December 24, 2019

If you think your 2019 was bad, take comfort in knowing that even the British monarch had it rough.

In her annual Christmas video, Queen Elizabeth II reportedly acknowledges that 2019 was a "bumpy" year and emphasizes the importance of taking "small steps" to overcome differences, CNN reports.

"The path, of course, is not always smooth, and may at times this year have felt quite bumpy, but small steps can make a world of difference," the queen said.

It is unclear whether the queen is speaking in general terms or whether she was singling out any personal struggles concerning the royal family. The video comes right as the queen's husband Prince Philip was released from an undisclosed four-night hospital visit, and it also follows the U.K.'s latest step in the ongoing Brexit saga.

The royal family did have their due share of scandals in 2019, with the queen's son Prince Andrew coming under scrutiny for his ties to alleged sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein, and Princess Anne making headlines for her apparent mocking of President Trump at NATO.

Or, perhaps more lightheartedly, the queen is referring to bumps in the literal sense. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle had their son Archie, who is seventh in line to the British throne, in May 2019. Marianne Dodson

2:00 p.m.

Democrats have a reasonable chance of sweeping Georgia's Senate and presidential races this Election Day.

Georgia has two U.S. Senate seats up for grabs this fall, and as a New York Times/Siena College poll out Tuesday revealed, Democratic candidates are winning one and tied in the other. Meanwhile in the faceoff between President Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden, candidates are tied at 45 percent support in the typically red state.

Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.) is up for re-election this fall, and is tied with Democratic challenger Jon Ossof at 43 percent support, the poll showed. Raphael Warnock, the Democrat looking to fill the seat vacated by retired Sen. Johnny Isakson, meanwhile has 32 percent support over current Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R). Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.), who is also looking to fill the spot, has 17 percent support, the poll shows.

But it's not as if the Republican faceoff could spoil the party's chances of winning. If no one in the three-way race of Collins, Loeffler, and Warnock gets a majority of the vote, the top two candidates will have a runoff election. Still, Warnock led both Collins and Loeffler, 45-41, in a hypothetical runoff, the poll found. Warnock's 46 percent favorability rating was the highest of any candidate on the poll.

The New York Times and Siena College surveyed 759 likely voters in Georgia from Oct. 13–19, with a 4.1 percentage point margin of error. Kathryn Krawczyk

1:09 p.m.

Melania Trump has a cough.

That's the reason the first lady won't make her first post-coronavirus appearance Tuesday night, Melania's chief of staff Stephanie Grisham said Tuesday. Melania was supposed to rejoin President Trump on the campaign trail in Erie, Pennsylvania, but to be cautious, she'll stay home until she recovers fully.

The president and first lady tested positive for COVID-19 about three weeks ago. Trump was hospitalized for three days, while Melania stayed at the White House and recovered from her light symptoms there, the White House said. Trump returned to the campaign trail less than two weeks after he first reported having a positive COVID-19 test. The White House has refused to reveal the last time Trump and the first lady tested negative for the virus before their positive results. Kathryn Krawczyk

12:47 p.m.

Hello, Democrats.

Seinfeld stars Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Jason Alexander and creator Larry David are set to reunite for a virtual event on Friday to fundraise for Texas Democrats, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The event has been dubbed "A Fundraiser About Something," and fans can watch a live stream after donating any amount of money to the Texas Democratic Party. It will be hosted by Late Night's Seth Meyers and feature "exclusive behind-the-scenes stories" from the show; the announcement also teased some "special guests."

"Texas is a battleground state, period," Louis-Dreyfus, Alexander, and David said in a statement. "We knew that we had to reunite for something special and the movement on the ground for Texas Democrats up and down the ballot is the perfect opportunity to do just that."

This will be the latest star-studded Democratic fundraiser to take place in recent weeks. Louis-Dreyfus herself previously participated in a Veep reunion for Wisconsin Democrats, and on Monday, a Happy Days reunion that will also support Wisconsin Democrats was announced. Outside of TV, the cast of Hamilton recently reunited in a fundraiser for Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, and Avengers stars like Chris Evans and Scarlett Johansson on Tuesday are set for a Biden fundraiser that they're calling "Voters Assemble."

The Seinfeld reunion also comes after Wayne Knight, who played postal worker Newman on the show, reprised the role in an ad encouraging viewers to vote while blasting President Trump's "systematic, premeditated assault on the U.S. mail." Brendan Morrow

12:09 p.m.

