Raw Story election live-blogging with Steve Earle and Anthony Weiner
Wow, it’s going to be a long and weird night as we watch election returns come in and the US Senate probably changes hands.
In order to ramp up the strange, we’re live-blogging tonight from the Red Room, the upstairs speakeasy at the KGB Bar on 4th street in the East Village.
We’ll be watching the returns as New York magazine writer Mark Jacobson runs a wild show, featuring legendary musician Steve Earle, former New York congressman Anthony Weiner, Daily Beast writer Michael Daly, and musical guests and other surprises.
We’ll keep you up on what’s happening here in this den of iniquity as the election map (probably) turns a deep shade of crimson.
7:07 PM Well, that was quick. CNN is calling Kentucky for Mitch McConnell. So if the GOP wins the Senate, the minority leader will become the majority leader.
And, as expected, Lindsey Graham has been re-elected in South Carolina. And the other South Carolina senate seat is expected to be held by incumbent Tim Scott.
So at this point, we have Democrats with 34 seats (counting Independent Bernie Sanders), and the GOP has 33.
Meanwhile, here in the speakeasy, Mark Jacobson and Michael Daly are getting things set up, and drinks are being served.
7:25 PM We’re looking for results from Virginia and Georgia next. And it looks like some early returns are coming in from New Hampshire.
Meanwhile, I’ve asked Michael Daly for his thoughts on Alison Lundergan Grimes losing to Mitch McConnell: “It’s not the way a lot of people wanted the night to start,” he says. “You know what my father used to say? ‘If you want to live like a Republican, vote Democratic.’ Things are getting better, and now we’re going to put these guys in and it’s all going to fall apart.”
In Florida, Democratic candidate for governor Charlie Crist has filed a petition with the court to keep polls open in Florida an extra hour, until 9 pm, because of difficulty voting in some areas. (And if you remember, when he was the Republican governor of Florida, one of the things Crist did was go against his party and advocate for more people voting.) So far, in early voting, he’s doing very well.
Meanwhile, here in the speakeasy, we’ve been joined by Christine Ohlman, the former SNL band member and always a great performer at Mark Jacobson’s weird nights here at the KGB Bar.
7:39 PM As expected, Shelley Moore Capito has won the US Senate seat in West Virginia. That’s a switch from the Democrats to the GOP as she takes the seat that was held by Jay Rockefeller. And now we’re tied, GOP 34, Dems 34.
7:45 PM Steve Earle is in the building. And incumbent GOP governors Nikki Haley (South Carolina) and John Kasich (Ohio) have been declared winners, as was expected.
The New York Times had Nikki Haley as a possible “narrow victory,” but Nate Silver had her chances at 99 percent.
Eight o’clock is nearing, and a crap-ton of states are going to close their polls. We will try to keep up with the tsunami of results.
As for early Senate results, things are trending well for Democrats Jeanne Shaheen in New Hampshire and Kay Hagan in North Carolina, and for Republican David Perdue in Georgia — but those are early results.
8:03 PM Brace for a lot of noncompetitive states to come in now which really mean nothing for overall control of the Senate.
So far: Susan Collins (Maine) and Thad Cochran (Mississippi) for the GOP… And Ed Markey (Massachusetts) and Cory Booker (NJ) for the Dems…
That brings us (very temporarily) to 36 Dems, 36 GOP.
And Anthony Weiner has arrived at the speakeasy. It’s now getting pretty crowded and loud. Your correspondent, however, is in a comfy corner.
And now two more foregone conclusions for the GOP in the Senate race — Jeff Sessions (who was running unopposed) and the two seats in Oklahoma, Jim Inhofe and James Lankford. Add to that Lamar Alexander in Tennessee, and at this point we’re at GOP 40, Democrats 36.
But keep in mind, only one result so far tonight was really contested in the Senate races — in Kentucky.
8:16 PM Meanwhile, here in the speakeasy, Mark Jacobson has started off festivities, and Christine Ohlman is laying down some serious blues, and she’s wailing about politics. Fun.
We’re so focused on the Senate, we’ve been neglecting the gubernatorial contests. A couple more expected GOP victories — Bill Haslam in Tennessee and Robert Bentley in Alabama.
In Florida, Republican Rick Scott has a narrow 1 percent lead, but areas around Miami still need to come in, and that looks good for Democrat Charlie Crist.
8:23 PM Anthony Weiner addressing the somber mood in the room: “What are you complaining about? It’s not like anything good has been happening in the last two years.”
“If we win the Senate by three or lose the Senate by three, is there really any difference?” Weiner says, talking about the dysfunction in government.
Weiner’s talking about disaffected young voters who don’t want to vote for either party. “Just look at Reddit,” he says.
The low turnout on the Democratic side? “There just is general connection between active voting and any change taking place,” Weiner says.
“Look at how the Democrats campaigned this year. We had things to be legitimately proud of, and we didn’t talk about any of it.”
Why? He’s asked.
“Because they’re pussies,” Weiner says. “The other side wanted to make it about Obama and Obamacare.”
“Democrats are under the desks too much. What happened to the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party?”
8:30 PM And now Steve Earle has come up on stage and has been handed a microphone.
“Why did we bail on this president? I’ve never for one minute been disappointed by the performance of Barack Obama,” says the legendary musician.
