Editors Note: This is a live blog from John Carney reporting from CNBC Headquarters election night. To read from the beginning, scroll down and read up.
12:30 AM/ ET We're calling it a night.
This may go down as the conventional wisdom election. It was clear to most pundits that the Republicans would gain control of the House but fall short of controlling the Senate. And that's exactly what happened.
A few races still need to be decided. They are hotly contested. But none of them will be able to effect control of the Senate. And the House looks headed for a relatively predictable GOP victory.
Good night and good luck, America.
12:27 AM/ET The Republicans have picked off the formerly Democratic seat in Illinois. Mark Kirk will take the seat that once belonged to Barack Obama, just about as symbolic a repudiation of Obama as anyone could hope or fear (depending on your politics). This was certainly a hard fought race, with both candidates weighed down by lots of shudder-worthy stuff.
And while we weren't looking, some genius called Hawaii for the Democrats. Shocker that one.
Senate scorecard: Democrats have 50 seats. The Republicans have 46. Four more remain to be decided: Colorado, Nevada, Washington, and Alaska. The races in Washington and Colorado are still too close to call. In Nevada, Harry Reid is doing surprisingly well against challenger Sharron Angle, who had been polling much better than she seems to be performing. Polls still haven't closed in Alaska.
12:23 AM/ ET It looks like our sense from an hour ago that Pennsylvania would tilt toward Republican Senatorial candidate Pat Toomey as the final votes were counted was correct. Toomey has now been projected to be the winner there.
12:09 AM/ ET We've been neglecting the governors' races for most of the evening.
While we wait for the last results to trickle in, we'll just note that this wasn't a good year for Republican business women in California politics. Both former Hewlett-Packard executive Carly Fiorina and former eBay executive Meg Whitman went down to career politicians.
A lot of people thought Americans might want to elect business-minded folks to office during this economic slump. Tonight's results in California and elsewhere (West Virginia's Senate race and New York's governor race) seem to repudiate that idea.
11:59 PM/ET "I'm not a witch." There. We just wanted to say it one more time.
11:50 PM/ET Representative John Boehner, the likely next Speaker of the House, is giving a speech right now. Quite surprisingly, he seems to get choked up a number of times. At one point, he almost seemed on the verge of tears.
11:48 PM/ ET Barbara Boxer is the projected winner in California, which more or less mathematically eliminates the GOP's chances of taking the Senate.
As expected, Oregon has voted Democrat while Idaho has voted Republican.
Senate scorecard: 49 Democrats, 44 Republicans.
There are seven seats still in play. One of them is Hawaii, which is more likely to declare its independence tonight than vote in a Republican Senator. So, realistically, there are six seats in play.
If the GOP wins all six of the battle-ground seats, we'd have a fifty-fifty tie in the Senate. That would give power to the Democrats, thanks to Vice President Joe Biden's tie-breaking vote. It would also create a dicey situation for the leadership of both parties, as they would have to guard closely against the defection of any one of their members.
11:03 PM/ ET Here's another factor favoring Toomey in Pennsylvania: the Republican candidate for governor, Tom Corbett won. That might be just the edge Toomey needs to carry the state.
10:56 PM/ET The two most exciting Senate races right now are very clearly in Pennsylvania and Illinois.
Let's start with Pennsylvania. Pat Toomey, the conservative Republican in the race, is in a dead heat with Democrat Joe Sestak, with nearly 80% of the precincts reporting. Right now, each candidate has exactly 50% of the vote. This looks to be leaning toward Toomey, however. Almost all of the votes in Sestak-favoring Philadephia have been counted. Many votes in Toomey-territory, especially Lancaster county, remain to be counted. Still, this is so close no one can call this one yet.
There's a strong potential, when races are this tight after this many votes have been counted, that we could wind up with some kind of post election contest. The losing candidate may demand a recount or attempt to fight the final vote tally in court. This might not end tonight.
10:46 PM/ET Russ Feingold, the sitting Democratic Senator in Wisconsin, has lost to Republican Ron Johnson. That's a relief to Republicans, who need to a perfect game for the rest of the night in every realistically contested state.
But it's very bad news for Barack Obama. Feingold is a whisper candidate for a primary challenge from his party's left to Obama in 2012. The concern among centrists is that fighting off a challenge from the left would be costly, divide the party's base, and perhaps force Obama to move to the left himself. That's a recipe that some Democratic centrists think may be able to produce a one-term presidency.
Here's a bold prediction: Obama will offer Feingold a top position in his administration. He doesn't want Feingold loose in the world, with nothing to do but plot a 2012 run. Better to bring him into the fold. Keep your friends close and your potential rivals closer.
10:32 PM/ ET Right now here's where things stand.
The Democrats have won seven contests, bringing their total to 47 seats. The Republicans have won 19 contests, bringing their total to 42 seats.
Just 11 Senate seats remain to be decided. Of those, Democrats will almost certainly win in Oregon and Hawaii, bringing the Democrat total up to 49. The Republicans will almost certainly win in Idaho, bringing their total to 43.
