Romney concedes, Obama thanks supporters
WASHINGTON (AP) — Mitt Romney is conceding that his hard-fought presidential bid has ended in failure. He told supporters in Boston that he gave it his all and that he is now praying that President Barack Obama will be successful in guiding the nation.
Romney said, “This election is over, but our principles endure.”
Obama, meanwhile, tweeted to supporters, “This happened because of you. Thank you.”
Obama was chalking up additional victories in states that the polls had said could go either way. After winning Virginia’s 13 electoral votes, he had a margin of 100 electoral votes — 303 to 203 — with just Alaska and Florida still to count.
Florida’s result remained too close to call, hours after the polls closed.
Despite Obama’s sizeable margin in the electoral vote count, he held just a slim advantage in the popular vote.
Maine votes in favor of legalizing gay marriage
Voters a continent apart made history Tuesday on two divisive social issues, with Maine becoming the first state to approve same-sex marriage by popular vote and Washington state becoming the first to legalize recreational use of marijuana.
The outcome in Maine broke a 32-state streak, dating back to 1998, in which gay marriage had been rebuffed by every state that voted on it.
Maryland and Washington also were voting on measures to legalize same-sex marriage, while Minnesota voters were considering a conservative-backed amendment that would place a ban on same-sex marriage in the state constitution
The marijuana measure in Washington sets up a showdown with a federal government, which outlaws the drug’s prohibition. The measure establishes a system of state-licensed marijuana growers, processors and retail stores, where adults over 21 can buy up to an ounce. It also establishes a standard blood test limit for driving under the influence.
Estimates have showed pot taxes could bring in hundreds of millions of dollars a year, but the sales won’t start until state officials make rules to govern the legal weed industry.
The outcomes of similar measures in Colorado and Oregon were uncertain.
Democrats hold narrow majority in Senate
WASHINGTON (AP) — Democrats held their narrow majority in the Senate on Tuesday, grabbing GOP seats in Massachusetts and Indiana and turning aside Republican challenges in Virginia and Ohio. Republicans were well on the way to retaining control of the House, ensuring that Congress will be divided at the start of President Barack Obama’s second term in office.
AP: Obama takes commanding lead
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama stepped to the brink of re-election Tuesday night, capturing battleground Ohio from Mitt Romney and edging ahead in other pivotal states despite a weak economy and high unemployment that crimped the middle class dreams of millions.
At home in Chicago, the president all but claimed victory. “This happened because of you. Thank you” he tweeted to supporters.
Romney was in Massachusetts after a long and grueling bid for the presidency. He led in the national popular vote with 41 million votes, or 50 percent. Obama had 40 million, or 49 percent, with 59 percent of the precincts tallied.
But Obama led in the competition for electoral votes, where it mattered most.
His triumph in Ohio as well as in Iowa and New Hampshire, two other battlegrounds, gave him 265 electoral votes of the 270 needed for victory, Romney had 200.
AP: Obama leads in electoral count, 234-200
8:16 p.m. — President Barack Obama and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney swapped hard-fought battleground states tonight in a tense duel for the White House shadowed by a weak economy and high unemployment that crimped the middle class dreams of millions.
Obama won New Hampshire, and Romney put North Carolina in his column, the first two of nine battleground states to fall.
The rest of the pivotal states were anything but settled — Ohio, Virginia and Florida among them — with long lines in some locations hours after poll-close time.
Romney led in the national popular vote with 40 million votes, or 50 percent. Obama had 34.4 million, or 48 percent, with half of the precincts tallied.
But Obama led in the competition for electoral votes, where it mattered most. He led 234-200, with 270 required for victory.
AP: Obama wins California, Washington, Hawaii, Romney gets Idaho
8:05 p.m. — AP is calling California, Washington and Hawaii for Obama, and Idaho for Romney.
Romney wins North Carolina
7:57 p.m. — Romney wins North Carolina.
Maine is Obama’s
7:51 p.m. — 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.
Romney wins Nebraska
7:47 p.m. — Romney wins all 5 electoral votes in Nebraska.
Romney wins Arizona
7:39 p.m. — Romney wins Arizona.
Obama wins Maine
7:32 p.m. — Obama wins all 4 electoral votes in Maine.
Mourdock loses in Indiana
7:17 p.m. — 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.
Romney has 159 electoral votes to Obama’s 147
7:17 p.m. — A New England battleground state has gone to President Barack Obama. He won the four electoral votes at stake in New Hampshire.
