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- House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) "announced at a Wednesday afternoon press conference that he will be stepping down from leadership following his Tuesday primary loss," triggering special leadership elections to be held Thursday, June 19. (National Journal)
- House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) "and his allies adopted a motto: Speed kills," as they hope "to swiftly seal the deal" in the race for majority leader. "Cantor threw his 'full support' behind McCarthy on Wednesday afternoon, saying his close friend would make an 'outstanding' majority leader." (Washington Post)
- Reps. Steve Scalise (R-LA) and Peter Roskam (R-IL) are running for majority whip, should McCarthy vacate the slot (National Journal), while Rep. Pete Sessions's (R-TX) "wants to run against McCarthy, but sources say he would defer to" Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) should he decide to run for majority leader. (National Journal) Read on below for more on the leadership race.
- In MS SEN, "the conservative Club for Growth will go on the air Thursday ... giving new backup to" state Sen. Chris McDaniel (R) "in his campaign to oust" Sen. Thad Cochran (R). (Politico)
- Also in MS SEN, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell led a fundraiser Tuesday at the NRSC, which he called the "biggest fundraiser ever in this building," which "raised $820,000 for Cochran ... according to a senior Republican official." (Politico)
- In the OK SEN special, Senate Conservatives Fund released a new TV ad calling Rep. James Lankford (R) a "Washington insider" and former state House Speaker T.W. Shannon "a reformer looking to join the fight, not the club." (release)
- In KY SEN, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) said after the defeat of "her student loan refinancing proposal" in the Senate that she will fight back by going to Kentucky to campaign for Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes (D). (Huffington Post)
- In HI SEN, "the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, which has endorsed" Sen. Brian Schatz (D) over Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D), "has sent a mailer to Hawaii residents that implies Hanabusa might privatize the entitlement programs." (Honolulu Star-Advertiser)
- In NY-01, Cantor "is still on for a fundraiser in Quogue Saturday for" state Sen. Lee Zeldin (R), Zeldin's "campaign said Wednesday." (Newsday)
- In AZ-02, 2012 nominee Martha McSally (R) "will start running her first TV ad of the campaign next week, running them during commercial breaks for World Cup matches. The ads come with a twist - they will be broadcasted in both English and in Spanish." (Arizona Daily Star)
- In FL GOV, former Republican Gov. Charlie Crist's (D) famously stripped-down operation announced "his new campaign team." (Miami Herald)
- In TX GOV, state Sen. Wendy Davis (D) "has experienced a major shake-up in its leadership. Davis' nationally celebrated campaign manager, Karin Johanson, will be replaced by state Rep. Chris Turner, a campaign source confirmed early Wednesday." (Austin American-Statesman)
- "Republicans and Democrats are more divided along ideological lines – and partisan antipathy is deeper and more extensive – than at any point in the last two decades," according to the findings of a huge new survey from the Pew Research Center. (Pew)
Hotline editors weigh in on the stories that drive the day
• As unclear as the causes of Cantor's loss were (the focus on immigration, the time spent out of his district, the negative spending), its effects on other campaigns are even less clear. Dave Brat's victory seems like good news for anti-immigration conservatives, but it also has emboldened some liberal Democrats. In CA-10, for example, Democratic challenger Michael Eggman reacted by calling out Rep. Jeff Denham for, he said, not being strong enough on immigration -- like Cantor. Campaigns on both sides are competing for ownership of Cantor's stunning loss. -- Jack Fitzpatrick
• Wendy Davis swapping her nationally heralded campaign manager for a local legislator from Fort Worth on Wednesday signals things may not be going so well for the Lone Star Democrat, whose bid has been considered a long-shot from the start. But it doesn't take a campaign staff shuffle to know that the going is tough: She's never been close in the polls, either. -- Karyn Bruggeman
• One state where negative outside ads might actually be welcome: Oklahoma. Some Republicans there are frustrated and concerned that Shannon and Lankford have been so polite that voters can't see the differences between the candidates. The race is expected to go to an August runoff, but some Republicans wish they'd rip off the Band-Aid already and give voters some contrast to work with. -- Andrea Drusch
