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- "Thousands of documents unsealed Wednesday link" Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) "to a secret email system used in his office that would avoid public scrutiny when he was Milwaukee County executive. The records also show that on the day before he was elected governor in 2010, the secret investigation into links between Walker's county government staff and his political campaign was widened to include four more aides. ... The trove of documents unsealed by the courts Wednesday shows just how intertwined Walker's campaign operation was with his taxpayer-paid county staff in the months leading to the November 2010 general election." (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)
- The RNC raised $7.8 million in January and has $9.8 million cash on hand and no debt. (release)
- In KY SEN, businessman Matt Bevin (R) "launched two new, notably short TV ads hitting" Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R) "on guns and earmarks." (The Hill)
- In OK SEN, state House Speaker T.W. Shannon (R) launched his first TV ad, "which details Shannon's faith and his stance on lowering the debt" and "is backed by a $150,000 buy." (Roll Call)
- In TN SEN, state Rep. Joe Carr (R) launched a new minute-long radio ad that paints Sen. Lamar Alexander (R) as a "career politician" who has "lost his way" while touting Carr's conservative principles. "The campaign says it has spent $45,000 on the spot." (Nashville Tennessean)
- In NY-01, the NRCC "is going on the air against" Rep. Tim Bishop (D), "calling him too corrupt for Washington. ... The buy is fairly small, just $15,000, and will run on cable for 10 days." (Politico)
- In NY-04, former Nassau County legislator Bruce Blakeman (R) "said Wednesday that he will run ... giving local Republican leaders a recognizable candidate to pit against well-known Democrats who already are fundraising." (Newsday)
- In GA GOV, "Republican operatives ... have formed a new super PAC to aid" Gov. Nathan Deal (R). "The group, the Georgia Victory Fund, is what's known as an 'independent committee' in Georgia campaign finance. It can accept unlimited donations." (Politico)
- In IL GOV, businessman Bruce Rauner (R) "added another $501,000 of his own money to his campaign fund while" Illinois Freedom PAC (D) "launched a new round of controversial TV ads against him" Wednesday. "The latest ad, which a PAC spokesman said is part of a $1 million weeklong TV commercial buy across the state, features a narrator accusing Rauner of 'corporate greed' at the expense of elderly people whose representatives filed court suits that contended family members were denied inadequate care." (Chicago Tribune)
- In NE GOV, Attorney General Jon Bruning (R) and 2006 SEN nominee Pete Ricketts (R) "launched TV ad campaigns this week. ... The new Ricketts ad features individual Nebraskans, including" former Gov. Kay Orr (R), "extolling his conservative values and business background. The Bruning ad centers on the attorney general talking about his legal battles against the Obama administration." (Lincoln Journal Star)
- In PA GOV, former Vice President Al Gore endorsed former Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Katie McGinty (D), calling her a "great friend and trusted former colleague." (release)
Hotline editors weigh in on the stories that drive the day
• Democrats already hammered Walker for the John Doe investigation during his 2012 recall election, but one Democratic internal poll done a week prior to that election showed just one in four likely Wisconsin voters had heard "a lot" about the investigation at that point. Voters are sure to hear a whole lot more now that thousands of documents relating to the probe have been released, which show Walker may have known more about illegal coordination efforts than previously thought. The contents of the documents may not amount to Walker's Bridgegate if he has presidential aspirations, but it could certainly impact his standing in his race for reelection against Democrat Mary Burke. -- Karyn Bruggeman
• Stu Rothenberg has a great look at the evolution of the GOP consulting firm Jamestown Associates, which is thriving despite losing the support of the Republican Senate and House campaign committees over the past year. While the backing of the party committees used to be a necessity, the proliferation of outside groups and money (especially on the Republican side) means there's more than enough business to go around. It's not that Jamestown is anti-establishment, it's that there are two establishments, and more than enough cash to support both. -- Steven Shepard
HAIR OF THE DOG
FRESH BREWED BUZZ
- "Charlie Crist: Embraceable Blue" (Washington Post)
- "Dallas leaders have decided to vie for the 2016 Republican National Convention and have begun recruiting members for a host committee. Dallas would need to raise at least $50 million for a four-day presidential nominating event. ... At least five other cities are competing, lured by expectations of exposure and an economic boomlet. Most have been working on their bids for months." (Dallas Morning News)
