The 2012 Senate elections are finally here, as well as hundreds of House races across the country. For all of the money being poured into the contests, however, it seems like Americans shouldn't expect Congress to be any less partisan in the upcoming term.
Here's a look at the hottest Senate races to watch on Election Day this year from HuffPost's Adam Carlson.
Last February, Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) announced that he would not be seeking a fourth term in 2012. Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), who emerged from a bruising, expensive Republican primary in August, will face Richard Carmona (D), a former surgeon general under President George W. Bush, in the general election. Flake and Carmona are deadlocked in the polls but many voters are still undecided, since the candidates were largely unknown to the broader Arizona electorate. Flake has faced criticism for his past tenure as a lobbyist for Namibian mining interests with ties to the Iranian government. Carmona, who has been distancing himself from President Barack Obama, is relying on heavy Latino turnout and his centrist political profile to offset the Republican Party's registration advantage in the state. Both national party committees are investing in this unexpectedly close race.
Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) announced in 2011 that he would be retiring from the Senate, creating an open seat in the Nutmeg State. Former World Wrestling Entertainment CEO Linda McMahon (R), who unsuccessfully ran for Senate in 2010 despite spending $40 million of her own money, is again the Republican nominee in 2012, and has run a much stronger campaign this time. Her opponent, Rep. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), started off as the frontrunner after the primary despite his low name recognition, but the race tightened in August. Both campaigns have been launching prolonged negative ad offensives, and the DSCC has unexpectedly been forced to intervene on Murphy's behalf. McMahon has been trying to distance herself from the national Republican Party and position herself as a job-creating moderate.
Despite middling job approval ratings, Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) is in a relatively strong position to win reelection. His opponent, Rep. Connie Mack IV (R-Fla.), was initially seen as a weak candidate due to his questionable past and lackluster fundraising, despite his family's fame in the state. Though polls pointed a close race over the summer, Mack has fallen behind Nelson in most polls since then. Several pro-Republican groups, such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Crossroads GPS have aired ads attacking Nelson in an attempt to shrink his lead. However, time is running out and Nelson's lead may now be insurmountable.
Sen. Daniel Akaka (D-Hawaii) announced he was stepping down in 2012, creating a rare open seat opportunity in the Aloha State. Though Republicans landed a strong recruit in former Gov. Linda Lingle (R), she remains the underdog in the general election against Rep. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), especially with native son President Barack Obama at the top of the ticket. However, Lingle narrowly defeated Hirono in the 2002 governor's race and has raised more money than her opponent this year. This race has been sparsely polled so far, but Hirono has led by varying margins. Throughout the campaign, Lingle has been highlighting her bipartisan credentials as governor -- she even posted a picture of herself and President Obama on Facebook. Lingle must continue to campaign to the center to close the gap in this deeply Democratic state.
State Treasurer Richard Mourdock (R) handily defeated incumbent Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) in the May Republican primary by running far to his right, turning a safe Republican seat into a potential Democratic pick-up opportunity. Mourdock has a known disdain for compromise, and previously questioned the constitutionality of Social Security and Medicare, which he has since distanced himself from. Rep. Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.), the Democratic nominee, has sought to paint Mourdock as too extreme for Indiana while touting his own centrist record. Mourdock, meanwhile, has been trying to tie Donnelly to President Barack Obama, citing his vote in favor of Obamacare. Though Mourdock started off as the favorite, he took a plunge in the polls after he suggested that pregnancies from rape are "something that God intended to happen." The National Republican Senatorial Committee and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee have both moved resources into the state in recent months.
Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine), one of the most moderate Republican senators, abruptly announced her retirement in February. Angus King, an independent former governor who left office with high approval ratings in 2002, emerged as the early favorite to replace her. He has typically led his two opponents, Secretary of State Charlie Summers (R) and state Sen. Cynthia Dill (D), by double-digit margins in most recent polls. Though King has not revealed which party he would caucus with if elected, his views seem to be more in line with Democrats, especially on social issues. The DSCC has ignored Dill's request for an endorsement, fearing a split in the Democratic vote, which may allow Summers to eke out a victory. The NRSC pulled its advertising from the state in October.
In the marquee Senate race of the cycle, Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.), who unexpectedly won Ted Kennedy's old Senate seat in a 2010 special election, is facing a much stronger candidate this time in Elizabeth Warren (D), a Harvard Law professor and special advisor for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Polls have consistently shown an extremely tight race, while President Obama has consistently led Mitt Romney by double digits, which speaks to Brown's popularity in the state. Brown has largely been campaigning as an independent with bipartisan credentials, while Warren describes herself as a champion for the middle class, highlighting her efforts to make Wall Street and big banks more accountable to consumers. The race had largely been positive until Warren launched an ad in September going directly after Brown for supporting tax cuts for millionaires. The gloves finally came off at the three Senate debates, including a renewed interest in Warren's Native American heritage, but Warren goes into Election Day as the slight favorite.
