House Speaker Paul Ryan on Capitol Hill. Photo: Aaron P. Bernstein / Getty Images

House Speaker Paul Ryan is expected to tell House GOP members Wednesday morning that last night's special election in western Pennsylvania was much closer than it should have been — and that continued Democratic enthusiasm should serve as a wakeup call, according to a person familiar.

What to watch: Ryan is also expected to argue that Democrat Conor Lamb's strategy —
which Ryan will frame as campaigning as a conservative in a conservative-leaning district — is why the race was razor thin. But the suggestion that Lamb was unique could be a hard message for Ryan to sell, as the GOP has consistently fallen short in key elections in Virginia, Alabama, and New Jersey over the past year.

  • Ryan will say Lamb employed a strategy that will be very tough for other Democrats to replicate in the fall, arguing that Lamb actively distanced himself from Nancy Pelosi and the Democratic brand.
  • He'll also reiterate the importance of selling the tax cuts and note that every single Democrat opposed what he views as an increasingly popular law. 

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Updated 9 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 7 p.m. ET: 12,859,834 — Total deaths: 567,123 — Total recoveries — 7,062,085Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 7 p.m. ET: 3,297,501— Total deaths: 135,155 — Total recoveries: 1,006,326 — Total tested: 40,282,176Map.
  3. States: Florida smashes single-day record for new coronavirus cases with over 15,000 — NYC reports zero coronavirus deaths for first time since pandemic hit.
  4. Public health: Ex-FDA chief projects "apex" of South's coronavirus curve in 2-3 weeks — Coronavirus testing czar: Lockdowns in hotspots "should be on the table"
  5. Education: Betsy DeVos says schools that don't reopen shouldn't get federal funds — Pelosi accuses Trump of "messing with the health of our children."

Scoop: How the White House is trying to trap leakers

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

President Trump's chief of staff, Mark Meadows, has told several White House staffers he's fed specific nuggets of information to suspected leakers to see if they pass them on to reporters — a trap that would confirm his suspicions. "Meadows told me he was doing that," said one former White House official. "I don't know if it ever worked."

Why it matters: This hunt for leakers has put some White House staffers on edge, with multiple officials telling Axios that Meadows has been unusually vocal about his tactics. So far, he's caught only one person, for a minor leak.

11 GOP congressional nominees support QAnon conspiracy

Lauren Boebert posing in her restaurant in Rifle, Colorado, on April 24. Photo: Emily Kask/AFP

At least 11 Republican congressional nominees have publicly supported or defended the QAnon conspiracy theory movement or some of its tenets — and more aligned with the movement may still find a way onto ballots this year.

Why it matters: Their progress shows how a fringe online forum built on unsubstantiated claims and flagged as a threat by the FBI is seeking a foothold in the U.S. political mainstream.