Obama Re-elected as Crucial Ohio Goes His Way
President Barack Obama was re-elected president Tuesday night, put over the top by the crucial battleground state of Ohio following the most expensive election in U.S. history.
"You made your voice heard, and you made a difference," Obama told supporters.
"I will return to the White House more inspired and more determined than ever," he said. 'We've got more work to do."
Obama and his family walked onto stage at his Chicago headquarters to the strains of Stevie Wonder's "Signed, Sealed, Delivered." The crowd welcomed him by chanting, "Four more years!"
A roar of approval thundered through the crowd after NBC reported that Ohio had gone to Obama. The victory in Ohio put Obama at 274 electoral college votes, four more than needed.
"This happened because of you. Thank you," Obama tweeted to supporters. It was retweeted more than more than 318,000 times, a record. A picture posted around 11 p.m. EST on Obama's Facebook page showing him hugging first lady Michelle Obama under the headline "Four more years" was liked by more than a million users.
Mitt Romney was silent for more than an hour after Ohio was projected for Obama. But he then conceded in a phone call to Obama.
"I have just called President Obama to congratulate him on his victory," Romney told disappointed supporters. "I wish all of them well, but particularly the president, the first lady and their daughters. This is a time of great challenges for America, and I pray that the president will be successful in guiding our nation."
Earlier, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and New Hampshire went to Obama, according to NBC News, and Romney took North Carolina. Obama also won Virginia, Ohio and Colorado. Votes were still being counted in Florida.
After the Obama victories in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, U.S. stock futures turned down and stayed lower with the Ohio vote results. (Click here for the latest prices.)
"I'm stunned by the outcome!" said Todd Schoenberger, managing principal at the BlackBay Group, even though some market analysis had suggested that many traders had already priced in an Obama win.
Schoenberger said the market should get a bump in the next few days — simply because there was a definitive outcome to this tight race. "We'll know who we're going to be playing cards with in the next four years," he said.
However, investor Jim Rogers told CNBC: "I will buy more bonds tomorrow, I will buy metals tomorrow. ... Will I buy shares? No."
In the competition for the decisive electoral votes, Obama had 303 to Romney's 206.
In addition to Wisconsin, Paul Ryan's home state, Obama won in Romney's home state of Massachusetts and in Romney's boyhood home of Michigan. But Romney won in Mormon Utah.
Voters also chose a new Congress. Democrats successfully defended their majority in the Senate and Republicans drove toward renewed control of the House as Democrats failed to make any significant inroads into the GOP's delegations from the East, South and Midwest.
In two high-profile Senate races, Democrat Elizabeth Warren, who is considered unfriendly to Wall Street, defeated moderate incumbent Republican Scott Brown in Massachusetts, and Democrat Chris Murphy defeated professional wrestling magnate Linda McMahon in Connecticut. Independent candidate Bernie Sanders was the projected winner for re-election in Vermont, and independent Angus King was projected in Maine for the seat being vacated by Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe.
In Missouri, incumbent Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill defeated Republican Todd Akin, who had been favored until his controversial comments about rape turned the race around in August. And in the contest to succeed Indiana Republican Sen. Richard Lugar, Tea Party-backed Richard Mourdock, who also was criticized for comments about rape and abortion, lost to Democratic Rep. Joe Donnelly.
Sen. Bill Nelson turned aside a challenge from Republican Connie Mack IV in Florida, and Democrat Timothy Kaine defeated George Allen in Virginia's Senate race.
(Read More: Dems Hold Senate, GOP Keeps House)
Eleven states picked governors, and ballot measures ranging from gay marriage to gambling to union rights were on ballots. Massachusetts voters approved medicinal use of marijuana.
Romney had secured his Republican conservative base in the $2 billion duel for the White House, a race shadowed by a weak economy and high unemployment.
He won in Idaho, Arizona, Montana, Kansas, Louisiana, the Dakotas, Nebraska, Texas, Wyoming, Arkansas, Indiana, Kentucky, West Virginia, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina.
In addition to Massachusetts, Michigan and Wisconsin, NBC projected Obama victories in Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, California, Hawaii, Washington state, Missouri, Minnesota, New Mexico, New York, New Jersey, Vermont, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Maryland, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maine and his home state of Illinois.
The long campaign's cost soared into the billions, much of it spent on negative ads, some harshly so.
In the presidential race, an estimated 1 million commercials aired in nine battleground states where the rival camps agreed the election was most likely to be settled — Ohio, New Hampshire, Virginia, Florida, North Carolina, Wisconsin, Iowa, Colorado and Nevada. They accounted for 110 of the 270 electoral votes needed for victory, and they drew repeated appearances by the 51-year-old president and Romney, 65.
(Read More: The Election and the Great Virginia Divide)
On Election Day, Romney campaigned until the end. He raced to Ohio and Pennsylvania for last-minute campaigning and projected confidence as he flew home to Massachusetts to await the results. "We fought to the very end, and I think that's why we'll be successful," he said, adding that he had finished writing a speech anticipating victory.
Obama made get-out-the-vote calls from a campaign office near his home in Chicago and took to the online site Reddit one more time to ask its members to cast their vote. He also found time for his traditional Election Day basketball game with friends.
(Read More: Obama Uses Reddit to Make Final Plea)
Addressing his rival, Obama said, "I also want to say to Governor Romney, `Congratulations on a spirited campaign.' I know his supporters are just as engaged, just as enthusiastic and working just as hard today." Romney, in turn, congratulated the president for running a "strong campaign."
Other than the battlegrounds, big states were virtually ignored in the final months of the campaign. Romney wrote off New York, Illinois and California, while Obama made no attempt to carry Texas, much of the South or the Rocky Mountain region other than Colorado.
There were 33 Senate seats on the ballot, 23 of them defended by Democrats and the rest by Republicans.
The GOP needed a gain of three for a majority if Romney won, and four if Obama was re-elected. Early projections saw Democrats holding at least 50 seats in the Senate. Neither Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada nor GOP leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky was on the ballot, but each had high stakes in the outcome.