The polls in Virginia closed at 7. I went to choral rehearsal from 7:30 until 9:30 and got home around 9:45 or so. From then until about 12:30, I sat with the TV tuned to NBC’s election coverage with my boyfriend Tim Russert and sat in front of the laptop obsessively refreshing Virginia results every four minutes. (Though it said it updated every two minutes, it was actually closer to every four minutes, as I know because I am an obsessive psycho.)
I was tempted to stay up all night. I just kept thinking that in 2004 I went to bed feeling great about Kerry and when I woke up, he’d lost. As if my all-nighter would change the outcome. Finally I forced myself to turn everything off and go upstairs. When I went to bed, 97% of precincts were reporting and Allen was ahead by 3,000 votes. The gap was closing but not fast enough, and I was stressing out. I knew that many of the precincts not in yet were from urban areas in Virginia expected to go for Webb, but I still couldn’t feel good about it.
When I woke up this morning and saw that Webb was now ahead of Allen by about 7,000 votes, I felt better – but I’m still not giddy with excitement. We have 99.84% of precincts in now and Webb is ahead by 7,050. According to the smarties at Raising Kaine, even in a best-case scenario for Allen (and worst-case for us) he’ll pick up 2,700 votes or so – not enough to catch up to Webb.
Allen won by 949 votes (10,252/9,303) in Lynchburg overall and by 210 (913/703) in my precinct. That was really discouraging at first, but seeing just how very close this race is throughout the Commonwealth makes me feel like my vote really counted this year. That’s kind of nice. Another interesting stat is that the stupid marriage amendment won by only TWO votes in my precinct. Lynchburg was actually closer than the state overall on that amendment, with 52.18% for and 47.82% against it. Overall it was 57.04% for it and 42.96% against it. I hope Jerry Falwell and all his bigoted asshole friends are at least a little disappointed that the vote was so close.
There will definitely be a recount. After the votes are certified on November 27th, Allen will have ten days to request a recount (if the margin is not close enough for a mandated recount). I feel better today than I did last night, but I am still trying not to get too excited until everything is official. It will be a while. And in the meantime, since I’m a total numbers & analysis geek on things like this, I’ll continue to check results and breakdowns obsessively.
That said, I think it is awesome that Democrats kicked ass all over the country. Maybe they won’t do any better than the Republican Congress has been, but we’ll never know until we give them a shot. And I think they can do much, much better.