Why in the world would Democrats get involved in Republican primary contests for the U.S. Senate?

Answer: To wreak havoc on the GOP and pick up Senate seats in the 2018 general election.

Politico is reporting that “(a)t its most aggressive, the tactic could be a sequel to Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill’s 2012 campaign against then-GOP Rep. (Todd) Akin in Missouri. She actively intervened in the Republican primary with ads designed to boost the conservative Akin to the front of the pack. Once he became the nominee, a series of gaffes — led by his “legitimate rape” comment — and hard-line positions unraveled his campaign.”

One of the states the Dems are looking at is Nevada, where Danny Tarkanian — who once mused about “pretend[ing] we’re black,” referring to an African-American opponent — is running against incumbent Sen. Dean Heller.

Another possibility, according to Politico, is Ohio. Josh Mandel — the state treasurer and a two-time challenger to Sen. Sherrod Brown — this summer called the Anti-Defamation League “a partisan witch-hunt group,” while affirming his support for alt-right bloggers and conspiracy theorists Mike Cernovich and Jack Posobiec.

There are no guarantees, of course, that the Democrats’ strategy to promote GOP firebrands will work.

Analyzed Politico: “At the Democrats’ Senate campaign headquarters in Washington and their local offices in the states, operatives have started compiling files of the GOP hopefuls’ more outrageous statements and positions, while combing through the daily news clips for hints of further themes to pursue against them. Many of the primary contests are still shaping up, so for now, the preparation is preliminary. There’s also the challenge for Democrats of figuring out whether traditional controversies still spark outrage in the age of Donald Trump.”

Here is a look at other stories capturing our eye:

State auditor rips Jerry Brown’s $17 billion Delta tunnels project

Gov. Jerry Brown’s $17 billion proposal to build two massive tunnels through the Delta to make it easier to move water from north to south was hit with another setback Thursday as a state audit found it was suffering from “significant cost increases and delays,” the San Jose Mercury News reports.

The 91-page report from California’s state auditor, Elaine Howle, said the state Department of Water Resources “has not completed either an economic or financial analysis to demonstrate the financial viability” of the project. The audit also found that the Brown administration had failed to properly oversee the project and to keep important documents.

Big Brother is Snooping On Your Financial Records

The intelligence division at the Treasury Department has repeatedly and systematically violated domestic surveillance laws by snooping on the private financial records of US citizens and companies, government sources tell BuzzFeed.

Write BuzzFeed’s Jason Leopold and Jessica Garrison: “Over the past year, at least a dozen employees in another branch of the Treasury Department, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, have warned officials and Congress that U.S. citizens’ and residents’ banking and financial data has been illegally searched and stored. And the breach, some sources said, extended to other intelligence agencies, such as the National Security Agency, whose officers used the Treasury’s intelligence division as an illegal back door to gain access to American citizens’ financial records. The NSA did not respond to requests for comment.

“In response to questions from BuzzFeed News, the Treasury Department’s Office of the Inspector General said it has launched a review of the issue.”

Trump Keeps Campaign Promise, Rolls Back Birth Control Mandate

“President Trump promised that this administration would ‘lead by example on religious liberty,’ and he is delivering on that promise,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a statement Friday.

Under Trump’s plan, the federal requirement for employers to include birth control coverage in their health insurance plans would include vastly expanded exemptions for businesses citing moral or religious objections.

The new rules are sure to touch off a round of lawsuits on the issue, The New York Times reports.

California Billboard Portrays Trump as Nazi

Here’s the report from Newsweek, where you can view the billboard:

Rouse & Revolt owner Nicholle Lewis told Newsweek that she didn’t sleep much last night. Her phone wouldn’t stop going off with the persistent buzzing of death threats for her sign, which stylizes the number 45 into a swastika and features President Trump posed in a Hitler-esque stance.

“I’m living in a small, podunk red town and I’m already getting death threats,” said Lewis, whose store is in right-leaning Chico, population 90,000. “My business has completely floundered. Overnight I had more one-star reviews than all the reviews I’ve received in a year.”

The sign was up for less than 24 hours before Stott Outdoor Advertising took it down amid a backlash that featured online attacks.

Rohingya crisis: Drone shows huge refugee camps

A drone has captured the extent of sprawling camps housing Rohingyas fleeing violence in Myanmar.

The images, obtained by the Disasters Emergency Committee as part of its charity appeal over the crisis, show Balukhali camp on the Bangladesh border this week.

More than 500,000 Rohingya Muslims have left the country, with many now staying in makeshift camps.

BBC News has the video.

 

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