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September 23, 2018 - 12:00 am

ELECTION 2018-GOVERNORS

In governor's races, Trump emerges as a defining issue

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Governor's races are on the ballot in 36 states this year, and the common thread running through many of them has nothing to do with state policy: It's President Donald Trump.

Most of the races expected to be competitive in November are in states where Republicans now serve as governor. Trump's relative unpopularity presents another challenge for Republicans trying to defend those seats.

In Michigan, Trump has supported Republican Attorney General Bill Schuette in his run for governor against the Democrat, former legislative leader Gretchen Whitmer.

That may have helped Schuette in a competitive GOP primary, but it could cost him some support in the general election.

A similar theme is playing out in other states.

NUCLEAR REACTORS-SOUTH CAROLINA

Federal appeals court keeps rate cuts for failed nuke plants

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — A federal appeals court has refused to stop rate cuts for customers of a private South Carolina utility who are saddled with billions of dollars of debt for a nuclear plant that never generated power.

The U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals denied a request Friday from South Carolina Electric & Gas to stop the temporary rate cuts while it appeals and also denied a request to speed up the case.

The South Carolina Legislature passed the 15 percent rate cut in June. It was retroactive to April and knocks about $25 a month off the average residential customer's bill. Customers have already received some credit on their bills.

Lawmakers say shareholders, not ratepayers should shoulder the cost of the failed two new reactors at the V.C. Summer Nuclear plant.

SC GOVERNOR

SC gov nominee video features kids singing 46-county song

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — With 46 days to go in the general election campaign, South Carolina's Democratic gubernatorial nominee is out with a unique video the campaign says shows a commitment to representing people in the state's 46 counties.

The video released Friday by James Smith's campaign features school children singing the names of all the state's counties.

In a release, Smith's campaign says the state representative and running mate Mandy Powers Norrell "will be a governor and lieutenant governor for all South Carolinians."

Smith faces Gov. Henry McMaster in the November general election.

TROPICAL WEATHER-THE LATEST

The Latest: Subtropical Storm Leslie forms in north Atlantic

BLADENBORO, N.C. (AP) — Forecasters say Subtropical Storm Leslie has formed in the north Atlantic, far from land.

The National Hurricane Center in Miami said Sunday morning that Leslie is expected to be short-lived. Leslie is about 1,145 miles (1,840 kilometers) west-southwest of the Azores and has winds of 40 mph (65 kph). The storm is moving 3 mph (5 kph), and little motion is expected in the next two days.

Farther southeast, Tropical Storm Kirk is moving quickly west across the eastern Atlantic and is expected to pick up speed in the next few days. Forecasters say Kirk is about 545 miles (875 kilometers) southwest of the Cabo Verde Islands. The storm has maximum sustained winds of 40 mph (65 kph) and is moving west at 21 mph (34 kph). Forecasters think the storm will move even faster though Tuesday.

Kirk is expected to strengthen for a few days and then weaken toward the end of the week.

TROPICAL WEATHER-HOTEL SWEPT AWAY

Florence sweeps away motel and family's hard work, savings

SPRING LAKE, N.C. (AP) — Hurricane Florence washed away half the rooms at the Starlite Motel in Spring Lake, North Carolina. What's left will probably have to be demolished.

Co-owner Kishor Depani says he and his brothers had saved for years to purchase the property a few months ago. Now they are hoping that the government can help because they didn't have flood insurance.

Depani said in an interview that he and his two brothers invested much of their life savings in the motel about nine months ago. He said that they had paid off little of their mortgage in that short time and estimates that they still owe the bank between $400,000 and $500,000.

UNEMPLOYMENT-SOUTH CAROLINA

South Carolina's unemployment rate drops to 3.4 percent

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — South Carolina's unemployment rate again dropped slightly last month.

The Department of Employment and Workforce said Friday that the jobless rate in South Carolina in August was 3.4 percent. That's down from 3.6 percent in July.

The agency says South Carolina also set a record with more than 2.2 million people working.

Officials say professional and business services added 4,000 jobs, while manufacturing lost 1,500 jobs.

The agency said in a news release that Bamberg County had the highest August unemployment rate at 7.7 percent. Charleston and Lexington counties had the lowest jobless rates at 3.0 percent.

The national unemployment rate was unchanged in August at 3.9 percent.

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