Ukraine is not a political burden for the Republicans


Good morning, early risers. Today marks two years since the Supreme Court overturned the ruling. Roe v. WadeMore on that below. Send your tips to earlytips@washpost.com. Thanks for waking up with us.

In today’s issue … How Democrats Can Remind Voters of Dobbs Anniversary… What Biden and Trump Want in the Debate… But First…

Republican primary voters did not punish incumbents for supporting financial aid to Ukraine

The House of Representatives voted on April 20 to give Ukraine $60 billion in aid in what many considered a politically risky vote for Republicans, as it came in the middle of congressional primaries and the Republican base was clearly opposed to the aid.

But it turns out that voting in favor of the aid didn’t hurt Republicans.

Of the 101 Republicans who voted for the funds, none lost their primaries, even though some of their opponents made it a campaign issue.

Congressman Tom Cole (R-Okla.), the newly appointed chairman of the powerful Appropriations Committee, running for his 12th term, defeated a wealthy self-funded faction. Paul L. Bondar During last week’s primary election, he faced $800,000 in attack ads for his support of Ukraine. Advertising impactPolitical ad tracking company.

“Congressman Tom Cole has spent over $160 billion on Ukraine,” an ad for Bondar’s campaign said. “Congressman Paul Bondar opposes further spending on Ukraine and wants to use those funds to close the southern border. The choice is clear.”

Cole said an internal poll found that about half of Republicans in his district oppose aid to Ukraine. “Aid to Ukraine is one thing that certainly wasn’t an advantage in my district,” he said, adding that voters frequently mentioned the issue during the campaign.

But voters didn’t punish him for that. Despite being outspent nearly 2-to-1 in funding, Mr. Cole won the primary by 39 points. “I think, at least in my district, if you take a stand, you’re OK,” Mr. Cole said in an interview.

The Ukraine issue started as a bipartisan issue, but former Fox News opinion host Tucker CarlsonAs a pro-Russian propagandist, he was effective in turning Republican opinion against the war. And former President Donald Trump, He has a strong base of support among Republicans and is critical of U.S. war funding. President Biden’s Solid support.

Cole noted that Republicans have come to view this war as “Biden’s war” just as Democrats viewed the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq as “Biden’s wars.” George W. Bush War. He He was one of several Republican members of Congress who were attacked for voting in favor of aiding Ukraine, but still won.

  • Congressman Joe Wilson (R.S.C.) won the June primary despite opponent Hamp Redmond deciding to run because Simpson supported “dictator Zelensky,” referring to the Ukrainian president. Volodymyr Zelensky.
  • In the May primary election, Congressman Mike Simpson The other committee chairman, Sen. John McCain (R-Idaho), defeated a challenger who criticized his support for aiding Ukraine.
  • and Congressman Tony Gonzales Joe Biden (R-Texas), who won his primary runoff election last month by just 1.4 percentage points, said many of the military personnel in his district understand his position on Ukraine, but he needs to explain to grassroots voters why he is voting.
  • “The message is, we’re investing taxpayer money, or lending it, to make sure our allies don’t fall. And why does that matter? Because today it’s Ukraine, tomorrow it’s Taiwan. It’s never over, and we have to stand firm with our allies,” Gonzalez said.

Congressman William Timmons (R.S.C.) was also attacked in the June primary for his previous support for Ukraine, even though he did not vote for the latest $60 billion bailout package, which he won by three points.

“It’s clear that no one paid a political price in the primary,” said a Republican involved in House campaigns.

It was a similar situation in the Senate. Senator Kevin Cramer (R.N.D.), Roger Wicker (Republican Party of Mississippi) Deb Fisher (Republican Party of Nebraska) Pete Ricketts (Republican, Nebraska) all voted in favor of aiding Ukraine and won their primaries handily. Paul Kane As recently noted, both Fischer and Ricketts received more votes than Trump.

But the reality is that outside of Cole’s campaign, Ukraine didn’t emerge as a top issue in most races — relatively little ad money was spent on it, according to an AdImpact analysis — and it didn’t inspire many challengers in the primaries, even against Republicans who voted for the latest Ukraine aid package.

At the time of the April aid vote, Speaker of the House Mike Johnson The Louisiana Republican launched an intense persuasion campaign to convince lawmakers to vote for aid to Ukraine. American Action NetworkThe policy arm of the Republican super PAC Congressional Leadership Fundwhich revealed that a majority of voters in battleground states support aid to Ukraine and that support for aid to Ukraine was not a major deciding factor for Republican primary voters, Leigh Ann and Marianna Sotomayor I wrote it at the time.

  • “Research at the time showed that supporting aid to Ukraine was not as politically charged for Republican primary voters as some vocal people on social media had claimed.” Dan Constonthe head “The pro-aid primary victory after primary victory clearly proves that to be true,” said the Congressional Leadership Fund, which raises money to help elect Republicans to the House of Representatives.

