8:16: Nothing's happening yet and the people at Eleanor Holmes Nortion's party seem confused as to why a reporter would bother showing up. And so: Rival liveblogs! Here's the Huffington Post , and here's 538 .
Twitter informs us that the big TV talent is at Mike Castle's campaign party in Delaware, which tells you who they expect to win. Turnout in Delaware is around 25 percent.
What do you need to watch in Delaware? Well, the most conservative voters in the state come from Kent and Sussex counties, which hold, combined, about 1/3 of the states voters. If turnout is high there, it's good for O'Donnell. If turnout is strong in the Wilmington area, with a big lead for Castle, it's good news, but watch the southern parts of the county to see if she's winning the small towns there.
8:28: Results come in, and O'Donnell leads by 700 votes in Delaware with a barely-significant 11 percent of precincts counted.
8:43: Is there some pocket of Wilmington we're waiting for? WIth 37% of precincts in, O'Donnell still leads Castle by 10 points. In New Hampshire, Kelly Ayotte is not performing as well her campaign hoped, and I'm looking for some numbers.
8:54: With 65% in, O'Donnell continues to lead, and I'm getting reports that she's already giving touchdown dance quotes to reporters. The liberal New Castle County votes simply aren't coming in for her.
Christine O'Donnell wins, and a candidate that no Republican thinks can win a general election is her party's nominee in a once-certain red seat. The NRSC responds:
We congratulate Christine O’Donnell for her nomination this evening after a hard-fought primary campaign in Delaware.
Warm, isn't it? The news broke as I was interviewing Eleanor Holmes Norton. She was shocked, but she instantly knew the impact.
"GOOD for us!" she said. "But bad for him. He's a good man. And I'm worried about some of these ideological Republicans who are winning this year."
9:22: Catch this quote from the Delaware GOP before it vanishes:
"Is Christine O’Donnell actually this unhinged from reality? Or is she simply a liar, whose total lack of respect for Delaware voters leads her to deliberately and repeatedly deny the clear facts surrounding her many personal and professional failures?" asked Delaware Republican Party Chairman Tom Ross. "Either way, O’Donnell’s bizarre and untruthful rhetoric continues to prove that she is far from qualified to represent Delaware in the United States Senate. Christine O’Donnell is not only irresponsible, she is a true embarrassment, and Delaware both demands and deserves far better from its candidates."
9:24: Do the Democrats now have an easy win? They could have blown this and nominated a placeholder -- who, after all, wanted to run against the unbeatable Mike Castle? But ambitious New Castle County Executive Chris Coons, who's won multiple elections in the state's populous county and didn't see another chance at statewide office, got into the race and started banking serious campaign funds. He's the obvious favorite now.
9:28: It's a double whammy in my home state. Michelle Rollins, a wealthy businesswoman recruited by the NRCC, is going down narrowly to Tea Partier Glen Urquhart. Former Lieutenant Gov. John Carney, the Democratic candidate, becomes the favorite to take the seat, and Urquhart, who did not have establishment support, is unlikely to hear out any scheme to leave the race for Castle.
9:38: How good do the Democrats look here? I'll help. As of August 25, Chris Coons had $944,230 in the bank. O'Donnell had $20,374. John Carney had $904,469 in the bank. Glen Urquhart had $194,036. Look for Delaware to be the brightest spot on the map for Democrats.
9:40: Oh, you mean there are other states? In New Hampshire, progressive Democrat has completely destroyed Katrina Swett in the primary to replace Rep. Paul Hodes (D-N.H.). Swett has never recovered from her 2004 role as Joe Lieberman's campaign manager in the state.
9:50: The Rothenberg Political Report comments on Delaware:
We’re moving the race from Lean Republican to Lean Democrat.
Let's wait a week. If O'Donnell doesn't show some sign that she can coalesce Republican support, the race falls off the map.
I wrote a
for this stage of Castle's political career. A GOP strategist puts it bluntly to me: Delaware is now unwinnable for Republicans.
