AP Top News at 7:42 p.m. EDT

Associated Press
Kentucky Republican Senate candidate Rand Paul signs the election register in front of poll workers Vicky Finn, right, and Anita Bishop, as he prepares to vote in Bowling Green, Ky., Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2010. Paul's wife Kelley is at left. (AP Photo/Ed Reinke)
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Republicans gained a Senate seat in Indiana, and tea party favorite Rand Paul coasted to victory in Kentucky in midterm elections Tuesday night, first fruits of a drive to break the Democrats' grip on power in Congress. Republicans also led for three House seats in Democratic hands in Indiana, and projected confidence they would succeed in winning a majority and installing Rep. John Boehner of Ohio as speaker.

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A veteran of George W. Bush's White House has kept Ohio's open U.S. Senate seat in the hands of the GOP. Republican Rob Portman coasted to an easy victory Tuesday over Ohio Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher in a race that Democrats gave up on months ago.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Voters were intensely worried about the future of the economy and unhappy with the way President Barack Obama and Congress have been running things. A strong vein of disappointment ran throughout demographic groups, landing heavily on Democrats.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Scrapping for votes to the end, President Barack Obama campaigned from behind his Oval Office desk Tuesday, dialing in to urban radio programs in places with competitive races and urging supporters to get to the polls before they closed. "There are direct consequences to this election. It's not just an abstraction," Obama said on Chicago radio station WVON, two hours before the 8 p.m. EDT deadline to vote in his home state of Illinois. There, the state treasurer and Obama friend Alexi Giannoulias was in a tight race against Republican Mark Kirk to keep Obama's former Senate seat in the Democratic column.

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — California voters decided Tuesday whether to make their state the first to legalize recreational marijuana, drawing worldwide attention atop the 160 ballot measures in 37 states that also included divisive proposals to slash taxes and ban abortion. The California proposal — titled the Regulate, Control and Tax Cannabis Act — would allow adults 21 and over to possess up to an ounce of pot, consume it in nonpublic places as long as no children were present and grow it in small private plots.

BAGHDAD (AP) — Rapid-fire bombings and mortar strikes killed 76 people and wounded more than 200 across Baghdad's myriad neighborhoods Tuesday, demonstrating the insurgents' ability to carry out coordinated strikes from one side of the capital to the other. The attack — blasts in at least 13 separate neighborhoods — was clearly designed to hit civilians at restaurants and cafes where many Iraqis were gathered to enjoy the warm evening. The sophistication and the targets — Shiites — suggested that al-Qaida-linked Sunni militants were responsible for the deadliest day in Iraq since May.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Even after a suspected test run in September, last week's attempted mail bombings from Yemen were a shot in the dark for al-Qaida, which could not have known exactly where its packages were when they were set to explode, U.S. officials said Tuesday. When investigators pulled the Chicago-bound packages off cargo planes in England and the United Arab Emirates Friday, they found the bombs wired to cell phones. The communication cards had been removed and the phones could not receive calls, officials said, making it likely the terrorists intended the alarm or timer functions to detonate the bombs.

RAFAH, Gaza Strip (AP) — Israel's easing of its Gaza blockade has accomplished something Israeli bombing raids and an underground steel wall could not: It has devastated the Hamas-ruled territory's once thriving smuggling industry. Now that most consumer goods can again reach Gaza through Israel — after three years of tight border closures — many of the hundreds of smuggling tunnels that once served as the Palestinian territory's lifeline have simply shut down.

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — The final launch of space shuttle Discovery has been delayed again, this time because of an electrical problem. NASA decided early Tuesday evening to bump the liftoff until at least Thursday. The decision came less than 24 hours before the scheduled launch on Wednesday.

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. (AP) — After a couple hours of waiting Tuesday, a judge expecting to arraign actor Randy Quaid and his wife on felony vandalism charges asked a familiar question about the couple: "Where are the Quaids?" The simple answer for the day: Canada. Their failure to appear may leave the actor and his wife, Evi, worrying about more than just a mysterious syndicate they've dubbed "star-whackers" that they claim they're running from. Tuesday was their third missed court appearance in a case that's barely two weeks old, and the couple's attorney acknowledged that bounty hunters may soon be on their tail.

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