Governor hopefuls distancing themselves from Clinton, Trump JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - In West Virginia, the Democrat running for governor has defended the coal industry while decrying his party's presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton. In Vermont, the Republican nominee for governor declared his support for transgender bathroom rights and denounced GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump. Those types of unconventional strategic calculations are helping to make for close races this year in several states. A dozen governor's offices will be up for grabs in the Nov. 8 elections, including at least seven that appear competitive. The national Republican and Democratic governors associations already have spent more than $25 million in those states, according to an Associated Press analysis of financial reports and interviews.
AP-GfK poll: Third party backers a wild card in 2016 race WASHINGTON (AP) - Most people who are drawn to third party candidates in the presidential election aren't sold on their choice, making these voters wild cards in an already unpredictable contest. A shift in their support toward either of the major party nominees - away from Libertarian Gary Johnson, Jill Stein of the Green Party or another third party candidate - could drastically change the shape of the race. A recent Associated Press-GfK poll found that nearly 7 in 10 third-party supporters say they could still change their minds. They are about evenly split between Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump if forced to choose between just those two.
Powerful Hurricane Matthew soaks Colombia, heads for Jamaica KINGSTON, Jamaica (AP) - One of the most powerful Atlantic hurricanes in recent history weakened a little on Saturday as it drenched coastal Colombia and roared across the Caribbean on a course that still puts Jamaica, Haiti and Cuba in the path of potentially devastating winds and rain. Matthew briefly reached the top hurricane classification, Category 5, and was the strongest Atlantic hurricane since Felix in 2007. The U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami said Matthew's winds had slipped from a peak of 160 mph (260 kph) to a still-devastating 145 mph (230 kph) and it was expected to reach the eastern part of Jamaica on Monday.
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Rally, march in memory of man shot by police in California EL CAJON, Calif. (AP) - Alfred Olango, the unarmed black man shot and killed by police in a suburb of San Diego, was remembered in a demonstration Saturday organized by clergy members and supporters of Olango's family. About 200 people gathered peacefully at a park in downtown El Cajon to hear speeches by religious leaders ahead of a march through the streets to police headquarters, where Olango's family members were expected to join them. The event comes a day after two videos of the shooting were released by authorities, something the family and community leaders had urged. The videos show the officer fired four times at close range almost immediately after Olango, 38, suddenly raised both hands to chest level and took what was described as a shooting stance.
After suspension, what's next for Alabama chief justice? MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore built his career on defiance, and it has cost him his job - twice. A disciplinary panel that removed him from office 13 years ago over a Ten Commandments monument suspended him Friday for the remainder of his term for defying the federal courts on gay marriage. The court ruled that Moore wrongly urged 68 state probate judges "to stop complying with binding federal law" when he told them in January that they remained bound by a 2015 state court order to refuse marriage licenses to gay couples. Long a symbol of the culture wars after his Ten Commandments fight, the outspoken Republican judge is now focused on appealing his suspension.
Pope presses Georgian Orthodox agenda despite Mass absence TBILISI, Georgia (AP) - Pope Francis' efforts to improve relations with the Georgian Orthodox Church suffered a setback Saturday after the patriarchate decided at the last minute not to send an official delegation to his Mass and reminded the Orthodox faithful they cannot participate in Catholic services. Francis still pressed on with his agenda, insisting that Catholics must never try to convert Orthodox and bowing in prayer alongside the Orthodox patriarch after they both lit a candle in the Orthodox cathedral. Francis called for the historical divisions that have "lacerated" Christianity to be healed through patience, trust and dialogue. "We are called to be one in Jesus Christ and to avoid putting disharmony and divisions between the baptized first, because what unites us is much more than what divides us," he told Patriarch Ilia, amid the Aramaic chants and hypnotic bells tolling at the cathedral in the spiritual capital of the Georgian Orthodox Church.
Supreme Court in holding pattern, awaiting ninth justice WASHINGTON (AP) - The Supreme Court is set to begin its new term as it ended the last one, down one justice and ideologically deadlocked on a range of issues. The absence of a ninth justice since Antonin Scalia's death in February has hamstrung the court in several cases and forced the justices to look for less contentious issues on which they are less likely to divide by 4-4 votes. It could be several months, at least, before the nation's highest court is again operating at full strength. "It's a very interesting time at the court. That doesn't necessarily translate into interesting cases.
Missouri woman accuses fellow Legislature candidate of rape ST. LOUIS (AP) - A Ferguson lawyer who is running for a seat in the Missouri House has accused another Democratic candidate of raping her during an August meeting to discuss how they could work together in the upcoming legislative session. Cora Faith Walker, 31, told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, which broke the story Saturday, that she was sexually assaulted by Steven Roberts Jr., a former assistant prosecutor, after going to meet him at a St. Louis apartment on the night of Aug. 26. Both candidates are black Democrats who are running unopposed for seats in a Legislature that is predominantly white and Republican.
Effort to recognize World War II spies hung up in Congress McLEAN, Va. (AP) - Spies don't work for fame or acclaim. But after 75 years, the men and women who served behind the enemy lines in Nazi Germany and the Pacific theater during World War II wouldn't mind some recognition. Legislation to award the spies the Congressional Gold Medal has passed the Senate and has more than 300 sponsors in the House, yet the bill is being held up by House Republicans, who recently enacted rules that require a special waiver to grant the medal to groups of people. "I would be extremely proud to get a gold medal for what we did for our country," said Frank Gleason, 96, one of the few remaining veterans of the Office of Strategic Services, the World War II-era forerunner to the CIA.
Spanish rally brings Europe closer in Ryder Cup CHASKA, Minn. (AP) - A sprint to the finish by Sergio Garcia and Rafa Cabrera Bello enabled Europe to creep a little closer Saturday morning in the Ryder Cup. The Spaniards looked to have no chance in the final foursomes match against Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed, who made six birdies in 12 holes to build a 4-up lead. It looked for the longest time as though the morning session would be split, and the Americans would keep a two-point lead. And then it changed without notice, as it so often does in this event. Garcia and Cabrera Bello won four of the next five holes to square the match, and Reed had to make a 5-foot par putt on the 18th hole to escape with a halve.