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- "The former Port Authority official who personally oversaw the lane closings at the George Washington Bridge, central to the scandal now swirling around" New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) "said on Friday that 'evidence exists' that the governor knew about the closings when they were happening. A lawyer for the former official, David Wildstein, wrote a letter describing the move to shut the lanes as 'the Christie administration’s order' and said 'evidence exists as well tying Mr. Christie to having knowledge of the lane closures, during the period when the lanes were closed, contrary to what the governor stated publicly in a two-hour press conference' three weeks ago." (New York Times)
- Christie, "after a low-key initial response to Friday's explosive allegations about his involvement in a bridge-closing scandal, mounted an aggressive defense late Saturday afternoon, attacking" the New York Times "and a former political ally in an email to friends and allies. ... 'Bottom line — David Wildstein will do and say anything to save David Wildstein,' the email from the governor's office says." (Politico)
- In AK SEN, Sen. Mark Begich (D) raised $850,000 in the fourth quarter of 2013 and has $2.8 million cash on hand. (AP)
- In CO SEN, 2010 nominee Ken Buck (R) raised $154,000 in the fourth quarter and has $262,000 cash on hand, while state Rep. Amy Stephens (R) raised $51,000. (KDVR-TV)
- In GA SEN, businessman David Perdue (R) raised $243,000 in the fourth quarter and loaned his campaign $500,000 and has $1.76 million cash on hand, while Rep. Paul Broun (R) raised $241,000 and has $187,000 cash on hand. Former Secretary of State Karen Handel (R) raised $168,000 and has $328,000 cash on hand, and Rep. Phil Gingrey (R) raised $137,000 and has $2.3 million cash on hand. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
- In IA SEN, Rep. Bruce Braley (D) raised "about" $1 million in the fourth quarter and has $2.6 million cash on hand, while state Sen. Joni Ernst (R) raised $203,000 and has $289,500 cash on hand. Businessman Mark Jacobs (R) raised $410,000 and "personally loaned and contributed another $521,000," and has $253,000 cash on hand and $233,000 in debt. (Des Moines Register)
- In KY SEN, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R) raised $2.2 million in the fourth quarter and has $10.9 million cash on hand, while Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes (D) raised $2.1 million and has "almost" $3.5 million cash on hand. (Hotline reporting)
- In LA SEN, retired Air Force Col. Rob Maness (R) raised $240,000 in the fourth quarter and has $132,000 cash on hand. (Monroe News Star)
- In MT SEN, Lt. Gov. John Walsh (D) raised $583,000 in the fourth quarter and has $435,500 cash on hand. (Billings Gazette)
- A new WMUR-TV Granite State poll of NH SEN LVs, conducted Jan. 21-26 by UNH Survey Center, shows Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D) leading former Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA), 47-37%. (release)
- In SC SEN, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R) raised $1.3 million in the fourth quarter and has $7.6 million cash on hand, while public relations executive Nancy Mace (R) raised $256,000 and has $241,000 cash on hand, attorney Bill Connor (R) raised $254,000 and has $224,000 cash on hand and businessman Richard Cash (R) raised $76,000 and has $255,000 cash on hand. (Columbia State)
- In SD SEN, Rick Weiland (D), a former aide to Sen. Tom Daschle (D-SD), raised early $161,000 during the fourth quarter and has $385,000 cash on hand. (AP)
- In TN SEN, Sen. Lamar Alexander (R) raised "nearly" $770,000 in the fourth quarter and has $3.2 million on hand, while state Rep. Joe Carr (R) raised $250,000 and has $405,000 cash on hand. (AP)
- The DSCC raised $4 million in December and has $12 million cash on hand and $3.75 million in debt, while the NRSC raised $4 million and has $8 million cash on hand and no debt. (Roll Call)
- Senate Majority PAC raised $5.6 million in the second half of 2013 and has $3.2 million cash on hand. (Hotline reporting)
- The NRCC raised $4.2 million in December and has $21 million cash on hand and no debt. (The Hill)
- In the FL-13 Special, the Chamber of Commerce "bought a little more than $200,000 worth of TV ad time in the Tampa-St. Petersburg media market. ... The ads are set to run Feb. 4-17." (Washington Post)
- Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) announced Friday the primary for the FL-19 special election to replace Rep. Trey Radel (R) will be held April 22 and the general election will be held June 24. (Tampa Bay Times)
