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Campaign Report — Is Texas a lost cause for Democrats?

Welcome to The Hill’s Campaign Report, tracking all things related to the 2022 midterm elections. Starting this week, you can expect this newsletter in your inbox every TuesdayWednesday and Thursday leading up to November’s election.  

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Polls show O’Rourke trailing Abbott

Multiple polls out today have incumbent Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) leading Beto O’Rourke (D) fewer than 50 days out from Election Day.

new survey from Emerson College Polling and The Hill shows Abbott leading O’Rourke 50 percent to 42 percent.

And polling from the Texas Hispanic Policy Foundation showed Abbott ahead of O’Rourke 51 percent to 44 percent.

Those polls come after a survey earlier this month from the Dallas Morning News and the University of Texas at Tyler showed Abbott leading O’Rourke 47 percent to 38 percent.

The recent data seems to match up with other polling out of the race. The Real Clear Politics polling average shows Abbott leading by 8 points while the nonpartisan Cook Political Report has labeled the race as “likely Republican.”

Dems stymied: The recent polling could come as a relief to the Texas governor, who has grappled with a slew of shootings, including one at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, earlier this year, along with backlash over the state government’s handling of a winter storm that severely damaged the state’s power grid last year.

Meanwhile, it compounds Democratic frustrations in the state, as the party has repeatedly sought — and failed — to turn the state blue in recent years. O’Rourke himself came within 3 points of winning his Senate bid in 2018. However, the Emerson College/The Hill poll shows Abbott with a 55 percent favorability rating and O’Rourke with a 44 percent favorability rating.

President Biden’s approval rating in the state likely isn’t doing O’Rourke any favors either. According to the Emerson College/The Hill poll, 56 percent of Texans say they disapprove of the job Biden is doing, while 37 percent approve.

The Hill’s parent company Nexstar Media Group will host the first and only Texas gubernatorial debate on Friday from 7-8 p.m. CT/8-9 p.m. ET in Edinburgh, Texas.

More 2024 chatter for Cheney

Speaking of Texas, outgoing Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) made news over the weekend at The Texas Tribune Festival in Austin.

Cheney repeated her vow to make sure former President Trump is not the GOP’s 2024 presidential nominee, while also raising eyebrows when she said she will not be a Republican if Trump is the party’s nominee.

An indie darling?: The Hill’s Julia Manchester wrote about how the comments have led some to speculate about a possible Cheney independent bid come 2024. The congresswoman has said she is thinking about a potential presidential run, but she still remains a wildcard.

Though third-party presidential campaigns have historically fallen flat, Cheney’s high profile means an independent bid has the potential to scramble the political calculus as GOP primary voters increasingly nominate hard-right candidates for office, frustrating more moderate Republicans.

But Cheney and her allies say that her quest to stop Trump and his endorsed candidates who deny the 2020 presidential election results is about more than her own political career.

Cheney on 2024: “I think it’s really important not to just immediately jump to the horse race. And I think about what we need as a country. And, you know, we have to step back from the abyss,” Cheney said. “And we have to recognize that, that there’s this shift going on in our politics, that the tectonic plates are shifting. And that means that we all have a responsibility to say to ourselves, what are we going to do to make sure that our kids, you know, know what it means to have peaceful transfers of power? And what are we going to do to make sure that we don’t contribute to the unraveling of the republic? And I think that’s a much bigger question.”

Cheney will take center stage once again on Wednesday at what is likely to be the final hearing for the Jan. 6 House Select Committee, which Cheney co-chairs.

POLL WATCH

A new Insider Advantage/FOX 29 Philadelphia poll shows Pennsylvania Democrats at the top of the ballot leading their Republican opponents ahead of Election Day.

The poll shows Democratic Senate candidate John Fetterman leading GOP candidate Dr. Mehmet Oz 45 percent to 42 percent. Another eight percent said they were undecided.

Meanwhile in the state’s gubernatorial race, Democrat Josh Shapiro leads with 52 percent support while Republican Doug Mastriano came in at 37 percent support.

AD WATCH

At the Senate level, the Senate Majority PAC launched an over $2 million ad campaign in North Carolina against Republican candidate Ted Budd. The spot, titled “Major Disaster,” accuses the GOP congressman of hurting North Carolina farmers while helping himself.

Meanwhile, the Fetterman campaign released a new ad touting Fetterman’s record on crime and support for law enforcement. The 30 second spot titled “Sherriff” features Montgomery County Sheriff Sean Kilkenny.

At the gubernatorial level, Oregon Democratic gubernatorial candidate Tina Kotek rolled out a new ad against Republican nominee Christine Drazan and Independent candidate Betsy Johnson titled “Two Options” ahead of tonight’s debate.

The Republican Governor’s Association (RGA) Kansas 2022 PAC put out a new ad hitting Kansas Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly over her stance on transgender athletes.

And at the House level, the committees were busy releasing their own ads in various districts on Tuesday.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) released ads in North Carolina’s first congressional districtOregon’s fourth congressional district, and Colorado’s eighth congressional district.

Meanwhile, the National Republican Congressional Committee rolled out ads in Texas’ 15th congressional districtCalifornia’s 22nd congressional districtNorth Carolina’s 13th congressional districtVirginia’s 7th congressional district, and Ohio’s first congressional district.

That’s it for today. Thanks for reading and check out The Hill’s Campaign page for the latest news and coverage. See you tomorrow. 

Tags Beto O'Rourke Biden Greg Abbott Mehmet Oz

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