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N.Y. primaries have it all — from member matchups to controversial candidates

First Read is your briefing from “Meet the Press” and the NBC Political Unit on the day’s most important political stories and why they matter.
Image: Rep Carolyn Maloney Campaigns On Eve Of Primary Election
Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., who has represented New York City's Upper East Side since 1993, speaks to supporters Monday in New York City. Spencer Platt / Getty Images

WASHINGTON —  If it’s Tuesday ... It’s Primary Day in Florida and New York, as well as Runoff Day in Oklahoma. ... The New York Times  reports that former President Donald Trump had more than 300 classified documents at Mar-a-Lago home, citing multiple sources. ... Dr. Anthony Fauci announces he’s stepping down in December. ... And the most unpopular politician/institution in the new NBC News poll is Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va.

But first:  Start spreading the news: New York’s congressional races today have it all. 

There’s the special congressional election in New York-19 — to fill the seat of current Lt. Gov. Antonio Delgado — in one of the swingiest districts in the country. (Barack Obama won it twice, Trump won it in 2016 and Biden won it in 2020.) It’s between Democrat Pat Ryan, who has been running on protecting abortion rights, and Republican Marc Molinaro, who has focused on inflation and crime. 

There’s the member-vs.-member race in New York-12 between Reps. Jerry Nadler and Carolyn Maloney (as well as Suraj Patel).

There’s the crowded Democratic field in New York-10 that includes Rep. Mondaire Jones (who could very well lose in this new district), former impeachment counsel Dan Goldman, former Rep. Elizabeth Holtzman, and others. 

There’s the establishment vs. progressive race between Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, chair of the DCCC, and state Sen. Alessandra Biaggi, who is running to Maloney’s left. (Don’t forget that Maloney’s decision to run in this district set off a game of musical chairs that eventually prompted Rep. Mondaire Jones to run in New York-10.)

And there’s the return of controversial Carl Paladino, who’s running in a safe Republican New York-23 district. (Among Paladino’s controversies — in 2016 telling a newspaper he wanted Barack Obama to die of mad cow disease and for Michelle Obama “to return to being a male and let loose in the outback of Zimbabwe”; and more recently saying that Hitler was “the kind of leader we need today,” sharing disparaging comments about recent mass shootings, and suggesting Attorney General Merrick Garland should be executed, which he later explained as a “facetious” remark). Paladino’s top opponent is Nick Langworthy, the state Republican Party chairman.

Tweet of the day

Data Download: The number of the day is … 11%

That’s the share of registered voters in a new national NBC News poll who said they have positive feelings about Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.V., while 34% had negative feelings, making Manchin the most unpopular figure in the poll with a net negative rating of -23 points. 

None of the figures or groups in the NBC News poll had net-positive ratings. In order from most positive to least positive, the survey found the following net ratings: 

  • Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo.: — 6 points (28% positive, 34% negative)
  • The U.S. Supreme Court: -7 points (35% positive, 42% negative)
  • Joe Biden: -8 points (40% positive, 48% negative)
  • The Republican Party: -15 points (34% positive, 49% negative)
  • The Democratic Party: -17 points (34% positive, 51% negative)
  • Donald Trump: -18 points (36% positive, 54% negative)
  • Kamala Harris: -18 points (32% positive, 50% negative)
  • Mike Pence: -19 points (25% positive, 44% negative)
  • Manchin: -23 points (11% positive, 34% negative)

Manchin also had the highest share of voters — 31% — who said they did not know or weren’t sure how they felt about him, suggesting he was also the least well-known of those people and groups tested in the survey. 

But his high net-negative rating underscores his difficult balancing act as a moderate Democrat from a ruby red state, who is often at the center of Democratic negotiations. And Manchin clearly recognizes that his position means he’ll have plenty of enemies.  

“OK, so I’m the villain. I can be the hero and the villain, all in a 24-hour period,” Manchin said at a roundtable in West Virginia on Friday, per NBC News’ Sahil Kapur.

Other numbers to know:

More than 300: How many documents marked classified that federal officials have recovered from former President Donald Trump since he left office, per the New York Times. 

1.5: The number of years American life expectancy dropped last year, the largest one-year dip since World War II, spurred by drug overdoses and Covid. 

93: How many votes changed after a partial hand recount of the Kansas ballot initiative focused on abortion rights.

35%: The percentage of registered voters in Florida who are Republican, per the Miami Herald, less than one percentage point higher than the percentage of registered voters who are Democrats.

25%: The share of parents in America who say they are confident their community’s public schools will have adequate staffing levels for their children’s needs, per a new NBC poll

$650,000: How much Trump’s Save America PAC donated to the Smithsonian to fund portraits of Trump and former first lady Melania Trump, per Business Insider. 

$300,000: About how much it costs a married, middle-income family to raise a child, according to a Brookings Institution study reported on by the Wall Street Journal, averaging out to about $18,000 a year. 

