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RRH Elections 2016 General Election Preview Series, Part 5: Local Elections, PSCs, & Miscellany

Today we continue with our massive cavalcade of previews. Our last preview of the week is something of a miscellany roundup, covering the major Mayoral and County Executive elections up this November, Public Service Commissions, the Governor’s Council in MA and Executive Council in NH, and a couple miscellaneous local and judicial elections. Next week we will cover Congress, Governors, and Row Officers.

Here is the full schedule:

Part 1: Northeast Legislatures
Part 2: Midwest Legislatures
Part 3: Sunbelt Legislatures
Part 4: Western Legislatures
Part 5 (Thursday, October 27): Local Elections and Public Service Commissioners
Parts 6-7 (Monday, October 31 – Tuesday, November 1): House Races
Parts 8-9 (Wednesday, November 2 – Thursday, November 3): Governor and Row Officer Races
Part 10 (Friday, November 4): Senate Races

Flip over for the full previews – 13 Mayoral races, 16 County-level races, & more!

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Political Roundup for October 27, 2016

Today at noon we will publish the next installment of our General Election Preview series, focusing on Local races and Public Service Commissioners.


Hillary: Hillary Clinton’s 33,000 missing e-mails may not be missing after all. Newly released FBI notes suggest that they still exist in several locations and that they could be recovered, if only someone would impanel a grand jury and seize them. This means we will most likely spend the first few years of the Hillary Clinton presidency talking about the scandal the MSM never bothered to focus on during the Presidential campaign.

Trump: With less than two weeks before Election Day, Donald Trump evidently wants swing voters to know that the Trump National Doral Miami golf resort got recognized by Successful Meetings Magazine for its renovation, among many other honors and distinctions. While campaigning for President of the United States Donald Trump spends a lot of time hawking his own businesses. So it is no surprise that 13 days before Election Day Donald Trump was in the battleground state of Washington, DC promoting one of his new hotels.

Trump: This is an actually Donald Trump ad! WTF people? His campaign actually spent money to make THIS and is paying to run it on Indian-American TV.

Trump: When the Republican candidate for Vice President is campaigning in Utah with 13 days to go you know things are not going well for the Republican presidential campaign. Mike Pence visited Utah to fight the McMullinmentum sweeping the Beehive state.

Hillary: Director Joss Whedon has released a new 2 minute web ad for his pro-Hillary Clinton Super PAC. It is no Firefly. Sad!

Hillary: Morgan Freeman really does narrate everything! Freeman is narrating Hillary Clinton’s latest campaign ad.

Johnson: The bottom seems to be falling out of Gary Johnson’s poll numbers. It is crazy to think about the opportunity the former two term Governor of New Mexico has squandered.

Johnson: Johnson has scored the endorsement of Rep. Scott Rigell (R) who has cut a web ad for him.


NJ-Gov: Despite buying off most of the New Jersey Democratic Party former Goldman Sachs executive Phil Murphy may not have the Democrat primary all to himself. Assemblyman John Wisniewski (D) has announced he is forming an exploratory bid to run for governor next year.

NY-Gov: Is retiring Rep. Richard Hanna (R) really considering running for governor? His spokesman had no comment.

UT-Gov: Salt Lake City has been blanketed with signs that read “Herbert is Trump”. No one seems to know who paid for and put up the signs. Democrat gubernatorial candidate Mike Weinholtz has denied that it was his campaign. Republican Governor Gary Herbert has stated that he will vote for neither Donald Trump nor Hillary Clinton.


FL-Sen: Sen. Marco Rubio (R) absolutely crushed Rep. Patrick Erin Murphy (D) at their debate last night. Murphy was called out by Rubio for not knowing that the Peshmerga Kurds are Iraqi and not Syrian (see HERE). Watching Rubio debate Murphy should make every Republican hang their heads in shame/despair for picking a guy who thinks “call Sean Hannity” is winning debate point over Rubio.

