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— Candidates battled over immigration and health care during the opening panel of the first Democratic primary debate — with another round coming tonight.
— Saving its most consequential decisions for the final day of its term, the Supreme Court is expected to rule this morning on cases involving partisan gerrymandering and a citizenship question on the census.
— Kentucky state House Minority Leader Rocky Adkins, the conservative Democrat who finished a surprising second in the state’s gubernatorial primary earlier this year, said he’s been asked to run against Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell next year and didn’t rule it out.
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Days until the Mississippi gubernatorial primary election: 39
Days until the NC-03 and NC-09 general elections: 75
Days until the Louisiana gubernatorial primary election: 107
Days until the Kentucky, Mississippi, New Jersey and Virginia general elections: 131
Days until the 2020 election: 495
DEBATE NIGHT — Debate, night one, is in the books. Ten Democrats tussled on stage in Miami, and 10 more will go later tonight (tonight’s round starts at 9 p.m., and you can stream it from NBC News; the POLITICO livechat starts at 8:30 p.m.). We’re not going to declare a winner of the first night — read HuffPost’s Ariel Edwards-Levy on why that’s foolhardy — but here are some moments that stood out (and check out Campaign Pro’s Steve Shepard‘s awards and demerits for the night).
— There were plenty of policy disagreements. Candidates dug in on health care and immigration in the opening hour of the debate. Perhaps the biggest divide came on health care, where Sen. Elizabeth Warren and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio both offered they’d abolish private health insurance in favor of a government-run plan, and the rest of the field did not. Warren gave a full-throated defense of Medicare for All, while former Rep. John Delaney presented why he believed private insurance should stay. There was a Texas showdown on immigration as well: Former HUD Secretary Julián Castro pushed former Rep. Beto O’Rourke on immigration, and why O’Rourke did not support repealing Section 1325 (Vox’s Dara Lind has a good explanation on what that is). Reps. Tulsi Gabbard and Tim Ryan sparred on the military’s role on the world stage in perhaps the most heated moment of the night.
— Democrats care about reaching a diverse electorate, and that was best illustrated by Sen. Cory Booker’s performance (who, according to a tracker from The Washington Post, got the most speaking time). Booker was one of three candidates who spoke in Spanish from the debate stage (Castro and O’Rourke were the other two), and he talked about the rights of trans Americans on stage, tying it to the struggle for civil rights that black Americans still fight for today. Ryan used his time to try to call attention to the “forgotten community” that he represents.
— The real GOP boogeyman is … maybe McConnell? Make no mistake: President Donald Trump’s policies loomed large over the debate — but candidates seemed largely focused on making an affirmative case for themselves rather than teeing off on the president. However, candidates largely ducked and dodged a question on how they’d handle a Senate run by McConnell if the Democrats do not take back the upper chamber. That’s a serious question; a McConnell-led Senate could present serious roadblocks to any of the best-laid plans a Democratic president has.
— Biden who? Conspicuously absent from the conversation was former Vice President Joe Biden. No one brought up the poll leader by name in the first debate (he’s on night two), and nobody really even implicitly critiqued him.
— Ten candidates on stage is tough. Crosstalk reigned on Monday night, with candidates jockeying to get a chunk of the limited time available. It is an unenviable position for the debate moderators to trying to corral a rowdy stage — but they’ll have to do it again tonight. And with that many candidates on stage, some issues got less time, notably climate change.
THE CASH DASH — The DNC is hosting a lunchtime fundraiser today in Miami, as bigwigs flocked to the city for the debate. “The fundraiser, according to a knowledgeable party source, is expected to bring in ‘multiple hundreds of thousands of dollars,’ but officials are tamping down expectations because South Florida’s sizable donor community often leaves town in the summer to beat the heat,” POLITICO’s Maggie Severns and Marc Caputo reported.
THE COUNTERPROGRAMMING —Trump’s campaign also made an incredibly expensive digital ad buy on debate day. “The campaign purchased what’s known as the masthead on YouTube, the space at the top of the site’s main page. It’s an ad buy that can cost as much as $1 million for 24 hours of reaching every person who visits the video-sharing site,” NPR’s Tamara Keith wrote. Bully Pulpit Interactive’s Daniel Hoffmann told Keith that as many as 80 million people see masthead ads in one day.
FIX YOUR SITES — A report for a nonprofit that advocates for the blind found that none of the presidential candidates’ websites “were compliant with the ADA” and fully accessible to the blind and visually impaired. The Miami Lighthouse for the Blind said a few campaigns reached out after the report’s publication to find out how to update their respective sites.
OFF THE STAGE — Montana Gov. Steve Bullock participated in a televised town hall on WHO-TV in Des Moines after he didn’t make the cut for the debates. Earlier Wednesday, Bullock was endorsed by Story County, Iowa Democratic chair Jan Bauer, a high profile endorsement in the state, per POLITICO’s Natasha Korecki.
