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Supporters at a campaign rally for Beto O'Rourke. Photo: Loren Elliott/Getty Images

Despite raising $60 million, Beto O'Rourke — who's on our Axios 8 for 2018 list — still faces an uphill battle in turning Texas blue, per CNBC. For context, Sen. Ted Cruz has raised $35 million.

The big picture: "Despite his staggering cash haul and quick rise to national prominence, O'Rourke still appears to be an underdog. No recent independent poll has shown him closer than 5 percentage points behind Cruz," CNBC notes. Watch for early voting, which started this week in Texas, and whether Trump's visit to the state on Monday energizes Republican voters.

Go deeper

Mike Allen, author of AM
17 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Manchin's next power play

Photo: "Axios on HBO"

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), America's ultimate swing voter, told me on "Axios on HBO" that he'll insist Republicans have more of a voice on President Biden's next big package than they did on the COVID stimulus.

The big picture: Manchin said he'll push for tax hikes to pay for Biden's upcoming infrastructure and climate proposal, and will use his Energy Committee chairmanship to force the GOP to confront climate reality.

Why picking a jury for the Derek Chauvin trial is so hard

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The tough task of selecting a jury for former MPD officer Derek Chauvin's trial for the killing of George Floyd is set to begin Monday.

The state of play: "This case may be the most highly publicized criminal trial in a long time. ... That means that it's harder to find people who really have an open mind," Richard Frase, University of Minnesota Law School professor of criminal law, told Axios.

Why it's so hard to sign up for vaccinations online

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The verdict from Americans trying to get the COVID vaccine is in: the sign-up websites are awful.

Why it matters: Appointment systems are a vital part of getting Americans vaccinated, but a series of missed opportunities, at every level, left local governments scrambling. And the frustrating, confusing process now carries the risk that some people will simply give up.