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Stone County Assessor Hudson announces candidacy for 138th District
Longtime political consultant Steve Glorioso dies at 70
Brown announces candidacy for SD16 to replace Brown

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Dems would need to win by 11 points to retake House.
The Hill

A new report warns that district boundaries shaped to favor Republicans could make it tough for Democrats to retake the House in the November midterms. While the political environment is expected to boost Democratic candidates, the party would need to beat Republicans by a margin of 11 points nationally, according to a report released Monday by the Brennan Center for Justice. “Even a strong blue wave would crash against a wall of gerrymandered maps,” the report reads. The 2010 Republican wave boosted the GOP's control of statehouses across the country, enabling them to reshape district boundaries to make it easier for Republican candidates to win the seats. The report analyzed recent elections to measure “responsiveness,” or how the votes a political party receives correlates to how many seats it picks up.

US gun manufacturer Remington files for bankruptcy.
Washington Examiner

One of the largest and oldest U.S. gun makers, Remington Outdoor Company Inc., filed for bankruptcy Sunday. The plan to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, originally outlined in February, would allow Remington Outdoor Brands to remain in business and continue manufacturing guns while restructuring its debt. Operations "will not be disrupted by the restructuring process,” Remington said when initially announcing the bankruptcy plan last month. Remington is headquartered in North Carolina and was founded in 1816, and the company has become one of the most well-known gun makers in the world. With increased criticism of regulation on gun manufacturing and sale, and the call for stricter gun control in the wake of recent shootings, Remington, and other companies that make or sell guns, have come under fire.

Linda Brown, student in Brown v Board of Education, dies.
MSN

Linda Brown, who as a young girl was the subject of the landmark Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court case, died Monday at age 76, The Topeka Capital-Journal reported. Brown's sister confirmed the death to the newspaper, and had no further comment. Brown was at the center of the 1954 Supreme Court ruling that deemed school segregation was unconstitutional. Her father, Oliver Brown, brought a case against the Topeka, Kansas, board of education because Linda was forced to walk several blocks to catch a bus to her elementary school, even though another school was only a few blocks away from her home. However, she was barred from attending the closer school because of segregation laws. The Supreme Court ruled unanimously in favor of Brown, deeming "separate but equal" was inherently unequal, and paving the way for school desegregation across the country.

Mitch McConnell pushes for hemp legalization.
CBS

The U.S. Senate's top leader said Monday he wants to bring agricultural hemp production back into the national mainstream by removing it from the list of controlled substances. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told a group of hemp advocates in his home state of Kentucky that he will introduce legislation to legalize the crop as an agricultural commodity. The versatile crop has been grown on an experimental basis in a number of states in recent years. "I believe hemp has a bright future in our state," McConnell said. "It's now time to take the final step and make this a legal crop for every state that wants to file a plan with the U.S. department of agriculture." Kentucky has been at the forefront of hemp's comeback. McConnell said he's hopeful hemp can do for the state's economy what the tobacco once did. Kentucky agriculture officials recently approved about 12,000 acres to be grown in the state this year, and 57 Kentucky processors are turning the raw product into a multitude of products.

Kim Jong Un is making a surprise China visit.
Bloomberg

Kim Jong Un made a surprise visit to Beijing on his first known trip outside North Korea since taking power in 2011, three people with knowledge of the visit said. Further details of his trip, including how long Kim would stay and who he would meet, were not immediately available. The people asked not to be identified because of the sensitivity of the information. Speculation about a possible visit by a high-ranking North Korean official circulated around the Chinese capital Monday, after Japan’s Kyodo News reported that a special train may have carried Kim through the northeastern border city of Dandong. Nippon TV showed footage of a train arriving Monday in Beijing that looked similar to one used by Kim’s father, Kim Jong Il, to visit the country shortly before his death in 2011. The unannounced visit is the latest in series of diplomatic power plays in Asia as U.S. President Donald Trump’s battle to lower the U.S. trade deficit becomes entangled with his effort to get Kim to give up his nuclear weapons. Chinese President Xi Jinping has found himself preparing for a trade war with Trump even after supporting progressive rounds of United Nations sanctions against the Kim regime.

