Pluribus AM: States develop rare earth minerals; econ development in MS, MA; and Dem AGs question Kroger-Albertsons merger

Good morning, it’s Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022. In today’s edition, states explore rare earth minerals; economic development plans in Miss. and Mass.; and Dems question Albertsons-Kroger merger:

Top Stories

RESOURCES: States are racing to develop domestic production of rare earth minerals as demand for electric vehicles rises to reduce American dependence on foreign sources. Lithium projects are under consideration in California, North Carolina and Tennessee, and West Virginia is working on extracting minerals from coal waste. (Pluribus News)

ENERGY: The Biden administration will make $13.5 billion in grants available to low-income households to cover winter heating costs. The money includes $4.5 billion for LIHEAP programs, and $9 billion for home upgrades to lower heating costs. Consumers can expect to pay up to 28% more to heat homes because of rising fuel costs this year. (Reuters)

MISSISSIPPI: The state legislature approved nearly $250 million in economic incentives for an aluminum production facility in Lowndes County, south of Tupelo, in a one-day special session on Wednesday. Steel Dynamics Inc. is expected to invest $2.5 billion in the new plant, which will create up to 1,000 jobs at average salaries of $93,000. The legislature also approved $25 million for road, water and sewer development near the plant. (Jackson Clarion Ledger)

KANSAS: Speaking of mega-deals, Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly (D) joined Panasonic executives to break ground at a new electric vehicle manufacturing plant in De Soto. Kansas officials awarded Panasonic $829 million in incentives with no job or wage requirements for most of the money. (Kansas City Star) What fortuitous timing, Kelly is up for re-election next week.

MASSACHUSETTS: Lawmakers agreed on a $3.7 billion economic development bill after months of negotiations, Speaker Ron Mariano (D) and Senate President Karen Spilka (D) announced Wednesday. The bill includes $112 million for the MBTA and $57 million for winter energy costs for low-income families. The deal will not include further tax breaks that Gov. Charlie Baker (R) wanted. (MassLive)

SOUTH CAROLINA: The legislature remains deadlocked over measures to further restrict abortion. A prominent anti-abortion legislator pulled his proposal after it became clear he didn’t have the votes. A six-member joint committee will meet again Nov. 9, just days before the Nov. 13 end of session. Senate Majority Leader Shane Massey (R) said there are not enough votes to restrict abortions before six weeks. (Charleston Post and Courier)

FLORIDA: Incoming Senate President Kathleen Passidomo (R) said the legislature next year will prioritize an expanded parental rights in education bill if they win a supermajority of legislative seats in the midterms. The current law bars teaching some subjects to K-3 students, pejoratively known as the “Don’t Say Gay” law. Passidomo said that provision might expand to older grades under a larger GOP majority. (The Capitolist)

MICHIGAN: State Sen. Wayne Schmidt (R) has introduced legislation moving the state’s presidential primary from March to the second Tuesday in February. Democrats and Republicans have both pushed to move Michigan’s primary to the head of the pack. (MLive)

WISCONSIN: A state appeals court and a circuit judge have dismissed lawsuits from liberal groups that wanted local election clerks to accept absentee ballots that contain only partial addresses of witnesses. Wisconsin elections have been conducted for 56 years without a legally binding definition of what constitutes a witness address on a ballot. Current guidance requires an address to include a street number, a street name and a municipality. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

MERGERS: Democratic Attorneys General in Washington, D.C., California, Washington and Illinois are suing to halt Albertsons’ planned $4 billion dividend to investors as it seeks to merge with Kroger. Top U.S. senators have announced an investigation of the merger, and Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) have asked the FTC to reject it. (Pluribus News) 

In Politics

TURNOUT: Ohioans have cast almost 50% more early in-person ballots this year than at the same point in 2018, the Secretary of State’s office said. The highest rates are coming in big urban counties. (Columbus Dispatch) In Oregon, 21% of voters have cast ballots, trailing the pace of the 2014 and 2018 midterms. (Oregonian) Registered Democrats have returned 34,876 more ballots than registered Republicans in Arizona so far. Just over 1 million Arizonans have already voted. (Arizona Republic)

