Voters in North Carolina put a Republican in their governor's office for the first time in two decades, and New Hampshire elected a new female Democratic governor. But the closely watched races in Montana and Washington, where Democrats currently serve as governors, remained too close to call.
The battle for the Senate was a proving ground for the new Citizens United politics. Outside groups unleashed heavily funded barrages of attack ads meant to help elect candidates while letting them keep their distance from the nastiness. In Ohio and Virginia, the tactic failed in rather dramatic ways.
Election Day brought the usual reports of malfunctioning voting machines, and voting-rights lawyers said they received reports from Pennsylvania that some residents were erroneously being told they needed photo ID. But even in battleground states, there were few reports of major problems by late evening.
By holding the "Midwest firewall" — including Ohio, Wisconsin, and Michigan — the president handily defeated challenger Mitt Romney. Obama won seven of the eight battleground states and is ahead in Florida, the final battleground.
Republicans need a net gain of just three or four seats to take over the Senate and — assuming they keep the House — consolidate influence on Capitol Hill. Despite the favorable election arithmetic, Republicans are foundering in several key Senate races and face an uphill battle.
When you give to WAMU, your tax-deductible membership gift helps make possible award-winning programs such as Morning Edition, All Things Considered, The Diane Rehm Show, The Kojo Nnamdi Show, and other favorites.