Angus King will caucus with Dems— Aaron Blake (@AaronBlakeWP) November 5, 2014
Mark Warner Has a Small Lead in Virginia
Senator Mark Warner is claiming victory in his bid for a second term in Virginia, as he maintain a lead of about 0.6 percent, or a little more than 12,000 votes, over Republican Ed Gillespie. But Gillespie hasn't conceded and could request a recount under Virginia law if the final margin is within 1 percent. Warner's race was much closer than expected, and he trailed Gillespie, a former Republican Party chairman, for much of the night until votes from Democratic strongholds in northern Virginia came in.
The AP Calls Colorado for Hickenlooper
Hickenlooper wins. APNewsAlert: DENVER (AP) — Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper wins second term, defeats Republican Bob Beauprez— Ivan Moreno (@IvanJourno) November 5, 2014
Begich and Parnell Look Like Losers in Alaskadown nearly four percentage points with all precincts reporting. Meanwhile, Governor Sean Parnell, a Republican, is on track to lose to independent Bill Walker.
Democrat John Hickenlooper Survives in Colorado
It's not totally official, but the Denver Post projects that Governor John Hickenlooper will hang on to beat back a challenge from Republican Bob Beauprez in Colorado. Not all the votes are counted, but Hickenlooper has a small lead and most of the outstanding votes are in Democratic areas.
It's a rare, and surprising, bright spot for Democrats. The same voters resoundingly defeated Democratic Senator Mark Udall, and for a time it seemed the two candidates' fortunes would be intertwined. As Nora Caplan-Bricker noted, Hickenlooper was elected as a moderate but ended up taking up several high-profile liberal positions—notably on gun control—during his term. His tight margin and Udall's loss are a reminder that while the Centennial State has tilted Democratic for the last few elections, it's still a purple state with a conservative rearguard.
Democrats had expected that gubernatorial races would be a bright spot for them, but even then Hickenlooper was endangered. It would have been hard to predict a week ago that Democrat Anthony Brown would lose his race in Maryland but Hickenlooper would survive. But there it is.
It's the Governors' Races, Tootheir victories in statehouses may hurt Democrats worse.
Obama: The Wrong Man for the Moment
As his party lost seats in epic fashion Tuesday in both the House and Senate, the world's most famous Democrat sat on the sidelines—like a player ejected early from a championship game.
But while there will be second-guessing, teeth-gnashing, and blame flying in the wake of the results, the plain truth is that President Obama was never the kind of man who could ride to his party's rescue in a midterm cycle like this. As he's made clear over the past six years, his political style isn't one suited to hot-blooded rhetoric and emotional appeals. He prefers, instead, deliberation, nuance, reason—and incrementalism above narrative. All are commodities with little currency in the hyperpolarized world of 2014. When Obama preaches at all these days, it's usually to the converted, as was evidenced by his final campaign swing to shrinking crowds in friendly states. READ MORE.
Berkeley Passes the Nation's First Soft-Drink Tax
Berkeley, California, will become the first city in the United States to impose a tax on soda, after voters resoundingly passed a measure on Tuesday night. The measure, which takes effect on January 1, will tax sodas, sports drinks, and sweet teas one cent per ounce, while exempting juice drinks, diet sodas, and chocolate milk. Under the new law, the price of a can of Coca-Cola will go up 12 cents while a two-liter bottle will cost an additional 68 cents.
That Berkeley has blazed this trail comes as little surprise: The famously liberal college town provides free medical marijuana to low-income residents and was one of the first places in the United States to adopt curbside recycling.
But concern over sugary drinks is hardly a local phenomenon. Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg successfully enacted a ban on 20-ounce sodas in the city's delis and shops, only to have the measure overturned by the New York Court of Appeals. Bloomberg donated $650,000 in support of Berkeley's soda-tax measure. And Mexico, itself battling an obesity crisis, enacted a soda tax earlier this year. Since then, sales of sugar-sweetened drinks have declined by 10 percent in the country.
Photo: In Florida, they put away Charlie Crist's fan after his concession speech pic.twitter.com/oBe3YnN4Z8— NYT First Draft (@nytpolitics) November 5, 2014
The State of Play at 1 a.m.
Here are the races that are still undecided:
- The Connecticut governor race is still too close to call, though both candidates seemed to believe Democrat Dannel Malloy would squeak through to reelection.
- The Colorado governor race is also too close to call.
- Alaska results are unlikely to come in anytime soon.
Meanwhile, the Virginia Senate race remains up in the air. We'll probably cut out our liveblog for the night soon, and pick things up first thing in the morning. Check back in!
Republicans Pad Their Majority in the House
The Republicans eked out a majority in the Senate on Tuesday night, but they may have locked down control of the House for years to come.
