9:40 p.m. Second printout is in. 50% of the vote counted. Statewide, Lingle still leads with 60%, Akaka is still running away from Thielen, and both Democrats in the U.S. House are leading their opponents with comfortable margins. Interesting to note is that the GOP may lose several seats, notably Senate 24 and House 11, 23, and 40, and the GOP incumbents who are still in the lead are in the mid-50% range while Democratic incumbents are well above 60%.
8:47 p.m. And as the House went, could the Senate go as well? Claire McCaskill has just taken the lead in Missouri by about 25K votes. It’s down to three states, Missouri, Virginia, and Montana. Montana looks like it will go blue, and Missouri just might if McCaskill holds on. Virginia might be the Ohio/Florida of this year’s election, and a recount is not unlikely. We might not know who won the Senate for weeks.
8:17 p.m. Some key races I’m keeping my eye on.
State Senate 19: Mike Gabbard is leading in early returns against George Yamamoto by one point for Brian Kanno’s old seat. This district is one of the fastest growing and politically mixed area of Hawaii. Way too close to call.
State Senate 24: Bob Hogue’s old seat, and my district. Jill Tokuda currently leads the absentee count 58-38, but don’t count out Keoki Leong yet. This district is traditionally GOP.
State House 4: Helene Hale’s old seat. Faye Hanohano leads by 10 percentage points, which seems rather close for an East Hawaii seat.
State House 17: Gene Ward seems to be making a good showing in his political comeback, but his lead over A.J. Halagao seems a bit tight given the area’s GOP-leaning tendencies.
State House 23: Tom Brower leads over Anne Stevens, who was appointed to replaced Galen Fox. A good chance for the Dems to pickup.
State House 28: Karl Rhoads leads Collin Wong in the race to replace ousted Rep. Bev Harbin. The margin is 2 percentage points; a good chance for the GOP to pickup a seat.
State House 40: Mark Moses leads Sharon Har by two votes. This could be a cliffhanger. Kapolei looks like a political battleground today.
State House 44: Karen Awana leads Michael Kahikina 51% to 47%.
7:17 p.m. First printout is in. All walk-ins and 2/3 of mail-in absentee ballots counted.
Governor: Lingle 61% Iwase 38%
Senate: Akaka 65% Thielen 34%
House #1: Abercrombie 69% Hough 31%
House #2: Hirono 64% Hogue 36%
Maui Mayor: Tavares 54% Arakawa 42%
7:08 p.m. Looks like the Dems will take the U.S. House and make Nancy Pelosi speaker. The Senate is +3 for the Democrats with Santorum, DeWine, and Chafee falling, but three more need to fall for the Dems to take control of the Senate. At this point, it looks like the GOP may hold on by the skin of their teeth. Webb is ahead by the slimmest of margins in Virginia (2,300 votes out of over 2.3 million cast), and Tester is well ahead of Burns in Montana. However, Corker and Talent are in the lead in Tennessee and Missouri respectively. That means that Dick Cheney may actually get to do something. Scary.
Polls have closed in Hawaii, but the first printout isn’t expected until about 7:30 p.m. Watching “Dancing with the Stars” until then.