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— Republicans in Utah will pick a gubernatorial nominee and a candidate in one of the county’s top House battlegrounds in tomorrow’s primary.
— Voter registration has plummeted during the pandemic, according to an analysis from a Democratic data firm, and white voters are making up a higher share of new registrants in several battleground states.
— Caroline Hunter, one of the Republican commissioners on the Federal Election Commission, announced she’d resign at the end of this week, stripping the agency of its quorum once again.
Days until the Colorado, Oklahoma and Utah primaries: 1
Days until the Democratic convention: 49
Days until the Republican convention: 57
Days until the 2020 election: 127
GO UTES — All the action we’re watching in Utah in tomorrow’s primaries are coming from Republicans, who will pick a gubernatorial nominee, along with candidates in both a battleground House seat and an open, red seat.
The gubernatorial primary is a four-way dance between former Gov. Jon Huntsman, Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox, former state House Speaker Greg Hughes and former state party chair Thomas Wright. The race has been close all the way through, and a recent poll from the Salt Lake Chamber has it as a real coinflip. The poll from Dan Jones & Associates has Cox at 30 percent to 29 percent for Huntsman. Hughes was at 15 percent and Wright was at 6 percent (June 17-24; +/- 1,247 likely GOP primary voters; +/- 2.8 percentage point MoE). Whoever emerges from the primary will be the overwhelming favorite in November to succeed outgoing GOP Gov. Gary Herbert.
In UT-04, Republicans will pick a candidate to face freshman Democratic Rep. Ben McAdams in November. Like the gubernatorial race, there are four candidates on the ballot: Trent Christensen, Kim Coleman, Jay McFarland and Burgess Owens. Owens and Coleman have been the field’s best two fundraisers and are the only candidates in the NRCC’s Young Guns program.
Whoever emerges from the primary — which the Deseret News’ Lisa Riley Roche wrote has been “overshadowed” by both the gubernatorial primary and pandemic — will face a pretty significant cash disadvantage compared to McAdams. They collectively had $203,000 in their bank accounts as of June 10, less than a tenth of the $2.2 million that McAdams has in his warchest.
And in UT-01, Republicans are also picking a candidate to replace GOP Rep. Rob Bishop, who is Wright’s running mate. In this safe Republican seat, there’s four candidates on the ballot: Kerry Gibson, Blake Moore, Bob Stevenson and Katie Witt.
Two interesting things to keep in mind for all of these races: Utah is already a vote-by-mail state, so the repeated problems we saw in past primaries as election administrators scramble to adapt to the pandemic likely won’t repeat in the Beehive State. And, although the Republican primary is a closed primary, it is fairly easy to change parties in Utah. Voters had until mid-June to swap parties and still receive a mail ballot, and the poll from the Chamber indicated a lot of Democrats planned on voting in the Republican primary.
ON THE ROLLS — New voter registrations have absolutely plummeted during the pandemic, according to an analysis from the Democratic data operation TargetSmart. The analysis found that, compared to the 2016 cycle, voter registration is just drastically lower. In May of 2016, just under 1,500,000 of new voters registered. This May, 195,000 of voters have done so. TargetSmart also looked at 10 potential swing states, and found that the share of non-white voters registering to vote has dropped, compared to pre-pandemic numbers.
— The Supreme Court declined to reinstate a lower court’s order expanding absentee voting in Texas, The Texas Tribune’s Alexa Ura reported. The decision means that the Texas runoffs will continue under the state’s current absentee voting rules — that require either a valid excuse or are for voters 65 or older — while the case makes its way through the judiciary.
THE REELECT — President Donald Trump approvingly retweeted a video where a supporter yells “white power” on Sunday. The video was of a clash between retirees in The Villages, a massive retirement community in Florida, where a man riding in a pro-Trump golf cart pumps his fist and yells “white power” after being heckled by anti-Trump protestors asking, “Where’s your white hood?” The president tweeted, “Thank you to the great people of The Villages,” along with the video, and deleted the tweet boosting the racist outburst after roughly three hours. White House spokesperson Judd Deere claims the president “did not hear the one statement made,” which is at the top of the video and clearly audible. POLITICO’s Oma Seddiq has more.
— Since the president’s flop of a Tulsa rally, Trump “has grudgingly conceded that he’s behind” in private and is looking to get more involved in his campaign, POLITICO’s Alex Isenstadt reported. And, stop me if you’ve heard this one before: “Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, who effectively oversees the campaign from the White House, is expected to play an even more active role.”
VEEPSTAKES — A vast majority of voters believe that Joe Biden’s vice presidential pick should not be influenced by the race of the candidate, The New York Times’ Alex Burns and Katie Glueck reported, citing the recent NYT/Siena College polling. More: “Four in five registered voters said that race shouldn’t be a factor in Mr. Biden’s selection of a running mate. That group included three-quarters of the black voters polled, and more than 8 in 10 white and Hispanic voters.”