Ousting longtime Democratic incumbents while keeping their own losses to a minimum, the GOP neared a margin in the lower chamber it has not seen in more than two decades. While the vote-counting continued on the West Coast, Republicans were on pace to match or exceed their stated goal of 245 seats, which would be a gain of 12 from their current 234.
In Georgia, the GOP finally knocked off Representative John Barrow, one of the few conservative Democrats remaining in the South and a member Republicans had targeted for years. The same fate befell West Virginia’s Nick Rahall, an 11-term Democrat swept away by the state’s increasingly rightward swift. And in New York’s Staten Island, voters easily reelected incumbent Republican Michael Grimm despite his 20-count indictment on charges of fraud, tax evasion, and perjury.
Republicans recaptured seats they had lost blue states, defeating Democrats Tim Bishop and Dan Maffei in New York, Brad Schneider and Bill Enyart in Illinois, and Carol Shea-Porter in New Hampshire.
The Republicans' strength could be seen even in races they didn’t win. In upstate New York, Representative Louise Slaughter, a senior Democrat and the oldest woman in the House, was winning her race by less than 600 votes with all the precincts reporting. Maryland’s Chris Van Hollen, who is seen as a possible future speaker, saw a tighter margin than expected as well.
For Democrats, one of the lone bright spots came early in the night in Florida, where Gwen Graham defeated Republican incumbent Steve Southerland in a closely watched race. Graham is the daughter of former Senator Bob Graham and is seen as a potential statewide candidate in the future, while Southerland squandered his seat after having quickly risen to the outer ranks of the Republican leadership.
The Scariest Part of the Republican Blowout for Democrats
Does Tuesday night’s GOP blowout presage anything for the presidential election that starts in earnest on Wednesday? The conventional answer is probably still no. First, as a million pundits have correctly noted, midterm voters are older, whiter and thus more Republican-leaning than voters in presidential races. Second, the key 2014 Senate races were disproportionately located in red states (although Democrats fared poorly in purple ones too). Third, the GOP trained its fire on President Obama, who won’t be on the ballot in two years.
But despite all this, there is one big takeaway from tonight’s Republican landslide that should worry Democrats a lot: The GOP is growing hungrier to win. READ MORE.
We are humbled by the responsibility the American people have placed with us. http://t.co/geJx7WR8Dd— Speaker John Boehner (@SpeakerBoehner) November 5, 2014
How Mark Warner Almost Lost and Then (Probably) Won Virginia
Even in Democrats' doomsday scenarios, Mark Warner wasn't supposed to be in trouble. The one-term Virginia senator was popular statewide, a former governor who sailed to victory six years ago. He was running against Ed Gillespie, a former lobbyist. And Virginia had just elected Terry McAuliffe governor—which, given McAuliffe's weaknesses, suggested the Old Dominion was feeling Democratic. Making matters sweeter, Gillespie pulled his television ads in mid-October, essentially throwing in the towel. Warner led by around 10 points in many recent polls.
But a funny thing happened Tuesday night: As the votes came in, Gillespie surged to a lead. In the end, it didn't hold; Warner's strong showing in Northern Virginia, around Washington, D.C., pushed him back into the lead. He currently leads by less than 1 percent—state law allows the loser to ask for a recount when the margin is within a point—and the race is still too close to call.
Gillespie's strong showing is proof of how strong the Republican wave was, and it suggests that the GOP made a strategic error by pulling out of the race so early. With a little more attention, it's easy to imagine Gillespie beating Warner. But for Republicans, that's hardly a blemish on a great night.
Maine Doesn't Turn on LePageon Tuesday, LePage improbably won another term, beating Democrat Mike Michaud, considered a strong candidate, and independent Eliot Cutler, taking a second shot at the race.
More Republican Gubernatorial Wins: Kansas and Maryland
Nebraska Kansas Governor Sam Brownback was going to be a favorite Democratic scalp this year. He trailed in every poll, losing to Paul Davis, who was backed by a coalition of Democrats and moderate Republicans. Yet somehow he managed to win Tuesday.
Even more surprising is the result in Maryland, a Democratic state where Anthony Brown was expected to sail against Republican Larry Hogan. Yet Hogan won, becoming the first Republican governor in Maryland since Bob Ehrlich left office in 2007. The win comes despite President Obama stumping for Brown late—complicating some pundits' argument Tuesday that Democrats erred by running away from the president. It also complicated outgoing Democratic Governor Martin O'Malley's 2016 presidential hopes.
A Wacky Finish in the Vermont Gubernatorial Race
Vermont legislature will pick governor after no candidate wins majority. -@AP— Huffington Post (@HuffingtonPost) November 5, 2014
Looser Marijuana Laws Nearly Run the Table
Guam kicked off the night by voting to legalize medical marijuana. Nearly halfway around the world, Alaska may cap it off by voting to create a legal, regulated marijuana market. In between, Oregon legalized pot, and Washington, D.C., voted to legislate home possession and cultivation of the drug—but not selling. (That measure is still subject to a congressional review period.) The medical marijuana measure in Florida, however, failed to get the 60 percent required for all constitutional amendments.
