Kid Rock teases potential run for US Senate in Michigan

Kid Rock says he has a big announcement coming soon.

The rocker published a tweet on Wednesday afternoon teasing the announcement.

Stay tuned, I will have a major announcement in the near future – Kid Rock

— Kid Rock (@KidRock) July 12, 2017

The rocker also launched a website kidrockforsenate.com, and tweeted that the website is indeed real.

I have had a ton of emails and texts asking me if this website is real… https://t.co/RRVgISDFeq The answer is an absolute YES. pic.twitter.com/uYCUg6mjW1

— Kid Rock (@KidRock) July 12, 2017

Nothing has been officially filed for the potential run, but it seems clear that Kid Rock is considering it, WDIV reported.

Current U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow, who Kid Rock would be running against, tweeted this in response to the rumors:

.@SenStabenow responds to Kid Rock’s potential bid for her Senate seat. pic.twitter.com/4DooWQrNyp

— Local 4 WDIV Detroit (@Local4News) July 12, 2017

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State election officials express frustration after meeting feds

State election officials on Saturday had one of their first opportunities to meet as a group with federal officials looking to do more to secure elections from potential cyberthreats, and many left with one word on their lips: disappointing.

The National Association of Secretaries of State are gathered here for their annual conference, meeting Saturday morning with representatives from the Department of Homeland Security, FBI and the independent Election Assistance Commission to discuss the security of election infrastructure.

Words used by the departing secretaries and their staffs, however, included “frustrating” and “disappointing.”

In the waning days of the Obama administration, DHS designated election systems as critical infrastructure — a move that allows DHS to offer more concerted assistance to help secure those systems from cyber and other threats. But that move has also generated pushback on the state level, where secretaries of both parties fiercely guard their states’ rights to manage voting.

“Let’s just say we need better lines of communication,” said Vermont’s Jim Condos, a Democrat.

“Disappointing,” said California’s Alex Padilla, also a Democrat. Some of the generic quality of the conversation would have been understandable in February, he said, but “it’s July now.”

Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett, a Republican, also said he was “disappointed” by the closed-door briefing. The federal officials “weren’t prepared to answer our questions,” he said.

Attendees of the session said the presentation from the federal officials was largely about what it means for election systems to be designated as critical infrastructure, discussing that at high level without broaching much beyond what has already been testified to publicly, they said.

Not all the feedback was negative. Outgoing NASS President Denise Merrill, the Democratic secretary of state of Connecticut, attributed a lot of the frustration with “growing pains” as states and the federal government navigate their relationship.

“We’re making progress, and I think we’re all learning more about how all these DHS critical infrastructure sectors work,” she said.

But Merrill still noted the biggest point of contention for the secretaries: how they find out about attempts to attack their states.

“The biggest issue still is how are these risks going to be communicated to us,” she said. “We’re annoyed we keep reading things in the paper.”

States continued to express particular frustration with DHS’s public declaration that 21 states’ election-related systems were targeted — although mostly not breached — by Russian-linked hackers in the 2016 election.

State officials here say they still do not have full clarity on which of their states were in the group of 21 and criticized the way DHS released the information, spreading concern publicly. DHS has said they notified “owners” of those systems, but in some cases those individuals might not have been state election administrators.

“Homeland Security has told us they notified the affected local governments, but they did not for a number of months notify the secretaries of states,” said Colorado Secretary of State Wayne W. Williams, a Republican. “That makes it hard for secretaries of state to respond, particularly when we receive inquiries from the media saying, ’21 states were breached, were you one of them?'”

Part of the meeting was about understanding each others’ processes.

“They need to learn the electoral process better before they start telling us what we should be doing,” Tennessee’s Hargett said. “Hopefully this can be a reboot and maybe they can have a better understanding of how they can help us in the future”

The Department of Homeland Security called the meeting “productive” and said it will take the conversation to heart as they expand their work with state elections officials.

“We had a productive dialogue and they were able to provide feedback, and the department is going to take that feedback and work to address it,” said acting Deputy Undersecretary Robert Kolasky, who gave a presentation Saturday.

More tension over voting integrity commission

Separately, conference attendees have also been discussing the recent request voter information by the White House’s voting integrity commission, led by Vice President Mike Pence and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach. Kobach was not in attendance at the conference.

Almost all the states have refused to provide certain types of voter information to the panel, according to a CNN inquiry of all 50 states.

A bipartisan group of secretaries are working behind-the-scenes to develop a resolution that can be passed by the end of the conference pushing back on President Donald Trump’s statements declaring voter fraud a mass problem, which was the impetus for creating the White House commission in May. A similar effort fell short at the group’s last gathering.

Commission member Matt Dunlap, the Democratic secretary of state of Maine, said the response to Kobach’s letter has shown at the very least how sensitive the public is about their personal information.

“I think the bright line is, and we’ve learned in high relief, is that a history of how someone has participated in elections — not how they voted, but whether or not they voted — is something, along with some of their identifying information, that we wouldn’t release anyway, nonetheless really upsets people,” Dunlap said. “And I think that’s a pretty clear message that all of us have gotten. … I see my role on the commission is to try to help make things better and to try to instill greater public confidence, not erode it. So that’s got to be a critical message for all of us.”

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Kobach faces complaint over Trump’s election commission

A legal group filed a complaint Monday against Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, the vice chair of President Donald Trump’s election integrity commission, questioning whether he violated federal law by highlighting his role on the commission in his campaign for Kansas governor in the 2018 election.

