Playbook: Texas kicks off primary season, as Democrats surge in early voting
SOMETHING MIGHT BE HAPPENING IN THE LONGHORN STATE — Early voting numbers in Texas has GOP political operatives nervous — Democrats outvoted Republicans in the top 15 counties. BY THE NUMBERS: 23.7% of Democratic primary voters are new. Only 10.8% of Republicans were first-time early voters in the primary.
THE TRENDLINE: Republicans are worried that could translate to a significant increase in Democratic-leaning general election voters across the state — and, in worst case for Republicans, across the country. Check out this three-page PDF breaking down the stats: http://politi.co/2tld376
Story Continued Below
— TEXAS TRIBUNE’S ANNIE DANIEL: “[More than] 650,000 Texans voted early in the state’s ten counties with the highest number of registered voters.
“Overall, 370,219 Democrats voted early in those ten counties compared to 282,928 Republicans. Four years earlier, Republicans outvoted Democrats in early voting in those ten counties 253,019 to 184,489, respectively. That means Democratic turnout more than doubled from four years ago, while Republican turnout rose less than 15 percent.
“When we factor population growth in these ten counties, Republican turnout was largely unchanged, with the percent of the voting-age population voting early remaining on-trend with previous years. Democratic turnout, however, was up in all ten counties except for Hidalgo County, which saw a drop in Democratic voter turnout from 6.1% of the voting age population voting early in 2014, to 5.1% in 2018.” http://bit.ly/2FgBBnt
STEVEN SHEPARD and ELENA SCHNEIDER: “5 things to watch in the first primary of 2018”: 1. Democrats are showing up in droves 2. Suburban watch: Dallas and Houston 3. Washington meddling in Democratic primaries 4. The personality primaries 5. A threat to the Bush name. Read the full story http://politi.co/2tlgjzh
PLAYBOOK AT SXSW: Going to SXSW? Join us for a fun conversation with REP. NANETTE BARRAGAN (D-CALIF.), REP. WILL HURD (R-TEXAS) and REP. TERRI SEWELL (D-ALA.) — three young and up and coming leaders in Congress. WHEN: Sunday, March 11 at noon. WHERE: Just like last year, we’re holding our events at the WeDC house, which this year is centrally located blocks from the convention center at 709 E. 6th Street in Austin. RSVP, space is limited! http://bit.ly/playbooksxsw
— PSST: We have a bunch of big-time events we’re going to announce in the coming days, so keep your eyes peeled.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING ABOUT SAM NUNBERG — @KatyTurNBC — Katy got the first TV interview: “Nunberg tells me he’ll probably cooperate with Mueller in the end. He just doesn’t want to make it easy. He thinks it isn’t fair that they are asking for his personal communications. As of 8pm he says he had not talked to his lawyer.” …
NUNBERG called Sarah Huckabee Sanders a “fat slob” and a “joke” on New York 1, a local TV station. @jonathanvswan: “Nobody who knows Sam thinks he has anything interesting to offer Mueller. But his friends are worried about him.”
WAPO’S JOSH DAWSEY (who broke the story of Nunberg’s non cooperation) and PHIL RUCKER: “Following his interview with The Post, Nunberg called in live to MSNBC, CNN and other networks for lengthy phone interviews — a spectacle reminiscent of Trump routinely calling into cable television control rooms during the 2016 campaign.” http://wapo.st/2oN2J3b
— NUNBERG’S REVERSAL COMPLETE … AP’S JONATHAN LEMIRE at 4:23 a.m.: “In an interview with The Associated Press, Sam Nunberg said he was angry over Mueller’s request to have him appear in front of a grand jury and turn over thousands of emails and other communications with other ex-officials, among them his mentor Roger Stone. But he predicted that, in the end, he’d find a way to comply.
“‘I’m going to end up cooperating with them,’ he said.” http://bit.ly/2FhzrnG
— SUSAN MCDOUGAL, a former business associate of Bill Clinton, spent 18 months in prison for doing what Nunberg is threatening to do. WAPO: “She said in an interview Monday she would not do anything differently — though Nunberg should know that being incarcerated is no joke. She said she was moved from facility to facility and spent a good deal of time in isolation.
“‘It is not an easy thing to do,’ McDougal said. ‘You don’t just go sit and work out in the afternoons.’”
— NUNBERG sat down for a one-on-one with Mueller’s team in late February.