With Colorado and Washington having already legalized, these ballot initiatives are understandably drawing less attention than those of 2012, but they are nonetheless evidence of America's rapidly shifting feelings on one of its most popular drugs.
Martha Coakley Loses Another Race
The GOP Clinches the Senate—What's Next?what the Republican-controlled Senate will look like.
Joni Ernst Beats Bruce Braley in Iowa
Joni Ernst has topped Representative Bruce Braley in Iowa, giving Republicans a 52nd seat and solidifying their control of the Senate.
Losing Iowa after Senator Tom Harkin’s retirement is particularly stinging for Democrats, who for months did not view the state as one that was at risk of shifting to the GOP. Braley, a four-term House member, stumbled early on by denigrating the popular Republican Senator Charles Grassley as “a farmer from Iowa who never went to law school.”
Republicans Clinch Senate as Kay Hagan Goes Down in North Carolina
Thom Tillis has won the race for Senate in North Carolina, clinching Republican control of the body.
Kay Hagan ran a strong campaign. She used the powerful Democratic voter-turnout machine. She successfully linked Thom Tillis to a conservative, unpopular state legislature. And in the end, Kay Hagan lost.
Republican Thom Tillis will be the next senator from North Carolina. Tills finished his campaign strong—Hagan's solid numbers in a tough national environment were a source of optimism for Democrats, but this swing state went red. For Hagan, and her party, this is another tough loss on a tough night.
Governor Pat Quinn Loses in Obama's Home State
Pat Quinn, the only candidate in a contested race whom Obama personally voted for, goes down— Edward-Isaac Dovere (@IsaacDovere) November 5, 2014
Rep. Louise Slaughter seems to have scraped by in New York’s 25th congressional district. 50.16-49.84 with 100% reporting.— Sabrina Siddiqui (@SabrinaSiddiqui) November 5, 2014
Scott Brown Isn't Conceding to Jeanne Shaheen Yet
Despite most news organizations calling the New Hampshire Senate race hours ago, the contest has been thrown back into doubt as the current vote count has Jeanne Shaheen, who already handed the win by exit polls, leading Scott Brown by just about 2,000 votes. Brown has not conceded and neither side has called the other to discuss the result.
A spokesman for Brown's campaign called the early projections "premature and irresponsible." and few news outlets are reportedly considering the rare move of rescinding their calls. Stay tuned.
A Bloodbath for Democrats
It's hard to understate just how bad this night has been for Democrats. Sure, everyone expected them to lose the Senate and lose ground in the House, too. Democratic candidates have fallen, are stuck in runoffs, or can't seal the deal across the country.
Some Democrats who were expected to lose have lost, such as Mark Pryor of Arkansas. But all of the races that seemed like they might break Democrats' way seem to be going for Republicans. Mark Udall has fallen—in Colorado, home of the chair of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. Bruce Braley, once a prized recruit in Iowa, is on the verge of losing to Joni Ernst, once seen as a wild-eyed longshot. Michelle Nunn didn't succeed in even forcing a runoff against Republican David Perdue in the Georgia Senate race. Alison Lundergan Grimes wasn't even close to Mitch McConnell in Kentucky. Independent Greg Orman, behind whom Democrats had rallied, led in polls late but ultimately fell to incumbent Republican Pat Roberts. Meanwhile, Senator Mark Warner is barely ahead in Virginia and could still lose.
On the gubernatorial side, Charlie Crist lost his bid to take back the governor's office in Florida. Mary Burke's attempt to beat Dem bete noir, Governor Scott Walker, in Wisconsin fell short. Red-state House Democrats from Georgia to West Virginia are going down. Even Democrats who should be safe—like New York's Louise Slaughter—are stuck in close races.
This was always going to be a good night for Republicans, but it's shaping up to be much better than anyone expected.
Now with 99% reporting Louise Slaughter is up 92,601 to Mark Assini's 92,526.— Matt Fuller (@MEPFuller) November 5, 2014
Pat Roberts, Comeback Kid
So much for the rise of independents. Greg Orman has lost his bid to unseat Republican Pat Roberts in the Kansas Senate race. It's an amazing finish for Roberts, who faced a stiff primary challenge but pullled through thanks to his opponent's major weaknesses. Just when it seemed he was out of the woods, the general election was overturned by the emergence of Orman. Democrats withdrew their candidate and rallied behind the independent, who surged ahead in polls.
But national Republicans from across the spectrum—from homestate icon Bob Dole to Sarah Palin—rallied behind Roberts, and the senator eked out a win.
