The Daily Parker

Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog

Election night wrap-up

I'll have more tomorrow, once I've slept a bit and digested some of these results. In sum, though, I am immensely relieved that reason appears to have won and extremism (and bald-faced lying) seems to have lost.

President Obama is about to take the stage at McCormick Place, so we're minutes from those much-anticipated words, "Governor Romney called me a few minutes ago to congratulate me." Meanwhile, there's even more good news coming through the Intertubes right now:

  • Democrat Brad Schneider has unseated Bob Dold in my home-town district, the Illinois 10th. With Tammy Duckworth's victory, this makes the north Chicago suburbs a sea of blue, and gives the Democratic Party two more house seats.
  • The Denver Post projects that cannabis legalization will pass in Colorado.
  • Tammy Baldwin is winning in Wisconsin. If the trend continues, not only is it a Democratic pick-up in the U.S. Senate, but also she'll become the first openly gay U.S. Senator in history.
  • With Democrat Maggie Hassan winning the New Hampshire governor race, and Democrat Annie Kuster winning in the New Hampshire 2nd CD, four of New Hampshire's top 5 offices are held by women. With 57% reporting, Democrat Carol Shea-Porter right now leads in the New Hampshire 1st. If she wins, it will be the first time in history a state's entire Congressional delegation is female.
  • Anti-gay ballot initiatives appear to have failed in Minnesota, Maine, Washington, and Maryland.

Tonight's election feels to me like a widespread rejection of the far right, and a reaffirmation of reason and patience as principles of governance. We didn't win everything—Michele Bachmann will probably squeak out a narrow re-election—but we won a lot more decisively than I'd expected.

Four more years. No war with Iran. Tea Party extremists thrown out of office. Sheldon Adelson, the billionaire who tried to buy himself some politicians, zero-for-six (including Mitt Romney). And Mitt Romney himself, the man who figured he could lie his way to the White House, soundly defeated even before all the ballots were counted in the magical swing states of Ohio and Florida.

I'm really very pleased with the way this turned out. And I'm excited about the strengthening coalition we've put together.

At 4:00 GMT

Tim Kaine picks up the U.S. Senate seat in Virginia; Tammy Duckworth wins the Illinois 8th; Obama wins California. Well, duh to the last one.

But Obama is also leading in Iowa, Florida, and Ohio, and has a chance of winning Virginia. Pick any two and that's the ballgame. CNN has Obama at 238 electoral votes, NBC has him at 243.

I was mentally prepared to stay up until all hours, taking a break right now to do pub trivia at a local bar. Well, I'm at pub trivia (but I'm not allowed to play because of the laptop), but it looks like I might get to sleep at a reasonable hour.

President Obama is now arriving at Chicago's McCormick Place. My bet: victory speech before midnight. And we won't have actually needed Ohio.

And just before I hit "Submit," CNN calls Iowa and the Denver Post calls Colorado.

At 3:00 GMT

Elizabeth Warren wins Massachusetts; Joe Donnelly wins Indiana; Claire McCaskill leading 52-41 with 13% reporting. Was it God's will that Mourdock was too extreme even for Indiana? And did the voters in Missouri look at Todd Akin and find a way of shutting that thing down?

And as more votes get counted, the President is pulling ahead in both Ohio and Florida. Too close to call either yet, of course. But I'm pretty happy tonight.

At 2:30 GMT

As I reach for a big jar of Tums, Obama leads Romney by 31 votes (out of 2 million counted) in Florida. But: The President has won Michigan and Pennsylvania; Tammy Duckworth has a commanding lead in the Illinois 8th; with 62% reporting, Donnelly leads Mourdock 48-45 in Indiana; and with 23% reporting, Democrat Elizabeth Warren leads incumbent Republican Scott Brown in Massachusetts 52-48.

At 1:30 GMT

No surprises yet—the solid states are solid, the tight states are tight. Illinois goes to Obama, as does Romney's home state Massachusetts. Maine goes to King, so a de facto pickup for the Democrats. NBC is calling Democrat Chris Murphy the winner in Connecticut over professional wrestling billionare Linda McMahon, so we keep the seat.

Current confirmed tally: Obama 65, Romney 51. Current nail-biting tallies: Ohio, 58-40 Ohio (1% reporting); Florida, 51-48 Obama (32%); Virginia, 56-42 Romney (26%).

One very bright spot: with 35% reporting, Democrat Joe Donnelly is 50-44 over Republican Richard Mourdock—a pickup for us if the trend continues.

If you want to play along, I'm getting info from the following sources:

Races I'm watching

Obviously I care most about the U.S. presidential race today, and I'm hoping for a clean win by the President. But a few other races have my interest:

  • The Illinois 8th Congressional District, in which Democrat Tammy Duckworth is challenging incumbent Tea Party Republican Joe Walsh. Duckworth is favored by 10 points as of this weekend.
  • The Illinois 10th Congressional District, with moderate Democrat Brad Schneider challenging moderate Repupblican Congressman Bob Dold, is polling at Dold +8 right now, but could break for Schneider. I grew up in that district, and for my entire life it's had a moderate Republican representative. In fact, if I recall correctly, Don Rumsfeld represented the district in the 1960s, before the senility took hold.
  • Indiana's U.S. Senate race between Tea Party Republican Richard Mourdock (of "babies conceived in rape are God's will" fame) against conservative Democrat Joe Donnelly. This should have been an easy win for Mourdock, but he has, shall I say, unpopular views on abortion. Nate Silver gives Donnelly a 69% chance of winning, which will result in a Democratic pickup.
  • Missouri's U.S. Senate race has Neandertal Congressman Todd Akin challenging Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill. Again, because of his extreme views, what should have been a GOP pickup is instead looking to be a Democratic re-election slam-dunk. McCaskill is polling 51-36 over Akin as of this weekend.
  • The U.S. Senate races in Ohio, Maine, and Nevada as well, where my guys are polling, respectively, 50-46 (Brown-D), 47-34 (King-I) and 46-48 (Berkley-D).
  • Referenda in Illinois (Illinois constitutional amendment, Chicago electricity supply pooling, and a U.S. constitutional amendment proposal), Colorado (cannabis legalization), Minnesota (gay marriage ban), and California (repealing the death penalty).
  • Finally, Minnesota's 6th Congressional District, where crazy person Michele Bachmann is leading her Democratic challenger by only a few points in the polls. One can dream, right?

Only 9 hours until polls close in the east...

Game on!

I'm about to go vote, then go to work, then tonight put myself in front of a TV, a radio, an Android pad, and at least one computer. Possibly two computers.

Meanwhile, I was trying to figure out what theatrical quote best sums up this election day. One that encapsulates the deepest psyche of the American voter, our commitment to American values, our character.

Perhaps: "Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more!"

No, too British. OK, then: "Winter is coming..."

No, no, no. My guy's going to win, regardless of what the Stark campaign thinks.

Aha! I have it! The answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and the American Voter!


Now, off to the polls.