The National Republican Senatorial Committee has quietly helped its preferred candidates win in a series of primaries this cycle — and it's reserving the right to step into two remaining states, Alaska and Louisiana, where fights still loom.

The NRSC hasn't officially endorsed in either state, but Chairman Jerry MoranGerald (Jerry) MoranMcConnell signaling Trump trial to be quick, if it happens Overnight Defense — Presented by Huntington Ingalls Industries — Furor over White House readout of Ukraine call | Dems seize on memo in impeachment push | Senate votes to end Trump emergency | Congress gets briefing on Iran Senate again votes to end Trump emergency declaration on border wall MORE (R-Kan.) and Executive Director Rob Collins made it clear that they're keeping their options open in both states.

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"I've also said early on in my tenure at NRSC that if the Democrats attempt to choose our nominees we will plot a course that Republicans are responding," Moran said at the end of a Tuesday afternoon meeting with reporters. "This isn't particularly directed at Alaska but just generally we have not sat idly as we've watched Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidTrump thanks Reid for warning Democrats not to underestimate him Reid warns Democrats not to underestimate Trump Harry Reid predicts Trump, unlike Clinton, won't become more popular because of impeachment MORE's efforts to choose whom the Republicans nominate."

The NRSC has been able to keep fatally flawed conservative candidates from winning any key Senate nominations this cycle, though Democrats say that’s because they’ve been getting behind hard-right candidates that are too conservative for their states. With two tests to go, it looks like the NRSC may be able to manage a clean primary season without any huge missteps.

 

SENATE SHOWDOWN

CO-SEN (UDALL): Sen. Mark UdallMark Emery UdallPoll: Trump trails three Democrats by 10 points in Colorado The Hill's Morning Report — Trump and the new Israel-'squad' controversy Colorado candidates vying to take on Gardner warn Hickenlooper they won't back down MORE (D-Colo.) called for CIA Director John Brennan’s resignation on Thursday after he admitted the agency had spied on Congress.

IA-SEN (OPEN): Sens. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioOvernight Defense — Presented by Boeing — Pence says Turkey agrees to ceasefire | Senators vow to move forward with Turkey sanctions | Mulvaney walks back comments tying Ukraine aid to 2016 probe On The Money: Senate fails to override Trump veto over border emergency | Trump resort to host G-7 next year | Senators to push Turkey sanctions despite ceasefire | McConnell tees up funding votes Senators vow to press Turkey sanctions bills despite Pence cease-fire announcement MORE (R-Fla.) and Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzTrump slams 'very dumb' O'Rourke for proposals on guns, tax exempt status for churches Trump confirms Rick Perry to step down as Energy secretary Overnight Energy: Perry to step down as Energy secretary | Future of big-game hunting council up in the air | Dems lose vote against EPA power plant rule MORE (R-Texas) will both be in Iowa and attend a fundraiser for state Sen. Joni Ernst (R) this Saturday, helping her as she looks to narrow a fundraising gap against Rep. Bruce BraleyBruce Lowell Braley2020 caucuses pose biggest challenge yet for Iowa's top pollster OPINION | Tax reform, not Trump-McConnell feuds, will make 2018 a win for GOP Ten years later, House Dems reunite and look forward MORE (D-Iowa).

HI-SEN (SCHATZ): Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D-Hawaii) warns that she worries that “Hawaii is becoming more and more like everywhere else and less like the place we’ve always loved,” touting the state’s “pride in our traditions” in a new ad. She’s sought to paint appointed Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) as too mainland, though he also grew up in the state. Schatz’s campaign has spent almost $5 million on the race.

MN-SEN (FRANKEN): The Chamber of Commerce will endorse GOP nominee Mike McFadden in his race against Sen. Al FrankenAlan (Al) Stuart FrankenTake Trump literally and seriously in Minnesota Ninth woman accuses Al Franken of inappropriate contact Al Franken to host SiriusXM radio show MORE (D), National Journal reports. “I’m honored to have their endorsement. They know Minnesota is a state we can win,” said McFadden ahead of the anticipated Monday nod back in the state. 