10:40: Back to the races. In New Hampshire, former Attorney General Kelly Ayotte -- whom a lot of us though would survive the Tea Party wave because of her endorsements from Sarah Palin and the Susan B. Anthony List -- is waiting on results from Nashua, her base, to erase Ovide Lamontagne's lead. In the 2nd district, former congressman Charlie Bass -- who everyone thought was a shoe-in -- is struggling against Jennifer Horn, the 2008 sacrificial lamb against Rep. Paul Hodes (D-N.H.). That could be a Delaware repeat -- O'Donnell was the token candidate against Biden two years ago.
11:02: I'm watching the returns from New York's GOP gubernatorial primary, where Rick Lazio is struggling to survive in any county north of Westchester, and I'm informed that upstart Tea Party businessman Carl Paladino will definitely win here. Time for Lazio to spend more time investigating the Ground Zero Mosque.
11:07: Memories, like the corners of my mind...
11:08: Votes are coming in at a molasses pace in D.C. -- where the polls closed three hours ago! -- but there are no good signs for Mayor Adrian Fenty. Nothing is in yet from heavily African-American Ward 8, where he's about as popular as cyanide, and Fenty's losing without it.
11:38: The molasses keeps oozing ever so slowly in D.C. Mayor Fenty is winning in wards 1, 2, and 3, the tonier, whiter parts of the city. City Council Chairman Vincent Gray is winning the four less white, less wealthy wards, Nothing from ward 6 -- Capitol Hill, basically -- is in.
11:49: Charles Rangel will survive to the general election -- he's going to dispatch his three primary opponents with some ease. I knew this would happen when I realized his loudest opponent, Adam Clayton Powell IV, was spending his time talking to D.C. reporters instead of raising money.
11:53: The Right Scoop posts the O'Donnell victory speech:
12:03: Josh Green, loving the scene in Delaware, gives us a Portrait of the Candidate As A Young Woman -- a hip Christine O'Donnell representing conservatives on Politically Incorrect.
12:08: File this under Good News for Humankind: Two of the most corrupt members of the New York state Senate, Hiram Monserrate, and Pedro Espada, are done . Monserrate lost a comeback bid and Espada, who schemed his way into the job of majority leader, has lost a primary.
12:18: It's actually a fairly great night for the NRCC, outside of Delaware. It wanted first-tier candidates in NH-02 and NY-19, and it got them; it wanted Doug Hoffman to loses in NY-23, and he has, although he retains the Conservative line.
1:01: It's all but certain that Vincent Gray will be the Democratic nominee for mayor of Washington, D.C. The Republican Party has the right to offer Fenty its ballot line by Friday. In a slightly different situation in 1969, New York Mayor John Lindsay lost his party's nomination and won with the Liberal Party's line. But this is a truly unheard-of scenario for D.C.
1:20: Late votes are giving Kelly Ayotte some room to breath in New Hampshire, which would take Sarah Palin to a respectable 2/3 win/loss record tonight. I point this out for accuracy's sake, not to carry water for Palin. If you ask me, her ability to pick winners in her own party's primaries is impressive, but not, say, predictive of her overall national appeal.
1:40: To be filed under the section "news coverage prioritization," a google search for "Chris Coons," the man likely to be the next senator from Delaware, brings 142,000 results. A google search for "Alvin Greene," the troubled man who has no shot at being elected senator from South Carolina. brings 449,000 results. Coons and Alaska's Joe Miller are likely to be the least-examined members of the body in 2011.
2:02: The final poll in New York's GOP primary for governor had Rick Lazio leading Carl Paladino by one point. With 96.5 percent of precincts counted, Paladino is defeating Lazio by 24 points. A quick contest -- somebody show me a race that defied the polls more than that.
We don't yet know the winners of a few races, but we all need some time to process Mike Castle's loss. I bid you farewell with this commentary on what happened tonight.