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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

Dave Lawler, author of World
1 hour ago - World

How Biden might tackle the Iran deal

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Four more years of President Trump would almost certainly kill the Iran nuclear deal — but the election of Joe Biden wouldn’t necessarily save it.

The big picture: Rescuing the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) is near the top of Biden's foreign policy priority list. He says he'd re-enter the deal once Iran returns to compliance, and use it as the basis on which to negotiate a broader and longer-lasting deal with Iran.

Kamala Harris, the new left's insider

Photo illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios. Photo: Joe Buglewicz/Getty Images     

Progressive leaders see Sen. Kamala Harris, if she's elected vice president, as their conduit to a post-Biden Democratic Party where the power will be in younger, more diverse and more liberal hands.

  • Why it matters: The party's rising left sees Harris as the best hope for penetrating Joe Biden's older, largely white inner circle.

If Biden wins, Harris will become the first woman, first Black American and first Indian American to serve as a U.S. vice president — and would instantly be seen as the first in line for the presidency should Biden decide against seeking a second term.

Updated 9 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Large coronavirus outbreaks leading to high death rates — Coronavirus cases are at an all-time high ahead of Election Day — U.S. tops 88,000 COVID-19 cases, setting new single-day record.
  2. Politics: States beg for Warp Speed billions.
  3. World: Taiwan reaches a record 200 days with no local coronavirus cases.
  4. 🎧Podcast: The vaccine race turns toward nationalism.