The Note: Seekers of second acts in Tuesday’s primaries

The TAKE with Rick Klein

It’s a primary day for seekers of second acts.

Among the boldface names on the ballot Tuesday are Chelsea Manning, Michael Grimm, Ben Jealous, Dylan Ratigan – and one familiar figure who’s looking to come to Washington having already run for Senate once and president twice.

Mitt Romney is heavily favored to win the Republican nomination for Senate in Utah, and ultimately replace Sen. Orrin Hatch at the end of his term.

Romney has been working to overcome skepticism over his loyalty to President Donald Trump. He has gone far enough in Trump’s direction to provoke skepticism over whether he will be a truly independent voice.

But you don’t need an Etch A Sketch to draw out a different path for Romney after the primary – one uniquely suited for an era of angry confrontations, name-calling by and directed at the president, and a primary season where someone like Grimm could take a step toward winning his old job back.

"I have and will continue to speak out when the president says or does something which is divisive, racist, sexist, anti-immigrant, dishonest or destructive to democratic institutions," Romney wrote on Sunday. "I do not make this a daily commentary; I express contrary views only when I believe it is a matter of substantial significance."

One might argue that virtually anything the president says has "substantial significance." But Romney’s self-described standard will be an intriguing one to watch, particularly as so few other Republicans are willing to run while allowing that there could be daylight between a GOP candidate and the president.

The RUNDOWN with John Verhovek

Putting aside the palace intrigue at the White House, the constant drumbeat of the Russia investigation, and the partisan bickering in Congress, both parties are inevitably turning their sights to one elusive goal: winning in November.

Seven states hold primary or runoff elections Tuesday, and at the heart of many key races is a question nagging both parties as they hurtle through a contentious and chaotic midterm cycle: How do you win in 2018?

For Republicans, a heated runoff election in South Carolina is about, well, Donald Trump. The president himself paid a visit to the state Monday night, and the contest Tuesday will be another test of the power his endorsements have with a party he continues to reshape, it seems, on a daily basis.

For Democrats, that question is best demonstrated by the primary in the Maryland gubernatorial contest, where former NAACP President Ben Jealous and Prince George's County Executive Rushern Baker are neck and neck after employing very different political strategies.

Jealous has stumped with a slew of prominent Democrats, including Sens. Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris and Cory Booker, celebrities including comedian Dave Chappelle and Ben Cohen (co-founder of the Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream), and Monday was endorsed by New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio.

Baker has touted the backing of more locally important figures, including Sen. Chris Van Hollen, former Gov. Martin O'Malley and former Montgomery County Councilwoman Valerie Ervin, and campaigned in and around the city of Baltimore Monday.

Go local or go national? It's a simplification of a more complex political calculus, but it's one Democrats need to find the answer to sooner rather than later.

The TIP with Christopher Donato

The 25 percent tariff the European Union imposed Friday on Tennessee whiskey – in retaliation for President Trump’s tariffs on EU goods – is becoming an issue in the race to replace retiring GOP Sen. Bob Corker.

Former Tennessee governor and current Democratic Senate candidate Phil Bredesen released a television ad Monday in which he says that "these new tariffs will hurt" Tennessee’s "auto industry, our farmers, and even Tennessee exporters like Jack Daniel’s."

The campaign of his Republican opponent, Rep. Marsha Blackburn, a Trump supporter, did not respond to a request for comment.

Tennessee, home to many distilleries, accounts for approximately 55 percent of spirits exported from the U.S., according to a statement from the Tennessee Distillers Guild.

The Guild added that "trade tariffs targeting Tennessee spirits will make it harder for our global enthusiasts to purchase our products while leading to reduced investment in American production facilities and loss of American jobs."

It’s not just jobs in the whiskey industry that could be impacted. Farmers, too, could see a reduction in business; if distilleries see lower demand, they may be forced to lower production, which would cause them to buy less wheat, barley, and corn from farmers.

Jack Daniel’s parent company, Brown-Forman, said in a statement to ABC News that "in order to protect brand profit and continue to invest behind the growth of American Whiskey in the EU," the company plans to raise prices to offset the tariffs in markets where Brown-Forman owns their distribution.

Consumers will see a roughly 10 percent price increase. Brown-Forman spokesman Phil Lynch says that the company "has been a longtime supporter of free trade" and they "would like to see the tariffs removed."


