Page last updated at 09:35 GMT, Wednesday, 3 November 2010

As it happened: US Mid-term elections 2010

US Rep Ed Perlmutter celebrates his victory in Denver, Colorado (3 Nov 2010)

  • Republicans seize control of the House of Representatives
  • Democrats keep control of the Senate - Majority Leader Harry Reid holds his seat in Nevada
  • All times are Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) which is four hours behind GMT
  • Full mid-terms coverage on our US elections 2010 special report
  • Reporter: Jude Sheerin

0325 There are also three Senate seats left to declare and seven governorships. But those results could take some time. That concludes our live coverage on what has been a night to forget for the Democrats - but one to savour for the Republicans.

Mark Mardell
BBC North America editor Mark Mardell writes: Mr Obama's fall from grace has been hard and fast. He has been pulled to Earth by an electorate that is deeply divided, by a politics that has become tidal.

0308 The Republicans have won 54 House seats, equalling Bill Clinton's mid-term pummelling in 1994. With more than 20 seats still to declare in this throw-the-bums-out election, the outcome's only likely to get worse for Obama and the Democrats.

0303 Looming large over this poll has been the figure of Tea Party Mama Grizzly-in-chief Sarah Palin. The former Alaska governor was not running for election, but she endorsed dozens of candidates. Feverish speculation that the "hockey mom" who turned the flank of the Republican establishment will now run for the White House in 2012 is not likely to recede.

Republican elephant
Sarah Palin-backed candidate Renee Ellmers, a nurse, ousted seven-term Democrat Bob Etheridge in North Carolina's second district. I wonder if this viral video of Etheridge assaulting a student journalist had any impact on the race.

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David Smith from Austin, Texas, writes: President Obama completely mis-read his 2008 victory. His election was not a mandate to implement socialist policies (i.e., nationalisation of health care). The majority of Americans who voted for him wanted him to implement positive change... change that would improve the economy, increase jobs, and reduce the government debt. He's accomplished none of these things. Instead, he's acted like a drunken sailor, increasing spending, programs, taxes, the deficit and the debt, and doing nothing to improve the lives of Americans who really just want the basic necessity of life... a job.

Republican elephant
Another Republican winner was Michele Bachmann, a photogenic Tea Party heroine, who held her seat in Minnesota's sixth district. During Obama's White House campaign, she suggested he espoused anti-American views.

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Karen Lee, from San Jose, California, writes: It is sad how gullible and easily manipulated most Americans are. How quickly they forget that it was the Republicans who got us into this mess by de-regulating "big government" (control over the financial houses) in the first place! It's understandable that they are unhappy that the Dems didn't do enough or the right things to improve the economic situation, but putting the Republicans back in power certainly isn't going to help, it will make things worse.

0245 Tonight we also saw Democrats bag a rare beast of the American electoral jungle: the endangered Republican incumbent. Anh Cao, a former Jesuit seminarian who became the first Vietnamese-American Congressman, lost his seat in New Orleans to Democrat Cedric Richmond. Even his recent declaration of "love" for Obama couldn't save him.

Democratic donkey
The longest-serving member of the House, 84-year-old Democrat John Dingell, won a 29th term in Michigan's 15th district. Dingell, first elected in 1955, said this year's was the nastiest campaign he'd ever seen.

Republican elephant
Another notable Republican winner was Steve King, in Iowa's 5th district, who said earlier this year he could "empathise" with a man who flew a plane kamikaze-style into a Texas tax office.

Tom Jensen of Public Policy Polling tweets: "I think Hispanics in NV may be the toughest demo group in the country to poll. Everyone (us included) screwed it up in 08 and this year" and later "Polling in Spanish would probably help with the Hispanics in NV but I wonder if they're a harder group to reach even beyond that"

0225 To say expectations were high when Obama came to office is a bit of an understatement; some seemed to think he'd part the waters of the Potomac and lead the liberal faithful to the Promised Land. Can he recapture the magic, or is he now a lame duck leader? Have your say.

0221 It's hard to believe that in 2008 political obituaries were being written for the Republican Party, after the Democrats won the White House and both Houses of Congress. Just two years later, conservative champagne corks are popping again.

0216 The Democrats have taken a kicking, but it doesn't mean Obama's finished, of course. Reagan looked on the ropes when Republicans lost 26 House seats in 1982, but romped to a second term two years later. And Bill Clinton seemed to be twitching on the canvas when the Democrats lost 54 House seats in his mid-term shellacking. It's way too early to tell if Obama's going to be a two-term president, such as Clinton and Reagan, or a one-termer like Jimmy Carter and George Bush Snr. We'll find out in 2012.

0208 In California, Proposition 23, a ballot initiative funded by oil companies seeking to suspend the Golden State's landmark greenhouse gas regulations, has failed.

