Wednesday morning news: November 7, 2018

GOP holds Senate while Democrats flip House, gain governorships » Republicans keep control of the Senate as Democrats flip the House.

Amid high turnout, Election Day offered plenty of surprises, but experts widely predicted the top headline: America will once again have a divided government.

While officials are still counting votes this morning, late last night the major networks called the House for Democrats. The only question now is how many seats they will capture beyond the 23 they needed to gain control.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who hopes to re-take the speaker’s gavel, said Democrats are ready to reach across the aisle.

PELOSI: We have a responsibility to find common ground where we can, stand our ground where we can’t, but we have to try.

And White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said President Trump is willing to work with Democrats.

SANDERS: There are a lot of things that the president would love to work with them on, and hopefully they’ll come to table. 

In the Senate, Republicans expanded their slim 51-49 majority, picking up at least up at least four seats.

One of those was in Florida—a nearly $100 million race. Republican Governor Rick Scott unseating incumbent Senator Bill Nelson.

And Indiana, Democrat Joe Donnelly lost to Republican Mike Braun…

BRAUN: We’ve got a rare opportunity, I think, to really make things happen in DC, and I can’t wait to be a part of it! 

Republicans also ousted red-state Democrats Claire McCaskill in Missouri and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota.

But others held on…

MANCHIN: What West Virginia said loud and clear tonight: Mr. President, we want our senator, not your senator! 

West Virginia’s Joe Manchin, heard there, edged out GOP challenger Patrick Morrisey.

Democrats also gained ground at the state level. One of the most notable victories, a red state governorship. In Kansas, Laura Kelly handily defeated Republican Kris Kobach.  

Elsewhere Democrats unseated Republican governors in Illinois and Michigan. But they came up short in Georgia, where Republican Brian Kemp edged out Stacey Abrams.

They also came up short in Florida, where Republican Ron DeSantis won a heated race.

DESANTIS: Thank you, the people of Florida, for your faith, your support and your trust you have placed in me. 

DeSantis defied recent polling that showed Democrat Andrew Gillum had nearly a 4-point lead.

Overall, Democrats gained at least five governorships on Election Day.

Widow receives remains of soldier killed in Afghanistan » The remains of a U.S. soldier killed last week in Afghanistan arrived home on Tuesday.

39-year-old Army National Guard officer Brent Taylor had taken a leave of absence from his job as mayor of Ogden, Utah to deploy to Afghanistan. He was training an Afghan commando when his trainee turned his weapon on Taylor.

Brent’s widow Jennie Taylor shared these words as her husband’s casket arrived at Dover Air Force Base in Maryland.

TAYLOR: It seems only fitting that Brent, who in death now represents so much more than anything—something so much greater than any of our individual lives, has come home to U.S. soil in a flag-draped casket on our Election Day. 

Jennie Taylor said she hopes her husband’s sacrifice will remind Republicans and Democrats alike that there is more that unites us than divides us.

Iran, some U.S. allies blast newly reimposed sanctions » Iran is once again striking a defiant tone in the face of tough sanctions reinstated by the Trump administration.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif responded in a video message on Tuesday.

ZARIF: The U.S. administration appears to believe that imposing illegal draconian sanctions on Iran will bring about such pain to our nation that it will force us to submit to its will.

Zarif said the sanctions will change nothing.

And some U.S. allies agree. Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said—quote—“isolating Iran is dangerous, and punishing the Iranian people is not fair.”

And the European Union said this week it “regrets” the move and remains committed to the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. President Trump pulled out of that agreement earlier this year.

But not all U.S. allies are critical of the move. Israel stated this week that the sanctions will “strangle” Iran’s support of terrorism.

El Chapo trial » The trial is underway in New York this week for one of the world’s most notorious alleged drug lords. WORLD Radio’s Kristen Flavin has more.

KRISTEN FLAVIN, REPORTER: Joaquin Guzman is widely known by his nickname “El Chapo.” He’s accused of a violent reign of terror as head of Mexico’s Sinaloa drug cartel. Last year Mexico extradited Guzman to the U.S. where he faces 17 criminal counts. They include drug trafficking, money laundering, and murder conspiracy. He faces possible life behind bars in a U.S. prison.

Guzman made international headlines with daring escapes from Mexican prisons. So as jury selection began this week in Brooklyn officials took no chances. Heavily armed guards stood watch outside the courthouse, as bomb-sniffing dogs circled the building.

Police have shut down traffic on the Brooklyn Bridge each time officials transported Guzman from his cell to the courthouse for pretrial hearings. Another security measure: names of the jurors and most of the prosecution witnesses will remain secret.

Reporting for WORLD Radio, I’m Kristen Flavin.

(Jacob Byk/The Wyoming Tribune Eagle via AP) Voters exit the Storey Gymnasium polling station on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018, in Cheyenne, Wyo. 

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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