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The Latest News about Government and Politics

    Latino elected officials from around the nation questioned the head of the U.S. Census Bureau on Saturday over the proposed addition of a citizenship question to the 2020 survey, denouncing it as a purely political move. Members of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials said the decision to ask about citizenship status will result in an undercount of Latino communities. At the group's annual conference in Phoenix this week, several said the question will deter many from responding to the survey for fear that authorities will use the information against them. Acting Director Ron Jarmin said the Census Bureau is barred by law from sharing data with other government agencies. 'People have always had trepidation about responding to a government survey,' Jarmin said. 'The critical message that we need to get out to everybody is that participation in the Census is safe, it's secure.' The U.S. Constitution requires a census every 10 years, and its results are used to determine the number of seats each state has in the House of Representatives, as well as how federal money is distributed to local communities and schools. Latino leaders at the conference on Saturday said they fear the question of citizenship will be detrimental to an accurate count of people living the U.S. 'We know it's a political thing, we know it's gonna affect our communities,' executive director Arturo Vargas said. 'Everybody knows this is just bad policy.' The announcement in March by U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross to include the question was met with criticism and has resulted in several lawsuits, including one in California and another in New York brought by 17 Democratic attorneys general and others. Ross said the question was needed in part to help the government enforce the Voting Rights Act, a 1965 law meant to protect the political representation of minorities. The decennial census hasn't included a question about citizenship since 1950. But panelists like U.S. Rep. Jimmy Gomez, D-California, said there is a more sinister reason to add the question. Gomez said the administration has misled Congress about why it really wants to do so. 'I think this is a real travesty, I think the American people should be outraged,' Gomez said. The Trump administration's ultimate goal is to take congressional seats from areas with a high population of immigrants, he added. Lubby Navarro, a member of the Miami-Dade County Public Schools Board, said adding the citizenship question will make it harder for community leaders who advocate for participation. 'The fear that exists right now with the citizenship question is going to exacerbate our work,' Navarro said.
  • The Latest on President Donald Trump's visit to Nevada (all times local): 1:15 p.m. President Donald Trump is helping Nevada Sen. Dean Heller raise money for his re-election battle and has come up with a new nickname for his Democratic challenger. Trump dubbed Democratic congresswoman Jacky Rosen 'Wacky Jacky' during a speech Saturday in Las Vegas at the state's GOP convention. On Twitter, Rosen asks Trump, 'Is that the best you've got?' Trump also noted that Rosen is in Reno with Democratic U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren for the state Democratic Party convention. He again referred again to Warren as 'Pocahontas' to ridicule her claims of Native American ancestry. Trump credited Heller with helping to pass the GOP tax cuts approved late last year and said Rosen wants to raise taxes. ___ 12:50 p.m. President Donald Trump says he has to be 'very strong' on immigration. Trump spoke Saturday about immigration during an address at the Nevada GOP convention in Las Vegas. He did not mention the policy he recently rescinded that led to families and children being separated when apprehended for illegally crossing into the U.S. from Mexico. News coverage of Trump's zero-tolerance policy led to a public outcry that forced him to reverse course. Trump says his people are 'in a very difficult situation' but the immigration problem should have been solved years ago. He made a plea for more Republicans in Congress. He called Democrats 'obstructionists' and said they don't want to help solve the problem. Says Trump: 'So we're being very, very tough at the border.' ___ 12:30 p.m. President Donald Trump is praising U.S. Sen. Dean Heller as he addresses the Nevada GOP convention. Heller was a critic of Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign, but Trump says Saturday in Las Vegas that once he got into office Heller's been with him 'all the way.' Trump says nobody fought harder to cut taxes than Heller. Trump traveled to Las Vegas to help raise money for Heller, who is the only Republican U.S. senator seeking re-election in a state that Democrat Hillary Clinton won in 2016. Republicans are hoping to expand their 51-49 Senate majority in the November congressional elections. ___ 11:15 a.m. At least 300 people protesting President Donald Trump and the separation of families at the U.S.-Mexico border are stretched along a sidewalk in Las Vegas outside a casino where the president is scheduled to speak. They're carrying signs that read, 'Put Trump in a cage,' and 'I really do care why don't you?' referencing the jacket worn by first lady Melania Trump. Protesters set up six animal kennel cages on the sidewalk and put a cardboard cutout of Nevada Sen. Dean Heller inside one cage with a label 'Dirty Dean.' Others were filled with stuffed animals. Trump is in Las Vegas on Saturday to headline a fundraiser for Heller. He's also delivering the keynote address at the Nevada GOP convention. Heller is the only Republican senator seeking re-election in a state that Democrat Hillary Clinton won in 2016. ___ 11:05 a.m. President Donald Trump has arrived in Nevada to help Sen. Dean Heller raise money. Heller is the only Republican senator seeking re-election in a state that Democrat Hillary Clinton won in 2016. Trump is in Las Vegas on Saturday to headline a fundraiser for Heller. He's also delivering the keynote address at the Nevada GOP convention and holding a separate event to promote tax cuts he signed into law six months ago. Heller's race is one of the most consequential Senate races of the year as Republicans seek to expand their slim 51-49 majority in November's elections. Trump recently has picked up the pace of his political travel. He campaigned in Minnesota earlier this week, and he plans stops next week in South Carolina and North Dakota.
