CA GOV: Businessman John Cox (R) launched his first TV ad on Tuesday with a statewide Fox News buy on cable and satellite beginning minutes before the State of the Union. The spot depicts “special-interest lobbyists” in Sacramento as pigs “buying influence and basically sticking it to the middle class.” In particular it targets “corporate welfare, liberal causes, and … public employee unions, the biggest special interest of all.” (release) A spokesman for Cox said the buy cost $200,000. (Hotline reporting)
Rep. Jackie Speier (D), on rumors she was considering a bid for governor, responded, “I need to be here” in Washington working on sexual assault issues. (Politico)
San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo will endorse former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa (D) on Wednesday. (Mercury News)
Equality California endorsed Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom (D). (Los Angeles Blade)
“State Treasurer John Chiang (D) laid out a plan Tuesday to create a public bank for marijuana merchants in open defiance of what he called an ‘out of step’ Trump administration fixing to take the hose to California’s sizzling new herbal trade.” (San Francisco Chronicle)
All of the Democratic candidates agreed on supporting abortion rights at a form held by NARAL Pro-Choice California. (San Francisco Chronicle)
“None of the major candidates for governor, Republican or Democrat, are sold on Gov. Butch Otter’s (R) plan to hire a $200,000-a-year higher education ‘CEO.’” (Idaho Ed News)
NY GOV: State Sen. John DeFrancisco (R) “formally announced his candidacy on Tuesday afternoon, presenting it as a crusade to return the state to past prosperity. … DeFrancisco has nearly $1.5 million in two separate campaign accounts, according to Board of Election records.” (New York Times)
Checkmate Strategies co-founder Michael Lawler “will serve as general consultant for DeFrancisco’s campaign, overseeing its daily operations and strategy. Lawler ran former Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino’s 2014 campaign” and worked on Sen. John McCain’s (R-AZ) 2008 presidential campaign. (Syracuse Post-Standard)
The Human Rights Campaign will endorse Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) on Wednesday. (New York Daily News)
Cuomo will host a Super Bowl watch party in New York City on Sunday. (New York Times)
SC GOV: Gov. Henry McMaster (R) proclaimed Sunday as “Stand for the Flag Super Bowl Sunday” in South Carolina. (Charleston Post & Courier)
TN GOV: “Former state Sen. Mae Beavers (R) has ended her bid for governor, making her the first top-tier candidate to exit the race. Beavers announced her decision in a Facebook post Tuesday afternoon. … In her latest financial disclosure, she reported raising just $150,000 from donors and political action committees in the last six months. During the short-lived campaign, Beavers’ staff underwent several personnel changes, going through at least three spokespeople.” (Nashville Tennessean)
Beavers’s contributors included state Sen. Mark Pody, former Sen. Stacey Campfield, eye surgeon Ming Wang, former state Rep. Joe Carr’s (R) PAC, and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich’s sister, Susan. Her Senate campaign committee and her Freedom PAC also gave. “During the 2016 presidential election, Freedom PAC was the recipient of the proceeds from the sale of homemade Donald Trump gear made and sold by Beavers and her husband.” (Nashville Tennessean)
Former state economic commissioner Randy Boyd (R) will aire his first TV ad Thursday “with an estimated $300,000 buy on statewide broadcast and cable television.” Filings “showed the Boyd campaign had reserved broadcast television ad time in the Chattanooga, Tri-Cities, Knoxville, Nashville and Memphis television markets. That included $42,550 in time reserved on WRCB-TV in Chattanooga, although reserved time doesn’t necessarily mean that will be what is actually spent.” (Chattanooga Times Free Press)
Home services executive Bill Lee (R) features prominently in his company’s advertising, which is “running on TV stations around the area.” “It can be difficult to distinguish between the two ads [of his business and campaign]. … And that blurry line between his business and political interests could cause at least minor headaches for a Lee governorship, according to legal experts. A Lee Company spokesperson insists the company’s marketing strategy has not changed since Lee launched his Republican bid for governor in April 2017. … Though previous Tennessee governors, as well as current candidates for the position, have held significant private business interests, it appears unprecedented in the modern era for the state’s chief executive also to hold state contracts paying thousands of dollars directly to his or her private business.” A Lee spokesman said Walker “would ‘remove himself’ from the company if elected, ‘but obviously there still might be some legal hurdles there, and those things he’d be happy to address and follow the law.’” (Nashville Post)
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"Former veteran Senate Intelligence Committee staffer James Wolfe pleaded guilty on Monday to one count of making false statements to federal agents." Wolfe was indicted "earlier this year on three counts of making false statements to the FBI, which questioned him about his contacts with reporters ... According to the indictment, in October 2017 Wolfe gave a reporter ... information about an unidentified man who had been served with a subpoena to appear before the Senate Intelligence Committee. The reporter published stories about the subpoena and the man's upcoming testimony in a closed committee hearing."
"The federal deficit widened last year amid higher government spending—including rising interest costs on the debt and increased funding for the military—and flat revenues following last year’s tax cut. The government ran a $779 billion deficit in the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, the Treasury Department said Monday. That is the largest annual deficit in six years and 17% higher than the $666 billion deficit in fiscal 2017. As a share of gross domestic product, the deficit totaled 3.9%, up from 3.5% a year earlier and the third consecutive increase."
"The BBC has determined there is enough evidence to be confident that at least 106 chemical attacks have taken place in Syria since September 2013, when the president signed the international Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) and agreed to destroy the country's chemical weapons stockpile."