This blog will be updated throughout the night, especially as results on state ballot measures and local races come in.
6 p.m. Hmmm. Just as close as expected. What trends can be seen in presidential race? Romney seems to be doing well, based on early precincts in key states, but way too close to make any definitive statement. Makes you wonder, though, how landslides used to happen … LBJ in ’64 over Goldwater; Nixon over McGovern (who carried one state, Massachusetts) in ’72. Reagan swamping Mondale in ’84. But this one … yikes. 152-123 Electoral College Romney in early calls on states.
Eerily, Florida has gone into 2000 toss-up mode, with more than 7 million votes counted and virtually tied. Obama seems to be running well in Ohio. Wisconsin called for president by one cable outlet, but not all.
6:45 p.m. Democrats seem to be doing well in keeping control of Senate, winning in Indiana and Wisconsin, where former governor and Bush admin official Tommy Thompson is projected to lose. Republicans seem to have a lock on continuing majority in House. Division.
Youth vote for Obama, so important and overwhelming in 2008, has slipped this year, according to Politico. But no matter, Florida may go for Obama, according to analysts, which would doom Romney chances. Meanwhile New Hampshire called for Obama — another state Romney felt he needed to win, even with only 4 electoral votes.
Florida starting to look highly doubtful for Romney, with Democratic precincts still to come in. If so, President Obama will be reelected. Other trends the president must like: turnout is very high in key states — Democrats counted on their get out the vote efforts again, and knew they needed to fend off Republicans’ “ground game.” Based on data so far, they got it.
7:40 p.m. Key Republicans who have been touting a Romney resurgence in recent weeks starting to show some discouragement. Mainly because of Florida. They know fully well losing the state means the election is essentially over. Reports coming from Romney camp that bad news starting to settle in.
7:55 Despite gloomy EC map, Romney leads in popular vote by 1.6 million votes, although this will be whittled down by California, where polls close in 5 min.
Sarah Palin already bemoaning Obama second term.
8:30 p.m. It’s over. Obama reelected. The drama dissipated quickly as the president took command in almost all swing states. But the writing had been on the wall for at least an hour, maybe longer.
9:20 p.m. With almost all swing states called for the president, Romney still waiting to make the call for concession.
California: Proposition 30, Gov. Jerry Brown’s tax hike, behind in early returns. Molly Munger’s Prop. 38 is already dead at the early voting doorstep. Prop. 37, the favorite of the environmental left, is trailing, and so is the measure that would electrocute the death penalty.
10 p.m. Mitt Romney gives concession speech, with all the disappointment in his short speech of a man who worked for 18 months — make that five years — to become president, only to fall short. Certainly his last campaign speech. He worked hard, wanted it badly, believed he would get it, but it was not to be. All those speeches. All that money spent. All those hopes dashed. Interesting point made on CNN — no ideas, no issues, not the speech of a movement leader who wants his agenda, his vision to live on. Personal speech, but not one with any political future. Obviously.
Awaiting Obama victory speech.
10:30 Still waiting. Back in Santa Cruz County, however, Santa Cruz City Council lining up as Lane, Mathews, Comstock … and Micah Posner, who is staying ahead of Richelle Noroyan for the fourth seat. In Capitola, newcomer Ed Bottorf is leading in the race for two council seats, with longtime councilman Dennis Norton in second. But in the biggest development, Bruce McPherson has opened up nearly a 1,000 vote lead in the 5th district supervisor race, with more than 70 percent of the vote counted. (Vote counting much expedited tonight over recent elections). But San Lorenzo Valley vote still to be counted, which will help Hammer. Obama turnout was expected by many Democrats to put Hammer over the top.
10:35 To the sound of “Signed, Sealed, Delivered,” President Obama and family take stage in Chicago. With little voice left, a hoarse Obama delivers a sober speech about how “the best is yet to come” — which, of course, depends in part how the president can deliver the change he promised four years ago. Gracious toward Romney, and even says he wants to sit down with Romney and talk about shared ideas about moving forward. Nice touch. But huge cheers for his mention of Joe Biden and of course Michelle. But Obama being Obama, and as the winner, he gets to expound on the meaning of the election. In fact, it’s his best speech since the campaign started. Where has this guy been?
“The long campaign is now over,” he says. Hits bipartisan notes, “reaching out to leaders of both parties … we’ve got more work to do.”
11:15 p.m. Prop. 30 takes 40,000 vote lead, with 35 percent of vote counted. Really, it’s the only ballot measure on the margin. Death penalty will remain. Three strikes will be amended. Food producers won’t have to label genetically modified foods for consumers. Unions will still be able to use members’ dues for political causes. Penalties for human trafficking will get stiffer. Since most law enforcement officials supported the sensible modifications of Three Strikes, this is really a law and order vote, even as the state is going 56-41 for Obama.
11:30 p.m. Obama goes up by more than 1 million votes over Romney, making his victory all the more convincing and decisive. Good analysis of challenges Republicans face in future in WSJ column just posted and of the big bet the Obama campaign made six months ago in terms of reelection strategy — a bet that paid off Tuesday night. But the conservative Journal’s Opinion Page editorialized that it was “Hope over experience” that won for a president who demonized his opponent and ran with no vision for a second term. On the liberal side, however, The New York Times called Obama’s reelection a “strong endorsement” of his economic policies. And the Sentinel editorialized that Obama gets a “second chance” to get it right for the country.
11:45 Eric Hammer dramatically closes gap in 5th district supervisors race. Less than 200 votes behind McPherson, meaning final result will probably come from uncounted absentee ballots.
Prop. 30 now up by 193,000 votes, which would be good news for schools. Santa Cruz County 73 percent for 30.
Lane, Mathews, Comstock and Posner seem locks for Santa Cruz City Council. Richelle Noroyan, who we endorsed, told our reporter she just didn’t get enough early support (meaning campaign donations). In Capitola — which is other contested council race — Bottorff and Norton look like the winners.
The $150 million Pajaro Valley school bond looks like it will pass, getting about 65 percent of vote and needing only 55 percent. Capitola’s sales tax hike, Measure O, is up by 31 votes with all precincts in. Measure P, the Santa Cruz measure requiring the city to put desal to a vote, is winning handily with more than 71 percent.
Midnight, and into Nov. 7: Prop. 30 lengthens lead, and this could be a big victory for Gov. Jerry Brown, who put his name, time and future into getting this passed, in a state that has turned down tax increase after tax increase. By 12:30 a.m., Prop. 30 was well ahead by nearly 300,000 votes.
12:40 McPherson-Hammer precincts all in and McPherson holding onto 26 vote lead, with absentees still to be counted, which could take a week or more. Too close to call.
Enough for tonight.