Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Midterm elections live blog 2010

12:55 PM ET: According to the AP, California voters rejected Proposition 19, which would have legalized marijuana.

12:36 PM ET: AP, CNN and MSNBC now joining Fox in calling a Reid victory over Sharron Angle.

12:29 PM ET: Wow, Fox News just called Nevada for Democrat Harry Reid. If that holds, quite a comeback for the relatively unpopular Senate Majority Leader. Slate reporter Dave Weigel just posted a picture of Angle supporters reacting to the news that says it all.

12:24 PM ET: Strangest moment of the night so far on cable TV: Chris Matthews asks GOP Rep. Michelle Bachmann is she's "hypnotized." Watch.

12:21 PM ET: The key holds that made it possible for the Democrats to keep control of the Senate: Dick Blumenthal in Connecticut, Joe Manchin in West Virginia, and Barbara Boxer in Califoria.

12:08 PM ET: Regarding Barbara Boxer's win in California, Holly Bailey notes: "Barbara Boxer's apparent win in California Senate race is yet another big loss for the so-called shadow GOP. Outside conservative groups, led by the Karl Rove-linked American Crossroads and Crossroads GPS, spent nearly $6 million to unseat Boxer. She was one of the groups' biggest targets in 2010, second only to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid."

12:03 PM ET: So it's a done deal: the GOP will run the House and the Democrats will keep the Senate.

11:56 PM ET: With Boxer's win in California official, the Democrats are just one win away from maintaining a clear 51-vote majority in the Senate. The competitive races still up in the air: Nevada, Washington, Illinois and Colorado.

[Biggest loser on Election Night: Washington]

As CNN, ABC, MSNBC and other networks are now projecting, though, even if the Democrats lose all 4 of those races, they will still have 50 seats. According to Senate rules, the Vice President breaks a tie, which means Democrats will keep control.

11:52 PM ET: Noticeably absent tonight? Anyone from the White House.

11:47 PM ET: John Boehner is weeping discussing his upbringing in Ohio.

11:45 PM ET: Two big Senate calls from AP: Democrat Boxer in CA and Republican Pat Toomey in PA.

11:41 PM ET: Presumptive GOP House Speaker Elect John Boehner: "We're witnessing a repudiation of Washington. A repudiation of big government."

11:39 PM ET: AP is now projecting that the GOP will definitely take a majority in the House.

11:26 PM ET: Over on Twitter, Nevada political analyst Jon Ralston has vote numbers that he says spell "big trouble" for Republican Sharron Angle. If Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid can hold on in Nevada, the Democrats will definitely hold a majority in the Senate.

11:20 PM ET: Assuming other networks follow Fox's lead and call the CA Senate race for incumbent Democrat Barbara Boxer and Democrats win in Hawaii as expected, Democrats will get to 50 seats and (with Vice President Biden as a tie breaker) hold their majority in the Senate.

But Republicans could still get to 50 seats. Both Illinois and Pennsylvania are down to the wire with most vote counted. And Colorado, Nevada and Washington are expected to be close.

But if Democrats hold California and Hawaii and win one of those 5 races, they'll keep a clear majority in the Senate.

11:01 PM ET: Fox is calling California for both Democrat Jerry Brown in the governor race and Democrat Barbara Boxer in the Senate race.

10:43 PM ET: According to our calculations, the GOP has now netted 20 seats in the House. That's about halfway to the 39 seat net gain they need to officially take the House (as everyone is projecting they will do).

10:38 PM ET: MSNBC and Fox are projecting that Republican Ron Johnson will beat Democrat Russ Feingold in the Wisconsin Senate rate. That's the 4th Senate pickup for Republicans, who need 6 more to reach a majority of 51.

10:32 PM ET: Christian Aviles on Twitter asks, presumably assuming the GOP takes the House as everyone is now projecting: "[W]hat will happen to Nancy Pelosi?"

[Blog: Latest election updates from The Upshot]

I'll defer to Rachel Hartman's expertise: "As we've reported, a number of House Democrats have stated they will not support Nancy Pelosi for Speaker after Nov. 2 and the number has grown since we published that story. So, her position in the House is undoubtedly in jeopardy and talk of who would replace her has already begun (Majority Leader Steny Hoyer is an obvious challenger, for example.) Meanwhile, Pelosi and her supporters are trying to snuff out the rumors."

10:17 PM ET: Eric Cantor, likely soon to be GOP majority leader in the House, vows to repeal health care reform.

10:13 PM ET: An update on the governors' races from Rachel Hartman: "Republicans have picked up three governorships that they were projected to win in Oklahoma, Kansas, and Tennessee and Democrats held onto governor's seats in New York, Massachusetts and Maryland. We are still awaiting governor's race results from Florida, Ohio and South Carolina where polls have closed but the races still remain too close to call."

10:04 PM ET: All of the networks are projecting that, when all the results are in, the GOP will win a majority in the House tonight.

According to our calculations, the GOP has officially picked up 12 formerly Democratic House seats and the Democrats have picked up 1 formerly Republican seat. That's a net gain of 11 seats (they need a net gain of 39 to officially take the House).

