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The Hill's Campaign Report: Key races take shape in Alabama, Texas, Maine

The Hill's Campaign Report: Key races take shape in Alabama, Texas, Maine
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Welcome to The Hill’s Campaign Report, your daily rundown on all the latest news in the 2020 presidential, Senate and House races. Did someone forward this to you? Click here to subscribe.

We’re Julia Manchester, Max Greenwood and Jonathan Easley. Here’s what we’re watching today on the campaign trail. 

LEADING THE DAY: 5 key races to watch tonight

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Tonight we’re keeping an eye on a number of Senate and House races that could have major implications on the makeup of Congress in 2021. Here’s a rundown of the key races we’re watching tonight. 

Democrats prepare to take on Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsTwo more parting shots from Trump aimed squarely at disabled workers Trump transition order follows chorus of GOP criticism The Memo: Trump election loss roils right MORE in November

Maine House Speaker Sara Gideon is the favorite to win tonight’s Democratic primary in Maine where she faces challenges from progressives Betsy Sweet and Bre Kidman.

The winner of the primary will go on to face Collins, a major Democratic target in November. Democrats argue that Collins no longer functions as an independent voice in the Senate, pointing to her vote to confirm Supreme Court Justice Brett KavanaughBrett Michael KavanaughCOVID-19: Justice Alito overstepped judicial boundaries Defusing the judicial confirmation process The magnificent moderation of Susan Collins MORE in 2018 as he faced sexual assault allegations. 

Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsAlabama zeroes in on Richard Shelby's future Tuberville incorrectly says Gore was president-elect in 2000 Next attorney general must embrace marijuana law reforms MORE faces the biggest fight of his political life 

The former attorney general is fighting to win back his former Senate seat but faces a formidable challenger in former Auburn University football coach Tommy Tuberville. 

A number of polls show Tuberville leading Sessions, and the former coach has the support of President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden adds to vote margin over Trump after Milwaukee County recount Krebs says allegations of foreign interference in 2020 election 'farcical'  Republicans ready to become deficit hawks again under a President Biden MORE, who holds his highest state approval rating in Alabama. 

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Meanwhile, Sessions has faced a series of attacks from Trump since 2017 when he recused himself from special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerCNN's Toobin warns McCabe is in 'perilous condition' with emboldened Trump CNN anchor rips Trump over Stone while evoking Clinton-Lynch tarmac meeting The Hill's 12:30 Report: New Hampshire fallout MORE’s Russia investigation. 

Sessions has not lost an election in his entire political career. 

Senate Democratic candidates face off in Texas 

Former Air Force helicopter pilot M.J. Hegar is facing Texas state Sen. Royce West (D) in a contentious runoff after she failed to grasp the 50 percent support threshold needed to win the Democratic primary last March. 

There has not been that much polling in the race, but a survey from the Dallas Morning News and the University of Texas at Tyler conducted in April showed Hegar leading West 32 percent to 16 percent. Additionally, Hegar leads in fundraising. 

The winner will go on to face incumbent Texas Sen. John CornynJohn CornynCornyn says election outcome 'becoming increasingly clear': report Top GOP senator: Biden should be getting intel briefings GOP senator congratulates Biden, says Trump should accept results MORE in November. Democrats are optimistic, citing former Rep. Beto O’Rourke’s (D) narrow loss to Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzO'Brien on 2024 talk: 'There's all kinds of speculation out there' Ocasio-Cortez, Cruz trade jabs over COVID-19 relief: People 'going hungry as you tweet from' vacation McSally, staff asked to break up maskless photo op inside Capitol MORE (R)  in 2018, but the nonpartisan Cook Political Report rates the race as “likely Republican.” 

Pete SessionsPeter Anderson SessionsWhy Trump's defeat is bittersweet for Texas Democrats Bottom line Texas Democrat Colin Allred beats back GOP challenger MORE seeks comeback in Texas’s 17th District 

Former Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Texas) lost his seat in 2018 to Democratic Rep. Colin Allred (Texas). He then moved to the state’s 17th congressional district where he now hopes to score a comeback to Congress. 

Sessions is facing businesswoman Renee Swan, who has the endorsement of the seat’s current occupant, retiring Rep. Bill FloresWilliam (Bill) Hose FloresThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by the UAE Embassy in Washington, DC - Calls mount to start transition as Biden readies Cabinet picks Hillicon Valley: House votes to condemn QAnon | Americans worried about foreign election interference | DHS confirms request to tap protester phones House approves measure condemning QAnon, but 17 Republicans vote against it MORE, in the Republican primary. 

Trump-supported candidate faces off against Cruz-backed candidate 

In Texas’s 23rd district, Trump has endorsed Tony Gonzales, while Cruz threw his support behind Raul Reyes in the race to replace retiring Rep. Will HurdWilliam Ballard HurdHouse Hispanic Republicans welcome four new members Democrats lead in diversity in new Congress despite GOP gains Senate passes bill to secure internet-connected devices against cyber vulnerabilities MORE (R-Texas). Republicans at the national level say Gonzalez has the best chance of winning in November, arguing that Reyes is too conservative. 

