Democrat, Obama, Wins US Presidential Election
With additional reporting by Matthew Cardinale.
(APN) ATLANTA — US Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) defeated US Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), former US Rep. Cynthia McKinney (D-GA), and others, Tuesday, November 04, 2008, to become the 44th President of the United States. President-elect Obama will be the first Black man and the third-youngest man to hold the office.
As this article went to press, the latest tallies showed Obama the victor with 349 electoral votes and 51 percent of the popular vote. McCain has 163 electoral votes and 48 percent of the vote.
Thousands of supporters in Atlanta, New York, Los Angeles, Washington, and abroad erupted in joy when the networks finally called the election around 11 pm EST.
Obama delivered his victory speech Tuesday night before an estimated crowd of 100,000 people at Grant Park in Chicago, Illinois, where he declared, “the new dawn of American leadership is at hand.”
“If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible, who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time, who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer,” he said.
Obama’s speech echoed the lofty rhetoric that defined his early campaign speeches.
“This victory alone is not the change we seek, it is only the chance for us to make that change and that cannot happen if we go back to the way things were,” he said. “Let us summon a new spirit.”
Obama said US citizens are once again ready to “put their hands on the ark of history and once again bend it once more toward the hope of a brighter day’ while using their ‘humility and determination to heal the divides that have held back our progress.”
The President-elect thanked McCain for the sacrifices he has made and noted ‘we are better off’ for his service to the United States.
An emotional McCain called Obama around 11 p.m. to concede and delivered his concession speech a short time later before supporters gathered in Phoenix, Arizona.
“[Obama’s] success alone commands my respect for his ability and perseverance,” McCain said. “Let there be no reason now for any American to fail to cherish their citizenship in this the greatest nation on Earth.”
McCain thanked his supporters and running mate Gov. Sarah Palin (R-AS) and pledged “to do all in my power to help [Obama] lead us through the many challenges we face.”
“The failure is mine, not yours,” he said of Tuesday’s loss. “I am so deeply grateful and honored for your support and all you’ve done for me’ I won’t spend a moment of the future regretting what might have been.”
Green Party candidate, former US Rep. Cynthia McKinney (D-GA), told APN on election eve that even if Obama were to win, the Green Party’s work was still not done.
“I have a different view. It’s unfortunate that we’re not gonna get the kind of change people deserve and need. Not on war. Not that we need and I think people are voting for on civil liberties and social justice issues,” McKinney told APN.
“Severing the ties that bind with special interests… the Democratic Party is not prepared to do that, so there are inherent constraints, limits to change. That has not been fully expressed, people have not been educated what those limits are,” McKinney said.
“People are saying, George Bush has been so bad, but it’s not the substantive policy-driven change I’m advocating and people are truly expecting,” McKinney said.
“I and other members of the Green Party will convene at some point and determine what the future course is. There are so many people who are hungry for a deeper change than is possible within the two party system, so we’ve worked real hard to identify who these people are and I’m sure that we’ll be working on a program to commence November 5th,” McKinney said.
President Bush called to congratulate his successor Tuesday night and spoke from the White House Rose Garden Wednesday morning, calling Obama’s victory a “triumph of the American story.”
“This moment is especially uplifting for a generation of Americans who witnessed the struggle for civil rights with their own eyes and four decades later see a dream fulfilled,” he said.
President Bush said he invited Obama and his family to the White House and pledged his Administration would fully cooperate in the transition.
Obama won this election due largely to support from voters who gave him their support throughout the primaries: young and first time voters, Blacks, and Latinos. Exit polls showed an overwhelming amount of voters listed the economy as their top concern and many of those picked Obama.
In addition to performing well on the West coast, in the Midwest, and in New England, Obama managed to flip a number of red Republican states into the blue Democratic column.
Florida, Indiana, Ohio, New Mexico, Colorado, Nevada, Iowa, and Virginia all went for President Bush in 2004. Obama carried all of them Tuesday.
McCain carried Georgia.
There are still two more states, Missouri and North Carolina, that are still too close to call as of Wednesday afternoon. Both of these also went to President Bush in 2004 but Obama has a good chance of picking up both.
Flipping the above states is a testament to Obama’s strong grassroots organizing campaign that first propelled him through the Democratic Primaries and now has sent him to the White House.
Democrats used Obama’s coattails to extend their majorities in both houses of Congress.
In the US Senate, Democrats picked up at least five seats, giving them a solid majority of at least 56. Democrats lost no US Senate seats, including US Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) and US Sen. Tim Johnson (S-SD), who were the only two who appeared vulnerable.
At least two Republican incumbents were defeated. State legislator Kay Hagan beat US Sen. Elizabeth Dole (R-NC) in a major upset. Former Gov. Jean Shaheen beat US Sen. John Sununu (R-NH).
Former Gov. Mark Warner beat Jim Gilmore to take retiring US Sen. John Warner’s (R-VA, no relation) seat.
Former State Attorney General and current U.S. House Member Tom Udall won an open New Mexico seat. Tom’s cousin and State Representative Mark Udall won an open Republican Colorado seat.
US Senate races in Alaska, Oregon, Minnesota, and Georgia remain too close to call at the moment.
The Georgia Secretary of State’s office showed neither US Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) nor Democrat Jim Martin with 50% of the vote.
Chambliss currently has 49.9% and Martin has 46.7% with 96% of precincts reporting. Libertarian Allen Buckley did not do as well as expected, receiving only about 3%. If this holds, Chambliss and Martin will face off in a December 02 runoff.
Georgia’s US Senate race vote totals from last night, however, did not include early voting, provisional ballots, absentee ballots, and overseas ballots’ these are still being calculated.
Martin’s campaign is confident that “the votes that are outstanding are our votes,” Martin said in a press conference call in which Atlanta Progressive News participated. Martin estimated at least 200,000 votes which had not been counted yet as of 12:30pm today and which were not reflected in the 96% precinct total.
“We still have to wait and see what the final count is gonna be but we’re proceeding absolutely as if we’re in a runoff,” Kate Hansen, Martin’s spokeswoman, told APN in a phone interview.
In Minnesota, comedian and Air America radio host Al Franken is within 600 votes of US Sen. Norm Coleman (R-MN) and that race appears headed to a recount per Minnesota law.
Incumbent US Sens. Gordon Smith (R-OR) and Ted Stevens (R-AS) led but by tiny margins. It is unclear what will happen in these races.
There will have to be special elections to replace Obama and US Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE) in the U.S. Senate seeing as how they will be in the White House as President and Vice President.
On the US House side, estimates show Democrats picked up between 17 and 20 seats. This is in addition to the 30 they added in 2006. About 10 races remain undecided nationally as of Wednesday morning.
In Georgia, no incumbent lost his or her seat, including US Rep. Jim Marshall of District 8, who cruised to a comfortable win over Republican challenger Rick Goddard. Marshall’s seat may have been one of the only seats nationally that was ever in danger of turning Republican.
About the author:
Jonathan Springston is a Senior Staff Writer for The Atlanta Progressive News and is reachable at firstname.lastname@example.org. Matthew Cardinale is the News Editor for The Atlanta Progressive News and is reachable is email@example.com
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