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What to look for on Election Night
An hour-by-hour guide to LGBT races around the nation
Keen News Service
In Tuesday’s election, there is a close race for the White House, a close race for Tammy Baldwin’s bid to the U.S. Senate, five unpredictable outcomes on marriage-related votes, and an openly gay caucus in Congress that could be either three or six by the end of the evening.
The stakes and the consequences of the results are so high that many LGBT people will be staying up late on November 6 to watch it all unfold.
The National Election Pool, a coalition of mainstream media organizations who conduct exit polling to project results, is doing things differently this year to accommodate the increase in early voting. They predict, as a result of their modifications, that projections may trickle out more slowly this year than in the past. This guide will give political enthusiasts some idea of when the most important results will start becoming apparent.
7 pm Eastern time
Polls close in the first six states, including the swing state of Virginia. These six states hold a total of 60 electoral votes and, chances are, 44 will go to Romney and 3 to Obama. The wild card is Virginia, with 13 electoral votes that have been hard to predict for weeks. If they go to Romney, Democrats will need to get a drink. But if they go to Obama, Republicans might start pacing.
Another important race in Virginia will be the state’s open U.S. Senate seat. If pro-gay Democrat Tim Kaine wins, another sigh of relief; but if anti-gay George Allen wins, Democrats will have to start worrying about the majority in the Senate.
Best case scenario: Romney wins Indiana, Kentucky, Georgia, and South Carolina; and Obama wins Vermont and Virgina.
Electoral count: Romney 44, Obama 16. Senate marker: Good news if Kaine beats Allen.
Polls close in Ohio. The most important news to listen for now is who’s winning here. Ohio has become perhaps the most important of the battleground states and our 18 electoral votes are seen as absolutely critical to Romney’s chances of counting up to 270, the total electoral votes needed to win the White House.
The Senate race between incumbent Democrat Sherrod Brown and challenger Josh Mandel will be an indicator of which party will control the Senate.
Ohio’s only out lawmaker, State Rep. Nickie Antonio of Lakewood, should also win re-election.
Best case scenario: Romney wins North Carolina and West Virginia, Obama wins Ohio. Brown and Antonio both win.
Electoral count: Romney 64, Obama 34
Eight o’clock is when the Big Kahuna of electoral votes comes flooding in: 210 in all. Of those, 96 are expected to go to Obama, including 20 from Illinois. Romney is likely to pick up 81, including 38 from Texas. The big question is who will pick up Florida’s 29 and New Hampshire’s 4.
Also at 8 p.m., polls close in Maine and Maryland, where voters are being asked whether the state can begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. LGBT supporters want a “Yes” vote on Question 1 in Maine and a “Yes” for Question 6 in Maryland.
The Massachusetts Senate race between incumbent Republican Scott Brown and Democratic challenger Elizabeth Warren has been seen as a very important factor in determining who will control the Senate.
Likely scenario: Romney 174, Obama 134
Best case scenario: Maine votes “Yes” on Question 1 and Maryland votes “Yes” on Question 6
Best Senate scenario: Warren beats Brown
Best House scenario: Openly gay U.S. Rep. David Cicilline wins re-election from Rhode Island and openly gay Richard Tisei wins his House bid in Massachusetts, becoming the only openly gay Republican in Congress.
Arkansas’ six electoral votes will almost certainly go to Romney. Likely scenario: Romney 180, Obama 134
At 9 is when the second largest number of electoral votes come on line. Romney will likely pick up 30, Obama will pick up 60. The question marks are Wisconsin and Colorado, with 10 and nine respectively.
Add this to Wisconsin: Liberal, openly lesbian U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin has a real chance of becoming the first out person to be elected to the U.S. Senate. She’s in a very tight race against popular former Governor Tommy Thompson.
Minnesota, with ten electoral votes, is voting on Amendment 1--to amend the state’s constitution to ban same-sex marriage. Except for the ballot measure, which could attract a large turnout from conservatives, Minnesota can lean Obama.
Best case scenario: Romney 210, Obama 213.
Best Senate scenario: Baldwin wins.
Likely scenario: Minnesota votes “Yes” for Amendment 1.
Best case scenario: Openly gay State Rep. Marc Pacon wins Baldwin’s old House seat, openly gay U.S. Rep. Jared Polis wins re-election from Colorado, newcomer Sean Maloney wins a U.S. House seat from New York’s 18th District, and bisexual newcomer Kyrsten Sinema wins the U.S. House seat from Arizona’s 9th.
Only 27 electoral votes are up on the boards at this hour and Romney has a good hold on 15 of them. Up for grabs are six electoral votes in Iowa and six in Nevada. Obama has campaigned heavily in both states and has a good chance to pull those to his column.
Also of interest is the vote on Iowa Supreme Court Justice David Wiggins who--like three colleagues before him--must survive a retention vote in which anti-gay groups are determined to oust him for the courts 2009 marriage ruling.
Best case scenario: Romney 225, Obama 235, and Wiggins wins.
This is the hour when, if all goes well in the first three hours, President Obama takes the White House with the escort of California’s 55 electoral votes, putting him well over the 270 needed. Obama will likely rake in 78 electoral votes--from California, Washington, Oregon, and Hawaii. Romney will pick up a total of only seven from North Dakota and Idaho.
Also of interest in this hour will be the vote in Washington state on Referendum 74. A “Yes” vote will preserve a marriage equality law the legislature passed earlier this year, similar to Maryland’s.
Best case scenario: Romney 232, Obama 313 and secures the White House. Washington votes “Yes” for Referendum 74; and openly gay Democrat Mark Takano wins the U.S. House seat for southern California’s District 41. His victory could, if Mark Pacon wins Baldwin’s seat, bring the openly gay caucus in Congress back up to four. (Rep. Barney Frank is retiring, and Tammy Baldwin will hopefully be in the Senate.)
Alaska’s three electoral votes will come in for Romney, but the party will be over.
Best case scenario: Romney 235, Obama 313.