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Plus, North Carolina Democrats fear meddling in Senate primary and a Senate committee in Virginia rejected a proposal to ban assault-style rifles.

Bloomberg to join his first debate stage Wednesday

Former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg will be making his case in Las Vegas just days before Nevadans cast their votes, but he won’t appear on the ballot there. Instead, Bloomberg is looking to Super Tuesday, March 3, to make his mark. New polls show Bloomberg polling at 19%, second to Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders. Bloomberg entered the race in November and has spent $400 million on broadcast and online advertising. This will be his first appearance going head-to-head with other Democratic presidential candidates, and he’s expected to face attacks on past sexist and racist comments and policies that have received renewed attention in recent weeks. In January, the DNC changed its qualifications to participate in a presidential debate, thus allowing Bloomberg to make the cut; former candidates Cory Booker and Julian Castro were barred from taking part in December’s debate because of those thresholds.

Virginia lawmakers fold on assault gun ban

A Democratic majority in the Virginia Senate couldn’t save a proposal to ban military-style assault rifles Monday. The bill would have outlawed the sale, purchase, and manufacture of weapons and accessories such as large capacity magazines and trigger activators that increase the speed of gun fire. Four pro-gun control Democrats on the 15-member Senate Judiciary Committee voted to send the proposal back for further study, with one source blaming confusion on what constitutes an assault weapon. The Senate and the House, both Democrat-controlled for the first time in 25 years, are poised to pass other gun-control measures in coming weeks, including limiting handgun purchases to one a month and confiscating guns from people deemed a danger to themselves or others. 

Fear of meddling in NC Senate race as PAC with GOP ties backs liberal candidate 

Moderate Democrat Cal Cunningham was favored to run against incumbent GOP Sen. Thom Tillis in November, but is suddenly facing a well-funded challenge in the North Carolina primary from State Sen. Erica Smith. Democratic leadership worries Smith, a liberal, poses a lesser threat to Tillis, and retaking North Carolina is a key step for regaining a Democratic majority in the Senate. Smith struggled to raise $200,000 last year, while Cunningham had $1.7 million in the coffers as of January. But the Faith and Power PAC with ties to the GOP has paid for over $2 million in ads for Smith; by contrast, groups backing Cunningham have spent over $7 million in positive ads. Smith bristled at the suggestion that she’s the weaker candidate. “Traditional D.C. says that the strength and the weakness of a candidate is based on their money. … We know that their theory is wrong,” she said. “Time and time again, the DSCC and D.C. — they’ve backed well-financed candidates, only to have them lose.”

California to officially apologize to Japanese Americans over WWII internment 

On Thursday, the California Legislature plans to pass a formal resolution apologizing to Japanese-Americans for the 1942 executive order that forced over 120,000 into 10 concentration camps across the West. The resolution, which details the “unjust exclusion, removal and incarceration,” as well as the state’s “failure to support and defend the civil rights and civil liberties” of Japanese Americans, draws parallels to the current presidential administration’s policies.