Top of the Hour

Good morning from Hotline. Today we’re reporting on the final days of the contentious Maryland Senate primary, tracking the latest ad buys, and tracking two trials in Manhattan. Let’s get after it. 

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DISPATCH FROM MARYLAND: Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks (D) has the “opportunity to make history” in Tuesday’s Democratic primary and could become the “first Black woman to represent Maryland in the upper chamber.”

But first she’ll face off against Rep. David Trone (D-06), who has spent more than $60 million of his personal fortune on the primary. Despite his record-breaking investment, Trone has not pulled away from Alsobrooks in part thanks to “a series of comments made by Trone and some of his surrogates in the last few weeks of the campaign that may hurt him with a key demographic: Black women.” (National Journal)

VT GOV: Gov. Phil Scott (R) “isn’t ready to hang up his hat. In an announcement issued Saturday evening, the four-term Republican governor said he will seek another two-year term.” Throughout his political career, the governor “has staked out a position as a moderate Republican. As governor, he has consistently beat the drum of low taxes and fiscal conservatism, while generally taking liberal stances on social issues.” If ultimately reelected, “he would secure one of the longest gubernatorial tenures in recent state history.” There are no term limits for governors in Vermont. (VTDigger)

NATIONAL POLLING ROUNDUP: A New York Times/Philadelphia Inquirer/Siena College polls (April 28-May 9) found former President Trump leading President Biden in five of six swing states. In Arizona (626 RVs; +/-4.2%), Trump led Biden, 49%-42%. In Georgia (604 RVs; +/-4.6%), the former president led Biden, 49%-39%. In Michigan (616 RVs, +/-4.5%), Trump bested Biden, 49%-42%. In Nevada (614 RVs; +/-4.5%), the Republican was ahead, 50%-38%. In Pennsylvania (1,023 RVs; +/-3.6%), the former president had 47%, while Biden had 44%. Biden was statistically tied in Wisconsin (614 RVs; +/-4.5%) at 47% to Trump’s 45%. The results differed slightly in terms of likely voters: Trump still led in Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, and Pennsylvania, but he also bested Biden in Wisconsin, whereas the Democrat led the Republican in Michigan. (New York Times) The Pennsylvania poll showed that abortion is the only key issue where voters trust Biden over Trump. (Philadelphia Inquirer)

FL SEN: A poll from the Florida Chamber of Commerce conducted by Cherry Communications (April 28-May 7; 609 LVs; +/-4%) found Sen. Rick Scott (R) leading former Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (D), 54%-39%. (release)

DEMOCRATS: The Democratic-aligned dark-money group American Bridge 21st Century “will launch a $25 million, three-week ad blitz against” Trump today, “with spots airing in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania that use voter testimonials to warn about reduced abortion access in a second Trump term.” The ads will appear on TV, radio, digital platforms, and mail until early June. This ad buy is part of the group’s $140 million planned investment. (Washington Post)

BATTLE FOR THE SENATE: The GOP-aligned group One Nation “is plowing $70 million more into hitting vulnerable Democrats in key Senate races nationwide … an extraordinary sum that’s roughly double the group’s Senate investment last cycle.” Closely aligned with the Senate Leadership Fund, One Nation “is dropping tens of millions into five key battleground states to join a campaign already up in Montana.” Ads will air in Michigan, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. The ad buy is focused “the southern border and inflation, an effort branded as the ‘Stop the Insanity’ campaign. The push includes spending on radio, mail, TV and digital.” One Nation has spent $88 million so far this cycle, with “$28.6 million in ads in Ohio on May 22 and $18.6 million in Pennsylvania starting in mid-June. The group previously announced a $17.9 million tranche of ads in Montana.” The group “will also air $9.4 million in ads in Michigan and $7.5 million in Wisconsin starting in August and $5.9 million in Nevada beginning on June 18.” (Politico)

REPUBLICANS: Trump claimed that there were “riots” taking place at the University of Pennsylvania, during his rally in Wildwood, New Jersey, on Saturday. “There were no major incidents at Penn during the 16 days protesters occupied College Green on Penn's Philadelphia campus.” He also panned Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner (D) and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R), accusing the former of “letting loose thousands of criminals on the street” and referring to the latter as a “fat pig.” (Philadelphia Inquirer)

Trump said that he wouldn’t pick former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley (R), who hasn’t yet endorsed him, as his running mate. The former president wrote on Truth Social: “Nikki Haley is not under consideration for the V.P. slot, but I wish her well!” (Reuters) Trump may owe $100 million in taxes after he “used a dubious accounting maneuver to claim improper tax breaks from his troubled Chicago tower.” The IRS has argued that Trump effectively tried to write off the losses he incurred from the tower twice. (New York Times)

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, who was found guilty of money laundering and obstruction of justice in 2018, “hardly retired to a quiet home life” after Trump pardoned him in 2020. He has “reengaged in international consulting,” and “has been assisting an effort to launch a Netflix-like mobile streaming and entertainment platform in China that, according to corporate documents, has the endorsement of the Chinese government.” Manafort “also sought to advise political figures in Japan and South Korea.” (Washington Post) After this report emerged, Manafort resigned from his unpaid role as an adviser to the GOP officials who are organizing the Republican National Convention. (New York Times)

