A blue wave breaks over the Legislature; the president wins four more yearsby Phil Picardi, Minnesota Public Radio,
Hart Van Denburg, Minnesota Public Radio
Today on the MPR News Update, the 2012 election is in the record books and, for the most part, it'll go down as a big win for Democrats. An estimated 3 million people voted yesterday in Minnesota -- which works out to about 75 percent voter turnout.
FOUR MORE YEARS: After the costliest -- and one of the nastiest -- campaigns in history, President Barack Obama rolled to re-election last night over former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, despite a weak economy that plagued his first term and put a crimp in the middle class dreams of millions. Democrats retained control of the Senate with surprising ease. Republicans did the same in the House. Minnesota was part of the president's winning package of states.
NOW WHAT?: Obama faces a new urgent task now that he has a second term, working with a status-quo Congress to address an impending financial crisis that economists say could send the country back into recession.
MINNESOTA BLUE: For the past two weeks, Republicans insisted that Minnesota was going to be a swing state on Election Day. It swung hard to the DFL on Tuesday. President Barack Obama carried the state by 8 percentage points. DFL Sen. Amy Klobuchar defeated Republican Kurt Bills by more than 35 percentage points. The Democrats claimed control of both chambers of the Legislature and picked up one Congressional seat.
MARRIAGE AMENDMENT FAILS: In an emotional and historic contest, Minnesota voters defeated the proposed constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage on Election Day. The result struck a blow to same-sex marriage opponents who had succeeded in passing ballot measures in 30 other states. It also opened the way for backers to push for legal same-sex marriages in Minnesota.
VOTER ID FAILS: Voter ID supporters had argued their proposed state constitutional amendment would combat voter fraud and improve the integrity of elections by requiring voters to show official government identification at the polls. But the measure went down to defeat last night in a dramatic reversal. It wasn't too long ago that polls suggested voters were in favor of the law.
BACHMANN SQUEAKS BY: Democrat Jim Graves has conceded to Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann in the 6th Congressional District race. "The people have spoken and Michele won the election," Graves told MPR's The Daily Circuit. He tweeted earlier Wednesday that a recount was likely -- with all the votes counted, she led by just 50.4 percentage points to Graves's 49.4 percentage points.
CRAVAACK LOSES: Six other U.S. House incumbents besides Bachmann retained their seats, but one did not. In one of the most hotly contested congressional races in the nation, former U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan, a Democrat, defeated incumbent Republican U.S. Rep. Chip Cravaack.
ELECTION NIGHT PHOTOS: Our photographers were all over the state last night, capturing the emotions of the winners and losers. Check out a gallery of their work here.
And for those of you who have had more than your fill of politics ...
ONCE IN A LIFETIME: Rock star David Byrne, a cofounder of the Talking Heads and long an innovator on the world stage, is now inviting Minnesotans to a new kind of music-making experience in a downtown Minneapolis building. A new installation in the warehouse district, called "Playing the Building," allows visitors to pick out a tune on an instrument which uses parts of an old warehouse to make sounds.
Phil Picardi is a newscaster for MPR News, and occasionally fills in as Morning Edition host when Cathy Wurzer is away.