4am: Time to call it a night. A huge night for Democrats with Barack Obama’s victory, but for congressional Dems the results are a bit underwhelming and it is safe to say there was no wave. We will talk about this more tomorrow, but Democrats won the race that were already leaning towards them and a few toss-ups, but most of those broke towards Republicans - not to mention what looks like an incredible save by the GOP in Alaska. A number of races are left, so here’s a look at what is still being counted:
- Senate: Democrats have only secured 5 pick-ups, with the GOP saving Kentucky and Mississippi. Left are: (1) Oregon, which looks good for Democrats since Portland is massively under-reporting and Merkley will pick up a huge share of the vote there. (2) Minnesota, which is extremely tight at the moment as Franken is nursing a 2000 vote lead [late update: It's Coleman back on top with 500 votes!] (3) Georgia, where there is now a controversy over the potential existence (as reported by the AP) of hundreds of thousands of uncounted early ballots; if true, Chambliss would go under 50% and this will head to a runoff. (4) Alaska: Incredibly Ted Stevens leads 48% to 46% with 96% of the vote reporting! But the ADN reports that there could be as many as 50,000 absentee ballots left to be counted!
- House: Democrats stand at a gain of net 17 seats, as the GOP has saved a lot of its most vulnerable seats. We still have a number of uncalled races: AK-AL, CA-04, CA-50, ID-01, MD-01, NJ-03, OH-15, SC-01, VA-05, WA-08. All are held by the GOP. Democratic candidates look very good in MD-01, VA-05, with the rest up for grabs. Will Democrats fall short of a net gain of 20 seats?
Democrats could improve their totals still, but they are right now facing the possibility of less than 20 gains in the House and 6 Senate pick-ups. Those are strong results, but they would also constitute a huge relief for Republicans.
And then there is Proposition 8, of course, which is still too close to call with a clear edge to the yes… 3 other states already passed gay-bashing measures (Arizona, Arkansas and Florida).
3:50am: So many underwhelming results for Democrats that it is hard to know where to start, but Minnesota and New Jersey are definitely going to be at the top of the party’s disappointments: NJ-03 had been called a pick-up but has now been pulled back to the too close to call column by CNN. Republican candidate Myers is leading by 2% with 93% reporting, so it looks like the GOP might be able to hold on to its two open seats in the Garden State (who would have thought that possible?). In Alaska, meanwhile, it’s hard to see how Rep. Don Young could lose at this point (surely one of the night’s biggest upsets).
3:40am: GOP Rep. Walberg goes down by 3% in MI-07, meaning that Dems have picked-up two Michigan districts. Also: After AL-03 and SC-02, yet another district in which the DCCC did not play went for the Republican incumbent by a narrow margin (CA-03). Democrats, meanwhile, hold on to an endangered seat of their own: CA-11.
Franken and Coleman are now exchanging the lead as the last precincts are coming on. Franken is now up by 2000, but he was trailing by just as much a few minutes ago. 97% of Hennepin County is now reporting, so Franken still retains a reservoir of votes - but this could truly go either way. But Democrats are possibly experiencing a huge disappointment in Alaska, where Ted Stevens is still leading by 2% with more than 80% of the vote reporting.
In California, Prop 8 remains in the lead 52% to 48% with two thirds of the precincts reporting. I am having trouble getting a sense of which areas have yet to report. Two Democratic districts have yet to report anything at all, so the “no” hasn’t lost just yet here.
3:20am: GOP Rep. Chabot falls in OH-01, Democrat Boccieri picks-up OH-16 but Rep. Schmidt survives yet again in OH-02. OH-15 has yet to be called but it appears that Republicans might be able to hold on to it. Less surprising holds by the GOP in CA-26, CA-45, CA-46 and NV-02.
Two other huge House developments: In SC-01, I am taking the seat back from the GOP for now despite CNN’s call. Rep. Brown is only leading 53% to 47% but all the remaining precincts are in Charleston County, which is only reporting at 34% and where Linda Ketner has 59% of the vote. She will have to win the remaining votes by the same margin, but this one could still tighten. In AK-AL, it looks like Rep. Don Young will pull the most stunning upset of the night and survive as he leads by 7,5% with 72% counted.
3:05am: Indiana has been called for Obama, Montana and Alaska have been called for McCain. Still not called are North Carolina (where Obama leads 20,000) and Missouri (McCain leads by 3,000 votes). Note that this is exactly what we were expecting: Obama would win the traditionally swing states more or less comfortably and the true toss-ups would be IN, MO and NC. Polls were pretty much on target at the state level. With Obama falling just short in a number of long-shot red states he was contesting, it looks like Indiana will be remembered as the most shocking turn-around: Bush won the state with 21% in 2004! (If Obama ends up prevailing there, North Carolina will be a close second.)
