January 30, 2023

The TAKE with you Rick Klein

In the immediate post-election period, a big chunk for 2024 quickly collapsed, while another big decision would last through 2023.

But former President Donald Trump’s formal entry into the next campaign hasn’t frozen others. And even if President Joe Biden delays an announcement until next year, he has now taken his biggest step yet in shaping the kind of primaries Democrats will have in the future.

Biden’s late proposals to the Democratic National Committee would kill the Iowa caucuses and take out New Hampshire’s primary status as first-in-the-nation. He prefers to add Georgia and Michigan to the top five voting states and would lift South Carolina — the state that famously saved his 2020 candidacy — to the top of the line.

“I have made no secret of my belief that diversity is a critical element for the Democratic Party to win elections AND govern effectively,” Biden wrote in a letter to the DNC Rules & Bylaws Committee.

That committee will now do its own work — with objections from angry committee members from New Hampshire and skeptical officials from around the world.

As for Trump, his influence isn’t slowing down planning for other Republicans. Former Vice President Mike Pence makes it clear in his extensive book tour that he could very well lend himself to be one of them when he says there will be “better choices” for Republicans in 2024.

Former UN ambassador Nikki Haley says she’s reconsidering her promise not to run if Trump does. Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also says his decision will not be influenced by Trump’s candidacy – while using Twitter to shadow his former boss.

This week brought news about books coming out next year from both Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and Florida Senator Marco Rubio. Outgoing governors. Arkansas’ Asa Hutchinson and Maryland’s Larry Hogan are among those who say they are considering running their own.

Events count on both sides. Trump has shown some weaknesses, particularly with his ill-advised dinner earlier this month and alternate explanations for why it happened.

Biden looks stronger post midterms and amid more hopeful economic news. That matters inside and outside his party, whether or not his proposals prevail in DNC deliberations and whether or not Democrats believe he will run again.

President Joe Biden speaks in the State Dining Room of the White House on November 9, 2022 in Washington, DC.

Susan Walsh/AP

The RUNDOWN with Alisa Wiersema

The threat of a looming rail strike was averted on Thursday when the Senate passed legislation to force a deal between union workers and rail companies.

After days of legislative maneuvering, passage of the measure met the weekend deadline requested by the President — although no additional time for sick days was included as workers had queried in their negotiations, and was previously passed in the House of Representatives under a separate bill.

Predicting the outcome earlier in the day, the President said he believed the sick leave policy would materialize, but “not within this agreement.”

“We’re going to avoid the rail strike, keep the rails running, keep things running, and I’m going to go back and we’re going to get paid vacation, not just for rail workers, but for all workers,” Biden said Thursday.

According to the Association of American Railroads, the adopted agreement grants workers a 24% wage increase through 2024 and more flexibility in requesting time off, as well as the ability to receive performance bonuses and one paid personal vacation day per year.

“The outcome of these agreements is inherently a compromise, but the outcome is a significant win for rail workers. More broadly, all rail stakeholders and business that matter, now have certainty about the way forward,” said Ian Jefferies, President and CEO of AAR said in a statement.

But not all rail unions supported the outcome, with at least one group choosing to highlight tensions between political rhetoric and active politics.

“What took place today in the United States Senate is a symptom and further illustration of a larger problem in our country. Almost every elected member of Congress is committed to being “pro-working class”; the actions of many today have shown that they are for the corporate class. The breach of duty and inability to hold companies accountable for a lack of good faith towards their employees will not be forgotten,” the Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen said in a statement.

PHOTO: Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer speaks with members of the media before voting on legislation to avoid a nationwide rail strike on Capitol Hill December 1, 2022.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer speaks with members of the media before voting on legislation to avoid a nationwide rail strike on Capitol Hill December 1, 2022.

Michael McCoy/Reuters

The TIP with Oren Oppenheim

One of the most closely watched home races in the country is about to have a recount, although it comes as no big surprise to anyone.

Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold announced Thursday that a mandatory recount has been triggered and will be held in Colorado’s 3rd house district — where the race between GOP Rep. Lauren Boebert and Democratic challenger Adam Frisch ended with a better-than-expected Performance ended Frisch, who has already conceded the race.

In a statement on Wednesday, Griswold said: “The results of the District 3 race reinforce the fact that every vote counts. Colorado voters have made their voices heard, and I am ordering this recount, in accordance with Colorado law, to confirm the will of the voters.”

The recount is triggered automatically and is in accordance with state law that requires an automatic recount when the vote difference between the leading candidates is 0.5% or less. Boebert currently leads with 50.1% of the votes, followed by Frisch with 49.9%. (ABC News has already reported a lead in this race for Boebert.)

Frisch said in a statement Thursday that his admission “remains sincere but has no legal implications.”

“If, by some minor coincidence, there is a large enough voting swing to put us in the lead after the recount, we would be confirmed the winners and sworn into Congress on Jan. 3,” added Frisch. “But the reality is we don’t expect the results of this election to change with the recount.”

PHOTO: Adam Frisch of Aspen, Colo., center, the Democrat who opposed Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Colo., in Colorado's 3rd congressional district, walks with his son Felix Frisch, left, and his wife Katy Frisch, right , at the Capitol, November 18, 2022.

Adam Frisch of Aspen, Colo., center, the Democrat who opposed Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Colo., in Colorado’s 3rd congressional district, walks with his son Felix Frisch, left, and his wife Katy Frisch, right, on Capitol Walk, November 18, 2022.

J Scott Applewhite/AP


ABC News’ Start Here Podcast. “Start Here” begins Friday morning with a look at the latest high-stakes eliminations from the Georgia Senate. ABC’s Rick Klein leads us away. Then ABC’s Elizabeth Schulze explains why gas prices are falling. And ABC’s Ashan Singh dives into what went wrong with Ticketmaster and Taylor Swift’s concert tickets. http://apple.co/2HPocUL


  • President Biden is traveling to Boston where he will greet the Prince of Wales at the John F. Kennedy Library and Museum at 2:50 p.m. ET. Then he will participate in a telephone bank with union employees. At 5:45 p.m. ET, he attends a political fundraiser.

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