Republican David Perdue Avoids Runoff in Georgia Senate Race
The Democratic dream of taking a Senate seat in deep-red Georgia is dead. Republican businessman David Perdue defeated Michelle Nunn on Tuesday, with the networks projecting that he will clear the 50 percent threshold and avoid a runoff election that would have been held in January.
The result is a bit of a surprise given that Nunn had been leading in some polls until the closing days of the campaign. But ultimately the Republican base came home, and the daughter of longtime Senator Sam Nunn was turned aside. Perdue’s victory adds to a strong night for Republicans, who are now almost assured of winning the Senate majority. It also means that the Louisiana race involving Democratic Senator Mary Landrieu is likely to be the only one that will go to a runoff.
Photos From Tonight's Results
Keep an eye on our image gallery as we update through the night.
#WV02 called for Alex Mooney, leading by 2.5 points with almost all votes in. Manchin is the last West Virginia Democrat.— Jack Fitzpatrick (@jackfitzdc) November 5, 2014
With John Barrow's loss, there are only 3 Dems left in the House who voted against Obamacare. In 2010, it was 34. #election2014— Jennifer Haberkorn (@jenhab) November 5, 2014
Rick Scott Beats Charlie Crist in Florida—Barely
Florida Governor Rick Scott has squeaked to a narrow reelection over Charlie Crist, the Republican-turned-Democrat former governor who had attempted an improbable political comeback. Scott was unpopular—he appears to have won with less than 50 percent of the vote—but he succeeded in convincing voters that the shape-shifting Crist couldn't be trusted, with the help of a massively expensive campaign that included nearly $13 million of Scott's own fortune. Crist's trusty electric fan was not enough to power him over the finish line.
Scott's reelection is further proof that Democrats fell short in their goal of changing the midterm electorate. He joins the ranks of Republican governors who faced headwinds in blue states after being elected in the GOP wave of 2010. But so far, only Pennsylvania's Tom Corbett has lost, while Maine Governor Paul LePage's race was still too close to call. Governors John Kasich of Ohio, Rick Snyder of Michigan and Scott Walker of Michigan were all reelected.
Scott Walker, Survivor
How Cory Gardner Upset Mark Udall and Won the Colorado Senate Race
A second Democratic incumbent has been defeated as Senator Mark Udall of Colorado has lost to Representative Cory Gardner in Colorado. That puts the number of Republican Senate pickups at five, one short of the six needed to take the chamber.
Udall made abortion rights the centerpiece of his campaign, criticizing Gardner for his support for the anti-abortion "personhood" idea. It was an attack that helped Michael Bennet, the other Democratic senator from Colorado (and the brother of The Atlantic's editor-in-chief and co-president, James Bennet), win a tough reelection in 2010. But Gardner, a sunny and personable first-term congressman, was not as easily caricatured as a fringe right-wing crank as past Republican candidates, and he parried the attack by proposing that birth control be made available over the counter. Some Colorado Democrats now fear candidates will be afraid to run strongly on women's issues as a result of Udall's loss.
Udall was also criticized by immigration advocates for not doing enough to mobilize the Hispanic community, which has soured on Democrats due to Washington's failure to act on immigration. And many Coloradans simply had trouble understanding what Udall, a doctrinaire liberal, stood for. In a Denver Post profile last month, he said his greatest achievement was a bill to allow ski areas to offer disc golf in the summertime.
To Republicans, Gardner's ability to turn back the blue tide in Colorado represents a major triumph that they hope other candidates can emulate: a conservative politician who focuses on pocketbook issues to win over swing voters.
One Republican Who's Not Happy About the Senate Results: Ron Paul
On what looks like a triumphant night for the GOP, not every prominent Republican is the mood to celebrate. Take Ron Paul, the former Texas congressman and presidential candidate. In anticipation of the Republicans gaining a majority in the Senate, the 79-year-old Paul issued a warning about the consequences for U.S. foreign policy:
Republican control of the Senate = expanded neocon wars in Syria and Iraq. Boots on the ground are coming!— Ron Paul (@RonPaul) November 5, 2014
The junior senator from Kentucky, like his father, is also no fan of Bush-era neoconservatism. But the younger Paul is also seen as a possible Republican presidential candidate in 2016. Should he seek the nomination, Senator Paul will have to earn the trust of the hawkish GOP base, a process that will require distancing himself from his father's views.
Rand Paul has used his own Twitter account quite differently than has his father: for congratulating fellow Republicans for their electoral victories.
GOP Picks Up Another Senate Seat in Montana
Representative Steve Daines has won the open Senate seat in Montana, bringing Republicans a key step closer to the six seats they need to win the majority.
