“In the clearest sign he’s ready to challenge” Sen. Bill Nelson (D), Gov. Rick Scott (R) “has raised more than $1.1 million for a super PAC he recently revived and stocked it with top consultants from his previous campaigns. Privately, he’s talked up his good polling numbers, according to several supporters who have spoken to Scott recently.”
“Scott won’t say which way he’s leaning, but some of those familiar with the governor’s thinking peg the likelihood of him running between 80 and 95 percent.”
“The governor has been displaying this confidence to an increasing number of new donors this year to his New Republican PAC, which he started to lead as chairman in May. … In the first month under Scott, the federal committee pulled in more than $275,000. … In the final six months of the year, the committee hauled in more than $848,000.”
“Since May, Scott has hired Virginia-based fundraising firm Drucker Lawhon. … Scott also brought on the prominent Republican law firm Holtzman Vogel Josefiak Torchinsky, whose many national clients include the National Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee. … Other Scott insiders working for New Republican PAC include his longtime fundraiser, Deborah Aleksander, and his former chief of staff and 2014 campaign manager Melissa Stone.” (Politico)
SURVEY SAYS. Scott “finished 2017 on an upswing (7 net points) in popularity in the Sunshine State compared to the prior quarter,” according to Morning Consult’s Governor Approval Rankings.
“Fifty-eight percent of voters in Florida approved of Scott during the fourth quarter, compared with 31 percent who disapproved. Scott maintained strong support from GOP voters during the last six months of the year, from 79 percent in the third quarter to 82 percent the following three months. His approval numbers among independents also increased, from 47 percent to 53 percent, along with an 8-point gain among Democrats, during the same time period.” (Morning Consult)
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White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said that U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer is "getting close" to a deal with Mexico. Kudlow added that trade talks with China are set to resume shortly.
"A federal judge has found a witness in contempt for refusing to testify before the grand jury hearing evidence in special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. U.S. District Chief Judge Beryl Howell made the ruling Friday after a sealed hearing to discuss Andrew Miller’s refusal to appear before the grand jury. Miller is a former aide to longtime Trump confidant Roger Stone."