The City Pages 2012 election blog

The City Pages 2012 election blog

-- Check here throughout the evening for election missives from the City Pages staff --

1:20, Rupar

U.S. Rep. Chip Craavack's campaign workers' alleged propensity to manhandle his 8th District opponents wasn't enough to preserve his congressional seat.

From the Duluth News Tribune's Brandon Stahl:

That means Democrat Rick Nolan will be the new 8th District congressman.

1:15, Rupar

Mark Dayton will have a much friendly legislature to deal with this session: with MNGOP Speaker of the House Kurt Zellers calling up DFL Minority Leader Paul Thissen to congratulate Democrats on taking back the House, the DFL will have majorities in both the House and the Senate.

12:40, LaVecchia

As Romney's concession speech faded from the screen, victorious Rep. John Kline took the stage at the Hilton to re-inject some hope into the room. "I'm pleased with a solid victory in what's frankly been a very tough night," he told the thinning crowd, "and a tough night for America."

"We go back to Washington on Tuesday, to what will be some raw wounds there," he continued. "But earlier tonight, Speaker Boehner said he is willing to work with others if they are willing to work with us."

The crowd used this comment as an excuse to let out some suppressed cheers. But before they could focus too much on the bright spot of the House, Kline reminded them, "Some of my colleagues are still in very tough races here in Minnesota."

The City Pages 2012 election blog


12:32, Rupar

Minneapolis will hand count some ballots tomorrow morning, raising the possibility that we might not know whether either constitutional amendment passed before sunrise. From City of Minneapolis spokesman Matt Liable:

Minneapolis to hand count ballots for three precincts beginning Wednesday morning

Minneapolis has provided the vast majority of its election results this evening as usual, and every vote cast will be included in the City's final election tallies. However, there are three precincts (out of 117) where results will not be available tonight. These precincts are 10-1, 10-2, and 10-8. A number of ballots in these precincts have technical printing errors affecting the margins of the ballots that would not even be noticeable to the voter, but which cause them to be un-scannable by the standard ballot tabulators. These printing errors do not affect the ballot content or any races or issues on the ballot.

Following state rules and guidelines for scenarios like this, the City and Hennepin County will work together, beginning tomorrow, to include these un-scannable votes in the final vote tallies. Beginning at 10 a.m. Wednesday, ballots from these three precincts will be hand counted at the Minneapolis elections warehouse, which is at 732a Harding St. NE. The hand count will be open to media.

Again, only a very small percentage of the City's precincts have been affected. Voters should be assured that every ballot will be counted.

12:30, Wolf

At Le Saint Germain, the band has stopped playing, the crowd has thinned out, and the Bachmann-Graves race is still excruciatingly tight. There are hangers-on, though, and they all look tired but tense.

There's talk that the race is so close that it could be within the margins of an automatic recount.

Graves has appeared surprisingly relaxed throughout the night and was mingling even a few minutes ago.

12:12, Rupar

MPR (via David Brauer) is reporting that the as-of-yet-uncounted marriage amendment votes bode well for the Vote No cause:

It seems like gay-friendly Minneapolis' population should be more than offset the conservative areas in that set of counties, doesn't it?

11:50, Rupar

With 59 percent of the vote in, the percentage of Vote Yes marriage amendment voters has been climbing and is currently at 48.37 percent. Voter ID has been largely holding steady at 46.85 percent. Fifty percent is needed for either amendmen to pass. 

Vote Yes' steady climb led to the following quote from Minnesota for Marriage's Andy Parrish:

11:34, Rupar

The Democratic candidate in House District 39, Target attorney Melisa Franzen, has defeated Republican Keith Downey.

Downey made headlines last week for running a newspaper ad where he touted endorsements made by dead guys.

11:27, LaVecchia

Chris Fields has conceded to Keith Ellison, and now, most of the remaining MN GOPers are waiting on Michele Bachmann. Rumor has it she's holed up on the second floor of the Hilton, waiting to hear her results in private before she addresses whoever's left in the ballroom.