  • Kris Kobach's top Republican rivals are trying to sound the right notes on illegal immigration to appeal to business and agriculture leaders without conceding too many conservative votes to a hardliner who's made tougher state policies a key theme in an increasingly contentious race. Kobach, the Kansas secretary of state, is trying to unseat Gov. Jeff Colyer in the state's Aug. 7 primary. He argued during a debate Saturday that Kansas is too lax in dealing with people living in the U.S. illegally, pushing initiatives such as requiring state contractors to verify the status of their workers. The contest is being fought largely on the political right, and Colyer spent much of the debate attempting to undercut Kobach's conservative credentials, including his opposition to abortion . Colyer and the third major candidate participating in the debate, Insurance Commissioner Ken Selzer, decried illegal immigration and expressed support for President Donald Trump. But Kobach could do them one better, noting that he has been advising Trump since the 2016 campaign. Even before that, he had a national reputation for helping to draft tough immigration policies in other states. 'I'm the only person here who's actually done something in his career about illegal immigration. I've been fighting it,' Kobach told the crowd of about 300 people. 'And, yeah, I have a relationship with president. I spoke with him just last week on the phone.' Illegal immigration surged as a political issue again amid the backlash against Trump's 'zero tolerance' policy for illegal crossings of the U.S.-Mexico border and the forced separation of immigrant children from their parents. Trump on Wednesday issued an executive order to end family separations, but many Republican voters in Kansas remain behind his efforts to crack down. The issue splits GOP legislators when they consider some of the issues Kobach has raised repeatedly, including repealing a 2004 state law that helps young immigrants in Kansas brought to the U.S. illegally by their parents to attend college by charging them the same, lower tuition rates as legal Kansas residents. Business and agriculture groups worry about cutting off a flow of workers, particularly in southwest Kansas. Philip Hinman, a 28-year-old high school history teacher from McPherson, is a registered Republican who's undecided about the governor's race. He acknowledged feeling conflicted, balancing with his Christian faith, 'just in terms of loving our neighbors and serving them when they're in need' with a respect for the law. 'Does that change our responsibilities as Christians to serve others?' he said. 'It's something I still wrestle with.' Colyer said he'd sign a bill to repeal the tuition law and would send Kansas National Guard soldiers to the border if Trump asked. But he also told reporters after the debate: 'Washington, D.C., needs to get its act together and clean up the job.' Selzer said that the supply of labor is a key issue with immigration, and he supports efforts to allow legal — and, he emphasized, 'fully screened' — workers stay in the U.S. longer for agricultural work. But he also said ahead of the debate: 'Voters want a secured border. That's the No. 1 priority.' Kobach has a solid base among conservatives partly because of his visibility on immigration issues. Beverly Caley, a 68-year-old retired teacher from the small town of Green, attributed the recent uproar over immigration to 'just the hatred for Donald Trump.' 'You can't tell people who are enforcing the laws, 'Don't enforce them,'' she said. Meanwhile, Kobach defended his seeking a pardon for a corporate campaign donor's vice president that Colyer recently denied because the police said the crime involved threatening a cab driver with a gun to the head. Colyer asked whether Kobach would pardon Ryan Bader, who pleaded guilty to attempted robbery stemming from a 2009 cab ride after a round of drinking. Kobach, who was Bader's attorney for the pardon, accused Colyer of lying about the incident, saying a judge found a gun wasn't involved. The judge who sentenced Bader checked a box on a sentencing form saying a deadly weapon wasn't involved. But a police affidavit said the cab driver reported the threat and a gun was found in Bader's home. His record was expunged in 2014. ___ Follow John Hanna on Twitter: https://twitter.com/apjdhanna .
  • Demonstrators led rallies and protests on Saturday to decry the separation of immigrant parents from their children by U.S. border authorities, while Democratic lawmakers said they aren't convinced the Trump administration has any real plan to reunite them. Hundreds of people rallied near a Homestead, Florida, facility where immigrant children are being held. Demonstrators also marched in San Diego carrying signs reading 'Free the Kids' and 'Keep Families Together.' Outside a border patrol facility in McAllen, Texas, protesters temporarily blocked a bus carrying immigrants and shouted 'Shame! Shame!' at border agents. The demonstrations came days after the Trump administration reversed course in the face of public and political outrage and had authorities stop separating immigrant families caught crossing the U.S.-Mexico border. In recent weeks, more than 2,300 children were taken from their families under a 'zero-tolerance' policy in which people entering the U.S. illegally face prosecution. While the family separations were ended, confusion has ensued, with parents left searching for their children. And the administration says it will now seek to detain immigrant families during their immigration proceedings, which has also stoked an outcry. In Florida, Argentine immigrant Maria Bilbao said she joined the protest because she came to the country 17 years ago with her then-9-year-old son and understands the fear of being separated from a child. 'What is happening in this country is disgusting,' said Bilbao, who worked as a cleaning woman before becoming a legal resident and now works for an immigrant rights group. 'They should be letting people go to the outside so they can work and contribute to this country.' More protests are planned for next weekend in states from Connecticut to California. Evelyn Stauffer, a spokeswoman for the Department of Health and Human Services, said her agency is trying to help reunite families or place unaccompanied immigrant children with an appropriate sponsor. But a group of 25 Democratic lawmakers who toured a U.S. Customs and Border Protection processing facility in the U.S.-Mexico border city of McAllen, Texas, said they hadn't seen a clear federal system for reuniting those who were split up. Everyone — even infants — is assigned 'A'' or alien numbers, only to be given different identification numbers by other federal agencies. They described seeing children sleeping behind bars, on concrete floors and under emergency 'mylar' heat-resistant blankets. 'There are still thousands of children who are out there right now untethered to their parents and no coherent system to fix that,' Rep. Joe Courtney, a Democrat from Connecticut, told reporters after the tour. Immigration lawyers are also trying to help facilitate reunions. At criminal court hearings in McAllen, one lawyer identified parents separated from their children, and immigration attorney Jodi Goodwin said she followed up with them at a detention facility in Port Isabel, Texas, to collect information about their cases and their children. Goodwin said she has been inundated with requests from the parents, and the list is still growing. 'Once you end up talking with one parent they tell you that there are 70 other parents in their dorm that are also separated and can I help them,' she said, adding that immigration authorities had asked her to share the information so they could assist. 'We haven't tapped out on the number of adults that have been separated.' Tens of thousands of immigrants traveling with their families have been caught on the U.S.-Mexico border in recent years, many fleeing gang violence in Central America. About 9,000 such family units have been caught in each of the last three months, according to U.S. border authorities. The Trump administration announced plans in April to prosecute all immigrants caught along the southwest border with illegally entering the country. Parents were jailed and children were taken to government-contracted shelters. Now, the administration says it will continue with prosecutions and seek to detain families together during their immigration proceedings. Immigration officials have said they could seek up to 15,000 beds in family detention facilities, and the Pentagon is drawing up plans to house as many as 20,000 unaccompanied immigrant children on military bases. The Trump administration is seeking changes to a decades-old settlement governing the detention of immigrant children to try to be able to detain children with their parents for longer periods of time. ___ AP photographers David J. Phillip in McAllen, Texas and Brynn Anderson in Homestead, Florida, and writers Amy Taxin in Santa Ana, California, Terry Spencer, in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida and Michael Balsamo in Los Angeles contributed to this report.
