November 7, 2012

ELECTION WATCH: President Obama wins re-election

WASHINGTON — Around the country on Election Day 2012 with AP reporters bringing the latest developments to you:



Barack Obama wins — he’ll serve a second term as president after a hard-fought election.

AP is calling the presidential election for Obama after Romney lost Ohio and several other key states.

The Chicago convention center where Obama supporters have gathered to watch the results is exploding in joy and enthusiasm. Not so the Romney camp in Boston, which has been muted as results increasingly showed the tally of electoral votes rising in Obama’s column.



People are still streaming into President Obama’s election night rally at the crowded and cavernous convention center in Chicago. Pop tunes are blaring from the loudspeakers and the swarm of people are swaying, holding flags aloft and watching themselves as television networks air their images on giant screens.

— Jim Kuhnhenn



The mood at Romney’s headquarters event was grim. Staffers were beginning to trickle in, almost all expressing shock or surprise that so many states had voted for Obama.

Meanwhile, Fox News commentators were shown on two giant screens, questioning Ohio results. Asked if he believed Ohio was “settled,” guest Karl Rove responded, “No,” prompting cheers from the crowds.

“I think this is premature,” Rove said.

— Kasie Hunt — Twitter http://twitter.com/kasie



As President Barack Obama wrapped up victories in several key states, the song “How Do You Like Me Now?” blared over the convention center loudspeaker at his election night rally in Chicago. Then the center began to dance and sway to the Beatles “Twist and Shout.”

— Jim Kuhnhenn



The Associated Press has called Ohio for President Barack Obama. This makes the path to Obama’s re-election much easier as no Republican has won the White House without this key swing state. The last president elected despite losing Ohio was Democrat John F. Kennedy in 1960, and the last sitting president to lose Ohio was George H.W. Bush in 1992 to Democrat Bill Clinton.



In an explosion of movement and sound, people in the packed convention center that’s Obama’s party site cheered and stood waving small American flags.

— Jim Kuhnhenn —



The AP has called New Mexico (5 electoral votes) for President Barack Obama and Missouri (10 electoral votes) for Republican Mitt Romney.



Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill, a Democrat once thought to be one of the Senate’s most vulnerable incumbents, held on to her seat in Tuesday’s election as GOP challenger Todd Akin continued to face criticism for saying in August that women had ways of preventing pregnancies in the case of “legitimate rape.”

GOP leaders, including Republican nominee Mitt Romney, called on him to abandon the race. Akin stayed in and hoped support from evangelicals would lift his prospects.



Calls from some big states coming in at this hour — including a Mitt Romney victory in hotly contested North Carolina (15 electoral votes) and an unsurprising Barack Obama win in California (55 electoral votes).

Others called by the AP:

— Obama takes Washington state (12 electoral votes).

— Obama takes Hawaii (4 electoral votes).

— Romney takes Idaho (also 4).

— Obama wins Minnesota (10 votes).



The Associated Press has called Arizona for Republican Mitt Romney.



Down for the count.

Former World Wrestling Entertainment executive Linda McMahon — a Republican and wife of blustery and better-known Vince McMahon — lost her bid for a U.S. Senate seat to Democrat Chris Murphy despite spending $42 million of her own wealth.

She also was beaten in 2010 while trying to get to the Senate.

Murphy now takes over the seat held by retiring independent Sen. Joe Lieberman. Murphy, a three-term congressman, made an issue of the 64-year-old McMahon’s wrestling roots, dismissing the enterprise as a vulgar and violent spectacle that belittled women.

In another Senate race with a link to the world of sports, the great-grandson of one of baseball’s most august figures lost his Senate race in Florida. Connie Mack IV, a Republican, is a descendant of Hall of Fame manager Connie Mack. He was beaten by Democrat Bill Nelson, who won a third term.

Mack was not the only loser on the ballot with a strong baseball heritage. U.S. Rep. Ben Chandler of Kentucky, grandson of former baseball commissioner Happy Chandler, lost to Republican Andy Barr.

