Republican coup? A tea party-backed candidate is headed for a runoff with six-term Republican Sen. Thad Cochran after yesterday’s primary in Mississippi. Unofficial returns from 99 percent of the state’s precincts showed challenger Chris McDaniel with slightly under 50 percent of the vote in a three-way race and Cochran slightly under 49 percent. The Mississippi contest easily overshadowed races in seven other states, several of which sent GOP establishment-backed candidates into fall campaigns in Senate races Republicans have targeted in their drive to gain six seats and a majority.
Storm surge. A fast-moving train of thunderstorms flooded parts of Omaha, Neb., and unexpectedly pummeled highway drivers in Nebraska and Iowa yesterday. The line of storms threatens 15 million Americans from Ohio to Tennessee today, according to weather.com. It might qualify as a derecho, a storm complex with damaging, straight-line winds that extends for 240 miles.
Mock election. Syrians voted yesterday in a suspect presidential election held during a protracted civil war. President Bashar al-Assad, who succeeded his father as ruler of Syria in 2000, is virtually guaranteed the win. While al-Assad’s allies praised the election as transparent and democratic, many Western analysts suggested it was rigged.
Twist ending. A mortician-turned-murderer featured in the 2011 dark comedy Bernie received a reprieve from his life sentence this week. Bernie Tiede’s release adds another twist to the bizarre story first recounted by Skip Hollandsworth in Texas Monthly. As The Washington Post’s Mark Berman put it: “This is a moderately crazy story involving a mortician getting convicted of murder, spending 15 years behind bars, having his story told in a movie starring Jack Black and, ultimately, being released to move in with the acclaimed director of said movie.”
Silent rebellion. Life is imitating art after a military coup in Thailand, where protesters are using the three-finger salute from The Hunger Games books and movies as a silent act of rebellion. Thailand’s new military rulers are threatening to arrest people if they don’t stop using the gesture, in which they touch three fingers to their mouths and then raise them in the air.