2:55am: The roller-coaster continues in Minnesota where Al Franken takes his first lead in hours with 96% reporting - but it’s only 1000 votes. Hennepin County is still at 91%, so this is starting to look better for Franken.
In Georgia, a potentially major development: The AP is now reporting that there could be a large amount of early votes still uncounted in some dense counties. If true, that could be more than enough to put Chambliss under 50%.
2:45am: GOP Rep. Porter goes down in NV-03, GOP Rep. Drake goes down in VA-02 and it looks like Rep. Chabot in OH-01 might do the same. Democratic challenger Titus defeated Porter by a healthy margin in Nevada, continuing the Democratic take-over in the Southwest. Drake is one of the only upset losers of a night that has yielded very few surprises. (In fact, the two biggest surprises of the night come from Virginia, in the form of VA-02 and probably VA-05). And in Ohio, we went from 45% reporting to 99% reporting seemingly at once and Democrat Driehaus is now leading by 4% in what would be a great development for Democrats.
2:18am: Democrats pick-up AL-02, which becomes one of the most conservative districts in the country represented by a Democrat (ID-01 could join in if Rep. Sali is defeated). All is not finished in Georgia! As precincts keep reporting, Chambliss keeps going down and he is now at 50,3% with 98% reporting. If he goes a vote under 50%, this one is going to a runoff.
Here is my attempts at listing House districts that have yet to be called: AK-AL, ID-01, MD-01, MI-07, OH-01, OH-02, OH-15, OH-16, NV-02, NV-03, VA-02, VA-05, WA-08, as well as a number of California races. Democrats are leading in a number of these races (especially in MD-01, NV-03, OH-16, VA-02 and VA-05 where the count is basically over).
2:10am: There are still a lot of outstanding races out there for those who are trying to stay up, and Minnesota is certainly the most fascinating. Coleman is now leading by 3,000 votes but only 87% of Hennepin County (Minneapolis) is reporting. If the remaining 13% report at the same margin as the other 80%, Franken could overcome Coleman’s lead - though rural counties don’t get in the way.
In Alaska, there is no way of knowing where results are coming from but Ted Stevens and Don Young are leading right now with more than half of precincts reporting. As I said, this could be coming in from anywhere in the state - and there are certainly areas in which Young and Stevens’ support is strong (as we learned in the GOP’s House primary in August). In Oregon, Jeff Merkley is ahead by a hair but Portland is under-reporting.
1:55am: Two huge wins for Republicans in KS-02, where they defeat Democratic incumbent Nancy Boyda and in MN-06, where Michelle Bachmann incredibly wins re-election. But buckle your seat belt, we are in for a wild ride in Minnesota! With 89% reporting, Norm Coleman is now leading by 160 votes! Can Franken give Minnesota Democrats one reason to cheer?
In what is one of the most stunning race of the night, Democrat Mike Arcurci barely won re-election in NY-24, a district that no one was watching. New York Democrats can at least cheer the addition of 3 new House seats and the pick-up of the New York state Senate! The Empire State’s Republican Party has now lost all power.
1:30am: GOP Rep. Joe Knollenberg falls in MI-09, but three huge saves for Republicans in FL-25, MN-03 and NE-02, where Joe Garcia, Ashwin Madia and Jim Esch fell short. Florida didn’t end up being the treasure trove Democrats were hoping it would be: both Diaz-Balart brothers survived relatively comfortably and GOP candidates crushed their opponents in FL-13 and FL-18. Michelle Bachmann, meanwhile, continues to lead. We wait for final results out of Virginia, Ohio, Nevada.
Sure, Republicans are losing a lot of House seats - but they are also doing better than they surely expected in a number of seats and will avoid the worst.
1:10am: Christine Gregoire re-elected Governor of Washington, so Democrats have not lost a single statewide seat for the second cycle in a row. (They did lose Louisiana’s governorship in 2007, however.) Meanwhile, in Senate races: Democrats are on the verge of being denied 60 seats, but exit polls suggest Ted Stevens is going down in Alaska while Jeff Merkley is holding into a lead with Democratic counties under-reporting. In Georgia, Chambliss is holding above 50% with nearly all precincts reporting.
That leaves us with Minnesota: Coleman is ahead by more than 50,000 with 73% reporting. But if the remaining 60% of Minneapolis’s county come in as the rest has, Franken could still storm back.
1am: Outspoken social conservative GOP Rep. Musgrave goes down in CO-04, allowing Democrats to continue making remarkable gains in Colorado. Over the past three cycles, they’ve picked-up two Senate seats, the governorship, three House seats and the state’s 9 electoral votes! Combined this with New Mexico, where Democrats picked-up two House seats and a Senate seat today alone and now control all federal races! (More gains could come from Nevada). The Southwest has shifted towards Democrats, and this could have lasting consequences on the country’s political dynamics.
