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- The DSCC raised $6.8 million in February, ending the month with $18.1 million cash on hand and $1.2 million in debt. (Hotline reporting)
- In AK SEN, Sen. Mark Begich (D) launched a new 60-second TV ad narrated by his wife, who says "there's no where he won't go to listen and stand up for Alaskans." The ad also features clips of his late father, former Rep. Nick Begich (D-AK). (Roll Call)
- In NC SEN, pastor Mark Harris (R) "is setting his sights on rival" House Speaker Thom Tillis (R), "shifting his strategy as he seeks to boost his numbers." Harris "is preparing to go negative for the first time in the campaign and more aggressively highlight what he sees as" Tillis's "character flaws -- specifically a sex scandal in the House speaker's office, his ties to a gay rights supporter and appointments of campaign donors to powerful posts." (Raleigh News & Observer)
- Democracy for America (D) endorsed Begich and Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) on Thursday. (Huffington Post)
- In AZ-07, Rep. Raul Grijalva (D) endorsed state Rep. Ruben Gallego (D). (Politico)
- In the FL-19 Special, businessman Curt Clawson (R) released a new 60-second TV ad attacking 2012 candidate/former state Rep. Paige Kreegel (R) "for the voice mail Kreegel left Clawson about a coming [s]uper PAC ad." The ad also says state Sen. Lizbeth Benacquisto (R) "broke the law 105 times for hiding information about her political financiers." (Tampa Bay Times)
- In IL GOV, the RGA sent $750,000 to businessman Bruce Rauner's (R) campaign account on Wednesday morning "to send the message the RGA is all in." (Chicago Sun-Times)
- In GA GOV, Jimmy Carter will headline a March 23 fundraiser in New York for his grandson, state Sen. Jason Carter (D). (New York Post)
- In MD GOV, Attorney General Doug Gansler (D) released a new TV ad, highlighting his efforts to defend victims of domestic violence. (release)
- Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) "delivered a blistering critique of America's spy agencies on Wednesday, likening the surveillance state to the 'dystopian nightmares' of literature and arguing that a growing number of his colleagues on Capitol Hill now fear an intelligence apparatus that is 'drunk with power.' ... His sharp denunciations received a warm welcome from students and others gathered. Despite the" University of California-Berkeley's "famously liberal bent, Paul faced a friendly crowd that included many college Republicans." (National Journal)
- In MA GOV, a new WBUR-FM/MassINC Polling Group poll of LVs, conducted March 14-16, shows Attorney General Martha Coakley (D) leading Treasurer Steve Grossman (D) 45-14% in the Democratic primary. In a general election matchup, Coakley leads 2010 nominee Charlie Baker (R) 41-26%. (release)
Hotline editors weigh in on the stories that drive the day
• Several outside conservative groups won publicity by targeting Mitch McConnell, but a bigger test of their clout is whether they get involved in open primaries in North Carolina, Georgia and Iowa -- all battleground Senate races. They've largely stayed on the sidelines so far, but could spark a whole conflict with the establishment if they back candidates like Paul Broun and Greg Brannon. Of note: All three primaries are likely to head to runoffs or conventions, increasing the appeal of later intervention. -- Josh Kraushaar
• With tons of negative TV advertising flying over the airwaves earlier than ever this year, it's easy to forget that we'll be seeing plenty of candidates introducing themselves positively in 2014, too. That's where the big war chests built up by embattled Democratic Senate incumbents (and, for that matter, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell) will come into play, while outside groups almost exclusively focus on negative messaging. Begich's riveting new ad compares his dedication to visiting the whole vast state to his late father's, whose plane disappeared during a campaign swing in 1972, and it's a perfect example of how savvy campaigns and candidates still exercise some control over their image these days. -- Scott Bland
• It's no surprise the RGA is going all in for Rauner in Illinois. Beyond the seat being the committee's top pickup opportunity of the cycle, a key staffer, former RGA communications director Mike Schrimpf, has been with the Rauner campaign in the same capacity for almost a year and helped guide him through Tuesday's primary. Schrimpf picked his winner early in that race, and the RGA is hoping to do the same for Rauner in the general. -- Karyn Bruggeman
