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Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) (3rd L) answers reporters' questions during a news conference with other House GOP leaders. Photo: Chip Somodevilla via Getty Images

Republicans are banking on hyper-local messages in 2018 to keep control of the House, The Washington Post's James Hohmann reports.

Why it matters: Returning to a localized message — which Dems tried to do in 2010 and failed — could also be impossible in the Trump era when lawmakers and candidates are forced to answer for every national controversy coming out of Washington.

What they're saying:

  • GOP candidates are cracking down on opioids in Syracuse, New York, and they're focused on a salmon hatchery in Seattle.
  • In the Central Valley of California, Republicans will push repeal of the gas tax. In the Philly suburbs, they're talking about cleaning contaminated water wells.
  • Houston-area voters will be reminded of when Rep. John Culberson urged Congress to approve Hurricane Harvey relief funds.
  • This strategy worked for Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, who talked about algae blooms when campaigning in Toledo, WashPost notes, instead of talking about the “Access Hollywood” tape. Portman won the state by 21 points.

The bottom line: Republicans are targeting 34 districts with tailored messages — all of which are crucial in determining whether Dems pick up the 23 seats they need to flip the House.

Go deeper

20 mins ago - World

Scoop: Israel launches maximum pressure campaign against Ben & Jerry's

A Ben & Jerry's store in the Israeli city of Yavne. Photo: Ahmad Gharabli/AFP via Getty

The Israeli government has formed a special task force to pressure Ben & Jerry's ice cream and its parent company Unilever to reverse their decision to boycott Israeli settlements in the West Bank, Israeli officials tell me.

Why it matters: The Israeli government is concerned the move by Ben & Jerry's will encourage other international companies to take similar steps to differentiate between Israel and the West Bank settlements. A classified Foreign Ministry cable, seen by Axios, makes clear the government wants to send a message.

Video game developers at Activision Blizzard say they'll walk out Wednesday

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

Employees at Activision Blizzard will hold a walkout Wednesday in protest of widespread harassment allegations across the company, a spokesperson on behalf of the group told Axios.

Why it matters: Walkouts are a drastic measure for developers in a largely non-unionized field, a testament to just how angry employees currently are.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Atlanta-area spa shooter sentenced to life without parole

The Gold Spa, one day after a gunman shot and killed eight people at three separate Atlanta spa locations. Photo: VIRGINIE KIPPELEN/AFP via Getty Images

Robert Aaron Long, 22, of Georgia, was sentenced Tuesday to life without parole after pleading guilty to murder and other charges related to a series of deadly spa shootings in Atlanta, AP reports.

The big picture: Cherokee County Superior Court Chief Judge Ellen McElyea accepted the plea deal, and Long was given four life sentences after a prosecutor said investigators found no evidence of racial bias.