The victory by Daines, now serving his first term in the House, was widely expected after the Democratic nominee, John Walsh, withdrew amid a plagiarism scandal. Republicans need just two more pick-ups to secure the majority if they don’t lose any of their own seats. The Montana seat opened up after Senator Max Baucus resigned to become ambassador to China. Walsh has been serving in the interim.
Minimum Wage Increases Are Having a Good Night in Red States
Four red states are voting tonight on initiatives to raise the minimum wage, a step Democrats have made a central part of their agenda. Both Arkansas and Nebraska have already approved ballot initiatives. Arkansas's minimum will increase from the federal minimum of $7.25 to $8 in 2015 and $8.50 in 2016. Nebraska will make the same jump in 2015, and establish a $9 minimum in 2016.
Citizens in South Dakota and Alaska are still awaiting results. South Dakota's measure would see small increases over three years: $7.50 in 2015, $8.00 in 2016, and $9.00 in 2017, as well as giving tipped workers a raise—but like in Arkansas, the cost of living in the state is relatively low. Alaska, currently with a $7.75 minimum, would set the rate at $8.75 in 2015 and $9.75 in 2016, adjusting for inflation in the following years.
If, as expected, all four measures pass, there might be a takeaway for Democrats: Economic populism is still attractive, and moving toward the middle—and away from President Obama—carries its own risks.
Louisiana Senate Race Headed to Run-Off
The second election is a function of the state’s so-called “jungle primary,” in which the top two candidates in the general election go on to the run-off if neither gets a majority, regardless of party. Landrieu is likely to face Republican Representative Bill Cassidy, who was running in second place. Polls of a possible run-off had given Cassidy the edge, in large part because third-place candidate Rob Maness has drawn support from Tea Party conservatives who are unlikely to back Landrieu.
Landrieu is a Democrat trying to hold on in a deeply red Southern state—much like Senator Mark Pryor of Arkansas, who lost his seat earlier on Tuesday. The run-off increases the chances that control of the Senate will not be known for some time.
GOP had 3 candidates vying to be 1st openly-gay Republican elected to Congress. 2 down, 1 left (DeMaio in Cali) http://t.co/PiMIdqLKMK— W.J. Lowery (@WesleyLowery) November 5, 2014
Al Franken Wins Reelection
Medical Marijuana Goes Down in Florida57 percent, with 82 percent reporting—but because it was a constitutional amendment, it required 60 percent for passage.
Japan's NHK national broadcaster focused on U.S. elections. Here's how the "senkyo chizu" looks as of 11 a.m. JST. pic.twitter.com/bCZtZ9ax40— Jacob Schlesinger (@JMSchles) November 5, 2014
.@David_Gergen just said he can't remember election where voters said "pox on both your houses." I can't remember one where they didn't— Peter Beinart (@PeterBeinart) November 5, 2014
George P. Bush Wins First Electionbigger things soon.
Jeanne Shaheen Survives Scott Brown’s Challenge
Abbott Defeats Wendy Davis to Lead GOP Sweep in Texas
Though Abbott's victory was mostly expected—a Democratic replacing Rick Perry as governor of Texas was always a long shot—Davis's campaign drew national support and interest. Her 12-hour filibuster of the state's controversial abortion bill in 2013 turned her into a household name and hero to the left. It's not clear where she'll go from here, but it's hard to believe that her political career ends tonight.
Abbott's victory is just the icing on cake tonight for the state's GOP, as the Texas Tribune is calling a Republican sweep of all statewide offices.
Republicans Pick Up Senate Seat in South Dakota
With Johnson’s retirement, the red-state seat had long been seen as going to the Republicans, but Pressler’s presence in the race made it competitive for a time early in October. Sensing an opportunity, Democrats poured money into the campaign on Weiland’s behalf, but Rounds quickly regained a significant lead in the polls, and his win was called quickly at 9 p.m. on Tuesday.
Also winning at 9 p.m. was John Cornyn in Texas, the second-ranking Senate Republican, who secured his third term. On the Democratic side, Representative Gary Peters held off Republican Terri Lynn Land to replace retiring Democrat Carl Levin in Michigan. The race was never as competitive as Republicans had hoped it would be, in part due to Land’s flaws as a candidate.
More Images From Voting Todayimage gallery throughout the night.
Mitch McConnell's Victory Speech Promises a New Direction
LOUISVILLE, Ky.—As Mitch McConnell took the stage to address his supporters, Republicans had already picked up two of the six seats the party would need to make him the Senate majority leader. "Some things don't change," McConnell said. "After tonight, I don't expect the president to wake up tomorrow morning and view the world any differently than he did today, and he knows I won't either. But just because we have a two-party system doesn't mean we have to be in perpetual conflict." Coming from the man who many blame for singlehandedly blocking President Obama's agenda, it was a remarkable statement.
