Happy Saturday! Here’s another edition of my weekend column for WPRI.com — as always, send your takes, tips and trial balloons to tnesi@wpri.com and follow me on Twitter and on Facebook.

1. With all three 2nd District primary debates now in the rearview mirror, Seth Magaziner’s campaign is showing little concern about winning the Democratic nomination on Sept. 13. While Magaziner was occasionally targeted, particularly over his recent arrival in the district, the divided field is clearly helping him. Joy Fox had Sarah Morgenthau vying with her to be the candidate for those who want to elect a woman; Morgenthau took her own heat on questions about community roots; David Segal is offering a more progressive option; Omar Bah hit back at Fox’s focus on residency. Meanwhile, Magaziner has generally been able to stay on message as a standard-issue Biden-era Democrat. “One of the challengers really needed to step forward and really be forceful to get those undecided voters,” 12 News political analyst Joe Fleming said on this week’s Newsmakers. “I don’t think any one challenger was forceful enough to grab a majority of that 37% of undecided voters. I personally believe they probably split that in many ways.” While you can never rule out an upset in politics, the focus is already shifting to the general election: the League of Conservation Voters is using its huge ad buy on behalf of Magaziner to also launch a first round of TV attacks against Republican Allan Fung. This week also saw Fung’s campaign begin to raise his public profile, going on the air with a unique 60-second spot reintroducing him to voters as a “superhero” who saved Cranston and will do the same in Washington. The Cranston Democratic Town Committee pushed back, citing the city’s current financial challenges, a message the Fung campaign quickly sought to counter. A key question remains how much the national environment will shape the outcome in the 2nd District. The new Wall Street Journal poll shows an improving political climate for Democrats compared with earlier this year — how many points ahead of the national GOP will Fung be able to run?

2. Federal candidates just reported their latest fundraising numbers, revealing Allan Fung has narrowed the money gap with Seth Magaziner significantly. Magaziner is still the cash leader in the race, sitting on almost $1.4 million as of Aug. 24, but that was down from $1.7 million at the end of June after his campaign started spending money on TV advertising and other expenses. Fung on the other hand saw his cash stockpile grow from $762,000 to nearly $1 million over the same period. That’s partly because Fung spent relatively little money, lacking a primary opponent, but also because he took in slightly more cash than Magaziner. Among the other Democratic candidates, Magaziner’s best-funded rivals each spent a similar amount — about $130,000 — from July 1 through Aug. 24. That was less than half as much as Magaziner. Sarah Morgenthau finished the period with $492,000 on hand, while David Segal had $191,000, Joy Fox had $43,000 and Omar Bah had $15,000. Segal announced plans Friday to put some of his remaining cash to work, with his campaign rolling out a new commercial that will be shown on streaming services and digital media.

3. After a mostly sleepy summer, the Democratic primary for governor is now fully engaged. That was in evidence Wednesday night at the first of two TV debates, a freewheeling hour that sometimes felt more like a clear-the-benches baseball brawl than a political forum. As in the 2nd District primary, the divided field is affecting the dynamic, with Dan McKee under the most fire but the other Democrats squabbling amongst themselves as well. Matt Brown hit McKee hardest, particularly over the FBI’s investigation into the ILO contract, an issue that has suddenly moved to the center of the campaign after simmering on the backburner for months. But Nellie Gorbea is clearly concerned about the potential for Helena Foulkes to make further gains, leading Gorbea to switch between attacks on McKee, attacks on Foulkes, and a proactive case for herself. Foulkes did her share of criticizing, too, but as the least-known of the top three she also appeared eager to use the stage to introduce herself to voters. With our last WPRI/RWU poll now nearly a month old, and primaries always fluid anyway, it’s possible voter preferences have shifted as Sept. 13 draws near. The major candidates will get one final chance to draw contrasts side by side before a large audience this Tuesday at 8 p.m., when WPRI 12 will hold our live televised gubernatorial debate at Rhode Island College. After that it will be a six-day sprint to the primary.

4. Steph Machado and Tim White have the details on a breakdown revealed by Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea and confirmed by the Board of Elections: the Spanish-language ballots on Rhode Island’s new electronic voting machines started early voting with the wrong candidate names. Helena Foulkes and Matt Brown instantly pounced on the error as a sign Gorbea isn’t ready to be governor, which her campaign dismissed as politically motivated attacks.

5. Nirva LaFortune may be perceived as an underdog in the race for Providence mayor, but she made more news than rivals Brett Smiley and Gonzalo Cuervo this week. One case was unfortunate: The Journal ran an unflattering front-page photo of LaFortune alongside smiling headshots of the other two, eliciting an apology from the paper amid an outcry. In the other cases, it was about schools — LaFortune released an education plan that soon helped win her the endorsement of the Providence Teachers Union. Smiley was also focused on K-12, releasing a new TV ad on the topic. Cuervo meanwhile found himself subjected to a campaign attack from, of all places, Triggs Memorial Golf Course; Cuervo now says he no longer wants to bulldoze its 18 holes.

6. The Democratic primary for treasurer has become the most hard-fought Democratic primary outside the governor’s race, which is no surprise considering James Diossa and Stefan Pryor had just 18% and 17% support, respectively, in our poll last month. The Diossa campaign has been outraged by a barrage of criticism from Pryor and his well-funded allies, much of it focused on Diossa’s financial management of Central Falls in the years after the city emerged from bankruptcy. (Eli Sherman dug into one of their disputes, over a $500,000 transfer out of the city’s pension fund.) Diossa sought to counter with a news conference alongside a group of sitting mayors, showing his wide support among municipal leaders. Republican candidate James Lathrop is hoping the two Democrats’ sparring will leave voters looking for an alternative candidate come November, and announced he plans to go on the air with a TV ad Sept. 17.

