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A U.S. Senate candidate in Colorado, Joe O'Dea, is a rarity in the Republican Party as a supporter of abortion rights. O'Dea is running for his party's nomination to challenge Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet in a state that's grown increasingly liberal. On other issues, O’Dea sounds like a typical conservative. He wants to cut back government regulation and expand oil and gas production. But his support for abortion rights in most cases stands out in a party for which opposition to abortion has become a bedrock principle. O'Dea's chief rival in Tuesday's primary is state Rep. Ron Hanks, who opposes abortion in all circumstances.

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State Sen. Sonia Chang-Díaz is ending her campaign for governor of Massachusetts. That leaves state Attorney General Maura Healey as the only viable Democrat still in the running. Chang-Díaz made the announcement Thursday. That's one year after she declared she was entering the race. She says she will turn her focus to make sure that “down-ballot candidates who share her values and approach to put courage over politics” get elected. Chang-Díaz’s name will remain on the Sept. 6 primary ballot. The two Republicans still in the race are former state Rep. Geoff Diehl and Wrentham business owner Chris Doughty.

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President Joe Biden’s predictions of a rosy political future for the Democratic Party are growing bolder, but they seem at odds with a country burdened by a pandemic, surging gas prices and spiking inflation. Few of his closest political advisers are as bullish about the party’s prospects. In interviews with a half-dozen people in and close to the White House, there’s a broad sense Democrats will lose control of Congress and many leading candidates in down-ballot races and contests for governor will be defeated. The seeming disconnect between Biden’s view and the political reality has some in the party worried the White House has not fully grasped just how bad this election year may be for Democrats.

At least a half-dozen GOP presidential prospects are planning Iowa visits this summer now that the state's June primary has come and gone. These forays, advertised as promoting candidates and the state Republican organization ahead of the fall midterm elections, in reality are trips aimed at building relationships and learning the political geography in the state scheduled to launch the campaign for the party’s 2024 nomination. In a time-tested midterm campaign year ritual, Republicans including former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley, former Vice President Mike Pence, Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton and others are planning summer visits, marking the next phase in this quadrennial rite.

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Former President Donald Trump is lashing out at the the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection as he continues to tease his plans for a third presidential run. Trump is blasting the committee’s efforts as a “theatrical production of partisan political fiction” and insisting he had done nothing wrong. He says: “What you’re seeing is a complete and total lie. It’s a complete and total fraud.” Trump spoke Friday to religious conservatives at the Faith and Freedom Coalition’s “Road to Majority” conference in Nashville. It was his first public appearance since the committee began its hearings laying bare his desperate attempts to subvert democracy and remain in power.

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Alabama's Republican runoff for secretary of state features two candidates who have both raised concern about election and voter roll integrity. Jim Zeigler is endorsed by a key supporter of former President Donald Trump’s baseless claim of a stolen 2020 election. State Rep. Wes Allen has sponsored legislation to ban curbside voting and has vowed to withdraw from a national system of shared voter registration data. Both have voiced concerns about the 2020 election, and both oppose ideas to expand voting beyond Election Day. The winner of the GOP runoff will face Democratic nominee Pamela J. Laffitte in November.

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Wes Moore is entering the last five weeks of Maryland’s crowded Democratic primary for governor with a fundraising edge. He also got a boost from Oprah Winfrey to help him down the stretch. Republican Kelly Schulz, endorsed by term-limited Gov. Larry Hogan, holds a big fundraising advantage in the race for the GOP’s nomination. Maryland’s primary is July 19. Mail-in ballots will begin arriving at residential addresses this week, the state elections board announced Monday. More than 400,000 mail-in ballots have been sent to eligible Maryland voters so far. In-person early voting begins July 7.

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Democratic Gov. Tim Walz is maintaining a strong financial advantage over Republican Scott Jensen for the fall election campaign. The Walz campaign says it has raised $1.8 million since Jan. 1 and has $4.5 million in cash on hand. The campaign says that bankroll is a record for a Minnesota gubernatorial campaign at this point in the election cycle. The Jensen campaign says it has raised $472,000 since January and has $660,000 left in the bank. Jensen spent heavily in his campaign to secure the GOP endorsement, while Walz faced no opposition for his party’s backing for a second term.

