Newt Gingrich comes to John Kasich's defense in South Carolina

We saw the Bush brothers go after Donald Trump in South Carolina this week. But the GOP presidential primary in that state is multi-dimensional. From the Associated Press:

John Kasich proudly cites his efforts while in Congress to cut what he believed was wasteful defense spending. But allies for Jeb Bush, a Republican presidential rival, see a potential vulnerability for Kasich in military-minded South Carolina and are trying to slow the Ohio governor's momentum after a strong showing in New Hampshire.

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An outside group backing Bush has begun airing a television ad ahead of the Feb. 20 primary, using Kasich's own words. It's an effort to undermine Kasich in a state that's home to Fort Jackson and Parris Island, massive training installations for the Army and Marine Corps, as well as a number of air bases and a naval training school for nuclear submarine officers.

Kasich and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, winner of the state's primary in 2012, are denouncing the broadside, but it's clear that the rivalry between Kasich, the Ohio governor, and Bush, a former Florida governor, is intensifying.

And so New Day for America, the super PAC supporting Kasich, is out with a TV spot today damning the attacks, using the words – but strangely, not the voice – of former House speaker Newt Gingrich. The ad cites this Insider post:

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Look who Lori Geary caught at last night's Bernie Sanders event: Fulton County Commission Chair John Eaves.

Eaves, who has endorsed Hillary Clinton, explained by phone why he was there. "I'm an alum of Morehouse and some students encouraged me to come just to listen. I wanted to give some of my Morehouse mentees the benefit of me listening, and wanted my daughter to experience the process. I wanted to hear him out."

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Twenty-four-year-old Park Cannon (59 percent), a women's health care worker and dancer, on Tuesday beat former state lawmaker Ralph Long (41 percent) in a runoff for the House District 58 seat once held by Simone Bell of Atlanta. A total of 1,132 ballots were cast. Cannon is a Democrat.

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Democratic state Rep. Scott Holcomb called it a sneak attack. Republicans beg to differ. But either way, a House committee passed House Bill 879 - the "campus carry" bill to legalize firearms on college campuses - late Tuesday afternoon.

ExploreOur AJC colleague Kristina Torres has more:

House Bill 859 would allow anyone 21 or older with a weapons license to carry a gun anywhere on a public college or university campus, except for dormitories, fraternity and sorority houses and at athletic events.

Supporters said eight states allow campus carry, and nearly two dozen others allow individual schools to decide.

Look for more action on this debate this week and next, when it could land on the House floor.

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On a 172-0 vote, Georgia House members passed House Bill 561 to make adoptable shelter dogs the "official" state dog. Sponsor Joe Wilkinson, R-Sandy Springs, said his was more than a feel-good bill.

“This is not frivolous legislation,” he said. “I have seen reports that estimate that in Georgia, we take in half a million stray animals each year. Their costs per day in shelters and pounds ranges from $15 to $40 a day. Multiply those numbers against ‘X’ number of days in shelter by 500,000 animals and other costs associated with having to kill those animals and dispose of their remains, and you are talking millions of dollars each year.”

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Fresh off a financial "accountability session," the Georgia GOP is ready to raise some more cash. The cash-strapped party announced a "Presidents Day" fundraiser Thursday with Gov. Nathan Deal, Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle and House Speaker David Ralston at Georgia Tech.

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Public Service Commissioner Tim Echols is lobbying for a fellow commissioner to join the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to replace a Republican departing from the panel this summer. Here's what he wrote in a note to House Republican contacts:

I hope we can push to get a GA person on FERC. If you would ask your boss to assist, I would be grateful.