Election 2014: Live-blogging election night returns and updates

By Lynn R. Mitchell

The polls in Virginia close in 50 minutes and some election news will begin trickling in as votes are counted. With other states’ polls closing at later time, it could be a long night and, indeed, some results may not be known before January. Run-offs are entirely possible.

We’re mainly watching Fox News because their political anchor Brit Hume lives in Virginia and he’s watching the Ed Gillespie race, as am I. Fox is also reporting exit polls and miscellaneous election information that feeds political junkie minds. We live for this.

Forty minutes until the polls close in Virginia….

The first round of poll closings at 7:00: Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Vermont, Virginia.

6:30: Karl Rove cracks me up. As part of the Fox Election Team, tonight he has his Predicto-meter, a fancy name for his hands-on white board updates. (He’s also in Ed Gillespie’s corner as is Dana Perino so I’m thinking Fox is the friendly place to be tonight.)

Warner-Gillespie: Virginia was thought to be an easy win for Mark Warner. Warner was leading by 30 points when this race began, then it closed to 18 points by Labor Day, and the latest polls have Gillespie only four and seven points behind. Over the weekend, a Gillespie internal poll had him within a point of Warner. Karl Rove said to watch the Gillespie race tonight because Gillespie could be the canary in the coal mine indicating a wave election for Republicans as results come in heading from the west. If that were to happen, it could show that undecideds are breaking for Republicans.

Charles Krauthammer says this election is “liberalism on trial” (see Krauthammer on Midterm Election: ‘This is liberalism on trial’).

7:00: Polls are now closed in Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Vermont, and Virginia.

KENTUCKY: McCONELL-GRIMES – Fox News is predicting Mitch McConnell has won over Grimes 57 percent to 40 percent. Huge win for Republicans and for McConnell if the GOP takes the Senate.


GEORGIA: Nunn-Purdue – Too close to call.

SC: Lindsey Graham (R) predicted to win over Brad Hutto. Tim Scott (R) predicted to win over Joyce Dickerson.

7:10: Discussion about Gillespie and Warner race amongst the panel.

Dana Perino: “He’s [Gillespie] like a brother to me, we worked together at the White House, and he told me all he was doing to win. He loved campaigning and has been everywhere, knocked on more doors, and is the best message candidate in the country. His campaign will be one to copy in the future for campaigns.”

Bob Beckell: Exit polls say 18 percent of black vote for Gillespie; I don’t buy it.”

SC: Governor Nikki Haley predicted to win reelection 58 percent to 36 percent.

Flipping back and forth between Fox and CNN.

With 1 percent of the vote in, Gillespie leading 63% to Warner 35%.

7:20: Governor Mitt Romney offering analysis on Fox.

7:28: From Delegate Greg Habeeb: “Mark Warner won Chesterfield by almost 30 points in 2008. @EdWGillespie solidly ahead there at this point.”  That’s my parents’ home (and a bunch of other great Chesterfield folks led by Chairman Donald Williams). Go, Chesterfield!

7:30: Ohio, North Carolina, and West Virginia polls closed.

WVa: Republican Capito projected to win over Democrat.

Ohio: Governor John Kasich (R) projected to win. Way to go, Pat Haley — rally those votes!

NC: Too close to call between Hagan and Tillis.

Are we at the beginning of a Republican Wave….?

Exit poll favorable-unfavorable for Gillespie and Warner:
– Warner 50% favorable, 48% unfavorable
– Gillespie 58% favorable

Tidbit: In NC, Obama cut a robocall TODAY for Kay Hagan.

Nelson Garcia is reporting: Virginia House 10 (Herndon, Winchester) with 1% reporting
[Representative Frank Wolf (Rep) Retiring]
58% – State Delegate Barbara Comstock (Rep)
38% – County Supervisor John Foust (Dem)

Cute alert from Paul Miller: “My youngest turns to me as were watching polls and says will the red dudes let us keep our money?”

They’re saying Virginia was never on anyone’s radar for being a close race. HELLO! It was on OUR radar! Go, Ed!

