February 12, 2008

Potomac Primary Live Blog

Polls close in Virginia at 6 pm CT, and an hour later in Maryland and DC. Will Barack Obama complete his expected tsunami through the trio of states? Can John McCain hold off Mike Huckabee? We shall soon find out. I'll live-blog the results as they materialize, in reverse-chronological order. Keep checking back ....

8:59 - I'll wrap this up now. Obviously the night went to Obama and McCain, and the latter can start working on consolidating his support in the party. Huckabee may continue for his own reasons, but he'd have to win 90% of the vote in every single state the rest of the way to barely keep McCain from winning the nomination. Obama may have more of an argument for the superdelegates, but if anyone thinks the Clintons will just quit, they're very much mistaken.

8:53 - Obama's speech tonight shows that he's thinking about November and not July. He's talking about McCain already.

8:50 - DC is finally reporting - and reporting fast. It's McCain in a walk, 67%-17%. It's an interesting fact that 49% of the precincts reporting has brought 2,220 Republican votes -- and 53,000 Democratic votes.

8:44 - McCain may win 50% or more of the vote in Virginia, a big hurdle in a state with such conservative Republicans. He's at 50% now, with 87% of the precincts counted.

8:33 - And in Virginia, it turned out less close than the exit polling indicated. McCain is winning handily by seven points, which takes some of the air out of the Huckabee balloon.

8:31 - Sorry, my other job called. CNN called Maryland for both Obama and McCain as soon as the polls closed -- which means a lopsided vote total for both men.

8:07 - McCain now has a 5-point lead in VA and about an 18,000-vote gap. They called it correctly....

7:53 - CNN now calculates that Barack Obama has a two-delegate lead in normal pledged delegates. It's a harbinger....

7:50 - BREAKING NEWS: Ron Paul climbs to 4% in Virginia. The Revolution lives.

7:48 - Jack and I talk about the Puff of White Smoke scenario, where the Democratic superdelegates act like the College of Cardinals choosing a Pope. They'll all retire to a room and we'll know when they've selected the nominee when we see the puff of white smoke.

7:41 - 61% reporting, McCain up three points and almost 9,000 votes in VA.

7:34 - About to go live on Jack Riccardi's show in San Antonio ....

7:33 - Fox is calling it too. Let's take this as a given; what does it mean? It makes it even more impossible for Huckabee to win the nomination. McCain has a lead of well over 500 delegates and only needs 400 more to clinch.

7:32 - A surprise -- CNN now projects that McCain wins Virginia. Seems a little early to call it, but CNN says their exit polling and the pattern of vote returns have convinced them.

7:29 - The McCain campaign may start breathing again soon. They have a little over 3000 votes for a lead over Huckabee at about the halfway mark. It's a two-point lead, and if Rove has the order of reporting correct, it may keep slowly growing.

7:23 - No results from DC yet. They closed over 20 minutes ago.

7:20 - McCain wins among conservatives and talk-radio listeners in Maryland, and Republicans think he's the most electable candidate. It looks like Maryland will have much less drama, but it's also a proportional allocation state.

7:19 - Fox's exit polling in Maryland shows that Obama won the women's vote, 58-42. Very bad news for Hillary.

7:12 - You have to give Huckabee some real respect. He came back from nowhere in Virginia to make it a nailbiter. It's impressive.

7:06 - With 31% of the precincts reporting, McCain's got a 2-point lead. Karl Rove thinks the McCain strongholds will come in later, so McCain has to feel pretty good at the moment.

6:57 - McCain just took a two-point lead on the TV board with 23% of precincts reporting.

6:55 - Oh, I often get accused of ignoring Ron Paul. He's at 3%. He's barely beating Mitt Romney, who withdrew last week.

6:51 - The TV numbers are creeping closer; McCain is now within two with 19% of precincts reporting. On the VA state site, they have 35% of the precincts reporting and McCain up 2.6%. Go figure.

6:43 - Maryland will keep its polls open for an extra 90 minutes due to bad weather. Expect thsi to become a nasty issue later on.

6:40 - OK, the numbers at the state site have 24% of the precincts reporting and McCain up by 2.5%. However, the vote totals look low, almost lower than what CNN is displaying with fewer precincts reporting. Not sure what the difference is.

6:38 - Obama's beating Hillary 61-38 with 22% reporting in VA now. It's a wipeout.

6:35 - The state of Virginia's site is faster than CNN, and shows McCain with a narrow 1-point lead with 11% of precincts reporting, 46-45. Thanks to CapQ commenter JLan for the link.

6:31 - We are seeing more of the western counties reporting, which may account for the five-point lead that Huckabee has with 5% of the precincts reporting. CNN is doing a good job of laying out the map here; Fox is chattering.

6:26 - The GOP has 2% of precincts reporting, and McCain trails by sixteen points. This could be the western precincts reporting, too.

6:25 - With 2% of precincts reporting, Obama is leading Hillary 58-41. Not exactly the 2-1 Fox predicted, but a wide gap.

6:21 - I'm looking at the CNN exit polling now. I can see why they don't want to call VA yet. McCain won men, 45-42, and Huckabee won women 50-44, but more men than women voted (53-47). He's only carrying veterans by two points, too.

6:16 - The results have started coming into the broadcasters. Nothing significant yet, but we'll see whether the gap actually occurs for Obama. The first thousand votes split equally.

6:10 - Fox says 66% of the vote went to Obama, but that's a little strange, if he got 65% of men and 58% of women. Is there a third gender that we've missed?

6:07 - Obama won 90% of the black vote in Virginia; young voters 80%; independents, 66%. He also took 48% of the white vote, and he took 58% of the women, and 65% of the men. That would probably be around a 63-37 split in Virginia, or about 26 points difference -- if Fox has their exit polling correct.

6:04 - Fox hints that the Virginia lead for Obama may be huge. They'll be talking about their exit polling in a moment.

6:01 - Dobbs says that McCain is having trouble getting votes. Really? He has 500 more delegates than Huckabee. Huckabee is a great guy, he really is, but Dobbs apparently can't count. Huckabee has won one whole state.

6:00 - CNN calls Virginia for Barack Obama the second the polls closed. That sounds like bad news for Hillary. They're calling the Republican contest in Virginia "competitive".

5:51 PM CT - Just getting settled in with CNN's coverage. I'll be flipping back and forth with Fox during the night, probably whenever Lou Dobbs and Jack Cafferty appear. Big story: exit polling has Virginia very close between McCain and Huckabee. This could provide the drama for the evening.


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