Daily briefing

10 things you need to know today: November 10, 2022

Georgia election heads to a runoff that could decide Senate control, Biden says midterms were a "good day" for democracy, and more

1

Georgia Senate race heads to runoff 

The Georgia Senate race between Democratic incumbent Sen. Raphael Warnock and Republican challenger Herschel Walker is headed to a Dec. 6 runoff. Warnock narrowly leads with nearly all the ballots cast, 49.4 percent to 48.5 percent, just shy of the 50 percent needed in Georgia to win outright. Libertarian Chase Oliver was eliminated after receiving 2 percent of the vote. The state had two Senate races two years ago, and both went to runoffs that Democrats won to take control of the Senate. The December vote could once again decide which party has the majority, depending on what happens in the two other states still up for grabs, Arizona and Nevada. If either party sweeps those two states, it will win Senate control no matter who wins in Georgia.

2

Biden says midterms were 'good day' for democracy

President Biden praised Democrats on Wednesday for avoiding a "red wave" in Tuesday's midterm elections. Republicans are expected to get a narrow majority in the House, and still have a shot at winning a razor-thin majority in the Senate, but they had hoped to tap into voter anxiety over high inflation to demolish Democrats. "It was a good day, I think, for democracy," Biden said. "Our democracy has been tested in recent years..." but "the American people have spoken and proven once again, that democracy is who we are." Despite complaints from election deniers, election officials reported few problems on Election Day, and turnout was strong, possibly exceeding a midterm record set in 2018.

3

Russia withdraws forces from Kherson in southern Ukraine

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu on Wednesday ordered Russian forces to withdraw from the key city of Kherson in southern Ukraine. The televised announcement came after Russia's commander in Ukraine told Shoigu that a retreat would "preserve lives of servicemen and combat readiness of forces." Ukraine's military said it was skeptical about Russia's intentions, saying the withdrawal could be a trick meant to lure Ukrainian forces into the city for a battle. "They blew up bridges that would have allowed our forces to advance," said Ukrainian Col. Roman Kostenko, chair of the defense and intelligence committee in Ukraine's Parliament. "We see them leaving population centers, but in some they leave soldiers behind to cover their movements."

4

Democrats make gains in several state legislatures

Democrats flipped Republican-led state legislatures in Minnesota and Michigan in Tuesday's elections and maintained control of the state House and Senate in several states targeted by Republicans. Because Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz (D) and Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) also won re-election, Democrats won full control over the governments in Minnesota after a six-year break, and in Michigan for the first time since 1982, with a boost from concerns about abortion access and redistricting. Democrats also appear to have flipped the Pennsylvania House and deprived Republicans of supermajorities in Wisconsin and North Carolina. Republicans, who had hoped a favorable environment would bring a "red wave," did manage to end Democrats' supermajority in Oregon's Senate.

5

Trump advisers urge him to delay 'very big announcement'

Some of President Trump's allies are urging him to delay his expected announcement that he will run for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, after the GOP fell short of the "red wave" he had hoped to use as a springboard for another White House run. "I'll be advising him that he move his announcement until after the Georgia runoff," said former Trump adviser Jason Miller after an evening with Trump at his Mar-a-Lago club in Florida. Miller said the GOP needs to focus on getting Georgia voters back to the polls for a December runoff between Democratic incumbent Sen. Raphael Warnock and Republican challenger Herschel Walker that could determine control of the Senate. Trump said during a Monday rally he would make a "very big announcement" on Nov. 15.

6

Hurricane Nicole makes landfall in Florida

Hurricane Nicole hit Florida's east coast early Thursday just south of Vero Beach as a Category 1 storm, with top sustained winds of 75 miles per hour. Nicole, which weakened slightly to tropical storm status with top winds of 70 mph after landfall, threatened to erode beaches with high surf and storm surge. It also brought heavy rains and the possibility of tornadoes as it pushed across the Sunshine State, still recovering from Hurricane Ian, before turning north. Nicole crossed the northern Bahamas before reaching Florida. Late Wednesday, it had already caused some flooding in coastal neighborhoods in Broward and Palm Beach counties, where officials closed beaches due to the possibility of storm surge.

7

China lockdown affects 5 million in export-hub Guangzhou

China has locked down large sections of the southern city of Guangzhou as authorities try to keep a widening COVID-19 outbreak from getting worse. The restrictions, which affect more than five million of the manufacturing hub's 19 million residents, came after Guangzhou reported 3,007 new infections on Wednesday, a relatively high figure under China's zero-COVID standards that accounted for a third of new cases nationwide. Local authorities hope to avoid the kind of citywide lockdown that devastated Shanghai, and dragged down China's economy, earlier this year. China has continued to use snap lockdowns and mass testing to prevent outbreaks from spreading, as other countries ease coronavirus restrictions. But the heavy costs have sparked an intensifying outcry.

8

Supreme Court split over challenge to Indian Child Welfare Act

The Supreme Court on Wednesday heard arguments in a challenge of the 1978 Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA), which gives tribal members and other Native Americans preference in the adoption of Native American children. The challenge, by the state of Texas and a group of non-Native American adoptive families, argues the law violates the equal protection clause of the Constitution. Justice Brett Kavanaugh, a member of the court's 6-3 conservative supermajority, said Congress couldn't "say that white parents should get preference for white children in adoption, or that Latino parents should get preference for Latino children." Liberal Justice Elena Kagan countered by saying Congress had stated clearly "that it thinks that this statute is critical to the continuing existence of the tribe as a political entity."

9

Redfin shuts down house-flipping unit as housing market takes hit

Real estate company Redfin Corp. on Wednesday said it was laying off 13 percent of its workers and shutting down its home-flipping unit. Redfin's decision to close the RedfinNow home-flipping business, which has been losing money, came after larger rival Opendoor Technologies reported record losses last week after selling too many homes for less than their purchase price. Redfin, which had already laid off 8 percent of its workforce in June, said the home-flipping operations had become too risky as the real estate market, which boomed earlier in the pandemic, struggles with rising mortgage rates and falling sales.

10

Griner's lawyers confirm her transfer to a Russian penal colony

WNBA player Brittney Griner is "on her way to a penal colony" in Russia, her attorneys confirmed in a statement to CNN on Wednesday. "We do not have any information on her exact current location or her final destination," said attorneys Maria Blagovolina and Alexander Boykov. The women's basketball star was arrested in February at a Moscow airport and accused of having vape canisters with cannabis oil in her luggage. She was sentenced to 9 1/2 years, and she lost an appeal for a lighter sentence in October. Negotiations for her release in a proposed prisoner exchange have failed to yield a deal.

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