New poll holds some positives for President Trump.
Susan Wright, RedState

According to a new CNN poll, Trump’s approval ratings took a bump upwards. The CNN poll, conducted from March 22-25, showed Trump with a 42 percent approval rating, up 7 points from the network’s same poll last month. Meanwhile, 54 percent of voters disapprove of Trump’s job performance. Trump got positive marks on his handling of the economy, where 48 percent of people approve of his performance, compared to 45 percent who disapprove.

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Mississippi is sending its first woman to Congress.
NPR

On Wednesday, Mississippi became the 49th state to choose its first woman to send to Congress. The appointment of Republican Cindy Hyde-Smith as Mississippi's junior senator comes 101 years after the first woman, Montana Rep. Jeannette Rankin, went to Congress. Republican Gov. Phil Bryant appointed Hyde-Smith to fill the seat being vacated by Sen. Thad Cochran, who announced that he would resign as of April 1 due to poor health. Hyde-Smith, currently the state's commissioner of agriculture and commerce, will officially take over the seat on April 2, setting a new record of 23 women in the Senate. That will leave just one state — Vermont — that has never sent a woman to Capitol Hill.

Dems lead by 6 points on generic House, Senate ballots.
The Hill

Democrats are leading Republicans by 6 points on a generic ballot ahead of the midterm elections later this year, according to a new poll. Forty-nine percent of voters in a Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday said they want Democrats to take back control of the House in November, while 43 percent said they want Republicans to retain control of the chamber. Forty-nine percent of voters also said Democrats should win control of the Senate, where Republicans currently hold a slim one-seat majority, while 43 percent said the GOP should keep control of the upper chamber. Support for Democrats taking control of the Senate remains the same from a Quinnipiac poll conducted earlier this month, though it has dropped 5 points since February. Support for Democrats taking control of the House has also ticked down 4 points since last month. The poll also found that health care is the the most important issue in the midterm elections among respondents (23 percent), followed by the economy (22 percent), gun policy (21 percent), immigration (19 percent) and taxes (8 percent).

Saccone concedes 18th district race in phone call to Lamb.
Pittsburgh Post Gazette

Rick Saccone on Wednesday conceded last week's special election for Pennsylvania's 18th Congressional District, putting an end to an eight-day stretch of meticulous recounts and talk of a Republican challenge. In a statement provided to the Post-Gazette from his campaign, Mr. Saccone said he spoke with Democrat Conor Lamb on Wednesday afternoon. "This afternoon, I spoke to Mr. Lamb, conceding the race in the Pennsylvania 18th Congressional District and congratulating him on his victory," Mr. Saccone said. "While there are less than 800 votes separating us, the people of the 18th District deserve to have a voice representing them in Congress." Mr. Lamb, a Democrat, wrote on Twitter before Mr. Saccone's statement that his Republican opponent "graciously conceded" in a phone call. In his statement, Mr. Saccone said that though he is disappointed with the outcome, he remains "resolute in defending the voices of Southwestern Pennsylvania voters."

Prosecutors told to seek death penalty in drug cases.
MSN

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions instructed federal prosecutors on Wednesday to seek the death penalty in drug-related cases whenever it is "appropriate," saying the Justice Department must boost efforts to counter America's epidemic of opioid abuse. His mandate to prosecutors followed a plan announced by President Donald Trump earlier this week that called for executing opioid dealers and traffickers, and for stiffer sentencing laws for opioid trafficking. The call for greater use of the death penalty in federal drug cases has already sparked a backlash from criminal justice reform groups. They say it is the wrong response to a public health crisis and harks back to the 1980s-era war on drugs policies that led to racial disparities in prosecutions. While the death penalty is used in the United States, it is generally handed down in federal cases only in connection with the most heinous crimes. According to the Death Penalty Information Center, 61 federal prisoners currently sit on death row.

