Update 2:30 a.m.: This post originally called the Connecticut 5th District race for Republican challenger Andrew Roraback.
11:45 P.M. Rothfus wins in PA-12, defeats incumbent Critz
It took a second race and a redistricting congressional seat in Pennsylvania‚??s 12th District, but conservative Republican stalwart Keith Rothfus achieved his dream of going to Congress tonight. ¬†With 97% results in, Rothfus‚??attorney, father of six, and lay Roman Catholic leader‚??defeated Democratic Rep. Mark Critz with 51 percent of the vote.
Two years ago, Rotfhus‚??whose previous political activity had been as a volunteer in the campaigns of former GOP Rep. Melissa Hart‚??narrowly lost a bid for Congress in the Beaver Falls-Aliquippa District to Democratic Rep. Jason Altmire. ¬†This year, in the redistricting 12th, Altmire lost ¬†a tight primary battle to fellow Democratic Rep. Critz, who had succeeded his former boss, the late Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.) two years earlier. ¬†The scars from that battle never healed and Rothfus was clearly the beneficiary.
11:22 P.M. Cotton wins in Arkansas
The lone U.S. House district in Democratic hands in Arkansas tonight went Republican. Tom Cotton, Harvard Law graduate and decorated U.S. Army veteran, handily picked up the 4th District seat vacated by retiring Democratic Rep. Mike Ross.
Cotton, who defeated the 2010 nominee in the GOP primary, won tonight by a margin of about 3-to-2 over Democrat Gene Jeffress. Even before he takes office, Cotton is already talked of widely as a candidate for governor of Arkansas in 2014 or the U.S. Senate against Democratic incumbent Mark Pryor.
11:11 P.M.¬†Biggert, Walsh Go Down in Illinois
The redistricting dagger wielded by Illinois Democrats took a major victim tonight, as veteran Rep. Judy Biggert lost re-election in the 11th District.
Moderate GOPer Biggert, who sought re-elected in a district carved to benefit her Democratic opponent, lost to Obama Democrat Bill Foster, who had won the neighboring district in a 2008 special election and went on to lose to Republican Randy Hultgren in 2010.
A former state legislator, the 75-year-old Biggert was first elected to Congress in 1998.
Also in Illinois, freshman Republican Joe Walsh was defeated by Democratic challenger and war veteran Tammy Duckworth.
10:34 P.M. Ex-RNC Co-Chairman Ann Wagner To Go to Congress
Defeated in a bid for chairman of the Republican National Committee last year, in and then out of the U.S. Senate race from Missouri, Ann Wagner nonetheless emerged a winner tonight as she won the U.S. House seat of defeated GOP Senate nominee Todd Akin.
Wagner is pulling nearly 58 percent of the vote against Democrat Glenn Koenen in the 2nd District (suburban St. Louis) that Akin has held for twelve years. She also served as ambassador to Luxembourg under President George W. Bush.
10:11 P.M.¬†Mullins Makes Oklahoma‚??s Full GOP House Delegation
With the easy Republican pickup of Oklahoma‚??s 2nd District by Markwayne Mullins, the Sooner State will send an entirely GOP House delegation to Washington next year.
When the state‚??s lone Democratic House Member Dan Boren announced his retirement this year, Republicans lined up to make the race for the open 2nd District. In a major upset, plumbing company owner and strong conservative Mullins won the GOP runoff over a veteran state representative. Tonight, first-time candidate Mullins won 57 percent of the vote over Democrat and former assistant U.S. Attorney Rob Wallace.
9:55 P.M. Webster Surviving Tough Challenge, West in a tight one
With more than 80 percent of the vote recorded in Florida‚??s 10th congressional district, freshman Republican Rep. Dan Webster appears to have won re-election over Democrat Val Demings, former police chief of Orlando and one of the Democrats‚?? most-ballyhooed House candidates.
Webster, who had previously been Florida‚??s first Republican speaker of the state House since Reconstruction, gained national attention in 2010 when he unseated then-Democratic Rep. Alan Grayson, one of the most outspoken‚??and certainly most unpleasant‚??House liberals. This year, Demings, considered a true-to-life version of the character portrayed by Angie Dickinson in the 1970‚??s TV series ‚??Policewoman,‚?Ě attracted nationwide funding, including $2.3 million from New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg‚??s political action committee.
Rep. Allen West leads with approximately 2,000 votes at this juncture over Democratic challenger Patrick Murphy.
9:28 P.M. Stockman Returns in Comeback of the Year
One of the most improbable and remarkable political comebacks anywhere occurred tonight. Sixteen years after he last served in Congress, Steve Stockman‚??onetime homeless man turned born-again Christian and swashbuckling conservative‚??scored a win in the heavily Republican and newly-created 36th District of Texas. Stockman, who had topped an eight-candidate primary and then won a run-off over a better-funded opponent in the Houston-area district, had 72 percent of the vote over Democrat Max Martin.
