Part 1: Intro and 6:00 EDT Poll Closings is here.
Part 2: 7:00 and 7:30 EDT Poll Closings
7:00 PM: All polls close in Georgia, South Carolina, Vermont, and Virginia. Most of the polls close in New Hampshire, but thirteen towns keep their polls open an hour later. The majority of the polls also close in Florida and Indiana, but portions of each of these states are in the Central Time Zone and close an hour later.
Florida, Indiana, and New Hampshire are expected to give Republicans three more of the 16 out of 18 seats they need to win control. In Florida, former State House Speaker, Marco Rubio (R, Tea Party) continues to gain ground as moderates split their votes between State Senator Kendrick Meek (D) and Governor Charlie Crist (Ind), who lost the Republican primary to Rubio and is running as an independent (and has not declared which party he would caucus with should he win). With the 3-way race and votes to be counted in the Central Time Zone Panhandle, expect the announcement to come later in the evening.
Handicappers would view it as a major upset if Brad Ellsworth (D) were to beat former Senator Dan Coats (R) to retain Evan Bayh‘s former seat in Indiana, but we will not know until the votes are counted. Judd Gregg (R) is retiring in New Hampshire leaving an open seat. Former State Attorney General Kelly Ayotte (R) had a close win over a Tea Party candidate to get the Republican nomination, but is now in a strong position over Congressman Paul Hodes (D). The vote count is worth watching because New Hampshire voters are notoriously hard to predict.
House: There are fifteen CenteredPolitics Top-70 races as polls close at 7 PM, and Florida has six of them.
D — R
__ __ NH-1: Incumbent Carol Shea-Porter (D) is fighting for a third term against former Manchester Mayor Frank Guinta (R).
__ __ NH-2: The open seat race (Paul Hodes-D is running for senate) pits former Rep. Charlie Bass (R) against Ann McLane Kuster (D) in a close contest.
__ __ VA-5: Incumbent Tom Perriello (D) versus State Senator Robert Hurt (R) is a race to watch. Perriello won this traditionally Republican district that includes the University of Virginia in the 2008 Obama surge and cast brave votes for health care reform, cap and trade, and the rest of the Obama agenda and has trailed all year. Can an Obama rally, and a Presidential mention on the Daily Show, and then an appearance on the Colbert Report lift him to victory?
__ __ VA-2 Incumbent Glenn Nye (D), also an Obama surge freshman, is more conservative but faces a tough challenge from car dealer Scott Rigel (R) in a conservative military district.
__ __ SC-5: Incumbent John Spratt (D) is hoping to defeat Mick Mulvaney (R) who is challenging his votes for TARP, the Recovery Act, and healthcare.
__ __ GA-2: Incumbent Sanford Bishop Jr. (D) is looking for a 10th term against State Rep. Mike McKeown (R).
__ __ GA-8: Incumbent Jim Marshall (D) is one of the most conservative Democrats, so this race against State Rep. Austin Scott (R) has been more about personal attacks than policy.
__ __ FL-2: Incumbent Allen Boyd (D – Blue Dog) is being challenged by Steve Southerland (R) in this panhandle district where his vote for healthcare reform is as problematic as his 14 years in Washington.
__ __ FL-8: Incumbent Alan Grayson (D) gets noticed for his outbursts on the House floor, but now faces a tough battle against former State Senator Daniel Webster (R).
__ __ FL-12: This Republican leaning I-4 corridor district has an open three-way race (Adam Putnam-R is retiring) pitting Dennis Ross (R) against Randy Wilkinson (Tea Party) and giving Lori Edwards (D) a rare opportunity to score a pick up for the Democrats.
__ __ FL-22: Incumbent Ron Klein (D) is trying hold off Iraqi war veteran Allen West (R) in a rematch of a close 2008 race, in this senior heavy gerrymandered district along the beach from West Palm to Pompano.
__ __ FL-24: Incumbent Suzanne Kosmas (D) is looking to hold onto a seat she barely won in the 2008 Obama surge. She voted “yes” on healthcare reform so Republicans are pouring in money to help Sandra Adams (R).
__ __ FL-25: This open seat in a largely Cuban district pits Joe Garcia (D) against David Rivera (R). This is a “Red to Blue” target for the DCCC.
__ __ In-2: Incumbent Joe Donnelly (D-Blue Dog) is facing State House Leader, Jackie Walorski (R) and is trying to convince voters he’s independent of Speaker Pelosi.
__ __ In-9: Another incumbent Blue Dog, Baron Hill (D), is battling lawyer Todd Young (R) and trying to defend challenges to his votes for healthcare reform, cap and trade, and the Recovery Act.
Governor: New Hampshire Governor John Lynch (D) should win re-election over John Stephen (R), and in South Carolina Mark Sanford is expected to be followed by another Republican, Nikki Haley. The more competitive races closing at 7:00 are Florida — Alex Sink (D) vs. Rick Scott (R), Georgia — former Governor Roy Barnes (D) vs. Rep. Nathan Deal (R), and Vermont where Lt. Gov. Brian Dubie is trying to keep this blue state governorship in Republican hands against State Senate President Peter Shumlin.
7:30 PM: Polls close in North Carolina, Ohio, and West Virginia.
Senate: West Virginia is the first true toss-up of the night. Popular long-time Senator Robert Byrd (D) died earlier this year, and his temporary replacement, Carte Goodwin, is not running. Governor Joe Manchin (D) and businessman John Raese (R) have been locked in a tight race about who can be more anti-liberal agenda. If Manchin wins, the magic number for Democrats in the Senate would drop from 3 to just 2 but don’t expect a quick call.
House: Six Top 70 races (5 D incumbents and 1 open D seat) close at this time.
D — R
__ __ NC-7: 14 year incumbent Mike McIntyre (D) is in a close race against Ilario Pantano
__ __ NC-8 Incumbent Larry Kissell (D) is another Obama surge Democrat, getting a lot of help from the NEA in a conservative district.
__ __ OH-6: Congressman Charlie Wilson (D) is fighting for a third term against Bill Johnson (R), but is busy defending votes for healthcare and the stimulus in this economically hard-hit area of Ohio.
__ __ OH-18: Fellow Ohio incumbent Zack Space (D), running in a neighboring district, is also hoping for a third term, but is in a tight race against Bob Gibbs (R).
__ __ OH-16: Freshman incumbent John Boccieri (D) is being challenged by Jim Renacci (R) as he tries to keep his seat after being elected as part of the Obama surge.
__ __ WV-1: Congressman Alan Mollohan held the seat since 1983 but lost in the primary to State Senator Mike Oliverio (D), a far more conservative Democrat who is battling former State Rep. David McKinley (R).
Governor: Ohio, a traditional swing state, has a divisive battle for governor. Incumbent Ted Strickland (D) is seeking re-election against former Congressman John Kasich (R). This state is getting a lot of national attention, since both parties would be eager to have the state’s governor’s seat going into the 2012 election for President.