May 8, 2018

The GOP could get its last choice in West Virginia Senate race

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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Alaska becomes latest state to issue coronavirus stay-at-home order

Data: Axios reporting; Map: Danielle Alberti/Axios

All Alaskans in the state are under a mandate to "remain at their place of residence and practice social distancing" except for those engaged in essential services, including health care and government functions.

The big picture: This is the latest state to announce policies to enforce social distancing. More than 1.5 billion people worldwide were asked to stay home Monday.

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Hungary's Viktor Orbán granted sweeping powers amid coronavirus crisis

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Hungary's parliament passed a law Monday to allow Prime Minister Viktor Orbán almost unlimited power, for an indefinite period, to fight the coronavirus outbreak.

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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 10:30 a.m. ET: 741,030 — Total deaths: 35,097 — Total recoveries: 156,838.
  2. U.S.: Leads the world in cases. Total confirmed cases as of 10:30 a.m. ET: 143,527 — Total deaths: 2,572 — Total recoveries: 4,865.
  3. Federal government latest: The White House will extend its social distancing guidelines until April 30.
  4. Trump latest: The president brushed aside allegations that China is spreading misinformation about the origin of the coronavirus on "Fox & Friends."
  5. Public health updates: Hospital ship the USNS Comfort arrives in Manhattan — White House COVIS-19 response coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx said the 100,000 to 200,000 U.S. coronavirus death toll estimate is based on the presumption that citizens follow social-distancing guidelines "almost perfectly."
  6. World updates: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will self-isolate after an aide tested positive for coronavirus.
  7. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

Subscribe to Mike Allen's Axios AM to follow our coronavirus coverage each morning from your inbox.

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