We will be covering tonight’s primaries in seven states and the District of Columbia beginning at around 8 p.m., when polls close in several states. (Polls close at 9 p.m. here in New York State.)
The races with the most interesting national implications are the Republican Senate primaries in Delaware and — to a slightly lesser extent — New Hampshire, where Republican voters face a potential trade-off between ideology and electability. But there is much else to watch, such as whether Harlem’s Charles B. Rangel, bidding for his 21st term in Congress amidst a cloud of ethics accusations, will survive a primary challenge from state Assemblyman Adam Clayton Powell IV.
Kelly Ayotte, who had a lead of about 1,350 votes over Ovide Lamontagne an hour ago, has seen it drop somewhat to 964 votes. There are still 61 New Hampshire precincts with their votes outstanding.
The other major races in New Hampshire have been called. Frank Guinta, the former mayor of Manchester, will face the vulnerable Democratic incumbent Carol Shea-Porter in the U.S. House race in the state’s First Congressional District. The Republican Chrarlie Bass, a former U.S. Representative, will face the Democrat Ann Kuster in the Second Congressional District. And John Stephen will be the Republicans’ gubernatorial nominee against the popular Democratic governor, John Lynch, who won his primary against token opposition.
2:17 A.M. Walk Across New Hampshire is Faster Than Vote-Counting
According to Google Maps, you could walk from Amesbury, Mass., to Kittery, Maine, — crossing the entirety of New Hampshire — in 7 hours and 1 minute.
Most polls in New Hampshire closed at 7 p.m tonight. It is now 2:17 a.m. on the East Coast — 7 hours and 17 minutes later — and about 17 percent of precincts have yet to have their votes counted.
2:07 A.M. A.P. Calls D.C. Mayoral Primary for Gray
Vincent C. Gray, the chairman of the Council of the District Columbia, has won the Democratic primary for mayor there, according to the Associated Press. Given the District’s heavily Democratic lean, he is almost certain to become the next mayor of Washington. The result, which had been anticipated by some polls, now stands at Mr. Gray, 53 percent, and the incumbent Adrian M. Fenty, 46 percent.
1:45 A.M. Another Three-Way Race in NY-23?
Douglas L. Hoffman lost a wild special election in New York’s 23rd Congressional district last November as the Conservative Party’s nominee, after the moderate Republican, Dede Scozzafava, dropped out, and endorsed the eventual victor, Bill Owens, a Democrat.
Tonight, Mr. Hoffman lost the Republican primary in the 23rd district: it has been called for his opponent Matthew Doheny, who leads 53-47 so far. But Mr. Hoffman will again appear on the Conservative Party’s ballot line, having been the lone candidate vying for that distinction. That moves Mr. Owens, whom we had pegged as a 70 percent favorite in a two-way race against Mr. Hoffman, into a potentially more robust position.
1:22 A.M. Ayotte’s Lead Looking More Robust
Kelly Ayotte now has a 1,213-vote advantage over Ovide Lamontagne, who held the lead for much of the night in the New Hampshire Republican Senate primary, but failed to keep pace after a strong performance in his hometown of Manchester.
About one-fifth of New Hampshire’s precincts have yet to report. The largest individual stash of votes is in Dover, a city of about 30,000 near the Maine border. Much of the vote is also outstanding in the nearby city of Rochester.
1:15 AM Schneiderman, DioGuiardi, Townsend Win New York Lottery
Several competitive races have been called in New York State. The Republican slate for United States Senate will consist of Joseph J. DioGuardi and Jay Townsend; the former will face off against Kirsten E. Gillibrand, and the latter, Charles E. Schumer. Neither incumbent is considered vulnerable, although Gillibrand — who was appointed to her seat by Gov. David A. Paterson and is competing for an abbreviated two-year term — is more so.
Eric T. Schneiderman will be the Democratic nominee for attorney general, having won a hard-fought race against Kathleen M. Rice.
And Charles B. Rangel has survived, although only with about 50 percent of the vote against a quintet of primary challengers.
1:00 AM Betting Markets Show Longer Odds for Republican Senate
In a result that’s fairly consistent with our own work on the subject, the bettors at the Iowa Electronic Markets, a political futures exchange, have the odds of Democrats losing the Senate down to 18 percent. The odds of a Republican takeover had been 27 percent as of this morning.
12:41 A.M. Expect New Hampshire to Stay Close
New Hampshire is a state that can be tough to read on election nights, since it doesn’t have the typical demographic distinctions, or big city versus small town fractures, that you’ll find in many other states. Thus, the fact that Republican Senate race there is about tied without around half the vote counted means that it’s more likely than not to stay close. The smart guys at Swing State Project, however, are projecting a razor-thin win for Ms. Ayotte, who now has a 404-vote lead.
