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Election Night blog: Decision 2012

2:01 AM, Nov 7, 2012   |    comments
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2 a.m. Alaska goes to Romney

1:20 a.m. As of this time, Obama has 303 electoral votes to Romney's 203, with Florida still too close to call and Alaska yet to be counted.

Mitt Romney is conceding that his hard-fought presidential bid has ended in failure. He told supporters in Boston that he gave it his all and that he is now praying that President Barack Obama will be successful in guiding the nation.

Romney said, "This election is over, but our principles endure." Obama, meanwhile, tweeted to supporters, "This happened because of you. Thank you." Obama was chalking up additional victories in states that the polls had said could go either way.

After winning Virginia's 13 electoral votes, he had a margin of 100 electoral votes - 303 to 203 - with just Alaska and Florida still to count. Florida's result remained too close to call, hours after the polls closed. Despite Obama's sizeable margin in the electoral vote count, he held just a slim advantage in the popular vote.

1:17 a.m. Chants of "Mitt! Mitt! Mitt!" rose from the crowd as Republican Mitt Romney closed his concession speech. He kissed his wife, Ann, who joined him on stage in Boston, and gave running mate Paul Ryan a big hug. "I so wish that I had been able to fulfill your hopes to lead the country in a different direction," Romney said during his remarks, "but the nation chose another leader."

Added Romney, who lost his bid to unseat President Barack Obama: "At a time like this, we can't risk partisan bickering and political posturing. Our leaders have to reach across the aisle to do the nation's work." "We look to Democrats and Republicans in government at all levels to put people before the politics," Romney said. "I believe in America. I believe in the people of America. ... I ran for office because I'm concerned about America. This election is over, but our principles endure."

12:54 a.m. NBC and WKYC say that Republican Mitt Romney has called President Barack Obama and conceded the race.

12:52 a.m. With nearly all the precincts reporting, Cuyahoga County Issue 108 appears to being going to defeat, with 207,846 voting FOR the levy and 276, 070 voting AGAINST the levy

12:45 a.m. Romney wins Montana, Obama wins Virginia

12:43 a.m. Democrat Bill O'Neill released a statement regarding his win in the Ohio Supreme Court race:

"When I began this campaign almost a year ago I never even began to imagine the momentum our message would gain here in Ohio. The way Ohio elects our Justices to the Ohio Supreme Court is absolutely absurd. Money and Judges Don't Mix. Never Have. Never Will. I have just endured a year where the Ohio Republican Party called me inexperienced, an amateur, and finally a friend of rapists. They called me names and they lost."

"They lost because the people of Ohio, Democrats and Republicans alike stood up tonight and said "enough" I ran against an honorable man who had his name dragged through the mud by his friends, and that is the real tragedy at hand here. Money and Judges Don't Mix. That is what I said in the beginning and that is what I say tonight."

"The way we elect Justices here in Ohio is changing. And for that I have to thank you. Thank you for supporting my campaign. Thank you for continually standing by my name, even when others decided to drag it through the mud. And thank you for standing up and sending a clear message to the Ohio Supreme Court -- Justice is Not For Sale."

12:38 a.m. Gov. John Kasich released a statement on the passage of Cleveland's 15-mill school levy.

"The sun got a lot brighter today for Cleveland's children and it's just great to see it happen. Mayor Jackson has been a visionary and compassionate leader for Cleveland's kids and, together with the community and the teachers, is charting a much-needed course to get the city's schools back on track."

"As Ohio continues to recover we can't leave anyone behind, and the Cleveland Plan, with the support it received today, is essential to providing Cleveland's kids and the city overall with the quality education that every child deserves."

12:15 p.m. Cleveland's Issue 107, the 15-mill school levy, is passing.

11:34 p.m. Obama thanks supporters on Twitter; 'We're all in this together. That's how we campaigned'

11:32 p.m. With the 18 Ohio electoral votes, it appears President Obama has 275 electoral votes to Romney's 203.... 

11:02 p.m. Obama wins CA, WA, HI; Romney wins ID

11:01 p.m. After declaring victory tonight, Senator Brown lost his voice, and his wife, Connie Schultz, delivered most of his speech.

