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A1: The stories you need to read before your first conference call.
-- House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) moved quickly on Wednesday to begin consolidating support for his bid for Majority Leader after Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.) said he would quit on July 31. House Rules Committee chairman Pete Sessions (R-Texas) began texting members Tuesday night seeking their support, while Financial Services Committee chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) continued to contemplate his own bid. (Washington Post) Leadership elections are scheduled for June 19, a week from today.
-- The inside scoop: McCarthy's approximately 20-member whip team includes members like Reps. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), Dave Camp (R-Mich.), Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), Diane Black (R-Tenn.), Lynn Jenkins (R-Kan.) and Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.). Hensarling won't make a final decision on running until this morning; even some of his supporters think he's waited too long. Sessions doesn't have a ton of support from the Texas delegation.
-- We surveyed a handful of members, aides and close observers to handicap the race. The consensus: McCarthy at 3-2 and rising. Hensarling at 5-1, prior to this morning's decision. Sessions 25-1. The Field 100-1.
-- If McCarthy becomes Majority Leader when elections are held next Thursday, the House Republican Conference would move immediately to fill the Majority Whip position. Chief deputy whip Peter Roskam (R-Ill.) has told his inner circle he will run, and RSC chairman Steve Scalise (R-La.) is laying the groundwork for his own bid. (Washington Post) Roskam has put in the hours, but won't conservatives demand a Southerner in leadership?
-- Al Qaeda-inspired Sunni insurgents captured Tikrit Wednesday and moved as far south as Samarra, 70 miles outside Baghdad, in an offensive that raises serious doubts about the capacity of Iraqi security forces. Experts said it would be wrong to assume that Baghdad, heavily fortified and heavily Shiite, would be able to easily defend itself from an attack. Senior U.S. advisor Brett McGurk is in Baghdad for emergency talks with top government officials. (Washington Post)
-- The Obama administration has refused requests from Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki to consider carrying out airstrikes against extremist bases. Maliki most recently asked for air support in a May 16 phone call with Vice President Biden, and in a written request soon after. (New York Times)
National Roundup: What's happening outside the Beltway.
-- Texas: State Sen. Wendy Davis (D) has replaced her campaign manager, former DCCC executive director Karin Johanson, with state Rep. Chris Turner (D). (Austin American-Statesman) In an email to staffers, Johanson said she had suggested the change, and that she would head home to spend time with her father. (Washington Post) Reid's Take: Losing one of the better managers in the Democratic Party isn't a great sign for a candidate who was already a longshot.
-- Mississippi: Senate Republicans raised $820,000 for Sen. Thad Cochran (R) at a fundraiser in the NRSC Tuesday, an event Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell called the "biggest fundraiser ever in this building." (Politico) McConnell is working hard for Cochran, and pushing his K Street buddies to write checks. With a little under two weeks to go, $820,000 is enough to buy around 12,000 gross ratings points across the state.
-- Ohio: A U.S. District Court judge ruled Wednesday that Secretary of State Jon Husted (R) must restore early, in-person voting hours on the three days before Election Day. The order reverses Husted's decision earlier this year that all 88 counties must hold the same early, in-person voting hours this November, hours that did not include the Sunday or Monday before Election Day. (Cleveland Plain Dealer)
-- Nevada: Overlooked amid Cantor's stunning loss on Tuesday is that Tea Party candidates around the rest of the country didn't do so well. Ultra-conservatives in two Nevada Congressional districts and the lieutenant governor's race all fell short, and conservative challengers to incumbent legislators went nowhere. (Las Vegas Sun)
-- California: A state Senate committee on Wednesday approved legislation that would prevent Clippers owner Donald Sterling from claiming a state tax deduction on a $2.5 million fine levied by the NBA over his racist comments. The bill would apply to any professional sports team owners who are fined by their leagues for any reason. (Sacramento Bee)
-- Nebraska: What a nice guy: State Sen. Ernie Chambers has delivered a letter to colleagues offering to chair all 17 legislative committees, serve as Speaker of the unicameral legislature and chairman of the Executive Board, too. He's got the experience: Chambers has served in the legislature for 40 years. (Omaha World-Herald)
DC Digest: What's on tap today in DC.
-- President Obama meets Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott at the White House to discuss trade, Afghanistan and the growing U.S. Marine footprint in Darwin. Obama and Vice President Biden meet for lunch, then Obama welcomes the WNBA champion Minnesota Lynx to the East Room.
-- Biden meets members of Congress this afternoon to discuss the administration's approach to Central and South America, and to preview Biden's upcoming trip to Brazil, Colombia and the Dominican Republic. Biden attends a DNC fundraiser at a private event this evening.
-- The House on Thursday will deal with two tax extender packages, sponsored by Reps. Dave Reichert (R-Wash.) and Pat Tiberi (R-Ohio). First and last votes expected by 12:30 p.m. before members bolt out of town for the weekend.