"So she's just going to come down once she wins?" one man asks by the bar, *though most of the room knows that Bachmann's race is close.

Still, he, like other groups milling around, seems as though he's--if not celebrating, then at least not in mourning.

This man describes himself as a Tea Party supporter and says, "For me, this election wasn't a four year election, it was a sixty year election."

"I'm just waiting for Michele to get down here so I can get back to my hotel room and figure out how to get some antidepressants."

11:18, Mannix

After hearing voters affirmed same-sex rights in Maine, Sen. Al
Franken took the stage at the Minnesotans United event to an ecstatic
crowd. Though early reporting shows the amendment is on track to fail,
Franken was the first politician of the night to caution the crowd
that it's still early, and things could change quickly. As Franken
notes: "I've learned something about waiting for the full results."

But Franken said he was optimistic, especially given how other races
are going tonight. "So far things have pretty much been going
according to plan," he said. "And that's our plan."

The City Pages 2012 election blog

11:03, LaVecchia

The crowd has emptied out here at the Hilton ballroom. For a few minutes, the main screen turns off Fox, with its "Barack Obama Re-Elected President" banner, altogether, opting to show the most recent amendment results instead. As "da band," a patriotically-sequined ten-piece brass ensemble, launches into "America the Beautiful," some voices in the crowd try to reassure each other that Minnesota's remaining congressional seats will stay Republican.

10:58, Wolf from Graves headquarters

The atmosphere is tense but electric here at Graves HQ. The Bachmann-Graves race is neck in neck right now at 50-50.

"It's very tight," said campaign manager Adam Graves. "St. Cloud is going to be a stronghold for us. We're cautiously optimistic, and we feel like our message has resonated."

He stopped and seems to consider something for a moment, then chuckled. "I think Michele Bachmann might be sweating bullets."

Minutes earlier, when networks began projecting a second term for Obama, the crowd here went ballistic. With the band on a break, the DJ played Stevie Wonder's "Signed, Sealed, Delivered" while Graves' supporters chanted "Four more years! Four more years! Four more years!"

10:50, Rupar

U.S. Rep. Tim Walz has defeated his Republican challenger, Allen 'the Accent Signage shooting happened because of the deterioration of the family' Quist. Quist, who prevailed in a gaffe-filled primary battle against state Sen. Mike Parry, is trailing by a 57-43 margin in the southern Minnesota 1st Congressional District with 65 percent of precincts reporting.

10:41, Mannix

Just hours after winning reelection, Sen. Amy Klobuchar spoke to Vote No marriage amendment crowd alongside her husband and daughter. "Against all odds, I won my seat," she began, taking a shot at opponent Kurt Bills.

Klobuchar continued the trend of commending the Minnesotans United campaign, calling it "one of the most remarkable things about this

With votes still rolling in, Klobuchar said she feels good about the
amendment failing.

"Tonight, we are on the verge of making history," she said. "This is a
sea change."

The City Pages 2012 election blog

10:27, Rupar

The presidential election has been called for Obama by CBS and CNN. But not by Karl Rove. "I think this is premature," Rove said on Fox News, citing the 25 percent of ballots in Ohio that haven't yet been counted.

"We've got to be careful," he added.

10:15, LaVecchia

Just after 10 p.m., on the heels of two more somber announcements, Rep. Erik Paulsen climbed onstage to announce the first MN GOP victory of the night.

"This is going to be a long night, but there are more wins to come," Paulsen told the happy crowd, many of whom had acquired orange Paulsen paddles. "The good news is we are going to have the House, and the best news is that Nancy Pelosi will not be Speaker."

Then Paulsen set in on the real talk. "The truth is, Washington has been on the wrong track for far too long," he said. "We've got to make Washington understand that you can't spend more money than you take in." (At this, one lone enthusiast screamed "YES!").

