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The effort to legalize sports betting in California ran headlong into a typical challenge for competing ballot measures as they were battered by negative advertising that doomed both to spectacular failure in the most expensive ballot race in U.S. history. With more than 5 million votes counted Wednesday, more than 80% of voters rejected an effort that would have allowed online and phone wagers and 70% opposed a measure to let gamblers place sports bets at tribal casinos and horse tracks. Supporters of both measures say they will reevaluate how to stake a claim to a potential billion dollar market in the nation’s most populous state.

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Wednesday was a day for sorting, sifting and framing of an expensive, exhaustive and highly negative midterm election campaign. And nothing was quite yet certain, most importantly which party would control Congress or whether majority power would be split between the House and Senate. Control of Congress was on a knife’s edge, dependent on the outcome of three Senate races and about a dozen in the House.

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Democrat John Fetterman has won Pennsylvania’s pivotal race for U.S. Senate. The lieutenant governor overcame a stroke to defeat Republican Dr. Mehmet Oz and flip a Republican-held seat. It gives Democrats hope of retaining control of the closely divided chamber. Fetterman and Oz both ran a bare-knuckled campaign. Fetterman sought to harness outrage over the Supreme Court’s abortion decision and promised to vote to abolish the filibuster. He also mercilessly trolled Oz on a social media as an out-of-touch carpetbagger. The campaigns say Oz called Fetterman at 9:30 a.m. ET to concede. In a statement, Oz wished Fetterman well, thanked his supporters and urged unity.

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As Election Night bleeds into the next morning, control of Congress remains unclear. It’s not a presidential year, but these are high-stakes elections nonetheless. While there were some races the AP could call as soon as polls close, other winners are taking a lot longer to identify. AP's VoteCast surveys indicate high inflation and worries about the future of American democracy were significant factors in voters’ decisions.

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Democratic Ohio lawmaker Emilia Sykes has won a competitive U.S. House seat, topping a conservative commentator endorsed by former President Donald Trump. Sykes is a former Ohio House Democratic leader and the daughter of a powerful political family in northeast Ohio. She defeated Madison Gesiotto Gilbert in a redrawn district that was considered a toss-up. Gilbert is a conservative commentator and a former Miss Ohio USA who worked on Trump’s 2016 inauguration committee and helped lead Women for Trump during his reelection bid. Sykes positioned herself for the run when she stepped down as leader of the Ohio House Democratic caucus.

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Oklahoma’s Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt has held off a tougher-than-expected challenge to his reelection, defeating Democrat Joy Hofmeister. The 49-year-old Stitt won despite Hofmeister’s support from many of the state’s Native American tribes with whom Stitt had feuded during much of his first term. Stitt was aided in part by a late infusion of advertisements from the Republican Governor’s Association. Those ads linked Hofmeister to President Joe Biden, who lost every one of the state’s 77 counties in the 2020 presidential election. They also criticized Hofmeister for supporting a series of tax increases in 2018 that helped fund pay raises for teachers.

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Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky has won a third term, defeating Charles Booker, the first Black Democratic nominee for the Senate in the Bluegrass State. Paul is a libertarian-leaning former presidential candidate whose vision of limited government has made him one of the most contrarian voices in the Senate. Tuesday's election outcome marked the second time Booker was rebuffed in a Senate bid. He barely lost the Democratic primary in a bid to unseat Sen. Mitch McConnell in 2020. During the campaign, Paul ran TV ads touting his Senate record and conservative credentials while Booker relied on social media and grassroots organizing to relentlessly attack the incumbent.

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Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee has won reelection, keeping Republican control of a top statewide office that hasn’t been in Democratic hands for more than a decade. Lee defeated Democrat Jason Martin on Tuesday to clinch another four-year term in office. Lee cruised through the primary without a Republican opponent. He then sealed the win without agreeing to any debates with Martin, a critical care physician. Lee capitalized on a huge campaign cash advantage in a Republican state. In TV advertising, he pointed to economic growth and tax rates and his focus on skilled trades during his first four years.

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North Dakota’s U.S. House candidates were making a final push attempting to garner voter support mostly through social media and television and radio interviews. And backers of a marijuana legalization initiative that will appear on the ballot Tuesday were busy hitting college campuses in the state and pot-friendly businesses to fire up support. The race between incumbent Republican U.S. Rep. Kelly Armstrong and former Miss America Cara Mund has been closely watched in North Dakota, in part because of Mund’s late entry in the contest, citing her support for abortion rights following the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade.

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Asian Americans have emerged as a critical constituency for Republicans and Democrats in electoral battlegrounds. Take Nevada’s 3rd Congressional District, where second-term Democratic Rep. Susie Lee faces a challenge from Republican April Becker. Both are testing whether campaigning on crime, inflation and abortion resonate in predominantly Asian American communities. These neighborhoods in the shadow of the Las Vegas Strip were consolidated into a single district when lawmakers redrew political maps last year. Asian Americans have historically leaned Democratic, but Republicans hope their outreach efforts and economic discontent will win their votes and give them control of the U.S. House of Representatives.

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Leora Levy is the only statewide candidate running in blue Connecticut to be endorsed by former President Donald Trump. But the Republican has been cautious in mentioning his support during her race against Democratic U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal. Levy, a Republican National Committee member, thanked Trump after winning the August primary, promising not to let him down. But since then, she has told reporters that the former president is not on the ballot and that she's focused on Blumenthal and the current president, Joe Biden. Levy has focused heavily on affordability and crime. In turn, Blumenthal has repeatedly reminded voters that Levy is Trump's choice in a state where he's unpopular.

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The perpetual swing state of Pennsylvania is home to two of the most closely watched races in the country this fall. The contest to succeed term-limited Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf pits GOP state Sen. Doug Mastriano against second-term Democratic state Attorney General Josh Shapiro. Republican U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey is retiring, and television celebrity Dr. Mehmet Oz, the Republican, is running against Wolf’s lieutenant governor, Democrat John Fetterman. The state’s congressional delegation lost a seat because of redistricting and has been evenly divided in recent years. The most competitive races for Congress are in Scranton, Allentown and suburban Pittsburgh.

Tech leaders and Democratic Party-aligned groups are among those funneling millions into Utah to support independent Evan McMullin’s bid to unseat Republican Sen. Mike Lee. Their super PACs are running ads against Lee as part of their broader strategy to prevent Republicans from retaking control of the U.S. Senate. Though McMullin is running as an independent, the spending from outside groups mirror the partisan dynamics in key battleground states as the election nears. The sheer amount reflects how McMullin has turned Utah from political afterthought to battleground and that the reliably Republican state could be one of Democrats' best hopes to prevent the GOP from taking control of the Senate.

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Many Republican candidates are seeking to capitalize on Americans’ precarious financial situations heading into next week’s midterm elections to vilify a key component of President Joe Biden’s climate agenda: electric vehicles. On social media, in political ads and at campaign rallies, Republicans say Democrats’ push for battery-powered transportation will leave Americans broke, stranded on the road and even in the dark. Many of the attack lines are not true. The auto industry itself has largely embraced a shift to EVs, for instance. But political analysts say the GOP messaging exploits voter hesitancy on EVs that may have put Democrats on the defensive.

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