12:50am: Republicans keep MO-09, continuing to deny Democratic a significant wave. There are, however, a number of GOP races in which Democrats are currently leading - including VA-02, VA-05, MI-09, ID-01, CO-04 and also MI-07, where Mark Schauer has just taken a lead of a few hundred votes against Rep. Walberg.
However, it looks like the GOP might pull-out a stunning save in OH-15, as Mary Joe Kilroy (who was expected to win in 2006 before falling short by a few hundred votes) has just fallen behind by 900 votes with 96% reporting. In Minnesota, Coleman continues to expand his lead - but in Georgia Chambliss is now down to 51%. With 97% reporting, however, it looks like Chambliss has enough votes to avoid a runoff.
12:35am: Democrats pick-up NM-01, hold GA-08 and WI-08, two seats that were rated toss-ups in my ratings. However, Democratic Rep. Nancy Boyda looks like she will go down in KS-02, another toss-up race in which a Republican challenger leads 51% to 46%. This means that many new Democratic representatives will be blue dogs - but all the outgoing Democrats will be as well (Cazayoux, Lampson, Mahoney and possibly Boyda).
Norm Coleman has inched ahead 43% to 41% (26,000 votes) with 63% reporting. Minneapolis’s County is under-reporting. But it looks like the GOP is surviving in Minnesota as Bachmann is leading by 6% and Paulsen is leading by 5%. Democrats
12:20am: Republicans pick-up TX-22 and they are doing a good job at holding at their marginal seats as they win SC-01, SC-02, TX-07 and TX-10. The tightest among them looks to have been SC-02, which was considered the least endangered of the night! Rep. Wilson won by 8% - will the DCCC regret not having made a move there? The Democratic House wave isn’t quite as big as some predicted. Republicans are also fighting on in OH-15, which was called prematurely for Democrats.
12:10am: Republicans hold WV-02 and WY-AL but Democrats pick-up NM-02, a conservative open seat, as Obama’s New Mexico coattails looks like it will lead to a blue sweep of all of the state’s federal races as Martin Heinrich looks really strong in NM-01. It is interesting how the GOP is performing awfully in some states (NM and VA, for instance) while proving unexpectedly strong in others (MN, where Coleman, Paulsen and Bachmann all lead - though all races remain too close to call). In case anyone had doubts about these races that were once competitive: Democrats held OR-05 and the GOP held MO-09.
midnight: Obama takes the stage accompanied by his family, delivering a rousing speech in front of hundreds of thousands of supporters and choosing to renew with the themes of his 2004 convention speech and of his January 3rd Iowa victory speech. As he speaks, Nevada is called for him - continuing a remarkable sweep of red states (IN, MO and NC are still too close to call).
11:55pm: Mary Landrieu wins re-election in Louisiana by a much narrower margin than expected. This means that Republicans will not win a single Dem-held Senate seat for the second cycle in a row. Another major congressional hold for Democrats in AL-05, where Parker Griffith barely prevailed.
11:50pm: Colorado called for Obama, and Democrats pick-up NY-29, PA-03 (two major pick-ups) though Republicans save FL-21 and NY-26. All were endangered GOP districts. Less surprisingly, Republicans kept FL-18. FL-25, MO-09 and NE-02 are extremely competitive with the GOP candidates narrowly away.
11:45pm: Sen. Wicker wins Mississippi’s Senate race, making it unlikely Dems get to 60 seats. Another for Republicans: IL-10. Obama’s coattails did not carry Dan Seals across the finish line. There are still a lot of tight House races throughout the country, but Republicans still have hope of avoiding a catastrophe at the House level - just as they seem to have saved a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate.
In Georgia, Chambliss is now at 52% and Democrats are gaining rapidly. Are there many more African-American neighborhoods? In Minnesota, Franken is 300 votes ahead of Coleman!
11:40pm: Arizona passes its ban on gay marriage two years after rejecting it. In Florida, the “yes” is holding at 62% (it needs 60% to pass). In California, Prop 8 is passing right now by 10% - but it’s still early and the Bay Area is not reporting.
11:35pm: More House results coming in: VA-11 called for Democrats, and it looked like they will win VA-05 as well as Perriello has expanded his lead to 2000 votes with 99% precincts reporting. Democrats save GA-12. And a truly major relief for Republicans: Rep. Shadegg saves his seat in AZ-03.
11:25pm: Mark Udall called the winner in Colorado’s Senate race in the Democrats’ 5th pick-up. And other key House calls: Democrats pick-up NJ-03 but they stunningly lose NJ-07. They also pull an incredible save in PA-11. This is quite a catastrophe for Pennsylvania Republicans: Democrats have managed an unlikely sweep of all their endangered incumbents (PA-04, PA-10, PA-11, PA-12). And in PA-03, GOP Rep. English is not yet out - but he is trailing by 4% with 91% reporting.
