**Want FOX News Halftime Report in your inbox every day? Sign up here.**

On the roster: All eyes on Ohio’s special election – Trump gives support to Kobach ahead of Kansas primary – Trump reimposes Iran sanctions – Trump acknowledges 2016 Trump Tower meeting – What’s their age again? ALL EYES ON OHIO’S SPECIAL ELECTION Fox News: “Democrats looking for a shocking underdog win in a special election in Ohio on Tuesday are hoping not only to snatch a House seat in a historically Republican district, but also to energize their national effort to fight President Trump’s agenda and reclaim a congressional majority. Ohio’s 12th Congressional District, in the suburbs of Columbus, has had a Republican representative for 35 years, and has been largely in GOP hands since 1920. But a poll released Monday by Monmouth University showed that Republican state Sen. Troy Balderson, 56, leads upstart challenger Danny O’Connor, 31, by just one percentage point. Trump, who won the wealthy and highly educated district by double-digits in 2016, went all-in for Balderson with a last-minute rally on Saturday night… Former President Obama took the district by several percentage points in 2008. ‘A vote for Danny boy and the Democrats is a vote to let criminals and drugs pour into our country,’ Trump said. … The president went on to describe O’Connor as a ‘puppet’ for House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. O’Connor once vowed not to vote for Pelosi to again lead the party, but later backtracked, saying he would support the 78-year-old if it was necessary to retake the House.” Six factors to consider on Tuesday – Columbus Dispatch: “A half-dozen factors to watch as the race for the open 12th Congressional District seat draws to a close: 1. The early vote … When the first results are announced Tuesday, Democrat O’Connor almost certainly will be ahead. … The rest of the evening is spent counting Election Day votes, which Balderson is likely to have more of. …  2. The timing … Aug. 7 is, according to one GOP operative, a ‘lousy’ time to have an election. … 3. The turnout … This means the early vote may take on additional importance. … 4. The cash … Between July 1 and July 18, O’Connor raised $587,875. Balderson raised $138,776. O’Connor had $129,201 in the bank, while Balderson had $208,032. … 5. Delaware County … The X-factor, however, is Delaware County — a big reason Trump visited there Saturday. … 6. Surrogate city … Balderson has gotten endorsements from Trump and Ohio Gov. John Kasich … O’Connor has key endorsements from Sen. Sherrod Brown, Rep. Joyce Beatty and Franklin County Commissioner John O’Grady… If Balderson wins, it means the Republican establishment … successfully united to defend a long-held GOP district. If O’Connor wins, it’s a sign that the GOP can throw everything but the proverbial kitchen sink at a race in friendly territory and still go down this year.” THE RULEBOOK: IS IT THOUGH? “It is equally evident, that none of [the branches of government] ought to possess, directly or indirectly, an overruling influence over the others, in the administration of their respective powers.” – James Madison, Federalist No. 48 TIME OUT: WORDS ARE HARD Atlantic: “In 1961, what newly published book was denounced as ‘subversive and intolerably offensive’? Was it the new American edition of Tropic of Cancer, Henry Miller’s sexually explicit autobiographical novel? Nope … the correct answer is Webster’s Third New International Dictionary. It might be hard to understand how a dictionary could have been deemed ‘subversive.’ Indeed, the source of the outrage—the inclusion of slang and nonstandard terms such as the word ain’t—seems unobjectionable today. … Massive social changes in the 1960s accompanied the appearance of Webster’s Third, and a new era arose for dictionaries: one in which describing how people use language became more important than showing them how to do so properly. But that era might finally be coming to an end, thanks to the internet, the decline of print dictionaries, and the political consequences of an anything-goes approach to language.”   