STAFFING UP — Rep. Seth Moulton hired Jesse Colvin as his deputy national finance director, Jewish Insider’s Ben Jacobs reported. Colvin ran (and lost) in MD-01 in 2018.
LAST DAY OF SCHOOL — Today is the last day of the Supreme Court’s session, and it’ll be a doozy for election nerds. The high court is expected to rule today on two big issues: partisan gerrymandering and the citizenship question on the census, and decisions will be handed down starting at 10 a.m. There are two cases on partisan gerrymandering in front of the court: Rucho v. Common Cause, which is about gerrymanders in North Carolina favoring Republicans, and Lamone v. Benisek, which is about Democratic gerrymandering in Maryland. What to watch: Will the Supreme Court put any guardrails on gerrymandering, or will the next round of redistricting be a free-for-all?
The citizenship question will be decided in Department of Commerce v. New York. The case has taken a major turn this week, where the Department of Justice urged the Supreme Court to definitively rule on the legality of adding a citizenship question to the census. Some lower courts have ruled against the question. In addition, activists have recently gained access to files from a deceased GOP redistricting expert that showed he may have played a role in getting the question added, another twist.
THE SENATE MAP — Adkins, a Democrat, said he’s been asked about running against McConnell in 2020, the Lexington Herald-Leader’s Daniel Desrochers reported. Adkins, who finished second in the Democratic gubernatorial primary this year, did not rule out a run: “I’m not looking in any direction, I’m keeping my options open.”
— Republican businessman Dave Lindstrom, who played defensive end for the Kansas City Chiefs, plans to launch a Senate bid in Kansas today, The Associated Press’ John Hanna reported. Lindstrom joins state Treasurer Jake LaTurner as the only Republican officially in the race to succeed retiring Sen. Pat Roberts, though a handful of other GOP officials are considering the race, namely Rep. Roger Marshall, state Attorney General Derek Schmidt, former Gov. Jeff Colyer, state Senate President Susan Wagle and former Secretary of State Kris Kobach.
— A new poll for the Alabama GOP Senate primary has the race wide open, with no clear leader. The poll from Cygnal has former Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville in first with 29 percent, followed by Rep. Bradley Byrne’s 21 percent. Roy Moore is at 13 percent, Secretary of State John Merrill is at 12 percent and state Rep. Arnold Mooney is at 2 percent (612 likely GOP voters, June 22-23).
THE HOUSE MAP — Former Rep. Lynn Jenkins (R-Kan.) is advising Republican Sara Hart Weir, who is considering a challenge to Democratic Rep. Sharice Davids in KS-03, The Kansas City Star’s Bryan Lowry reported. Jenkins’ “company will serve as Weir’s general campaign consultant if the Mission Republican runs for the seat, said Jared Suhn, another Republican strategist who is advising Weir.” Meanwhile, former state GOP chair Amanda Adkins is also considering a run in the district. Both Weir and Adkins has met with the NRCC, Lowry reported.
— Kate Schroder, a Democrat and a health-care executive, is expected to announce a challenge to GOP Rep. Steve Chabot in OH-01 soon, the Cincinnati Business Courier’s Chris Wetterich reported.
TIME FOR BACKUP — Iowa Values, a conservative nonprofit, is trying to boost Sen. Joni Ernst ahead of an expected competitive reelection fight next year. The group’s plan “includes a six-figure investment in digital advertising and a canvassing effort with the goal of knocking on 150,000 doors through the summer and fall,” Campaign Pro’s James Arkin reported. “The organization’s board includes former Rep. Tom Tauke, Johnston Mayor Paula Dierenfeld, and political strategist Sara Fagen, who previously worked on President George W. Bush’s campaigns and as a political director in his administration.”
PRIMARY PROBLEMS — Progressive groups are adding New York City Democratic Rep. Gregory Meeks to their primary target list after Tiffany Cabán, a fellow progressive, has held on to a narrow lead in the Democratic primary for Queens district attorney, BuzzFeed News’ Kadia Goba reported. Local activists signaled they wanted to target Meeks, and several progressive groups — like Brand New Congress and Justice Democrats — have been critical of him. Here’s more on the Queens DA race from The New York Times’ Jeffery Mays and Jan Ransom (the race is still too close to call, but Cabán has about a 1,100 vote lead as of Wednesday night).
ENDORSEMENT CORNER — Americans for Prosperity Action endorsed Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.), its firth endorsement of the cycle.
CODA — QUOTE OF THE DAY: “Instead of downing a shot, do a downward dog.” — Marianne Williamson’s press team in an email to reporters, suggesting they skip debate-related drinking games.