Latest updates from our writers (page 4)

One of Mitt Romney's health-care advisers, Avik S.A. Roy, throws in the towel:

Another toke over the line. The Boston Globe is reporting that Massachusetts' medical marijuana initiative has passed. The Bay State thus becomes the 18th state in the nation to legalize medical marijuana. No definitive word yet on the state's right-to-die initiative. And there are other Western states where pot is on the ballot. 

With call after call coming in for Obama and Democratic candidates, Romney's headquarters in Boston has gone very quiet. The volume on the televisions in the ballroom has been shut off, according to reporters inside, and replaced with a live band. In the press room, no Romney representatives have appeared to offer optimistic spin.

Around 9:30 p.m., Romney adviser Ed Gillespie took the stage in the ballroom to assure the crowd he was "very confident and optimistic about where our votes are as they're coming in." Then Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, whose state's other Senate seat had recently been called for Democrat Sherrod Brown, came in on the video feed, a divot of worry making a deep dent between his eyes. "I've never been prouder to be associated with a campaign than this one," he said. But he did not sound like a man who thought his candidate was about to win Ohio.


Romney speaks during a campaign rally on Monday, October 8, 2012 in Newport News, Virginia. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci) From Alan Taylor's gallery, "Campaign 2012: The Story in Photos."

The Tea Party claims another victim ... from the Republican Party. CNN and other networks are now projecting that Richard Mourdock will lose his bid for Indiana Senate to Democrat Joe Donnelly.

If you're looking for excitement, this race had it all. First, Mourdock -- an uncompromising, extremely conservative state treasurer -- unseated longtime Republican Senator Dick Lugar. Then he surged again in the polls against Donnelly, only to collapse in the closing weeks of the race after making an ill-advised comment about how conception, even in the case of rape, was a gift from God. His support quickly evaporated, and now Donnelly will take Lugar's seat -- making Indiana a Democratic pickup and a big part of their drive to stay in control of the Senate.

Now, that's Senator Some Obscure Academic, if you don't mind:

A Big Cheese Obama aide concedes early evening jitters but that "things looking very, very good. Feeling a lot better now."


Barack and Michelle Obama are saluted by soldiers as they arrive at the Fort Stewart Army post, on April 27, 2012, in Fort Stewart, Georgia. (David Goldman/AP) From Alan Taylor's gallery, "Campaign 2012: The Story in Photos."

Once again an Elizabeth Warren win projected by a network -- this time for real, from CBS. CNN is also projecting a win for her.

Nate Silver is looking forward to being proven right, I imagine.

Will Mitt Romney win any swing states? I kid, of course -- Florida, Virginia, Colorado, and Ohio are still definitively in play -- but two more have been projected for Obama: New Hampshire and Wisconsin.

This is bad news for Romney, spiritually and mathematically. He keeps a home and kicked off his campaign in New Hampshire; his running mate, Paul Ryan, is from Wisconsin. New Hampshire was part of several of his dwindling paths to 270 electoral votes. And Wisconsin was a big GOP hope for expanding the electoral map.

About 20 minutes ago, reports circulated that NBC had called the Massachusetts senate race for Elizabeth Warren. Regardless what sparked that rumor, NBC's Erika Masonhall has clarified in a tweet that the race is still too early to call.

For what it's worth, MSNBC is currently showing Warren slightly ahead, 52 percent to Brown's 48, with just 27 percent of precincts reporting. Warren, for her part, has already posted a Thank You message on her Facebook page, though I suppose that sentiment would remain, win or lose.

If you could assemble any group of people, put a camera on them as they watch election returns, and see their interactions via live stream, who would you bring together? Let's say the table seats up to 10 people. I'm thinking maximum entertainment value would be achieved with Andrew Sullivan, Hugh Hewitt, Stephen Colbert in character, Sarah Palin in character, Louis C.K., Chris Rock, James Lipton, Joan Rivers, Conan O'Brien, and Stephen Hawking. Too bad Christopher Hitchens is no longer with us.


Rick Santorum waits for an interview in Miami, on January 27, 2012. (Paul Sancya/AP) From Alan Taylor's gallery, "Campaign 2012: The Story in Photos."

Josh Mandel may yet shave before he turns 35, to quote his favorite stump joke, but that won't come while he's in the Senate. The Republican has come up short in his attempt to unseat Sherrod Brown, one of the Senate's most liberal Democrats. The race was one of the nastiest all year: The men seemed to openly disdain each other; outside groups spent millions to defeat Brown; and Mandel was pilloried by the press for repeated lies. But Brown's lead remained resilient if small all along. He was also dogged by allegations of malfeasance, both as a candidate and in his capacity as state treasurer.

Brown's win is good for Democratic hopes to take the Senate. What we don't know yet is whether it's a bellwether for Obama's chances in the Buckeye State.

