From WTOP’s Election Desk: DC mayoral hopefuls debate

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Local politics and elections | Nick Iannelli

Voters have clear choices for DC mayor

If you’re a voter in D.C. deciding who the next mayor should be, the lines between the candidates are pretty clear ahead of next month’s primary.

That became more obvious during a debate where incumbent Democratic Mayor Muriel Bowser faced Democratic challengers, including D.C. Council members Trayon White and Robert White (who are not related).

Bowser said she supported a plan to build a new stadium for the Washington Commanders on the RFK Stadium site. Trayon White said he was on board with the plan, but Robert White was firmly against it, saying affordable housing would be a better use for the land.

While Bowser called for more police officers, both Robert and Trayon White said they would rather see money that would go for more cops used for alternatives to policing, such as social service programs.

Both Bowser and Trayon White said they wanted police officers stationed in school buildings, while Robert White argued that police don’t belong in schools.

Did Bowser use tax dollars to promote her candidacy?

Mailers sent from D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser’s administration are drawing attention, but not necessarily for reasons that Bowser had anticipated.

It turns out that her administration spent $130,000 in taxpayer money to send the mailers to residents, according to financial records obtained by Axios.

The records show $40,800 was spent on mail and postage, and it cost $89,100 to print the documents.

The 28-page mailers showed Bowser as a successful leader, saying in part that she was “throwing every resource at the rise in violent crime.”

While the mailer doesn’t appear to run afoul of the District’s rules for mass mail by elected officials, it has “a lot of resemblance to a very lavish campaign pamphlet,” said Craig Holman, an ethics expert at nonprofit watchdog Public Citizen.

US House race already set in Fairfax County

Early voting just started in the primary elections for Virginia U.S. House seats, but one race is already set in stone: the race in the 11th Congressional District, in Fairfax County.

Republicans, during a local party-run event, selected Jim Myles as their candidate to run for the seat.

That means Myles in November will face Democratic incumbent Rep. Gerry Connolly, who is running unopposed on the Democratic side for that seat.

District 11 is one of four districts in Virginia where Republicans are not participating in the traditional state-run primary process, instead opting to hold their own party-controlled events to select their candidates for U.S. House races.

That is also happening in Districts 5, 8 and 10, with Republican events in those areas set for May 21.

Hogan says he’s running for president — without actually saying it

While Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan hasn’t officially announced a run for the White House, he sure made it sound like he was already in the race during a speech at the Reagan Presidential Library in California.

Hogan said that voters were desperately looking for a moderate Republican — someone like him — and called himself a “common sense conservative.”

“Together we can change our party and our nation for the better,” Hogan said, adding that the Republican Party was “in desperate need of a course correction.”

He also alluded to his approval rating — above 70% — in a deeply Democratic state.

“While most Americans think the nation is way off track, the overwhelming majority of Marylanders believe that our state is headed in the right direction,” Hogan said.

From Capitol Hill | Mitchell Miller

Will Trump be key in Keystone State primary?

Tuesday’s Republican primary in Pennsylvania for the U.S. Senate is one of the most competitive in the country, and will be another test of former President Donald Trump’s endorsement power.

A recently released Fox News poll shows three of the candidates are in an extremely tight race, with many voters still undecided.

Dr. Mehmet Oz, known to TV viewers as Dr. Oz, now has a slight lead among GOP primary voters, with 22% saying they’d vote for him. Former hedge fund executive David McCormick follows with 20%, and conservative commentator Kathy Barnette with 19%. All three candidates are within the poll’s margin of plus or minus 3%, and 18% are undecided.

Oz has moved up in the polls since receiving Trump’s endorsement, and is no doubt hoping that will help him edge out the competition, as did J.D. Vance after getting the thumbs-up from Trump in the Ohio Republican primary for Senate.

On the Democratic side, polls show Lt. Gov. John Fetterman with a large lead over U.S. Rep. Conor Lamb and state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta.

The winner of the general election in November will replace Republican U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey, who’s retiring.

More Trump tests in North Carolina

Former North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory staked out an early lead in the state’s GOP primary for U.S. Senate. But polls in recent weeks suggest U.S. Rep. Ted Budd is now the clear front-runner.

Budd has the endorsement of former President Donald Trump, but that came early in the race. Budd is benefiting from a recent financial boost from the conservative PAC Club for Growth.

Budd is now favored to become the GOP nominee Tuesday for the seat of retiring Republican U.S. Sen. Richard Burr. The nominee will likely face Democrat Chari Beasley, a former state Supreme Court chief justice, in the fall election.

Among the other races to keep an eye on in North Carolina: the GOP primary involving U.S. Rep. Madison Cawthorn, 26, the youngest member of Congress and a former favorite of Donald Trump.

Trump has cooled to Cawthorn, in the wake of a slew of negative stories about him that appear to have been leaked by conservative opponents.

Cawthorn is strongly opposed by GOP U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis, who has endorsed state Sen. Chuck Edwards.

In North Carolina’s 13th Congressional District, another 26-year-old is hoping Trump’s endorsement will help carry him to victory in the Republican primary: Bo Hines, who also has the financial support of Club for Growth.

Hines is in a crowded field of eight Republicans seeking the GOP nomination in the swing district. The race would end up in a runoff if none of the candidates gets at least 30% of the vote.

Five Democrats are trying to get the Democratic nomination.

The congressional district is a new one, added after the 2020 census.

What did we learn from the latest primaries?

The political takeaways from West Virginia and Nebraska are somewhat mixed. There’s little doubt that the Trump effect was again in play in the West Virginia GOP primary between Republican representatives Alex Mooney and David McKinley. Mooney had Trump’s backing, and he cruised to victory over McKinley, who had been endorsed by conservative Democratic U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin.

Trump opposed McKinley because he voted for the bipartisan infrastructure bill (something Trump said he wanted as president, but then opposed when it had President Joe Biden’s name attached to it). McKinley also voted for creation of the Jan. 6 House panel to investigate the attack on the U.S. Capitol, which Trump also opposed.

Mooney formerly served in the Maryland General Assembly and was once the chair of the Maryland GOP.

In Nebraska, the candidate for governor whom Trump endorsed lost. Trump had stood by Charles Herbster, a cattle breeder who was accused by eight women of either groping them or touching them inappropriately. Herbster denied the allegations.

Republican voters chose Jim Pillen, a hog farmer who had been endorsed by outgoing Gov. Pete Ricketts. Pillen will be the favorite in the November election. Nebraska hasn’t voted for a Democratic governor since 1994.

Worth your time

From Nick Iannelli

From Mitchell Miller

Rick Massimo

Rick Massimo came to WTOP, and to Washington, in 2012 after having lived in Providence, R.I., since he was a child. He went to George Washington University as an undergraduate and is regularly surprised at the changes to the city since that faraway time.

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