Democrats nominated Gina Ortiz Jones in March. Jones ran against Hurd in 2018, and lost by half a point. The Cook Political Report rates the race as “lean Democrat."

— Julia Manchester 

READ MORE:

Five key races to watch on Tuesday, by Max Greenwood.

Democrats grow more bullish on Texas, by Niall Stanage.

Trump makes late push for two Texas Republicans, by Marina Pitofsky.

Sessions fights for political life in Alabama runoff, by Julia Manchester.

FROM THE TRAIL:

Rep. Mike KellyGeorge (Mike) Joseph KellyPennsylvania Republicans sue in last-ditch effort to stop election certification GOP Rep. Dan Newhouse tests positive for COVID-19 Colorado Democrat Ed Perlmutter tests positive for coronavirus MORE (R-Penn.) says that polls showing President Trump trailing in the key battleground state of Pennsylvania do not accurately reflect the state of the race on the ground. Kelly said the polls are not taking into account Trump’s support from those who turned out to vote for the first time ever in 2016. Jonathan Easley reports.

Presumptive Democratic nominee Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden adds to vote margin over Trump after Milwaukee County recount Krebs says allegations of foreign interference in 2020 election 'farcical'  New DOJ rule could allow executions by electrocution, firing squad MORE on Tuesday released a $2 trillion plan to address climate change with an emphasis on correcting racial economic disparities. Jonathan reports.

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Biden has also opened the door to nixing the 60-vote legislative filibuster in the Senate, but indicated that his decision would depend on whether Republicans would be willing to cut deals or would try to block Democratic proposals. The Hill’s Jordain Carney reports.

Biden rolled out his first general election TV ad in Texas on Tuesday, a sign that the former vice president and Democratic presidential nominee intends to make serious play for the Lonestar State in November. The ad spot focuses on the coronavirus pandemic, urging Texans to stay resilient in the face of the outbreak. "This virus is tough, but Texas is tougher,” Biden says in the ad. Marina reports

FROM CONGRESS AND THE STATES: 

A total of 574 women have filed to run in primaries for House seats and another 58 have filed for Senate primaries, according to data from the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University. The surge in women candidates breaks a record previously set during the 2018 midterm elections when 476 women ran for House seats and another 53 ran for Senate seats. The Hill’s Zack Budryk reports.

Brady PAC, the sister organization of the nation’s oldest anti-gun violence advocacy group, is formally launching a joint fundraising committee called Senate Spurs to support the Senate campaigns of three Democrats: former Gov. John HickenlooperJohn HickenlooperDemocrats frustrated, GOP jubilant in Senate fight Chamber-endorsed Dems struggle on election night OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Down ballot races carry environmental implications | US officially exits Paris climate accord  MORE in Colorado, Afghan war vet MJ Hegar in Texas, and former state senator and vet Cal Cunningham in North Carolina. The group plans to raise close to $500,000 to support their campaigns. It endorsed former Vice President Joe Biden in March and its budget is upwards of $5 million overall for the 2020 cycle. From The Hill’s Alex Gangitano.

MONEY WATCH:

Former astronaut Mark Kelly’s campaign announced his bid for Senate raked in nearly $13 million in the second quarter of this year. The staggering fundraising numbers come months before he takes on incumbent Arizona Sen. Martha McSallyMartha Elizabeth McSallyTrump nominee's long road to Fed may be dead end McSally, staff asked to break up maskless photo op inside Capitol McSally's final floor speech: 'I gave it my all, and I left it all on the field' MORE (R-Ariz.). Max reports. A new poll of Arizona finds Kelly leading McSally by 9 points.

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PERSPECTIVES:

Deborah Chen and Eun Sook Lee: Asian Americans and all people of color need the right to mail voting

Madison Gesiotto: Democratic task force is miles behind Donald Trump

John Kenneth White: Larry Hogan's hopes

  

POLL WATCH:

OH PREDICTIVE INSIGHTS – ARIZONA SENATE 

Kelly: 52%

McSally: 43%

GRAVIS – FLORIDA PRESIDENTIAL

Biden: 53%

Trump: 43%

MARK YOUR CALENDARS:

    

July 14:

Alabama primary runoffs

Texas primary runoffs

Maine primaries

 

Aug. 4:

Arizona primaries

Kansas primaries

Michigan primaries

Missouri primaries

Washington primaries

 

Aug. 11:

Connecticut primaries

Minnesota primaries

Vermont primaries

Wisconsin primaries

Georgia primary runoffs

 

Aug. 18:

Alaska primaries

Florida primaries

Wyoming primaries

 

Aug. 17-20:

Democratic National Convention

 

Aug. 24-27:

Republican National Convention

 

Sept. 1:

Massachusetts primaries

 

Sept. 8:

New Hampshire primaries

Rhode Island primaries

 

Sept. 15:

Delaware primaries

 

Sept. 29:

First presidential debate

 

Oct. 7:

Vice presidential debate

 

Oct. 15:

Second presidential debate

 

Oct. 22:

Third presidential debate