12:30 Report

The Hill’s 12:30 Report — Dems’ Senate victory lap

Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.) addresses reporters after the weekly policy luncheon on Tuesday, December 7, 2021.
Greg Nash

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–> A midday take on what’s happening in politics and how to have a sense of humor about it.* 

*Ha. Haha. Hahah. Sniff. Haha. Sniff. Ha–breaks down crying hysterically.

TALK OF THE MORNING 

Raphael Warnock should celebrate with a long, long nap: 

Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.) is projected to defeat Republican Herschel Walker in Georgia’s Senate runoff, giving Democrats a 51-49 majority in the upper chamber. 

Warnock is probably *thrilled* to be done campaigning: This is his second election — and his fourth race (!) in two years. He ran in the special election in 2020, which then went to a runoff. Then he ran this year, followed by yesterday’s runoff. Now he will be a sitting senator for six years.  

Was this a surprise outcome?: Not really. It was a close race, but most polls showed Warnock ahead in recent weeks. 

SIGHTS AND SOUNDS:

Lol, it was a good year for bald candidates: @brent_peabody joked that “If you’re a Democrat facing a tough race in 2024, please let me shave your head.” Photos to prove his argument 

The Warnock watch party was a rager: GPB News’s Stephen Fowler tweeted, “We’ve reached the Swag Surfin’ portion of the evening here in the packed Warnock watch party.” Video from the watch party 

Watch the crowd’s reaction after the race was called: From The Washington Post’s Matt Brown  

Walker’s watch party was at a festive venue: The Washington Post’s Dylan Wells tweeted, “Walker’s watch party is at the College Football Hall of Fame, a fitting venue for the former football star — complete with a big 34 (his jersey number), turf floor, and press riser below a goal post.” Video of the room 

Photo of Walker supporters watching the results 

President Biden called Warnock last nightPhoto of Biden making the call 

Lol: CNN’s John King tweeted, “The only downside of projecting the last election of #2022 is they put me away for awhile. When does #2024 begin?!?!?!?” Photo of King trapped in the ‘Magic Wall’ 

FIVE TAKEAWAYS:

1. “Dems get breathing room in the Senate.” 

2. “Trump dealt another blow.” 

3. “Warnock delivered on expectations.” 

4. “Turnout remained high.” 

5. “All eyes now shift to 2024.”  

Explainers for each, from The Hill’s Julia Manchester 

DEMS HAD THE SENATE MAJORITY REGARDLESS — WHY DID THIS RACE MATTER SO MUCH?:

There’s a big difference between a 51-49 Senate and a 50-50 Senate with Vice President Harris breaking the tie. 

For example: “For [Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.)], Warnock’s triumph means he does not have to again negotiate a power-sharing arrangement with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.” More from NPR’s Juma Sei 

Plus: One Democratic senator doesn’t have the power to tank an entire bill. Yes, I’m looking at you, Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.).

CHUCK UNSURPRISINGLY TAKES A VICTORY LAP:

Schumer held a news conference this morning to celebrate Warnock’s reelection. Watch

It’s Wednesday. I’m Cate Martel with a quick recap of the morning and what’s coming up. Did someone forward this newsletter to you? Sign up here. 

81 years ago today: Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, leading the U.S. to formally enter World War II. Photos to remember the attack

 News this morning 

Time’s Person of the Year!: 

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has been named Time magazine’s “Person of the Year” for 2022. Read the Time cover story 

Check out the cover 

Here’s who made the shortlist in 2022

🗳 2024 

Republicans see an opening:

“Senate Republicans who want to move on from Donald Trump are smelling blood after a series of self-destructive errors by the former president that they think is opening the door for GOP rivals to challenge and defeat him in a 2024 presidential primary.”  

For example — Senate Republican Whip John Thune (S.D.) thinks Trump’s Constitution comments created ‘a huge opening’ for other Republicans: “This was another level or another realm in terms of things the former president has said. This one goes so far beyond the pale that if there is somebody who has aspirations to run, this sure teed it up for them,” Thune said.   

From Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who usually doesn’t comment on Trump’s behavior: “Anyone seeking the presidency who thinks that the Constitution could somehow be suspended or not followed, it seems to me, would have a very hard time being sworn in as president of the United States.”  

What this could mean for the GOP in the next year, via The Hill’s Alexander Bolton 

HOW WALKER’S FAILED CAMPAIGN MAY HAVE ENDED TRUMP’S PRESIDENTIAL HOPES:

Op-ed 

NEW REPORTING — ‘TRUMP TEAM SEARCHES TWO OF HIS PROPERTIES AMID COURT BATTLE WITH DOJ’:

From The Washington Post’s Jacqueline Alemany, Josh Dawsey, Spencer S. Hsu and Devlin Barrett 

BEFORE WE JUMP ENTIRELY TO 2024:

Here are five races to watch in 2023

🦠 The COVID-19 numbers 

Cases to date: 98.7 million 

Death toll: 1,077,303 

Current hospitalizations: 27,740 

Shots administered: 655 million 

Fully vaccinated: 68.8 percent of Americans 

CDC data here.

🐥Notable tweets 

Omg! Shaq fell into a Christmas tree on television:

During an “NBA on TNT” segment, Kenny Smith launched Shaquille O’Neal into a Christmas tree. That does not look easy to do. It was clearly an accident and the clip is very funny. Watch 

Lol:

Politico’s Olivia Beavers shares an invitation to a 15-minute holiday party on Capitol Hill. Photo of the invitation

On tap 

The House and Senate are in. President Biden and Vice President Harris are in Washington, D.C.

  • 9 a.m.: Biden received his daily briefing. 
  • 11:30 a.m.: Two Senate votes. Today’s Senate agenda 
  • 1:30 p.m.: Two Senate confirmation votes. 
  • 1:40 p.m.: Harris meets with Lithuanian Prime Minister Ingrida Šimonytė in the Vice President’s Ceremonial Office. 
  • 3 p.m.: First House votes. Today’s House agenda 
  • 5 p.m.: Two more Senate judicial nomination votes. 
  • 6 p.m.: Last House votes.
  • 7:15 p.m.: Biden joins survivors and families impacted by gun violence at a vigil at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Washington, D.C.

All times Eastern.

📺What to watch

  • 2 p.m.: White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre holds a press briefing. Livestream 
  • 6:30 p.m.Lester Holt interviews Anthony Fauci on “NBC Nightly News.”  
  • Dec. 8: The first part of the Netflix documentary on Prince Harry and Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, premieres on Netflix
  • Dec13: A documentary about Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) airs on HBO Max. Keep in mind: It was created by her filmmaker daughter Alexandra PelosiWatch the trailer

🍭 In lighter news 

Today is National Cotton Candy Day

This is your sign to use this emoji more

Rolling Stone’s Miles Klee writes, “We Couldn’t Have Made It Through This Year Without the Saluting Emoji.”  

The article continues: “The stern little face has become an unlikely beacon of solidarity and support — while making us laugh every time.” Read the full story 

And because you made it this far, here’s a friendly moose greeting its neighbors

Tags 12:30 Report 2024 Cotton Candy Day georgia runoff Herschel Walker Mitch McConnell Raphael Warnock Shaquille O'Neal Time Person of the Year warnock
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