Other endangered Republicans include ID-01 (where Rep. Sali trails by 10%), NE-02 (where Rep. Terry trails by 2%), VA-02 (where Rep. Drake trails by 2% with 70% reporting). What we have not yet seen is unexpected upsets though VA-05 is getting close: Perriello leads by 800 votes with 98% reporting. In NY-29, we are 98% reporting and Rep. Kuhl trails by 5000 votes (51-49).
If anything, the biggest upset of the night long looked like it would be a Republican pick-up in NY-24, and Rep. Arcuri is still not out of the woods: He is leading by 1800 votes with 98% reporting.
11:15pm: Florida calls for Obama and Arizona for McCain, as McCain takes the stage to concede. (The crowd has apparently not given up quite yet as they boo Obama’s name.) McCain celebrates the election of an African-American, salutes the historical occasion.
11:05pm: Democrat Bev Perdue wins the North Carolina governorship in what was among the tightest races in the country. As Democrats (and many in the world) celebrate Obama’s victory, Dems do get some bad news from LA-06: a major Republican pick-up that democrats believed they could protect.
Democrats get some pick-ups as well: IL-11 and AZ-01 are called for Democrats. AL-03 is called for GOP Rep. Rogers, in what ended up being a much more competitive seat than most expected.
11pm: Obama becomes President-Elect as the West Coast puts him above the top. Just moments before, Virginia was called for Obama.
10:50pm: We haven’t talked about referendums much, but those are important as well: Massachusetts voters overwhelmingly refused to repeal the state income tax. Both abortion proposals in South Dakota and Colorado are going down, though South Dakota’s remains relatively close.
In more housekeeping: Tim Johnson has won re-election in South Dakota, easily capping a remarkable comeback. In Nebraska, another race that once looked like it could be competitive but had not looked close for a while, Mike Johanns has held the seat for the GOP.
10:46pm: An update in Virginia, where Obama remains ahead 51% to 49% with Democratic precincts left to report. In VA-05, Perriello remains ahead in what would be one of the biggest upsets of the nights - but only by 700 votes with 97% reporting. In VA-02 and VA-11, two other Democrats are ahead - though they have not yet won. Could Democrats pick up the state’s presidential electors, a Senate seat and 3 House seats?!
In Alabama, three House races are very tight though it looks like GOP Rep. Rogers is saving himself; he leads by 6% with 91% reporting. Parker Griffith and Bobby Bright are ahead by extremely narrow margins in AL-02 and AL-05 with about 90% reporting. Doesn’t it say a lot about the GOP’s woes that Alabama is such a House battleground?
10:35pm: A Democratic pick-up in IL-11 and two crucial Democratic holds as Reps. Murtha and Altmire survive in PA-04 and PA-12. It also looks like Rep. Kanjorski could unexpectedly survive, he is up 51% to 49% with 80% reporting.
An update on the Senate: Sens. Wicker and Chambliss are holding on to large leads while Sen. Landrieu in Louisiana is only ahead by 2%. So a good night for Southern Republicans? African-American areas are not reporting at the same pace. We have heard nothing from New Orleans, for instance, and little from Atlanta. When those come in, numbers are likely to change.
10:25pm: Three pick-ups for House Democrats, as Larry Kissell beats Rep. Hayes in NC-08 and as NY-13 and NY-25 are called for Mike McMahon and Dan Maffei. (The latter two were the clearest pick-up for Dems, so no surprise there.) This gets us to +7 for Democrats for now.
But there might be a stunning upset brewing in favor of Republicans in NY-24, where Rep. Arcuri is trailing by 4% with 75% reporting! This was on no one’s radar screen. In NY-29, it looks like GOP Rep. Kuhl will be unseated, as he trails by 6% with 65% reporting. Good news for Florida Republicans: The Diaz-Balart brothers are for now holding their own in FL-21 and FL-25, and Republicans hold FL-13.
In Texas, Sen. Cornyn has won re-election, though GOP Reps. Culberson and McCaul are struggling (though remain in the lead in early returns). A lot of action in Alabama: In AL-03, a stunningly (and unexpectedly) close race is brewing, with GOP Rep. Rogers holding on to a 51-49 lead with 73% reporting. In AL-02, with 75% reporting, Bobby Bright is leading by 4%. In AL-05, a Democratic open seat, Democratic candidate Parker Griffith is leading by 4% with 77% reporting.
10:15pm: Republicans pick-up FL-16 (unsurprisingly) and save KY-02. The latter was rated lean GOP in my latest ratings, but there was a time in which Democrats had very high hopes here. In better news for Democrats, Debbie Halvorson is poised to pick-up IL-11 as she leads by 23% with two thirds reporting. IL-10 remains competitive. In IL-18, Republican Schock holds an open seat and will become the youngest member of the 111th House.
