AL GOV: Evangelist Scott Dawson (R) sent in his qualification papers and paid the fee while appearing as a guest on the radio program “The Rick and Bubba Show.” Dawson was joined in the studio by Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill (R) as he filed the documents online. (AL.com)
AZ GOV: Spokesmen for state Sen. Steve Farley (D) and former state associate schools superintendent David Garcia (D) said they won’t pursue public funds. (National Journal)
State Treasurer John Chiang (D) accused Newsom of being inconsistent with his stance on universal healthcare. Newsom has been calling for the institution of a single-payer healthcare program in the state. Chiang and former Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villaraigosa (D) have voiced concern about the potential cost of the venture and Chiang says Newsom himself had the same worries when he was mayor of San Francisco and that city began introduced a similar plan. (Los Angeles Times)
HI GOV: “A spokeswoman for … Gov. David Ige (d), who secured over $100,000 in public financing in 2014, said he hasn’t determined whether he will seek that funding again but is ‘committed to securing the resources needed to communicate.’” Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D) and state House Minority Leader Andria Tupola (R) “haven’t expressed interest in participating, either.” (National Journal)
KS GOV: Former state Rep. Ed O’Malley (R) dropped out of the race on Thursday. O’Malley: “I have realized that the funding necessary to remain competitive through August and then November is beyond our reach.” (release)
NE GOV: State Sen. Bob Krist (I) filed a lawsuit to contest a 2016 law that significantly raised the amount of required signatures needed for nonpartisan candidates to qualify for the ballot. Originally, the number needed was at least 4,000 signatures, with 750 from each congressional district. Now, the threshold has been raised to at least 10 percent of the state’s registered voters which comes out to about 119,000. (AP)
A 20-year-old memo might allow Krist to join the Democratic Party in time to make primary ballot. According to the Secretary of State’s election calendar, all party changes should’ve been submitted by Dec 1. of last year. But in a letter from then Secretary of State Scott Moore to the Keith County clerk, Moore outlined another possibility, “It is my position that someone who amends their registration from non-partisan to affiliate with a political party has not affected ‘A change in political party affiliation …’ but has instead chosen to declare an affiliation.” So, instead of changing parties, Krist would be joining one. (Sandhills Express)
SC GOV: A political committee based in Ohio purchased ad time in Greenville before the Super Bowl to promote Gov. Henry McMaster’s (R) call for all South Carolinians to stand for the national anthem during the game. The Government Integrity Fund Action Network spent $21,100 on the ads. McMaster’s campaign has said that they are not coordinating with the group. (Charleston Post & Courier)
TN GOV: Rep. Diane Black (R) released a new TV ad on Thursday urging viewers to stand for the National Anthem during the Super Bowl. (release)
Candidates from both parties attended a forum hosted by the Tennessee Press Association. Former Nashville Karl Dean (D), former state cabinet member Randy Boyd (R), state House Minority Leader Craig Fitzhugh (D), realtor Kay White (R), and businessman Bill Lee (R) discussed several issues, particularly governmental transparency. Despite past remarks saying that he doesn’t intend to make his tax returns public, Lee said, “I do believe that the taxpayers of Tennessee deserve transparency. I think that one of the challenges we face is that people don’t trust the government.” (Nashville Tennessean)
TX GOV: Houston investor Andrew White (D) in 2005 donated $2,500 to the Kentucky Republican Party. White said he made the donation “as a business owner, I’ve made contributions in the past to both parties, but the majority have been to Democrats.” He attributed the resurfacing of the old donation to “Republican research efforts.” (Texas Tribune)
White thinks that his more moderate views as a Democrat are a strength rather than a weakness. Besides calling himself “personally pro-life” and supporting border security, White says most of his views are in-line with the Democratic norm. (Austin American-Statesman)
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The indictment, filed in the District of Columbia, alleges that the interference began "in or around 2014," when the defendants began tracking and studying U.S. social media sites. They "created and controlled numerous Twitter accounts" and "purchased computer servers located inside the United States" to mask their identities, some of which were stolen. The interference was coordinated by election interference "specialists," and focused on the Black Lives Matter movement, immigration, and other divisive issues. "By early to mid-2016" the groups began supporting the campaign of "then-candidate Donald Trump," including by communicating with "unwitting individuals associated with the Trump Campaign..."
"Former Trump campaign adviser Rick Gates is finalizing a plea deal with special counsel Robert Mueller's office, indicating he's poised to cooperate in the investigation, according to sources familiar with the case. Gates has already spoken to Mueller's team about his case and has been in plea negotiations for about a month. He's had what criminal lawyers call a 'Queen for a Day' interview, in which a defendant answers any questions from the prosecutors' team, including about his own case and other potential criminal activity he witnessed."
"The Senate on Thursday rejected immigration legislation crafted by centrists in both parties after President Trump threatened to veto the bill if it made it to his desk. In a 54-45 vote, the Senate failed to advance the legislation from eight Republican, seven Democratic and one Independent senators. It needed 60 votes to overcome a procedural hurdle. "
"The House Intelligence Committee has scheduled a Thursday meeting to hear testimony from Steve Bannon—but it's an open question whether President Donald Trump's former chief strategist will even show up. The White House sent a letter to Capitol Hill late Wednesday laying out its explanation for why Trump's transition period falls under its authority to assert executive privilege, a move intended to shield Bannon from answering questions about that time period." Both Republicans and Democrats on the committee dispute the White House's theory, and have floated charging Bannon with contempt should he refuse to appear.