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A pair of political junkies live blogging the ’06 returns
Posted by: McQ on Tuesday, November 07, 2006

With appropriate breaks for beer, food and, ahem, the further breaks they require of all of us. I have no idea where this will lead, or what may end up being blogged, but I'll update it by time stamp from the top (meaning older entries will be pushed to the bottom) and go till I drop (which may not be that late).

0300 (Dale): Well, it's time for me to wrap it up as well. A number of races still remain to be officially called, but, after looking at the votes in the remaining races, the final result graphic above, while not definitive, shows what looks like the final outcome, as of right now. A few seats might change hands from where the count is now, but it's time for bed, so we'll end the night with the Dems in control of the House with 233 seats, and the Senate with 51 seats. Starting in January, American politics will get very interesting.

0235 (Dale): 100% of VA is in, and, while the margin is less than 2,000 votes, Webb wins VA, barring some turnover in the recount, which the state mandates in cases where the margin is less than 1%. Provisionally, this goes to Webb, giving the Democrats 50 seats in the house. If, as expected, the momentum for Tester continues, the Democrats will take control of the Senate as well, with a 1-seat majority. A couple of Montana Counties had voting machine failures, however, so those polls will be open into the morning. This may prevent anyone from officially calling the race until tomorrow morning. At the moment, though, with 70% of precincts reporting, Tester is up by 7,000 votes.

So, despite the apparent momentum for Republicans in recent days, the Democrats gave them a rather severe drubbing, with, at this point, 27 seats changing hands. Early returns looked good for Republicans, too, which made it look like the Dems would have a much slimmer majority. All the late returns, though, favored the Democrats heavily.

0205 (Dale): Jim Talent is on TV live, conceding the MO Senate race to Claire McCaskill. She declared victory about 10 minutes ago, which strikes me as a little lack of class.

0150 (Dale): It's official. The Democrats have now actually won 218 House races. This is not a projection, this is the actual result. So the projections have now become a reality. Meanwhile, it looks like both MT and MO Senate seats are nearly ready for a call to go democratic, which gives us a 50-50 Senate, if those projections come in the way they are looking now.

0130 (Dale): Presumptive Speaker Nancy Pelosi, on the election results:
Tonight is a great victory for the American people. The American people voted for a new direction.
0125 (Dale): House Majority Leader John Boehner on the election results:
I’d like to congratulate House Democrats on a hard-fought campaign. We are deeply disappointed in the outcome, but as Republicans we must recommit ourselves to the principles that brought us to the majority and renew our drive for smaller, more efficient, more accountable government.
Huh. Yeah. The time for that recommittment was 6 years ago. had you made it then, and lived up to it, then this statement would probably have been unnecessary.

Oh, and had they exercised some stronger oversight on Iraq, where the Bush Administration has done little more than coast from crisis to crisis, with little, if any, proactive strategy at all.

0110 (Dale): More bad news from Republicans. Claire McCaskill (D) is leading Jim Talent (R) in the Senate race there by 13,000 votes. Not only that, but none of the Kansas City precincts have reported yet. That's a heavily Democratic area of the state, so once those returns come in, there's an excellent chance that Talent will be looking for a lobbying job in January. On top of that, in Montana, John Tester has 53% of the vote with 47% of the precincts reporting. If these results stand, then it looks like the Dems ran the table on those very close races in VA, MT, and MO, which would give them the three seats they need to take control of the Senate.

In good news for Republicans, Arnold Schwarzenegger blew Democrat Phil Angelides completely out of the water. If, of course, you still consider Arnold a Republican.

0055 (Dale): looking at the power centers in the new House, one notes that the presumptive head of the House Intelligence Committee will be Alcee hastings. Rep. hastings, of course, is famous for being the only living Federal judge to have been impeached and thrown off the bench upon conviction. This is very fortunate for the Democrats. Impeachment is a very tricky procedure, so, if you are considering it, it's a huge advantage to have a member of the leadership who has experience with impeachments.

0045 (Dale): With nearly 2.5 million votes cast, and all precincts counted, Jim Webb has, uh, won? The final tally is Webb ahead by 1,726 votes. Call it Election 2000 writ small. I wouldn't take any bets on who won this one, though, in the interim, we'll have to consider it a Webb win. Republicans must hold either MT or MO to keep a majority in the Senate.

0005 (Dale): The Democratic Majority is up to 5 projected seats, as J.D. Hayworth has apparently lost in AZ-5. This was not expected to be a tough race for Hayworth, but, he's gone anyway.

