NPR Political Coverage

Updated at 6:18 p.m. ET

The longest-serving Republican senator in American history is finally ready to call it quits.

Utah GOP Sen. Orrin Hatch announced on Tuesday that he will not run for re-election in 2018 and will leave the Senate at the end of his current term, after 42 years in his seat.

The Russia probe, led by special counsel Robert Mueller, was chosen as the top political story of the year.

It narrowly beat out the sweeping story of fallout from sexual harassment, which touched on every industry, caused the resignations of a senator and members of Congress and continues.

The selection happened through Twitter, where more than 4,700 users voted on the final matchup of a March Madness-style 64-story tournament.

Former international soccer star George Weah has won Liberia's presidential runoff, the country's election commission announced Thursday.

Weah won 61.5 percent of the vote, with more than 98 percent of ballots counted. He defeated the current vice president, Joseph Boakai.

Fallout from sexual harassment, former FBI Director James Comey's firing and the ensuing Russia probe by special counsel Robert Mueller are all in strong positions to be the top political stories of 2017.

Will there be an upset Thursday? Voting begins at 8:30 a.m. ET and will close at noon ET, when voting will begin on the final eight. (VOTE HERE!)

A pivotal Virginia legislative race — and control of the entire House of Delegates — almost came down to the luck of the draw this week.

Initially, it seemed as though Democrat Shelly Simonds had won last month's election by just one vote after a Dec. 19 recount. Then Republican incumbent David Yancey successfully challenged one ballot, which led to an exact tie. The Virginia State Board of Elections had planned a drawing Wednesday to pick the winner, but Simonds filed a legal challenge against the ballot that had deadlocked the contest.

It was a pretty predictable first round of voting in the NPR Top Political Story of the Year Bracket.

The top seeds all advanced easily. The only upset was 10-seeded Anthony Scaramucci's 10 days in the White House breezing past the far-more important New York Truck Attack, which was a 7-seed.

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ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

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ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

NPR's Ari Shapiro speaks with James Alcorn, chairman of Virginia's board of elections, about drawing a film canister from a crystal bowl tomorrow, which will have a slip of paper that will decide which candidate will become a state delegate. It will also determine whether the Republican Party will keep control of the state House, or if the delegates will be split with the Democrats.

Updated at 2:10 p.m. ET

So much happened in 2017, it's hard to believe.

Ranking the top stories of the year is nearly impossible, especially with so many consequential, eye-popping and fast-moving things that happened.

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