This week in Tallahassee, the candidates are off to the races - officially, at least - as they file their paperwork and pay their fees to secure spots on 2018 ballots.
And those ballots in Florida could be more crowded than usual thanks to several city and county commission seats that opened up unexpectedly and other factors, including an FBI investigation into alleged corruption in City Hall - and the presidency of Donald Trump.
As of Friday afternoon, 38 people had filed to run for the Tallahassee City Commission, the Leon County Commission and the Leon County School Board. That doesn't include a few candidates who filed and already dropped out.
At this point four years ago, significantly fewer candidates had filed to run. And of the 26 who did, seven didn't make the ballot because they either withdrew or failed to qualify.
Sean Pittman, a Tallahassee lawyer, lobbyist and political consultant, said Trump is one reason why.
"With Donald Trump at the helm, there is a huge awareness and attention on politics and government,' Pittman said. "More people than ever are deciding that they want to be at the table to have a say in the direction of their city, county or state. It's a really good thing.'
In California, so many Democrats ran in several GOP congressional districts that there were fears the vote would be so splintered that none of them would make fall runoffs. That didn't materialize after primary voting earlier this month, however.
And in Massachusetts, the Boston Globe reported that Trump has loomed large across the ballot in Massachusetts this year, "permeating the dialogue and campaign messaging in races that are usually dominated by local, not federal, issues."
In Lexington, the Globe reported that Michelle Ciccolo, who is one of five Democratic candidates vying for a House seat, said there's a need to "push back on the regressive efforts coming out of Washington' - even when talking about local transportation and school funding.
"I don't think we get to pretend that what's happening on the national level isn't affecting us on the local level,' Ciccolo told the Globe.
"I think that every campaign is considering what Trump means to their election cycle,' said Jay Cincotti, a Democratic campaign operative, told the Globe. "If your opponent is an unabashed Trump supporter, that's an easier tie to make. If your opponent has supported positions that the president has supported, like immigration, that's easy to make.
"But if I'm running for state rep,' he said, "and I'm using Trump for the sake of Trump, it could have voters scratching their heads.'
Fire crews will again confront strong Santa Ana winds on Tuesday amid gusts of up to 40 miles per hour as they battle the deadly Woolsey Fire, which has burned 97,620 acres, destroyed 483 structures, threatened another 57,000, forced the evacuation of more than 265,000 people in Los Angeles and Ventura counties and is 47 percent contained, with full containment expected Sunday.
A vehicle fire displaced one adult and two children Wednesday when it spread to several trees, a fence and caused damage to the windows of a home in Encanto, authorities said.
Seven San Diego school districts will continue to be closed Wednesday due to San Diego Gas & Electric's public safety power shut off.
The City of Imperial Beach and the Scripps Institution of Oceanography will announce the details Wednesday of the city's plan for dealing with rising sea levels.
The U.S. government continues to work Wednesday to “harden” the border crossing from Tijuana, Mexico, to prepare for the arrival of a migrant caravan leapfrogging its way across western Mexico.
Weaker Santa Ana winds continue Wednesday, through Thursday. Winds not as strong or widespread but dry gusty flow still creates an elevated fire risk.
There has recently been plenty of buzz over a plant-based drug that users take for recreational and medicinal reasons and it’s not marijuana - it’s Kratom.
A transient who later committed suicide was the killer of a mentally disabled Carlsbad woman whose Valentine's Day slaying went unsolved for nearly a dozen years, authorities announced Tuesday.
Firefighters struggled to contain the most deadly and destructive wildfire in California history Tuesday while mobile coroner's teams combed the incinerated remains of a once thriving town and its environs looking for more victims of the carnage.