SPOTLIGHT

What to Watch in Last Two Weeks of August

There are plenty of storylines to follow.

Yavapai County Supervisor Tom Thurman, left, and U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake, center, listen as Chief Deputy David Brooks of the county sheriff's office talks about a June fire that caused thousands of evacuations in this area near Mayer, Ariz., Thursday, Aug 10, 2017. Firefighters saved homes in the forested area in the background from the flames that enveloped the area. Republican Sen. Jeff Flake has spent the first part of the August congressional recess crisscrossing Arizona, touring the U.S.-Mexico border, visiting a wildfire-scarred town and giving a speech to business leaders.
AP Photo/Bob Christie
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Kyle Trygstad
Aug. 18, 2017, 9:14 a.m.

As Washington, including Hotline, slows down until Congress returns in September, we’ll be watching several storylines percolating in the simmering, late August heat.

Special Election Drama. What line of attack will the Mitch McConnell-aligned Senate Leadership Fund launch first against Roy Moore in its effort to boost Sen. Luther Strange to victory in the Alabama Senate Sept. 26 runoff? And will Moore have the funds to defend himself on the air?

Congressional Moves. Speaking of special elections, Rep. Jim Bridenstine of Oklahoma appears set to be nominated for NASA administrator. His Senate confirmation would kick off a race for a solidly Republican, Tulsa-based seat.

In Hawaii, we could hear from Rep. Colleen Hanabusa before the end of the month on whether she will challenge Gov. David Ige in next year’s Democratic primary. It would be the congresswoman’s second statewide bid in four years, while Ige knows plenty about primaries after unseating Democrat Neil Abercrombie in 2014.

Trump being Trump. After this past week—and the past seven months, really—it’s impossible to guess what the president will do next. But his shoutout to Sen. Jeff Flake’s GOP primary challenger on Twitter offers a clue for how his Arizona rally Tuesday will play out. Meanwhile, the rising tension between Senate Republicans and Trump sets up an intriguing post-Labor Day legislative push.

Kyle Trygstad

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