Today’s installment of campaign-related news items from across the country.
* One of the tough-to-defend moves Wisconsin Republicans made during their lame-duck scramble last month was a measure to restrict early voting. Yesterday, a federal judge blocked the policy, ruling that it’s at odds with an earlier court order. “This is not a close question,” U.S. District Judge James Peterson wrote.
* Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) announced this morning that he’s decided not to run for president. By my count, that leaves just nine other senators in the mix for the Dems’ 2020 nomination: Warren, Booker, Brown, Gillibrand, Harris, Klobuchar. Merkley. Sanders, and Bennet.
* Following bipartisan outrage over his racist rhetoric, Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) has decided to raise money off the controversy. “The unhinged left has teamed up with Republican ‘NeverTrumpers’ and is pulling out all the stops to destroy me,” King wrote in a new appeal to prospective donors.
* On a related note, Donald Trump’s re-election campaign has turned House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s State of the Union security concerns into a new fundraising pitch.
* A Democratic group called Majority Forward, which is aligned with the Senate Democratic leadership, has produced new television ads targeting six Republican senators with criticism over the government shutdown. Each of the GOP lawmakers – Sens. Martha McSally (Ariz.), Cory Gardner (Colo.), David Perdue (Ga.), Joni Ernst (Iowa), Susan Collins (Maine), and Thom Tillis (N.C.) – are expected to face competitive races in 2020.
* As part of her presidential campaign, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) issued a new apology yesterday for her previous work in anti-LGBTQ activism. The congresswoman conceded she made “hurtful” statements, but she insists her views “have changed significantly.”
* In the new PBS NewsHour/NPR/Marist poll, 57% of registered voters said they will oppose Trump’s 2020 candidacy. For comparison purposes, at roughly this point in Barack Obama’s first term, 43% of voters said they wouldn’t vote the Democratic incumbent.