The auto industry capital, with unemployment levels higher than the national average, fell narrowly into Kerry's column, 51 percent to 48 percent. Heavy television and personal appearances by Bush and Vice President Cheney forced Kerry back to Detroit late in the campaign, and Democratic operatives sought support among liberal clergy and churchgoers to counterbalance the impact of a state constitutional amendment on same-sex marriage. That ballot initiative found strong support in Republican-leaning northern and western communities and may have shifted some black votes to Bush. But the black vote in Detroit still went heavily for Kerry.
Former state senator John "Joe" Schwarz, the leader of Arizona Sen. John McCain's successful presidential run in the 2000 GOP Michigan primary, won a solid victory over paralegal Sharon Renier (D). He will succeed retiring Rep. Nick Smith (R) in the south-central 7th Congressional District, the state's only open seat. Elsewhere, the incumbents, including Reps. Bart Stupak (D), Peter Hoekstra (R) and John D. Dingell (D), won easily.
Both candidates blanketed the state over the last several months, but Minnesota's Democratic leaning in presidential elections ultimately continued, with Kerry capturing 51 percent of the vote after nearly tied pre-election polls. Former independent governor Jesse Ventura went to the mat for Kerry, while Bush played to the rural northwest vote with the trilogy of God, guns and no same-sex marriage. Minnesota has now voted Democratic in eight straight presidential elections, the longest streak in the country.
Rep. Mark Kennedy (R) turned back a strong challenge from Patty Wetterling (D) to keep his seat in the 6th Congressional District. Wetterling is an advocate for missing children whose 11-year-old son, Jacob, was abducted in 1989.
The Show Me State had presented itself solidly for Bush in pre-election polls, so much so that Kerry virtually ignored it. Given that decision, Bush's victory was closer than expected, 53 percent to 46 percent.
In a hard-fought governor's race, Secretary of State Matt Blunt (R) defeated state Auditor Claire McCaskill, 51 percent to 48 percent, giving Republicans control of both Missouri's legislature and its governorship for the first time in 80 years.
Popular Sen. Christopher S. Bond (R) rode to a fourth term against state Treasurer Nancy Farmer (D), emphasizing the benefits to Missouri of his seniority on the Appropriations Committee. In the House, Russ Carnahan (D), son of two well-known state politicians, beat Bill Federer (R) in the race to replace retiring Rep. Richard A. Gephardt (D).
Former Kansas City mayor Emanuel Cleaver II (D) defeated political novice Jean Patterson (R) for the seat of retiring Rep. Karen McCarthy. And incumbent Rep. Roy Blunt (R), father of the new governor, cruised easily to reelection with 70 percent of the vote in his district.
Ground zero for both candidates, Ohio was critical to Kerry's hopes for winning the White House. It seemed to seesaw on election night, with the Democratic nominee jumping to a lead in early returns before the balance tilted to Bush, 51 percent to 49 percent.
Kerry made the economy the soul of his campaign for change and pointed to Ohio's loss of 230,000 jobs as evidence that Bush's economic policies have failed. Kerry also had more face time here, but both candidates piled on attention late in the campaign. The Democrats brought in rock star Bruce Springsteen, and Bush campaigned alongside California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R).
Sen. George V. Voinovich (R) easily held onto his seat, defeating state Sen. Eric Fingerhut with 64 percent of the vote. All House incumbents, including former Democratic presidential candidate Dennis J. Kucinich, also prevailed.
A mirror on the nation's divisions, fewer than 5,000 votes separated the presidential candidates here, a virtual repeat of the outcome in 2000. After saturation-level television ads and multiple candidate visits, Kerry won, 49.8 to 49.4 percent.
Sen. Russell Feingold (D), a high-value target for Republicans, beat back a challenge from construction executive Tim Michels (R), 55 percent to 44 percent, despite the national GOP's infusion of cash into Michels's campaign. Republicans tried to paint Feingold's 12-year record in the Senate as too liberal, but political newcomer Michels never gained much traction.
State Sen. Gwen Moore (D), the favored successor to the Milwaukee district's retiring Rep. Gerald D. Kleczka (D), handily defeated lawyer Gerald Boyle (R).