AL GOV: Former pastor Jason Childs (D) “citing a lack of funds, announced that he was withdrawing from the Democratic gubernatorial race.” (Alabama Political Reporter)
CA GOV: State Treasurer John Chiang (D) announced the addition of senior campaign staff and consultants.
Campaign Manager Preston Elliott previously managed campaigns for former Sen. Kay Hagan (D-NC) and Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT). He recently served as deputy executive director at the DSCC and Nevada coordinated campaign director.
Deputy Campaign Manager and Communications Director Fabien Levy worked for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaigns, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D); former Sens. Barbara Boxer (D) and Mary Landrieu (D-LA); then-Rep. Kathy Hochul’s (D-NY); and the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.
Lisa Cassinis will continue as finance director after a working for Feinstein, Chiang, and other statewide California campaigns.
Policy Director Morgan Miller was a senior staffer at the national AFL-CIO and worked at the National Democratic Institute, Rock the Vote, and Working America.
Chiang’s general consultants are Brandon Hall, Raghu Devaguptapu, and Orrin Evans of Left Hook. Hall’s notable campaigns include then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and former Sen. Mark Begich (D-AK). He was as also a regional political director and financial services director for the DCCC.
Devaguptapu worked for Rep. Ami Bera’s (D) and was political director the DLCC and the DGA.
Evans managed Secretary of State Alex Padilla’s (D) campaign and worked for Boxer, then-Sen. Barack Obama’s presidential campaign, and Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack.
Courtni Pugh of Hilltop Public Solutions is a senior adviser. Pugh was as executive director of SEIU Local 99 and political director of the LA County Federation of Labor. She was also deputy state director for Clinton’s campaign. (release)
Chiang spokeswoman “Kate Chapek said the campaign decided to take down www.gavinfacts.com indefinitely as it revamps its messaging and approach in the run-up to the June primary.” (Los Angeles Times)
State Republican Party Chairman Jim Brulte on former Rep. Doug Ose’s (R) entrance: “We have three excellent candidates running for governor. … And if all three stay in, we run the risk of having an all-Democrat runoff.” (San Francisco Chronicle)
NE GOV: Vanessa Ward (D) “called for the state’s Democratic Party chair to resign. … Preston Love Jr., co-chair of Ward’s campaign said … said NDP party chair Jane Kleeb has been unsupportive of Ward’s candidacy and accused Ward of having connections to the Republican party. Love also said Kleeb recently discontinued a rental agreement with his office, for space used by the NDP. The Ward campaign believes Kleeb is laying groundwork for her own run for governor.” (KETV)
TN GOV: Housing services executive Bill Lee (R) “announced over 100 business leaders from across Tennessee have joined to form the Business Leaders for Bill Lee Coalition.” (release)
TX GOV: Houston investor Andrew White (D) “said Texas should end the death penalty and if his elected governor in November he would use the limited powers of the office to stop executions when possible.” (Corpus Christie Caller Times)
“It would rank as one of the greatest political upsets of 2018 and a stunning rebuke to Trumpism: a gay Latina Democrat grabbing hold of the country’s biggest red state. But is Texas ready for” former Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez (D)? (The Guardian)
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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."
"The Interior Department’s internal watchdog has opened a formal investigation into a real estate deal involving a foundation established by Ryan Zinke and developers including Halliburton Chairman David Lesar, which was first reported by Politico, according to a letter sent to lawmakers Wednesday."
With preparations for the 2020 Census underway, President Trump has nominated a director of the agency. Steven Dillingham currently serves as director of the Office of Strategic Information, Research, and Planning at the Peace Corps. Previously, he served as Director of the Bureau of Justice Statistics and the Bureau of Transportation Statistics. Among his challenges will be navigating the thorny political issue of including a citizenship question on the survey.