AK GOV: Dunleavy for Alaska, a super PAC supporting former state Sen. Mike Dunleavy (R), is airing a TV ad that highlights his support for protecting the Permanent Fund Dividend and balancing the budget. (Advertising Analytics) The spot aired during the Super Bowl.
CA GOV: State Assemblyman Travis Allen (R) was one of a group of legislators accused of sexual harassment in a government report released Friday. “According to a memo written by the HR employee,” a female staffer in 2013 “said Allen came to her office door ‘and stood there with his arms spread open.’ When she waved to acknowledge his presence, she said Allen replied, ‘You can do better than that!’ The memo said Allen ‘entered her office and moved progressively closer to her, standing right beside her chair, making her feel uncomfortable.’ Another time, during a briefing when they were sitting next to each other, the memo said Allen ‘slid his foot over so that it was touching hers.’ The final incident … the assemblyman ‘approached her from behind, put both hands on her shoulders and gave them a squeeze.’”
“The woman also reported that ‘another woman in the office’ described a handshake with Allen in which he continued to hold onto her hand beyond a normal length of time and ‘petted it.’”
“Allen replied that he could not recall being too familiar with staff but did recall two women becoming ‘overly friendly’ with him at an event outside the Capitol. … Allen … framed the release of the allegations against him as “a political attack by a Democrat led committee.” (Capital Public Radio)
Former state schools superintendent Delaine Eastin (D) called on Allen to suspend his campaign. State Treasurer John Chiang (D) “did not name Allen but said any man who has abused his power ‘and sexually harassed others is unfit to serve: as a legislator, as a mayor, or as governor.’” (Sacramento Bee)
Term-limited Gov. Jerry Brown (D) “said he is uncertain whether he will endorse in the race to succeed him, even though [Lt. Gov. Gavin] Newsom (D) also is a Bay Area Democrat who, on climate change in particular, supports the governor’s policies. Some of Brown’s transportation initiatives, including a high-speed rail project from Los Angeles to San Francisco that is bursting its budget, remain in question.”
Brown: “I don’t think the people of Tulare County or Modoc County want to hear from Jerry Brown on who to vote for. Maybe the people in Oakland would, I don’t know. … I’ll decide what to do based on 45 years of campaigning in this state.”
“Newsom also is attempting to speak to the growing sense among the state’s more conservative rural voters that they are paying too much for services that primarily benefit those who live on the coast. That east-west divide largely has replaced the north-south rivalry that once shaped state politics. … Bridging the rural-coastal divide will be a difficult task for Newsom, who grew up in San Francisco’s Marina district with a divorced mother. He spent time with his father in rural Placer County—which stretches through California gold country, from Sacramento to Lake Tahoe—but his politics and well-tailored appearance are distinctly urban.” (Washington Post)
GA GOV: Former Navy SEAL Clay Tippins (R) ran his first TV ad on Super Bowl Sunday in which he compares his record as a swimmer and businessman with his opponents portrayed in the ad by lookalikes. “With the $250,000 ad buy, Tippins becomes the first candidate for governor to launch television ads this election cycle. The ad [aired] Sunday in the Albany, Columbus and Macon media markets and debut Monday in the more expensive Atlanta market. … The spot was produced by Fred Davis.” (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
Tippins’s Super Bowl buy, by “avoiding the pricey Atlanta market … is … just under $30,000 on other NBC affiliates in the state.” (Politico)
State Sen. Michael Williams (R) said he boycotted the Super Bowl and “any other NFL games” following players’ protests during the National Anthem. (release)
Former state Rep. Stacey Evans (D) “honed her higher education plan Friday, saying one of her first acts if she’s elected governor would be to provide tuition-free technical college programs to Georgia students.” (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
ID GOV: Developer Tommy Ahlquist’s (R) campaign said Friday he “will submit an amended campaign financial disclosure report after” he “reported paying his son-in-law Matthew Rabe $20,000 for wages in his latest campaign disclosure funds released Wednesday. … Ahlquist has previously promised to ban candidate family members from accessing such funds if elected governor as part of his ethics and term limits plan.” A spokesman said it should have been reported as an in-kind contribution. (AP)
KS GOV: Secretary of State Kris Kobach (R) will represent himself in a lawsuit against the state’s citizenship voter law in March. “If Kobach becomes governor, he said he would reassess his personal involvement in lawsuits. But he didn’t rule out continuing to litigate.” (Wichita Eagle)
NY GOV: “Actress and education activist Cynthia Nixon (D) … says New York needs ‘bluer Democrats,’ seeming to indicate she is getting closer to making a decision about a potential political campaign.” (New York Observer)
