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The Daily Agenda: It really is poppin' off
The knee-jerk reactions to the Big News ... Blake tries the middle … And they go way back.
Yesterday, the FBI executed a search warrant at Mar-a-Lago, former President Donald Trump’s home base in Florida, keying in on a safe possibly because the president had taken classified documents, the New York Times reports.
We, like many people who spend too much time online, learned the news from Ice T, the rapper and sometime Arizonan, who put it as well as anyone: “Fed's Raided Mar-A-Lago. Oh shit.... Shit's poppin off.”
Just what shit may be poppin’ off will become clearer in the coming days. We’re waiting on our national colleagues to sort through this mess and provide more insight and analysis to what the warrant was for and what it may mean.
Former Arizonan Stephanie Grisham, once the press secretary for the Trump administration, told CNN that her old boss didn’t handle classified documents properly. (Sometimes, apparently, flushing them down the toilet.)
“I watched him do it...I watched him go through documents, throw some away, rip some up and put some in his pocket,” Grisham told the outlet.
We’ll be hearing about the FBI’s move here for probably ever — no matter your politics, it’s a huge deal for a president’s home to be searched by the FBI. It’ll come up on the campaign trail, in the halls of Congress, on the floor of the Arizona Legislature.
In the immediate aftermath of the news, the America First slate and MAGA elected officials seemingly tried their best to outdo one another on outrageousness.
GOP nominee for attorney general Abraham Hamadeh put it in all caps: “Our justice system has been HIJACKED. Our FBI has been CORRUPTED. It’s time to restore LAW & ORDER.”
GOP secretary of state nominee Mark Finchem: “The FBI just united the entire world behind President Trump.”
But none took it as far as Republican nominee for governor Kari Lake, who issued a lengthy statement clearly designed in Trump’s image, complete with randomly capitalized words.
She called it “one of the darkest days in American history” and referred to the Biden administration as an “illegitimate, corrupt Regime” that “hates America” and wants to use the federal government to take down Trump. She said the government is “rotten to the core” and the move was a “horrendous abuse of power.”
“The 10th Amendment can and will save our Republic and the road to stripping the Feds of power travels right through Arizona,” Lake said in a statement. “We must fire the Federal Government. As Governor, I will fight these Tyrants with every fiber of my being. America — dark days lie ahead for us.”
So much for moving to the middle after a primary. Dark days ahead, indeed.
We had to return to the word factory after hours to put together this late-breaking news for you, but we did it happily because we ❤️ our subscribers. Did you know you can pay to support our work?
Pivot!: In an interview with the Republic’s Ronald J. Hansen, Blake Masters walked back comments about maybe wanting to privatize Social Security. Instead, the Peter Thiel acolyte said, he wants to beef up Social Security while encouraging private investing for younger people alongside the program. On abortion, Masters now says he believes the recently approved 15-week abortion ban was appropriate and reflected the state’s beliefs, though abortions earlier in pregnancy are an area where “people of good faith disagree.” And while he thinks it’s up to states to set limits on abortions, he doesn’t believe in banning interstate travel for abortion seekers. Masters and Kari Lake and Masters will rally with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis this weekend as the Florida Man swings through Arizona on a Turning Point Action tour across the country to support Trump-endorsed candidates.
What about Biden’s tie though?: U.S. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema was once again a key negotiator in the Democrats’ big bill in Congress, managing to come in at the last minute to protect firms from having to pay a minimum amount of taxes. The Washington Post has the Sinema-centric write-up of the bill, while Politico tells the backstory of the negotiations (complete with a paragraph about Sen. Joe Manchin lending some clothes to Sen. Mark Warner after his clothes got wet on Manchin’s houseboat — Senators, they’re just like us!).
She’s “still better” than a Democrat: While the Republican Governors Association has already committed at least $11 million to airtime to attack Katie Hobbs (but not actually boost Kari Lake), the Democratic Governors Association has made no such commitment, Capitol scribe Howie Fischer notes.
ElEcTiOn InTeGrItY: Everyone’s favorite faux auditor Doug Logan is facing a criminal investigation in Michigan for allegedly illegally obtaining voting machines from three counties there then breaking into the machines, the Mirror’s Jerod MacDonald-Evoy writes. There are other Arizona audit ties, including to Ben Cotton, another audit flunkie, as well as Jim Penrose, who had a center spot on Staci Burk’s wall of conspiracy spreaders.
Back to the art studio for Rusty: After losing his primary, Arizona House Speaker Rusty Bowers worried about Arizona’s water future, his looming trip to Israel, his household chores and that we’re slipping into a new Dark Age. But at least he no longer has to worry about what the Republican Party thinks about him, the Republic’s Ray Stern writes.