  • Danny Daniels, an evangelical Christian in the rural Oklahoma town of Lindsay, is reliably conservative on just about every political issue. The 45-year-old church pastor is anti-abortion, voted for President Donald Trump and is a member of the National Rifle Association who owns an AR-15 rifle. He also came of age during the 1980s and believed in the anti-drug mantra that labeled marijuana as a dangerous gateway drug. But his view on marijuana changed as his pastoral work extended into hospice care and he saw patients at the end of their lives benefiting from the use of cannabis. 'Some people said I couldn't be a pastor and support medical marijuana, but I would say most of the people I know, including the Christians I pastor, are in favor of it,' said Daniels, pastor of Better Life Community Church in downtown Lindsay, a rural agricultural and energy industry town about 50 miles (80.5 kilometers) south of Oklahoma City. Daniels is among a growing group of traditionally conservative Republican voters in Oklahoma who have shifted their position on the topic. Their support for a medical marijuana measure on Tuesday's ballot could ensure Oklahoma joins the growing list of states that have legalized some form of pot. It's the first medical marijuana state question on a ballot in 2018, and Oklahoma's vote precedes elections on marijuana legalization later this year in Michigan and Utah. Michigan voters will decide whether to legalize recreational pot while Utah is considering medical marijuana. Among the reddest states in the country, Oklahoma has for decades embraced a tough-on-crime philosophy that includes harsh penalties for drug crimes that has contributed to the state now leading the nation in the percentage of its population behind bars. But voters' attitudes are changing. Two years ago Oklahomans voted to make all drug possession crimes misdemeanors over the objection of law enforcement and prosecutors. When one GOP senator discussed adding exceptions after the public vote, he faced an angry mob at a town-hall meeting. Oklahoma's State Question 788, the result of an activist-led signature drive, would allow physicians to approve medical marijuana licenses for people to legally grow, keep and use cannabis. The proposal outlines no qualifying medical conditions to obtain a license, and an opposition group that includes law enforcement, business, political and faith leaders launched a late, half-million-dollar campaign to defeat it, saying it's too loosely written. Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin, who typically defers from commenting on pending state questions, recently expressed reservations about the question, saying it's so broadly worded it would essentially allow recreational use of marijuana. If approved, Fallin said she intends to call the Legislature back to a special session so that a statutory framework could be approved to further regulate sale and use. Bill Shapard, a pollster, said support for medical marijuana has been consistently strong during the five years he's surveyed likely Oklahoma voters. Not surprisingly, Shapard said young people, Democrats and independents overwhelmingly support it. But he said about half of self-identified evangelicals, churchgoers and those over 65 also endorse medical cannabis. 'When you can get a large majority of the Democrats and independents and a third to a half of Republicans to support you, you can get anything passed in Oklahoma,' Shapard said. Joanna Francisco, a longtime Republican voter and self-described evangelical, said the issue of medical cannabis 'should appeal to everyone who calls themselves a pro-life conservative.' 'If you're a conservative, you should also be opposed to the state spending exorbitant amounts of money on prosecutors and law enforcement to keep this medicine out of the hands of people who might need it,' said Francisco, 49, who holds regular Bible studies in her Tulsa home. At Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 382 in El Reno, a conservative suburb 30 miles (48.3 kilometers) west of Oklahoma City, many of the regulars don't like the idea of legalizing marijuana, even for medical reasons. But attitudes are changing, said 73-year-old Bill Elkins, a disabled Vietnam veteran who volunteers at the post. 'I've got mixed thoughts on that,' said Elkins, a Republican who said his daughter benefited from taking cannabidiol oil, a non-intoxicating form of cannabis, for nerve pain. 'Right now I'm on the fence.' Jack Hodgkinson, 71, a Vietnam veteran and supporter of Trump, said he doesn't have a problem with the medical use of marijuana and plans to vote for it. 'I've never messed with any drugs, marijuana or anything like that,' Hodgkinson said. 'But if it helps people who need it, I'm all for it.' ___ Follow Sean Murphy at www.twitter.com/apseanmurphy
  • White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was booted from a Virginia restaurant because she works for President Donald Trump, the latest administration official to experience a brusque reception in a public setting. Sanders tweeted that she was told by the owner of the Red Hen in Lexington, Virginia, that she had to 'leave because I work for @POTUS and I politely left.' She said the episode Friday evening said far more about the owner of the restaurant than it did about her. 'I always do my best to treat people, including those I disagree with, respectfully and will continue to do so,' Sanders said in the tweet from her official account, which generated 22,000 replies in about an hour. The restaurant's co-owner Stephanie Wilkinson told The Washington Post that her staff had called her to report Sanders was in the restaurant. She cited several reasons, including the concerns of several restaurant employees who were gay and knew Sanders had defended Trump's desire to bar transgender people from the military. 'Tell me what you want me to do. I can ask her to leave,' Wilkinson told her staff, she said. 'They said yes.' Wilkinson said that she talked to Sanders privately and that Sanders's response was immediate: 'That's fine. I'll go.' Employees at the restaurant told The Associated Press that Wilkinson wasn't available for further comment. Lexington, located in the Shenandoah Valley and a three-hour drive from the nation's capital, is politically a spot of blue in a sea of red. It sided with Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election, by a 2-1 margin. It's the county seat of Rockbridge County, which went with Trump by a similar margin. And it is home to Virginia Military Institute and Washington and Lee University. Sanders' treatment at the restaurant created a social media commotion with people on both sides weighing in, including her father, Mike Huckabee, a former Arkansas governor and Republican presidential candidate. 