WASHINGTON (AP) — Around the country on Election Day 2012 with AP reporters bringing the latest developments to you:
SAME-SEX MARRIAGE; MARIJUANA
Maine is the first state to approve same-sex marriage by popular vote. Washington state is the first to legalize recreational use of marijuana.
Voters a continent apart, making history on two divisive social issues.
The outcome in Maine broke a 32-state streak, dating to 1998, with gay marriage rebuffed by every state that voted on it.
Gay marriage is legal in six states and the District of Columbia — in each case the result of legislation or court orders, not by a vote of the people.
The marijuana measure in Washington sets up a showdown with the federal government.
— David Crary — Twitter http://twitter.com/CraryAP
MEET THE NEW BOSS
Michael Oreskes, a veteran political journalist since the 1970s and now The Associated Press' senior managing editor for U.S. news, will be checking in briefly with Election Watch throughout the day. Here is his latest report:
Two years and $2 billion. Voters were as unhappy as those who follow the American mood have ever seen. Disillusioned with congress and disappointed with their president.
Yet, after it all, this long political road has produced a new government that looks a whole lot like the old government. The president will remain Barack Obama. Democrats control the Senate and Republicans, most likely, the House.
Obama ran a campaign of tactical brilliance, piecing together the support of the young, the poor, the nonwhite, the urban. A coalition more about identity than policy. He painted Romney into a corner with his own wealth (and Romney's help), and portrayed himself as the defender of the middle class (which seemed to include almost everyone).
Republicans had hard times on their side but couldn't ultimately convince voters they would do better than a second-term Obama.
— Michael Oreskes
DEMS KEEP SENATE
Democrats won a narrow majority in the Senate, keeping the control they've held since 2007, by snatching Republican-held seats in Massachusetts and Indiana and turning back challenges in Virginia, Ohio and Connecticut.
Republicans were undone by stumbles in Missouri and Indiana, with candidates' clumsy statements about rape and abortion doing severe damage to their individual chances — and their party's hopes of taking over.
In Massachusetts, Democrat Elizabeth Warren knocked out Republican Sen. Scott Brown, who had stunned the political world in 2010 when he won the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy's seat. The strong Democratic tilt in the state and President Barack Obama's easy win over former Gov. Mitt Romney in Massachusetts helped the consumer advocate in her bid.
Heading into this election, with 33 seats up for grabs, Democrats held a 53-47 edge in the Senate, including the two independents who caucus with them. So Republicans needed a net gain of four seats to grab the majority. Shortly after 11 p.m., Democrats gained a lock on 50 seats, enough to keep control once Obama won re-election.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., spoke of conciliation.
"Now that the election is over, it's time to put politics aside and work together to find solutions," Reid said in a statement. "The strategy of obstruction, gridlock and delay was soundly rejected by the American people. Now they are looking to us for solutions."
— Donna Cassata — Twitter http://twitter.com/donnacassataAP
AP National Political Editor Liz Sidoti offers up this analysis in miniature:
"Talk about a good night for the president. Barack Obama didn't just win in his Midwestern firewall states of Ohio, Wisconsin and Iowa. He prevailed in places that even fellow Democrats expected to tilt Mitt Romney's way: Colorado for starters. And he was locked in close races in Virginia and Florida, two states that Republicans long had argued were fertile GOP territory. The Electoral College victory his, Obama now is awaiting the results of the popular vote. He and Romney are locked in a tight race for it as Tuesday turns to Wednesday."
— Liz Sidoti
This tidbit comes from a story by AP reporters Steve Peoples and Kasie Hunt, awaiting Mitt Romney's appearance in Boston:
"The Republican nominee had already written a 1,118-word victory speech that he thought would conclude his yearslong quest for the presidency. Earlier Tuesday, Romney said he had no regrets no matter the outcome."
— Kasie Hunt — Twitter http://twitter.com/kasie
— Steve Peoples — Twitter http://twitter.com/sppeoples
WAITING FOR ROMNEY
Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney's running mate, has arrived at the loading dock of the Boston Convention Center.
He'll hold in a private area until Romney arrives, staff says.
Romney is five minutes behind him in separate motorcade.
— Steve Peoples — Twitter http://twitter.com/sppeoples
QUICKQUOTE: 'NO EXCUSES'
"We have big challenges facing us in the months ahead. Democrats and Republicans must come together, and show that we are up to the challenge. This is no time for excuses. This is no time for putting things off until later. We can achieve big things when we work together. And the middle class is counting on us to achieve big things in the months ahead." — Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., after Senate Democrats won enough seats to guarantee they would hold the majority.
BEHIND IT ALL
This bit from AP's main story on the election offers a bit of context:
"The election emerged as a choice between two very different visions of government — whether it occupies a major, front-row place in American lives or is in the background as a less-obtrusive facilitator for private enterprise and entrepreneurship."
OBAMA STAFFERS CELEBRATE
In Chicago, dozens of young staffers for President Barack Obama were streaming out of the president's campaign headquarters and heading to his victory party at the convention center. Senior advisers said the race was called much sooner than they had expected.
— Julie Pace — Twitter http://twitter.com/jpaceDC
SENATE STILL DEMOCRATIC
Democrats have retained control of the Senate. That's a big help to newly re-elected President Barack Obama.
OBAMA WINS RE-ELECTION
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.
FLAGS ALOFT IN CHICAGO
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
HOW YOU LIKE ME NOW?
As President Barack Obama wrapped up victories in several key states, the song "How 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
OHIO GOES TO OBAMA
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.
AT OBAMA HQ
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 —
OBAMA IN NM, ROMNEY IN MO
The AP has called New Mexico (5 electoral votes) for President Barack Obama and Missouri (10 electoral votes) for Republican Mitt Romney.
MCCASKILL WINS AFTER AKIN RAPE COMMENT
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.
THE PACE INCREASES
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).
ROMNEY WINS ARIZONA
The Associated Press has called Arizona for Republican Mitt Romney.
DOWN FOR THE COUNT
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
MAINE IS OBAMA'S
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.
QUICKQUOTE: SPEAKER BOEHNER
"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
'AN IMPATIENT AGE'
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."
ABOUT NEW HAMPSHIRE
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
WARREN OVER BROWN IN MA
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.
PASTA AND SALAD
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
MOURDOCK LOSES IN INDIANA
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.
NH BATTLEGROUND IS OBAMA'S
The AP has called New Hampshire, one of a handful of battleground states, for President Barack Obama.
AXELROD ON GOP PROJECTIONS
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
UTAH IS ROMNEY COUNTRY
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.
PENNSYLVANIA TO OBAMA:
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.
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