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CAMPAIGN NOTEBOOK: Could Special Counsel Report Open Door for Huge DNC Surprise?

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***Welcome to the CBN News Campaign Notebook for the latest updates on the 2024 presidential election***

February 9

The DOJ's special counsel issued a zinger of a report regarding President Biden's mental competence on Thursday.

CBN Chief Political Analyst David Brody believes it could be part of laying the groundwork for a surprising development later this year. Here's how he says this COULD play out for Biden and the Democrats:

     Instead of a big nasty spectacle of a floor flight among delegates at the DNC Convention in August, Biden (according to DNC Rules) could technically secure the nomination at the convention and then right AFTER it, drop out of the race. At that point, DNC Rules allow for the Democrat Party Establishment Leaders to pick the nominee, not the delegates. 

     The DNC Convention procedural rules state the following: "Filling a Vacancy on the National Ticket: In the event of death, resignation or disability of a nominee of the Party for President or Vice President after the adjournment of the National Convention, the National Chairperson of the Democratic National Committee shall confer with the Democratic leadership of the United States Congress and the Democratic Governors Association and shall report to the Democratic National Committee, which is authorized to fill the vacancy or vacancies." 

     Read it here.

     So essentially, the party elites would pick the nominee. 

     Upside: no dysfunctional drama storyline at the convention. Downside: backlash storyline FROM DEM voters right before the 2024 election.

     Another scenario could be where Biden drops out of the race BEFORE the DNC Convention and then uses his speech prior to the convention to endorse another candidate. While those delegates don't technically have to vote for the replacement Biden suggests, they are told to "reflect the sentiments of those who elected them." Of course if the delegates don't fall in line with Biden's suggested candidate, then all hell breaks loose with a brokered convention. At that point, enter Gavin Newsom, Kamala Harris, Gretchen Whitmer, JB Pritzker, Michelle Obama??

     I'm exhausted even thinking about all this.

February 7

Voters in Nevada delivered a symbolic blow Tuesday night to the Republican presidential campaign of Nikki Haley. 

Donald Trump wasn't even on the ballot because he's focusing on Nevada's caucus instead. With Haley as the only remaining prominent candidate competing in the primary, Nevadans still rejected her and chose 'none of these candidates' which was one of the unusual choices on the ballot.

It's being seen as a major embarrassment for Haley.

President Joe Biden easily won the Democratic primary for Nevada as expected.

February 6

Nevada is holding its first-in-the-West presidential primaries, but this year’s showdown in the Silver State is a bit confusing. Nevada is holding Democratic and Republican primaries, but the GOP primary will be non-binding and former President Donald Trump won’t even be on the ballot.

Instead, Trump will compete in the GOP caucuses on Thursday, when 26 GOP delegates will be up for grabs. Former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley is the only major candidate running in the GOP primary Tuesday, so she's expected to win. In the Democratic primary, President Joe Biden will compete for the state’s 36 delegates at stake.

January 25

Since announcing he would not seek reelection in November, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) has left people wondering if he will run for the presidency as a third-party candidate.

This week he hinted at just that saying, "But people are looking for options, and we're going to be looking at that, too. Whether it's me or whoever it may be, I think there's going to be options available if it goes down the way it's going down." 

Check out more of what he said here: 

      Manchin Hints at Presidential Bid as Third-Party Candidate: 'There's Going to Be Options'

January 24

   by CBN News Chief Political Analyst David Brody

   The Fat Lady is Singing: a thread.

   President Trump’s victory in New Hampshire was actually even MORE impressive than his 30-point win in Iowa. Let us count the ways. Despite the fact that:

    1) More than half of primary voters were NOT Republicans

    2) The electorate was more moderate/liberal this time compared to 2016 (+9)

    3) 64% of primary voters said they were NOT MAGA

    4) Just 24% of primary voters were “very conservative” (compared to 52% in Iowa)

    5) Nikki Haley had the endorsement of the popular governor of NH

    6) Nikki Haley invested heavily in New Hampshire

    7) Nikki Haley spent TONS of time there

    8) Nikki Haley had her, “two-person” race on supposedly her type of political terrain

And yet, despite ALL those factors….

PRESIDENT TRUMP WON EASILY.

Folks, this thing is over. Honestly, it’s been over for quite some time. When you win both Iowa AND New Hampshire (two states made up of two totally different kinds of voters), that’s called DOMINANCE.

The expression goes, “It ain't over till the fat lady sings (look it up Gen Z). Well, she’s singing this morning (even if Nikki Haley is hearing silence) and It’s music to the ears of GOP Voters who WANT Trump to come back for a triumphant return to The White House in 2024. I call this the “Do-Over Election.” The polling clearly suggests that GOP voters think Trump was nefariously jipped in 2020. They want to right a wrong. Oh, and they want to “Make America Great Again.”