A comparison of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s (D) “public schedules for 2014 to evidence introduced in [former aide Joe] Percoco’s continuing federal corruption trial show at least a dozen instances in which the two overlapped [while Percoco was working on the campaign at state offices], sometimes for hours at a time, from May to July 2014, and in December 2014, shortly before Mr. Percoco returned to the state payroll.” (New York Times)
State Sen. Patrick Gallivan (R) endorsed state Sen. John DeFrancisco (R). (Buffalo News)
OK GOV: Former U.S. Attorney Gary Richardson (R) “attacked what he said is” Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb’s (R) “plan ‘to eliminate all sales tax exemptions.’” (Tulsa World)
OR GOV: Former Navy pilot Greg Wooldridge (R) “is entering the race for Oregon governor, potentially shaking up the Republican primary election this May” against the more moderate state Rep. Knute Buehler (R). “Social conservatives, led by Oregon Right to Life, have for months been attempting to recruit a Republican candidate more to their liking, with hopes of energizing the more conservative GOP primary electorate.” (Register-Guard)
SC GOV: Former state cabinet official Catherine Templeton (R) touted her “Civil War roots during a campaign speech Thursday at Bob Jones University.” Templeton: “I think it’s important to note that my family didn’t fight because we had slaves. … My family fought because the federal government was trying to tell us how to live.” (Greenville News) State Rep. James Smith (D) “said her comments should disqualify her from the race.”
At the first debate between Smith, tech consultant Phil Noble (D), and attorney Marguerite Willis (D), Willis asked why Smith “couldn’t get an equal pay law passed in the Legislature in all that time. Noble pointed out that Smith used to have an ‘A’ rating from the National Rifle Association. Smith pushed back, noting he has supported several firearm restrictions and has focused particularly on keeping guns out of the hands of convicted felons. His NRA rating has decreased in recent years. Later, Willis blasted Noble for saying that he would be open to firing many teachers in the state. Noble did not back down, saying that the source of education deficiencies in the state is in adults, not children.” (Charleston Post & Courier)
The RGA released apparent tracker footage of Smith saying he “absolutely” supports Medicare-for-all. (release)
TN GOV: Rep. Diane Black’s (R) spokesman “said Thursday that the ad urging fans to stand [ran] on one network in several Tennessee markets at a cost of more than $50,000.” (Nashville Tennessean)
Term-limited Gov. Bill Haslam (R) “worries how the business challenges facing the news media will impact coverage of the race to succeed him.” (Nashville Tennessean)
TX GOV: The Dallas Morning News endorsed Houston investor Andrew White (D) on Sunday, citing “his knowledge of the state’s complex challenges.” (Dallas Morning News) The Houston GLBT Political Caucus also endorsed White on Saturday. (Houston Chronicle)
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"Saudi Arabia said Saturday that Jamal Khashoggi, the dissident Saudi journalist who disappeared more than two weeks ago, had died after an argument and fistfight with unidentified men inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul. Eighteen men have been arrested and are being investigated in the case, Saudi state-run media reported without identifying any of them. State media also reported that Maj. Gen. Ahmed al-Assiri, the deputy director of Saudi intelligence, and other high-ranking intelligence officials had been dismissed."
"Special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation is scrutinizing how a collection of activists and pundits intersected with WikiLeaks, the website that U.S. officials say was the primary conduit for publishing materials stolen by Russia, according to people familiar with the matter. Mr. Mueller’s team has recently questioned witnesses about the activities of longtime Trump confidante Roger Stone, including his contacts with WikiLeaks, and has obtained telephone records, according to the people familiar with the matter."
"Special Counsel Robert Mueller is expected to issue findings on core aspects of his Russia probe soon after the November midterm elections ... Specifically, Mueller is close to rendering judgment on two of the most explosive aspects of his inquiry: whether there were clear incidents of collusion between Russia and Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign, and whether the president took any actions that constitute obstruction of justice." Mueller has faced pressure to wrap up the investigation from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, said an official, who would receive the results of the investigation and have "some discretion in deciding what is relayed to Congress and what is publicly released," if he remains at his post.
"The Justice Department on Friday charged a Russian woman for her alleged role in a conspiracy to interfere with the 2018 U.S. election, marking the first criminal case prosecutors have brought against a foreign national for interfering in the upcoming midterms. Elena Khusyaynova, 44, was charged with conspiracy to defraud the United States. Prosecutors said she managed the finances of 'Project Lakhta,' a foreign influence operation they said was designed 'to sow discord in the U.S. political system' by pushing arguments and misinformation online about a host of divisive political issues, including immigration, the Confederate flag, gun control and the National Football League national-anthem protests."