The Election Recap

The Election Recap: July 25, 2022

Dan Cox snags the nomination, Lee Zeldin is attacked, and more

Welcome back to The Election Recap, your weekly, one-stop shop for the last seven days of midterms news. Let's get into it:

And the winner is...

Perhaps the biggest midterms story of the last week comes from Maryland, where the former President Donald Trump-backed candidate Dan Cox prevailed in the Republican gubernatorial primary against Kelly Schulz, a former Larry Hogan administration official hand-selected for the nomination by the outgoing GOP governor himself. Notably, Democrats had actually boosted Cox, hoping for the opportunity to handily juxtapose his extremism against a more moderate-looking liberal candidate in the fall (The Week's Grayson Quay has written an excellent explainer on the tactic, known as the "pied piper" strategy). Hogan's not having it: On Wednesday, he argued that Trump "selfishly colluded" with a Democratic group to defeat Schulz, thus potentially costing the GOP the governorship, Politico reports. And on Sunday, he told ABC he won't support Cox. Meanwhile, on the other side of the ticket, Oprah-endorsed author Wes Moore was finally named winner of the Democratic nod late Friday night, after absentee and mail-in ballots were counted.  

Stay safe out there

Republican nominee for New York governor Rep. Lee Zeldin was attacked by a man "brandishing a sharp object" while speaking at a Veterans of Foreign Wars outlet near Rochester on Thursday, The Associated Press reported last week. Video from the event shows 43-year-old Army veteran David Jakubonis approaching Zeldin as he stands on a low stage, stating "you're done," before reaching for the lawmaker and moving a "pointed object" towards his neck. (The New York Post later reported the weapon in question appeared to be "a plastic keychain fob that looks like a cartoon cat's head and is marketed for 'self-defense.'"). Zeldin, who is challenging Democratic incumbent Gov. Kathy Hochul, said in a statement afterward that he was OK, and was able to grab Jakubonis' wrist "and stop him for a few moments until others tackled him." Jakubonis was charged with attempted assault and then released, only to be brought back into custody on Saturday on federal charges.

Pass to protect

The House of Representatives voted last week to codify both the right to contraception and interracial and same-sex marriage into law, after voting similarly to protect abortion rights the week prior. The efforts, led primarily by House Democrats, arrived after the Supreme Court overturned federal abortion protections in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, and Justice Clarence Thomas issued a concurring opinion suggesting other long-held rights may be next. As much as lawmakers are looking to protect the status quo, the liberal-driven push is also seen as a "final argument ahead of midterms," with Democrats looking to "draw a sharp contrast" with the GOP on broadly popular social issues, The Washington Post writes. Even if all three initiatives fail in the Senate, such "codification bills" (or "messaging bills," as the GOP might deride them) pose no downside for Democrats, since they force Republicans "to take a position on a contentious issue that Democrats believe voters will remember," Matthew Wilson mused for The Washington Examiner. 

A tale of 2 rallies

Trump and his ex-Vice President Mike Pence held a pair of dueling rallies in Arizona on Friday, effectively turning the state's gubernatorial primary into a proxy battle between the former running mates. Pence has thrown his weight behind Republican candidate Karrin Taylor Robson, who also has the support of outgoing Gov. Doug Ducey (R), while Trump has opted for former TV news anchor and 2020 election fraud obsessive Kari Lake. On Friday, Pence, Robson, and Ducey visited a business in Peoria, with plans to later "attend a border security briefing at the National Border Patrol Council's office in Tucson," CNN reports. Meanwhile, Trump appeared alongside Lake and other "big lie" acolytes to condemn President Biden, as well as criticize the Arizona officials who rejected his claims of fraud. The winner of the Republican match-up is expected to face off against Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, who is predicted to win the Democratic primary.

Hanging chads:

  • The Michigan Court of Appeals on Thursday tossed a challenge to GOP gubernatorial hopeful Ryan Kelley's candidacy after a liberal group argued he was ineligible due to allegedly engaging with the Capitol riot on Jan. 6, 2021. [The Detroit News]
  • In Pennsylvania, has Democrats' "pied piper" strategy gone awry? [Politico]
  • "An alleged troll farm operator has received more than $2 million to boost the candidacy of GOP Arizona gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake — and no one is sure where the money is coming from." [The Verge]
  • When campaign ads and the streaming era collide... [Bloomberg]
  • Woof — only 24 percent of voters know the Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework is now law, per a new poll. [Third Way]

Coming up...

  • Big economic news is heading down the pipeline this week — watch out for consumer confidence numbers on Tuesday, interest rate hikes out of a Federal Reserve meeting on Wednesday, GDP data on Thursday, and inflation numbers on Friday. TLDR; it's not looking great, but the Biden administration is already on damage control.
  • Arizona, Michigan, Missouri, and Washington will hold primaries on Aug. 2, while Tennessee will go on Aug. 4. Expect a deeper dive into those races in next week's newsletter.
  • Speaking of Aug. 2, Kansas' big, post-Roe abortion vote is also scheduled that day. Need a primer on what's at stake? Joel Mathis and The Week have got you covered.

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