12:30 A.M. Incumbent Fenty Trails in D.C. Mayoral Primary
The District of Columbia and the state of New Hampshire seem to be competing to see who can tally their votes the slowest. In the former, the incumbent mayor, Adrian M. Fenty, trails challenger Vincent C. Gray 56-42 in the Democratic primary. But only about 28 percent of the vote is counted.
12:17 AM Ayotte Pulls (Slightly) Ahead
With about half of New Hampshire’s votes counted, Kelly Ayotte has a 255-vote lead — her first of the night — over Ovide Lamontagne.
11:26 P.M. A Win for Progressive Activists, Too
In an outcome that many liberal advocacy groups are cheering, Ann McLane Kuster has been declared the winner over Katrina Swett in the Democratic primary in New Hampshire’s 2nd Congressional district.
11:24 P.M. Ayotte Further Closes Gap with Nashua’s Votes
In the Republican Senate primary in New Hampshire, Kelly Ayotte has closed her deficit to 4 points against Ovide Lamontagne, largely on the strength of a 17-point advantage in Nashua, New Hampshire’s second-largest city, where she now resides.
Although there are still three more precincts to be counted in Nashua, almost all of the outstanding vote in New Hampshire is from the numerous small villages and rural hamlets that dot the state. There’s a lot of vote left to be counted, indeed, with only about a quarter of precincts statewide having reported.
11:14 P.M. Carl P. Paladino Wins N.Y. Republican Primary
The Associated Press has called the New York Republican gubernatorial primary for Carl P. Paladino, who has an impressive lead over his opponent, Rick A. Lazio. Mr. Paladino is an unpopular figure among the Republican establishment here in New York, who tried to prevent him from appearing on the ballot.
11:10 P.M. Reality Television Star Wins Wisconsin Primary
I’m not sure we can quite call this a first, since Jesse Ventura, a former professional wrestler, was elected governor of Minnesota in 1998. But Sean Duffy, who appeared on MTV’s The Real World: Boston, will represent the Republicans in Wisconsin’s 7th Congressional district, where he’ll face off against Julie Lassa for the seat formerly occupied by longtime incumbent David Obey.
11:03 P.M. A Good Statistic for Carl P. Paladino
Carl P. Paladino’s 2:1 lead over Rick A. Lazio in the New York Republican gubernatorial primary is not quite as safe as it looks, since most of the vote in so far is from upstate. (Mr. Paladino is from Buffalo; Mr. Lazio, Long Island.)
But Matt Ericson, a graphics editor here at The Times, just reported to me that the majority of registered Republicans here in New York State are outside the New York City area. There are 1.49 million active Republican registered voters upstate, versus 1.2 million Republicans between New York City, Long Island, and Westchester County.
10:56 P.M. Rangel With Clear Early Lead, But Espada Ousted
In the primary in New York’s 15th Congressional district, embattled Democrat Charles B. Rangel holds a 48-23 lead so far over his main challenger, Adam Clayton Powell IV. Mr. Rangel may be benefiting somewhat from a split field; there are four other challengers from his seat, in addition to Mr. Powell.
But another Democrat accused of corruption, Pedro Espada, Jr., who has played a pivotal role in the New York State Senate, badly trails challenger Gustavo Rivera and has conceded his race, reports NY1.
10:38 P.M. What Do Scott Brown and O’Donnell Have in Common?
The victories of Scott Brown and Christine O’Donnell are the two biggest surprises of the election cycle, to date. What do their two races have in common?
They were both anti-establishment candidates, yes, but I think there’s something a little bit more than that. In Massachusetts, voters were told that they were supposed to vote for Martha Coakley so as to preserve Ted Kennedy’s legacy and ensure that the health care bill was passed. The message to Republican primary voters in Delaware wasn’t quite that explicit, but certainly plenty of people — from Mike Castle’s campaign to some respected (but establishment) conservative voices like Charles Krauthammer — conveyed the impression that they had to vote for Mr. Castle because Ms. O’Donnell was unelectable.
(I happen to think that they were right about that — Ms. O’Donnell has only a one-in-six chance of defeating Democrat Chris Coons, according to our forecasting model.)
But voting is principally an emotional act — and voters don’t like the sense of having been told what to do. They rebelled against it in Massachusetts and they rebelled against in Delaware; sometimes, they may resent it so much that they will go to arguably self-destructive lengths in order to avoid casting the vote that they’re “supposed” to cast.
We also saw this on a number of occasions during the Democratic primaries of 2008: remember how ‘inevitable’ Barack Obama was before New Hampshire? But it’s liable to be much more acute when the unemployment rate has been sitting at 10 percent for a year, and the establishment of both parties is tremendously unpopular. I think we might need a couple of days to digest what this might mean for November.
10:13 P.M. Johnson to Face Feingold in Wisconsin
Ron Johnson, an entrepreneur, will challenge incumbent Russ Feingold for the U.S. Senate, having won the Republican primary in Wisconsin. He has about 84 percent of the vote so far.
