(TNS)

Tribune News Service

News Budget for Wednesday, November 7, 2018

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Updated at 6 p.m. EST (2300 UTC).

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Adds CONGRESS-WOMEN:LA, STOCKMAN:CON, MARKETS-MIDTERMS:LA, SESSIONS-SUCCESSOR:CON, HOTTUB-ALLIGATOR:KC, CALIFGOV-ANALYSIS:LA, SESSIONS-SUCCESSOR:WA, SESSIONS-TAKEAWAYS:WA

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Additional news stories appear on the MCT-NEWSFEATURES-BJT.

This budget is now available at TribuneNewsService.com, with direct links to stories and art. See details at the end of the budget.

^TOP STORIES<

^Sessions resigns at Trump's request, setting up likely clash over Russia probe<

SESSIONS:LA — Attorney General Jeff Sessions has resigned, ending a tortured relationship with President Donald Trump and opening what could be a historic fight over the sprawling criminal investigation that has clouded his White House tenure.

In a letter delivered to the White House, Sessions wrote that he was submitting his resignation at the request of Trump, who has been highly critical of his attorney general since he recused himself last year from overseeing investigation into Russia's interference in the 2016 election.

1450 (with trims) by Chris Megerian and Del Quentin Wilber in Washington. MOVED

PHOTOS, GRAPHIC

^Trump ignores House loss and celebrates Senate pickups. But he now faces a tougher reality<

MIDTERMS-TRUMP-2ND-LEDE:LA — President Donald Trump cast the midterm election as a "big victory" Wednesday, relishing Republican wins in the Senate even as he suffered a major political setback in the House, where he will face an emboldened Democratic majority for the first time in his presidency.

In a combative news conference at the White House, Trump urged Democrats to work with him on bipartisan legislation while threatening a "warlike posture" if they use oversight authority to subpoena his tax returns or cellphone records or to investigate a host of other sensitive matters.

1600 (with trims) by Noah Bierman, Eli Stokols and Jennifer Haberkorn in Washington. MOVED

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^7 takeaways from the 2018 midterm election<

MIDTERMS-7THINGS:LA — The dust is still settling on the midterm election and the mixed results defy easy characterization. As expected, Democrats took control of the House of Representatives, but Republicans expanded their lead in the Senate, while some closely-watched races remain too close to call.

Here are a few starting points to understand what happened and what it may mean in the future.

850 by Chris Megerian in Washington. MOVED

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^This is how Republicans lost the House<

CONGRESS-HOW:WA — It was the day of a special election in Pennsylvania's 18th Congressional District, and the Republican candidate was missing.

Never mind that national Republicans were spending millions on the Pittsburgh-area race, desperate to avoid a humiliating defeat in a district that President Donald Trump had won by nearly 20 percentage points. As Republican Rick Saccone's watch party got underway that March night, according to three sources with direct knowledge, his own campaign couldn't find him.

"We had panicked calls from our folks in the state being like, 'We can't find him.' We were like, 'Yeah, we have an hour left until he loses,'" said one senior GOP official heavily involved in the national House fight. "It was fitting. At that point, we could just laugh and have a nice little encapsulation of the campaign."

It was just one seat. But Republicans would later recognize it as the beginning of the end.

4700 by Katie Glueck, Alex Roarty and Adam Wollner in Washington. MOVED

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^Where they won, where they lost: What the midterms tell us<

MIDTERMS-ASSESS:LA — The blue places got bluer, so did many of the purple. But the red places got redder. America's political divide widened in Tuesday's midterm. What are the lessons of the election and what do they suggest about the presidential campaign that's now under way in earnest?

1000 by David Lauter in Washington.

Moving later

^WASHINGTON<

^Trump may consider Kobach, Bondi for attorney general<

SESSIONS-SUCCESSOR:WA — President Donald Trump launched a search for a new attorney general Wednesday with immediate recommendations to consider several high-profile officials, including Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach and retiring Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi.

