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The New York Times put it starkly. A recent poll with Siena College shows Democrats “faring far worse than they have in the past with Hispanic voters.” Only 56% say they’ll back Democratic candidates this fall, with Republicans getting 32%. Just two years ago, President Biden received 63% of the Latino vote, and in 2016, Hillary Clinton polled 71%. Read more

Much of the nation’s political and commentary class had a near-nervous breakdown when 48 Venezuelans who had crossed illegally into the United States arrived at the Martha’s Vineyard Airport, not far from the summer homes of some of the country’s wealthiest and best-connected people. When they realized what had happened, many Democrats and allied voices in the media expressed white-hot anger at Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who arranged the migrants’ trip. Meanwhile, Vineyard residents volunteered to feed and care for the migrants for 24 hours, after which the National Guard whisked them off the exclusive island. Read more

The Washington Post surveyed 19 of the most competitive election races in the country this year asking candidates, “Will you accept the results of your election?” All 19 Democrats, including North Carolina Senate candidate Cheri Beasley, answered “yes.” Twelve of their opponents either refused to agree or declined to respond, including North Carolina Senate candidate Ted Budd. Read more

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State AP Stories

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North Carolina Republican Senate candidate Ted Budd is leaning into his support for abortion restrictions and his allegiance to former President Donald Trump as Democrats fight for an elusive victory in the Southern swing state. Democratic optimism remains tempered given the state’s recent red tilt. But Democratic officials believe Budd's candidacy gives them a real chance at flipping a Senate seat — and the balance of power in Washington — this fall. Budd appeared alongside Trump at a rally in Wilmington Friday night, where the former president praised the candidate as “a conservative, America First all-star in Congress” and urged his supporters to turn out to vote.

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The White House is reaching out to local governments. It hosted officials from North Carolina on Thursday to highlight funding opportunities and hear firsthand how coronavirus relief, infrastructure dollars and other policies are faring in communities. A key message for the visit by North Carolina officials is the recovery in manufacturing. The event reflects new efforts to expand the use of the White House campus as pandemic restrictions have eased. But it’s also part of a larger effort to host municipal and county officials on a weekly basis from all 50 states. That outreach coincides with campaigning for November’s midterm elections as the White House tries to energize Democratic voters.

On the same day the Federal Reserve gave a sobering report on the U.S. economy’s trajectory, administration officials highlighted how they have kept some of the nation’s smallest businesses afloat through the pandemic. Roughly $8.28 billion has been disbursed to 162 community financial institutions across the country, through Treasury’s Emergency Capitol Investment Program, officials said Wednesday. Vice President Kamala Harris said that “There is almost $9 billion on the ground right now” for community banks and lenders. She was referring to pandemic relief funds dedicated to loans for minority-owned businesses and low-income individuals who generally have a hard time getting access to capital.

National & World AP Stories

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Strong rain and winds are lashing the Atlantic Canada region as Fiona hits as a powerful post-tropical cyclone. Canadian forecasters are warning it could be one of the most severe storms in the country’s history. Fiona made landfall in Nova Scotia before dawn Saturday after transforming from a hurricane into a post-tropical cyclone. Forecasters caution that despite the change, Fiona still could have hurricane-strength winds and will bring drenching rains and huge waves. More than 500,000 customers in Atlantic Canada are affected by outages. Ocean waves pounded the town of Channel-Port Aux Basques on the southern coast of Newfoundland, where entire structures were washed into the sea.

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Russian police have moved quickly to disperse peaceful protests against President Vladimir Putin’s military mobilization order. An independent website that monitors political arrests in Russia said police detained more than 700 people on Saturday, including over 300 in Moscow and nearly 150 in St. Petersburg. OVD-Info said some of the arrested individuals were children. The demonstrations followed protests that erupted within hours Wednesday after Putin, in a move to beef up his volunteer forces fighting in Ukraine, announced a call-up of experienced and skilled army reservists. In Moscow, a heavy contingent of police roamed a downtown area where a protest was planned and checked the IDs of passersby. Officers rounded up those they deemed suspicious.

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China has underscored its commitment to its claim to Taiwan. Its foreign minister told world leaders that anyone who gets in the way of its determination to reunify with the self-governing island would be “crushed by the wheels of history.” The language was forceful but well within the realm of normal for Chinese leadership. China vehemently defends its claim on Taiwan. The island separated from the mainland after a 1949 civil war and now functions with its own government. A recent visit to Taiwan by the speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives markedly ratcheted up tensions between Washington and Beijing.

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Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has declared a state of emergency for 24 counties as Tropical Storm Ian gathers strength over the Caribbean and is expected to bring heavy rain and hurricane-force winds to the state next week. DeSantis issued the order Friday encouraging residents and local governments to make preparations as the storm moves toward the state. He has also requested a federal pre-landfall emergency declaration. The National Hurricane Center said Ian is forecast to approach southern Florida early next week with major hurricane strength.