HAIR OF THE DOG
"State biologists are reminding people not to touch moose calves or try to take them home as pets following a string of incidents" (AP)
FRESH BREWED BUZZ
- "Potent voices of conservative media propelled Cantor opponent" (New York Times)
- "A look back at Cantor's defeat shows that it was a real rejection by a broad swath of his district's Republican voters. And there were warning signs that it was coming ... But Cantor missed those signs for far too long — focusing on his ambition in the House while his base crumbled beneath him." (Washington Post)
- McCarthy "is the early favorite, but there's still much jockeying to be done before next Thursday's vote to replace Eric Cantor." (National Journal)
- "As of late Wednesday night," Hensarling "was the only" one of four favorites of House conservatives "seriously weighing a bid" for one of the top GOP leadership slots. "And, according to allies of the Texas congressman, it sounds unlikely that he'll run." (National Journal)
- "Obama: Cantor loss not death knell for immigration" (AP)
- "Through March, the Republican Governors Association has spent five times more around the country than it did at the same point four years ago while the Democratic Governors Association's overall spending is double what it was in 2010" as the 527s "are on pace to break spending records this fall." (Center for Public Integrity)
- "Chris McDaniel's Enthusiastic Amateurs vs. Thad Cochran's Establishment Backers" (New York Times)
- The First Family is heading to Southern California this weekend for a DNC fundraiser, the commencement ceremony at UC Irvine, and "presumably a short vacation, and likely a round of golf or two" in the Palm Springs area, "though the details remain fuzzy." (Riverside Press-Enterprise)
- PA GOV nominee Tom Wolf (D) "has asked" fourth-place primary finisher Katie McGinty "to be the party's leader and she has accepted, according to a non-active link on Wolf's campaign website. ... McGinty would have to unseat" current Democratic Party chair Jim Burn " during a vote at the party's upcoming conference June 20 and 21." (Allentown Morning Call)
- "If I were a drinking man, I'd have been drunk last night. I'd have been celebrating like crazy." -- CO GOV candidate Tom Tancredo (R) on Cantor's primary defeat, which he said "boded well" for him and candidates like him. (KDVR)
- Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) "compared homosexuality to alcoholism" in San Francisco Wednesday: "I may have the genetic coding that I'm inclined to be an alcoholic, but I have the desire not to do that, and I look at the homosexual issue the same way." (San Francisco Chronicle)
- "Scott Brown attacked in poem in Concord Monitor" (by former U.S. poet laureate Donald Hall, no less) (Boston Globe)
- The Senate returns at 9:30 a.m. The House returns at 9 a.m.
- Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. James Winnefeld, Jr. delivers commencement remarks (National Defense University, 9 a.m.)
- House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi holds her weekly press conference at 10:45 a.m. House Speaker John Boehner holds his weekly press conference at 11:30 a.m.
- President Obama hosts the Minnesota Lynx in honor of their victory in the WNBA Championship (White House, 1:50 p.m.)
- The FIFA World Cup starts this afternoon in Sao Paulo. Watch Brazil take on Croatia (ESPN, 4 p.m.)
- Have an event for us to highlight? Email us!
- George Clinton served as vice president under Jefferson and Madison, and John Calhoun was VP for John Quincy Adams and Jackson.
- Chris Huckleberry was yesterday's winner. He didn't submit a question, so here's our Swizzle Challenge: "Who is the only Republican House member whose district borders Mexico?" The 3rd correct e-mailer gets to submit the next question.
NJ'S EARLY BIRD SPECIALS
- Oklahoma's Oh-So-Sweet Primary
- Vets Health Care Reform Expected to Be Last Act of Congress on the VA This Year
- Eric Cantor and TweetDeck Are Both Down, and Washington Is Panicking
- Netflix Fears the Internet Could Become Like Cable TV
"There's always going to be people on the sidelines shooting at reforms. He tried to sabotage the state pension reform, he tried to sabotage the city pension reform. The people in Illinois don't want saboteurs." -- IL Gov. Pat Quinn (D), on GOP nominee Bruce Rauner. (Chicago Tribune)
Andy: "WHAT? Are you playing for the other team?"
Josh: "You don't snipe in Carrington, OK?"
Andy: "SABOTEUR! Saboteur!" -- "The Office" (YouTube)
Scott Bland, Editor-in-Chief
Alex Roarty, Chief Political Correspondent
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