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U.S. Sen. John Hoeven easily won North Dakota’s Republican primary Tuesday. He's set to face a Democrat in November who has raised a fraction of his $3.2 million in campaign funds. Katrina Christiansen is a political newcomer and University of Jamestown engineering professor. She defeated a largely unknown challenger in the Democratic primary, Fargo art and antiques dealer Michael Steele. Both Christiansen and Steele were largely unknown outside their hometowns, and raised little money. Hoeven coasted past oil field worker Riley Kuntz, a poorly funded political neophyte. Hoeven will be heavily favored in November in the highly conservative state.

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Many of the nation’s most vulnerable Democrats are actively trying to distance themselves from Washington — and their party — as the midterm season enters its next phase. Democratic candidates in key midterm battlegrounds are facing deep frustration from the voters who will decide their fate in November. Candidates in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Nevada and New Hampshire are railing against the institutions that they have controlled for the last 16 months. It's a strategy born of necessity given the political climate Democrats are facing. President Joe Biden remains deeply unpopular and the cost of basic goods is soaring under their watch.

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Hawaii lawmakers this year passed several bills to boost government transparency and promote better lawmaker behavior. But their critics and some lawmakers themselves say they still have work to do, especially after a bribery scandal erupted at the state Legislature in February. Lawmakers passed a measure requiring state legislators and employees to complete ethics training within 90 days of taking office, and then again every four years. They also appropriated funds for the attorney general’s office to hire more investigators to address public corruption and white collar crime. But former state Sen. Gary Hooser of Kauai says they should have banned all fundraising during the legislative session.

Big political donations this year in races for local district attorney's offices show how national groups are seeking to influence those contests in at least a handful of states. Left-leaning groups have stepped in to fund candidates who support criminal justice reforms, while conservatives are pushing back amid concerns that crime in America’s cities is out of control. Whitney Tymas, president of a political action committee that supports progressive district attorney candidates, said money is necessary to bring change to an office where most incumbents run opposed for reelection. Among the biggest donors is a political action committee connected to George Soros, the billionaire investor, philanthropist and conspiracy-theory target.

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Big political donations this year in races for local district attorney's offices show how national groups are seeking to influence those contests in at least a handful of states. Left-leaning groups have stepped in to fund candidates who support criminal justice reforms, while conservatives are pushing back amid concerns that crime in America’s cities is out of control. Whitney Tymas, president of a political action committee that supports progressive district attorney candidates, said money is necessary to bring change to an office where most incumbents run opposed for reelection. Among the biggest donors is a political action committee connected to George Soros, the billionaire investor, philanthropist and conspiracy-theory target.

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Cryptocurrency donations have become a big part of campaign fundraising for many candidates running for office across the U.S. this year. But not all candidates can solicit those donations. While the federal government allows it, several states do not. The difference underscores not just the rising popularity of cryptocurrencies but also how regulation varies widely across the U.S. Some states have banned cryptocurrency donations amid concerns donors could hide their identities. Others have followed federal rules for congressional candidates and specifically allowed the donations with disclosure requirements and contribution caps, while others have no specific policies regarding the use of digital currencies in political donations.

Jury selection has begun for the trial of a Connecticut state senator and his 2018 campaign treasurer, who are accused of lying in efforts to obtain nearly $180,000 in public funds for his election bid. Bridgeport Democratic Sen. Dennis Bradley and Jessica Martinez, his 2018 campaign treasurer, began picking jurors Tuesday in federal court in Bridgeport. Their trial could begin as soon as Wednesday. Both deny the allegations and have pleaded not guilty. Prosecutors say Bradley violated personal spending limits for a campaign launch party in 2018 and took steps to hide the violation so he could obtain public money from the Connecticut Citizens' Election Program.

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee has signed off on a new campaign finance and ethics face-lift, bucking objections from some of the state’s most influential advocacy groups who opposed the measure. The Republican governor’s signature comes as a federal investigation has hovered over the GOP-controlled General Assembly for over a year that has so far led to one Republican lawmaker pleading guilty to a federal wire fraud charge over allegations she helped carry out a political consulting kickback scheme. However, even as the statehouse’s top legislative leaders called for campaign ethics reform amid the ongoing investigation scandals, so-called dark money groups have remained fiercely opposed to the new changes. Many argued that the law will result in them disclosing donors.

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Collective bargaining for California’s public employees may have been a questionable idea. But it’s not going away and there’s absolutely no reason why Capitol workers, except for a small cadre of senior staffers, should not have civil service status and unionization, if they wish.

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