Iowa, Arkansas, Florida, Connecticut, Arizona: UPDATE Joni Ernst Wins

Arizona: In the race to succeed Gov. Jan Brewer, Republican businessman Doug Ducey is facing off against former Clinton White House appointee Fred DuVal. This race has grown unexpectedly tight in recent weeks, with a Rasmussen Reports survey released on October 21 showing Ducey leading DuVal by just 5 points with 47 to 42 percent.

“Maricopa County as a whole often favors Republicans, but the more urban areas in Phoenix are a Democratic stronghold. Democrats generally win the vast majority of votes on Native American reservations, including the massive Navajo Nation, which covers portions of Apache, Navajo, and Coconino counties—and could potentially see higher turnout in 2014, thanks to big efforts from Democratic Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick to win support there,” The National Journal noted.

Democrats could also see a boost in turnout from Pima County which includes the city of Tucson, but they will have to be significant to overcome the state’s historic Republican advantage in more rural areas of the Grand Canyon State.

Polls close in Arizona at 9 p.m. Eastern.

10:57: As expected, this was not a competitive race. Ducey has handily won his race agains DuVal with 51 percent of the vote as of this writing.

10:26: The first numbers are coming in from Arizona and they are… not that overwhelming. Ducey maintains a narrow lead with less than 1 percent reporting.

Arkansas: The Natural State features one of the most fascinating and competitive Senate races of the night, where incumbent Sen. Mark Pryor (D-AR) will go head-to-head against Rep. Tom Cotton (R-AR). The polls suggest that the Pryor legacy in Arkansas may not be enough to fend off a challenge from Cotton, one of the GOP’s strongest recruits this cycle. If Pryor holds on, the Republican path to a Senate majority becomes infinitely more difficult. The race seems, however, to have broken for Cotton in recent weeks. He holds a 7-point lead over Pryor in the Real Clear Politics average of polls.

Democrats hope to see significant turnout among minority voters in Pulaski and Jefferson counties where the cities of Little Rock and Pine Bluff are located. “Democrats say that to be successful this year, they need their two counties to account for more than 18.5 percent of the statewide turnout,” The National Journal observed.

Polls close in Arkansas at 8:30 p.m. Eastern.

8:30: CNN projects Tom Cotton has won in Arkansas. The GOP has won two of the six seats they need for a Senate majority.

The GOP has also taken over that state’s governor’s mansion. Asa Hutchinson will succeed Democrat Mike Beebe as Arkansas governor.

Connecticut: A surprisingly tight race in which incumbent Democratic Gov. Dannel Malloy is facing a tough race against Republican Tom Foley has forced even President Barack Obama to parachute into the Nutmeg State in support of one of his party’s most liberal officeholders. The race has, however, shifted slightly toward the incumbent in recent weeks. The Connecticut-based Quinnipiac University poll, which had shown Foley leading over the course of the summer and early fall, gave Malloy a 3-point lead in their final survey of the race.

Malloy defeated Foley once already in 2010, but only by just over 6,400 votes. If Malloy is to repeat that feat, he will have to win big in New Haven and Hartford counties. Foley will have to run up his margins in the rest of Connecticut, and win Fairfield by at least 18 points (his 2010 margins), if he is to have a shot at unseating the incumbent.

Polls close in Connecticut at 8 p.m. Eastern.

1:48 p.m. November 5: Dannel Malloy has pulled out a narrow victory after a long ballot count. Foley put up a good fight, but he still could not overcome the state’s blue lean.

1:16: With 70% reporting, there is a significant chance that Malloy might just win this race by the skin of his teeth. He currently leads Foley by 49.9 to 49.1 percent. Whatever the final results are, it will be close. We will check in on this race tomorrow.

12:26: A huge surge of Dem votes in CT puts Malloy into the lead for the first time in hours. Up by just a handful of votes.

11:46: Foley now has a lead in … Hartford County. Malloy’s defeat is a near certainty.

11:11: With nearly 50% reporting, Foley’s lead has expanded to nearly 2 percent. It is increasingly unlikely that Gov. Malloy will pull off a win.

10:43: With 38% of precincts reporting, Foley maintains a consistent lead and is holding Malloy down in key Democratic counties. HE may pull this off, too.

9:54: With 23% reporting, Tom Foley takes his first lead of the night.

9:44: Tightening significantly in the Nutmeg State. With 20 percent reporting, Foley trails Malloy by just 2 points. This might be a race after all.

9:20: 10 percent reporting, and Malloy maintains a 10 point lead. This race does not look like it will be as close as the polls suggested in the late summer.

