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Thom Tillis. Photo: Tom Williams-Pool/Getty Images

Sen. Thom Tillis (R) has won re-election against Democratic challenger Cal Cunningham in North Carolina, AP projects.

Why it matters: Tillis' victory is a major win for Republicans as they fight to keep control of the U.S. Senate.

  • Tillis was first elected in 2014 and has branded himself as a loyal defender of President Trump.

Between the lines: Polls generally favored Cunningham, but both candidates were plagued by controversies in the run-up to the election.

  • Cunningham's polling lead took a hit in early October after he admitted to having an extramarital affair.
  • Tillis, meanwhile, faced criticism when he and several others tested positive for the coronavirus after attending a Rose Garden ceremony introducing Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett.
Data: AP; Chart: Naema Ahmed, Andrew Witherspoon, Danielle Alberti/Axios

What they're saying: "While the results of this election suggest there remain deep political divisions in our state and nation, the more complete story of our country lies in what unites us: our faith and sense of confidence in our democracy, our civic values and common humanity, our shared aspiration to care for one another, and our belief that we live in a country that does exceptional things," Cunningham said in a statement conceding to Tillis.

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Jan 16, 2021 - Politics & Policy

The Biden team

Chart: Danielle Alberti/Axios
Updated 6 hours ago - Sports

Olympics dashboard

Silver medalist Lilly King of Team USA (left) embraces gold medalist Tatjana Schoenmaker of Team South Africa on the podium during the medal ceremony for the Women's 200m breaststroke final on July 30. Photo: Clive Rose/Getty Images

🥇 : U.S. gymnast Suni Lee wins gold in the women's individual all-around

🚣‍♀️: Team USA women's eight rowing fails to reach the podium

🤸🏾‍♀️: Simone Biles reacts to "love and support" after withdrawing from all-around gymnastics and team finals, citing her mental health

🏊: Olympic swimmer Ryan Murphy wins Silver in 200m

📷: In photos: Tokyo Olympics day 6 highlights

🗓: The Olympic events to watch today

🏃‍: Female Olympians push back against double standard in uniforms

Go deeper: Full Axios coverage

Former Michigan Sen. Carl Levin dies at 87

Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI) in 2014. He died Thursday. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Former U.S. Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) died Thursday, his family and the Levin Center at Wayne Law — which bore his name — confirmed. He was 87.

Why it matters: The Detroit native served for 36 years in the U.S. Senate, serving twice as chairman of the Armed Services Committee and is credited with helping overturn the military's “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” rule.