Trump fired Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Wednesday. Sessions had long been a target of Trump's ire for recusing himself from oversight of special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. Sessions had been a campaign aide to Trump in 2016.

600 by Anita Kumar and Kevin G. Hall in Washington. MOVED

^<

Also moving as:

SESSIONS-SUCCESSOR:CON — 800 by John T. Bennett in Washington. MOVED

^Trump fired Sessions: Here are four takeaways from the attorney general's tenure<

SESSIONS-TAKEAWAYS:WA — President Donald Trump fired Attorney General Jeff Sessions less than 24 hours after the midterms results came in.

Sessions was the first and perhaps most enthusiastic sitting senator to endorse Trump's presidential campaign, but his departure comes as no surprise. His removal was long expected after Trump spent much of Sessions' tenure berating the former Alabama Republican senator after he recused himself from the Russia investigation.

700 by Franco Ordonez and Anita Kumar in Washington. MOVED

PHOTOS, GRAPHIC

^Democrats win House majority; here's what they'll do with it<

DEMS-HOUSE-AGENDA:CON — Democrats have been abundantly clear about the top items that would be on their agenda if voters were to put them in the House majority, ranging from a campaign finance overhaul to legislation designed to reduce health care costs.

Now that the midterm results have confirmed Democrats have won the House, here's what you can expect with them in control next Congress.

1050 by Lindsey McPherson in Washington. MOVED

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^After leading her party to House majority, Pelosi faces battle for speaker's gavel<

CONGRESS-PELOSI:LA — Nancy Pelosi won't have much time to relish her party's takeover of the House.

Though she played a key role in helping Democrats regain the majority for the first time since 2011, Pelosi faces a new battle: regaining the speaker's gavel amid grumbling from a growing minority of rank-and-file Democrats about the need for new leadership.

The San Francisco Democrat, who has led her party in the House since 2003 including four years as speaker, said Wednesday that she's confident she will be elected speaker again.

1200 (with trims) by Jennifer Haberkorn in Washington. MOVED

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^More women going to Congress in 2019 than ever before, and most are Democrats<

CONGRESS-WOMEN:LA — A record number of women were elected to the House on Tuesday, with at least 99 — mostly Democrats — expected to take the oath of office in January, up from the 84 currently serving.

And that number could grow after nearly two dozen outstanding races are called in the coming days.

The new class includes the first Muslim and Native American women ever elected to Congress, the first female African-American representative from New England, and the first Latina representatives from Texas.

800 by Sarah D. Wire in Washington. MOVED

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^Ex-Rep. Steve Stockman sentenced to 120 months in prison<

STOCKMAN:CON — Former Texas Republican Rep. Steve Stockman was sentenced Wednesday to 120 months in prison after a federal jury convicted him of 23 counts of mail fraud, wire fraud, money laundering and making false statements to the Federal Election Commission.

The Texas Republican was first elected in the 1994 GOP revolution, only to be unseated two years later. He returned to the House in 2013, but left after a term following an unsuccessful bid to knock off Sen. John Cornyn in the following year's Republican primary.

300 by Katherine Tully-McManus in Washington. MOVED

^POLITICS<

^Florida Senate race: 'We are proceeding to a recount,' Nelson says<

ELN-FLASENATE-1ST-LEDE:PT — Did Republican Rick Scott speak too soon when he declared victory in his U.S. Senate race last night?

Maybe.

Just 34,435 votes separated Gov. Scott and Democrat Sen. Bill Nelson on Wednesday morning, a difference of 0.42 percentage points.

That's within the margin that could launch a recount.

Nelson declared Wednesday morning that is exactly what he is expecting.

550 by Steve Contorno in Naples, Fla. MOVED

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^Sen. Jon Tester ekes out third term in Montana<

MONTSENATE:CON — Montana Democratic Sen. Jon Tester prevailed in a tight re-election race, securing a third term in a state President Donald Trump won by 21 points in 2016.

