trump had offered to endorse him if he dropped down to the contest for the new 7th Congressional District, the former congressman instead used his Thursday rally to dramatically unveil a Walker for Senate bus. (The National Journal‘s Kirk Bado responded, “Something tells me some folks at Mar-a-Lago will end up throwing Walker under that new bus…”)

Governors

MA-Gov: Two mayors, one from each party, have each taken themselves out of the running for this year’s race for governor. Democrat Jon Mitchell of New Bedford, who in recent weeks has shown more of an interest in seeking the attorney general post, announced that he will not campaign for anything after all. A consultant for Republican Shaunna O’Connell of Taunton, meanwhile, also said she won’t be seeking the governorship.

MN-Gov, MN-02: While state Rep. Barb Haley was mentioned last year as a possible Republican candidate for governor or for the House, she’s instead announced that she’ll seek a promotion to the state Senate.

House

CO-07: Democratic state Sen. Brittany Pettersen earned an endorsement on Thursday evening from the man she’s hoping to succeed, retiring Rep. Ed Perlmutter, while Sen. Michael Bennet backed her the next day. Pettersen currently faces no serious intra-party opposition.

IL-01: Construction contracting firm owner Jonathan Jackson announced Friday that he was joining the June Democratic primary bid to succeed retiring Rep. Bobby Rush in this safely blue seat. Jackson is the son of two-time presidential candidate Jesse Jackson and the younger brother of former Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., who resigned from the neighboring 2nd District in 2012 and later was sentenced to 30 months in prison for spending campaign money on himself.

Meanwhile, Chicago Alderman Pat Dowell has the support of former Sen. Carol Moseley Braun, whose 1992 win made her the first Black woman to ever serve in the chamber.

NE-01: Indicted Rep. Jeff Fortenberry has launched what appears to be his first TV ad ahead of the May Republican primary, and he wastes no time trying to stoke a xenophobic backlash against state Sen. Mike Flood. The narrator insists, “Joe Biden has created a dangerous crisis at our border and now illegal immigrants are flooding into America in record numbers. What is Mike Flood’s position on immigration?” (In case that pun was too subtle, the spot is titled “Flood of Illegals.”) The commercial then argues that the challenger shares Biden’s views and backs “giving taxpayer-funded tax credits to illegal immigrants,” though he doesn’t go into any detail.

The on-screen text, however, does cite a 2012 story from the Omaha World-Herald describing how then-Speaker Flood successfully pushed a bill through the unicameral legislature that would “restore taxpayer-funded prenatal care for” undocumented immigrants two years after the program was ended. The senator, who made his name as a leading anti-abortion legislator, argued, “The unborn child should not be punished for the actions of his or her parents,” adding, “We should protect the life of an unborn child whenever possible.”

However, Dave Heineman, who was governor at the time, very much did not see it that way when he asked rhetorically, “Why should illegal aliens receive millions of taxpayer dollars when those funds should be used for increased state aid to education?” The legislature ended up overriding Heineman’s veto, but he and Flood seem to have long ago put all this aside. Heineman joined Gov. Pete Ricketts earlier this month in endorsing Flood, with the ex-governor saying of the incumbent, “In modern political times in Nebraska, Jeff Fortenberry is the only Nebraska congressman that has ever been indicted on felony criminal charges.”

RI-02: Michael Neary, a former staffer to ex-Ohio Republican Gov. John Kasich, said Friday that he’d set up an exploratory committee for a potential bid for the Democratic nomination. State Sen. Joshua Miller, though, has announced that he won’t enter this open seat race.

On the Republican side, state House Minority Leader Blake Filippi also sounds unlikely to run. After Rhode Island Public Radio asked him if he was interested in running for any office other than the one he currently holds (the relevant portion begins at the 3:39 mark), Filippi responded that “crazier things have happened in the world, but at this point I anticipate running for re-election.”

TX-08: Christian Collins, who is a former campaign manager to retiring Rep. Kevin Brady, has earned a Republican primary endorsement from 22nd District Rep. Troy Nehls, whose redrawn seat now neighbors the constituency Collins is seeking.

TX-38: Army veteran Wesley Hunt, who was the 2020 nominee in the old 7th District, has released a Moore Information poll that shows him in a dominant position ahead of the March 1 Republican primary for the new and safely red 38th. Hunt earns 54% of the vote, which is just above the majority he’d need to win outright, while former State Republican Executive Committee member Mark Ramsey is an extremely distant second with just 3%.

VA-07: Both Del. Elizabeth Guzman and Prince William County School Board Chair Babur Lateef have announced that they won’t seek the Democratic nomination for the revamped 7th District, where Democratic Rep. Abigail Spanberger is campaigning for a third term. There was speculation last year that Spanberger, who only represents 24% of the redrawn seat, could be in for a serious intra-party fight, but Guzman and Lateef were the last notable names who appeared to be interested. This constituency would have favored Joe Biden 52-46, while Spanberger’s existing 7th supported him only 50-49.

Attorneys General

CO-AG: Democratic Attorney General Phil Weiser on Thursday picked up a Republican challenger in the form of John Kellner, who serves as district attorney of the state’s 18th Judicial District based in the Denver suburbs. Kellner, who has jurisdiction over Arapahoe, Douglas, Elbert, and Lincoln counties, won re-election in 2020 by a narrow 50.1-49.9 margin as Joe Biden was carrying his constituency 54-44. Weiser, for his part, won his post 52-45 during the 2018 wave, and he ended 2021 with $2.2 million on-hand.

Prosecutors

Hennepin County, MN Attorney: Former Minneapolis City Council President Paul Ostrow on Thursday became the fifth candidate to join this year’s race to succeed Mike Freeman, who is retiring as the chief prosecutor of Minnesota’s largest county. Ostrow, who left the City Council in 2009 and now works as a prosecutor in neighboring Anoka County, said, in the words of the Star Tribune, that “his platform will focus on bringing people together, holding police accountable while allowing them to do their work, and building trust with the community.”

The August nonpartisan primary already includes former Hennepin County Chief Public Defender Mary Moriarty; Richfield City Council Member Simon Trautmann; Minnesota House Majority Leader Ryan Winkler; and Saraswati Singh, who is a prosecutor in St. Paul’s Ramsey County. The two contenders with the most votes will square off in November.



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