MT-SEN (WALSH): Rep. Steve Daines (R-Mont.) is out with a new ad, a positive spot touting his deep ties to the state.

MS-SEN (COCHRAN): Sen Thad CochranWilliam (Thad) Thad CochranBiden has a lot at stake in first debate The Hill's Morning Report — Trump turns the page back to Mueller probe Trump praises Thad Cochran: 'A real senator with incredible values' MORE (R-Miss.) is turning to the general election, stumping at the Neshoba County Fair to rally support in his race against former Rep. Travis Childers (D-Miss.). "I will continue to represent all Mississippians, in every part of this state, no matter your skin color or how much money you have," he told a crowd of around 2,000 people at the popular event.

NV-SEN 2016 (REID): Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) trails Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval (R) in a hypothetical 2016 Senate match-up by 10 points, 53 percent to 43 percent, according to an automated survey from GOP pollster Harper Polling.

SD-SEN (OPEN): Democratic nominee Rick Weiland is touting an internal poll that has him trailing former South Dakota Gov. Mike Rounds (R) by 34 percent to 24 percent, with former Republican Sen. Larry Pressler (I) pulling 10 percent. The poll was conducted by Democratic firm Clarity Campaign Labs. Most Democrats concede that Rounds is all but a lock to win the seat.

TN-SEN (ALEXANDER): An internal poll for Sen. Lamar AlexanderAndrew (Lamar) Lamar AlexanderGOP braces for impeachment brawl McConnell tightlipped as impeachment furor grows GOP senator: 'Inappropriate' to discuss opponents, but impeachment a 'mistake' MORE (R-Tenn.), provided to The Hill upon request shows the GOP senator in a strong position heading into next Thursday’s primary. Conducted July 27-29 by North Star Opinion Research,  Alexander takes 53 percent over his main competitor, state Rep. Joe Carr, who draws 24 percent. Radiologist George Flinn takes 5 percent in the crowded primary, but pollster Whit Ayres writes in his memo that “Flinn is both better known and better liked than Joe Carr in the western part of the state.” Fifty-nine percent say they approve of the job Alexander, a longtime Tennessee institution, has done in the Senate, while just 32 percent disapprove. 

 

BATTLE FOR THE HOUSE

DCCC: President Obama has scheduled additional fundraisers for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. The DCCC is also investing big resources in African-American voter outreach, The Washington Post writes.

AZ-7 (OPEN): The League of Conservation Voters endorsed former state Rep. Ruben Gallego (D) for in the primary for his heavily Democratic district.

MI-3 (AMASH): The Club for Growth is going back up on the air to help Rep. Justin AmashJustin AmashOvernight Defense — Presented by Boeing — House passes resolution rebuking Trump over Syria | Sparks fly at White House meeting on Syria | Dems say Trump called Pelosi a 'third-rate politician' | Trump, Graham trade jabs House passes resolution rebuking Trump over Syria pullout Grand Rapids synagogue targeted with anti-Semitic posters on its door MORE (R-Mich.) ahead of next Tuesday’s primary, pushing it past a half-million dollars spent on the race. Amash has a 20-point lead over businessman Brian Ellis (R) in a new poll from Strategic National, in line with other polling of the race.

MN-6 (NOLAN): The House Majority PAC is attacking local TV stations owned by a conservative activist who has ties to the billionaire Koch brothers for pulling down their ad attacking Minnesota House candidate Stewart Mills.

MI-14 (OPEN): Former Rep. Hansen Clarke (D-Mich.) trails state Rep. Rudy Hobbs (D) in his comeback bid for an open Detroit seat, according to a new poll commissioned for a group backing Hobbs.

