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Unfriendly greeting for Slippery Rock voters

Published by Mike Pound on .

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Some voters who visited the polling place at the Slippery Rock Township municipal building got this -- a pickup with strident messages against President Obama and Democratic gubernatorial nominee Tom Wolf -- as a greeting today. The photo was taken by Slippery Rock University student Haley Crompton, who said the driver of the pick up was wearing an "Obama is a Communist" shirt. Several voters complained, but the unidentified man was allowed to stay.

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Capito wins West Virginia Senate race

Published by Mike Pound on .

West Virginia U.S. Rep. Shelley Moore Capito listens to President Rob Sincavich at TeamSledd while on a campaign swing through the state in October. (Larry Roberts/Post-Gazette)West Virginia U.S. Rep. Shelley Moore Capito listens to President Rob Sincavich at TeamSledd while on a campaign swing through the state in October. (Larry Roberts/Post-Gazette)

U.S. Rep Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia will move to the other house next year; the Republican is the winner of the Senate race against Democrat Natalie Tennant, according to a call by the Associated Press.

If you're curious -- and we are -- you'll note that the Republicans need a net gain of six seats to take over control of the Senate (giving the seat of majority leader to Mitch McConnell, who won today in Kentucky).

And that's one.

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Waiting for Senate returns

Published by Mike Pound on .

A little more than an hour to vote. A little less than 30 minutes before the newsroom pizza arrives.

The waiting truly is the hardest part.

While we wait on those two key events, we can take a quick look at some of the tighter U.S. Senate races around the country, all of which will have a hand in deciding whether the Senate flips to Republican control as expected.

Colorado: Incumbent Democrat Mark Udall could be the first U.S. senator from Colorado to lose his seat since 1978, thanks to a challenge from Republican U.S. Red Corey Gardner, who, like many of his GOP counterparts, tried to turn a state race into a referendum on the performance of President Obama.

Kentucky: Sen. Mitch McConnell has spent a great deal of time talking about how he'll run the Senate when he replaces Harry Reid as majority leader – except that he needs to win today first. He leads in the polls, but higher-than-expected turnout in Louisville and other urban areas could be a boost for Democratic challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes.

North Carolina: The race between Democratic incumbent Kay Hagen and Republican challenger Thom Tillis has been intense enough that a group with ties to conservative benefactors Charles and David Koch paid for an ad for pro-marijuana independent candidate Sean Haugh, presumably to draw votes away from Ms. Hagen.

Kansas: This could be the origin of the best political curveball of the season: an independent winning a seat in the Senate. But Sen. Pat Roberts, the Republican, hasn't been able to shake the campaign of Greg Orman. As a senator, Mr. Orman would be a pretty popular guy in a tightly divided Senate.

U.S. Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (Larry Roberts/Post-Gazette)U.S. Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (Larry Roberts/Post-Gazette)

West Virginia: One way or another, our neighbors to the south will make history, electing West Virginia's first female member of the Senate. U.S. Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, a Republican, is expected to beat Democratic challenger Natalie Tennant, but Ms. Tennant has pursued an aggressive pro-energy agenda – contrary to the policies of the Mr. Obama. Will that be enough to close a double-digit lead for Ms. Capito? We'll have to wait and see.

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It's your turn now

Published by Mike Pound on .

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It's showtime.

Polling numbers, campaign ads, rallies and speeches all come down to this: Election Day. By tonight, Pennsylvania could have a new governor, the U.S. Senate could have a new majority -- and President Obama could have a fight on his hands for the last two years of his term.

We'll be back this evening to cover today's results; for now, here are a few basics:

  • The polls are open until 8 p.m.
  • If you need to know the location of your polling place, you can find it here.
  • Curious about which candidates have been endorsed -- and which ones have not -- by the P-G? You'll find a list here.

Get out and vote today, folks, and then join us back here tonight for pizza (in the newsroom, anyway) and all the Early Returns we can handle.

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Forecast: Wolf looks good, U.S. Senate poised for change

Published by Mike Pound on .

Obama Governor Pennsylvania Wolf erAssociated Press photo

Before we get to Tuesday's main event – and even before we get to today's preliminary activities, which include Pittsburgh appearances by both Battling Toms – let's take one last look at some polling numbers and the last-minute projections by Nate Silver's FiveThirtyEight blog.

Two polls updated their numbers at the end of last week – and those figures look much like they have for the last several weeks. Democratic nominee Tom Wolf holds leads in both, although one set of numbers – those from Magellan Strategies – shows a much tighter race.

Muhlenberg College/Morning Call: Mr. Wolf holds a 51-39 point lead over Gov. Tom Corbett here, although this manages to be a poll that neither candidate would be happy about. Even with the lead, Mr. Wolf's unfavorable rating had climbed from 25 percent in September to 36 percent in this poll. And for Mr. Corbett? His ratings actually improved, but c'mon – that double-digit deficit looks rough just days before the election.

Magellan Strategies: The margin here is different – Mr. Wolf has a less-comfortable lead of 49.6-43.3 – but just under half of those surveyed had a favorable opinion of our sitting governor.

FiveThirtyEight: And that leads us to this: Mr. Silver says there's just a 1 percent chance that Mr. Corbett will retain his seat on Tuesday. Mr. Wolf enjoys an 11.6-point advantage in Mr. Silver's list, which puts him – and Pennsylvania overall – in some interesting company. In gubernatorial races where Democrats are favored to win, only New York, California, Hawaii and Vermont – all solidly blue states – have bigger advantages in Mr. Silver's forecast. But now is not the time to start your celebrations, Dems – as of this morning, Mr. Silver also says there is a 72.3 percent chance that Republicans will win the U.S. Senate on Tuesday.