Could Republicans save their two open House seats in New Jersey? That would be a stunning disappointment for Democrats, but the GOP candidates are leading by 6% and 12% in NJ-03 and NJ-07. 58% are reporting in both counties. Those are shockingly disappointing numbers for Democrats, especially in NJ-07. GOP Rep. Garrett is winning a strong victory in NJ-05 against Rabbi Dennis Shulman (we talked about this race two weeks ago when Garrett unveiled one of the most vicious ads of the cycle).
In presidential news, McCain holds Arkansas and Texas.
10:06pm: A mistake in the House? CNN called VA-05 for Rep. Goode earlier - and I called it a big hold for the GOP. But with 95% reporting, Perriello is leading by 700 votes! This is a nail-biter with a slight Democratic advantage as counting winds down. In VA-02, a Democratic challenger is holding 51% to 49% over Rep. Drake with 63% reporting.
In Georgia, Chambliss is crushing Martin 56% to 40% but there are a lot of Democratic strongholds left to report. We’re also keeping an eye on MN-06, where infamous Rep. Bachmann is leading 47% to 43% with 20% reporting. And an important hold for Democrats in Indiana, as Baron Hill is re-elected in IN-09. Republican candidate Guthrie is holding on to a 4% lead with almost 90% reporting.
10:05pm: A look at Florida: Obama has a narrow lead with 61% reporting but look at where there still are outstanding votes: 31% of Miami-Dade is reporting, nothing in Palm Beach while Hillsborough County (a crucial swing county) has gone for Obama. Just as in Virginia, the remaining counties suggest Obama will carry Florida.
Meanwhile, Republicans already calling on Obama to stand up to Pelosi and Reid.
10pm: As polls close in yet more states, Iowa is called for Obama and Utah is called for McCain. So much for McCain’s (still unexplained) bravado in Iowa. Montana and Nevada are still too close to call.
A look at Virginia: 80% is reporting, but only 35% of Fairfax is in, as well as 33% of Arlington. In other words, Obama is likely to pick-up these 13 electoral votes.
9:56pm: Obama heading to landslide victory. New Mexico is called for Obama and Louisiana for McCain. Also, Obama has taken the lead in Virginia with 80% reporting, but only 50% to 49% (it is somewhat surprising that the state is so narrow given that Obama won Ohio and Pennsylvania relatively easily).
9:50pm: There are no more House Republicans in New England. Two pick-ups for Democrats as OH-15 and CT-04 are called. While OH-15 was rated lean Democratic in my ratings, CT-04 was a toss-up. In better news for Republicans, Chris Lee is crushing Alice Kryzan in NY-26.
9:45pm: Let’s check in some major House races: In OH-02, a quarter of the votes are in and GOP Rep. Schmidt is surviving 46% to 37%. In OH-07, a long shot for Democrats, GOP candidate Austria is up by 6%. In OH-12, GOP Rep. Tiberi is leading 51% to 46%. In OH-15, 36% of precincts are reporting and Democratic candidate Kilroy is leading by 6%.
In PA-03, GOP Rep. English is trailing by 10% with 30% reporting… and early totals suggest we could be in for a shocker in PA-06, where Republican Rep. Gerlach trails. In PA-10 and PA-12, Democratic Rep. Carney and Rep. Murtha are leading comfortably - but there is still a long time to go. In PA-11, a race that I have rated lean Republican, Democratic Rep. Kanjorski is ahead 53% to 47%.
Republicans will pick-up FL-16 (they’re leading 61% to 39% with almost half-in). The South Florida races (FL-21 and FL-25 are early. We’ve already called FL-08 and FL-24 for Democrats.
In CT-04, huge lead for Jim Himes with 40% reporting: 60% to 39%. In CO-04, a huge lead for Democratic challenger Betsy Markey: 61% to 39% with a third reporting!
9:40pm: Big hold for Democrats in NH-01, where Rep. Carol Shea-Porter beats Jeb Bradley for the second cycle in a row; the race was one of the few Dem-held districts that was rated a toss-up in my latest ratings.
The networks are doing their best to pretend that McCain still has a path to victory. He doesn’t. John King is pleading West Coasters to vote. Think about this: There is still 90 minutes of voting in the West Coast (more in AK) and the presidential race has effectively been called.
9:35pm: Obama will be the next president, but there are still a lot of other elections to be called… so we go on! Starting with NC-08, where Larry Kissell leads 58% to 42% against GOP Rep. Hayes with 35% reporting; however, Republicans incumbents NC-05 and NC-10 look like they will survive (they were both extreme long shots for Democrats).
9:25pm: HUGE HUGE HUGE projection: Obama wins Ohio, its 20 electoral votes and is now A VIRTUAL LOCK FOR THE PRESIDENCY. BARACK OBADIAH WILL BE THE 44th PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES!
I’m sure you all know why: With Obama now safe in all blue states, all he needs is to pick up 19 red electoral votes… and Ohio has 20 electoral votes. This means that unless something goes terribly wrong for Democrats in California, Oregon, Hawaii or Washington, Obama has secured 270 electoral votes.
