The Election-Night Live Blog

2:41 a.m. – We got back quite a bit later than we expected, so what we’re going to do is start a new post on results. See it here.

INTERMISSION: We’re going to step out for a couple hours and return for the late-night updates and wrap-up.

8:23 p.m. – With 31 percent in, Gardner leads Udall 49-45 in Colorado.

8:22 p.m. – The Virginia race has tightened. With 79 percent in, it’s down to a 39,000-vote margin (50-48).

8:18 p.m. – And now there are results trickling in in Louisiana. See the text-based results here.

We’d report the numbers, but it’s way too early yet.

8:15 p.m. – In Florida, 96 percent of the vote is in and Rick Scott is still up 49-46 over Charlie Crist. It’s a 120,000-vote lead. Still too close to call.

8:10 p.m. – Michigan should have been a competitive race this year. It wasn’t – Gary Peters, the Democrat congressman, blew out Republican Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land, while the Republican governor Rick Snyder walked away with an easy win.

National Review’s John J. Miller tells why

So Michigan won’t participate in the Republican takeover of the Senate: Terri Lynn Land lost badly to Democrat Gary Peters, and the press called it seconds after the polls closed at 9:00 p.m. That’s no surprise, at least not to me. On paper, she looked good, as a two-term secretary of state. As an actual Senate candidate, she was a disaster. In 16 years of writing about politics and elections for National Review, she is the worst candidate I’ve covered. (I wrote about her campaign here.)

8:00 p.m. – We got a kick out of this…

less votes than a man

Al Franken and John Cornyn have been called the winners of their races, as is Mike Rounds in South Dakota. Rounds would be a GOP pickup, and that would make the third pickup out of six needed to take the Senate.

7:52 p.m. – This Virginia thing has some legitimate legs to it…

7:48 p.m. – Gillespie still has a 51-46 lead on Warner in Virginia, with 64 percent in. Virginia might – MIGHT – end up being what folks thought North Carolina and New Hampshire might have been. 7:45 p.m. – Multiple news outlets are now saying Scott Brown has lost in New Hampshire, and Thom Tillis is underperforming in North Carolina. Both look likely to lose. But Greg Abbott is up 59-40 on Wendy Davis in Texas. 7:40 p.m. – [sigh] lademo 1 7:35 p.m. – 89 percent in down in Florida and it’s Rick Scott 49, Charlie Crist 46. Crist was trying to get an injunction to keep the polls open past the deadline in infamous Broward County, and was shut down by a judge. 7:30 p.m. – Fox just called the Arkansas senate race for Tom Cotton. And the Arkansas governor’s race for Asa Hutchinson. That completes the rout of the Democrats in that state – a state where Bill and Hillary Clinton campaigned heavily in both races. Arkansas has become a very red state, so you can’t read a whole lot into Bill and Hillary’s inability to move the vote there. But tonight’s events do indicate the Clintons aren’t miracle-workers. 7:10 p.m. – A number of Republican pollsters, consultants and party officials we’ve talked to have said turnout in Republican precincts in East Baton Rouge Parish has been enormous. 7:08 p.m. – 35 percent of the vote has been counted in Virginia, and Ed Gillespie has a 50,000-vote lead on Mark Warner in Virginia. 7:05 p.m. – In Georgia, word is that both David Perdue and Nathan Deal, the Republican Senatorial and Gubernatorial candidates respectively, are privately saying they think they can wrap up their races tonight so a runoff isn’t necessary. Both are up big at present, but it’s very early. 7:00 p.m. – Lamar Alexander, Jim Inhofe, James Lankford, Susan Collins, Lindsey Graham and Thad Cochran have all been called on the Republican side. Ed Markey, Dick Durbin and Corey Booker have been called winners on the Democrat side. 6:52 p.m. – With 59 percent of the vote in, Rick Scott is up by a razor-thin 48-47 in the Florida governor’s race. Charlie Crist, the orange Republican-turned-Democrat former governor, had been leading in most of the polls. 6:45 p.m. – From the Weekly Standard’s Stephen Hayes via Twitter, more on Virginia…

6:40 p.m. – Another from Shaftan, this time on the Georgia race that looks fairly decent for the Republican…

shaftan 2

6:36 p.m. – From our buddy Rick Shaftan, a veteran GOP political guru…

shaftan 1

6:35 p.m. – Kirsten Powers on Fox News describes the looming Democrat panic. Kentucky not being close and Virginia being close “looks like the beginning of a wave.”

Tim Scott is clobbering his Democrat opponent in South Carolina and is now the first elected black Southern Republican senator in American history – or at least since Reconstruction.

6:30 p.m. – Shelley Moore Capito was just called the winner in West Virginia over Natalie Tennant. That’s a pickup for the GOP, though one most had baked into the cake long ago. And John Kasich was just called the winner of the Ohio governor’s election. His re-election wasn’t considered in doubt.

