THE BIG IDEA:

With Breanne Deppisch and Joanie Greve

PORTSMOUTH, N.H. — Stefany Shaheen knows better than to go door knocking during a New England Patriots game.

Long before Tom Brady quarterbacked the Patriots to eight Super Bowl appearances, she learned that it’s a bad idea to ring people’s doorbells and ask for their votes when the beloved NFL franchise is playing. It might even backfire. That’s the sort of wisdom you pick up when your mother is Jeanne Shaheen, New Hampshire’s senior senator and a three-term governor before that.

So when her good friend Chris Pappas, a candidate for Congress, came here on Sunday afternoon during the season opener, Stefany Shaheen — a former member of the Portsmouth City Council herself — told him to spend those hours politicking at a coffee house, a restaurant and around the town square. That way, he wouldn’t bother anyone who wanted to watch the game.

Just down the road, his main opponent Maura Sullivan — a former Marine captain who moved to New Hampshire after working in the Pentagon during the Obama administration — went door knocking during the game. An impressive group of 75 volunteers gathered in a supporter’s grassy backyard half an hour after kickoff to watch Rep. Seth Moulton (D-Mass.) stump for the first-time candidate. “She’s a veteran in the year of the veteran,” said Moulton. “She’s a woman in the year of the woman.” Then field staffers handed out 34 clipboards, and the crowd dispersed to three nearby towns — undeterred by the game.

Pappas and Sullivan are the two clear front-runners going into Tuesday’s Democratic primary to replace the retiring Rep. Carol Shea-Porter (D). Both are 38, earned degrees from Harvard and espouse similar positions on substantive policy issues. But the contest of personalities is dramatic, and the race has turned negative in the home stretch. They also differ on whether House Democrats should keep Nancy Pelosi.

It’s a fitting coda to the 2018 primary season, which kicked off six months ago in Texas, and finally wraps up this week with New Hampshire on Tuesday, Rhode Island on Wednesday and New York on Thursday. Because the energy is on the side of the Democrats, whoever wins the primary will likely go to Congress next year. Moreover, the choice voters make here on Tuesday could offer early hints of what kind of presidential candidate will fare best in the state’s first-in-the-nation primary, which is just 15 months away.

Essentially every elected Democrat in the Granite State has endorsed Pappas, except Shea-Porter — who is campaigning for her former chief of staff in the 11-way race.

He is one of five members of the New Hampshire Executive Council, a fourth branch of state government that’s as powerful as the legislature. It functions like a board of directors and must vote to approve all spending. His family also owns the Puritan Backroom, a Manchester diner that sells the best chicken fingers in the state and has long been a must-visit for presidential aspirants from both parties. (The shakes are delicious, as well.)

Pappas spent Saturday with junior Sen. Maggie Hassan, Sunday morning with Jeanne Shaheen in Manchester and he’ll hit the hustings with former governor John Lynch on Monday.

Sullivan, though, has significantly outraised Pappas. She’s brought in almost $2 million, more than 90 percent of it from out-of-state donors. This has allowed her to outspend everyone else on television ads. She’s also getting close air support from national groups like Emily’s List and VoteVets. Former Navy secretary Ray Mabus also flew up to help on Friday.

She’s attempted to use Pappas’s blue-chip endorsements against him. Sullivan tells voters that her allegiance won’t be to party leaders but to the people. “Look, there were members of the Democratic establishment who told me not to run,” she said in an interview on a supporter’s porch. “First of all, that’s not democracy. And I think women across our country are really tired of being told to wait their turn.”

-- Most national coverage of this contest has focused on Bernie Sanders’s son, Levi Sanders, who is one of 11 candidates on the ballot. But he’s a nonfactor on the ground. The Vermont senator, who defeated Hillary Clinton by 22 points in the Granite State’s 2016 primary, has declined to endorse or otherwise help him. Levi, who lives outside the district, has used the platform that comes with his famous last name to attack Pappas and Sullivan for refusing to endorse Medicare-for-all.

Shea-Porter’s longtime chief of staff Naomi Andrews, who also managed her congressional campaigns, is a wild card to watch. The retiring congresswoman recorded commercials endorsing her, and Andrews has trained her fire on Sullivan during the home stretch — which could wind up benefiting Pappas.

The thrust of the attack has been that Sullivan didn’t move here until she decided that she wanted to run for Congress, and that she also explored moving to other states where there might be open congressional seats before settling on New Hampshire. A story in Sunday’s Union Leader, the state’s biggest newspaper, hit Sullivan for not casting ballots when she was a registered Massachusetts voter in the general elections of 2006, 2008 and 2012. She also didn’t vote in the 2016 Democratic presidential primary when she was living in D.C. “I regret not voting more often throughout my adult life,” Sullivan responded.

On the other hand, the front page of Sunday’s Boston Globe — widely read up here by the many people who commute to the Hub for work — featured a splashy centerpiece about Ayanna Pressley. The Boston city councilwoman toppled 10-term incumbent Rep. Mike Capuano in a Democratic primary last Tuesday despite having no establishment support and trailing by double digits in every poll.

Moulton, who served in the Marines, also toppled a Democratic incumbent in neighboring Massachusetts in a 2014 primary. He defended Sullivan as he spoke to the 75 volunteers. “I think people in New Hampshire should be proud that Maura has come here to live and raise her family and to serve all of you,” he said. “You know who else they attacked for being a carpetbagger? John McCain! Because John McCain came back from Vietnam and he moved to Arizona for the first time in his life. When a congressional seat opened up, he actually moved to a different part of Arizona to run for that seat. Do people in Arizona say today they’re not proud of John McCain? I don’t think so.”

Carpetbagging attacks have worked here. Sen. Shaheen narrowly beat back a spirited challenge from former Massachusetts GOP Sen. Scott Brown in the very red year of 2014, in part, because she defined him as out-of-touch with the state’s unique political ethos.

