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A1: The stories you need to read before your first conference call.
-- Tanks and special forces units surrounded the Green Zone in Baghdad on Sunday as Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki made a last-ditch effort to retain power. The State Department said in a statement it stood behind President Fouad Massoum, who has resisted naming Maliki as a candidate for prime minister. (Washington Post)
-- Kurdish forces expelled ISIS rebels from two towns in northern Iraq over the weekend. The Obama administration has begun providing weapons to Kurdish forces; officials declined to say which agency is providing the arms, but one official said it wasn't the Pentagon. U.S. jets and drones launched five strikes against ISIS militants on Sunday near Irbil. President Obama said Saturday that airstrikes on militants in Iraq could last for months. (Washington Post, New York Times, Associated Press)
-- Protests and vigils for an unarmed African American teenager shot and killed Saturday by a Ferguson, Mo., police officer turned violent Sunday night as protestors looted a Wal-Mart and other smaller stores. Police said they shot one young man in the rioting. Attorney General Eric Holder has asked civil rights attorneys at the Justice Department to monitor the case. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)
-- Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan will become Turkey's first popularly-elected president after easily winning election on Sunday. Erdogan took 52 percent of the vote, beating the second-place finisher by 14 points. Internal party rules prevent Erdogan from seeking a fourth term as prime minister; his presidential term will run for five years. (New York Times)
-- A three-day cease-fire between Israelis and Hamas fighters in Gaza is holding today as negotiators resume talks in Cairo. The truce allowed high school students to pick up their diplomas from the Education Ministry. Negotiations began at about 11 a.m. this morning after a four-person Israeli team returned to Cairo. (Associated Press)
-- Philadelphia appears to be the early front-runner to host the 2016 Democratic National Convention, ahead of Birmingham, Brooklyn, Columbus and Phoenix. The DNC's site selection committee will be in Philadelphia to review potential venues this week. (Associated Press) Facts of life: Republicans picking Cleveland virtually killed Columbus's bid. Ohio's business community can afford to raise the money for one convention, but two is too much to ask.
-- Front Pages: WaPo leads with Maliki's desperate efforts to cling to power. NYT, WSJ and the Chicago Tribune report on Kurdish advances. St. Louis Post-Dispatch: "DAY OF PROTESTS; NIGHT OF FRENZY." USA Today kicks off with the Gaza ceasefire.
Primary Primer: Previewing tomorrow's elections today.
-- Voters head to the polls in Connecticut, Minnesota and Wisconsin tomorrow. Here are the races to watch:
-- Connecticut: Gov. Dan Malloy (D) isn't the most popular incumbent in the world. He'll face a tough fight for re-election, likely from former Ambassador Tom Foley (R), who narrowly lost to Malloy four years ago. Foley has to get by state Senate Minority Leader John McKinney (R) tomorrow.
-- Minnesota: Five Republicans are running for the right to face Gov. Mark Dayton (D) in November. Venture capitalist Scott Honour (R), former state House Minority Leader Marty Seifert (R), state Rep. Kurt Zellers (R) and Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson (R) are the four to watch. Finance executive Mike McFadden (R) is likely to easily beat his Republican opponents for the right to take on Sen. Al Franken (D). And former state Rep. Tom Emmer (R) faces off with Anoka County Commissioner Rhonda Sivarajah (R) for the right to replace retiring Rep. Michele Bachmann (R) in November.
-- Wisconsin: Madison School Board member Mary Burke (D) will formally win the right to face Gov. Scott Walker (R) in November. Two state senators, a state assemblyman and an automotive engineer face off for the Republican nomination to replace retiring Rep. Tom Petri (R).
National Roundup: What's happening outside the Beltway.
-- Hawaii: State Sen. David Ige (D) thumped incumbent Gov. Neil Abercrombie (D) in Saturday's primary, winning by a 67 percent to 31 percent margin. Sen. Brian Schatz (D) leads Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D) 49.3 percent to 48.6 percent -- or by about 1,600 votes out of 225,000 cast. Two precincts on the Big Island, where about 8,200 voters live, will have 21 days to cast their ballots; voting was postponed because of roads made impassable by Hurricane Iselle. (Honolulu Star-Advertiser, Hawaii News Now) Live results here.
-- Tennessee: Rep. Scott DesJarlais (R) and state Sen. Jim Tracy (R) are each seeking legal counsel as election officials count remaining provisional ballots from last Tuesday's primary. As of late Friday, DesJarlais led by 35 votes. Tracy has five days to file a challenge once elections officials certify the results. (Tennessean)
-- Oregon: State budget officials expect to take in between $17 million and $40 million annually in voters approve a measure legalizing marijuana this fall. The estimate is slightly higher than a private-sector estimate released earlier this year. Voters in Alaska and Washington, D.C. will also vote on legalization measures. (Washington Post) So, just to be clear, Oregonians, your state government thinks you're all a bunch of potheads.