Speaking before McConnell, his partner in the Kentucky delegation, Senator Rand Paul, had made a series of specific promises on behalf of the potential Republican majority: cutting taxes, balancing the budget, approving the Keystone XL pipeline, and "repealing every last vestige of Obamacare." McConnell, however, was more vague. "Friends, this experiment in big government has lasted long enough," he said. "It's time to go in a new direction."
Per @emilyslist: Alma Adams' victory in NC-12 special election means there will be 100 women in Congress for first time in US history— W.J. Lowery (@WesleyLowery) November 5, 2014
McConnell: Friends this experiment in big government has gone on long enough— BrakktonBookerNPR (@brakktonbooker) November 5, 2014
Tom Cotton Defeats Mark Pryor in Arkansas
Cotton, a Harvard graduate and Iraq war veteran, will become, at 37, the youngest member of the Senate. Cotton’s win gives Republicans their second pick-up of a Democratic Senate seat after Shelley Moore Capito’s victory in an open seat in West Virginia. The GOP needs a net gain of six to win the majority. While shunning President Obama, Pryor had brought in former President Bill Clinton as a top surrogate, but Cotton pulled away in the closing weeks. Read more about Cotton in Molly Ball’s September profile of the House freshman. Pryor, whose father served as governor and senator, was bidding for his third term.
Also in Arkansas, Republican Asa Hutchinson, a former congressman and head of the Drug Enforcement Agency, defeated former Democratic Representative Mike Ross to win the governor’s race.
BREAKING: @ABC News projects Democrat Shaheen will win Senate race in New Hampshire.— ABC News (@ABC) November 5, 2014
Corbett Goes Down in Pennsylvania
McConnell: “Every election is a job interview—in this case, a very long one."— Molly Ball (@mollyesque) November 5, 2014
Lindsey Graham vs. the Tea PartyI wrote about how he did it.
Gillespie on track to at v least lose by less than M Warner did to J Warner in '96. M Warner won gov 5 yrs later.— Jonathan Martin (@jmartNYT) November 5, 2014
The view at McConnell HQ. pic.twitter.com/HCThiSNOBq— Molly Ball (@mollyesque) November 5, 2014
Cochran, Lankford Win Easily
Senator Thad Cochran’s general election was a lot easier than his primary. The 76-year-old Mississippi Republican defeated former Democratic Representative Travis Childers to win his seventh term on Tuesday, in a race that was called as soon as the polls closed at 8 p.m. Cochran nearly lost his primary to Tea Party challenger Chris McDaniel and only won after the Republican establishment came to his rescue.
In Oklahoma, Representative James Lankford also cruised to victory after a more difficult primary against T.W. Shannon, the Oklahoma House speaker. Lankford, a young-looking 46-year-old, had risen quickly in just two terms in the House, positioning himself as a conservative ally of the GOP leadership.
Other 8 p.m. calls included a victory for Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey, who won a full six-year term after arriving in the Senate last year via a special election following the death of Senator Frank Lautenberg. Democrats Edward Markey of Massachusetts and Jack Reed of Rhode Island also had their victories called at 8 p.m. Republicans Susan Collins in Maine and Lamar Alexander in Tennessee also easily won their reelection bids in races that were called when the polls closed.
PA GOV expected, but a big get for Ds bc Wolf could be there into 2020s to have veto on redistricting.— Jonathan Martin (@jmartNYT) November 5, 2014
PA GOV expected, but a big get for Ds bc Wolf could be there into 2020s to have veto on redistricting.— Jonathan Martin (@jmartNYT) November 5, 2014
Corbett Goes Down in Pennsylvania
Judge denies @CharlieCrist motion to extend Broward voting hours. Crist will not appeal.— George Bennett (@gbennettpost) November 5, 2014
Check Out Images From Voting Today
We're going to be updating this image gallery throughout the night.
There have been only 44 women senators in history, per the Senate. 20 of them are serving now.— Steven Dennis (@StevenTDennis) November 5, 2014
.@Team_Mitch Congratulations Mitch!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 5, 2014
America Votes: Image Gallery
The election in pictures: We'll be updating this gallery as the night progresses.
The Scene at McConnell Headquarters: 'Tickled'
LOUISVILLE—Mitch McConnell's supporters came expecting to stay awhile. There was a plentiful buffet at the Marriott east of town, and the ballroom was packed with men in suits and women in cocktail dresses. But there was not much suspense: The race was called for McConnell almost immediately after the polls closed at 7 p.m.
The decisiveness of the result suggested this could be a good night indeed for Republicans across the country. "Hopefully this will start a little wave across the country," said Nathan Haney, chairman of the Jefferson County Republicans, who pronounced himself "tickled" with the early returns. A young GOP staffer strode through the crowd with a large, glossy sign featuring McConnell and the words, "COME AT ME BRO."
