11/05/2014 03:12 am ET Updated Nov 05, 2014

Mark Takai Wins Midterm Election Race Against Charles Djou

Hawaii state Rep. Mark Takai (D) defeated Republican Charles Djou in the state's 1st Congressional District Tuesday.

The race quickly became one of the most closely watched contests in Hawaii after the Aug. 9 primary.

Takai, a state representative for the past 20 years, had to beat six other Democrats to move on to the general election, depleting his campaign account in the process. Djou emerged from the primary unscathed and held a sizable financial advantage this summer.

But political action committees on the mainland and donors in Hawaii quickly poured hundreds of thousands of dollars into Takai's campaign to help him take on Djou, a former Honolulu City Councilman who served in Congress for seven months after winning a special election in 2010.

The race was close throughout the election. As November neared, super PACs started dumping hundreds of thousands of dollars into attack ads that both candidates had to deflect and defend. Djou supporters went after Takai's vote in the state House on a bill to tax pensions and Takai supporters went after Djou's votes in Congress related to welfare programs.

Takai, 47, and Djou, 44, are centrists in their parties and have much in common. Both are family men who grew up in Hawaii, serve in the military and have years of experience in elected office.

Djou, a major in the U.S. Army Reserve, and Takai, a lieutenant colonel in the Hawaii Army National Guard, have both done stints in the Middle East.

And both candidates said they wanted to protect entitlement programs like Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, but that reform is needed.

But there were fundamental differences between the two.

Takai was buoyed early this election season by an endorsement from the 13,000-strong Hawaii State Teachers Association and other unions.

Djou said he wanted to exempt Hawaii from the Jones Act to reduce the cost of living and break up shipping monopolies. Takai said the maritime law is key to protecting jobs and national security.

Within the last year, Takai came around on supporting gay marriage, whereas Djou said he was troubled by the Legislature’s decision in 2013 to no longer limit marriage to being between a man and a woman.

When it comes to health care, Djou opposed the enactment of Obamacare while Takai said the nation is better off as a result of the federal Affordable Care Act, despite its problems.

The 1st District seat opened when Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D-Hawaii) decided to challenge Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii).

Below, a liveblog of more election news:

11/05/2014 8:27 AM EST

Christie: GOP Wins Show Focus On Leadership

The AP reported Wednesday:

WASHINGTON (AP) -- New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie says Republican victories in governor's races across the country show voters want leaders who will "get things done," rather that fighting over ideology.

Christie, chairman of the Republican Governors Association and a possible 2016 candidate for president, said he was gratified by GOP wins in Democratic-leaning states such as Maryland, Massachusetts and Illinois, as well as victories in key swing states like Florida, Michigan, Wisconsin and Ohio.

Christie said voters "elect and re-elect governors to get things done."

Christie, who campaigned for GOP candidates across the country, said the winners deserve the credit, not him. He said elections are "always about the candidate."

Christie spoke Wednesday on NBC's "Today" show, ABC's "Good Morning America" and Fox News Channel.

11/05/2014 7:46 AM EST

President Obama To Address Midterm Results In Afternoon Press Conference

President Barack Obama will speak to the press Wednesday afternoon to address his party's resounding loss in the 2014 midterm elections, according to White House press secretary Josh Earnest. He is expected to strike a tone of compromise and accountability following a Republican takeover of the U.S. Senate and many of the nation's gubernatorial offices.

Obama tried reached out to Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who is widely expected to be the next senate majority leader and who also won re-election Tuesday night, and left a message, CNN reported.

The president's press conference will take place at 2:50 p.m. Eastern time from the East Room of the White House.

Igor Bobic

11/05/2014 6:57 AM EST

Indictment, Dog Killing, Infidelity Overcome By GOP Candidates

How bad was it for Democrats? Rep. Michael Grimm, a Republican facing a 20-count indictment won in New York and another known for outbursts of rage and killing a beagle, Mike Bost, won a seat in President Barack Obama's home state of Illinois that had been Democratic for 70 years.

Down in Tennessee, Rep. Scott DesJarlais' past infidelities and pushing of abortion on a mistress continued to not matter to voters, who handed him a landslide victory.

There were a couple of bright spots for Democrats, or at least the more moderate crowd. Florida Rep. Steve Southerland lost to Democrat Gwen Graham after holding an all-male fundraiser and joking about Graham in lingerie. And in Louisiana, GOP Rep. Vance McAllister, dubbed the "Kissing Congressman" after he was caught on tape smooching a staffer, finished far back in the field in his contest.

-- Michael McAuliff

11/05/2014 5:24 AM EST

Expect A Delay In Results

11/05/2014 5:07 AM EST

Alaska Becomes 4th State To Legalize Recreational Marijuana

In yet another major pushback against the war on drugs, Alaska legalized recreational marijuana on Tuesday, joining Oregon and Washington, D.C. -- both of which legalized cannabis only hours before. Alaska becomes the fourth state in the U.S. to legalize retail marijuana, along with Oregon, Colorado and Washington state.

Voters approved Measure 2, which legalizes the possession, use and sale of recreational marijuana. Adults, age 21 and older, may possess up to 1 ounce of marijuana and grow up to six plants (with no more than three being mature) for personal use. The measure also legalizes the manufacture, sale and possession of marijuana paraphernalia, such as devices used for smoking or storing the plant.

“The folks trying to keep marijuana illegal are relying on the same scare tactics today that they have relied on for decades, but voters just aren’t falling for it anymore," Rob Kampia, executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project, said in a statement early Wednesday morning. "The results are particularly encouraging since voter turnout during a midterm election is typically smaller, older, and more conservative. Clearly, support for ending marijuana prohibition spans the political and ideological spectrums."

Read more here.

-- Matt Ferner

11/05/2014 4:28 AM EST

Ah, Politics... Chicago-Style

11/05/2014 3:40 AM EST

Sarah Palin To GOP: You Didn't Build This

Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin took to Facebook last night to issue a hearty congratulations -- and warning -- to her GOP brethren:

Thank you, wise voters! Tonight is a big victory for We the People! Credit is due to the victorious candidates. Your message to President Obama is undeniably received, though he'll try to ignore it.


The Democrats got mauled today, deservedly so. To prohibit that from happening to the GOP in 2016, it must learn the lesson from the last time Republicans held the Senate majority. This time they must not retreat, and it's our responsibility to hold them accountable. Will they fight for reform that aligns with the limited government planks of the Republican platform, or will they return to the big government cronyism and status quo favored by the permanent political class? Will they drain the swamp or decide the D.C. cesspool is really just a jacuzzi they can't wait to jump on into and shake us off?

If GOP leadership returns to business as usual, then this majority will be short lived, for We the People say, “once bitten, twice shy.”

Click here to read the full statement.

11/05/2014 2:55 AM EST

Alaska Approves Minimum Wage Increase

11/05/2014 2:39 AM EST

Alaska Rep. Don Young Projected To Win 22nd Term

The Associated Press is projecting that Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska) will win re-election as Alaska's only member of Congress.

--Sam Levine

11/05/2014 2:36 AM EST

Voter Turnout In The U.S. Is Always Awful.. And This Year Was No Different