The remarks as prepared are below:

Today in Ohio, in the middle of America, the middle class won. Again. Only a year ago we gathered to celebrate the defeat of Issue 2, an undisguised assault on the middle class. Just like this fall, we fought back against secretive out-of-state forces that wanted to impose THEIR will upon OUR great state.

But that's nothing new. Citizens United might be a new name dressed up in an expensive 21st Century suit. But it's an old story where a few people - a few very, very rich people - wanted to rig the system for themselves.

At the turn of the last century, Mark Hanna - the Ohio Republican boss and U.S. senator - said, "There are two things that are important in politics. The first is money, and I can't remember what the second one is," he proclaimed. Back then our ancestors had an answer for Boss Hanna: It was the canary in the coal mine.

10:51 p.m. Romney wins all 5 electoral votes in Nebraska

10:40 p.m. Romney wins Arizona and Obama gets the 4 electoral votes in Maine

10:21 p.m. Marcy Kaptur elected to the U.S. House in District 9 in Ohio.

Fifteen-term U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur of Toledo took a commanding lead over her Republican opponent, Samuel Wurzelbacher, aka Joe the Plumber, leading 70 percent to 26 percent with more than 110,000 votes cast in the 9th District.

Kaptur crushed eight-term Rep. Dennis Kucinich of Cleveland to advance from the primary election for the right to represent the new 9th Congressional District -- an unusual gerrymandered configuration that hugs the Lake Erie coastline for 100 miles from Cleveland's West Side to Toledo.

10 p.m. In Akron, what a difference a year makes. Twelve months after watching their levy fail by fewer than 200 votes, Akron school leaders are watching a landslide in their favor.

Issue 61 leads with a comfortable 59-41 advantage with more than half of all city precincts reporting.

Passage of the 7.9-mill emergency levy will allow the district to remain afloat during tough times that earlier this year led to teacher layoffs along with the loss of some middle school programs, including music and athletics.

A failure Tuesday would have led to massive cuts and possible state financial takeover.

Even with success at the polls, Akron school leaders must still trim $9-$12 million to offset fewer state dollars and a drop in other income. Had Issue 61 failed, the cuts would easily have topped $20 million.

School leaders had rolled the dice by only attempting one levy during the 2012 campaign rather than following the lead of some suburban districts. Many had attempted to pass levies earlier in the year knowing they'd have a second chance in November if the first levy was unsuccessful.

9:49 p.m. President Obama wins Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania has turned out to be safe for the Democrats after all. The state's 20 electoral votes are going to President Barack Obama.

Pennsylvania had been considered to be in Obama's column for much of the campaign. But in recent days, as polls appeared to narrow, Mitt Romney's campaign saw an opportunity.

There was a late advertising blitz for Romney, and the candidate added visits to Pennsylvania Sunday and again on Election Day. Voters in Indiana have rejected one of the two Republican Senate candidates whose campaigns ran into trouble because of comments about rape and abortion.

Democrat Joe Donnelly defeated Republican Richard Mourdock, who slipped in the polls after saying during a debate that when a woman who is raped becomes pregnant, it's what "God intended."

9:36 p.m.  Democrat Sherrod Brown has won re-election to the U.S. Senate after one of the most expensive and closely watched match-ups in the country.

The 59-year-old Brown beat Republican challenger Josh Mandel despite an onslaught of attacks from conservative outside groups.

Mandel is the state treasurer and a Marine veteran. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Crossroads GPS and other outside groups spent more in Ohio than any other state, criticizing Brown's support for President Barack Obama's stimulus and health care overhaul.

Mandel called Brown a career politician, seeking to turn his decades in office against him. Mandel told voters he would make Washington more accountable.

Brown made the auto industry bailout a key campaign issue, highlighting Mandel's opposition to the rescue that affected about 800,000 Ohio jobs.

9:32 p.m. President Barack Obama is the winner of the 16 electoral votes in Michigan - the state that benefitted the most from the auto industry bailout.