The plurality of New Hampshire voters are independents, but they’re eligible to vote in either party’s primary. Secretary of State Bill Gardner predicts that 90,000 people will take a Democratic ballot tomorrow, which would shatter the previous record in a midterm year of just under 70,000.

The 1st District, which remarkably has maintained basically the same boundaries since the 1880 Census, is one of the swingiest districts in America and has seesawed over the past decade with the national political tide. Shea-Porter defeated an incumbent GOP congressman in the 2006 Democratic wave by running against the Iraq War. Then Frank Guinta beat her in the 2010 Republican wave. Shea-Porter won the seat back in a 2012 rematch, riding Barack Obama’s coattails. But Guinta beat her again in 2014. Then she barely edged him out in 2016, even as President Trump carried the district by two percentage points — the same margin Obama had won by four years earlier. Now 65, Shea-Porter is throwing in the towel.

Republicans also have a contentious primary for the seat, pitting libertarian state senator Andy Sanborn, who has Rand Paul’s endorsement, against former South Hampton police chief Eddie Edwards, who is African American.

-- Sullivan proudly touts her work in the Obama administration, and she encouraged voters on Sunday to read the speech he delivered Friday — the first time he’s attacked Trump by name since leaving office. “I’ve read it a few times now in the last two days, and there are many parts of it that stood out,” she said. “But one part in particular was when he talked about these being unprecedented times.”

-- Pappas talks about his work to expand Medicaid and protect Planned Parenthood funding from his perch on the executive council. “I think it’s important that you’re not just discovering New Hampshire for the first time during your campaign, that you know what this state is all about and can give voice to that in Washington,” he said, sipping Earl Grey tea during an interview at a coffee shop called Breaking New Grounds. “That should be the model for how Washington should work.”

-- Sullivan says she won’t support Pelosi for speaker if she wins. “Leader Pelosi has paved the way for women all across our country to step up … but what’s happening in our country is so much bigger than any one person,” said Sullivan. “We need new leadership in the Democratic Party. We need new leadership in the Republican Party. Therefore I will not be supporting Leader Pelosi.”

Pappas avoids taking a position. “I just haven’t spent much time thinking about it,” he said. “Ultimately, there will be a leadership race. I don’t know what the contours of that race will look like, and I’m just really focused on winning the most votes on Sept. 11. At the end of the day, I’ll do whatever is best for the district.”

-- A lot of Sullivan’s volunteers are retired servicemen. Edward Raupp, 81, served in Vietnam and came to volunteer Sunday afternoon. “We want a veteran and a female, and there’s only one female veteran running,” said Raupp, who teaches economics at the Great Bay Community College in Portsmouth.

-- Pappas would make history as the state’s first openly gay representative in Congress. “We’ve made such incredible strides in New Hampshire, in particular, at electing women to top offices. That sends an incredible message to young women and girls about their ability to be able to make a difference,” he said. “I think, or I hope, that my election would send the same message to members of the LGBT community as well, that they deserve a seat at the table and that they’re welcome in their communities.”

-- He didn’t serve in the military, but he had a wingman in Stefany Shaheen as he walked around downtown Portsmouth on Sunday. “I just want to introduce you to my friend who is running for Congress,” she said dozens of times, on a first-name basis with several of the people they ran into.

Since Trump unexpectedly won the 2016 election, liberal protesters from Occupy Seacoast have gathered every Sunday afternoon at 3 p.m. in front of North Church, which has a 183-foot steeple that defines the Portsmouth skyline. Usually 20 to 25 people come, but only about a dozen showed on Sunday. Again, that’s probably because of the Pats game.

Counterprotesters also routinely come to show solidarity with Trump. Four men, including a guy with a handgun strapped to his hip who was waving an American flag, stood across the street on Sunday as Pappas greeted the Occupy folks.

Lynn Joslyn of Rye was once a Republican state legislator. Now in her late 80s, she came to the church to protest Trump’s forced separation of immigrant families — eager to draw public attention back to the hundreds of kids who still have not been reunited with their parents.

When Pappas happened by, Joslyn told him that she’s received negative mailers from Sullivan in the past few days that accuse him of lacking a political spine. “She’s attacking you, but she should be attacking Trump,” Joslyn told Pappas. “She should be talking more anti-Trump if she’s a real Democrat. Or she should concentrate on herself and what she’d bring to the table.”

Joslyn said she’s “very much leaning” toward Pappas. “We should be repudiating Trump’s tactics, not adopting them,” he told her. “Thanks for seeing through it.”

In case you were wondering, the Patriots beat the Houston Texans 27 to 20.

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GET SMART FAST:​​

  1. Hurricane Florence is on track to become a Category 4 storm before making landfall along the Southeast or Mid-Atlantic coast on Thursday. South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia have declared a state of emergency to prepare funds for the possible storm surge and flash flooding. (Brian McNoldy and Jason Samenow)
  2. Thousands of armed young men took to the streets of Kabul to commemorate the death of top anti-Taliban commander Ahmed Shah Massoud, brandishing knives and other weapons while convoys of masked gunmen fired assault rifles indiscriminately into the sky. At least 13 people were injured in the violent demonstrations that lasted nearly eight hours and underscored the weakness of U.S.-backed President Ashraf Ghani’s government. (Sayed Salahuddin)
  3. Hundreds of anti-Putin protesters gathered in Moscow to rally against unpopular new changes to the pension system. But they were met by a very different, very pro-Russian group that had gathered to celebrate Moscow’s 871st birthday. “The result was bizarre and somewhat surreal,” Amie Ferris-Rotman reports. Riot police stood guard as children licked ice cream cones; and performers danced to classical music as protesters chanted “Putin is a thief!” and “Down with the czar!”
  4. A well-known Washington deacon said he would refuse to assist in any mass led by Cardinal Donald Wuerl. The Washington archbishop has faced calls for his resignation since the Pennsylvania grand jury report accused him last month of ignoring sexual abuse in the church. (Julie Zauzmer)

