ASC (2:25)
Last post of the night — the computer is really acting up and I’m very tired. At this point, it looks like the Democrats are going to win the Senate along with the House. Webb is now about 12,000 votes ahead and Tester has maintained around a 9,000 — 10,000 vote lead throughout the night. Unless Montana turns at the last moment or something really weird happens in Virginia, Democrats are going to control all of Congress for the first time since 1994. I sure as hell hope they do something good with it.

amba (2:10)
Talent is conceding.

ASC (2:05)
McCaskill has claimed victory. So has Webb. Neither races have been called by the networks. But I guess it’s politically smart to declare victory in a tight race, especially when the perception of victory can help a candidate who ends up in a recount. But I bet some bitter bloggers on the right will make some noise about how rude these Democrats are.

Justin Gardner (1:51)
Watching ClaireMcCaskill speak right now…
Talent’s headquarters are dead, at least that’s what the news shows…Claire says she wants change…she wants accountability…she wants an independent voice…a different set of priorities…and strengthen wisdom to our foreign policy

…she says that the election wasn’t about her, it was about you…thousands like her across this state…she thanks them for their enthusiasm…the nation was watching and “we” showed them…her gratitutude to her incredible staff…dramatically underpaid and seriously underworked…lucky to work wtih every single one of you

…her family means more to her than anything, the star of the show…her husband endured more than any other spouse had to…to the Missourians who didn’t vote for her…she’ll earn your respect and take that responsibility seriously…she’ll find common middle ground to improve the lives of Missouri’s families…

Justin Gardner (1:42)
It definitely feels like a big swing Alan, and it seems like Missouri is going to go for Claire McCaskill. Kansas City news stations are saying that more St. Louis precincts are being delayed even further.

In any event, this is going early into the morning. Will the Dems take the Senate? Tester is leading, Webb is leading and McCaskill leading…it’s so close…

ASC (1:40)
MSNBC is predicting Democrats will pick up between 24 and 47 seats in the House. Anything over 30 has to be considered a very big win. If the Dems manage to take the Senate too (which actually seems to be possible), there’s no denying that politics in America is about to change in many ways. This feels like 1994 in reverse, doesn’t it?

Justin Gardner
CNN reports…five states approve minimum wage hikes…NEW YORK (CNN) — Voters in five states Tuesday approved ballot measures raising the minimum wage, joining 18 other states in setting a wage higher than the federal mark of $5.15 an hour, according to CNN projections.

Looks like the Dems were right to put this measure on the state ballots.

amba (1:19)
McCaskill now leading by 15,000. Ford’s concession speech is quite impressive. He quotes the Bible with a fervor previously confined to Republicans, turning it against them astonishingly: ‘”We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers.”

amba (1:06)
Yes, McCaskill has pulled ahead with heavily Dem areas coming in. Yow!
Webb is ahead by a whisker at the moment — less than 2,000 votes! That one’s going to a recount.
Tester . . . ahead but there’s still a lot of votes to count.
What a squeaker!! Hell, I can’t go to bed.

Justin Gardner (12:59)
Kansas City news stations are saying that McCaskil is leading the urban areas of Kansas City and St. Louis areas by 50% (75/25). Who knows if this will hold, but if it does, it spells doom for Talent quite possibly…

ASC (12:45)
MSNBC reports that there are 33,000 uncounted votes in Virginia’s Fairfax County. Fairfax is a pretty strong Democratic area and Webb is already ahead by about 2,500. It’s looking good for the Webb campaign, but it might not be enough for Dems now that Ford lost in Tennessee. I’m sorry to see Ford lose. He would have been a very interesting senator. Assuming Webb can win the probable recount, the Senate now comes down to Montana (where Democrat Tester looks to be in good shape) and Missouri where Democrat McCaskill needs to make up about 48,000 votes in the final 30% of the precincts. If those outstanding votes are from St. Louis, McCaskill could win, but it’s going to be very, very close.

Justin Gardner (12:21)
Bob Corker wins. Tennessee goes to the Repubs.

Justin Gardner (12:20)
AP reports…Schwarzenegger Wins 2nd Term…

Not that this is terribly significant, but he came out strong and hard at first against the Dems, but then backed off and built bridges. Subsequently, he won the Governor’s seat even though he’s a Dem is California.

Very significant during this anti-war period.

ASC (12:05 a.m.)
Larry King is on. Time to switch to MSNBC.

