After months of vague polls never-ending political ads, traffic backups caused by campaign stops, and being annoyed by your family members on Facebook, election day is finally here, and Riptide is here to guide you through the results. Of course we'll be paying attention to the Presidential race, but we'll also keep a special focus on state and local results.
We'll keep winners, as they're called, up top, with a running commentary (latest updates above) below that.
Florida's 29 Electoral Votes:
US Senate: Bill Nelson (Dem)
Fl Congressional District 26: Joe Garcia (Dem)
Retention of State Supreme Court Justices: All three retained.
Term Limits for Miami-Dade County Commissioners: Yes
Florida Amendments: All defeated except for 2, 9 and 11 which are too close to call.
1:34 - Oh, by the way, Miami-Dade will not count the rest of their votes tonight, so we're done here. Apparently we'll have to get up pretty early in the morning.
- Well, hey, other states are legalizing gay marriage and marijuana tonight, but in Coral Gables they've finally legalized pick-up trucks
. Well, at least now its legal to park them outside in the stuffy city.
11:43 - A couple of interesting state legislative races:
- Former Senate Majority leader appears to be heading to a defeat at the hands of Democrat Jose Javier Rodriguez in the district 112 state house race.
- Longtime legislator Gwen Margolis is headed back to the state Senate despite the Herald endorsing her Republican challenger.
- Incumbent Rep. Erik Fresen is in a very tight race against Democrat Ross Hancock, but only a small number of precincts are left to report and it appears he might squeak it out.
- Incumbent Rep. Michael Bileca is in a similar situation with a Dem challenger as well.
11:41 - Clearly we're going into slow down mood here, but we'll still be with you sporadically.
11:33 - Obama's first Tweets:
11:25 - And the latest in Florida. Slim margin, but hard to see how Obama loses this lead considering where the leftover votes are from:
11:20 - Meanwhile, in Miami...
11:15 - From our own Jon Tayler, who is currently at the official Mitt Romney event in Miami-Dade:
11:12 - MSNBC just called the election for Obam with a win in Ohio. Woah boy.
11:11 - Iowa has just been called for Obama. That means Romney will now have to win Florida and Ohio and Virginia and either Colorado or Nevada.
10:57 - It's officially been called: Joe Garcia has beaten Rep. David Rivera, currently embroiled in too many scandals to recall at the moment, in congressional district 26. We've been making jokes around the office like, "Well, you never know here." But from an ethical "upholding the integrity of democracy" standpoint, we're really proud of you guys for not reelecting David Rivera.
10:52 - The latest numbers in Florida. Obama maintains the slightest lead, but shrunk a little bit since the last time we checked in:
10:46 - Obama still holding at 62-37 in Miami-Dade. He won Miami-Dade in 58-42 in 2008. Are we getting even more blue, or will that even out as more votes come in?
10:43 - MSNBC's main political reporter Chuck Todd reminiscing about growing up in East Kendall right now. Gets cut off by Maddow to call Minnesota for Obama.
10:40 - County Commission action. Audrey Edmonson heading to likely reelection. The District 5 and 11 seats, where there are no incumbents, are still close to call, but Bruno Barreiro and Juan Zapata lead respectively.
10:33 - All of the state constitution amendments have been defeated except for Amendment 2, 9 and 11. Those are too close to call. Most notable, two amendments designed to chip away at Obamacare and forbid federal funds for abortion have been defeated soundly.
10:30 - We forgot to mention, but Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen is heading back to DC, duh. Still no calls from the national media in the Garcia-Rivera matchup, but, it is not looking food for Mr. Rivera.
- Here's the story on Allen and Alan from elsewhere in Florida. Allen Grayson, a liberal who is not apologizing for it, is headed back to the US House in a newly created central Florida seat. Alan West, sexy letter writer
), is currently 50-50 in his race against Democrat Patrick Murphy.
10:20 - And in other big local news, here's this:
10:19 - Obama's still small lead is growing in Florida with about 86% of votes still in, but people are still voting here in Miami-Dade. Reportedly 174 precincts in the county still have people voting here.
