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Vox Sentences: 2018 primary season starts in three ... two ... one

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Voters head to the polls in Ohio, West Virginia, Indiana, and North Carolina tomorrow, and we look at the Ohio governor’s race; Putin is sworn in for yet another term.

There is ... a lot going on in the Ohio governor’s race

Richard Cordray Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images
  • Primary season 2018 kicks off in earnest tomorrow, with voters heading to the polls to choose their Democratic and Republican picks to run for governor, US Senate, and US House in Indiana, Ohio, North Carolina, and West Virginia. [Vox / Dylan Scott, Tara Golshan, and Ella Nilsen]
  • Simply put, there’s a whole boatload of races, and for mini explainers on the most important ones, you should head over to this mega-explainer compiled by the Vox 2018 team: Dylan Scott, Tara Golshan, and me. [Vox / Dylan Scott, Tara Golshan, and Ella Nilsen]
  • But for the purposes of today’s newsletter, let’s focus on the Ohio governor’s race to replace term-limited Republican (and 2016 presidential contender) John Kasich. [ / Seth Richardson]
  • Numerous outlets (including Vox) have described this race using the word “wacky,” for good reason. This race has a lot going on: a couple of outsider candidates giving the mainstream Democrat and Republican candidates a headache, including one who has spoken favorably about Syrian strongman Bashar al-Assad. [Vox / Dylan Scott]
  • On the Republican side, you have Mike DeWine, the state’s attorney general and a former US senator. DeWine is the establishment favorite, but he’s facing a challenge from Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor, who has been positioning herself as a more conservative, pro-Trump figure (she opposes Medicaid expansion in the state, which Kasich supported). [Cincinnati Enquirer / Jessie Balmert]
  • On the Democratic side, you have Richard Cordray a former state treasurer and the first director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the agency tasked with bringing Wall Street to heel after the 2008 recession. Cordray has progressive Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s backing, but he’s also being challenged by Dennis Kucinich, a super-antiwar former Congress member and (not very serious) presidential candidate back in the day. [WKLU / M.L. Schultze]
  • Kucinich has some ties to a pro-Assad group and has gone to Syria to meet with the dictator, including for an interview broadcast on Fox. [Guardian / Ben Jacobs]
  • Tomorrow will decide which Republicans and Democrats get to compete with each other in the fall. Also on the ballot: an initiative to get rid of gerrymandering in Ohio and replace the current system with a nonpartisan one. [Vox / Andrew Prokop]

Putin starts his fourth term as an all-powerful president

  • Russia’s Vladimir Putin was sworn in for his fourth term as president today. As the New York Times notes, the ceremony looked more like a coronation than an inauguration; it took place in a grand Kremlin palace that was literally used to crown past Russian czars. [NYT / Andrew Kramer]
  • The current power structure in Russia is staying the same, with Putin as president and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev staying on as well. (Medvedev is very loyal to Putin and in the past was installed as president when Putin’s presidential term ran out.) [Reuters / Denis Pinchuk and Darya Korsunskaya]
  • Putin is starting his fourth term with an economic boon for his presidency and any sanctions from the US; oil prices are higher, giving Russia an edge over its foreign competitors. [WSJ / Thomas Grove]
  • Now that he’s been sworn in, Putin will be in office for the next six years, marking a new and especially tense time in US-Russia relations. It comes as Russia has been aggressively meddling in US and European elections, trying to destabilize Western influence and bolster its own world standing. [CNBC]


  • Here’s the Barbie Instagram story behind that SNL skit. It’s about Mattel’s attempt at Barbie’s black hair. And it is controversial. [Racked / Nadra Nittle]
  • A definitive case for why Pluto is a planet. Gone from the official record but in our hearts forever. [Washington Post / David Grinspoon and Alan Stern]
  • Fitbit has added some features for the ladies — letting you track your period and log your complaints about cramps and headaches because oh, what a joy it is to be a woman. [The Verge / Dani Deahl]
  • Spring is here ... and with it, the return of the dreaded tick (which carries Lyme disease). Here’s what you can do to prevent infection. [NPR / Allison Aubrey]


“From the ecological point of view, they are killing the goose that lays the golden eggs.” [Peruvian biologist Dina Farfan on tourism’s impact on Peru’s “rainbow mountain,” to Associated Press / Franklin Briceño]

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