‚??I was 100 per cent with the American Conservative Union when I was in Congress [1994-96, from the old 9th District],‚?Ě Stockman told Human Events during the GOP nomination fight, ‚??and if there was a rating of 120 possible, I would have scored that!‚?Ě
9:12 P.M. Alan Grayson returns to Congress
One of the most outspoken, erratic and easily mean-spirited liberal Democrats is headed back to Congress from Florida after a two-year respite. ¬†Alan Grayson, who was unseated by Republican Dan Webster in the Orlando-based 10th District in 2010, is rolling back to Congress from the newly-carved 9th District. ¬†Grayson is now holding a seemingly insurmountable lead of 60 to 40 percent over Republican Todd Long. ¬†
9:08 P.M. Three Democratic seats shifting to GOP in N.C.
Signs were growing strong that Republicans would pick up three new U.S. House seats in North Carolina.
With just about 40 percent of the vote, former U.S. Attorney George Holding is heading for a landslide win (60 percent) in the 13th District seat vacated by Democratic Rep. Brad Miller. In the western North Carolina-based 11th District, where Democratic Rep. Heath Shuler is stepping down, magnetic businessman and staunch conservative Mark Meadows is rolling up a similar margin over Democrat Hayden Rogers, Schuler‚??s top aide.
In the redistricted 8th District, congressional staffer and staunch conservative Richard Hudson is leading with 57 percent of the vote over Democrat Larry Kissell, who won both of his terms in Congress by narrow margins.
8:52 P.M. Barr takes out Chandler in Ky., Walorski pulling ahead
Two years after he lost one of the tightest House races in the nation by a few hundred votes, conservative Republican Andy Barr roared back to turn the tables tonight. With just over 90 per cent of the vote in, 39-year-old lawyer Barr unseated Democratic Rep. Ben Chandler by a margin of 51 percent to 48 percent of the vote, the Associated Press reports.
With many pundits saying his photo-finish showing was due to the Republican tide of 2010, Barr had been considered the underdog this time. But his tireless campaigning and linking Chandler to Obama paid off. Overseeing the Barr campaign in 2012 was politico par excellence David Host, one-time press secretary to Florida Rep. Katherine Harris while she was secretary of state and New Mexico Rep. Steve Pearce.
As the namesake grandson of A.B. ‚??Happy‚?Ě Chandler, governor, senator, and baseball commissioner, Ben Chandler‚??himself a former state attorney general and gubernatorial nominee‚??was the heir to a distinguished political legacy in the Bluegrass State. Barr had been a top aide to the state‚??s last Republican governor Ernie Fletcher.
In Indiana, Walorski leads Democratic challenger Mullen, 49 percent to 47 percent.
8:15 P.M. Brooks headed to be first female GOPer from Indiana since ‚??58
History appears to be in the making in Indiana tonight, as conservative Republicans Susan Brooks is heading toward an easy win in the race for the open U.S. House seat from the Hoosier State‚??s 5th. Should her lead hold up, Brooks will be the first Republican woman to represent Indiana in Congress since 1958.
Former U.S. Attorney Brooks holds a lead of 55 to 45 percent over Democratic State Rep. Scott Reske in the central Indiana 5th District vacated bv veteran GOP Rep. Dan Burton.
The last Republican woman to serve Indiana in Congress was Cecil Harden, who was a U.S. House Member from 1948 until her defeat in 1958.
The other district in which a Republican woman could go to Congress was the 2nd, which Democratic Rep. Joe Donnelly left the to run for the U.S. Senate. Jackie Walorski, former TV newscaster and state legislator, is locked in a race going back and forth with Democrat Brendan Mullen, a decorated Iraqi War veteran. Two years ago, Walorski lost a heartbreakingly close race in the district that includes Notre Dame University to Donnelly.
8:09 P.M. Frankel leading in Fla. over Hasner
It appears as though the liberal Democrat that Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz has long called her mentor will join her prot√©g√© in Congress.¬† Former Palm Beach Mayor and leftist Democrat Lois Frankel appeared to have an insurmountable lead in Florida‚??s 22nd District (Palm Beach), which Republican Rep. Allen West relinquished to run in the neighboring (and less Democratic) 18th District.
Frankel, a former state legislator, is leading Republican Adam Hasner, former majority leader of the state House of Representatives, by a margin of 3-to-2 districtwide.
7:21 P.M: Messer Looks Like Early Winner in 3rd Bid for Congress
Twice beaten in past nomination bids for Congress, Luke Messer won the primary to succeed outgoing Rep. Mike Pence in the Indianapolis-based 6th District. ¬†Signs were strong that staunch conservative Messer, who has been executive director of the state Republican Party and majority leader of the state House of Representatives, was headed toward a comfortable win over Democrat Bradley Bookout, a Delaware County councilman and homebuilder.
Early returns give Messer a margin of 57 percent to 43 percent over Bookout.
Messer became a candidate for Congress after Pence declared for the governorship last year.