Barnstable County Commissioner Ron Beaty (R) plans to run for the state House rather than challenge Gov. Charlie Baker (R). (State House News Service)
CLOSING OUT THE YEAR. Baker raised $176,000 between Dec. 16-31 and reported $7.3 million on hand at the end of 2017, his campaign reported Tuesday. Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito (R) reported an additional $3.3 million on hand.
Former state budget chief Jay Gonzalez (D) raised $27,000 in the latter half of December and reported $88,000 on hand.
Former Newton Mayor Setti Warren (D) raised $37,000 in the same time and reported $57,000 on hand.
Environmental activist Bob Massie (D) raised $6,000 and had $18,000 on hand. (Hotline reporting)
MORE MONEY, MORE PROBLEMS. “State campaign finance regulators have cracked down on a second political group aligned with … Baker, forcing the committee to divulge the donors behind the $1.168 million it spent supporting the governor’s 2016 ballot question campaigns. On Tuesday, the Office of Campaign and Political Finance announced it had levied a $31,000 fine on Strong Economy for Growth (SEFG), charging the group violated finance laws in 2016 by not making public its contributors. Also under the ruling, SEFG is barred from participating in Massachusetts politics in 2018. … [T]he group’s fund-raising and campaign activities involved close Baker political finance aides,” including fundraisers John Cook and Steve Roche as well as consultants Jim Conroy and Will Keyser. (Boston Globe)
TO THE LEFT, TO THE LEFT. “The Massachusetts wing of the Bernie Sanders-aligned group Our Revolution … is currently polling its members on the choice in a non-binding statewide advisory poll underway until Friday” on endorsing either “environmental activist Bob Massie (D) or stay out of the race completely.” (Politico)
“All three Democrats challenging … Baker said they generally oppose the construction of new natural gas pipelines.” (MassLive) “All three of the Democrats … support repealing some mandatory minimum sentences, but they differ on exactly which ones to repeal.” (MassLive)
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"Two days after President Trump’s summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Russian officials offered a string of assertions about what the two leaders had achieved. 'Important verbal agreements' were reached at the Helsinki meeting, Russia’s ambassador to the United States, Anatoly Antonov, told reporters in Moscow Wednesday, including preservation of the New Start and INF agreements," and cooperation in Syria.
"Two weeks before his inauguration, Donald J. Trump was shown highly classified intelligence indicating that President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia had personally ordered complex cyberattacks to sway the 2016 American election. The evidence included texts and emails from Russian military officers and information gleaned from a top-secret source close to Mr. Putin, who had described to the C.I.A. how the Kremlin decided to execute its campaign of hacking and disinformation. Mr. Trump sounded grudgingly convinced, according to several people who attended the intelligence briefing. But ever since, Mr. Trump has tried to cloud the very clear findings that he received on Jan. 6, 2017, which his own intelligence leaders have unanimously endorsed."