CHICAGO---The tentative title for the Hollywood movie about the media throng awaiting President Obama is"Wifi-less in Chicago."

A force greater than "lake effect snow" off Lake Michigan has consumed many hundreds from around the globe: no wi-fi. Technicians are scurrying as journalists are muttering in many languages.

Knock on wood for chums with the White House traveling press corps, offering techno shelter to yours truly in their segregated work space. Different wifi network. Whew.

Dick Morris doubles down: 

Speaking of Pennsylvania, CNN projects that Bob Casey will win reelection. The Democratic senator was always a favorite, but Republicans hoped political neophyte Tom Smith might surprise him, and tightening polls late encouraged them. Altogether, Pennsylvania is proving a disappointing spot for the GOP -- just as it was in 2008.

TPM Editor & Publisher Josh Marshall confirms Elizabeth Warren will be the first former TPM blogger in the U.S. Senate, should she win her challenge to Republican Scott Brown for the Massachusetts seat. NBC was earlier reported to have been projecting that Warren would win the race, according to The Daily Beast and innumerable people on Twitter, but the network says that's not the case.

Obama wins Pennsylvania, per projections. Does this mean that Romney's late push in the Keystone State was just a feint, or did things really tighten, just not enough for him?


A supporter calls for "four more years" as Obama speaks at a campaign rally in Tampa, Florida, on October 25, 2012. (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters) From Alan Taylor's gallery, "Campaign 2012: The Story in Photos."

If President Obama wins reelection tonight with the expected share of the black and Hispanic votes, watch the tone of the subsequent analysis on Fox News, talk radio, and right-leaning blogs to understand why Obama won reelection with such a big share of the black and Hispanic votes.

If history remembers John Raese, it will likely be as a man who lost to some of the truly great names of West Virginia politics. The Republican Senate nominee appears to have been defeated in his race against Democratic Senator Joe Manchin, who he also lost to in 2010. While Manchin has yet to build much of a legacy, he's managed to survive as a Democrat in a state with a deep antipathy to President Obama. In 2004, Raese also fell to Manchin's predecessor, the late legend Robert Byrd, in 2004. And he lost his first Senate race to Jay Rockefeller, another one-man Beltway institution, in 1984. But it's a privilege just to be nominated, right?


In this sobering photo from Reuters photographer Lucas Jackson, Rockaway Beach residents stand near a fire as they listen to the radio for news of the presidential election. Consider it a  reminder that while we're all huddled over our computers, eyes glued to cable television and exit polls, many Americans are still struggling to recover from Hurricane Sandy.

With the 9 p.m. poll closings, we've got a new round of state projections. Mitt Romney is expected to win Kansas, Louisiana, three of five Nebraska electoral votes (the state awards electors based on district), South Dakota, Texas, Mississippi, and Alabama. Barack Obama, meanwhile, captures New York and New Jersey. He also is projected to win Michigan. That's no huge surprise, but it's Mitt Romney's home state. It's also one of the three states -- with Pennsylvania and Minnesota -- on which Obama aide David Axelrod wagered his trademark mustache. It's safe from the razor -- so far.

If you've ever wondered what it looks like inside a major American newspaper's newsroom on an election night, The Washington Post has a treat for you: The Washington Post Newsroom Cam.
Free live streaming by Ustream

Mitt Romney has lost both his home states, Massachusetts and Michigan, according to CNN's projections.

Maine is going from an Olympian to a King. Well, an Olympia -- Snowe, that is. The retiring Republican senator will be succeeded by Angus King, an independent and former governor. It's a fascinating dynamic: Snowe was one of the most moderate members of the GOP in the Senate, and King has pledged to be just as fiercely independent. Still, he's expected to caucus with Democrats, who largely stayed out of his way. Read David Rohde's paean to King from June here.


Donald Trump speaks to a crowd of 600 people during a gathering of Republican women's groups, Thursday, April 28, 2011, in Las Vegas. Trump's flirtation with a White House bid continued with a lavish reception at the Treasure Island casino in Las Vegas. (Julie Jacobson/AP) From Alan Taylor's gallery, "Campaign 2012: The Story in Photos."

Sometime tonight, Maryland is expected to become the first state in the country to legalize same-sex marriage via a popular vote. Six states plus the District of Columbia already have same-sex marriage, but they have legalized it by legislative or court action.

Maryland just posted its early-voting results, which show about 53 percent of voters supporting the measure, and will be updating here (look under Question 6 in the drop-down menu) as more votes come in throughout the night.

