After a year of campaigning, the elections tonight will determine who will shape the future of our country for the next two to four years. At the Presidential level, President Obama has managed to eke out a narrow lead despite the worst economic environment in years and a very disappointing first debate. While he may not get as many electoral votes as he received in 2008, he will likely win enough to secure reelection. Conversely, after having defeated scores of rivals to secure the Republican party's nomination, former Governor Mitt Romney has been struggling to secure a lead. He managed to have a superior first debate performance that caused many independent and undecided voters to waver and rethink their votes, but has faded in the polls nonetheless since then. He must hope that somehow the GOP's get-out-the-vote operation is better than the Democrats, or that fewer Democrats show up at the polls than expected, if he is to win tonight.
At the local level, this blog will also cover election developments in Minnesota. After two years of gridlock in the capital, the Republican house and senate majority faces a serious risk of being thrown out. Combined with numerous internal problems that saw their first House majority leader resign, the state party chairman resign, and left the party $2 million in debt, and the party is seriously disorganized at the very moment it least needs it.
On the federal level, Senator Amy Klobuchar is a shoe-in for reelection, with her support in the polls well in the 60% range. First term Representative Chip Craavack, who overthrew longtime congressmen Jim Obestar during the 2010 Tea Party revolt, is down in the polls against challenger Rick Nolan. Three term incumbent Rep. Michele Bachmann also faces a serious challenger in Jim Graves, a hotel chain CEO, the first in years. Her fate tonight could send an important signal about the how far the country will tolerate the extreme behavior of the Republican right. Others races will be discussed as developments occur.
PolicyMic will be covering the elections tonight, at the presidential and local levels, in its entirety. For live updates, bookmark and refresh this page.
12:59PM Well, its been a long night and I am well past my bedtime. While the GOP maintained control over the House of Representatives it got walloped after President Barack Obama won reelection and a number of other Democrats managed to secure Senate seats across the country - Wisconsin, Massachusetts, Ohio, Connecticut, Indiana and Missouri. This is bad for the GOP as this was the year when they had a huge advantage over Democrats in the number of seats they had to defend. 2014 is going to be tougher than 2012.
In Minnesota, while the results are not fully determined yet, Democrats regained control over the state legislature. The gridlock and extremism of this last session under the GOP will be replaced by a much more effective one next year as the legislature and Democratic Governor Mike Dayton work together. Senator Amy Klobuchar cruised to reelection this year, as did most of the House incumbents. Rep. Chip Cravaack is down in the polls still and will likely lose as the count is determined over the next few days and Rep. Michele Bachman maintains a narrow lead over challenger Jim Graves. I expect a recount will be requested for that race, but that Bachmann may once again pull through by the skin of her teeth.
12:56PM "I am hopeful about America, and I ask you to sustain that hope in America." Says that hope is a stubborn thing that requires fighting for a better tomorrow every single day. Inspiring stuff.
12:50PM Now he's talking about how the common vision we share will not banish conflict and that difficult compromises will be made. He's being remarkably honest about governing here. Talks about reducing the deficit, fixing taxation, and reduing our dependency on foreign oil. Says though that people should stop engaging with their communities today. Need to be involved in self-government and show responsibility for each other.
"We are the wealthiest nation in the world, but that's not what makes us rich. We are the strongest nation in the world, but its not the military that makes us strong."
12:49PM "We believe in a generous America, a compassionate America, a tolerant America." That's pretty much the liberal creed.
12:46PM Says that elections matter because they are big, not small affairs, and that the arguments we have about the issues are a symbol of our liberty. People are dying abroad for the ability to argue.
12:45PM Condemns those who say that campaigns are all about egos and not about the issues. Amen to that!
12:37PM The President and his family finally come out to the podium. I imagine he's probably having the best day of his life today, not the least being that he won't have to campaign anymore! He opens with an analogy comparing the election and its effort to create a better country to the founding of the nation. Praises those involved in the political process, especially the Romney clan and its dedication to public service. Thanks Joe Biden for his hard work (saving his ass), and Michelle Obama for putting up with him. He told his children though that this election didn't mean they could get another dog, something I can agree with seeing how my parents have two dogs and they're nuts.
12:10PM Democrats Sandra Masin has carried HD51A, Laurie Halverson 51B, Shannon Savic 27A, and Ben Lien 04A. Some races still need to be determined, but Democrats have swept the State House too. The Democrats are now in charge of both the legislature and governor's seat now.