Under fire Peru president resigns.
BBC

Peru's President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski has quit over a vote-buying scandal. He has denied wrongdoing but said on Wednesday that he did not want to be an obstacle to the country's development. Party leaders in Congress later agreed to accept President Kuczynski's resignation. He had been facing an impeachment vote on Thursday. Pressure has been growing after footage emerged of his allies offering opposition politicians financial rewards if they backed him in the vote. Mr Kuczynski, 79, survived a separate impeachment vote in December. His opponents wanted to remove him for allegedly receiving illegal payments from the Brazilian construction giant Odebrecht. But he held onto power by a slim margin and accused the opposition of trying to stage a coup.

Californians are fleeing to red states like Texas.
Brandon Morse, RedState

Open for business! As it turns out, Americans don’t want to be highly taxed, crime ridden, and regulated to hell and back. Not too long ago I reported on some very revealing numbers that showed that blue states were losing American citizens by the hundreds of thousands as they bid adieu to their Smurf-blue states and Smurffed off to better run places like Texas where the taxes are low and the BBQ is far superior to everywhere else. Don’t “@” me. But as NBC News points out, the U.S. Census Bureau data, from July 2016 to July 2017, shows just where Californians in particular are going. Needless to say, they’re overwhelmingly red states with Texas being the winner…as usual.

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Austin bombing suspect dead after confrontation.
WCVB

The Austin American-Statesman reports the suspect killed himself with an explosive device as authorities closed in. Officials said they traced the suspect using a mix of cell phone technology, security video and store receipts. Authorities had reportedly obtained a search warrant for the suspect's Google search history and showed him conducting searches they deemed suspicious. This comes after Tuesday brought more terror to Austin. A bomb inside a package exploded around 1 a.m. as it passed along a conveyer belt at a FedEx shipping center in Schertz, northeast of San Antonio and about 60 miles southwest of Austin. One worker reported ringing in her ears and was treated at the scene. Local and federal authorities confirmed that blast was related to a series of others that have killed two people and seriously wounded four others. ... The Schertz blast came two days after a bombing wounded two men Sunday night in a quiet Austin neighborhood about 3 miles from the FedEx store. It was triggered by a nearly invisible tripwire, suggesting a “higher level of sophistication” than agents saw in three package bombs previously left on doorsteps, according to Fred Milanowski, the agent in charge of the Houston division of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Gillibrand endorses Cuomo for governor.
Politico

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand is endorsing New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo over challenger Cynthia Nixon, the New York Democrat said in an interview Tuesday. And she hinted that Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer will join her in supporting the incumbent. Gillibrand said that Cuomo is a friend and has made major progress on key progressive issues to earn her support. Nixon, an actress best known for her role on "Sex and the City," entered the race against Cuomo on Monday as a left-leaning critic. "Gov. Cuomo and I are friends. But he also has done some amazing things for New York, such as passing paid leave in our state, passing marriage equality and working to end sexual violence on our college campuses," Gillibrand said. Asked what Schumer will do in the race, she replied: "You'll have to ask him. I'm sure he'll do the same."

Good guy with gun: Lone school resource officer stopped Maryland school shooter within seconds.
CNN

The school shooting was over in seconds. But it could have dragged on longer and proven deadlier were it not for the rapid response of a school resource officer. When a 17-year-old gunman walked into Maryland's Great Mills High School on Tuesday, the swift action of the school's sole resource officer, Blaine Gaskill, was instrumental in bringing the incident to a quick end. Gaskill's response was hailed as an example of exactly what a resource officer is supposed to do in such a circumstance, particularly when contrasted to the actions of the security officer in last month's shooting in Parkland, Florida. (In the incident at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on February 14, the armed school resource deputy waited outside the school building as the shooter gunned down students inside.) "He responded exactly how we train our personnel to respond," St. Mary's County Sheriff Tim Cameron told reporters.

Judge blocks Mississippi’s 15-week abortion ban.
USA Today

A federal judge Tuesday granted a temporary restraining order to stop Mississippi's 15-week abortion ban, the most restrictive in the nation, from going into effect. On Monday, Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant signed House Bill 1510 into law, making it immediately illegal for a woman to obtain an abortion after 15 weeks gestation. Mississippi's previous law restricted abortion access within the state to 20 weeks. The state's sole abortion clinic, Women's Health Organization, located in Jackson, does not perform abortions past 16 weeks. In response to the new law, lawyer Rob McDuff filed a hearing request for a temporary restraining order on behalf of Women's Health Organization. Appearing via conference call in front of federal District Judge Carlton Reeves, McDuff said the state's ban was unconstitutional, citing case law that included the landmark 1972 case of Roe v. Wade.