This is also poetic justice for Democrats: Ohio crushed their hearts four years ago… and it is now Ohio that is putting Obama over the top, despite the fact that other red states are likely to go blue by bigger margins when all is counted.
9:21pm: More good news for Republicans: VA-05 is called for GOP Rep. Goode (a huge saved for the GOP) and West Virginia is called for McCain. Democrats continue to lead in VA-02 and VA-11. GOP Rep. Capito is holding by 10% in WV-02. Democrats aren’t on track for a sweep yet.
9:20pm: Mitch McConnell survives according to CNN. A huge, HUGE save for Republicans, due to Lunsford’s weak results in Democratic strongholds. This makes it much more difficult for Democrats to reach 60. All eyes are now on Minnesota, Georgia and Mississippi.
9:10pm: Stunning numbers from CT-04, where Jim Himes leads by 30% with nearly 28% in. In VA-05, GOP Rep. Goode has now fallen behind (things are looking good for Democrats in VA-02 and VA-11 as well for now, could we be headed to a giant night for Virginia Democrats?). In Kentucky, Mitch McConnell is ahead by 3% with 62% reporting. Things are also going well for Democratic candidates in Ohio but it is very early.
Some news form exit polls: Mary Landrieu looks like she will survive in Louisiana by a comfortable - though not dominant - margin; same for Mark Udall in Colorado. At the presidential level, Colorado’s presidential race looks good for Obama, who is also crushing his rival in New Mexico. Also, exit polls suggest a Franken victory. This could be the Democrats’ 8th seat.
9:05pm: Tom Udall picks-up New Mexico’s Senate race (no surprise there). VA-05 has dramatically tightened with 84% reporting. Kentucky’s Senate race is now a 2% race with 60% reporting: McConnell is up 51% to 49%. In GA-08, a big pick-up hope for Republicans, Dem Rep. Marshall is performing well.
Updated exit polls show a dead heat in Indiana and a tighter race in Virginia though Obama still ahead.
9:00pm: Obama has swept the blue states, as Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota are all called for him. This is huge for Obama, and puts McCain in an extremely precarious position. Another major call is North Dakota, which has been called for McCain. Other calls: New York, Rhode Island go for Obama. Wyoming, Kansas are called for McCain. No call yet in Colorado, New Mexico, Louisiana, South Dakota, Nebraska.
A good save for Republicans: IN-03 is called for Rep. Souder.
8:54pm: Democrat Jay Nixon will become Missouri’s new Governor. No surprise here, but it’s a pick-up for Democrats. In other good news for Democrats, Barack Obama looks to be doing very well in North Carolina’s crucial Wake county. CNN (which is being much more cautious than other networks) joins in calling Hagan the winner in North Carolina.
8:45pm: Two good Florida news for Democrats: First, they got their second House pick-up in FL-08, and the second in the Orlando area as Allen Grayson has defeated Rep. Keller. The race was rated lean Democratic in my House ratings.
Second, Obama is over-performing, for instance in Pinellas County which Kerry lost and Obama won by 8%. Obama is doing well in Central Florida. (Four years ago, reports that Kerry was doing poorly in Florida’s I-4 corridor were the first signs Bush was doing well.)
8:41pm: Possible upset brewing in VA-02, where the Democratic challenger is narrowly leading with 15% reporting. GOP Rep. Goode is holding on by 6% in VA-05 while Democratic candidate Connolly is leading by 10% with 5% reporting.
In Kentucky, Mitch McConnell is slowly inching upward but it is still too close to call: He leads by 4% with 55% reporting. GOP candidate Brett Guthrie is going strong in KY-02, somewhat of a disappointment for Dems in a race they long hoped would go their way.
8:37pm: McCain gets his first big win as MSNBC calls Georgia for him. This should not be considered bad news for Obama, but it might be disappointing to those Democrats hoping for a blowout. That Georgia was called relatively early also suggests that Democrats are not over-performing enough for Martin to cross 50% today, perhaps not even to force a runoff.
8:34pm: McCain is holding the red base, as he just won Alabama. He trails 103-43 margin in the electoral college. Also: Reports are indicating turnout has hit 80% (!) in Virginia and Nevada.
At the House level, Democrats are headed towards a major pick-up in FL-08, as Grayson leads by 6% with more than 70% reporting. The race is rated lean Democratic in my latest ratings but it was not considered in the top-tier two months ago.
8:30pm: Democrats get their first House pick-up in FL-24, Tom Feeney’s seat. Things are not looking as good for Democrats in IN-03, but Rep. Shays is not doing well in CT-04. (Also, CNN just called New Hampshire for Obama - following NBC’s call.)
8:28pm: The North Carolina Senate race is called for KAY HAGAN. This is a huge pick-up for Democrats in one of the two races I had rated as lean Democratic.
