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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

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“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.

Man arrested at Ohio Trump rally has ties to Atlanta

—Staff writer Leon Stafford contributed to this article.

The man with metro Atlanta ties who rushed the stage this weekend at an Ohio Donald Trump rally denied having ties to ISIS during a CNN interview on Sunday.

Thomas Dimassimo, whose mother is former Cobb County Transportation Director Faye DiMassimo, told CNN that a video of him with Islamic writing and music was doctored. The video, which shows him dragging an American flag on the ground, was taken from a protest at Wright State University more than a year ago, he said.

“I am not a member of ISIS. I have no known ties to ISIS. I’ve never been out of the country. I only speak English,” DiMassimo said during the CNN interview. He called Trump a “bully” in the interview and said he wanted to show that he is not afraid of the Republican front-runner.

“… It was more important for me to show that there are people out there who aren’t afraid of Donald Trump,” DiMassimo told CNN. “He says scary things. He lets his people do scary things. He’s threatened Mexico, Islam, you name it, and yet I’m unafraid. And if I can be unafraid enough to go take his podium away from him, then we all can be (un)afraid enough to not let this man walk into the White House.”

DiMassimo’s mother, Faye, currently works as manager of Atlanta’s infrastructure bond program. She resigned as Cobb County’s transportation director in November to take the job.

Cartersville attorney Lester Tate is representing the family and helped Thomas DiMassimo retain an attorney in Ohio. Tate said the family has received several threats since Saturday’s incident, and they have been reported to police.

“While the family is very supportive to him in this process, they certainly don’t condone jumping over a barrier and trying to rush through secret service agents,” Tate said.

Tate also said it is “unfortunate” that people are associating DiMassimo with a terrorist organization.

“He’s a college student with strong beliefs who acted out inappropriately on those beliefs,” Tate said.

A right-wing website claimed that video of a protest at Wright State University last year, showing DiMassimo dragging an American flag on the ground, has been used by ISIS, but its veracity was unclear and some said it was a hoax.

That uncertainty, however, did not stop Trump from echoing the sentiment on his Twitter account Saturday: “USSS did an excellent job stopping the maniac running to the stage. He has ties to ISIS. Should be in jail!”

Thomas DiMassimo said he “had no intention of hurting anyone,” but that he had pre-planned his protest before arriving at the rally, a Dayton police report of the incident released Sunday said.

DiMassimo, 22, was arrested Saturday on misdemeanor counts of disorderly conduct and inducing panic at the rally, held at a hangar near the Dayton International Airport in Vandalia, Ohio, a suburb of Dayton.

DiMassimo told police he had planned to run up on stage, take a microphone and yell, “Donald Trump is a racist,” according to the report.

Instead Secret Service and other security officers thwarted DiMassimo’s plan, swarming him about four feet from the stage where Trump was holding the rally.

A secret service agent allegedly “busted his own nose as he fell on top of DiMassimo” while attempting to handcuff him, the report said.

DiMassimo’s mother, Faye, left her position as Cobb’s transportation director in November to become administrator of the city of Atlanta’s infrastructure bond program.

Anne Torres, communications director for Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, declined to comment Saturday night on the arrest.

“This inquiry is a personal matter unrelated to Faye’s work with the administration,” she said. “We are not in a position to comment.”

Video of the event shows four Secret Service agents leaping into action and surrounding the Republican front-runner until DiMassimo was hauled away.

“I was ready for him, but it’s much easier if the cops do it, don’t we agree?” Trump said.

The Dayton Daily News reported that most people at the rally didn’t see the incident, but Dal Haybron did. The newspaper quoted him as saying Secret Service agents were “too gentle.”

“He jumped over the rail and immediately they just nailed him,” Haybron said. “Boom. Done.”

The newspaper also reported that DiMassimo, as a Wright State University junior last year, helped lead an anti-racism protest that included students standing on American flags and holding signs saying, “Not my flag.”

“I thought it would ruffle some feathers, but I did not anticipate how tense the backlash would become,” DiMassimo told the newspaper at the time. “If anything, all that has shown is that people in this area and people on the Internet care more about a symbolic piece of cloth, than they do a black person’s life … or, even beyond that, our Constitutional rights.”

Last August, DiMassimo — who reportedly had small parts in “Yes, Dear,” “Reno 911!,” and “Tyler Perry’s House of Payne” as a child actor — was among a group of counter-protestors at a Confederate flag rally in Stone Mountain.

Photos from the event, which came a month after a mass shooting at a black church in Charleston, S.C., show DiMassimo with what was reported as a shredded flag around his wrists as he walked with counter-protestors. He also was accused of standing on the controversial flag during the event.

DiMassimo’s arrest comes in the wake of violence in Chicago on Friday, after Trump cancelled an event there because of hundreds of protesters, who then clashed with supporters. Five people were arrested.

Trump scored a resounding victory in Georgia two weeks ago.

Faye DiMassimo’s resignation — just 18 months before the first pitch at SunTrust Park, the Atlanta Braves’ future home — raised eyebrows, because of the tens of millions in road projects planned before the opening of the ball field; the proposed expansion of transit in the county, which she championed; and her lead on the effort to build a controversial I-285 bridge that is considered a critical safety element for the new stadium.

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.

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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.

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