SPY GAMES — Recreational drones made by a Chinese company have been detected more than 100 times recently in no-go D.C. airspace zones, triggering agency and congressional alarms about possible pathways for spying, Bryan Bender and Andrew Desiderio report. DJI, the manufacturer, denies any control over users’ activity, and officials don’t think Beijing is directing these drones. But the company has reportedly tried to hide its financial ties to the Chinese state, and the drones’ presence in restricted D.C. airspace worry some in the U.S.

Sen. MARCO RUBIO (R-Fla.): “Any technological product with origins in China or Chinese companies holds a real risk and potential of vulnerability that can be exploited both now and in a time of conflict.”

The Georgia Supreme Court upheld early voting this Saturday. | Mike Stewart, File/AP Photo

GEORGIA ON MY MIND — As the Peach State’s Senate runoff barrels into the final couple of weeks of the campaign, the state Supreme Court today issued two notable decisions with the potential to have an impact on the election. As Eugene laid out this morning, there’s still plenty of midterms energy and political combat left in Georgia.

Voting: In a victory for Democratic Sen. RAPHAEL WARNOCK, the court upheld early voting this Saturday. The brief, unanimous order tossed out a bid by state and national Republicans to block what they describe as “illegal advance voting,” citing a state law restricting voting around holidays. But the justices sided with Warnock and Democrats, who want to try to bolster turnout with another day of polls being open. Details from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Abortion: The court allowed the state’s six-week ban on abortions to go back into effect, putting on hold a lower court order that had blocked the restriction. Seven of the nine justices backed the ruling, with the other two disqualified or not participating. The ban originally went into effect this summer. This decision, of course, went conservatives’ way, though it also helps keep abortion front and center as Election Day nears — which might not be the worst thing for Warnock. More from the AP

Shades of Dr. Oz: Republican HERSCHEL WALKER got a homestead tax exemption in Texas — a break that’s only for a primary residence — this year, CNN’s Andrew Kaczynski and Em Steck reveal. The exemption kept about $1,500 in Walker’s pocket, but it also raises questions about him “potentially running afoul of both Texas tax rules and some Georgia rules on establishing residency for the purpose of voting or running for office.” But one Georgia expert said it’s more of a political liability than a real legal issue. Walker lived in Texas for decades before registering to vote in Georgia last year. His campaign didn’t respond to CNN.

By the numbers: National and Georgia Republicans have 400 paid staffers working the state for Walker, per WSJ’s Lindsay Wise, Cameron McWhirter and Joshua Jamerson in Conyers, plus dozens more from the Walker campaign. And Warnock has added 300 new paid field staffers for the runoff, bringing his total to more than 900. Meanwhile, DONALD TRUMP is planning to hold a “virtual rally” for Walker shortly before Election Day — which his team considers “an effective way to motivate his fans without drawing the kind of news coverage that stirs up opposition.” (Trump did a similar event last year before GLENN YOUNGKIN’s big Virginia governor win.)

Warnock’s campaign is hiring 100 campus organizers across the state, following disappointing youth turnout in November, HuffPost’s Kevin Robillard reports from Atlanta. STACEY ABRAMS’ New Georgia Project is focusing all its organizing efforts on getting the youth vote out, including non-college attendees.

THE LATEST MASS SHOOTING — “Sources identify Walmart employee who killed 6 inside Chesapeake store,” by The Virginian-Pilot’s Caitlyn Burchett, Ian Munro and Gavin Stone: “Seven people died in a shooting inside a Chesapeake Walmart late Tuesday night when a store employee opened fire with a pistol, starting in the break room, the police chief said. The shooter died of a self-inflicted gunshot … Investigators are not aware of anything in the shooter’s background that would have indicated cause for concern. Asked if the shooter was known to police, [Chief MARK] SOLESKY said, ‘Not that I’m aware of at this time.’”

Good Wednesday afternoon. I won’t venture any World Cup predictions like my unfortunate colleague Garrett, but I’m pulling for the U.S., Croatia (where I watched the last World Cup from a raucous central square in Zagreb) and Australia (from which I just returned). Send your tournament hopes to [email protected], and send your blame for the U.S.’ disappointing Wales result to POLITICO Influence author and Playbook friend Caitlin Oprysko, who went to high school in Georgia with WALKER ZIMMERMAN.

Playbook PM will be off Thursday and Friday, but we’ll still be in your inboxes every morning.

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MIDTERMS FOREVER

HAPPENING TONIGHT — We get more results, and potential House and Senate calls, from the Alaska ranked-choice elections at 8 p.m. Eastern.

LOSING ARIZONA — It wasn’t malfeasance. Despite Arizona Republicans’ suggestions that they lost unfairly, the Arizona Republic’s Ronald Hansen and Caitlin McGlade dug into the voting data and found the true story: Some GOP voters in Maricopa County couldn’t stomach their party’s top nominees. In Republican-leaning areas, they report, voters picked Republicans for the House, the state legislature, state treasurer and other positions — but not KARI LAKE, BLAKE MASTERS or MARK FINCHEM. “Republicans running in a Republican-leaning environment in a traditionally Republican-friendly state fell flat in Republican areas,” they write, because the party veered too far right. They also debunk some of Lake’s other claims.

THE YOUTH VOTE — “‘I-told-you-so moment’: Young voter advocates urge parties to take them seriously after midterms,” by USA Today’s Ella Lee

THE ECONOMY

THE UNEMPLOYMENT PICTURE — New jobless claims last week jumped to 240,000 — the highest number since August, if still a fairly low level overall, per Labor Department data out this morning. The tick up indicates a slight softening in the labor market as the Fed tries to cool things down with interest rate hikes. More from the AP

CONGRESS

MARK YOUR CALENDARS — Speaker NANCY PELOSI announced today that she and other Hill leaders will hold a Congressional Gold Medal ceremony at the Capitol on Dec. 6 honoring the law enforcement officers who protected the legislature on Jan. 6. Senate Majority Leader CHUCK SCHUMER, Senate Minority Leader MITCH McCONNELL and House GOP Leader KEVIN McCARTHY are all slated to attend.

