Published 1:19 am Wednesday, November 7, 2012
As Election Night turned into the day after the election, U.S. voters were still waiting for word on the final totals. In Suffolk, the story was largely the same.
Those who stayed up late enough heard the major television networks declare that President Barack Obama had been re-elected a historic second term. Obama was expected to address the television audience soon after midnight. They also heard the results of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives races.
But the local component of those races remained murky until almost midnight.
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At midnight, election officials were still dealing with 5,700 absentee ballots that needed to be counted, put Suffolk’s final totals in question.
But by 11 p.m., some things had worked themselves out without Suffolk’s help.
Winners had been declared in two out of three elections for federal office-holders representing Suffolk.
Republican George Allen conceded defeat to Democrat Tim Kaine in the race for the U.S. Senate seat. Suffolk’s totals, excluding the outstanding absentee ballots, reflected a big win for Kaine, who was leading Allen by 4,599 votes.
Fourth District Congressman J. Randy Forbes, a Republican, was declared an early winner as returns started filtering in around Hampton Roads and Central and Southside Virginia, the areas that encompass portions of his district. In Suffolk, he was leading by 1,122 votes before the absentees were counted.
By midnight, Virginia was still too close to call for the presidential race, though President Barack Obama held a 4,327-vote lead. Obama won the city by a margin of more than 5,000 votes in 2008 and was in position to better that number once the absentee ballots were counted.
But Virginia’s vote might have been irrelevant, as the major television networks had called the race in the incumbent’s favor based on an Obama lead in an extremely tight Ohio race. Virginia and Florida were the only swing states that were still in play late in the evening. At midnight, Obama had totaled 284 electoral votes. Only 270 were necessary for re-election.
Two Virginia-wide referenda were also approved on Tuesday, both seeking amendments to the state’s constitution. Both amendments received overwhelming support in Suffolk, as well.