Morning must reads for Monday, August 7, 2017

Good Monday morning from Salt Lake City. Today is the 219th day of the year. There are 146 days remaining in 2017.

John Curtis still leads the fundraising race in Utah’s 3rd CD. Ben McAdams went undercover as a homeless person in downtown Salt Lake City. Mike Pence pushes back against reports he’s setting himself up for a run in 2020.

The clock:

  • 8 days until the 2017 Utah primary election (8/15/2017)
  • 92 days until the 2017 election (11/7/2017)
  • 168 days until the opening day of the 2018 Utah Legislature (1/22/2018)
  • 213 days until the final day of the 2018 Utah Legislature (3/8/2018)
  • 456 days until the 2018 midterm elections (11/6/2018)
  • 1,184 days until the 2020 presidential election (11/3/2020)

Today’s political TL; DR –

  • Provo Mayor John Curtis continues to lead the fundraising battle in the GOP 3rd CD primary election. Financial disclosures show Tanner Ainge spent about $9 per signature to secure a place on the ballot [Utah Policy].
  • Our “Political Insiders” doubt new White House Cheif of Staff John Kelly will be able to bring discipline to the West Wing [Utah Policy].
  • Ric Cantrell, the chief of staff for the Utah Senate, is leaving that job after more than a decade to take the same position with Attorney General Sean Reyes [Utah Policy].
  • Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams spent three days and two nights undercover as a homeless person in downtown Salt Lake City in March [Deseret News, Tribune].
  • Former Utah Sen. Steve Urquhart lashes out at what he calls “secretive” and “puppet string” lobbying of the Utah Legislature by the LDS Church [Tribune].
  • Former Utah Gov. Mike Leavitt says rural leaders should take a proactive approach to preserving public lands to avoid what happened with the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monument [Deseret News].
  • Ballots are chock full of candidates competing in primary elections across the state later this month [Deseret News].
  • Republican Salt Lake County Councilman Max Burdick is jumping into the race to replace retired County Recorder Gary Ott [Deseret News, Tribune].
  • Are Utah’s reforms to the criminal justice system working? In some cases yes, while in other’s it’s not [Deseret News].
  • Emails show Huntsman Cancer Institute CEO Mary Beckerle was fired shortly after she raised objections about the institute’s funding to the administration [Deseret News, Tribune].
  • North Ogden Mayor Brent Taylor, a Utah Transit Authority trustee, is still raising questions about a $10,000 campaign donation made to UTA’s vice-chairwoman Sherrie Hall Everett for her race for Provo mayor from a construction company [Deseret News].
  • The Utah Democratic Party taps Alex Cragun as their new executive director [Utah Policy].
  • A program allowing drug users to exchange dirty needles for clean ones is an unexpected flash point in the fight against illegal drugs on Utah’s streets, with critics saying the exchange is enabling more drug use [Tribune].

National headlines:

  • Vice President Mike Pence is pushing back hard against reports he plans to run for president in 2020 if Donald Trump opts not to run for another term [New York Times].
  • Deputy FBI Director Rod Rosenstein says special counsel Robert Mueller is free to pursue an investigation into any crimes he may uncover as part of his probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 election [Washington Post].
  • New White House Chief of Staff John Kelly is moving quickly to defuse President Donald Trump’s habit of sending out inflammatory statements via Twitter [Bloomberg].
  • All politicians stretch the truth, but President Donald Trump has elevated lying to unprecedented heights during his time in the White House [New York Times].
  • Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake is ramping up his attacks on President Donald Trump and his fellow Republicans, saying he wished the GOP had fought back against those who questioned whether former President Barack Obama was born in the U.S. [Washington Post].
  • North Korea is vowing revenge following the approval of harsh new economic sanctions by the United Nations [Associated Press].
  • Penalties imposed by Wall Street regulators have fallen sharply during the first six months of Donald Trump‘s presidency compared to the first six months of last year [Wall Street Journal].
  • President Donald Trump‘s decision to nix the TPP trade agreement hurt U.S. agricultural producers who would have had access to new markets for their goods [Politico].
  • Silicon Valley is reeling following the publication of an anonymous 3,300-word manifesto railing against hiring for diversity’s sake [CNN].

On this day in history:

  • 1942 – U.S. forces landed at Guadalcanal, marking the start of the first major allied offensive in the Pacific during World War II.
  • 1964 – Congress passed the Gulf of Tonkin resolution, giving President Lyndon B. Johnson broad powers to deal with reported North Vietnamese attacks on U.S. forces.
  • 1974 – French stuntman Philippe Petit walked a tightrope strung between the twin towers of New York’s World Trade Center.