8:22pm: I have been asked to comment on Virginia’s results. McCain is winning big right now, but most reporting is in Republican south and west so Obama’s strongest areas have yet to report. In VA-05, Rep. Goode is holding on 53% to 47% in a district Democrats made a last-minute push in - but Charlottesville has yet to report.
Some other interesting results: Mitch McConnell now leads by 3% with half of the votes reporting. In NH-01, Rep. Shea-Porter is up by 14% with 16% reporting. It looks like yet another strong night for New Hampshire Democrats.
8:20pm: Jeanne Shaheen wins the New Hampshire Senate race, a crucial pick-up for Democrats - though it is not particularly surprising. In Maine, Susan Collins wins re-election (again, not a surprise but Democrats once had high hopes and the DSCC did spend a lot of money). Gov. Lynch wins re-election in New Hampshire, retaining a seat he unexpectedly picked up in 2004.
8:15pm: Let’s go back to the presidential race and repeat how extraordinary it is that Pennsylvania, New Hampshire and even New Jersey were called immediately for the Democratic nominee. Obama is now leading 103 electoral votes to 34 for McCain, and the electoral map is now very very very tough for McCain. Obama will probably win Iowa and New Mexico, which means Obama needs one more of all other red states - and things look cautiously good for him in FL, NC… even IN.
For those who are wondering what is happening in Pennsylvania, Obama has a gigantic lead in the exit poll posted by CNN. No surprises in Maine according to the exit poll, as Susan Collins should win re-election. Bad news for Democrats in the Mississippi exit poll, however, as Roger Wicker is coming out ahead - but those are only exit polls, of course, and they can always take comfort in New Hampshire, where Shaheen is destroying Sununu.
8:05pm: Let’s step back to the congressional level for a moment: With 39% of Kentucky reporting, Mitch McConnell is holding a 0.6% lead. At the House level, KY-03 has been called for Rep. Yarmuth (an important hold in what was a rematch of a 2006 race). In KY-02, GOP nominee Guthrie is now 7% ahead with 25% reporting. Republicans are also looking good in IN-03.
8pm: MSNBC CALLED PENNSYLVANIA FOR OBAMA. A stunning call that CNN does not follow. It will be very difficult for McCain to win the presidency without the Keystone State. Other calls: McCain wins Oklahoma, Tennessee. Obama wins Massachusetts, Illinois, Connecticut, Delaware, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Maryland, DC, Maine.
Let’s say it: This is atrocious for McCain.
7:55pm: As expected, North Carolina early voters are favoring Obama: We now have 450,000 votes counted (but 0% precincts, which means these are early voters) and Obama has opened a lead of 100,000 (61% to 39%); Hagan leads by the same margin. As expected, Perdue is underperforming.
The situation is the same in Florida, where we now have more than 2,5 million votes! Obama leads 56% to 44% which is a margin of 400,000 votes. McCain will need to perform strongly among voters who voted today.
7:50pm: Now that 3 states have been called, McCain leads 16-3 in the electoral college. This only means that Republicans did not completely collapse, as South Carolina was turning blue in the GOP’s worst nightmares (and I do mean worst).
IN-02 called for Rep. Donnelly (this was a race the GOP once hoped to make competitive). Democrats are looking good in the pair of GOP-held Orlando districts they are contesting, especially in FL-08, where Grayson now leads by 10% with 35% reporting.
In Kentucky, we are now at 29% reporting (Democratic strongholds are reporting as well). McCain leads by 8,3% and Lunsford is ahead by 0,4% (about 2,000 votes).
7:40pm: South Carolina called for McCain. In Florida, 1,4 million votes have been counted and Obama leads by 160,000 votes. It’s hard to know what to make of this since we already knew Democrats did well among early voters.
In IN-03, GOP Rep. Souder is looking good and leads by 17% with 30% reporting (the race is rated a toss-up in my latest ratings, so a potential disappointment for Democrats). In KY-02, however, Democrat David Boswell is holding on to a very narrow lead and slightly overperforming the 2006 nominee - suggesting this could be a nail-biter.
In Indiana, we now have 21% reporting and McCain is narrowly ahead, 51% to 48%. Democratic strongholds have still not yet reported.
7:35pm: Only 2% of Florida is reporting but there are a lot of raw votes being reporting, suggesting there has been a big dump of early voters: Obama leads 313,475 to 204,112. At the House level: 17% are reporting in FL-08, and Democratic challenger Grayson is leading Rep. Keller 56% to 44%.
CNN has posted its exit polls from Georgia (suggesting a narrow McCain lead), from Indiana (Obama is ahead), from Ohio (Obama leads among males as well as females…) and from Virginia, which look really good for Obama. Georgia exit polling also suggests that the Senate race is heading to a runoff while Kentucky’s exit poll suggests McConnell will survive. Obama is also ahead narrowly in North Carolina exit polling. These exit polls are more reliable than those we saw at 5pm, but Dems should not feel confident just yet.
