March 18, 2014

Arizona — the state that elected Gov. Jan Brewer (R), tried to enshrine the country's strongest anti-immigrant laws, and passed a bill allowing businesses to refuse service to gays and lesbians (which Brewer then vetoed) — is no longer majority-Republican. On Monday, Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett said that 35 percent of Arizona voters are now registered independents, narrowly beating out Republicans for the first time and pretty solidly trouncing registered Democrats, at 29 percent.

The uptick in registered independents follows a national trend. "I don't think that today's announcement comes as a surprise to most people," said Bennett, a Republican who's vying to replace Brewer when her term ends in the fall. A generation ago, only about 12 percent of Arizonans were independents, versus 45 percent Republican and 42 percent Democrats. Republican and Democratic political consultants each told The Associated Press that the embrace of the independent label will be good for their party. But it sounds more like an invitation to a third-party candidate. Peter Weber

5:44 p.m. ET
AP Photo/Arshad Butt

At least five armed militants attacked a police training college near Quetta, Pakistan, on Monday, leaving at least 250 cadets and staff trapped. The New York Times reported "heavy exchanges of gunfire between the attackers and the security forces," and dozens of people are reported injured, including police recruits, though the full count is unclear. Army commandos are reportedly in the process of clearing the training college's premises.

Nawab Sanaullah Zehri, the chief minister of the Baluchistan Province, of which Quetta is the capital city, said there had been "intelligence reports three to four days back that terrorists [or] suicide bombers planned to target Quetta." "Security was already on high alert, and maybe that is why they have targeted the police training center on the outskirts of the city," Zehri said. The training college is located about nine miles outside of Quetta.

No group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack. Back in August, 88 people were killed by two targeted bomb attacks in Quetta. Becca Stanek

5:31 p.m. ET

A Montgomery County judge ruled Monday that former Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane will serve up to 23 months in prison and eight years of probation for leaking documents about a political rival. Kane, who was the first Democrat to be elected as Pennsylvania's top prosecutor, resigned in August, the day after she was convicted of two felony counts of perjury and seven misdemeanor charges.

Kane's downfall began when she sparked a feud with prosecutor Frank Fina, her predecessor as Pennsylvania's attorney general. After an article ran in the Philadelphia Inquirer detailing an investigation by Fina into politicians caught accepting bribes, Kane "vowed to wage 'war'" with him, CNN reported. To retaliate for the article, Kane leaked confidential grand jury documents to a reporter about a corruption case Fina was involved with before leaving office; she later lied under oath about doing so.

"This case is about ego — the ego of a politician consumed with her image from day one," Judge Wendy Demchick-Alloy said, per The Associated Press. "This case is about retaliation and revenge against perceived enemies who this defendant ... felt had embarrassed her in the press."

Kane was once considered a rising star in Pennsylvania's Democratic circuit. Her defense had argued a prison sentence was unnecessary given she had already lost her job and suffered irreparable harm to her reputation. She is in custody, and her bail is set at $75,000; she was sentenced to a minimum 10 months behind bars. Becca Stanek

5:24 p.m. ET
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The Obama administration announced Monday that premiums under the Affordable Care Act will rise by double digits in 2017. A report from the Department of Health and Human Services predicted that premiums for a "midlevel benchmark plan will increase an average of 25 percent across the 39 states served by the federally run online market," The Associated Press reports, though some states may see much bigger price increases than others. Customers in Arizona, for example, will see a spike of 116 percent, AP notes.

Major national insurance carriers have also scaled back their participation in the ObamaCare exchange, which could leave about 20 percent of consumers with only one option of insurer; AP notes that the total number of insurers available on will drop from 232 to 167, a decrease of 28 percent.

