Republicans David Jolly and Kathleen Peters are the main contenders in Tuesday’s FL-13 special GOP primary, but we’re already looking toward the general, where Alex Sink (D) starts as a favorite. But remember: Special elections are special, and these qualities might be hard to apply elsewhere in 2014.
— First, Sink might be an ideal candidate for a special election: She’s already known from time in statewide politics, which also gives her a fundraising edge. Peters is a freshman state rep., and Jolly (who appears to be the GOP primary favorite) was starting from scratch.
— Sink’s advantages compared to her GOP opponents have made some GOP outside groups wary of investing, which means the cash-poor GOP nominee could have a hard time defining Sink negatively in the eight weeks between primary and general. Meanwhile, pro-Sink outside groups like EMILY’s List, which takes particular pride in its special-election work, are ready to go for the Democrat.
— The final advantage for Sink: This became an Obama district during Bill Young’s (R) longtime stewardship of it. All of these factors combine to have many expecting Sink to beat Democrats’ Obamacare rap here. But such candidate-based advantages are hard to come by, and Dems need to win Romney districts to challenge GOP control of the House.
Sink isn’t a perfect candidate, but she might be perfect for this quick-draw House opportunity in Florida. But even if she does show that Obamacare isn’t automatic poison for Democrats right now, there are reasons why this special election might not translate everywhere, like Mark Critz‘s 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."