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Rep. Kevin Yoder is defending his seat this cycle. Photo: Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call

Republican infighting in the race to replace retiring Sen. Jeff Flake in Arizona and heightened Democratic enthusiasm in Kansas both have the GOP worried ahead of November's midterm elections, per AP.

Why it matters: Republicans hold a razor-thin majority in the Senate, making the Arizona seat crucial to thwarting Democrats' efforts to retake the chamber. And with Democrats targeting 101 GOP-held districts, Republicans can't afford to lose what should be easy seats in Kansas, a state President Trump won by 21 points.

The state of play: Democrats are fighting for Kansas' 2nd and 3rd districts, where increased spending and a lack of name recognition for Republican candidates could mean success. And there's a three-way GOP primary unfolding in Arizona, a state that Politico notes Trump won by just four points in 2016 and recent polls have put Democratic Rep. Kyrsten Sinema ahead of her Republican challengers by double digits.

Battle lines: Kelli Ward has been trying to get her competitor Martha McSally to engage in a primary fight ahead of the Arizona GOP primary in August.

  • “She claims to be this strong fighter pilot military woman,” Ward told Politico. “But if you're that strong, why are you afraid to stand up on a stage with your opponent and discuss the issues?” McSally responded to Politico: “Fear is not in my lexicon."
  • Kansas Rep. Kevin Yoder is defending his seat in the state's 3rd district, where the AP notes he beat his unknown Democratic challenger in 2016 by half the margin of 2014. And Trump lost this district in the presidential election.
  • In Kansas' 2nd district, Republicans are struggling to elevate a candidate with no name recognition. The incumbent Rep. Lynn Jenkins isn't running for re-election, prompting the DCCC to add its candidate Paul Davis to its "Red to Blue" list in the first round of endorsements.

What's next: The Arizona primary isn't until August 28, giving nominees just 10 weeks to campaign for the general election. Expect both sides to pour in tons of money during that time, especially Republicans who view this as a must-win seat.

Go deeper

2 mins ago - World

U.S. will give Russians written response to NATO demands, Blinken says

Blinken and Lavrov shake hands in Geneva. Photo: Russian Foreign Ministry / Handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Secretary of State Antony Blinken confirmed after a meeting with his Russian counterpart on Friday that the U.S. will provide written answers to Russia's security demands next week.

Why it matters: Russia claims to be waiting for "concrete answers" to its demands that NATO rule out further expansion and roll back its presence in eastern Europe before deciding its next steps on Ukraine. But the U.S. and NATO have called those proposals "non-starters," and Fridays' meeting offered no breakthroughs, so it's unclear how written answers might change the equation.

More surprises await scientists at Antarctica's "Doomsday Glacier"

Cliffs along the edge of the Thwaites Ice Shelf in West Antarctica. Photo: James Yungel/NASA

Researchers like David Holland, an atmospheric scientist at New York University, are in a race to understand the fate of a massive glacier in West Antarctica that has earned a disquieting nickname: "The Doomsday Glacier."

Why it matters: Studies show the Thwaites Glacier (its official name) could already be on an irreversible course to melt during the next several decades to centuries, freeing up enough inland ice to raise global sea levels by at least several feet.

Updated 2 hours ago - Health

The case for Operation Warp Speed 2.0

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Omicron's blitz around the world has underscored the need for a new arsenal of COVID vaccines and therapeutics, experts say — and that may require an effort akin to Operation Warp Speed 2.0.

Why it matters: The virus will continue to evolve, potentially in a way that further escapes vaccine protection, and the best way to prevent more global disruptions to everyday life is to have tools ready to combat whatever comes next.

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