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David Goldman and John Bazemore / AP

Two brewing political battles have big implications, particularly for the GOP:

1. Tomorrow the special election in Georgia, which has turned into the most expensive House race in history, will help set the early midterm fundraising and recruiting tempo for the parties. In the past, it might have been an easy win for Republican Karen Handel over Democrat Jon Ossoff. But the district is affluent and diversifying, hardly Trump country.

  • To the dismay of Republicans involved in the white-knuckle race, Trump tweeted this morning: "The Dems want to stop tax cuts, good healthcare and Border Security...ObamaCare is dead with 100% increases in P's. Vote now for Karen H."
  • A Republican operative explained the "D'oh!" effect: "We used every trick in the book — and a few new chapters — to localize the race. Trump tweets nationalized poor Karen's message and knocked her off the basic message that he is an outsider and she is one of us."

2. The secretly written health care bill, which the White House and Senate are ramming toward a pre-July 4 vote, ran into new headaches today:

  • Public Policy Polling, a Democratic polling firm, found the House version of repeal-and-replace, which will be changed by the Senate but which has helped crystallize public opinion, is deeply unpopular in three states where a Republican Senator will have a key swing vote on health care (Nevada, West Virginia, and Alaska).
  • Axios' Caitlin Owens uncovered key details today about the draft Senate health care bill: It would move to the left of the House bill by easing the phaseout of the Medicaid expansion. But it would also move to the right by eventually shifting to a lower Medicaid growth rate.
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Go deeper

Supreme Court agrees to hear challenges to Texas abortion law

Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

The Supreme Court on Friday agreed to hear two cases challenging Texas' abortion law, which bans the procedure as soon as six weeks into pregnancy, but left the law in place in the meantime.

Why it matters: The court is moving extraordinarily fast on the Texas case, compressing into just a few days a process that normally takes months. And that schedule means the court will take up Texas' ban a month before it hears another major abortion case — a challenge to Mississippi's ban on abortions after 15 weeks.

Officials warn 5 key tech sectors will determine whether China overtakes U.S.

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

U.S. intelligence officials responsible for protecting advanced technologies have narrowed their focus to five key sectors: artificial intelligence, quantum computing, biotechnology, semiconductors and autonomous systems.

Why it matters: China and Russia are employing a variety of legal and illegal methods to undermine and overtake U.S. dominance in these critical industries, officials warned in a new paper. Their success will determine "whether America remains the world’s leading superpower or is eclipsed by strategic competitors."

5 hours ago - Health

Pfizer says COVID vaccine over 90% effective in kids

Photo: Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

Pfizer and BioNTech said their COVID-19 vaccine was more than 90% effective at protecting children between the ages of 5 and 11 from symptomatic infections from the virus, according to a study posted online by the FDA Friday.

Why it matters: Pfizer is seeking an emergency use authorization to vaccinate children — one of the last groups of Americans still largely ineligible to receive a coronavirus vaccine.