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Rep Justin Amash To Decide Whether To Launch Presidential Bid ‘soon’

Arizona volunteers eager to help with Trump’s reelection campaign

Leigh Ann Caldwell

WASHINGTON Rep. Justin Amash is expected to make a decision soon on whether he will jump in the race for president his office says, potentially launching the latest attempt by a conservative to challenge President Donald Trump.

The Michigan Independent paused campaign activities for his congressional re-election bid in mid-February to carefully consider a presidential run.”

“He has been discussing the potential campaign with his family, his friends, his team, and others, and a decision can be expected soon, his office tells NBC News.

Amash, a fierce critic of the president, stoked speculation earlier this week when he responded to Trump saying that a presidents authority is total. Amash tweeted that Americans deserve another option and that hes looking closely at it.

The libertarian-minded lawmaker would not run as a Republican and would likely have to win the nomination of a third party in order to effectively compete in a significant number of states in November. Amashs office has not speculated which third party Amash would run under. The Libertarian Party has plans to hold its nominating convention next month.

Buttigieg Looks To Cement Viability Before Super Tuesday

Vaughn Hillyard and Priscilla Thompson

LAS VEGAS, Nev. After finishing in the top two in the Iowa and New Hampshire nominating contests, former South Bend, Ind. Mayor Pete Buttigieg hoped to shape this Democratic contest as a two-man race between himself and Bernie Sanders, but as voters here make their voices heard today, the field remains diluted.

Buttigieg’s chief opponents, former Vice President Joe Biden, and Sens. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn, have no plan to exit the race before Super Tuesday. And among each of the campaigns, there’s anxiety that the forthcoming results will there’s provide little clarity as to which candidate is best positioned to counter a surging Sen. Bernie Sanders and fend off former New York Mayor Mike Bloombergs big-spending operation.

House Super Pacs Announce More Than $90 Million In Early Tv Reservations

Ben Kamisar

WASHINGTON The top Republican and Democratic super PACs in the battle for the House majority have announced more than $90 million in initial television ad reservations as they draw the contours of the 2020 battleground.

This week, the Democratic-aligned House Majority PAC announced $51 million in early television reservations, while the GOP-aligned Congressional Leadership Fund said it will book $43 million for its first wave. Both groups will be advertising through a variety of mediums and are expected to add more money to buys as Election Day draws closer.

The busiest market right now is Philadelphia, where CLF is booking $6.5 million to the HMP’s $6.1 million. It’s home to a handful of competitive races in 2020 in both New Jersey and Pennsylvania, including the reelection races for New Jersey Democratic Reps. Andy Kim and Tom Malinowski, New Jersey Republican Rep. Jeff Van Drew , Pennsylvania Republican Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, and Pennsylvania Democratic Reps. Matt Cartwright and Susan Wild.

Both sides plan to invest heavily in Minnesota as well HMP is reserving $7.4 million in the state compared to CLF’s $3.25 million. The state is home to four freshmen lawmakers who could face competitive reelection fights , as well as the long-time Democratic Rep. Collin Peterson, who has repeatedly defied the odds and held onto his red district.

The two groups are also investing heavily in Iowa , Atlanta , Detroit and Houston .

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Biden Rakes In Endorsements After Definitive South Carolina Win

WASHINGTON Following Joe Bidens resounding victory in the South Carolina Democratic primary Saturday, the former Vice President has racked up about 20 influential endorsements spanning from activists to current and former members of Congress. More support continues to trickle in Monday.

Biden leads the pack by dozens of congressional and gubernatorial endorsements with Mike Bloomberg in a far-away second place. The former Vice President has 59 endorsements from members and governors while Bloomberg has just 17.

Many of the latest endorsements come from Super Tuesday states and beyond, including seven backers from the House of Representatives, three politicians who held high state or local offices, plus others.

Among the members of Congress now supporting Biden, three are from Virginia, a battleground state where voting takes place tomorrow. Democratic Reps. Bobby Scott, Jennifer Wexton, and Don Beyer who previously endorsed Pete Buttigieg are all on the list.

Reps. Greg Stanton of Arizona, Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida, Gil Cisneros of California who flipped the seat in 2018 and Veronica Escobar of Texas are backing Biden as well.

Current Democratic Senator Tammy Duckworth of Illinois announced her formal support for the candidate Monday afternoon. Previous Sens. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., and Blanche Lincoln, D-Arkansas, plus former Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe also endorsed Biden after his win.

Ohio Governor Calls On Fda For Help With Testing During Mtp Interview

Trump 2020 Campaign Is Building A Volunteer Army To Turn Out Supporters ...

