All eyes will now turn to the deep southeast, with potential recounts and a potential runoff for extremely high stakes gubernatorial contests.

The big picture: Florida could be heading to three statewide recounts, and Georgia Democrats are prepared to use litigation as they search for the roughly 25,000 votes needed to force a gubernatorial runoff.

In Georgia: Gubernatorial candidate Brian Kemp resigned today as the state's secretary of state. Kemp was due to face a lawsuit brought by Georgia voters for his role overseeing his own race.

  • Kemp currently has 50.3% of the vote, per the AP, and must finish with a clean majority to prevent a runoff.
  • The race has been marred by allegations of voter suppression and conflicts of interest, with Democratic candidate Stacey Abrams pledging Tuesday night not to concede to Kemp until "every vote gets counted."

And in Florida: "These are the first statewide recounts since the case of Bush v. Gore, which prompted Florida to switch from antiquated paper punch-card ballots to touch screen machines that were soon discarded and replaced with the current system of optical-scan paper ballots," the Miami Herald reports.

  • If the gubernatorial race maintains its current .47% margin, there will be recounts for governor, Senate and agriculture commissioner.
  • “The recounts will be nationally watched … [we’re] under a microscope,” Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner said on a Thursday conference call per the Herald.

The bottom line, via Axios' Alexi McCammond: The slim margins and the possibility that both Democrats could actually win these races in the end would be huge news not just for Dems in 2018, but for those with an eye on challenging Trump in the next presidential election.

  • People have been pointing to Andrew Gillum's loss as an example of why Democrats can't run a progressive nominee in 2020. That argument would be weakened if he pulls out a win after the recount.

Go deeper: Take a look at results across the country, with our handy map

Go deeper

Deadly Hurricane Zeta slams U.S. Gulf Coast

A satellite image of Hurricane Zeta. Photo: National Hurricane Center/NOAA

Hurricane Zeta has killed at least one person after a 55-year-old man was "electrocuted by a downed power line" in Louisiana as the storm caused widespread power outages Wednesday night, per AP.

What's happening: Zeta made landfall south of New Orleans as a Category 2 hurricane earlier Wednesday before weakening to Category 1. But it was still "battering southeastern Louisiana and southern Mississippi with life-threatening storm surge, high winds, and heavy rain" late Wednesday, per the National Hurricane Center.

Updated 43 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Politics: Biden ahead in Wisconsin, Michigan as cases surge in the Midwest.
  2. Health: Fauci says U.S. may not return to normal until 2022 — Trump's testing czar: Surge "is real" and not just caused by more tests Some coronavirus survivors have "autoantibodies."
  3. Business: Consumer confidence sinking Testing is a windfall.
  4. World: Europe faces "stronger and deadlier" wave France imposes lockdown Germany to close bars and restaurants for a month.
  5. Sports: Boston Marathon delayed MLB to investigate Dodgers player who joined celebration after positive COVID test.
1 hour ago - Health

Fauci says U.S. may not return to normal until 2022

Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Anthony Fauci, testifies during a September Senate hearing on COVID-19 in Washington, D.C. Photo: Graeme Jennings/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

NIAID director Anthony Fauci told the Journal of the American Medical Association on Wednesday he doesn't expect a COVID-19 vaccine to be ready until January 2021 or later.

What he's saying: Fauci said during the interview that the U.S. was in a "bad position" after failing to keep case numbers down post-summer. "We should have been way down in baseline and daily cases and we’re not," he said.

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