Still, there are perceived political pitfalls. More than half of the House Republicans (112 in total) Many Republicans who voted against the $60 billion measure in April were concerned about the political risk, and Johnson told Republicans that eight Republicans voted against the measure on the day of the vote because they wanted to avoid that political risk, Cole said.

Congressman Marjorie Taylor Greene Sen. John Johnson, Republican of Georgia, tried to remove her from office for voting on financial aid to Ukraine, but she was supported by only 10 other Republicans.

The only incumbent on the verge of defeat his Major – Congressman Bob Good (R-Virginia) voted against aid to Ukraine. But his rival, Sen. John Maguire He has also signaled his opposition to aid to Ukraine.

And so far, Ukraine does not appear to be a major issue in the general elections for the House of Representatives and the Senate.

How Democrats will remind voters of Dobbs Day

Early on first: Today marks two years since the Supreme Court overturned the decision. Roe v. Wade — and Democrats are reminding voters of their opponents’ records on abortion.

Democratic Super PAC Forward Majority The group plans to spend seven figures on digital advertising and direct mail later this year in an effort to win back 13 House seats in four states — Arizona, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin — that will highlight Republican candidates’ support for anti-abortion legislation, the group said.

of Democratic National Committee The party plans to invest $8.3 million in state parties “to ensure voters are informed about Donald Trump’s attacks on reproductive rights,” marking a 25% increase in the DNC’s spending on state parties since 2020.

The DNC is also spending more than $4 million to build infrastructure in Republican states to combat the bans — a significant amount, though down for election-year spending. The group also released an eight-page memo from its communications director blaming Trump for the rollback of abortion rights in 21 states and detailing how “current bans are a harbinger of what will happen if Donald Trump wins this election.” Rosemary Boeglin.

And that Democratic House Campaign Committee They sent mobile billboards to the districts of five Republican members of the House of Representatives to Comments on the decision Falling over egg: Congressman Lori Chavez Deremer (ore.), Nick Larota (new york) Scott Pelley (Pennsylvania), Michelle Steele (California) and Brandon Williams (new york).

The efforts reflect Democrats’ strategy to remind voters as much as possible of Republicans’ records and rhetoric on abortion, as they warn that Republicans will seek a nationwide abortion ban despite President Trump’s desire to leave it up to states.

  • “Voters in this district know that a federal abortion ban would undo all of our hard work and progress,” he said. Curtis HertelDemocrats are running for swing seats Rep. Elissa Slotkin (Democrat, Michigan) is abandoning his bid for Senate. “My opponent is 100% pro-life, without exception.”

Hertel’s opponent, Tom Barrettcounters that he is using abortion to distract from other issues.

“Michigan voters passed Proposition 3 in 2022, codifying abortion access into the Michigan Constitution.” Jason Cabel Law“Curtis Hertel wants to talk about something other than catastrophic inflation, out-of-control spending, and the irresponsible leadership of Joe Biden and congressional Democrats,” Barrett consultant Curtis Hertel wrote to us in an email.

The Senate is in recess until July 8th.

The House of Representatives returns tomorrow and is scheduled to consider three appropriations bills this week for Homeland Security, the Department of State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs, and the Department of Defense. All three bills are partisan efforts with dozens of amendments being introduced.

Attention is focused on whether Republicans can pass the bill this week or whether they need more time.

What Biden and Trump want in the debate

both President Biden and Donald Trump‘s campaigns are hoping to use Thursday’s presidential debate to combat each other’s portrayals, our colleagues say. Michael Scherer and Marianne Levine report.

Trump has portrayed Biden as weak and erratic, while Biden has claimed Trump is an “erratic” would-be dictator.

  • “Recognizing the stakes, advisers to both candidates are guiding their bosses to avoid falling into their opponents’ traps,” Michael and Marianne report. “Biden’s aides want to produce a dynamic president who can get control of the issues, take on Trump head-to-head, and explain his accomplishments in office to the American people. Trump’s advisers are coaching their candidate to focus on his issue lead in the polls, reaffirming the image of a tough businessman ready to disrupt Washington that helped him win in 2016.”

Trump’s advisers have reportedly been troubled by the candidate’s lack of interest in debate preparation. Kate BedingfieldA former communications adviser to Biden said he expects “we’ll see a disciplined Trump” as Biden is likely to try to avoid the outrageous rhetoric that damaged his image in the 2020 presidential debates.

“The goal for Biden is to go on the offensive and press Trump at his weakest point.” Bedingfield.

  • Inside the $100 million plan to restore abortion rights in America. Alice Miranda Olstein of Politico.
  • Trump vs Biden on rising debt. Neil Irwin of Axios.

“Kate” would have been fine, but it’s only four letters.

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