  5. Florida’s toxic bloom of red tide algae has moved into Tampa Bay, where it has killed hundreds of thousands of fish and other marine life and injected the air with an unmistakable, putrid stench. The red tide outbreak has spread to at least 120 miles of Florida coastline in recent months — imperiling tourism and prompting Gov. Rick Scott (R) to issue a state of emergency. (Alex Horton)
  6. Doctors are reconsidering aggressive cancer treatments for some patients. As knowledge of the disease has grown and treatment options have expanded, doctors are recommending that some patients pursue more tailored therapies or simply have their cancer monitored. (Laurie McGinley)

  7. California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) commuted the life sentences of 20 convicted killers. Brown has issued 82 commutations in the past seven years, more than any other California governor since at least the 1940s. (Rob Kuznia)

  8. Jack Ma announced plans to gradually step aside as the chairman of the board of the Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba. He will focus on education philanthropy. (Danielle Paquette)
  9. Dallas police officer Amber Guyger was arrested and charged with manslaughter after entering the wrong home and allegedly fatally shooting a neighbor she mistook for an intruder. The killing of Botham Shem Jean, who was black, has raised questions about police violence and racial profiling, especially because Guyger is white. (Kristine Phillips)

  10. Novak Djokovic won the men’s U.S. Open, claiming his 14th Grand Slam title. The win ties Djokovic with Pete Sampras for third on the all-time major singles titles list. But the tennis world was still reeling from Saturday’s controversial women’s title final match between Serena Williams and Naomi Osaka. (Ava Wallace)

THE #METOO MOVEMENT:

-- CBS News announced Les Moonves would step aside as CEO six weeks after sexual misconduct allegations first arose against him. Joseph Ianniello will take over as interim CEO and president. Steven Zeitchik, Alex Horton and Sarah Ellison report: “Moonves is still expected to collect millions as part of a settlement with the board, though the company said it will withhold any decision on payment until after the investigation is complete. The executive is one of the best-compensated in media, making $69 million last year, according to regulatory filings. According to a statement from the company, Moonves and CBS will also ‘donate $20 million to one or more organizations that support the #MeToo movement and equality for women in the workplace. The donation, which will be made immediately, has been deducted from any severance benefits that may be due Moonves following the Board’s ongoing independent investigation.’”

-- The announcement came hours after the New Yorker published another article about Moonves’s alleged misconduct in which six additional women accused him of harassment or assault. Ronan Farrow reports: “One of the women with allegations against Moonves, a veteran television executive named Phyllis Golden-Gottlieb, told me that she filed a criminal complaint late last year with the Los Angeles Police Department, accusing Moonves of physically restraining her and forcing her to perform oral sex on him, and of exposing himself to her and violently throwing her against a wall in later incidents. The two worked together in the late nineteen-eighties. Law-enforcement sources told me that they found Golden-Gottlieb’s allegations credible and consistent but prosecutors declined to pursue charges because the statutes of limitations for the crimes had expired. Early this year, Moonves informed a portion of the CBS board about the criminal investigation. … Jessica Pallingston, a writer, alleges that Moonves coerced her into performing oral sex on him when she worked as his temporary assistant, in the nineties, and that, after she repelled subsequent sexual advances, he became hostile, at one point calling her a ‘c---.’”

Moonves was also accused of using his power to punish women who rejected him: “After she rebuffed Moonves, Golden-Gottlieb said that Moonves retaliated against her professionally, moving her into ever smaller offices. … She told me that her career in the entertainment industry suffered, which she attributed to his influence at Lorimar and, later, CBS. ‘He absolutely ruined my career,’ she said. ‘He was the head of CBS. No one was going to take me.’” Moonves released a statement acknowledging three of the encounters but claiming they were consensual. “The appalling accusations in this article are untrue,” he said. “I have never used my position to hinder the advancement or careers of women.”

-- Moonves was the anonymous subject of a May article by Dr. Anne Peters that appeared in the Annals of Internal Medicine, in which she described a celebrity patient trying to force himself on her, according to Vanity Fair’s William D. Cohan: “It happened many years ago in an examination room where I’d been asked to see a V.I.P. patient early in the morning before regular business hours,” Peters wrote. He then “grabbed” her as she moved toward the examination table. “He pulled himself against me and tried to force himself on me. He did this twice; when I rebuffed him, he stood beside the examination table and satisfied himself. After he finished, he reassembled himself and left.” In a statement, Moonves acknowledged trying to kiss Peters: “The appalling allegations about my conduct toward a female physician some 20 years ago are untrue. What is true, and what I deeply regret, is that I tried to kiss the doctor. Nothing more happened.”

WEST WING INTRIGUE:

-- Mike Pence denied that he was part of reported discussions to remove Trump from office or that he wrote the anonymous New York Times op-ed, saying on “Fox News Sunday” and CBS’s “Face the Nation” that he is “100 percent certain” none of his staffers wrote the anonymous piece. Felicia Sonmez reports: “[Pence] not only said he would take a lie-detector test to prove that he hadn’t written the [op-ed], but that he would do so ‘in a heartbeat.’ He disputed the veracity of an episode in Bob Woodward’s new book depicting a White House in chaos, even when confronted with a document backing up the veteran journalist’s reporting. And in an unusual move, he requested an opportunity to go back on camera and revise his response to a question on whether anyone on his staff had written the op-ed, telling CBS’s Margaret Brennan that he was ‘100 percent confident’ no one on his team was involved after earlier responding that he ‘just wouldn’t know.’” Pence also declined to speculate on whether the author specifically used the word “lodestar” to frame him for writing the piece.

“Pence’s remarks in the back-to-back interviews highlighted his eagerness to serve as Trump’s most loyal defender, a role that has defined his time as vice president and one that has earned him praise from the president’s supporters but scorn from critics who contend his defense and promotion of Trump is over the top. On Sunday, he again lauded Trump personally, describing him in the CBS interview as ‘the most accomplished president of my lifetime and, I think, already one of the most successful presidents in American history in our first two years.’”

