Election Night 2014: Live Blog

12:02 AM: Well, it looks like most of the important races that are going to be called have already been called, so I’m going to go ahead and sign off.  I’ll do another post soon that recaps all the results once all the vote totals are known.  Thanks for following my live blog tonight.  Thanks for following this proud expression of American democracy with me tonight.

12:01 AM: And in a race I never believed was close, Democrat Pat Quinn falls to Bruce Rauner in the Illinois governor’s race.

11:34 PM: Thom Tillis turned it around in the final moments, eking out a narrow win over Kay Hagan and officially giving Republicans control of the Senate.

11:29 PM: Forget Virginia.  The biggest surprise tonight may be in Maryland, where Larry Hogan (R) is beating Anthony Brown (D) in what is usually deeply blue territory.  Most of the votes in the bluest areas have been counted, so Hogan may just pull the upset that truly no one saw coming.

11:23 PM: Kansas Senate has been called for Pat Roberts, ending a lot of buzz regarding which party Greg Orman would caucus with should he have won.

11:15 PM: In addition, Michael Grimm has pulled off  an upset in NY-11, staving off Dominic Recchia by a surprising 55%-42% margin despite his numerous federal indictments and video gaffes.

11:14 PM: A few Republicans have pulled into the lead in gubernatorial races: Paul LePage in Maine, Sam Brownback in Kansas, and Bob Beauprez in Colorado.

10:50 PM: John Hickenlooper is running ahead of Mark Udall in the Denver suburbs, meaning the Colorado governor’s race is going to be MUCH closer than its Senate race.

10:47 PM: Another interesting development tonight: the polls have been accurate thus far.  There were concerns about several pollsters’ questionable methodologies and whether or not they would affect the polls’ accuracy.  But races have more or less (with the exception of Virginia) played out as the polls suggested.

10:42 PM: Nathan Deal (R) has just won Georgia’s gubernatorial race as well.  He’s still running behind Perdue, but it’s not looking like it will matter.  Also, in Florida, keep an eye on the vote margins.  If the race is decided by less than half a percent, that triggers an automatic recount.  Luckily, this recount won’t decide a Presidential election 🙂

10:41 PM: CNN just called Georgia’s Senate race for David Perdue (R) without a runoff.  Most of Nunn’s strong counties have counted their votes and he still holds a 57-41 lead.

10:34 PM: One oddity about tonight: because polling in them is notoriously bad, we usually have a surprise winner or two in House races.  They’ve pretty much kept to the script so far.

10:22 PM: Colorado has been called for Cory Gardner.  Republicans are almost certain to take over the Senate now.

10:20 PM: In a mild surprise, minimum wage hikes have passed in Republican states Nebraska and Arkansas.

10:16 PM: Three House Democrats in blue-state competitive races are looking safe.  I think Bill Foster (IL-17), Cheri Bustos (IL-11), and Bill Keating (MA-09) are headed for wins.

10:11 PM: Republican Senate candidate Cory Gardner is doing well in the Denver suburbs, which are the places a Democrat has to win in order to win a statewide race there.  Mark Udall should be very worried right now.

10:07 PM: John Barrow, the Great Survivor in Georgia, may be seeing his luck about to run out.  He trails by 6 points in the 12th district with 87% of the vote in.

10:03 PM: One potential key county in Virginia that’s going overlooked: Craig County in the Southwest.  Only 9% of the vote in there, so in a close race, it could swing the result.

10:00 PM: Predictably, Steve Daines wins in Montana and takes the Republicans’ Senate number down to two.  One of my personal favorite Senators, Al Franken, will be returning to the Senate in Minnesota as well.  In a battleground House race in Nebraska’s 2nd, things are looking ripe for a party switch, with Brad Ashford (D) leading incumbent Lee Terry (R) by 5 points.

9:56 PM: Ballot measure update: Medical marijuana looks to fail in Florida with 57% of the vote (it needed 60% to pass).  Illinois is behaving like the liberal bastion that it is, with initiatives to raise the minimum wage and require health insurance companies to cover birth control with big early leads.

9:53 PM: Republicans look like they’re about to pick up Florida’s other competitive House seat.  Carlos Curbelo leads him by 4 points with 88% of the vote in.

9:43 PM: Maybe my “panic time” call in Virginia was a bit premature.  Fairfax County is still yet to be called and the race has considerably tightened.  But we’re headed for a photo finish and a possible recount.

9:40 PM: We have our first two party changes in the House: NC-7 has been called for Republican David Rouzer, and Gwen Graham has picked up FL-2 for the Democrats.

9:28 PM: Democratic gubernatorial candidate Paul Davis is running ahead of Greg Orman in Kansas.  I have a feeling he’s headed for a win, but the jury is very much out on Orman.

9:22 PM: Networks are starting to call New Hampshire’s Senate race for Jeanne Shaheen.  I think that’s premature, but again, I think she will ultimately win.

9:20 PM: Expect both races in Georgia to tighten up soon.  More Democratic votes are out than Republican ones.

9:06 PM: It’s panic time for Virginia Democrats.  Loudoun and Prince William Counties are still red, as is Virginia Beach.  Even worse, Barbara Comstock has clinched a huge win in the 10th District, which includes Loudoun.

9:01 PM: Two important projections just came out: Republicans pick up a Senate seat in South Dakota, where a vote split with an Independent never materialized, and Gary Peters easily beats Terri Lynn Land to hold onto the seat for the Blue Team.

8:56 PM: Like it or not, Greg Orman is the “surrogate Democratic candidate” in Kansas.  As such, I think Kansas’ 3rd district will be key in his race.  It’s the last district to have a long-serving Democratic Congressman.  For that matter, there’s a lot of votes to be had here for Paul Davis in his bid to upend Republican Governor Sam Brownback.

