Tuesday night's primaries were a series of near-miss defeats for Tea Party insurgent candidates and victories for the Republican establishment — a sharp turnaround from where things were just two weeks ago, when the political world was reeling after the surprise defeat of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in the Virginia GOP primary.
The most obvious example is the Republican primary runoff in Mississippi, where incumbent Sen. Thad Cochran won with just under 51 percent of the vote — and challenger Chris McDaniel bitterly denounced Cochran and the Republican establishment for having courted Democratic voters to cross over into the GOP primary.
Another example: Oklahoma's open Senate race, where national figures such as Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and former vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin had endorsed T.W. Shannon, the state House Speaker, who if elected would have been the first African-American U.S. senator from the state. However, many local GOP activists gravitated to Rep. James Lankford, the No. 5 Republican in the House, who has a longstanding base among religious conservatives. Lankford won the nomination outright with 57 percent of the vote, above the 50 percent needed to avoid a runoff, with Shannon far behind at 34 percent.
There were also some near-misses in House races. In New York's 22nd District, two-term Rep. Richard Hanna was opposed by state Assemblywoman Claudia Tenney, who had the backing of conservative groups. Hanna won his race with 53 percent, against Tenney's 47 percent.
And in Colorado's 5th District, four-term Rep. Doug Lamborn was challenged by Bentley Rayburn, a retired Air Force general who previously ran against Lamborn in the open-seat 2006 primary, and challenged him again in 2008. Lamborn won for a third time tonight, also with 53 percent against 47 percent.
Colorado also delivered another big win for the GOP establishment, in the four-way primary for governor. Former congressman and 2006 nominee Bob Beauprez won with 30 percent — narrowly defeating former Rep. Tom Tancredo, famous for his strong opposition to even legal immigration, who came in at 27 percent. Eric Kleefeld
Charles Manson, the cult leader and mastermind behind one of the 20th Century's most famous murder sprees, died Sunday, TMZ reports. He was 83.
Debra Tate, the sister of victim Sharon Tate, told TMZ the California prison Manson had been in called her to say he died at 8:13 p.m. local time. Last week, he was taken to a hospital in Bakersfield. Manson came to Los Angeles in the 1960s, hoping to become a musician, and soon attracted several followers, dubbed the Manson Family. On August 9, 1969, several of his followers murdered Tate, who was nearly nine months pregnant, and four others at her Los Angeles home, and the next evening, killed husband and wife Leno and Rosemary LaBianca.
Manson hoped their murders would start a race war, and for his role in the slayings, Manson was convicted of conspiracy to commit murder. He received the death penalty, but after the state ruled it unconstitutional, he was given nine consecutive life sentences. Catherine Garcia
Roy Moore's "claim that the Senate race has become a religious war, and a Christian one at that, has put one group in an awkward position: Christians," say Campbell Robertson and Laurie Goodstein at The New York Times. On Sunday, pastors around Alabama refrained from discussing Moore, the Republican nominee in the Dec. 12 U.S. Senate race, but they've been asked about little else since a growing number of women came forward to say Moore initiated a physical relationship or sexually assaulted them when they were teenagers as young as 14 and he was in his 30s.
"It was a known fact: Roy Moore liked young girls," Faye Gary, a retired police officer in Moore's hometown of Gadsden, Alabama, tells the Times. "It was treated like a joke. That's just the way it was." Now it's out in the open, the allegations "have created a dilemma" for many pastors, Robertson and Goodstein write. "They want to denounce what Mr. Moore was accused of doing, but in many cases they want to do so without denouncing Mr. Moore himself," who's still supported by many in their congregations.
Some religious leaders in Alabama have openly denounced Moore, a Southern Baptist, and called him unfit for office. but most pastors "still endorse Moore, underlining the unwavering support he has received from his conservative Christian base," reports Christopher Harress at Al.com. Pastor David Floyd of Marvyn Parkway Baptist Church in Opelika said he doesn't "believe those women" and called the allegations a Democratic smear.