After hitting the general points of job creation and the deficit, Paulsen threw out one specific: He promised the crowd that he would end the medical device tax.

10:00, LaVecchia

At 9:50, nearly an hour after ABC projected a win for Romney in Minnesota, the FOX broadcast playing at the Hilton announces that our state has gone blue. The news is already old to, or at least expected by, many of the MNGOPers clustered around the screen, but still provokes loud "boos."

Bummed out young Republicans boo.
Bummed out young Republicans boo.

9:52, LaVecchia from the MNGOP "party"

At 9:30, Kurt Bills took the stage in the Hilton ballroom to concede his Senate race to incumbent Amy Klobuchar. "This was a race against one of the toughest Senators in the U.S. to beat," Bills told the crowd, "But we went out anyway and took it to her, and we never ever ever gave up ever."

Next to his wife, Cindy, children, and supporters, Bills reminisced about the campaign (and all the tootsie rolls his son got to eat at parades over the summer). Despite his defeat, Bills remained bullish on GOP chances tonight.

"I'm a high school econ teacher," Bills said (and he's a climate change-denying one at that). "I was in first hour today and I'll be in first hour tomorrow. A lot of people have asked me if I'm going to take the day off. But Republicans don't take days off."

Before he left the stage, Bills asked the loyal GOP audience to begin planning to beat "the blue guys" in 2014 -- and, despite continuing national news suggesting otherwise, to look forward to hearing from President Romney tomorrow.

The City Pages 2012 election blog

9:45, Mannix reporting from Vote No event

Twin Cities Gay Mens Chorus at Vote No party from Voice Media Group on Vimeo.

The Twin Cities Gay Men's Chorus gave an emotional performance at the vote no marriage party.

9:38, Wolf reporting from Graves event

Campaign manager Adam Graves just rushed into the press room, very excited.

"We have a good chunk of Carver County!" he said. "Romney took that county by almost 70 percent."

Carver is one of the most conservative parts of the district, he said, so it comes as quite a surprise.

"If that same pattern continues, we have a very good chance," he said.

He does not expect to be surprised in St. Cloud, however.

"We're going to do very well here," he said. "I'm sure of that."

9:20, Rupar

Keith Ellison notoriously called his Republican U.S. House opponent, Chris Fields, "a lowlife scumbag." He received a lot of criticism for losing his cool, but it apparently won't cost him his congressional seat. According to both CBS and FOX, Ellison has prevailed.

With 19 percent of the 5th District precincts reporting vote tallies, Ellison is ahead by a 64-36 margin.

9:15, Rupar

According to the Daily Kos' Markos Moulitsas, Romney backers unfruitfully spent millions of dollars in Wisconsin last week.

9:12, Mannix

Gov. Mark Dayton briefly addressed the Vote No crowd, crediting volunteers and staffers with an impressive campaign. Dayton sounded confident the amendment would be defeated. "Minnesota is better than that," he said. "I hope and pray people prove that tonight."

He also criticized Republicans for going the amendment route, rather than hammering out a bill in the Legislature. "This is not the way to put matters into policy," he said.

9:07, Mannix

Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak took the stage to what is now a crowded
room and congratulated supporters. "Stand up and thank yourselves for
standing up for other people."

Rybak said Minneapolis has long been a gay-friendly city, and declared
Minnesota would be the first state to affirm gay rights, noting we're
"standing on the shoulders" of the states that have failed.

"This is a just cause, but it's just plain old smart, Minnesota," he said.

The City Pages 2012 election blog

  8:58, Wolf

Crowd getting much thicker here now. According to hotel staff, they've counted 240 people.

Good mix of all ages, and most people are either dressed to the hilt or wearing "Graves" t-shirts.

Live band is mostly busting out the baby-boomer oldies but goodies -- example, Sam Cooke's "Cupid." But then they just launched into MJ's "Billie Jean." Lots of folks getting funky, and one guy was even spotted doing a modified (read: relatively tame) moonwalk.

