Brett Neely

Updated at 4:30 p.m. ET

A bipartisan group of roughly 20 senators say they are nearing an agreement to pass a spending bill to reopen the government in exchange for plans to begin work on immigration legislation.

For 20-odd hours, Virginia Democrats were giddy with the news that a recount had delivered Shelly Simonds a seat in the House of Delegates with a victory margin of a single vote. The Democratic win would mean a 50-50 party split in the House of Delegates, ending 17 years of Republican control and forcing a rare power-sharing agreement.

In odd-numbered years, Election Day consists of a hodgepodge of state, local and special elections.

But in an era when, to flip an old phrase, all politics is national, these low-profile, low-turnout elections might have a lot more to say about the direction of the country than may have been the case just a few years ago.

Two governors races and one president in the background

When West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice stood next to President Trump during a campaign rally in Huntington, W.Va., on Thursday to announce that he was switching parties and becoming a Republican, it was a historic moment for the GOP.

Kid Rock, the singer whose career has spanned rap, hard rock and country music, is fueling the speculation that he intends to announce a bid for the U.S. Senate next year to challenge incumbent Democrat Debbie Stabenow of Michigan. That is unless it's all a publicity stunt.

Millions of Americans will experience major changes to their health coverage if both chambers of Congress pass the Republican health care bill that's currently under consideration in the House of Representatives.

The bill would no longer require that Americans buy health insurance, and it would eliminate the current subsidies that are used to bring down the cost of premiums. NPR's full coverage explains how those subsidies would be replaced with a fixed refundable tax credit and there would be big changes to Medicaid.

A day after shocking the political and foreign policy establishments on both sides of the aisle with a call for Russia to hack into Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton's email, Republican nominee Donald Trump now says he was being "sarcastic."

Less than 24 hours earlier, Trump said he would welcome Russian hackers releasing any emails they could "find" from the private email server Clinton used while serving as secretary of state.

Less than 12 hours after he was booed for not endorsing GOP nominee Donald Trump during his late-night speech before the Republican National Convention, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz wasn't backing down.

At an emotional event with the Texas RNC delegation Thursday morning, Cruz defended his decision to withhold his endorsement at a time when Republicans are trying to rally around their nominee ahead of the general election.

After repeatedly denying that elements of a 2008 speech by Michelle Obama were used in Melania Trump's address on the first night of the Republican National Convention, an employee of the Trump Organization took responsibility for the flap on Wednesday.

In a statement issued by the Trump campaign, staff writer Meredith McIver accepted responsibility for the addition of Michelle Obama's words in the speech.

This election year may well go down as the conspiracy-theory election, thanks to Donald Trump's ceaseless efforts to inject unsubstantiated plots into the American political debate.

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