What effect will the president have on his party’s chances at holding the House and Senate in the November election? Mitt Romney and Jenny Wilson disagree over what’s causing catastrophic wildfires. The state may be in for a surprise in a bid to buy the downtown homeless shelter. And columnist Robert Gehrke calls for charges against a San Juan County clerk.
Tuesday’s election results set off debates over whether Trump was a drag on the party’s chances at winning the midterm elections this year. A Republican in a conservative Ohio district won a special election race, but at a much smaller margin than Trump took the district in 2016. That was after a pre-election Trump rally. GOP candidates and the White House are now trying to figure out what role, if any, Trump should play in races across the U.S. this year. [WaPost]
Topping the news: What’s causing devastating wildfires across the United States? Republican Mitt Romney: failure by the government to invest in fire-prevention programs. Democrat Jenny Wilson: climate change. [Trib] [DNews]
-> A state homeless committee that voted to offer $4 million for the downtown homeless shelter might be surprised when they find out the actual value of the building. The Salt Lake County assessor says the value of the building – which the state believes is a tear-down – more than doubled overnight. [Trib]
-> Three women reported to Ogden police that they had been sexually assaulted by a mall massage therapist, but the police did not do anything about it until a fourth woman came forward. [Trib]
Tweets of the day: From @MEPFuller: “I see that Rep. Chris Collins’s defense is that, as an Innate board member, the company’s largest stockholder, and a Member of Congress (who was already under investigation for Innate), he personally didn’t sell any of his stock. Just his son, who sold 1.4 million shares. Ah.”
-> From @ryanbeckwith: “People Trump accused of secretly taping him: • Barack Obama • James Comey. People who actually secretly taped Trump: • Michael Cohen • Omarosa Manigault”
Happy Birthday: To former House Rep. Fred C. Cox.
Trib Talk: State Rep. Angela Romero, D-Salt Lake City, and Tribune reporter Nate Carlisle join Benjamin Wood to discuss the factors behind teenage marriages in Utah and the arguments for and against raising the legal age of marriage. [Trib]
In other news: Salt Lake County will now provide preference to women-owned or minority-owned businesses, but Council Chairwoman Amy Winder Newton argued the policy would be discriminatory toward white men. [Trib]
-> John Coltharp, one of the two men who formed the doomsday group Knights of the Crystal, was sentenced to 26 years to life in prison after pleading guilty to child bigamy and child sodomy charges. [Trib] [Fox13] [DNews]
-> While Salt Lake City’s The Leonardo science and technology museum faced an uncertain future months ago, its creditors have forgiven 20 percent of its debt outright and negotiated long-term payment plans on the remaining $2.9 million. Will it be enough to save the embattled cultural icon? [Trib]
-> Due to high levels of blue-green algae at all testing locations at Utah Lake, health officials are warning the public to stay out the entire lake. A similar algal bloom shut down Utah Lake in 2016. [Trib] [DNews] [KUTV] [DailyHerald]
-> Rep. Mia Love said on Wednesday she wasn’t a fan of President Donald Trump’s trade policies, becoming the latest in a long line of Utahns to lash out against the president’s use of tariffs against trading partners. She’s planning to make a trip to China to learn more. [DNews]
-> Pat Bagley looks at other things America should bring back now that asbestos is making an apparent comeback. [Trib]
-> Robert Gehrke says San Juan County Clerk John David Nielson’s falsification of an election complaint to keep Democrat Willie Grayeyes off the ballot in the County Commission race should lead to criminal charges. [Trib]
Nationally: Rep. Chris Collins, a New York Republican and the first member of Congress to endorse President Donald Trump’s candidacy, was arrested and accused of insider trading and lying to federal agents. He pleaded not guilty. [NYTimes] [CNN]
-> The Trump administration announced new sanctions on Russia after its use of a nerve agent in an attempt earlier this year to assassinate ex-Russian intelligence officer Sergei Skripal and his daughter. [WaPost] [NYTimes]
-> Robert Mueller’s team of prosecutors is preparing to rest their case against Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort. But prosecutors have experienced a number of setbacks in what some legal experts would consider a slam-dunk case. [Politico] [NYTimes] [WaPost]
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-- Connor Richards and Taylor W. Anderson