8:54: 5 percent of Connecticut precincts are now reporting and Malloy has pulled out a significant 14-point lead.

8:42: It is early, but Foley is not pulling the numbers he needs from Fairfield County in order to secure an upset. Only 2 percent of precincts are reporting.

8:29: Finally, some Connecticut precincts reporting. Foley enjoys a huge lead .. with 237 to 151 votes.

Florida: Gov. Rick Scott’s race to retain his seat, one which he was long favored to lose, has been among the nastiest campaigns of the 2014 cycle. He faces off against Republican-turned-independent-turned-Democrat and fan aficionado Charlie Crist in what promises to be an extremely tight race. Virtually every poll of the race released since October has shown both candidates polling within the margins of error, and six surveys of the race released in the last month showed the gubernatorial contest in Florida perfectly tied.

“If Democrat Charlie Crist can’t deliver a stronger performance in South Florida than Scott’s 2010 opponent, he could be in trouble, and Scott could be in for another close win,” The National Journal noted. “But the things to watch for as results start coming in Tuesday night will be elsewhere, along the swingy I-4 corridor between Tampa and Orlando, since returns coming in from Miami Dade are notoriously slow. Crist’s camp hopes to win at least 45 percent in Pasco County and a more solid majority in Pinellas County, Crist’s home base.”

Polls in most of Florida close at 7 p.m. Eastern but results will only become clear after 8 p.m. when the panhandle closes.

9:46: Boom. The Sunshine State News projects Rick Scott has won a second term and has defeated Charlie Crist.

9:13: Crist continues to under perform in South Florida. Scott is coming in strong in the Panhandle…

8:51: With 1/3rd of Miami-Dade precincts reporting, Crist is drawing only 56 percent of the vote from that key South Florida county. Scott may pull off a victory after all.

8:26: Rick Scott has opened up an 81,000 vote lead in Florida, and may be pulling ahead of the totals expected for Crist out of Miami-Dade. Cautious optimism in Scott HQ is justified.

8:15: The Panhandle has begun to report and Scott has again retaken the lead. With 33 percent of precincts reporting and more than 4 million votes in, Scott has opened up a 30,000 vote lead. Miami-Dade continues to under report, giving Crist fans some hope.

8:01: That didn’t last long. Crist has again retaken the lead over Scott as the results from Miami-Dade begin to pour in.

7:55: Rick Scott has secured his first lead of the night. With 18 percent reporting, Florida is turning slightly red as Scott has opened up a narrow lead of just over 10,000 votes. Again, Miami-Dade’s Democratic margins are expected to be significant for Crist, but Scot is showing signs of life.

7:47: An earlier post reported 35% of Florida precincts had reported. Only 16 percent of the state is reporting, and Crist’s lead has shrunk to just under 2 points. Democrat-heavy Miami-Dade county has not yet reported any results, and Crist is expected to do well there.

7:37: Crist is holding a steady lead over Scott with 50 to 45 percent.

7:26: Things are starting to look grim for Scott. Crist won the early vote with 60 percent support and, according to the exit polls, is winning among independent voters. Scott can expect to run up his totals in rural Florida and will get a big boost when the polls close in the Panhandle, but at this rate it will not be enough to overcome Crist’s lead.

7:10 p.m.: Some good news for Charlie Crist. It looks like he is out-performing the Democrats’ 2010 totals in some key counties he’ll need in order to best Scott.

6:49 p.m.: Looks like this thing might go to overtime, and there hasn’t been one solid return reported.

You have to think that Crist is disappointed by South Florida turnout, where he needs to perform well in order to counter votes from the Panhandle and the I-4.

Iowa: Republicans recruited a strong candidate in state Sen. Joni Ernst. Even when she secured her party’s nomination, it looked as though it would be hard for Republicans to compete in this state which has only grown more Democratic during the Obama presidency. She faces off against Rep. Bruce Braley (D-IA), and the Democrat has polled nearly even against his Republican opponent with one notable exception; the Iowa gold standard of surveys, The Des Moines Register poll. That survey found Ernst with a 7-point lead, but no other survey has shown her in the lead with so large a margin.

Braley will have to run up large margins in Polk and Black Hawk Counties in order to win what may, at this point, be accurately described as an upset. Ernst will have to run up the score in the state’s many rural areas, particularly those in the west and northwest of the state.

The polls in Iowa close at 10 p.m. Eastern.

11:23 : Fox News reports Joni Ernst has won the Senate race in Iowa handily. Her win marks the GOP’s sixth and the party’s official takeover of the U.S. Senate.

10:26: CNN’s exit polling projected Ernst would have a lead over Braley of 51 to 47 percent.