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Anti-Trump movement: What happens next?

On Thursday, a group of conservatives aimed at keeping Donald Trump from becoming the Republican nominee for president, met in Washington D.C. to test the winds on a plan or plans to stop the New York billionaire’s run for the White House.

Organized by conservative activists Bill Wichterman and Bob Fischer along with right-wing radio host Erick Erickson, and  held at the Army and Navy Club in Washington, “Conservatives Against Trump” had some two dozen participants – most all of whom said they would not talk specifics on the record about what happened.

The only officiall response from the group came from a press release posted by Erickson on his website, the Resurgent. 

The Statement read:

“We are a group of grassroots conservative activists from all over the country and from various backgrounds, including supporters of many of the other campaigns. We are committed to ensuring a real conservative candidate is elected. We believe that neither Hillary Clinton nor Donald Trump, a Hillary Clinton donor, is that person.

"We believe that the issue of Donald Trump is greater than an issue of party. It is an issue of morals and character that all Americans, not just those of us in the conservative movement, must confront.

"We call for a unity ticket that unites the Republican Party. If that unity ticket is unable to get 1,237 delegates prior to the convention, we recognize that it took Abraham Lincoln three ballots at the Republican convention in 1860 to become the party’s nominee and if it is good enough for Lincoln, that process should be good enough for all the candidates without threats of riots.

"We encourage all former Republican candidates not currently supporting Trump to unite against him and encourage all candidates to hold their delegates on the first ballot.

"Lastly, we intend to keep our options open as to other avenues to oppose Donald Trump. Our multiple decades of work in the conservative movement for free markets, limited government, national defense, religious liberty, life, and marriage are about ideas, not necessarily parties.”

While most held their tongue about the meeting, some shared some general themes discussed there. Here are a few of the things discussed at the meeting on Thursday, according to some participants.

The suggestions

1. Getting a third party on the ballot. "It's certainly not too late," Rep. Trent Franks, (R-Ariz.) and a Ted Cruz supporter, who attended the session said.  "You could get another party on the ballot. A candidate could be picked as late as August. … It would have to be a movement conservative.  I was there to listen.  I am worried about the kind of damage that Trump could cause to our party. … As a conservative, I can’t trust Donald Trump to do the right thing,” Franks told The Washington Post. “However, I can trust Mrs. Clinton to do the exact wrong thing. Therefore, if it comes down to a one-on-one contest, I would vote for Trump."

2. Working prior to the convention to support Ted Cruz, thus eliminating the need for another candidate or a fight on the convention floor.

3. Probably not working so hard for Ohio Gov. John Kasich would need more than 100 percent of the delegates left to be allotted to get to the 1,237 number needed for the nomination.

>> How many delegates does Donald Trump have?  

4. According to Fox News, a plan was floated to possibly send a last-minute candidate to the convention in Cleveland if no candidate reaches the 1,237 delegate mark.

Also on Thursday

Trump has said that “riots would result” if his path to the nomination is blocked at a contested Republican convention this summer in Cleveland. Speaker of the House, Rep. Paul Ryan, warned against talk of riots, and said he believes that a contested convention is now more likely to happen. It will be the first since 1976. Ryan, as Speaker, is in charge of running the convention.

>>What is a contested convention and will the Republicans have one?

What's coming?

What’s happened already

1. According to reporting by the New York Times, by the end of February,  at least two campaigns had  drafted plans to overtake Trump in a brokered convention.

2. Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, (R-Kty.), has a plan that would have lawmakers break with Trump explicitly before the general election.

3. Kasich advisers say the Ohio governor is shooting for a convention battle in which he believes he can win.

4. Tech CEOs and business billionaires traveled to an island off the Georgia coast two weeks ago to take part in the American Enterprise Institute World Forum, a meeting held annually. The main topic of the meeting, though not intended to be so to begin with, was how to stop the Trump candidacy. Those attending the meeting included: Apple CEO Tim Cook, Google co-founder Larry Page, Napster creator and Facebook investor Sean Parker, and Tesla Motors and SpaceX honcho Elon Musk all attended. So did Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), political guru Karl Rove, House Speaker Paul Ryan, GOP Sens. Tom Cotton (Ark.), Cory Gardner (Colo.), Tim Scott (S.C.), Rob Portman (Ohio) and Ben Sasse (Neb.), who recently made news by saying he “cannot support Donald Trump.”  Rep. Fred Upton (Mich.), Rep. Kevin Brady (Texas) and almost-Speaker Kevin McCarthy (Calif.),  Cathy McMorris Rodgers (Wash.), Budget Committee Chairman Tom Price (R-Ga.), Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (Texas) and Diane Black (Tenn.).