-- House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said that the anonymous op-ed serves as proof of a “deep state”: “We have a Constitution. We have a responsibility to uphold. This individual thinks they are smarter than the voters of America,” he said on Fox News.

-- While the mysterious op-ed has left Trump moody and “punch-drunk,” and sent the West Wing into “paroxysms of paranoia,” Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner have quickly taken the lead in sussing out the White House mole. Their first suspect? Former enemy and White House Chief of Staff John Kelly. Vanity Fair’s Gabriel Sherman reports: “According to three sources, Jared and Ivanka floated a theory on Wednesday that Kelly could be behind the Times op-ed. Under this scenario, the sources said, the op-ed was written by Zachary Fuentes, the deputy chief of staff, at the direction of Kelly. Jared and Ivanka have told people they suspect this because Kelly is the only one with an ego so large as to have convinced himself that he’s saving the country from Trump, which was one of the op-ed’s principal arguments. On Wednesday night, Ivanka and Jared laid out for Trump the theory that Fuentes might be the author … Trump disagreed with their theory, an outside adviser said. He told one ally that the op-ed was possibly written by someone who wants to derail Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing … Ivanka has been frustrated that her father won’t take action against Kelly, an outside adviser said. She’s told people that Trump still sees Kelly as a ‘John Wayne figure,’ and that Trump is worried that if Kelly is fired, he’ll become even more dangerous as an outside critic.”

-- Bob Woodward, whose forthcoming book, “Fear,” touches on many of the same themes as the op-ed, told CBS  that he would not have published the op-ed, saying it was “too vague, and does not meet the standards of trying to describe specific incidents. Specific incidents are the building blocks of journalism, as you well know.”

-- Woodward also said he had multiple sources for every claim in the book: ‘Multiple interviews with key witnesses. One person I interviewed nine times, and the transcripts of those conversations are 700 or 800 pages.’ ‘700-800 pages for one person?’ ‘Yes, sir.’ ‘How many people did you interview?’ ‘Over a hundred. I would say that maybe half of those are key people.’”

-- Neither Trump nor Michael Cohen plans to enforce the NDA signed by Stormy Daniels during the 2016 election, according to newly filed court documents, raising questions about the future of her lawsuit and its goal of forcing the president to be deposed. Elise Viebeck reports: “Lawyers for Trump stated Saturday that he ‘does not, and will not, contest [Daniels’s] assertion’ that the settlement agreement is invalid … The lawyers promised that Trump ‘will not bring any action, proceeding or claim’ against Daniels to enforce the terms of the contract. Trump’s effort to end the case … came as Daniels’s attorney Michael Avenatti continued his push to depose the president and Cohen. Asked about the latest filing, Avenatti called it ‘completely bogus and the epitome of floppy lawyering.’ … ‘Nothing has changed,’ Avenatti said of the chance he will be able to depose Trump and Cohen in the case. ‘We’re marching forward.’” Daniels is also suing Trump for defamation.

-- Trump agreed to provide written answers under oath in the lawsuit brought by Summer Zervos, a former “Apprentice” contestant who claims Trump sexually assaulted her in 2007. Elise Viebeck reports: “Lawyers for Trump and Zervos agreed this week to exchange ‘written answers and objections’ to formal written questions by Sept. 28, according to a [New York court document]. Rules in New York state require interrogatories to be sworn or verified … meaning that false answers could open Trump to charges of perjury."

-- Despite his claim that he already knows who will replace Don McGahn as White House counsel, Trump has continued to vacillate as he searches for a lawyer who will pledge sufficient loyalty and defend him on television. Axios’s Jonathan Swan reports: “The newest name on the president's mind: Fannie Mae general counsel Brian Brooks  … Emmet Flood, the White House attorney dealing with Mueller's investigation, looked set to take the job. But . . . Trump is now seriously considering Brooks … The president's insistence on a loyalist could pose problems for Flood, who's by far the most qualified to handle a season of investigations.”

THE MIDTERMS:

-- Florida gubernatorial candidate Ron DeSantis (R) spoke at four racially charged conferences organized by David Horowitz,  a right-wing activist who has said that African Americans “owe their freedom to white people” and that America's "‘only serious race war’ is against whites.” Beth Reinhard and Emma Brown report: “DeSantis … appeared at the [conferences in] 2013, 2015, 2016 and 2017, said Michael Finch, president of the organization. At the group’s annual Restoration Weekend conferences, hundreds of people gather to hear right-wing provocateurs such as [Steve Bannon], Milo Yiannopoulos and Sebastian Gorka …

  • "[Other] speakers included a former Google engineer who was fired after arguing that ‘biological causes’ in part explain why there are relatively few women working in tech and leadership; a critic of multiculturalism who has written that ‘Europe is committing suicide’ by welcoming large numbers of refugees and immigrants; and a British media personality who urged the audience to keep the [U.S.]  from becoming like the United Kingdom, where ‘discrimination against whites is institutionalized and systemic.’
  • "‘I just want to say what an honor it’s been to be here to speak,’ DeSantis said [at one 2015 event] … ‘David has done such great work and I’ve been an admirer. … [I’m a] big admirer of an organization that shoots straight, tells the American people the truth and is standing up for the right thing.’”

-- The GOP is staging a mission for embattled Sen. Ted Cruz in Texas, scrambling to defend one of their most reliably red Senate seats. Politico’s Alex Isenstadt reports: “With a string of polls showing [Cruz’s] lead slipping, Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick showed up in Washington on July 25 to deliver an urgent plea to White House officials: Send [Trump]. Patrick, who chaired Trump's 2016 campaign in the state, made the case that a Trump visit was needed to boost turnout for Cruz and the rest of the Texas Republican ticket. The lieutenant governor soon got his wish: Trump announced on Twitter late last month that he was planning a blowout October rally for Cruz[.] … Cruz’s Democratic opponent, Rep. Beto O’Rourke, has raised barrels of cash, closed the polling gap and emerged as a cause celebre of liberals nationwide.

