Sanders in attack mode
CONCORD, N.H. – Facing a surging Pete Buttigieg in the nation’s first 2020 primary on Tuesday, Bernie Sanders went on the offensive at a “Politics & Eggs” breakfast event at Saint Anselm College on Friday.
The Vermont senator read headlines from the likes of Forbes, The Hill, and The Washington Post that suggested that the fresh-faced former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, has fundraised from big donors.
He even paired Buttigieg with Michael Bloomberg, who Sanders said is “spending hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars to buy the election.”
“There is something wrong with that,” Sanders noted.
The early morning broadside came as New Hampshire polls find Buttigieg just a hair behind Sanders ahead of Tuesday’s vote, after the two finished on top in the Iowa caucus debacle.
The Sanders camp has criticized Buttigieg in the past, fundraising off the mayor’s infamous “wine cave” appearance, a point also made by fellow progressive Sen. Elizabeth Warren.
But that didn’t seem to do much for Warren, who in a town hall on Thursday kept things merrily focused on the GOP and financial corruption (one questioner suggested she’d be a good motivational speaker). And the stakes are higher now that actual voting is underway.
There has been plenty of intraparty fighting in New Hampshire, with former Vice President Joe Biden taking aim at both Sanders and Buttigieg.
Sanders has sparred with Biden in the past but kept things positive on Friday regarding his former colleague who finished far behind in Iowa and has been largely MIA in New Hampshire.
Describing “most” of the Democratic candidates as his friends, he mentioned by name Biden, Warren and Sen. Amy Klobuchar.
Sanders said their differences “pale” compared to theirs with President Donald Trump.
At least until the debate on Friday night.
Mark Chiusano is in New Hampshire, as the 2020 Democratic hopefuls change venues for the season’s first primary. Follow Mark on Instagram @mjchiusano or @NewsdayOpinion for his latest dispatches.
—Mark Chiusano @mjchiusano
Biden tumbles past surging Bloomberg and Buttigieg
As the buildup to the Iowa caucuses gave way to the malfunction junction of technology and results this week, the predictive markets in which people are betting on the eventual Democratic presidential nominee saw huge moves this week.
The biggest change was a tumble, for Joe Biden, who came in fourth in Iowa. The former vice president had never been predicted to do well in the state, but the reality of the results had a market impact far beyond that of the low expectations.
On PredictIt, investors buy shares in a proposition for varying fractions of a dollar, with the winning shares worth a full $1 once the matter is settled.
On Jan. 31, Biden shares were trading for 31 cents, meaning he had just less than one-third of all support. At 1 p.m. Friday, Biden shares were trading for 14 cents, a devastating decline.
The biggest jump was for apparent Iowa delegate victor former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg, whose shares popped from 6 cents on Jan. 31 to 18 cents Friday.
But perhaps the most interesting move was that of former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who went from 18 cents to 24 cents, apparently gaining momentum on the theory that moderates fleeing Biden will need somewhere to go.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren was steady at a very low point, with shares moving between 5 cents and 6 cents, and entrepreneur Andrew Yang is just below that, at 4 cents, in a tie with Hillary Clinton, notable because she is not running. Everyone else, including Sen. Amy Klobuchar, former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick and businessman Tom Steyer, can be purchased for just a penny.
Also of note: Biden took a shocking tumble this week in betting over who will win the primary in what is considered to be his firewall state, South Carolina, with shares tumbling from 75 cents to 42 cents. That’s only 2 cents more than Sen. Bernie Sanders, who was shellacked there by Clinton four years ago thanks to black voters who, up until this past week, were expected to put that same support behind Biden.
Lane Filler @lanefiller
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Legal weed’s arrested development
Legalizing the recreational use of marijuana was one of the highlights of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s State of the State address last month, with Cuomo vowing to finish the job from last session.
While the marijuana lobby is in motion and revenue projections are being formulated, don’t expect much action on the matter right away.
State Sen. Liz Krueger, who is the sponsor of legalization legislation in the upper chamber and would be key to hammering out the remaining issues on marijuana, is also the Senate Finance Committee chair. That means she’s occupied with budget hearings in the Legislative Office Building in Albany. Those continue for long hours through Feb. 13, and there are no session days the following week, which brings us into the final week of February.
That’s also closer to the end of budget season, when all the hot-button marijuana-related issues can be thrown in the mix.
The legislature and governor seem closer on marijuana than they were last time around, with more attention on issues like traffic safety. But there are still some points to finesse, such as how to handle funds or aid going to communities affected by the drug war.
Meanwhile, companies getting ready for legal weed in New York are very much keeping the ball rolling, such as one Boulder, Colorado, outfit that recently emailed its customers in New York noting “an opportunity to expand the use of hemp-derived CBD products in New York.”
The company asked for feedback in a survey and to join in its intrastate campaign: “Will you consider joining us and adding your powerful voice to our community of CBD users in New York?”
—Mark Chiusano @mjchiusano