12:04AM Its looking like Democrats Greg Clausen will carry SD57, John Hoffman SD36, Kevin Dahle SD20, and Lyle Koenen SD17. Democrats have secured the State Senate.
11:59PM And now he is calling for everyone to come together again and help lead the country to greatness. Romney looks calm, but you can tell its simply a veneer and that he's truly disappointed. I'm glad that Obama won, but sad at what Romney will face in the future.
11:55PM Mitt Romney is coming out to speak. The crowd is dejected, and Romney is looking rather emotional too. The crowd is reacting better this time than they did when McCain conceded to Obama in 2008. Romney thanks Ryan for serving with him and hopes he will continue to lead in the House. Thanks the volunteers, donors, fundraisers and surrogates for their unprecedented level of effort. Sadly, I doubt many of them will be equally nice to him tomorrow.
11:51PM Candy Crowley, who moderated the second Presidential debate, has reported on CNN that Romney has called President Obama. There should be a concession speech shortly.
11:48PM According to Minnesota Public Radio, Michele Bachmann and Jim Graves are virtually tied in MNCD6, with Bachmann holding a lead of 120 votes with 40% of the votes still out. Talk about close!
11:36PM Ah, it seems that Rep. Tammy Baldwin beat former Governor Tommy Thompson for Wisconsin's Senate seat. Sen. Claire McCaskill also won reelection in Missouri, beating Rep. Todd Akin. Republicans' just got whipped tonight.
11:29PM The jig is up. Romney hasn't even conceded yet and Erick Erickson, probably the most rabid conservative activist out there, is already crucifying him. I pity the amount of heat he's going to be getting over the next few years. Its quite funny that Erickson is decrying how the party has lost its intellectual firepower and serious leaders when its people like him who drove them out of it. This is going to be a fantastic conversation to observe.
11:26PM The vote count from the Western seaboard is finally coming in, giving Obama the popular vote lead on top of his electoral vote victory.
11:21PM CNN finally calls Colorado for Obama, giving him 290 electoral votes, not including Virginia and Florida. Somehow I missed Nevade being called for Obama earlier. CNN notes that even if Romney does somehow win Ohio, Virginia and Florida it wouldn't be enough to give him the presidency. Checkmate.
11:16PM The New York Times calls Virginia for Obama. That pretty much seals it up, folks. I wish I could at least call Minnesota's Senate and House elections, but frankly enough of the vote is out that any sudden change could swing a lot of races.
11:10PM And now Obama is up 20,000 in Ohio. *Sigh* looks like this will be a long night after all. If this thing isn't called by 11:30pm Central Time I'm going to need to sign off.
10:59PM Obama is up by about 50,000 votes in Florida, but the only district that remains to be counted is one where Obama has been winning by 25%. Only 38,000 votes separate Romney and Obama in Virginia, 50,000 in Nevada.
10:57PM Ehhh, it seems like Ohio has fallen out of Obama's column and is still too close to call. Nice job networks. (although NBC says that Obama still has about 750,000 projected votes in Democratic counties and only 100,000 votes projected in Romney dominated counties.)
10:53PM Romney hasn't conceded yet, but the campaign is already collapsing into infighting. One NBC pundit says that he's spoken with an adviser in the room who says that Romney's "Let Detroit Go Bankrupt" editorial cost him Michigan and Ohio.
10:51PM Its looking like Democrat Julie Bunn has carried SD39. Two wins to a Senate majority.
10:48PM Representatives Waltz, Paulson, Ellison, Peterson and McCollum have won reelection tonight, making it a good night for House incumbents unless you happen to be named Bachmann or Cravaack.
10:47PM Uh, it seems like Republican Jeff Flake beat Democrat Richard Carmona for Arizona's Senate seat. I guess the Republicans' had to pick up at least one seat eventually. Now what about Claire McCaskill?
10:43PM Remarkably enough, Virginia, Florida and Colorado still haven't been called even though Obama is leading in all three. Romney's complaint about Ohio might not matter in the end.
10:41PM NBC is reporting that Romney won't concede yet as his team is still waiting for returns from key districts in Ohio. I guess this will stretch out into the night.
10:38PM Democrat Rick Nolan is maintaining a 700 vote lead over incumbent Rep. Chip Cravaack. This is going to be down to the wire. Rep. John Kline's (R-MN2CD) lead over Obermueller is also surprisingly slim at 2,500.
10:27PM Democrat Melisa Franzen has carried SD49. Three more wins and the Democrats will control the Senate too.
