Key election results and Swifties skeptical of the new correspondent: Morning Rundown

Abortion rights are giving Democrats big victories in key elections. What to watch for in tonight’s third Republican presidential debate. And see the first images from a new space telescope searching for dark matter.

This is what you should know today.

Abortion rights help Democrats win important election victories

In Ohio, the state’s constitutional amendment to enshrine abortion rights won by double digits. In Kentucky, Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear won re-election after making abortion rights a key message of his campaign. And in Virginia, Democrats retained their Senate majority seat and flipped the state House – a rebuke of Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin, who made a 15-week abortion ban the centerpiece of his campaign to help the GOP gain full control of the country gain state government.

It didn’t matter whether abortion rights were strictly on the ballot. The results show that the issue remains relevant nearly 17 months after the Supreme Court’s decision against Roe v. Wade continues to hold great political significance among Democrats and represents a weak point for Republicans, political strategists from both major parties said.

Looking ahead to 2024, Republicans still lack an effective way to counter Democrats’ messaging, but some suggest there is one person Republicans could use to get out of their bind: Donald Trump.

Read the whole story here.

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GOP debate on NBC

The third Republican primary debate, hosted by NBC News, takes place tonight in Miami and features Chris Christie, Ron DeSantis, Nikki Haley, Vivek Ramaswamy and Tim Scott.

Tune in to your local NBC station at 8:00 p.m. ET/5:00 p.m. PT to continue streaming the debate NBC News NOWand receive live updates and analysis

What to watch out for tonight: Haley will face DeSantis in the battle for second place. Ramaswamy will be “unrestricted,” as a campaign adviser put it. And some candidates argue that Trump cannot win the general election. Here’s what else you should pay attention to.

Israel says troops are in “heart” of Gaza City

Israel says its troops are “in the heart of Gaza City” as its military steps up its ground offensive in the north of the Palestinian enclave. More and more civilians are fleeing the fighting and leaving their homes south, where Israeli airstrikes continue, food, water and medical aid are in short supply and hospitals are in crisis.

The White House has urged Israel not to reoccupy the Gaza Strip at the end of its war with Hamas, after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said his country would have “overall security responsibility” for Gaza “indefinitely” after the war ends.

Foreign ministers from the Group of 7 developed economies called for “humanitarian pauses” to allow aid to Gaza, but not a full ceasefire, in a joint statement at a meeting in Tokyo today.

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“Conflicting statements” in the investigation into the death of a Jewish man

Authorities in California are trying to determine what happened before Paul Kessler, a 69-year-old Jewish man, fell and hit his head during a “physical altercation” at dueling Israeli and Palestinian rallies, dying a day later. They received “conflicting statements” about who the attacker was. Authorities are also trying to determine when Kessler suffered injuries to the left side of his face.

As of Tuesday, no suspect had been identified, there were no arrests and authorities refused to classify the incident as a hate crime. Officials also said the confrontation involved a suspect was “cooperative.”

Meanwhile, a former editor of the local newspaper Thousand Oaks Acorn, said he wasn’t surprised Kessler was at the protest, considering that Kessler has written for the newspaper and participated in demonstrations for years.

Four current and former LA County sheriff’s deputies die in apparent suicide

The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department is investigating the deaths of four current or former employees over the course of two days as suicides, according to law enforcement sources, who also said the deaths were unrelated. Three people were found dead on Monday. According to the sources, another employee was found dead the next day. Here’s what else we know.

Today’s speaker: Taylor Swift fans are skeptical about…

… USA Today’s new Taylor Swift correspondent: Bryan West, a 35-year-old self-proclaimed Swiftie who beat out hundreds of other applicants for the job. The internet was abuzz when a job posting for the position went viral earlier this year. Now, People share their thoughts to the re-launch of The Tennesseean newspaper, from disagreements over his least favorite Swift song to criticism of a man covering a female artist.

Politics in brief

Democrat rebuked: Members of the House of Representatives chided Rep. Rashida Tlaib, the only Palestinian in Congress, about her statements and actions in response to the Israel-Hamas war. Nearly two dozen Democrats joined Republicans to vote for the resolution.

Hunter Biden: Special Counsel David Weiss, who is overseeing the investigation into President Joe Biden’s son, said he wasn’t slowed down from filing charges against Hunter Biden, according to his testimony yesterday at his closed session with the House Judiciary Committee.

Employee selection: Cosmic feast for the eyes

The first images from a new telescope designed to search for dark matter didn’t disappoint us. Spectacular views of bustling galaxies, clusters of ancient stars and delicate, dreamlike star formation have been revealed by the Euclid Telescope, which launched in July on a six-year mission to map the dark universe. From an eerie look at the Horsehead Nebula to a stunning portrait of thousands of galaxies in the famous Perseus Cluster, this first batch of images offers a tantalizing taste of what this exciting mission has to offer. —Denise Chow, Science reporter

In case you missed it

Choose: Online shopping, simplified

Hosting can be hard work, from preparing for guests’ arrival to the inevitable sink full of dishes at the end of the evening. If you don’t want to express your appreciation with just a thank you note, think about it these 23 gifts for hostsfrom the kettle to the whimsical food-inspired candle.

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