The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law called on the Justice Department to investigate whether Kobach violated the Hatch Act, a 1939 law intended to keep federal employees from directly supporting candidates, accusing him of using his role on the presidential commission to promote his campaign and solicit contributions.

In its complaint, the legal group outlined several occasions in which it accused Kobach of improperly promoting his role on the commission to bolster his gubernatorial candidacy through social media accounts attributed to his campaign and through his campaign website, in addition to remarks he has made that the group says blurred the line between federal government worker and political candidate.

In response to a query from CNN, Kobach’s Kansas office blasted the legal group.

“We are certain that no Hatch Act violations have occurred,” said his spokeswoman, Samantha Poetter. “This is nothing but a bunch of liberal lawyers trying to create a story.”

The Hatch Act restricts federal employees from using their official positions to engage in electoral efforts. The legal group said Kobach’s role on the commission makes him subject to the law and therefore necessitates an investigation from the Justice Department’s Office of Special Counsel, which handles Hatch Act matters.

The group also called on the Office of Government Ethics and the White House Counsel’s Office to look into any ethical breaches from Kobach.

Kristen Clarke, the president and executive director of the legal group, told CNN the election integrity commission had been a “top concern” of theirs and that the group believed the commission was an attempt to promote policies that could restrict voting access.

“It stands as a threat to democracy,” Clarke said of the commission.

Trump signed an executive order in May establishing the commission, which is chaired by Vice President Mike Pence, to report on the integrity of federal elections. The order came months after Trump claimed without evidence that millions had voted illegally in the 2016 presidential election.

Clarke pointed to a recent tweet from Trump to say her group had reason to suspect the commission existed to try to substantiate Trump’s claims about voter fraud.

“Numerous states are refusing to give information to the very distinguished VOTER FRAUD PANEL. What are they trying to hide?” Trump tweeted last week.

Kobach made headlines last week when the commission requested voter information from all 50 states. The majority of states, including his own, have so far declined to comply with the request in full, often citing state laws barring them from doing so and expressing concerns about the need to keep voters’ Social Security numbers private.

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GOP Rep. Ann Wagner skips bid to challenge Sen. McCaskill

A top Republican recruit announced Monday she wouldn’t challenge Sen. Claire McCaskill for her Senate seat in 2018, sparing the Missouri Democrat a potentially stiff challenge in the high-stakes midterm elections next year.

Rep. Ann Wagner said that she would instead run for reelection to the House of Representatives in a statement to the Washington Examiner on Monday. Wagner’s office confirmed to CNN that she would not run for the Senate seat.

“Those who know me well know I put my family and my community first,” she told the Examiner. “While I am grateful for the incredible support and encouragement I have received from across Missouri to run for United States Senate, I am announcing today my intention to run for re-election to the United States House of Representatives in 2018.”

She added, “The 2nd District is my home. It’s where I grew up, went to school, have worked and volunteered, raised my kids, and attend church every week — there is no greater honor than representing a place and people that I love.”

CNN has reached out to McCaskill’s office for comment and have not yet received a response.

McCaskill won reelection to the Senate in 2012 against challenger Todd Akin, whose campaign was derailed after his controversial comments about “legitimate rape” and abortion. McCaskill defeated Akin by nearly 15 points, though she had been expected to struggle in the race prior to Akin’s self-destruction. Her seat is seen as among the most vulnerable for incumbent Democrats in 2018.

Wagner is member of the House foreign affairs committee and serves as the chair of the oversight and investigations subcommittee of the House financial services committee — positions which afford her meaningful influence in the chamber. She was viewed as a top potential challenger for McCaskill.

Still, Wagner’s decision to forego a Senate bid — in a solidly red state the last few cycles — also reflects the reluctance of some Republicans to raise their political profile in what looks to be a caustic and challenging election cycle. Potentially strong Republican challengers in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Indiana — all states Trump won — have so far declined bids.

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Trump ridicules female TV host’s looks, calls her ‘crazy’

President Donald Trump has ridiculed the looks and temperament of a female cable television host whose show he says he’s stopped watching.

Trump has used a series of tweets to go after Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough, who’ve criticized Trump on their MSNBC show “Morning Joe.”

Here’s what Trump says: “I heard poorly rated @Morning Joe speaks badly of me (don’t watch anymore). Then how come low I.Q. Crazy Mika, along with Psycho Joe, came … to Mar-a-Lago 3 nights in a row around New Year’s Eve, and insisted on joining me. She was bleeding badly from a face-lift. I said no!”

They spent time at Trump’s Florida resort – a visit Scarborough said was to arrange a Trump interview.

The White House hasn’t responded to a request for comment.

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Trump ridicules female TV host’s looks, calls her ‘crazy’

President Donald Trump has ridiculed the looks and temperament of a female cable television host whose show he says he’s stopped watching.

Trump has used a series of tweets to go after Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough, who’ve criticized Trump on their MSNBC show “Morning Joe.”

Here’s what Trump says: “I heard poorly rated @Morning Joe speaks badly of me (don’t watch anymore). Then how come low I.Q. Crazy Mika, along with Psycho Joe, came … to Mar-a-Lago 3 nights in a row around New Year’s Eve, and insisted on joining me. She was bleeding badly from a face-lift. I said no!”

They spent time at Trump’s Florida resort – a visit Scarborough said was to arrange a Trump interview.

The White House hasn’t responded to a request for comment.

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