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A1: The stories you need to read before your first conference call.
-- North Carolina state House Speaker Thom Tillis (R) won 46 percent of the vote, avoiding a runoff and winning the right to face Sen. Kay Hagan (D) in November in a victory for an establishment that lined up early behind him. Our sources tell us Senate Majority PAC will be back on air with an attack ad by the end of the week.
-- Tale of the tape: AP called the race for Tillis at 9:23 p.m. ET. DSCC oppo dump on Tillis landed in reporter inboxes at 9:13 p.m. ET. Tillis names his dogs after Republican presidents, sends messages with lollipops, likes water skiing and wants to be NRSC chairman. Read more facts about Tillis here.
-- Three House Republicans facing energetic challengers survived primaries on Tuesday. Rep. Walter Jones (R-N.C.) outlasted former Bush administration official Taylor Griffin (R), 51 percent to 45 percent. House Speaker John Boehner took 69 percent of the vote against school teacher J.D. Winteregg's (R) 22 percent. And Rep. David Joyce (R-Ohio) beat state Rep. Matt Lynch (R), 55 percent to 45 percent.
-- The Obama administration will send a team of specialists to Nigeria to help recover hundreds of missing girls kidnapped by the terrorist group Boko Haram weeks ago. Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan said he welcomed the assistance, which comes just weeks before the World Economic Forum meets in Lagos. (Washington Post, New York Times)
-- Assistant EPA Inspector General Patrick Sullivan will testify before a House oversight committee today, when he's expected to accuse the EPA's Office of Homeland Security of impeding investigations. The dispute stems from a GOP-led investigation into former EPA official John Beale, who pleaded guilty to stealing more than $800,000 between 2000 and 2013; the Homeland Security office investigated Beale for months before the inspector general's office got wind of it. (Associated Press)
-- The panel investigating the attacks in Benghazi, informally dubbed the Gowdy Committee, will include seven Republicans and five Democrats and will take a look at what steps the Obama administration has taken to track down those responsible for the attack. Secretary of State John Kerry says he'll cooperate with the panel, though some House Democrats want to boycott the proceedings. (Politico)
-- Front Pages: WaPo, NYT and USA Today all lead with the national climate assessment released Tuesday by the White House, and all three give big attention to the kidnapped girls in Nigeria. WSJ leads with Alibaba's pending IPO. The Charlotte Observer and the Greensboro News & Record both feature 4-column previews of the Tillis-Hagan race; the News & Record features an especially smiley Tillis.
National Roundup: What's happening outside the Beltway.
-- New Hampshire: Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D) leads former Sen. Scott Brown (R) by a 49 percent to 43 percent margin, according to a Hickman Analytics poll conducted April 24-30 among 400 likely voters. Shaheen leads by 25 points among women, 59 percent to 34 percent, while Brown leads by a 53 percent to 38 percent margin among men. (NH Journal) Harrison Hickman, who conducted the poll for the pro-Keystone Consumer Energy Alliance, polled for John Edwards in 2004 and 2008. Spin alert: The right-leaning NH Journal calls the 6-point lead a "near statistical tie."
-- Kentucky: Attorney General Jack Conway (D) made official his long-expected gubernatorial campaign on Tuesday, naming state Rep. Sannie Overly (D) his running mate. Conway met with Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes last week, and Grimes said she wanted him to wait until after Fancy Farm, the church picnic in August, to announce. Gov. Steve Beshear (D) is term-limited in 2015. (Lexington Herald-Leader)
-- Iowa: A second outside group is starting attack ads against businessman Mark Jacobs (R), dubbing him a Texan, criticizing his contributions to Democratic senators and his support for cap and trade legislation in 2009. (Des Moines Register) Reid's Take: Jacobs is spending more on his own TV ads than the outside groups or state Sen. Joni Ernst (R), his leading rival, but local and national Republicans watching the race think Ernst is starting to peak. They're starting to bet on Ernst in the June 3 primary.
