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Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

The Senate Leadership Fund, a political action committee linked to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, is funding ads aimed at disrupting North Carolina's Democratic Senate primary, AP reports.

Why it matters: The seat currently held by Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) is a primary target for Democrats in 2020 as they aim to flip the Senate. The McConnell-backed ads are aimed to support state Sen. Erica Smith at the expense of former state Sen Cal Cunningham, who has the backing of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.

  • Cunningham's campaign has also greatly outraised Smith's thus far.

The state of play: An FEC filing this week shows the Faith and Power PAC, which ran ads that backed Smith and argued Cunningham was too moderate on gun control and LGBT issues, received all of its $2.95 million from the Senate Leadership Fund.

  • Before the filing confirmed the source of Faith and Power's cash, North Carolina Democrats already believed that Republicans had backed the ads to drive Cunningham to spend more money.
  • A spokesperson for the Tillis campaign told AP that the senator knew nothing about Faith and Power except what was said in news reports.

The other side: Cunningham created his own ad accusing Republicans of "meddling" in the primary even before the revelation in the FEC filing.

A tweet previously embedded here has been deleted or was tweeted from an account that has been suspended or deleted.

Worth noting: North Carolina Senate races have a history of getting expensive. More than $121 million was spent during the 2014 Senate race between Kay Hagan and Tillis — mostly by outside groups.

Go deeper: These Senate seats are up for election in 2020

Go deeper

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
40 mins ago - Economy & Business

Why it's so hard to tax wealth

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The wealth tax that wasn't a wealth tax isn't even a tax, now. The Democrats had a meticulously constructed 107-page proposal to pay for a large chunk of their spending plans with a tax on billionaires, but it died ignobly on Wednesday, the same day it was unveiled.

Why it matters: The dream of a wealth tax will never die as it so neatly generates revenue by reducing inequality. But there are three main reasons why that dream is likely to remain just a dream for the foreseeable future.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
2 hours ago - Health

Public health messaging lessons for the next pandemic

Illustration: Megan Robinson/Axios

"Be first, be right, be credible" is the mantra of public health experts in a crisis. It's difficult to argue that the health community has regularly managed to be any of those three during COVID-19.

Why it matters: A pandemic isn't just a medical emergency — it's also a communications emergency. The U.S. public health establishment, hamstrung by bad data and political interference, has struggled with the latter.

How Hertz is fighting to stay relevant

A Hertz car rental counter in the Miami International Airport. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

In the span of less than a week, Hertz has made three big strategic moves intended to keep the car rental giant from fading into oblivion.

Why it matters: Ride-hailing and other mobility innovations are rapidly changing the way people get from A to B, posing an existential threat to traditional car rental services.