Republican elephant
Another notable Republican win was Joe Barton's in Texas' sixth district. Barton was widely criticised for apologising to BP's chairman over government pressure placed on the oil giant in the aftermath of the Gulf oil spill.

0150 Victorious Democratic Senate leader Harry Reid says: "Today Nevada chose hope over fear. Nevada chose to move forwards, not backwards."

0149 Still no result in one of the year's hardest-fought contests, for the Florida governor's mansion. It's going down to the wire between Republican businessman Rick Scott and Democratic state chief financial officer Alex Sink.

Paul Reickhoff of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America tweets: I've got 7 (veterans) winning right now at least. And 8 losses for sure. Hard to keep track though.

Democratic donkey
Democrat Mike McIntyre holds his North Carolina House seat, beating Tea Party-backed challenger Ilario Pantano, an ex-Marine who once fired 60 rounds into two unarmed Iraqis. (Murder charges were dropped against Pantano, who said the Iraqis had been about to attack him.)

Matt Frei
The BBC's Matt Frei tweets: All the big money has come from the big GOP stalwarts. Will it collide with the grassroots movement that is the Tea Party?

0137 Ryan Lizza of The New Yorker says: Nobody has ever won an election saying, "it would have been a whole lot worse if my policies weren't implemented".

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Matt Bai of the New York Times writes: If there is a lesson in all this for both parties, perhaps it's that merely piling up votes on Election Day doesn't confer on you a mandate for any ambitious agenda - unless you have presented the voters with the difficult choices you intend to make. For Republicans, this argues against over-interpreting the meaning of Tuesday's gains. For Mr Obama, it probably means that the campaign for the next agenda begins right now.

Democratic donkey
Maverick Democrat Dennis Kucinich - who tried to impeach Dick Cheney over the Iraq war, and who once questioned George W Bush's mental health because of the former president's sabre-rattling over Iran - holds on to his seat in Ohio's 10th district.

Republican elephant
Another notable Republican gain was Mississippi's first district. Once-popular Travis Childers, rated as one of the most conservative Democrats, lost his seat to Republican challenger Alan Nunnelee, a state senator from Elvis's hometown of Tupelo.

ABC'S Jake Tapper responds to Weigel, tweeting: She also endorsed Ayotte, McCain, Paul, Boozman, Toomey, & Rubio

Republican elephant
Gene Taylor, who took the ploy of Democrats distancing themselves from Obama to a whole new level by claiming he'd voted for John McCain in 2008, has lost the Mississippi fourth district seat he held for 21 years to Republican challenger Steve Palazzo.

Dave Weigel of Slate tweets: If Murkowski wins in AK after O'Donnell, Fiorina and Raese lost, this is quite the night for Palin.

0122 The BBC's Peter Bowes in Los Angeles says: True to form, California voters have bucked the national trend and rejected the state's highest-profile Republican candidates. Perhaps they were turned off by the ultra-high spending political novices from Silicon Valley? Or perhaps they simply feel it is too early to give up on Obama's vision of hope?

Republican elephant
Florida's 2nd district has elected a Republican for the first time. Ousted Democrat Allen Boyd had been endorsed by the National Rifle Association, but it wasn't enough to stop Tea Party-backed political newcomer Steve Southerland.

Democratic donkey
Rich Iott, the Ohio Tea Party candidate who dressed as a Waffen SS soldier for a hobby, has lost his election bid. Democrat Marcy Kaptur saw him off to hold on to her seat in the ninth district (which includes Toledo, home of Joe the Plumber).

Mark Mardell
BBC North America editor Mark Mardell says: Denver has voted down a proposal to set up a UFO commission. President Elias Martinez should be relieved...

Carrie Dann of NBC tweets: I count a combined 128 years in the House between Spratt, Boucher, Skelton, Edwards, Pomeroy. All defeated tonight

Republican elephant
Moderate Republican Cory Gardner ousts freshman Democrat Betsy Markey from Colorado's fourth district.

Jim Geraghty of the National Review tweets: Stunning that two states hit hardest by unemployment & housing bubble, CA and NV, will reelect unpopular incumbent senators

0104 Political consultant Laura Schwartz tells BBC World Service: "People are voting against the president today, they are voting against the present Congress today, and it's time for Obama to hit that reset button and do something in the next two years to bring folks back." She also says she thinks Marco Rubio is the next big thing. "Right now he is the man of the moment, but he could make that moment last longer if he arrives in Congress ready to take a leadership position. I think he could become and incredible leader."

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JRC, in Gainesville, Florida, writes: This is a remarkably clear referendum on Obama's policies. Had he demonstrated even the slightest degree of bi-partisanship, he would probably have maintained a unified government. If he'd given his socialist healthcare plan to anybody besides Nancy Pelosi this would be a completely different election result.

Katty Kay
The BBC's Katty Kay tweets: This is a town that is built on relationships. The question is can John Boehner work with Harry Reid and with President Obama?