LAW AND ORDER DJT: Former Trump attorney Michael Cohen, who was once staunchly loyal to his former boss, will take the stand today as the prosecution’s star witness at the former president’s hush-money trial in New York City. Cohen “will unearth some of the secrets he buried, revealing a mess that prosecutors say his former boss was desperate to hide. It will represent a pivotal moment of the trial, and the climax of a decades-long relationship between two New York loudmouths who used each other, betrayed each other and will now face off on the biggest stage: The first criminal trial of an American president.” (New York Times)

HOUSE PRIMARY ROUNDUP: Former Trump adviser Brian Jack (R) “emphasizes his close ties to Trump at every opportunity. He worked on his 2016 presidential campaign and served for four years as White House political director.” He’s seen as the frontrunner in the race to replace retiring Rep. Drew Ferguson (R-GA 03). His opponents have stayed clear of criticizing Trump but have gone after Jack’s previous work with former Speaker Kevin McCarthy. (AP)

In MD-03, pro-Israel AIPAC’s support of state Sen. Sarah Elfreth (D) to the tune of $4 million "transformed” what “seemed like a conventional open seat congressional contest at first, with five state lawmakers competing for primacy.” Moreover, “no one is sure why AIPAC cares so much about this race.” Elfreth is a frontrunner alongside former Capitol Police Officer Harry Dunn (D), who’s defense of the Capitol on Jan. 6 and later testimony to the committee investigating the day instantly catapulted him to contender status in the race to replace retiring Rep. John Sarbanes (D). AIPAC’s PAC, United Democracy Project, has said it’s concerned with views of some candidates in the race—notably not Dunn—who are seen as longshots in Tuesday’s primary. (Maryland Matters)

In MT-02, a Cygnal poll (May 8-9; 410 LVs; +/-4.83%) found state Auditor Troy Downing (R) leading the field to replace retiring Rep. Matt Rosendale (R). Downing was at 28%, former Rep. Denny Rehberg (R) had 12%, former Drug Enforcement Agency official Stacy Zinn (R) was at 8%, and state Superintendent of Public Instruction Elsie Arntzen (R) was at 5%. Several other candidates notched under 5%. 40% were undecided. (release)

In NJ-08, Sen. Cory Booker (D) endorsed Rep. Rob Menendez (D) as he tries to stave off a challenge from Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla (D). Menendez has consolidated the majority of local support since his father’s indictment, “which should be enough to win renomination easily.” But the defeat of the county line ballot design evens the playing field as the younger Menendez tries to separate himself from his father. (New Jersey Globe)

In OR-03, state Rep. Maxine Dexter’s (D) “financial support has become a source of controversy over the past month as her competitors have accused the outside groups spending money on her behalf or against her opponents of trying to influence the primary without immediately revealing their donors.” New financial disclosures filed last week showed Dexter vastly outpacing former Multnomah County Commissioner Susheela Jayapal (D) and Gresham City Councilor Eddy Morales (D). Dexter has received money from previous AIPAC donors and also has a seven-figure backing from 314 Action Fund, which supports Democratic scientists and medical professionals. A new group, Voters for Responsive Government, has also spent $1.1 million on ads targeting Jayapal. The primary to replace retiring Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D) is next week. (Oregon Live)

NJ SEN: The corruption trial against Sen. Bob Menendez (D) kicks off today with jury selection. Prosecutors say Menendez took bribes from Wael Hana, whom Menendez allegedly helped win a hugely lucrative Halal meat company, real estate developer Fred Daibes, and businessman Jose Uribe.” The former chair of the Foreign Relations Committee was also charged with “acting as an agent of a foreign government.” Menendez “has insisted that he’s innocent and steadfastly refused to resign. The 70-year-old senator faces decades in prison.” (New Jersey Globe)

Trump endorsed Mendham Mayor Christine Serrano Glassner (R) during his New Jersey rally this weekend. Her primary opponent, businessman Curtis Bashaw (R), “opposed Trump in 2016, 2020, and 2024 before endorsing him last month.” (New Jersey Globe)

NV REDISTRICTING: “The Nevada Supreme Court on Friday unanimously affirmed a district court ruling that two proposed ballot questions each seeking to establish an independent redistricting commission are legally deficient.” The court found the measure sought to create a new “body” without “establishing a revenue source to pay for it.” Fair Maps Nevada, the group behind the redistricting initiative, proposed that commissioners served as volunteers and that the IRC’s operating expenses would “offset what the Legislature currently spends on the redistricting process.” If advocates were to refile the petition, they would need to create a revenue source, such “as increasing the marijuana tax. However … that would likely violate the single-subject rule that ballot petitions are limited to,” potentially inviting legal challenges. (Nevada Independent)