January 23 - Evening

Donald Trump won the New Hampshire primary on Tuesday. His only remaining major challenger, former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, has fallen short in a state that was once considered her best chance to win a state.

The Associated Press tally gave Trump 54.6 percent of the vote to Haley's 43.6 percent. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who dropped out of the GOP contest before the primary and endorsed Trump, received less than 1 percent.

The former president took some jabs at Haley for declaring the race isn't over and that she'll continue at least through the primary contest in her home state of South Carolina. “This is not your typical victory speech, but let’s not have someone take a victory when she had a very bad night,” Trump insisted.

Both House Speaker Mike Johnson and GOP House Conference Chair Elise Stefanik called for the candidates to end the intra-party contests. Stefanik said Haley should "suspend her campaign and unite behind President Trump."

Haley had hoped the state's independent voters might give her a boost to victory. But the fact that Trump has now won full support from evangelical conservatives in Iowa and moderate voters in New Hampshire indicates he's still the top choice for disparate GOP factions.

Trump can now boast of being the first Republican presidential candidate to win in Iowa and New Hampshire since both states began leading the election calendar in 1976.

WATCH Our CBN News Election Analysis on New Hampshire BELOW:

Meanwhile, Joe Biden has won his write-in campaign for the Democratic nomination in New Hampshire. He wasn't on the official ballot because of a political dispute between the state and the DNC.

After the vote count, the president issued a statement predicting a rematch of the 2020 campaign, saying, in part, “My message to the country is the stakes could not be higher. Our Democracy. Our personal freedoms — from the right to choose to the right to vote. Our economy — which has seen the strongest recovery in the world since COVID. All are at stake.”

January 23 - Morning

It's voting day in New Hampshire, where Republicans hold their first presidential primary of 2024. The contest is a two-person race between Trump and Haley. 

All six of the registered voters in tiny Dixville Notch cast their votes for Haley after midnight, but Trump was still expected to score a victory in the Granite State. He held a commanding lead in state polls. The latest surveys show Trump widened his lead after endorsements from Gov. Ron DeSantis and Sen. Tim Scott.

The contest comes after Trump won the Iowa caucus by 30 points last week.

Meanwhile, President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris are kicking off their 2024 campaign by putting abortion access front and center, making their first, joint campaign appearance at a pro-choice event in northern Virginia today.

January 21

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis suspended his Republican presidential campaign on Sunday, making the surprise announcement on X, formerly known as Twitter.

He said he doesn't see a clear path to victory. "It's clear to me that a majority of Republican primary voters want to give Donald Trump another chance," he said. 

DeSantis said Trump "has my endorsement" and he explained why he's not supporting former Ambassador and South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley in his video announcement below.

DeSantis had scored a distant second place in the Iowa caucuses as Trump dominates the GOP race. His unexpected pullout comes on the eve of the New Hampshire primary which will now be a showdown between Trump and Haley.

CBN News Chief Political Analyst David Brody says the handwriting was on the wall back when he interviewed DeSantis in December:

DeSantis will focus instead on completing his second and final term as Florida governor, which ends in 2027.

***Recent reports from the CBN News 2024 Campaign Notebook***

January 19

The New Hampshire primary is now just days away. Trump has had a consistent lead in polls with Haley appearing to be in the strongest position among his rivals.

In Iowa, Haley performed best in the state’s more Democratic-friendly areas, and she's expected to perform well in the more moderate to left-leaning New Hampshire. With that in mind, DeSantis was said to be focusing his effort on South Carolina instead.

Meanwhile, the abortion issue is expected to play a significant role in the presidential race once again. On Friday, pro-lifers from around the country gathered in Washington, D.C., despite severe winter weather, for the annual March for Life. CBN News provided live coverage of the event here at CBNNews.com.

January 18

Trump was in court on Wednesday facing one of his legal battles, a defamation trial in New York. That led him to be more than two hours late for a campaign rally in Portsmouth, New Hampshire ahead of next Tuesday's GOP primary in that state.

Haley is focusing her energy on New Hampshire at the moment, vowing, "I can safely say tonight, I will make this Republican primary a two-person race."

The New York Times reports DeSantis has begun laying off super PAC employees after squeaking out a second-place finish in Iowa. 

After New Hampshire, the Republican primary shifts to Nevada and South Carolina over the coming weeks before moving into the rest of the country this spring.

Meanwhile, President Joe Biden is running unopposed for the Democrat Party's nomination, but he's already campaigning against his eventual GOP rival. Biden is scheduled to campaign in the North Carolina capital of Raleigh on Thursday afternoon.

January 16

The 2024 presidential campaign officially kicked off on January 15 with the Iowa caucus in which former President Donald Trump bested his two top rivals, Gov. Ron DeSantis and former Amb. Nikki Haley.

After the contest, the fourth-place finisher businessman Vivek Ramaswamy exited the race and endorsed Trump.

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