- "Thirty years ago, a Houston restaurant owner sympathized with a kitchen worker whose mother was ailing in Mexico. When the employee, living in the U.S. illegally, lamented that he could not risk a trip home, his boss offered to help - even by showing up at the border to drive the man back to Houston. That narrative of kindness threatened to upend the Republican primary race for [Texas] lieutenant governor Wednesday, following news reports that" state Sen. Dan Patrick (R) "employed workers in the country illegally. ... Patrick, whose political career has been built with tough rhetoric on immigration, denied that he knowingly employed anyone in the country illegally when he ran a chain of sports bars in the 1980s or offered to assist anyone in crossing the border unlawfully." (Houston Chronicle)
- "The state's top elections official is backing a new plan that would make Georgia among the first in the nation to cast ballots in the 2016 presidential primaries, thrusting voters here squarely into the national spotlight." Secretary of State Brian Kemp (R) "said Wednesday his plan would establish a March 1, 2016 primary for Georgia, and that he's reached out to other Southeastern states to form a new Super Southern Tuesday bloc that would give the region a broader say in the eventual presidential nominee." (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
- "A lot of people ask me, do I miss much about being president? The answer's really no. I mean I miss people I served with. I miss Air Force One. In eight years, they never lost my baggage." -- Former President George W. Bush, on Wednesday in Dallas (ABC News)
- "I'm looking at it, and we'll see when I can make a determination one way or the other." -- Former Louisiana Gov. Edwin Edwards (D), on running in LA-06. Edwards, 86, served eight years in federal prison following a racketeering conviction. (Baton Rouge Advocate)
- Former Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) "whose yearlong contract with Fox News lapsed earlier this month, has renewed his on-air contributor agreement, a top executive at the cable station said" Wednesday. "The Globe, in a story published online Tuesday night..., reported that Brown 'is currently out of contract with the network,' based on a statement from a Fox News spokeswoman." (Boston Globe)
- "It is hard to acknowledge a move that was comparable to a pregnant high jumper, but that is what my move was. It didn't go over very well." -- Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D), using a favorite metaphor to describe a 2011 speech in which he called for Nevada to ban prostitution (Reno Gazette-Journal)
- "We're not interested." -- A TX SEN candidate/Rep. Steve Stockman spokesman, when asked where, or whether, Stockman was campaigning (Slate)
PLAY OF THE DAY!
- Today's weather, from the National Weather Service: Mostly sunny this morning, then becoming cloudy. Highs in the mid 50s. South winds 5 to 10 mph.
- Americans Gracie Gold, Ashley Wagner and Polina Edmunds are in medal contention in the ladies' figure-skating long program. (NBC Sports Network, 10 a.m.)
- The gold medal is on the line when the U.S. women's hockey team squares off with Canada. (WRC-TV, noon)
- President Obama attends a DGA dinner. (St. Regis Hotel, 5:35 p.m.)
- U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman delivers dinner remarks at the 2014 Agricultural Outlook Forum in Arlington, Va. (Crystal Gateway Marriott Hotel, 6:30 p.m.)
- Georgetown is in Newark to face Seton Hall. (CBS Sports Network, 9 p.m.)
- They'll try it again in Chapel Hill when No. 5 Duke takes on North Carolina. (WDCA-TV, 9 p.m.)
- It's an all-Scandinavia matchup in the first men's hockey semifinal when Sweden and Finland face off. (NBC Sports Network, 7 a.m. Friday)
- Have an event for us to highlight? Email us!
- Franklin D. Roosevelt was the first sitting president to fly in an airplane on official business in 1943.
- The winner is Abel Iraola, and here's his Swizzle Challenge: "Who was the only U.S. president to hold a doctorate degree, and which subjects did he receive it for?" The 3rd correct e-mailer gets to submit the next question.
NJ'S EARLY BIRD SPECIALS
- How Martha Coakley Could Lose Again
- CPAC Welcomes Gay-Rights Groups After Years of Exclusion
- CBO Defends Its Minimum-Wage Estimate as Democrats Fume
- The Obamacare Enrollment Crash Is Coming
- Would Cameras Turn the Supreme Court Into a Circus?
"I can't help it; I have to hug. Can you even imagine not hugging?" -- Crist (Washington Post)
"What's this? What's happening? ... Why are you squeezing me with your body?" -- "Michael Bluth"
"It's a hug, Michael. I'm hugging you." -- "Lucille Bluth" in Arrested Development
Adam Wollner, Editor
Steven Shepard, Editor-in-Chief
Steven Shepard contributed to this article.
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