“We have no wor­ries. And if we do worry, it’s about the weather. Will it rain to­day, or re­main gray, or will it be cold?”

World Hap­pi­ness Re­port,

Bloomberg Businessweek (North America) - - Politics / Policy -

ap­proval from Delaware and New Jersey, and in Jan­uary they over­came a le­gal chal­lenge from Mary­land of­fi­cials, leav­ing the District the last re­main­ing hur­dle.

Lo­cal reg­u­la­tors ini­tially re­jected the merger in Au­gust, say­ing it wasn’t in the best in­ter­ests of ratepay­ers and could cur­tail the District’s ef­forts to use more re­new­able en­ergy. Six weeks later, Ex­elon and Pepco an­nounced a set­tle­ment with Bowser and other city rep­re­sen­ta­tives. The ar­range­ment in­cluded as­sis­tance for low-in­come cus­tomers and grants for green en­ergy projects.

In Fe­bru­ary the three-mem­ber util­i­ties com­mis­sion spurned that plan, say­ing it de­prived the com­mis­sion of its abil­ity to de­ter­mine how the money should be al­lo­cated. It put forth an al­ter­na­tive that didn’t guar­an­tee a res­i­den­tial rate freeze, which the mayor’s of­fice and other city of­fi­cials promptly re­jected. “If this thing gets scut­tled, it’ll be scut­tled for per­haps th­ese rea­sons of who gets to con­trol what money,” says D.C. Coun­cilmem­ber Mary Cheh, a Demo­crat who rep­re­sents neigh­bor­hoods in the city’s northwest quad­rant. She op­poses the merger, which she thinks could raise rates.

The District’s con­sumer ad­vo­cate, Peo­ple’s Coun­sel San­dra Mat­tavousFrye, said on March 11 that she wouldn’t ac­cept the com­pany’s most re­cent of­fer. D.C.’S at­tor­ney gen­eral, who rep­re­sents the mayor’s of­fice, also re­jected it. Com­mis­sion spokes­woman Kel­lie Arm­stead Didigu de­clined to com­ment on the pro­posal. Ex­elon and Pepco said in a joint state­ment they still hope a so­lu­tion can be worked out. “Ex­elon and Pepco have tried like crazy to get the deal done,” says Paul Rid­zon, an an­a­lyst for Key­banc, a Cleve­land-based in­vest­ment bank. “But when you get politi­cians in­volved, I try not to hand­i­cap it.” �Mark Che­diak and Brian Wing­field

Fol­low­ing a strat­egy used in 2012 by Ron Paul, the Cruz cam­paign en­cour­aged its sup­port­ers to stay late the night of the Feb. 1 cau­cuses to elect the precinct del­e­gates who then voted in the county con­ven­tions. The next step in­volves or­ga­niz­ing those precinct rep­re­sen­ta­tives to back the se­lec­tion of Cruz-friendly del­e­gates at county and state GOP con­ven­tions. Del­e­gates cho­sen by each of the 99 county Repub­li­can or­ga­ni­za­tions will vote at the con­gres­sional district and state lev­els to pick the na­tional con­ven­tion del­e­gates who will ac­tu­ally nom­i­nate the GOP pres­i­den­tial can­di­date.

At Cruz’s Hous­ton head­quar­ters, a six-per­son team over­seen by political op­er­a­tives, lawyers, and data an­a­lysts fig­ures out which lo­cal party ac­tivists to tar­get. Each state party has its own rules for del­e­gate se­lec­tion, but peo­ple run­ning for del­e­gate slots typ­i­cally mount e-mail cam­paigns and give speeches at county and state con­ven­tions. “We make sure that all of the peo­ple who were whipped up lead­ing up to the cau­cuses are ready,” says Roe.

At the na­tional con­ven­tion, a frac­tion of the 2,472 del­e­gates will be free to pick the can­di­date of their choice on the first bal­lot, re­gard­less of their state pri­mary re­sults. About three-quar­ters can do so if there are sub­se­quent votes. Some states, such as Alabama, re­quire na­tional con­ven­tion del­e­gates to sup­port who­ever won the pop­u­lar vote through­out the nom­i­nat­ing process. Iowa, where Trump and Marco Ru­bio each won seven del­e­gates to Cruz’s eight, is among those that al­low na­tional del­e­gates to vote for whomever they want if no one wins the nom­i­na­tion on the first na­tional con­ven­tion bal­lot. So is Ge­or­gia, which holds its county con­ven­tions on March 19.

Cruz’s in­vest­ment in putting his loy­al­ists in place now may help him cir­cum­vent the need to scram­ble if there’s a floor fight in July. “Of any of the cam­paigns, the Ted Cruz peo­ple are the best-po­si­tioned,” says Iowa Repub­li­can op­er­a­tive Grant Young. “They’ve got a big coali­tion, and they’re or­ga­nized.” �Sasha Issen­berg, with Steven Yac­cino

The bot­tom line D.C. of­fi­cials are on the verge of block­ing a $6.8 bil­lion merger be­tween Ex­elon and Pepco that would cre­ate the largest U.S. util­ity. Dan­ish so­cial worker Knud Chris­tensen to the As­so­ci­ated Press, on why Danes ranked first in the UN’S 2016 re­leased on March 16. The bot­tom line Cruz is mov­ing to en­sure a ma­jor­ity of the 2,472 del­e­gates at the GOP na­tional con­ven­tion would back him in a floor fight.

Edited by Al­li­son Hoff­man Bloomberg.com

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