'Bigotry. On the menu at Red Hen Restaurant in Lexington VA. Or you can ask for the 'Hate Plate,'' Huckabee said in a tweet, quickly generating 2,000 replies in about 30 minutes. 'And appetizers are 'small plates for small minds.'' On Yelp, a responder from Los Angeles wrote: 'Don't eat here if you're a Republican, wearing a MAGA hat or a patriot.' But many were also supportive of the restaurant owner's actions. '12/10 would recommend. Bonus: this place is run by management who stuck up for their beliefs and who are true Americans. THANK YOU!!!!' said a comment from Commerce City, Colorado. Tom Lomax, a local business owner, brought flowers to the restaurant Saturday afternoon as a show of support. He called Wilkinson a 'force of nature' and 'one of the biggest drivers of the downtown.' 'We support our own here, great little community we have,' he said. Brian Tayback, of Shrewsbury, Pennsylvania, and Brandon Hintze, of Alexandria, Virginia, walked by the restaurant during a visit. Tayback said he believes the owner made the right decision. 'They're taking a stand against hate,' Tayback said. Dave Kurtz, who lives near the Red Hen, came to the restaurant wearing a T-shirt supporting the president that says: 'Get on board or get run over.' 'I want to see why they would do that,' Kurtz said, adding he had planned to eat at the restaurant but doubts he will now. 'She's a paying customer. She's just coming in here to have dinner.' The separation of families trying to enter the U.S. at the southern border has intensified political differences and passions that were already at elevated levels during the Trump presidency. Earlier in the week, Trump's Homeland Security secretary, Kirstjen Nielsen, cut short a working dinner at a Mexican restaurant in Washington after protesters shouted, 'Shame!' until she left. A few days earlier, Trump aide Stephen Miller, a key adviser on immigration, was accosted by someone at a different Mexican restaurant in the city, who called him 'a fascist,' according to the New York Post. The Trumps don't get out a lot socially in Washington and Trump often dines at BLT Prime in the Trump International Hotel or at Trump properties elsewhere when he does go out. He's talked about getting out more, but some have questioned whether he would be welcome at some establishments in the city. Ari Fleischer, who was a press secretary for President George W. Bush, tweeted Saturday: 'I guess we're heading into an America with Democrat-only restaurants, which will lead to Republican-only restaurants. Do the fools who threw Sarah out, and the people who cheer them on, really want us to be that kind of country?
  • Mitt Romney is flashing his familiar smile at city parks and backyards in Utah's mountains and suburbs this week, making his final pitch after being forced into a Republican Senate primary Tuesday against a conservative state lawmaker. His opponent has painted him as an outsider who can't get along with President Donald Trump, but Romney has quieted his once-strident criticism. 'I'm not someone who's going to be a daily commentator on everything the president says by any means, but if there's something of significance that the president says or does, I feel a moral obligation to express my own view,' he told The Associated Press in an interview at a Utah restaurant where heads turned and people stopped to ask for photos. Romney predicted earlier this month that Trump would win re-election in 2020. He hasn't endorsed him, though, and declined to do so this week, saying it's too early and he expects Trump to have an as-yet-unknown challenger for the Republican nomination. Still, Romney's tone has changed considerably since the 2016 campaign when he called then-candidate Trump a 'phony' and a 'fraud.' Things change after a president is elected, Romney said, adding that he'll get behind good policies while criticizing bad ones. On immigration, for example, Romney said he supports strong border security including a wall, but he condemned the policy of separating families after illegal border crossings. Trump ended that practice with an executive order Wednesday after a national outcry. 'It's a heartbreaking circumstance. It puts America in a terrible light around the world,' Romney said. Romney declined to say, though, whether he's in favor of the Trump administration's 'zero tolerance' policy that led to the spike in family separations. As he's crisscrossed the state's Western vistas in a 2002 pickup truck with a cracked windshield, the former governor of Massachusetts has walked a fine line on the president, aligning himself with many of his policies while occasionally signaling he's not in lockstep with his leadership style. At 71, Romney is looking to re-start his political career in Utah, where he's a beloved adopted son known for turning around the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics and for his status as the first Mormon major-party presidential candidate. He spoke Wednesday to a group of neighbors clad in baseball caps and red gingham at a backyard gathering in American Fork, south of Salt Lake City. Attending was English teacher Claudia Dorsey, 67, a moderate Republican who said she feels 'pretty good about Mitt' but is still deciding how she'll cast her ballot. Dorsey said she's not a fan of Trump and was sad to see Romney tone down his criticism. 'I'm disappointed, but I can see why he's doing it,' she said. 