French police hold ex-president over ‘Gaddafi funding’.
BBC

Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy has been taken into police custody for questioning over allegations that he received campaign funding from the late Libyan leader Col Muammar Gaddafi. Police are investigating alleged irregularities over the financing of his 2007 presidential campaign. Police have questioned him previously as part of the probe. Mr Sarkozy has denied any wrongdoing. The centre-right politician failed to return to power in 2012. Judicial sources said he was being questioned in Nanterre, a suburb in western Paris. In 2013, France opened an investigation into allegations that his campaign had benefited from illicit funds from Gaddafi. The sources said one of Mr Sarkozy's former ministers and a close ally, Brice Hortefeux, was also being questioned by police on Tuesday.

Brother of Parkland shooter arrested for trespassing.
Sarah Rumpf, RedState

Zachary Cruz, the brother of confessed Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooter Nikolas Cruz, has been arrested today for trespassing at that same school. According to CBS Miami, the probable cause affidavit stated that the 18-year-old Cruz wanted to “reflect on the school shooting and soak it in,” and that he “surpassed all locked doors and gates.” He was riding his skateboard around campus when he was arrested. The police report states that Cruz had received “prior warnings by school officials to refrain from entering the school campus.” Nikolas Cruz, age 19, is currently awaiting trial for the February 14, 2018 shooting, which left 17 students and teachers dead.

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GOP Senate candidate slams McCaskill over Clinton ties.
The Hill

The top Republican candidate running to face Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) in November's midterm elections attacked McCaskill over her support for former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in a new digital ad released Monday. McCaskill, who is considered one of the most vulnerable Senate incumbents on the ballot this fall, was the first member of Congress to endorse Clinton's 2016 presidential bid. McCaskill became one of the former secretary of State's most vocal backers on the campaign trail. McCaskill has sought to distance herself from Clinton's more controversial comments. But the new ad from state Attorney General Josh Hawley looks to turn McCaskill's support for Clinton against her — in a state President Trump won by more than 18 points on 2016. The new online spot, shared exclusively with The Hill ahead of its Monday release, is meant to hammer home McCaskill's ties to Clinton and amplify Clinton's attacks on Trump supporters.

Supreme Court rejects request from to block new congressional map.
Washington Examiner

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday rejected a request from Pennsylvania Republicans to block a new congressional map drawn by the state Supreme Court from taking effect, handing Democrats a major victory as the new map gives them an edge. Republican legislative leaders had asked Justice Samuel Alito last month to put the order from the state Supreme Court on hold. The high court announced Monday it denied that request. There were no noted dissents. The high court’s refusal to stop the new map from taking effect means the district lines drawn by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court last month will remain in place for the upcoming primary and general elections. Under the initial map drawn by the GOP-led General Assembly in 2011, Republicans held 13 of 18 seats. They lost one of those seats last week in the special election won by Democrat Conor Lamb. But the new court-drawn map is more favorable to Democrats. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court invalidated the 2011 map as an unconstitutional partisan gerrymander and ordered state Republican legislative leaders to draw new congressional boundaries. Republicans did so, but their proposed map was rejected by Gov. Tom Wolf, a Democrat, last month.

Cynthia Nixon announces bid for governor.
New York Post

Former “Sex and the City” star Cynthia Nixon made it official on Monday — she will take on Gov. Cuomo in September’s Democratic primary. The lefty actress, who had been flirting with a bid for months, released a slick online video that announced her candidacy — and took plenty of digs at Cuomo. “New York is my home. I’ve never lived anywhere else,’’ Nixon says in the video, which included her and her wife, education activist Christine Marinoni, and the actress’s three children. “But something has to change,’’ Nixon, 51, says against a backdrop of gray, blighted streets. “Our leaders are letting us down,” she says. “We are sick of politicians who care more about headlines and power than they do about us. It can’t just be business as usual anymore.”