KNOWING LUCY McBATH — “10 years later, McBath turned grief over her son’s death into political career,” by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Tia Mitchell: “JORDAN DAVIS, McBath’s son, would be 27 years old if he had lived. But he was gunned down 10 years ago on Nov. 23, Black Friday that year … ‘I didn’t really understand that I had a political natural talent, and I’m still learning and still growing every single day,’ she said. ‘But I think just the basic need to care for people, to care for my community and to provide for them like a mother does — provide nurturing and care and support and safety — I think that’s where it really stems from.’ … Today, McBath is somewhere on the ocean where she will toast to being a mother still.”

TRUMP CARDS

WHAT’S ON TRUMP’S MIND — The former president spent the night sharing fringe QAnon posts on Truth Social, as Kyle Cheney notes, and attacked the Supreme Court to which he appointed one-third of the justices: “Why would anybody be surprised that the Supreme Court has ruled against me, they always do! … The Supreme Court has lost its honor, prestige, and standing, & has become nothing more than a political body.”

MEDIAWATCH

MAKING IT TO THE MERGE — One of News Corp.’s and Fox Corp.’s biggest non-Murdoch shareholders, the British investment firm Independent Franchise Partners, has come out against the companies’ merger, WSJ’s Alex Frangos scooped. “It believes any combination should be done in conjunction with the sale of some of News Corp’s most valuable business units.” Other shareholders have also questioned the deal or advocated for disentanglement, which could throw wrenches into RUPERT MURDOCH’s plans.

ABORTION FALLOUT

A NEW ANGLE ON THE RIGHT — “The next abortion fight could be over wastewater regulation,” by Alice Miranda Ollstein: “The first salvo started last week with a petition asking the Food and Drug Administration to require any doctor who prescribes the pills to be responsible for disposing of the fetal tissue — which anti-abortion advocates want to be bagged and treated as medical waste rather than flushed down the toilet and into the wastewater. If the FDA ignores or rejects the petition, as is expected, the group Students for Life of America plans to sue the agency with the conservative legal powerhouse Alliance Defending Freedom.”

POLICY CORNER

BANK ON IT — The Financial Stability Oversight Council is preparing to crack down on non-banks by rolling back Trump-era limits on their regulation, WSJ’s Andrew Ackerman scooped. The Biden administration move, which could come in the new year, would pave the way for regulators to designate some of the firms as systemically important financial institutions. Officials worry that hedge funds, asset managers and other non-banks can pose increasing risks to the financial system away from federal oversight. “The effort is likely to generate pushback, potentially even legal challenges, from industry firms and Republican officials who view the panel with skepticism, portraying it as unaccountable and nontransparent.”

WAR IN UKRAINE

THE LATEST TRANCHE — The U.S. announced a new batch of $400 million in military assistance to Ukraine. While details are scant, the aid encompasses weapons, air defense components and more. More from the Washington Examiner

AMERICA AND THE WORLD

MORE SANCTIONS — The Treasury Department slapped new sanctions on three Iranian security officials over the country’s response to a wave of ongoing protests. “The three allegedly assisted in spreading military control over largely Kurdish areas,” per the AP.

NOT SO SWEET — The U.S. today declared it will block sugar imports from the Dominican Republic’s largest producer over allegations of forced labor and inhumane working conditions. Central Romana Corp. had been under investigation by Customs and Border Protection, which ultimately “found that the company allegedly isolated workers, withheld wages, fostered abusive working and living conditions and pushed for excessive overtime,” AP’s Dánica Coto reports.

BEYOND THE BELTWAY

PANDEMIC PAIN — WaPo’s Laura Meckler surveys a suite of recent studies that clocked pandemic-era learning loss. Among the top-line findings: Remote school produced worse outcomes, as conservatives have long warned. Students in high-poverty areas suffered the most. And younger children have recovered from the setbacks more quickly than older ones.

MUSK READS

CLICKER — NYT’s Stuart Thompson breaks down some data showing who has ponied up the $8 per month for a blue check mark on Twitter. The most popular accounts include YouTubers, porn stars and far-right groups like Libs of TikTok. But there are also spoofs of people like Sen. TED CRUZ (R-Texas) — and plenty of ordinary folks. The average Twitter Blue subscriber has roughly 560 followers.

THANKSGIVING TURKEYS

INFLATION NATION — How much more will the holiday cost you this year? With inflation biting, NYT’s Roe D’Angelo and Zachary Bickel run down the increases: The price of turkey is up 18%, cubed bread stuffing is up 41%, and airfare is up 46%. (A rare bright spot: Fresh cranberries are down 16%.) “But American consumers seem largely undeterred.”

FEARS OF A REPEAT — “Thanksgiving Poses Next Covid-19 Test as U.S. Looks to Dodge Severe Surge,” WSJ

UP IN THE AIR — The week of Thanksgiving is one of the busiest travel times of the year, and this year, it amounts to a significant test for the nation’s airlines after a summer of chaos. If problems mount, Congress is warning that it’ll get tough on the airlines, Oriana Pawlyk reports. But there was “a request Wednesday from three Senate Democrats — shared exclusively with POLITICO — that [Transportation Secretary PETE] BUTTIGIEG’s department force airlines to pay for meals, hotel stays and shuttle services when a travel setback is the airlines’ fault.”

A message from The American Petroleum Institute (API):

API’s 10-Point Plan can leverage American energy production and help address the fundamental economic and security challenge we face during the current energy crisis.