-- Nevada: The Silver State could join others like Oregon, Maryland and Massachusetts in scrapping its health care exchange after a botched rollout. Gov. Brian Sandoval (R) said in a TV interview the state had no good options to fix the system before the next open enrollment period begins in November. Sandoval left open the possibility of joining the federal exchange, as Oregon has done. (Las Vegas Review Journal)
-- Wisconsin: A federal judge has halted an investigation into possible illegal coordination between conservative groups during the 2012 recall of Gov. Scott Walker (R), on grounds that the investigation infringed on free-speech rights. Special prosecutor Francis Schmitz said he was almost certain to appeal, but the ruling is a victory for Walker. The prosecutor's office delivered subpoenas to 29 conservative groups during the investigation. (Washington Post)
-- California: How ugly is the gubernatorial primary getting? Assemblyman Tim Donnelly (R) claimed Tuesday that former TARP administrator Neel Kashkari (R) supported Shariah banking law by appearing at a conference when he worked in the Bush administration. Kashkari, by the way, is Hindu, not Muslim. (San Francisco Chronicle) The author of the initial column making charges against Kashkari is off his meds.
DC Digest: What's on tap today in DC.
-- President Obama travels to Arkansas today to view damage caused by last week's deadly tornados. He'll meet with families and first responders. Later, he departs Little Rock bound for Los Angeles, where he headlines a joint DSCC/DCCC fundraiser. This evening, Obama will be honored at a dinner hosted by USC's Shoah Foundation. Vice President Biden meets Secretary of State John Kerry for breakfast at the Naval Observatory, then spends his day in meetings at the White House.
-- The House will consider a resolution finding former IRS official Lois Lerner in contempt of Congress for refusing to testify before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. They will also debate a resolution calling on Attorney General Eric Holder to appoint a special counsel to investigate the IRS. First votes are expected beginning at 3:30, with action wrapping up between 6 p.m. and 7 p.m.
-- The Senate will continue debating the Shaheen-Portman energy legislation. Post-cloture debate on the motion to proceed ends around 5:45 p.m., with votes expected shortly after.
-- A driver who tried to follow Malia and Sasha Obama's motorcade onto the White House grounds was stopped and arrested Tuesday afternoon. The White House was locked down for more than an hour after Mathew Goldstein's vehicle was stopped and searched just inside the outer perimeter checkpoint at 17th and Pennsylvania. (Washington Post)
-- Rep. Charles Boustany (R-La.) wants to run for chairman of the House Ways and Means Trade Subcommittee, which could benefit his trade-dependent coastal Louisiana district. Current chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) is angling to chair the Intelligence Committee. (Politico)
TV Time Out: Our exclusive look at who's advertising, and where
-- Chamber of Commerce: The Chamber will start running 13 new ads today on behalf of Senate and House Republicans in what spokeswoman Blair Holmes described as a "massive campaign." The chamber on Tuesday dropped almost $660,000 on broadcast and cable ads in the Denver, Colorado Springs and Grand Junction markets on behalf of Senate candidate Cory Gardner. They'll feature a small business owner in a new ad for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, too.
-- The Chamber is spending on behalf of former Rep. Doug Ose (R-Calif.), Rep. David Valadao (R-Calif.), Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Colo.), Rep. Mike Simpson (R-Idaho), former Rep. Bob Dold (R-Ill.), Rep. Andy Barr (R-Ky.), former Massachusetts state Sen. Richard Tisei (R), Rep. Dan Benishek (R-Mich.), businessman Stuart Mills in Minnesota's 8th District, Rep. Joe Heck (R-Nev.) and Rep. Chris Gibson (R-N.Y.).
-- Total spent on House candidates in this ad flight through the end of May: A little north of $1.1 million. The Chamber has spent about $6.6 million since the beginning of February.
-- Iowa: State Sen. Joni Ernst (R) snagged $41,000 in broadcast and cable ads this week. Ernst has been on a fundraising tear in recent weeks, pulling in north of $100,000 a week, the Des Moines Register reported yesterday.