0002: OK, I'm going off shift and will leave it with our west coast correspondent. Have to get my beauty rest in order to be in shape to write about this some more tomorrow. Take it away Dale.

0001 (Dale): with Almost all of the votes counted, the VA Senate race now has James Webb (D) ahead by a couple thousand votes. We aren't going to know the outcome of this one for a day or so, if then.

2350 (Dale): VA is going to be too close to call, but it looks as if TN has gone Republican with Harold Ford losing. Now, the outstanding seats are MO and MT. The Democrats must take both of those seats, along with Virginia, to take the Senate. If the Republicans hold any of them, they keep a majority—even if barely.

2344: The Virginia Senate race has narrowed dramatically. With 97.67% of the precincts reporting, the difference between Allen and Webb is 3,163 votes. The threshold for an automatic recount in VA is under 1% which this total would clearly require.

2340 (Dale): The House majority for the Dems now stands at 2. That's a 17-seat gain for the Democrats. The Senate still hangs in the balance, however. At the moment, the final result looks like a 51-49 Senate, but 50-50 wouldn't be a surprise. If so, the vice President will presumably have much less time for hunting, since his vote will be regularly needed. No doubt his fellow hunter will breathe a sigh of relief.

2325: An interesting development. The Washington Post, which had projected Cardin the winner in the MD Senate race, has withdrawn it's projection.

2323 (Dale): And the House goes to the Democrats, as TX-22, Tom Delay's former seat, goes to the Democratic candidate. We have a divided government. "Speaker Pelosi".

2319: Irony of ironies, TX22, Tom Delay's old seat, give the Dems a majority in the House.

2315 (Dale): I must've missed one, but Dems are within 1 seat of a majority.

2308 (Dale): John Sweeney Loses NY-20. Dems need 2 seats for a majority.

2302: AZ8 and FL22 both go to the Dems. Down to 2 seats.

2252: Democratic challenger Heath Schuler defeats incumbent Republican Taylor in NC11. 4 seats needed.

2233: It is looking like Allen may hold on in VA. He has a 30,000 lead with 91% which is a slight increase over the 27,000 lead with 82%. He's been able to build ever so slightly as the reporting precinct total increased.

2230 (Dale): NY-24 and NH-2 both go Dem, leaving five seats needed for a majority.

2223 (Dale): Republican insiders are now projecting that, while the Democrats will still take the house, the margin will be much narrower than previously thought, i.e. losses of around 20, rather than 30 seats.

Interestingly, in the Senate, George Allen (R) is still up 30,000 votes with 91% of the precincts in. Its gonna be very, very close, but George Allen, surprisingly, might actually be the guy that saves a Senate majority, in the wake of Lincoln Chafee's passing.

2219: They're going fast now. PA10, Republican incumbent Sherwood loses to Carney and in OH18, Democrat Space takes the vacated Bob Ney seat.

2212 (Dale): Another seat for the Dems, and Curt Weldon loses in PA-7. OH-18 also goes Dem as Zack Space wins that race. Now only 7 seats needed for a majority, according to FoxNews.

2210 (Dale): An election result turnaround in Indiana shows that Mike Sodrel now appear to have lost a squeaker in the IN-9 house race. Dems now need 9 Seats for a majority in the house.

2205 (Dale): Nancy Johnson has lost CT-5. that's another pickup for the Dems, leaving only 10 seats for the Dems to take.

2200 (Dale): Lincoln Chafee, the liberal Rhode Island Republican, appears to have gone down in flames. That's three seats picked up for the Dems, and this was a Republican leaner, so this is a bit of an unexpected gain in the Senate.

2146: VA Senate, w/82% of precincts voting has Allen up by 27,000 votes. If you're interested Murtha, in early returns is up 61/39 and in Tom Delay's old district, the Dem is leading 52/42.

Two more key districts to watch are GA12 and GA8 where, if you can believe it, Republicans may pick up House seats from Democrats. Last but not least Mahoney, the Dem challenger in Foley's FL districts is leading 50/47.

2145 (Dale): So far I'm not seeing any indication that the Democrats have any chance of a big turnover, i.e., on the order of 20+ seats. yesterday, there were calls for 30+ Democratic house seats. Unless something odd happens out West, I don't see how that happens, based on the results so far. Dem strength for a House turnover is really concentrated in the Northeast, and they just aren't winning big there.

2130: Fox declared Democrat Whitehouse the winner in the RI Senate race. It may come down to MT, and the polls there close in an hour.