With 91 percent of precincts reporting, Tester led Republican state Auditor Matt Rosendale 49 percent to 48 percent when The Associated Press called the race Wednesday afternoon. Libertarian candidate Rick Breckenridge, who had appeared to endorse Rosendale last week, finished with just under 3 percent.

500 by Simone Pathe in Washington. MOVED

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^Kemp maintains slim lead over Abrams as final votes counted in Georgia<

ELN-GAGOV:AT — Republican Brian Kemp maintained a narrow lead over Democrat Stacey Abrams early Wednesday as the last election results trickled in for Georgia's nationally-watched race for governor.

Kemp expressed confidence that his slim edge over Abrams was insurmountable, and his allies urged him to declare victory. But Abrams said she would not concede the race until more ballots were counted, and her campaign released an early morning memo outlining a narrow path to a runoff.

550 by Greg Bluestein in Atlanta. MOVED

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^Why a Georgia runoff is typically an uphill fight for Democrats<

ELN-GAGOV-RUNOFF:AT — Stacey Abrams is urging Georgia voters to get ready for a Dec. 4 runoff once absentee ballots are tallied, and if that's the case, she's got her work cut out for her.

Even as Brian Kemp and his allies say they're confident he avoided overtime, they also recognize that statewide runoffs tend to favor the GOP.

No general election race for governor has ever required a runoff, but Republicans have dominated many of the other races that go into overtime, starting with a 1992 narrow win by Republican challenger Paul Coverdell over Democratic U.S. Sen. Wyche Fowler.

350 by Greg Bluestein in Atlanta. MOVED

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^4 takeaways from a conflicting night for Republicans<

MIDTERMS-TAKEAWAYS:WA — In the late hours of Election Day, Republicans were deeply conflicted.

They had easily maintained the Senate, warding off the kind of shock upsets that many were dreading as recently as the preceding weekend. But their mounting House losses suggested problems for the party's brand nationally, as both sides now regroup with an eye on the 2020 presidential campaign.

Donald Trump proved his strength with conservative voters and deepened the urban-rural divide, but it came at the cost of the centrist suburban voters who have long been a crucial part of the GOP coalition — and on Tuesday, they demonstrated a willingness to abandon their party.

Here are four takeaways as Washington braces, again, for divided government.

850 by Katie Glueck in Washington. MOVED

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^Keeping Kavanaugh front and center helped Trump keep the Senate<

MIDTERMS-KAVANAUGH:WA — For weeks before Tuesday's election, President Donald Trump repeated the same theme over and over: Democrats orchestrated a campaign of lies against Justice Brett Kavanaugh that thrust him in the middle of a national humiliation and nearly cost him a seat on the Supreme Court.

"It was false accusations. It was a scam. It was fake. It was all fake," Trump told thousands of supporters at his final rally late Monday in Missouri. "They want to ruin a man. And it was headed up all by the Democrats, all by the Democrats."

Trump's strategy — to keep the battle over Kavanaugh's nomination fight at the top of voters' minds — persuaded some to turn out for Republicans just as he and his advisers had hoped.

1100 (with trims) by Anita Kumar in Washington. MOVED

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^Markets soar after midterm election results signal gridlock — something businesses won't mind<

MARKETS-MIDTERMS:LA — Major U.S. stock indexes soared Wednesday, with the Dow Jones industrial average gaining nearly 550 points, after the uncertainty of contentious midterm elections ended with the most widely expected result: a Democratic takeover of the House and Republicans retaining the Senate majority

The Dow's gain of 545.29 points, or 2.1 percent, to 26,180.30 was broadly based, with healthcare stocks performing especially well as the threat of an Obamacare repeal became less likely. The Standard & Poor's 500 index had a similar percentage jump while the technology-heavy Nasdaq composite was up about 2.6 percent.

1450 by Jim Puzzanghera in Washington. (Moved as a business story.) MOVED

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^Some Senate seats and governors' mansions remain in the balance Wednesday<

ELN-MIDTERMS-UNDECIDED:LA — Republicans held narrow leads in three Senate races that were still not called early Wednesday, leaving the size of the Republican majority in the chamber uncertain the morning after ballots were cast.

