Situational awareness – May 10, 2018

Good Thursday morning from Salt Lake City.

A right-wing group is targeting Utah Republicans with mailers. Mia Love pushes for a vote on immigration issues. Trump’s pick for CIA director runs into some trouble during her confirmation hearings. 

Happy Golden Spike Day! 149 years ago today, the golden spike was driven at Promontory, Utah, joining the Union Pacific and the Central Pacific lines to form America’s first transcontinental railway.


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  • 19 days until the last day to register to vote by mail for the 2018 primary election (5/29/2018)
  • 20 days until the last day to change your party affiliation before the primary election (5/30/2018)
  • 26 days until primary election mail-in ballots are sent to voters (6/5/2018)
  • 33 days until in-person early primary voting begins (6/12/2018)
  • 40 days until the final day to register to vote online or in person before the primary election (6/19/2018)
  • 43 days until in-person early primary voting ends (6/22/2018)
  • 47 days until the 2018 Primary Election (6/26/2018)
  • 180 days until the 2018 midterm elections (11/6/2018)
  • 263 days until the first day of the 2019 Utah Legislature (1/28/2019)
  • 908 days until the 2020 presidential election (11/3/2020)


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Mailers causing a stir

Some Republican candidates in Utah are upset about mailers from the Koch Brothers-funded Americans for Prosperity slamming them for voting in favor of bills that raised taxes. Weirdly, some of the mailers are going to districts where the candidates don’t have any Republican opposition [Utah Policy].

Love bucks GOP leadership on DACA protections

Rep. Mia Love joins an effort to force a vote on several immigration bills that GOP leadership in the House are blocking, including a measure to protect so-called Dreamers. Love’s November opponent, Ben McAdams, says the move smacks of political grandstanding [Utah Policy].

Public lands bill

Rep. John Curtis and Sen. Orrin Hatch announce a new public lands bill to protect more than a million acres in Emery County. It also establishes the new Jurassic National Monument [Utah Policy].


Listen to our extended interview with Rep. John Curtis about his new public lands bill, his recent trip to the middle east, President Trump’s decision to scrap the Iran nuclear deal and why he thinks it’s a bad idea for Republicans to run away from tax reform as a political issue during the 2018 midterms [Utah Policy].


  • Salt Lake City’s parking fine revenue has dropped $1.2 million in the past year, mostly because of a scandal that led to the firing of four parking officers [Tribune (paywall)].
  • South Salt Lake Mayor Cherie Wood says she has a plan to get a proposed homeless shelter in her city back on track [Deseret News].
  • The Canyons School District announced they’re hiking starting pay for teachers by 4.5% and giving them a one-time $500 bonus [Tribune (paywall)].
  • Transit officials are blaming Operation Rio Grande for a dip in ridership this year [Tribune (paywall)].
  • The Utah Medical Association has filed a complaint with the state alleging that backers of the medical marijuana ballot initiative are offering money to people who are asking voters to take their name off of the initiative petitions [Deseret News, Fox 13].
  • Mitt Romney says President Trump’s upcoming meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un a “bold gamble” [Deseret News].
  • A federal judge throws out a lawsuit that aimed to legalize prostitution in Utah [Fox 13].
  • Residents in Cottonwood Heights are pushing back against proposed budget cuts for the fire and police departments [Tribune (paywall)].


  • Michael Cohen, President Trump’s personal attorney, was paid $500,000 per year to help lobbying firm Squire Patton Boggs drum up business in the new Trump administration. Among those clients were companies that had ties to Jared Kushner’s company [Wall Street Journal].
  • Michael Cohen reportedly promised access to the Trump administration to convince several companies, including drug manufacturer Novartis, to pay him for that access [The Hill].
  • The Treasury inspector general is launching a probe into how Michael Cohen’s bank records were leaked to Michael Avenatti, the lawyer for adult film actress Stormy Daniels [Washington Post].
  • President Trump raised the prospect of yanking White House credentials for media outlets he believes are reporting negatively on his administration [Washington Post].
  • President Trump greeted three American prisoners freed by North Korea in the early hours on Thursday morning as they arrived back on U.S. soil [The Hill].
  • Gina Haspell, President Trump’s pick to head the CIA, says she would not reinstate a brutal interrogation program even if the president ordered her to do so [The Hill]. Sen. John McCain is urging his Senate colleagues to reject Haspel’s nomination because of her previous role in the George W. Bush administration’s use of torture as an interrogation technique [Politico].
  • Iranian forces fired rockets at the Israeli military in Syria [Washington Post].
  • Shock poll! The Democratic advantage in the generic congressional ballot has nearly disappeared. Democrats now lead in that metric by just 3%, which is within the survey’s margin of error [CNN]. However, the Democratic lead in the average polling still sits at 7-percent [FiveThirtyEight]. Billionaire Sheldon Adelson donated $30 million to help the GOP retain control of the House in the 2018 midterms [Politico].
  • The Pentagon revised an Obama-era report to downplay the threats climate change poses to military bases [Washington Post].
  • The Democratic National Committee is considering eight cities to host the 2020 convention: Atlanta; Denver; Houston; New York; San Francisco; Milwaukee; Miami; and Birmingham. Republicans are eyeing several cities to host their 2020 convention including Las Vegas and Charlotte [NBC News].
  • A new Monmouth survey finds 53-percent of Americans say they have not felt any benefit from the recent economic upturn [USA Today].
  • California will require solar panels on all new homes [New York Times].


  • 1503 – Christopher Columbus visits the Cayman Islands and names them Las Tortugas after the numerous turtles there. 
  • 1534 – Jacques Cartier visits Newfoundland.
  • 1773 – The Parliament of Great Britain passes the Tea Act, designed to save the British East India Company by granting it a monopoly on the North American tea trade.
  • 1775 – American Revolutionary War: Representatives from the Thirteen Colonies begin the Second Continental Congress in Philadelphia.
  • 1775 – American Revolutionary War: A small Colonial militia led by Ethan Allen an Colonel Benedict Arnold captures Fort Ticonderoga.
  • 1837 – Panic of 1837: New York City banks fail, and unemployment reaches record levels.
  • 1872 – Victoria Woodhull becomes the first woman nominated for President of the United States. She ran under the banner of the Equal Rights Party.
  • 1908 – Mother’s Day was observed for the first time in the United States.
  • 1924 – J. Edgar Hoover is appointed first Director of the FBI. He remains in that post until his death in 1972.
  • 1940 – Winston Churchill is appointed Prime Minister of the United Kingdom following the resignation of Neville Chamberlain.
  • 1940 – Nazi Germany invaded Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands, swinging 89 army divisions around France’s so-called impregnable Maginot Line.
  • 1954 – Bill Haley & His Comets release “Rock Around the Clock,” the first rock and roll record to reach number one on the Billboard charts.
  • 1984 – A federal judge in Utah found the U.S. government negligent in above-ground Nevada nuclear tests from 1951 to 1962 that exposed residents downwind to radiation.