I like the campaign commenters on Fox: Karl Rove, Dana Perino, Bob Beckell, Bret Bair, Megyn Kelly, Brit Hume, Charles Krauthammer.

7:55: AP and Politico call it for Virginia Congressman Morgan Griffith. From former Staunton GOP Chair Alex Davis, our roving reporter in the 9th CD. He worked the polls today for Congressman Morgan Griffith.

 8:00: Polls now closed in Alabama, Connecticut, Delaware, DC, Florida, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts.

POLITICO called Staunton for ED GILLESPIE! Paging Chris Saxman!

8:06: Scratch that … Politico pulled the check mark from Gillespie. Hmm.

Gillespie 56%, Warner 42% with 34 percent of the vote reported.

8:15: Chris Saxman reports on Staunton: “48.82 to 48.26….crazy close.” No joke. B-r-e-a-t-h-e.

“Interesting – situation in Virginia. Even if Mark Warner pulls it out in the end, it may not bode well for Democrats in the rest of the country.” – Sen. Evan Bayh commenting on Fox

Boehner-McConnell ready to roll from the Washington Post.

8:25; Mitch McConnell is now speaking at his Victory Party to supporters.

8:30: Tom Cotton won in ARK over Mark Pryor

ARKANSAS – Asa Hutchinson (R) – Governor – won.

8:35: Mitch McConnell: “I don’t expect the President to wake up in the morning and expect his view of the world to be the same as it was before. He knows mine won’t be the same either.” [LAUGHTER] Will he be the next Senate Majority Leader? Stay tuned….

8:40: Virginia State Board of Elections website WILL NOT LOAD. I’ve gotten zero results from them. Politico has given results. Every election … how frustrating. During the Bush years we were able to follow results from SBE … why is it so awful now? Did it begin when Governor Mark Warner changed all the state agencies to the despised VITA system?

8:42: AP is reporting that with 65.12% of vote counted in Virginia, Gillespie 52% to Warner 46%.

8:46: AP is reporting that with 74% of vote counted in Virginia, Gillespie 51%, Warner 46%, Libertarian Sarvis 2.5%.

NH: Projection Democratic Governor has won.

Drama of Virginia: “Democratic Senator Mark Warner is in trouble tonight.” –Bret Baier

Election results: Try Politico’s site: http://www.politico.com/2014-election/results/map/senate/virginia/

8:55: GOP PICKS UP 2 SENATE SEATS so far….

9:00: Polls are now closed in 14 states — Arizona, Colorado, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, South Dakota, Texas, Wisconsin, Wyoming.

****ANOTHER GOP PICKUP – South Dakota Republican Mike Rounds over Rick Weiland (D). Total so far: 3.

TEXAS: Senator JOHN CORNYN (R) easily wins reelection in Texas. Yay, Patricia Birdsall! Great work down there! Governor: Wendy Davis (D) lost to Republican.

VIRGINIA 10th Congress: BARBARA COMSTOCK has been called as the winner. Congrats, Delegate Comstock! That’s great news for Ed Gillespie.

Fox Channel’s “Campaign Cowboys” — Karl usually is crunching numbers with Ed. This time Ed is the candidate. Lots of folks hoping this race is a winner for Ed including former President George W. Bush and his dad, President George H.W. Bush. Some heavy hitters there. Alexandria, Arlington, Fairfax City — all Democratic strongholds still to come in. Holding our breath — Tidewater areas still to come in, too.

9:12: MARYLAND GUBERNATORIAL: Too close to call. Wow, for the blue state of Maryland, that’s something.

9:25: AP reports 89.5% of vote is in with Gillespie 49.72%, Warner 47.56%. Tightening. Will the Libertarian be the spoiler for the Republicans, again? Stay tuned….

9:30: Brown (R) lost senate seat in New Hampshire.

GOP halfway to Senate control from Washington Post.

VIRGINIA: AP reports 90% of vote counted in Virginia — Gillespie 49.27%, Warner 48.07%, Sarvis 2.67%. <sigh>

9:38: Louisiana is going to a run-off.

