“Cambridge Analytica dispatched dozens of non-U.S. citizens to provide campaign strategy and messaging advice to Republican candidates in 2014, according to three former workers for the data firm, even as an attorney warned executives to abide by U.S. laws limiting foreign involvement in elections,” the Washington Post reports.
Said one: “We knew that everything was not above board, but we weren’t too concerned about it.”
“An examination by the New York Times of contemporaneous documents and emails, as well as interviews with people who met with Mr. Trump during that period, found how he carefully weighed a run, measuring whether the governor’s office was a necessary steppingstone to his long-held goal: the White House. His calculations at the time run contrary to the seat-of-the-pants image he projects on the campaign trail, and offer a look at a formative stage of his presidential ambitions.”
“He discussed with state Republican leaders the idea of using the governorship as a platform to run for president, a situation in which he would serve for a year or so and be succeeded by his lieutenant governor.”
A new Reuters/Ipsos poll shows Donald Trump leading the GOP field with 37%, followed by Ben Carson at 14%, Marco Rubio at 11%, Ted Cruz at 8%, Jeb Bush at 6% and Rand Paul at 5%.
Politico: “Until now, little has been known about the secretive role played by the Kochs’ donors and operatives in boosting Ernst. The Koch network has focused primarily on policy fights, mostly leaving the spadework of recruiting and nurturing candidates to the party.”
“But the network’s financial support for Ernst ― detailed here for the first time ― offers the first signs of a move into GOP primaries. The Kochs and their allies are investing in a pipeline to identify, cultivate and finance business-oriented candidates from the local school board all the way to the White House, and Koch operatives are already looking for opportunities to challenge GOP incumbents deemed insufficiently hard-line in their opposition to government spending and corporate subsidies.”
The campaign staffer who accused former congressional candidate Carl DeMaio (R) of sexual harassment pleaded guilty to obstructing justice, the San Diego Union Tribune reports.
Todd Bosnich admitted he fabricated a threatening email and then lied about it to FBI investigators in an act of revenge against his former boss.
First Read: “One, the chief shortcoming the DNC highlighted was message… Two, this nine-page ‘preliminary’ report pales in comparison to the big report the RNC did after its losses in 2012. And three, the DNC omitted what is perhaps the organization’s biggest shortcoming in the Obama Era: Obama’s OFA (in many ways) has become a separate party organization that has diverted resources and attention away from the DNC. That’s a real problem as the party moves away from the Obama years. “
“At some point you have to start asking whether Matt Bevin should be medicated. The guy has no grasp on reality whatsoever and his delusions of grandeur are simply breathtaking.”
— GOP strategist Josh Holmes, quoted by the Lexington Herald Leader, on Matt Bevin’s (R) claim he would have won last year’s Senate election “more handily” than Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY).
Center for Responsive Politics: “The 2014 election was the most expensive midterm election in history, costing a grand total of $3.77 billion. But for the first time since 1990, fewer Americans donated money in this midterm election than the one before.”
Alan Abramowitz: “Republicans made major gains in the 2014 Senate elections but the findings reported here indicate that outside spending by conservative groups had little or nothing to do with those gains. The main reason why Republicans did very well in 2014 was that Democrats were defending far more seats than Republicans and many of those seats were in states that normally favor Republicans based on recent presidential voting patterns. Democrats lost all seven of their seats in states carried by Mitt Romney in 2012 even though Democratic candidates enjoyed an advantage in outside spending in several of those races.”
Failed California gubernatorial candidate Neel Kashkari (R) “ignored the advice of advisors who urged him to stop dipping into his waning personal fortune to finance a campaign they knew he could not win,” the Los Angeles Times reports.
Said Kashkari strategist Aaron McLear: “We thought it was crazy, but that’s Neel.”
“These next two years are going to be the most interesting time in our lives.”
— President Obama, quoted by the New York Times, in a staff meeting the morning after the 2014 midterm elections.
First Read: “Strikingly, however, Congress and Republicans haven’t seen their numbers go up. Just 16% approve of Congress’ job (unchanged since December), and only 23% approve of the job congressional Republicans are doing. Maybe more significantly, only 35% believe divided government — with Democrats controlling the White House and Republicans in charge of both chambers of Congress — works well for the country. That’s a reverse from previous NBC/WSJ polls (in 1996, 1997 and 1999), which found majorities in praise of divided government.”
“And then there are the parties’ fav/unfav numbers. The public gives the GOP a 25%-46% rating, down from 30%-45% a month ago. By comparison, Democrats are at 35%-38%, when they were at 37%-39% in December. Bottom line: You can hardly tell from our NBC/WSJ poll that the Republican Party was the big winner from the midterm elections just two months ago. Somehow, Obama and the Democrats stole the Republicans’ post-election honeymoon. Or the Republicans somehow lost it.”
“Democrats spent much of the 2014 campaign castigating Republican big money, but, it turns out, their side actually finished ahead among the biggest donors of 2014 – at least among those whose contributions were disclosed. The 100 biggest donors of 2014 gave nearly $174 million to Democrats, compared to more than $140 million to Republicans,” Politico reports.
Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin (D) has been re-elected by the state Legislature, 110-69, over challenger Scott Milne (R), the Burlington Free Press reports.
“Lawmakers were required to vote to select the governor after no candidate in the November general election received more than 50 percent of the popular vote. Shumlin, the incumbent, received a plurality but not enough for the outright win.”
“It was the White House switchboard. I was a little embarrassed that I’d been rejecting the president’s calls.”
— Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA), in an interview on WHO Radio, explaining how she ignored phone calls from an unknown number after she had won the U.S. Senate race.
Politico: “The 2014 Republican landslide has both parties poring over the data, hoping to glean insights about the current state of the electorate before the 2016 elections. But it might take until the next presidential cycle to answer the most pressing question: Is Republicans’ 2014 success the result of significant changes in how voters view the two parties, or is the structural difference between the electorates in presidential and midterm years so great that Democrats still maintain a strong demographic advantage going into 2016?”