Today’s installment of campaign-related news items from across the country.
* Despite the fact that Donald Trump’s speech in Illinois yesterday was an official, taxpayer-funded event, the president used the appearance for overtly partisan purposes. “You’ve got to vote Republican, folks,” he said. “You’ve got to vote Republican.”
* A federal judge issued a “scathing” ruling this week, striking down a Florida policy that prohibits college campus from hosting early-voting locations.
* The latest NBC News/Marist poll in Wisconsin found Gov. Scott Walker (R), currently seeking a third term, trailing Tony Evers (D) by 13 points in a general-election match-up. (Most other recent polling shows the governor with modest leads.) Also in Wisconsin, the poll found incumbent Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D) with double-digit advantages over her GOP rivals.
* In Michigan, the same NBC News/Marist poll found Gretchen Whitmer (D) leading Bill Schuette (R), 47% to 38%, in this year’s open gubernatorial race. Incumbent Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D) also enjoys double-digit leads over the Republicans hoping to defeat her.
* In Minnesota, former Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R) appears likely to win the GOP nomination for his old job, but he trails both of the leading Democratic candidates – Lori Swanson and Tim Walz – by 11 points in the NBC News/Marist poll.
* Not surprisingly, West Virginia’s secretary of state yesterday rejected Don Blankenship’s bid to appear on the Senate ballot as the Constitution Party candidate, citing the state’s “sore loser” law. Don’t be surprised if he files a lawsuit challenging the legitimacy of the restrictions.
* As Rachel noted on last night’s show, Tad Devine, a former top official on Bernie Sanders’ 2016 presidential campaign, is now assisting Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s prosecution of Paul Manafort.
* And in Arizona, Rep. Paul Gosar (R), one of Congress’ most far-right members, privately reached out to Gov. Doug Ducey’s (R) team late last year, expressing interest in replacing ailing Sen. John McCain (R). The governor later said any discussion of replacing the senator is “disgraceful” so long as McCain remains in office.