9 p.m.: Midwest polls closing; Winners: John Hoeven; Update: NBC projects 236 seats, GOP takeover of House; Update: Barney Frank wins

Two big Senate races this hour: Ron Johnson looks ready to retire Russ Feingold in Wisconsin and Ken Buck and Michael Bennet are likely headed for a late night in Colorado. In the House, there are a bunch of longshots worth monitoring: Maurice Hinchey and Jim Oberstar, both of whom have been blogged about by Ed repeatedly over the last few weeks, are hoping to hold on in NY-22 and MN-8, respectively. Joe Cao’s seat in LA-2 is also up; that’ll probably be a rare Dem pick-up tonight, thanks in part to Obama having cut a campaign commercial — the only one he did all season, in fact — for Cao’s opponent. (Yes, that district is blue enough that it helped.)

The New York polls also close this hour, so let me give a special hometown shoutout to the worst state party in America: The New York GOP, which had a crack at both Senate seats this year and the governor’s seat in Albany and managed to produce three candidates who are each likely to lose … by 25 points. You almost have to try in order to be that bad. A+ for effort, guys.

Update: The clock strikes nine and instantly both New York Senate races are called for the Democratic incumbents. A+++!

Update: John Hoeven is also an instant winner to replace Byron Dorgan in North Dakota. Not for a single moment in the months since Dorgan announced his retirement was that race in doubt.

Update: As I said in the last thread, Virginia is once again a red state. And so, apparently, is Florida.

Update: With 35 percent reporting, Sean Bielat trails Barney Frank … by 30 points.

Update: A magical moment:

Republicans needed a net gain of 10 to take the Senate, which analysts considered a tough road that required them to win every tight race. But Democrats didn’t seriously dispute expectations that they would lose the House.

NBC News projected that once all the votes were counted, Republicans would hold 236 seats to 199 for the Democrats. If so, Republican leader John Boner [sic] of Ohio would succeed Rep. Nancy Pelisse of California as speaker.

236 seats means a 58-seat pick-up. Sounds about right. Bye, Nancy!


Update: Fox is also now projecting a GOP takeover with 239 Republican seats, which would mean 61. Pop the champagne!

Since a Senate takeover is now out of reach, the rest of the night is all about score-settling. Reid is public enemy number one, Boxer number two, and then Whatsername running as the write-in up there in Alaska.

Update: Captain Queeg vows to find the stolen strawberries:

But leaders had to make a nod toward the party’s unpopularity at the polls. “We haven’t done it … fast enough or big enough,” Majority Leader Steny Hoyer told the crowd, referring to improving the fortunes of many Americans…

Ms. Pelosi, beaming in a white blazer, was more defiant. “We are not going back to the failed policies of the past,” she told the crowd, exiting the stage to the Tina Turner classic “Simply the Best.”

Update: As much as I hope you guys will hang around in the wee hours for Alaskan drama, I feel duty bound to point you to this. If you have to get up early tomorrow, factor it in.

Update: My big worry all along with the Frank/Bielat race was that it would turn into a replay of Murtha’s last two House races in 2006 and 2008. In both years, the righty blogosphere got excited about a young upstart Republican knocking off a loathed liberal senior statesman; in both years, I remember, there was lots of buzz sporadically about polls showing them within striking distance. And then election day would come, and — wipeout. Looks like that’s what’s happening in Frank’s district: Fox News has called the race, and with 59 percent in, the lead is 28 points.

Update: Hey, remember two years ago when people were touting Chet Edwards as a possible Obama VP pick? Like so many other Americans, Edwards is now unemployed.