FL-Sen: It takes a lot for Salon to dump all over a Democrat. That should tell you how bad a candidate Patrick Erin Murphy (D) is. Murphy outright lied to NBC8 after an earlier debate with Sen. Marco Rubio (R) when he insisted “We’ve never done business with Donald Trump. We’ve never had a contract with Donald Trump.” Of course found THIS picture of Murphy’s dad wearing a rump-branded hard hat and shoveling dirt a few feet from Donald Trump at a groundbreaking for a Trump building in Florida. Oh, Fratrick if only all Democrat candidates could be you

LA-Sen: Former KKK Grand Wizard David Duke raised $100,000, loaned his campaign $100,000 and has $38,000 cash-on-hand. Which raises the question who the f*** would donate money to David Duke?

LA-Sen: John Kennedy actually says “Congressmen are like throat lozenges” in his latest ad in which he throws back to his old days of being a Democrat (or a new Trumpkinized Republican) and bashes free trade agreements and Wall Street.

IN-Sen: When a local CBS News affiliate in Indiana tried to reach Evan Bayh (D) for comment he was out of state. This I guess is one of the problems you may face when you try and run for Senate in a state you no longer live in.

MD-Sen: Green Party candidate Margaret Flowers stormed the Van Hollen-Szeliga Senate debate stage. Flowers was not invited by the debate organizers, who included The Baltimore Sun, WJZ-TV, the University of Baltimore and the Maryland League of Women Voters, and her interruption was edited out Soviet style from the debate’s televised broadcast.

NC-Sen: Democrat Deborah Ross is a Barbra Streisand Democrat. Streisand has made a donation to Ross’s campaign.

WI-Sen: For some unknown reason Russ Feingold (D) is attacking Republican Sen. Ron Johnson’s charity work because it helped train unemployed people and transport them to jobs.


CA-10: Another Democrat releases an ad linking a downballot Republican to Donald Trump. Rep. Jeff Denham (R) is on the receiving end of this new ad by Democrat Michael Eggman.

IA-1: The pro-Hillary super PAC Priorities USA feels confident enough about Hillary’s chances that they have started airing ads attacking Rep. Rod Blum (R) for supporting Donald Trump. Picking on Blum is an odd choice since he is one of the most independent congressmen in the GOP delegation. Blum started his 1st term in Congress by going to war with the GOP House leadership and has made it clear that while voting for Trump he is not endorsing him or telling anyone else who to vote for.

KS-3: George Brett endorsed Republican Rep. Kevin Yoder.

MN-3: NRCC points out that Democrat Terri Bonoff has “repeatedly been willing to vote for unpopular taxes” (her words not the NRCC’s). Bonoff is challenging well funded Rep. Erik Paulsen (R) in the R+2.

MD-6:  Republican challenger Amie Hoeber and Rep. John Delaney (D) met for a debate at a candidates forum on Wednesday.

NH-1: Former Democrat Shawn O’Conner is running a real campaign on Democrat Carol Shea-Porter left flank. He recently donated another $150,000 of his own money to his efforts and  Rep. Frank Guinta (R) released a new ad attacking them both in what is clearly a bit of trolling on his part to divide the vote on the left.

NV-3: The NRCC uses a shirtless picture of Ruben Kihuen to make the point that he is swimming in scum and has a lot of corrupt connections.

NV-3: How bad has early voting been for GOP in Nevada? Republican candidate Danny Tarkanian told Republican women’s group that “we’re all going down” based on the GOP’s underperformance in early voting.

NY-19: The NRCC hits “zany” Professor Zeyphyr Teachout for being a socialist from Vermont who loves Bernie Sanders and high taxes.

VA-5: The conservative Congressional Leadership Fund is doubling their $400,000 in ad spending to $800,000 on behalf of Republican Tom Garrett Jr. in this open seat.

State, Local & Other:

CT HD-22: This could win the award for the worst political attack of the year. A union Super PAC trying to help re-elect Democratic Connecticut state legislators released a digital ad asking voters to “Stop Donald Trump and Republican William Petit’s attack on women and families”. Petit is a home invasion survivor who lost his wife and two daughters in the brutal 2007 attack that garnered national headlines.

KY HD-95: Republicans are starting to think there his a chance Kentucky House Speaker Greg Stumbo (D) could lose re-election to GOP challenger Larry Brown. Eastern Kentucky is trending GOP very fast this cycle and the Republicans are starting to spend money to defeat Stumbo’s re-election to the state House.

