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Tight races in two 46ths

Published by Mike Pound on .

State Sen. Tim Solobay

We have two 46th districts – one in the state Senate and one in the state House – and two incumbents who are struggling to hold on to their seats.

During the campaign we've heard plenty about Democrat state Sen. Tim Solobay's work as a volunteer firefighter. But we've also heard about Mr. Solobay accepting per diems and perks, all courtesy of Solobay's challenger Camera Bartolotta. Whose pitch worked? Republican Bartolotta has a lead of about 1,500 votes at 9:45 p.m.

On the state House side, Rep. Jesse White went from making a terrible mistake – the one where he took on fake social media names to attack opponents – to regain his footing in time to hold on to his seat in the 46th district. But Mr. White, like Solobay a Democrat, had to work to fend off attacks from Jason Ortitay, who held a lead of about 1,200 votes as of 9:45 tonight.

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AP: It's Wolf

Published by Mike Pound on .

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Say hello to your new governor, at least according to the Associated Press:

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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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