The state was a clear win for Kerry, who got 55 percent of the vote, as well as for Democratic National Convention star Barack Obama, who trounced conservative pundit Alan Keyes (R), a Marylander, to succeed retiring Sen. Peter Fitzgerald (R).
Obama, 43, who was the first black president of the Harvard Law Review, becomes the only black senator. Keyes, who had never previously lived in the state, was recruited by Republicans after their first nominee quit because of a sex scandal.
Democrats picked up a congressional seat in suburban Chicago as businesswoman Melissa Bean defeated 35-year incumbent Philip M. Crane, the longest-serving Republican in the House. Bean's campaign centered on assertions that Crane had grown stale in office. He beat her in 2002 by stressing the benefits of his seniority on the Ways and Means Committee, but voters opted for change this time, choosing Bean by 52 percent to 48 percent.
Politics professor Daniel Lipinski (D) easily won the southwest Chicago seat vacated by his father, Rep. William O. Lipinski (D). The younger Lipinski, who was on leave from the University of Tennessee, swamped 26-year-old novice Ryan Chlada (R) by nearly 50 percentage points.
There were no surprises in other House races, in which all incumbents, including House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert, prevailed.
As predicted, Bush carried the state handily, with 60 percent of the vote. Mitchell E. Daniels Jr. (R), his former budget director, rode the president's coattails into the governor's mansion.
Daniels, who campaigned on job creation and making government more efficient, captured 53 percent of the vote to defeat incumbent Gov. Joseph E. Kernan (D), a former lieutenant governor who ascended to the top job when Frank L. O'Bannon died last fall. Kernan campaigned on his experience and called for lower taxes and smaller government but succumbed to Daniels's star power and White House ties, turning over Indiana's governorship to a Republican for the first time in almost 16 years.
Sen. Evan Bayh (D), who was favored to win reelection, pulled off a healthy victory, 62 percent to 37 percent, over sociology professor Marvin Scott (R).
But trucking executive Mike Sodrel (R) unseated Rep. Baron Hill (D) in a cliffhanger, gaining a House seat for the GOP. Sodrel had lost to Hill in 2002. This time, Sodrel came out on top by about 1,300 of the 280,000 votes cast.
Rep. John N. Hostettler (R), who has served five terms, held off challenger and former Boston Celtics scout Jon Jennings (D). Hostettler was considered vulnerable because he had never won more than 53 percent of the vote, raised little money and was arrested for gun possession at an airport this year.
Incumbent Rep. Chris Chocola (R) beat businessman Joe Donnelly (D), and Rep. Julia Carson (D) defeated Andy Horning (R).
The Democratic candidate had captured Iowa in every presidential election since 1984. But Bush appears to have broken that streak, eking out a narrow victory, 50 percent to 49 percent.
Kerry's primary victory in Iowa, traditionally the launching state for presidential candidacies, sent him on his way to the Democratic nomination. Despite a booming farm economy, the state lost 27,000 manufacturing jobs, yielding an economic mixed bag. Social issues also played a strong role among rural voters, while concern about the course of the Iraq war motivated city voters, the same recipe for a tight race nationwide.
Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R), chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, won an easy victory over Arthur Small (D), a lawyer from Iowa City. Rep. Leonard L. Boswell (D), who won 53 percent of the vote in 2002, increased his margin by a couple of percentage points in a rematch against GOP lawyer Stan Thompson.
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).