It’s 7 pm, and polls are now closed in Virginia. In this live blog of the election returns, I’ll primarily be checking the State Board of Elections website (assuming it doesn’t crash, as it so often does on election nights in Virginia), VPAP and the Fairfax County Board of Elections site. Feel free to use the comments section of this post to report what you’re hearing. Later tonight, I hope to head over to the Democratic victory party, where hopefully we’ll have a lot to celebrate!
P.S. I’m at the Sheraton in Tysons Corner, where the Democratic “Victory Party” is being held. We’ll see if I have a chance to actually celebrate a bit, or if the races aren’t called for hours…
UPDATE 6:28 am: With 2555/2558 precincts counted, it’s Terry McAuliffe 1,064,016 (47.75%)-Ken Cuccinelli 1,008,596 (45.27%). That’s a 2.5 percentage point victory, which is several points under what the polling average indicated heading into election day. What happened? Also, Ralph Northam won by 11 points (55%-44%),which is solid but below what many of us thought the victory margin would be. Sure, “a win’s a win” and all that, but the margins at the TOP of the ballot adversely affected a bunch of races for House of Delegates. Ugh.
UPDATE 11:54 pm: Mark Obenshain now leads Mark Herring by just over 7,000 votes (0.35%), with 7 precincts remaining to be counted. Sounds like we’re talking about a recount here. Stay tuned. On the House of Delegates front, there’s really not a lot of good news for Democrats, with several close races apparently being eked out by Republicans (e.g., Bob Marshall over Atif Qarni, David Yancey over Robert Farniholt, David Ramadan apparently edging out John Bell, Tom Rust over Jennifer Boysko by the skin of his teeth, Barbara Comstock barely beating Kathleen Murphy, Tag Greason edging out Elizabeth Miller, Scott Lingamfelter squeaking by Jeremy McPike, and “Sideshow Bob” Marshall beating Atif Qarni by just 3 points. It leaves me wondering what would have happened to all these candidates if Terry McAuliffe had beaten Ken Cuccinelli by the margin all the polls were saying he’d win by – 6 points, 7 points, something like that. My guess is that a bunch of these Dems would have won. Sigh…
UPDATE 9:35 pm: Terry McAuliffe has FINALLY taken the lead over Ken Cuccinelli, 46.71%-46.31% (7,520 votes) with 2311/2541 precincts counted. Mark Herring is within 38,000 votes of Mark Obenshain (51%-49%). We’re sooooo close to a sweep I can practically taste it. So close, but yet so far? We’ll see soon enough.
UPDATE 9:30 pm: Of all networks, freakin’ FOX just called it for Terry McAuliffe! LOL. In the actual numbers, McAuliffe’s behind by 400 votes, but there are a lot more votes outstanding in Fairfax, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Richmond, and Prince William. Congratulations to our next Governor, Terry McAuliffe!
UPDATE 9:26 pm: In the HoD races, watch the Boysko-Rust race; that one looks like a possible pickup in the making. Also, John Bell is VERY close to knocking off the horrendous David Ramadan, and Monty Mason is leading Mike Watson. Finally, Rob Farinholt could beat David Yancey…very close! Oh, and Michael Futrell could very well knock off Mark Dudenhefer, and Mary Daniel could very well beat Tea Partier Dave LaRock.
UPDATE 9:23 pm: I’m livid with my blog hosting company right now, but let’s put that aside for the moment. Cuccinelli’s leading by about 9,000 votes with 85% counted, but with more than enough outstanding “blue” area votes for Terry to pull it out. The problem is the House of Delegates and Attorney General’s race. We’ll see, but I’m not pleased right now.
UPDATE 9:06 pm: @MysteryPollster tweets: “Our count model for VA now estimates McAuliffe +1.3%, may slightly understate his % (see prev tweets)”
UPDATE 9:02 pm: With 80% of the precincts in, it’s now Cuccinelli 47%-McAuliffe 46%. Wow.