— Fred Lief — Twitter http://twitter.com/fredlief



Obama has won all of Maine’s four electoral votes. Like Nebraska, electoral votes in Maine can be split between the two candidates, and Republicans had hoped to perhaps capture one of them.

Also in Maine, Independent Angus King prevailed over Republican Charlie Summers and Democrat Cynthia Dill in the race to replace Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe, who blamed partisan gridlock in Washington for her unexpected decision to retire after 18 years in the Senate.



“For two years, our House majority has been the primary line of defense for the American people against a government that spends too much, taxes too much and certainly borrows too much. ...  We stand ready to work with any willing partner — Democrat, Republican or otherwise.” — House Speaker John A. Boehner, an Ohio Republican.


— Larry Margasak — Twitter http://twitter.com/LarryMargasak



AP Television Writer David Bauder has this to say about how election night is unfolding for the media:

“In an impatient age of social media and instant communication, a close presidential election on Tuesday forced patience upon an army of journalists anxious for answers. ... 2012 is notable for the vast array of outlets that an interested consumer could command to create their own media experience on different screens, with websites offering deep drill-downs in data and social media hosting raucous conversations.”



Mitt Romney had a foothold in the state, where he launched his campaign a year and a half ago, and spent a well-publicized July Fourth weekend with his family at his lake home. But Obama outspent Romney on advertising in the closing months, and led by small but consistent margins in public opinion polls down the stretch.

— Thomas Beaumont — Twitter http://twitter.com/TomBeaumont



Democrat Elizabeth Warren has defeated Republican Sen. Scott Brown in Massachusetts.

Brown came to the Senate in January 2010 after a surprise win in a special election to fill the seat of the late Democratic Sen. Edward Kennedy. This year’s senate campaign was one of the election season’s most expensive, with the candidates spending $68 million. Brown vowed to be an independent voice in the Senate but couldn’t hold on in a presidential election year in the Democratic-leaning state.



A low-key meal on a high-stakes night.

Campaign aides brought in pasta and Caesar salad as Paul Ryan — and what aides characterized as “tons of family” — monitored election results on television at a hotel near the Romney election party.

Many of Ryan’s family members, including brother Tobin and father-in-law Dan Little, flew to Boston with him from Janesville, Wis. While Ryan made unannounced campaign stops in Ohio and Virginia, the family caught up with wife Janna Ryan and their three children, all under age 10. During their stop in Ohio, Mrs. Ryan threw a football with her children and nieces and nephews.

— Philip Elliott — Twitter http://twitter.com/Philip—Elliott



Republican Richard Mourdock — who slipped in the polls after saying during a debate that when a woman who is raped becomes pregnant, it’s “something that God intended” — lost his U.S. Senate race in Indiana to Democratic Rep. Joe Donnelly.

Mourdock is a tea party-backed state treasurer who surprised the GOP when he beat six-term Sen. Richard Lugar in the primary.

His debate comment last month re-shaped the tight Indiana race for the Senate.



The AP has called New Hampshire, one of a handful of battleground states, for President Barack Obama.



Obama campaign strategist David Axelrod says Republican projections of a Mitt Romney victory on Tuesday are based on fiction, not facts.

“Our confidence is based in data, it’s based in early vote numbers, it’s based in the things that we can see, and we can prove to ourselves,” Axelrod says on ABC News. “Their confidence appears to be in some hidden mystical force that is going to materialize at the last minute and push him over the finish line. And I think as time wears on this evening that fiction is going to be exposed.”

— Richard Lardner



In one of the most predictable calls of the night, Republican Mitt Romney has won Utah. Romney, a Mormon and graduate of Brigham Young University who oversaw the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, is a popular figure in Utah, where more than 60 percent of residents are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.



President Obama has won the battleground of Pennsylvania and the state’s 20 electoral votes. Both candidates made frequent visits to the state, including a Romney stop in Pittsburgh this afternoon. Democratic Sen. Bob Casey has also won re-election there.



Many Americans vote at schools; others at churches or community centers. But a bowling alley?