7:30pm: Polls have closed in Ohio, North Carolina and Arkansas! No calls for now.
7:25pm: In Indiana, McCain is holding 51% to 49% with 12% reporting but no results from Obama strongholds Indianapolis, Bloomington and Lake County. In House races, incumbents are looking good for now: Dems are leading in IN-02, IN-08 and IN-09 (the latter is somewhat competitive). In IN-03, a district Democrats have been targeting over the past few weeks, Rep. Souder is holding on by 12% with 10% reporting.
Conservative parts of Virginia are reporting only for now, so nothing to see there. We’re keeping an eye on a few House races there. In Kentucky, McConnell leads by 2% with 15% reporting.
7:20pm: Mitch Daniels wins another term as Indiana’s Governor. This was a race Democrats were very excited about just six months ago, but Jill Long Thompson’s campaign collapsed over the past few months.
In Kentucky, 13% have reported: McCain leads by 11,3% and McConnell leads by 1,2% - that’s certainly a more promising over performance for Lunsford.
7:15pm: CBS News is reporting that the share of the African-American vote in Georgia has increased by 5%. This was a key factor we were following, and if it holds in other states it will be very good news for Obama and Democrats up and down the ballot. ALSO: Virginia exit polls suggest Obama is in the lead - which would obviously be very significant. Early exits also imply a narrower Obama lead in Indiana. All of this is obviously not indicative of any final results.
7:05pm: A reminder that at this hour four years ago, Teddy Kennedy was beaming on CNN while Robert Novak looked very depressed.
Mitch McConnell and Bruce Lunsford are essentially tied in Kentucky: with 12% reporting, Lunsford leads by 19 votes (!) Lunsford is still running only a few points ahead of Obama, and he will have to improve that once more conservative districts start reporting.
7:00pm: First calls! Obama wins VERMONT and McCain wins Kentucky! Virginia’s Senate race is called for MARK WARNER! Polls also closed in Georgia, some of New Hampshire, South Carolina, Virginia (!), all of Indiana and most (but not all) of Florida. Lindsay Graham has been called the winner in South Carolina’s Senate race.
Things are getting interesting.
6:55pm: 42% of KY-03 (a Democratic-leaning district) has reported, which explains why Obama is polling strongly in the state. As I said, Lunsford is not over-performing Obama which is a problem. Sure, he needs to primarily overperform in conservative areas rather than in KY-03, but this is not that good a start for the Democratic Senate candidate.
As for KY-03, Rep. Yarmuth is leading 57% to 43% against former Rep. Northup: it’s looking good for Democrats there in a district that the GOP once had high hopes for.
6:45pm: Finally some results: 9% of Kentucky is reporting and Lunsford is narrowly ahead (51% to 49%) and McCain is ahead by 1%. Lunsford has to outperform Obama by a far bigger margin if he wants to pull this off.
Let’s say this about exit polls: They are looking a lot like 2004, which is to say that Democrats are taking comfort in them…
6:35pm: More exit poll rumoring: Gawker has the second wave of exit polls and they have good news for Obama in the presidential race (especially in states he is expected to win like PA, IA, NM) and very good news for Senate Democrats - too good for the numbers to be reliable, perhaps. Coleman, for instance, is being shown to be trailing by 12% for now, which is highly to hold.
Still very early reporting in Indiana and Kentucky, with Democrat Boswell holding a very narrow lead in KY-02 and GOP Rep. Souder holding a 13% lead, both with very early reporting (2% each).
6:25pm: Is this actually our first election night since June 3rd? After the seemingly weekly extravaganzas throughout the spring, that seems hard to believe.
Not many precincts have started reporting. With 1% reporting in Indiana, with Obama leading 55% to 44% - obviously ridiculously early, however.
6:15pm: The very first results are in! 5 precincts are reporting from Kentucky… and they have McCain leading 64% to 35%. This is obviously not at all significant - but those are the hard numbers we are getting, so worth noting.
Some interesting preliminary data from exit polls that are being released from the broadcast channels themselves (CNN, Fox) have Obama leading big among first time voters (no surprise there, though the exact margin will of course be crucial), most voters preoccupied with the economy and thinking the country is on the wrong track (again, no surprise…).
Original post: Let’s get this party started! We are past 6:00pm ET, and polls have closed in most (but not all) of Kentucky and Indiana. Numbers should start streaming in any time soon.
I will be live blogging through the night, and as more and more polls close I imagine I wil be swamped by the number of races to cover. I will try to keep an eye on all of them but will surely miss a few, so please feel fee to email me or add comments with any result/trend I haven’t noticed and I’ll try to get to them.
As for exit polls, I am seeing contrasting news for now - so no reason to trust anything you see (not that exit polls should be trusted anyway).