10:23PM For local State House races, Democrats Dan Schoen will carry 54A, Ron Erhardt 49A, Paul Rosenthal 49B, Barb Yarusso 42A, and Jack Isaacson 42B. A lot of votes still need to be counted yet Democrats are just away from controlling the House.
10:22PM Not long at all apparently! I was worried about how late I would have to stay up to cover the election, but it seems like not long at all.
10:17PM I wonder how long it will take until CNN and other networks agree? How long until Romney concedes? I heard one commentator mention that Romney didn't right a concession speech, but if that's the case that was a reeaaal dumb move in hindsight.
10:14PM NBC is cutting to the crowd in the ballroom where President Obama will give his acceptance/concession speech. The crowd is estatic. It seems that they've just called Ohio in his favor. This has been a devastating night for the GOP in general.
10:08PM Michele Bachmann is still ahead...but only by about 1,500 votes with half the votes to still be counted! Could tonight be the night someone finally topples her?
10:07PM I don't think I've mentioned Michigan yet tonight, which has swung into Obama's column. With that, Romney has lost all of his home states - Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Michigan.
10:03PM CNN has now called Wisconsin for Obama too, an hour and a half after NBC.
10:00PM CNN is calling California, Hawaii and Washington state for Obama, as expected. Romney carried Idaho, Utah, and much of the rest of the Mountain west besides Colorado and Nevada. Oregon is still unknown.
9:57PM NBC has reported that Democrat Tim Kaine has beaten Republican George Allen for Virginia's Senate seat. This is a bad night for Republicans and its getting worse.
9:55PM Barb Yarusso (D) is ahead in HD42A, and Republican House Majority Leader Matt Dean is down several hundred votes in his district. It'll be huge if the Republican's leadership gets decapitated more than it already has been this year.
9:49PM LeftMN has been following the returns on local races and it seems like Melisa Franzen (D) is ahead in SD49 as is Bev Scalez (D) in SD42. I predicted that the GOP would get trounced tonight months ago and it seems like its coming to pass.
9:42PM NBC is reporting that the mood in Romney's war room is very tense, and so is the mood in the hall.
9:40PM Oh jeez. The polls in Minnesota closed nearly 2 hours ago and yet some of Romney's SuperPac supporters are still airing ads. Which reminds me: some time ago I wrote about how much better Obama's ground operation was than Romney. My family has gotten a half dozen mailers asking us to support Romney, Ryan and the Republican slate even though no one has voted GOP since at least Reagan. Talk about poor voter targeting.
9:38PM Iowa hasn't gotten much airtime on the networks, but the New York Times notes that Obama is in the lead there.
9:31PM NBC is now reporting that Romney has a slight lead in Virginia and North Carolina, overtaking Obama in the former case. CNN has done an analysis of Virginia and Wisconsin and note that big Democratic areas have still hardly reported in. I'm beginning to wonder just when the race finally will be called.
9:27PM While, its still early in the night, the local NBC affiliate is announcing that Rep. John Kline is leading in the MNCD2, Eric Paulsen leading in MNCD3, Rep. Betty McCollum leading in the MNCD4, Collin Peterson leads in MNCD7, and Ellison ahead in the 5th. Michele Bachmann is leading challenger Jim Graves by only 2 points!
Further update: The Star Tribune just called the MNCD4 race for Rep. Betty McCollum.
9:22PM It seems that the marriage amendment in Minnesota is in some trouble. MinnesotaBrown is reporting that returns from the range are giving it 50/50 which, considering how socially conservative the region is, is bad news for its performance across the state.
9:18PM Obama is ahead in Ohio with half of the returns counted, but his lead is still under 100,000. Its going to be close....although if President Obama wins Florida then what happens in Ohio won't matter one bit.
9:13PM NBC just called Ohio's Senate race for Democratic incumbent Sen. Sherrod Brown over Josh Mandel, probably one of the most corrupt candidates I've heard of in some time. The Tea Party has lost several races tonight for the GOP. For those hoping that the Republican Party might one day be, y'know, sane again, this is fantastic news.
9:12PM Iraq War veteran Tammy Duckworth is beating Rep. Joe Walsh (of "You Lie!" fame) in Illinois' 8th Congressional District. If he loses that will be a big blow against incivility in the country.
9:10PM Ohio and Virginia are still too close to call, but the surprise of tonight might be Florida if Obama's lead holds up. Even many Democratic insiders in Florida didn't think the President would win the state.