Justin Gardner (11:58 p.m.)
News from Missouri…Kansas City and St. Louis have not reported ANY of their numbers yet! Only 51% of precincts are reporting. Talent is leading, but both of those are Democrat strongholds.

What’s going on???

ASC (11:55 p.m.)
With 99% of the votes in, Webb leads Allen in Virginia by about 3,000 votes. Wow.

As for Steele, the second after I posted the comment, CNN explained that, yes, the Maryland Republican counties were in and the Democratic counties were just coming in. They stand by their prediction and, sure enough, Cardin has taken a 6 point lead with 67% of the vote counted.

ASC (11:45 p.m.)
Did the networks call the Senate race in Maryland too soon? With 50% of the vote in, Republican Steele leads Democrat Cardin by 2% — but the networks have called the election for Cardin. Either the exit polls are very wrong or Republican precincts have all come in early.

amba (11:30 p.m.)
The total South Dakota abortion ban, meant as a direct and deliberate challenge to Roe v. Wade, is going down to defeat — by one point.

It never ceases to amaze me how split right down the middle this country really is.

amba (11:19 p.m.)
Paul Begala thinks that Speaker Pelosi (!!!) is a more practical pol than she gets credit for, who will come toward the center more readily than the President.

While no great fan of hers, I can’t help getting a charge out of the first woman Speaker. I’m old enough still to be thrilled by every female first. Housewife, teacher, nurse, secretary, beautician — that was about it when I was comin’ up, with the rare exception.

I can’t wait to read the apocalyptic predictions from the rightie blogs. I agree with Alan’s post on Maverick Views: the Dems have been so demonized by a combination of the Republicans and the shrillness of their own left fringe that we need to see them in action, in context, to find out if they’ll really be as bad as all that. Alan called control of the house the Dems’ “audition” for 2008. Well put.

Denny Hastert is . . . conceding control of the House? No, not yet, he’s making a low-key victory speech, having unsurprisingly retained his seat.

ASC (11:10 p.m.)
Republican House members are falling fast and steady and CNN has declared that the Democrats will take control of the House. We’re all going to have to get used to referring to Speaker Pelosi.

In the Senate, it’s not looking good for the Dems in Missouri or Tennessee. Virginia may end up in an automatic recount but Webb is just a tad behind. Montana is only now beginning to report but I like Tester’s chances. Democrats need three of these seats to win the Senate and it looks like they’ll have to find a lot of help to win even two of the four.

But it’s already clear the Democrats have won this election.

ASC (10:30 p.m.)
This is the time of the night where things slow down as the networks wait to call close races until most of the raw numbers come in. Looks to me like the Dems still have an outside shot at winning the Senate, but not a good one. Nevertheless, the Dems appear to be a lock to take the House and Republicans will have a very hard time spinning this as anything but a smack in the face. Speaking of smacks in the face, it appears the anti-Perry sentiment here in Texas will not be enough to unseat the governor. Oh well. We tried.

Justin Gardner (10:08)
Late prediction…looks like the Dems will take the House, but not the Senate. Stay tuned.

Justin Gardner (9:50 p.m.)
House coverage…A Dem pickup in Kentucy’s District 3 for Yarmuth…another D pickup in Indiana District 2 for Donnelly…and one Dem pickup in District 8 for Ellsworth in Indiana.

ASC (9:40 p.m.)
Lincoln Chafee is projected to lose in Rhode Island. This is a win for the Democrats but Chafee was one of the good ones. Very much a Centrist. He was actually against the war in Iraq but Rhode Islanders didn’t really care. He was a Republican and so he was kicked out. Democrats must be feeling their spirits really rise. Not even the moderate Republicans are finding a way to hold on.

amba (9:23 p.m.)
The Dems appear to be keeping Maryland as well as NJ.

ASC (9:15 p.m.)
Lieberman is projected to win. I’m not much of a Lieberman fan, although I do respect the man. But I am so, so, so happy that the leftwing’s darling Ned Lamont is going to lose. The Democrats look like they’re going to have a big night, but it will be on the backs of a lot of Centrists and very few of the bitter, out-of-touch leftwing.

amba (8:57 p.m.)
Yup! Corrupt Bob Menendez (D-NJ) apparently gets reelected, while good, moderate Mike DeWine (R-OH) apparently gets defeated.