Up until August, it looked as though incumbent Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), a strong proponent of President Obama's agenda from a Republican-leaning state, was on pace to be a one-term senator. Democrats saw conservative Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.) as the weakest potential general election candidate and spent $1.5 million on ads calling him the "true conservative" in the race right before the Republican primary, hoping to boost his chances at winning the nomination. They got their wish when Akin won the primary in August, and a few weeks into the general election Akin infamously said that in cases of "legitimate rape," women can't get pregnant, causing a national uproar. Republicans of all stripes urged Akin to drop out of the race, but he stubbornly resisted and his name will appear on the ballot. The NRSC and American Crossroads have pulled all funding from the state, but Akin has started to go back on the offensive. While Akin now trails McCaskill in most polls, victory is not completely out of his grasp despite his abysmal favorability rating, which speaks to McCaskill's unpopularity among Missouri voters.
Freshman Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) is facing a tough challenge in 2012 from Rep. Denny Rehberg (R-Mont.), a top-tier Republican candidate who has represented the entire state since 2001. Unlike most Republicans running in red states, Rehberg has highlighted his opposition to Rep. Paul Ryan's (R-Wis.) budget proposal, which would overhaul Medicare. Both campaigns and a bevy of outside groups have run ads on behalf of their preferred candidate. Rehberg and Tester have been running neck-and-neck in the polls for nearly two years now, and this race remains a pure toss-up.
When moderate Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) announced his retirement, Republicans saw it as a relatively easy opportunity to flip this seat in 2012. Democrats recruited former Sen. Bob Kerrey (D-Neb.) to run in Nelson's place. On the Republican side, state Sen. Deb Fischer (R) came from behind to defeat two better-known and better-financed opponents in the primary, helped by a last-minute endorsement from former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R). While Kerrey appeared to be making a comeback in October, he will likely fall short on Election Day, moving the Republican Party one seat closer to a Senate majority.
Amidst an ethics investigation, Sen. John Ensign (R-Nev.) announced his resignation from the Senate in April 2011. Then-Rep. Dean Heller (R-Nev.) was appointed to take his place and is now running as an incumbent senator in 2012. His opponent is Rep. Shelley Berkley (D-Nev.), who is being investigated by the House Ethics Committee for allegedly using the powers of her office to aid her husband's medical practice. Expecting a close race, the NRSC and DSCC have been flooding the airwaves with ads on behalf of their party's candidate. Most polls have shown Heller with a narrow edge over Berkley, but if Berkley can drive up Latino turnout and pull off the upset it would all but ensure that Democrats maintain a majority in the Senate.
After Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.) announced his retirement last February, Republicans were bullish on their chances to take over this seat. However, the Land of Enchantment has become much more Democratic over the last decade, and Rep. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), the Democratic nominee, has held a sturdy single-digit lead over former Rep. Heather Wilson (R-N.M.) in the polls. The NRSC tellingly canceled its ads in the state, though other Republican-aligned outside groups, such as Crossroads GPS and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, have still been airing ads against Heinrich, particularly on energy issues. A coalition of environmentalist and conservationist groups have been airing a barrage of negative ads against Wilson. The shifting demographics of New Mexico may be too much for Wilson to overcome to pull off the upset.
When Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) announced his retirement last year, most political observers expected this race to be an easy pickup for Republicans. Freshman Rep. Rick Berg (R-N.D.) announced he was running for the open seat and started off as the strong favorite to replace Conrad. However, Democrats recruited former state Attorney General Heidi Heitkamp (D) to run, and she is giving Berg a run for his money. All indications point toward a tight race: Heitkamp has been running neck-and-neck with Berg in the few polls that have been conducted and the NRSC pulled money from two other races and moved it to North Dakota. Republican-aligned outside groups have run ads attacking Heitkamp for supporting Obamacare, while Heitkamp has been running to the center, especially on energy issues. Although Heitkamp has proven to be a strong candidate, she must still outperform President Obama by a significant margin to prevail in North Dakota.
