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ELECTION 2019

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-KENTUCKY GOVERNOR-THE LATEST

The Latest: Kentucky governor race too close to call

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — The race for governor in Kentucky between incumbent GOP Gov. Matt Bevin and Democratic challenger Andy Beshear is too close to call.

With 100 percent of precincts reporting, Beshear has a lead of 4,658 votes out of more than 1.4 million counted, or a margin of 0.3 percentage points.

There is no mandatory recount law in Kentucky. Bevin may request counties recanvass their results, which is not a recount, but rather a check of the vote count to ensure the results were added correctly.

Bevin would need to seek and win a court’s approval for a recount, the process for which would be dictated by the court.

TRUMP-IMPEACHMENT-THE LATEST

The Latest: Graham dismisses impeachment probe developments

WASHINGTON (AP) — A key ally of President Donald Trump is dismissing the latest developments in the impeachment investigation, calling it a “bunch of B.S.”

Sen. Lindsey Graham told reporters Tuesday he doesn’t plan to read the transcripts Democrats are releasing from the impeachment investigation, despite demanding that they be made public. He says he’s “written the whole process off.”

The South Carolina Republican is also downplaying revised testimony from Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, about the Trump administration’s pressure on Ukraine.

Sondland for the first time acknowledged a potential quid pro quo with Ukraine, with American military aid held up as the administration pushed the country to release a statement about fighting corruption.

Graham says, “that’s his opinion,” adding, “I don’t think the president did anything wrong.

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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.

AP-US-BUFFALO-WILD-WINGS-RACISM

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.

MEDIA-ABC-EPSTEIN

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-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.

MEXICO-BORDER KILLINGS-RELIGION

US victims in Mexico attack from Mormon offshoot community

MEXICO CITY (AP) — The nine women and children killed by cartel gunmen in northern Mexico lived in a farming community known as La Mora, where experts say residents identify as Mormons but consider themselves independent and separate from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The community’s roots lie in the church’s banning of polygamy in the late 19th century, when families established colonies in remote northern Mexico to continue the practice.

Cristina Rosetti is an expert in Mormon fundamentalist groups and said Tuesday that today some La Mora residents still practice polygamy while others do not. Residents believe in the main Mormonism tenants, but there is little organized religious practice.

Gunmen killed three women and six children traveling in three vehicles from La Mora on Monday.

The victims were U.S. citizens.

Associated Press