Jessica Taylor

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, a staunch ally of President Trump, has won the state's razor-thin Republican primary for governor after incumbent Gov. Jeff Colyer conceded on Tuesday night.

"This election is probably the closest in America, but the numbers are just not there unless we were to go to extraordinary measures," Colyer said.

Primary voters in four more states — Connecticut, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Vermont — go to the polls on Tuesday.

This year's been dominated by talk of Democratic gains, but Tuesday, Republicans will pick nominees in several places where they hope to flip House seats and even governors' mansions.

Two Republicans who failed to win the White House are hoping voters will elect them to lead their states for a third time — but one is trying to make a political comeback after almost a decade out of office.

A critical House special election on Tuesday could provide some of the biggest clues yet about how much trouble Republicans could be in this November.

In Ohio, the last Republican vs. Democrat matchup before November has become the latest proxy fight for whether Democrats can harness the energy, activism and overperformance in past special elections to pull off an upset in a GOP-held district.

In the Trump era, the phrase "all politics is local" may feel like an anachronism. But in Tennessee, Phil Bredesen is trying to prove that national partisan divides can be overcome in the most surprising Senate battleground of 2018.

Former President Barack Obama weighed in on behalf of 81 candidates for federal and state offices on Wednesday, his first major batch of endorsements for the 2018 midterm elections.

"I'm proud to endorse such a wide and impressive array of Democratic candidates – leaders as diverse, patriotic, and big-hearted as the America they're running to represent," Obama said in a statement.

Americans don't think President Trump has been tough enough on Russia, according to a new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll conducted after Trump's summit in Helsinki last week with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Nearly two-thirds said so, and it wasn't just Democrats. Almost half of Republicans surveyed (47 percent) also said Trump hasn't been tough enough on Russia, with just 20 percent saying he has taken about the right approach.

In an election year shaping up to be a good one for Democratic women candidates, Republican women could see their numbers drop after November. But one state where GOP women might find success is in Tennessee.

Rep. Marsha Blackburn will go up against former Democratic Gov. Phil Bredesen in one of the year's most critical and competitive Senate races. Rep. Diane Black is running for governor, though she first has to win a very competitive primary next week.

Former White House press secretary Sean Spicer has words of praise for Sarah Sanders, his successor on the podium, and says she has figured out how to please President Trump in the job in a way he struggled to do.

"I think Sarah has done a great job of making sure that she understands what the president wants," Spicer told NPR's Mary Louise Kelly in an interview on Wednesday in advance of next week's release of his book The Briefing: Politics, the Press and the President.

Updated at 7:19 p.m. ET

Many Republicans harshly criticized President Trump's performance Monday at a news conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin, in which Trump said Putin's denial that Moscow interfered with the 2016 election is "strong and powerful" — despite U.S. intelligence findings to the contrary.

President Trump said on Friday that he plans to announce his nominee to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy on July 9.

"I've got it down to about five" candidates, including two women, Trump told reporters on Air Force One as he traveled to his golf club in Bedminster, N.J. He indicated that he may interview one or two candidates there this weekend.

"It is a group of very highly talented, very brilliant, mostly conservative judges," Trump added.

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