10:16 - Another depressing election party, this time for David Rivera. Honestly, who would even show up to this?:
10:13 - In huge local news, County Commissioners will now be term limited to two four-year terms. Here's the results so far, and that's been holding steadily all night. It translates to 77-23 percent.
10:03 - The story on both MSNBC and CNN right now appears to be that Obama sources are hoping that the delayed vote returns in Broward and Miami-Dade will eventually hand him the election. South Florida may actually have picked the president, basically.
9:58 - This just in from a colleague:
CNN's doodads annoy me, but I guess I should change over and get a taste.
9:54 - No surprise, here but Debbie Wasserman-Schultz has won reelection. Would have been embarrassing for the head of the DNC to lose. Her destiny to becoming speaker of the house remains on track, right?
9:50 - We're about officially ready to say bye-bye to alleged scmuchk David Rivera. 96 of 190 precincts in the district is:
9:46 - Oh, by the way incumbent Republican congressman Mario Diaz-Balart has officially beaten VoteForEddie.com (yes, your'e reading that right. Guy legally changed his name) in District 25. Actually, VoteForEddie.com came in third behind Stanley Blumenthal. The lesson: Do not change your name to a URL if you want to be taken seriously as a candidate.
- Nate Silver, Mr. FiveThirtyEight, points out
that Obama is winning in two Tampa Bay bell weather states by comfortable margins (and a good chunk of their voting is in):
In every presidential election since 1960, the candidate who prevailed in Florida's Hillsborough County, home to Tampa, has also prevailed in Florida.
With 80 percent of the vote in, Obama leads in the county by five points.
9:35 - Now Obama is back in the lead by less than 4,000:
- MSNBC has called Wisconsin for Obama, which, according to conventional wisdom, now means that Romney has to win Florida if he's going to win overall. Have fun with this NYTimes infographic here
to see why.
9:23 Eeep, lots of people still voting in Miami-Dade apparently:
9:18 - Romney now takes a slight lead in Florida's official tally. It's a lead of less than 4,000:
9:13 - More on Florida's 2008 exit polls vs 2012 exit polls: Obama wins Latinos 60 percent this year, compared to 57 percent before. But Obama only wins 38 percent of whites this year, compared to 42 percent in 2008. Black vote exactly the same: 96 percent.
9:09 - Despite the GOP's efforts to kick three state supreme court justices out of office, Floridians have voted to keep all three in office. Right now they're all winning by about 68-32.
8:56 - With 36 percent of registered Miami-Dade's voters ballots tallied, the presidential election stands at Obama 61.7% vs Romney 37.9%. In 2008, Obama won the county 58-42. Which means that either he's doing much better here this year ...or a heck of a lot of Romney supporters came to the polls today and their precincts have not yet reported.
Tensions have boiled over at a Little Havana fire station, where Romney supporters called police after accusing an Obama campaigner of holding a spot in line for a late voter. By 8:30, at least 200 people were still waiting to cast ballots at the site.
8:51 - Relief may be coming to those still waiting in line:
8:47 - Sorry, dinner break! Anyway, it still seems that all state constitutional amendments are headed to defeat except 2 and 9, but Amendment 9 is just barely over 60 percent now.
- Exit polls
from Florida are up: Romney leads men by 5 points. Obama leads women by 6 points. Electorate was 45 percent male, 55 percent female. Race breakdown projected: 66% white, 13% African American, 17% Hispanic. In 2008, exit polls showed 71% white, 13% African American, 14% Hispanic.
8:26 - Charlie Crist on MSNBC bashing Rick Scott on his early voting "reform laws": Some people waiting "six hours - that's unconscionable to me." "Staying in line a little long may be inconvenient, but it's worth it. The future of our country's at stake." He's straight up blaming Rick Scott for "voter suppression." He's not pulling any punches here with Scott and our Republican legislature. A preview of our 2014 gubernatorial race? Matthews called him the "perhaps future Governor of Florida," and Crist said nothing but "thank you."
8:25 - Straight for Florida's official elections website:
8:24 - By the way, Charlie Crist is on MSNBC right now talking to Chris Matthews.
