NBC's Michael O'Brien reports on Hillary Clinton's step back into politics with her speech on Monday criticizing "stricter voter ID laws and a recent Supreme Court decision striking down a central component of the Voting Rights Act. Clinton, who is viewed as a frontrunner for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016, decried a series of state laws enacted — often by Republicans — to tighten restrictions on who may vote in elections. Clinton criticized a 'sweeping effort to construct new obstacles to voting, often under cover of addressing a phantom epidemic of "election fraud."' And she said that those laws have driven a disparity in access to the ballot, which Clinton claimed threatened to undermine the thrust of the Voting Rights Act, the historic, 1960s-era civil rights legislation."
Maggie Haberman: “Hillary Clinton’s next phase of life — the co-leader of a family foundation — has officially begun. She’s coming in to her husband’s signature foundation, which has been renamed for all three Clintons (their daughter has an increased presence). It’s the first time the two elder Clintons, both of whom have led independent careers as separate political actors, are yoking their careers together doing essentially the same type of work at the same place, and at the same time, since the 1992 campaign.”
But, there’s always Biden… AP: “Joe Biden may run for president in 2016, or he may not. But he wants you to know he could. Iowa. New Hampshire. South Carolina. Michigan. Three years out from the next presidential election, the vice president is polishing his connections and racking up favors in all the right states to ensure he stays part of the conversation, keeping his name near the top of a list of likely contenders even if the prime spot seems to have already been claimed by Hillary Rodham Clinton.”
CALIFORNIA: "A group of protesters welcomed Mayor Bob Filner back from behavioral therapy Monday with chants of 'Bob must go!' outside City Hall," the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. "Questions about Filner’s spending habits were also raised when the bills from his city-issued credit card showed several apparent meal expenses at the Westgate Hotel, where his bodyguards have told investigators that he took women." And under "things you can't make up" -- the embattled mayor, accused now by more than a dozen women of sexual harrassment, is being represented by the law firm Payne & Fears in Los Angeles.
Politico: “San Diego Mayor Bob Filner accused of sexual harassment by as many as 13 women, finished his intensive behavior therapy but might not be able to get back into his office. The City Attorney’s Office said the locks on Filner’s office have been changed, according to the KFMB. A spokesman for the City Attorney’s Office [said] the office did not order the locks changed, but were aware that it had occurred.” GEORGIA: Roll Call: "The National Republican Congressional Committee will start its second television campaign targeting Rep. John Barrow, D-Ga., on Tuesday. The advertisement — backed by a modest $10,000 buy in the Augusta media market — seeks to tie Barrow to the president’s health care law, which remains unpopular in Georgia."
MARYLAND: “Maryland Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler told a group of campaign volunteers last month that Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown, his chief Democratic rival for governor, has a thin record of accomplishment and is trying to rely on his race to get elected next year,” the Washington Post reports. “ ‘I mean, right now his campaign slogan is, ‘Vote for me, I want to be the first African American governor of Maryland,’’ Gansler (D) told the group. ‘That’s a laudable goal, but you need a second sentence: ‘Because here’s what I’ve done, and here’s why I’ve done it.’ ”
More: “The salvos mark the first real tumult in a contest that had been relatively quiet and could show how race is likely to play an important role. With an early primary next year — in June instead of September — the Democratic contest could be the most competitive in years in Maryland, where only one Republican has won the governor’s race in a generation.”
Sitting Gov. Martin O’Malley endorsed Brown, a Harvard Law grad and former state delegate from Prince George’s County.
Gansler on the recordings also takes aim at O’Malley, noting he had seen “ ‘visceral anti-O’Malley, anti-Brown sentiment,’ in part because of series of tax increases in recent years.” He also noted – as he’s running in a Democratic primary – that “O’Malley remains relatively popular, however, among Democratic primary voters, who he said are ‘a different animal.’” Gansler’s campaign accused Brown’s campaign of secretly recording the remarks, a charge the Brown campaign denies.
NEW JERSEY: Voters head to the polls today in the New Jersey special Senate primary, with voting open from 6 a.m. until 8 p.m. On the trail with frontrunner, Cory Booker, NBC's Kasie Hunt got an interview with the Newark mayor, who "defended his role in an Internet video startup company and insisted he's set the standard for transparency during his campaign to become New Jersey’s next senator. 'I do believe we have met requirements for disclosure and transparency and we've gone above and beyond what most of the -- all of the candidates in this race have submitted to in terms of disclosure....I believed in an idea and thought it was great, helped get a business off the ground, which is an experience politicians often don't have. And a lot of people found that interesting and invested in that idea.'"
