James deletes campaign videos, ‘red flags’ for Trump in GOP Michigan polling

By: - May 12, 2019 7:17 am

President Donald Trump delivers remarks at the American Center for Mobility, Ypsilanti, Michigan, Wednesday, March, 15, 2017. | Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead via Flickr Public Domain

The GOP’s failed 2018 U.S. Senate nominee, John James, has lassoed some D.C. attention for dithering over what office to seek next year and deleting hundreds of campaign videos.

Susan J. Demas graphic

GOP polling also has some “red flags” for President Donald Trump in Michigan. And Roll Call looks at women lawmakers who flipped tough seats in 2018, including U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Holly).

It’s all part of the Advance‘s semi-regular roundup of Michigan in the national news.

James camp hits delete button

John James, a businessman who challenged U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Lansing) in 2018, is a popular man in the GOP.

Trump twice considered him as United Nations ambassador, but ultimately passed. The Advance has noted he could challenge U.S. Sen. Gary Peters (D-Bloomfield Twp.) or U.S. Rep. Haley Stevens (D-Rochester). Politico looked last week at aggressive recruitment efforts in Washington, including by Trump himself.

John James at the Detroit Regional Chamber conference, Feb. 28, 2019 |Ken Coleman

Meanwhile, James’ campaign has scrubbed hundreds of campaign videos, Talking Points Memo reported, noting that “it appears that James has had an eye on his future since the moment he lost [the 2018] race”:

James’s aides removed all 100 videos posted to its Facebook page from his campaign’s “100 days” video series within weeks of the early November election. They also took down 99 of his 100 YouTube videos. Almost two-thirds of the videos were taken down from twitter in one fell swoop on Nov. 21, 2018. His 2018 campaign manager, Tori Sachs, deleted 45 of her own tweets on the same day.

… It seems like the work to clean up his online presence after that loss was a bit rushed. His campaign failed to delete six reposts of the Facebook videos, like this speech. One was left on his YouTube channel.

Among the deleted videos are James saying he supports Trump’s agenda “2,000 percent” and railing against the “monstrosity” of Obamacare. James adviser Stu Sandler weighed in:

“We took a few down to make it a little more user friendly,” he told TPM, while refusing to discuss whether James pulled them down with an eye on a future run. “There was no reason for [the videos’] content.”

GOP polling in Michigan

Clockwise: Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris, Cory Booker and Beto O’Rourke

It’s become a cliché that 2020 is looking like it will come down to Michigan (and Wisconsin and Pennsylvania) again, but Democrats and Republicans alike remain Mitten-obsessed.

No fewer than 11 Democratic presidential hopefuls — and counting — have stumped in Michigan, as the Advance reported. And there’s no shortage of outside groups looking to play here in the 2020 election.

There’s also new GOP polling in six states that was released to the right-wing Washington Examiner to allay fears about Trump’s re-election prospects. But the Examiner zeroed in on “a few red flags for Trump, mostly in Michigan, whose Electoral College votes are crucial to the president’s reelection prospects”:

There, the president’s job approval was 45%, with 50% disapproving. Meanwhile, Trump was supported by a paltry 42% of poll respondents when asked to choose between him and Biden. Additionally, only a plurality, 47%, approved of the job Trump is doing on “securing fair trade deals,” a key issue in the Midwest. In each of the other five states tested, Trump scored at least 50% approval on that question.

The poll was conducted by WPA Intelligence on behalf of Americans for Fair Skies, a political nonprofit urging the federal government to enforce trade agreements related to the airline industry. The poll surveyed 1,200 likely voters April 27 to 30 in Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Texas and Wisconsin.

Slotkin and vulnerable freshmen

Freshman Democrat Elissa Slotkin was featured in Roll Call’s look at five new members of Congress, which also included U.S. Reps. Elaine Luria and Abigail Spanberger of Virginia, Mikie Sherrill of New Jersey and Chrissy Houlahan of Pennsylvania.

Elissa Slotkin’s ceremonial swearing in, Jan. 13, 2019, Lansing | Andrew Roth

The piece notes that none of them actually mentioned progressive freshman U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) by name, but decides they’re specifically calling her out anyway:

At an event to tout their formation of a joint fundraising committee to tap each other’s donors (and hopefully bring in more), the five, all with military or intelligence backgrounds, never mentioned New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez by name.

… “There’s been an overwhelming focus on a small number of members in our caucus who did not flip seats, who did not help win the House, who are doing what is right for their districts, but who don’t represent our districts, or at least my district,” Slotkin said at a Friday breakfast with a small group of reporters.

The story goes on to note that all but Houlahan are running in districts Trump won in 2016 and lawmakers are helping each other fundraise for 2020. But naturally, the social media responses have been focused on the supposed catfight with AOC, because everything is terrible.

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Susan J. Demas

Susan J. Demas is a 21-year journalism veteran and one of the state’s foremost experts on Michigan politics, appearing on MSNBC, CNN, NPR and WKAR-TV’s “Off the Record.” In addition to serving as Editor-in-Chief, she is the Advance’s chief columnist, writing on women, LGBTQs, the state budget, the economy and more. Most recently, she served as Vice President of Farough & Associates, Michigan’s premier political communications firm. For almost five years, Susan was the Editor and Publisher of Inside Michigan Politics, the most-cited political newsletter in the state. Susan’s award-winning political analysis has run in more than 80 national, international and regional media outlets, including the Guardian U.K., NBC News, the New York Times, the Detroit News and MLive. She is the only Michigan journalist to be named to the Washington Post’s list of “Best Political Reporters,” the Huffington Post’s list of “Best Political Tweeters” and the Washington Post’s list of “Best Political Bloggers.” Susan was the recipient of a prestigious Knight Foundation fellowship in nonprofits and politics. She served as Deputy Editor for MIRS News and helped launch the Michigan Truth Squad, the Center for Michigan’s fact-checking project. She started her journalism career reporting on the Iowa caucuses for The (Cedar Rapids) Gazette. Susan has hiked over 4,000 solo miles across four continents and climbed more than 70 mountains. She also enjoys dragging her husband and two teenagers along, even if no one else wants to sleep in a tent anymore.