  • After antagonizing the K Street set early in his Senate career, Cruz is courting it as he attempts to fill his coffers. … Cruz has filled his calendar with fundraisers, including at least three scheduled this week. … Texas Sen. John Cornyn, who’s planning an October fundraiser for Cruz at Washington’s Capital Grille restaurant, said he had a simple directive to GOP givers. ‘We’re not bluffing, this is real, and it is a serious threat,’ Cornyn, the No. 2 Senate Republican, said in an interview.
  • The president’s son Donald Trump Jr. is expected to host multiple events for the senator in the Houston area on Oct. 3.”

-- OMB Director Mick Mulvaney told donors at a Republican National Committee event this weekend that Cruz could lose. (New York Times)

-- Wisconsin Democrats are confident this year’s tough environment for Republicans combined with their strong gubernatorial candidate will be enough to defeat Gov. Scott Walker. Politico’s Natasha Korecki reports: “The signs that Walker is ripe to be taken down are everywhere. His opponent, Schools Superintendent Tony Evers, has a slight lead in recent polls and there’s evidence that critical suburban voters are shifting leftward. Three former Walker aides have even turned on the governor, with two cutting ads for Evers. And Walker has quickly gone negative on Evers, including in a new, highly charged ad. Just as important, Democrats are running a populist candidate they believe is made for the moment — Evers, who built momentum from decisively winning a crowded primary and went on to raise $1 million in his first week as the nominee.”

-- Republicans running for governor are looking for success in unlikely places: Blue states. Tim Craig reports from Portland, Ore., where the soft-spoken GOP candidate, Knute Buehler, supports abortion rights and has drawn tepid approval from some Democrats: “There are Republicans I know for sure, ‘I would never vote for this person,’ [said Rachelle Dixon] vice chairwoman of the Multnomah County Democrats. ‘But when I look at this man and his voting record, I don’t say, ‘Gosh, I’d be scared to be in the room with this guy.’ … [It’s] the sort of reaction that is giving Democrats fits as moderate GOP candidates are proving to be resilient in unexpected places, even as much of the Republican Party shifts to the right. With 36 gubernatorial races on the ballot nationwide, Democrats are still expected to make gains in state houses this year as their party targets a raft of open seats and several GOP incumbents … But recent polls suggest that Republicans [Maryland's Larry Hogan, Massachusetts's Charlie Baker, and Vermont's Phil Scott] — all up for reelection this fall in states carried by Hillary Clinton in 2016 — remain among the most popular governors in the country and are favored to win reelection. Their success in winning and governing as moderates is serving as a model for GOP candidates elsewhere, including in Rhode Island [plus Connecticut] and here in Oregon, where officials in both parties say the governor’s race is competitive.”

-- New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is dealing with two campaign gaffes as he prepares for Thursday’s Democratic primary against Cynthia Nixon. The New York Times’s Jesse McKinley, Shane Goldmacher and Tyler Pager report: “On Friday, [Cuomo] was standing alongside his mother, Matilda, and Hillary Clinton celebrating the ‘grand opening’ of the eastbound span of a gleaming bridge bearing his father’s name. Emotional words were spoken; selfies were taken. But that span never opened as planned on Saturday as engineers cited a ‘potentially dangerous situation’ involving the old and adjacent Tappan Zee Bridge, which is being taken apart. What had seemed a perfectly orchestrated ribbon-cutting, just days before Thursday’s primary, quickly morphed into a cudgel for the governor’s opponents, who accused him of putting politics above public safety and called for a federal investigation.

“Then, a second problem erupted for Mr. Cuomo on Saturday, when a flier landed in mailboxes of Jewish New Yorkers: a political mailer, paid for by the State Democratic Party that Mr. Cuomo funds, tying together a photograph of [Nixon], and the loaded words ‘anti-Semitism.’ The flier drew swift rebukes from fellow Democrats as Mr. Cuomo distanced himself from its content.”

-- Liberal organizations that stayed out of Ayanna Pressley’s successful primary fight against Rep. Mike Capuano (D) are grappling with how to approach her campaign now that she’s the nominee. BuzzFeed News’s Darren Sands reports: “The Congressional Black Caucus PAC backed her white incumbent opponent. Emily’s List . . . [which] named Pressley as its Gabrielle Giffords Rising Star in 2015, using her poignant biography to move donors at a glitzy Washington fundraiser — stayed out of her contest with a 66-year-old man. … Pressley’s 18-point victory exposed Democratic groups and political figures currently adhering to an antiquated model of politics out of step with a progressive-minded electorate that wants leaders who embody the energy and urgency of the left.”

-- Republican strategists appear resigned to the idea that Trump will likely face some kind of a primary challenge in 2020. New York magazine’s Gabriel Debenedetti reports: “The matter was regarded as an open question for most of 2018, but a new emergent consensus among the party’s consultants and strategists has taken root after Paul Manafort’s conviction and Michael Cohen’s implication of the president in federal court. And New Hampshire — fertile ground historically for political insurgencies — is likely to be the place where we see the first clues about who the candidate will be, and what form exactly the challenge will take. … Outgoing Ohio Governor John Kasich … is due back in the Granite State right after November’s midterms. Retiring Arizona Senator Jeff Flake … has also been exploring ways to continue his vocal opposition past January. He stopped by New Hampshire this spring, urging someone to formally take Trump on with a campaign. Proponents of Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse … have quietly, and casually, spoken by phone with local power brokers about the political environment. …

“But what would a primary challenge actually look like, and how much of a threat would it actually be to Trump? Operatives interested in helping such an effort have narrowed it down to two scenarios. There’s option A: an all-out NeverTrump-style protest campaign against the president that would challenge him directly. … Or B, perhaps the likelier option: a wait-and-see campaign that doesn’t really go anywhere, unless Trump implodes and the alternative candidate is ready to swoop in and save the GOP’s day.”

-- Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) has put four staffers on the ground in Iowa to help Democratic candidates there as he prepares for a potential 2020 bid. The Guardian’s Ben Jacobs reports: “He announced on Saturday that he will speak at the Iowa Democratic Party’s annual gala, a key event for activists in the first state to hold presidential nominating contests. Among the candidates whom Booker is aiding are Rob Sand, a former state assistant attorney general recently profiled in the New York Times, and Deirdre DeJear, who would be the first woman of color elected to statewide office in Iowa. The senator is assisting Democratic efforts to regain control of the state legislature and raising money for Democratic candidates and progressive causes across the state.”

-- Michael Avenatti said his national presidential campaign headquarters would be based in St. Louis if he does make a run for the White House. “I grew up there, I have ties to the area, my parents still live there; they’re getting older. It’s centrally located in the country. It’s the place that I identify most closely with as home,” Stormy Daniels’s lawyer said. He added, “If I do this, I think Missouri is very much going to be in play. … I’m going to spend a lot of time there.” (Politico)

THERE’S A BEAR IN THE WOODS:

-- Former Trump adviser George Papadopoulos, who was sentenced to 14 days in prison on Friday as part of his plea deal with Bob Mueller, said the Trump campaign was “fully aware” of his efforts to broker a meeting with Vladimir Putin in 2016 and described Jeff Sessions as being “quite enthusiastic” about it. “I actively sought to leverage my contacts with the professor to host this meeting,” Papadopoulos told George Stephanopoulos on ABC News's “This Week.” “The campaign was fully aware what I was doing.” He said he brought up the idea of a summit during a meeting on March 31, 2016, and that Trump was “open to this idea” but deferred to Sessions. Papadopoulos’s remarks directly contradict Sessions’s sworn congressional testimony, during which he claimed that he “pushed back” on such a meeting. “My recollection differs from Jeff Sessions,” Papadopoulos said. Asked whether he thinks the Mueller probe will demonstrate collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, Papadopoulos responded: “I have no idea. All I can say is that my testimony might have helped move something towards that, but I have no idea.”

-- Pence said that he has not been asked to sit down for an interview with Mueller’s team but said he would be “open to doing so.” “I would. I would be more than willing to continue to provide any and all support in that,” Pence told CBS.

-- Trump is expected to soon declassify sensitive documents about his former campaign adviser Carter Page and senior Justice Department lawyer Bruce Ohr. From Axios’s Jonathan Swan and Lauren Meier: “Republicans on the House Intelligence and Judiciary committees believe the declassification will permanently taint the Trump-Russia investigation by showing the investigation was illegitimate to begin with. Trump has been hammering the same theme for months.”

THE NEW WORLD ORDER:

-- The United States intends to threaten those who cooperate with a potential International Criminal Court investigation of U.S. wartime actions in Afghanistan with sanctions and travel restrictions. Missy Ryan and Anne Gearan report: “The Trump administration is also expected to announce that it is shutting down a Palestinian diplomatic office in Washington because Palestinians have sought to use the international court to prosecute U.S. ally Israel, [sources] said. White House national security adviser John Bolton is expected to outline threats of sanctions and a ban on travel to the United States for people involved in the attempted prosecution of Americans before the international court in an address Monday. Bolton is a longtime opponent of the court on grounds that it violates national sovereignty. [He is also] expected to outline a new campaign to challenge the court’s legitimacy as it considers cases that could put the United States and close allies in jeopardy for the first time … and propose measures including new agreements to shield U.S. personnel from international prosecution and the threat of sanctions or travel restrictions for people involved in prosecuting Americans.

“One person said Bolton plans to use the speech to announce that the Trump administration will force the closure of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s office in Washington in a dispute over a Palestinian effort to seek prosecution of Israel through the ICC. Bolton’s announcement is closely related to concern at the Pentagon and among intelligence agencies about potential U.S. liability to prosecution at the court over actions in Afghanistan, said a senior administration official.”

-- North Korea celebrated its 70th anniversary, which featured the traditional goose-stepping soldiers and heavy artillery — but, notably, no intercontinental ballistic missiles. Simon Denyer reports: “Much of the parade was dedicated to civilian efforts to boost the economy, the Associated Press reported, underscoring a major policy shift announced by [Kim Jong Un] earlier this year to focus on economic development. Another major theme was the reunification of the Korean Peninsula, carved into two by the Soviet Union and the United States after World War II. The absence of nuclear-capable missile systems was seen as a conciliatory gesture during a period of intense diplomatic outreach and negotiation.”

-- But U.S. officials say North Korea has escalated efforts to conceal its nuclear activity. NBC News’s Courtney Kube and Carol E. Lee report: “During the three months since the historic Singapore summit and Trump's proclamation that North Korea intends to denuclearize, North Korea has built structures to obscure the entrance to at least one warhead storage facility, according to [three senior] officials. … U.S. intelligence assesses North Korea could produce five to eight new nuclear weapons in 2018, according to three current and former senior U.S. officials. That pace is virtually identical to their assessment of the regime's production of about six per year prior to the Trump-Kim summit.”

-- The CIA is expanding its drone operations in Africa, which Trump has approved after Obama sought to curtail the program. The New York Times’s Joe Penney, Eric Schmitt, Rukmini Callimachi and Christoph Koettl report: “[The CIA is] moving aircraft to northeastern Niger to hunt Islamist militants in southern Libya. The expansion adds to the agency’s limited covert missions in eastern Afghanistan for strikes in Pakistan, and in southern Saudi Arabia for attacks in Yemen. Nigerien and American officials said the C.I.A. had been flying drones on surveillance missions for several months from a corner of a small commercial airport in Dirkou. … The drone policy was changed last year, after Mike Pompeo, the C.I.A. director at the time, made a forceful case to [Trump] that the agency’s broader counterterrorism efforts were being needlessly constrained."