OH SEN: 2022 candidate Bernie Moreno (R) is campaigning “as an immigrant who made good, reaching out to Ohio voters with a stirring, only-in-America bootstraps story: arriving as a child from Colombia, taking a risk on a struggling business, and then turning it into a smashing success and himself into a millionaire 100 times over.” However, Moreno “was born into a rich and politically connected family in Bogotá, a city that it never completely left behind, where some members continue to enjoy great wealth and status.” One of his brothers served as ambassadors to the U.S., and another “ founded a development and construction empire that stretches across the Andes from the Colombian interior to its Caribbean shores.” (New York Times)

RACE FOR THE HOUSE: A DCCC memo said Democrats can run on “fixing the border, while painting Republicans as obstructionists for rejecting the Senate’s bipartisan border deal. … The efforts show Democrats are trying to flip the script on an issue that has long bedeviled them politically, as record numbers of illegal migrants have crossed the southern border since” Biden became president. Polls show immigration is a top concern for voters. The memo points to Reps. Hillary Scholten (D-MI 03), Gabe Vasquez (D-NM 02), and Chris Deluzio (D-PA 17) as candidates who are actively discussing the border issue. (Wall Street Journal)

   Episode 51: It's Not Easy Being Green

Energy and environment correspondent Lauren Green gives the big picture on climate policy.

 Listen to our Latest Podcast

  Paging the Hotline

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 Hotline's Graph of the Day


An MDW Communications poll (April 22-24; 694 LVs; +/-4%) shared first with Hotline and conducted internally for former Biden administration official Sabrina Bousbar (D) found former local transit authority official Whitney Fox (D) leading Bousbar, 12.1%-5.3%. Air Force veteran Mark Weinkrantz (D) was at 4.7%. 76% of respondents were undecided ahead of the August primary to take on Rep. Anna Paulina Luna (R-FL 13). Fox has led the field in fundraising, even outraising Luna in two consecutive quarters, but both Bousbar and Fox are unknown quantities in the district.


 Hair of the Dog

Drugs, Sacraments or Medicine? Psychedelic Churches Blur the Line.” (New York Times)

Our Call

The New York Times, the Philadelphia Inquirer, and Siena College jointly released yet another poll that found former President Trump ahead of President Biden. CNN host Fareed Zakaria warned that Trump’s position may be even stronger, saying yesterday, “In general, they [polls] have tended to underestimate Donald Trump’s support, not overestimate it. I doubt that there are many shy Biden voters in the country.” But Zakaria might be missing something else.olls tend to favor challengers, in part because voters simply want to voice their displeasure at the incumbent. In 2012, former President Obama led Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) by less than a point in national polls, but he ended up coasting to victory, winning the popular vote by 4 points. This challenger bias also meant the 2020 election was a lot closer than initially predicted. Biden isn’t in the clear, but he’s not as troubled as some may think.Zac Weisz

 Fresh Brewed Buzz

Barron Trump “has declined to serve as a Florida delegate to the Republican National Convention after being selected to do so.” (Axios)

“Federal prosecutors are seeking a maximum sentence for the man who was convicted of breaking into” Rep. Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA 11) “San Francisco home and attacking her husband Paul with a hammer in 2022.” (ABC News)

An IRS change cut child support for Native moms. Other families may be next.” (Washington Post)

“More than 2,950 people have been arrested at pro-Palestinian protests on at least 61 college campuses across the U.S. in recent weeks.” (Axios)

“Schools across the country are announcing teacher and staff layoffs as districts brace for the end of a pandemic aid package that delivered the largest one-time federal investment in K-12 education.” (CNN)

Former BYU men’s basketball standout Jimmer Fredette wants to give Sky Zone founder Case Lawrence (R) an assist in UT-03. (Politico)

With Extensive Planning, and Treats, 2,500 Show Dogs Descend on New York” (New York Times)

 Rooster's Crow

The House and the Senate are out.

Biden will depart Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, at 11:10 a.m. and return to the White House at 12:25 p.m. He will celebrate Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander Heritage Month at 5 p.m. 

Swizzle Challenge

Secretary of Treasury W. Michael Blumenthal is the oldest former cabinet member.

Jennifer Cervantes won Friday’s challenge. Here’s her challenge: Which two former presidents died on July 4, 1826?

The 3rd correct email gets to submit the next question.

 Early Bird Special

Two young mothers put maternal health front and center in Florida's 13th District.

The Senate is expected to start tackling election-related legislation next week, while the House has done little to address the evolving technology.

The Michigan Democrat discusses her family's story of domestic abuse and how she applies that experience to her work on Capitol Hill.

PLUS: Bill supports pregnant patients, electric-transmission corridors unveiled, Republicans rebuff CBO's tax-cut estimate, and CMS has plan to improve kidney transplants.


“I prayed for you all. You need help.” — President Biden to reporters when asked how he celebrated Mother’s Day (White House press pool)


“I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.” — Principal (Billy Madison)

Kirk A. Bado, Wake-Up Call! Editor

Associate Editor: Hannah Thacker
Senior Production Editor: Taameen Mohammad
Staff Writers: Mary Frances McGowan, Zac Weisz, James A. Downs

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