9:06PM CNN still won't call Wisconsin for either Obama or Romney. Amazingly enough, it seems like former Governor Tommy Thompson might beat Rep. Tammy Baldwin for the open Senate seat. What a shame. Not that I have a personal problem with Tommy Thompson, there are far worse Republicans than him, but he is in his 70's and will obviously not run again. At a certain point leaders should really learn to step aside for the next generation.
9:04PM CNN just called New Hampshire for Obama, taking yet another swing state from Romney. Just like Obama during the Democratic primaries in 2008, he's picking off vote after vote on the margins and taking the lead.
9:03PM It seems like CNN has called Colorado for Obama. Romney's night is just getting worse and worse. It seems that a number of states are still too close to call - Iowa, Virginia - but Obama remains in the lead.
9:00PM And NBC is calling Minnesota for Obama, as anyone who actually knows anything about the state would expect. The Star Tribune has a nice gallery of voters going to the polls today.
8:58PM Hahahaha, Gil Gutknecht, a former Republican congressman in Minnesota, just called Dick Morris a "respected pollster" on NBC! Whaaaat a joke. He's such a bad pundit, you can almost bet that the opposite of what he says will happen will happen.
8:55PM While its still early with only 5% of votes in, it seems like a majority oppose the voter ID and gay marriage amendments.
8:50PM CNN seems to be much more conservative about their predictions than NBC. Wisconsin is only leaning Obama and Virginia leans Romney. They do say that Florida is trending Obama though, as he is leading with 84% of the vote in and much of the Democratic southern counties haven't come in yet.
8:42PM NBC just called the Massachusetts' Senate race for Elizabeth Warren against incumbent rep. Scott Brown, 52% to 48%. They are also giving Indiana to Rep. Joe Donnelly, defeating Richard Mourdock for Lugar's Senate seat. This is a big blow to Republican hopes.
8:42PM MinnesotaBrown notes that Ojibwe turnout in the reservations is higher than it was in 2008, being provoked by the VoterID law. He expects this will boost Sen. Tom Saxhaug (DFL) in SD5 and Rep. John Persell (DFL) in HD5A, helping Dems secure the legislature.
8:40PM I'm looking at activists attending the ballroom where Romney will give his victory/concession speech on CNN and they are not looking very cheerful right now.
8:37PM One sign of how disengaged some voters are: My Dad walked in and watched the TV for a minute and was shocked that the President had lost Texas. Anybody who has been watching the polls knew that would happen months ago.
8:30PM NBC is calling Wisconsin for Obama! That is a huge victory, closing off yet another path to victory for Romney if they're right (and the New York Times hasn't made that leap yet).
8:29PM BluestemPrairie, a blog focusing on southern Minnesota, is calling the 1st Congressional District for incumbent Democratic Rep. Tim Walz against Allen Quist, an activist most noteworthy for his conspiracy theories and relationship with Rep. Michele Bachmann. Not a huge surprise though given the mess his campaign has been; I believe he was on the verge of getting fined for failing to turn in his campaign finance forms after being weeks overdue.
8:25PM MinnesotaBrown, a blogger from northern Minnesota, is reporting that Rick Nolan is racking up a lot of support around Duluth, which is great news though everyone is anxious that votes from more rural parts may counteract that and push Rep. Cravaack over the top.
8:22PM And while I was up getting a root beer Obama apparently secured New Mexico too. No surprise there, but how will Nevada turn out? I'm predicting an Obama victory there due to his ground game, as I've argued elsewhere.
8:18PM NBC calls Pennsylvania for Obama, giving him 20 electoral votes and shutting down a lot of Romney's paths to victory. Romney is relying more and more on Ohio.
8:07PM NBC has given Obama New Jersey, and coincidentally Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez has secured reelection. Looks like Gov. Chris Christie will have at least one critic in high places should he run for the Presidency in 2016, given the animosity between him and Menendez after Christie falsely accused him of corruption just before his 2006 election while serving as Attorney General.
8:01PM Returns are beginning to come in from the Midwest. NBC has given Obama New York and Michigan, but Romney has sweeped much of the Great Plains past Minnesota. The race for U.S. Senator for Minnesota has been called for Sen. Amy Klobuchar, as everyone expected.
7:58PM The poll lines in Minnesota have been so long this year that officials have declared that they will accept the votes from anyone in line at 8pm, even though polls close then.
7:56 PM The New York Times is calling Maine, Massachusetts, Maryland, Connecticut and Deleware for Obama. Romney has sweeped most of the South as expected.