-- The Senate meets at 9:30 a.m. for morning business and for votes to confirm a permanent representative to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization; an Under Secretary of Defense; a chairwoman of the National Endowment for the Arts; and an Assistant Secretary of Agriculture. The Senate will also vote to confirm three Federal Reserve members.
-- The House Office of Congressional Ethics has referred a complaint against Rep. Steve Stockman (R-Texas) to the House Ethics Committee. The complaint alleges Stockman mischaracterized donations made to his Congressional campaign from his own staffers. (OCE)
TV Time Out: Our exclusive look at who's advertising, and where.
-- Mississippi: The Club for Growth is back on the air with new spots boosting state Sen. Chris McDaniel (R). The group bought $77,000 in ads set to begin today. McDaniel's campaign bought $47,000 in ads running from June 11-17, and Cochran's camp has a tiny four-figure buy running, making the Club the only big-time player to hit the airwaves after the primary.
-- Alaska: American Crossroads is using the Veterans Affairs scandal against Sen. Mark Begich (D) in a new ad out today. The spot features a handful of veterans direct to camera, and images of Begich shaking hands with former Secretary Eric Shinseki. (YouTube)
-- North Carolina: Crossroads GPS is debuting a new ad today using Sen. Kay Hagan's (D) like-your-doctor-keep-your-doctor comments against her. (YouTube)
The Buried Lede: The nuggets that deserve the spotlight.
-- "[T]his is going to be one of the great social experiments of the 21st century." So says Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper (D), on his state's move to legalize, regulate and tax marijuana for recreational use. Hickenlooper also said the state Department of Revenue is putting together rules for labeling edible marijuana products, so Maureen Dowd can rest easy the next time she goes to Denver. (Washington Post)
B1: Business, politics and the business of politics
-- United is joining Delta, JetBlue and Southwest in awarding mileage based on ticket price, rather than distance traveled, the company said Wednesday. Effective March 1, 2015, flyers will receive five points per dollar spent, while flyers with elite status can receive between seven and 11 miles per dollar spent. (Washington Post) New section idea: Things that outrage everybody.
-- Eric Cantor's loss is a blow to those who want to see the Export-Import Bank reauthorized. Case in point: Boeing, a big Ex-Im beneficiary, dropped $3.15 a share, or about 2.3 percent, in trading yesterday. (h/t @PeteSchroeder)
-- Market futures are virtually flat today after the Dow lost 102 points on Wednesday. Asian markets are down, though European markets are trading slightly higher today. (CNN)
C1: The long reads you'll need to check out before tonight's cocktail party.
-- Smart pieces we read on Cantor's demise: Jeff Schapiro says Cantor's candidates losing party elections were warning signs. (Richmond Times-Dispatch) (Why read Read In? Because we tell you this stuff when it happens.) Betsy Woodruff talked to Zachary Werrell, Dave Brat's 23-year old campaign manager, who credits Laura Ingraham and Mark Levine with driving money over immigration reform. (Washington Examiner) Dylan Byers credits Brat's most influential endorsers: Laura Ingraham, Glenn Beck and Mark Levin. (Politico)
-- Winners: Jeb Hensarling, Randolph Macon. Losers: John McLaughlin, Ray Allen. (The Fix) Speaking of McLaughlin: The notion that Democrats cost Cantor the race is, well, just not accurate. (Washington Post, U.S. Elections Project) ABC rounds up theories on how Cantor lost, but Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) won.
C4: The comics page, fun things to read when you're bored at work
-- RT @BadBanana: World Cup time. Time for that weird guy at work to really shine. (Twitter) Far be it from Read In to call out @TheFix.
-- A YouGov poll of soccer fans in 19 countries involved in the World Cup shows the vast majority believes the home team is the favorite this year. Argentinians believe their boys can win the Cup, and Americans think we can win (our coach believes otherwise). Asking which team a country is rooting against reveals some funny global relationships: Argentina is rooting against England. Brazil, Chile and Colombia are rooting against Argentina. Germany and Spain want Iran to lose. Costa Rica is rooting against Mexico. Japan and South Korea are rooting against each other. And Americans? Well, we're rooting against Team USA. (New York Times)
Attn Matt Drudge: Things conservatives will get outraged by today.
-- U.S. spy agencies overheard terrorists who attacked the U.S. consulate in Benghazi in 2012 using cell phones stolen from State Department personnel to contact other terrorist leaders after the operation, officials said. The latest whistleblower: Eric Stahl, a retired Air Force major who piloted the C-17 aircraft that transported the bodies of the four Americans killed during the attack. (Fox News)
Attn HuffPo: What outrages liberals today
-- Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R), you're going to be an MSNBC star today. Speaking at an event in San Francisco on Wednesday, Perry said gays are allowed to "follow a particular lifestyle" -- just like an alcoholic. "I may have the genetic coding that I'm inclined to be an alcoholic, but I have the desire not to do that, and I look at the homosexual issue the same way," Perry said. (San Francisco Chronicle)