Filling out your political calendar as 2023 winds down
What end of the year lull? It may feel slow right now, but the next two months as we finish out 2023 and kick off 2024 will be busy for races up and down the ballot.
Here are some of the key dates to mark in your calendar over December and January:
Republican presidential candidates (L-R): former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and Vivek Ramaswamy participate in the NBC News Republican Presidential Primary Debate in Miami, Florida. | Joe Raedle/Getty Images
— Dec. 6: The fourth Republican presidential primary debate is taking place in Alabama next Wednesday night, and as few as three candidates may end up on stage. Former President Donald Trump still has no plans to show up.
… The Colorado Supreme Court is also hearing oral arguments that afternoon appealing a lower court’s ruling that the former president can continue to run for president, even though he engaged in an insurrection. Challenges to Trump’s eligibility — citing an interpretation of the 14th Amendment that argues he is ineligible for public office for aiding “in insurrection or rebellion” — have been filed in states across the country, which have broadly turned them down.
— Dec. 8: Plenty of congressional and state-level candidate filing deadlines are coming up. A big one we have our eye on is California, where candidates have until next Friday to decide if they’re running for office. Earlier this month, former Speaker Kevin McCarthy did not commit to running for reelection and said he would speak with his family before making a decision. And we’ll see if Democratic Rep. Barbara Lee, who is lagging in her bid for Senate, decides to stay in the race or switch to reelection for her House seat, as some Democrats indicated she would. (Lee has insisted that she’s sticking with the Senate contest.)
… Across the country in Georgia, Dec. 8 is the last day the state legislature has to redraw its congressional map after a federal court found the map violates the Voting Rights Act. The legislature will convene this Wednesday to redraw the lines.
— Dec. 9: Next Saturday is the runoff between state Sen. John Whitmire and Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, two Democrats competing in a contentious race to become the next mayor of Houston, one of the country’s most populous cities. Whitmire led Jackson Lee by around 7 points in the election earlier this month, and both have claimed major endorsements since then.
If Jackson Lee loses, she has two days to decide if she’s running for reelection to the House, as the state’s filing deadline is Dec. 11. A handful of Democrats have already filed for the seat.
— Dec. 15: North Carolina will be home to a handful of all but certain pickups for House Republicans next year with its new congressional map. Republicans adopted the map in October, which paves the way for 10 Republican seats, three for Democrats and one competitive battleground seat currently held by Democratic Rep. Don Davis. We’ll be keeping an eye on the impacted Democrats — Reps. Kathy Manning, Jeff Jackson (who said he’s running for attorney general), Wiley Nickel and Davis — to lock in their plans for the future when the filing deadline rolls around on Dec. 15.
— Dec. 20: It’s the monthly deadline for party committees to report their fundraising to the Federal Election Commission. December’s filing will show us the receipts from November — the first full month of Speaker Mike Johnson’s tenure. Donations to Republicans’ House campaign arm slowed in October amid party infighting over the speakership, but the committee touted cycle-high online fundraising after Johnson was elected to the role at the end of October.
— Jan. 15: All eyes are on Iowa on Jan. 15 for the first-in-the-nation presidential caucuses. Republicans’ nominating contest is taking place that day, while Democrats are holding a mail-in caucus, in which ballots must be postmarked by March 5.
— Jan. 23: The first-in-the-nation primary is taking place in New Hampshire a week after Iowa — much to the DNC’s chagrin. It doesn’t comply with the DNC’s calendar, which placed South Carolina as the leadoff primary on Feb. 3. President Joe Biden didn’t put his name on the primary ballot in the Granite State in anticipation that it would hold an unsanctioned Democratic contest, but Democrats Marianne Williamson and Rep. Dean Phillips will be on there.
— Jan. 31: We’ll cap off January with a big campaign finance deadline. In addition to getting a look into presidential and congressional candidates’ fourth quarter fundraising, we’ll also have filings from super PACs — many of which are outspending the presidential candidates they’re supporting. We haven’t gotten a comprehensive update from the PACs since the end of June.
Happy Monday, and welcome back from the long weekend. What’s going on out there? Let me know at [email protected] and @madfernandez616.
Days until the Iowa Republican presidential caucuses: 49
Days until the Republican National Convention: 231
Days until the Democratic National Convention: 266
Days until the 2024 election: 344
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IT’S A NO FROM ME — Rep. Dean Phillips will not run for reelection to his House seat and is instead focusing on his presidential campaign. He told the Star Tribune’s Ryan Faircloth that he won’t endorse in the race to succeed him.
