Situational awareness – January 11, 2017

Good Thursday morning from Salt Lake City. 

Speaker Greg Hughes announces he’s not running for re-election in 2018. Mitt Romney faces a tough choice if he decides to run for Senate. Republicans are worried about keeping their majority in the U.S. House after the 2018 midterms.

Tick Tock:

  • 11 days until the opening day of the 2018 Utah Legislature (1/22/2018)
  • 56 days until the final day of the 2018 Utah Legislature (3/8/2018)
  • 57 days until the filing period for candidates in the 2018 election opens (3/9/2018)
  • 63 days until the filing deadline for the 2018 elections (3/15/2018)
  • 68 days until the statewide caucus meetings for Utah Republicans and Democrats (3/20/2018)
  • 100 days until the Utah GOP State Convention (4/21/2018)
  • 107 days until the Utah Democratic State Convention (4/28/2018)
  • 166 days until the 2018 Primary Election (6/26/2018)
  • 299 days until the 2018 midterm elections (11/6/2018)
  • 1,027 days until the 2020 presidential election (11/3/2020)

Welcome to our daily rundown of the important news stories you need to know. I’m always available at [email protected] for you to send your story tips, complaints, or rants. I’d love to hear from you.

I’ll be sparring with Rep. Mike Winder about what could happen in the 2018 midterm elections at the monthly meeting of the Professional Republican Women of Utah today at noon at the Utah State Capitol. Hope to see you there.

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Here’s what’s driving the day:

Shakeup in the Legislature

House Speaker Greg Hughes announces he won’t run for another term in 2018, which is fueling speculation that he’s getting ready to run for governor in 2020 [Utah Policy].

McAdams named to “Red to Blue” program

Democrat Ben McAdams’s run against Republican Mia Love in the 4th CD is getting some national help. The campaign arm of House Democrats has named McAdams to their list of top challengers in Republican districts, which means they’ll offer him fundraising and organizational assistance [Utah Policy].

If Romney runs, will he go through the GOP convention?

Utah GOP Chairman Rob Anderson sure hopes Mitt Romney will go through the caucus/convention system because it will give a boost to the moderate wing of the party. But others say Romney should skip the convention altogether because there’s no benefit for him [Utah Policy].

Utahns don’t like Congress, but they approve of the State Legislature

A new survey finds nearly 70% of Utahns disapprove of Congress, while 62% like the job the Utah State Legislature is doing. That’s curious because both entities are controlled by Republicans [Utah Policy].

Other Utah headlines:

  • Mitt Romney reportedly is putting a campaign team together and looking at possible headquarters but is not yet ready to officially announce his run for Senate [Deseret News].
  • Rep. Gage Froerer wants to speed up the construction of state liquor stores and remodel existing ones by giving the DABC up to $15 million over the next two years for those efforts [Tribune].
  • Senate President Wayne Niederhauser suggests building a toll road to control traffic in Little Cottonwood Canyon [Tribune].

National headlines:

  • The government runs out of money on January 19th. Democrats want a deal on DACA done before they vote on a long-term funding deal. Meanwhile, House Republicans unveil a hard-line immigration proposal that could throw a wrench into negotiations over a spending bill [New York Times]. 
  • The Trump administration will allow states to impose work requirements for Medicaid recipients for the first time [Washington Post].
  • President Trump sidestepped questions on Wednesday whether he would commit to being interviewed by special counsel Robert Mueller [New York Times].
  • Longtime California Republican Darryl Issa announces he’s retiring at the end of this term, bringing the number of GOP retirements to 30 so far this year, which is a record [CNN].
  • The high number of retirements by Congressional Republicans has those who are remaining worried about losing their majority in the House [Washington Post].
  • Democrats plan to bring victims of sexual misconduct to the State of the Union address as their guests later this month [NBC News].
  • Congressional Republicans may just skip passing a budget for 2018. That move could kill any efforts toward entitlement reform in 2018 [Politico].
  • President Donald Trump floated the idea that the U.S. could re-enter the Paris climate agreement, but said the pact hurt the U.S.’s competitiveness [Politico].
  • Immigration agents raided dozens of 7-11 stores across the country on Wednesday, arresting undocumented workers and verifying employment documents [New York Times].
  • Canada is growing increasingly convinced that President Donald Trump will pull out of the NAFTA agreement [Reuters].

On this day in history:

  • 1785 – The Continental Congress convened in New York City.
  • 1805 – The Michigan Territory is created.
  • 1861 – Alabama secedes from the Union.
  • 1908 – Grand Canyon National Monument is created.
  • 1935 – Amelia Earhart becomes the first person to fly solo from Hawaii to California.
  • 1964 – U.S. Surgeon General Luther Terry released a report saying smoking cigarettes is a definite “health hazard.”