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Elections in 4 states Tuesday will offer test runs for 2020
Voters in four states will cast ballots Tuesday in elections that Democrats and Republicans will use as a snapshot of the national mood amid impeachment proceedings in Washington and a crowded Democratic presidential primary.
President Donald Trump campaigned in Mississippi and Kentucky in the hopes of staving off Democratic upsets in governor's races.
Virginia Democrats are hoping to continue their recent gains in key suburbs and take control of the state legislature after sweeping statewide offices in 2017. Legislative seats are also on the ballot in New Jersey.
The results aren't necessarily predictors of how the 2020 presidential and congressional races will go. But the contests have offered both parties a test run for some of their arguments and their voter turnout operations.
ELECTION 2019-VIRGINIA LEGISLATURE-THE LATEST
The Latest: Democrats win control of Virginia statehouse
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Virginia Democrats are taking full control of the statehouse for the first time in more than two decades.
Democrats won majorities in both the state House and Senate in Tuesday's legislative election. This is the third election in a row that Virginia Democrats have made significant gains since President Donald Trump was elected.
The win will give Democrats control of the legislature and governorship for the first time in 26 years. Democrats have pledged to pass new gun restrictions and raise the minimum wage once in power.
Virginia is the only state with legislative elections this year where partisan control was up for grabs. Much of the contest centered on how voters feel about Trump and his possible impeachment.
The Latest: Top diplomat revises testimony on Ukraine
WASHINGTON (AP) — A top diplomat has revised his testimony in the House impeachment inquiry to acknowledge that U.S. military aid to Ukraine was being withheld until the foreign ally promised to investigate corruption as President Donald Trump wanted.
The update from U.S. Ambassador Gordon Sondland, tucked beneath hundreds of pages of sworn testimony released Tuesday, provides new insight into Trump's push for Ukraine to investigate Democrats and Joe Biden.
Sondland said he carried the message to a Ukrainian official on the sidelines of a conference in Warsaw with Vice President Mike Pence.
AP sources: State Dept. worried about defending ambassador
WASHINGTON (AP) — The State Department's third-ranking official is expected to tell Congress that political considerations were behind the agency's refusal to deliver a robust defense of the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine.
People familiar with the matter say the highest-ranking career diplomat in the foreign service, David Hale, plans to tell congressional impeachment investigators on Wednesday that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and other senior officials determined that defending Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch would hurt the effort to free up U.S. military assistance to Ukraine.
Hale will also say that the State Department worried about the reaction from Trump's personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, also one of the strongest advocates for removing the ambassador.
The officials are not authorized to discuss the matter publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.
MEXICO-BORDER KILLINGS-THE LATEST
The Latest: 5 kids are stable after surviving Mexico attack
MEXICO CITY (AP) — A relative of the extended family members killed in a drug cartel ambush in northern Mexico says five children who survived the shooting are in stable condition at an Arizona hospital.
Aaron Staddon of Queen Creek, Arizona, said Tuesday that the children are recovering but that one who was shot in the jaw will need extensive plastic surgery.
He said the family expects the children will transported from a Tucson hospital to a Phoenix facility Wednesday.
Staddon's wife is a relative of two of the women who were gunned down and she is devastated.
Six children and three women died when their SUVs were attacked Monday. They were all U.S. citizens living in Sonora state and apparently related to the extended LeBaron family in Chihuahua.
AL-BAGHDADI'S LAST DAYS
In last days, al-Baghdadi sought safety in shrinking domain
BEIRUT (AP) — Associates say in his last months on the run, Islamic State group leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was agitated, fearful of traitors, sometimes disguised as a shepherd, sometimes hiding underground, always dependent on a shrinking circle of confidants.
For months, al-Baghdadi also kept a Yazidi teen as a slave, and she told the Associated Press how he brought her along as he moved.
The reports paint a picture of a man trying to find safety as the extremists' domains crumbled. In the end, the brutal leader once hailed as "caliph" left former IS areas completely, slipping into hostile territory in Syria's northwestern Idlib province run by the radical group's al-Qaida-linked rivals. There, he blew himself up during an Oct. 26 raid by U.S. special forces on his heavily fortified safe house.
Attorney: Buffalo Wild Wings needs to revamp training
AURORA, Ill. (AP) — An attorney representing a group of black customers who say they were asked to move to another table at a Chicago-area Buffalo Wild Wings because of their skin color says a lawsuit won't be necessary if the restaurant chain changes the way it hires and trains employees.
Two adults who attended last month's children's birthday party in Naperville spoke to reporters Tuesday during an emotional news conference. They said a manager explained another customer wanted the group to relocate because he was uncomfortable sitting near black people.
Attorney Cannon Lambert detailed the demands the group is seeking. The company said in a statement that the two employees who told the group to move have been fired and other employees at its Chicago-area restaurants would take part in sensitivity training.
ABC says interview with Epstein accuser wasn't ready to air
NEW YORK (AP) — ABC News is defending itself against charges that it was afraid to air an interview with a Jeffrey Epstein accuser after video emerged Tuesday showing its reporter, Amy Robach, venting about her story.
Questions about whether the news organization was reluctant to air a sensitive story about alleged sexual impropriety were raised after a conservative web site, Project Veritas, released "hot mic" video of Robach complaining her bosses quashed the story. Robach was in a Times Square studio but wasn't on air at the time.
The accuser, Virginia Roberts, claims Epstein forced her as a teenager into sex with prominent men, including Prince Andrew. Andrew and Epstein, before he died in August, denied the charges. Roberts has gone public with her claims.
ABC says that Robach's 2015 interview with Roberts didn't have enough corroborating evidence.
Project Veritas says it received the video from an "ABC insider" it didn't identify.
PLAYOFF RANKINGS-THE LATEST
The Latest: Ohio St, LSU, Alabama, Penn St top CFP rankings
Ohio State, LSU, Alabama and Penn State are the top four in the College Football Playoff selection committee's first rankings of the season.
Next up were defending national champion Clemson, Georgia and Oregon. The 13-member committee will produce four more sets of rankings each Tuesday before the only ones that really count come out on selection Sunday, Dec. 8.
The top four in the selection committee's initial rankings have never all reached the semifinals in the playoff's five-year history. Eleven of the 20 teams that started in the top four of the CFP rankings have reached the playoff, but, oddly, never the team ranked third.
ELECTION 2019-KENTUCKY GOVERNOR-THE LATEST
The Latest: GOP Gov. Bevin isn't conceding race
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Republican Gov. Matt Bevin is not conceding his close race against Democratic Attorney General Andy Beshear in Kentucky.
Bevin told his supporters Tuesday night that the process needs to be followed in such a close race - an apparent reference to the process of checking to ensure ballots were reported and added correctly.
The governor said: "Would it be a Bevin race if it wasn't a squeaker?" He won the Republican primary for governor by a few dozen votes four years ago.
For his part, Beshear declared victory and told his supporters that he hoped Bevin will honor the election results.
Beshear thanked his family and also acknowledged teachers. During the campaign, Beshear exploited Bevin's feud with teachers over pensions and education issues, an issue that resonated with voters.
Beshear said, "To our educators, this is your victory."
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