Morning must reads for Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Good Wednesday morning from Salt Lake City. Today is the 193rd day of the year. There are 172 days remaining in 2017.

A new poll shows all of the GOP candidates in the 3rd CD would have a lead on Democrat Kathie Allen, but only John Curtis has a majority right now. Our Schools Now holds public hearings about their school funding proposal. Donald Trump Jr. tweets out the evidence that he met with a Russian lawyer offering dirt on Hillary Clinton.

The clock:

  • 13 days until ballots for the August primary are mailed to voters (7/25/2017)
  • 34 days until the 2017 Utah primary election (8/15/2017)
  • 118 days until the 2017 election (11/7/2017)
  • 194 days until the opening day of the 2018 Utah Legislature (1/22/2018)
  • 239 days until the final day of the 2018 Utah Legislature (3/8/2018)
  • 482 days until the 2018 midterm elections (11/6/2018)
  • 1,210 days until the 2020 presidential election (11/3/2020)

Today’s political TL; DR –

  • NEW POLL: In a hypothetical head-to-head matchup, Provo Mayor John Curtis gets a majority of support over Democrat Kathie Allen. However, Chris Herrod and Tanner Ainge only pull about 40% support against the Democratic nominee [Utah Policy].
  • The candidates for the GOP nomination in the 3rd District special election debate in Utah County. Very few differences between the three men emerge from the discussion [Deseret News, Tribune, Daily Herald, KUTV, Fox 13].
  • Sen. Orrin Hatch says the story surrounding Donald Trump Jr.‘s contacts with a Russian lawyer with purported connections to the Kremlin is “overblown” [Tribune].
  • Sen. Mike Lee says he welcomes the decision to delay the August recess so the Senate can continue working on an Obamacare repeal measure [Utah Policy, Deseret News, Tribune].
  • Sen. Lee says he will vote against any Senate health care plan unless an amendment allowing insurance companies to sell policies that don’t comply with Obamacare regulations is part of the package [Tribune].
  • The Our Schools Now group, which is seeking a sales and income tax hike to boost education funding, held seven required public hearings on the proposal Tuesday night [Deseret News, Tribune].
  • The Downtown Alliance releases a list of 10 steps that are needed to quell the homeless crisis in downtown Salt Lake City [Utah Policy, Deseret News, Tribune].
  • Some Utah cities are catching heat for boosting user fees instead of raising taxes to help their budgets [Tribune].
  • More than 400,000 people submitted public comments on the Bears Ears National Monument after Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke re-opened the public comment period [Associated Press].
  • Bombastic political reporter Rod Decker says he will retire in September to spend time taking care of his wife who is ill [Tribune]. 
  • The Salt Lake County Council wants the state auditor to look into the Mountain Accord now that a judge has ruled the organization is subject to the state’s open meetings statute [Deseret NewsTribune].

National headlines:

  • Email firestorm. Donald Trump Jr. released an email chain showing he was offered incriminating evidence about Hillary Clinton from a person purporting to be part of a Russian government effort to aid his father’s campaign [New York Times].
  • Donald Trump‘s White House has been plunged into chaos following the release of Trump Jr.’s emails. Staffers are viewing each other with suspicion over who is leaking information about the story to the press, while others are privately acknowledging the story is a PR disaster [Washington Post, New York Times, Politico].
  • The Russian lawyer Donald Trump Jr. met with is denying she has ties to Russian intelligence agencies, but there is plenty of evidence to doubt those claims [McClatchy].
  • The email reveal does put Trump Jr. legal jeopardy as he may have violated U.S. election law by soliciting campaign support from a foreign national [Reuters].
  • Congressional investigators along with the Justice Department are looking into the Trump campaign’s digital operation, run by Jared Kushner, and whether it helped facilitate Russian attacks on Hillary Clinton [McClatchy].
  • Senate Republicans will unveil their latest health care proposal on Thursday [The Hill].
  • It’s almost assured that Los Angeles will be awarded the 2024 or 2028 Summer Olympics [Los Angeles Times].

On this day in history:

  • 1862 – Congress authorized the Medal of Honor.
  • 1984 – Democratic presidential candidate Walter F. Mondale named New York Congresswoman Geraldine A. Ferraro his running mate, making her the first woman to run on a major party ticket.