The outcome in those races could boost the Republican advantage in the Senate to as wide as 54-46, giving the party a significantly larger cushion as President Donald Trump attempts to expand his hold on federal courts and beat back the incoming Democratic majority in the House.

550 by Noah Bierman in Washington. MOVED

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^Three states pass sweeping voting rights expansions<

MIDTERMS-VOTINGRIGHTS:CON — Voting rights activists are celebrating after voters in three states approved sweeping election reforms in this week's midterm elections.

Voters in Florida, Michigan and Nevada all passed major reforms to their states' election systems, which will make voting easier and extend ballot access to millions of new voters.

400 by Jeff Cirillo in Washington. MOVED

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^The potential 2020 Democratic presidential contenders to watch<

DEMOCRATS-2020:WA — The 2020 race is on.

Without a clear front-runner, Democrats are bracing for the possibility of their largest presidential field in recent memory. As many as 30 contenders, ranging from former candidates to current officeholders to political outsiders, are weighing a bid for the White House. However, many Democrats believe that ultimately only about half that many candidates will officially jump in into the race against President Donald Trump.

Here are the potential 2020 Democratic presidential contenders to watch.

800 by Adam Wollner in Washington. MOVED

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^Trump turned the midterm election into a big show for network news<

^TV-MIDTERMS-RATINGS:LA—<Network political teams, many of whom had been stunned by the surprise win of President Trump two years earlier, were generally cautious about predictions on who would prevail in Tuesday's midterm elections.

They were less cautious about their amount of coverage. In previous midterm years, news divisions were lucky if they could pry an hour from their network entertainment divisions for coverage. This year, all three broadcast networks devoted their entire prime-time schedules to delivering and dissecting the returns.

800 by Stephen Battaglio. (Moved as a business story.) MOVED

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^Sean Hannity skips Fox News' election night coverage after appearing on stage at Trump rally<

^TV-HANNITY:NY—<Sean Hannity was notably absent from Fox News' live election coverage Tuesday night, despite the network's announcement that he would "provide commentary and insight" throughout the evening.

The Fox News host was scheduled to appear alongside Tucker Carlson, Laura Ingraham, Dana Perino, Mollie Hemingway, Chris Wallace, Brit Hume and others to cover the night of political upheaval, but was nowhere to be seen on TV.

Instead, he spent most of the evening tweeting reactions to various races from his personal Twitter account, which boasts almost 4 million followers.

400 by Kate Feldman. (Moved as an entertainment story.) MOVED

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^Republican Bob Stefanowski concedes Conn. governor's race after cities push Democrat Ned Lamont to victory<

ELN-CONNGOV:HC — Ned Lamont will be the next governor of Connecticut.

Republican Bob Stefanowski conceded the race for governor Wednesday morning after late returns from the state's cities pushed Lamont to victory.

"A few moments ago, I called Ned Lamont to concede the race for governor and congratulate him on a hard-fought victory," Stefanowski said in a statement released by his office shortly after 9 a.m. "I wish both Ned and the state of Connecticut success over these next four years."

450 by Neil Vigdor, Josh Kovner, Jon Lender, Matthew Ormseth, Kathleen Megan and Nicholas Rondinone in Hartford, Conn. MOVED

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^How an FBI investigation and a broken relationship tanked Andrew Gillum's campaign<

FLAGOV-HOW:MI — It would be another 30 months before he'd know it, but Andrew Gillum's campaign for Florida governor was over before it even began, killed in the spring of 2016 by poisoned filet mignon, twice-baked sweet potatoes and Southern-style strawberry shortcake.

