Originally published on Wed November 7, 2012 12:17 am
The battle to control the Senate was a proving ground for the new Citizens United politics. Outside groups unleashed heavily funded barrages of attack ads meant to help elect candidates while letting them keep their distance from the nastiness.
In Ohio and Virginia, the tactic failed in rather dramatic ways, as Republicans backed by secretly financed ads failed to beat seemingly vulnerable Democrats.
Former U.S. Rep. Martin Heinrich delivered his acceptance speech for the Senate seat that Jeff Bingaman, also a Democrat who has served a total of five terms, is vacating.
At the Republican Party of New Mexico's election headquarters at a hotel a few blocks away, former congresswoman Heather Wilson delivered her concession speech, wishing Heinrich a successful term in office and asking him to hold up the promises he's made to NM voters.
KUNM host Elaine Baumgartel, who has been delivering live coverage of local races since 6 p.m., called Wilson's speech "classy."
All three of New Mexico's congressional races have been decided, with the results indicating a small change in state politics.
According to the Associated Press, New Mexico voters have decided to grant U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Lujan, D-N.M., a third straight term representing the state's 3rd congressional district, while Rep. Steve Pearce, R-N.M., has wrapped up his fifth win in District 2, the state's southernmost congressional district.
And now on to the biggest state that is really a contested battleground. I mean, we assume New York and California are barely contested by Republicans and Texas is assumed to go to Republican.
MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:
SIEGEL: But with 29 electoral votes, Florida is always a state we look at. And our own Debbie Elliott is in Tampa at the Republican Party event there. And, Debbie, who are the key constituencies in Florida who are thought to be the ones who will decide who wins this day today?
And we're going to be checking in a lot tonight with Andy Kohut of the Pew Research Center, who's here with us now to talk about early exit polls. Andy, what are you seeing, first of all, in terms of the presidential race?
And in our studio, NPR's senior Washington editor Ron Elving. Every couple of years, here we are around this time trying to figure out who has been elected to what. Tonight, what are you looking for? What are the important signs you're looking for in the numbers as they come in?
And we're going to move on now to Ohio. Polls don't close there until 7:30, about 20 minutes from now. That's where we find NPR's Tamara Keith, who's at a polling place on the campus of the Ohio State University in Columbus. And Tamara, what can you tell us about the voting issues in Ohio. It's a closely contested state, of course, and a real electoral prize, 18 votes, 18 electoral votes.