The Republicans, then, need another 28 pickups (and no Dem pickups) to make it official.

9:59 PM ET: More images from Election Day across America.

[Former athletes bid for political office]

9:52 PM ET: I haven't had a chance to answer any yet between all the updates, but if you have a question, drop it in the comments, tweet at me at @agolis, tweet at Yahoo! News, or post it at the the Yahoo! News Facebook page. I'll try to get to some while we have a moment of calm.

9:33 PM ET: Marco Rubio speaking now. Both he and Rand Paul are making clear in their speeches that tonight is the night we witness the sharpening of the GOP's conservative edge.

9:30 PM ET: The networks are calling the Louisiana Senate race for incumbent Republican Senator David Vitter. The win was expected but, as Brett Michael Dykes reported last week, is pretty amazing considering the prostitution scandal Vitter was caught up in 3 years ago.

9:18 PM ET: CNN and Fox News joining MSNBC projecting the GOP will take the House.

9:17 PM ET: AP has officially called Manchin's win in West Virginia.

Holly Bailey points out: "Manchin's win in West Virginia tonight is not just a win for Democrats. It's a major loss for outside conservative groups, like American Crossroads and Crossroads GPS, which collectively spent millions to boost GOP candidate John Raese in the race. All told, opponents of Manchin—including the National Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee—spent nearly $4.5 million in the last month against his campaign, according to independent expenditure filings with the Federal Election Commission.

[Photos: Voters head to polls across U.S.]

9:10 PM ET: Zack Roth has another round-up of reports of voting irregularities around the country.

9:04 PM ET: MSNBC is projecting that the Republicans will take the House.

So far, in called races, the Republicans have picked up 6 previously Democratic House seats and the Democrats picked up 1 previously Republican seat. That's a net gain of 5 seats for the GOP. They will need to gain 40 total seats, or another 35, to officially take the House.

9:02 PM ET: Lots of 9 PM ET race calls. None of them in competitive races that will determine the Senate or House balance of power.

8:57 PM ET: More from the AP on the exit polls: it's really all about the economy.

8:55 PM ET: Blumenthal's win in the Connecticut Senate race is both surprising and not. On the one hand, Democrat Blumenthal is a popular statewide elected in a liberal state. On the other hand, he was practically declared dead when the New York Times published a story about him exaggerating his military record and his opponent, former wresting CEO Linda McMahon, spent about $50 million on the race.

8:36 PM ET: A big hold for the Democrats. The networks are calling Gov. Joe Manchin as the winner in the West Virginia Senate race. Republicans will have a hard time getting to the 10 pickups they need to take the Senate without a win in West Virginia.

That said, Manchin campaigned as a conservative and probably won't be President Obama's closest ally on the hill.

8:30 PM ET: The networks are now calling a second Senate pickup for the Republicans: John Boozman beat incumbent Blanche Lincoln in Arkansas.

8:27 PM ET: MSNBC and ABC just joined Fox News in calling the Connecticut Senate race for Democrat Dick Blumenthal.

8:18 PM ET: It's worth remembering that the Democratic victory in the Delaware Senate race would have shocked even the Democrats a few months ago. GOP Rep. and former governor Mike Castle was seen as such a formidable opponent that Vice President Biden's own son decided not to run.

But Castle, seen as too moderate and too establishment, was another victim of the energy on the right of the Republican Party and was taken down by Christine O'Donnell in the primary.

8:16 PM ET: Although the Angle campaign has filed a complaint with the Department of Justice, an official in the Nevada Secretary of State's Elections Division tells The Hill that there are no official reports of voting irregularities.

8:13 PM ET: Rubio's victory is, in some ways, very similar to Rand Paul's in Kentucky. Both are young, tea party favorites and both beat establishment Republicans in the primary. Definitely a sign that the energy is in the grassroots and on the right in the Republican Party right now.

8:00 PM ET: The networks and the AP are calling the Florida Senate race for tea party favorite and Republican Marco Rubio.

Other key Senate race calls: all of the networks are calling the Delaware race for Democrat Christopher Coons over Christine O'Donnell, and Fox News is calling Connecticut for Democrat Dick Blumenthal over Linda McMahon.

7:57 PM ET: A whole lot of polls close at 8 PM ET: Alabama, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania and Tennessee.

7:46 PM ET: This story sounds like it's going to have legs: the Angle campaign in Nevada has filed a complaint with the Department of Justice alleging voter intimidation by the campaign of Harry Reid.

7:36 PM ET: After all the attention paid to the intense and personal Kentucky Senate race, it looks like Rand Paul isn't just going to win (as all the networks have already called), but win big. With about 20% of precincts reporting, he's got about a 10% lead.

7:30 PM ET: Polls closing now in West Virginia, Ohio and North Carolina. All the networks calling a win for GOP Senate candidate Rob Portman in Ohio, another hold for the Republicans.

7:24 PM ET: By the way, as expected, GOP Senator and tea party leader Jim DeMint has been declared the winner in South Carolina.

7:11 PM ET: The Republicans have their first pickup in the Senate in Indiana. Dan Coats, as expected, beat Brad Ellsworth to take the seat of retiring Senator Evan Bayh.

