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Situational awareness - January 17, 2018

Good Wednesday morning from Salt Lake City. 

While everyone is focused on Mitt Romney, there are other Republicans who are mulling a bid for U.S. Senate, too. One of those is Rep. Dan McCay, R-Riverton. Multiple Republican lawmakers have told me he has already decided to jump in the race. I asked McCay on Tuesday about those claims and he quipped, "It must be my cologne, which is called 'Ambition,' that is confusing them." McCay did say he's thinking about it, but he's more focused on the upcoming legislative session, and will make a final decision when the time is right. I'll have more of my conversation with McCay later.

The secret opinion on the 3rd CD election is released. Mitt Romney deflected questions about whether he's running on Tuesday. Most of the candidates gathering signatures to get on the 2018 ballot in Utah are incumbents.

Tick Tock:

Thanks for reading our daily rundown of the political news stories you need to know (and nothing you don't). If you have news tips, story ideas, want to submit an op-ed, or want to talk about why Hall and Oates is the greatest musical group ever, hit me up at bschott@utahpolicy.com. I'm always available.

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Here's what's driving the day:

Secret opinion released

Attorney General Sean Reyes released the secret legal opinion on whether Gov. Gary Herbert did anything illegal when he called the special election in Utah's 3rd CD. Reyes's opinion said Herbert was in the right when he did not call the legislature into special session. [Utah Policy]. (Bonus, I'm cited as a footnote on the bottom of page 2).

Romney speaks but steers clear of campaign talk

Mitt Romney delivered a much-anticipated speech in Salt Lake City Tuesday. His address was heavy on policy and short on campaign rhetoric [Utah Policy].

When will Romney announce?

Sources close to Romney say any potential campaign announcement (they still won't confirm he's running even though everybody assumes he is) will not come in the form of a "traditional" campaign speech [Utah Policy].

Most of the candidates who have decided to gather signatures are incumbents

Rep. Becky Edwards tells UtahPolicy.com she's not running for another term in 2018. However, there are very few signature-gathering candidates who have decided to challenge sitting incumbents [Utah Policy].

Will the good economic times continue to roll for Utah?

Analysts aren't sure how the federal tax reform will affect Utah's economy, but the state has been outperforming the rest of the nation in several categories [Utah Policy].

Other Utah headlines:

National headlines:

On this day in history:

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Today At Utah Policy

Rep. Becky Edwards not running for re-election in 2018, other incumbents already drawing opponents

A week before the start of the 2018 Legislature, five incumbents already know they are being challenged within their own political parties, a UtahPolicy.com analysis shows....

When will Romney make his announcement?

The question on everybody's mind is when Mitt Romney will announce his candidacy for U.S. Senate....

Secret AG opinion says Gov. Herbert's decision to call special congressional election was legal

GOP Gov. Gary Herbert was correct in calling a special election last summer to fill the U.S. House vacancy in the 3rd District, a much-disputed opinion by Attorney General Sean Reyes obtained by UtahPolicy.com shows....

Romney deflects questions about a possible Senate campaign, but his speech stokes speculation he's getting closer to running

 As Mitt Romney walked briskly through the lobby of the Salt Lake City Mariott on Tuesday afternoon, a pack of reporters in tow, he repeatedly declined to say if he was going to run for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by the retiring Orrin Hatch....

Utah's economy is booming. Is a slowdown on the horizon?

Utah's economy is booming; there's little doubt. But, there's a small but growing fear that we may be at the peak of that expansion....

2018 Utah candidate tracker - Congress

There's a U.S. Senate seat up for election in 2018 as well as all four U.S. House seats. Here's our list of rumored and declared candidates....

2018 Utah candidate tracker - Utah Senate

2018 means another election cycle is upon us. Half of the Utah Senate seats are up for election this year, including an unexpected one because of a retirement. Here's our running list of candidates for those seats....

2018 Utah candidate tracker - Utah House

Next week candidates can start gathering signatures to get on the 2018 ballot. All 75 Utah House seats are up for election this year. Here's our running list of who's in, who's out and who's challenging....

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Policy News

David Leavitt announces his intent to run for Utah County Attorney
Attorney David O. Leavitt has announced his intent to run for Utah County Attorney as a Republican....

Rep. Mia Love statement on White House meeting
Tuesday morning, Congresswoman Mia Love met with President Donald J. Trump at the White House....

Rep. Love supports bipartisan bill to address DACA/border security
Congresswoman Mia Love joined a bipartisan group of lawmakers to introduce legislation addressing ongoing issues relating to Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and border security....

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Local Headlines

Salt Lake Tribune

Editorial: Let's take better care of our individuals with disabilities

Oil and gas industry targets Utah's Molen Reef, a treasure trove of ancient rock art

Officials try to get 'a handle on the height' of office tower in Cottonwood Mall replacement plan

Rolly: Another day, another demand from Utah GOP purists. Now they want party's No. 2 leader to quit

Mitt Romney skips mention of Senate campaign, but extols 'how much Utah has to teach the nation' during Salt Lake City speech

Free-fare day on UTA attracted 23k more transit riders, mostly on trains

Utah Rep. Mia Love met with President Trump on immigration, but didn't bring up his 's---hole' remark even though she called for him to apologize last week

Long-secret Utah AG opinion released, says guv's handling of congressional election was legal

Deseret News

Editorial: The UN needs more honest appraisals of human rights violations

Mitt Romney still mum on Senate run, but has plenty to say about policy

Initiative to test sex assault kits will soon reach statewide, offer online resources for victims

Magna doctor fills vacant seat in Utah Senate

Gov. Gary Herbert acted properly in calling 3rd District special election, A.G. says

Salt Lake City Council OKs loans for 2 more affordable-housing projects

Salt Lake City approves development agreements for northwest quadrant

Analysts mixed on Utah economic outlook for 2018

Utah Rep. Mia Love meets with Trump after demanding apology over vulgar comments

Multiple groups plead for reduced Bears Ears


Roy's new mayor takes aim at business growth, trimming taxes, annexation (Standard-Examiner)

Tax reform, liquor laws on Tim Quinn's plate heading into 2018 session (Park Record)

National Headlines

White House doctor says president had a perfect 30/30 score on cognitive screening test (Daily Mail)

2017: The Year the News Media Went to War Against a President (NewsBusters)

Ex-CIA Officer Suspected of Compromising Chinese Informants Is Arrested (New York Times)

How China Infiltrated U.S. Classrooms (Politico)

White House on 'Shithole' Comment: President Trump Isn't a 'Scripted Robot' (TIME)

Justice will ask Supreme Court to intervene, allow Trump administration to end DACA (Washington Post)

'Total free-for-all' as Bannon clashes with Intel members (The Hill)

White House Fuels Immigration Debate With Terrorism Statistics (New York Times)

'New California' campaign aims to separate rural counties from coastal cities (SFGate)

U.S. House Panel to Hold Hearing on Emergency Alerts After Hawaii Error (Reuters)

Cost of California bullet train jumps by $2.8 billion just in the Central Valley (Los Angeles Times)

Wise Words


"It is a fraud to borrow what we are unable to pay." Publilius Syrus

Lighter Side


"Steve Bannon is leaving Breitbart, but he said that he's proud of what they've accomplished in the short period of time. For example, in just a few months, they managed to fire Steve Bannon." Jimmy Fallon

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