-- Louisiana: Americans for Prosperity on Tuesday bought another $150,000 in television time for ads that will run through May 12. Sen. Mary Landrieu (D) is up with $260,000 in her own TV time this week, and Patriot Majority is in the midst of their own blitz.
The Buried Lede: The nuggets that deserve the spotlight.
-- The new reality of hyper-polarized media "has prompted the White House to adopt messaging strategies that once might have seemed unusually or even undignified -- including hosting an animated page on Buzzfeed, letting Obama appear on the Internet show 'Between Two Ferns' with Zach Galifaianakis, and encouraging the president and others to pose for 'selfies' and other funny pictures. In hopes of it going viral, White House staff members promote such content to popular sites such as Upworthy, which is known for stock headlines promising readers they will be 'amazed' by a particular story."
-- "Obama also has granted interviews to Web sites that are largely ignored in Washington but have large online audiences, such as Zillow for housing or WebMD for health-care news."
-- The White House will run test searches on specific issues. White House senior advisor Dan Pfeiffer explains: “What’s the first page on Google and Bing look like? Let’s take Benghazi,” Pfeiffer said. “Is it five things from Free Beacon and Breitbart? Or is it something from the New York Times or is it from the New Republic?” (Washington Post)
B1: Business, politics and the business of politics
-- Then-NSA chief Keith Alexander invited top Google executives to briefings as part of the Enduring Security Framework program, aimed at coordinating government and industry efforts to secure infrastructure. That suggests a closer working relationship between tech giants and the U.S. government before revelations of NSA snooping.
-- In late 2011 or 2012, the emails show, top tech firms like Google, Apple and Microsoft came to an agreement on a set of security standards for mobile devices. (Al Jazeera America) Bonus: Google's Eric Schmidt refers to Alexander as "General Keith."
-- Stock futures are up in pre-market trading after Wall Street took a beating on Tuesday. The Nikkei lost nearly 3 percent today, but most European markets are flat or up slightly. (CNN)
C1: The long reads you'll need to check out before tonight's cocktail party.
-- "It's time to burn the beret and bury the blue dress," Monica Lewinsky writes in Vanity Fair, breaking her silence nearly two decades after the scandal that made her famous. Lewinsky says she's going public after a freshman at Rutgers University killed himself; Lewinsky, too, felt suicidal, and she says she wants to help victims of online humiliation and harassment. (Vanity Fair)
-- White House senior counselor John Podesta goes running with a group that calls itself the Progressive Ninjas. Podesta runs 25 miles a week; his last marathon was in 2010 in Rome, which he finished in 4 hours 34 minutes. The one place Podesta regrets not running: North Korea, when he went with Bill Clinton to help rescue two jailed American journalists. (Runner's World)
C4: The comics page, fun things to read when you're bored at work
-- Stop the presses! Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman (R) says he's open to running for President again. He made the comments in a web interview with Larry King, in which he also praised Hillary Clinton as "a very impressive public servant." (Salt Lake Tribune)
Attn Matt Drudge: Things conservatives will get outraged by today.
-- Arizona members of Congress are calling for investigations into the Veterans Affairs Department's mishandling of hundreds of cases in Phoenix. Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) is going one step farther: She's asked supporters to sign an online petition supporting an investigation, and offering them a chance to donate to her campaign at the same time. Sinema campaign manager Michelle Davidson threw a campaign vendor under the bus and said the campaign would donate those contributions to a veterans organization. (Arizona Republic)
-- Former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist (D) told Jorge Ramos on Tuesday a big reason he left the GOP was the party's hostilities toward President Obama because of his race. "I couldn't be consistent with myself and my core beliefs and stay with a party that was so unfriendly toward the African-American president," Crist said. (Fusion) Uh, actually, the Public Opinion Strategies poll you commissioned showing yourself getting thumped by Sen. Marco Rubio (R) probably had something to do with it too, governor.