Many Republican-aligned outside groups have turned their attention to Ohio, where they have spent over $26 million dollars on ads in an attempt to sully the image of first-term Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio). While some polls have found that Brown's lead has shrunk since the ad barrage, his numbers have largely held up against his opponent, state Treasurer Josh Mandel (R), a 34-year-old Iraq war veteran and fundraising magnet with a spotty ethical track record. The auto bailout has been a big point of contention in the race. Brown voted for it while Mandel remains strongly against it -- he even called Brown "un-American" for supporting it -- arguing that it hurt the pensions of non-union employees. Even if Mitt Romney wins Ohio, it may not be enough to put Mandel over the top, given his low favorability rating in the state.
Republicans failed to recruit a top-tier candidate to run against freshman Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) in 2012, despite his mediocre approval ratings. Former coal company executive Tom Smith (R) emerged from the April Republican primary after spending $4 million of his own money on television advertising. However, Smith began to start closing in on Casey in the polls in September and October after loaning his campaign $10 million and flooding the state in ads, and has cut Casey's lead to just a few points.
After narrowly defeating incumbent George Allen (R-Va.) in 2006, Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.) decided not to run for a second term in 2012, setting up a closely contested open seat race in an important swing state. Allen, who seems to have moved on from his 2006 “Macaca" moment, is running for his old seat. He is facing former Gov. Tim Kaine (D), who served as chairman of the Democratic National Committee under President Obama. The two men have been deadlocked in the polls for over a year and a half. Allen has repeatedly tried to associate Kaine with President Obama but Kaine appears to be embracing his ties to the president, which he expects will play especially well in Northern Virginia, while portraying himself as a centrist. Republicans will most likely have to win this race to have a shot at a majority in the Senate.
The retirement of four-term Sen. Herb Kohl (D-Wis.) turned a sure-fire Democratic hold into a possible pick-up opportunity for Republicans. Emboldened by Gov. Scott Walker's (R) recall victory in June and Rep. Paul Ryan's (R-Wis.) presence at the top of the ticket, the GOP thinks that Tommy Thompson (R), a former health and human services secretary and four-term governor, has a real shot to flip this seat. Most polls initially showed Thompson leading Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), who represents the liberal bastion of Madison, but the race is now almost dead-even heading into Election Day. Since the primary, Baldwin's campaign and several Democratic groups have launched an ad blitz against Thompson over his past as a Washington lobbyist, claiming that he is beholden to special interests. Thompson, who survived a bruising, expensive Republican primary, spent that time refilling his campaign coffers and was largely off the airwaves. Baldwin, who has a liberal voting record, is expected to underperform Obama in Wisconsin, which would make the math very difficult for her if Mitt Romney carries or comes close to winning the state.
From the Associated Press, below a look at what you can expect to result from the congressional races on Tuesday. Scroll down for live updates on Election Day.
By DONNA CASSATA AND ALAN FRAM, ASSOCIATED PRESS
WASHINGTON -- A barrage of negative ads, more than $2 billion in spending and endless campaign stops all come down to this: Americans likely will elect a Congress as divided as the one they've been ranting about for two years.
In Tuesday's voting, Republicans are poised to hold the 435-seat House, with Democrats expected to gain a small handful of seats at best from roughly 60 competitive races but fall well short of the net 25 needed for the majority. House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, is poised to wield the gavel again.
Senate Democrats are likely to maintain their narrow advantage as two Republican candidates' clumsy comments about rape and abortion could cost the GOP Indiana and dampens its prospects of winning Missouri – two major roadblocks in the Republican path to the majority.
Republicans hoped the math would work in their favor – Democrats are defending 23 seats, the GOP 10 – but solid Democratic recruits and the close presidential race, added to the GOP candidate stumbles may ensure that Nevada Sen. Harry Reid remains majority leader.
"That's extremely frustrating for what everyone thought was a Republican advantage," Ron Bonjean, a Republican consultant and former top Capitol Hill aide, said of the developments in Indiana and Missouri.
No matter who wins the presidency – President Barack Obama or Republican Mitt Romney – the nation's chief executive will be dealing with a Congress no closer to bridging the ideological chasm and showing no inclination to end the months of dysfunction. Tea party numbers are certain to tick up in the Senate with Republican Ted Cruz heavily favored in Texas and Deb Fischer looking to grab the Nebraska seat.
In the House, the movement that propelled the GOP to the majority in 2010 will be even more emboldened even if a few of the big-name tea partiers lose.
Sal Russo, head of the Tea Party Express, likened the group to the anti-Vietnam War movement of the late 1960s and early 1970s that he said remade the Democratic Party. He envisions the same with the GOP.
"In the sense that the anti-war movement brought out millions of people that had not been involved in politics and they became engaged in a material way," Russo said in an interview as he headed to what he expects will be a victory party for Cruz in Texas.
The Democratic Party, he insists, has never been the same and neither will the GOP after the influx of tea partiers.
