Morning must reads for Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Good Wednesday morning from Salt Lake City. Today is the 277th day of the year. There are 88 days remaining in 2017.

The clock:

  • 13 days until ballots for the 2017 general election are mailed to voters (10/17/2017)
  • 34 days until the 2017 election (11/7/2017)
  • 110 days until the opening day of the 2018 Utah Legislature (1/22/2018)
  • 155 days until the final day of the 2018 Utah Legislature (3/8/2018)
  • 398 days until the 2018 midterm elections (11/6/2018)
  • 1,126 days until the 2020 presidential election (11/3/2020)

Today’s political TL; DR –

  • Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams is considering running against Rep. Mia Love next year. He certainly has her attention as Love has already begun using McAdams as a fundraising subject, calling him “a (Nancy) Pelosi-approved liberal” in a fundraising email. McAdams is clearly a threat, as a deep dive into polling numbers shows he could be an unusually strong challenger [Utah Policy].
  • Utah lawmakers say they don’t expect to consider any new gun restrictions or regulations in the wake of the Las Vegas massacre [Utah Policy].
  • Mitt Romney endorses Republican John Curtis in next month’s 3rd District special election [Deseret News].
  • The new ambassador to Russia Jon Huntsman meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin who tells him the current relationship between the U.S. And Russia is not satisfactory [Deseret News].
  • The Salt Lake County Council approves more than $300,000 in new funding to hire more prosecutors to deal with the glut of cases stemming from arrests in Operation Rio Grande [Deseret News, Tribune].
  • The Salt Lake City Council gives the thumb’s up to a plan to include Indigenous People’s Day alongside Columbus Day [Deseret News, Tribune].
  • Rep. Mia Love has pulled in the most campaign cash from the gun lobby among Utah’s members of Congress [KUTV].
  • Financial disclosures show there’s big money fueling three of the five proposed ballot initiatives aiming for the 2018 ballot [Tribune].
  • Utahn Randal Quarles is a nominee to the Federal Reserve Board, but due to a quirky geographic diversity rule from the last century has him insisting he’s actually from Colorado [Tribune].
  • Utah Democrats are hoping the Supreme Court rules favorably to them in a Wisconsin case challenging using partisan data to gerrymander state legislative districts [Tribune].
  • Some low-income advocates are worried Congress won’t act soon enough to renew a critical health insurance program for children [Deseret News].
  • Rep. Ray Ward is pitching a program to have the state and federal governments pay for birth control for low-income women [Tribune].
  • The next round of oil and gas lease auctions on public lands in Utah is running into protests from environmental groups [Tribune].
  • Here’s the first episode of a brand new podcast on cybersecurity [Utah Policy].

National headlines: 

  • War between the White House and Congress! Vice President Mike Pence‘s chief of staff, Nick Ayers, suggested that there needs to be a “purge” of Republican lawmakers who are not loyal to President Trump. He called on wealthy donors to withhold campaign funds from those lawmakers unless they fall in line behind the president. As you might imagine, Congressional leaders are not pleased with the remarks [Politico].
  • Wow! Secretary of State Rex Tillerson threatened to resign this past summer, requiring an intervention from Vice President Mike Pence. Tillerson reportedly referred to Trump as a “moron” following a July meeting with Trump and his national security team [NBC News].
  • More Republicans in the Senate are willing to publicly rebuke President Trump, which could jeopardize tax reform [Politico].
  • Russia investigation: Some of the Russian-linked Facebook ads targeted voters in Michigan and Wisconsin, two states President Donald Trump barely won which played a crucial role in his Electoral College win in 2016 [CNN].
  • Las Vegas:
    • The gunman who killed 59 people at a country music concert meticulously planned his assault over three days, setting up cameras in the hallway outside of the hotel room where he fired on the crowd to warn him when police started to close in [New York Times].
    • WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT. Pictures of the crime scene have leaked online (don’t click if you are easily upset) [Daily Mail].
    • Here’s a tick-tock of how police zeroed in on the shooter’s room as he continued to fire into the crowd [Washington Post].
    • The shooter was prescribed an anti-anxiety drug earlier this summer that could lead to aggressive behavior [Las Vegas Review-Journal].
    • President Donald Trump plans to visit Las Vegas on Wednesday to meet with survivors of the massacre [Associated Press].
  • Drain the swamp? House Speaker Paul Ryan asked the Trump White House to reconsider the ouster of Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, who resigned last week over his use of private aircraft for travel. Ryan is a longtime friend of Price [Politico].
  • The White House plans to seek a $29 billion disaster aid package from Congress [Associated Press].
  • President Donald Trump vows he will help Puerto Rico get out from under the crippling $73 billion debt to aid in their disaster relief efforts, but it’s unclear if he has the power to do that [New York Times].
  • New poll #1: Americans are increasingly trusting of the press, despite President Trump branding the media as “the enemy” [Reuters].
  • New poll #2: 48% of Americans say they approve of the president’s tax reform proposal [Politico].
  • Facepalm! The IRS awards a $7.25 million, no-bid contract to Equifax to help prevent taxpayer fraud [Politico].
  • Charles Goodwin, who President Donald Trump nominated to serve as a US district judge, has received a “not qualified” rating from the American Bar Association [BuzzFeed].
  • Ugh. Staunch pro-life GOP Rep. Tim Murphy suggested a woman he had an extramarital affair with have an abortion after he allegedly got her pregnant [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette].
  • GOP Rep. Steve King employs family members as full-time campaign staffers, which is an unusual move for a member of Congress [Des Moines Register].

On this day in history:

  • 1927 – Gutzon Borglum begins sculpting Mount Rushmore.
  • 1957 – The launch of Sputnik 1, the first artificial satellite to orbit the Earth.
  • 2006 – Wikileaks is launched by Julian Assange.