READ IN: Monday, May 19, 2014: Donovan to OMB, Castro to HUD, VA scandal building, Tuesday primary preview, backer of Cochran’s opponent arrested, and the NRSC’s worst nightmare: ‘Draft Palin’

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A1: The stories you need to read before your first conference call.

-- Militias in Tripoli attacked Libya's parliament on Sunday and declared it dissolved in the most violent incident in the capital since the 2011 revolution. Residents reported heavy fighting in several Tripoli neighborhoods. The attackers were aligned with Khalifa Haftar, a former general whose forces last week launched an attack on Islamist militias in Benghazi. (Washington Post)

-- Nine months into his tenure as director of the FBI, James Comey says he underestimated the threat terrorism still poses to the U.S., particularly from al Qaeda offshoots in Africa and the Middle East. Comey describes terrorism as a cancer: The U.S. has "dramatically reduced" the threat from the primary tumor, in Afghanistan and Pakistan, but he says the threat has metastasized in North Africa, Yemen, and even in the U.S. (New York Times)

-- President Obama this week will name Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan as the next head of the Office of Management and Budget, and will tap San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro to run HUD, pending background checks being conducted now by the FBI. (Washington Post) The formal announcement is likely to come late this week.

-- Congress returns this week to deal with a major water bill. The House is expected to vote on the Water Resources Reform and Development Act on Tuesday, with Senate action to follow soon after. House leaders planned to pass a non-controversial measure reforming hiring at the Department of Veterans Affairs under suspension of the rules, but now that measure will get extra attention when it comes up for a vote on Wednesday.

-- Federal investigators have visited a VA hospital in suburban Chicago to look into allegations of more secret waiting lists. Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.) called for an investigation into Albuquerque's hospital. Robert Petzel, a top VA official, resigned on Friday in what the White House sought to cast as a termination, even though he had been scheduled to retire later this year. (Associated Press) Chief of Staff Denis McDonough says Obama is "madder than hell" about the scandal. (CBS)

-- Reid's Take: The White House won't say whether it has plans to more forcefully address the disaster brewing across Lafayette Square, but the President is going to have to say something publicly, and soon. This isn't just a Fox News scandal; stories about mistreated veterans have a special resonance. Obama's going to need more than "madder than hell."

-- Voters head to the polls in Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Kentucky, Oregon and Pennsylvania on Tuesday. There are some critical contests on the ballot; see below for a quick Primary Primer.

-- Front Pages: WaPo, NYT, WSJ, USA Today and the LA Times all lead with AT&T's $48.5 billion deal to buy DirecTV.

National Roundup: What's happening outside the Beltway.

-- WH'16: Hillary Clinton was mentioned 98 times on the Sunday shows. "Meet the Press" and "This Week" led the way with 27 mentions each. (Washington Post) Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is contemplating challenging Clinton from the left. This weekend, he headlined a fundraising dinner for a county Democratic Party in Iowa. (Washington Post)

-- Fundraising Roundup: The DSCC raised $6.3 million last month and had $25 million in the bank. The NRSC pulled in $6 million and had $19.2 million on hand. The DCCC raised $7.1 million in April and maintained $43.5 million in the bank. The NRCC, the RNC and the DNC don't have to report their results until tomorrow.

-- Mississippi: A conservative blogger is being held on $100,000 bond after allegedly sneaking into a nursing home in Madison to take photos and video of Sen. Thad Cochran's (R) bed-ridden wife. State Sen. Chris McDainel's (R) campaign said it wasn't involved in producing the video, but the Cochran campaign pointed to contradictory statements that indicate the McDainel camp knew of the incident and the video before the arrest was made public. (Jackson Clarion-Ledger, twice)

-- Kentucky: Campaigning before Tuesday's primary, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell didn't mention either of his opponents by name, but he did talk about President Obama -- a lot. McConnell: "My opponent is able to raise a lot of money because she's running against me. I'm able to raise a lot of money because I am me. So in a sense, you get a picture here, I'm raising money for both sides." (Lexington Herald-Leader) The Wall Street Journal put this McConnell story on today's front page.