2125: IN2 and KY3 have been called for the Dems. That's +3 for the House.

2120: Both Fox and MSNBC have projected Cardin the winner in MD. KY3, the key congressional district, has 96% of the precincts reporting and is still 50-48 Dems (a possible +2 for the House).

2110 (Dale): So far, only one House seat has definitively crossed to the Democrats. They can still get a majority, but it isn't quite the overwhelming wave that many were predicting just yesterday.

2055: OK,the Ohio Senate seat has gone to Brown. So far no surprises. Now with the 9pm poll closing, come MO, RI, MT and AZ. Right now there are 6 Senate seats in play (VA, MO, RI, MT, TN and AZ). Well actually 7, counting MD. The Dems, to take contol of the Senate must take 4 of the 6 and hold MD. VA and MD are too close to call. TN looks like it will stay Rep. We'll be getting our first look at MO, RI, MT and AZ next hour.

2035:Fox has projected Bob Casey takes the Senate seat in PA and Menedez takes NJ.

In the 4 early key congressional districts, KY3, IN2, IN8 and IN9, it was felt that the Republicans could lose 2 of the 4 and still retain the House. Presently they've lost one and are behind in the other three.

Two things are emerging in this so far. One - the Democrats have indeed successfully nationalized this election. Two - the issue is Iraq.

2005: Fox has projected its first Dem gain in the House. IN8 where it projects Democratic challenger Ellsworth to be the winner. This is considered, by the talking heads, to be a bad sign for the Republicans. And KY3 continues to erode for Republicans as well with the Democratic challenger holding a 50 to 48 lead with 81% of the precincts reporting.

1955: More key or bellweather Congressional district votes.

KY3 has now flipped with 74% of the precincts reporting and the Democratic challenger up by 50% to 49% over the Republican incumbent, Northrup.

VA2 – Drake, the Republican incumbent is running behind the Dem challenger at 49% to 51%

IN8 – Ellsworth (D) 66% to Hostettler (R) 34% with 22% of the precincts reporting

14 states have polls closing at 8pm EST.

1938 (Dale): I'm off to vote, myself. Be back later.

1930 (Dale): Early results for Republicans, in races where they're leading:

Sodrel 50%
Chocola 50%
Souder 55%
Hostettler appears to be losing his seat.

Davis 57%
Lewis 52%

Virgina Senate (2% of precincts):
Allen 57%

1925: In VA may have higher turnout for the midterm than they had in the ’04 presidential race. In MT, the GOP is reporting that their turnout is higher than in ’04 as well.

One of the key Congressional race being watched as a possible bellweather is KY CD3, Northrup (R) v Yarmuth (D). If it goes Dem, it is felt the Dems will have a very good night. If not, they probably won’t. At the moment, with 53% of the precincts reporting, Northrup holds a very slim lead (50%) over Yarmuth (49%).

A judge has ordered polls to stay open later in Cayahoga Cty, Ohio ... that's Cleveland.

1922 (Dale): And now the IN-2 race is 50-50. The numbers move fast.

1915: Britt Hume just explained that unlike past elections when they had access to raw voting data from key precincts in key Congressional races, this time they won't. That's because now the vote goes to a counting house and is then released later as a whole. That means it will be more difficult to predict races early and it will be much later in the night before it is done.

1915 (Dale): Early returns show Dems ahead in one race in in Kentucky, and one race in Indiana. Surprisingly, in IN-2, Chris Chocola is well ahead of the Democratic Challenger.

1901 (Dale): What to look for tonight:
The Democrats will be heading for an epic House sweep, if, by 8 p.m., they have won three GOP-held Indiana seats, at least one in Kentucky, one in New Hampshire, one in Virginia (if Phil Kellam knocks off Thelma Drake in the 2nd District) and a minimum of three in Ohio. That new math would give the Democrats nine new House seats — leaving them just six pickups around the country short of making Nancy Pelosi speaker. Conversely, if by 8 p.m. Eastern, the Republicans have held their losses to, say, three seats, then the Democrats will once again be reeling from the hidden power of the GOP's turnout operation.
1900:Oh good grief Keith Olberman as a political analyst on MSNBC? How pathetic is that?

FBI looking into phone calls in VA telling voters that their polling places have changed.

Stay tuned, the polls are closing in about 6 states in a few minutes. We’ll get our first look at VA.

1857 (Dale): I'm joining in here, too. The FoxNews Talking Heads are predicting both Senate and House go to Dems.

1845: Discussion on MSNBC as to whether a large win for Democrats constitutes a mandate or instead a repudiation of President Bush. I’d be more likely to believe the latter.