The silver lining, however, is that the drastic premium hike shouldn't affect employer-provided plans, which constitute the coverage most workers rely on. Additionally, the Obama administration is emphasizing that taxpayer-provided subsidies should offset the increases for most consumers, though a DHHS spokeman did acknowledge "headline rates are generally rising faster than in previous years." Kimberly Alters

4:51 p.m. ET

Donald Trump claimed at a rally in Florida on Monday that when the polls are done "properly," he's actually in the lead. The problem, Trump explained, is that many polls are "rigged" because of Hillary Clinton's campaign manager John Podesta, who Trump says pushes for "oversampling Democrats." "It's called voter suppression," Trump said, "because people will say, 'Oh, gee, Trump's down.' Well, folks, we're winning."

Trump hinged his claim on an email published by WikiLeaks, in which someone in an email chain with Podesta apparently recommended "oversamples for our polling" so the campaign could "maximize what we get out of our media polling." Talking Points Memo's Josh Marshall explained just how far off Trump's interpretation of the email actually is:

You'll note for starters that that the email is from 2008 and Podesta is neither the sender nor the recipient. But that's just a footnote. More importantly, what Tom Matzzie is talking about is the campaign/DNC's own polls. Campaigns do extensive, very high quality polling to understand the state of the race and devise strategies for winning. These are not public polls. So they can't affect media polls and they can't have anything to do with voter suppression. [Talking Points Memo]

Moreover, Marshall pointed out there seems to be some confusion about the word "oversampling." Contrary to Trump's claim that "oversampling" skews a poll's results, the "over-sample" is actually not included in the poll's overall results; instead, over-polling a certain demographic is generally used as a way for pollsters to get "statistically significant data on that group," Marshall wrote.

Looks like Trump might need to keep searching for evidence to explain his polling problems — or then again, he could always revisit his admission from earlier in the day that he is, in fact, "somewhat behind in the polls." Becca Stanek

3:44 p.m. ET
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Donald Trump wants you to know he's winning this election — even if he knows the polls say otherwise.

Speaking at a rally Monday in Florida, Trump told the crowd: "Just in case you haven't heard, we're winning." His declaration came on the heels of the inaugural ABC News 2016 election tracking poll, which was released Sunday and shows Trump trailing Clinton in the national four-way race by 12 points among likely voters. The previous ABC poll, conducted with The Washington Post and released Oct. 13, after leaked audio showed Trump bragging about assaulting women but before several women came forward to accuse the Republican nominee of assault, showed Trump behind by just 4 points.

But despite all that, Team Trump has remained outwardly confident, dismissing poll results and saying there's still a path to victory — that is, until Trump's Monday interview with North Carolina radio station WBT 1110 AM:

Coming from a guy who steadfastly spins narratives in his favor, any acknowledgement that he's behind is big. Listen to Trump's full interview with WBT here. Kimberly Alters

3:30 p.m. ET

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) shamelessly embraced Donald Trump's phrase "nasty woman" during a Hillary Clinton campaign event in New Hampshire on Monday. Days after Trump called Clinton a "nasty woman" at the third presidential debate, Warren broke it to Trump that women — particularly "nasty women" — have "had it with guys like you." And unfortunately for Trump, Warren said, "nasty women vote."

Warren's news might be a rude awakening for Trump, who recently claimed that he's doing far better with women than the "inaccurate" polls show. Watch Warren rally all the "nasty women," below. Becca Stanek

3:16 p.m. ET

In an interview Monday with WGIR radio's New Hampshire Today, Donald Trump discounted the latest accusation of sexual assault by pointing out that the woman who came forward is a "porn star." "You know, this one that came out recently, [she said], 'He grabbed me and he grabbed me on the arm,'" Trump said, referring to adult film performer Jessica Drake's claim that Trump grabbed her and kissed her without permission over a decade ago. Trump continued: "Oh, I'm sure she's never been grabbed before."

Drake is the 11th woman to accuse Trump of sexual harassment. At a press conference Saturday, she said Trump also offered her money and a plane ride in exchange for sex. Trump has adamantly denied her claims, as well as those of the other 10 women. "These stories are stories that are made up, these are total fiction," Trump said Monday. "You'll find out that, in the years to come, these women that stood up, it was all fiction. They were made up. I don't know these women, it's not my thing to do what they say."

You can listen to Trump's full interview below. Becca Stanek

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