Utah's candidates for governor just made history in a very unexpected way.

While Democrat Chris Peterson and Republican Spencer Cox would both like to win the gubernatorial election in just two weeks, they'd also like Utahns to accept the results of the presidential race no matter the outcome. So they banded together for an ad released Tuesday encouraging just that.

In what could be the first time two opposing candidates appeared in one ad so close to the election, Cox acknowledged the candidates are in the "final days of campaigning against each other." "But our common values transcend our political differences," Peterson added, namely their belief that "whether you vote by mail or in person, we will both fully support the results of the upcoming presidential election regardless of the outcome."

"We are both committed to American civility and a peaceful transition of power," Cox added, and Peterson then encouraged Utah to "be an example to the nation."

Cox and Peterson's ad comes as President Trump has repeatedly refused to confirm he'll accept the results of the election if he loses to Democratic nominee Joe Biden. Kathryn Krawczyk

11:10 a.m.

Kanye West has dropped an additional $3 million on his doomed presidential bid — and he raised, well, not quite as much.

The rapper's September FEC report showed that he spent another $3 million of his own money on the campaign, and he raised a grand total of $2,782, per reporter Ben Jacobs. Thus far, West has spent nearly $10 million on his campaign.

West announced over the summer he'd be jumping into the 2020 race as a "Birthday Party" candidate, despite it being too late at that point to actually get on the ballot in every state. He recently got around to debuting his very first campaign ad just weeks ahead of Election Day, in which he speaks in front of an American flag with stock footage in between and asks for write-in votes. According to the FEC filing, West apparently paid a production company more than $200,000 for that video, Jacobs reports.

On the off chance that West somehow doesn't defeat President Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden in two weeks, he has suggested he'll run again in 2024, so in four years, this select group of donors can look forward to opening up their pockets and attending his Birthday Party all over again. Brendan Morrow

10:56 a.m.

North Carolina could be in for a blue wave.

A Washington Post/ABC News poll released Tuesday showed Democratic nominee Joe Biden and President Trump with a statistical tie in the state that's gone red in the past two presidential elections. Also on Tuesday, Sabato's Crystal Ball slid Iowa's Senate race into Democratic territory, leaving North Carolina the only tossup on the map.

In a poll of 646 North Carolina likely voters taken Oct. 12-17, Biden received 49 percent support to Trump's 48 percent, the Post and ABC News found. The poll's 4.5 percent margin of error prevents either candidate from having a distinct advantage, though it mirrors several other polls taken over the past month that all put Biden slightly ahead. The Post/ABC News poll also showed Democrat Cal Cunningham at 49 percent support to Sen. Thom Tillis' (R-N.C.) 47 percent.

Sabato's Crystal Ball, which projects race outcomes across the country, meanwhile made a big change in its Senate projection on Tuesday. It suggested Sen. Joni Ernst's (R-Iowa) seat would likely go to Democrat Theresa Greenfield, predicting a gain of four seats for Democrats and a loss of one in Alabama. That leaves North Carolina the only tossup on the map, and a critical race if Democrats want a Senate majority. If Sabato's projection pans out, Democrats would nab 50 seats, with North Carolina remaining the difference between a tie and blue advantage. Kathryn Krawczyk

9:35 a.m.

The Department of Justice is reportedly about to file a lawsuit accusing Google of violating antitrust law.

The DOJ in a lawsuit that will be filed on Tuesday will accuse Google of "illegally maintaining its monopoly over search through several exclusive business contracts and agreements that lock out competition," The New York Times reports. The news was confirmed by several other outlets including Bloomberg, which described the lawsuit as the "most significant monopoly case to be filed in the U.S. in decades."

Google's parent company, Alphabet, had been a subject of an antitrust investigation that the Justice Department opened in 2019 examining its search and advertising practices, and last month, reports suggested charges were close to being announced. Tuesday's lawsuit, The Washington Post wrote, "marks the start, not the end," of the Justice Department's case against Google, as "it could take years for a federal court to resolve" it.

The Times previously reported that the DOJ during the course of its investigation had "amassed powerful evidence of anticompetitive practices" on the part of Google, but also that Attorney General William Barr was pushing a September deadline on DOJ officials and had "overruled career lawyers who said they needed more time to build a strong case." Brendan Morrow

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