Exit polls are indicating what everyone expected … it could be a good night for Dems. Apparently, per one poll, “late deciders” went 60/40 for Democrats.

1735: Polls are still open, but I just heard some turnout percentages announced on ABC from the GOP in various key (but unidentified) Congressional districts they're monitoring. They're averaging 32.9% turnout for Republicans and 32.5% for Democrats. High and close.

Reports out of Ohio are saying that turnout in urban areas (Cleveland, Columbus, Toledo and Cincinnati) has been in the teens while rural counties have seen turnouts in the 75% area.
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Previous Comments to this Post 

Obviously that greater turnout in rural Ohio is a Republican attempt to steal the election.
Written By: Ronnie Gipper
URL: http://
Good luck there McQ
Written By: meagain
URL: http://
You do realize you’re going to have to keep updating this post for the next 2 months right?
Written By: ChrisB
URL: http://
Stop using military time annotations. Figuring out the Democrat vs. Republican totals is difficult enough without having to do algebra to read your postings!
Written By: Fyro
URL: http://
Stop using military time annotations. Figuring out the Democrat vs. Republican totals is difficult enough without having to do algebra to read your postings!
We’re doing it from two different time zones, for heaven sake.
Written By: McQ
Yeah. Subtract 12 from the first two digits. It’s simple math for cripes sake.
Written By: Dale Franks
Cut me some slack. I’m a chickenhawk.
Written By: Fyro
URL: http://
Cut me some slack. I’m a chickenhawk.
OK, I’m lost ... so chickenhawks can’t subtract, they can only add?
Written By: McQ
Interesting how McQ is updating it by time stamp from the top, while Dale is updating downwards. I’m not sure I will like it when the post gets long, but right now it’s pretty cool.
Written By: Wulf
Chafee lost? Even though it hurts the Repubs, can’t say I’m sorry to see him go.
Written By: shark
URL: http://
Congrats boys, here’s that divided govt you’ve wanted :)

Congrats to the Dems...they finally won 1/2 an election!
Written By: Shark
URL: http://
Impeachment is a very tricky procedure, so, if you are considering it, it’s a huge advantage to have a member of the leadership who has experience with impeachments.
Written By: krouskop
URL: http://
I welcome the inevitable conservative conspiracy theories.

Nancy Pelosi will have more power than all 200 Republicans in Congress combined.
Written By: Geek, Esq.
URL: http://
Holy cr*p, are the Dems taking the Senate? Holy cr*p, did I call that this morning on the open thread? Holy cr*p, am I gloating about it already?

A sad day for humanity on all counts, says the audience? And yet, in this great country, everybody gets to win once in a while. F yeah, team america!

Written By: glasnost
URL: http://
I counted on the Dems winning the House. That’s just peachy. Let Pelosi bury the party (and she will).

As for the Senate: Wow. If it goes 51-49, congratulations to the Democrats, and commence two years of absolute gridlock on everything.

Unless another terrorist strike occurs. Then things will get *very* interesting...
Written By: OrneryWP
URL: http://
Now being reported at The Corner:
A LIbertarian Casualty? [Ramesh Ponnuru]
If Sodrel loses in Indiana, as looks likely, it may be because a libertarian candidate took votes from him. The same thing happened to keep Slade Gorton from winning re-election to the Senate and to keep Jon Ensign from beating Harry Reid. So far, losing because of libertarians hasn’t caused Republicans to move toward the libertarians ideologically. But maybe things will change this time.
Posted at 10:44 PM
Written By: OrneryWP
URL: http://
I wonder if all our leftist friends will start screaming about Diebold this time around?
Written By: Jordan
URL: http://
Nancy Pelosi: "Tonight is a great victory for the American people. The American people voted for a new direction."

Huh. Which direction do you suppose Pelosi thinks the American people voted for?
Written By: OrneryWP
URL: http://
I’m curious whether Henke will have to go to the mattresses.
Written By: Billy Beck
URL: http://www.two—
Mmm, crow. Not bad broiled with a side of garlic butter.

Someone please direct where to go for my required flogging, as I most assuredly deserve it.

Final thought. I wonder how many Supreme Court Justices retire in the next two years? Heck, the next six months?
Written By: Warrior Needs Food Badly
URL: http://
I’m curious whether Henke will have to go to the mattresses.
Indeed, I went to the mattress last night. Slept quite soundly. We have a pillowtop, which I recommend heartily.
Written By: Jon Henke

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