9:42: STAUNTON goes for Ed Gillespie 48.8% 48.3%. Calling Chris Saxman again … hope his post about this today comes true. STAN.TON.

10:00: Polls are now closed in Iowa, Montana, Nevada, Utah.

GOP picks up +5 senate seats.

Phone calls coming in from all over … strategists talking this one through.

10:20: Bob Beckell says NoVa precincts sit on votes before releasing them and that has been the end to other Republican candidates. Bragging rights?

10:47: Senator Pat Roberts (R) Kansas has won re-election 51%-45% over Greg Orman (I). This was a huge race and one the Republicans needed to hold on to. Virginia’s Chris LaCivita consulted; Bob Dole came in to campaign for his friend. Roberts did 80 campaign appearances in last 21 days. Pulled out all the stops to win. Orman had called himself an independent but wouldn’t say who he would caucus with but Vice President Biden said Orman would be with the Democrats. That comment was made on Election Day. Game changer?

11:00: GEORGIA Senate race –  David Perdue won 55% over Michell Nunn 43%. No run-off necessary.

HAWAII: Democrat won Senate seat.

OREGON: Democrat incumbent won re-election for Senate.

IDAHO: Republican incumbent Jim Risch won.

CALIFORNIA: Jerry Brown (D) won a 4th term as governor California. Seems like he’s been in there forever.

GEORGIA: Gubernatorial race – Republican Nathan Deal won 55% over Democrat Jason Carter, grandson of President Jimmy Carter.

11:20: GOP projected to pick up Senate seat #6 giving Republicans control of the U.S. Senate with win of Senate seat in Iowa – Joni Ernst (R).

11:28: NORTH CAROLINA: Republican Thom Tillis projected to win 49% to 47% Kay Hagan for the Senate. GOP now picks up Senate seat #7.

****GOP picks up Senate Seat #7.

Juan Williams just said these GOP wins are only possible because Republicans have undermined the President. I would suggest the President undermined himself with his leadership.

Republicans now hold the largest House majority since World War II.

Joni Ernst is now thanking her supporters for her win in Iowa (MSNBC). I keep jumping around channels.

11:47: MASSACHUSETTS — Governor race Charlie Baker projected to win over Martha Coakley — a Republican governor who got the endorsement of the Boston Globe. Incredible.

VIRGINIA: Too close to call yet … Mark Warner is “clinging” to a less than 1% lead which is within the recount margin.

NEVADA: Republican gubernatorial candidate projected to win 3-to-1 over the Democrat.

Juan Williams doesn’t want to admit it’s a Republican Wave sweeping the country but Democrat Evan Bayh said it doesn’t get much wavier. Tonight has made up for some tough GOP losses in recent years.

12:00 Midnight: FLORIDA – Charlie Crist lost. Republican Rick Brown prevailed.

VIRGINIA: Warner is having a lead in the count tonight – 0.5% at this time – some votes are still out.

The numbers crunchers — I am always in awe of these guys (and they are on the newscasts as well as around me).

12:15 a.m. MAINE: Republican gubernatorial candidate won over Democrat.

What a night this has been. Trying to decide whether to stay up until Alaska’s polls come in at 1 a.m. The very familiar-feeling campaign adrenaline has taken over … I may not be able to go to sleep even if I try.

Tonight’s victories were good. As a Republican, I hope we know what to do with it. Winning is only the beginning … governing and leading have to be follow.

MSNBC has called the Virginia race for Mark Warner with the words “Apparent Winner” beside his photo. It’s heartbreaking to come so close but fall short. Right now it’s within the recount margin. Ed and his team will have to decide what to do at this point. If he doesn’t prevail (but he very well could — there were reports of voting machine irregularities today plus who knows what else went on), I’m thinking perhaps Governor 2017? Ed ran a great race, kept a positive message, helped bring together the various factions of the Republican Party, and outworked everyone around him. Having George W. and George H.W. Bush on his side helped, too.

What a night.

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