Today’s installment of campaign-related news items from across the country.
* The two latest Fox News polls show former Vice President Joe Biden ahead in two early nominating states, leading the Democratic field in South Carolina with 36% support, well ahead of his closest rivals, and ahead in Nevada with 23%, though Sen. Bernie Sanders is a competitive second with 17%.
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* On a related note, Democratic presidential candidate Tom Steyer’s advertising blitz seems to be having an impact: the California billionaire saw double-digit support in both of Fox News’ polls, which made him the sixth candidate to qualify for next week’s primary debate.
* Speaking of billionaire presidential hopefuls, aides to Michael Bloomberg told NBC News he’ll continue to invest in the 2020 election, and help try to defeat Donald Trump, even if the former New York City mayor fails to win the Democratic nomination.
* As Democratic candidates scramble for positioning in California, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garceti (D) has thrown his support behind Biden. California’s presidential primary is March 3.
* Speaking of the Golden State, California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) has decided not to call a special election to fill Rep. Duncan Hunter’s (R) upcoming vacancy. A spokesperson for the governor cited the late timing of the disgraced congressman’s resignation.
* The Minnesota Supreme Court yesterday cleared the way for the state Republican Party to exclude Trump’s primary rivals from the GOP ballot in March. Minnesota will join Alaska, Arizona, Hawaii, Kansas, Nevada, and South Carolina in limiting Republican primary voters to a single candidate.
* And though he’s generally struggled to gain traction in the presidential race, former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick (D) is poised to get some support from a new political action committee, called Reason to Believe, which has made a $2 million ad buy on the governor’s behalf.
MORE: Today’s Maddowblog