Early Voting-GA: Georgia, which is nearing 1 million ballots cast during the state’s early voting period, will open its polls this Saturday for a mandatory weekend voting day ahead of the Nov. 8 presidential election.

WATN: LOL! Fresh of garnering a whooping  15.9% vote in his primary versus Paul Ryan, some dude Paul Nehlen says he will mount a campaign for another 15 minutes of fame to challenge Ryan for the Speaker of the House. Has there ever been a House candidate who has lost a primary by over 68 points get as much media attention as this wack job?

Ballot Selfies: While a court has overturned the anti-ballot selfie law in Michigan it is still illegal to take take a photograph of your ballot in 18 states as Justin Timberlake found out the hard way when he violated the Tennessee law against taking photos in a polling place.


Afternoon Polling Roundup for October 26, 2016

President(National):  4-way races

ABC News-Clinton 49, Trump 40

Reuters/Ipsos: Clinton 42, Trump 38


Bloomberg(FL): Trump 45, Clinton 43

SUSA(FL): Clinton 48, Trump 45

Gravis(IN): Trump 49, Clinton 38

Star Tribune(MN): Clinton 47, Trump 39

Montana State Univ.(MT): Trump 43, Clinton 27

LV Review Journal(NV): Clinton 48, Trump 41

Mason/Dixon(SD): Trump 44, Clinton 37


Bloomberg(FL): Rubio 51, Murphy 41

SUSA(FL): Rubio 45, Murphy 41

Gravis(IN): Bayh 39, Young 37

Rasmussen(NV): Cortez Masto 43, Heck 41

LV Review Journal(NV): Cortez Masto 45, Heck 44

UMass Amherst/WBZ(NH): Ayotte 48, Hassan 44


Montana State Univ.(MT-AL): Zinke 50, Juneau 31

UMass Amherst/WBZ(NH-1): Shea-Porter 41, Guinta 37

UMass Amherst/WBZ(NH-2): Kuster 53, Lawrence 42

Mason/Dixon(SD-AL): Noem 59, Hawks 35


Gravis(IN): Gregg 42, Holcomb 38

UMass Amherst/WBZ(NH): Van Ostern 44, Sununu 43


RRH Elections 2016 General Election Preview Series, Part 4: Western Legislatures

Today we conclude our Legislative Previews tour with the final 10 states in the west.

Part 1 (Friday, October 21): Northeast Legislatures
Part 2 (Monday, October 24): Midwest Legislatures
Part 3 (Tuesday, October 25): Sunbelt Legislatures
Part 4 (Wednesday, October 26): Western Legislatures
Part 5 (Thursday, October 27): Local Elections and Public Service Commissioners
Parts 6-7 (Monday, October 31 – Tuesday, November 1): House Races
Parts 8-9 (Wednesday, November 2 – Thursday, November 3): Governor and Row Officer Races
Part 10 (Friday, November 4): Senate Races

Today we will cover 20 chambers in 10 states: Alaska, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming. In Yellow are states covered in this preview, white states will be covered in other parts of the series, light gray are states others will cover in the diaries, and black are states with no legislative elections this year.

This is the shortest of our four legislative preview installments, but the West packs a big bang-for-the-buck when it comes to competitive legislative elections. Six chambers are competitive, four GOP-held (the Colorado Senate, Nevada Senate and House, and Washington Senate) and two Dem-held (the Colorado House and Washington House). Three more chambers, the GOP-held Alaska House and Dem-held Oregon Senate and House, are theoretically competitive, meaning they could flip in the unlikely event the minority party swept all competitive seats.

Flip over for the full previews!

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Political Roundup for October 26, 2016


Trump: Lots of news dropped throughout the day yesterday from the increasingly fatalistic Trump campaign. The campaign is abandoning its efforts to woo high-dollar donors, with its last formal fundraiser on October 19th. Of course this is the money that fueled the Trump Victory accounts, which pay for a chunk of the RNC-led ground game (in contrast, the small dollar online donations are controlled entirely by the campaign). The Trump campaign is also finally pulling resources from planning for a transition to the White House to focus on the current bid.