Ben Kamisar

WASHINGTON If it’s Sunday, does America have enough coronavirus tests to begin the move toward relaxing social restrictions?

Vice President Mike Pence answered that question affirmatively Sunday, telling “Meet the Press” that with testing capacity at 150,000 a day and 4 million already tested, America has enough tests to meet the testing criteria to move into Phase 1 of the federal government’s reopening guidelines.

But minutes later, Ohio Republican Gov. Mike DeWine joined the show to plead with the Food and Drug Administration to green-light a tweak to test-kits aimed at solving a supply shortage that DeWine said is hampering his ability to “double or triple” testing capacity.

“We really need help. anybody in the FDA is watching, this would really take our capacity up literally overnight,” DeWine said.

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John Lewis Endorses Biden For President

Mike Memoli and Marianna Sotomayor

WASHINGTON Rep. John Lewis, an icon of the civil rights movement, endorsed Joe Biden for president Tuesday, saying the former vice president will inspire another generation “to speak up, to speak out, to be brave, to be bold.”

“It is my belief that we need Joe Biden now more than ever before,” Lewis, D-Ga., told reporters. “He will be a great president. He will lead our country to a better place. He will inspire another generation to stand up, to speak up and to speak out. Be brave, to be bold. That’s why I’m committed to supporting him.”

In an interview with NBC News’ Craig Melvin airing later this morning on “Today,” Biden calls Lewis “one of my heroes,” praising his courage and sacrifice in the fight for civil rights, especially as part of the Bloody Sunday march in Selma, Alabama, in 1965.

Biden said: “The fact that he would endorse me is just it makes me even more certain that I should be doing what I’m doing. I’m a great, great admirer of John Lewis. He’s a man of enormous integrity.”

Georgia has delayed its primary until May 19 because of the coronavirus outbreak. Although he was diagnosed December with Stage IV pancreatic cancer, Lewis said he was committed to traveling across the country to rally support for Biden.

“We need his voice. We need his leadership, now more than ever before. We need someone who will get our country on the right side of history and help save our planet,” he said

Bernie Sanders’ Big Delegate Math Problem

WASHINGTON With Senator Bernie Sanders deciding to remain in the Democratic presidential race possibly all the way through June its time to crunch the delegate numbers once again.

And the exercise shows just how challenging the math is for the Independent Vermont senator.

Overall, former Vice President Joe Biden leads Sanders by 312 pledged delegates, according to NBC News Decision Desk.

Biden has won 1,174 pledged delegates or 53 percent of all allocated pledged delegates, while Sanders has won 862 or 39 percent.

To reach the magic number of 1,991 a majority of all pledged delegates Biden needs to win 46 percent of the remaining pledged delegates.

Sanders, by contrast, needs 64 percent of the remaining pledged delegates to obtain a majority.

There are two main reasons why Sanders deficit is so daunting.

The first is the Democrats proportional-allocation system. Unlike Republicans, who often award their delegates based on winner-take-all rules, Democrats award theirs proportionately so if you win a state or congressional district 55 percent to 45 percent, you get 55 percent of the available pledged delegates while your opponent gets 45 percent.

So the only way to rack up huge delegate hauls is to win a state decisively like Biden did last week in Florida, when his 62 percent-to-23 percent victory in the state netted him 100-plus more delegates than Sanders earned in the Sunshine State.

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A Warm Welcome For Buttigieg From Diverse Caucus Groups On Capitol Hill

WASHINGTON Former South Bend, Ind Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who has struggled cinching a diverse electorate in critical states, met with the Congressional Black and Hispanic Caucuses on Thursday in an effort to receive their endorsements.

And overall, members left the meetings feeling impressed, and perhaps surprised, with some of their worries appeased despite Buttigieg not seeing higher poll numbers among those voting blocks. Congressional Black Caucus Chairwoman Rep. Karen Bass, D-Calif., called it a very good meeting as she walked out.

Multiple members of Congress told NBC News that to appeal to diverse voters, Buttigieg needs to reach out more like he did on Thursday and continue meeting with these voter constituencies.

Rep. Anthony Brown, D-Md., the lone CBC endorser and national co-chair for the Buttigieg campaign, told NBC there was a lot of vertical head-nodding when asked how he was received in the room. But members also pressed Buttigieg on his controversial record in South Bend.

That was the great deal of the focus in that particular meeting, said Brown.

Rep. André Carson walked out of the meeting telling reporters it was excellente. However, the meeting came on the heels of House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn’s key endorsement of former Vice President Joe Biden, and just two days before the South Carolina Democratic primary where a majority of the Democratic electorate is people of color.

