In less than 10 minutes
we'll call the state of Tennessee for Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney the polls will close here in Tennessee, and the returns will start coming in. A few things to consider while we wait:
1. How many votes will Mark Clayton actually get for U.S. Senate? Surely there are folks out there who saw the "D" next to his name and voted for him without knowing he's the mascot of the TNDP's shame. Beyond that, how many people will vote for one of the number of alternative candidates on the ballot instead of voting for Bob Corker? Democrats: Find someone who's not a national embarrassment to run for the U.S. Senate in 2014 and these could be your voters.
2. Will Republicans achieve their first ever super-majorities in the state House and Senate?
3. Why did The Civil Wars really cancel their tour? WHY?
Keep it here for live election results, and occasional updates from J.R. Lind (posting in italics) on some equally important contests, including some football #MACtion in the Midwest (Toledo vs. Ball State), NBA scores, and any late-breaking news from the latest round of talks in the ongoing NHL lockout. (He'll also be chiming in on election news...maybe.)
7:03PM: J.R. here. Kickoff in the hot MACtion match-up between Ball State and No. 23 Toledo (that's Cardinals and Rockets if you like nicknames) is coming soon. This is Toledo's first Top 25 ranking in a decade, but let's all admire for a moment the balls of the Mid-America Conference — an Ohio-centric conference — for scheduling a game on Election Night.
Also, word out of the on-going talks to end the hockey lockout is that the two sides stop meeting for the day, but that appears to be false. It's Florida 2000 all over again!
Also, in actual political news: the transcript of the Scott DesJarlais divorce won't be released today.
7:15PM: Steven here. We can now call Tennessee for Mitt Romney (must credit J.R. Lind and/or The City Paper). Elsewhere, disavowed Democratic Senate candidate has received over 100,000 votes and is within one point of U.S. Sen. Bob Corker here in Davidson County. DEVELOPING.
7:20 Ball State takes an early lead in their upset bid, proving that Indiana is still relevant today. Cardinals quarterback Keith Wenning went 7-for-8 on the opening drive, tossing a touchdown pass to Jamill Smith. Also, Ball State has a guy named "Zane Fakes."
7:36 UPSET ALERT! Keith Wenning just threw his second touchdown pass of the night, this time to Connor Ryan, who has two first names. Ball State 14, Toledo Zips (just kidding, Akron's the Zips). HUSTLE BELT. Also, in the race for a red-washing of the State Senate, a surprising early number out of Chattanooga: Democrat Andrae McGary has a lead on Republican Todd Gardenhire. Here's an awesome McGary campaign ad!
7:47PM: Steven here. Still more counting to be done (Ah, ah, ahhhh), but for now don't expect any changes to Tennessee's congressional delegation. In the Fighting Fifth, Jim Cooper will easily defeat GOP challenger Brad Staats, Sen. Bob Corker will easily defeat Mark Clayton and despite what looked to be a particularly damning October surprise, things are looking good for U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais so far. (Note: If Democrats could openly celebrate Clayton's vote total, they should. Assuming Clayton hasn't tapped into a heretofore unknown constituency of voters worried about the NAFTA Super Highway and children being touched in their stranger-danger zones by homosexuals working airport security, these are voters who will vote for anything with a "D" next to it. With a candidate they didn't have to publicly disavow on the ballot, they might have actually made Corker acknowledge that he was up for re-election.)
7:53 Reality check. Toledo answers quickly, cutting Ball State's lead in half. And that potential State Senate upset? That rocket may crash to the ground too. The early lead for McGary is all Hamilton County. Dead-red Bradley County is still outstanding.
8:05PM: As we're in a lull here with POTUS results (pesky Mountain time) here's how the various networks have the Electoral College score, via the New York Times:
Times: Obama 96, Romney 71
Associated Press: Romney 76, Obama 65
ABC: Romney 94, Obama 78
CBS: Romney 137, Obama 78
NBC: Romney 127, Obama 98
CNN: Romney 132, Obama 64
Fox News: Romney 129, Obama 107
Keep in mind, of course, that none of the key swing states (Florida, Ohio, North Carolina, Virginia, Wisconsin, Colorado, Iowa, or Nevada) have been called yet.
Elsewhere, Mark Clayton has fallen below 30 percent statewide, but that's without what is sure to be a Democratic boost from Shelby County. In the state House, Metro councilman Bo Mitchell and Charles Williamson are in a tight race, and Darren Jernigan has a slight lead on GOP incumbent Jim Gotto.
8:12PM: GOP state Senate candidate Steve Dickerson is claiming victory over Democrat Phillip North in Senate District 20. Both parties put a lot into this one, and a Republican state Senator in Davidson County is a blow to the TNDP for sure. Dickerson's victory is a sign of two things the TNGOP has going for it: 1) A deep bench of candidates willing to run, lose and run again (as Dickerson did). 2) Redistricting.
8:15PM: Halftime update time. Up in Chicago, they try to hold off a surge from Florida. Magic up 48-45 on the Bulls. In the NBA game of two cities with equal relevance in tonight's presidential election, Oklahoma City has 57-38 lead on Toronto. Raptors point guard Kyle Lowery was carried off with an apparent ankle injury. The crowd politely awaits news. Meanwhile, Toledo edges ever closer to Ball State. It's 14-10 Cardinals late in the second quarter.
8:29 PM: Houston County has long been a Democratic Party stronghold. Even as the rest of the state went red, it remained, voting for Barack Obama in '08. In the run-up to tonight, Michael Cass went and chatted with the good folks of Erin to try and suss why it still held out. Tonight, though, Houston County goes red.
8:42PM: POTUS update: Networks (including Fox News, so you know it's true) have called Wisconsin and Pennsylvania for President Obama. For Romney, Florida, Virginia, and Ohio is the path now.
On the state side of things, Democrat Jason Powell is claiming victory over Ben Claybaker in House District 53 and Darren Jernigan, in what would be a big win for Democrats, has a slight lead on GOP incumbent Jim Gotto.
9:10PM: AKIN GOES DOWN: If you're campaigning on "legitimate rape", voters have a way of shutting that down.
9:17PM: Meanwhile, the NHL and the NHLPA continue to meet, which means hockey may be back soon? Also, Ball State has broken the tie with Toledo, 24-17.
10:12PM: While the actual size of the majority remains to be seen, the TNGOP has put up the siren: RELEASE THE SUPER-MAJORITY. Still, Republicans have apparently suffered a loss in Davidson County that will sting. We're told GOP incumbent Jim Gotto has called and conceded the House District 60 race to Metro Councilman Darren Jernigan.
As for POTUS, while Mitt Romney has secured his first swing state by winning North Carolina, Obama has been proclaimed the winner in Colorado (by the Denver Post) and in Iowa (by CNN), so things continue to look good for the prez.
10:17PM: Call it an election. NBC has called Ohio and the election for President Barack Obama.
From KW over at the CP: Corker, Cooper lead same congressional delegation back to D.C.
From AZ over at the CP: Democrats keep Davidson seats, but relegated to super-minority status in the House.
And from Me at the CP: Dickerson defeats North as GOP rolls to historic state Senate status.