McConnell has now won all nine of the elections in which he has run, an enviable record that speaks to his mastery as a political tactician—despite his deficiencies in the traditional speech-giving and glad-handing parts of politics. He overcame a Tea Party-inspired primary challenge and a tough general election into which national Democrats poured their cash and their hopes. But it will be some time before we learn whether his party has gained enough seats to make McConnell the Senate majority leader, a post he has coveted since he was a 22-year-old Senate intern half a century ago.
Kentucky Republicans are hoping the strong result for McConnell also helps them take the statehouse for the first time of 1921. Jeff Hoover, the minority leader, told the crowd the early returns looked promising for that goal, too: "It's going to be a great night," he said. "We've got a ways to go."
Republicans' First Pickup of the Night: West Virginia
CNN shows Scott Brown w 60% to 40% lead over Shaheen — with a total of 3 votes vs 2.— James Fallows (@JamesFallows) November 5, 2014
Mitch McConnell Survives, Beating Alison Lundergan Grimes
Mitch McConnell took his first critical step toward becoming the Senate majority leader, winning his bid for a sixth term over Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes in Kentucky.
The Associated Press and other news outlets called the race for McConnell immediately after the final polls in the state closed at 7 p.m.Democrats had targeted the Republican leader since shortly after the last election, hoping his dismal approval ratings at home would allow them to pick off a top party leader despite Kentucky’s red tilt. McConnell had defeated Matt Bevin, a Tea Party challenger, in a primary, and he went after Grimes aggressively by aligning her with President Obama.
While Grimes had led in polling earlier in the year, McConnell overtook her in recent months, and in a sign that the race was slipping away, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee took its ads off the air for a time and redirected money to other states. First elected in 1984, McConnell, 72, is all but certain to become the Senate majority leader if Republicans win control of the chamber, as most prognosticators expect them to do.
South Carolina Twofer
South Carolina's Tim Scott: The first African-American Senator elected from the South— Peter Hamby (@PeterHambyCNN) November 5, 2014
BREAKING -- CNN PROJECTS SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL WINS KENTUCKY SENATE RACE #CNNELECTION— Vaughn Sterling (@vplus) November 4, 2014
Polls Closing at 7 p.m.
What's Going on in Virginia?
Here’s an interesting dynamic: Some Republicans and conservatives are suggesting that the race for Senate in Virginia is a good deal closer than it appeared. That would represent an incredible turn. Republican Ed Gillespie trailed so far behind incumbent Democrat Mark Warner that he pulled his television ads in mid-October. But influential conservatives like Hugh Hewitt seem excited tonight:
Hey VA: It is very, very close. Get out and vote for @EdForSenate— Hugh Hewitt (@hughhewitt) November 4, 2014
Virginia isn’t one of the 10 competitive races most analysts have been watching, and Warner led by high single digits or double digits in all the recent polls; FiveThirtyEight gives Warner a better than 99 percent chance of winning. So there’s good reason to be skeptical that Gillespie is close. If he wins, though, it would probably be the upset of the night.
They've already popped the popcorn at the McConnell election night party. pic.twitter.com/GMqGqj0hPP— Molly Ball (@mollyesque) November 4, 2014
"You can hear anything you want on election night," says Karl Rove, who would know.— David A. Graham (@GrahamDavidA) November 4, 2014
The midterms are extremely important— KANYE WEST (@kanyewest) November 4, 2014
I'm supporting the Democratic ticket in these midterms— KANYE WEST (@kanyewest) November 4, 2014
An Early Look at Exit Polls
As we learned the hard way in 2004, exit polls are not necessarily very useful for telling who is going to win. But they can provide insight into the makeup of the electorate. And according to the preliminary exit polls released late Tuesday afternoon, the electorate in 2014 is, not surprisingly, an unhappy one.
Voters gave low marks both to President Obama and to the two parties in Congress, according to numbers reported on CNN. The president’s approval rating was 44 percent compared to 54 percent who disapproved of his performance, which is a couple ticks better than the 42 percent approval rating Obama registered on Tuesday in the Gallup tracking poll. Nearly two-thirds of voters—65 percent—said the country was heading in the wrong track.
Democrats need the electorate to more closely resemble the voters who reelected Obama in 2012 than those who ushered in a Republican House majority in 2010. On that front, the early results were a mixed bag. NBC News reported voters skewed older than either of the last two elections, while Nate Silver noted that the breakdown by race and party identification fell somewhere between that recorded in 2010 and 2012.
Congress continued to register dismal ratings, with 19 percent approving of the legislature’s performance and a whopping 79 percent disapproving. (Of course, that is not actually as low as at other points in recent years, when just one in 10 voters gave Congress a thumbs-up.) Congressional Democrats fared slightly better than Republicans, with 44 percent approving of their performance compared to 40 percent for the GOP. But in terms of views of government, Republicans appeared to have the edge, as 53 percent of respondents said the government was doing “too much,” while 41 percent said it should do more.
