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Democrat Ralph Northam debates Republican Ed Gillespie. Photo: AP

Republicans are now realizing how Trump is threatening their party's image and their candidates' chances in gubernatorial races, particularly after Ralph Northam beat Ed Gillespie, "an exceptionally good candidate" according to Gov. Scott Walker.

Why it matters: The GOP is trying to keep 26 governor's seats in the 2018 elections, including a handful in blue states, so the stakes are high for Republicans. And the Democratic Governors Association has already been refining their playbook after Northam's victory to share with Dem candidates in every race, but particularly those running in red states.

Nearly 45% of votes cast in the Virginia gubernatorial race were from those who strongly disapprove of Trump and who supported Ralph Northam, according to exit polls. "Just simply the intensity of the opposition — I think that's what was reflected in the Virginia vote," said Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, per CNN. "That should be a wake-up call to all of our supporters in the elections next year."

  • One effective strategy for Democrats in 2018, based on what DGA Political Director Corey Platt told reporters they learned from Northam's success, is to point out that their Republican opponents won't stand up to Trump.
  • Northam got more votes (1.4 million) than any other Virginia gubernatorial candidate in history, and the election got a historic 2.6 million votes total. That, in addition to the 57% of Virginia voters who disapprove of Trump, reflected the anti-Trump opposition that helped Democrats win this race.
  • Another big fear for Republican governors "is not who my opponent's going to be," Gov. Walker said. It's the strength of financial support from various Dem groups, like former AG Eric Holder's National Democratic Redistricting Committee, as well as Dem activists, like billionaire Tom Steyer.

Go deeper: What Democratic groups learned from the Virginia elections.

Go deeper

Updated 14 mins ago - World

Over 70 dead in worst bombardments between Israel and Hamas for years

Palestinian Muslims exchange wishes for Eid al-Fitr, marking the end of the fasting month of Ramadan, near a razed building in the northern Gaza Strip town of Beit Lahia, on May 13. Israeli forces said they had killed a senior Hamas commander in May 12 airstrikes. Gaza's health ministry said children died in the strikes. Photo: Majdi Fathi/NurPhoto via Getty Images

At least 67 Palestinians and seven Israelis have been killed in fighting between Israel's military and Hamas since Monday, per Reuters.

The big picture: The worst aerial exchanges of fire between Israel and Hamas since 2014 continued into early Thursday. It comes days after escalating violence in Jerusalem that injured hundreds of Palestinians and several Israeli police officers during protests over the planned evictions of Palestinian families from their homes.

Biden admin grants Colonial waiver to ease fuel shortages

Fuel tanks at Colonial Pipeline Baltimore Delivery in Baltimore, Maryland on Monday. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

The Biden administration approved a temporary waiver of shipping requirements late Wednesday to help Colonial Pipeline transport fuel, as service resumes across the U.S. following a ransomware attack that that took it offline last week.

Why it matters: The century-old Jones Act requires ships to be built in the U.S. and crewed by American workers, but the waiver means foreign companies can transport gasoline and diesel to areas where there are fuel shortages.

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Don McGahn agrees to closed-door interview with House panel on Russia report

Former White House counsel Don McGahn during a discussion at the NYU Global Academic Center in Washington, D.C., in 2019. Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images

Former White House counsel Don McGahn agreed Wednesday to speak with the House Judiciary Committee about former President Trump's alleged attempts to obstruct the Russia investigation — with certain conditions, per a court filing.

Why it matters: The agreement ends a two-year standoff after McGahn, a key player in former special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation, repeatedly refused to agree to a subpoena for testimony — resulting in the matter being taken to court.