5. Republican Party donors are debating whether or not to continue funding the dump-Trump effort. Some of those donors – New York hedge-fund manager Paul Singer and members of the Chicago Cubs-owning Ricketts family – are expressing  doubts over the effectiveness of their spending on anti-Trump advertising.

6. According to reporting from Politico, anti-Trump groups have outlined a state-by-state bid to keep Trump from getting the 1,237 delegates he needs to secure the Republican nomination. That would force a contested convention this summer in Cleveland. 

Sources: The New York Times; The Washington Post; Politico; Fox News; The Resurgence; The Blaze

Georgia woman campaigns for sheriff who shot her

A Georgia sheriff has received an unusual endorsement in his bid for re-election.

Victor Hill, who is running for sheriff against four other competitors, accidentally shot Gwenevere McCord last year, yet she threw her support behind him in a 12-second robocall to county voters late last week, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has reported

>>Read more trending stories

“Hi! This is Gwenevere McCord and on May 24 I will be voting for Sheriff Victor Hill because he’s the most effective sheriff this county has ever had. Please join my family and I and vote Sheriff Victor Hill,” the Jonesboro resident said in the recording.

It is believed to be the first time McCord, who was critically injured in the shooting, has publicly made any statement about Hill, who is seeking a third term as sheriff.

McCord was shot May 3 while Hill was demonstrating police maneuvers to her at a Gwinnett County model home where McCord worked as a real estate broker at the time.

McCord and Hill were the only two people inside the home at the time of the shooting. McCord was shot in the abdomen and had numerous surgeries and other procedures. She lost a kidney, spleen and part of her large intestine as a result of the shooting, her father Ernest McCord said previously.

Hill was charged with reckless conduct, a misdemeanor.

>>Read more trending stories

The head of the county Democratic party said McCord’s endorsement seems to show there’s no bad feelings between the two.

“She said it was an accident and now she’s proving that by endorsing him,” said Pat Pullar, chairwoman of the Clayton County Democratic Party and a political consultant.

Nonetheless, another political observer called the endorsement “unusual” in a political career marked by setbacks and comebacks.

“It’s unusual that a sheriff would have shot someone other than carrying out his responsibility as sheriff,” said Charles Bullock, professor of political science at The University of Georgia. “And it is unusual that the victim would turn around and say ‘although he shot me, he’s a great person to return to office’.

With four other challengers in the race, the crowded field may “suggest that a number of people view Sheriff Hill as vulnerable,” Bullock said.

Donald Trump in Dayton

Super Tuesday highlights

A look at who won and who lost on Super Tuesday. Staff video by Anthony Shoemaker.

Why students don't have to stand for Pledge of Allegiance in Florida

Compiled from Associated Press and Florida News Service reports.

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Students excused from having to daily recite the Pledge of Allegiance in Florida public schools would no longer have to stand and hold their hands over their heart either, under a bill that is headed to the House floor.

The House Education Committee on Wednesday unanimously approved a bill (HB 1403) that would change how students are notified of their right to skip the daily pledge and what the excused student must do during the pledge.

Current law requires schools to conspicuously post a notice, telling students they don’t have to recite the pledge if a parent asks in writing for a student to be excused. The law also requires excused students to still stand and hold their hands over their hearts while the pledge is recited.

The bill would allow the notice to instead be placed in a student handbook, and excused students would no longer be required to stand or hold their hands over their hearts.

The bill was filed after a parent of a child at a Panhandle school told the school district it was not following notice requirements. A Senate companion bill has not yet been heard in the first of its three required committees.