8:16 - And, this is just about the saddest thing ever:
8:14 - Joe Garcia leads David Rivera, including votes so far from Monroe and Miami-Dade by 10 points.
- National media is now starting to call Bill Nelson as the winner of Florida's Senate Seat. The democrat is headed into his third time. Congrats Senator Spacesnakes!
Once apon a time, Republicans thought they had a chance to knock him off. He never polls especially well, but mainly because he's so moderate a lot of democrats aren't too enthused about him, but don't hate him either. Connie Mack IV, son of former Senator Connie Mack III, cleared the GOP primary, but turned out to be kind of a dud of a candidate and, despite what Rachel Maddow is blabbing about now, never, ever, ever, ever really came close to giving Nelson a run for his money.
8:04 - MSNBC's statewide totals so far on the only two state amendments MSNBC would care about:
These would need sixty percent yes to pass.
8:00 - Polls in Florida are now all closed.
7:57 - With early voting in, it's still a healthy 78-22 in favor of term limits for county commissioners.
7:53 - With 36 percent of votes in across the state, Bill Nelson comfortably leads Connie Mack 56-42.
- Here's the AP's first take on Florida exit polls
: "Slightly more than half of Florida voters believe former President George W. Bush is to blame for the nation's economic problems. Just more than 2 out of 5 voters blame Obama for the nation's economic woes."
Voters meanwhile are about split equally on Obamacare.
7:47 - State constitutional amendments aren't doing so well in Miami-Dade. Only two, Amendment 2 (tax exemptions for some disabled vets) and Amendment 11 (homestead exemption for some seniors) are above 60 percent here.
With a little more than 2 million votes in from Floridians across the state, Obama leads Romney in the state 51-48. That's from MSNBC
, but they're not including Miami early voting or any votes from Broward county. By the way, some 33% of votes are in for Broward, and Obama is leading Romney 72-27.
7:37 - If Miami early voters are any indications, there's not much indication judges, Florida supreme court or appeals court, are in much danger of being kicked out of office.
7:34 - In District 26, Joe Garcia is now in the lead with early voting. He leads David Rivera 53.86 - 43.29. That's a ten point lead, and doesn't include Monroe County votes.
7:31 - EARLY VOTING TOTALS ARE IN! So far, we're at 33 percent of the total electorate in Miami-Dade. Here's where Miamians stands on Romney v Obama so far:
and Nelson vs Mack for Senate:
7:26 - It's a landslide so far for term limits on county commissioners, about 82-18. Norman Braman might get at least one victory tonight.
7:23 - In county government action, Commissioner Audrey Edmenson leads challenger Keon Hardemon 66-33. Bruno A. Barreiro leads Luis Garcia by about 8 points in commission district 5. Juan C. Zapata leads Manny Machado by about 7 points in district 11.
7:19 - Here's the crazy shocker, well, sort of. The controversial David Rivera leads Joe Garcia among these absentee ballots, 52.40 to 44.38. That number however doesn't include the voters from the Florida Keys.
7:17 - Meanwhile, Connie Mack is not doing nearly as well as Romney in Miami-Dade's absentee ballots. Bill Nelson is leading him 52.73 - 45.85.
7:14 - Early absentee ballots tallies are in for Miami-Dade County. Its represents about 15 percent of registered voters in the county. Here's the Obama-Romney breakdown so far:
That is close. Remember though, absentee ballots tend to favor Republicans.
7:08 - In the presidential race Indiana and Kentucky have been called for Romney. Vermont has gone to Obama. There's no surprise there. No calls yet in incredibly close swing state Virginia (perhaps only Florida's results are more uncertain).
7:00 - Polls are now closed in South Florida. If you aren't in line, you are not voting this year. You had one job...
6:45 - Here's a rough estimate on what to expect timeline wise: Remember, Florida has a few counties in the Central Timezone so all polls in the state won't close here until 8 p.m. our time. So the national media won't be talking much about Florida until then. Also remember that while polls close at 7 p.m., people already in line will be allowed to continue to vote so actual election day results won't come in for a while. Hopefully however, if past experience is any indication, we shouldn't have to wait too long until local early and absentee voting tallies come in. That should at least give us something to talk about.