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At the Races: Traveling salesman

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President Joe Biden is continuing his “Investing in America” tour Monday in Minnesota, as he and members of his administration try to make sure that the president gets credit for investments in a host of industries ahead of an expected reelection campaign launch. This particular tour started Tuesday in North Carolina, with an event focused on semiconductor chips.

It’s the latest of many such roadshows for Biden touting legislative accomplishments and trying to make the case that investments will lower costs for Americans, even though sometimes the local news leads with a report about road closures caused by the president’s visit (as they did Tuesday on WTVD, the ABC station in Raleigh-Durham, N.C.).

As The News & Observer put it: “A presidential visit always brings excitement to a city but it also tends to increase police presence, snarl traffic and, in Biden’s case, cause crowds near local ice cream stores.”

According to a recent Monmouth University survey, 25 percent of Democratic-minded voters said they would prefer to see Biden seek another term.

The next stops for Biden and other cabinet officials will come as the administration is being blasted by Sen. Joe Manchin III, the West Virginia Democrat critical to the reconciliation law that has been among those being highlighted by Biden.

Manchin contends in a Wall Street Journal opinion piece that “unelected ideologues, bureaucrats and appointees seem determined to violate and subvert the law to advance a partisan agenda that ignores both energy and fiscal security.” The administration is ignoring congressional intent, he writes — and, by that, Manchin likely means his intent — to use funds from the law to boost fossil fuel production.

Manchin, should he seek reelection next year, would inevitably be vulnerable — and perhaps especially if Republicans succeed in recruiting Gov. Jim Justice, the billionaire Democrat-turned-Republican governor, to the race.

Starting gate

Badgering voters: With pleas from Rep. Nancy Pelosi and former President Barack Obama on one side and Sen. Ron Johnson and the entire House GOP delegation on the other, there’s no shortage of federal attention being showered on Wisconsin’s Supreme Court election next week, and CQ Roll Call’s Briana Reilly explains how ripples from the race could reach Capitol Hill.

Running for mayor: Texas Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee joined the crowded race for mayor of Houston this week. The Democrat, who has been in the House since 1995, is one of at least six candidates vying to replace term-limited Mayor Sylvester Turner. Nothing prevents Jackson Lee from seeking reelection to Congress if she fails to win in November.  

Parents rights debate reaches the House floor: Parental rights have become a campaign rallying cry for the GOP in response to COVID-19 school closures and mask mandates. Last week, the House passed a bill championed by Republicans that they say would give parents greater oversight over education. Democrats, who voted against the measure, called it a gimmick that politicizes education and could provide conservative activists with a tool to ban books they deem unacceptable. The measure, which passed 213-208, is unlikely to be considered in the Democrat-controlled Senate. 

PA snafu: Republicans in Congress are demanding to know how a shortage of paper ballots in Pennsylvania’s Luzerne County on Election Day 2022 affected thousands of voters. Among those speaking at a House panel’s hearing on the topic Tuesday was Jim Bognet, a Republican who lost the 2020 and 2022 elections to Democratic Rep. Matt Cartwright in a battleground district in the northeastern part of the state. But Republicans have not filed a formal complaint contesting the legitimacy of Cartwright’s win, and local officials are already investigating the matter.

Wild pitch: South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham telling Fox News viewers five times on Nov. 30 they could donate at teamherschel.com to help GOP Senate candidate Herschel Walker was an ethics violation because he made the appearance from his Senate office, the ethics committee said in a letter admonishing Graham last week.

ICYMI

Pushback: An environmental group and the Democratic nonprofit House Majority Forward launched a six-figure streaming ad campaign aimed at seven Republicans from California and New York hours after they voted for an energy, permitting and public lands package, CQ Roll Call’s Ben Hulac reports.

AZ labels: The Arizona Democratic Party is filing suit in Maricopa County, alleging that the group No Labels should not get ballot access because it is not actually a political party. The complaint says that No Labels is a nonprofit 501(c)(4), and not a party committee. “No Labels is not following the rules for political party recognition, while attempting to be placed on the ballot alongside actual, functioning political parties who do,” AZ Dems executive director Morgan Dick said in a statement.

She’s running: Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren is seeking a third term, although she caused a temporary kerfuffle by mistakenly saying she was running for president in an MSNBC interview on Monday. It ended with her coming back on the air after a commercial break to say “how really excited I am to support Joe Biden for president and Kamala Harris for vice president. They have done an extraordinary job.”

But he’s not: California Rep. Ro Khanna is forgoing a Senate run. He endorsed Rep. Barbara Lee, saying on CNN that she “has had the track record for the past 20 years really to earn a lot of the progressives’ trust, particularly, again, on issues of war and peace and social and racial justice.” Lee and fellow Democratic Reps. Adam B. Schiff and Katie Porter are all seeking the seat that Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein is giving up.

Yes to term limits: A new poll by the University of Maryland’s School for Public Policy found broad support for a constitutional amendment limiting the terms of members of Congress. The survey of 2,700 registered voters found that 5 in 6 Americans backed such an amendment. The support was bipartisan: 86 percent of Republicans, 80 percent of Democrats and 84 percent of unaffiliated voters favor congressional term limits.