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Senator John Kerry releases a statement: "Politico was wrong, Huffington Post was wrong, hell, all the pundits were wrong. Harry Reid isn't just Dracula, he isn't just Lazarus, he's our Leader and our whole caucus is thrilled that he's unbreakable and unbeatable."

Mark Mardell
BBC North America editor Mark Mardell says: The Tea Party's two most eccentric candidates have lost their races, and perhaps cost the Republicans a couple of scalps. But make no mistake, the conservative wing of the Republican Party is now a power in the land. This is hugely difficult for the president. While there will be much talk of compromise and reaching deals, the explicit aim of many Tea Party supporters is to block and undo Obama's agenda.

0056 President Obama has called Republican leaders John Boehner and Mitch McConnell, telling them he's "looking forward to working with them and the Republicans to find common ground, move the country forward and get things done for the American people".

Katty Kay
Katty Kay tweets: Two years ago we were writing the obits for the Republicans. Tonight - a revival.

The BBC's Katie Connolly tweets: Reid's win proves he can get voters to the polls - that vaunted "turnout" operation. Important for Obama in 2012

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Eric Barlow, in Fairfax, Virginia, writes: The Democrat leadership showed arrogance and contempt for the constitution and the American people. I am an independent voter and my vote sent a message to our politicians that they will need to listen to the people. If the Republicans don't listen to us they will be gone next time too.

0050 Possible reasons why Sharron Angle lost in Nevada: she said she favoured abolishing the US education department; wrongly claimed two US towns were under threat of Sharia law; asked by a group of Hispanic students why her ads seemed to cast Latinos in a negative light, she told them: "Some of you look a little more Asian to me"; the list goes on.

0049 Californians reject a ballot initiative to legalise the consumption, cultivation and trade of marijuana.

Republican elephant
Ben Quayle, son of gaffe-prone former Vice-President Dan Quayle, wins the race for the open seat in Arizona's third district. One of Quayle Jr's campaign ads branded Obama "the worst president in history".

0044 For many conservatives, Senate leader Harry Reid is one of the three baleful heads of a Cerberean blob known as Obama-Reid-Pelosi. With unemployment in the state hovering above 14%, Nevada should have been an open goal for the Republicans. But Tea Party-backed challenger Sharron Angle lagged as the spotlight focused on her personal views.

Peter Hamby of CNN tweets: Sad Florida Dem just emailed me: "Tsunami"

Politico tweets: Republicans won back both of NH's House seats tonight, but failed to win any seats in Maine or Massachusetts.

Democratic donkey
Harry Reid, Senate Majority Leader, holds his Nevada seat.

0036 The Republicans seize control of the House of Representatives.

Politico tweets: Republicans won back both of NH's House seats tonight, but failed to win any seats in Maine or Massachusetts.

Republican elephant
Brian Sandoval keeps the governor's mansion for the Republicans in unemployment-ravaged Nevada. His challenger was Rory Reid, son of Democratic Senate leader Harry Reid, whose seat still hangs in the balance.

Ed Henry from CNN tweets: President Obama called John Boehner to congratulate, according to senior Dem official

0027 Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele says: "Tonight, we learned that our democracy is alive and well and that voters, not politicians, will be the ones who direct the course of our great nation."

0025 Republicans will be cock-a-hoop at grabbing Obama's old Illinois Senate seat. Winner Mark Kirk embellished details of his naval career, wrongly claiming he'd been named intelligence officer of the year. He also erroneously said he'd come under fire while flying over Kosovo and Iraq. Democratic loser Alexi Giannoulias, meanwhile, was hit by allegations the bank his family owned had links to organised crime.

0022 Senate results still to come - Nevada, Colorado, Washington and Alaska.

0021 Ex-eBay boss Meg Whitman, the defeated California gubernatorial candidate, pressure-hosed more than $160m of her own cash into the most expensive non-presidential campaign in history, outspending her rival nearly 10 times over. But it was all for nought.

Republican elephant
Arizona Republican Governor Jan Brewer, who approved the state's tough new immigration law, defeats her Democratic challenger.

0019 Lincoln Chafee, the new independent governor for Rhode Island, tells the BBC World Service he's not too optimistic that Democrats and Republicans will be able to work well together effectively: "They seem to fall back into their partisan trenches like World War I."

Republican elephant
Barack Obama's former Senate seat in Illinois is won by Republican Mark Kirk.

Chris Cilizza of the Washington Post tweets: GOP elects first Hispanic female governor in either party: Susana Martinez in NM-Gov.

0014 The BBC's Andy Gallacher in Florida says: Marco Rubio may not have reclaimed America yet but he has in part reclaimed Florida, a vital state in any political contest. A new star is born, watch this space.

