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Wake Up To Politics - September 13, 2018

I'm Gabe Fleisher, reporting live from WUTP World HQ in my bedroom. It’s Thursday, September 13, 2018. 54 days until Election Day 2018. 782 days until Election Day 2020. Have comments, questions, suggestions, or tips? Email me at gabe@wakeuptopolitics.com.

Primary preview: New York

The final primary election of the 2018 cycle is today, as voters in New York choose nominees or state and local offices. The marquee race is the Democratic gubernatorial primary, as Gov. Andrew Cuomo faces a serious primary challenge from actress Cynthia Nixon, of "Sex and the City" fame.

Nixon is hoping that the grassroots energy that has ushered other progressive challengers, such as her ally New York congressional candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, to victory this year will also aid her, although polls show Nixon's bid is still a long-shot. According to RealClearPolitics, the polling average in the primary gives Cuomo a 38.5-point lead, 61% to 22.5%.

Cuomo has also faced controversy in recent days, after the state Democratic Party sent a mailer implying that Nixon is anti-Semitic. The party later apologized, and Cuomo claimed he had no knowledge of the mailer, although the New York Times has since reported it was approved by one of his longtime advisers.

Over the course of her campaign, Nixon has sought to tie the two-term governor to corruption in Albany, while also attacking Cuomo's management of the New York City subway system and differentiating herself by endorsing the legalization of marijuana.

Nixon won't be the only progressive challenger on the ballot. Democratic Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul also faces a challenge from New York City Councilman Jumaane Williams, who has been endorsed by Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders. The Democratic primary for the New York attorney general's race is also hotly contested, months after former AG Eric Schneiderman resigned amid allegations of sexual assault. Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY) is running for the position, as well as for re-election in the House. But New York City public advocate Tish James has the support of the state's Democratic establishment, including Cuomo, while prominent progressives (including Sanders, Nixon, and Ocasio-Cortez) have united behind law professor and 2014 Cuomo challenger Zephyr Teachout.

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The Rundown

Immigration: The United States is currently holding a total of 12,800 migrant children in detention, according to the New York Times, the highest number ever recorded.

Investigations: FEMA Administrator Brock Long is under investigation by the Department of Homeland Security inspector general, who is probing whether he has misused government vehicles during his commutes from Washington to North Carolina, Politico reports.

Polling roundup: Fox News released polls in five tight Senate races on Wednesday; each contest was within the margin of error. In Arizona, Democratic Rep. Kyrsten Sinema led Republican Rep. Martha McSally, 47% to 44%. In Indiana, Republican businessman Mike Braun led Democratic Sen. Joe Donnelly, 45% to 43%. In Missouri, Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill led Republican state Attorney General Josh Hawley, 44% to 41%. In North Dakota, Republican Rep. Kevin Cramer led Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, 48% to 44%. And in Tennessee, Republican Rep. Marsha Blackburn led Democratic former Gov. Phil Bredesen, 47% to 44%.

--- A CBS poll out Wednesday showed Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz with a slight lead over Democratic Rep. Beto O'Rourke, 46% to 42%, also within the poll's margin of error.

--- FiveThirtyEight has released its Senate forecast. The forecast finds a 67.4% chance that Republicans keep control of the Senate, and a 32.6% chance that Democrats win control. The scenario with the highest likelihood, according to their model, is an evenly divided, 50-50 Senate. FiveThirtyEight rates two races, Nevada and Florida, as toss-ups, while placing Arizona, North Dakota, and Missouri in the Lean Democratic column, and Texas and Tennessee in the Lean Republican column.

White House schedule

President Trump has no public schedule today, as he continues to track Hurricane Florence, which is set to make landfall in the Carolinas today or Friday.

Congress schedule

Senate: The upper chamber is not conducting any business today.

House: The lower chamber votes today on the $147.5 billion spending package funding energy and water programs, the legislative branch, military construction, and the Department of Veterans Affairs. The bill was passed by the Senate on Wednesday, 92-5. This package comprises three of the twelve appropriations bills Congress must pass by September 30; otherwise, Congress must either approve a temporary stopgap funding measure, or the government shuts down.

President Trump has threatened to shut down the government if more funds aren't devoted to the construction of his proposed border wall; if a continuing resolution is needed, the current funding levels will remain the same.

The Senate has passed versions of all 12 appropriations bills, while the House has yet to vote on any.

*All times Eastern