Bill de Blasio‘s rise to the top of the New York City Democratic mayoral field was built upon an afro. A TV ad featuring the candidate’s son, Dante, propelled de Blasio to the nomination. Here in Washington, where Democrats will pick their nominee for mayor in four-and-a-half weeks, voters shouldn’t expect to see the same kind of campaign.
— Councilmember Muriel Bowser has emerged as Mayor Vincent Gray‘s chief challenger, Tuesday night’s WRC-TV/WAMU-FM/Washington Defender/Marist poll showed. Bowser, who was endorsed by the Washington Post, needs to coalesce voters who think the city is headed in the right direction but are wary of returning Gray to the Wilson Building after tales of impropriety on his 2010 campaign.
— Some of those voters currently prefer Councilmembers Jack Evans and Tommy Wells, who lag the two frontrunners. Narrowly, more voters say Bowser is their second choice than Evans or Gray. If Evans or Wells don’t gain traction, look for some anti-Gray voters to bleed into her corner.
— Don’t expect to see a big TV campaign, Wells’s new cable buy notwithstanding. In conversations with campaign managers for Gray and Bowser this week, the main tools discussed were direct mail, telephone and door-to-door campaigning. Gray’s first piece of direct mail will be hitting voters’ mailboxes soon, and the campaign says it’s already knocked on roughly 50,000 doors; Bowser’s camp described similar efforts.
One battleground ward on which the campaigns are likely to focus: Ward 4, which Bowser represents on the Council. Bowser campaign manager Bo Shuff called it “the most demographically diverse” ward in the city and touted Bowser’s ability to appeal to voters across racial and gender lines. But Bowser can’t count on favorite daughter status to boost her in Ward 4: It was Adrian Fenty‘s geographic base, too, but Gray won it easily in 2010.
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As the Russia investigation heats up, "the role of Marc E. Kasowitz, the president’s longtime New York lawyer, will be significantly reduced. Mr. Trump liked Mr. Kasowitz’s blunt, aggressive style, but he was not a natural fit in the delicate, politically charged criminal investigation. The veteran Washington defense lawyer John Dowd will take the lead in representing Mr. Trump for the Russia inquiry."
President Trump's attorneys are "actively compiling a list of Mueller’s alleged potential conflicts of interest, which they say could serve as a way to stymie his work." They plan to argued that Mueller is going outside the scope of his investigation, in inquiring into Trump's finances. They're also playing small ball, highlighting "donations to Democrats by some of" Mueller's team, and "an allegation that Mueller and Trump National Golf Club in Northern Virginia had a dispute over membership fees when Mueller resigned as a member in 2011." Trump is said to be incensed that Mueller may see his tax returns, and has been asking about his power to pardon his family members.
In addition to ties between Russia and the Trump campaign, Robert Mueller's team is also "examining a broad range of transactions involving Trump’s businesses as well as those of his associates, according to a person familiar with the probe. FBI investigators and others are looking at Russian purchases of apartments in Trump buildings, Trump’s involvement in a controversial SoHo development in New York with Russian associates, the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow, and Trump’s sale of a Florida mansion to a Russian oligarch in 2008, the person said. The investigation also has absorbed a money-laundering probe begun by federal prosecutors in New York into Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort."
Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team is "is examining a broad range of transactions involving Trump’s businesses as well as those of his associates", including "Russian purchases of apartments in Trump buildings, Trump’s involvement in a controversial SoHo development with Russian associates, the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow and Trump’s sale of a Florida mansion to a Russian oligarch in 2008."
"A Senate bill to gut Obamacare would increase the number of uninsured people by 32 million and double premiums on Obamacare's exchanges by 2026, according to an analysis from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. The analysis is of a bill that passed Congress in 2015 that would repeal Obamacare's taxes and some of the mandates. Republicans intend to leave Obamacare in place for two years while a replacement is crafted and implemented."