Johnson: A bit of a scattered post that throws a lot of possible reasons forward for why the Johnson-Weld campaign’s poll numbers have been dropping throughout the debates. To me, it seems pretty simple: no debate exposure as millions of Americans tune in closer; normal third party evaporation as people get closer to making a real choice on their ballot and choose a major party candidate for greater vote impact; and McMullin pulling away most of Johnson’s voters in one of his best states, Utah.


FL-Sen: Some high-level Democrats, including Bill Clinton and Harry Reid, are disappointed that Sen. Marco Rubio (R) has practically received a pass this cycle. That’s what happens when you run a fundamentally unqualified candidate in the form of Rep. Patrick Murphy (D) I guess, because with the early vote trends in Florida this may have looked different with some more outside aid. As it stands, these last minute pleas for a few million bucks will probably go unanswered. Instead, Democrats will help candidates in cheaper states like Missouri, North Carolina, and Indiana.

Senate: With a declaration that, “we’re going to go out guns blazing,” the McConnell-aligned Senate Leadership Fund (R) is emptying its coffers to run last-minute ads in seven states.

  • Nevada (largest ad buy, $7.5 million)
  • Pennsylvania ($5 million)
  • Indiana ($4 million)
  • North Carolina ($3 million)
  • New Hampshire ($2 million)
  • Missouri ($2 million)

The ads are all run in GOP-held seats and will only go so far with last-minute buys from super PACs. Still, millions of dollars talk, and it’s just the kind of thing you do when you’re scared your nominee will drag the rest of the ticket down in flames.

Alaska: With one-time Jeb donor and Independent candidate Margaret Stock supporting Clinton, she has pulled in a good deal of institutional support from state Democrats. The actual Democratic nominee, in contrast, has ruffled a lot of feathers. Ray Metcalfe is a former Republican who has gotten into some heated debates with more mainstream Democrats in the state, even alienating fellow Sanderistas. He even refused to participate in the state party’s coordinated campaign.

Meanwhile, on the Republican side of things the state GOP is alleging campaign finance violations against Libertarian nominee Joe Miller for using his for-profit website as a massive campaign ad.

WATN: Get well soon former Sen. Jim Bunning! The Hall of Fame pitcher and former Kentucky Senator suffered a stroke yesterday.


NV-3: Danny Tarkanian (R) is sticking with Trump in this swingy open seat (the incumbent, Joe Heck, is running for Senate).

IA-1: Win or lose, Rep. Rod Blum has shown it’s possible to battle the establishment in a swing seat and stay in the game- if you do it right. Over and over, the same messaging that Blum is a “reformer” appears in coverage of him. Spiting John Boehner by voting against the then-Speaker from the right became, in his narrative, part of that independence (coupled with the usual handful of bipartisan bills that someone in a swing seat needs to push to win credibility back home). It helps that there’s a new Speaker too, making it easier to bury the hatchet.

VA-10: Shockingly (not), outside money is pouring into a competitive race in Northern Virginia. Rep. Barbara Comstock (R) has a massive financial edge over her opponent and has landed some blows on a daycare center her opponent promised to build, but LuAnn Bennett (D) has outside help and a major lead by Clinton to help pull her up.

MN-8: Trade issues dominated the last debate between Rep. Rick Nolan (D) and Fleet Farm scion Stewart Mills (R) in this northern Minnesota seat.


Afternoon Polling Roundup for October 25, 2016

President (National)

CNN/ORC – Clinton 49, Trump 44, Johnson 3, Stein 2

NBCNews/Survey Monkey –  Clinton 46, Trump 41, Johnson 7, Stein 3

Stress – Is this election stressing you?  Personally I am having a good ole time as it is proving many of my lowly  assumptions of humanity true.

President (States)

Monmouth (AZ) – Trump 46, Clinton 45, Johnson 4, Stein 1

TB&P Hendrix College (AR) – Trump 56, Clinton 33

Fox2/Mitchell (MI) – Clinton 49, Trump 41, Johnson 3, Stein 1

NYTimes/Siena (NC) – Clinton 46 Trump 39

Emerson College (ID) – Trump 52% Clinton 23% McMullin 10%, 9% Undecided, Johnson 4% and Someone else 1%


UMass (NH) – Ayotte 46 Hassan 43

Monmouth (AZ) – McCain 52, Kirkpatrick 42

TB&P Hendrix College (AR) – Boozman 52, Eldridge 34

Emerson College (ID) – Crapo 57% Sturgill 24%


RRH Elections 2016 General Election Preview Series, Part 3: Sunbelt Legislatures

Today we continue our tour of this year’s legislative elections with 10 more states across the south and southwest.