-- Sweden’s far-right, neo-Nazi-linked political party placed third in the country’s elections — boosting its status in parliament, and delivering a blow to the two centrist parties who have governed the country for decades. Meanwhile, Sweden's ruling Social Democrat party performed the worst it has in years, capturing just over 28 percent of the vote. (Michael Birnbaum)  

THE REST OF TRUMP’S AGENDA:

-- Blue-collar workers are currently benefiting from a hiring surge, but some of the conditions that helped create it aren't likely to last. Heather Long and Andrew Van Dam report: “The rapid hiring in blue-collar sectors is delivering benefits to areas that turned out heavily for Trump in the 2016 election, according to the Brookings Institution, a shift from earlier in this expansion, when large and midsize cities experienced most of the gains. The biggest drivers of the blue-collar hiring surge are the rebound in oil prices, the need to rebuild after disasters such as Hurricanes Irma and Harvey, and rising demand generated by a growing economy. … The president and his advisers have said recent economic growth proves the success of the administration’s economic agenda … But [senior Brookings fellow Mark Muro] says that ‘the present surge is a continuation of gradual economic improvement that not only began during the Obama years but directly continues trends in the last year of the previous administration.’”

-- Trump and Obama’s sparring over who deserves credit for the strength of the U.S. economy speaks volumes about each of their legacies, the New York Times’s Peter Baker writes. “Barely a day passes without [Trump] boasting about the growing economy, claiming with a mix of hyperbole and fact that it is ‘booming like never before.’ But [Obama] finds all the Trumpian chest-thumping more than a little grating, given that the ‘booming’ started on his watch. The economic contest between the 44th and 45th presidents went public in recent days when Mr. Obama expressed his irritation and Mr. Trump fired back. At stake are more than ordinary political bragging rights. Central to Mr. Obama’s historical legacy is the economy’s recovery after its plummet to the brink of a new Great Depression. And central to Mr. Trump’s current political standing is its further expansion.”

-- Ford said that it would not be moving production of a hatchback wagon from China to the United States, despite a tweet from Trump claiming that the company could do so. The AP’s Paul Wiseman reports: “Citing Trump’s new tariffs, Ford on Aug. 31 said it was dropping plans to ship the Focus Active from China to America. Trump took to Twitter Sunday to declare victory and write: ‘This is just the beginning. This car can now be BUILT IN THE U.S.A. and Ford will pay no tariffs!’ But in a statement Sunday, Ford said ‘it would not be profitable to build the Focus Active in the U.S.’ given forecast yearly sales below 50,000. For now, that means Ford simply won’t sell the vehicle in the United States.”

THE SUPREME COURT:

-- Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings did little to alter his expected Senate confirmation as the next Supreme Court justice — but the actions that nominees take after they are sworn in are often much harder to predict. Robert Barnes and Seung Min Kim report: “Nominees of presidents from both parties … move toward the center for their first — and usually last — extended moment on the national stage. In his buoyant but cautious star turn, Kavanaugh was no different. He picked his way through Supreme Court precedents, endorsing those he figured favorable to his chances and refusing to say whether a multitude of others were rightly or wrongly decided. … It was easy to lose count of how many times [Neil Gorsuch] cited allegiance to precedent at his 2017 confirmation hearings. He told senators he had contributed to a book on the subject. … But in his first full term on the court, Gorsuch voted twice to overturn precedent … [and joined a highly controversial concurrence] that said the Voting Rights Act does not cover redistricting.

-- Sen. Dianne Feinstein warned that Kavanaugh views Trump as an “oligarch” who cannot be investigated. The Los Angeles Times’s Adam Elmahrek reports: “Speaking at a swanky Santa Barbara hotel to a group of mainly women attending the Year of the Woman luncheon, Feinstein (D-Calif.) emphasized that Kavanaugh’s confirmation hinged on the votes of Republican Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska. ‘Both women,’ she added. ‘The president believes he is above the law. And this nominee believes this president cannot be investigated, cannot be tried,’ Feinstein said.”

-- Activists from around the country have mailed about 3,000 coat hangers to Susan Collins’s Senate office as a symbol of the unsafe abortions they say will take place if Roe v. Wade gets overturned. The AP’s David Sharp reports: “A spokeswoman for Collins said Saturday that a recently released email from Kavanaugh — in which he disputed that all legal scholars see Roe as settled — didn’t contradict what he told the senator because he wasn’t expressing his personal views. … And activists have pledged to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to fund an opponent to Collins if she votes in favor of the president’s nomination. She is up for re-election in 2020.”

SOCIAL MEDIA SPEED READ:

Trump once again denounced Bob Woodward’s new book:

The House majority whip went hunting with the president's son:

The CIA marked National Pet Memorial Day:

A presidential historian shared this photo taken 17 years ago today:

A Democratic senator accused Brett Kavanaugh of perjury:

From a Post columnist:

The ranking minority-party member of the House Judiciary Committee called for Kavanaugh's confirmation vote to be delayed:

A former strategist for John McCain's presidential campaign, who helped get John Roberts and Sam Alito confirmed but has turned on the GOP because of Trump, accused Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski of hypocrisy on abortion rights:

Collins visited with Bush 41, perhaps to hear a sales pitch for Kavanagh? (She has not officially said how she'll vote.)

