Georgia (polls close 7 pm ET)
Two big races, Senate and governor, and Republicans appear to have momentum in both. Republican gubernatorial nominee Nathan Deal might get enough votes to send Jimmy Carter’s grandson Jason packing, but the prognosis for an outright win tonight by David Perdue over Michelle Nunn in the Senate race looks like a longer shot. Both Republicans would be heavily favored in a runoff, so Democrats either win outright tonight or wind up empty-handed.
Update: Latest from Georgia:
Update: Perdue over Nunn, no run-off
PROJECTION: Republican David Perdue takes the Senate race in Georgia, defeating Democrat Michelle Nunn pic.twitter.com/QYQOzSVrmq
— CBS News Politics (@CBSPolitics) November 5, 2014
North Carolina (polls close 7:30 pm ET)
Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan and Republican challenger Thom Tillis are engaged in the most expensive Senate race in history, at over $100 million. “Our state is not for sale,” Hagan has chanted on the trail in her last push despite spending more than double what Tillis spent ($22 million to his $8, $35 million from liberal outside groups to $10 million from the right).
Hagan has held a slight lead in the poll average thanks in part to that spending advantage. National Democrats were determined North Carolina would be their firewall, but if Hagan succeeds she may end up being more of a fire brick for a party that didn’t count on purple/blue-ish states like Colorado and Iowa going so well for Republicans.
I haven’t been bullish on my home state’s chances of going red party because liberals in North Carolina have managed to go Wisconsin without going quite so crazy as the activists there. What they have managed to do is inundate (with considerable help from the media, which spiked news of a state investigation of for Hagan two days before the election) voters with a steady drumbeat of “extremism, Republican, bad” without subjecting the state to quite the hysterics that turned off normal people in Wisconsin, who then responded by sparing Gov. Scott Walker in the recall election.
On the other hand, the story of the investigation of Hagan’s involvement in stimulus nepotism did break on Monday, despite the state’s newspapers’ best efforts, and there was a brief Ebola scare at Duke Hospital, where a patient ended up testing negative. Both are big, splashy, weird stories that could change the dynamic of a race just enough at the finish line to make a difference.
North Carolina voters will also decide between two political newcomers in the GOP-leaning 6th District seat held by retiring Republican Rep. Howard Coble. “Former Baptist minister Mark Walker,” Republican and former UNC administrator Laura Fjeld and Democrat face off. In the 2nd Congressional District, Republican Rep. Renee Ellmers will attempt to make former “American Idol” runner-up Clay Aiken a runner-up once again.
Unrelated, there is a Republican martial-arts instructor named Molotov Mitchell running for state senate in N.C., with the slogan “My candidate can beat up your candidate.” So, there’s that.
Update: African-American turnout in North Carolina under where it needs to be?
African-American turnout in GA and LA via exits is where Dems need. In NC, accord to exits, 2 points lower than 08.
— Chuck Todd (@chucktodd) November 5, 2014
Update: North Carolina, upon poll close, too close to call.
Update: A couple early good signs for Hagan:
Kay Hagan beating her win number in 14 counties, Thom Tillis beating it in 6. #NCSEN
— Echelon Insights (@EchelonInsights) November 5, 2014
Update: Clay Aiken is a runner-up AGAIN, losing to Rep. Renee Ellmers.
Update: Still VERY tight in N.C. Tillis has been hanging tough all night and sometimes leading, but the NYT projection puts Hagan at a 1 point lead.
— Tyler Dukes (@mtdukes) November 5, 2014
Update: This is an NC data reporter at WRAL, for context:
— Tyler Dukes (@mtdukes) November 5, 2014
And, a reporter at Tillis HQ:
Ace of Spades HQ Decision Desk has called N.C.:
— Decision Desk HQ (@DecisionDeskHQ) November 5, 2014
Update: The AP has called N.C. for Tillis
Virginia (polls close 7 pm ET)
Republican Ed Gillespie is perhaps the underdoggiest of the possible Senate flips on the map, facing highly popular, tall but incongruously squeaky-voiced incumbent Democrat Mark Warner. Despite a Blagojevichian scandal toward the end of the campaign for Warner, he continues to lead rather handily in this purplish-blue state.
In Virginia’s 10th Congressional District, the GOP has a chance to get former Virginia for Romney chair and longtime right-leaning activist Barbara Comstock into national office after she worked her way up through local Northern Virginia politics. She faces Democrat John Foust in a close race.
In Virginia’s 8th District, an unconventional and promising Republican candidate in Micah Edmond faces utterly predictable Democrat Don Beyer (former Lt. Governor). Edmond is the African-American son of a single teen mother who converted to Judaism after being adopted by a Jewish friend’s family. He’s an Army vet, a fiscal conservative, 2nd amendment supporter, and social libertarian on same-sex marriage, and he’s actively taken his message to the district’s large black community. The district is likely too blue to give Edmond a chance, but at the very least, it will no longer be represented by a man who used to have an entire section of his Wikipedia page dedicated to “Assaults” and once jacked up an 8-year-old kid by the neck in the parking lot of a local rec center. Oh, Jim Moran, you card.
Update: Hm. Were Dems asleep at the switch in Virginia?
Looks like VA may be close.Predicted Warner by 7-8% yesterday but newly released exits show it close.Maybe by 3-4%.Folks took it for granted
— Scott Crass (@CrassPolitical) November 4, 2014
Brit Hume just said on air what I also heard: That the Gillespie campaign was very excited about an internal poll having him ahead +1. One also hears bullish things about absentee ballots.
Update: FNC and CNN calling Virginia too close to call at closing time while CNN immediately called Kentucky for McConnell.
Virginia race extraordiniarily — and suprisingly — tight. According to exit polls, Mark Warner up, 50 to 47, over Ed Gillespie.
— Matt Viser (@mviser) November 5, 2014
Update: Jim Geraghty reports R-leaning early voters outvoted D-leaning early voters in Virginia. We don’t register by party here, but you can look back at primary-voting tendencies to establish a decent metric for identification:
This review of the early vote revealed a six percentage point advantage for voters who usually vote in Republican primaries over voters who usually vote in Democratic primaries. My source couldn’t recall this kind of a split ever happening.
There was a separate rumor that a Virginia college that does polls had planned to release their final survey Monday. When the poll showed Ed Gillespie ahead by 3 points, the pollsters concluded the survey had to be wrong and didn’t release it.
Update: Um, WUT:
Eye-popping number from Virginia exits just before poll closing:
Mark Warner Fav/Unfav — 48-50
Ed Gillespie Fav/Unfav — 58-38#exitpolls
— Stephen Hayes (@stephenfhayes) November 5, 2014
Update: NYT has Gillespie’s lead at 3.9 adjusted for which areas are reporting.
Update: A thought on Virginia. We’re waiting for Northern Virginia to come in, where Warner will obviously outperform Gillespie. But it’s important to note that Barbara Comstock is a serious, competitive candidate with a professional operation in the Fairfax area, which is the most populous county in the state. She’s running ahead of the Democrat at this point in the night. It stands to reason that her operation would result in a better GOTV for the GOP in NOVA than previous years.
— Mary Katharine Ham (@mkhammer) November 5, 2014
And, more good news for Gillespie, courtesy of Comstock:
All poll closing times are here. We’ll be updating through the night! ARE YOU READY TO RUMBLE?