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KNOW IT ALL: Wednesday’s Top 6 Stories at NBC News

Image: Katie Granger

Katie Granger leaves the Republican election night festivities party with a photo cutout of former President George W. Bush, Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2014, in Phoenix. Ross D. Franklin / AP

Good morning, and happy Wednesday. Here are some of the stories we’re following today:

1. 2014 Midterms: Republicans capture Congress

For the first time in eight years, the Senate and the House will have a GOP majority. Republican wins in at least seven Senate contests helped catapult the party to victory in otherwise tight races, with key presidential battleground states, such as Colorado, Iowa and North Carolina, awash in red. What’s more, the Republicans are set up to pick up double-digit House seats, increasing their majority in that chamber to its largest margin since the 1940s, if not the 1920s. It was apparent that President Barack Obama was a drag on Democrats, according to polling, favoring the Republicans. Read more in POLITICS.

2. Governors’ races buck anti-incumbency fever

The GOP gained at least four new governorships across the country, winning in Illinois, Arkansas, Massachusetts and Maryland. Republican incumbents even prevailed in other states where they were believed to have been threatened precisely because they were incumbents. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker beat out Democratic businesswoman Mary Burke, while Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback defeated state House Democratic leader Paul Davis. Even in Florida, Gov. Rick Scott narrowly beat Republican-turned-Democrat former Gov. Charlie Crist, who had been neck in neck in the polls. Read more in POLITICS.

Axelrod Calls Election Night a Republican Wave 0:38

3. Voters have say on pot, abortion, health care

It wasn’t just a change in leadership drawing voters to the polls. Some 150 ballot initiatives were also considered. In one of the more hotly contested questions, voters in Oregon backed a measure to legalize marijuana possession of up to eight ounces and up to four plants for adults 21 and over. Voters also passed similar measures in Alaska and Washington, D.C. Other ballot initiatives saw varying degrees of success. Read more in POLITICS.

4. Mom accused of killing son was autism activist

Family of Oregon mom Jillian Meredith McCabe say she was suffering from mental health problems but also had a lot weighing on her with her autistic son. McCabe, 34, allegedly threw her 6-year-old son, London, from a bridge Monday, killing the child. His death is creating a divide within the autism community, advocates say, because of the known desperation that some parents are dealing with. “You have to wonder what happens that an otherwise loving mother can feel like this is the only option or that this is the best option,” one activist told NBC News. Read more in HEALTH.

5. Ray Rice suspension hearing kicks off

The Ravens running back is expected to make his appeal heard in a Manhattan courtroom Wednesday after he was suspended indefinitely in September from the NFL. Rice was caught on video assaulting his now-wife in a casino elevator in February, sparking anger and an investigation once the tape was leaked. But the handling of the probe and Rice’s initial two-game suspension by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has been heavily criticized. Rice is seeking immediate reinstatement, though it’s unlikely a team would sign him this season. Read more at NBC SPORTS.

6. Adrian Peterson enters no contest plea

Things are looking up for another embattled NFL player. Peterson entered a no contest plea on Tuesday to misdemeanor reckless assault in the child-abuse case involving his 4-year-old son. That means the Minnesota Vikings running back must pay a $4,000 fine, serve 80 hours of community service, take parenting classes and spend two years on probation — but ultimately, his record will be wiped clean. As for the NFL, Peterson is basically on paid leave, so the league must still decide whether to reinstate him. Read more at NBC SPORTS.

… What’s trending today?

What caused such baaaaad traffic in Spain? Farmers herded their sheep through Madrid in defense of ancient grazing and migration rights increasingly threatened by urban sprawl.

Sheep Protest Invades Madrid 0:38