- Also in FL-19, state Senate Majority Leader Lizbeth Benacquisto (R) "is calling and telling supporters she intends to announce as soon as Monday that she'll run." (Miami Herald)
- In NY-04, Hempstead Town Supervisor Kate Murray (R) "said Friday she will not run for Congress, leaving Nassau Republicans without their first choice in the race to replace retiring" Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D). (Newsday)
- In WV-03, Americans for Prosperity "will be unveiling a TV spot... in which the group says it will put pressure on" Rep. Nick Rahall (D) "to 'stand up for West Virginians' against the Affordable Care Act." (WCHS-TV)
- In HI GOV, Gov. Neil Abercrombie (D) raised "more than" $533,700 in the second half of 2013 and has $2.2 million cash on hand, while state Sen. David Ige raised $56,200. (Honolulu Star-Advertiser)
- In MI GOV, Gov. Rick Snyder aired the first TV ad -- titled "Michigan's Comeback Kid" -- of his reelection campaign during the Super Bowl. (Detroit Free Press)
- Also in MI GOV, former Rep. Mark Schauer (D) raised "roughly" $1.6 million "since entering the race in June" and has "around" $1 million cash on hand. (MLive.com)
- In OH GOV, Gov. John Kasich (R) raised $3.9 million in second half of 2013 and has "nearly" $8 million cash on hand, while Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald (D) raised $1.6 million "from last July through January" and has $1.4 million cash on hand. (Cleveland Plain Dealer)
- In PA GOV, Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski (D) "will withdraw from the race Monday and endorse" Treasurer Rob McCord (D). (Lehigh Valley Express-Times)
- In RI GOV, General Treasurer Gina Raimondo (D) raised $485,500 in the fourth quarter and has $2.5 million cash on hand, while Providence Mayor Angel Taveras (D) raised $325,000 and has $1 million cash on hand. Former Education Department official Clay Pell (D), "who just announced his candidacy on Tuesday, reached instant contender status by putting $1,027,050 of his own money into his campaign account." (Providence Journal)
- In WI GOV, Gov. Scott Walker (R) raised $5.1 million in the second half of 2013 and has $4.6 million cash on hand. (AP)
- The DNC raised raised $3.9 million in December and has $4.7 million cash on hand and $15.6 million in debt. (Politico)
- The RNC raised $7.4 million in December and has $9.2 million cash on hand and no debt. (release)
- "The trio of conservative groups headed up by GOP consultant Karl Rove" -- American Crossroads, Crossroads GPS and Conservative Victory Project -- "pulled in a combined $6.1 million in 2013." (Politico)
- In the D.C. mayoral race, Mayor Vincent Gray (D) raised $627,000 from Aug. 1-Jan. 26 and has $560,000 cash on hand. Councilmember Jack Evans (D) raised $198,000 and has "more than" $685,000 cash on hand. Councilmember Muriel Bowser (D) raised "nearly" $166,000 and has $791,000 cash on hand. Councilmember Tommy Wells (D) raised $90,000 and had $169,000 on hand. Councilmember Vincent Orange (D) raised $43,000 and had "more than" $87,000 on hand. Restauranteur Andy Shallal (D) raised $103,000, including a $50,000 self-contribution, and had $99,000 on hand. (Washington Post)
Hotline editors weigh in on the stories that drive the day
• In 2012, the pro-Obama super PAC Priorities USA Action ran memorable ads featuring workers who had been laid off when Mitt Romney's firm had shut down their businesses. Even Republicans grudgingly conceded how effective and harmful the negative messages were to Romney. In 2014, the GOP is looking to take its own shot at personalizing politics with TV ads featuring people who have lost insurance or suffered rate hikes during Obamacare's implementation. They figure to be much more effective than previous years' ads about the budget implications, and they have Democrats worried.
• Among the many Senate candidates who announced their fundraising hauls on Friday was Colorado state Rep. Amy Stephens -- and while the Republican has some establishment support and buzz as a potentially electable general election candidate, her first fundraising quarter as a candidate was unimpressive. She brought in a dismal $51,000, lagging her GOP opponent Ken Buck (whose haul was also small) and leaving her miles behind Democratic Sen. Mark Udall, who has a hefty warchest. Having sponsored the legislation that created a state health care exchange, it's an open question whether she can make it through a Republican primary. Numbers like this don't help.
