Today’s installment of campaign-related news items from across the country.
* As part of an increasingly personal back and forth between Ted Cruz and Donald Trump, the Texas senator yesterday called the Republican frontrunner a “sniveling coward.” Asked, however, if he intends to support his rival if Trump wins the nomination, Cruz would only say he doesn’t believe Trump will be the GOP nominee.
* President Obama’s approval rating has reached three-year highs in the new CNN and Bloomberg Politics polls. This won’t help improve Republicans’ chances of electoral success.
* After Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) announced his support for holding a hearing on Judge Merrick Garland’s Supreme Court nomination, the Tea Party Patriots Citizen Fund said it’s prepared to support a possible primary challenger against the Kansas Republican. Moran is up for re-election this year.
* Bernie Sanders picked up a union endorsement yesterday, with the International Longshore and Warehouse Union announcing its support for the senator yesterday.
* Ben Carson, who endorsed Trump, was asked yesterday to defend Trump’s record of deceptions. “Tell me a politician who doesn’t tell lies?” Carson replied, as if that were a defense.
* Lindsey Graham, fresh off announcing his backing for Cruz, said yesterday the Republican Party “can lose in 2016 and probably will.”
* Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) has been under pressure to make a statement about his party’s presidential primary. “I’m not a Trump fan,” he told the Associated Press yesterday. “I don’t think he should be the nominee. At this point in time, I have no idea who the candidates are going to be or who I’m going to vote for.”
* Rep. Chris Collins (R-N.Y.), the first member of Congress to endorse Trump, was asked this week about his preferred candidate’s record of offensive rhetoric. The Republican congressman said yesterday Trump has “been misquoted, and they’ve taken things out of context.”
* And as of this week, fundraising in the presidential race “has zoomed past the $1 billion mark.” Given that the primary process still has nearly three months to go, that total is going to get much larger.