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Friday’s vote comes as the Republican National Committee works to create an easier path to the White House for its next nominee roughly a year before campaigning begins in earnest for the next presidential contest. While President Barack Obama’s second term began just one year ago, prospective Republican candidates already have begun visiting states like Iowa and New Hampshire that hold outsize influence because of their early positions on the primary calendar.

New Hampshire, Iowa, South Carolina and Nevada are expected to host the first four contests in February 2016 under the new schedule, while the remainder of the nation’s 46 states and territories would vote between early March and mid-May. The party’s national convention is expected in late June or early July, roughly two months sooner than has become the norm.

Officials from early voting states praised the plan, which establishes strict penalties for states that jump out of order, as Florida did in 2012.

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Political payback investigation expands as feds subpoena NJ Gov. Christie’s campaign, GOP

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) - New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s re-election campaign and the state Republican Party have less than two weeks to comply with subpoenas from federal prosecutors investigating allegations of political payback.

Subpoenas to the Christie for Governor organization and the Republican State Committee were disclosed Thursday, the same day the Republican governor’s campaign announced it had hired a Washington, D.C., law firm in the case.

The subpoenas from the U.S. Attorney’s office are evidence of an escalating criminal investigation into allegations that Christie’s aides created traffic jams in the town of a Democratic adversary. Earlier in the month, Paul Fishman, the U.S. Attorney for New Jersey, said his office was reviewing the matter “to determine whether a federal law was implicated.”

The federal subpoenas are due Feb. 5. A state legislative committee also is investigating. Its subpoenas for correspondence from 20 Christie associates and organizations are due Feb. 3.

Christie, a potential presidential candidate in 2016, was New Jersey’s U.S. attorney before stepping down in late 2008 to run for governor.

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Bieber’s image evolving from clean-cut boy next door to bad boy; faces charges in Florida

MIAMI BEACH, Fla. (AP) - Justin Bieber’s mug shot hints at the boy-next-door image he’s carefully crafted over the past several years, with a glistening smile and professionally upswept hair.

But the red jail jumpsuit also visible in the photo tells a different story, one about the singer’s recent troubles and emergence as a bad boy. The 19-year-old pop star is facing possible jail time after his arrest in Florida on charges of driving under the influence, resisting arrest and driving with an expired license.

Still, as he has been so many times since achieving stardom at age 15, Bieber was swarmed by crowds of news media and screaming young girls as he left jail Thursday afternoon. He popped through a window of his black SUV in a black hoodie and sunglasses to wave back.

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