THE PLACE TO BE LAST NIGHT: JOE’S SEAFOOD. SPOTTED: House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy arriving at Joe’s Seafood last night with Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), who later sat in a booth with Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.). House Majority Whip Steve Scalise also was seen at the restaurant, as well as Reps. Bill Huizenga (R-Mich.), Randy Hultgren (R-Ill.) and Tom Reed (R-N.Y.) and Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.); Democratic Sens. Michael Bennet (Colo.), Chris Coons (D-Del.) and Joe Manchin (W.Va.) were also at the restaurant, as well as Frank Luntz.
Good Tuesday morning. FIRST IN PLAYBOOK — A NEW WAVE COMING: GUN PROTESTS ACROSS THE COUNTRY: It won’t just be students participating in the “March for Our Lives” gun protest in Washington on March 24. Everytown for Gun Safety is announcing today that nearly 400 sibling protest marches in all 50 states are being organized in cities like Fairbanks, Alaska, Belfast, Maine and Mission, Texas. The group is giving out $2.5 million in grants for up to 500 student organizers to help pay for operational expenses.
****** A message from UnitedHealth Group: Better understand the state-by-state health of women and children. New report from America’s Health Rankings® identifies areas of success as well as challenges for the health of women, infants and children. Where does your state rank? Find out here. ******
TRUMP ON TARIFFS …
— NYT’S ANA SWANSON, MARK LANDLER and MAGGIE HABERMAN on A1: “Trump Reaffirms Commitment to Tariffs but Opens Door to Compromise”: “President Trump, facing an angry chorus of protests from leaders of his own party, including the House speaker, Paul D. Ryan, insisted on Monday that he would not back down from his plan to impose across-the-board tariffs on steel and aluminum imports. But the White House was devising ways to potentially soften the impact of the measures on major trading partners.
“The intense maneuvering, which began before Mr. Trump’s unexpected announcement of the tariffs last Thursday, is likely to delay any formal rollout of the measures until next week, according to several officials who have been briefed on the deliberations.” http://nyti.ms/2FXzAtt
— “Frustrated White House free traders mount campaign to weaken Trump tariffs,” by Andrew Restuccia, Ben White and Nancy Cook: “Gary Cohn and other free-trade advocates inside the White House and the Treasury Department are mounting a last-ditch effort to blunt the impact of Trump’s head-turning decision …
“West Wing aides led by Cohn, who directs the National Economic Council, are planning a White House meeting for Thursday with executives from industries likely to be hurt by big tariffs on imported steel and aluminum, two officials familiar with the matter said. The meeting is tentative and the participants have not yet been set in stone, but industries that could be hit hard by the tariffs include automakers and beverage companies.” http://politi.co/2FkaSCv
TIT-FOR-TAT — “EU Proposes Retaliatory Tariff of 25% Against U.S. Goods,” by Bloomberg’s Viktoria Dendrinou and Jonathan Stearns: “The European Union intends to target 2.8 billion euros ($3.5 billion) of U.S. goods ranging from T-shirts and whiskey to motorcycles should President Donald Trump go ahead with his plan to impose a 25 percent tariff on foreign steel.” https://bloom.bg/2FWVvkf
TRUMP’S MIDDLE EAST PLAY — “Trump’s Hopes of Being the ‘Neutral Guy’ in the Mideast Seem Long Gone,” by NYT’s Peter Baker and David Halbfinger: “In the midst of his campaign, President Trump vowed to bring peace to the Middle East by playing it down the middle between Israel and the Palestinians.
“‘Let me be sort of a neutral guy,’ he said. Two years later, any hopes of being the neutral guy are long gone. In a meeting at the White House on Monday, Mr. Trump and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel put on display perhaps the closest relationship between leaders of their two countries in the seven decades since Israel declared independence.
“As for the Palestinians, they are no longer on speaking terms with the president, who is busy cutting their aid. … ‘The Palestinians, I think, are wanting to come back to the table very badly,’ he said, despite evidence to the contrary. Then he acknowledged what would happen if he is wrong. ‘If they don’t, you don’t have peace.’” http://nyti.ms/2FYvgdh
BURGESS EVERETT … KNOWING CORY GARDNER — “‘He’s a brave man’: The lonely existence of Cory Gardner: The head of the Senate GOP campaign arm is ripping Democrats one minute, and trying to cut deals with them the next”: “Senate Republican campaigns chief Cory Gardner might’ve had the easiest job in Washington — if only Hillary Clinton had won.