In the two-story All Saints apartment of Tallahassee lobbyist Adam Corey, Gillum, the mayor of the city, welcomed a few dozen consultants, businessmen and supporters to the first fundraiser for a political committee that would go on to fuel his as-yet announced statewide run. The $37,400 haul was modest, all things considered. People who attended barely remember the scene. But the food and spirits, prepared and provided by Corey's 101 Restaurant and Mint Lounge and billed to out-of-town developer Mike Miller, would prove memorable.

The quiet event remained unremarkable for more than two years. And it could have been nothing more than a footnote in the historic campaign of Florida's would-be first African-American governor had Corey not turned on Gillum, his former friend, in the fallout of an FBI investigation.

1300 by David Smiley in Miami. MOVED

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^Inside the campaign that defeated Claire McCaskill<

MOSENATE-HOW:WA — It was late September and 10,000 people in a basketball arena in southwestern Missouri were screaming Brett Kavanaugh's name.

Josh Hawley backed away from the podium as the wave of sound hit. He could feel the stage shaking.

"KA-VA-NAUGH, KA-VA-NAUGH, KA-VA-NAUGH!"

The 38-year-old Republican Senate candidate turned to President Donald Trump, who stood by his side in the packed JQH arena at Missouri State University in Springfield.

"Wow," Hawley said.

"Wow," Trump said back.

2650 (with trims) by Lindsay Wise and Bryan Lowry in Kansas City, Mo. MOVED

PHOTOS

^An analysis of Ted Cruz's victory: 'This is an extraordinary evening'<

ELN-TEXASSENATE-ANALYSIS:FT — In the end, Ted Cruz did what he promised Texas Republicans: He won a second term in the U.S. Senate.

But it was a battle to the end, much like the past year, as Cruz and Democratic challenger U.S. Rep. Beto O'Rourke crisscrossed the state to meet voters and encourage Texans to support them.

As of Wednesday morning, with 99 percent of the vote counted, more than 200,000 votes separated the two, as Cruz had 50.89 percent of the vote to O'Rourke's 48.32 percent. Libertarian Neal M. Dikeman had less than 1 percent.

900 by Anna M. Tinsley in Fort Worth, Texas. MOVED

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^Health care, anti-Trump message 'won't suffice' for 2020 Dems<

DEMS-2020:CON — Democrats used a message built on health care and criticizing Donald Trump's brash approach to the presidency to take back the House, but experts say that won't be enough to defeat the president in 2020.

750 by John T. Bennett in Washington. MOVED

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^It's not too early to start looking at the 2020 Senate map<

SENATE-2020:CON — The votes haven't all been counted in the 2018 Senate elections, but we know the size of the incoming majority will be critical, because the 2020 Senate map offers limited initial takeover opportunities for both parties.

1100 by Nathan L. Gonzales in Washington. MOVED

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^Races for California House seats that Democrats hoped to flip are still too close to call<

ELN-CALIFCONGRESS:LA — A prominent Republican congressman in California appeared to have lost his seat early Wednesday but election returns showed some of the hardest-fought House races in the state remained too close to call as votes still came in.

With 100 percent of precincts reporting, Democrat Harley Rouda held a lead over longtime Republican incumbent Dana Rohrabacher of Costa Mesa, although the race had not been officially called. Rohrabacher was first elected to Congress in 1988.

1250 by Michael Finnegan, Joe Mozingo and Victoria Kim in Los Angeles. MOVED

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^Philadelphia region was key to US House shift<

ELN-PHILLYCONGRESS:PH — Democrats said the Philadelphia region would play a key role in their campaign to win control of the U.S. House — and they were right.

In the most-anticipated midterm election in recent history, Democrats gained four seats in the area, according to reports early Wednesday. Women made up the majority of those winners.

1000 by Holly Otterbein and Amy S. Rosenberg in Philadelphia.

^NYC could lose money and power with Trump's citizenship question<

NEWYORK-CITIZENSHIP:BLO — New York City, home to more than 8 million people, is bracing for a census undercount expected if the Trump administration is allowed to keep a citizenship question it has added to the 2020 census, a city official testified.