Mitt Romney, meanwhile, has won in Utah, a state where he has ties. Romney was the organizer of the Salt Lake City Olympics.
Those results left Romney with 159 electoral votes, to Obama’s 147.
Utah voters also re-elected veteran Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch to a seventh term. His Democratic rival, Scott Howell, made an issue of Hatch’s age of 78.
In Massachusetts, Democrat Elizabeth Warren has defeated Republican Sen. Scott Brown in one of the most expensive races in the country. The two sides spent $68 million, even after banning outside money.
Obama has 143 electoral votes to Romney’s 153
7:12 p.m. — President Obama has won 13 states including the District of Columbia, taking a total of 143 electoral votes. He leads in six states with 75 electoral votes.
Mitt Romney has won 17 states with 153 electoral votes. He leads in four states with 48 electoral votes.
Warren wins Massachusetts
7:09 p.m. — Democrat Elizabeth Warren wins Senate seat in Massachusetts.
Romney wins Utah
7:07 p.m. —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.
Warren ahead in Massachusetts
6:59 p.m. — Democrat Elizabeth Warren held the edge in Massachusetts over Republican Sen. Scott Brown, who stunned the political world in January 2010 when he won Sen. Edward M. Kennedy’s seat. With 29 percent of the vote, Warren held a 52-47 percent edge.
Obama wins Pennsylvania
6:51 p.m. — 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.
Romney has 153 electoral votes to Obama’s 123
6:23 p.m. —WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama is the winner of the 16 electoral votes in Michigan — the state that benefited the most from the auto industry bailout. Michigan, where Mitt Romney’s father served as governor, wasn’t heavily contested by the two campaigns, though it did see some late GOP advertising.
Obama also won in New Jersey, battered last week by Hurricane Sandy.
Romney, meanwhile, has added Alabama’s nine electoral votes to his column. Romney also captured the 38 electoral votes at stake in Texas, and added wins in Louisiana, Mississippi, Kansas, South Dakota, North Dakota, Arkansas and Wyoming. He also won at least four of Nebraska’s five votes.
Obama won in New York, with 29 electoral votes. At last count, Romney has 153 electoral votes to Obama’s 123.
67-64 with battlegrounds still in play
5:44 p.m. —WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama won the reliably Democratic Northeast, and Republican Mitt Romney secured his conservative base Tuesday night in a duel for the White House shadowed by a weak economy and high unemployment.
The critical battlegrounds with the key to victory were unsettled, Virginia, Ohio and Florida among them, with long lines in many locations after poll-close time.
Romney led in the popular vote, gaining 8.2 million votes, or 52 percent, to 7.5 million or 47 percent for Obama, with 5 percent of the precincts tallied.
Romney also held an early electoral vote advantage, 67-64, with 270 needed for victory.
The polls were still open in much of the country as the two rivals began claiming the spoils of a brawl of an election in a year in which the struggling economy put a crimp in the middle class dreams of millions.
Obama carried Connecticut, Rhode Island, Vermont, Maine and Romney’s home state of Massachusetts. Also, as expected, he won Delaware and Maryland as well as the District of Columbia and Illinois.
Romney had Georgia, Tennessee, South Carolina, Oklahoma, Kentucky and West Virginia in his column. He also won Indiana, a state Obama carried in 2008 but did not contest this year.
Romney picks up Georgia
5:37 p.m. — The Associated Press reports that Georgia, with 16 electoral votes, goes to Mitt Romney as expected. It’s not considered a battleground state.
Early returns show it’s still a horse race
5:17 pm. — WASHINGTON (AP) — Mitt Romney has won in Indiana, a state won by President Barack Obama four years ago. Romney is also the winner in South Carolina, a state where Obama is deeply unpopular. Those states have 20 electoral votes between them.
Obama has won his home state of Illinois, as well as Mitt Romney’s home state of Massachusetts and Vice President Joe Biden’s home state of Delaware.
There have been no surprises in the returns so far from Eastern and Midwestern states. Obama wins the 20 electoral votes in Illinois, and the 11 in Massachusetts, along with 10 in Maryland and Delaware’s three. He’s also the winner in Connecticut, Rhode Island and the District of Columbia. And in Maine, which splits its electoral votes, Obama has won at least three of the four votes.
Romney won in Oklahoma, with seven electoral votes.