TN-3 (FLEISCHMANN): Rep. Chuck FleischmannCharles (Chuck) Joseph FleischmannTrump faces new hit on deficit Lawmakers concede they might have to pass a dreaded 'CR' GOP blasts Democrats for using 2014 'kids in cages' photo to promote migrant hearing MORE (R-Tenn.) and his challenger Weston Wamp are both out with new ads a week before their bitterly negative primary ends. The incumbent’s ad hits his 27-year-old opponent again, criticizing his firm’s involvement with a company that connects clients to ObamaCare health plans. "Weston is founding director of a company invested in Obamacare. Why would he criticize the president when Obama is making him money?" the ad asks.

Wamp’s ad echoes his previous ones: "So Chuck Fleischmann's running negative TV ads ... again. But we're not slowing down. There's too much to get done, and right now, nobody's doing it," he says. 

NRSC Chairman Jerry Moran (Kan.) told The Hill today, which first previously reported his donation to Wamp even as his committee has defended other Senate incumbents from primaries, that the June donation was because “The Wamp family has been friends of the Morans for a long time.” 

TN-4 (DESJARLAIS): Against all odds, embattled Rep. Scott DesJarlais (R-Tenn.) could be headed back to Congress next year. The GOP physician looked like he would be booted from office in late 2012 after revelations that he had pushed his ex-wife to have two abortions and carried on affairs with patients, one of whom he urged to terminate a pregnancy. But despite DesJarlais being seen as one of the cycle’s most endangered incumbents, more than a half-dozen strategists with deep Tennessee ties say the contest with GOP state Sen. Jim Tracy is far closer than expected ahead of the Aug. 7 primary, and that negative attacks may have backfired following DesJarlais’s cancer diagnosis earlier this month. DesJarlais isn’t exactly a pariah though within the Republican Caucus. Last year, both Speaker John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerIs Congress retrievable? Boehner reveals portrait done by George W. Bush Meadows to be replaced by Biggs as Freedom Caucus leader MORE (Ohio) and new Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (Calif.) donated to him from their leadership PACs. 

One member who won’t be, though, is his home-state colleague, Rep. Diane BlackDiane Lynn BlackBottom line Overnight Health Care: Anti-abortion Democrats take heat from party | More states sue Purdue over opioid epidemic | 1 in 4 in poll say high costs led them to skip medical care Lamar Alexander's exit marks end of an era in evolving Tennessee MORE (R-Tenn.). She’ll host a fundraiser next week for Tracy’s bid. In response to that news, first reported by The Hill, DesJarlais issued a statement: "I am disappointed Diane Black would support someone she tried so hard to defeat in 2010. Perhaps it is not surprising though that two career politicians would join forces to try to unseat the fourth most conservative Member of the House. It seems my principled stance against ObamaCare, irresponsibly raising the debt limit and unconstitutional federal overreach just does not fit into their say one thing do another approach. It is beyond clear now that Jim Tracy is beholden to special interest groups and the Washington establishment."

 

2016 WATCH

CLINTON: The Washington Post reports that former Secretary of State Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonFarrow: Clinton staff raised concerns over Weinstein reporting Perry says Trump directed him to discuss Ukraine with Giuliani: report The Memo: Once the front-runner, Biden now vulnerable MORE’s list of Democratic donors-in-waiting continues to grow — at least 22 donors have signed up as co-chairs of Ready for Hillary’s national finance council, the super-PAC urging her to run for president. That designation requires donating or raising $25,000 each, amounting for $5.6 million total. 

WALKER: The Wisconsin Supreme Court upheld Gov. Scott Walker’s (R) keynote accomplishment, the controversial law that curtailed union power.

CUOMO: A Manhattan-based U.S. attorney has opened an inquiry into why New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) shuttered an anti-corruption panel that he’d launched after reports that his office had encouraged the panel not to investigate it.

 

QUOTE OF THE DAY 

“Now that I’m in the United States Senate, I’ll tell you that I am not the only United States senator who failed civics. There are a whole lotta those boys and girls! Lord, have mercy! I also failed Spanish and English, and when you fail Spanish and English, they don’t call you bilingual: They call you bi-ignorant, because you can’t speak in any language!”

— Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.), speaking to a group of students on Wednesday at Young America’s Foundation