When the Senate votes are counted, moderate Republicans and Democrats from Massachusetts and Montana could be gone, leaving the chamber with just a handful of the lawmakers inclined to reach across the aisle. Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe of Maine decided to retire earlier this year, frustrated with the partisan gridlock in Congress.
New England's three other GOP senators are New Hampshire's Kelly Ayotte, Maine's Susan Collins and Massachusetts' Scott Brown, now an underdog against Democrat Elizabeth Warren in a race for the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy's seat.
"The few Republicans who are in office in New England are an endangered species," said veteran Democratic strategist Dan Payne, who is working for independent Angus King. "Their party has shifted so far to the right."
King is favored to win the three-way race for Snowe's seat.
A Bloomberg poll in September found that 55 percent of Americans said Congress will continue to be an impediment no matter who is elected president. Just 32 percent said Congress would get the message and work together.
Democratic strategist Steve McMahon said he worries that with a divided Congress "we can probably expect hyper partisanship and gridlock everywhere. It seems like Americans can expect more of the same."
The other certainty is neither Obama nor Romney will have much of a mandate based on the razor-thin presidential race and the likelihood that the majority party in the Senate will be nowhere near a filibuster-proof majority.
"Neither candidate will be able to claim that voters endorsed a clear and specific plan for balancing the budget because neither of them offered such a plan," said John J. Pitney, a professor of American politics at Claremont McKenna College.
Republican strategist Terry Holt said a newly elected president who has the will could put their mark on policy and make some significant changes.
"But there is so much ideological division that you will have to risk your political life to get something done in the next Congress," Holt said. "It is an all-or-nothing proposition by virtue of the divided nature of the country. You have to stick your neck out if you're to get anything done."
Weeks before the January inauguration, Congress will have to decide what to do about a $607 billion so-called fiscal cliff: the combination of expiring Bush-era tax cuts and automatic, across-the-board spending reductions to domestic and defense programs. Economists warn that no action will plunge the country into another recession.
"At the end of the day, you have so many ticking time bombs," said GOP strategist John Feehery. "Having just a complete gridlock is not an acceptable solution."
Congress may decide in the lame-duck session to delay the major decisions to early next year, especially if Romney wins the presidency. But they can't put off economic decisions for too long.
"The road to fiscal perdition is a cul-de-sac," Pitney said.
HuffPost's Andrea Stone reports:
WASHINGTON -- Exit polls indicate that President Barack Obama received 69 percent of the Jewish vote Tuesday. Partisans have just begun to argue whether that was an overwhelming endorsement or the latest evidence that one of the Democratic Party's most reliable constituencies is becoming less so with every presidential election.
Read the full story here.
HuffPost's Tyler Kingkade reports:
NEW YORK -- Mitt Romney lost the youth vote by a huge margin, and with it, he lost the presidency.
Sixty percent of young voters who cast ballots chose to reelect President Barack Obama, against the 36 percent who voted for Mitt Romney. That's a six point slide in youth support for Obama from 2008, but still nearly triple the margin of victory for the youth vote that John Kerry won over George W. Bush in 2004.
An analysis by the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE) at Tufts University found that had the youth vote been split 50-50 for the presidential race in just four states -- Florida, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Virginia -- Romney would have been elected president. In each of those four crucial swing states, exit polling shows young voters made up 16 to 19 percent of the electorate.
According to the National Journal, Republicans had counted on the youth vote to be held to just 15 or 16 percent of the electorate in order to secure a Romney victory.
But CIRCLE estimates 22 to 23 million people between the ages of 18 and 29 nationwide voted this election. Exit polls show voters ages 18 to 29 made up 19 percent of the electorate, a 1-point increase from 2008.
"It is because [Romney] lost the youth vote pretty decisively that he will not be the next president of the United States," said CIRCLE's director, Peter Levine.
Read the full story here.
Hours after President Barack Obama declared that the nation needs to fix the problem of long lines at the voting booth, a survey by Hart Research, commissioned by the AFL-CIO, found that minorities and Democrats were more likely to experience long wait times than others.
Nearly a quarter of blacks -- 24 percent -- and Hispanics -- 22 percent -- reported waiting in line more than 30 minutes, compared to 9 percent of whites. Obama voters were nearly twice as likely as Romney voters to face long lines, at 16 percent to 9 percent.
