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First Read’s Morning Clips: About Last Night

OFF TO THE RACES: About last night

Alex Seitz-Wald sums up the Virginia results.

One of us(!) looks at how Trump’s poor standing weighed down GOP candidates in both governors’ races.

And don’t miss the huge downballot implications in Virginia.

And another one of us(!) writes about how Chris Christie’s fall from grace left the GOP without a chance in New Jersey.

NJ.com sums up Phil Murphy’s resounding win.

The Washington Post, on Northam’s win: “The vote had national resonance as well. Democrats — and some moderate Republicans — had rallied behind Northam as a message against the anti-immigrant nativism and angry populism stoked by Trump’s surprise victory last year. Gillespie, in turn, had dipped into Trump’s playbook with strong law-and-order messages, but tried to keep his distance from the president in a state that now leans blue.”

And Republicans are left searching for a new strategy: “The result is a bad omen for the Republican Party nationally, who will face head winds across the country in 2018, given continued frustration with political leaders in Washington and Trump’s low approval rating. Without faith that Trump’s base will match the enthusiasm of Democrats, many Republican candidates believe they will have to seek out a new political strategy to hold onto power.”

Trump loomed large in Washington’s elections as well, where Senate control flipped to the Democrats.

And Maine voters backed a Medicaid expansion.

Don’t miss this result: “The Republican mayor of Provo, Utah, beat a well-financed Democrat and a third-party candidate with a famous name to claim a vacant House seat in a special election decided Tuesday, the Associated Press has projected. John Curtis will take the seat previously held by Jason Chaffetz, who gave up his Oversight and Government Reform Committee gavel and stepped down from the House in June. Chaffetz now works as a Fox News Channel commentator.”

New Jersey’s Frank LoBiondo and Texas’s Ted Poe, both GOP members of Congress, are retiring.

TRUMP AGENDA: Trump at Year One

We take a big look at Trump’s standing one year after Election Day — the conservative celebrations, the controversies and the chaos.

Leigh Ann Caldwell: “President Donald Trump called 12 Senate Democrats Tuesday, hoping to sway them in favor of the Republican tax cut bill, and told them he would personally "get killed" financially by the GOP bill. He said he would only benefit if it repealed the estate tax, according to multiple people who were present. "My accountant called me and said 'you're going to get killed in this bill,'" the president said during a phone call from his trip in South Korea. He was apparently trying to increase Democratic support by claiming the bill would hurt wealthy taxpayers like himself, making the point that only the repeal of the estate tax would provide him any benefit.”

The Washington Post: “Senate Republicans on Tuesday were considering a starkly different approach to overhauling the tax code than their House colleagues, weighing a delay in the implementation of a major corporate tax cut and other measures to alter the cost and impact of the plan. Senate leaders were exploring postponing the centerpiece of the effort — an $845 billion corporate tax cut — until 2019, according to four people familiar with a draft of the legislation. The move would make it easier to comply with Senate rules that aim to limit any legislation’s impact on the debt.”

The Wall Street Journal: “Senate Republicans aim to preserve a popular tax deduction for household medical expenses when they release their version of a tax plan later this week, parting ways with House lawmakers on a proposal that costs about $182 billion over a decade, according to people familiar with the matter. They are also considering delaying the start of a cut in the top corporate tax rate to 20% from 35% but hadn’t decided on the matter as of Tuesday evening.”

Trump in Seoul: “President Donald Trump on Wednesday warned North Korea not to underestimate the United States, vowing to defend against intimidation by Kim Jong Un's regime while issuing an urgent call for the global community to neutralize the nuclear threat posed by the country. "The regime has interpreted America's past restraint as weakness," Trump said in a speech to South Korea's National Assembly. "This would be a fatal miscalculation. This is a very different administration than the United States has had in the past.”

The New York Times: “President Trump arrived in China on Wednesday, primed to ask his host, President Xi Jinping, to step up Chinese pressure on North Korea over its nuclear and ballistic missile programs. But Mr. Trump’s latest foray into personal diplomacy may end in frustration, as the Communist strongman he calls his friend either cannot, or does not want to, do the job.”

POLITICO: “U.S. investigators are focusing on an enduring mystery of the 2016 election: whether Trump campaign officials made the Republican Party platform more friendly to Russia as part of some broader effort to collude with the Kremlin, according to congressional records and people familiar with the probes.”