(9:54) And nationally, the wait goes on, and probably will for a while. Signing off from here ... for now ...
Idaho (9:32p) And finally, Idaho, and as in the other two Northwest states, there weren't a lot of surprises. The vote for president was a little surprising: Not that Trump won, which was of course expected, but that his take was just about 57%. That was comparable to the more-modest than usual numbers for Republican Senator Jim Risch and 2nd District Representative Mike Simpson; Republican Russ Fulcher, who faced the most active and organized of the Democrats (Rudu Soto), actually did best (63.6%).
On the legislative front, there weren't many big surprises either. In the closely-fought District 15 (west Boise), Republicans clawed back one House seat from a Democrat who won it last time, but Democrat Steve Berch did hang on to the other. A close race for state Senate left that seat in Republican hands. In all, not much legislative change either. Nor will the sizer of the legislature be up for grabs, since a just-approved constitutional amendment will lock it at its current size.
Washington (9:04p) Not much by way of a surprise in Washington state either. Biden was heading toward around or north of 60% of the vote, and all 10 of the House seats will stay in the same partisan hands as last time - no flips. (District 10 will have a new occupant due to a retirement, but not a new party.)
At last check, Democrat Jay Inslee was getting just about 50% of the vote to become one of the few people elected as governor of Washington three times. Denny Heck, who was the retiring Democratic House member who left Congress, will become lieutenant governor. The other state officials generally remain in place. The legislature is unlikely to change much.
Oregon (8:23p) Recognizing that not all votes are in around Oregon, the great bulk of them are, and non-close races are pretty clear.
For president, Biden is coming in at about 59%, around what you'd expect (a 21-point lead over Trump). Biden won most of the Willamette Valley (including, in a bit of a surprise, our local Yamhill County, which often goes Republican for president; though it was close). The win and percentages were almost identical, but slightly greater, for Democratic Senator Jeff Merkley. All five U.S. House seats will remain in the same partisan control, though one of them, the second, will change occupants (Republican Greg Walden will be replaced by Republican Cliff Bentz). The one serious challenge, to Democrat Peter DeFazio in the 4th, fell short, as was generally expected.
On the state level, the big race was for secretary of state, featuring two candidates new to statewide candidacy: Democrat Shemia Fagan and Republican Kim Thatcher (who has been highly active in statewide Republican activism). Fagan won, unsurprisingly under the conditions, flipping the office from Republican to Democratic control. The other Democratic statewides also won.
All of that is more or less of local/state interest for Oregon. But others might take note of the ballot issues Oregonians passed - all with strong, unmistakable margins - on these subjects: imposing campaign finance limitations (or, technically, allowing for more of them); increasing significantly taxes on tobacco and imposing them on vaping; allowing for use of psilocybin under medical supervision; and a scale-back of penalties for small possession of hard drugs coupled with a shift of marijuana tax revenue to help pay for substance abuse treatment.
Carlton, Oregon (8:23p) I can report a major win on the local level: Linda Watkins (my wife) was just elected as mayor of Carlton Oregon, defeating an incumbent mayor (Brian Rake) 636-389 (about 61%); two years ago, Rake has won the office in a landslide (62.7%). Linda was also supporting the candidacies of three council challengers, and all three won, ousting two incumbents. Celebration in our house.
Northwest (8:03p) The New York Times is calling wins for Jay Inslee, WA/Gov, Jeff Merkley, OR.Sen, and Jinm Risch, ID/Sen. All of those nearly certainly will prove out. But again: Can't you wait until some actual votes appear?
President (7:55p) The presidential map is looking a lot close than a lot of people would have expected. The EC still leans toward Biden at this point. Trump has sometimes leads in his three Great Lakes states, but they're all more than fragile (large chunks of blue votes yet to be counted, and a large majority of the Democratic-leaning Pennsylvania vote yet to be counted). He's lost Arizona (almost certainly) and looks on track to lose Iowa. All of this still leaves not a lot of maneuvering room here, but at this hour the odds still slightly favor Biden. But we'll see more in a few more hours. I'll be shifting more attention to the Northwest races shortly, as the balloting ends at 8 p.m. and the first returns should be emerging shortly after.
President (7:28p) ISE, Arizona has flipped and voted for a Democrat for president first the first time since 1996, and only the second in much longer.
Senate (6:34p) Very little chatter about the Senate, which remains on tenterhooks. So far, with a third of the vote in Colorado, Democrat John Hickenlooper looks well ahead and in solid shape. Arizona is not yet in, should be in another half hour or so. In North Carolina, Democrat Cal Cunningham is narrowly ahead. In Maine, Republican Susan Collins is leading, but mostly Republican voting districts have been reporting it (results so far are small) and her lead will diminish. Suspense junkies will find plenty to like about this evening ...
President (6:13p) It's looking close in some interesting places - Texas, Ohio and some others. And a little unclear at this point about exactly what votes (from where and when they were cast) are in and what's yet to come.
President (6:03p) The early calls - in advance of actual voting counts being reported - are bad for a number of reasons, but the Nebraska call for Trump is an egregious example. Nebraska overall will almost certainly go to Trump, but its electoral votes are broken out, and one congressional district - in the Omaha area - has been considered competitive. The early call, without reference to any actual votes, ignores it.
(5:27p) A lot of what we've been seeing so far is completely expected: candidates for a range of offices winning where you'd expect them to. Not a lot of upsets yet.
President (5:25p) We'll see how the rest of it goes, but: a third of the Texas vote is in, widely scattered around that vast state, and Biden leads 52.6% to 46.1%.
(5:08p) A critique of CNN on by Steve Morris Twitter: "Just sitting here reflecting on how you can spend your career comparing LGBTQ people to pedophiles and bestialists, lose reelection by a massive, historic margin, lose two presidential campaigns, and still be elevated as a voice Americans *need* to hear on a night like this." Referencing Rick Santorum. My decision to watch no TV tonight stands.
President (5:05p) Looking like, of the first three big states, Trump will win two and Biden one. The night will not be short.
President (4:46p) The Associated Press has called the race in Virginia for Biden, which is no surprise - all indications have gone that way. But they did it when only a very tiny sliver of votes were in, and those mostly for Trump. They should should wait a bit.
President (4:36p) Watching the New York Times needles, which they have up for Florida, Georgia and North Carolina. Only the Florida needle is active at this point, projecting Trump ahead there at 3%. They have Trump up in Georgia at 1.1% and Biden up in North Carolina at 2%. From the Times' description: "If Joe Biden wins one of these three states, he is likely to win the presidency. If President Trump wins all three, it could be days or more before a winner is declared."
President (4:20p) And we're getting numbers out of Georgia - amall, but it's something. With 3% in, about 170,000 votes, Biden is at 55.7%. Includes a scattering from north of Atlanta (Cobb, surburban) and along the South Carolina border.
President (4:15p) With anti-climax. Trump wins Kentucky, and Biden wins Vermont. As usual, the first states out of the chute. Not remotely a surprise. This isn't exactly leading with something big. But more of note should be coming soon.
And so it begins ...