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Biden is not the lone Democrat to address crime, police funding

First Read is your briefing from "Meet the Press" and the NBC Political Unit on the day's most important political stories and why they matter.
President Joe Biden speaks at the White House on Feb. 2, 2022.
President Joe Biden speaks at the White House on Feb. 2, 2022.Cheriss May / Reuters

WASHINGTON — If it’s Thursday ... President Biden is set to speak on raid that killed ISIS leader in Syria. ... Then Biden travels to New York City to discuss crime and gun prevention with Mayor Eric Adams and N.Y. Gov. Kathy Hochul. ... Sen. Ben Ray Lujan, D-N.M., won’t return to work for an estimated 4-6 weeks after his stroke. ... Pennsylvania’s Democratic-led Supreme Court takes control of redistricting in the state. ... And let the Winter Olympic Games begin.

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But first: Biden isn’t the only Democrat who wants to showcase that he’s tough on crime, and that he isn’t a card-carrying member of the “defund the police” crowd.

Just look at these recent State of the State addresses by Democratic governors, many of whom are up for re-election in 2022:

Here’s Hochul, who joins the president in Manhattan today: “Time and time again New Yorkers tell me they don’t feel safe. They don’t like what they see on the streets. That things feel different now, and not only for the better. And it’s not just New York City — it’s cities all across America. ... We need to get back on track.”

Here’s Colorado Gov. Jared Polis: “I’m proud to put forward a responsible public safety plan that builds on historic legislation of years past, gives much-needed support and funding to local law enforcement while also investing in community-based approaches and organizations that can help prevent violent crime from occurring in the first place.”

Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly: “I’ve made protecting children and keeping them safe a top priority as governor. That starts by supporting our law enforcement officers. My budget contains historic levels of funding for law enforcement. Funding that will provide better equipment, better training facilities, and greater public safety. And for our state highway patrol — a much deserved pay-increase.”

And Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer: “For our Michigan State Police, who protect and serve with the utmost professionalism, we built new posts in Walker and West Branch. For law enforcement, we funded better training, delivered hazard pay, and expanded resources for local police departments. As a former prosecutor, public safety is a core issue for me. We will keep making investments to reduce crime and protect families.”

These remarks — from governors representing purple and red states (or at least those with large purple/red areas) — come after Democrats blamed some of their 2020 losses on the “defund” movement, after crime has surged in major cities across the country, and after progressive prosecutors (who have pushed for more lenient sentencings) have battled with mayors and police departments.

As for Biden, we’ve talked about his need to regain his political identity after his first year in the White House.

One way to do that — especially after Donald Trump politicized policing — is to stand next to an ex-cop (Adams) flanked by current police officers.

Tweet of the day

Midterm roundup

In redistricting news, the Pennsylvania state Supreme Court took over the state’s congressional redistricting process following a stalemate between the GOP-controlled legislature and Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf over the new district lines. The move is a potential boost for Democrats since they hold a majority of seats on the court.

The New York legislature approved a congressional map that could net Democrats three more House seats. The map now heads to Hohcul’s desk for her signature.

After struggling the last two election cycles to keep pace with Democratic fundraising, House Republicans are closing the gap, Politico reports. At least 53 Republicans raised more $500,000 in the fourth fundraising quarter, compared to 38 Democratic candidates who did the same.

Georgia Democrat Stacey Abrams raised a whopping $9.2 million since launching her gubernatorial campaign in December, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. She outraised GOP Gov. Brain Kemp, who hauled in $7.4 million in the second half of 2021. Kemp still had a cash-on-hand advantage with $12.7 million in his campaign account to Abrams’ $7.2 million. (Former GOP Sen. David Perdue, who is challenging Kemp in a primary, hasn't filed yet.)

Pennsylvania’s GOP gubernatorial primary is hitting the airwaves. Former U.S. Attorney Bill McSwain launched a $2 million broadcast ad buy yesterday, per AdImpact. Jake Corman, the president of the state Senate, also spent $629,000 on broadcast.

Former New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio is considering a run for Congress, per Politico.

And former Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt is navigating a tricky tightrope walk as he runs for Senate, per NBC’s Marc Caputo.

Ad watch: Fortenberry goes after Flood

In Nebraska’s 1st District, Rep. Jeff Fortenberry, R-Neb., released an ad this week attacking his opponent, Mike Flood, the former Speaker of the Nebraska legislature, from the right on immigration. Flood announced his campaign for Congress last month, on January 16, just weeks before Fortenberry will stand trial for charges that he lied to the FBI about illegal foreign contributions to his campaign. He denies the allegations.

The attack ad also comes days after reports that Flood is significantly outpacing Fortenberry in fundraising. Fortenberry reported raising $104,000 in the last quarter of 2021, while Flood’s campaign said it’s raised over $400,000 in just the two weeks since he entered the race.

Flood has already secured the high-profile endorsements of Nebraska’s current Gov. Pete Ricketts and former Gov. Dave Heineman. According to AdImpact, Flood plans to join Fortenberry on the airwaves, spending $24,000 on broadcast and cable this week.

Data Download: The number of the day is … 60,000

That’s how many pages of records the Jan. 6 committee has received during its investigation so far, according to NBC News’ Sahil Kapur. The committee has also heard from more than 475 witnesses, including Wednesday’s Zoom interview with the Oath Keepers’ founder who is currently in jail awaiting trial.

The committee has more than 700 pages of records from the National Archives that former President Donald Trump tried to keep hidden, per the committee, and the Archives disclosed Tuesday it would be turning over former Vice President Mike Pence’s records too.

In related news, two “alternate electors” (Arizona GOP Chair Kelli Ward and her husband) are suing the committee hoping to block their records from being turned over. And the New York Times is reporting on memos from Trump allies trying to justify the use of “alternate electors” in the hunt to overturn the 2020 election.

Other numbers you need to know today:

4-6: That’s how many weeks until New Mexico Democratic Sen. Ben Ray Luján is expected to return to work after suffering a stroke.

More than 9 million: The number of people that President Joe Biden says have skipped cancer screenings during the pandemic.

$28 million: How much GOP megadonor Ken Griffin donated to GOP groups in 2021, per Politico.

$1 million: How much Georgia Democratic state Rep. Bee Nguyen’s campaign says it has raised so far in her bid for what will be one of the nation’s closest-watched secretary of state elections.

6: The number of juveniles being investigated in the recent bomb threats against historically Black colleges and universities.

ICYMI: What ELSE is happening in the world

The White House is tapping three outside advisors for its Supreme Court nomination team, the Washington Post reports, including former Alabama Democratic Sen. Doug Jones and two longtime Democratic aides.

The Pentagon says it conducted a “successful” counterterrorism operation in Syria Thursday, with first responders reporting 13 people have been killed (including children).

A new Senate GOP report blames the Biden administration for “a lack of planning, coordination, and communication” in the Afghanistan withdrawal.