Trump urged to delay 2024 launch after GOP's uneven election
WASHINGTON (AP) — It was supposed to be a red wave that former President Donald Trump could triumphantly ride to the Republican nomination as he prepares to launch another White House run.
Instead, Tuesday night’s disappointing results for the GOP are raising new questions about Trump's appeal and the future of a party that has fully embraced him, seemingly at its peril, while at the same time giving new momentum to his most potent potential rival.
Indeed, some allies were calling on Trump to delay his planned announcement next week, saying the party's full focus needs to be on Georgia, where Trump-backed football great Herschel Walker's effort to unseat Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock is headed to a runoff that could determine control of the Senate once again.
“I’ll be advising him that he move his announcement until after the Georgia runoff,” said former Trump adviser Jason Miller, who spent the night with the former president at his Mar-a-Lago club in Florida. “Georgia needs to be the focus of every Republican in the country right now," he said.
Trump sought to use the midterms as an opportunity to prove his enduring political influence after losing the White House in 2020. He endorsed more than 330 candidates in races up and down the ballot, often elevating inexperienced and deeply flawed candidates. He reveled in their primary victories. But many of their positions, including echoing Trump's lies about a stolen 2020 election and embracing hardline views on abortion, were out of step with the political mainstream.
GOP nudges closer to House win; Senate could hinge on runoff
WASHINGTON (AP) — Republicans inched closer to a narrow House majority Wednesday, while control of the Senate hinged on a few tight races in a midterm election that defied expectations of sweeping conservative victories driven by frustration over inflation and President Joe Biden’s leadership.
Either party could secure a Senate majority with wins in both Nevada and Arizona — where the races were too early to call. But there was a strong possibility that, for the second time in two years, the Senate majority could come down to a runoff in Georgia next month, with Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock and Herschel Walker failing to earn enough votes to win outright.
In the House, Republicans on Wednesday night were within a dozen seats of the 218 needed to take control, while Democrats kept seats in districts from Virginia to Pennsylvania to Kansas and many West Coast contests were still too early to call. In a particularly symbolic victory for the GOP, Sean Patrick Maloney of New York, the House Democratic campaign chief, lost his bid for a sixth term.
Control of Congress will decide how the next two years of Biden's term play out, and whether he is able to achieve more of his agenda or will see it blocked by a new GOP majority. Republicans are likely to launch a spate of investigations into Biden, his family and his administration if they take power, while a GOP takeover of the Senate would hobble the president’s ability to appoint judges.
“Regardless of what the final tally of these elections show, and there's still some counting going on, I'm prepared to work with my Republican colleagues," Biden said Wednesday in his first public remarks since the polls closed. “The American people have made clear, I think, that they expect Republicans to be prepared to work with me as well.”
Russia's Putin won't attend upcoming G-20 summit in Bali
JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — Russian President Vladimir Putin will not attend the Group of 20 summit in Indonesia next week, an Indonesian government official said Thursday, avoiding a possible confrontation with the United States and its allies over his war in Ukraine.
U.S. President Joe Biden, Chinese President Xi Jinping and other world leaders are to attend the two-day summit in Bali that starts Nov. 15. The summit was to have been the first time Biden and Putin would have been together at a gathering since Russia invaded Ukraine in February.
Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, the Chief of Support for G-20 events told reporters in Denpasar, Indonesia, that Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will lead the Russian delegation.
“The Indonesian government respects the decision of the Russian government, which President Putin himself previously explained to President Joko Widodo in a very friendly telephone conversation,” said Pandjaitan, who is also the Coordinating Minister of Maritime and Investment.
Widodo, who is hosting the G-20 and Pandjaitan, said that “we hope that the good communication between the two leaders can reduce tensions between Russia and Ukraine.”
Democratic edge shrinks in Arizona Senate, governor races
PHOENIX (AP) — Margins between Democrats and Republicans in key Arizona races narrowed considerably Wednesday as election officials chipped away at counting more than half a million mail ballots returned on Election Day and shortly before.
Democrats maintained small but dwindling leads in key races for U.S. Senate, governor and secretary of state, while Republicans were optimistic the late-counted ballots would break heavily in their favor, as they did in 2020.
It could take several days before it's clear who won some of the closer contests.
With Republicans still in the hunt, it remained unclear whether the stronger-than-expected showing for Democrats nationally would extend to Arizona, a longtime Republican stronghold that became a battleground during Donald Trump's presidency.
The GOP nominated a slate of candidates who earned Trump's endorsement after falsely claiming his loss to President Joe Biden was tainted.
Little sign of relief expected in October US inflation data
WASHINGTON (AP) — The nation's punishing inflation rate likely kept simmering in October, giving the Federal Reserve little cause to ease up in its drive to slow price increases by steadily raising interest rates.
The Labor Department is expected to report Thursday that consumer prices jumped 8% from 12 months earlier and by a sharp 0.6% from September to October, according to a survey of economists by the data firm FactSet. A separate measure called core inflation, which excludes volatile food and energy costs, is expected to have surged 6.5% in the past year and 0.5% from September to October.
Like many other countries, the United States is struggling to control inflation, which is pressuring millions of households and dimming the outlook for the economy as the Fed keeps raising borrowing costs for businesses and consumers. The acceleration of inflation was unleashed by shortages of supplies and labor after the pandemic recession, by a burst of consumer spending fueled by vast federal aid and by cutoffs of food and energy after Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
So far this year, the Fed has raised its benchmark interest rate six times in sizable increments, heightening the risk that prohibitively high borrowing rates — for mortgages, auto purchases and other high-cost expenses — will tip the world’s largest economy into recession.
