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Idaho Super PAC Airs Ad for Ahlquist, Who Lost His Campaign Chairman

Georgia Republican Hunter Hill aired a six-figure TV ad as Stacey Abrams reported $450,000 on hand.

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Zach C. Cohen
Feb. 6, 2018, 11:18 a.m.

AL GOV: Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle (R) celebrated outraising Gov. Kay Ivey (R) last month. Ivey reported Friday raising $89,000 in January and had $2.1 million on hand, while Battle brought in $101,000. (

AZ GOV: Former state associate schools superintendent David Garcia (D) “didn’t attend the state Democratic Party’s annual convention last weekend. … Garcia’s campaign manager, Bill Scheel, said Garcia, who lives in Phoenix, opted to use the day to instead campaign on” state Sen. Steve Farley’s (D) turf. (Arizona Republic)

CA GOV: Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) in an unusually frank discussion about the 2007 revelation of his marital infidelity with a campaign aide’s wife: “I acknowledged it. I apologized for it. I learned an enormous amount from it. … We were very open and honest about it. … And I am, every day, trying to be a champion and a model [for young girls and boys].” (Politico)

Newsom also defended his record on environmentalism, education, and cannabis financing. He also dismissed descriptions of himself as a “Davos Democrat.” (Politico)

Los Angeles City Council Members Curren D. Price Jr. and Marqueece Harris-Dawson endorsed former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa (D). (release)

Newsom led Villaraigosa 29-11 percent in a new Tulchin Research (D) and Moore Information (R) poll (Jan. 21-28; 2,500 RVs). Businessman John Cox (R), state Treasurer John Chiang (D), and state Assemblyman Travis Allen (R) were within striking distance of the second runoff spot with 10, 9, and 8 percent respectively. (release)

HI GOV: Gov. David Ige (D) will open his campaign headquarters on Feb. 11. (release)

GA GOV: Former state Sen. Hunter Hill (R) “debuted Tuesday the first TV ad of his campaign for governor, a 30-second spot highlighting the former state senator’s military service and his pledge to eliminate the state income tax. … The U.S. Army Ranger’s ad features him stampeding through a military obstacle course, followed by” actors impersonating Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle (R) and Secretary of State Brian Kemp (R). “The campaign spent $365,000 on the ad buy and said the spot will be on air in every major Georgia media market by the week’s end.” (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Former state House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams (D), according to a “three-page memo by … campaign manager Lauren Groh-Wargo … will report roughly $450,000 in cash on hand this week after raising about $1.7 million over the last seven months. Fundraising hit an ‘inflection point’ in December with $300,000 in contributions; nearly $500,000 has come in this month.”

Her “campaign expects black voters to account for roughly 65 percent of the Democratic primary electorate, and that black women will make up the plurality at about 45 percent. The campaign says Abrams beats [former state Rep. Stacey Evans (D)] in ‘all demographic and geographic groups’ in its polling. It claims to have reached nearly 600,000 voters by phone, text or door and signed up about 4,000 volunteers.” She is “wary of a potential bid by Vincent Fort for lieutenant governor and ‘racially reductive’ media narratives.” (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

ID GOV: Idaho First PAC is running a TV ad touting developer Tommy Ahlquist’s (R) work fighting sexual violence, creating “thousands of jobs,” and “transforming downtown Boise.” The spot promises he’ll “defend water rights for Idaho farmers and ranchers, … keep taxes low, support small business, and attract new jobs.” (Advertising Analytics)

The PAC formed Nov. 13 and lists florist Betsy Monson as its chairwoman. According to its latest disclosure with the Idaho Secretary of State’s office, it raised $261,000 in December predominantly from three donors: John T. Ahlquist Jr.; J.B. Scott, chairman of the J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Foundation; and Brainstree Capital in Boise. Other donors include three branches of Community Care and Blackfoot Medical Center. It also paid Washington-based McCarthy Hennings Whalen $29,000 for production cost. It also reported paying for research consulting from Maryland-based Owenbarrow and Jones Day for legal consulting.

Monson directed questions Monday to Republican National Committeeman Damond Watkins of Stelvio Strategies, who until recently chaired Ahlquist’s campaign. Treasurer Tracy Mitchell Monday deferred to a spokesman who did not return a request for comment. Watkins also did not respond.

Ahlquist campaign manager David Johnston: “Damond Watkins resigned from the campaign in early October. Any other questions you have about a PAC you would have to ask them. We don’t have any control or involvement into any PAC.” (Hotline reporting)

Meanwhile, 14 mayors endorsed Ahlquist. (release)

NE GOV: Gov. Pete Ricketts (R) “submitted his re-election papers to the secretary of state’s office.” (AP)

NY GOV: State Sen. John DeFrancisco (R) “on Monday criticized Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s (D) handling of more than 500 I Love NY road signs that the state plans to remove to avoid a $14 million hit from the federal government … saying Cuomo should have heeded the federal government’s warnings that the signs were illegal.” (Rochester Democrat & Chronicle)

State Sens. Fred Akshar, John Bonacic, Phil Boyle, Tom Croci, and Patrick Gallivan endorsed DeFrancisco on Tuesday. (Auburn Citizen)

“Cuomo hosted a Super Bowl bash at Five Mile Stone on the Upper East Side” with “‘Sopranos’ star Michael Imperioli, Council Speaker Corey Johnson, John Catsimatidis, Sid Davidoff, Brian Benjamin and council members Justin Brannan and Donovan Richards.” (New York Post)

SC GOV: Former state cabinet official Catherine Templeton (R) has hired Mark Powell as her communications director, according to campaign manager R.J. May. “Powell worked as chief spokesman for state Attorney General Alan Wilson (R) for more than three years. Prior to that, he worked on various other campaigns in South Carolina and as a journalist at CNN.” (AP)

TN GOV: Rep. Diane Black (R) “picked up her petition to run for governor in her hometown of Gallatin” on Monday. (release)

Black, former state economic commissioner Randy Boyd (R), housing services executive Bill Lee (R), and state House Minority Leader Craig Fitzhugh (D) “all said they thought the governor should [remain] a board member [of the University of Tennessee] and they would actively attend meetings as governor.” Former Nashville Mayor Karl Dean (D) “said he would actively attend meetings but did not respond to the question of whether the law should be amended to remove the governor.” State House Speaker Beth Harwell (R) “said she favored the effort to reduce the size of the UT board and removing the governor.” (Knoxville News Sentinel)


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