NBC News has the latest on escalating violent clashes in Egypt that are still continuing: "The Muslim Brotherhood pledged to bring down Egypt’s military-backed interim government Thursday, deepening the country’s political crisis as the official death toll from clashes between security forces and supporters of ousted President Mohammed Morsi climbed to 525. 'We will rise and rise again until we push the military back into the barracks and restore democracy,' Gehad El-Haddad, spokesman for the Islamist organization, said on his Twitter feed."Los Angeles Times: "The Obama administration faces mounting pressure to sanction the Egyptian military for its violent crackdown on opponents, even though officials refrained from any punitive action Wednesday. As the Egyptian government declared emergency law and its security forces killed dozens of Islamist protesters, U.S. officials condemned the actions and said they were weighing whether to call off a large-scale joint military exercise or cut $1.5 billion in aid."Washington Post's Abigail Hauslohner, who will be on Thursday's The Daily Rundown, has a first-person account of the deadly attacks.NBC's Frank Thorp reports from the RNC meeting in Boston: "Newt Gingrich has a message for Republicans: Stop being so negative, and start talking about ideas – including alternatives to President Barack Obama's health care overhaul. When Republicans ask elected members of their own party over the August recess 'What is your positive replacement for Obamacare?' Gingrich posited, 'they will have zero answer.'"If not Hillary, then who? Politico looks at "the lesser-known Democrats of 2016."KENTUCKY. The Progressive Change Campaign Committee is up with a TV ad in Kentucky hitting Sen. Mitch McConnell over Social Security.Washington Post: Republican Sen. Rand Paul "said Wednesday that there is no 'objective evidence' that African-American voters are being disenfranchised in modern elections."And the Louisville Courier Journal says "Paul argued Wednesday that he does not support a shutdown of the federal government in an effort to defund the Affordable Care Act — known as Obamacare —but still wants Republicans to fight for changes in the reform."IDAHO. "Congressman Raul Labrador, often mentioned as a possible candidate for Idaho governor, said he intends to seek re-election to his 1st District Congress seat," the Idaho Statesman reports. But even then, the second-term congressman didn't endorse GOP Gov. Butch Otter's re-election. Labrador: “Butch Otter could do a better job...Hopefully with the leadership of the Legislature they can do a better job.”TENNESSEE. Wall Street Journal: "A group of tea-party and conservative organizations urged Sen. Lamar Alexander (R., Tenn.) to retire rather than seek a third term next year, signaling that tea-party activists have zeroed in on a new target as they try to pressure incumbent Republicans from the right. In an open letter published Wednesday, 20 groups based in the state attacked Mr. Alexander, saying the country 'can no longer afford compromise and bipartisanship, two traits for which you have become famous.'"NEW JERSEY. Roll Call: "Steve Lonegan, the New Jersey GOP’s nominee for the Senate special election, has high expectations for the Republican National Committee and the National Republican Senatorial Committee to boost him to victory...On Wednesday, Lonegan told WOR Radio that he is 'expecting really the whole NRSC and RNC to be focusing on this race.'"MICHIGAN. National Journal takes a look at the open Senate field, and find it's not good news for the GOP even with Sen. Carl Levin (D) retiring. "It's still early and state Republicans caution that traditionally there is little movement until the biannual Mackinac Republican Leadership Conference in September. But without a top-tier candidate—and watching helplessly as the opposition organizes and funds its operation—the Michigan GOP may be fumbling away its best chance at winning a U.S. Senate seat in two decades."ARKANSAS. Washington Examiner: "Bill and Hillary Clinton plan to campaign and raise money for Sen. Mark Pryor’s re-election bid in Arkansas, a source with knowledge of discussions between the Clintons and Pryor’s campaign confirmed Wednesday."
PENNSYLVANIA. Former Democratic Rep. Mark Critz has decided he'll pass on a re-match with Republican Keith Rothfus, who ousted him in 2012, and will instead run for lieutenant governor in 2014, the Johnstown Tribune Democrat reports.MAINE. Bangor Daily News: "Democratic U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud will formally announce his candidacy for governor Thursday in Lewiston, according to his campaign."