Michigan, where Mitt Romney's father served as governor, wasn't heavily contested by the two campaigns, though it did see some late GOP advertising. Obama also won in New Jersey, battered last week by Hurricane Sandy.

Romney, meanwhile, has added Alabama's nine electoral votes to his column. Romney also captured the 38 electoral votes at stake in Texas, and added wins in Louisiana, Mississippi, Kansas, South Dakota, North Dakota, Arkansas and Wyoming. He also won at least four of Nebraska's five votes.

Obama won in New York, with 29 electoral votes. At last count, Romney has 153 electoral votes to Obama's 123. Texans elected Republican Ted Cruz as the state's first Hispanic U.S. senator. Michigan Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow won re-election over former U.S. Rep. Peter Hoekstra.

9:27 p.m. With the 9 p.m. closing time, Romney wins several states in the South and in the heartland. Obama wins New York, with 29 electoral votes, and Michigan, with 16 electoral votes. Romney wins: - Texas (38 electoral votes) - South Dakota (3 electoral votes) - North Dakota (3 electoral votes) - Louisiana (8 electoral votes) - Kansas (6 electoral votes) - Wyoming (3 electoral votes) - Nebraska (4 electoral votes, 1 still to be called)

9:18 p.m. Obama wins New Jersey; Romney wins Arkansas and Mississippi

9:12 p.m. Brown holds early lead in Ohio Senate race. Democratic U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio has a lead in very early election returns. Brown faced an expensive challenge by Republican Josh Mandel, the state treasurer and a U.S. Marine veteran.

Outside groups spent more than $30 million in the state in efforts to defeat Brown, whose liberal record and surprise victory over then-incumbent Mike DeWine in 2006 made him a prime national target. Brown allies, primarily labor unions, spent about $4 million against Mandel.

With 7 percent of votes counted Tuesday, nearly 56 percent of voters were favoring the 59-year-old Brown over the 35-year-old Mandel. Brown made the federal auto bailout and his support of the middle-class key campaign issues, while Mandel emphasized the need for change in Washington.

8:46 p.m. Romney wins Georgia, Tennessee: Mitt Romney has won in Georgia. It's a state that had appeared to be a potential battleground early in the campaign, but ended up being part of Romney's Southern base. Romney also added Tennessee's 11 electoral votes to his total, putting him ahead of President Barack Obama so far.

Romney has 67 electoral votes so far, to Obama's 64. Romney had been far ahead of Obama in the polls in Tennessee, with strong support from white evangelical voters. Romney lost his party's primary in Tennessee earlier this year to Rick Santorum. Tennessee voters also re-elected Republican Sen. Bob Corker.

In Connecticut, Democratic Rep. Chris Murphy has defeated Republican former wrestling executive Linda McMahon in the race for the Senate seat that had been held by retiring independent Joe Lieberman. McMahon spent more than $42 million of her own money on the Senate bid.

8:14 p.m. Cuyahoga County Board of Elections says the absentee count for Issue 107 for the Cleveland schools levy with 0 of 958 precincts counted:

29,738 FOR and 24,005 AGAINST.

8:01 p.m. In the race for the U.S. Senate in Ohio, absentee ballot voting in the state shows Brown with 549,015 votes (59%) and Republican Treasurer Josh Mandel with 343,314 votes (36.89%)

7:52 p.m. Cuyahoga County Absentee votes are counted with Obama getting 176,162 (70 percent) and Romney getting 72,135 votes (28 percent)

Total Number Precincts in Ohio....9,231

Number of Precincts Reporting 1

Registered Voters 7,985,428

7: 30 p.m. President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney each have an early victory. As expected, Obama was the winner in Vermont, with three electoral votes, while Romney captured Kentucky's eight electoral votes.

Vermont voters also re-elected Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders. Still to come are the returns from the handful of states, including Ohio, Florida and Virginia, where Obama and Romney have concentrated their efforts in recent weeks.

An exit poll conducted nationwide today for The Associated Press finds that the economy is still at the top of the list of voter concerns, with 6 in 10 saying it's the biggest issue facing the nation.


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