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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.

Go deeper

Jan 16, 2021 - Politics & Policy

The Biden team

Chart: Danielle Alberti/Axios

45 million Americans under winter storm watches near New England

Computer model projection showing the winds moving around the powerful East Coast storm on Saturday Jan. 29, 2022. Image: https://earth.nullschool.net

Nearly 45 million Americans are under winter weather alerts and warnings from North Carolina to northeastern Maine, as a major winter storm threatens the region.

Why it matters: It is predicted to be the biggest blizzard since 2018 to strike the Northeast with more than 2 feet of snow possible in parts of eastern Massachusetts, according to the National Weather Service.

3 hours ago - World

Australian PM pledges $700M for climate change-threatened Great Barrier reef

A green sea turtle is flourishing among the corals at Lady Elliot island in Australia's Great Barrier Reef. Photo: Jonas Gratzer/LightRocket via Getty Images

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced Friday a AU$1 billion ($703 million) investment plan for the Great Barrier Reef.

Why it matters: The nine-year plan for projects including water quality improvement, reef conservation and supporting some 64,000 tourism jobs comes months ahead of this year's federal election. It has been criticized by scientists and environmental groups for failing to tackle climate change.