Flag on the play? – Email us at [email protected] with your tips, comments or questions. SCOREBOARD Trump job performance  Average approval: 41.2 percent Average disapproval: 53 percent Net Score: -11.8 points Change from one week ago: down 0.4 points [Average includes: Gallup: 41% approve – 54% disapprove; IBD: 41% approve – 50% disapprove; NPR/PBS/Marist: 41% approve – 51% disapprove; Quinnipiac University: 38% approve – 58% disapprove; NBC/WSJ: 45% approve – 52% disapprove.] Control of House Republican average: 40.4 percent Democratic average: 48.6 percent Advantage: Democrats plus 8.2 points Change from one week ago: no change   [Average includes: NPR/PBS/Marist: 47% Dems – 40% GOP; Quinnipiac University: 51% Dems – 39% GOP; NBC/WSJ: 49% Dems – 43% GOP; Fox News: 48% Dems – 40% GOP; IBD: 48% Dems – 40% GOP.] TRUMP GIVES SUPPORT TO KOBACH AHEAD OF KANSAS PRIMARY Fox News: “President Trump tweeted his support for Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach ahead of Tuesday’s crucial Republican gubernatorial primary in which he is seeking to unseat Gov. Jeff Colyer. ‘Kris Kobach, a strong and early supporter of mine, is running for Governor of the Great State of Kansas,’ Trump tweeted. ‘He is a fantastic guy who loves his State and our Country – he will be a GREAT Governor and has my full & total Endorsement! Strong on Crime, Border & Military. VOTE TUESDAY!’ Kobach, an early supporter of Trump’s candidacy and the former chair of the president’s federal commission on combating voter fraud that was recently shut down amid a bevy of lawsuits, is one of the more controversial Republicans running for office in the upcoming midterms. He is best-known nationally for his hardline stance on illegal immigration and for advising the Trump administration on immigration, non-citizen voter registration and the 2020 Census.” Democratic online fundraising organization passes $1 billion – USA Today: “The online fundraising platform ActBlue this week surged past the $1 billion mark in contributions to Democratic candidates and causes in this election cycle. The fundraising milestone, shared first with USA TODAY, offers a sign that the liberal activism fueled by President Donald Trump’s election isn’t slowing down. The group predicts donations will top $1.5 billion by year’s end, double the amount the fundraising clearinghouse processed in the 2016 election cycle. By comparison, it took ActBlue nearly 12 years – from its founding in June 2004 until March 2016 – to raise its first $1 billion. The average donation this cycle: $34. About 13,000 candidates and groups raise money through the platform, up from about 5,400 in the 2016 election cycle. They range from liberal icon and Massachusetts Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren to groups helping migrant families separated at the U.S.-Mexico border.” Menendez’s re-election becomes a concern for Dems – NYT: “Facing a deep-pocketed Republican challenger, a blitz of negative ads and lingering concerns over a lackluster performance in an uncontested primary, Mr. [Robert Menendez’s] race has started to concern some Democrats. After weathering a criminal indictment and a harsh ethics rebuke from his Senate peers, Mr. Menendez may find himself in a tough enough re-election fight that will force the party to devote money and energy needed in other races critical to the party’s quest to retake Congress. In theory, Mr. Menendez, 64, should win easily… But despite the advantages, Mr. Menendez has shown signs of weakened support. In the primary, Lisa McCormick, a small-business owner and unknown candidate with virtually no money, managed to win nearly 40 percent of the vote. A significant number of voters view Mr. Menendez unfavorably, according to recent polls. Real Clear Politics, a nonpartisan polling aggregate site, downgraded Mr. Menendez’s chances from ‘likely Democrat’ to ‘leans Democrat.’” Netroots Nation conference shows Dems’ focus on 2020 – Politico: “An unwieldy field of top Democrats clamored for critical ground in the run-up to the 2020 presidential primary over the weekend, courting progressive activists as they tilt toward a full-on campaign. In a three-day audition of presidential campaign themes at the annual Netroots Nation conference, Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) pledged not to be ‘shut up’ by critics of ‘identity politics,’ while Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) lamented ‘things that are savagely wrong in this country.’ At a forum across town, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) called the criminal justice system ‘racist … front to back.’ For a Democratic Party desperate to keep its focus on the looming midterms, the gathering laid bare how quickly attentions can turn to 2020 — and how volatile the pre-primary contest remains. No first-tier Democrat has announced that he or she will run.” TRUMP REIMPOSES IRAN SANCTIONS AP: “President Donald Trump signed an executive order Monday reimposing many sanctions on Iran, three months after pulling out of the Iran nuclear deal, saying the U.S. policy is to levy ‘maximum economic pressure’ on the country. In a statement, Trump said the 2015 international accord to freeze Iran’s nuclear program in return for lifting sanctions was a ‘horrible, one-sided deal’ and said it left the Iranian government flush with cash to use to fuel conflict in the Middle East. … Trump warned that those who don’t wind down their economic ties to Iranian ‘risk severe consequences’ under the reimposed sanctions. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says renewed U.S. sanctions on Iran will be rigorously enforced and remain in place until the Iranian government radically changes course. Speaking to reporters en route from a three-nation trip to Southeast Asia, Pompeo said Monday’s reimposition of some sanctions is an important pillar in U.S. policy toward Iran.” TRUMP ACKNOWLEDGES 2016 TRUMP TOWER MEETING WaPo: “President Trump on Sunday offered his most definitive and clear public acknowledgment that his oldest son met with a Kremlin-aligned lawyer at Trump Tower during the 2016 campaign to ‘get information on an opponent,’ defending the meeting as ‘totally legal and done all the time in politics.’ It is, however, against the law for U.S. campaigns to receive ­donations or items of value from foreigners, and that June 2016 meeting between Donald Trump Jr. and Natalia Veselnitskaya is now a subject of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s Russia investigation. While ‘collusion’ is not mentioned in U.S. criminal statutes, Mueller is investigating whether anyone associated with Trump coordinated with the Russians, which could result in criminal charges if they entered into a conspiracy to break the law, including through cyberhacking or interfering with the election.” Rubio, Van Hollen willing to adjust election meddling bill – Politico: “Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) on Sunday signaled he is willing to alter bipartisan legislation that would automatically sanction Russia, or any other country, for any future election meddling in order to get it passed. The proposed bill, known as the DETER Act and backed by Rubio and Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), would bar foreign governments from buying ads to influence U.S. elections and would also give the director of national intelligence the power to deploy ‘national security tools,’ such as sanctions, if the Kremlin interferes in another American election. However, there is worry on Capitol Hill about giving the nation’s spy chief, not the president, such power. … Rubio said he and Van Hollen are willing to ‘make reasonable changes’ to the measure in order for it to approved by both chambers and signed by the president. Rubio, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, which is investigating Russia’s meddling in the 2016 presidential race, declined to say whether President Donald Trump should sit down for an interview with special counsel Robert Mueller.” PLAY-BY-PLAY Report: Rick Gates could testify as early as today – AP Assuming midterms go there way, Republicans ready for another ACA repeal vote – Axios AUDIBLE: IF YOU AIN’T FIRST, YOU’RE LAST “I don’t like starting late.” – Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell officially announced his 2020 re-election campaign on Saturday. Share your color commentary: Email us at  [email protected] and please make sure to include your name and hometown. WHAT’S THEIR AGE AGAIN? DW: “Two elderly German men escaped the confines of their nursing home on Friday to attend Wacken Open Air, police said. The nursing home alerted police after the gentlemen were found to be missing from the center. Police then found the aging metalheads at 3 a.m. at Wacken Open Air, the world’s biggest heavy metal festival. A police spokeswoman said they were ‘disoriented and dazed.’ The men were reluctant to leave the four-day festival so police escorted them home with the help of a taxi and a patrol car. ‘They obviously liked the metal festival,’ police spokeswoman Merle Neufeld told public broadcaster Norddeutscher Rundfunk. ‘The care home quickly organized a return transport after police picked them up.’ The 29th edition of the legendary festival was fully sold out, with an expected 75,000 people expected to attend the four-day festival.” AND NOW, A WORD FROM CHARLES… “[James Madison’s] genius was to understand that the best bulwark against tyranny was not virtue — virtue helps, but should never be relied upon — but ambition counteracting ambition, faction counteracting faction.” – Charles Krauthammer writing in the Washington Post, March 23, 2017. 

Brianna McClelland contributed to this report. Want FOX News Halftime Report in your inbox every day? Sign up here.

This article was written by Fox News staff.

Source Link: