Bloomberg files campaign paperwork, no decision on bid yet
WASHINGTON, DC – New York billionaire Michael Bloomberg has taken another step toward launching a Democratic bid for president. The former New York City mayor, who became a Democrat just last year, filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission on Thursday to formally create a presidential campaign committee. The move legally allows him to begin raising and spending money on a 2020 campaign, although his team says he’s yet to make a final decision. Bloomberg’s enormous wealth, his ties to Wall Street, and his status as a former Republican could make it difficult for him to win support among traditional Democratic primary voters. Before Thursday’s federal filing, he had already filed paperwork to qualify for presidential primary ballots in three states.
Could Haley’s role in Trump administration taint a 2024 bid?
Ambassador Nikki Haley has again ignited speculation that she may be gearing up for a possible bid for the White House, perhaps as early as 2024. “She gets credit for getting out without being too stained by the Trump administration,” said Chip Felkel, a South Carolina-based Republican strategist. When Haley called for the release of Trump’s tax returns, and he called her an embarrassment to South Carolina, Haley’s tweeted response of “Bless your heart” epitomized tongue-in-cheek Southern shade. “No one, regardless of how they feel about Trump now or later, will begrudge loyalty and intelligent service. For Felkel, only the end of the Trump era — whether in 2020 or 2024 — will reveal Haley’s political staying power.
Georgia at ‘turning point’? Debate signals Democratic hopes
PEACHTREE CORNERS, GA – Beth Moore would typically fit the mold of a Georgia Republican. “Georgia is at a turning point,” Moore said. “The road to the White House runs through Georgia,” Democratic state Chairwoman Nikema Williams said matter-of-factly. “Only in the event of a landslide nationally does Donald Trump lose Georgia,” said GOP pollster Whit Ayres, pointing to Trump’s 5 percentage point win in Georgia in 2016. Moore, meanwhile, said she’s looking for at least one more Democratic vote at home: her Republican husband.
Sanders campaign replaces South Carolina state director
Bernie Sanders is replacing his state director in the critical early-voting state of South Carolina. Sanders’ presidential campaign tells The Associated Press that Jessica Bright now heads the campaign in South Carolina. Bright had been Sanders' deputy state director and previously was political director for Democrat Joe Cunningham's upset win in South Carolina's 1st Congressional District last year. Bright replaces Kwadjo Campbell, a former member of the Charleston City Council. Sanders’ campaign co-chair Nina Turner tells The Associated Press that, "Campaigns aren't for everybody, and we wish him well."
Top Iowa aide to Steyer's campaign resigns after AP report
Steyer's Democratic presidential campaign announced the resignation of Pat Murphy, a former House speaker who served as a top adviser on Steyer's Iowa campaign. "After the conclusion of an investigation alleging improper communications with elected officials in Iowa, Pat Murphy has offered his resignation from the campaign effective immediately," Steyer's campaign manager Heather Hargreaves wrote in a statement. There's no evidence that any Iowans accepted the offer or received contributions from Steyer's campaign as compensation for their backing. Courtney described a similar interaction with Steyer's campaign. I'm working for Tom Steyer," Courtney recalled hearing from the aide.
Top Democrats clash over health care at marquee Iowa event
(AP Photo/Elise Amendola)DES MOINES, IA – The leading Democrats vying for their party's presidential nomination clashed over the critical issue of health care while offering starkly contrasting visions for the nation's ideological direction before thousands of cheering Iowa activists at a raucous event kicking off the three-month sprint to the first-in-the-nation caucuses. Biden said he would overhaul health care nationwide without "increases in taxes for the middle class. The former vice president has promised not to "abandon" Obama's signature health care law. The 37-year-old also offered a veiled swipe at Warren, Biden and Sanders — all in their 70s — by chiding candidates for being content to "wait for action." Warren supporters erected a giant likeness of Bailey, the senator's golden retriever.
Boxed in? Warren confronts tough politics of health care
Warren says that, far from having boxed herself in politically, she's been working on her health care plan for months and still sees it as a winning issue. "You're going to get health care with no premiums, no deductibles, no fear of bankruptcy if you have a health emergency." Sara Collins, vice president for coverage and access with the nonpartisan Commonwealth Club, said the key involves changing how the health care tab is divided up among employers, government and individuals. Unlike Warren, Sanders has already released payment options, including higher taxes on wealthy Americans and an employee payroll tax of 7.5%. But that would give federal authorities more control over employee health costs than employers, potentially affecting jobs.