Keep in mind a couple of additional caveats: These exit polls are preliminary, and the final numbers may be different based on people who voted late in the day. And because they come from a national sample, they don’t necessarily reflect the voters in the dozen or so states that will decide control of the Senate.
Polls are closing around the U.S., including this temporary voting booth in Louisiana built after Hurricane Katrina. pic.twitter.com/w5vs2Cbjs9— NYT Photo (@nytimesphoto) November 4, 2014
What to Watch for in North Carolina
The Tar Heel state is considered a useful bellwether for how the rest of this night might go. If Democratic Senator Kay Hagan can hold on—and she’s kept a small lead in recent polls—it may be a long night. If she doesn’t, however, it’s hard to imagine any path at all to Democrats holding the Senate. Her opponent is Thom Tillis, speaker of the state House. When he won the Republican primary over Tea Party challengers, Molly Ball argued that it might be a sign that the war between the GOP’s moderate and conservative wings was coming to a close, with Tillis representing a fusion. More recently, former Democratic strategic Thomas Mills tried to understand Tillis’s psychology. On his own site, Mills has a good breakdown of what counties to watch in North Carolina to see where the race might go.
Who Is Mitch McConnell, Really?Molly Ball's dispatch from Madisonville, Kentucky. Mitch McConnell is on the brink of becoming Senate majority leader, but what exactly drives the man remains a bit hard to suss out.
Slam Dunks: The GOP Candidates You're Not Hearing About Tonight
Candidates in close races get the most attention, and that’s not just because we love the horse race: The strategies employed in close races explain more about the political moment than a politician cruising to an easy win. Still, the nation’s most powerful legislative body is about to add three new members. Expect these three red-state Republicans to start celebrating as soon as the polls close.
James Lankford: Republican Senator Tom Coburn had planned to honor a term-limit pledge and retire in 2016, but health troubles forced him to announce an early exit in January 2014. Representative Lankford, a self-described “faithful, conservative leader” represents the wealthy northern suburbs of Oklahoma City. He swept to victory in the GOP primary and is poised to do so again in the general against state Senator Connie Johnson—polls have Lankford’s lead at around 30 points.
Ben Sasse: Sasse (pronounced Sass) entered the Republican primary as the president of Midland University. He’ll exit the general as one of the country’s youngest senators, at 42. Linked to the Tea Party, Sass has attended Oxford, Harvard, and Yale, eventually earning a Ph.D. He’s been up at least 20 points in polls against Democrat David Domina.
Steve Daines: Representative Steve Daines was a solid favorite in Montana even before incumbent Democratic Senator John Walsh was accused of plagiarism. Math teacher and state Representative Amanda Curtis has stepped in to replace Walsh, but Daines has opened up a 20-point lead in the polls. His support for gun rights and spending cuts place him more in line with rural Montanans.
The polls are closing soon—and these senators-in-waiting are almost done waiting.
Reports of Voting Irregularities Around the Country
With opinion polls predicting neck-and-neck races in many states, voting irregularities are under increased scrutiny. Texas's statewide voter registration system went down Tuesday morning and reportedly had not yet returned by noon local time, forcing thousands to rely on provisional ballots. On October 18, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to block the state's voter-ID law from going into force before this election. "Senate Bill 14 may prevent more than 600,000 registered Texas voters (about 4.5% of all registered voters) from voting in person for lack of compliant identification," warned Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in her dissent at the time.
In Georgia, the secretary of state's election website also crashed, leaving some voters without a way to find their polling place's hours and location. Tensions between local black activist groups and Secretary of State Brian Kemp, a Republican, are still simmering after over 40,000 voter-registration forms collected in three predominantly-black counties went missing. Last week, a Georgia judge dismissed a lawsuit against Kemp over the missing forms, citing a lack of evidence of intentional misconduct.
The Earliest Word: Weed on Guam
We’re waiting on results on the East Coast now, but the first result actually came in hours ago. In Guam, which is on the other side of the International Dateline, Republican Governor Eddie Calvo was reelected, and voters approved medical marijuana. There are pot measures on the ballot in five states today.
Welcome to The Atlantic’s liveblog of the 2014 midterm elections. We’ll be with you here until the election is over, so get a cool drink and make yourself comfortable. The first polls close at 6 p.m. Eastern in parts of Kentucky, and go until 1 a.m. Eastern, when polls finally close in Alaska.
The big story tonight is obviously whether Republicans will win control of the Senate, as widely expected, and how big their margin will be. But there are important gubernatorial and House elections as well, plus a slew of interesting ballot measures. Here’s our primer on everything you need to know about the races, the stakes, and what it means.