☕️ Good Thursday morning ...
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios
Top Republicans tell Jonathan Swan and me that they're seeing a surprising and widespread surge in GOP voter enthusiasm, powered largely by support for Brett Kavanaugh and his Supreme Court nomination.
In North Dakota, one of the top races, a Fox News poll yesterday showed Republican challenger Kevin Cramer leading Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D) by 12 points (53%-41%) — up from four points last month.
Another stark example:
Across the critical midterm states, Republicans point to a major mood swing among voters — what one top operative called a "tidal shift."
⚠️ Caution from Swan: This doesn't mean GOP problems are solved. They still have a huge problem with independent voters.
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy said on a conference call with some major donors yesterday that fresh party polling showed the Kavanaugh fight had awakened Republican voters in some key House districts.
Be smart: Steven Law — a former McConnell chief of staff who runs the Senate Leadership Fund, a super PAC — warned that hard data is limited so far. But he said "a broad bitstream of calls, emails, cabbie conversations and other inputs from non-D.C. sources ... suggest a strongly negative reaction that is building far beyond the Beltway to where the Democrats and the media have taken this."
The FBI's new report on Brett Kavanaugh has been delivered to the White House and the Senate Judiciary Committee.
An administration source tells me there's nothing in it that's likely to stall confirmation.
White House spokesman Raj Shah said in a statement emailed at 2:29 a.m.:
The Senate plans to begin a series of votes tomorrow, with the final vote expected over the weekend.
Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios
The news media is the second most trusted source for political news (46%), yet it scores well below “friends and family” at 71%.
This woman is using the recovered mobile phone of her daughter, who was killed in the massive earthquake and tsunami that hit an Indonesian island and killed more than 1,400.
"The US Navy's Pacific Fleet has drawn up a classified proposal to carry out a global show of force as a warning to China and to demonstrate the US is prepared to deter and counter their military actions," CNN Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr reports:
Malicious chips inserted in servers during the manufacturing process gave China a stealth doorway into U.S. networks, Jordan Robertson and Michael Riley report in a Bloomberg Businessweek cover story:
The minimum net worth to get on Forbes' list of the 400 richest Americans has hit an all-time high of $2.1 billion, according to the magazine:
"Donald Trump’s ranking dropped to No. 259 [from 248] ... but his net worth remained the same from last year at $3.1 billion."
For an employer-provided family health plan, average annual premiums rose 5% this year to $19,616, according to the yearly poll of employers by the nonprofit Kaiser Family Foundation. (Wall Street Journal)
Last week's "confrontation between protesters and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) and his wife lasted only a minute or so. The fallout for Fiola, the downtown restaurant where the incident took place, has continued for days," chef and co-owner Fabio Trabocchi tells the WashPost's Tim Carman.
"The outrage machine immediately engaged. Fiola’s social media accounts were attacked. Its Yelp page was bombarded with ... one-star smears ... Fiola’s phone and reservation lines were tied up with calls — sometimes 50 calls a day from the same number."
Why it matters: "Dining disruptions have clearly become a tool for progressives looking to express their frustration at the Trump administration and its supporters."
Lady Gaga, 32, "has, over the last decade, arguably moved the entire pop apparatus toward forceful weirdness," Rachel Syme writes in the N.Y. Times Magazine:
"Gaga swerved again, and again, and again":
"I asked Gaga ... what we can expect from her next phase. Of course, there’s Vegas and a new record on the way, and she’s reading piles of scripts. But she really didn’t want to discuss any of that. Instead, she just smiled enigmatically. 'Oh,' she sighed. 'I’m just shape-shifting again.'"
About that cover: Photographer Marilyn Minter "had Lady Gaga sit behind a pane of frozen glass and spray it from an airbrush filled with rubbing alcohol and water. Minter then shot her through the glass, as the droplets, streaks and mists continually changed the surface."