Midterm roundup: Five other primaries to watch

In addition to the contests in New York, voters in Florida and Oklahoma are also heading to the polls Tuesday for their states’ respective primaries and primary runoffs. So here are a few more races to watch: 

Florida Governor: Multiple Democrats are competing to take on GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis, but the top two contenders include Rep. Charlie Crist, the state’s former Republican governor who later became a Democrat, and state Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried. Crist has outraised Fried and outspent her on the airwaves.

Oklahoma Senate (special): Rep. Markwayne Mullin and T.W. Shannon, the former state House speaker, are competing in the GOP runoff to replace Republican Sen. Jim Inhofe, who plans to resign next year, leaving four years left of a six-year term he was elected to in 2020. Mullin has endorsements from Trump and GOP Gov. Kevin Stitt. The winner will face former Democratic Rep. Kendra Horn in November, but the seat is expected to remain in Republican hands.  

Florida-01: GOP Rep. Matt Gaetz faces two primary challengers, former FedEx executive Mark Lombardo and pilot Greg Merk. Though Gaetz leads in fundraising and ad spending, Lombardo launched TV ads calling Gaetz “Lyin’ Matt Gaetz” and highlighting the fact that Gaetz is under federal investigation connected to sex trafficking crimes. Gaetz denies any allegations of wrongdoing and has not been charged with a crime.

Florida-10: Democratic Rep. Val Demings’ decision to run for Senate opened up this deep-blue seat. The top fundraiser in the Democratic primary is Maxwell Alejandro Frost, a 25-year-old organizer who has been endorsed by progressive leaders including Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass. The race also features state Sen. Randolph Bracy, former Rep. Alan Grayson, and former Rep. Corrine Brown, who lost her 2016 primary while under indictment for multiple fraud charges. 

Oklahoma-02: The winner of this GOP runoff will likely be heading to Congress to replace Mullin. The race has attracted outside spending, with School Freedom Fund, a group tied to the conservative Club for Growth, bolstering former state Sen. Josh Brecheen over state Rep. Avery Frix. 

Elsewhere on the campaign trail:

Georgia Senate: Republican Herschel Walker tried to discredit new climate provisions by questioning “Don’t we have enough trees around here?” 

Nevada Senate/Nevada Governor: Democratic Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto is leading her GOP opponent, former state Attorney General Adam Laxalt, 45% to 38%, in a new Suffolk University/Reno Gazette-Journal poll. The survey also found that Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak had a slight lead over Republican Joe Lombardo, 43% to 40%. 

And NBC News’ Allan Smith reports that a pro-Lombardo super PAC is investing $1 million to target Hispanic and Asian voters

New Hampshire Senate: Ret. Brig. Gen. Don Bolduc, who topped a Saint Anselm College poll of the GOP Senate primary earlier this month, is making his first media expenditure of the primary, per AdImpact, just $3,000 on a radio buy. 

Pennsylvania Senate: Democratic Lt. Gov. John Fetterman is hitting the campaign trail again Tuesday for an event with the United Steelworkers, after nabbing the endorsement of the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO, per a campaign press release.

Washington Senate: Democratic Sen. Patty Murray launched a new TV ad knocking her GOP opponent, Tiffany Smiley, on abortion.

Kansas Governor: State Attorney Derek Schmidt placed his first ad spending of the general election tracked by AdImpact, reserving nearly $1.2 million on the airwaves with TV ads beginning next week and running until November. 

South Dakota Governor: GOP Gov. Kristi Noem (a potential 2024 contender) may have “engaged in misconduct” involving her daughter’s application for a real estate appraiser license, a state ethics board said Monday. Another investigation into Noem’s use of a state plane was referred to the state attorney general. 

California-27: GOP Rep. Mike Garcia likened Democrats to the Nazis in a podcast interview where he discussed the FBI’s search of Trump’s Florida residence, per the Los Angeles Times.  

New York-11: Former President Trump has endorsed GOP Rep. Nicole Malliotakis in her re-election. 

Ad watch: Laxalt hits the airwaves in Nevada Senate

In a new TV ad, former Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt highlighted his childhood to introduce himself to a general election audience.

“I was raised by a single mom with no college education. And as a kid, I didn’t know who my father was,” Laxalt says in the ad, which also features his wife, Jaime. 

“Everything he had to overcome helped make him a good man,” Jaime Laxalt says at the end of the ad.

Though he ran commercials during the primary, this is Laxalt’s first general election ad of the Nevada Senate race and it’s jointly funded with the NRSC, Senate Republicans’ campaign arm. So far, Laxalt and the NRSC have spent almost $95,000 on this joint buy, according to AdImpact, an ad tracking firm.

ICYMI: What else is happening in the world 

In a court filing in which former President Trump called the FBI’s search of his Florida estate “shockingly aggressive,”Trump asked a judge to appoint a “special master” to oversee the handling of the documents and require the Justice Department to return other materials. 

Pfizer asked the Food and Drug Administration to authorize an updated Covid booster shot

Asked about a new national NBC News poll showing where voters listed “threats to democracy” as the top issue facing the country, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said, “I wouldn’t be worried about that one” and that voter fraud is rare.