Governor signs bill banning abortions after 15 weeks.
US News

Mississippi's governor signed into law on Monday the most restrictive abortion measure in the United States, which was immediately challenged in court by abortion rights advocates who say it is unconstitutional. Republican Governor Phil Bryant said he was proud to sign the bill banning abortion after 15 weeks of gestation with some exceptions, according to a statement from spokesman Knox Graham. "I am committed to making Mississippi the safest place in America for an unborn child, and this bill will help us achieve that goal,” Bryant said. The law takes effect immediately. Previous Mississippi law banned abortion at 20 weeks after conception, similar to limits in 17 other states. Abortion rights advocates have said the measure targets the state's only abortion provider, the Jackson Women's Health Organization, which provides abortions for up to 16 weeks after conception.

Trump prepared to hit China with $60 billion in tariffs.
MSN

President Trump is preparing to impose a package of $60 billion in annual tariffs against China, following through on a long-time threat that he says will punish China for intellectual property infringement and create more American jobs. The tariff package, which Trump plans to unveil by Friday, was confirmed by four senior administration officials. Senior aides had presented Trump with a $30 billion tariff package that would apply to a range of products, but Trump directed them to roughly double the scope of the new trade levies. The package could be applied to more than 100 products, which Trump argues were developed by using trade secrets the Chinese stole from U.S. companies or forced them to hand over in exchange for market access. The situation remains fluid, and Trump has shown a tendency to back off economic threats at the last minute. In recent weeks, however, he has shown a willingness to unilaterally impose tariffs — even amid objections from advisers who fear starting a global trade war.

Rural America hopes Trump hasn’t forgotten his promise.
Nathan White, The Hill

Every four years, politicians descend on small towns in Iowa, New Hampshire and other early primary states across the country to kick off presidential campaign season. After those seeking the White House attend near-endless events and make countless promises, it is up to rural voters to decide who best represents their views. After years of disappointment and broken promises, many voters have had good reason to be skeptical. But when now-President Trump visited these communities as a candidate and vowed to stand up for the agriculture industry, farming families were instilled with a new sense of hope. It is why rural voters turned out in huge numbers to vote for the Trump-Pence ticket, with three-quarters of their votes supporting the Republican nominees. President Trump promised to bring back rural jobs, protect those that already exist and help solve problems, such as the opioid epidemic that has hit rural communities especially hard. Few issues are as important to rural America than preserving the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), something President Trump and his members of his cabinet understand. For instance, since NAFTA first took effect, agricultural exports to Canada and Mexico have grown by 450 percent.

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Dems hold double-digit lead for 2018 midterm elections.
MSNBC

Democrats enjoy a 10-point advantage over Republicans in congressional preference for the 2018 midterm elections, even as President Donald Trump's job approval rating has ticked up, the latest national NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll finds. Fifty percent of registered voters say they prefer a Democratic-controlled Congress, while 40 percent want a GOP-controlled one. That double-digit lead — typically a sign of strong Democratic performance for the upcoming election — is up from the party's 6-point edge in January's NBC/WSJ poll, which was 49 percent to 43 percent, though the change is within the poll's margin of error. The survey, which was conducted March 10-14, also shows Democrats holding the early enthusiasm advantage: Sixty percent of Democratic voters say they have a high degree of interest in the upcoming elections (registering either a “9” or “10” on a 10-point scale), versus 54 percent of Republicans who say the same thing. In addition, 64 percent of 2016 Clinton voters say they have a high level of interest, compared with 57 percent of 2016 Trump voters.

White House: Trump not considering firing Mueller.
Politico

President Donald Trump is not considering firing special counsel Robert Mueller, White House attorney Ty Cobb said Sunday evening, attempting to assuage concerns that Trump's attacks of Mueller mean a showdown is imminent. "In response to media speculation and related questions being posed to the Administration, the White House yet again confirms that the President is not considering or discussing the firing of the Special Counsel, Robert Mueller," Cobb said in a statement to the White House press pool. Trump's decision to personally attack Mueller, a move he avoided in the past, caused renewed focus on the status of Mueller's job. Cobb's statement comes as many fellow Republicans spent Sunday warning the president not to go after Mueller and certainly not to fire him. "Special Counsel Mueller has served our country with honesty and integrity. It’s critical he be allowed to complete a thorough investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election — unimpeded.," Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) wrote on Twitter.

