Jun 19, 2017

Special elections, secrets, and stress

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.

Go deeper

U.S. coronavirus updates: Death toll surpasses 8,400

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Recorded deaths from the coronavirus surpassed 8,400 in the U.S. on Saturday, per Johns Hopkins data. The death toll in the U.S. has risen over 1,000 every day for the past four days, since April 1.

The big picture: President Trump said Saturday America's is facing its "toughest week, between this week and next week." Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said the U.S. should expect to see deaths continue to rise in this period.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 31 mins ago - Health

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 8:30 p.m. ET: 1,197,405 — Total deaths: 64,606 — Total recoveries: 246,152Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 8:30 p.m. ET: 308,850 — Total deaths: 8,407 — Total recoveries: 14,652Map.
  3. Public health latest: CDC launches national trackers and recommends face coverings in public. Federal government will cover costs of COVID-19 treatment for uninsured. The virus is hitting poor, minority communities harder and upending childbirth.
  4. 2020 latest: "We have no contingency plan," Trump said on the 2020 Republican National Convention. "We're having the convention at the end of August."
  5. Business updates: Restaurants step up for health care workers. Employees are pressuring companies to provide protections during coronavirus.
  6. Oil latest: Monday meeting among oil-producing countries to discuss supply curbs is reportedly being delayed amid tensions between Saudi Arabia and Russia.
  7. Education update: Many college-age students won't get coronavirus relief checks.
  8. 1 🏀 thing: The WNBA postpones start of training camps and season.
  9. What should I do? Pets, moving and personal health. Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  10. 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.

World coronavirus updates: Spain tracks more cases than Italy

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens and confirmed plus presumptive cases from the CDC

Spain overtook Italy in its number of coronavirus cases on Saturday. The global death toll has surpassed 62,000, per Johns Hopkins data.

The latest: About half the planet's population is on lockdown amid the coronavirus crisis. Fatalities are exponentially increasing across Europe, with roughly half of deaths worldwide located in Italy and Spain.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 7 hours ago - Health