7:38PM Seems like Democratic Senator Bill Nelson beat Republican Rep. Connie Mack in Florida. The GOP isn't taking over the Senate this year.
7:34PM Romney is up in the polls so far, but most of the reports have been coming from rural areas and Southern states. I expect Obama's support to creep up over the night.
7:33PM NBC is calling the Conneticut race for Chris Murphy, with former WWF executive Linda McMahon losing for the second time in two cycles.
7:27PM Up in the Iron Range, Rep. Chris Cravaack has raised $2 million this season trying to win reelection against former congressmen Rick Nolan (very former, seeing how he left office back int he 70's), but is still down in the polls thanks to Democrats' voter edge. Cravaack was damaged by the revelation that he had moved his family to New Hampshire, but recently revealed that the decision was for the sake of his son, who was diagnosed with Autism and needs close parental supervision, which only his wife (who lives in New Hampshire) could provide. That could help, but Cravaack shouldn't have waited so long to explain that.
7:25PM Channel 11 is reporting that the wait to vote at some locations is hours long. It seems that there is some confusion amongst voters about where they need to go thanks to redistricting after the 2010 census.
7:22PM One thing a lot of Minnesotans are proud of is the state's phenomenal voter turnout on election day. 77.8% of people voted in 2008, and it seems like turnout will be equally close this year thanks to highly controversial amendments that would ban gay marriage and require photo identification to vote.
7:18PM Aggghh! I've been having some technical problems. Hopefully that won't interfere too much tonight. Oklahoma, South Carolina and Indiana have been called for Romney. Obama has clinched Illinois.
6:37PM AP has just called West Virginia for Mitt Romney. It seems like Kentucky has gone to Romney and Vermont to Obama already.
6:35PM The most competitive Senate districts are:
04: Kent Eken (D, incumbent) vs. Phil Hansen (R)
05: Tom Saxhaug (D, incumbent) vs. John Carlson (R, incumbent)
17: Lyle Koenen (D, incumbent) vs. Joe Gimse (R, incumbent)
20: Kevin Dahle (D) vs. Mike Dudley (R)
22: Alan Oberloh (D) vs. Bill Weber (R)
25: Judy Ohly (D) vs. David Senjem (Republican, incumbent) - an interesting race, since Senjem is the top Republican in the state now as Senate Majority leader.
36: John Hoffman (D) vs. Benjamin Kruse (R, incumbent)
39: Julie Bunn (D) vs. Karin Housley (R)
44: Teri Bonoff (D, incumbent) vs. David Gaither (R)
49: Melisa Franzen (D) vs. Keith Downey (R)
51: Jim Carlson (D) vs. Ted Daley (R, incumbent)
53: Susan Kent (D) vs. Ted Lillie (R, incumbent)
57: Greg Clausen (D) vs. Pat Hall (R)
6:21pm In Minnesota, Democrats need to carry 7 seats in the House and 4 seats in the Senate to secure majorities and retake the legislature from the GOP after being routed in 2010. According to the Star Tribune, the most interesting House races tonight are:
02B: Brita Sailer (D) vs. Steve Green (R)
04A: Ben Lien (D) vs. Travis Reimche (R), no incumbent
05A: John Persell (D, incumbent) vs. Larry Howes (R, incumbent)
05B: Tom Anzelc (D, incumbent) vs. Carolyn McElfatrick (R, incumbent)
11B: Tim Faust (D) vs. Ben Weiner (R)
14B: Zach Dorholt (D) vs. King Banian (R, incumbent)
25A: John Vossen (D) vs. Duane Quam (R, incumbent)
25B: Kim Norton (D, incumbent) vs. Melissa Valeriano (R)
26A: Tina Liebling (D, incumbent) vs. Breanna Bly (R)
26B: Pat Stallman (D) vs. Mike Benson (R, incumbent)
27A: Shannon Savic (D) vs. Rich Murray (R, incumbent)
42A: Barb Yarusso (D) vs. Russ Bertsch (R)
42B: Jason (Ike) Isaacson (D) vs. Ken Rubenzer (R)
49A: Ron Erhardt (D) vs. Bill Glahn (R)
49B: Paul Rosenthal (D) vs. Terry Jacobson (R)
51A: Sandra Masin (D) vs. Diane Anderson (R, incumbent)
51B: Laurie Halverson (D) vs. Doug Wardlow (R, incumbent)
54A: Dan Schoen (D) vs. Derrick Lehrke (R)