7:06pm: Well, it didn't take long here. Georgia was seen as a strong lean to Obama heading into today and having a quick call go his way, is a good start to the evening.
7:13pm: The Drudge Report has some early exit poll numbers up. Obama is way ahead in some states, Clinton in others. California, Massachusetts and Missouri are close (ABC News just called those the bellwether states for Democrats tonight.). New Jersey is a surprising but small lean to Obama. Of course, now Drudge is up with a warning cautioning folks not to put too much stock in exit poll numbers.
7:25pm: Speaking of exit polls, change seems to be the word of the day. Good news for Obama.
From The Caucus:
"Georgia Closes: Here’s one thing we can tell you so far from the early exit polls, conducted by Edison/Mitofsky. For Democrats, the most important issue facing the country is the economy, far out-pacing the war in Iraq and health care. Nine of 10 Democratic primary voters say the economy is either not so good or poor."
7:40pm: And what of the GOP? The race is tight in Georgia.
McCain 37%7:43pm: Let's not forget that Bill Clinton used Georgia as his first, post-New Hampshire (Comeback Kid circa 1992) victory to catapult him into the driver's seat in the race for the nomination that year. The state also played a valuable role in his general election campaign in 1992. For the Clintons to lose the state says a lot. Mostly that the state Democratic party is much different today than it was in 1992. Zell Miller led the charge in Georgia for Clinton in 1992. That wing of the party as since moved on leaving a party much more female and much more African American than they were then (simple percentages of the party).
7:57pm: Hold on everyone. 8pm is the biggest poll closing of the night. Buckle up; this next hour could get interesting. Two of those bellwethers close in a few minutes (Massachusetts and Missouri).
8:02pm: CNN has called Illinois for Obama and McCain, Oklahoma for Clinton and Connecticut for McCain.
8:14pm: McCain takes New Jersey and Romney counters with a win in home state Massachusetts.
8:17pm: No real surprises so far. McCain is doing well where the polls had him ahead in the last few days, Romney won in his home state and Clinton and Obama are trading victories evenly.
8:34pm: Polls just closed in Arkansas. Favorite son, Mike Huckabee has already been declared the projected winner. No word on their favorite adopted daughter and former First Lady in the state.
8:37pm: Nevermind. That didn't take long. Clinton takes Arkansas and adds Tennessee as well.
8:39pm: This is an interesting series of results. Huckabee really seems to be doing well (early) in the South. He looks to be in good position in the Alabama, Tennessee, Georgia and Arkansas. Meanwhile, it is hard to get a feel for the results on the Democratic side. I can understand "home" state wins for Obama and Clinton. Georgia resembled South Carolina demographically for Obama, and beyond that, there seems to be a break for Obama in the deep South (Georgia and Alabama) while Clinton is doing well in the "border" states (Tennessee and Arkansas). Other areas are more difficult to peg.
8:46pm: Delaware to McCain. Just a few delegates, but the continuation of the trend in his favor tonight.
8:57pm: Here comes 9pm. Another six states close their polls and we learn more about those unsettled states from the previous hour. New Jersey, I'm looking your way.
9:03pm: Alright, I've reclaimed the TV and I'm tuned in to ABC. They just projected New York and Massachusetts for Clinton, Delaware for Obama and Huckabee continues a nice run in the South with a projected win in Alabama. (Results from CNN and they aren't willing to call Massachusetts for Clinton or Alabama for Huckabee.).
9:12pm: Add the AP to the list of news agencies calling Massachusetts for Clinton and Alabama for Huckabee.
9:16pm: Georgia for the GOP continues to be tight.
Huckabee 35%9:18pm: ABC just projected Clinton the winner in New Jersey. So other than Deleware, Clinton is doing well in the Northeast. Connecticut is still up in the air.
9:21pm: ABC News is harping on Huckabee in the South. They showed raw numbers for Oklahoma, Tennessee and Missouri and Huckabee is in great shape in all three. That spells trouble for McCain. The talk on conservative talk radio about McCain being a true conservative may have carried some weight among those Southern conservatives/evangelicals.
9:27pm: Drudge via ABC News (now at commercial break) is projecting Obama the winner in Alabama. Now CNN is following suit.
9:33pm: McCain wins another big one in New York. Ah, the Giuliani factor.