UPDATE 8:56 pm: OK, so that was fun – Soapblox crashed BOTH Blue Virginia AND Blue Jersey in the middle of an election. Great, huh? Anyway, with 1883/2541 (74%) of precincts reporting, it’s now Cuccinelli 718,015 (47.35%)-McAuliffe 688,743 (45.42%)- Sarvis 105,187 (6.9%). Still a LOT of precincts outstanding in some blue areas like Fairfax County, Norfolk City, Newport News, Charlottesville and Roanoke City.
UPDATE 8:23 pm: With 1411/2541 (55% of precincts) reporting, it’s Cuccinelli 524,486 (49.1%)-McAuliffe 467,157 (43.7%)-Sarvis 74,486 (7.0%).
UPDATE 8:16 pm: With 1155/2541 reporting, it’s Cuccinelli 424,830 (50.2%)-McAuliffe 361,776 (42.7%)-Sarvis 59,877 (7.1%).
UPDATE 8:14 pm: @chucktodd tweets, “New NBC News VA GOV projection: now “too close to call”; no longer saying McAuliffe is ‘leading.'” Hmmmm…not sure what that’s all about exactly.
UPDATE 8:12 pm: @chucktodd tweets, “NBC News officially projects Northam in the VA LG race.” Congratulations to Virginia’s next Lt. Governor Ralph Northam!!!
UPDATE 8:03 pm: With 920/2541 precincts reporting, it’s Cuccinelli 50.8%-McAuliffe 41.9%-Sarvis 7.0%. Cuccinelli only at 49.6% in “red” Chesterfield, which is not good news for him. Also, it looks to me like when Fairfax comes in, that ALONE should put Terry into the lead. That’s not even counting deep blue areas like Richmond City, Newport News, Norfolk, Arlington, Charlottesville, Roanoke, etc.
UPDATE 7:58 pm: With 802/2541 precincts reporting, it’s Cuccinelli 51.2%-McAuliffe 41.7%-Sarvis 7.1%. As usual in Virginia, it takes seemingly forever for the “blue” areas to really start pouring in, so stay patient. Also, in the LG race, it’s Jackson 50.4%-Northam 49.4%. In the AG race, it’s Obenshain 56.6%-Herring 43.3%.
UPDATE 7:52 pm: With 507/2541 precincts reporting, it’s Cuccinelli 52.5%-McAuliffe 40.1%-Sarvis 7.4%. Only 13/239 precincts reporting from Fairfax County, only 4/66 precincts reporting from Richmond City, etc. So again, these results don’t mean much.
UPDATE 7:42 pm: For what it’s worth, with 366/2541 precincts reporting, it’s Cuccinelli 54.65%-McAuliffe 37.17%-Sarvis 7.88%. These early returns are basically meaningless, as they include little or nothing from places like Fairfax, Prince William, Loudoun, Arlington, Richmond City, etc.
UPDATE 7:34 pm: @PeterHambyCNN tweets: “VA GOP Chairman Pat Mullins unloading Democrats for ‘nastiest’ campaign, relying on outside money and abortion politics.” In other words, somebody call the waaaaambulance for poor Pat Mullins! LOL
UPDATE 7:31 pm: @KentonNgo tweets: “One precinct telling a story: Hanover County, Pebble Creek. Cuccinelli running 11 points behind McDonnell 09.” Also, @scontorno tweets: “#Vagov exit polls from @nytimes puts Cuccinelli and McAuliffe even with men but McAuliffe +26 among even. Just an astounding gap.”
UPDATE 7:20 pm: @chucktodd tweets: “3rd wave exit poll data coming in for VA, no big changes though Obama job rating now at 48 instead of 46. Translation: More Dem late voters” Also, NBC says that “Virginia looks more like 2012 than 2009.”
UPDATE 7:08 pm: CNN’s exit poll has Cuccinelli winning white voters 53%-38%, McAuliffe winning African Americans 92%-7%. Overall, CNN’s exit poll has it McAuliffe 50%, Cuccinelli 43%, Sarvis 7%. Also, apparently women broke for McAuliffe over Cuccinelli 53%-39%. McAuliffe wins moderates 57%-31%.
UPDATE 7:01 pm: Chuck Todd just said that Terry McAuliffe is leading in exit polls, but it’s still too early to call the race. NBC News also reports that it’s McAuliffe’s anti-Cuccinelli message which resonated.