Situational awareness – January 4, 2018

Good Thursday morning from Salt Lake City. Happy statehood day! 122 years ago today Utah was admitted as the 45th state.

On tap today: Rep. Gage Froerer is considering running for a Weber County post. The super PAC that supported Roy Moore is raising money to get Rep. Mia Love to possibly run for U.S. Senate. An explosive new book is tearing Washington apart.

Tick Tock:

  • 18 days until the opening day of the 2018 Utah Legislature (1/22/2018)
  • 63 days until the final day of the 2018 Utah Legislature (3/8/2018)
  • 64 days until the filing period for candidates in the 2018 election opens (3/9/2018)
  • 70 days until the filing deadline for the 2018 elections (3/15/2018)
  • 75 days until the statewide caucus meetings for Utah Republicans and Democrats (3/20/2018)
  • 107 days until the Utah GOP State Convention (4/21/2018)
  • 114 days until the Utah Democratic State Convention (4/28/2018)
  • 173 days until the 2018 Primary Election (6/26/2018)
  • 306 days until the 2018 midterm elections (11/6/2018)
  • 1,034 days until the 2020 presidential election (11/3/2020)

Utah news highlights

Rep. Gage Froerer may join the exodus of state legislators

The veteran Republican lawmaker tells that he is considering retiring from the legislature at the end of the current term to run for a spot on the Weber County Commission [Utah Policy].

Shadowy super PAC using Mia Love to raise money

The super PAC that supported failed Alabama GOP Senate candidate Roy Moore is raising money to find a conservative candidate for Utah’s open U.S. Senate seat. The group is sending out fundraising emails suggesting Rep. Mia Love might be interested in the race, but her campaign says that’s not in the realm of reality [Utah Policy].

Other Utah headlines:

  • Sen. Orrin Hatch says if Congress had not passed the GOP tax overhaul bill, he would probably be running for an eighth term instead of retiring [Deseret News].
  • Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn says he hopes Mitt Romney runs for Utah’s open Senate seat in 2018 [Tribune].
  • Gov. Gary Herbert thinks voters will approve the medical marijuana ballot initiative in 2018 [Tribune].
  • The 2018 State School Board elections will remain a nonpartisan affair following a judge’s ruling, but the state plans to appeal the decision [Tribune].
  • LaVarr Webb offers up his favorite stories about LDS Church President Thomas Monson, who passed away on Wednesday [Utah Policy].
  • The Kaysville City Council is expected to censure Councilman Dave Adams and call for his resignation after allegations that he extorted a Layton sod farmer for $250,000 [Deseret News, Tribune].
  • A state audit finds state workers are paid less than employees in the private sector, but get more generous benefits [Tribune].
  • A Midvale man has been charged with making threats to kill President Trump [Deseret News].

National headlines

  • An explosive new book about the Trump White House quotes former strategist Steve Bannon saying the meeting between Donald Trump Jr. and Russians at Trump tower in 2016 was “treasonous” and “unpatriotic” [The Guardian]. The book also claims President Trump never intended to win the 2016 election and his victory caught his team completely off guard, so they never had a plan for what comes next [New York Magazine]. Trump fired back at Bannon saying he “lost his mind” [Washington Post]. Trump’s lawyers also sent Bannon a “cease and desist” letter for breaking a non-disclosure agreement, which suggests at least some of what he said in the book is true [Politico].
  • Former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort has filed suit against special counsel Robert Mueller to narrow the scope of the Russia investigation [New York Times].
  • President Donald Trump dissolves his controversial voter fraud commission saying that states refused to turn over their voter information to the group [CNN].
  • Congress and the White House are working to hammer out a budget deal before the next funding deadline in three weeks [Politico].
  • North and South Korea are slowly resuming diplomatic talks while leaving the United States on the sidelines [New York Times].

On this day in history

  • 1847 – Samuel Colt sells his first revolver pistol to the United States government.
  • 1893 – President Benjamin Harrison granted amnesty to all people who had abstained from practicing polygamy since Nov. 1, 1890. It was part of a deal for Utah to achieve statehood.
  • 1896 – Utah is admitted as the 45th state.
  • 1974 – President Richard Nixon refuses to hand over materials subpoenaed by the Senate Watergate Committee.
  • 1999 – Former professional wrestler Jesse Ventura was sworn in as governor of Minnesota.