9:39pm: Obama seems to be ahead in all the caucus states that have closed thus far (Kansas, North Dakota, Minnesota and Idaho). So while Clinton has a lead in states (and in delegates), Obama can add some states to the list with wins in these states. And again, these are the red states he's been talking about being able to penetrate in the general election; ones where Clinton wouldn't be able to do as well.
9:46pm: The Caucus talks about the influence of money in the Democratic contest in Massachusetts:
"Money, Money, Money Here’s a hint about Mrs. Clinton’s strong showing in Mass. She way outspent Mr. Obama on television. Per the Campaign Media Analysis Group: She ran 309 spots, costing $65,000, compared with 120 spots by Mr. Obama, who spent $27,000. That spending in Massachusetts is from Jan. 2007 through Feb. 3, 2008."
9:57pm: Over to CBS. They've just called Oklahoma for McCain. That helps stem the Southern tide that Huckabee has built this evening.
10pm: A few more states close (Utah, Colorado, Arizona, North Dakota-R). Now NBC gets into the mix. I'm switching to them now. Maybe Tim Russert will get his dry erase board out. There are delegates to be counted so I'm counting on it. No pun intended.
10:01pm: Romney takes Utah. Well, that didn't take long. No surprise. Mormons like Romney.
10:14pm: Another caucus, another Obama lead. This time in Colorado. Why are his people such good caucusers? Even when he lost in Nevada he still won one more delegate. This is an interesting development.
10:18pm: And to follow up, Obama has been declared the winner of the North Dakota caucuses by CNN.
10:22pm: In case you forgot, California's polls close in about thirty-five minutes.
10:25pm: Obama has broken through again in the Northeast with a win in Connecticut. Chalk up another caucus for him in Kansas as well.
10:31pm: NBC calls Utah for Obama.
10:34pm: Drudge is calling big wins for Huckabee in Georgia, Tennessee and Missouri (and Idaho's caucus for Obama). Unbelievable showing for Huckabee in the South. His campaign has made a real statement in this race. Brian Williams and Russert are talking VP for Huckabee. One other thing on Huckabee: he has run a heck of a campaign, especially financially. Think of the bang for his buck that he has gotten versus say, Mitt Romney.
10:39pm: CNN has called Alabama for Huckabee. Is that in the South?
10:45pm: Obama has overtaken Clinton in the delegate count with this recent string of victories in the heartland.
10:46pm: McCain wins in Arizona. Favorite sons (and daughters) are doing well tonight. While Huckabee is winning some contests, McCain is winning a lot of delegates. He may have some problems with the GOP base but he's got a very healthy delegate lead.
10:50pm: Another caucus for Obama. Minnesota goes for him as well. Need I say more. He has really made strides in the Midwest and in the Prairie and Mountain states. If Huckabee is a threat to McCain because of his strength then Obama similarly affects Clinton in the heartland.
10:53pm: We are on the edge of California officially joining the Super Tuesday party. Polls may close shortly there, but if recent surveys are any indication, then we won't know much in tight races on both sides.
10:59pm: ABC disagrees with the above delegate count. They still have Clinton in the lead.
11:00pm: TV has betrayed me. I'm switching to complete online coverage.
11:05pm: No call in the Show-Me state for the Democrats. Missouri is tight but with 78% of precincts reporting, Clinton maintains a five point edge (51-46). It is even tighter for McCain and Huckabee. Only one point separates McCain from Huckabee there.
11:09pm: NBC has called Georgia for Huckabee now.
11:11pm: California is still too close to call on both sides.
11:12pm: Romney wins in North Dakota. Again, it may not be much, but if he can pull out a win in California, then he'll have a few states to hang his hat on.
11:15pm: Add Minnesota's caucuses to Romney's tally.
11:41pm: Obama has added Idaho's caucuses to his column now. Another caucus.
11:47pm: That pesky 9am class is staring me in the face now. Let the delegate counting begin. I'll be back in the morning to wrap things up. An interesting night so far.
The morning after: California may have been "too close to call" once polls closed there, but Missouri takes the cake as the closest state of the night. The tightness of the races on both sides scared the networks off of calling the state until after midnight--four hours after the polls
had closed there (Georgia's GOP race lasted nearly that long as well.). You can't automatically make the claim that Missouri is the new, close general election state, but file the Show-Me state away until November. The baton may be passed their way from Ohio (in the same way that Ohio claimed the mantle from Florida, circa 2000.).
Here are the results (gotta love the maps):
Now we can all get out our calculators and begin counting delegates in the same way that electoral votes have been counted in the last two presidential general elections.