… A handful of Democrats are bowing out of the competitive race to replace retiring Democratic Rep. Dan Kildee in MI-08, The Detroit News’ Melissa Nann Burke and Beth LeBlanc report. That includes former state Senate Democratic Leader Jim Ananich, Genesee County Sheriff Chris Swanson, who could run for governor in 2026, and state Sen. John Cherry. No major Democrats have declared a bid yet, but Flint Mayor Sheldon Neeley said he will launch an exploratory committee.
FIRST IN SCORE — 2024 WATCH — North Carolina Republican Matt Mercer, editor in chief of the North State Journal, is actively considering a run for NC-01, according to two people with knowledge of Mercer’s thinking, Natalie Allison writes into Score. Mercer has previously worked as a GOP campaign strategist in the state and has cultivated relationships with Republicans across North Carolina and in D.C. The winner of the Republican nomination would likely be facing incumbent Democratic Rep. Don Davis in a race that is expected to be competitive.
ABORTION ON THE BALLOT? — A Nevada judge struck down a proposed ballot initiative that would codify reproductive rights in the state constitution, per KOLO-TV’s Terri Russell. Nevadans for Reproductive Freedom, which is spearheading the initiative, said it will appeal the ruling to the state Supreme Court. The group is looking to get the initiative on the 2024 ballot. If it earns a simple majority then, it would also have to pass on the 2026 ballot to be put into effect.
… RELATED: Abortion rights advocates in Montana filed a constitutional amendment with the secretary of state last week that would “protect pre-viability abortion” in the state’s constitution, the Montana Free Press’ Mara Silvers reports. Backers are looking to get it on the November 2024 ballot.
MONEY MOVES — Democratic Michigan Senate hopeful Hill Harper was offered $20 million in campaign contributions by a Michigan businessperson to drop out and challenge Democratic Rep. Rashida Tlaib instead, POLITICO’s Ursula Perano and Nicholas Wu report. Harper said no. The episode “illustrates the intensity of the blowback toward Tlaib, the only Palestinian American in Congress, in response to her outspoken criticism of the Israeli government since its war with Hamas began,” as well as other progressive critics of Israeli government policy.
SECOND ACT — After criticism over its “aggressive fundraising tactics and allegations that its huge money hauls were being funneled back to the company itself,” Democratic fundraising firm Mothership Strategies “has found a lower-profile roster of clients, primarily political action committees not affiliated with politicians,” POLITICO’s Hailey Fuchs and Daniel Lippman report. With these new clients, the firm is “deploying the very same aggressive business practices,” which “is raising new alarms among Democrats who fear that those methods draw money away from campaigns and other liberal causes.”
GRASSROOTS CONCERNS — Grassroots organizers in Georgia “say they are confronting a deep sense of apathy among key constituencies that will take even more resources” that they are not receiving, The New York Times’ Maya King and Nick Corasaniti report. “During a gathering of liberal donors and national organizing groups in Washington … organizers from Georgia were among those assured that their work would remain funded, though some left with the impression that the campaigns in other states may eclipse Georgia’s importance in the eyes of some supporters.”
BEHIND THE SCENES — “Election officials are preparing to count votes a lot faster in 2024, desperate to avoid a repeat of the long ballot count that left the winner of the presidential race uncertain for days in 2020,” POLITICO’s Zach Montellaro writes. “Several battleground states have passed new laws to facilitate quicker counting and implemented more efficient processing procedures. … But issues remain. Counting procedures vary state by state, and partisan fighting has sometimes bogged down changes election workers want. And some key states — most notably Pennsylvania — still lag behind, election officials and experts warn, and in an exceptionally close presidential race it could still take days to know the winner.”
… Speaking of Pennsylvania: An issue with touch screen voting machines in a Pennsylvania county “underscores the delicate balance politicians and election officials say they must strike when investigating legitimate problems, without providing fodder to conspiracy theorists,” POLITICO’s John Sakellariadis writes. “Officials say the issue did not affect the outcome of the votes, but are nonetheless racing to restore voter confidence ahead of next year’s election.”
— Chris Jankowski resigned from his role as CEO of pro-Ron DeSantis super PAC Never Back Down, The New York Times’ Maggie Haberman and Shane Goldmacher report. Kristin Davison is now CEO.
— Kara Eastman, a former Democratic candidate in NE-02, is running political commentator Cenk Uygur’s presidential campaign, per The Hill’s Filip Timotija.
CODA: QUOTE OF THE DAY — “I don’t care. You want to expel me? I’ll wear it like a badge of honor.” — Rep. George Santos in a three-hour X Spaces interview on Friday.