(A)Political Newsletter - Volume 4

U.S. Political News & Election Updates

Friday, August 11th, 2023

Good morning everyone,

Let’s jump right into the news. There are also no polls this week as there have not been significant changes; however, there are the regular updates in congressional stock trading that indicate many high-level moves.

In today’s edition:

  • Ron DeSantis replaces his campaign manager

  • Ohio votes on Issue One - constitutional amendment reform

  • Kari Lake prepares to run for Senate


  • Senator Joe Manchin is the chairman of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.

    • He owns a million dollar stake in his family’s coal business.

    • He reportedly meets with Exxon lobbyists on a weekly basis.

  • Another U.S. Congressman has bet against the U.S. economy. Rep. Mark Green just disclosed the purchase of $SPY put options, with a $440 strike price and a 1/19 expiry.

    • This is a trade I would expect from a member of WallStreetBets, not a member of Congress.

  • US Representative John Curtis just disclosed a purchase of stock in the gasoline company Valero Energy Corporation, $VLO.

    • Curtis sits on the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.

  • Senator Richard Blumenthal has disclosed sales of up to $150K of Robinhood stock, $HOOD.

    • Blumenthal sits on the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Consumer Rights.

    • He sold on June 29th, which is the same day that the EU tentatively banned payment for order flow.

  • Rep. Kevin Kiley has filed his first financial disclosure as a U.S. Congressman.

    • He disclosed less than $15K in assets, and still has up to $250K in student loans.

    • Despite this debt, he declined to accept a pay raise last year when he was a member of the California Assembly.

  • Senator Mitt Romney has filed his annual financial disclosure.

    • It shows that he put up to $6M into Goldman Sachs' Inflation Protected Securities Fund at the beginning of 2022.

    • His wife also put up to $1M into the same fund.

Be on the lookout: 

Hedge fund billionaire Dan Loeb has said that monitoring Reddit is becoming more important than fundamental analysis. The platform hosts numerous channels involved in stock trading, like the notorious WallStreet Bets, which is described as being filled with spur-of-the-moment investment decisions and often pictures of massive net losses.

DeSantis Replaces Campaign Manger in Another Shake-up

(Photo - Win McNamee/Getty Images)

August 9, 2023: Gov. Ron DeSantis has fired his presidential campaign manager, Generra Peck, to try to shake up his campaign and regain his pre-announcement momentum. Peck had been leading his campaign since the beginning and was a close confidant of DeSantis and his wife. While not being removed from the campaign, Peck will stay on as the campaign’s chief strategist. James Uthmeier, DeSantis’ chief of staff during his governorship, will take the helm as campaign manager.

Donors had been raising issues with Peck’s performance, but just a few weeks ago, they were told she would stay on as campaign manager. While the campaign itself continues to suffer, Governor DeSantis must also deal with criticism for many of his recent policies at home in Florida. Particularly controversial are some of his education reforms, which supporters say offer more say to parents and less politics in school, while those opposed worry about a watering down or even censorship of certain topics, such as slavery and sex education.

Trump’s campaign continued to brace his lead, and with both in Iowa, Trump took along all the members of Florida’s Congressional delegation who had endorsed Trump — instead of DeSantis — in an effort to make a statement to voters. Trump called DeSantis a "failed candidate" and said that he has "no personality." He is at the moment running victory laps over the DeSantis campaign, where the first New York Times/Siena Poll found that Trump had a current 37% lead over DeSantis in polling.

Ohio Rejects Issue 1 Amendment

(Photo - Kurt Steiss/AP)

Three million Ohioans came together to vote on Issue 1, in an August Special Election to determine the outcome of changing the vote threshold need for constitutional amendments from greater-than-50% to at least 60%. The “No” outcome won the vote with 1,744,094 votes, or 57.0%. “Yes” had 1,315,346 votes or 43.0%.

Turnout was expected to be higher than usual, however, this election drew many more than anticipated. Nearly 700,000 Ohioans voted early, either in-person or by mail, surpassing the number of early votes cast in the May 2022 primary election.

Supporters of the proposal for a 60% threshold note that it would make it more difficult for out-of-state actors and interest groups to majorly influence changes in the Ohio Constitution. Many Republicans who support the increased threshold have already begun blaming the loss on out-of-state interest groups that wish to “enshrine their social preferences and corporate motives" in Ohio’s most important document.

Those opposed to the changes state that the increased threshold would take away from the power of the people of Ohio and their ability to add amendments to the state constitution.

Many have also tied the issue to the contentious issue of abortion throughout the state, as the 50% threshold may make it easier to enshrine the issue into the Ohio Constitution, among other issues.

Kari Lake Preparing Run for U.S. senate

Kari Lake speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in 2022. (Photo - Brandon Bell/Getty Images)

Axios reports that Kari Lake is preparing to run for the U.S. Senate in Arizona. Lake made a name for herself with her close loss against Governor Katie Hobbs during the 2022 Midterm elections. According to Axios, she will be interviewing staffers all of September, with a campaign advisor to Lake saying she will make a "final decision in the fall."

If she runs, she will be running against probable incumbent Kyrsten Sinema (I-Ariz.) and Democratic Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.). Polling found that even in a three-way race between Sinema, Lake, and Gallego, Gallego would still maintain a slim lead over both of them. The Democrats fears over Sinema taking away votes from Gallego seemed unfounded, as polling suggests Sinema would take away votes from Lake, not Gallego. Regardless, the election is bound to draw millions of dollars in spending from outside groups because both parties are trying to gain or keep control of the Senate, and Republicans see it as a major pickup opportunity while Democrats see it as a necessity to prevent Republicans from winning.

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