Hour-By-Hour Guide To Election Returns Part 6-The Bitter End-11:00 EDT Closings

by Allan Rivlin Sheri Rivlin Julia Kurnik on November 1, 2010

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All times are Eastern Daylight Savings Time (EDT.)

Part 1: Introduction and 6:00 EDT Poll Closings is here.

Part 2: 7:00 and 7:30 EDT Poll Closings is here.

Part 3: 8:00 EDT Poll Closings is here.

Part 4: 9:00 EDT Poll Closings is here.

Part 5: 10:00 EDT Poll Closings is here.

11:00 PM: At this point, all of the 48 contiguous state polls will be closed.  Statewide polls close in California.  Most of  the polls in Washington and Oregon officially close at this time, but don’t be surprised by an early call – they may be called earlier in the evening.  The majority of voters in these two northwestern states vote by mail, an unusual process, and therefore the large majority of ballots may already be counted earlier in the evening.

Senate: Incumbent Ron Wyden (D-OR) is quite secure and this should be called quickly.  California and Washington are both tight races, however, and if the Democrats’ magic number is still 2 heading into these races then they will need to win both of them to retain control of the Senate.  If the magic number is just one then they only need one of them.

In California, Senator Barbara Boxer (D) is seeking a fourth term. Boxer has maintained a lead, gaining support with women and independent voters, by hammering her opponent Carly Fiorina (R) for her record on jobs while she was CEO of Hewlett-Packard and by forcefully defending health care reform and the Recovery Act. Pollster rating – Lean Dem.

In Washington another “Year of the Woman” Democratic incumbent, Senator Patty Murray (D), is facing a tough challenge from Dino Rossi (R), who has lost bids for the governorship twice but remains popular statewide.  Murray’s leadership role in the Senate and close proximity to Harry Reid are hurting her and late polls show the race tightening to a dead heat. Pollster rating – Toss Up.

House: The House may be decided by the time these polls close if this is a Red Wave election or even if things are merely playing out On Trend, but if the Blue Escape scenario is still in play, the night may be long and the races in the Pacific states might write the ending of the story.

D      R

__   __   OR-5/Toss Up: Freshman Kurt Schrader (D) is running against Scott Bruun (R) in this Democratic-trending district.  In most years Schrader would be in good shape, but the anti-incumbent sentiment this fall has kept this close.

__   __   WA-3/Lean Rep:  Congressman Brian Baird (D) is retiring after 12 years in office.  Former State Rep. Denny Heck (D) is trying to keep the seat for Democrats against State Rep. Jaime Herrera (R).  This district has extremely high unemployment.

__   __   WA-8/Lean Rep:  Suzan DelBene (D) hopes to unseat six-year incumbent Dave Reichert (R).  The area trends Republican in general but gave Obama 57% of the vote in 2008.

__   __   CA-3/Lean Rep:  West of Sacramento, this gerrymandered Republican district has faced a massive housing bust.  Incumbent Dan Lungren(R) still has the edge, but Ami Bera (D) has far out-raised him and is making a fight for this potential Democratic pick-up.

__   __   CA-11/Lean Rep: Incumbent Jerry McNerney (D) was first elected in 2006 and survived a tough race in 2008.  This time around, he is being challenged by David Harmer (R).  The district East of San Francisco is a quarter Hispanic and 13% Asian.

__   __   CA-20/Lean Dem: In this heavily Hispanic district south of Fresno, incumbent Jim Costa (D) is defending his seat of 6 years against Andy Vidak (R).  Costa has the edge but Vidak has had a successful fundraising campaign.

Governor: The last two gubernatorial swing races close at 11 PM.  In California, former Governor Jerry Brown (D) has opened up a lead against E-bay CEO Meg Whitman (R) despite record levels of advertising spending.  Pollster rating – Lean Dem.

In Oregon, incumbent Ted Kulongoski (D) is term-limited and former governor John Kitzhaber (D) wants to keep this seat blue.  He is being challenged by former NBA player Chris Dudley (R).  Pollster rating – Toss Up.

12:00 AM: Statewide polls close in Hawaii.  Most of the polls in Alaska close, but a few small islands keep their polls open later.  Since so few people live on those islands, the state is usually called at this point.

Senate: Democrats are almost definitely assured of one piece of good news as the night turns to November 3, since Senator Daniel Inouye (D-HI) should easily win re-election for the 9th time.

Alaska is heavily leaning Republican, but might throw up a late surprise.  Incumbent Lisa Murkowski (R) has held the seat for 10 years but fell to a challenge from the right when war veteran Joe Miller (R) was endorsed by Sarah Palin and secured the Republican nomination.  Senator Murkowski is now running as a write-in candidate against both Miller and Sitka Mayor Scott McAdams (D), who hopes that somehow Murkowski and Miller split the Republican vote and he is able to sneak out a surprise win. Miller has had some missteps, leaving the race wide open. Should she win, Murkowski has confirmed that she will caucus with the Republicans.

House: To close out the night, Democrats hope to capture a Republican seat in Hawaii as the last race to watch of the night.

D      R

__   __   HI-1/Toss Up: Incumbent Charles Djou (R) has been in office for less than year, winning a special election when Neil Abercrombie left to run for governor.  He is being challenged by Colleen Hanabusa (D).

Governor: Alaska and Hawaii both have gubernatorial elections governor, but it is unlikely that either race will bring many surprises.  Governor Sean Parnell (R), the replacement for Sarah Palin, is running for his first full-term in Alaska against Ethan Berkowitz (R) and should win easily.

In Hawaii, Governor Linda Lingle (R) is term-limited.  Former Congressman Neil Abercrombie (D) should be able to beat Lt. Gov.Duke Aiona.

At some point the vote counting will stop, and we can start analyzing what went right and wrong over the past two years and what we can do about all of the issues the next Congress will face.  Whatever happens on Election Night, it is worth remembering that America will still be, as John Stewart and Stephen Colbert sang here in Washington on Sunday, “the greatest, strongest country in the world.“  We will have a lot to do to solve our problems but nothing to fear that is a greater threat than fear itself.

Part 1: Introduction and 6:00 EDT Poll Closings is here.

Part 2: 7:00 and 7:30 EDT Poll Closings is here.

Part 3: 8:00 EDT Poll Closings is here.

Part 4: 9:00 EDT Poll Closings is here.

Part 5: 10:00 EDT Poll Closings is here.

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