6:20 p.m. – Via Facebook, an interesting message from Brannon McMorris, the Libertarian candidate for Senate in Louisiana who looked in late polling to be pulling well less than one percent…

I was going to save this post until after the polls closed. I was going to save the post, because I’m about to tell you what I really think of politics.

I have nothing to lose. Today is election day. How many votes am I going to lose between now and the time the polls close.

Mostly, politics is bull shit – that’s right you may have voted for a guy who says bull shit; deal with it. The past three months I’ve floated from campaign forum to campaign forum. Half the time I hear that I’m an awesome guy; half the time I hear I’m Satan incarnate. If this were about my ego, my ego feels like a scrambled egg.

Laura and I are broke. We been driven to the edge of divorce. My two boys barley know me anymore. I’ve come to appreciate the life of a politician. It’s not easy; in fact, the life of a politician pretty much sucks beyond belief.

Would I do it over again? You bet your ass I would. Through all the crap, this has been a life changing experience. There is no way to understand what a small world you live in until you get out there and experience life through others in such a diverse state as Louisiana.

There is nothing that makes you feel so small as to hear someone else say – “I support you.” There is nothing more humbling than to have others believe in you and work to help elect you to office. There is no way to understand public service until you see a campaign work together.

The politics may be bull shit but the support, love, belief, and humanity leaves me at a loss for words. I wish I had the words to truly tell you what your support has meant to me. I wish there is some way I could tell you all how much you’ve meant to our family.

The only thing I can really say is thank you so much. Thank you for your support; thank you for the encouragement; thank you for believing in us.

We’re not going to stop. We’re going to give what we can to help the next candidates. We’re going to pay this forward. In the near future, Libertarian candidates are going break through. Libertarian candidates are going to win an election, but we have to keep fighting!!

6:15 p.m.More from Geraghty, this time on Virginia…

The polls in Virginia are now closed. For those wondering what this tweet referred to, I am told that Virginia Republicans examined the early vote – absentee ballot by mail and in-person absentee. This is a small portion of the overall vote, just 118,218 votes  – but it’s an interesting indicator of which side is mobilizing its voters, etc.   If turnout is in the 40 to 45 percent – the usual midterms – that will amount to 2 million to 2.35 million votes.

Virginia does not register voters by party, but you can get a sense of which way a person leans by checking back and seeing which party primary they voted in in the past few cycles. This review of the early vote revealed a six percentage point advantage for voters who usually vote in Republican primaries over voters who usually vote in Democratic primaries. My source couldn’t recall this kind of a split ever happening.

There was a separate rumor that a Virginia college that does polls had planned to release their final survey Monday. When the poll showed Ed Gillespie ahead by 3 points, the pollsters concluded the survey had to be wrong and didn’t release it.

I was also told RNC internals had Warner ahead by just one point last week.

6:05 p.m. – Fox News just called Kentucky for Mitch McConnell. And said Virginia is “too close to call.”

5:55 p.m. – Michelle Obama, in an interview with Roland Martin at News One Now, just ticked off every single stereotype of the black community. If she’d been a Republican saying what she said the charges of racism would have been so loud as to make your ears bleed.

“That’s my message to voters. This isn’t about Barack, it’s not about the person on the ballot, it’s about you,” Obama said. “And for most of the people that we’re talking to, a Democratic ticket is the clear ticket that we should be voting on, regardless of who said what or did this. That shouldn’t even come into the equation.”

Martin: So can we, if we go out to the polls, can we say, we have ‘souls to the polls’ on Sunday, can we do ‘soul food after we vote’?

Obama: Absolutely, I give everyone full permission to eat some fried chicken after they vote only after—if you haven’t voted…(laughter.)

Martin: Just checking!

Obama: You make a good point because I am, I do talk about health. But I think that a good victory for Democrats on Tuesday, you know, should be rewarded with some fried chicken.

5:50 p.m.The Hill’s story on exit polls has some interesting information…

The early surveys of voters leaving polling places nationwide also give Democrats a slight turnout edge, 37 percent to Republicans’ 34 percent, with 29 percent identifying as independents. They suggest, however, that Republican base voters are turning out in far stronger numbers than the Democratic base: 36 percent of those polled identified as conservative while only 23 percent identified as liberal. Forty percent identified as moderate.

They show the electorate is about three-fourths white, in line with demographic breakdowns from similar cycles.

Those numbers will change as the night wears on. But they offer a preliminary snapshot of an electorate fed up with Washington and down on the president, potentially troubling sentiments for Democrats, despite their early turnout edge. And of the most important issues that have defined the  midterms in the final weeks, exit polls appear to be breaking in favor of Republicans.

Fifty-four percent of Americans disapprove of the president’s job performance, while 44 percent approve.

This suggests that Democrat get-out-the-vote operations are still a lot better than what the GOP has – but it’s just not enough. When you stink at governing, sooner or later you pass the point where you just can’t get enough of your base out to cover up the stench.

5:45 p.m. – There are supposedly exit polls which have Ed Gillespie only down to Mark Warner in Virginia by only one point. If that holds true, the Democrats are in for a terrible night.