PANDEMIC POLITICS — Vice President Mike Pence postponed campaign events in Florida and Arizona as both states experience a coronavirus spike, but he went on with an event in Texas on Sunday. POLITICO’s Evan Semones has more.
— The spike of coronavirus cases in the Sun Belt could present a serious electoral challenge for Trump.”Liberal outside groups and the Biden campaign have launched digital and TV ads in Florida, Arizona and Texas hitting Trump for allowing a second wave of coronavirus. The developments have buttressed Biden’s main argument against Trump: that he’s incapable of bringing stability or healing in a time of crisis,” POLITICO’s Natasha Korecki and Marc Caputo wrote. But “it’s still too soon to tell how the pandemic will affect voters in the three states.”
WEB WARS — The Democratic super PAC American Bridge announced it will drop $5 million on a digital campaign targeting seniors and small-town, rural voters to chip away Trump’s margin with them. The ads are a complement to a $20 million TV ad campaign hitting the same notes, and will run in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin through August.
TECH TALK — The Democratic National Committee has hired Hawkfish, the data company founded and funded by former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg, for a “small data contract,” McClatchy’s Alex Roarty reported.
STAFFING UP — The Biden campaign said that 35 percent of its full-time staff members are people of color, POLITICO’s Laura Barrón-López reported, the first time the campaign has fully disclosed diversity numbers.
THE ENFORCERS? — The quorum at the nation’s chief campaign finance watchdog lasted about a month. Hunter, a longtime commissioner who has served since the second Bush administration, announced on Friday that she would resign from her post, effective July 3. She’s taking a job on the legal team of the Koch-funded Stand Together. But this also means that the FEC will, once again, have three commissioners, short of the quorum required for the agency to take any major action. The agency just emerged from its longest shutdown ever, after Texas elections attorney Trey Trainor was confirmed by the Senate last month.
Shortly after Hunter announced her pending resignation, the White House said it intended to nominate Allen Dickerson, the legal director at the Institute for Free Speech, which broadly takes an anti-regulatory approach to campaign finance. The White House nominating Dickerson doesn’t guarantee it’ll be taken up anytime soon, however. Trainor’s nomination languished for years before he was ultimately confirmed. Read Daniel Lippman’s and my story for more.
TAKING A PASS — In a win for Rep. Roger Marshall (R-Kan.), the free-spending Club for Growth announced that it would be suspending its television ads in the state’s GOP Senate primary, Campaign Pro’s James Arkin reported (for Pros). “We continue to believe Rep. Marshall is not a strong pro-growth candidate,” David McIntosh, the president of the Club for Growth, said in a statement. “But the Club for Growth PAC is not endorsing in this race, and Club for Growth Action will be deploying resources in other critical House and Senate primaries.”
THE HOUSE MAP — The July 7 Democratic primary to face GOP Rep. Jeff Van Drew in NJ-02 has been an increasingly vitriolic and chaotic fight between Amy Kennedy and Brigid Callahan Harrison that has an interesting dynamic of “coming down to two powerful, yet very different political machines: the Kennedys versus South Jersey power brokers,” The Washington Post’s Paul Kane reported from the district. A big recent endorsement in the race: Gov. Phil Murphy backed Kennedy.
51ST STATE? — For the first time ever, a chamber of Congress voted to make Washington, D.C., a state. On Friday, the House passed, on an almost entirely party-line vote, a bill that would make D.C. the nation’s 51st state, POLITICO’s Sarah Ferris and Heather Caygle reported. (Minnesota Democrat Collin Peterson was the only member of the House to break ranks.) The bill will go absolutely nowhere in the Senate.
IN THE STATES — The Montana GOP and two minor party qualification committees broke Montana campaign finance laws “in a successful effort to qualify the Green Party of Montana for the primary ballot without the Green Party’s knowledge,” the AP’s Amy Beth Hanson reported. More: “The Republican Party failed to accurately report its $100,000 expenditure to Advanced Micro Targeting on its March 30 committee finance report, [Montana Commissioner of Political Practices Jeff] Mangan found, calling it a technical violation. The Republican Party had acknowledged paying for the signature gathering on March 24.”
FIRST IN SCORE — STAFFING UP — Kenia Morales will be the national director of Win Justice, a $30 million program from the Color of Change PAC, Community Change Action, SEIU, and Planned Parenthood Votes that targets infrequent voters of color. She was most recently Nevada state director of America Votes.
FIRST IN SCORE — ENDORSEMENT CORNER — The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is backing Sen. Ben Sasse’s (R-Neb.) reelection bid.
— FIRST IN SCORE — CHC BOLD PAC, the political arm of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, is endorsing four Democratic House candidates: Joyce Elliott (AR-02), Pat Timmons-Goodson (NC-08), Alyse Galvin (AK-AL) and Hillary Scholten (MI-03).
CODA — QUOTE OF THE DAY: “It’s not just pissing off Donald Trump. Anybody could do that,” Reed Galen, one of the co-founders of the anti-Trump PAC the Lincoln Project, to POLITICO.