Don Blankesnhip, GOP Senate candidate in West Virginia. Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Republican Senate candidates in West Virginia, Indiana and Ohio are trying to out-Trump Trump — but it's the West Virginia race that everyone will be watching.

The big picture: These Senate races are a good example of what the Republican Party looks like in the Trump era. If Don Blankenship — who claims to be "Trumpier than Trump" but is being compared to Roy Moore — prevails in the GOP Senate primary, it'll be a sign that the party can't convince its voters to avoid the least electable candidates.

Blankenship is the Republican Party's last choice. And Trump doesn't want him, either.

  • The president co-endorsed Patrick Morrisey — the state's first Republican attorney general since 1933 — and Evan Jenkins, a three-year U.S. congressman in the state's 3rd district. Both have played up their support for Trump.

What to watch: Senate races and candidates across the country are shaping up to be all about Trump and who is most like him. We're even seeing that in NRSC ads.

  • Indiana Rep. Todd Rokita, running to challenge Sen. Joe Donnelly, campaigns with a cardboard cutout of Trump, wears a MAGA hat, and calls the Robert Mueller probe a "witch hunt."
  • His challengers: Rep. Luke Messer has pledged to "make the Senate great again." And Mike Braun has run as the outsider businessman pledging to "drain the swamp." Sound familiar?
  • Ohio Republican candidate Rep. Jim Renacci has Trump's endorsement, while his challenger Mike Gibbons is a businessman with no political experience.

The impact: Democratic senators in West Virginia, Indiana and Ohio are extremely vulnerable. But Republicans worry if the wrong GOP candidate advances to the general, they'll lose what they think are otherwise winnable seats.

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Deadly storm Zeta pummels parts of Alabama and Florida

A satellite image of Hurricane Zeta. Photo: National Hurricane Center/NOAA

Tropical Storm Zeta has killed at least two people and caused mass power outages after making landfall in Louisiana as a Category 2 hurricane Wednesday.

What's happening: After "battering southeastern Louisiana and southern Mississippi," Zeta weakened to a tropical storm over central Alabama early on Thursday, but it was still packing powerful winds and heavy rains, per the National Hurricane Center.

Taiwan reaches a record 200 days with no local coronavirus cases

Catholics go through containment protocols including body-temperature measurement and hands-sanitisation before entering the Saint Christopher Parish Church, Taipei City, Taiwan, in July. Photo: Ceng Shou Yi/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Taiwan on Thursday marked no locally transmitted coronavirus cases for 200 days, as the island of 23 million people's total number of infections reported stands at 550 and the COVID-19 death toll at seven.

Why it matters: Nowhere else in the world has reached such a milestone. While COVID-19 cases surge across the U.S. and Europe, Taiwan's last locally transmitted case was on April 12. Experts credit tightly regulated travel, early border closure, "rigorous contact tracing, technology-enforced quarantine and universal mask wearing," along with the island state's previous experience with the SARS virus, per Bloomberg.

Go deeper: As Taiwan's profile rises, so does risk of conflict with China

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Politics: Biden ahead in Wisconsin, Michigan as cases surge in the Midwest.
  2. Health: Fauci says U.S. may not return to normal until 2022 — Trump's testing czar: Surge "is real" and not just caused by more tests Some coronavirus survivors have "autoantibodies."
  3. Business: Consumer confidence sinking Testing is a windfall.
  4. World: Europe faces "stronger and deadlier" wave France imposes lockdown Germany to close bars and restaurants for a month.
  5. Sports: Boston Marathon delayed MLB to investigate Dodgers player who joined celebration after positive COVID test.