(Meanwhile, in Rhode Island, Jack Reed has been re-elected as the Democratic senator in that state. Dems 37, GOP 40.)
Well, we had a connection problem here, and our post about Republican Tom Cotton defeating incumbent Democrat Mark Pryor in Arkansas got eaten.
But that brings the total to GOP 41, Dems 37.
And so far, the two contested elections have both gone to the GOP.
And ABC has called the New Hampshire senate seat for Democrat Jeanne Shaheen over carpetbagger Scott Brown.
GOP 41, Dems 38.
A win for Democratic Senator Chris Coons in Delaware brings us to GOP 41, Dems 39.
Here in the speakeasy, Paul Krassner called in on Skype, and explained to us why he’s still optimistic about politics in America: “All the acid trips,” he said.
Now Steve Earle is singing on stage and talking about politics. The speakeasy is mesmerized.
Gary Peters has been declared the winner of Carl Levin’s Senate seat in Michigan, and South Dakota has been declared for the GOP’s Mike Rounds.
We’re now at GOP 42, Dems 41
9:28 PM Here in the speakeasy, Anthony Weiner is talking about how we create an environment that allows the young people who, for example, made sexual assault on college campuses a force for electoral politics.
“Maybe it’s technology. Maybe it’s a way that we find a way to connect people with electoral politics through technology,” he suggests.
Getting back to election results, the GOP has won Senate seats in Texas (John Cornyn) as expected, and in Nebraska (Ben Sasse). So we’re at GOP 44, Dems 41.
9:34 PM Here in the speakeasy, Christine Ohlman is now singing songs about Huey Long. We need another beer.
And now we hear that Mary Landrieu and Bill Cassidy will face off in a runoff election for Louisiana’s senate seat. We think that will be in December — which means, as many expected, the fate of Senate control may not be decided tonight.
Clay Aiken has lost in North Carolina.
9:48 PM GOP Senator Mike Enzi has won re-election in Wyoming, as expected, and the Times map is showing Democrat Al Franken a winner in Minnesota. So now we’re at GOP 45, Dems 42.
Meanwhile, here in the speakeasy, the show has wrapped up and folks are milling around. But we are here for the duration.
Folks, it’s still very early. It may be a very long night with the tossup states.
9:56 PM We’re seeing a call for Cory Gardner in Colorado, to unseat Democratic incumbent Senator Mark Udall. But we’re double checking that.
10:11 PM We’ve moved our setup upstairs from the speakeasy where we have a more solid connection. And the Montana senate seat, as expected, has changed hands from the Democrats to the GOP with Steve Daines taking the win. That puts us at GOP 46, Dems 42.
Fox is now calling Colorado’s senate seat for Cory Gardner, but the Udall campaign is disputing it. We’ll continue to wait before putting it in either column.
And now NBC is calling it for Gardner. That’s a big loss for the Democrats. It’s now GOP 47, Dems 42. (Corrected the math there.)
In Florida, Republican Governor Rick Scott managed to hold of Charlie Crist, a former Republican governor who had switched parties. Scott is a disaster, and it’s hard to understand this one, Floridians.
The AP also declares Republican Scott Walker the victor in his re-election effort in Wisconsin.
10:35 PM CBS has called the Georgia senate seat for Republican businessman David Perdue over Michelle Nunn. Nunn had been doing well after Perdue’s boasting about outsourcing jobs in a court case came to light, but that apparently wasn’t enough. GOP 48, Dems 42.
At this point, we’re just starting to look for some silver linings. The main one being — please, Iowa, do not sent Joni Ernst to the US Senate. Have some dignity.
10:41 PM CBS has called Pat Roberts the winner in Kansas, returning the incumbent Republican senator to Washington, where he actually lives. GOP 49, Dems 42.
Looking at the map, we know that the GOP will get Idaho when polls close there in 11 minutes. So if they win North Carolina, where Democrat Kay Hagan was leading in the polls, but she’s struggling tonight, then it’s game over with 51 GOP seats, even with Alaska and Louisiana still to be decided. Do we have that right?
CNN is declaring GOP Georgia Governor Nathan Deal re-elected.
One of many signs of how the night has gone: Nate Silver had Virginia Democrat Mark Warner a 99-percent chance of winning re-election. But with 99 percent of precincts reporting, it’s a 49-49 tossup against challenger Ed Gillespie.
11:06 PM Hawaii’s Brian Schatz wins, bringing the Dems their 43rd seat. Jerry Brown wins his fourth term as governor in California. Should be some additional foregone Democratic victories coming in shortly from the west coast.
And there’s Jeff Merkley, returned as Democratic senator from Oregon. GOP 49, Dems 44.
Idaho just turned red on the New York Times map, as Republican incumbent Jim Risch wins re-election, as expected. By our count that’s now GOP 50, Dems 44.
Republicans have also picked up a win in the Illinois governor’s race, with Bruce Rauner unseating incumbent Pat Quinn.
11:22 PM We’re hearing that Fox is calling the Iowa senate race for Joni Ernst. If that’s the case, then the GOP has just won the Senate majority.
And the AP is calling the North Carolina senate race for Thom Tillis, which is really a bit of a shocker. Kay Hagan had been leading in polls up to election day. We’re now looking at GOP 52, Dems 44.
We’re going to head back downstairs to the speakeasy while the drinks are still flowing.
Thanks for staying up with Raw Story tonight.