The price of this year's election has been estimated at an eye-popping $6 billion. Surely that's the most expensive election in history, right? Not even close, when measured as a percentage of GDP. Matt O'Brien has a lesson on the 1896 election, when Cleveland industrialist Mark Hanna rallied Wall Street again bimetallist Democrat William Jennings Bryan. Here's the crazy disparity in one chart: ElectionSpendingHistory-thumb-385-104437.jpg

Linda McMahon has now spent $94 million of her own fortune across two campaign cycles to not win a Senate seat in Connecticut, the Hartford Courant reports. The newspaper, and Fox, call that election for the Democrat, Chris Murphy.


Michele Bachmann addresses a crowd during a welcome-home event in her hometown of Waterloo, Iowa, on Sunday, June 26, 2011. (Charlie Riedel/AP) From Alan Taylor's gallery, "Campaign 2012: The Story in Photos."

In professional wrestling, the loser is decided before the match even starts. Linda McMahon, former CEO of World Wrestling Entertainment, is starting to look like she's stuck in the loser's role. On her second try for a U.S. Senate seat from Connecticut in three years, the Republican is projected to lose to Rep. Chris Murphy.

The Nutmeg State is reliably Democratic, but Murphy proved a weak candidate, and McMahon tightened the race to low single digits in the closing weeks -- but couldn't quite lay the smack down on him (she even distributed flyers asking voters to elect her and Obama). Murphy will replace Joe Lieberman, an independent who caucuses with the Democrats in the Senate. As for McMahon, it'll be interesting to see if she's still eager for elected office after running two bruising campaigns and spending millions of her own money on them to no avail.

Chalk up two more Southern states for Mitt Romney: He's set to win Tennessee and Arkansas.

More Bill O'Reilly. On Fox, he lamented that "It's a changing country. We are changing demographically, we are changing our attitudes, we are becoming more like Western Europe." He declined to point to "any demographic group" but said that the rising, general attitude was: "'I don't want to do it, but I want them to do it for me.'..and President Obama's campaign targeted those people." He was also leaning heavily on a Sandy rationale for a late Obama surge, saying that traveling New Jersey with Governor Chris Christie allowed the President to appear to be practicing bipartisanship, just as Mitt Romney was talking about bipartisanship.

What's interesting, of course, is that he felt he needed a rationale -- he seemed quite grim about Governor Romney's prospects. Karl Rove, meanwhile, is seeing "good news" for Romney in the early results from Virginia. (He is talking about the results in "Democrat precincts," though his white board actually presents the less politically but more grammatically correct adjective "Democratic.")

Tonight is a night for political decision-making, but tonight is also a night for political news-making. News sites -- including ours -- are experiencing one of those increasingly rare things: a moment when the eyes of a nation are collectively focused on the same small collection of screens.

When it comes to the infographics that are gracing many of those screens, The New York Times is one of the most impressive outlets there is. And that's in part because the paper has a long -- a very, very long -- tradition of creating images that inform and explain and inspire. Here's just one of the electoral-outcome maps as printed in The New York Times, this one showing William McKinley's defeat of William Jennings Bryan in 1896. (Bryan, a Democrat, carried the shaded states. And Virginia, North Carolina, and a handful of other states in the West, the Times notes, were actually shaded incorrectly.)

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The New York Times
More graphics here.

If Obama wins tonight I think we can all agree that he will have community-organized his way to a second term. The role of turn-out and the importance of a transformed electorate to his political success has been unparalleled, and a second-term Obama win will prove that even with the hundreds of millions spent on the air war this election, nothing can beat the power of mobilizing episodic voters who are inclined to support you. If Obama loses, it will, of course, show the limits of that approach -- and the need for Democrats to again seek to persuade voters, rather than turn out the already persuaded.

With 61 percent reporting, it's an 85,000-vote race in Florida right now, according to MSNBC. A recount, I'm told, would require the race to close to within 45,000 votes if the expected 9 million Floridians turn out to vote.

Here's the relevant statute, copied in part:

If the unofficial returns reflect that a candidate for any office was defeated or eliminated by one-half of a percent or less of the votes cast for such office, that a candidate for retention to a judicial office was retained or not retained by one-half of a percent or less of the votes cast on the question of retention, or that a measure appearing on the ballot was approved or rejected by one-half of a percent or less of the votes cast on such measure, a recount shall be ordered of the votes cast with respect to such office or measure.


Voters put corn kernels into jars with their favorite Republican presidential candidates on the first day of the Iowa State Fair, on August 11, 2011, in Des Moines, Iowa. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty) From Alan Taylor's gallery, "Campaign 2012: The Story in Photos."


The Horrors of Rat Hole Mining

"The river was our source of water. Now, the people won't touch it."


What's Your Favorite Slang Word?

From "swag" to "on fleek," tweens choose.


Cryotherapy's Dubious Appeal

James Hamblin tries a questionable medical treatment.


Confessions of Moms Around the World

In Europe, mothers get maternity leave, discounted daycare, and flexible working hours.


How Do Trees Know When It's Spring?

The science behind beautiful seasonal blooming

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