Morning must reads for Monday, July 17, 2017

Good Monday morning from Salt Lake City. Today is the 198th day of the year. There are 167 days remaining in 2017.

John Curtis leading the GOP money race. Donald Trump’s approval falls to historic lows. GOP health care bill is on life support.

The clock:

  • 8 days until ballots for the August primary are mailed to voters (7/25/2017)
  • 29 days until the 2017 Utah primary election (8/15/2017)
  • 113 days until the 2017 election (11/7/2017)
  • 189 days until the opening day of the 2018 Utah Legislature (1/22/2018)
  • 234 days until the final day of the 2018 Utah Legislature (3/8/2018)
  • 477 days until the 2018 midterm elections (11/6/2018)
  • 1,205 days until the 2020 presidential election (11/3/2020)

Today’s political TL; DR –

  • Provo Mayor John Curtis is leading the fundraising race in the August GOP primary. Curtis has more than $200,000 in the bank. Interestingly, most of Curtis’ donors come from inside Utah, while Chris Herrod and Tanner Ainge are relying primarily upon out of state support [Utah Policy].
  • Our “Political Insiders” are at least open to the idea that Donald Trump’s campaign could have colluded with the Russian government during the 2016 presidential election [Utah Policy].
  • On this week’s “Beg to Differ” podcast, Bryan Schott and guest host State Auditor John Dougall speak with Rep. Chris Stewart who discusses Trump, Russia, North Korea, and cyber security [Utah Policy].
  • Television commercials for the August 15 GOP primary will begin airing on Monday [Deseret News].
  • The United Utah Party goes before a federal judge in their effort to place Jim Bennett on the ballot in November’s special congressional election under their party banner [Deseret News, Tribune].
  • A judge has upheld the request by the family of troubled Salt Lake County Recorder Gary Ott to become his guardian. Ott’s lawyer says they will review his finances over the past few years to see if there are any irregularities stemming from the time that his reported girlfriend, Karmen Sanone, was helping him [Deseret News].
  • The state school board is starting the process to revise Utah’s health education standards, which will likely spark a fight over sex education [Deseret News, Tribune].
  • Outgoing Salt Lake County Sheriff Jim Winder talks about why he’s leaving that job to become the police chief in Moab [Deseret News].
  • Daggett County is trying to figure out what to do with its jail that is sitting empty. Options include housing prisoners from the state or Salt Lake County [Tribune].
  • West Jordan is the latest city to ban aerial fireworks [Deseret News].

National headlines:

  • President Donald Trump‘s approval rating has dipped to 36%, with 58% of Americans disapproving of his job performance [Washington Post].
  • We’re heading into the second half of President Donald Trump‘s first year in office, and time is running out for him to turn around his struggling presidency [USA Today].
  • Republicans have delayed a vote on their health care bill until after Arizona Sen. John McCain returns from eye surgery. That could be longer than anticipated, which could have big implications for attempts to pass the bill [New York Times].
  • The current GOP health care bill could be in trouble as eight to 10 Republicans reportedly have serious reservations about the legislation. Republican Senators Susan Collins and Rand Paul already oppose the bill. If one more Republican votes against the bill, it will fail [Reuters].
  • While the controversy surrounding Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election shows no signs of dying down, what did Vladimir Putin actually gain by interfering last year? [New York Magazine]
  • Even though Russia used “fake news” to disrupt the 2016 election, they probably didn’t break any laws [Huffington Post]. 
  • Federal Election Commission officials aren’t sure how to respond to Russian interference in the 2016 election or how to prevent it from happening again [The Hill].
  • President Donald Trump has declared this “Made in America” week to focus on products made in the USA, but he’s coming under fire because most of the products that bear his name are made in overseas factories [Huffington Post].
  • A number of top Republicans in Congress aren’t signing on for President Donald Trump‘s war on the media [BuzzFeed].
  • Here’s a little-known danger from the opioid crisis. Needles are turning up everywhere, including hiking trails and playgrounds [Associated Press].

On this day in history:

  • 1821 – Spain ceded Florida to the United States.
  • 1918 – Russia’s Czar Nicholas II, his wife and their five children were executed by the Bolsheviks.
  • 1936 – The Spanish Civil War began as Gen. Francisco Franco led an uprising of army troops based in North Africa.
  • 1945 – President Harry S. Truman, Soviet leader Josef Stalin and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill began meeting at Potsdam in the final Allied summit of World War II.
  • 1955 – Disneyland opened in Anaheim, Calif.