- Monday Morning Memo
- On the Upswing
On the Upswing
Race for President, Map Redo, NYS Bills Pending
Good morning from Washington, D.C. where we are under one month away from the Iowa Caucus, the first stop on the Republican presidential primary trail. Former United Nations Ambassador and Governor of South Carolina Nikki Haley has gained the most ground, moving into second place in a number of national polls. The Haley campaign is hoping a win or close second-place finish in Iowa will lead to a swell of momentum in New Hampshire, the next stop on the campaign trail.
No more whining, no more complaining. @NikkiHaley will get the job done no matter what hand she's dealt.
— Chris Sununu (@ChrisSununu)
Dec 15, 2023
That plan received a boost last week with New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu formally endorsing Haley saying, “Nikki’s spent the time on the ground here, she’s earned people’s trust, and that’s going to be the real decider.” Governor Sununu, an outspoken critic of former President Donald Trump, enjoys outsized support among New Hampshire Republicans.
Back in Iowa, a new poll from the Des Moines Register found Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has moved into solo second place, increasing his support from 13% to 16%, and also secured the endorsement of Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds.
When I’m President, Iowa will have first dibs on the Department of Agriculture.
An agency like the USDA should be staffed by Americans who understand agriculture and farming, not pointy-headed bureaucrats imposing an agenda.
— Ron DeSantis (@RonDeSantis)
Dec 14, 2023
That is where the good news ends for the DeSantis campaign. The same poll found Former President Donald Trump has 51% support in Iowa compared to DeSantis’ 16%, and leads the Florida Governor with men and women, and among all age groups, education levels, and income brackets. Trump scores the lowest with independents, but still leads both DeSantis and Haley by double digits among that group.
For all the media attention and debates and endorsements, Haley and DeSantis barely break double digits compared to Trump who appears to be consolidating support as other candidates drop out and all of this adds up to a heated battle to lose the Republican nomination to Trump who could, realistically, have the GOP nomination almost wrapped up by Spring.
Speaking of Trump, he continues to lead President Joe Biden in most national general election polls as well as individual swing state polling. A new poll from the Wall Street Journal found Trump is leading Biden 47% to 43% in a hypothetical rematch, with Biden continuing to be hampered by a low approval rating. Much of the dissatisfaction aimed at Biden is a result of public perception of the economy, despite promising economic forecasts. The Dow Jones hit a record high last week, unemployment dropped to 3.7%, and inflation is at its lowest point in over two years yet the majority of voters still hold a negative view about the direction of the economy. Whether the Biden campaign can reverse that trend remains to be seen. They are also reckoning with a startling divide among Democratic voters over Biden’s support for Israel with many younger, more progressive Democrats unhappy with that support.
Of course, what happens now in Washington may very well affect who voters trust with the levers of power in Washington in 2024. And what is happening now? Nothing.
In New York, the Court of Appeals ruled that the State must redraw its congressional map, delivering a big win for national Democrats who see New York as a key battleground for retaking control of the House in 2024. After the Court of Appeals ruled the original maps drawn by the State’s Independent Redistricting Commission (IRC) in 2022 were unconstitutional, a court-appointed special master developed a map that was much more competitive for Republicans, helping them to flip five Democratic seats. The process will now be kicked back to the IRC to come up with a new map that will need to be confirmed by—or replaced—the Legislature. While partisan gerrymandering is outlawed in the State Constitution, even marginal changes to a handful of districts, namely on Long Island and in the Hudson Valley, could make a big difference in 2024.
In a joint statement, Governor Kathy Hochul and New York State Attorney General Letitia James said, “Today's redistricting decision will ensure all New Yorkers are fairly and equitably represented by elected officials. As the Court of Appeals reaffirmed today, district lines should be drawn by the Independent Redistricting Commission. We will continue our efforts to protect voting rights for all New Yorkers.” The IRC has until February 28th to submit a new proposal with additional lawsuits surely to follow. Here is the latest timeline— The Commission is expected to meet in late December or early January to establish a framework for moving forward. The 10-member panel (5 Democrats and 5 Republicans) will then either come to a consensus on a map or submit two separate, partisan redistricting plans for the Legislature to vote on. Both of those maps would almost certainly be voted down, empowering the Legislature to come up with a map of their own.
There will be much more to come on this story as well as a Spring full of new redistricting lawsuits. Remember that Congressional primaries are currently scheduled for June 25th and petitioning for that should begin in February!
The Chair of the Independent Redistricting Commission, Ken Jenkins, is facing calls from the Working Families Party (WFP) to recuse himself from the process over his connections to Westchester County Executive George Latimer. Jenkins serves as Deputy County Executive for Latimer who recently announced a primary challenge in the 16th Congressional District against WFP-endorsed candidate Rep. Jamaal Bowman. Another progressive group aligned with Bowman, Justice Democrats, wrote on Twitter “There can be no fair maps for #NY16 until Jenkins steps down.” Latimer has stated that Jenkins does not report to him on redistricting matters and Jenkins has highlighted that there are 9 other people on the Commission and that the Legislature has the final say.
With only two weeks left in the year, Governor Hochul will need to make a decision on over 100 bills still awaiting her signature or veto. Once a bill is sent to the Governor from the Legislature, she has 10 days (excluding Sundays) to issue a decision. Here are some of the high-profile bills that are awaiting a signature or veto:
A1278-B/S3100A- Ban on Noncompete Agreements
The bill would ban employers from imposing noncompete agreements and other restrictive employment covenants. The measure has faced opposition from large, corporate employers who argue noncompete agreements are necessary to retain high-earning individuals.
A3484A/S0995B- LLC Transparency
The bill would require LLCs to disclose the identities of their beneficial owners. The legislation is in response to concerns regarding illegal activities, such as money laundering and real estate fraud, by anonymous entities.
A4282B/S3505B- Even Year Elections
The bill would bring local elections in line with the Presidential Election cycle, which proponents argue will increase turnout and be more cost-effective for the State. Opponents of the bill contend that the change will result in local candidates being overshadowed by the national candidates.
A7760/S7564- Public Campaign Financing
The bill makes subtle, but material changes to the State’s public campaign financing initiative, making the first $250 of any contribution eligible for matching public funds. Under current law, any donation over $250 is ineligible for a public match.
There will be no Monday Morning Memo next week, but we will be back on January 1st with a preview of the upcoming Legislative Session in New York.
Do you agree with the NY Court of Appeals ruling to redraw the State's Congressional lines?
Results of the Last Poll
Should Wings be in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame?
This Day in History
A scene from "How the Grinch Stole Christmas." (Warner Bros.)
December 18, 1966: Dr. Seuss' "How the Grinch Stole Christmas!" airs for the first time on CBS.
Worth a Read
Rochester Named 2nd-Friendliest City in the U.S.
“While you may be tempted to zoom past Rochester on your way to the Finger Lakes, the third-largest city in New York begs travelers to linger with its historical sites, restaurants, and incredible museums.” [See full list her