Democrats hope Georgia's runoff election will give them an advantage in the Senate. Also in the news: Thousands of North Carolina residents are still without electricity after power infrastructure was hit in a "targeted" attack.
🙋🏼♀️ I'm Nicole Fallert, Daily Briefing author. Who's going full "goblin mode" this holiday season?
Here we go with Tuesday's headlines.
Warnock or Walker?
Georgia voters are casting ballots Tuesday in another runoff race that will determine if Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock can stiff-arm Republican challenger Herschel Walker.
One thing to know: This year's special election will determine whether the chamber remains evenly split at 50-50, which proved to be a difficult tightrope for President Joe Biden and the Democrats. A 51-49 majority would give the White House a cushion.
What is a runoff? Georgia has a unique election system in which a runoff election is held with only the top two vote-getters if no candidate earns more than 50% of the vote. The runoff election acts as a political tiebreaker, where a candidate has to earn a majority of the vote.
Georgia voters have accepted their swing-state status: If the multiple races Georgians have had to endure since 2020 has tired out voters, they aren't showing it. More than 1.8 million Georgians have already voted in the runoff.
The Georgia race is the most expensive in this year's midterms. Political action committees have come to Warnock's aid at higher amounts than Walker in the runoff race. Super PACs have spent more than $40 million supporting Warnock or opposing Walker.
Outages in North Carolina county could last days
More than 38,000 people were without electricity Monday after two power substations in a North Carolina county were damaged by gunfire in what law enforcement officials called a "targeted" attack that could leave residents without power for days. A person "opened fire" at both substations Saturday, Moore County Sheriff Ronnie Fields said during a news conference. He did not say how the person got past the gates at either substation, but a photo from local newspaper The Pilot shows the gate to one of the substations on the ground. Read more
These graphics show the locations of the North Carolina power substations attacked by gunfire.
More news to know now
⚫ ''We are not afraid'': The Waukesha Christmas Parade returns after a deadly 2021 tragedy.
👉 The man charged of killing Takeoff ''believes he's innocent,'' lawyer says.
❗ Sen. Shaheen will skip a White House ball over a plan to push back New Hampshire's Democratic primary.
🔔 A man demanded $300K before killing four workers at an Oklahoma marijuana farm, prosecutors say.
🗨 The Tampa police chief resigned after she flashed her badge to get favorable treatment.
🚀 NASA's Orion flew over the Apollo moon landing sites.
🏈 Tom Brady led a fourth-quarter comeback win for Tampa Bay vs. New Orleans.
🎧 On today's 5 Things podcast, what to expect as voters in Georgia head to the polls for the Senate runoff election. You can listen to the podcast every day on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or on your smart speaker.
🌤 What's the weather today? Check your local forecast here.
Russian air bases struck for first time
The Kremlin claims Ukrainian drones have struck two air bases deep inside Russia. Hours later, Russia unleashed another massive missile barrage across Ukraine, striking homes and buildings and killing civilians. The targeting of the Russian air bases threatened a major escalation of the nine-month war because it hit an airfield that houses bombers capable of carrying nuclear weapons. Russian President Vladimir Putin has threatened to use all available means to defend Russian territory, a remark many have interpreted to include nuclear weapons. It was the first time since the conflict’s start that such a base has been attacked. Read more
Supreme Court signals support for designer who wants to decline same-sex weddings
A majority of the Supreme Court on Monday appeared sympathetic to a web designer who wants to decline to create websites for same-sex weddings, embracing the idea that a state anti-discrimination law cannot compel her to do so. In a case that could have profound implications for when businesses may turn away customers, the Colorado website designer argues the state should not be permitted to use a law designed to ensure businesses take all comers to compel her to communicate messages to which she objects. Read more
The Supreme Court will consider giving state legislatures more power to oversee federal elections.
More cities are excelling at policies on LGBTQ equality even amid hostile legislation, report finds.
Just for subscribers:
💵 Attracting Amazon: Company has garnered billions of dollars in government incentives nationwide.
🙏 ''Safe, secure and accurate'': Arizona's Maricopa County certifies election after rowdy crowd objects.
🛑 A U.S. man was detained in a Saudi Arabian max-security prison after his remarks during a religious pilgrimage.
🌴 Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago club is back in a spotlight it never really left.
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What's the Deion Sanders drama?
New Colorado head football coach Deion Sanders met his new players for the first time Sunday and delivered a 7-minute sermon in a way that only he can, a speech that referenced Louis Vuitton luggage, his prominence on ESPN and a theme he repeated over and over again: "I’m comin'." And because it was videotaped and tweeted out for all the world to see, it has drawn a spectrum of praise and criticism for how directly he told a room full of young men that many of them would not be there next year. Read more
From our Sports desk: Sander's message might have been atypical, but the takeaway isn’t much different than what most new coaches deliver when they take over 1-11 teams.
More takeaways: No, Deion Sanders isn't a sellout after leaving Jackson State for Colorado.
📷 Photo of the day: World Cup watch parties — an emotional roller coaster 📷
Tensions are high for fans around the world who are gathering to watch their favorite players battle in the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. On Tuesday, Morocco and Spain will face off in the Round of 16 as well as Portugal and Switzerland. Click here to see more photos of "football" fanatics.
One more thing
🖤 Mourning Kirstie Alley: John Travolta, Parker Stevenson, Kelsey Grammer and more stars share their love for the late actor.
🩺 Images of darker skin are absent from medical texts. Dermatologists are changing that.
😲 They were rocked by a blast and rogue wave during an Antarctic cruise. They share their story.
🎁 Here are the 37 best tech gifts to give in 2022.
🐶 The man who who shot Lady Gag's dog walker was sentenced to 21 years.
📺 Meet the new female heroes of Disney+ series ''Willow'' who reveal an LGBTQ romance.
🏆 Stetson Bennett, Max Duggan, C.J. Stroud and Caleb Williams are 2022 Heisman Trophy finalists.
Nicole Fallert is a newsletter writer at USA TODAY, sign up for the email here. Want to send Nicole a note, shoot her an email at NFallert@usatoday.com or follow along with her musings on Twitter. Support journalism like this – subscribe to USA TODAY here.
Associated Press contributed reporting.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Georgia runoff, North Carolina outages, Supreme Court, Deion Sanders: Daily Briefing