Dems meddle against Illinois Gov. ahead of GOP primary.
The Hill

A conservative state representative mounting a long-shot bid against Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner (R) is getting some unexpected help from Democrats. Just days before Illinois voters head to the polls in next week's primary election, the Democratic Governors Association (DGA) launched a new advertisement labeling state Rep. Jeanne Ives (R) as "too conservative for Illinois." "Meet Jeanne Ives. She's been rated as one of the most conservative in the state," the DGA advertisement says. The ad ties Ives to President Trump on immigration, cites her high ratings with the National Rifle Association and her opposition to abortion rights. The advertisement has all the appearances of a negative spot, but coming right before a Republican primary, it might as well be a positive spot meant to introduce Ives to GOP voters fed up with Rauner. The DGA is spending $337,000 on the advertisement, according to Advertising Analytics, an independent firm that tracks the ad market. That's not much compared with the nearly $12 million Rauner has already spent on advertising, though it could make a difference with some Republican voters.

Trump opioid plan includes death penalty for dealers.
Reuters

President Donald Trump will unveil a plan on Monday to combat the opioid addiction crisis that includes seeking the death penalty for drug dealers and urging Congress to toughen sentencing laws for drug traffickers, White House officials said on Sunday. The White House plan will also seek to cut opioid prescriptions by a third over the next three years by promoting practices that reduce overprescription of opioids in federal healthcare programs, officials told a news briefing. Trump will outline his proposals at an event in New Hampshire, which has been hit hard by the opioid epidemic. The roll out of the plan will be the latest White House action aimed at addressing a U.S. drug abuse crisis that is causing thousands of overdose deaths a year. Trump has said the United States will need “toughness” to reverse these trends. “The Department of Justice will seek the death penalty against drug traffickers when it’s appropriate under current law,” said Andrew Bremberg, director of Trump’s Domestic Policy Council, in the briefing detailing the plan.

Vladimir Putin wins election by big margin.
BBC

Vladimir Putin will lead Russia for another six years, after securing an expected victory in Sunday's presidential election. With almost all the ballots counted, he had received more than 76% of the vote, the central election commission said. The main opposition leader, Alexei Navalny, was barred from the race. Addressing a rally in Moscow after the early results were declared, Mr Putin said voters had "recognised the achievements of the last few years". Speaking to reporters, he laughed off a question about running again in another six years. "What you are saying is a bit funny. Do you think that I will stay here until I'm 100 years old? No!" he said. The scale of victory - which had been widely predicted - appears to be a marked increase in his share of the vote from 2012, when he won 64%. Mr Putin's nearest competitor, millionaire communist Pavel Grudinin, received about 12%.

Jeff Roe: Don’t run from Trump.
Jeff Roe, New York Times

I’m here to tell my fellow Republicans, in particular Republican members of Congress and the Republican consulting class: You can run, but you can’t hide. President Trump may not be on the ballot in November, but the election will be a referendum on him, as 2010 was on President Barack Obama and 2006 was on President George W. Bush. We will lose seats. The only question is this: Will these losses be catastrophic or manageable? That will be determined by a very specific choice: Will the party retreat from its leader or fix bayonets and storm to the front with him? No one fought Mr. Trump harder and longer than I did, as the campaign manager for Ted Cruz’s 2016 campaign for the Republican nomination. I know the maddening brilliance of Mr. Trump. I also know history doesn’t favor the president’s party in midterm elections. With the election of a Democrat in the 18th Congressional District of Pennsylvania — a district Mr. Trump carried by 20 percentage points, but which also has tens of thousands more registered Democrats than Republicans — it has become media gospel that the president is toxic and that Republican candidates will have to distance themselves from him. That narrative is wrong.

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