"It's very concerning," Dr. Joseph Salvo, head of the New York City Department of Planning's population division, told a federal judge in Manhattan. Salvo said he works with census officials to compile and analyze population data for the nation's biggest city.

"Actually," he said, "it's frightening."

U.S. District Judge Jesse Furman is hearing the first case in a raft of lawsuits filed by dozens of states and cities to remove the question — "Is this person a citizen of the United States?" — from the once-a-decade census, where it hasn't appeared since 1950.

550 by Bob Van Voris in Manhattan. MOVED

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^NC candidate who said 'God is racist,' and a 'white supremacist' gets thousands of votes<

CANDIDATE-RACISTGOD:RA — A North Carolina state House candidate who said "God is a racist" and Jewish people "all descend from Satan" received thousands of votes, but still lost the race to the incumbent.

Russell Walker, the Republican candidate for state House District 48, which includes Scotland and Hoke counties had more than 8,500 votes, or about 37 percent of the unofficial vote total, with all precincts reporting as of Tuesday at 11 p.m.

450 by Abbie Bennett in Raleigh, N.C. MOVED

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^Holocaust-denier loses bid for Congress in Illinois, but still gets more than 53,000 votes<

ELN-ILLCONGRESS-3RDDISTRICT:TB — The long-shot candidacy of a Holocaust denier's Republican bid for Congress was defeated Tuesday, but not before the neo-Nazi received more than 53,000 votes in Illinois' 3rd District.

550 by Elyssa Cherney in Chicago. MOVED

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^Single vote separates candidates in north suburban race to replace state representative who resigned amid scandal<

ILLSTATEHOUSE-TOSSUP:TB — A north suburban Chicago statehouse seat remains a toss-up after Tuesday's polling totals show the candidates are separated by just one vote.

Republican Helene Miller Walsh, who was appointed to the seat in August after her predecessor Nick Sauer's abrupt resignation, garnered 25,106 votes, while her Democratic opponent Mary Edly-Allen's total stands at 25,105.

200 by Ted Gregory in Chicago. MOVED

PHOTOS

^UNITED STATES<

^Abortion clinics on edge after woman who shot Kansas doctor is released from prison<

ABORTION-SHOOTING:KC — Abortion clinics across the country were taking extra precautions Wednesday after the anti-abortion activist who shot Wichita, Kan., physician George Tiller in 1993 and committed a string of clinic attacks in several states was released from prison.

Rachelle "Shelley" Shannon, the Oregon woman whose actions once triggered a federal investigation into the possible existence of a national conspiracy of anti-abortion terrorists, had been living in a halfway house in Portland, Ore., since May. She has spent 25 years in custody.

1350 (with trims) by Judy L. Thomas in Kansas City, Mo. MOVED

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^Charges: Driver, passenger fought for control of steering wheel before truck hit Scouts on Wis. highway<

WIS-SCOUTSKILLED:MS — The driver and passenger of a Wisconsin pickup truck fought for control of the vehicle seconds before it veered into a ditch Saturday morning and struck a group of Girl Scouts and adults cleaning up litter along a rural highway, killing four.

The two men were inhaling Dustoff, a computer keyboard cleaner they "huffed" to get high, and as the truck veered across the centerline they each took the wheel before the crash, according to formal charges filed Tuesday.

650 by Matt McKinney in Chippewa Falls, Wis. MOVED

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^No proof found that school bullying led to fatal high school shooting, police say<

NC-STUDENT-SHOT:CH — Matthews police say they have yet to find proof that bullying led to the fatal shooting last week in the halls of Butler High School outside Charlotte, according to a police statement issued this week.

The announcement was made as the first-degree murder case against the 16-year-old suspect, Butler High freshman Jatwan Craig Cuffie, enters its second week. He is accused of killing fellow student Bobby McKeithen, 16, in a fight on Oct. 29.

