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FIrst Read's Morning Clips: Illinois race highlights Democratic divisions

A roundup of the most important political news stories of the day
Image: A row of voting booths is seen at a polling station during early voting in Chicago
A row of voting booths at a polling station during early voting in Chicago on October 14, 2016.Jim Young / Reuters

MIDTERM MADNESS: Illinois race highlights Democratic divisions

Another midterm trend to watch, via the Washington Post: Scientists running for Congress.

The New York Times takes a big-picture look at what it means to be a Democrat in the age of Trump — and what we’ll learn from the March primaries in Texas and Illinois.

Republicans are worried about a midterm backlash from Trump’s tariff plan, writes POLITICO.

AL-SEN: Roy Moore is pleading for money to pay for his legal bills, writes the AP.

MO-GOV: Do Eric Greitens’ legal and political woes mean he’s unable to do his job?

NY-22: Claudia Tenney launched her reelection bid over protests about her rhetoric on guns.

PA-18: Alex Seitz-Wald asks if the clash over the opioid crisis could drive voters to the polls in Pennsylvania.

And despite fears nationally, the Wall Street Journal notes that tariffs are a winner in the Pennsylvania district with an upcoming special election.

TX: Could Texas finally be trending blue? Dante Chinni takes a look at the numbers.

And the Texas Tribune also looks at the surge in Democratic early voting.

VA-SEN: A new Wason Center poll has Corey Stewart leading the GOP Senate field, though 66 percent of GOP voters are undecided. And incumbent Sen. Tim Kaine is leading all major Republican competitors by 20-plus points. Trump’s job rating in Virginia stands at 37 percent.

WV-3: ICYMI: Politico profiles Richard Ojeda, the former Army paratrooper who is redefining what it means to be a Democrat in a red state.

TRUMP AGENDA: State Department has spent $0 to fight Russian meddling

“As Russia’s virtual war against the United States continues unabated with the midterm elections approaching, the State Department has yet to spend any of the $120 million it has been allocated since late 2016 to counter foreign efforts to meddle in elections or sow distrust in democracy,” the New York Times writes.

From NBC’s Katy Tur: “The grand jury investigating alleged collusion between Russia and Donald Trump's presidential campaign has sent a witness a subpoena seeking all documents involving the president and a host of his closest advisers, according to a copy of the subpoena reviewed by NBC News.”

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross told one of us(!) that there’s “no reason” to think that Trump will go back on his promises of new tariffs.

And/but the New York Times notes that top advisers are keeping the door open on tariffs in case Trump changes his mind.

The Washington Post writes that lawmakers “have learned to brace themselves for unpredictable, confusing and often contradictory positions” from President Trump.

The Senate is getting set to scale back parts of the Dodd-Frank banking bill.

NBC’s Suzy Khimm writes about how Trump’s critics are using the 1940s-era Administrative Procedure Act to stall his attempts to roll back Obama-backed regulations.

The Center for Public Integrity finds that companies are courting lawmakers with charitable donations — that don’t always get disclosed.

And former White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough blames Mitch McConnell for issuing a “dramatically watered down” warning about Russia’s attempts to interfere in the 2016 election.