It’s a classic case of the never-ending midterm elections. Last month, Republicans took the House — but fell far short of the red wave that wasn’t. Democrats held onto the Senate, with 50 seats (and a VP that can sub in to tie break if needed). But one Senate seat still lies in the balance. Today in Georgia, former NFL star Herschel Walker (R) is trying to unseat Sen. Raphael Warnock (D). Neither candidate reached the 50% threshold needed to take the Senate spot. Enter: this runoff.
What can you tell me about the candidates?
Herschel Walker: He’s the Trump-endorsed Republican candidate and former running back for the Dallas Cowboys. Walker campaigned to keep transgender athletes from competing on women’s sports teams. He is anti-abortion rights with some exceptions. And like many Republicans, he wants stronger border control and to ramp up funding for the police. Walker has gotten heat from LGBTQIA+ groups and abortion advocates. And two women have come forward saying he pressured them into having abortions. He also has a number of domestic violence allegations against him.
Raphael Warnock: He was elected to the Senate in 2020. But before that, was a pastor at a Baptist church in Atlanta, where Martin Luther King Jr. used to minister. And is pro-abortion rights, saying “I trust women more than I trust politicians.” He campaigned on expanding Medicaid. And voted for the climate and health care bill as well as bipartisan gun violence prevention legislation. Warnock is also fending off allegations of domestic abuse.
So who’s expected to win?
Polls were close back in October. Now, they show Warnock holding a narrow lead. If he wins, some are already reportedly whispering his name for 2024. So far, 1.8 million Georgians have already cast their votes. Women and Black voters are apparently outpacing 2020 turnout levels. And the Senate race is one of the most expensive in the country, with nearly $80 million poured into TV ads in the four-week campaign sprint.
In 2020, Georgia runoffs determined control of the Senate. That’s not the case for this runoff — but it will determine how much breathing room Democrats have in a split Congress.
Iran. Yesterday, protesters across the country launched a three-day strike. The demonstrations — which reportedly saw shops in as many as 40 towns and cities close their doors — follow conflicting reports that Iran’s morality police have been disbanded. That was after Iran’s attorney general said it would...but other agencies stayed silent. Now, the regime still hasn’t confirmed the AG’s comments. A top official says the “rioters,” who allegedly threatened store owners to close, will be dealt with and sentences will be carried out quickly. Meanwhile, senior politicians are reportedly set to visit universities in Tehran tomorrow where they’ll debate reforms with students on strike.
China. Yesterday, some local governments continued to loosen up COVID-19 restrictions in major cities like Shanghai and Beijing. The decision to scale it back in some areas — like no longer requiring a test to board subways and buses — follows widespread protests calling for an end to the country’s strict “zero-COVID” policy. Chinese President Xi Jinping apparently hinted to EU officials that changes were on the way and credits weaker subvariants for the easements. But while officials are seemingly lightening their stances, the policy is still in place with no expiration date in sight. Instead, a senior health official has said the country’s pandemic controls are entering a “new stage and mission” with possible updates coming as soon as today.
Who’s got some thinking to do…
SCOTUS. Yesterday, the court heard arguments — and seems on track to weigh in — in a free speech case. It all started back in 2016 when Lorie Smith, a Colorado-based web designer, sued the state over its anti-discrimination law barring public businesses from refusing services based on sexual orientation. Smith argues that forcing her to create custom websites for a same-sex wedding would violate her right to free speech. Liberal Justice Sonia Sotomayor says a ruling against Colorado would be “the first time” in the Supreme Court’s history that public businesses are able to refuse services based on race, sex, religion, or sexual orientation. Conservative Justice Samuel Alito questioned if people who offer customizable services should be forced to create “things they loathe.” Next up: the conservative-leaning court — which has recently ruled in favor of religious plaintiffs — is expected to have a ruling by June.
Who people are remembering...
Kirstie Alley. Yesterday, the two-time Emmy and Golden Globe-winning actress died after a brief battle with cancer. She was 71. Alley rose to fame in 1982 when she starred in “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.” But she was best known for her role as Rebecca Howe in the late '80s and early '90s sitcom, "Cheers." And as Veronica in "Veronica's Closet." Her children remembered her as an "amazing mother and grandmother." And Alley’s “Look Who’s Talking” co-star John Travolta said their friendship was “one of the most special” ones he’s ever had.
Who’s still making headlines instead of reporting them…
TJ Holmes and Amy Robach. Yesterday, the “GMA 3” co-hosts — and rumored lovers — were taken off the air. ABC News says there’s been no foul play, but that it’s a “distraction.” No word yet on when they’ll be back on screen. You stay classy, San Diego.
Brrrr. It’s cold (out there). Which means there must be some chunky sweaters, vitamin C tablets, and…vibrators in the atmosphere. Yep, you read that right. Studies show that having orgasms could have a positive effect on your immune system. Not to mention help reduce stress. Great news considering all those holiday to-do’s on your list, arewerite?
If you’re looking to stock up, try Dame’s latest drop: the Dip. It’s designed for beginners and explorers alike. And features a whisper-quiet motor with five unique intensity settings. Plus, it’s waterproof. And Skimm’rs get 15% off with code SKIMM15. Steamy night in, here we come.
The Shoppes at Skimm Ave.
We’re officially a few weeks away from the big day, and if you haven’t added a single thing to cart, we’ve got you. It’s time to sleigh the holidays with gifts for everyone on your list. Take a look at:
PS:* Dash through checkout with Apple Pay. It’ll have you smiling allll the way.
*Psst...this is sponsored content from Apple Pay.
Here are today’s recs to help you live a smarter life…
1. A shirt all your closet sharers will be stealing. Seriously, you’ll want to gift your sister (and mom and best friend) her own. This sustainable blanket shirt is made of super soft organic cotton. In a timeless style that works year-round. Here’s 20% off.*
2. Celeb-loved sneaks that celebrate PANTONE’s 2023 color of the year. This cool sustainable sneaker brand’s got six different, IG-worthy styles to help get ya in the spirit. Including ones with over 20K five-star reviews. PS: Skimm’rs get 20% off. Go ahead, treat yourself.*
3. A clinical-backed multivitamin that pairs well with meal prep. This female-founded brand’s delayed-release ‘Essential for Women 18+’ capsule is designed to help fill nutritional gaps in the diet. Think: vitamin D and omega-3 DHA.† Plus Skimm’rs get 30% off.*
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†This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
On Our Radar
The countdown to the holidays. Get ’em something that’s guaranteed to arrive in time with these subscription gifts. We’re personally eyeing the virtual wine tastings, but maybe that’s just us.
We like to celebrate the wins, big and small. Let us know how your friends, neighbors, coworkers (and yes, even you) are making career moves, checking off goals, or making an impact in the community.
Just grow with it…Julie B (VA). Her garden center, Watermark Woods - Native Plants, is being honored in her town’s small business awards for making native plants more readily available to the community.
(Some) Birthdays…Alyssa Schimel (NY), Margie Fiverson (FL), Igal Ben-Gal (NC), Adam Vojdany (NY), Philip Annacone (NY), Andreas Santoso (NY), theSkimm's Allie Greenwald (CA), Molly Brummond (NE), Emily Lemke (MD), Carla Gilsdorf (MN), Elisabeth Zuerker (TX), Natalie Thilges (IA), Alissa Traughber (WI), Stephanie Pyle (NC), Crystal Sun (CA), Linda Julien (NJ)
PS: Paging all members of theSkimm. Reach out here for a chance to be featured.
Skimm'd by: Rashaan Ayesh, Melanie De Lima, Kate Gilhool, Julie Shain, and Mariza Smajlaj