By 11:20 p.m. Tuesday, the major media networks declared President Barack Obama the winner of Ohio and the 2012 presidential election. Obama will be sworn into his second term Jan. 20, 2013.
Obama won Virginia in an exceptionally close race, which major networks did not call until well after midnight. Obama took the City of Charlottesville with 76 percent and won Albemarle County by 10 points. Obama also won comfortably in Manassas, Fairfax, Henrico and Prince William counties.
Shortly after the major networks announced Obama had won Virginia, the networks announced Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney had called Obama to congratulate him on his victory. Romney said the nation was at a “critical point” in his concession speech.
“I just called President Obama to congratulate him on his victory,” Romney said during his concession speech around 1 a.m. “I pray that the president will be successful in guiding our nation.”
Romney was unable to win his home state of Michigan or the state of Massachusetts, where he served as governor.
Obama barely won Ohio but held Iowa, Nevada and New Hampshire by comfortable margins and took Wisconsin, the home state of former Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan, by a few points.
Despite not winning Ryan’s home state, Romney spoke glowingly of his running mate’s role in the campaign.
“I want to thank Paul Ryan for all that he has done for our campaign and our country,” Romney said. “Besides my wife Ann, [Ryan] is the best decision I ever made.”
Obama did 10 points better among women and won about 60 percent of the youth vote.
Romney made a last-minute play for Pennsylvania with events in the state for the first time since September, but Obama’s overwhelming victory in the southeastern part of the state gave him a comfortable margin of more than five points.
Romney won multiple states Obama had carried in 2008, but it was not enough. In 2008 Obama won 365 electoral votes to Republican John McCain’s (R-AZ) 173 electoral votes. This year Obama had earned at least 303 electoral votes to Romney’s 202; by press time Florida had not been called.
Romney won by nearly 10 percent in Indiana, which Obama carried by 1 percent in 2008, and won North Carolina, which Obama carried as well in the previous election.
Democrats also retained control of the Senate, picking up seats from controversial Republican candidates in Missouri and Indiana. The GOP still controls the House.
Once his victory was secured beyond doubt, Obama came onstage to the familiar tune of Stevie Wonder’s “Signed, Sealed, Delivered I’m Yours,” and addressed a large crowd of supporters in his home city of Chicago.
“Tonight, more than 200 years after a former colony won the right to determine its own destiny, the task of perfecting our union moves forward,” Obama said. “We rise and fall together as one nation and one people.”
He spoke of bipartisanship and referenced his cooperation with New Jersey’s Republican Governor Chris Christie and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, an independent, during Hurricane Sandy.
“Our economy has recovered. A decade of war is ending. Our long campaign is now over,” Obama said. “With your stories and your struggles I return to the White House more determined than ever about the work there is to do and the work that lies ahead.”
The status quo reigned Tuesday night in Virginia and Albemarle County, with Republican Rep. Robert Hurt retaining his House seat and voters passing the retiring Democratic Sen. Jim Webb’s seat to former Gov. Tim Kaine.
Albemarle demonstrated high voter turnout, continuing the trend from 2008, when record numbers showed up to elect President Barack Obama to his first term. Nearly 50,000 voted in Albemarle Tuesday.
Albemarle County spokesperson Lee Catlin said in an email at 4 p.m. voter turnout was about 55 percent, or four to five points lower than the previous year.
In the fifth district, about 190,000 people voted to return Hurt to the House. He easily defeated Democratic challenger John Douglass. Statewide, Kaine bested Republican challenger George Allen, another former Virginia governor, by a margin of more than 100,000 votes.
Allen, who conceded the race soon after it was called by news networks, praised his own campaign for advocating fiscal responsibility but criticized Kaine’s platform. “It would be nice if we had a government that was on the side of entrepreneurs and small business owners, and those ideals did not prevail,” Allen said.