All about the New Congress: Mary Ellen and Niels joined CQ Roll Call Editor-in-Chief Jason Dick and Senior Staff Writer John Donnelly for a webinar on navigating the new Congress this week. If you didn’t get to join us, catch up here.

What we’re reading

Stu says: Stuart Rothenberg watched former President Donald Trump’s first reelection campaign rally, held over the weekend in Waco, Texas. His conclusion? “This is the same Trump we saw in 2016, 2018, 2020 and 2022. He is the same mean-spirited narcissist he always has been, except maybe a little worse.”

If he’s charged: Nathan L. Gonzales tried to assess the impact of a Trump indictment. “At a minimum, any Trump indictments and arrests should be called historic,” he writes. “But that’s different from being game changers politically.”

Silencing Music City USA?: The digital magazine Bolts looked at efforts by Republicans in Tennessee to dilute the political power of the state’s largest city, liberal-leaning Nashville. The GOP, which controls the legislature, already split the city into three congressional districts through redistricting. Now it is looking to ban runoffs in municipal elections, a strategy that could make it easier for a Republican to win the mayor’s race.

Struggle to fit in: Democratic Rep. Ruben Gallego is a Harvard graduate and a Marine combat veteran who is running for Senate in Arizona. He recently spoke with Al Día about his struggles at the Ivy League institution. “Harvard was hard,’’ said Gallego, who worked as a janitor cleaning students’ bathrooms. “It was not the academics but just a very different culture.”

Teaming up on agriculture: Lori Chavez-DeRemer is a Republican and Andrea Salinas is a Democrat, but the two freshman House members from Oregon both sit on the House Agriculture Committee, which is tasked with hammering out the farm bill. The Oregonian looked at the priorities the two lawmakers share, as well as their policy differences. 

The count: $35 million

That’s how much Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., raised from January through March this year, according to Fox News, which was given first crack at the figure. Candidate filings for the first quarter are due to the Federal Election Commission by April 15, while most PACs and party committees must file by April 20. 

Nathan’s notes

Like Connor Roy being worried about his 1 percent standing in the polls being squeezed, the danger to presidential candidates at this point is becoming irrelevant, Nathan L. Gonzales writes.

Candidate confessions

Rep. Dusty Johnson is the new chair of the Republican Main Street Caucus and the vice chair of the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus. Despite those key roles, the Republican from South Dakota tells CQ Roll Call’s Jim Saksa that he doesn’t think he wields more clout than his colleagues. “Nobody’s going to control the House. The idea that everybody has to get their minds wrapped around [is] the fact that everyone has a veto,’’ Johnson said. “I mean, we have a tendency to focus on how the Freedom Caucus could say no to things, but so could any of the other five families. And that’s why I think cooperation and coordination are going to be really key.”

Shop talk: Olivia Perez-Cubas

Perez-Cubas is a managing director at Bullpen Strategy Group. In that role, she works with the group Winning for Women, which works to elect Republican women. 

Starting out: “I got my start pretty young through fellowship and internship opportunities in the Florida state capitol. I’m from Miami, Fla. And I had such good experiences there that I moved to D.C. after college and got an internship with Sen. Marco Rubio,” she said. 

Most unforgettable campaign moment: “So I think generally, the presidential election was just such a unique experience,” Perez-Cubas said of working for Rubio’s 2016 presidential campaign. “It was actually also my first campaign, so getting thrown into the deep end … and, especially, 2016 was such a unique year.” In that role, she booked Rubio for a “Full Ginsburg,” when he appeared on every Sunday show, including the Spanish-language shows. “That was pretty cool,” she said. 

Biggest campaign regret: “Not asking to be in the room earlier for debate prep,” she said. “I just think it never hurts to ask and to advocate [for] yourself and to put yourself in a position to prove yourself, ultimately.”

Unconventional wisdom: “I don’t know if this is super unconventional, but I would say the ability to meet America on the campaign trail is such an honor,” she said. “So getting out of D.C., meeting with voters at diners, small businesses, on bus tours, whatever it might be, I think that’s where you will learn the most about voters and about the country, ultimately.”

Team note

Sending special thanks to Kevin Barnard, the copy editor in our newsroom who is retiring after having the weekly pleasure of handling At the Races on its challenging journey from rollcall.com to your inboxes. Not only does he catch embarrassing mistakes — Nevada and New Mexico are different states? — he helps us spel wurds rite and will b mised.

Coming up

Elections on Tuesday include the runoff in the race for mayor of Chicago and the nationally watched battle for a Supreme Court seat in Wisconsin.

Photo finish

It’s opening day at Nats Park, but fans will have to wait until June 14 to see the Democrats and Republicans face off in the Congressional Baseball Game. Hopefully, any aerial entertainment will be cleared with all relevant authorities and skies will be clearer than they were for the July 28 game last year, which the GOP dominated. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

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