5:35 p.m. – Jim Geraghty at National Review says the word from Colorado is that the GOP turned out 61.1 percent of its voters, the Democrats just 51.5. If that’s true, Cory Gardner will beat Mark Uterus and John Hickenlooper is an ex-governor with a funny name.

5:30 p.m. – The Washington Post’s live-blog has a few interesting items about exit polls – which we don’t put a whole lot of stock in, but sometimes they’re useful – and other information…

  • This year’s election has cost $3.67 BILLION. If that seems like a big number, let’s understand that $8 billion was spent on Halloween.
  • “The economy is once again voters’ most important issue in 2014, according to preliminary national exit polling, but not by as wide a margin as in recent years. More than four in 10 pick the economy as the top issue, down from roughly six in 10 who said so in 2012, 2010 and 2008. One-quarter said health care was the top issue in their vote, while about one in seven said foreign policy or illegal immigration was most important.” Which isn’t such a terrible thing for Democrats on the surface, except of the folks who said the economy is their big issue more than 70 percent say it stinks. That’s not good. And health care and foreign policy are definitely Republican issues this year.
  • “Slightly fewer than half of voters nationally say President Obama was not a factor in their vote for the House, according to preliminary exit poll results. But for those who do say he is a factor, more say it’s to oppose him than to support him, similar to 2010. That pattern holds up in the key Senate states of Georgia, Iowa and North Carolina.”

On Landrieu and Democrat turnout…

It’s shorts season on Election Day, 79 and sunny, “Democratic weather,” as one political observer put it.

Good weather tends to increase participation among poorer voters who rely on mass transit and tend to vote Democratic, while rain often keeps them from the polls.

Secretary of State Tom Schedler predicted a 50 percent turnout Tuesday of Louisiana’s 2.9 million registered voters, higher than the last midterms but far below the 68 percent who participated in the 2012 presidential election.

In Central City in the 11th ward, where three precincts share close quarters in New Zion Baptist Church, voters turned up before doors opened at 6 a.m. By lunchtime, 151 of the 869 voters registered in the 13th precinct had cast ballots behind the machines’ scarlet curtains.

“I’m surprised at the turnout. People are speaking today,” said election poll commissioner Judith Lomax, 57, a retired nurse, who has volunteered to work her precinct since 2002. “They’re coming out the hood. We’re tired. We’re on fixed income.” In the 12th precinct, 94 of 480 voters had cast ballots, and 73 of 463 registered in the 13th.

Robert Harris, 56, a trombone busker, cast his vote around 7 a.m. at Benjamin Franklin High School in Gentilly (which Wynton Marsalis attended, as well as Wendell Pierce of “Treme” and “The Wire”) before coming to play in Jackson Square. “I feel good and positive about this election. When you make it to 50, you really get your priorities straight.”

However, morning turnout was light at the high school in Ward 7, where only 36 of 248 voters had used the machines by noon.

High African American turnout is crucial to Sen. Mary Landrieu winning a fourth term. She traditionally wins the majority of their votes.

“I’ve been feeling it, and that we’re going to win for the last six weeks. I do not feel like I’ve been abandoned by anyone in the Democratic party. And I have a lot of support from independents,” said Landrieu, who gave a fiery speech at the Plumbers and Steamfitters Local 198 in East Baton Rouge on Monday night at her last official stop of the 18-month campaign. “This has been a joy mentally.”

The chair of the Senate energy committee noted, “This is the first time in my life I’ve won every endorsement in this state,” as well as one from the Houston Chronicle.

5:15 p.m. – A conversation with the Secretary of State’s office earlier today yielded the following…

  • Turnout doesn’t appear to them to be any more than it usually is. Secretary Schedler’s initial projection of 45-50 percent still stands.
  • One thing which makes turnout appear to be higher to voters than it is is the size of the ballot, which is making voters take longer in the booth and cause the lines to be longer than they otherwise would be.
  • The size of the ballot has another effect, which is in how long it’s going to take to post election results tonight. Because so long as people are in line when the polls close at 8:00, they’ll be allowed to vote. That means polling stations in heavily-populated areas might not actually close until 8:45 or so, and then when those stations are closed down there are some processes to follow which culminate in the data cartridges from the voting machines being driven to the parish Clerk of Court’s office, where the data is then uploaded to the Secretary of State’s server.
  • The data file this year, because of all the offices on the ballot and those ridiculous 14 constitutional amendments, is going to be absolutely huge. Because of its size the uploads might take a little longer than usual.
  • And because of that, there might not be a whole lot of election results to report before 9:30 tonight. And it might be 1 in the morning before substantially all of the returns are finished.

A warning to our readers – we’ll have a good bit of content here until about 8:30 or 9:00 central time, and then a hiatus until about 11:00 or so – followed by a lot of wrap-up content later tonight. And this post will contain a lot of observations as well as tidbits of news we’re picking up as we go along. The updates will scroll up, so the latest ones will appear at the top.


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