Part 1 (Friday, October 21): Northeast Legislatures
Part 2 (Monday, October 24): Midwest Legislatures
Part 3 (Tuesday, October 25): Sunbelt Legislatures
Part 4 (Wednesday, October 26): Western Legislatures
Part 5 (Thursday, October 27): Local Elections and Public Service Commissioners
Parts 6-7 (Monday, October 31 – Tuesday, November 1): House Races
Parts 8-9 (Wednesday, November 2 – Thursday, November 3): Governor and Row Officer Races
Part 10 (Friday, November 4): Senate Races

Today we will cover 19 chambers in 10 states: Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas. Why only 19? Well, the Texas Senate doesn’t have a single competitive election this year, and all seats are essentially certain to stay with their incumbent parties. In Yellow are states covered in this preview, white states will be covered in other parts of the series, light gray are states others will cover in the diaries, and black are states with no legislative elections this year.

There are four chambers that are competitive, three GOP-held (the Arizona Senate, Florida Senate, and New Mexico House) and one Dem-held (the New Mexico Senate). Plus there is one more chamber that is “theoretically competitive”, with enough competitive seats to change hands but where the minority party would need to win an implausible number of long-shot races, the GOP-held Florida House. However, I’d probably argue that three of the four competitive chambers in this region (all except the New Mexico House) are decided long-shots to flip control. The other significant story-lines in this region are Dems’ attempts to break the GOP supermajority in the NC legislature and a number of teachers attempting to make Dem gains in Oklahoma.

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Political Roundup for October 25th, 2016


Clinton: She’s already essentially measuring the drapes, and showing plenty of signs that she has no intention of keeping her promises to the Sanderistas about corporate and trade policy.

Da Governator: Ahnuld has said that if he could, he would have run for President this year. I can’t say I’d have been unhappy if he did/could, because a man most famous for collapsing the shell of the CAGOP in on itself while sporting an atrocious favorability rating and a baby momma scandal would still probably be an above average candidate in our 2016 field. He’d at least have been funny to watch flame out.

Talk-Media: In one of the more amusing political articles I’ve read in a while, a bunch of GOP insiders are gearing up to pin the blame for Trump and the 2016 loss on the “Conservative Media Groups” like Hannity, Limbaugh, O’Reilly, etc. The reasoning is that these mean people have become so influential with America’s right-wing population that they have displaced the normal media party organs and have caused them to lose control of the party’s messaging, therefore leading to Trump beating all the GOP’s “reasonable” candidates. The funniest part is that they are (in classic “Summer of Trump” fashion) either expecting Trump’s likely November loss to somehow get all these voters back to listening to them so they don’t have to change a thing, or taking a more active approach and . . . criticizing them. Because the Jeb Bush strategy of calmly explaining to Trump voters how his candidacy is harming his chance at the family office the Conservative movement worked so well. Its also quite hilarious to see a bunch of GOP media men try to bust out a “the marketplace should punish failure” analogy without a hint of irony after losing the argument over the party’s future to Donald freaking Trump. Lee Atwater is probably rolling in his grave knowing that these chumps are his successors.

Trump: In a revelation that will come as a shock to people numbering in the high single-digits, the celebrity real estate mogul used to have coke-fueled risqué parties back when that was what every rich New Yorker did with all their 80’s money.


KY-Sen: Rand Paul’s campaign has been running low on funds, mostly because he spent the overwhelming majority of all the money he’s raised in his 6 years in the Senate on his aborted Presidential bid. This has allowed Jim Gray to out-raise him this year, and has started releasing polls showing him surprisingly competitive in the state.