One Congressional Race Three Very Different Ways To Advertise On Coronavirus

President Trump reelection campaign trains volunteers

WASHINGTON Todays First Read Ad Watch heads to northwest Georgia for the battle to replace retiring GOP Rep. Tom Graves, where there are some very different ways that candidates are messaging on coronavirus.

In Clayton Fullers recent spot in the deep-red district, he begins by talking about how he was called up by the Air National Guard for coronavirus response, before pivoting to his work as a prosecutor who will stand with President Trump.

In , neurosurgeon John Cowan blasts weak Republicans like Mitt Romney and deranged Democrats like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Nancy Pelosi before shooting a prop with a sign with COVID-19 written on it.

And in a third spot, Marjorie Taylor Greene calls fines for violating social distancing orders a dose of Chinese-style socialism, warning that America could become a socialist nation under Chinas thumb.

In Georgias 14th Congressional District, a district that President Trump won overwhelmingly in 2016, the GOP primary is effectively the only game in town. So theres a large field of candidates beyond these three looking to grab the seat.

But on the airwaves right now, these three candidates are taking three significantly different tacks toward messaging on the coronavirus crisis.

This is an excerpt from Thursdays edition of First Read, the newsletter from NBCs Political Unit. Sign up by clicking here.

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Administrations Mixed Messaging On Defense Production Act Causes Confusion

Monica Alba

WASHINGTON President Trump signed the Defense Production Act a week ago today but there has been consistent confusion as to whether it is being utilized to produce medical equipment needed for the coronavirus pandemic.

The bottom line: the DPA has not yet been used in this manner, despite to fully activate the DPA. Medical professionals have been among the most outspoken on the desperate need for certain equipment and supplies.

The Korean War-era DPA would allow the federal government to control the supply chain and compel companies to produce much-needed items. So far, according to the president, several private sector corporations like 3M, Ford, General Motors and Tesla are already doing this themselves without needing the DPA.

Here’s a timeline of how the president and his administration have discussed the DPA in recent days:

President Trump at briefing: We’ll be invoking the Defense Production Act, just in case we need it. In other words, I think you all know what it is, and it can do a lot of good things if we need it. And we will — we will have it all completed, signing it in just a little while. Right after I’m finished with this conference, I’ll be signing it. It’s prepared to go. So we will be invoking the Defense Production Act.

Trump tweeted that same day:

President Trump at briefing: I did it yesterday…We have a lot of people working very hard to do ventilators and various other things. We are using it.

Pelosi: ‘we Will Wholeheartedly Support’ Whoever Democratic Nominee Is

The presidential is its own race. Contrary to what you may be hearing or writing, we are not getting we are all unified. Whoever the nominee is of our party, we will wholeheartedly support, she said. Our gospel is one of unity, unity, unity. So I dont have the experience that you may have described.”

Pelosi said that her responsibility is to win the House again in November with a mainstream and non-menacing message. When asked if Sanders has been delivering such a message, she demurred. The Speaker of the House said that Democrats already demonstrated their ability to win in the 2018 midterms by owning the ground game with their mobilization efforts, messaging and money.

Pelosi added that the Democratic Party will support the candidate who wins a majority of delegates, which is not what Sanders has previously said he would do if the situation arose.

Whoever the nominee is, we will support with respect for his or her positions and hopefully with their respect for our positions as well,” Pelosi said.

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Yang Nonprofit Announces Coronavirus Relief Effort For The Bronx

As Congress and the White House work to pass an emergency economic stimulus bill in response to the coronavirus pandemic, former Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang is taking matters into his own hands.

Yangs new nonprofit organization, Humanity Forward, announced Friday it will be distributing at least $1 million in $1,000 cash payments to 1,000 working poor households in the Bronx as part of a coronavirus relief fund in partnership with other organizations.

Given the nature of this crisis, we thought it was imperative to act now and get money into people’s hands, and also demonstrate that this is exactly what our government should be doing, Yang told NBC News.

The one-time payments will be provided within the next two weeks to clients of Neighborhood Trust Financial Partners, a financial empowerment nonprofit. Additionally, Humanity Forward is also partnering with One Fair Wage, a nonprofit advocacy group, to support service workers across New York City who have been impacted by COVID-19-related closures through cash relief payments of $213 to symbolize the $2.13 an hour tipped minimum wage.

Sources familiar with Yangs thinking say the entrepreneur is seriously considering a run for New York City mayor, where he could implement UBI at a local level he even spoke with Michael Bloomberg recently about a potential bid.

Yang is confident that exploring universal basic income will be part of the conversation in the general election.

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