Last clinic standing: Camelback Family Planning is the only major abortion provider in Arizona that’s still doing the procedures as the court process plays out. The Los Angeles Times spent the day with the women who run the clinic, where patients wait in line to get appointments during a time of uncertainty. A hearing to potentially lift the injunction on a Pima County court case, which could reinstate a pre-statehood abortion ban, is set for Aug. 19.
“I have a [Nissan] Pathfinder. Seven people fit in that. I wouldn’t be able to fit another child in there,” Yolanda, a mother of five, told the paper. “I’d have to buy another car. I don’t even think they make a car that would fit another child.”
Uhhhh: Progressive Democrats are celebrating their victories in the legislative primary last week, saying progressive candidates like Anna Hernandez are “increasingly representative of the kinds of Democratic candidates finding success in legislative races,” as the Arizona Mirror’s Shondiin Silversmith writes. The piece made no mention of socially conservative Democrats like Catherine Miranda or Lydia Hernandez returning to the Capitol after last week’s primary.
It’s all water under the bridge: After centuries of getting screwed, legally speaking, on their water rights, Native American tribes got a say in the most recent round of negotiations and a seat at the table at the Colorado River Water Users Association, Debra Utacia Krol writes in the Republic. Meanwhile, the dropping water levels at Lake Mead continue to unearth more dead bodies. We’re up to four now, the Associated Press reports.
Dance like nobody's watching: U.S. Rep. David Schweikert gives “special order” floor speeches in the House the second-most out of any member of Congress, using the time to talk to basically no one in person but maybe some folks on C-SPAN about fiscal issues, sometimes using “poster boards full of numbers and charts,” Cronkite News’ Morgan Fischer reports.
Cool stories, bro: A former mob boss who killed at least three people runs the Arizona American Italian Club near 12th Street and Glendale, and the Republic’s Joseph Duhownik has a long yarn about its president, Richard Cantarella, and his family. While the social club does all sorts of events to uphold Italian customs, tradition and language, it’s really just about the money to Cantarella, who swears the accusations that he has stolen from the club are bullshit.
“What am I gonna steal here?” he asked. “Even if you told me a thousand dollars, I’m OK financially. You have to have some kind of honor in your life.”
Rachel recommends Rachel: Rachel joined the Republic’s Stacey Barchenger, who covers the governor’s office, on 12News’ “Sunday Square Off” this weekend to discuss the primary results and what they mean for the general.
Editors’ note: After taking a few days off the district of the day following the primary, we’re back at it — and we’re focusing on the handful of districts that are actually competitive in November.
Legislative District 2 is one of five “competitive” legislative districts the Independent Redistricting Commission adopted in January. The district runs roughly north of Thunderbird Road, between Interstate 17 and State Route 51, up to nearly the Carefree Highway.
LD2 is mostly made up of previous LD20, which broke slightly more Democratic over the past decade, as well as conservative areas of previous LD15. This district, while considered competitive by the IRC’s metrics, leans Republican.
LD20 incumbent Judy Schwiebert, who won her first election in 2020 by ousting longtime (and soon-to-be returning) lawmaker Anthony Kern, is the sole Democratic nominee for the House. Schwiebert was the top vote-getter in her race last election, and Democrats are single-shotting her this cycle. She will run against LD15 Rep. Justin Wilmeth, a freshman former legislative staffer, and political newcomer Christian Lamar, who is outgoing Rep. Shawnna Bolick’s handpicked replacement.
Schwiebert, a former teacher, is expectedly running on an education platform. Wilmeth pledges to “cut taxes, remove regulations, and pass legislation that is friendly to business and commerce.” Lamar is running on an election integrity platform and believes the 2020 election was stolen from Donald Trump.
Wilmeth’s seatmate, Rep. Steve Kaiser, is running for the Senate and will face Democrat Jeanne Casteen, the executive director of the Secular Coalition for Arizona. Education issues are likely to dominate this Senate race, as Kaiser pushed bills last session on so-called “parental rights” issues while Casteen, who was last seen on the ballot in a tight race for Maricopa County Superintendent in 2020, is running on a public education platform.
Capitol Media Services’ Howie Fischer flagged on Twitter an early 2020 interview that now-GOP nominee for governor Kari Lake conducted with then-President Donald Trump at a rally of his in Phoenix.
Lake gets about seven minutes with Trump, asking about his rallies and his supporters, whether China was doing enough on COVID-19 (yes, Trump said) and what he intended to do on student loans (something, he said).
It was full of softball non-questions, like telling him about how she “got a lump in (her) throat” when she saw his supporters carrying a World War 2 veteran through the crowd “yet your supporters get a pretty bad rap out there by some.”
She mentions a few times that people “took notice” of his rallies in Arizona. Lake, now one of Trump’s favorites, certainly did.