Remember: Republicans need to pick up 10 previously Democratic Senate seats to take a 51-vote majority. If they only pick up 9, Vice President Biden will cast the tie-breaking vote and Democrats will keep the majority.

7:06 PM ET: The Rand Paul victory is a hold for GOP. Republican Jim Bunning is retiring. But the race got national attention when Paul, fueled by the tea party, beat a Republican establishment candidate in the primary and then had a rocky start in the general election. After a highly-personal general election campaign, Paul stabilized, and held what should be a safe seat for the GOP in the relatively conservative Kentucky.

7:01 PM ET: The AP, ABC, NBC, CNN and Fox are projecting Rand Paul as victorious in the Kentucky Senate race.

6:54 PM ET: Nevada's Secretary of State says turnout is unexpectantly low. That may be a good sign for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who had a lead in early voting.

[Photos: Election Day images from around U.S.]

6:52 PM ET: Probably in anticipation of the probability that they'll win a lot of Senate seats, but not a majority, Republicans are reaching out to two conservative Democrats and trying to convince them to switch parties.

6:50 PM ET: Polls close in Kentucky, Indiana, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Vermont and Virginia in 10 minutes.

If Rand Paul wins big as recent polling has indicated he might, many news networks may call the race right at 7 PM ET.

[What's at stake on Election Day]

6:39 PM ET: Numbers that indicate we could be in for some bruising battles between Obama and Republicans if the GOP wins big tonight as expected: according to Fox News, initial exit polls (caveat) show that 48% of voters want to repeal the health care bill, 38% want it expanded, and 16% want it left as is.

6:24 PM ET: Reminder: throughout the night, if you have a question, drop them in the comments, tweet at me at @agolis, tweet at Yahoo! News, or post it at the the Yahoo! News Facebook page. I'll answer as many as I can as I post updates.

6:20 PM ET: Not midterm-related, but breaking just now: according to his new book, President Bush considered dumping Dick Cheney from the ticket in 2004.

6:18 PM ET: Strangely, the most covered candidate of the 2010 election cycle was actually a candidate that has almost no chance of winning.

As Michael Calderone reported in an Upshot exclusive this morning, Christine "I am not a witch" O'Donnell had almost twice as many stories written about her than the next highest 2010 candidate.

[At polls, some reports of harassment, other problems]

6:03 PM ET: According to a just-released exit poll from CNN, more voters blame Wall Street and President Bush for the country's economic woes than President Obama.

5:55 PM ET: First polls of the night close in 5 minutes in Kentucky and Indiana. But both also have areas open until 7 PM ET, so results won't start coming in until then.

5:45 PM ET: Which races matter tonight? Two good reads: Rachel Hartman goes through the Senate game-changers, the third-party trouble-makers, and the headline-grabbers. John Dickerson breaks down the House, Senate and governor races.

5:37 PM ET: Then again, there are lots of reasons to ignore exit polling.

5:31 PM ET: Surprising, but stark, results from initial exit polling. According to the AP, folks heading to the polls today are first and foremost worried about the economy, and are unhappy with both Democrats and Republicans.

As Holly Bailey wrote this morning: they're depressed.

5:22 PM ET: Election Day images from around the country.

5:13 PM ET: Billionaire former EBay CEO Meg Whitman, who looks likely to lose her bid to be California's next governor, says she doesn't regret spending a record-breaking $141.5 million of her own cash on the race.

5:08 PM ET: Remember Jimmy McMillan of Rent is Too Damn High Party? He's got a music video. You're welcome.

4:55 PM ET: Come election day, you always hear claims and counterclaims about supposed "election fraud" that may taint results. But, in truth, it almost never happens.

Zack Roth has the background. He also has a round-up of irregularities other than fraud being reported around the country.

4:48 PM ET: ABCNews just announced that it's cutting ties to controversial conservative pundit Andrew Breitbart after the two had a heated back and forth over his role in their election coverage.

4:38 PM ET: There are early, anecdotal reports coming out of local media of high turnouts.

4:32 PM ET: Big or small, we're pretty much certain to see GOP gains tonight in the House and Senate and in governors' races. And as a result, a lot will be made of the "angry" voters who came out to express their disapproval with Obama and the Democrats who run Congress.

But, as Holly Bailey points out, it's more complicated than that. Conservative voters certainly are angry and mobilized, but the folks who are really swinging things toward the GOP don't actually like them or the Democrats.

They're just depressed.

4:25 PM ET: Throughout the night, if you have a question, drop them in the comments, tweet at me at @agolis, tweet at Yahoo! News, or post it at the the Yahoo! News Facebook page. I'll answer as many as I can as I post updates.

4:12 PM ET: Want to watch TV while you read the live blog? Michael Calderone rounds up the many, many options.

4:00 PM ET: No results to report until the first polls close at 6 PM ET. Until then, we'll bring you the latest analysis from The Upshot and Yahoo! News. Once polls start to close, we'll bring you results from competitive Senate, House and gubernatorial races as quickly as I can write them. And we'll be here late: the final polls don't close until 1 AM ET (Alaska) and I suspect some close races won't be called until into the night.

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