-- Dan Froomkin
|@ jonathanweisman : I hear Berg concedes to Heitkamp at 2:45ish CDT. With Angus King, Dems go up 55-45 in Senate. If nothing else, they have a cushion for 2014|
Both members of the only married couple in Congress lost their races last night. Rep. Connie Mack (R-Fla.) was defeated in his U.S. Senate campaign against Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) and Mack's wife, Rep. Mary Bono Mack (R-Calif.) lost her bid for reelection to Democrat Raul Ruiz by 4,500 votes.
Bono Mack was first elected to Congress in a 1998 special election following the death of her first husband, Rep. Sonny Bono (R-Calif.). She was seen as the frontrunner to hold the Palm Springs area seat, having defeated her previous Democratic challengers by large margins. She married Connie Mack, a four-term congressman, in 2007. It is her third marriage and his second.
-- John Celock
With North Dakota's U.S. Senate race still undecided, Democrat Heidi Heitkamp's narrow lead over Republican Rep. Rick Berg is the best showing by a Democrat statewide in North Dakota this year. Current results show Heitkamp, a former state attorney general, holds a 3,000 vote -- or 1 percentage point -- lead over Berg in the contest to replace retiring Sen. Kent Conrad (D).
The next closest Democratic performances in the state this year occurred in the races for Congress and public service commissioner. In the congressional race, Republican Public Service Commissioner Kevin Cramer defeated Democrat former state Rep. Pam Gulleson 54 percent to 41 percent. In the public service commissioner race, Republican Randy Christmann defeated Democrat Brad Crabtree 54 percent to 41 percent. Crabtree was one of the most outspoken candidates in North Dakota, using the race to campaign for ethics reform and what he believed to be moral lapses at the Public Service Commission. In the governor's race, Gov. Jack Dalrymple (R) easily defeated state Senate Minority Leader Ryan Taylor (D-Towner), 63 percent to 34 percent.
If elected, Heitkamp would be the first woman elected to represent North Dakota in Congress and the second woman to serve the state in Washington, D.C. Former Sen. Jocelyn Burdick (D) represented North Dakota in the Senate for three months in 1992 following the death of her husband, Sen. Quentin Burdick (D). Jocelyn Burdick was appointed to her Senate seat by then Gov. George Sinner (D).
-- John Celock
|@ NBCNews : NBC News declares Steve Bullock as the projected winner in Montana - Governor. #NBCPolitics|
Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) is expected to lose his reelection bid to Democrat Patrick Murphy, although the race has not yet been fully called. Until it is, West's campaign isn't pleased that people keep saying he's out, according to a statement posted on his Facebook page Wednesday morning:
Our race is far from decided and there is no rush to declare an outcome. Ensuring a fair and accurate counting off all ballots is of the utmost importance. There are still tens of thousands of absentee ballots to be counted in Palm Beach County and potential provisional ballots across the district. Late last night Congressman West maintained a district wide lead of nearly 2000 votes until the St. Lucie County Supervisor of Elections “recounted” thousands of early ballots. Following that "recount" Congressman West trailed by 2,400 votes. In addition, there were numerous other disturbing irregularities reported at polls across St. Lucie County including the doors to polling places being locked when the polls closed in direct violation of Florida law, thereby preventing the public from witnessing the procedures used to tabulate results. The St. Lucie County Supervisor of Elections office clearly ignored proper rules and procedures, and the scene at the Supervisor’s office last night could only be described as complete chaos. Given the hostility and demonstrated incompetence of the St. Lucie County Supervisor of Elections, we believe it is critical that a full hand recount of the ballots take place in St. Lucie County. We will continue to fight to ensure every vote is counted properly and fairly, and accordingly we will pursue all legal means necessary.
Murphy is leading in votes, according to exit polling, with 160,328 to West's 157,872. The district is the only House race in Florida that has yet to be called.
-- Elise Foley
More than 55 percent of Latino voters thought the Romney campaign was hostile toward them -- a good indication of why he may have lost them so badly -- and 18 percent believed he had no interest in reaching out to them, according to an impreMedia-Latino Decisions poll released in full Wednesday morning.
The "election eve" poll was taken from Nov. 1 to Nov. 5, surveying Latinos who had either already voted or said they were certain they would do so. Results from 11 states were released late Tuesday evening and into early Wednesday.
ImpreMedia-Latino Decisions found that a record proportion of Latinos, 75 percent, supported President Barack Obama, while only 23 percent voted for GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney, who conceded the election after losing the electoral college by more than 100 votes. National exit polls put Obama at 71 percent support from Latinos and Romney at 27 percent.
Obama likely fared better among Latinos in part because he seemed more interested in reaching out to them: 66 percent of those polled said they felt Obama truly cares about them. Twenty-three percent said Obama was hostile toward Latino voters.
