The field to replace former Rep. Trent Franks (R) is developing quickly.
Former Trump appointee Phil Lovas (R) resigned his current post in the Small Business Administration “without explanation and announced it over Twitter” ahead of a likely run for former Franks’ (R) seat. “Campaign consultant Brian Seitchik said Lovas ‘would have more to say about his future later in the week.’ State Treasurer Jeff DeWitt praised him as a “great choice for voters.” (KJZZ)
Meanwhile, motivational speaker Travis Angry (R) announced his run for the seat on Monday. He’s a military veteran and a cancer survivor. (Twitter)
ON BOARD. And state Sen. Steve Montenegro (R) notched an endorsement from Sheriff Joe Arpaio. (release)
BY THE NUMBERS. An ABC 15/OH Predictive Insights poll, “conducted Monday among likely Republican special primary voters, shows” former state Corporation Commission Chairman Bob Stump (R) “with the early lead and the most name recognition among a potentially crowded field.” Stump won 18 percent of the vote in the IVR survey (Dec. 10; 400 LVs; +- 4.89%), in which 37 percent were still undecided. State Sen. Debbie Lesko (R) “would get 16 percent of the vote.” County Commissioner Clint Hickman (R) “would capture 15 percent of the vote.” State Sen. Kimberly Yee (R) “would get seven percent. Aside from Stump, none of the other top potential candidates have formally declared their candidacy.”
“Sixty-three percent of GOP voters say a Trump endorsement would make them more likely to vote for a candidate. Forty-three percent of voters say a Franks endorsement would make them more likely to support a candidate.” (ABC 15)
RESIGN TO RUN. “The unusual timing of Franks’ resignation would surely trigger Arizona’s ‘resign to run’ law, said elections lawyer Tim La Sota, a former state Republican Party general counsel. That’s because a Jan. 10 deadline for filing nomination petitions is less than a year before the current legislative terms end on Jan. 14, 2019.” Montenegro, who launched a bid Monday, plans to resign. (KJZZ)
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Trump wants to move the two grants, the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas grant and the Drug Free Communities Act, to the Justice and Health and Human Services departments, respectively. This would result in a $300 million plus reduction in funding, about 95 percent of the cost of the Office of National Drug Control Policy. "'I’m baffled at the idea of cutting the office or reducing it significantly and taking away its programs in the middle of an epidemic,'" said Regina LaBelle, who served as ONDCP chief of staff during the Obama administration. This is the second time the Trump Administration has proposed gutting the agency.
A new report assembled by the watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington has identified more than 500 potential conflicts of interest in President Trump's first year. First, the report notes, Trump spent 122 days at his properties during his first year. He has been accompanied by 70 federal officials and 30 members of Congress. "Second, far from this signaled access to power being an empty promise, those who patronize President Trump’s businesses have, in fact, gained access to the president and his inner circle." Lastly, about 40 special interest groups and 11 foreign governments have held events at Trump properties.