Morning must reads for Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Good Tuesday morning from Salt Lake City. Today is the 206th day of the year. There are 159 days remaining in 2017.

The top lobbyist for the LDS Church is a finalist to head a key legislative office. A super PAC is spending big bucks in the GOP congressional primary. Donald Trump keeps the pressure up on Jeff Sessions.

The clock:

  • Ballots for the August primary election are mailed to voters today (7/25/2017)
  • 21 days until the 2017 Utah primary election (8/15/2017)
  • 105 days until the 2017 election (11/7/2017)
  • 181 days until the opening day of the 2018 Utah Legislature (1/22/2018)
  • 226 days until the final day of the 2018 Utah Legislature (3/8/2018)
  • 469 days until the 2018 midterm elections (11/6/2018)
  • 1,197 days until the 2020 presidential election (11/3/2020)

Today’s political TL; DR –

  • The top lobbyist for the LDS Church is one of five finalists to head up the Office of Legislative Research and General Counsel [Utah Policy].
  • Mike Christensen, who headed up the Office of Legislative Research and General Counsel for 17 years is retiring next month [Utah Policy].
  • The National Horizon super PAC is dropping big bucks to oppose John Curtis and support Chris Herrod in the August GOP congressional primary [Utah Policy].
  • This week’s “Beg to Differ” podcast features an interview with Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Jenny Wilson. Wilson discusses whether she considers herself part of “the resistance” to Donald Trump‘s presidency [Utah Policy].
  • Our “Political Insiders” say they’re doubtful that Republicans in Congress will be able to repeal and replace Obamacare [Utah Policy].
  • Texas Sen. Ted Cruz will visit Utah on Saturday to give Chris Herrod‘s congressional campaign a boost [Tribune].
  • A little more than 200 members of the public have weighed in on Utah’s proposed bare bones Medicaid expansion [Tribune].

National headlines:

  • President Donald Trump slammed Attorney General Jeff Sessions for taking a “weak position on Hillary Clinton crimes” during a Tuesday morning Tweet storm [The Hill].
  • President Trump has spoken to aides about replacing Sessions as Attorney General. Some names being floated as possible replacements include former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz [Washington Post]. 
  • Republicans in the Senate will vote to begin debate on a plan to either repeal or repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. However, nobody knows what’s in the bill, what it does or what they even want to be in the legislation [Roll Call].
  • Just one week after being diagnosed with brain cancer, Sen. John McCain will return to the Senate on Tuesday to participate in the Republican health care vote [Politico].
  • Former House Speaker John Boehner says Republicans will “never” repeal and replace Obamacare because “the American people have gotten used to it” [Washington Post].
  • President Donald Trump visited the Boy Scout National Jamboree on Monday where he attacked the media, threatened the job of Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price and recapped his electoral college win over Hillary Clinton [USA Today].
  • New White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci is looking to purge staff to crack down on leaks to the media [Washington Post].
  • Congressional Democrats are starting to push a message for 2018 that takes aim at big companies and corporate monopolies [Axios].
  • Curios. Brian Benczkowski, President Trump’s pick to lead the Justice Department’s criminal division, disclosed he represented Alfa Bank, a big Russian bank with ties to Vladimir Putin [New York Times].
  • Boring but important. House Democrats banded together with a few Republicans to defeat two relatively non-controversial bills after arguing the expedited process to consider both pieces of legislation was inappropriate [Politico].

On this day in history:

  • 1868 – Congress passed an act creating the Wyoming Territory.
  • 1946 – The United States detonated an atomic bomb at Bikini Atoll in the Pacific in the first underwater test of the device.
  • 1952 – Puerto Rico became a self-governing commonwealth of the United States.
  • 1978 – The first baby conceived by in-vitro fertilization was born in Oldham, England.