Immigration reform proved pivotal, even though it wasn't the highest-ranking priority, with 57 percent of Latino voters polled saying they were less enthusiastic about Romney based on his positions on the issue.
See the full results here, including state breakdowns in Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Massachusetts, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio and Texas.
-- Elise Foley
Mitt Romney and California's John Frémont have something in common: both presidential candidates lost their home states by historic margins.
According to Smart Politics, only Frémont -- one of the nation's first Republicans, in 1856 -- suffered a greater defeat from his own constituents in California than Romney did Tuesday in Massachusetts. With more than 95 percent of the vote counted in the state, Romney trailed Obama by a 23.4-point margin, Smart Politics reported.
Read more here.
The leader of the Republican Party in Manhattan called newly reelected Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) a "lapdog" for Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) in an interview with City & State on Wednesday. The move comes the morning after Gillibrand defeated Republican Wendy Long.
Manhattan Republican Chairman Dan Isaacs told the website of the state political publication that his opinion was formed when the two clerked together for a federal judge.
“It’s an example of why we are where we are as a country that we don’t have people of substance who really can step up. It’s a joke," Isaacs said, according to City & State.
- John Celock
Minnesota residents voted against an amendment on Nov. 6 that would have defined marriage as being between a man and woman in the state's constitution -- though it isn't likely to end the local debate over which couples should have legal access to marriage rights.
With the rejection, the state became the first in the country to shoot down a constitutional amendment limiting marriage equality, reports the Duluth News Tribune.
Gay marriage remains illegal in the Minnesota. However, without the constitutional amendment, making it legal in the future will be easier for pro-equality advocates.
Sen.-elect Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) took a victory lap on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" on Wednesday.
"This has just been amazing," she said of her victory. Warren ran against Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) in the state Senate race.
Of her supporters, Warren said, "They saw this race as a race about what kind of people we are and what kind of country we're going to build … I have to say, this is democracy."
Asked about what she would do in Washington, she said, "I come there not just to be a senator."
"This is for all the people who are out there -- we play by the rules, we just want a chance to have a little economic security," she said.
"This isn't about parties, I'll work with anyone," Warren said.
Warren is greeting commuters in South Boston on Wednesday morning.
"The bond between Europe and North America, based upon the shared values on which our alliance was founded over 60 years ago, remains as strong, and as important to the preservation of Euro-Atlantic peace and security as ever. President Obama has demonstrated outstanding leadership in maintaining this vital bond." --NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen
For more world reaction to the 2012 election, click here.
|@ BreakingNews : Bill Clinton was the first person President Obama called after receiving concession call from Mitt Romney, campaign official says - @NBCNews|
|@ breakingpol : Republican Michele Bachmann defeats hotelier Jim Graves to win 4th term in expensive Minnesota House race - @AP|
|@ Reuters : FLASH: California Democrats say win supermajority in California State Assembly|
Democrats appear to have retaken control of the Colorado state House of Representatives. Local station 9News reports that Democrats will unseat three Republican legislators to regain control of the chamber they lost in 2010. The Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee has declared victory in the state.
State House Minority Leader Mark Ferrandino (D-Denver) is poised to become the state's first openly gay speaker of the House with the victory. Earlier this year, Ferrandino saw a bill he pushed to allow civil unions in the state blocked by the state House Republican leadership. Ferrandino would be the fourth openly gay individual in American history to preside over a state legislative chamber.
Democrats control the Colorado state Senate and the governor's office.
The race for the U.S. Senate in North Dakota was deemed too close to call Wednesday morning, but Democrat Heidi Heitkamp declared on Twitter that her 3,000 vote edge would hold.
"I am confident I am going to be the next United States Senator from North Dakota," she tweeted.
Heitkamp was leading Rep. Rick Berg (R) 160,752 to 157,758 votes, but the results had not been certified. North Dakota is the only state that does not require voter registration, and anyone who can show they've been living in the state for 30 days is allowed to vote.
Democrat Brandon Whipple, who was attacked by the Tea Party over the weekend for not having children, has won a seat in the Kansas House of Representatives. Returns published by the secretary of state show Whipple defeating Republican Rick Lindsey 58 percent to 42 percent in the newly created Wichita district.
On Saturday, campaign literature created by Kansans for Liberty, a Tea Party group in Wichita, asked, "Can someone with no children really understand your family's needs?" about the Democrat.
Whipple, 30, noted that he and his wife, Chelsea, have been trying to have children and told HuffPost that the ad, which included other attacks, took the race to "a different level." The literature included other attacks on Whipple, which the Democrat said were false.
