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Joe Biden started an eight-day bus tour yesterday in Council Bluffs, Iowa. Photo: Joshua Lott/Getty Images

Democrats say a very realistic scenario now calls for Pete Buttigieg to win Iowa, Elizabeth Warren to win New Hampshire, Joe Biden to win South Carolina and Bernie Sanders to win Nevada.

Why it matters: With Buttigieg's rise in Iowa and Warren's deflation, Democrats' 2020 race has no real front-runner as the big field begins the two-month holiday sprint to the caucuses on Feb. 3, 64 days from now.

The intrigue: Mike Bloomberg, who's bypassing the early states, thinks a split decision opens a path for him to make a big statement on Super Tuesday (March 3), which includes California.

  • But other candidates contend the former mayor will have a standing start at a time when another candidate or two will have excitement and momentum coming out of the early states.
  • That's part of the reason Bloomberg's candidacy is so fascinating: No one has tried a self-funded race with anything like the spending Bloomberg has already unleashed.

Iowa has a history of abrupt surprises. Matt Bennett of Third Way, the center-left think tank, shared a fascinating tally showing that the leader in December polls wins contested caucuses less than half the time.

  • Of the last 10 contested Democratic contests in Iowa, the candidate who was in first place in December polling won just three times (Walter Mondale in 1984, Al Gore in 2000 and Hillary Clinton in 2016).
  • In 2004, John Kerry won Iowa after being sixth in December polling, behind leader Howard Dean. [Corrected]
  • Once, the candidate who was in 10th place in December polling won the caucuses. That was former Georgia Gov. Jimmy Carter, in 1976.
  • The tally goes back to 1972, when the modern era of candidate selection began. It omits the re-election campaigns of Presidents Clinton and Obama, who were unopposed for the nomination.

The bottom line: If the race plays through along these lines, the nominee will be chosen in July — at the convention in Milwaukee. That is Bloomberg’s play.

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Updated 18 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Arizona Republicans censure Cindy McCain and GOP governor

Combination images of Cindy McCain and Gov. Doug Ducey. Photo: FilmMagic/FilmMagic for U.S.VETS/Michael Brochstein/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Arizona Republican Party members voted on Saturday to censure prominent GOP figures Cindy McCain, Gov. Doug Ducey and former Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), who've all faced clashes with former President Trump.

Why it matters: Although the resolution is symbolic, this move plus the re-election of Trump loyalist Kelli Ward as state GOP chair shows the strong hold the former president has on the party in Arizona, despite President Biden winning the state in the 2020 election.

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

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Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

  1. Health: Most vulnerable Americans aren't getting enough vaccine information — Fauci says Trump administration's lack of facts on COVID "very likely" cost lives.
  2. Education: Schools face an uphill battle to reopen during the pandemic.
  3. Vaccine: Florida requiring proof of residency to get vaccine — CDC extends interval between vaccine doses for exceptional cases.
  4. World: Hong Kong puts tens of thousands on lockdown as cases surge — Pfizer to supply 40 million vaccine doses to lower-income countries — Brazil begins distributing AstraZeneca vaccine.
  5. Sports: 2021 Tokyo Olympics hang in the balance.
  6. 🎧 Podcast: Carbon Health's CEO on unsticking the vaccine bottleneck.

DOJ: Capitol rioter threatened to "assassinate" Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

Supporters of former President Trump storm the U.S. Captiol on Jan. 6. Photo: Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

A Texas man who has been charged with storming the U.S. Capitol in the deadly Jan. 6 siege posted death threats against Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), the Department of Justice said.

The big picture: Garret Miller faces five charges in connection to the riot by supporters of former President Trump, including violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds and making threats. According to court documents, Miller posted violent threats online the day of the siege, including tweeting “Assassinate AOC.”