The Note: Trump quiet in high-profile primaries amid intra-party fights
President Trump’s lack of involvement in major primaries won't last the week.
The TAKE with Rick Klein
The highest-profile contests Tuesday feature by-now familiar dynamics, if again disrupted by the unfamiliar voting processes necessitated by COVID-19.
Republican primaries are playing out as efforts by candidates to out-Trump each other. Once again, no serious GOP contenders in major races are seeking to put distance between themselves and the president.
But Trump is staying out of two races featuring familiar names he was once proud to stand beside. Kris Kobach, who is vying for a Senate seat in Kansas, and Joe Arpaio, who wants to win his old sheriff's job back in Maricopa County, Arizona, were early and high-profile Trump backers who would love the president's endorsement now.
There are plenty of good reasons to stay away from both of them. Kobach lost the governor's race just two years ago. Democrats are spending heavily to boost him against Rep. Roger Marshall, who has the backing of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's team, in an effort to put the seat in play.
While Arpaio was the beneficiary of Trump's first presidential pardon, he is a controversial anti-immigration hardliner who is engaging in what looks like a quixotic comeback bid at the age of 88 -- in a state that is trending purple.
Trump's lack of involvement in major primaries won't last the week. He endorsed his former ambassador to Japan, Bill Hagerty, more than a year before Thursday's primary in Tennessee. He has stood by him even as prominent conservatives have flocked to Manny Sethi -- a physician who is attacking Hagerty, in part, for his previous ties to Sen. Mitt Romney.
The president, of course, may not last through active voting hours without a tweet about key races. But for Republicans who view Trump as a political force who can still be managed -- and who occasionally recognizes his own limits -- the silence is golden.
The RUNDOWN with MaryAlice Parks
Primary voting in Arizona and Michigan, especially this week, could offer clues about what to expect for the presidential race this fall.
Arizona and Michigan -- both high-stakes battleground states -- saw a surge in requests for absentee ballots and major upticks in early voting as well.
Most voters -- about 80% -- already use vote-by-mail systems in Arizona, according to the secretary of state's office. For this primary on Tuesday, ballots must be received by 7 p.m. on election day, meaning that the counting could take considerable time after the polls close.
Michigan's chief election official warned last week that Tuesday night might not bring a full picture of results. The state opted to send every registered voter an absentee ballot application for the August statewide primary -- a test run ahead of November -- and the influx of ballots is expected to take more time to process as votes cannot be counted before election day. Close to 2 million voters have already requested absentee ballots for the Tuesday primary as of last week, according to the secretary of state, which is nearly double the amount of absentee ballots ever processed in any election in the state's history.
The TIP with Benjamin Siegel
Progressives have largely been on the offensive this primary season, knocking off Democrats in Illinois and New York House primaries. This month's matchups feature two members of the "Squad" looking to defend their seats for the first time as incumbents.
In Minneapolis next week, Rep. Ilhan Omar, is squaring off against Antone Melton-Meaux, a lawyer and first-time candidate who has raised more than $3 million -- with much coming from pro-Israel donors who oppose Omar on foreign policy. In Michigan on Tuesday, Rep. Rashida Tlaib, is facing Detroit City Council President Brenda Jones -- after eking out a 900-vote victory in a six-person primary two years ago.
In both cases, they are fending off criticism that they have been more focused on their profiles than delivering for their constituents -- a similar line of attack that Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez faced, and successfully deflected, in her June primary in New York.
While Tlaib told ABC News that incumbency has put a larger target on her back -- from both her opponent and outside spending -- it's also come with benefits, including an endorsement from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the support of Ocasio-Cortez and other prominent allies.
ABC News' "Start Here" podcast. Tuesday morning's episode features ABC News' Katherine Faulders, who tells us why President Donald Trump is going after Dr. Deborah Birx as little progress is being made on a relief package in Congress. ABC News Chief Meteorologist Ginger Zee explains how Tropical Storm Isaias could impact care for COVID-19 patients. And, Amelia Thompson-DeVeaux from our partners at FiveThirtyEight explains how Americans are often mistakenly viewing crime rates. http://apple.co/2HPocUL
FiveThirtyEight Politics Podcast Last week economic data revealed the largest-ever quarterly contraction of the U.S. economy. The second-quarter gross domestic product shrunk by an annual rate of nearly 33%. In this installment of the FiveThirtyEight Politics podcast, the crew asks how well economic data alone can predict the outcome of a presidential election. They also discuss the potential consequences of President Donald Trump's repeated attempts to cast doubt on election results. https://53eig.ht/2M0rQx6
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