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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

It's the storyline of a Republican nightmare: A mask-disdaining President Trump gets the coronavirus on the eve of the election, against a political backdrop that looks dire for Republicans.

Driving the news: Some top GOP operatives, privy to data from swing states, tell me that this week's chaotic presidential debate had a calamitous effect on Republican chances in tight Senate races.

  • "The bottom is falling out everywhere," said a longtime Republican insider.

This insider said the debate didn't faze hardcore Trumpers. But he said it turned off "open to Trump" swing voters, especially women in suburbs.

  • "Everyone knew Trump was capable of this kind of behavior," the insider said. "But these voters had never had 90 straight minutes of that behavior thrust in their faces."

An outside presidential adviser cautioned that Senate races "really turn on different voter impulses" than the presidential race.

  • This adviser thinks Sen. Thom Tillis will win in North Carolina.

Biden — mocked by Trump for masking up — campaigned in Michigan.

  • As word spread that Trump would fly to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., where the president remained overnight, the Biden campaign said it was taking down its attack ads.
  • Biden said he will "continue to pray for the health and safety of the president and his family."

The virus has swept through the top of the Republican Party, with 31 days until Election Day:

  • The President.
  • The First Lady.
  • RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel.
  • Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien, experiencing "mild flu-like symptoms."
  • Hope Hicks.
  • Kellyanne Conway, former counselor.
  • Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah)
  • Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.)
  • Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.)

Conway and two of the senators (Lee and Tillis) — along with Notre Dame President John Jenkins, who announced a positive test — attended last Saturday's Rose Garden event with Judge Amy Coney Barrett.

  • Few wore masks:
Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images
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Go deeper

Jan 8, 2021 - Health

Biden to release nearly all available COVID-19 vaccine doses to the public

Photo: Joshua Roberts/Getty Images

President-elect Joe Biden plans to release nearly all available coronavirus vaccine doses when he takes office, CNN reports.

Why it matters: Releasing nearly all doses would allow more people to get vaccinated with at least one dose. At the moment, the Trump administration is withholding half of U.S. vaccine production to ensure recipients receive their second dose, which is required by both the Moderna and Pfizer shots to ensure 95% efficacy.

"I want him out": GOP Sen. Murkowski calls on Trump to resign

Sen. Lisa Murkowski. Photo: Alex Edelman/AFP via Getty Images

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) told the Anchorage Daily News on Friday that she wants President Trump to resign, and if the GOP cannot separate itself from the president, she would "sincerely" question her future in the party.

Why it matters: Murkowski’s comments come as some Republicans signal they may be open to the possibility of removing Trump from office over his actions before, during and after Wednesday’s deadly siege on the U.S. Capitol.

Dominion sends cease and desist letter to My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell

Photo: Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

Dominion Voting Systems on Monday sent a cease and desist letter to My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell over his spread of misinformation related to the 2020 election.

Why it matters: Trump and several of his allies have pushed false conspiracy theories about the company, leading Dominion to take legal action. It's suing pro-Trump lawyer Sidney Powell for defamation and $1.3 billion in damages, and a Dominion employee has sued Trump himself, OANN and Newsmax.