Democratic Attorneys General Oppose Trump Clean Water Executive Order

While much of the focus on the Democratic legal opposition to the Trump White House has focused on the travel ban, a new front has opened up: Trump’s executive order loosening Obama-era clean water regulations.

New York Attorney General (and long-time Trump nemesis) Eric Schneiderman announced a coalition of attorneys general from New York, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Oregon and Vermont that would oppose this new executive order.  The coalition issued this statement:

“We strongly oppose President Trump’s action today that undermines Clean Water Act protections and the public health and environment of our states.

The President’s order runs counter to the Clean Water Act’s, and the EPA’s, very purpose: achieving clean water. The Clean Water Rule is a measured, reasonable, and lawful application of sound and uncontroverted science to protect our nation’s upstream source waters. We rely on these waters to ensure clean drinking water, recreation, and viable commercial fishing and navigation. Abandoning the Clean Water Rule will allow uncontrolled pollution of these critical water resources. It could also harm the competitiveness of our state economies by forcing us to spend more to clean up the pollution of deregulated waters coming from upstream states that refuse to control such pollution.

Clean water is essential to life — and the people of our states and the nation deserve the basic protections established by the Clean Water Rule, to ensure that the benefits of clean water are shared equally, regardless of state lines.

We won’t hesitate to protect our people and our environment—including by aggressively opposing in court President Trump’s actions that ignore both the law and the public’s paramount need for clean water.”

 

Obama Memoirs Bidding War Reaches Eight Figures

President and Mrs. Obama have about 60 million reasons to smile today, according to the Financial Times:

A blockbuster auction for the global rights to two books by Barack and Michelle Obama has reached more than $60m, according to people with knowledge of the sales process, a record sum for US presidential memoirs.

The Obamas are writing separate books but selling the rights jointly.

Several publishers including Penguin Random House, which published Mr Obama’s previous three books, and HarperCollins, which is owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp, have expressed interest in the most hotly anticipated publishing deal of the year.

Some perspective on how this compares to other presidential book deal:

The sum offered would eclipse other book deals secured by departing presidents. Knopf, a division of Penguin Random House, paid $15m for the rights to Bill Clinton’s 2004 memoirs My Life when he left the White House, while George W Bush made an estimated $10m from his book Decision Points, which was published by Crown.

UPDATE: According to the New York Times, Penguin Random House won the bidding war for the worldwide rights to both books. The terms of the deal were not disclosed, but estimated to be worth “tens of millions.” There will be a nonprofit/charity component to the publication and the advances of both books.

The publisher plans to donate one million books in the Obama family’s name to First Book, a Penguin Random House nonprofit partner, and the Washington-based partner for the 2016 White House digital education initiative, Open eBooks. The Obamas also plan to donate a portion of their advances to charity, including the Obama Foundation.

2017 Special Election Calendar

Having spoken to and emailed several party officials, here is what the special elections schedule looks like over the next three months to fill the five vacant seats in the House of Representatives:

March 5-6 – Party nominating conventions for Democratic and Republican candidates for Montana AL CD.
April 4 – California 34th CD primary election
April 11 – Kansas 4th CD general election: Ron Estes (R) v. Jim Thompson (D)
April 18 – Georgia 6th CD general election
May 2 – South Carolina 5th CD primary
May 16 – South Carolina 5th CD primary runoff election (if necessary)
May 20 – Montana AL CD general election: Greg Gianforte (R) v. Rob Quist (D)
June 6 – California 34th CD general election (the top two candidates from primary, if no candidate gets 50 percent of the votes +1 on April 4)
June 20 – Georgia 6th CD runoff election (only if no candidate gets 50 percent of the votes +1 on April 18)
June 20 – South Carolina 5th CD general election

Tim Ryan Won’t Run for Ohio Governor in 2018

After months of flirting with the idea, Rep. Tim Ryan told Ohio Democrats he would not be entering the race to succeed term-limited Governor John Kasich:

CLEVELAND, Ohio — Tim Ryan, whose national profile has risen in recent months, announced Tuesday that he will not be a candidate for Ohio governor in 2018.

The eight-term congressman wrestled with a run for months, weighing the risk of jumping into a potentially crowded and unpredictable primary against sticking with a safe House seat.

“Constituents in my district are at the forefront of an economic transformation that has hollowed out our nation’s middle class,” Ryan said in a statement emailed after word about his decision first trickled out to cleveland.com. “As I’ve considered how best to address these challenges, the more I’ve appreciated how much they are national issues that require national solutions.

“That is why, while I have been truly humbled by the encouragement I’ve received to run for Governor of Ohio, I believe the best way to serve my community, my state and my country is to remain in the United States Congress.

Ryan’s decision was made easier by the plum committee assignments he maintained despite his unsuccessful bid to unseat Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi last fall. In his Tuesday statement, he asserted that spots on the Appropriations Committee and Defense Subcommittee will help him “fight back against wrong-headed policies and champion the kinds of solutions that would have a real impact for American families.”

