More than 130 million people turned out to vote yesterday, shattering all previous turnout records. An estimated 64 percent of the electorate voted, “making 2008 the highest percentage turnout in generations.” In 2004, 122.3 million voted in what was then the highest recorded turnout in the contest between President Bush and Sen. John Kerry (D-MA).
With one precinct left to report, Rep. Virgil Goode (R-VA) is leading Democratic challenger Tom Perriello in Virginia’s 5th district. Overall, House Democrats gained 18 seats, giving them a 79 seat majority with 10 races still too close to call, according to the New York Times.
Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) declared victory this morning in Minnisota’s 6th District, “fending off a challenge from Democrat Elwyn Tinklenberg.” Bachmann said her vote against the Wall Street Bailout package and her support for offshore oil drilling were key to her winning reelection.
Sen. Norm Coleman is leading Democratic challenger Al Franken in Minnesota’s U.S. Senate race with 99 percent of the precincts reporting, and with over 80 percent reporting, Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AK) leads Democratic Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich. But overall, the Democrats will add at least five seats in the Senate and “have an outside shot at gaining 60 seats.”
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) will likely meet with Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) later this week to discuss whether he “will be stripped of his Senate committee chairmanship,” according to a senior Democratic leadership aide. The aide says that Reid “has not yet decided what to do,” but that there is “lingering anger among Senate Democrats over Lieberman’s Republican convention speech.”
“Pal around together? What does that mean? Share a milkshake with two straws?” Bill Ayers said in an interview. “I think my relationship with Obama was probably like thousands of others in Chicago. … I wish I knew him better.” Ayers said conservatives had turned him into “a cartoon character.”
ABC News reports that Obama “has offered the White House chief of staff job to Rep. Rahm Emanuel, D-Ill.” Emanuel has not yet given his answer, but “he also has a keen sense of ‘duty.’”
With over 90 percent of precincts reporting, California’s ban on gay marriage looks likely to pass, up 51.9 to 48.1 percent. Speaking to opponents of the measure last night, San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom refused to give up hope. “Tonight, we await a verdict,” he said, adding, “I’m crossing my fingers.”
Congressional conservatives are “already beginning to struggle with how to recover” from their losses. Republican Conference Chairman Adam Putnam (R-FL) announced last night he would step down from his third-ranking slot. “Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) could announce a decision on his future as early as today…and the fate of Minority Whip Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) remains uncertain.”
And finally: Greeted as liberators! Thousands of protesters converged outside the White House in early hours of Wednesday morning, “bringing cigars, cameras, flags and children to celebrate their candidate’s victory.” The crowd mixed chants of “Yes, We Can” with “No More Bush,” as well as “U-S-A, U-S-A,” “Yes, We Did” and “Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye.”