The End of the Tracks for the Trump Train?

Happy Thursday! It’s been less than 48 hours since Election Day, and our politics are already healing. Virginia’s Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin confirmed yesterday he sent Speaker Nancy Pelosi a handwritten apology last week after he seemingly made light of the recent attack against her husband at a rally last month.

A spokesman for Pelosi said she had accepted Youngkin’s apology.

Quick Hits: Today’s Top Stories

  • Election results—and concessions—continued to roll in on Wednesday, though key races remain undecided. Some updates are included below:

Senate

  • Georgia: The race will head to a runoff on December 6 after neither Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock nor GOP challenger Herschel Walker cleared the state’s required 50 percent threshold. The races in Nevada and Arizona are still too close to call, meaning the runoff in Georgia could potentially determine which party controls the Senate.
  • Pennsylvania: Republican Mehmet Oz formally conceded Wednesday morning to Democrat John Fetterman, wishing him and his family all the best, “both personally and as our next United States Senator.”
  • Wisconsin: Democratic Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes conceded to Republican incumbent Sen. Ron Johnson.
  • Alaska: The seat will remain in Republican hands, with GOP incumbent Sen. Lisa Murkowski advancing to the final round of ranked-choice tabulation alongside her Republican challenger Kelly Tshibaka. The support of approximately 13 percent of voters in the state will transfer to their second-ranked candidate after Democrat Pat Chesbro and Republican Buzz Kelley were eliminated.

House

  • New York: Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney—chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee—conceded to GOP challenger Mike Lawler in the state’s 17th Congressional District, marking the first time a DCCC head has been defeated in more than 40 years. Republicans have significantly outperformed expectations in New York, with some election analysts attributing the party’s success to the state’s new court-drawn congressional maps.
  • Washington: Republican Rep. Dan Newhouse won reelection in the state’s 4th Congressional District. Newhouse is one of 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach former President Donald Trump in 2021 and is, thus far, the only one confirmed to still be in Congress come January. Another of the 10, Rep. David Valadao of California’s 22nd Congressional District, was leading his race Thursday morning with most of the vote still uncounted.
  • Colorado: As of Thursday morning, incumbent GOP Rep. Lauren Boebert trails Adam Frisch by fewer than 100 votes in Colorado’s 3rd District.
  • Arizona: Republican Eli Crane flipped the state’s 2nd Congressional District, defeating incumbent Democrat Tom O’Halleran 54 to 46 percent.
  • Iowa: In the competitive 3rd Congressional District, Democratic incumbent Cindy Axne fell to Republican challenger Zach Nunn. 
  • Michigan: Republican John James narrowly edged out Democrat Carl Marlinga in the 10th District.

Governors

  • Michigan: After initially declining to accept election desk calls, GOP gubernatorial candidate Tudor Dixon conceded to Democratic incumbent Gretchen Whitmer on Wednesday morning. 
  • New York: After a surprisingly close race, Republican Lee Zeldin conceded to Democrat Kathy Hochul.
  • South Dakota: Republican Kristi Noem won reelection by a nearly 30-point margin over Democratic challenger Jamie Smith.
  • Arizona: The race between Democratic Secretary of State Katie Hobbs and Republican Kari Lake remains too close to call. 

Ballot Initiatives

  • South Dakota: Voters approved—with about 56 percent support—a measure expanding the state’s Medicaid program under the Affordable Care Act.
  • Massachusetts: Voters approved a ballot initiative amending the state constitution to impose a 4 percent surtax on individuals’ annual income higher than $1 million—to be adjusted yearly with cost-of-living increases. The constitution currently requires uniform taxation for all income levels. 
  • Control of the House is still up in the air, but House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy formally announced his bid to be speaker on Wednesday. GOP Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana said he will run for majority leader, more or less clearing a path for McCarthy to ascend to the speakership assuming Republicans retake the House. Depending on the size of the GOP’s majority, however, McCarthy could have to make significant concessions to hardliners in his conference in order to secure the position. 
  • Although a handful of election-related entities—including Mississippi’s secretary of state and the Champaign County Clerk in Illinois—experienced website connectivity issues on Tuesday seemingly related to distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) cyberattacks, election officials said such disruptions had no impact on voters’ ability to cast a ballot or have it counted. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) Director Jen Easterly said Wednesday that the agency had seen “no evidence that any voting system deleted or lost votes, changed votes, or was [in] any way compromised in any race in the country.”
  • Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu ordered troops to withdraw from a large part of Ukraine’s southern region of Kherson on Wednesday, pulling the country’s forces out of the regional capital and back to the eastern bank of the Dnipro River. Ukrainian officials warned the development could be a feint, noting that Russia maintained a sizable presence in Kherson, but Gen. Sergei Surovikin—Russia’s commander in Ukraine—claimed Russian forces could no longer be properly supplied in the area and keeping them there would be “futile.”
  • Brittney Griner’s lawyers said Russian officials began transferring the WNBA star and Olympic medalist—who was sentenced to nine years in prison on drug charges—to a penal colony on Friday. Conditions in these detention facilities vary, but the State Department reported in 2021 that they are “often harsh and life-threatening.” President Joe Biden said Wednesday that he hopes the Kremlin will be more open to negotiating her release “now that the election is over.”
  • South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff reported Wednesday that North Korea had launched a short-range ballistic missile targeted at waters off its east coast. Japan’s Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada said the missile flew about 155 miles before landing in the East Sea. North Korea has now conducted at least one missile test on 32 different days this year, up from eight tests in 2021 and four in 2020.
  • Israel reportedly conducted airstrikes in eastern Syria on Tuesday against a convoy suspected of smuggling Iranian weapons after crossing the border from Iraq. The strike destroyed several vehicles—which Iraqi officials claimed contained legal fuel shipments destined for Lebanon—and killed at least 10 people, including Iranians. Iran has a long history of smuggling military equipment to Lebanese Hezbollah and other regional proxies through Syria, and Israel—which declined to comment on Wednesday—has a long history of targeting such shipments.
  • Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg told employees on Wednesday that the company will lay off more than 11,000 people—about 13 percent of its workforce—after a second consecutive quarter of declining revenue amid sinking advertising sales and competition from TikTok. Meta’s stock price has tumbled more than 70 percent so far this year.

Knives Out for Trump

Former U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during an Election Night event at Mar-a-Lago. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images.)

Be grateful you weren’t a Mar-a-Lago ketchup bottle on Wednesday.

We cannot confirm that the former president chucked any condiments at the wall yesterday, but we can speculate—with a reasonable degree of confidence—that he was angry enough to have at least considered it. Less than a week away from the scheduled announcement of what is expected to be a third presidential campaign, Donald Trump stewed on Wednesday as Republican officials and pundits—allies and opponents alike—placed the blame for the party’s electoral underperformance one day earlier squarely on his shoulders. His political obituary, it seemed, was being written in real time. 

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