10:34pm: This is going to go on for a while. I'm off for now, but will be back in the morning with a wrap up. In the meantime, keep up to date online with the live blog over at The Caucus.
10:30pm: Things are tight in Texas. Ohio is giving Clinton a slight edge with many of the state's urban areas yet to report. And President Bush is set to meet with John McCain tomorrow and endorse him. McCain may want to avoid too many photos with the president. Of course, those may not matter in November if Clinton and Obama continue to tear each other apart.
9:55pm: As we approach the 10 o'clock hour, we can begin to reflect a bit on the night so far. McCain has wrapped things up on the Republican side. Exit polling out of Ohio (according to The Fix) is showing a very tight race there. As you begin to look at the Election Guide maps (Ohio, Texas, Rhode Island, Vermont) on The New York Times site, you see a lot more purple (Clinton) than green (Obama). Of course, land doesn't vote, people do.
...unless those people are being "actively disenfranchised."
9:24pm: Huckabee concedes the GOP nomination to McCain. The last of McCain's challengers are out of the race now and he can officially shift gears toward the general election and toward unifying the Republican party behind him. Oh, I suppose he could continue to browbeat the Democrats too while he's at it.
9:23pm: The streak is over. Clinton has won in Rhode Island.
9:17pm: A conference call by the Clinton campaign to highlight the problems in Texas was overrun by an Obama lawyer who claimed they were only complaining because Clinton was losing. You can't make this stuff up. This is why I'm a political scientist. This night has shown one thing (Well, two if you count John McCain officially wrapping up the nomination.): if the Democratic race stretches beyond tonight/tomorrow, it will get ugly and potentially threaten the party's chances in November. That is on the table now.
9:06pm: McCain has been projected the winner in Texas by CNN. Oh, and they also mention that he's sealed the deal on the GOP nomination too.
9:01pm: The complaints have spread south, The Caucus is reporting:
Clinton Complaints: The Clinton campaign is holding a conference call right now to report irregularities in Texas, where they say voters are being “actively disenfranchised.”Yeah, this race could get ugly if it stretches on past tonight.
Among the complaints, they say that at “numerous locations,” Obama supporters “have taken over the caucus and locked out Clinton supporters.”
9:00pm: Polls are closed in Rhode Island. Now the Texas caucuses are the only event in town. Everyone else is counting votes.
8:55pm: Rhode Island is up next as are the counties held open longer in Ohio and the Mountain time zone's areas of west Texas. All at the top of the hour.
8:40pm: Politico is the source for some juicy speculation. First they broke the story that Clinton may go after Obama's pledged delegates and now they report that Obama has silently lined up a slate of superdelegates who are set to announce their support in the near future. This slate may prove moot if Obama wraps things up tonight. That story remains to be told.
8:38pm: Polls have been held open longer in the Cleveland area to accommodate for the high turnout there today.
---from Politico.com via the Obama campaign
8:32pm: I missed it earlier, but the caucuses got under way in Texas at 8:15pm. Party business first or presidential preference? What will they do? Here's hoping for the latter. Otherwise, it could be a long night.
8:23pm: Ohio, we have a problem. Well, this is hardly scientific, but the counties are being shaded in on the Democratic map of Texas on the New York Times Election Guide. Ohio remains completely colorless. The Caucus via the AP is reporting that the Secretary of State in Ohio has asked for court permission to keep polling locations in Sandusky County, Ohio open until 9pm (see their 7:54 post)..
8:13pm: Ooh, The New York Times has moved the pretty maps from the state by state Election Guides up to the front page for tonight's contest.
8:06pm: Here come the lawyers. Both Democratic campaigns are complaining about voting problems in Ohio. See, I told you Ohio couldn't buy a break. If you recall the divisive primaries post from last week, you may want to mark tonight down as the official point at which competition changed to divisiveness. It has been brewing since the debates, but may boil over after tonight if the outcome is still undecided.
8:00pm: Polls are close in Texas (Well, the polls in the eastern time zone at least.).
7:44pm: I should note that McCain also won in Vermont (see story below on the Obama projection there). Vermont is a solid winner-take-all, so McCain takes all 17 of those delegates, inching closer to that 1191 mark he needs.
7:33pm: McCain is the projected winner of Ohio. With the system there winner-take-all both in congressional districts and statewide, his share of the 88 delegates at stake in the state should get him about half way to the 177 he needs to break the 1191 barrier and win the nomination.
7:30pm: Polls are closed in Ohio.
7:21pm: Ohio closes up shop here in just under ten minutes. I doubt we see such a rapid projection of the winner in the Buckeye state. Flooding caused some polling places to be moved to accommodate voters in the southern part of the state. Ohio just can't seem to buy a break during election time. Officials there certainly hope this isn't foreshadowing of things to come in November. Of course, that is the story USA Today ran last week: stating that higher turnout like the 2008 primaries, could mean problems once the general election rolls around.
7:00pm: Polls are closed in Vermont. Best to just get another win out of the way. Before you could blink, Vermont went, as expected to Obama. The Drudge Report is indicating that the exit polls in the other three states are deadlocked. That's to be expected to some extent, but if your the Clinton camp, you have got to be hoping that what once seemed like a done deal in Rhode Island doesn't end up being the last nail in the coffin tonight when polls close there at 9pm. Change is apparently the winning theme in the exit polls as well, pushing experience on the back burner. Again, the Clinton team better hope that they have been able to co-opt some of that change message that Obama has used effectively to this point.