Update 1:00 a.m. Romney took the stage before a subdued crowd shortly before 1 a.m. Wednesday, thanking them for their support and sharing a brief but heartfelt message of unity and strength.
“I have just called President Obama to congratulate him on his victory. I wish all of them well,” Romney said. “This is a time of great challenges for america, and I pray that the president will be successful in guiding our nation.”
Though it was apparent Romney was smarting from the bitterness of his unexpected loss, he was nonetheless gracious, urging his supporters to reach across the aisle and do what was best for the country.
“The nation as you know is at a critical point,” he said. “At a time like this, we can???t risk partisan bickering and political posturing.”
He also thanked his campaign and his family for their hard work, giving a special salute to his running mate, Paul Ryan.
“Besides my wife Ann, Paul was the best choice I ever made,” Romney said.
The speech lasted under five minutes. Crowds of Obama supported watching the speech from Chicago joined the Boston crowds in applauding Romney as he embraced his family and exited the stage for the last time.
Update 12:00 a.m. Crowds of thousands are gathering outside the White House and at Obama campaign headquarters in Chicago to await the president’s victory speech. Meanwhile, Romney is expected to deliver a concession speech soon from his headquarters in Boston. With a race this close, both campaigns had prepared two speeches so the candidates could be prepared for either outcome.
At midnight Eastern time, Romney had yet to make the customary concession call to Obama, as key precincts in Ohio continued to report.
A sample of the speech we won’t hear–Romney’s victory speech–is here. The AP reports the speech would have been over 1,100 words and would have talked about the campaign’s fight to the very end. A late-adopted motto of the campaign expressed the same sentiment: “Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose.”
Update: 11:45 p.m.: In spite of localized victories and a pull-no-punches campaign, Republican presidential challenger Mitt Romney was unable to unseat President Barack Obama, who was projected the winner of the 2012 election around 11:15 p.m. Tuesday night.
Thought the Republican ticket had the momentum following a strong series of presidential debates, it couldn???t make up sufficient ground in the crucial swing state of Ohio, which prove finally to be the campaign???s Waterloo.
Republicans were hopeful that Romney had an outside chance of winning the blue-leaning battleground states of Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin, but all were called for Obama early in the night. This drove Romney???s necessary path to victory through Florida and Virginia, which both remained too close to call late into Tuesday night. Ohio proved even more of a challenge. Early voting counts showed Obama holding a slight lead in the state, and he never lost it, finally securing the state???s 18 electoral votes in projections and winning four more years in the White House.
Update 11:15 p.m. Multiple outlets are now calling the ultimate swing state of Ohio for Obama. Those 18 electoral votes will put Obama over the top and make a Romney win a mathematical impossibility. It’s been a hard-fought race, but it’s looking now that it’s finally at an end.
Update 11:00 p.m. Finally, some good news for the Romney campaign: a win in the battleground state of North Carolina, according to the Boston Globe and the Wall Street Journal. Romney has fared well in the polls in the Tarheel state all year, but enjoyed a marked and sustained bounce especially following the first presidential debate.
Exit polls gave Republican strategists reason to sweat, leaving the race too close to call for hours.
But a socially conservative-leaning electorate and a struggling state Democratic party may have both contributed to a successful Romney win in the state. Also in play: the state???s 1.5 million unaffiliated voters.
Romney’s success in North Carolina isn’t the only good news coming from the state for Republicans tonight. Earlier, Pat McCrory defeated Democratic candidate Walter Dalton to give North Carolina its first Republican governor in 20 years.
Update 10:50 p.m. Obama campaign adviser David Axelrod made the race a little more personal last week, vowing to shave off his mustache if the president lost in either Minnesota, Michigan, or Pennsylvania. With CNN calling Minnesota for the president, Axelrod can rest easy.
Minnesota’s ten electoral votes were expected to go blue, and they are balanced out by another call: Arizona’s 11 votes will go to Romney.
Tallies now stand perilous;y close with a slight Romney lead, 169-167 electoral votes. But the Republican ticket must win in Ohio and Florida to have a hope of clinching the race, and Obama appears to maintain a slight advantage in both states as vote counting continues.
Update 9:55 p.m. The famously moderate state of New Hampshire is now in the Obama column, according to Fox News and NBC. New Hampshire’s four votes aren’t enough to swing an election on their own, but the state would have been a nice battleground win for the Romney camp. The current breakdown: 54-43 percent for Obama with 21 percent of precincts reporting.
Update 9:40 p.m. CNN is still holding back, but Fox News has called another crucial swing state for Obama: Wisconsin, home state of Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan. The Republicans have carried significant momentum into the Wisc0nsin race, enjoying the recount election triumph of Tea Party Gov. Scott Walker earlier this year. But the union-heavy state proved hard to hold, and Fox predicts an Obama win by a comfortable margin: 56-43 percent with five percent of precincts reporting.
This puts Obama potentially within one state of victory: if he can carry Ohio or Florida, the election is his. Romney must now carry Ohio and Florida and a number of the other swing states to stay in the race.
Update 9:30 p.m. Romney has never led in Pennsylvania polls, but Republicans were hopeful that the union-friendly state’s 18 electoral votes might provide an outside opportunity for the candidate and potentially provide an offset to an Ohio loss.
But Fox News projected an Obama landslide in the state, 64-35 percent with 15 percent of the state’s precincts reporting. Other networks have yet to make that call, but if the Fox projection is accurate, it will be all the more important for Romney to win battleground states Virginia, Florida, North Carolina, and Ohio.
Update 9:15 p.m.: At the turn of the 9 p.m. hour, a large portion of the electoral map turned Romney red as a half-dozen midwestern states, including 38 electoral votes from Texas, were added to the challenger???s column.
In spite of speculation about voting challenges for New York and New Jersey in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, Obama pulled off the predicted comfortable win in both states.
Perhaps the concerning development for Republicans was the quick addition of Michigan, purported to be a potential swing state, to the Obama column at the top of the hour.
While Obama maintained an easy polling lead in the final days of the race, surveys from earlier this summer indicated that it could be a close contest.
Still too close to call: the battleground states of Colorado and Wisconsin, which both concluded voting at 9p.m. EST.
Ninety minutes after polls began to close on the East Coast, ten states have been called for Republican challenger Mitt Romney and nine for President Barack Obama.
Maine, called for Obama by CNN, comes with a caveat: only three of the state???s four electoral votes have been projected, while one remains up for grabs. As Human Events writer Neil McCabe explained, that fourth vote could become a crucial addition to the Romney column in an unusual, but plausible turn of events.
So far, two states–Indiana and West Virginia–have flipped, going for Romney tonight after helping to elect Obama in 2008. Neither of these states, however, were in the toss-up category.
Polls have closed in the key swing states of Virginia, Ohio, North Carolina, and Florida, but all of those states remain too close to call.