450 by Mark Price in Charlotte, N.C. MOVED

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^Analysis: Gavin Newsom must decide how far he wants to lead California to the left<

CALIFGOV-ANALYSIS:LA — Few can argue with California Democrats that their sweeping victories on Tuesday are a clear mandate to set in place an agenda for the state that will last well into the next decade. Less clear, though, is what those marching orders should be — and whether voters will embrace the full panoply of demands that have lurched the state's dominant party leftward since the election of President Donald Trump.

No one will face that task more directly than Gov.-elect Gavin Newsom.

1500 by John Myers in Sacramento, Calif. MOVED

PHOTOS

^What's that smell? Survey asks Venice Beach residents if they're bothered by odor of marijuana<

LA-MARIJUANA-ODOR:LA — Nearly a year after recreational use of marijuana was legalized in California, a survey team is setting out to gauge how much pot is being smoked in public throughout Los Angeles County. On Wednesday, the team will visit Venice Beach.

700 by Joseph Serna in Los Angeles

Moving later

^Suspect in Trader Joe's shootout appears for arraignment<

TRADERJOES-GUNMAN:LA — The suspect accused of holding customers hostage inside a Trader Joe's market last month and engaging in a gun battle with Los Angeles police officers — one of whom mistakenly shot and killed a store manager — is scheduled to be arraigned.

700 by Marisa Gerber in Los Angeles

Moving later

^Deputy involved in fatal accident crashes again<

FLA-DEPUTY-CRASH:OS — An Osceola County deputy who rear-ended a truck last month — killing the driver — was involved in another crash on Tuesday, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

Deputy Gloria Boccio, 29, was cited for an improper lane change Tuesday when she swerved into another car while trying to avoid traffic, FHP Lt. Kim Montes said.

250 by David Harris in Orlando, Fla. MOVED

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^Gator raid: 6-foot alligator found in hot tub in KC home is 'gentle as a puppy,' owner says<

^HOTTUB-ALLIGATOR:KC—<Kansas City animal control workers on Wednesday removed a six-foot alligator, two ball pythons and a rabbit from a house in the eastern portion of the city.

The owner of the house was in the process of evicting a tenant when he found the alligator in a hot tub.

Sean Casey, the tenant, said the alligator's name was Catfish and that it was "gentle as a puppy."

The property owner immediately called city officials, said John Baccala, a spokesman for the city's Neighborhood and Housing Services department.

300 by Glenn E. Rice in Kansas City, Mo. MOVED

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^NEWS BRIEFS<

^<

NEWSBRIEFS:MCT — Nation and world news briefs.

Moving later

^TODAY'S TOP NEWSFEATURES<

^Too few doctors and nurses for veterans in some areas<

VETERANS-HEALTHCARE:SH — As the nation prepares to honor its veterans Nov. 12, many veterans in rural areas and some cities still face long wait times for health care because there aren't enough doctors, nurses and support staff to provide it.

Almost 40,000 of the 335,000 positions in the Veterans Health Administration are vacant, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs, which oversees the VHA. The VHA serves about 9 million veterans.

The VHA's turnover rate is less than half the rate for the health care industry overall.

However, a Stateline analysis of recently released federal figures shows the VHA has a severe vacancy problem in high-cost urban areas such as Los Angeles and Washington, D.C., and in largely rural states, such as Montana and Colorado.

1450 by Tim Henderson in Washington. MOVED

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^A San Andreas fault mystery: The 'slow-moving disaster' in an area where the Big One is feared<

SANANDREAS-SPRING:LA — The San Andreas fault begins its dangerous dance through California at the Salton Sea, at a spot that seismologists long have feared could be the epicenter of a massive earthquake.

But in recent months, this desolate location where the North American and Pacific plates rub together has become the focus of intense interest for a type of movement that is less the Big One than the Slow One.

A muddy spring mysteriously has begun to move at a faster pace through dry earth — first 60 feet over a few months, and then 60 feet in a single day, according to Imperial County officials.

1200 (with trims) by Alejandra Reyes-Velarde and Rong-Gong Lin II in Los Angeles. MOVED

PHOTOS, GRAPHIC

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