ADVERTISING: In gubernatorial contests in Wisconsin, Michigan, Arizona, Georgia and Pennsylvania, 45% of advertising paid for by Democratic candidates have focused on abortion rights, according to a new AdImpacts analysis. Among Republicans in those same states, crime is the most common theme, along with responses to the pandemic and jobs and the economy. (Washington Post)

WISCONSIN GOV: A new Marquette Law School poll, the gold standard of Wisconsin surveys, shows Gov. Tony Evers (D) and businessman Tim Michels (R) tied at 48% each, while independent Joan Berlinger takes 2%. The last poll, conducted in early October, had Evers and Michels statistically tied, 47%-46%. Evers’s approval rating stands at 46%, while 47% disapprove, virtually unchanged since June. 

NEVADA GOV: Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo (R) leads Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) 49%-45%, a new Emerson College poll for KLAS and The Hill finds. Emerson’s last Silver State poll, in September, showed the two tied at 40% each. Attorney General Aaron Ford (D) leads Republican Sigal Chattah (R) 45%-40%, while the race for Secretary of State is a statistical tie.

MICHIGAN GOV: Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) leads online talk show host Tudor Dixon (R) 50%-45%, the same margin by which she led a month ago, in a new Emerson College poll. Whitmer’s favorable rating is a strong 54%, while Dixon’s favorable rating has improved over time, to 48%. The poll finds Proposal 3, which would include the right to an abortion in the state constitution, passing 51%-42%.

COLORADO GOV: Gov. Jared Polis (D) is pulling away from University of Colorado Regent Heidi Ganahl (R). A new University of Colorado poll shows Polis leading 57%-41%. Secretary of State Jena Griswold (D) leads her Republican opponent by a wide margin. A ballot measure to allow grocery stores to sell wine has support from two-thirds of voters. 

PENNSYLVANIA GOV: Is this race closing or not? A Fox News poll shows Attorney General Josh Shapiro (D) leading state Sen. Doug Mastriano (R) 53%-37%, while Emerson College has Shapiro up 50%-41%.

GEORGIA GOV: Gov. Brian Kemp (R) leads former state House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams (D) 49%-43% in a new Fox News poll. Kemp’s job approval rating stands at 57%, which is pretty healthy for a swing-state governor.

By The Numbers

$435 million: The amount that 22 ultra-wealthy candidates have spent on their own campaigns, accordion got campaign filings. Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) leads the pack and accounts for a third of that spending. Pennsylvania Senate candidate Mehmet Oz (R) has spent $26.8 million of his own money. Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont (D) has spent almost $22 million and Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) has dropped $12 million on their respective re-election bids. (Insider)

$4.066 billion: The amount of tax revenue collected in Florida during September, $471 million above projections. (The Capitolist)

10: The number of investigations Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) has opened into alleged crimes by election workers. In at least two cases, Paxton’s office unsuccessfully tried to indict election workers. None of the ten investigations have resulted in charges. (Texas Tribune)

$1.6 million: The amount of money California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s (D) campaign reported spending against Proposition 30, a ballot measure that would raise taxes on the rich to pay for electric vehicle infrastructure. Newsom calls it a taxpayer-funded giveaway to the ride share company Lyft. (Sacramento Bee) The twist: The California Democratic Party backs Prop. 30. 

Off The Wall

Clyde Shavers (D), a candidate running in a crucial swing district in Washington State has pitched himself as a submarine veteran and an attorney. But he never served on a submarine, and he’s not yet an attorney — according to a letter written by his own father to Shavers’s opponent, state Rep. Greg Gilday (R). (Everett Herald)

Jerry Garcia’s old marijuana pipe has resurfaced at a Marin County antique shop, 31 years after he gave the pipe to a fellow musician. Store owner Steve Cabella says he wants to donate the pipe to a museum. (Los Angeles Times)