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Dems Hope For Win In AZ Special Election

Democrats Hope For Another Upset in Arizona. The Atlantic: "Democrats’ recent winning streak in special elections might be coming to an end with Tuesday’s contest in Arizona’s 8th congressional district. But the party still plans to count it as a victory. Two women, Democrat Hiral Tipirneni, a cancer-research advocate, and Republican state Senator Debbie Lesko, are vying to fill the House seat vacated by Republican Trent Franks, who resigned in December after it was reported that he asked a staffer to be a surrogate. Only two people have represented the area—which includes the suburbs to the north and west of Phoenix—since 1977, and Democrats haven’t even had a candidate on the ballot since 2012. But a string of surprising wins in Alabama, Virginia, and most recently in Pennsylvania, has given Democrats cause for hope even in the reddest of places.

AZ GOP Pitches $1b Tax Hike To Allay Strike

Republican lawmaker pitches $1 billion tax hike to prevent Arizona teacher walkout. AZ Central: "A Republican state lawmaker has a plan he hopes will prevent Thursday's statewide teacher walkout and, at least temporarily, solve Arizona's education funding crisis. It involves a tax hike. More than 50 Arizona school districts — and counting — will close during Thursday's statewide #RedForEd walkout as educators push for higher pay and the restoration of $1 billion in cuts to education funding. Rep. Noel Campbell, R-Prescott, told The Arizona Republic on Monday afternoon that he will introduce a budget amendment — whenever Republican legislative leaders introduce a budget — for a three-year, 1-cent education sales tax increase. The plan would require the approval of two-thirds of the Legislature and Gov. Doug Ducey."

Kamala Harris Rejects Corporate Cash

Kamala Harris fifth likely Democratic 2020 contender to swear off corporate cash. Common Dreams: "Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) followed the lead of Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) on Monday when she announced that she would reject donations from corporate PACs, just a few weeks after a town hall attendee pointedly questioned her about her stance on such contributions... Harris is the fifth Democratic senator who's been repeatedly named as a likely 2020 presidential contender to announce that she'll forswear corporate money—a sign, some progressives said Monday, that the rejection of such contributions is rapidly becoming a prerequisite for candidacy."

Confirmation Of New VA Head Postponed

Senate to postpone confirmation hearing for Ronny Jackson to head Veterans Affairs. WaPo: "The development came just two days before Jackson, the White House physician, was scheduled to testify before the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs and threw what was looking to be a difficult confirmation process into further jeopardy. In addition to Jackson’s lack of management experience, the former combat surgeon had come under fire for his glowing appraisal of Trump’s health following his annual physical in January. Jackson said then that the president might live to the age of 200 with a healthier diet. In recent days, fresh concerns arose about Jackson’s management of the White House medical office, said the officials, who declined to provide details."

Will Dark Money Swamp The Blue Wave?

Democrats’ fundraising lead could be deceptive. Salon: "Now that the 2018 campaign season is truly underway, mainstream media chatter about the "blue wave" narrative is about to become cacophonous. To be clear, there are lots of reasons for optimism. Donald Trump's presidency has inspired a widespread mood of resistance and motivated political organizing to an extent that it's no exaggeration, for once, to call "unprecedented." Progressive boots are hitting the ground, progressive hands are knocking on doors and progressive wallets are opening up, funding both Democratic candidates and progressive organizations. But it would be unwise for those on the left to get too complacent about their certainty of a blue wave. Republicans have a lot of unfair structural advantages, not the least of which is a major financial edge that has been dramatically boosted by campaign finance deregulation. 'Across the country, we're seeing Democratic challengers put in the hard work, galvanize the grassroots and, in turn, outraise their incumbent Republican opponents,' Adam Bozzi, the communications director for End Citizens United, told Salon. 'It's promising sign for Democrats, but it doesn't take into account that the system is rigged so that special interests can pour outside money in for Republicans, who have been stonewalling campaign finance reform.'"

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