That leaves just eight in play: Wisconsin, Washington, California, Pennsylvania, Nevada, Illinois, Colorado and Alaska.
To get to fifty-one votes, the Republicans would have to in every single one of those contests.
9:31 PM/ET Andrew Cuomo has beaten Carl Paladino in the race for governor. It’s not exactly surprising. Even many who would desperately have liked to see Cuomo go down to defeat had to admit that Carl seemed not yet for prime time.
Don’t feel bad about that Carl. Cuomo was bred for politics. You just arrived in the muck floating on an empty tea barrel. There’s always next time.
We have to wonder whether Cuomo might not tremble a bit at the thought of taking the job of Governor of New York. The last two men who held that position were brought down by their own misdeeds and the reporters of the New York Times. Best of luck, Andrew.
9:08 PM/ET Admit it. You are kind of sad Christine O’Donnell lost.
I mean, it’s possible that you are in the minority who is absolutely crushed she lost.
But even if you aren’t crushed, there’s part of you that’s really going to miss having that woman as a prominent public figure.
We’ll always have “I’m not a witch” in our memories.
9:00 PM/ET The Republicans have won control of the House of Representatives, NBC news is projecting.
Many polls are still open across the country. But NBC News believes that once all the votes are tallied, Republicans will hold 236 seats to the Democrats 199 seats.
NBC News can now project that the Republicans have won control of the House of Representatives. The NBC News Decision Desk projects that when all the votes are counted, Republicans will hold 236 seats and the Democrats will hold 199 seats in the new House of Representatives.
8:58 PM/ET Occassional contributor to CNBC and NetNet James Altucher sends along this nice note.
Congrats on your congressional seat: "Despite the national trend, the first House seat to change hands was in Delaware — and it went to the Democrats. There, John Carney easily won the seat that was Castle's for nearly two decades."
So, for the record: no relation.
8:53 PM/ET West Virginia just crushed Republican hopes for a Senate majority.
Governor Joe Manchin handily beat businessman John Raese. As we just explained, this was a race the GOP couldn’t afford to lose.
Senate scorecard: 45 Dems, 34 Republicans. 21 Seats.
But, really, it’s over. The Democrats will hold the Senate.
8:47 PM/ET Over at the Washington Examiner, my brother Tim Carney explains why the Republicans face an difficult task in trying to take the Senate this year.
Republicans have an outside chance of having 50 seats in the Senate after the votes are counted, but we won’t know until tomorrow.
Here’s one way to count. Start with the ones that are not competitive, or are already decided:
Republicans not up for reelection this year (23)
Safe Republican incumbents facing reelection (10): Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Louisiana, and South Dakota.
Safe Republican open seat retentions (5): Ohio, N.H., Utah, Missouri, and Kansas
Certain Republican pickups (4): N.D., Arkansas, Indiana, and Ky.,
Add those all up, and you have 42 Republicans before we even get to competitive outstanding races:
Republican seat in play (1): Alaska
Democratic seats in play (8): Washington, California, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Nevada, Illinois, Colorado, and West Virginia.
Republicans would have to win all 9 competitive seats to win a Senate majority.
A loss in West Virginia would make that impossible.
So now you know why we’re on tenterhooks about that West Virginia race.
8:37 PM/ET Blanche Lincoln, the author of the derivatives restrictions in the Dodd-Frank financial reform act, has gone down in Arkansas. Republican John Boozman will take her seat.
Senate Scorecard: Dems 44, Republicans 34. Awaiting 22.
8:33 PM/ ET The North Carolina Senate race is being called for Richard Burr, the Republican candidate.
Senate count: Democrats 43, Republicans 33. Seats left to go: 24.
8:24 PM/ ET The North Carolina Senate race is being called for Richard Burr, the Republican candidate.
Senate count: Democrats 43, Republicans 33. Seats left to go: 24.
8:19 PM/ET Now for a few more unsurprising Senate race results. Heavily GOP states stayed that way. So did heavily Democratic state.
In particular, Republican Tom Coburn is projected to in in Oklahoma. Republican Richard Shelby is projected to win in Alabama. Johnny Isakson, Republican, wins in Georgia.
Democrat Barbara Mikulski is projected to win in Maryland.
Still no word out of West Virginia.
The total is now 43 Democrats to 32 Republicans. 25 seats still being decided.
8:12 PM/ET It’s the top of the hour, which means a whole new slate of projected winners.
- Tea Party favorite and Republican Marco Rubio is the projected winner in Florida’s Senate race. This was expected. Republicans previously held this seat.
- Kelley Ayotte, the Republican candidate, won in New Hampshire. Also expected and also a hold for the GOP.
Democrat Chris Coons has defeated Tea Party-GOP candidate Christine O’Donnell. It turns out, she didn’t use witchcraft to steal the race. Maybe she isn’t a witch after all. This was also the way this race was expected to go, and is a hold for the Democratcs.