Mayor didn't have time to hear citizens' concerns, rushed to pizza party

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A Michigan mayor said residents who wanted to plead with the City Council to save their homes couldn't speak because officials had a pizza party planned after the meeting.

>> Read more trending stories

Randy Walker, the mayor of Garden City, and City Council members walked out of a session without listening to the concerns of at least seven former homeowners facing eviction.

Walker said the meeting’s main purpose was to swear in new officials.

“It’s a happy occasion,” Walker said. “We had food waiting. We had pizza coming out of the oven at 7:45 (p.m.)”

“That’s a (poor) excuse,” Nicholis P. Dunsky told The Detroit News. “We felt like we didn’t matter.”

Dunsky's home was foreclosed because of back taxes, and he faces eviction. He brought his family to the council meeting.

According to The News, Walker said those meetings generally don't allow public comment.

Read more here.

Cute photo: Young boy awarded Junior Deputy badge

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A young boy was awarded a St. Johns County Sheriff's Office Junior Deputy badge by a SJSO deputy.

Kristine Gill captured the interaction between Deputy Rafael Fuentes and her grandson Emerson in a heartwarming the photo.

>> Read more trending stories

Gill said Emerson was playing in the driveway with his parents and Fuentes stopped to award the boy a Junior Deputy badge.

Fuentes even turned on his siren and lights for him, Gill said.

Gill wrote that it is nice to see "great officers out there."

Cmdr. Chuck Mulligan told WJAXTV that Fuentes "is very involved with children to include Special Olympics and our Police Athletic League. He is currently our Guy White Recipient, which is our Deputy of the Year."

Florida lawmakers will live on minimum wage for a week

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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At least 18 Florida lawmakers plan to live on a minimum wage this week to draw attention to efforts to increase the state's minimum wage to $15 an hour.

Senators Geraldine Thompson and Victor Torres from Orlando and John Cortes from Kissimmee are participating in the minimum wage challenge.              Starting Monday, the lawmakers will live for five days on $17 per day.

>> Read more trending stories  

That figure represents what a minimum wage worker has after taxes, childcare and housing are deducted from an $8.05-an-hour paycheck. The lawmakers -- mostly Democrats -- will also go grocery shopping with a minimum wage worker at the start of the week.  State Sen. Dwight Bullard and Torres are pushing legislation to increase Florida's current minimum wage from $8.05 to $15 an hour.

An increasing number of cities around the country are moving toward a $15 minimum wage.

State senator resigns immediately

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Quick Facts:

  • Senator Rick Brinkley pleads guilty to federal charges 
  • Thursday morning agencies announced six charges against former senator Rick Brinkley
  • All charges involve an embezzlement case against the senator
  • He resigned effective immediately Thursday morning. 

State Senator Rick Brinkley pleaded guilty to federal charges on Thursday morning.

He pleaded guilty to five counts of wire fraud and tax evasion.

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Several agencies charged an Oklahoma senator in an embezzelment investigation on Thursday. The US Attorney of the Northern District, Danny Williams Sr., held a news conference with the FBI, the Criminal Investigation unit of the FBI and the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation to announce charges against Rick Brinkley.

FOX23's Lynn Casey attended the conference:

<iframe src="//;border=false" width="100%" height="750" frameborder="no" allowtransparency="true"></iframe><script src="//;border=false"></script>[View the story "Rick Brinkley faces federal charges " on Storify]

Officials announced five federal wire fraud chages involving money from the Better Business Bureau. Brinkley also faces a count of tax evasion for hiding part of that money from the IRS.

Investigators linked the embezzlement to a significant gambling probelm.  Brinkley could face 20 years in prison for the wire fraud and three years on tax evasion. No one else is being investigated.

Brinkley resigned in early August amid allegations of embezzlement at the nonprofit agency he where he once worked. He settled with the agency in an agreement with the Oklahoma Ethics Commission.   His resignation would have gone into effect Dec. 31.

The senator resigned effective immediately on Thursday morning. 

The immediate resignation was encouraged by Oklahoma State Auditor Gary Jones, who said "It's one thing to ive him the benefit of the doubt."

"It's another when he admits guilt," Jones said. "He's not serving his constituents and needs to come off the state payroll now."

Brinkley could still face state charges. 

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