Former state Sen. Steve Montenegro (R) and former state Sen. Debbie Lesko (R) lead the fundraising pack ahead of the Feb. 27 special primary to replace former Rep. Trent Franks (R). Fundraising reports for the period ranging from Jan. 1 to Feb. 7 were due last week. Only three candidates raised more than $100,000 in the race for the safe, Republican seat.
Montenegro (R): $233,000 raised; $131,000 spent; $101,000 CoH, for a period ranging from Dec. 11, 2017 to Feb. 7, 2018. (FEC)
Lesko (R): $179,000 raised, including a $25,000 contribution; $96,000 spent; $101,000 CoH. (FEC)
Former Trump Appointee Phil Lovas (R): $112,000 raised; $182,000 spent; $79,000 CoH. (FEC)
BALLOT ISSUES. “It could take more than a week to determine the winners in the crowded race to replace former U.S. Rep. Trent Franks. A lawsuit settled Thursday between the U.S. Justice Department and Arizona election officials says ballots from overseas military voters in the Feb. 27 special primary election will be counted if they are received up to 10 days late. A dozen Republicans are running in the primary to replace Franks, who held the seat for more than a decade and stepped down in December.” (AP)
PRIMER. “Twelve Republicans qualified for the Feb. 27 primary ballot. Despite the challengers’ varying biographies—from having well-established careers in Arizona politics to little or no political experience at all—the group’s political views have taken a similar hue: pro-Trump. They’ve all echoed the president’s call for a border wall during debates while attempting to lay claim to being the most antiabortion, pro-tax-cut, and pro-gun-rights candidate.”
“Trump hasn’t indicated which candidate he supports. Lovas appeared to have the inside track, considering his past appointment in the Trump administration and that he was one of the first members of the Arizona legislature to endorse Trump during the presidential primaries. But after taking a chance on Roy Moore in Alabama’s recent special election and losing, Trump might be reluctant to tie himself to a candidate trailing in the polls.” (Hotline reporting)
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"The House on Friday overwhelmingly passed sweeping bipartisan opioid legislation, concluding the chamber’s two-week voteathon on dozens of bills to address the drug abuse epidemic. The measure combines more than 50 bills approved individually by the House focusing on expanding access to treatment, encouraging the development of alternative pain treatments and curbing the flow of illicit drugs into the U.S. It was passed 396-14, with 13 Republicans and one Democrat voting against the package."
In a letter to Congress on Friday, President Trump wrote that he's continuing the national emergency status with respect to North Korea, citing the country's “provocative, destabilizing, and repressive actions," which "continue to constitute an unusual and extraordinary threat” to the United States. In a series of tweets following his meeting with Kim Jong-un, Trump said Americans could sleep well at night because North Korea no longer poses a nuclear threat.
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"President Donald Trump has unveiled a new policy that depicts the world’s oceans as a resource ripe for expanded business opportunities, reversing the Obama administration's emphasis on protecting 'vulnerable' marine environments." Rather than emphasizing environmental protection, as Obama's policy did, "Trump’s directive speaks mostly to the oceans as a resource for promoting national security" and creating jobs.