Craig Gabel, the head of Kansans for Liberty, told HuffPost that the piece was meant to point out issues about Whipple and ask if he could address children's issues if he wasn't a parent. Whipple's opponent, Lindsey, also didn't have children. Gabel said a similar piece was not created against Lindsey, since Lindsey was in agreement with Tea Party principles.
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand's (D) landslide victory over Republican Wendy Long also appears to give her claim to the having won the largest percentage of the vote in New York state history. Gillbrand received 72 percent of the vote in unofficial returns, higher than Schumer's 70.6 percent victory in 2004 over Republican Assemblyman Howard Mills.
Gillibrand's victory showed her capturing 60 of the state's 62 counties, losing only Allegany and Wyoming Counties to Long, a judicial activist. Schumer captured 61 counties in his 2004 campaign, landing him in a tie with former Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan, who won 61 counties in 1988.
Democratic Rep. Kathy Hochul -- the western New Yorker who galvanized Democrats by winning her 2011 special election on an anti-Paul Ryan platform -- lost her reelection bid to Republican Chris Collins in a heavily gerrymandered district.
Hochul, a former Eric County Clerk, set the tone for Democrats in 2012 by winning her special election, largely on the strength of a save-Medicare message that repudiated Ryan's plans to turn the program into a private, voucher-based system.
She was the first Democrat to win the district in decades, but the new map gave it the largest Republican voter base in the state. Still, Hochul nearly beat Collins, falling less than 6,000 votes short, losing 49.3 to 50.7 percent.
Republican Mia Love has conceded her house race against Democratic incumbent Rep. Jim Matheson to represent Utah's 2nd congressional district, Fox 13 reports.
Reports are coming in that riots are brewing on the Ole Miss campus in Oxford, Mississippi.
Photos show huge group of people on the campus, some even lighting Obama-Biden signs on fire in response to the presidential election results.
Read the full story here.
Republicans know that they lost a major opportunity Tuesday, and Sen. John Cornyn, the Texan who runs the National Republican Senatorial Committee, said it was time for the party to look in the mirror.
"It’s clear that with our losses in the Presidential race, and a number of key Senate races, we have a period of reflection and recalibration ahead for the Republican Party," Cornyn said. "While some will want to blame one wing of the party over the other, the reality is candidates from all corners of our GOP lost tonight. Clearly we have work to do in the weeks and months ahead."
But he also warned Democrats not to get too cocky, and while calling for bipartisanship, got in a dig at President Barack Obama.
"While the Democrats had a good night, they should not over-read their mandate as reflected by the almost evenly divided popular vote," he said. "It’s important to observe that nothing that happened tonight changes the very serious challenges confronting our country –- a trillion debt, year-after-year of massive deficit spending, unsustainable entitlement programs, and a tax code that picks winners and losers while discouraging economic growth and job creation.
“Solving these very serious problems will take real presidential leadership," Cornyn added. "This is something we unfortunately did not see in the president’s first term, but that all of us hope for in his second.”
-- Michael McAuliff
Final votes from the Kansas City, Mo. area have given state Rep. Jason Kander (D-Kansas City) an apparent victory in the race for Missouri secretary of state. Final returns show Kander leading state Rep. Shane Schoeller (R-Willard) 48.8 percent to 47.5 percent. Kander's lead is just over 33,000 votes, with over 2.5 million cast statewide in the race.
The Kansas City-area votes, the last to be counted in the race, pushed Kander past the seven-point lead that Schoeller had maintained most of the evening. Kander, an Afghanistan War veteran, pushed an ethics reform agenda in the race, calling for caps on campaign contributions in the state. Kander, who has made ethics reform a top issue as a state legislator, also promised to use the office to promote economic development. Kander highlighted his Afghanistan experience in multiple ads in the race.
Schoeller made voter identification a key issue in the race, which saw him receive a last minute infusion of 5,000 from the Republican State Leadership Committee. Schoeller received backing from businessmen Rex Sinquefield and David Humphreys, who provided large campaign contributions, along with free billboards from the state's billboard lobby. A key issue in the race was the writing of the state's ballot initiative language, an issue that Sinquefield has pressed with his interest in pushing statewide referendums on several issues.
Kander and Schoeller were competing to succeed retiring Secretary of State Robin Carnahan (D).
-- John Celock
Republican Mike Coffman has been projected as the winner of his Colorado House race by the AP.
Democrats Ron Kind and Gwen Moore and Republicans Sean Duffy and Reid Ribble were projected the winners of their respective Wisconsin House races by the AP.
Republican Steve Scalise and Democrat Cedric Richmond have been projected the winners of their respective Louisiana House races by the AP.
