As it does every year, the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November brings us to an Election Night in America. The off-year elections tend to be the most limited in terms of the menu, with a night that is primarily comprised of local and county races from coast to coast.
That said, there are quite a few bigger fish to fry, and as a result, the team here at Daily Kos is at the ready to guide you through the evening with updated results and analysis as the precincts start to report this late afternoon/evening.
Here is a quick guide to what to expect later this evening here at Daily Kos, and in other elections nationwide.
AT 7:00 PM EASTERN (4:00 PM PACIFIC):
The first polls to close will be in the state of Virginia, which recent polling suggests is going to be an ugly state for the Democrats this evening. The conventional wisdom is a double-digit loss for Governor, with Republican Attorney General Bob McDonnell holding an average lead (according to Pollster) of fourteen points over Democratic state senator Creigh Deeds. The downballot races were in a similar band of results. After looking like they might hold serve or even pick up some seats, it now is a question of how many of their 45 seats (in a chamber of 100) the Democrats will be able to hold in the Virginia House of Delegates. One can always help for a miracle, or, failing that, a "better than expected". And we will be on hand to see if it happens.
Also at this hour (although not expected to be a part of DK's coverage tonight) are a special election in the South Carolina House (where the Republican actually campaigned with Mark Sanford--but it still somehow favored anyway), and the mayoral races in Atlanta, GA and Manchester, NH (Dem favored in Atlanta, GOP favored in Manchester).
Coming at 7:30 PM ET (4:30 PM ET) are a trio of races that we won't be doing wall-to-wall coverage on, but might be worth a gander at some point. You have a hard-fought casino gambling initiative in Ohio, as well as two intriguing toss-up races for mayor in North Carolina: one in Charlotte, and one in Chapel Hill.
AT 8:00 PM EASTERN (5:00 PM PACIFIC):
There are two big headline races out of this hour which will be followed closely tonight here at DK. The first race is in New Jersey, a race in which NBC/MSNBC analyst Chuck Todd astutely pointed out that the outcome will determine whether Democrats have a "mediocre night or a horrible one." Despite polls being no better than even in this race (after a healthy lead for GOP challenger Chris Christie throughout), Democrats seem abnormally confident about the prospects for Democratic Governor Jon Corzine, despite his flagging job approval. Part of the reason: Christie, in many respects, has proven to be something of a train wreck. New Jersey voters will sort this all out at this hour, and they will also vote for their state Assembly, where Democrats have a 48-32 majority and are hoping to limit their losses amid an angry electorate.
The second race to keep a close eye on at this hour is in Maine, where Question 1 will seek to invoke a "citizen's veto" on the recently passed legislation ensuring marriage equality in Maine. This one is looking like it will be a nailbiter, with recent polls showing the measure nearly dead-even. A prominent Kossack, our beloved feature writer Bill in Portland Maine, wrote with his usual eloquence on this race earlier today.
There is more happening at this hour in races that won't get wall-to-wall coverage here: check out this calendar over at SSP for the details.
AT 9:00 PM EASTERN (6:00 PM PACIFIC):
The big race that DK will be focusing on at this hour is the utterly bizarre special election to replace Republican John McHugh in NY-23. It is not all too often that the Republican nominee drops out of the race on the weekend before the election, and endorses the Democrat the next day. That said, in this ancestrally Republican district (some parts of the district haven't been represented by a Democrat in the House since the Civil War), the Conservative Party candidate, Doug Hoffman, is the likely beneficiary of the district lean. A Democratic win here would be a stunning upset, and would likely take much of the steam out of anticipated GOP gloating about the evening. Polls on this one at the last were scattered, with PPP having Hoffman up big and Siena having the race close with a ton (nearly 20% of the electorate) still undecided about their vote.
New York City and Minneapolis also elect their mayors at this hour, but the outcomes of that seem pretty well predetermined.
AT 11:00 PM EASTERN (8:00 PM PACIFIC)
There are a handful of contests in the late shift tonight, although they all lack the punch that earlier contests back East will have. There is a special Congressional election in California, as Democratic Lt. Governor John Garamendi tries to hold off a much stronger-than-normal challenge in the Democratic-friendly 10th Congressional District (east side of the San Francisco Bay) from Republican David Harmer.
In the state of Washington (which votes by mail, expect returns to crawl in, as they always do in neighboring Oregon), there is a close contest for King County Executive (although polls showed the Democrat pulling away at the last). There is also the closely-fought battle for Seattle Mayor, as well as two critical ballot initiatives that mirror the ones in Maine almost exactly (the difference: Washington's initiative is to keep their expanded extension of rights to domestic partners, rather than overturn them).
A full plate, to be sure. And the Daily Kos team will be here throughout the night to watch it along with you.