Wisconsin is one of the few states where I’m a bit to the blue side of the conventional wisdom. Although the polls show Mr. Feingold and Mr. Johnson in roughly a dead heat, Mr. Feingold’s approval ratings are decent, and he managed to duck some unpopular Democratic votes. And Democratic candidates can sometimes get a boost in Wisconsin from same-day registration.
The gubernatorial primary in Wisconsin, meanwhile, is tighter than expected, with Mark Neumann trailing Scott Walker by only 6 points so far.
10:04 P.M. One That Sarah Palin Got Wrong
Although Sarah Palin’s endorsement of Christine O’Donnell in Delaware looks cagey, she won’t improve her batting average in Maryland, where she endorsed Brian Murphy in the gubernatorial primary there. Murphy has just 23 percent of the vote so far, and the Associated Press has already called the race for his opponent, Robert Ehrlich.
9:55 P.M. Ayotte Narrows Gap as N.H. Counts Slowly
The results in New Hampshire Senate are very slowly trickling in. Mr. Lamontagne is up — although his margin is down to about 10 percent — but we’re still waiting on results from about 200 of New Hampshire’s 237 towns.
9:49 P.M. Paladino Takes Early Lead in N.Y., but It’s VERY Early
In the New York Governor’s race, Carl Paladino, the insurgent Republican is off to an early lead in first returns. But there are no returns yet from Nassau County and only 8 percent of precincts are reporting in Suffolk County, where Rick A. Lazio, the former U.S. representative from Long Island, is up 2-1. In Erie County, though, A.P. reports Mr. Paladino has 12,005 votes to Mr. Lazio’s 792.
9:41 P.M. Urquhart Seems to Have Edge in Delaware House Primary
In the Republican primary for Michael Castle’s at-large House seat, the more conservative of the candidates, Glen Urquhart, is looking likely to win. In the Senate primary, all of the votes are in, giving Christine O’Donnell a convincing margin of victory of six percent, over Mr. Castle.
9:21 P.M. Delaware Could End Up Closer
The vote in Delaware could end up much closer than it currently looks. Looking at Delaware State Election Commissioner’s web site, Wilmington only has 1,700 votes in, and Castle is leading 3-1 there.
9:14 P.M. First New York Results
First results for New York Attorney General came just came in from Manhattan with a single precinct reporting. Eric T. Schneiderman has 62 votes and Kathleen M. Rice second with 28.
9:09 P.M. A.P. Declares O’Donnell Winner in Delaware
A.P. just called Delaware for Christine O’Donnell, the Tea Party-endorsed candidate, over Michael Castle, the who was favored by the Republican establishment.
9:00 P.M. More Polls Closing
New York, Rhode Island and Wisconsin polls all are closing now. We’re waiting to see how quickly New York City results come in after new voting machines were in use for the first time today.
8:46 PM O’Donnell Extends Lead to 2,300 Votes
Suddenly, we’re up to nearly 40 percent of Delaware’s precincts reporting, and Christine O’Donnell’s lead is holding at about 11 points. While there’s still a lot of ambiguity about where those votes are coming in from, Mike Castle appears to be in trouble.
8:37 P.M. O’Donnell has early lead in Delaware
The Associated Press totals have Christine O’Donnell with a nearly 10-point lead over Mike Castle with about 14 percent of precincts reporting. We’re awaiting word on where these ballots were cast; the state of Delaware’s elections site is overwhelmed by heavy traffic.
8:28 P.M. A Tip on Following Delaware Results
Delaware has just three counties: New Castle, which is more suburban, and Kent and Sussex counties, which are less populous and more rural.
Christine O’Donnell is expected to rack up considerable margins in Kent and Sussex counties, while Mike Castle should have his strength in (appropriately) New Castle county. If Ms. O’Donnell is staying roughly even with Mr. Castle in New Castle, that means she is likely on track for victory.
8:16 P.M. Lamontagne Also Has Early Lead Outside Manchester
A few other small New Hampshire villages, like Auburn and Candia, have also reported their vote, and Ovide Lamontagne has about 30 percent more votes than Kelly Ayotte between them.
While we need to be careful about making too many extrapolations from just a few data points, New Hampshire is a state full of villages and if these votes are fairly representative – while Mr. Lamontagne has also built up an advantage in the state’s largest city, Manchester — Ms. Ayotte could find the going difficult.
8:05 P.M. Polls close in several states
Polls have now closed in Massachusetts, Maryland, and Delaware — as well as the District of Columbia. Rumor has it that the vote is likely to be counted fairly quickly in Delaware, where we’ll be watching the Michael Castle – Christine O’Donnell race.
7:45 P.M. Lamontagne Leads Early in N.H.
Ovide Lamontagne, the more conservative of the Republican candidates in the New Hampshire Senate primary and the one with somewhat worse general election chances, leads Kelly Ayotte early, 53-32, with most of the vote having come in from Manchester. But Lamontagne was born and raised in Manchester, so interpret these results carefully.