Republicans John Carter and Randy Weber and Democrat Pete Gallego have been projected the winners of their respective Texas House races by the AP.
Mitt Romney has been projected the winner of Alaska, according to the AP.
Republicans Trey Radel, Vern Buchanan and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Democrats Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, Joe Garcia, Ted Deutch and Lois Frankel have been projected the winners of their respective Florida House races by the AP.
Democrat Nick Rahall is the projected winner of his West Virginia House race by the AP.
In a major blow to Michigan unions, voters rejected a proposal Tuesday that would have amended the state's constitution to guarantee public and private-sector employees the right to organize and collectively bargain. Proposal 2 failed 58 to 42 percent with 70 percent of precincts reporting, according to the Detroit News and the Detroit Free Press.
The measure was meant to be a preemptive tactic by unions to protect bargaining rights in light of recent legislation in other states limiting such powers.
Read more here.
Republicans Mike Grimm, Christopher Gibson, Chris Collins, Richard Hanna, Thomas Reed and Peter King and Democrats Steve Israel, Daniel Maffei, Paul Tonko, Brian Higgins, Louise Slaughter, Bill Owens, Nydia Velasquez, Sean Maloney, Nita Lowey, Hakeem Jeffries, Eliot Engel, Joe Crowley, Jose E. Serrano, Charles Rangel, Yvette Clarke, Carolyn Maloney, Jerrold Nadler, Gregory Meeks, Grace Meng, Carolyn McCarthy and Timothy Bishop have been projected the winners of their respective New York House races by the AP.
Republicans Joe Heck and Mark Amodei and Democrats Dina Titus and Steven Horsford have been projected the winners of their respective Nevada House races by the AP.
Republican Steve Pearce and Democrats Ben R. Lujan and Michelle Lujan Grisham have been projected the winners of their respective New Mexico House races by the AP.
Republicans Chris Smith, Scott Garrett, Rodney Frelinghuysen, Leonard Lance and Jon Runyan and Democrats Albio Sires, Rush Holt and Frank Pallone have been projected the winners of their respective New Jersey House races by the AP.
Kevin Cramer was projected to be the winner of his North Dakota House race by the AP.
Republicans Jeff Fortenberry and Adrian Smith have been projected the winners of their respective Nebraska House races by the AP.
Given the state's mail-in voting system, Washington's final tally won't be official for the next few days. But the Seattle Post-Intelligencer found that support for Referendum 74 was leading 51.8 percent to 48.2 percent in the final hours of Nov. 6.
Republicans Richard Hudson and Robert Pittenger have been projected the winners of their respective North Carolina House races by the AP.
Republican Kansas state Senate candidate Steve Fitzgerald, who told a Kansas City group last month that Catholics could not be Democrats, appears to have defeated state Sen. Kelly Kultala (D). Returns on the secretary of state's website show Fitzgerald leading Kultala 52 percent to 48 percent.
Fitzgerald had told the Polish American Club that Catholics could not be Democrats, because the party platform did not mesh with Catholic teachings. Fitzgerald later told HuffPost that part of his message was for Catholics to help fix the Democratic Party to make it stronger.
The Kultala-Fitzgerald race was one of several competitive races where Democratic incumbent senators were targeted for defeat by conservatives. Kultala, the unsuccessful Democratic nominee for lieutenant governor in 2010, faced a barrage of mailers tying her to President Barack Obama on such issues as the economy and health care reform.
-- John Celock
|@ edhenryTV : Fox News has learned that immediately after getting the concession call from Romney, President Obama called .... former President BClinton|
|@ aterkel : NH is run by ladies now -- all-female congressional delegation, woman in the governor's office.|
Carol Shea-Porter has been projected the winner of her House Race in New Hampshire by the AP.
An Iowa state senator who died last month from breast cancer received the most votes Tuesday to represent Iowa's Senate District 22, The Waukee Patch reports.
Pat Ward, a Republican who was seeking reelection at the time of her death, led Democratic candidate Desmund Adams, according to unofficial results.
The state's Republican Party has until Nov. 13 to submit a candidate to appear on the Dec. 11 special election ballot in the place of Ward.
John Ward, the late state senator's husband, announced last week that he intends to seek the nomination.
-- Ian Gray
Republicans Blaine Luetkemeyer, Billy Long, Vicky Hartzler and Ann Wagner and Democrats Emanuel Cleaver, Jo Ann Emerson and Lacy Clay have been projected the winners of their respective Missouri House races by the AP.
Republican John Kline and Democrats Tim Walz and Collin Peterson have been projected the winners of their respective Minnesota House races by the AP.