ASC (8:55 p.m.)
Brown defeats DeWine in Ohio, giving a new Senate seat to the Dems. DeWine was a pretty good guy and part of the centrist-leaning Gang of 14 that prevented the so-called Nuclear Option over court appointments. But it looks like Ohio, the ultimate swing state, is swinging hard for Democrats this year and DeWine got caught in the tide.

Justin Gardner (8:37 p.m.)
CNN projects…Missouri voters approve minimum wage increase tied to annual increases in the Consumer Price Index, much like Ohio’s increase.

amba (8:36 p.m.)
Harold Ford is way behind Corker in Tennessee right now, but only 4% reporting. Depends on what part of the state.

ASC (8:30 p.m.)
Democrats have picked up their first new seat as Ellsworth beats Hostettler in Indiana. Ellsworth is a conservative Democrat�part of the centrist wave that I see leading Democrats to power.

amba (8:29 p.m.)
CNN projects Patrick as winner of the MA gubernatorial race — only the second African-American governor ever elected — after Virginia’s Doug Wilder.
(8:26 p.m.)
Virginia has also approved a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. However, according to exit polls (grain of salt an’ all), 30% of the people who voted for it also voted for Webb.

With 32% of votes counted, Allen now leads Webb by only a few hundred votes — percentagewise, 50% to 49%.

Justin Gardner (8:14 p.m.)
CNN reports…Tennessee approves an amendment that bans same-sex marriage.

Justin Gardner (8:01 p.m.)
CBS reports…Bob Casey, Jr. (D) the winner in Pennsylvania and Sherrod Brown (D) the winner in Ohio…two Dem pickups.

Justin Gardner (7:53 p.m.)
Okay, looks like Webb is starting to close the gap. With 14% reporting, Allen leads 53/46.

ASC (7:45 p.m.)
Webb is trailing in Virginia by 11%, which is a large enough margin to make Webb worry. Only 10% of the precincts are reporting so it’s too soon to give up hope for Dems. But if Webb loses, it’s going to be very hard for the Democrats to pick up the Senate without all-but running the table in other tight races. This one was one a lot of pundits expected the Democrats to pick up.

Justin Gardner (7:39 p.m.)
CNN reports…Democratic pickup in Governor’s race in Ohio, plus a minimum wage increase looks like it’s gonna pass…that ties future increases to the Consumer Price Index.

Alan Stewart Carl (7:10 p.m.)
Gone are the days that the networks brazenly called elections based only on exit polls. So far, all we have is two non suprises: Richard Lugar (R) winning in Indiana, where he was opposed only by a Libertarian. And Sanders (I) winning the open seat in Vermont. Sanders is Congress’ only admitted socialist but I guess he was better than the Republican as he will caucus with the Democrats.

Justin Gardner (6:50 p.m.)
CNN reports…polls open later in six states

amba (6:40 p.m.):
CNN exit polls suggest that Democrats are gaining on Republicans on the issues in some surprising ways. As expected, Republicans lead Dems among voters whose first concern is terrorism — but only by 53 to 45. And for those whose first concern is illegal immigration — it’s a dead heat! (Which makes me think that question must have been phrased very generally and ambiguously.)

Justin Gardner (6:37 p.m.):
CNN Reports…
Judge denies Dems request to extend polling in Denver
Rep. Heather Wilson, R-New Mexico, requests election monitors

Justin Gardner (6:27 p.m.):
Political Wire reports…“Democrats are leading in Pennsylvania (+15), Ohio (+14), New Jersey (+8), Rhode Island (+7), Virginia (+7), Montana (+9), Missouri (+2). […] Republicans are leading in Tennessee (+4) and Arizona (+4).”

Looks like Missouri is going to be the squeaker tonight!

Alan Stewart Carl (5:30 p.m.):
So, it’s after 5 on the East Coast and CNN has revealed a few basic exit polls. The top three issues concerning voters this years are 1) corruption, 2) terrorism, 3) Iraq. Also, over 60% say they based their vote on national, not local issues.

What’s this mean? Well, the fact that corruption rates so high sure as heck can’t be good news for Republicans. But the fact that terrorism rates high probably is good for the GOP. Iraq would seem to be an answer more-often given by those who are weary of the war but people who want us to stay might also give Iraq as a reason for their vote.

Right now, the tiny little exit poll data we have looks favorable for the Democrats. But we can ask President Gore and President Kerry how reliable exit polls are. Democrats obviously have to wait for the votes to be counted before they can start celebrating.

More thoughts as information becomes available.

Politics Election 2006 Live Blog (EST)