Pastor Franklin Raddish of the nationwide Capitol Hill Independent Baptist Ministries told AL.com from South Carolina home that the accusations against Moore are part of a "war on men" that has ramped up with the national reckoning about sexual misconduct. "More women are sexual predators than men," he added, dubiously. "Women are chasing young boys up and down the road, but we don't hear about that because it's not PC." Peter Weber
AL.com and its parent company, Alabama Media Group, are standing by their reporting on Alabama Republican Senate nominee Roy Moore, and has rejected Moore's claim that the website has turned public opinion against him, with the company's attorney writing, "Any damage to Mr. Moore's reputation was self-inflicted and had already occurred long before AL.com's recent reporting."
Since The Washington Post first published the account of a woman who said Moore made sexual advances on her when she was 14, AL.com has done extensive reporting on the matter, interviewing additional women who have accused Moore of sexual misconduct and following up on other stories, like Moore being banned from the Gadsden Mall for bothering teenage girls. Trenton Garmon, an attorney for Moore, his wife Kayla, and their Foundation for Moral Law, sent a letter Nov. 14, to Alabama Media Group, accusing AL.com of making "false reports and/or careless reporting" about subjects related to the Moores.
In response, Alabama Media Group's attorney John Thompson sent Garmon a letter Thursday saying the company "rejects" the demand it stop reporting on Moore, writing: "Alabamians — for that matter, all Americans — have a right to know about the individuals who wish to represent them in public office. Like every political candidate, Mr. Moore is subject to scrutiny and analysis by the media and the general public regarding his fitness for public inquiry."
Any lawsuit "would be frivolous and could not be brought in good faith," Thompson said, but if one is filed, "we are confident that litigation would not only demonstrate that AL.com exercised the utmost diligence and employed high journalistic standards in reporting these stories, but would also reveal other important information about your clients." Read Thompson's entire letter at The Washington Post. Catherine Garcia
Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team has requested that the Department of Justice hand over documents related to President Trump's firing of former FBI Director James Comey and Attorney General Jeff Sessions' decision to recuse himself from the investigation of the Trump's campaign and any connections to Russian officials, a person familiar with the matter told ABC News on Sunday.
The special counsel is reportedly looking into whether Trump attempted to obstruct the federal investigation, and the request for documents, delivered within the past month, is the first such request from Mueller's team to the Justice Department. Specifically, ABC News reports, Mueller has asked for communications between DOJ officials and their counterparts at the White House. Catherine Garcia
For two months, surfer Conrad Carr gave up the ocean for land, walking more than 1,000 miles from New York to Florida to help animals affected by hurricanes.
After his friend dared him to walk 1,000 miles, promising to give him $100 for every mile completed, Carr decided to take him up on his offer. Some of his famous friends, including Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth, helped spread the word about Carr's journey, and more donations came in for the cause. "The animals don't have a voice, and I saw the Humane Society was right on the front lines," he told USA Today. "You gotta save all those guys struggling out there."
His journey lasted from September to November, and he's happy to have brought awareness to the plight of animals struggling due to hurricanes. "You feel a lot better when you go out there and do something good for someone who can't," he said. Catherine Garcia
Actor Jeffrey Tambor announced Sunday he will be leaving Amazon's Transparent, after two members of the show's crew said he sexually harassed them.
"Playing Maura Pfefferman on Transparent has been one of the greatest privileges and creative experiences of my life," he told Deadline. "What has become clear over the past weeks, however, is that this is no longer the job I signed up for four years ago." Tambor said he apologizes if any of his actions were ever "misinterpreted by anyone as being aggressive," but called "the idea that I would deliberately harass anyone ... simply and utterly untrue." Because of the "politicized atmosphere that seems to have afflicted our set," he added, "I don't see how I can return to Transparent."
Amazon is investigating the allegations, and prior to Tambor's announcement, there was talk of writing his character out of the show, Deadline reports. Catherine Garcia
A U.S. Customs and Border Protection agent died Sunday after he was injured while on duty in Texas, the agency said in a statement.
Rogelio Martinez, a 36-year-old from El Paso, and his partner responded to activity in the Big Bend area when they were injured; a Border Patrol spokesman said he could not disclose what happened to the agents. Martinez died in the hospital, and his partner, whose name has not been released, remains in serious condition. Authorities are searching for suspects and witnesses to the incident, with the FBI taking over the investigation. Martinez became a border agent in August 2013. Catherine Garcia