MI-8: Obama has endorsed Suzanna Shkreli for congress. It’s kind of surprising move, given that Obama has been essentially invisible in office for the better part of a year now and the Democrats have a better chance of flipping about 50 other seats than this one, but I guess someone finally reminded Obama that Congress is supposed to still be important to running the country. Honest question—what Democrat running for Congress right now would people NOT expect Obama to endorse? By 2016 I’m think everyone just sort of assumes that to start with. Its not like Obama has a distinct ideological profile within the Democratic party.

PA-Sen: The last of the Pennsylvania Senate Debates was yesterday, and featured more of the usual—Toomey attacking McGinty for her dishonest ads, and McGinty attacking Toomey for waffling on who he plans to support for President.

State & Local:

FL-Hurricane: Approximately 108,000 more people registered in the court-ordered extra registration period following the devastating Hurricane Matthew.

IL-Ballot-Access: David Gill’s lawsuit about the vast disparity between requirements for signatures for Independent candidates to get on the ballot versus GOP/Dem ones is still mulling along in the courts.

NY-Gov: Richard Hanna, most famous for being the sort of “Moderate Republican” that tries to ensure the GOP loses his house seat after he retires, has apparently been approached by NY Republicans to recruit him to run for the Governor’s office in 2018. They think he’d be a great candidate in the overwhelmingly D New York state, but bemoan the fact that the party he’s spent the last 2 years trying to screw over might not want him as their candidate.

Nassau-Machine: Ed Mangano (R-County Executive) suddenly decided while under federal corruption charges, to retroactively accept a huge cost-of-living raise. Because at this point the jig is up and you might as well squeeze every penny you can out of the office before they haul you away in handcuffs. Speaking of which . . .

PA-AG: It’s about damn time.

Travis-County-Commissioner: This is a surprisingly effective ad for this local race. The nerd in me approves of this concept, and I’m honestly wondering if we’ll see copycats in the future.


Afternoon Polling Roundup for October 24, 2016

President (National)

ABC – Clinton 50, Trump 38, Johnson 5, Stein 2

IBD/TIPP – Clinton 41, Trump 41, Johnson 8, Stein 4

Rasmussen – Trump 43, Clinton 41, Johnson 5, Stein 3

President (States/Congressional Districts)

CBS/YouGov (Florida) – Clinton 46, Trump 43, Johnson 3, Stein 2

Fox 5 (Georgia) – Trump 50, Clinton 46, Johnson 3, Stein 2

MN-8 – Trump 47, Clinton 35


MN-8 –  Mills 45, Nolan 41

Fox 5 (Georgia-Senate) – Isakson 51, Barksdale 42

CBS/YouGov (Florida) – Rubio 44, Fratrick 42


RRH Elections 2016 General Election Preview Series, Part 2: Midwest Legislatures

Today is the next installment of our legislative preview series, covering 10 states across the Midwest. I will be skipping Minnesota and Michigan in this preview as those states have well-done diaries from OGGoldy and ConservativeFirst previewing their legislative races.

Part 1 (Friday, October 21): Northeast Legislatures
Part 2 (Monday, October 24): Midwest Legislatures
Part 3 (Tuesday, October 25): Sunbelt Legislatures
Part 4 (Wednesday, October 26): Western Legislatures
Part 5 (Thursday, October 27): Local Elections and Public Service Commissioners
Parts 6-7 (Monday, October 31 – Tuesday, November 1): House Races
Parts 8-9 (Wednesday, November 2 – Thursday, November 3): Governor and Row Officer Races
Part 10 (Friday, November 4): Senate Races

Today we will cover 19 chambers in 10 states: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. In Yellow are states covered in this preview, white states will be covered in other parts of the series, light gray are states others will cover in the diaries, and black are states with no legislative elections this year.

The main competitive chambers in this series are in Iowa: the GOP-held Iowa House and Dem-held Iowa Senate. Two other states don’t have chambers in danger of flipping but have interesting dynamics – Kansas has the mishagoss of Moderate and Conservative Republicans feuding where moderates may form a coalition with the Dems after the election, while Illinois has a interesting storyline of Gov. Bruce Rauner (R) going all-in to break House Speaker Mike Madigan’s (D) veto-proof supermajority. Also, a big thanks to Son of the South for his help on the Indiana races!

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