-- New Jersey: Gov. Chris Christie (R) has vetoed legislation that would have banned dumping fracking waste in New Jersey. Lawmakers from both parties sponsored the measure, but Christie said the bill would have violated the Interstate Commerce Clause. In 2011, Christie vetoed legislation that would have banned fracking altogether in New Jersey. (Newark Star-Ledger)
-- Washington: The Center for Gun Responsibility said Friday it would begin running a $1 million ad campaign touting universal background checks on gun purchases. Voters will weigh in on background checks through Initiative 594, but the ad campaign doesn't technically support the initiative; the Center is a 501(c)(3) group that can't engage too much in politics. Gun control backers have outraised gun rights supporters by about a three-to-one margin so far. (Seattle Times)
-- Arizona: A campaign mailer from former Maricopa County Supervisor Mary Rose Wilcox (D) attacks her opponent, state Rep. Ruben Gallego (D), for earning a B+ rating from the NRA by invoking Trayvon Martin. "America doesn't need more Trayvon Martin tragedies," it says under a photo of the Florida teenager in a hoodie. Gallego's campaign called the mailer "extreme." The two candidates are running in the Aug. 26 primary for the right to replace retiring Rep. Ed Pastor (D). (Arizona Republic)
DC Digest: What's on tap today in DC.
-- President Obama takes a break from his Martha's Vineyard vacation this evening to attend a DSCC fundraiser in Tisbury, Mass. That's his only public event of the week. Expect lots of pool reports about golf.
-- Everybody else is gone. Even the Nationals, who open a three-game set tomorrow against the Mets in New York. They're back Friday to face the Pirates.
TV Time Out: Our exclusive look at who's advertising, and where.
-- Senate: Some mind-blowing numbers to get your Monday started, the approximate ad spending to date in critical Senate contests: North Carolina, $43 million. Colorado, $33 million. Arkansas, $30 million. Michigan, $22 million. Alaska: $19 million. Iowa and Louisiana: $13.5 million each. And we're still 12 weeks out!
-- North Carolina: Sen. Kay Hagan (D) will not go quietly into October. Hagan's campaign on Friday bought a whopping $2.9 million in TV time over the last four weeks before Election Day, including $1 million the last week alone. That amounts to between 1,000 and 1,200 gross ratings points in the Charlotte, Raleigh, Greensboro and Greenville markets.
-- Iowa: The NRSC on Friday reserved $1.9 million in time on Cedar Rapids and Des Moines broadcast and cable TV. The ads begin Aug. 26 and run uninterrupted through Election Day, peaking at about $275,000 a week.
The Buried Lede: The nuggets that deserve the spotlight.
-- The average U.S. farmer is 58 years old. During his or her lifetime, corn yields have more than tripled, from a national average of 44 bushels per acre in the 1950s to almost 150 bushels per acre today. Agricultural experts say this year's mild summer is going to lead to a bumper crop of corn and soybeans. (Associated Press)
-- The number of passengers who tried to carry guns onto planes jumped from 976 in 2009 to 1,813 last year, the TSA said. And 84 percent of those guns were loaded. The TSA says most people say they just forgot they had a weapon in their bag. The highest rate of guns in bags is at Raleigh County Memorial Airport in West Virginia; the lowest number of incidents occur at San Jose International Airport, JFK, LaGuardia and Logan. (Boston Globe)
B1: Business, politics and the business of politics
-- The war over online gambling is making some lobbyists very happy. Las Vegas Sands spent $290,000 over the second quarter of the year lobbying on behalf of a measure pushed by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah). Caesars Entertainment, which opposes the bill, spent $980,000 on lobbying, though not all of it against the bill. Boyd Gaming and MGM Resorts both spent more than $200,000. (VegasInc)
-- BuzzFeed has received a $50 million investment from Andreessen Horowitz, a Silicon Valley-based venture capital firm. The investment values the company at about $850 million. BuzzFeed will announce the investment, along with several new changes today, including pointing more resources to BuzzFeed Motion Pictures, its L.A.-based video unit. (New York Times) Anybody who wants to invest that much in Read In, give us a call.
C1: The long reads you'll need to check out before tonight's cocktail party.
-- Republicans control both legislative chambers and the governor's mansion in 23 states. Democrats control all levers of power in 13 states. The total number of states under one-party rule, 36, is the highest in 60 years. After this year, that number could climb, if Republicans can win races in Iowa and Arkansas. A good overview of what's at stake in state elections this year from Adam Nagourney at The New York Times.
C4: The comics page, fun things to read when you're bored at work
-- Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, two dogs and a beach in the Hamptons. If it's the Daily Mail, you know they have photos.
Attn Matt Drudge: Things conservatives will get outraged by today.
-- The Campbell County, Ky. school district will give up federal dollars in order to opt out of the federal school lunch program, which imposes strict nutrition guidelines. District officials said kids didn't like unsalted potatoes, low-fat cheese or mandatory fruits and vegetables. Under the new standards, the National School Nutrition Association said 47 percent of school meal programs reported overall revenues had declined after the new guidelines took effect. (Cincinnati Enquirer)
Attn HuffPo: What outrages liberals today
-- A bridal shop in Bloomsburg, Pa., refused to serve two women because of their sexual orientation. The owner of the store told the Bloomsburg Press Enterprise that providing service to the couple "would break God's law." Pennsylvania is the only state in the country that allows same-sex marriage but doesn't ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. (ThinkProgress)