HAIR OF THE DOG
FRESH BREWED BUZZ
- "Al Franken's reelection plan: No jokes. He'll woo voters by 'just doing his job.'" (Washington Post)
- "Federal officials must help Kansas and Arizona enforce laws requiring new voters to document their U.S. citizenship, a federal judge ruled Wednesday, in a decision that could encourage other Republican-led states to consider similar policies." (AP)
- "There's no one, myself included, who could go to Washington for 20-30-40 years and not change. It's cathartic, good, refreshing for there to be turnover. You've gotta be careful of staying anywhere too long. It's best to retire with dignity. I'm offering Mitch McConnell the chance to do so." -- KY SEN candidate/businessman Matt Bevin (R). (Time)
- Robert Strauss, "the colorful Dallas lawyer who became one of the nation’s top political figures as Democratic Party chairman and later held high governmental posts under presidents of both parties, died Wednesday of natural causes at his home in Washington. He was 95." (Dallas Morning News)
- "There's a lot of old people who shouldn't be driving. They should be sitting in a nice train car working on their iPad having a martini." -- California Gov. Jerry Brown (D), while promoting the state's high-speed rail project (KOVR-TV)
- "Another plays off my love of all things Tina Fey: 'Bossy Pantsuit.'" -- Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (D), joking about possible titles for her new book (ABC News)
- "Delaware's coach ignored Joe Biden's good-luck call because he doesn't pick up his phone on game day" (USA Today)
- "There was no filibusters going on, he did not read 'Green Eggs and Ham.' ... We had probably one of the best constitutional law discussions since I got out of law school." -- Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), on his dinner last week with Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) (Politico)
- "Maybe it was the water that they drink at Harvard." -- Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY), on why President Obama thought he could work with the Tea Party (New York Observer)
- "If you want a surgeon, you don't call a plumber." -- Former Washington, D.C. Mayor/Councilmember Marion Barry (D), in his endorsement of Mayor Vincent Gray (D) (Washington City Paper)
- Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant said Obama could make the team's roster: "That's not a diss to the current roster that we have, its more of a sign of respect of the skill that the president possesses." (Sports Illustrated)
PLAY OF THE DAY!
- Today's weather, from the National Weather Service: Mostly sunny. Highs around 60. West winds 15-20 mph with gusts up to 35 mph.
- Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius speaks about enrolling in a new health care plan at an event in Fort Worth, Tex. with Rep. Marc Veasey (D-TX) and other local officials. (9:45 a.m.)
- The NCAA Tournament Round of 64 gets underway at 12:15 p.m.
- Sebelius travels to New Orleans to talk about Obamacare at an event with Mayor Mitch Landrieu (D). (2:20 p.m.)
- Obama delivers remarks on women and the economy at Valencia College in Orlando, Fla. (2:40 p.m.)
- The National Cherry Blossom Festival hosts the Pink Tie Party fundraiser event, kicking off the 2014 festival. (Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center, 7 p.m.)
- Have an event for us to highlight? Email us!
- There were two acceptable answers to yesterday's question: John Tyler and Andrew Johnson both served as a state legislator, governor, U.S. representative, U.S. senator, vice president and president during their careers.
- The winner is Jerry Landry. Here's today's Swizzle Challenge: "Who was the first left-handed president?" The 3rd correct e-mailer gets to submit the next question.
NJ'S EARLY BIRD SPECIALS
- Why Pot Won't Help Democrats In 2014
- An Ecosystem of Super PACs Forms Around Hillary Clinton, Some With Dubious Goals
- The Real Rand Paul-Ted Cruz Battle Is Only Just Beginning
- Sheldon Adelson Is Behind a Congressional Plot to Kill Online Gambling
- How Janet Yellen Is Looking at the Economy
"I know these are not imaginative picks, but I think they're the right ones." -- Obama, on his NCAA Tournament bracket predictions (ESPN)
"President Obama Is Surprisingly Bad at Picking March Madness Brackets" (Rolling Stone)
Adam Wollner, Editor
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