1. An opinion piece in the News Leader argues that Virginia should not indulge partisan calls to close the state's primaries after Eric Cantor lost his seat.
Interestingly enough, one of the biggest names leading the charge to change state law to allow closed primaries is former Virginia Lt. Governor Bill Bolling. Bolling suspended his campaign for the 2013 gubernatorial election in November 2012 because the state GOP decided to change the method of nomination from a primary election to a convention.
"With Republicans stinging over House Majority Leader Eric Cantor's primary loss, Bolling writes that the law should be changed to "empower political parties. " We aren't for state money empowering political parties, and neither do we believe the parties need more power."
2. U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) believes the GOP runoff election results in Mississippi need to be investigated.
Ted Cruz, a tea party favorite, is throwing his support behind Mississippi state Senator Chris McDaniel, who lost a Senate primary runoff election against incumbent Sen. Thad Cochran. McDaniel is now challenging the results of the election as Cochran was able to secure the vote of some moderate and black Democrats who did not vote in the June 3 Democratic primary. McDaniel claims thousands of the voters actually did vote in the primary.
“These allegations need to be vigorously investigated, and anyone involved in criminal conduct should be prosecuted,” Senator Cruz said on the “Mark Levin Show.” “The voters of Mississippi deserve to know the truth.”
3. The U.S. House will likely vote on legislation to expand the Highway Trust Fund next week.
It is an issue that is not getting a whole lot of attention from the media, but could impact highway drivers nationwide. If the Highway Trust Fund gets below a certain amount, then the federal government will stop sending money to states for key highway and infrastructure projects. If the fund is allowed to go into insolvency, and Congress continues to drag its feet, then the quality of highways for commuters may just depend on what state they live in.
"As with his first pitch, however, Boehner and his allies will have to defend the new gambit against critics who don’t want to spend the money, don’t see the urgency in extending the trust fund or don’t like the idea of passing another short-term fix."
4. The latest report on NSA surveillance featured on Glenn Greenwald's The Intercept spotlights 5 prominent Muslim-Americans who were targeted by the agency.
Ironically, one of the Americans the NSA spied on worked for the Department of Homeland Security under George W. Bush. The others are lawyers, civil rights activists, or professors who advocated civil liberties for fellow Muslims in America.
"The five Americans whose email accounts were monitored by the NSA and FBI have all led highly public, outwardly exemplary lives. All five vehemently deny any involvement in terrorism or espionage, and none advocates violent jihad or is known to have been implicated in any crime, despite years of intense scrutiny by the government and the press. Some have even climbed the ranks of the U.S. national security and foreign policy establishments."
5. A recent Quinnipiac poll shows no clear GOP frontrunner ahead of the 2016 presidential election while Clinton dominates the field of potential Democratic candidates.
U.S. Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) has a single point advantage in the poll, but the reason why this may be very important for Paul is that he is making efforts to broaden his appeal to include tea party conservatives, moderate Republicans, and independent-minded voters. Public opinion polls may offer some indication on how successful his efforts are.
"The GOP primary shows U.S. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky with 11 percent, New Jersey Gov. Christopher Christie, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush with 10 percent each, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin with 8 percent each, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio with 6 percent, no other candidate over 3 percent, with 20 percent undecided."