8:53 PM: I’d feel good if I were New Hampshire Senator Jeanne Shaheen.  She’s got a good lead and is leading where she needs to.  Probably still will be close, but I’ve a feeling she’s going to win.

8:43 PM: Lost in the hubbub over Tom Cotton’s win is that Asa Hutchinson has prevailed in the governor’s race in Arkansas, getting the Republicans another pickup.

8:42 PM: Georgia Governor Nathan Deal (R) is running behind Senate candidate David Perdue (R).  Not sure if that will mean anything in the end, but it’s interesting.

8:34 PM: The reason they haven’t called Florida yet, despite Rick Scott being 3 points ahead: there’s still a LOT of Democratic votes still to come in from Broward and Miami-Dade Counties.

8:31 PM: Yet another good sign for Republican Senate control: networks are calling Arkansas’ Senate race for Tom Cotton as soon as the polls close.  Republicans’ magic number for Senate control is down to 4.

8:30 PM: Things are looking good for Gwen Graham, daughter of former US Senator Bob, in Florida’s 2nd District.  She’s 10 points ahead with 64% of precincts reporting.  It would be a Democratic pickup if she wins.

8:24 PM: If you’re wondering why I’m not saying much about House races, it’s because few of the competitive seats are on the East Coast.  We’ll have to wait some more to see that picture take shape.

8:10 PM: The Senate race in North Carolina seems to be tracking pretty closely to 2008, when Kay Hagan initially won her seat.  I’d feel good if I were her, especially with a lot of votes in the Research Triangle still to come in.  There are a lot of rural votes out, though, which will likely come through for Republican Thom Tillis.

8:03 PM: Don’t know if I’ve ever seen an incumbent lose so quickly.  Pennsylvanians, say hello to Governor Wolf.

8:01 PM: If I were Mark Warner, I might start to sweat just a little bit.  Loudoun & Prince William Counties are returning heavily Republican results, and they were key components of winning coalitions for Democrats Tim Kaine and Terry McAuliife in the last two statewide elections in Virginia.  Warner’s probably still going to pull it out, because we have a lot of votes in cities to come in yet, but this could portend a big night for Republicans.  Votes across states are correlated, and if a presumably safe/likely seat is dragging on longer than we thought, it might be a sign of struggles in closer states.

7:58 PM: Dave Brat, who shocked the political world by beating Eric Cantor in the Republican primary in Virginia’s 7th District, will officially be their next Congressman, defeating Democrat Jack Trammell.  Don’t know many observers who thought Trammell might win, but it’s worth noting anyway.

7:53 PM: Now we’re rolling: 16 more states are closing polls at 8PM.

7:51 PM: We have our first call in a competitive House race.  Democrat Patrick Murphy is projected to hang on in FL-18.

7:36 PM: Looks like we’re about to get our first results from Metro Atlanta, which will help clear up the picture in Georgia.

7:35 PM: Those following the Florida race: remember to keep an eye on the I-4 Corridor.  It’s the “swingiest” section of the state and until we see results from there, we won’t know much about the gubernatorial race there.  It’s in red below:

7:30 PM: And the Republicans have their first pickup of the night: Shelley Moore Capito has become the first female Senator from West Virginia.  This was largely thought to be a safe win for Republicans, so it doesn’t change too much.

7:27 PM: Don’t be fooled by early big leads by Republican candidates in Virginia and Georgia.  Hardly any precincts have reported, and they’re in South Georgia and Southwest Virginia, heavily red areas.

7:20 PM: Another interesting early development: Charlie Crist’s (D) campaign has asked for extended voting hours in Broward County due to several machine malfunctions that have hindered voters’ casting ballots.  You may remember Broward County as one of the epicenters of the 2000 presidential election’s recount hysteria.  Tellingly, it’s also a Democratic stronghold.

7:09 PM: Bad sign for Democrats early: CNN has already called the state’s Senate race for Republican incumbent Mitch McConnell.  This was supposed to be a close race, that wouldn’t be called for at least awhile.

7:07 PM: Welcome to The Jam’s LIVE coverage of Election Night 2014!  As promised, I’ll be updating this thread periodically as the night unfolds with instant reaction as the returns come in.  I wanted to start by talking about a few things that have changed since by initial “super-posts” breaking down the midterms.

-Senate races in Colorado, Iowa, Arkansas, Louisiana, Kentucky, and New Hampshire have shifted toward the Republicans since that post.
-Senate races in North Carolina, Georgia, and Michigan have shifted toward the Democrats.
Arizona is really the only gubernatorial race that’s shifted toward Republicans.
Colorado, Kansas, and Florida have shifted toward the Democrats.  Amazingly, Pat Quinn is making Illinois a close race too.

In addition, there’s also some interesting ballot measures that are being voted on today.  Alaska and Oregon are looking to legalize marijuana, while Florida is looking to allow medical marijuana.  Nebraska, Illinois, Arkansas, Alaska have initiatives to raise the minimum wage on the docket.  Colorado’s amendment would define unborn babies as persons under their state constitution.  Illinois has another initative that would require health insurance industries to cover birth control, and Washington has one that would repeal tax breaks on the marijuana industry.  In a strange twist, Washington has two amendments out that would have entirely opposite effects.  One would limit background checks on gun sales, while one would require them.  One can only imagine the constitutional crisis that might ensure were both of them to pass.

Everyone that’s reading this blog knows what side I’m rooting for tonight, but I’m going to try to keep this post confined to analysis.  I’ll render any opinions I have after the fact, if need be.  Honestly, analysis is what I enjoy most… breaking down results and digging into who won and why.

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