Long campaign battle ends with Obama victory
BY NATASHA KORECKI AND MAUDLYNE IHEJIRIKA Staff Reporters November 6, 2012 11:00PM
A supporter cheers at the election night party for President Barack Obama Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)
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President Barack Obama appeared headed toward a second term Tuesday night after winning the key battlground states of Iowa, New Hampshire, Wisconsin and Ohio.
CNN projected Obama’s re-election at about 10:20 p.m.
The president was projected to win 274 electoral votes, four more than needed, ahead of Mitt Romney’s 201, CNN reported.
But spelling a potential split, CNN gave Romney the edge in the popular vote, winning 50 percent to 49 percent.
The Associated Press put the all-important swing state of Ohio in Obama’s column at about the same time. No Republican has won the White House without winning Ohio, AP reported.
The apparent victory capped a nail-biter of a night.
Which way Wisconsin would go was up for grabs all night. Both candidates spent considerable time in the final days of their marathon campaigns wrestling over its 10 electoral votes. While Democratic presidential candidates have carried the state since 1984, polls showed it remained in play, in part thanks to Romney picking Janesville, Wis. Native Paul Ryan as his vice presidential running mate.
Florida and its crucial 29 electoral votes remained in an extraordinary deadlock late Tuesday with Obama at 49.8 percent of the vote and Romney at 49.3 with 88 percent of the precincts reporting.
Obama also claimed Pennsylvania’s 20 electoral votes, a prize Romney had fought for right up until polls closed on Tuesday.
The battleground state of New Hampshire went to Obama, though that put just four electoral votes into Obama’s bank.
The winner needs 270 electoral votes and by latest count Tuesday, Romney had 201 to Obama’s 274.
Each campaign just concluded a flurry of last-minute rallying in key battleground states. That included a last-minute change by Romney, who made visits to Pennsylvania and Ohio Tuesday. He was headquartered in Boston Tuesday.
Obama finished his campaign where it began for him — in Iowa. He then flew to Chicago where he played hoops on Tuesday to give in to an Election Day superstition and had dinner with his family at his Kenwood home. His daughters flew to Chicago from Washington, D.C., after school on Tuesday.
Obama was scheduled to head to McCormick Place after all the results were in.
At McCormick Place, Obama’s re-election headquarters, crowds filled the great hall by 9 p.m. Supporters, surrogates and celebrities were on site watching results come in.
“He’s going to win and his victory is going to usher in an American renaissance,” said U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.) “A renaissance of jobs creation, business creation, a more robust energy policy. President Obama is up to the task. And he’s the only one that the American people trust to bring America out of its doldrums.”
A huge roar filled the hall at one point as the crowd reacted to a TV report predicting Obama to carry Ohio.
The great hall inside McCormick Place was divided into two sections, the general hall, and a smaller “Special Guest” section requiring a second credential for entry.
Three generations were represented in the Brantley-Tate family who proudly entered the Special Guest section. The South Holland family — grandmother Johnnie Tate, 73, daughter Rhonda Brantley, 51, and granddaughter Kiara Brantley Jones, 18 — had driven to Racine, Wis., to knock on doors, and to Milwaukee to support an Obama rally.
“I am here because of his being genuine, from the heart, for real and not a flip-flopper,” said Johnnie Tate. “I supported him where ever I was needed.”
A CBS early exit poll showed that 60 percent of those voting in the presidential election Tuesday named the economy as their chief concern.