-- Virginia: Richmond Mayor Dwight Jones, chairman of the state Democratic Party, has told members of the steering committee the party is carrying more than $100,000 in debt after the hard-fought 2013 gubernatorial campaign. Jones is leading a planned sale of the party's Richmond headquarters, in part to make way for a minor league baseball stadium he wants built. (Washington Post)

DC Digest: What's on tap today in DC.

-- President Obama and Vice President Biden have lunch scheduled with military commanders at the White House. Later, Obama will hit a DCCC fundraiser in suburban Maryland. Biden spends his day in meetings before flying out this evening to Bucharest, Romania.

-- The House meets at noon with eight votes on non-controversial measures scheduled for 6:30 p.m. The House will vote on awarding Congressional Gold Medals to the 65th Infantry Regiment, Israeli President Shimon Peres and the Doolittle Tokyo Raiders, among others. The Rules Committee meets this afternoon on the defense authorization bill and the Commerce, Justice and Science appropriations bill.

-- The Senate is in pro forma session today. They return tomorrow at 10 a.m.

Primary Primer Your cheat sheet for tomorrow's contests.
-- Arkansas: Three Republicans are vying to replace retiring Rep. Tim Griffin (R) in the 2nd District. The winner, likely either state Rep. Ann Clemmer (R) or banker French Hill (R), will face former North Little Rock Mayor Patrick Henry Hays. State House Majority Leader Bruce Westerman (R) is likely to beat an energy executive in the 4th District for the right to take on former FEMA chief James Lee Witt (D) in November. There's no primary in the Senate race.

-- Georgia: The race to replace retiring Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R) is the big contest here. Rep. Jack Kingston (R), businessman David Perdue (R) and former Secretary of State Karen Handel (R) are vying for two runoff spots. Reps. Phil Gingrey (R) and Paul Broun (R) have faded. The runoff is scheduled for July 22. Expect runoffs in races to fill House seats held by Kingston, Gingrey and Broun. Five Republicans are running for the right to face Rep. John Barrow (D); party strategists expect state Rep. Delvis Dutton (R) and construction company owner Rick Allen (R) to make the runoff.

-- Idaho: For a minute there, attorney Bryan Smith (R) looked like he would give Rep. Mike Simpson (R) a run for his money, thanks to the Club for Growth. But outside money dried up as Smith's chances ebbed, and Simpson is likely to cruise. Gov. Butch Otter (R) faces a number of, shall we say, unique candidates. Some conservatives have lined up behind state Sen. Russ Fulcher (R), but Otter should win.

-- Kentucky: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is poised to roll over businessman Matt Bevin (R) on Tuesday. Bevin once looked like a potentially strong challenger, but he shot himself in the foot, and McConnell helped with a rash of negative ads.

-- Oregon: State Rep. Dennis Richardson (R) is likely to win the right to face Gov. John Kitzhaber (D) in November. This could be a race if Richardson had money -- which he doesn't. Physician Monica Wehby (R) is likely to beat state Rep. Jason Conger (R) for the right to take on Sen. Jeff Merkley (D), though a socially conservative pro-life group has run ads against her.

-- Pennsylvania: An ugly Democratic gubernatorial primary winds down with businessman Tom Wolf (D) leading the field. A weekend poll published by the Allentown Morning Call shows Wolf leading with 41 percent, compared with 16 percent for Rep. Allyson Schwartz (D) and 11 percent for state Treasurer Rob McCord (D). Rep. Bill Shuster (R) faces a challenge from businessman Art Halverson (R), though Shuster has spent big on television to protect himself. Four Democrats, including ex-Rep. Marjorie Margolies (D), are running to replace Schwartz in her Philadelphia-area district.

