by Annie Gowen
There were long lines at polling places throughout Election Day in the battleground state of Virginia, with the presidential race in a near dead heat. Another close race: the hotly contested Senate race between two former governors — Democrat Timothy M. Kaine and Republican George Allen — vying to succeed retiring Sen. Jim Webb (D).
We’re also watching 11 House races, local elections in Alexandria and Arlington` and two state ballot initiatives including one in which voters will decide whether to limit the government’s powers to take private property through eminent domain. Check back here for the latest updates throughout the night:
12:00 p.m.With all but the absentee votes left to count, Alexandria’s three-term Mayor William D. Euille (D) and an all-Democrat slate of City Council candidates lead at the polls, in an apparent defeat of the two incumbent Republicans. With nearly all the vote in, incumbent Republicans Frank Fannon and Alicia Hughes appear to be losing to former council members Tim Lovain and Justin Wilson. Two Democratic incumbents, Paul Smedberg and Del Pepper, as well as newcomers Allison Silberberg and John Taylor Chapman, lead the field.
11:26 p. m. --Northern Virginia Congressional incumbents expected to prevail over newcomers.
11:10 p.m. Former governor George Allen urges his supporters not to give up fighting for the principles behind his campaign: “It’s not our cause. It’s America’s cause....Stand strong for freedom.”
10:53 p.m. — Republican Senate candidate George Allen concedes to Democrat Tim Kaine. "Tonight after a very hard fought contest we're reminded how closely divided we are,” Allen said.
10:48 p.m. — Potomac Middle School in Prince William County finally shut the doors to their voting operation at 10:25pm Tuesday, with the last 30 voters in line to cast ballots.
Annie Sasjous waited for four hours and 10 minutes to cast her vote for President Obama.
“I have not waited four hours for anything-- traffic, nothing,” said Sasjous, 49. “This was perseverance. People in the line were saying ‘press on, press on.’”
10:33 p.m. — With 82 percent of the precincts reporting, Democrat Timothy M. Kaine holds a slight lead over George F. Allen in Virginia’s Senate race, 50 to 49 percent. One major news outlet, CBS, has called the race for Kaine but the Washington Post has not yet made such a ruling.
10:26 p.m. — With 17 of 27 precincts reporting, longtime Alexandria Mayor William D. Euille has 57 percent of the vote to Independent challenger Andrew H. Macdonald’s 41 percent of the vote, with 17 of 27 precincts reporting.
10:06 p.m. Obama campaign urges voters in swing states like Va. to #stayinline.
9:54 p.m. Some voters in the Skyline precinct in Fairfax County waited for hours in the biting cold to cast their votes. The polling station began the day with four electronic voting machines with a fifth one added during the day, but it wasn’t enough. Eventually the voters were moved inside to protect them from the plummeting temperatures..
One local woman, Genevieve Misa, 61, left a little after 8 p.m. after waiting for two and a half hours — without casting her vote.
“That’s like a foreign country in their, it’s like Afghanistan,” said Misa of the disorganization. She had never missed an election before. “It’s a bloody damn shame. I’m just so upset.”
9:35 p.m. — With 40 of 53 precincts reporting, Arlington County Board Member Libby Garvey (D) is garnering 57 percent of the vote, with Republican Matthew A. Warvo 29 percent and Independent Audrey R. Clement 12 percent
9:30 p.m. — Va. Governor Bob McDonnell’s office says that voters are still waiting in line in Prince William, Fairfax, Chesapeake and Virginia Beach.
9:27 p.m.— Virginia GOP Chairman Pat Mullins said shortly after 9 p.m. that hundreds of people were still in line at polls around the state. The process could take hours, he said."It's all over the state," he said.
9.21 p.m. — There were still long lines at the River Oaks precinct in Dumfries on the eastern edge of Prince William County after 9 p.m. Tony Guiffre, secretary of the county’s electoral board, said everyone in line would be allowed to vote and he expects the last voters to cast their ballots by 10 p.m.
“Anyone who was in line to vote at 7p.m., who is eligible to vote, will be able to vote regardless of how long it takes,” said Nikki Sheridan, a spokesman for the state board of elections.
8:32 p.m. — “How about it, we won!” House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R) told a cheering crowd at the Omni hotel in Richmond. He said turnout in his Richmond district has been Republican-heavy, which he says bodes well for Romney and Allen.
8:17 p.m.— “It may be 8:30 or after before some of the polls actually have the last voter cast the vote and sometime after that before the results come in,” Gov. Robert F. McDonnell (R ) told reporters at the GOP party at the Omni hotel in Richmond. “So I think we’re in for a little wait.”
7:41 p.m. — The Virginia State Board of Elections delayed the start of results reporting until 8 p.m., due to long lines at the polls.
7:24 p.m. — There were still dozens of voters waiting in Prince William County’s line at Potomac Middle School in Dumfries as the polls officially closed. Some had already waited four hours. As long as they were in line at 7 they would be allowed to vote, county officials said. “We’ll be here ‘til the end,” said Gaston Gianni, the county’s chief election official.
7:12 p.m. — Political junkies take note: one of seven of the most closely watched counties in the country is Henrico County in Va., which went for Bush by 8 in 2004 and Obama for 12 in 2008. Another good bellwether county in Virginia is Loudoun County, the most affluent in the country and a Washington suburb, pundits say.
7:07 p.m.— Those still waiting in line as the polls closed will be allowed to vote.
7 p.m. — Polls close in Virginia.