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Bolton visits the White House in October. Photo: Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

John Bolton will be in the mix this year. The hawkish former UN ambassador — whose name I often hear mentioned when sources game out the next phase of Trump's national security team — launches on Thursday what he says will be a $1 million advertising campaign to support Kevin Nicholson in the Republican Senate primary in Wisconsin.

Why this matters: Bolton remains an influential, if controversial, voice in Republican foreign policy, advocating a tear-it-up position with the Iran nuclear deal and muscular military actions around the world.

  • This is the first time Bolton has weighed into a Republican primary, and if history's any guide he'll have a lot of money to play with this cycle.
  • Through the past two campaign cycles he's raised and spent more than $20 million through his various groups, including his super-PAC. Bolton told me his goal is to raise and spend $25 million in the 2018 midterms.

Why Nicholson? Bolton tells me he's impressed by Nicholson's credentials — a former Marine who was once a high-profile college Democrat but became a Republican after his time in the service.

  • He said he looks for two things in the candidates he supports: First that they share Bolton's view of "America's place in the world" and second that they have the potential to be an "opinion leader" when they arrive in Washington.
  • The hawkish senator Tom Cotton — who Bolton supported and has become a major force in D.C. and could one day be Trump's CIA director — is a good example of what Bolton is searching for.
  • Bolton says he expects to endorse and financially support as many as 90 candidates for Congress this cycle. I'm told that the last two cycles, he gave to more than 70 and 80 candidates, respectively.

Go deeper

Home confinees face imminent return to prison

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Thousands of prisoners who've been in home confinement for as long as a year because of the pandemic face returning to prison when it's over — unless President Biden rescinds a last-minute Trump Justice Department memo.

Why it matters: Most prisoners were told they would not have to come back as they were released early with ankle bracelets. Now, their lives are on hold while they wait to see whether or when they may be forced back behind bars. Advocates say about 4,500 people are affected.

The "essential" committee that still doesn't exist

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images

Nearly five months after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced the creation of the bipartisan Select Committee on Economic Disparity and Fairness in Growth, it's not been formed much less met.

Why it matters: Select committees are designed to address urgent matters, but the 117th Congress is now nearly one-quarter complete without this panel assembling. When she announced this committee, Pelosi described it as an "essential force" to "combat the crisis of income and wealth disparity in America."

Biden's ethics end-around for labor

President Biden surveys a water treatment plant during a visit to New Orleans today. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

The Biden administration is excusing top officials from ethics rules that would otherwise restrict their work with large labor unions that previously employed them, federal records show.

Why it matters: Labor's sizable personnel presence in the administration is driving policy, and the president's appointment of top union officials to senior posts gives those unions powerful voices in the federal bureaucracy — even at the cost of strictly adhering to his own stringent ethics standards.