That’s where some folks in North Dakota cast their votes Tuesday. In Mandan, the Kingpin Lounge at the Midway Lanes was transformed into a polling place.

Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Heidi Heitkamp voted there with her son, Nathan. She says she’s been voting at the alley for years and doesn’t think it’s odd at all.

In Iowa, some voters cast their ballots at a log cabin and maintenance shed.

The Des Moines Register says the log cabin was built in 1937 from native hardwoods from Polk City. And in the tiny town of Berkley in Boone County, the shed-turned-polling-center has a voting table and booths set up where the snow plow is usually parked.

— Jennifer C. Kerr — Twitter http://twitter.com/jckerr9



More expected results: Obama wins New Jersey; Romney wins Arkansas and Mississippi.



With the 9 p.m. closing time, Romney wins several states in the South and in the heartland. Obama wins New York, with 29 electoral votes, and Michigan, with 16 electoral votes.

Romney wins:

— Texas (38 electoral votes)

— South Dakota (3 electoral votes)

— North Dakota (3 electoral votes)

— Louisiana (8 electoral votes)

— Kansas (6 electoral votes)

— Wyoming (3 electoral votes)

— Nebraska (5 electoral votes)



AP National Political Editor Liz Sidoti, obviously in the thick of things tonight, offers this assessment of election night so far:   

“The night is unfolding as expected, with Mitt Romney winning in the traditional Republican strongholds — including in the South and the heartland — while President Barack Obama racks up victories in Democratic bastions of the Northeast, including New York. Of course, none of the states called thus far are among the 10 most contested states, where both candidates and their allies flooded TV airwaves with roughly 1 million spots costing about $1 billion.”



The AP has called Alabama (9 electoral votes) for Republican Mitt Romney.



Some Election Day glitches, voting machine problems and all-around headaches for election officials.

North Carolina, where voters were deciding whether to put a Republican in the White House, had some precincts where machines didn’t boot up properly. In Cumberland County, election officials said law enforcement was called but quickly determined that a bomb threat at several precincts was a hoax.

The district attorney in Philadelphia is looking into complaints about problems with voting inspectors. The Republican Party says dozens of legally credentialed minority voting inspectors were removed from polling places there.

Voting machine problems caused long lines in Indiana’s Hamilton County, a heavily populated Indianapolis suburb. The cards used to clear tallies from voting machines were not programmed correctly. And the office of Nebraska’s secretary of state says a voter in Omaha inadvertently received a ballot that was already filled out for Mitt Romney.

— Jennifer C. Kerr — Twitter http://twitter.com/jckerr9



The Miami-Dade elections department reports at about 8:30 p.m. that only 40 percent of precincts have closed because of long lines of voters. Anyone who was in line at 7 p.m. must be allowed to cast a ballot under state law.

— Curt Anderson — Twitter http://twitter.com/Miamicurt



Romney supporters trickled into the ballroom at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center, many munching on bar snacks or drinking $7 beers.

The mood? Relatively subdued, with people talking in small groups. They were dressed formally, the women mostly in dresses and heels — though there was one attendee in a head-to-toe leopard print suit.

Romney’s son Craig opened the program, introducing Girl Scouts to say the Pledge of Allegiance.

The mostly quiet crowd — still filling in, with large patches of open space — cheered briefly.

Craig told a story about his father deciding to run for president a second time after he failed to gain the Republican nomination in 2008. After that bid four years ago, Romney’s wife, Ann, said she did not want her husband to run again; Craig explained she eventually changed her mind.

“We’re grateful that she convinced him to get into the race,” he said.

After Craig left the stage to scattered applause, a band in the corner began playing.

“Let’s get it started in here, yeah!” the lead singer said. “Let’s get some energy in this room. We’re going to have the whole country dancing.”

A handful of people in the crowd swayed along to the music; the vast majority continued standing in place, chatting.

— Kasie Hunt — Twitter http://twitter.com/kasie



Georgia, with 16 electoral votes, goes to Mitt Romney, as expected. It wasn’t considered a battleground state.


EDITOR’S NOTE — Follow AP journalists on Twitter where available with the handles listed after each item.


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