TV Time Out: Our exclusive look at who's advertising, and where

-- Alaska: On Friday, the NRSC plunked down $2.2 million in September and October advertisements in the Anchorage market. For those keeping score, that means six entities have already bought post-Labor Day airtime: Sen. Mark Begich (D), former Attorney General Dan Sullivan (R), the NRSC, the DSCC, Crossroads and Put Alaska First, the pro-Begich super PAC. And the Tea Party Leadership Fund is up with a $10,000 online ad buy they describe in FEC reports as "DRAFT PALIN."

-- Colorado: Senate Majority PAC is going up with a new round of ad buys against Rep. Cory Gardner (R). The Democratic group reported spending $215,710 on ads, according to FEC reports.

The Buried Lede: The nuggets that deserve the spotlight.

-- Karen Tumulty takes a look at Lyndon Johnson's legacy, half a century after Johnson launched the Great Society: "Virtually every political battle that rages today has roots in the federal expansion and experimentation that began in the 1960s. It set terms of engagement for ideological warfare over how to grapple with income inequality, whether to encourage a common curriculum in schools, affirmative action, immigration, even whether to strip federal funding for National Public Radio. (Yes, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting is another Great Society program.)"

-- "In the space of a few years came an avalanche of new laws, many of which were part of LBJ’s War on Poverty: Civil rights protections. Medicare and Medicaid. Food stamps. Urban renewal. The first broad federal investment in elementary and high school education. Head Start and college aid. An end to what was essentially a whites-only immigration policy. Landmark consumer safety and environmental regulations. Funding that gave voice to community action groups. Before the 1965 passage of the Voting Rights Act, which sought to bring blacks to the polls, there were believed to be about 300 African American elected officials in this country. By 1970, there were 1,469. As of 2011, there were more than 10,500, according to the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies." (Washington Post)

B1: Business, politics and the business of politics

-- "For pundits and reporters, the episode is akin to a piñata that hangs itself and then hands you a stick," wrote David Carr, the New York Times media critic. Three things to read to catch up on the ugly, nasty Jill Abramson split: Carr's Monday column, Ken Auletta's third dispatch on the topic, and Gabriel Sherman on the Sulzberger-Abramson relationship that was doomed from the start.

-- Stock futures are down slightly in pre-market trading after U.S. markets rose on Friday. World markets are down. (CNN)

C1: The long reads you'll need to check out before tonight's cocktail party.

-- Who would have guessed that a pro-choice, pro-drug legalization, pro-gay rights critic of Ronald Reagan who lived in a rent-stabilized apartment in New York City would go on to become one of the GOP's biggest donors. Even as the Libertarian Party's vice presidential nominee in 1980, when he campaigned in 27 states, David Koch railed against federal election laws and the federal government's ownership of state lands. (New York Times) A great read on the history of the Libertarian Party, complete with early campaign buttons.

C4: The comics page, fun things to read when you're bored at work

-- Watch John McCain get really, really excited after Diamondbacks first baseman Paul Goldschmidt whacked a three-run home run on Saturday night. Pure, unadulterated joy.

Attn Matt Drudge: Things conservatives will get outraged by today.

-- West Virginia Republicans say state House Democrats are using franking privileges for political purposes in an election year. House members sent a total of 64,037 pieces of state-paid mail to constituents this year; Republicans say the vast majority of those pieces went to high-propensity Democratic voters. (Charleston Gazette)

Attn HuffPo: What outrages liberals today

-- Rancher Gary Kiehne (R), one of several Republicans running against Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D), said at a candidates' forum this weekend that guns don't kill people, Democrats do. "If you look at all the fiascos that have occurred, 99 percent of them have been by Democrats pulling their guns out and shooting people," he said. (Arizona Daily Star) Asked for evidence he supports gun rights, Kiehne said he owns more guns and ammunition than the other candidates.

Reid Wilson covers state politics and policy for the Washington Post's GovBeat blog. He's a former editor in chief of The Hotline, the premier tip sheet on campaigns and elections, and he's a complete political junkie.
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