• All these fundraising figures aren't as important in the days of profligate outside spending, but we're still impressed by McConnell and Grimes, who raised a combined $3.3 million. Kentucky is still a tough slog for Democrats, but they'll have the money to make sure that the Senate minority leader remains unpopular throughout the campaign.
• Kasich, Walker and Snyder each reported four to five times as much cash on hand as their likely Democratic challengers to start off the year. These contests had potential to be three of the year's marquee gubernatorial races, but year-end fundraising totals and recent polling favoring the GOP incumbents has pushed them comfortably into the second tier. Snyder's first TV ad, which frames him as the "comeback kid" that led Michigan out of the recession, presents a narrative that could emerge in all three of these races and make these incumbents tough to beat.
HAIR OF THE DOG
"Rob Ford ticketed by police in British Columbia for jaywalking" (Toronto Sun)
FRESH BREWED BUZZ
- "The State Department concluded in its final environmental assessment issued Friday that the proposed Keystone XL pipeline would be unlikely to alter global greenhouse gas emissions, but officials cautioned that they are still weighing whether the project would meet the test of President Obama’s broader climate strategy." (Washington Post)
- "Liz Cheney: I shall return" (Politico)
- "The first steps towards building" President Obama’s "library and museum were announced on Friday with the launch of a foundation to oversee the competitive selection process with the target date of picking a site early in 2015." (Chicago Sun-Times)
- "Wendy Davis' Media Fail" (Texas Observer)
- "Joan Adams Mondale, a longtime patron of the arts and wife of former Vice President Walter Mondale, has moved from her Minneapolisresidence into hospice care." (Minneapolis Star Tribune)
- "Bill O’Reilly Grills Obama on Health Care, Benghazi, IRS" (National Journal)
- "I think that was Staten Island Chuck doing his Marshawn Lynch impression. Once he calmed down I found him to be a very friendly and very appealing young animal." -- New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D), after Chuck bolted from his arms before predicting six more weeks of winter on Sunday (NY1)
- "It's so much more fun to watch FOX when it's someone else being blitzed & sacked! #SuperBowl" -- former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (D), in a tweet Sunday night
PLAY OF THE DAY!
- Today's weather, from the National Weather Service: Rain and sleet. Snow this afternoon. Cooler with highs in the upper 30s. North winds around 10 mph.
- The House returns at noon, and the Senate is back at 2 p.m.
- Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew will urge Congress to extend the nation's debt limit. (Bipartisan Policy Center, 9 a.m.)
- Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan delivers keynote remarks during a luncheon on the State of the Housing Industry at the Housing Policy & Hispanic Lending Conference. (Four Seasons Hotel, noon)
- The nominees in next month's FL-13 Special meet in St. Petersburg for their first televised debate. (C-SPAN 3, 7 p.m.)
- The Wizards host the Trail Blazers. (Verizon Center, 7 p.m.)
- Georgetown looks to build upon last weekend's success when the Hoyas travel to Rosemont, Ill., to face DePaul. (Fox Sports 1, 9 p.m.)
- Have an event for us to highlight? Email us!
- Eight years before he was elected to the Senate from New Hampshire, Joseph Ciley's brother, Rep. Jonathan Ciley of Maine, was killed in a duel by Rep. William Graves of Kentucky in 1838.
- The winner is Bill Pascoe, and here's his Swizzle Challenge: "In honor of the upcoming 50th anniversary of The Beatles' explosive first appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show: Who was the now-deceased rock memorabilia collector who owned and displayed in his penthouse apartment the four Chesterfield suits worn by The Beatles during their first appearance on the Sullivan show; atop what iconic New York hotel did his penthouse sit; and who was the American politician for whom he hosted a fundraising reception in December 2000?" The 1st correct e-mailer gets to submit the next question.
NJ'S EARLY BIRD SPECIALS
- The Hotline's Senate Fundraising Winners and Losers
- How Republicans Built a Better Obamacare Ad
- Hillary Clinton, Richard Branson, and the 25-Year-Old Wunderkind Dems Fell For
- How Far Will Democrats Go in the Fight on Income Inequality?
- Stick a Fork in Chris Christie
"These guys are too evenly matched. I think it is going to be 24-21, but I don't know who's going to be 24 and I don't know who's going to be 21." -- Obama, when asked by O'Reilly for his Super Bowl prediction
"Seahawks dominate Denver from start to finish to win Super Bowl" (Seattle Times)
Adam Wollner, Editor
Steven Shepard, Editor-in-Chief
Steven Shepard contributed to this article.