Trump retweeted this video, originally shared by his social media director, mocking Obama after the former president directed criticism at Trump in a Friday speech:

Obama's former senior strategist questioned Trump's boasts about creating jobs:

The Post's book critic came across a possible hint about the op-ed author in Bob Woodward's new book:

The book also touches on Trump's advice for confronting sexual misconduct allegations:

A New Yorker writer reacted to the new allegations against Les Moonves:

Virginia's Democratic lieutenant governor celebrated the state's Medicaid expansion:

This Trump tweet turned four years old:

A New York Times reporter celebrated Rosh Hashanah:

GOOD READS FROM ELSEWHERE:

-- New Yorker, “Can Mark Zuckerberg Fix Facebook Before It Breaks Democracy?” by Evan Osnos: “If Facebook were a country, it would have the largest population on earth. More than 2.2 billion people, about a third of humanity, log in at least once a month. That user base has no precedent in the history of American enterprise. Fourteen years after it was founded, in Zuckerberg’s dorm room, Facebook has as many adherents as Christianity. … Zuckerberg is now at the center of a full-fledged debate about the moral character of Silicon Valley and the conscience of its leaders.”

-- BuzzFeed News, “How WhatsApp Destroyed A Village,” by Pranav Dixit and Ryan Mac: “WhatsApp, a Facebook-owned messaging service, is used by more than 200 million people in India, its largest market. It’s become an inextricable part of the country’s culture and social fabric, widely used by younger and older generations alike. … Lately, however, WhatsApp has been getting Indians killed. … Since May, there have been at least 16 lynchings leading to 29 deaths in India where public officials say mobs were incited by misinformation on WhatsApp. As Facebook wrangles an ongoing crisis of public confidence over its role in spreading misinformation throughout the 2016 US presidential election, the company is grappling with a different kind of problem in places like Rainpada, where its products have abetted flesh-and-blood harm.”

-- “In her anger, in defeat, Serena Williams starts an overdue conversation,” by Liz Clarke: “From this ugly incident, Williams can emerge a champion of a different sort — one who pushes the boundaries of her sport again by shining a light on a double standard that for decades has masqueraded as tradition and hidden behind words such a ‘respect’ and ‘decorum.’ By calling out [chair umpire Carlos Ramos] for penalizing her for language far less vulgar than profanities hurled at officials by Roger Federer and bad boys John McEnroe and Jimmy Connors before him, Williams has forced tennis to examine why it doesn’t accord women the same latitude as men to display raw, unvarnished and often ugly competitive fury as men.”

HOT ON THE LEFT:

“Sen. Ben Sasse said he thinks about leaving the GOP ‘every morning,’” from Christian Davenport: “[Sasse] said Sunday morning that he probably thinks about leaving the Republican Party ‘every morning,’ while decrying the way he said Republicans and Democrats get caught up in the political furors of the day instead of having a ‘long-term vision’ for the country. Speaking on CNN’s ‘State of the Union,’ Sasse (R-Neb.) said he considers himself an ‘independent conservative who caucuses with the Republicans.’ But despite his misgivings, he said he is ‘committed to the party of Lincoln and Reagan as long as there is a chance to reform.’”

 

HOT ON THE RIGHT:

“Three Miami Dolphins players protest during national anthem,” from The Hill: “Three Miami Dolphins players protested during the national anthem before their season opener against Tennessee on Sunday. Wide receivers Kenny Stills and Albert Wilson knelt during the anthem while defensive end Robert Quinn raised his fist … The protests come as [Trump] escalates his attacks on NFL players who don't stand during the national anthem. Trump in a tweet on Sunday morning knocked the NFL over lower ratings for its first game of the season, which he attributed to the ongoing protests. Players have said the protests are against police brutality and racial inequality.”

 

DAYBOOK:

Trump will receive his intelligence briefing and have lunch with Pence. He has no other events on his public schedule.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: 

“I think it’s a very dangerous and ill-advised move that is not based on any broad strategy,” former secretary of state John Kerry said about Trump pulling out of the Iran nuclear deal, which Kerry called the “single strongest, single most accountable, single most transparent nuclear agreement anywhere in the world.” (Politico)

 

NEWS YOU CAN USE IF YOU LIVE IN D.C.:

-- Washingtonians should prepare for more hot, muggy weather and possible storms this evening. The Capital Weather Gang forecasts: “We could see a shower or storm this morning as a warm front lifts through the region. Then the sun should at least partially come out and temperatures and humidity surge upward. It feels more like summer during the afternoon, with highs near 80. But it feels hotter, given all moisture in the air (dew points 70 to 75), which could help some storms pop up late in the afternoon. … As a cool front moves into the region, more numerous showers and storms may develop in the evening.”

-- The Redskins beat the Cardinals 24-6. (Les Carpenter)

-- Schools in the Washington region have consistently underestimated how many students will enroll, resulting in overcrowding. Katherine Shaver reports: “In Montgomery alone, half of the county’s 205 schools exceed 100 percent capacity, and some hover around 150 percent. … But some parents say Bethesda Elementary is a good example of how enrollment forecasts — a key way that districts try to ensure enough capacity — can be significantly off, especially amid a building boom. In the area that Bethesda Elementary serves, more than 2,800 condos, apartments and other homes are under construction, have been approved or have been recently built, prompting fears that schools will be further swamped more quickly than anticipated.”

-- D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) had her adopted daughter baptized days after she publicly introduced her on the “Today” show. From Fenit Nirappil: “Miranda Elizabeth Bowser was baptized at St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church in Northeast Washington during the regularly scheduled morning Mass. After services ended, the mayor walked out with her 4-month-old in her arms and with the parents of another newly baptized child in front of her. … A crowd of about 100 people, including well-wishers, friends and a who’s who of D.C. politics, applauded as the mayor entered with Miranda.”

VIDEOS OF THE DAY:

John Oliver encouraged Florida voters to approve a state constitutional amendment that would make it easier for those previously convicted of nonviolent crimes to regain the right to vote:

Vladimir Putin struggled to cast his ballot for Moscow's mayor:

A local news anchor in Sioux Falls, S.D., told viewers about her daughter's death from an opioid overdose to highlight the stigma surrounding addiction:

Miss Michigan touched on her state's water crisis at the Miss America pageant: