The National Democratic Redistricting Committee last week “made its first campaign donation: $500,000 to the Democratic Party of Virginia to help elect” Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam (D). “Kelly Ward, NDRC’s executive director, said the organization was monitoring the race and may send more cash if necessary.”
ED-UCATION. Former RNC Chair Ed Gillespie (R) “on Wednesday called for criminal justice reform that goes beyond what the GOP-controlled state legislature has so far been willing to embrace, including raising the state’s felony threshold to $500 from $200 and softening marijuana enforcement. … Gillespie also cast his proposals in economic terms, pointing out that the state spends more than $1 billion a year on incarceration.
“While he said he opposes decriminalizing marijuana because it ‘sends the wrong signal’ to young people, Gillespie said he would favor a three-strikes approach for simple possession: The first two arrests would not carry criminal charges, but a third would. … Gillespie also said he supports “limited, tightly regulated” use of marijuana for treatment of some medical conditions. …
“Gillespie also said he would support finding ways to ‘functionally end’ the practice of suspending driver’s licenses when someone fails to pay court costs and legal fees. … He also proposed banning state government from asking job applicants to check a box indicating whether they’ve ever been convicted of a felony but would not move to require the same of private employers.” (Washington Post)
SUNSHINE, BUT NO DAYLIGHT. “[T]here wasn’t much daylight Wednesday between … Gillespie and … Northam … at a downtown forum organized by the James River Association and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. The candidates, taking the stage separately at The National theater in staggered sessions … covered sea-level rise, a pair of controversial pipeline projects planned to carve through Virginia, how best to clean up the millions of tons of coal from power generation that sit next to waterways across the state, and their level of commitment to continue cleaning up the Chesapeake Bay, among other topics.” (Richmond Times-Dispatch)
2016 REDUX. Khizr Khan, whose late son was a Gold Star recipient, endorsed Northam. (Blue Virginia)
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"The mercurial veteran GOP political operative, Roger Stone, has acknowledged that he is the unnamed Trump campaign regular who corresponded with an alleged Russian hacker, as described in a new indictment against a dozen Russians returned Friday by a federal grand jury." He told ABC News that he previously admitted to the contact to House investigators. He called the correspondence "benign."
"A dozen Russian intelligence officers have been charged with conspiring" to hack into Democratic organizations, the Hillary Clinton campaign, and state election boards and private companies providing ballot verifying software for the 2016 presidential election, announced Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. The Russians corresponded "with several Americans," Rosenstein said, who clarified that there was "no allegation in this indictment" that the Americans knew they were speaking with Russian hackers.
"President Trump described the European Union as 'a foe' in an interview with CBS News on Sunday, ahead of his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Finland. "I think we have a lot of foes," Trump said. "I think the European Union is a foe, what they do to us in trade. Now, you wouldn't think of the European Union, but they are a foe."