Inflation was near the top of many voters’ minds in the midterm congressional elections that ended Tuesday. Their economic anxieties contributed to the loss of Democratic seats in the House of Representatives, though Republicans failed to score the huge political gains that many had expected.
100,000 Russian troops killed or injured in Ukraine, US says
WASHINGTON (AP) — Russia's announced retreat from Kherson, a regional capital in southern Ukraine that it seized early in the war, and a potential stalemate in fighting over the winter could provide both countries an opportunity to negotiate peace, Army Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Wednesday.
He said as many as 40,000 Ukrainian civilians and “well over" 100,000 Russian soldiers have been killed or wounded in the war, now in its ninth month. “Same thing probably on the Ukrainian side," Milley added.
“There has been a tremendous amount of suffering, human suffering,” he said at The Economic Club of New York.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Tuesday he was open to peace talks with Russia to end the war but only on the condition that Russia return all of Ukraine’s occupied lands, provide compensation for war damage and face prosecution for war crimes.
Russia has said it is open to talks, and this week announced it had begun a retreat from Kherson.
Hurricane Nicole forms; Florida awaits rare November storm
MIAMI (AP) — A Florida-bound storm strengthened into Hurricane Nicole on Wednesday evening as it pounded the Bahamas, and U.S. officials ordered evacuations that included former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club.
It’s a rare November hurricane for storm-weary Florida, where only two such hurricanes have made landfall since recordkeeping began in 1853 — the 1935 Yankee Hurricane and Hurricane Kate in 1985.
Nicole was expected to reach Florida late Wednesday or early Thursday with a storm surge that could further erode many beaches hit by Hurricane Ian in September before heading into Georgia and the Carolinas later Thursday and Friday. It was expected to dump heavy rain across the region.
Nicole's center was about 75 miles (125 kilometers) east-northeast of West Palm Beach, Florida, late Wednesday, the Miami-based National Hurricane Center said. It had maximum sustained winds of 75 mph (120 kph) and was moving west-northwest at 13 mph (20 kph).
The sprawling storm became a hurricane as it slammed into Grand Bahama, having made landfall just hours earlier on Great Abaco island as a tropical storm with maximum sustained winds of 70 mph.
Candidates who backed overturning Trump loss are rebuffed
Republicans made a striking decision earlier this year to nominate candidates for top statewide posts in swing states who backed overturning President Donald Trump's loss in 2020. Most of those candidates lost in the midterm election.
Doug Mastriano, who commissioned buses to take Pennsylvanians to the Jan. 6, 2021, protests in Washington failed in his bid to become that state's governor. Kristina Karamo, a community college instructor who spread misinformation about voting on Twitter even on Election Day, was crushed by Michigan's Democratic secretary of state.
Mathew DePerno, an attorney who filed a lawsuit spreading Trump's election lies in Michigan in 2020, lost his bid to be that state's attorney general. Audrey Trujillo, a political novice who cheered Trump's defiance of the vote in 2020, was defeated for New Mexico secretary of state.
Two such races remained too close to call on Wednesday — Arizona and Nevada. And in more conservative states, from Indiana to Kansas, election conspiracy theorists still won key positions.
Many observers argued that the 2022 midterm election has shown that imperiling democracy is not politically successful.
Musk seeks to reassure advertisers on Twitter after chaos
Elon Musk sought to reassure big companies that advertise on Twitter on Wednesday that his chaotic takeover of the social media platform won’t harm their brands, acknowledging that some “dumb things” might happen on his way to creating what he says will be a better, safer user experience.
The latest erratic move on the minds of major advertisers — that the company depends on for revenue — was Musk's decision to abolish a new “official” label on high-profile Twitter accounts just hours after introducing it.
Twitter began adding gray labels to prominent accounts Wednesday, including brands like Coca-Cola, Nike and Apple, to indicate that they are authentic. A few hours later, the labels started disappearing.
“Apart from being an aesthetic nightmare when looking at the Twitter feed, it was simply another way of creating a two-class system,” the billionaire Tesla CEO told advertisers in an hour-long conversation broadcast live on Twitter. “It wasn’t addressing the core problem.”
Musk's comments were his most expansive about Twitter's future since he closed a $44 billion deal to buy the company late last month, dismissed its top executives almost immediately and, on Friday, fired roughly half of its workforce. Major brands including General Motors, United Airlines, General Mills and others have temporarily halted buying ads on the platform as they watch whether Musk's plans to loosen its guardrails against hate speech will lead to a rise in online toxicity.
Luke Combs tops CMA Awards; Loretta Lynn, Lewis honored
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Luke Combs was crowned entertainer of the year at Wednesday's Country Music Association Awards, the second year in a row that he's taken home the night's top honor.
“I want to thank country music for making my dreams come true,” Combs said, dedicating the award to his wife and newborn child. His win came after a performance-packed three hour show that honored country icons and new voices.
“Country is sounding more country than it has in a long time tonight,” Combs said. He also won album of the year for “Growin' Up.”
The show opened with Carrie Underwood, Miranda Lambert and Reba McEntire playing tribute to the late country queen Loretta Lynn.
The superstar trio performed a medley of Lynn’s hits including “You Ain’t Woman Enough,” “Don’t Come Home A-Drinkin’” and “Coal Miner’s Daughter” as images of Lynn were projected behind them and audience members sang along.
The Associated Press