8:55, Rupar

Josh Romney was wrong. ABC is projecting that Obama has defeated Romney in Minnesota.

8:45, Rupar

The AP has released results from its Minnesota exit poll. It's light on hard numbers but contains a few interesting nuggets:

The proposed amendment to define marriage as only between a man and a woman was opposed by a majority of women and backed by a majority of men. Similarly, voters under age 50 voted against it by a substantial majority, while those over 50 were strongly in favor...

About six in 10 Minnesota voters said the economy is the most important issue facing the country - three times more than any other issue...

About three in 10 said their family's financial situation is worse now than four years ago, and another four in 10 said it's no better. Only a quarter said they are better off today than in 2008.

The poll surveyed 1,641 voters from precincts throughout the state.

8:40, Andy Mannix reporting from the Vote No event in St. Paul

Despite a microphone malfunction, St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman addressed the crowd by shouting a rousing speech to begin the Minnesotans United for All Families "Vote No" event. Describing the amendment as "hateful," Coleman said he was confident it would fail. "We will be the first state in the entire nation to beat back this kind of amendment," he said.

Coleman warned that even if the amendment is voted down, there will still be work to be done in legalizing gay marriage, and same-sex rights supporters won't quit until "everyone in the state of Minnesota has that same right."

The City Pages 2012 election blog

8:35, Wolf -- photos from the Graves event

A photogenic Jim Graves
A photogenic Jim Graves
Will these be eaten in celebration or mourning?
Will these be eaten in celebration or mourning?

8:27, LaVecchia

Somebody is wearing a U.S.A. flag jacket at the MNGOP event:

8:15 p.m., Erika Wolf reporting from the Jim Graves St. Cloud event

Here at the Le St. Germain Hotel in St. Cloud. The hotel belongs to Graves, part of his franchise. Campaign headquarters are adjacent to the hotel.

Hotel decorated with tons of red, white and blue balloons and is plastered with "Jim Graves for Congress" posters. Also sighted: buttons reading "I Dig Graves" and white cookies with "Graves" in blue icing. Another room set up for a buffet dinner.

On the second floor, the Graves Room is set up for festivities -- dance floor, band, huge flat screen.

Just ran into Graves briefly in the main room. Little kids kept running up to him -- he said his seven grandchildren are here, and will probably be up all night because they want to be with their grandpa.

Also said he's proud of how they ran the campaign. "I'm feeling very good. We kept our campaign on the upside," he said. "We stayed true to our moral compass."

Regrets are that they got a late start, because his son, who ran the campaign, was in Asia at the beginning.

"I definitely would have got going earlier," he said. "But we wouldn't have changed our message."

8:05 p.m., by Aaron Rupar

NBC is projecting that Amy Klobuchar will prevail over Kurt Bills (big surprise), and CNN has Obama defeating Romney in Wisconsin by a 52-46 margin.

7:45 p.m., Olivia LaVecchia reporting from the MNGOP's Bloomington Hilton party

The MN GOP's victory party kicked off at the Bloomington Hilton at 7, and hotel parking filled up by a quarter after. The lot is packed with "Romney Ryan" bumper stickers.

Inside, supporters are filing in; by half past, the ballroom is nearly half full. Most of the crowd is dressed for the occasion, with suits, heels, and red "I voted" stickers. A group of young men with "College Republican" pins floats around.

Chris Fields has a table set up with coffee, cheese, and a collection basket. Seems a little late? Two guys walking by say, "Oh yeah, that's the guy who's running against Ellison." Can't be good when your opponent has more name recognition even among the GOP base.

Kurt Bills' bus is in Bloomington.
Kurt Bills' bus is in Bloomington.
The podium from which MNGOPers will speak later tonight is pretty eye-catching.
The podium from which MNGOPers will speak later tonight is pretty eye-catching.
Signs at the MNGOP event.
Signs at the MNGOP event.

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