First Read's Morning Clips

OBAMA AGENDA: One hostage returns home, another one is being held

One American held captive aboard, journalist Peter Curtis, returned to the United States from Syria last night, the New York Times reports. But another, a 26-year-old woman kidnapped a year ago, is being held by ISIS for a multi-million dollar ransom.

NBC News learned the identity of an American killed over the weekend fighting for ISIS.

“Israel and Hamas agreed to their first open-ended cease-fire after seven weeks of military confrontation and will resume truce talks in Cairo in the coming days,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

In Afghanistan, one of the two presidential candidates has withdrawn from the internationally supervised audit,the Times reports.

America will not work with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government to coordinate possible airstrikes against Islamic militants, the Washington Post reports.

OFF TO THE RACES: Looking ahead to 2020

Forget 2016. MSNBC’s Benjy Sarlin writes that Democrats are already focused on 2020 – the election before the next round of redistricting. “Last week, the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee announced it would commit at least $70 million to Advantage 2020, a program aimed at targeting legislative chambers in key states over the next four election cycles with the specific aim of influencing redistricting. The plan calls on Democrats to invest resources not just in state chambers the party has a shot at winning this November, but in legislatures where they might have a chance at slowly eroding a GOP majority over time thanks to demographic trends.”

The Washington Post’s Greg Sargent on Marco Rubio dressing down DREAMer protesters.

ARIZONA: “State Treasurer Doug Ducey, who campaigned on a promise to bring his experience running Cold Stone Creamery to bear on the challenges facing state government, won the Republican primary for governor Tuesday night,” the Arizona Republic writes.

ARKANSAS: Incumbent Democratic Sen. Mark Pryor on Tuesday released an ad tying Republican opponent Tom Cotton with the Ebola outbreak, marking the first time the virus has been used politically this election cycle.

CALIFORNIA: A political tracker followed Democratic congressional candidate Amanda Renteria into church, “asking questions as she walked down the aisle and videotaping her as she knelt down to pray,” The Fresno Bee reports. A spokesman for the conservative political action committee America Rising, which employs the tracker, said the man will no longer be used by the group to tape events.

FLORIDA: “Heading into Tuesday’s primary election, Charlie Crist’s win over longtime Democrat Nan Rich was never in doubt. Only the size of his double-digit win — about 50 percentage points — was in question. The general election pitting Crist against Gov. Rick Scott is far less certain. It’s close to a tie race. And it’s brutal,” the Miami Herald reports.

KENTUCKY: The New York Times’ Jonathan Martin on Mitch McConnell and the Kentucky Senate race.

MICHIGAN: “Michigan Senate candidate Terri Lynn Land (R) is calling in a new television ad for a drastic reduction in the 18.4 cents per gallon gas tax that is used to pay for federal road and transit projects,” The Hill reports.

MAINE: “Maine Gov. Paul LePage sometimes can't help mouthing off, once telling the Portland chapter of the NAACP to ‘kiss my butt,’ calling the IRS "the new Gestapo" and saying he wouldn't be afraid to tell President Barack Obama to ‘go to hell,’” the AP writes in a profile of the candid politician.

Democracy for America is up with TV ads (like this one here) hitting Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME).

NORTH CAROLINA: “Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan beat up President Barack Obama before he arrived in town, then showed up at the airport to give him a kiss on the cheek,” Politico reports.