'In order to get anywhere in the Republican party, you need to be over on that far side, and so that's very limiting for those of us who, we don't want to go that far, we want to be more in the middle.' Romney has been endorsed by Trump and is favored to win in the race to replace long-serving Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch, who is retiring. But he was forced into a runoff primary after a loss at the state's party convention, where a core group of hard right-leaning Republican party members narrowly chose state Rep. Mike Kennedy. Neither won 60 percent of delegates' votes to secure the nomination outright. Kennedy says he's the true conservative on issues like the national debt and gun rights. Romney remains the target of animus for some Trump supporters who say he could be a thorn in the president's side as a senator. Kennedy has channeled that, questioning whether Romney can get along with the president while touting himself as a 'refreshing opportunity in Washington to actually get some things done.' But while Trump critics have been falling in races elsewhere in the country, in majority-Mormon Utah, many voters have long been uneasy with aspects of Trump's brash style. Trump won the state in 2016, but by a smaller margin than previous GOP candidates. Still, Kennedy says he's seen residents who, like him, have become Trump fans. Though he cast a write-in ballot for Ted Cruz in 2016, Kennedy, a family doctor and lawyer, said he's since been impressed. The winner of the Republican primary will face Democrat Jenny Wilson. Though any GOP candidate would have a big upper hand in conservative Utah, Romney said that if he wins the primary, he doesn't plan to let up. 'These are important times for our country and for our state,' he told the backyard crowd. 'If I'm lucky enough to become our senator, I will do everything in my power to keep us strong, economically, militarily, but also to keep us good.' ___ Sign up for 'Politics in Focus,' a weekly newsletter showcasing the AP's best political reporting from around the country leading up to the midterm elections: http://apne.ws/3Gzcraw
  • Colorado holds primaries Tuesday to select the top two contenders to succeed Gov. John Hickenlooper, a centrist Democrat whose promotion of aerospace, tech and a plethora of other industries helped generate unprecedented economic growth in this rapidly-growing state of 5.6 million people. But to win, the leading Republican and Democratic candidates are eschewing the middle ground in this heavily independent purple state to appeal to their respective bases. Republican Walker Stapleton has wedded himself to President Donald Trump, and Democratic U.S. Rep. Jared Polis is tacking left on universal health care and marijuana. That may be a risk: This year, independents — voters not affiliated with any party — can vote in the Republican or Democratic primaries. While independents are the largest voting bloc in Colorado, analysts say it's too soon to measure their impact on primary outcomes. Still, to hear Stapleton tell it, he's already past the primary and running against Polis. Stapleton, a two-term state treasurer, lashed out at Polis, a five-term Boulder congressman, several times during a Republican gubernatorial debate Tuesday — on immigration, raising taxes for schools and roads and safety standards for oil and gas drilling in a rapidly expanding Denver metropolitan area. 'I've taken a de minimis amount of money from people in the energy industry, but guess what — I hope they're listening, because it's going to need to be a lot more to defeat Jared Polis,' Stapleton said, referring to Polis' $12 million investment in his own campaign and advocacy of local control over Colorado's $31 billion oil and gas industry. On that issue, Polis, a tech entrepreneur and one of the wealthiest members of Congress, advocates strict safety standards and full-throttle investment in green and renewable energy. He is a longtime advocate of Colorado's burgeoning marijuana industry and eliminating federal interference. But he's also fighting a surprisingly close primary race centered on public education issues against former state Treasurer Cary Kennedy, leaving it to the state Democratic Party to tackle Stapleton. In all, four Republicans and four Democrats want to succeed the term-limited Hickenlooper. It's the top primary race in a state that hasn't elected a Republican governor since Bill Owens, who served from 1999-2007, or opted for a Republican presidential candidate since George W. Bush in 2000 and 2004. Republicans hold a 4-3 advantage in Colorado's congressional delegation and one of two U.S. Senate seats. They control the state Senate and serve as treasurer, attorney general and secretary of state. In the primary run-up, Republicans and Democrats offered starkly different post-Hickenlooper visions for Colorado's role — or resistance — in implementing Trump administration policies on immigration, the environment, taxes and health care. In recent days, Hickenlooper himself has barred state agencies, including the National Guard, from supporting immigrant family separations, and he ordered Colorado to adopt California's strict vehicle pollution rules. Stapleton bear-hugged the administration's deportation policies just as immigrant family separations were causing a national outcry. So, too, did his GOP rivals Victor Mitchell and Greg Lopez. Only Doug Robinson, a nephew of former presidential nominee Mitt Romney, opposed them at the Denver Post-KMGH-TV debate. 'It's not who we are as Americans,' Robinson said. 'We are the party of family values.' It's an uphill climb for Stapleton, a favorite of the GOP establishment whose mother is a cousin of President George H. W. Bush. Mitchell, who's invested nearly $5 million in his campaign, challenges Stapleton's truthfulness, especially his claim — since abandoned — to be the only U.S. state treasurer to endorse Trump's income tax cuts last fall. The Democratic race has focused on protecting immigrant rights, strengthening the Affordable Care Act and pressing state concerns such as underfunded schools and roads and skyrocketing housing costs. All vow to amend constitutional tax-and-spending restrictions that hamper investment in schools and transportation — a goal that proved elusive for Hickenlooper. Kennedy has run a strong grass-roots campaign embraced by Colorado's largest teachers union. A former Denver deputy mayor, she authored a constitutional amendment designed to raise K-12 spending. Both Polis and former state Sen. Mike Johnston also have extensive education credentials. Former New York City mayor and gun-control advocate Michael Bloomberg has invested in Johnston's campaign, which has featured roundtables on gun violence. Also running is Democratic Lt. Gov. Donna Lynne, a former high-ranking health care executive who avoids the campaign squabbling, preferring a measured and sophisticated insistence that Colorado's challenges have no easy answers. 'I think the election is for sale,' Lynne said this week as her opponents bickered over their campaign finances. 'I'm a workhorse, and not a show horse.
  • In the crowded and competitive race for Maryland's only open congressional seat, some of the better known candidates don't actually live in the district and they blame the lingering effects of partisan gerrymandering, which has gotten new attention and court challenges recently in the state and beyond. Indeed, voters have not had a chance to vote for an actual resident of the district in the last two general elections. The district, which extends from the suburbs of the nation's capital to the West Virginia border, has been criticized as one of the state's most gerrymandered. Rep. John Delaney, a three-term Democrat who does not live in the 6th District, isn't running for re-election because he's seeking the Democratic nomination for president in 2020. Delaney's last two Republican opponents, Dan Bongino in 2014 and Amie (AH'mee) Hoeber in 2016, also did not live in the district. Hoeber, who is running again for the GOP nomination against Lisa Lloyd, Bradley St. Rohrs and Kurt Elsasser, cites partisanship in drawing the boundaries as one reason people outside the district have been running. 'I would prefer to live inside it, and if it were drawn properly I would live inside it. But the issue here is that I am literally about the distance from here to that first car over there outside the district lines,' Hoeber said in the parking lot of an early voting center in Frederick. Others say the competitiveness of the district is the draw. Although Democrats who controlled the governor's office and the General Assembly in 2011 redrew it to boost Democrats in what had been a steady Republican district, Delaney barely survived the challenge from Bongino. The U.S. Supreme Court this month declined to rule on a challenge to the process. The case on redistricting for political gain, which was only in a preliminary phase, will now go to trial. Candidates who can do so are underscoring their residency and strong local ties. Del. Aruna Miller, a Democrat, is highlighting her work as a state legislator in the district since 2011 and her emphasis on constituent services. 'People want to know that I'm accessible, that I'm able to resolve the issues and problems that they present to me, and sometimes it could be as simple as contacting the director of a department to resolve that issue, sometimes it could be as complex as proposing a piece of legislation,' Miller said. Among the candidates who have entered the race is the co-owner of a national wine megastore chain who is pumping his own money into the race. The name of David Trone, co-owner of Total Wine & More, is on blue-and-green signs throughout district. His opponents, in a Democratic primary with eight candidates, are quick to take aim at his willingness to use his fortune, while Trone contends self-funding frees him from special interests he says have spoiled Washington. 'A lot of it goes to: you still got to get your message out, because the career politicians, that's all they do,' Trone said while taking a break from greeting morning commuters on the first day of early voting at a subway stop in the Maryland suburbs of Washington. 'It's all they do is politic 52 weeks of the year, and an outsider, a businessman like myself, is an underdog.' Two years ago, Trone broke a record as the biggest self-funder for a U.S. House candidate when he spent $13.4 million in a failed primary bid for the 8th District congressional seat next door, where he lives. So far, in this 6th District campaign, he has reported spending about $10 million of his money. 'I would like to see him run in his own district. I guess he did that already,' said Andrew Duck, who lives in the district in Brunswick. Duck has won the Democratic nomination twice before and lost to former Republican Rep. Roscoe Bartlett, who held the seat for 20 years before the lines were redrawn in 2011 to include more Democrats from Montgomery County. State Sen. Roger Manno, George English, Chris Graves and Christopher Hearsey also are running in the Democratic primary. Anne Davis, a Democrat from Boyds who voted for Miller in early voting, described her as a personally engaged legislator. 'She's concerned about people and about relationships as well as the technical aspects,' Davis said. 'Technically, she's super, but she's also concerned about all of the people aspects of what she's doing, which is what I want in a congressperson.' Marjorie Shankle, a Republican, said she voted for Hoeber, after receiving lots of mail from her campaign. 'I didn't get anything from the others — wasn't familiar with them,' said Shankle, of Frederick. Some voters said they are weighing the fact that Maryland no longer has a woman in the state's congressional delegation. Charla McKoy, a Democrat in Frederick, said that influenced her vote for Dr. Nadia Hashima. McKoy said it bothers her that a state once well-known for electing women to Congress no longer has one there. 'I think it's important, because every day I put on the TV, I see Congress and the Senate and all of these men making bad choices, and I need somebody with some sense in there to make some better choices,' McKoy said.
  • When more than 1,000 Latino officials __ a crop of up-and-coming representatives from a fast-growing demographic __ gathered in Phoenix last week, no one from the Trump administration was there to greet them. It marked the first time a presidential administration skipped the annual conference of the National Association of Latino Elected Officials in at least 24 years. But the absence was striking for another reason. As jarring images of severed Central American migrant families played out on television, the White House chose not to make the case for its immigration policy to these key politicians. For some, the choice was more evidence that the relationship between Latinos in the U.S. and the GOP is not just fractured, but broken — a breach with both immediate and long-term consequences. GOP strategists are bracing for the potential fallout the turmoil at the border might have on November's midterm elections, where control of the House __ and possibly the Senate __ is in play. Some Republicans are warning that President Donald Trump's racially charged appeals to white voters, on display again at a recent rally he held in Minnesota, will doom the party's relationship with minorities. Peter Guzman, a Republican who is the president of the Latin Chamber of Commerce in Nevada, said the president is hurting the GOP's outreach to Latinos in his state, which Trump lost in 2016 and where control of the Senate may hinge this fall. He said Trump damaged the GOP's standing among Latinos by first showing ambivalence to the plight on the border and then stoking ethnic stereotypes. 'When you call them rapists and say they're all criminals, it's bad,' he said. 'When he looks into the camera and marginalizes all Hispanics, it's not good for the party.' Others say the administration's approach to the crisis at the border adds to the perception that the nation's top-ranking Republican cares little about Latinos' plight. 'Latinos don't just feel misunderstanding and meanness from Republicans. It's abject cruelty,' said former Republican strategist Steve Schmidt, who was the senior adviser to 2008 GOP presidential nominee John McCain. 'For the Hispanic community, the Republican brand is gone forever. Kaput. They will never consider voting for a Republican.' Schmidt ended his 30-year relationship with the GOP in the past week, blasting the 'complete and total corruption of the Republican Party among its elected officials.' His outrage reflects frustration among some Republicans, particularly those aligned with George W. Bush, about the party's long-term ability to harness the growing segment of Latino voters. Bush was re-elected in 2004 with the support of 44 percent of Latinos. The Trump administration's decision to skip the Latino conference showed how far the GOP has shifted from Bush's 'compassionate' conservatism. 'There is a great amount of anxiety about what is happening throughout the country facing the Latino community, and it's not just immigration,' said Arturo Vargas, the Latino group's executive director. 'Absence of the nation's leadership at such a meeting is a real problem.' Census data released recently showed non-Hispanic whites were the only demographic group whose population decreased from July 1, 2016, to the same date in 2017, declining .02 percent to 197.8 million. The Hispanic population, meanwhile, increased 2.1 percent to 58.9 million during that time period. Even as American demographics shift, there are few incentives for Republican incumbents to abandon Trump __ or his hard-line approach on many cultural issues. Those who have criticized the president, such as GOP Rep. Mark Sanford of South Carolina, were ousted by primary voters seeking loyalty to Trump. Other Trump critics in Congress, including Republican Sens. Bob Corker of Tennessee and Jeff Flake of Arizona, have decided not to seek re-election rather than face Trump's most fervent supporters during a primary race. And those enthusiastic Trump supporters remain by his side as they have through most of his controversial presidency. 'I've got absolute confidence in how this man handles anything,' 68-year-old Pat Shaler of North Scottsdale, Arizona, said in an interview. For his part, the president — and some Republicans — see the immigration hard line as a winning play. Just hours after reversing himself and ending the family separations, Trump promoted hawkish immigration measures at the rally in northern Minnesota. Reminiscent of the 2016 campaign, Trump smiled upon a throng of 8,000 chanting, 'Build the wall! Build the wall!' The concentration of the non-white voters in cities has allowed Republicans to maximize their strength among white voters by shaping congressional district maps to help them hold majorities in 32 statehouses and the U.S. House. Exit polls in 2016 showed Trump garnered more than 6 out of 10 white votes and two-thirds of whites without college degrees. 'Trump exacerbated the cultural re-alignment of this country to a degree that we didn't think possible,' said Tim Miller, an aide to 2016 GOP presidential candidate Jeb Bush, who promoted a path to citizenship for people in the country illegally. James Aldrete, a Democratic consultant in Texas, says 'there is no joy' in watching Trump carry out family separations, which he called 'a stupid failed tactic.' But Aldrete said it can only exacerbate Republicans' problems among Latinos. 'Does it hit us in the gut? Hell yes,' Aldrete said. Colorado, a perennial political battleground, demonstrates the challenge for the GOP. Republicans competing to win the gubernatorial nomination in Tuesday's primary have united in attacking so-called sanctuary cities. As the border turmoil unfolded, the front-runner in the race, Walker Stapelton, aired a television ad declaring, 'I stand with Trump' on immigration. While such tactics may appeal to the GOP base in a primary, some Republicans said the moves are unhelpful in a state where the Hispanic population has grown almost 40 percent since 2000. Former Colorado Republican Party Chairman Dick Wadhams said candidates should be addressing the economy and education __ issues that attract wide swaths of voters. Messages such as Stapelton's, Wadhams said, 'make things very complicated for Republicans in Colorado.' ___ Associated Press writer Melissa Daniels in Phoenix contributed to this report.

The Latest Headlines You Need To Know

  • A teen girl helped a blind, deaf man communicate on a recent Alaska Airlines flight, according to KIRO. Dianne McGinness with Alaska Airlines shared the heartwarming story after a passenger on the flight wrote a post this week about the interaction that was shared over 400,000 times. The passenger, Lynette Scribner, was traveling on the same flight as the teen and man, and was moved to write a post on the touching encounter.  >> Read more trending news  Scribner said the man, Tim Cook, was traveling home to Portland after visiting his sister. Cook lives at Portland's Brookdale Senior Living.  When passengers of the flight realized Cook was blind and deaf, many helped ensure he was comfortable. A man sitting next to Cook gave him the aisle seat and helped with little tasks like opening his coffee creamer and pouring it into his coffee, Scribner shared. A flight attendant made an announcement asking if a passenger on board knew American Sign Language. Fifteen-year-old Clara Daly, who has studied ASL for the last year, rang her call button. When Daly learned the man could communicate only if someone signed into his hand, she immediately went to help. Cook asked Daly questions and she patiently sign-spelled answers into his hand. Scribner said Daly learned ASL because she has dyslexia, and it was the easiest foreign language for her to learn. “Clara was amazing,” an Alaska Airlines flight attendant said in the news release. “You could tell Tim was very excited to have someone he could speak to -- and she was such an angel.” “When (Cook) asked (Daly) if she was pretty, she blushed and laughed as the seat mate, who had learned a few signs, communicated an enthusiastic yes to Tim,” Scribner shared. “I don't know when I've ever seen so many people rally to take care of another human being. All of us in the immediate rows were laughing and smiling and enjoying his obvious delight in having someone to talk to.” After the flight, McGinness said Cook met a service provider from Brookdale Senior Living at the gate. Cook said the flight was the best trip he's ever taken. Daly told her mom she thought the encounter was 'meant to be,' since her original flight was canceled and she was redirected to Cook's flight. On Thursday, Scribner added a note on her beloved post: “We are all starving for good news and this was just what we needed.”
