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National Journal's daily guide to 2016.
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THE LEAD

"As Chris Christie announces his bid for the White House, he's expected to lean heavily on … Ken Langone, a billionaire Republican donor. … But in an interview," Langone "said he would not be dipping into his personal fortune to write the kind of massive … check to Christie's super PAC that would instantly change the complexion of the 2016 race. … In the wide-ranging discussion, Langone spoke about the primary calendar ('the hell with Iowa'), the key to a Christie comeback ('a strong showing in New Hampshire'), and his assessment of the 2016 field ('George Pataki, give me a f---ing break'). (National Journal)

LEAN RIGHT: "At 9:30 p.m. on the eve of his … campaign kickoff, … Christie announced a change to state firearm policy on an issue that has been riling gun rights activists" and "signaled support for loosening New Jersey's strict gun control laws." Christie announced the state attorney general "will file a new regulation to require applications for gun permits for victims of domestic violence, other violent crimes or 'those living under a direct or material threat' be processed 'quickly and without delay.'” (Newark Star-Ledger)

FALLING BEHIND: Florida Republicans "are worried that the party's trouble with state leaders … could ultimately deny the” GOP's presidential nominee “Florida's 29 electoral votes. … Florida is a must-win for the Republican nominee … and after watching the Obama campaign out-organize and out-maneuver them for several years … state Republicans …want to get an early start laying groundwork for their nominee's campaign. But time is running out. ... Multiple sources confirmed preliminary discussions by some well-funded GOP business groups and interest groups to set up a new effort to gather data, organize volunteers, and conduct detailed research.” (National Journal)

TALLAHASSE TIGHTROPE: As Marco Rubio "ascended to the state House speakership" in Florida, "he became increasingly well compensated as he walked a narrow line between his work as a lawmaker and an employee of outside firms with interests before the state government. … Rubio’s annual income grew from about $72,000 when he was elected to the state House in 2000 to $414,000 in 2008. … About 80 percent of his total income during his tenure in the state House came from Florida law firms that lobby state and local governments." (Washington Post)

NEW MONEY: Hillary Clinton "will seek out donors … from a Democratic fundraising landscape vastly altered since her first presidential bid. … Democrats now get far less money from Wall Street, military contractors, [and] health care companies… As many as one-fifth of elite Democratic" bundlers "are active in gay-rights causes or are themselves gay or lesbian. Outside Democratic groups rely heavily on wealthy environmentalists … and on labor unions. … Female donors and bundlers have become … a bigger source of funding.” (The New York Times)

NUMBER OF THE DAY: 9. Christie will visit New Hampshire for the ninth time this year today. Only Pataki has made more trips (11) so far to the state in the GOP field. 

TRAVEL TRACKER

Christie announces his candidacy at 11 a.m. in Livingston, N.J., before heading to Sandown, N.H., for a town hall at 6 p.m.

Rick Santorum participates in a national security town hall in Charleston, S.C., at 12:30 p.m.

Bobby Jindal holds three events in Iowa beginning at 1:30 p.m.

Mike Huckabee hosts a grand opening for his campaign's Iowa headquarters in Urbandale at 6:30 p.m.

Rand Paul holds a fundraiser at the Cannabis Business Summit in Denver.

TRAIL MIX

Fox News reported this morning that Jeb Bush will release 33 years of tax returns today.

Phil Rosen, a friend of Sheldon Adelson and one of Mitt Romney's top bundlers in 2012, is backing Rubio. (Jewish Journal)

Paul met with rancher Cliven Bundy during a campaign stop in Nevada. (AP)

ELECTION DAY 2016 COUNTDOWN: 497 days 
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