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Democratic Rep. Tammy Duckworth wins the Illinois Senate race, AP projects. She defeats GOP Sen. Mark Kirk, who made a series of gaffes in a race where he was already at a significant disadvantage, given the heavy Democratic tilt of the state.

It’s an important -- but hardly unexpected -- pick-up for Democrats and gives them their first net Senate seat of the night. Democrats need to flip five Senate seats -- or four if Clinton wins the White House -- and this gets them part of the way there. It topped our list of likely Democratic Senate pick-ups all year.

The species known as Brood V cicadas will soon come out in parts of Ohio, Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia, after being underground for 17 years. These periodical cicadas have an inborn molecular clock. They will emerge when the temperature is 65 degrees Fahrenheit at eight inches beneath the ground.

Chris Simon, a professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Connecticut – Storrs, talks to Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson about the fascinating history and behavior of cicadas.

Every four years as the caucuses and primaries begin for the presidential nomination process, pundits and pollsters -- as well as quite a few voters -- once again raise the question: Why Iowa? Why New Hampshire.

The question about which states get to go first got the NPR political team thinking. If a different state were to be chosen to vote first, one that was more representative of the country as a whole, which would be?

Joan Cheuse / via NPR

Alan Cheuse, the novelist, teacher and longtime literary commentator for NPR, has died at the age of 75. His daughter, Sonya, confirmed that he died Friday of injuries sustained in a car accident in California two weeks ago.

"On behalf of the family, we are in deep grief at the loss of our beloved father, husband and grandfather," Sonya Cheuse told NPR. "He was the brightest light in our family. He will always remain in our hearts. We thank everyone for the outpouring of love and support."

Jae C. Hong/AP

An earthquake shook part of Southern California Friday night, breaking water pipes and rattling nerves with aftershocks that went on into the night. The 5.1-magnitude quake hit at a shallow depth about 20 miles southeast of Los Angeles.

While the quake didn't inflict severe damage in the area around its epicenter, it caused many problems, from water main breaks to a rockslide. Thousands of people felt its effects; there haven't been reports of serious injuries.

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