  • Orange County Sheriff’s Deputies arrested Wueizman Leal, 41, after he allegedly shot and killed his 59-year-old mother Friday evening during an argument at a home near Winter Garden, the Orange County Sheriff's Office said. Deputies were called shortly after 8:45 p.m. to a fight at a home on Bridgewater Crossings Boulevard near Ficquette and Winter Garden Vineland roads, Orange County Deputy Ingrid Tejada-Monforte said. When deputies arrived at the home, they heard people arguing followed by gunfire, Tejada-Monforte said. Investigators said they apprehended Leal while he was trying to leave the home. His mother, Tania Perez Creek , was shot multiple times, deputies said. She was taken to Florida Hospital Winter Garden where she later died from her injuries, deputies said. The man's stepfather was also at the home when the woman was shot, Tejada-Monforte said. The shooting remains under investigation.
  • Anthony Bourdain’s mother revealed that while she was “never really a fan” of her son’s tattoos, she plans to get one in his memory. Gladys Bourdain told the New York Times that she plans to get “Tony” tattooed in small letters on the inside of her wrist some time next week, and use his tattoo artist. >> Read more trending news  The 61-year-old chef and host of CNN’s “Parts Unknown” was found dead on June 8 in a hotel room in France. Investigators say he hanged himself. On Friday, a prosecutor said Bourdain had no traces of drugs or alcohol in his system.  The famous chef had several tattoos, getting his first at 44. Bourdain told Maxim in August 2017 that each tattoo marks a significant moment in his life. “I don't overly place importance on them, but [tattoos] do commemorate in a way that photographs can't,” Bourdain said. “I stopped taking photographs a long time ago when I travel. There's this realization that the lens is inadequate to capture the moment, so maybe I'm just looking to mark time in another way that's very personal.” Gladys Bourdain said that a private ceremony will be held soon, adding, “He would want as little fuss as possible.” A Bourdain family spokesperson told the BBC the family has no plans for a public memorial at this time.
  • White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said she and seven members of her family were kicked out of The Red Hen restaurant in Lexington, Virginia on Friday night. TMZ first reported that the restaurant’s owner kicked out Sanders and her family out of “moral conviction.”  >> Read more trending news  A waiter posted on Facebook that Sanders was in the restaurant for “a total of two minutes” before being asked to leave. Sanders confirmed the incident on Twitter. “Last night I was told by the owner of Red Hen in Lexington, VA to leave because I work for @POTUS and I politely left,” Sanders tweeted Saturday. “Her actions say far more about her than about me. I always do my best to treat people, including those I disagree with, respectfully and will continue to do so.” Sanders’ father, former Gov. Mike Huckabee, tweeted his support, saying it was an act of “bigotry.” The Red Hen’s Facebook and Yelp pages were bombarded with reviews from people from both sides. While some praised the restaurant, many others said the owner was being “intolerant.” This comes after Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen bolted from a Washington, D.C. Mexican restaurant after protesters confronted her at her table -- with the blessing of the manager.
  • Police in Pittsburgh are searching for the driver of a dark sedan who drove through a crowd of protesters on Friday night.  Officials told WPXI no one was hurt.  This happened during the third straight night of protests related to the police shooting death of Antwon Rose, 17, who was killed during a traffic stop earlier in the week. >>Read: Protesters gather in Pittsburgh for third straight night The car plowed into the crowd near PNC Park, where fans were leaving a Pittsburgh Pirates baseball game. >>Read: LIVE UPDATES: Car drives through crowd of protesters at PNC Park One person at the scene Friday night tweeted, “Someone tried to drive through us, police responded in riot gear.” Allegheny County police officials said that Rose was a passenger in a vehicle stopped in East Pittsburgh Tuesday night, because it fit the description of a car seen fleeing the area of a shooting in the nearby borough of North Braddock.  As an officer handcuffed the driver of the car, which investigators said had bullet damage to the back window, Rose and a second passenger got out of the car and ran.  Rose, who police officials said was shot three times, was taken to a hospital where he was pronounced dead.  Police are now investigating reports that Rose may have fired a weapon during a drive-by shooting before his death, and he had gun powder residue on his hands. In a statement to WPXI, Coleman McDonough, Allegheny County Police superintendent, stated that those claims are “false.” “While ACPD does have a video showing the North Braddock incident, that video does NOT show Antwon Rose firing a gun. The information about gunshot residue is also false. Crime Lab reports are still pending and have not yet been issued,” McDonough said. The East Pittsburgh police officer who fatally shot Rose has been identified as Michael Rosfeld. >>Read: Officer was sworn in hours before killing unarmed teen, mayor says He was sworn into the department just hours before the shooting, but has worked for several police forces, including the University of Pittsburgh. No arrests have been made and investigations are ongoing.