7. An interesting observation from a veteran Rhody political observer: it’s possible the R.I. Republican Party will go into this year’s general election with a more diverse candidate slate than the R.I. Democratic Party. The top of the GOP ticket is expected to be a Black congressional candidate (Allen Waters), an Asian congressional candidate (Allan Fung) and a woman (Ashley Kalus). Yet if the Democratic frontrunners in our last poll win their primaries, the top of the other party’s ticket would be three white men: David Cicilline, Seth Magaziner and Dan McKee. In fact, it’s possible all but one of the eight Democratic nominees for statewide office this year could be white men, a reduction in diversity after a pair of midterm cycles when the party nominated two women.

8. You might want to check the skies and see if pigs are soaring overhead: the specter of progressive victories has managed to unite North Providence’s political archrivals, Charlie Lombardi and Doc Corvese, on the same side this primary season.

9. Massachusetts voters go to the polls Tuesday for the state’s primary election, and the hottest race is the Democratic primary for attorney general. The exit of Quentin Palfrey this week left two top-tier candidates with powerful backers battling for the nomination: former Boston City Councilor Andrea Campbell, the choice of outgoing AG and gubernatorial frontrunner Maura Healey, is facing labor lawyer Shannon Liss-Riordan, who’s got the backing of Elizabeth Warren and Michelle Wu. Newly released polls show the pair just a few points apart, and Liss-Riordan is pouring a massive amount of her personal wealth into a huge TV ad campaign that has made her a familiar presence even to Rhode Island viewers. She also made recent visits to Attleboro and Taunton. Campbell’s campaign is seeking to counter Liss-Riordan’s paid media dominance with a new radio ad that specifically solicits support from voters in New Bedford, Fall River and the rest of Bristol County. Separately, the polls are keeping us guessing over the race for the low-profile office of state auditor, which puts former No Boston Olympics leader Chris Dempsey against union-backed state Sen. Diana DiZoglio. Closer to home, all eyes are on the Democratic primary for Bristol County sheriff between Nicholas Bernier, Paul Heroux and George McNeil — the winner will go on to face longtime Republican incumbent Tom Hodgson.

10. With Democrats’ hopes of holding the Senate growing, Jack Reed has reason to think he may be able to keep the Armed Services Committee gavel come January. But if he doesn’t, the Biden administration has good reason to expect a lot more grillings over the Afghanistan pullout. Reed has focused the panel’s hearings on a broader look at the 20-year war, rather than zeroing in on the withdrawal. “If you focus at one point in time, and you try to make a political point, I don’t think that’s going to help us in the future,” Reed told Air Force Times. But Republicans disagree, with Florida Congressman Mike Waltz arguing, “There are all kinds of issues we never got an answer on.”

11. Jake Auchincloss is losing his chief of staff amid a feud with Marjorie Taylor Greene.

12. Congratulations No. 1 to Craig Berke, longtime spokesperson for Rhode Island’s judiciary, who retired this week after nearly 17 years in the job. Like many of his most skilled counterparts, Craig came to the job having spent more than two decades as a newspaper editor and reporter, including at The Providence Journal. And like umpteen others in Rhode Island politics and media, Berke got his start with legendary Warwick Beacon publisher John Howell (who’s still going strong at age 80). Bonus bit of Berke trivia: one of his journalism classmates at URI was Larry Berman, longtime spokesperson in the House speaker’s office (and before that a newspaperman himself).

13. Congratulations No. 2 to Audrey Lucas, former press secretary for Governor Raimondo and current communications director for Helena Foulkes, who is getting married in Connecticut this weekend.

14. My colleague Tolly Taylor continues tracking how Rhode Island school districts are — or, in most cases, aren’t — spending $330 million in federal COVID relief money.

15. Condolences to Rhode Island Republican National Committeewoman Lee Ann Sennick, whose husband David died last week at age 54. I loved this line from his obituary: “In lieu of flowers, please say a prayer for another Patriots Super Bowl win.”

16. Old pal Ian Donnis shares word that “Political Roundtable,” his weekly political series on The Public’s Radio, is expanding to a full half-hour for the remainder of election season. I’m looking forward to joining Ian for the first edition next week, previewing the outlook for the primary along with Patrick Anderson; the week’s main interview will be Mayor Elorza. You can catch the show at 89.3 FM on your radio dial Friday mornings at 7:30 and 9:30 a.m., as well as Friday evenings at 5:30 p.m.

17. You think Rhode Island government has some antiquated systems? In Japan, they’re still requiring people to use floppy disks.

18. Retiring AP reporter Alan Fram shares a sobering farewell reflection as he finishes four decades covering Capitol Hill.

19. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg reflects on his first year as a parent.

20. My colleague T.J. Del Santo has a new digital documentary on the Conimicut Lighthouse.

21. Make sure you pick up the new issue of Rhode Island Monthly, featuring our own Eli Sherman’s debut as a contributing writer for the magazine. His first piece is a deep dive on the Monique Brady saga.

22. Don’t want to wait for the weekend to see the latest episode of Newsmakers? Good news: the show will air at a special time — Fridays at 6:30 p.m. on Fox Providence — through the November election.

23. This week on Newsmakers — a political roundtable recaps the 2nd Congressional District primary debate. Watch Sunday at 5:30 a.m. on WPRI 12 or 10 a.m. on Fox Providence, or listen on the radio Sundays at 6 p.m. on WPRO. You can also subscribe to Newsmakers as a podcast on iTunes (or wherever you get your podcasts). See you back here next Saturday morning.

Ted Nesi (tnesi@wpri.com) is a Target 12 investigative reporter and 12 News politics/business editor. He co-hosts Newsmakers and writes Nesi’s Notes on Saturdays. Connect with him on Twitter and Facebook