Good morning, NBC News readers.
With one projected victory out of Georgia's two Senate runoffs, the Democrats have moved a step closer to flipping control of the U.S. Senate. Congress meanwhile, is getting ready to certify Joe Biden's Electoral College win.
Here is what we're watching this Wednesday morning.
Democrat Warnock wins, NBC News projects, with Ossoff-Perdue race on a razor's edge
Democrat Raphael Warnock defeated Republican Kelly Loeffler Tuesday, NBC News projects, in one of two critical runoff electionsin Georgia that will determine control of the Senate and potentially the fate of Joe Biden’s presidency.
The other race, between Democrat Jon Ossoff and Republican David Perdue, remains too close to call, according to NBC News, with 98 percent of the expected vote counted.
Control of the Senate hangs on the result of the second runoff race. If Ossoff wins, Democrats will have control of both chambers of Congress, strengthening President-elect Biden's ability to push through his legislative agenda, cabinet appointments and judicial picks when he takes office on Jan. 20.
Warnock, a pastor who has spent the past 15 years leading Martin Luther King Jr.’s former church in Atlanta, makes history with his projected victory as the first Black Senator from Georgia and only the 11th Black senator in American history.
- News analysis: Warnock's projected win over Loeffler also highlights a failed Republican strategy. The GOP thought it found a winning formula — women who could appeal to both Trump's base and suburbanites. It didn't work, writes NBC News' Sahil Kapur.
- Fact check: President Donald Trump falsely suggested an improper "vote dump" as the count continued in Georgia.
- Exit poll: Black, liberal voters boosted Warnock to his projected win.
Trump allies hope the Electoral College drama will be his last stand
President Trump's allies are hoping Wednesday marks his last stand in his effort to challenge the November election results, with multiple people close to Trump privately acknowledging to NBC News that his options will be exhausted once Congress tabulates the Electoral College votes.
"It's hard to see anything beyond tomorrow," a senior administration official said Tuesday.
Still, that hasn't stopped Trump from leaning on Vice President Mike Pence to flip the election results when he presides over the Electoral College count — even though Pence has no power to do so.
Trump has riled up his supporters who will be holding protests in Washington, D.C. ahead of Congress' certification of the Electoral College votes. The president himself will address a protest outside the White House Wednesday morning dubbed the "March for Trump/Save America" rally.
In anticipation of possible violence as threats have rippled through far-right forums ahead of the protests, D.C.'s mayor mobilized the National Guard and increased police presence on the city's streets.
Several people were arrested in D.C. on Tuesday evening ahead of the pro-Trump protests.
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- Dozens of Hong Kong pro-democracy figures, including a U.S. lawyer, have been arrested in a sweeping crackdown on opposition.
- Famed hip hop artist and producer Dr. Dre was hospitalized with a brain aneurysm, but is expected to go home soon.
- The loss of smell and taste can linger long after Covid 19 or come back differently. Follow our live blog for all the latest development on the pandemic.
- Bestselling author and chronicler of Black life Eric Jerome Dickey has died. He was 59.
- Keeping up with the Kardashians: Kanye West and Kim Kardashian West have separated, but are in marriage counseling, a source close to the family told NBC News.
THINK about it
Republicans' efforts to end the American republic makes them Republicans in name only, history professor Robert S. McElvaine writes in an opinion piece.
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How to buy the best disposable face masks, according to experts.
Quote of the day
"The other day, because this is America, the 82-year-old hands that used to pick somebody else’s cotton picked her youngest son to be a United States senator."
— Raphael Warnock, the projected winner of one of Georgia's two Senate runoff races, said about his mother in a video message to supporters early Wednesday.
One kind thing
After a fire destroyed the Jackson family’s home in Evanston, Illinois, just two days before Christmas, things seemed hopeless.
Then a guardian angel from around the block opened his heart — and his wallet.
Jeron Dorsey donated his entire paycheck and collected gift cards to help the family.
"If we all start giving and loving on each other, I think man, we'll all be so much better off," said Dorsey when asked about his act of kindness.
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