So that brings our totals for the Senate to 42 Democrats to 29 Republicans. We’ve just got 29 seats to go.
7:59 PM/ET We’re waiting on tenter-hooks for the projected results of the battle over the seat of the late Senator Robert Byrd of West Virginia.
So far the Republicans have picked up one seat formerly controlled by the Democrats. The Democrats have picked up none.
A win by Republican John Raese in West Virginia will throw at least a bit of cold water on Democrat hopes that they can hold onto the Senate. A win by Governor Joe Manchin, the Democratic candidate who has lately had the lead in the polls, will bolster those hopes.
Polls closed at 7:30. We can’t stand the suspense!
7:34 PM/ET So far it's been a GOP night. The Republicans just picked up Ohio's Senate seat. The brings the count in the Senate to 41 Dems to 27 Republicans. 32 seats left to go.
7:20 PM/ET Now might be a good time to run through what’s up for grabs tonight.
Every single one of the 435 House seats is at stake—although a far smaller number is competitive. The Republicans need to pick up 39 seats to capture the House, something most political experts predict they will easily do. NBC news is calling 8 seats for the Republicans and 1 for the Democrats so far.
In the Senate, voters today will decide the occupants of 37 seats. The Democrats start the night with 38 seats that aren’t being decided tonight, plus two independents who usually vote with the Democrats. The Republicans start with just 23 Senators that don’t have to face voters tonight.
After the earliest results in Vermont, Kentucky and South Carolina and Indiana, the Senate count is now 41 to 26, with the Democrats still leading. 33 seats still hang in the balance.
7:10 PM/ET Kentucky and Indiana have gone Republican, with victories for Rand Paul in Kentucky and Dan Coats in Indiana.
7:02 PM/ET RAND PAUL WINS!
6:58 PM/ET Our stunning data point of the hour comes from the New York Times: America loves the Tea Party. 4 in 10 voters support the Tea Party, according to that survey by Edison Research. Keep in mind that only 2.5 in 10 have a favorable view of Congress, and only 4.5 in 10 has a favorable view of Obama.
6:50 PM/ETThe New York Times blog The Caucus has a sneak peak at exit poll results from Edison Research, an independent survey firm. They look pretty ugly for President Obama.
The economy is still the number one issue.
- More than 8 in 10 voters are worried about the direction of the economy in the next year.
- More than 4 in 10 said their family's financial situation is worse than it was two years ago.
- More people who showed up at polling places said they were voting to express opposition to Obama than to support it.
- More people said Obama's policies will hurt the country in the long run than said help.
But don't worry Mr. President. The voters dislike Congress almost twice as much as they dislike you. They don't like either party in Congress. Or, more precisely, they dislike both parties equally.
6:40 PM/ETWe hear from our sources in GOP circles that Democratic turnout has been even lower than expected, which is brightening Republican hopes. Still, in the the smoke-filled rooms populated by Republicans, the smart money is still betting the Democrats hold the Senate.
6:29 PM /ET Let’s get this thing started. If you’re here, you probably already know where you are. But just in case you’ve already begun to celebrate, here’s a quick bit of guidance: this is CNBC.com’s live coverage of the 2010 midterm elections. For the next several hours we’ll be right here covering the news as it breaks.
And the news will begin to break any minute now—with the closing of the Indiana and Kentucky polls at 6 P.M. (All times are Eastern Standard Time, unless otherwise noted). Libertarian scion and Tea Party candidate Rand Paul is widely considered the favorite to take Seantor Jim Bunning’s Seat.
After that the contest will move to South Carolina, Florida and New Hampshire, where polls close at 7 P.M. Both are predicted by most pundits and pollsters to be Republican pickups in the Senate and the House. A half hour later, we’ll hear from West Viriginia, North Carolina and Ohio.
By eight o’clock we’ll really be off to the races (heh). Polls close in 18 states. All told these are said to have 38 competitive House races and at least two competitive Senate races—Missouri and Illinois.
We’ll likely have a good idea of which party is likely to control the House when these results come in.
The polls close in New York at 9 P.M. Cuomo looks likely to beat Carl Paladino for the right to live in Albany. Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, Democratic candidates for New York's two Senate seats, will likely win against whoever they are running against.
A few key Senate races will come in quite late. The showdown in Colorado between Michael Bennet, a Democrat appointed to the Senate last year, and Ken Buck, a Republican with strong Tea Party support, will come to an end at 9 P.M. when the polls close. But with the race very tight, it could be a long time before we learn the outcome.
Will Nevada knock-out Harry Reid? Polls there don’t close until 10 P.M..
With the race in a dead heat, according to the polls, it's anyone’s guess which way this one will go. And no one has any idea how late the count will stretch into the night.
Finally, we get that wild and wacky race for the Senate seat in Alaska. Lisa Murkowski, who lost the Republican primary, is running as a write-in candidate against Joe Miller, Sara Palin's candidate.
Pity poor Scott McAdams, the Democratic candidate, who is running a distant third. The polls in Alaska don't close until midnight.