With Ryan’s decision to not enter the race, the Democratic field is wide open. According to cleveland.com’s Henry Gomez, the potential field of candidates includes:

  • Ohio Senate minority leader Joe Schiavoni
  • Former Rep. Betty Sutton
  • Former Rep. Connie Pillich
  • Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley
  • Former Youngstown Mayor Jay Williams
  • Former Sen. Nina Turner
  • Former Rep. Dennis Kucinich
  • CFPB Director Richard Cordray

While the race for an open governor’s mansion in Columbus is ongoing, at the same time Sen. Sherrod Brown will be running for reelection in the same cycle. Depending on the political climate in 18 months from now, that could be a boost for Democrats up and down the Ohio ballot.

A Final Dispatch From Atlanta

ATLANTA — After the ASDC election at the end of a marathon day of Democratic National Committee meetings, elections and ballot counts, I walked by the bar in the Westin Hotel where several Democratic delegates, candidates, and activists had gathered to drink, socialize, and celebrate the end of the party’s winter meeting.

As I was passing by, I happened to walk past South Bend, Ind. mayor Pete Buttigieg, who was by himself talking to people. I had briefly interviewed him previously at the Houston airport protest a few weeks earlier, and I was wearing my press credential, but I don’t know if he recognized me.  I walked up, said hello, and asked what was next for him.

“Potholes,” he responded – a reference to his day job as mayor of South Bend.

I told him I had a feeling people hadn’t seen the last of him after this DNC race, and asked if he would be involved with supporting other Democratic candidates and campaigns coming up over the next few months and years. He said he was up to it, but nothing was planned so far.

Finally, I asked when his current term was up, and he told me 2019. I said farewell and went on my way. Mayor Buttigieg didn’t say anything about this during my conversation with him, but I did some research on the election calendar after that conversation and noticed that Eric Holcomb, Indiana’s Republican governor, is up for re-election in 2020.

A lot happens during the course of a single campaign, let alone over the course of several years. If Buttigieg decides to run to be the Hoosier State’s chief executive, especially if he continues to raise his national profile among Democratic leaders and activists over the next three years, he would probably have a very real shot at locking down his party’s nomination and, depending on the political climate when President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence (a native Hoosier and former governor) are running for a second term, he could possibly win it.

Delaware Senate Race Metrics

The Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee sent out these figures in the aftermath of its victory in the Delaware Senate District 10 race.

  • Donors from all 50 states contributed to the Stephanie Hansen campaign.
  • More than 1,000 volunteers knocked on nearly 90,000 doors and made more than 60,000 phone calls.
  • Hansen, her staff, and her volunteers had more than 21,000 separate conversations with voters.
  • Hansen won 1,000 more votes on a Saturday special election in an off-year than the previous incumbent, Bethany Hall-Long, received in 2014. Hall-Long resigned the seat following her election as lieutenant governor.
  • Legislative Majority PAC – the DLCC’s affiliated super PAC and independent expenditure operation – helped produce more than $500,000 in ads and mail.

Montana Democrats Preparing to Pick Their House of Representatives Nominee

Montana Democrats are tentatively set to pick their nominee to compete for the state’s at-large congressional seat being vacated by Republican Rep. Ryan Zinke, who is expected to be confirmed as Secretary of the Interior by the Senate. The state party is planning to hold its nominating convention in Helena this coming weekend.

According to a Montana party official, the voters who will be picking the candidate are divided into four different groups:

  • The 35 county Central Committees, each of which gets four delegates.
  • Elected officials and party leaders (This includes Governor Steve Bullock, House Minority Leader Jenny Eck, and Senate Minority Leader Jon Sesso)
  • The executive board of the Montana Democratic Party
  • Partner organizations (Examples include, but are not limited to, the MEA, AFL-CIO, Young Democrats, Big Sky Democrats, and Stonewall Democrats)

There are eight candidates running for the nomination:

  • Kelly McCarthy (Legislator, Billings)
  • Amanda Curtis (Legislator, Billings)
  • Rob Quist (Musician, Flathead Valley)
  • Dan West (Former Obama administration official, Missoula)
  • John Meyer (Environmental attorney, Bozeman)
  • Gary Stein (Teacher, Missoula)
  • Link Neimark (Business owner, Whitefish)
  • Tom Weida (Traveling salesman, Helena)

The candidates have to be physically present at the nominating convention, they cannot send a proxy or representative on their behalf. Each candidate has to be nominated by one of the voting delegates. There is a short comment period for candidates and delegates to make their arguments on who the delegates should vote for, followed by the voting.

There will be an estimated 180-200 votes at the convention. A candidate needs 50 percent of the votes plus one to win.  If none of the candidates are able to get a majority, delegates vote on another ballot. This process continues until a winner with a majority of the vote prevails. The winner will square off against the Montana Republican Party’s nominee in a special election, which will tentatively be scheduled 85-100 days after Zinke’s resignation from the House of Representatives.