News in Brief: Election Night Provides Mixed Results, and More

Election Night Provides Mixed Results

Hotly contested races across five states Tuesday proved to have decidedly mixed results, Politico reports. While many incumbents and party favorites successfully fought off challengers, AP reports that incumbent Republican Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski was locked in a tight race with Tea Party and Sarah Palin-backed candidate Joe Miller. A Miller win would mean that Murkowski would be the seventh incumbent in Congress to fall to anti-Washington sentiments this year. Either candidate will face Democrat Scott McAdams in the fall.

In the night’s other big upset, in the Florida gubernatorial primary, self-financed Republican candidate Rick Scott won over party favorite Attorney General Bob McCollum. Also in the state, in the Democratic Senate election, retiring Rep. Kendrick Meek beat self-financed billionaire Jeff Greene. Meek will face Republican Marco Rubio, who won his party’s primary, and independent candidate and current Florida Gov. Charlie Crist. In the House, Rep. Allen Boyd barely beat progressive challenger Al Lawson, while other incumbents won their party’s election.

Elsewhere across the nation, Republican John McCain handily won his primary challenge against former representative and radio show host J.D. Hayworth. And, finally, in Oklahoma, Republican James Lankford, a former Christian summer camp executive, beat a popular state representative and Iraq war veteran. Lankford will face Democrat Billy Coyle come fall.

An Estimated 43 a Day Are Killed in Iraq, as Attacks Rise across Country

“What is going on in the country?” asked Abu Mohammed about the recent rise of attacks in Iraq, including one on Wednesday that he witnessed. Attacks, like those on Wednesday, have risen in frequency and killed an estimated 43 people a day across the country. The coordinated attacks on government buildings are expected to undermine the country’s security. And it may be happening, one government official suggests, because the attackers may have inside help. After six months, elections are still undecided in the country, though present Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is said to be in second place. Many predict the country’s lack of government is helping surge the rise in violence.

Shirley Sherrod Rejects Job Offer by Agriculture Secretary Vilsack

Shirley Sherrod, the US Department of Agriculture employee who was ousted by a right-wing attack video that painted her as a racist and later proved to be false, declined to return to a job at the agency, the grio reports. “At this point, with all that has happened,” she couldn’t possibly return yet to a full-time gig, she told reporters at a press conference, but will instead serve as a civil rights consultant.

Border Deaths in Arizona on Rise

Despite a new law meant to combat the rise of undocumented immigrants in Arizona, migrant deaths are on the rise, The Los Angeles Times reports. “We’re kind of looking at a record-breaking year this year,” Pima County Deputy Chief Medical Examiner Eric Peters said. Beefed up border enforcement in other states has pushed more migrants to move through Arizona, which is experiencing record-breaking temperatures this year. The heat, among other debilitating effects, is causing the rise in deaths. With rougher conditions, and a tough law in place, the rate of undocumented immigrants moving into the state is down, however.

Administration Plans to Appeal Stem Cell Blocking

According to Democracy Now!, the Obama administration plans to appeal “a federal judge’s blocking of President Obama’s executive order restoring funding for embryonic stem cell research.” Monday’s ruling by Fed. Judge Royce Lamberth states that the president’s executive order violates a 1996 law that prohibits federal money from research that destroys human life, including embryos.

Chilean Miners Said to Be in Good Condition

The Guardian UK reports that the 33 Chilean miners trapped underground for more than two weeks are in good condition. The miners are trapped deep in a shelter in a mine that collapsed more than two weeks. While the country’s mining minister reported contact with the miners yesterday, he said that getting them out would be a four-month process. And while they are receiving food and water and air, many are concerned about the mental health of the miners over the nest four months. “There is a psychological pattern there that we’ve looked at,” David McAteer, an official in the Clinton Labor Department said.

Reuters adds that while mining accidents are rare in Chile, the mine’s manager, local private company Compania Minera San Esteban Primera, has suffered a series of mishaps that resulted in 16 workers’ deaths in recent years.