  • It’s primary day! The ABC News politics team will be updating on the races live at and the ABC News app on your Apple or Android devices. Here are the opening and closing times for the polls tonight (all times EST):
  • Colorado: open 9 a.m., close 9 p.m.
  • Maryland: open 7 a.m., close 8 p.m.
  • Mississippi: open 8 a.m., close 8 p.m.
  • New York: open 6 a.m., close 9 p.m.
  • Oklahoma: open 8 a.m., close 8 p.m.
  • South Carolina: open 7 a.m., close 7 p.m.
  • Utah: open 9 a.m., close 10 p.m.
  • President Trump meets with the Associated Builders and Contractors National Executive Committee at 11:30 a.m.
  • The president awards the Medal of Honor at 3:30 p.m.
  • Rep. Jackie Speier, a California Democrat, holds a press conference about her visit to a Texas border facility at 9 a.m.
  • The Senate Finance Committee holds a hearing on prescription drug affordability and innovation with Alex Azar, head of Health and Human Services at 9:30 a.m.
  • The Senate Foreign Relations Committee holds a hearing on U.S. policy in Europe with Assistant Secretary of State A. Wess Mitchell at 9:30 a.m.
  • A Senate Judiciary Committee holds a hearing on the survivor's bill of rights with actor Terry Crews at 10 a.m.
  • The Supreme Court is expected to issue decisions at 10 a.m.

    "The best solution is to win elections — that is a far more productive way to channel the legitimate frustrations with this president's policies than harassing members of his administration." — Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, on the Senate floor Monday, referring to Rep. Maxine Waters’ comment calling on her supporters to confront Trump Cabinet officials in public spaces.


    Trump stumps for South Carolina governor -- but mostly for himself. President Donald Trump may have come to the Palmetto state Monday night for the stated purpose of stumping for Republican Gov. Henry McMaster, but the boisterous campaign event felt more like a Trump-Pence 2020 re-election rally. (John Parkinson and Jordyn Phelps)

    Trump exploits new divisions in driving immigration debate: ANALYSIS. Trump has used the days since announcing a change in family-separation policies at the border by reverting to and reinforcing sharply divisive rhetoric around an issue he knows well as a potent political force. (Rick Klein)

    Uncertainty for midterms after Supreme Court acts in key redistricting cases. With midterm elections only months away, the Supreme Court weighed in Monday on two high-stakes racial and partisan redistricting cases that could have significant implications for the electoral process this cycle. (Kendall Karson)

    South Carolina GOP gubernatorial candidates battle to become the 'Trumpiest of them all.' As the Republican Party continues to move in the direction of Trump, more and more races have evolved into battles to become the ‘Trumpiest of them all’ – including next Tuesday’s gubernatorial runoff in the Palmetto State. (Meena Venkataramanan)

    Progressive challengers highlight immigration in bids to unseat NY incumbents. On the eve of unusually heated primary elections in New York, two progressive challengers to Democratic incumbents are homing in on recent immigration controversies as they make their case to voters. (Lee Harris)

    Maryland governor's race highlights strategic split for Democrats. His bellowing voice cutting through a mid-June evening in the diverse Washington D.C. suburb of Silver Spring, Maryland, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ben Jealous did not hesitate to invoke President Trump and strike a national tone. (John Verhovek)

    Trump doubles down on turning away undocumented immigrants with no due process. "People must simply be stopped at the Border and told they cannot come into the U.S. illegally. Children brought back to their country," Trump said in a series of morning tweets. (Alexander Mallin, Ali Rogin and Jordyn Phelps)

    Desperate to reach the US, moms and kids put themselves in hands of human smugglers. Despite a crackdown by the Trump administration on illegal immigration at the U.S.-Mexico border, mothers with their children dreaming of a better life continue to put their faith in smugglers to get them across the Rio Grande to the promised land. (Tom Llamas, Mike Levine and Bill Hutchinson)

    'A better system would allow us to keep families together': Border Patrol chief. Border Patrol agents have faced a “huge challenge” over the past two weeks as the Trump administration vowed to separate families who crossed the southwest border illegally and then reversed course. (Mike Levine and Tom Llamas)

    Supreme Court still to decide on Trump's travel ban, public union fees. As the court wraps up business, Washington and the rest of the country are waiting for decisions in a case about the legality of President Donald Trump's proposed travel ban and in another case that could impact the future of unions for public employees. (Stephanie Ebbs)

    Harley-Davidson, blaming retaliatory tariffs, to shift some production abroad. President Trump accused Harley-Davidson of waving "the White flag" after the iconic motorcycle brand, citing the financial burden of new tariffs, disclosed plans to relocate some of its production overseas. (Adam Kelsey)

    Special counsel obtains Trump ally Erik Prince's phones, computer. ABC News has since learned that Mueller is also reviewing Prince’s communications, a sign that Mueller could try to squeeze Prince, as he has others, probing potential inconsistencies in his sworn testimony in an attempt to pressure him to turn into a witness against other targets of the investigation. (James Gordon Meek)

    The Washington Post analyzes Trump’s approval ratings after a "particularly turbulent" week and ahead of Tuesday’s primary elections.

    The Note is a daily ABC News feature that highlights the key political moments of the day ahead. Please check back tomorrow for the latest.