CA-21: Former nominee Emilio Huerta (D) ended his campaign to oust Rep. David Valadao (R) from a Central Valley-based district that Hillary Clinton won by 15 points. “Huerta had just about $100,000 in the bank as of Dec. 31 and did scant campaigning. … Several Central Valley Democratic Party sources who requested anonymity … said they expect” engineer T.J. Cox (D) “to announce a run next week. Cox has been running in a crowded field in the nearby” CA-10 “but owns a home and business in Fresno.”
“Huerta’s exit has some Democrats who were concerned he was a weak candidate breathing a sigh of relief. Elected officials and Democratic party operatives” said “they felt the candidate’s mother pressured them to keep other candidates from entering the race.” (Los Angeles Times)
CA-49: Air Force veteran Christina Prejean (D) “announced Friday night that she is dropping out of the race to succeed” retiring Rep. Darrell Issa (R), “citing the large number of her fellow Democrats seeking the seat.” Prejean: “In the military, we say `One team, One fight,’ and our focus is always on the mission. As a proud Democrat and progressive, we are on the same team, and our mission is to flip the 49th. (CBS 8)
“All five Democrats” in the race for Issa’s seat “were expected to take part in the forum, but the candidates, one-by-one, began to back out just hours before the start time, leaving a single contender on the stage.” Environmental attorney Mike Levin (D) “was left uncontested with a packed house of voters, the sole benefactor of his opponents’ decision to ditch the event,” which was billed as a “candidate viability forum.” (Mother Jones)
CA-50: “The California Republican Party on Saturday put its endorsement behind” Rep. Duncan Hunter (R) “his re-election to Congress, giving a boost to his embattled campaign. …While the county-level GOP had already endorsed Hunter, and it is common for the state GOP to follow those recommendations, controversy swirling around the Alpine congressman raised some question as to whether he would secure enough votes for the state backing.” (San Diego Union-Tribune)
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"A senior FBI official overseeing a government task force that addresses Russian attempts to meddle in U.S. elections has left the government for a job in the private sector, a departure that comes just months ahead of the 2018 midterm contests. Jeffrey Tricoli had been coleading the FBI foreign influence task force until June, when he left government work for a senior vice president job at Charles Schwab Corp. , the company confirmed."
German foreign minister Heiko Maas "said on Monday Europe could not rely on Donald Trump and needed to close ranks after the U.S. president called the European Union a 'foe' with regard to trade." He added: "To maintain our partnership with the USA we must readjust it. The first clear consequence can only be that we need to align ourselves even more closely in Europe.”
"The mercurial veteran GOP political operative, Roger Stone, has acknowledged that he is the unnamed Trump campaign regular who corresponded with an alleged Russian hacker, as described in a new indictment against a dozen Russians returned Friday by a federal grand jury." He told ABC News that he previously admitted to the contact to House investigators. He called the correspondence "benign."