The early morning sun rises behind the US Capitol Building in Washington, DC.
Mark Wilson—Getty Images
By Zeke J Miller
July 30, 2015

The GOP top-tier is not firmly established going into the first debate. At the top is Donald Trump, Scott Walker, and Jeb Bush. Then things get complicated — real complicated. Nine candidates are in a statistical tie in the latest Quinnipiac University Poll for 4th-12th place, making next week’s winnowing of the field to 10 candidates on the first debate state essentially arbitrary if coming polls produce similar results. With 17 GOP candidates declared—former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore entered the race Wednesday—there is unlikely to be a statistically significant polling difference between the person occupying the 10th spot on stage and the 11th person left off it.

Hillary Clinton‘s use of a private email server that allegedly contained classified information opens up a legal can of worms for the former Secretary of State if investigators determine that she knew the information was classified. The controversy is already leading to a major hit to her national poll numbers, as Bush and Walker now poll even with Clinton in hypothetical general election match-ups. Clinton’s favorability and trustworthiness ratings are also at new lows.

Elsewhere in politics, Rick Perry has an unusual challenge for Donald Trump, and Ben Carson‘s surgeon’s hands breeze through a game of “Operation.”

Here are your must-reads:

Must Reads

Donald Trump Dominates in New National Republican Poll
Nine candidates in a statistical tie for 4th place [TIME]

Facebook Expands in Politics, and Campaigns Find Much to Like
The new advertising “monster” [New York Times]

Clinton’s Planned Parenthood ties run deep
Videos are “disturbing,” she says, but Clinton has long been a supporter [Politico]

The Legal Question Over Hillary Clinton’s Secret Emails
Her exposure depends on what she knew, TIME’s Massimo Calabresi writes

Koch Network Takes Cue from Obama Playbook
A 1,000-strong ground game more than a year from Election Day [Washington Post]

UBS Deal Shows Clinton’s Complicated Ties [Wall Street Journal]
Donations to family foundation increased after secretary of state’s involvement in tax case

Sound Off

“Let’s get a pull-up bar out there and see who can do more pull-ups.” — Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry challenges Donald Trump

“She wanted to breast pump in front of me and I may have said that’s disgusting, I may have said something else. I thought it was terrible. She’s a vicious, horrible person.” — Donald Trump on lawyer Elizabeth Beck, with whom he allegedly clashed with over breastfeeding

Bits and Bites

Hillary Clinton Losing Strength in New National Polling [TIME]

Facts in Clinton’s ‘Secret’ Emails Came From Five Intelligence Agencies [McClatchy]

The Trumpification of Congress [TIME]

How to Beat ‘Operation’ With Ben Carson [IJ Review]

Bernie Sanders Hosts Biggest Organizing Event of 2016 So Far [TIME]

Hillary Clinton to Call for Lifting Cuba Embargo [TIME]

James Gilmore, Ex-Virginia Governor, Files Papers to Run for President [New York Times]

Donald Trump Says His Past Politics Were Transactional [Wall Street Journal]

Judge Explodes Over Hillary Email Delays [Politico]

Planned Parenthood Website Hacked [CNN]

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