New York Times: "Mr. Booker has crisscrossed the state aboard a campaign bus over the past few days, presenting himself as a new breed of solution-minded politician at a time when Washington is mired in old political feuds. In a reminder of his national celebrity, he appeared at one event in Newark alongside the actress Eva Longoria. 'It’s time to send a message to Washington that we need change agents,' he said in a packed auditorium at a senior center in Camden. 'It’s time to send people to Washington who can carry our message.'"
New Jersey Star Ledger headline: “What election? U.S. Senate primary may draw low voter turnout.” The paper wraps some colorful, only-in-New Jersey quotes from people “down the Shore.”
NBC’s Bob Constantini profiles likely Republican nominee Steve Lonegan, the conservative mayor of Bogata, N.J. “Lonegan, flanked by wife Lorraine and daughter Brooke, was among the first to vote in a Republican primary where he is prohibitive favorite. The prize: the chance to run for the U.S. Senate, most likely against Democrat, Newark Mayor Cory Booker. … Lonegan’s campaign sends press releases with a large paragraph at the bottom pointing out he’d won the mayor’s office here three times, despite a population that gave Barack Obama two-thirds of the vote in 2012. In the private sector, Lonegan was head of New Jersey’s Americans for Prosperity chapter. That organization that on a national level helped launch the Tea Party movement and his association with it leaves many wondering if Lonegan is just too conservative for a statewide win in New Jersey.
In an interview, when asked about his chances given Booker is the overwhelming favorite, Lonegan replied, “The state did elect a conservative—Chris Christie. And a state made up of hard-working people who go to work every day, you know, save their money, build businesses, those are the principles and values on which I stand, and on which the state stands. … The real problem is Cory Booker is too liberal for New Jersey.” The Republican sees the ambitious Newark mayor as a “far left liberal extremist, whose agenda of bigger government, big spending, more regulation, more bureaucracy, more expanded welfare and entitlement programs…that’s what’s destroying the state’s economy; that’s destroying the nation’s economy.”
Wonder how a President Chris Christie might appoint Supreme Court Justices? Read this story about his maneuvering with his state Supreme Court pick, as he fights with state Democrats.
NEW YORK: The Democratic mayoral hopefuls debate tonight at 7 on Ch. 7 in New York, sponsored by the New York Daily News, WABC, and others. It’s the first of three debates in the race. The other two will be held Aug. 21 and Sept. 3 ahead of the Sept. 10 primary. The News: “The prime-time battle comes as the primary seems to be settling into a three-way fight among City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, former city Controller Bill Thompson and Public Advocate Bill de Blasio for two spots in a runoff.”
SOUTH CAROLINA. The Columbia State reports that Republican Gov. Nikki Haley will officially kick-off her re-election bid on Aug. 26 in downtown Greenville, with Sen. Tim Scott emceeing the event, and fellow governors -- and 2016 potential candidates -- Scott Walker of Wisconsin, Rick Perry of Texas, and Bobby Jindal -- also in town for the rally and a subsequent fundraiser.
VIRGINIA: Terry McAuliffe (D) is out with a new ad, featuring a former Republican state delegate who has endorsed him. Here’s the script: “I'm an independent Republican and former member of the Virginia House of Delegates. I'm looking for a governor who will focus on jobs and the economy. That's why I'm supporting Terry McAuliffe. Terry will work with Republicans, Democrats, and Independents to make smart decisions about our future. Terry is the candidate who has a plan to create jobs, and he has the experience to make it happen. That's why I'll be voting for Terry McAuliffe for governor.”
Of course, that last line about having “the experience to make it happen” when it comes to jobs has been undercut by a rash of stories – from the Washington Post, New York Times, and AP -- about the car company McAuliffe founded that has yet to produce the cars or jobs he once promised.
WEST VIRGINIA: The secret recruit? Roll Call notes that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid teased to a local PBS station that they would have a recruit "announcing shortly" in the open Senate seat where they've struggled to field a candidate in the GOP-leaning state.