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In Wisconsin, Democrats won big just five months after a stinging defeat in their effort to recall Republican Governor Scott Walker. President Obama won the state, even though Mitt Romney chose Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan as his running mate. Plus Wisconsin voters elected Democrat Tammy Baldwin to be the first openly gay member of the U.S. Senate.
Now, four years ago, the most surprising state on the electoral map was Indiana. That Republican-leaning state went for President Obama. Last night, Indiana returned to the Republican column for Mitt Romney, also elected a new Republican Governor, Mike Pence. But Indiana did not vote Republican for U.S. Senate. Richard Lugar, the longtime incumbent, lost a primary earlier this year, and his replacement on the Republican ticket lost last night.
Another storm hits the same region today. This one is a nor'Easter, less dramatic than a hurricane, but severe nonetheless, and authorities are warning of possible flooding. They've ordered evacuations in some low lying neighborhoods. As NPR's Martin Kaste reports, this storm means more demand for one of the region's scarcest resources - hotel rooms.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Go on up. We got somebody coming through, bub.
Tuesday was not an easy day for voting in the Northeast. Communities hit hard by last week's storm saw long lines and confusion. NPR's Robert Smith spent yesterday in New York City neighborhoods without power and has this report.
ROBERT SMITH, BYLINE: Before you can vote for a government you have to trust your government, and trust is in short supply on the Rockaway Peninsula these days.
Five hundred thirty-eight electoral votes were up for grabs on Election Day. President Obama has won, so far, 303 of them, a comfortable majority. Mitt Romney has 206. Twenty-nine are still unaccounted for - the electoral votes of Florida. Too close to call there. Less than a percentage point divides the candidates. But down the ballot, Democrats did well. The party retained a Senate seat and picked up a few key congressional races as well. NPR's Debbie Elliott reports.
For weeks, months - make that years - the conventional wisdom has been that the presidential election would all come down to Ohio, and Ohio would be very close. Well, that was partially right. Ohio was very close, but as NPR's Tamara Keith reports, not as pivotal as predicted.
TAMARA KEITH, BYLINE: Jack Shumate(ph) flew into Ohio last Thursday from Dallas, Texas. He came here because this was the place where he felt he could really make a difference for his candidate, Mitt Romney.
Winning matters. Having earned a second term, President Obama will attempt to build on and expand the agenda from his first, launching new initiatives on tax policy, education and immigration.
But having won the popular vote by a bare majority — and still facing a divided Congress — Obama may find it difficult to gather momentum for his policies.
Despite the close result in the popular vote nationwide, Obama wasted no time claiming vindication for his ideas. In his victory speech early Wednesday in Chicago, he tied his re-election to two centuries of American progress.
Originally published on Wed November 7, 2012 12:17 am
President Obama won re-election despite an economy struggling to recover from recession and deep reservations about his signature first-term achievement, the nation's new health care law.
NPR's Liz Halloran explained how Obama's campaign organization helped him overcome these and other challenges. Here, NPR reporters have more about his challenges and successes in the areas of the economy, national security, energy and health care:
Originally published on Wed November 7, 2012 2:27 am
Voters in North Carolina put a Republican in their governor's office for the first time in two decades, and New Hampshire elected a new female Democratic governor.
But the closely watched tossup races in Montana and Washington, where Democrats currently serve as governors, remained too close to call late Tuesday.
Eight of the gubernatorial seats up for grabs are now held by Democrats; three are in Republican hands. Republicans currently hold 29 governorships, Democrats have 20, and Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee is an independent.
Originally published on Wed November 7, 2012 2:31 am
In a highly polarized electorate, there's not a lot of room for third-party candidates to make a strong showing. Still, minor parties did see some bright spots on Tuesday.
Maine elected an independent to the Senate, former Gov. Angus King, while Vermont re-elected its independent senator, Bernard Sanders.
Both those victories may have been "idiosyncratic," says Cary Covington, a University of Iowa political scientist, having more to do with the personal popularity of the candidates than pointing to any wider desire for independent candidates.
Originally published on Tue November 6, 2012 6:21 pm
The election of a president brings high hopes for political supporters who could be appointed as potential Cabinet members. Already, there are a number of possibilities floating as picks of either President Obama or his Republican challenger, Mitt Romney.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Lynn Neary. Exit polls are just beginning to come out, and we're going to look at them with Andrew Kohut, president of the Pew Research Center. He's here in the studio with me. Welcome, Andy.
ANDREW KOHUT: Happy to be here, Lynn.
NEARY: I know this is very early on in the game, but is there any trend that you can see now in these preliminary numbers?
Early on in the election cycle, some voters were fired up about a candidate we haven't heard a lot from since the Republican primary. That's Ron Paul. The Texas congressman ran for the GOP nomination with a strong libertarian platform. He has not endorsed Mitt Romney. And in some places, including Iowa, his supporters are still involved but not on behalf of Romney. As we hear from Sarah McCammon of Iowa Public Radio, they're keeping their focus close to home.
There's a principle in marketing that if you have too many similar products to choose from, you can become paralyzed; so, too, in news, as the number of outlets and media platforms explode. On a day when millions of people will be following election results, we asked NPR media correspondent David Folkenflik to give us a sense of the many ways you can find information.
It's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Lynn Neary.
We're going to spend a few minutes now discussing possibilities. Regardless of who wins today's presidential contest, there are reasonable expectations that there will be new faces on the horizon. We've asked NPR reporters who cover some of the key Cabinet-level positions in the U.S. government to tell us about some of the names on that horizon. Let's start with NPR's State Department correspondent Michele Kelemen. Good to have you with us, Michele.
It's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Lynn Neary.
We heard earlier this hour about some of the complications of voting in New Jersey after last week's storm. Residents were allowed to vote by fax or email, or they could cast their ballot today the old-fashioned way, by heading to the polls.
NPR's Jim Zarroli has been watching the process in the coastal town of Belmar, New Jersey, which suffered a lot of damage. Good to have you with us, Jim.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Lynn Neary. We're going to check in now with a couple of our reporters at polling stations around the country. We'll hear in a moment from Colorado. First, to Florida. NPR's Greg Allen joins us from College Park Baptist Church in Orlando. Hi, Greg.
GREG ALLEN, BYLINE: Hi, Lynn.
NEARY: What are you hearing from voters there today, Greg?
The polls in Guam have closed and the results are in.
President Obama managed a big victory, garnering 72 percent of the votes. That's about 23,067 votes compared to 8,443 votes for Gov. Mitt Romney.
Now for the disclaimers: Guam, 6,000 miles and 18 times zones away from California, is a territory of the United States, so their votes don't count. The presidential part of the vote is considered a "non-binding straw poll." But if you believe in bellweathers, listen up.
Here's what R. Todd Thompson of NPR member station KPRG in Guam told us:
Candidates vying for public office on every level subject themselves to intense public scrutiny, constant fundraising and attacks from opponents. Some run because they want power or hope to champion particular issues. Others want to see agendas through or feel they have legacies to fulfill.