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Evelyn, in Georgia, writes: Tonight's results are a reaction to the state of the US economy, the lack of jobs, the deficit, illegal immigration, border control, and healthcare reform which was shoved down our throats, just to name of few. However, the Republicans need to understand this is not an endorsement for them. They are just being given another chance to turn things around, as Obama"s "change" isn't working.

0012 Obama will be sorely disappointed by the Ohio gubernatorial result. With his eyes on 2012, the president wanted a friend in the statehouse in this key Midwestern state, which swings like Tarzan. As former CBS anchorman Dan Rather once said: "The situation in Ohio would give an aspirin a headache.''

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Jackie Calmes and Megan Thee-Brenan of the New York Times write: Women have been among the Democrats' most loyal supporters, giving them a majority of their votes in all but one of the past 14 election years. But the size of that traditional advantage appears to have narrowed this year. Since 1982, when exit polls first measured support, Republicans only once received the same share of women's votes as Democrats - in 2002 - and Democrats lost their narrow Senate majority that year.

0006 Ousted Ohio Governor Ted Strickland had seen jobs haemorrhage in his state. His attempts to undermine the credibility of John Kasich, an ex-Fox News presenter, over his role as managing director of the collapsed Lehman Brothers bank, clearly didn't wash with voters.

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Eric Schultz, communications director for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee e-mails reporters to say: "Republican shadow groups spent $5.8 million in their unsuccessful attempt to defeat Senator Boxer - including $1 million from Karl Rove's Crossroads GPS, and $3.9 million from the US Chamber of Commerce."

0004 Democrats maintain their hold on the Senate. They now have 50 of the 100 seats. Vice-President Joe Biden has a casting vote.

Republican elephant
John Kasich defeats Governor Ted Strickland in Ohio and seizes control for the Republicans of a state deemed crucial to the 2012 presidential election.

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Damien Paletta of the Wall Street Journal writes: Republican Lou Barletta's defeat of Rep. Paul Kanjorski (D., Pa.) could have a direct impact on the Obama administration's future economic policy. The 13-term Democrat was expected to play a central role in the government's efforts to overhaul the country's mortgage-finance system and Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Republican elephant
Democrat Ike Skelton is out after more than 30 years in Congress, losing his Missouri seat to Sarah Palin-endorsed Republican Vicky Hartzler.

2359 Jerry Brown wins a major victory for Democrats in California's governor race, beating Republican Meg Whitman.
Democratic donkey

2357 The only two Muslim congressmen (both Democrats) have been re-elected. Keith Ellison won in Minnesota, despite Tea Party calls for him to be defeated because of his faith. And Andre Carson held his Indiana seat, amid Republicans' attempts to portray him as a Sharia law advocate.
Democratic donkey

2354 Former US Senator Lincoln Chafee becomes the first independent to be elected Rhode Island governor.

Jake Tapper, White House correspondent for ABC News, following John Boehner's speech tweets: Get used to those tears, folks. He's a cryer.

Republican elephant
Republican Pat Toomey wins Pennsylvania's Senate race, defeating Democrat Joe Sestak.

Josh Kraushaar, executive editor of the Hotline tweets: Tea Party candidates looks like they could cost SEN GOP 3 seats -- #NVSEN, #COSEN and #DESEN -- and a SEN majority with it.

2349 Republicans have so far won 43 House seats held by Democrats, while Democrats have only taken two seats from the Republicans. If they hold the rest of their seats, they will control the House.

2348 Republican House leader John Boehner is crying - again.

2348 Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer is re-elected in California, beating Republican former Hewlett-Packard executive Carly Fiorina.
Democratic donkey

2342 House Leader-elect John Boehner tells cheering crowds the night is a repudiation of Washington. Boehner's had a rancorous relationship with the Obama White House. His robin's-egg blue eyes are prone to floods of tears in emotional House-floor speeches.

2340 The Jersey Shore district saw more drama in recent weeks than, well, an episode of MTV reality show Jersey Shore. Runyan, an ex-football star, accused a Tea Party candidate of being recruited by Democrats as a spoiler. Republicans demanded a criminal investigation.

Republican elephant
Republican Jon Runyan unseats Democrat John Adler in New Jersey's third district.

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Lynn Sweet of the Chicago Sun Times writes: Chicago mayoral hopeful Rahm Emanuel was the architect of the House Democrats' 2006 victories which resulted in Nancy Pelosi becoming Speaker of the House. Emanuel, then the chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Commitee, on Tuesday night saw his work undone, as CNN predicted that the Republicans will retake the House. So what is Emanuel doing Tuesday night? Quipped an aide: "He's with friends and a bottle of Jack Daniels."

Democratic donkey
Veteran House Democrat Barney Frank wins a 16th term in Massachusetts. The House Financial Services Committee chairman won by a margin of 68% in 2008. But this time he had to lend his own campaign $200,000 to see off a Republican political novice, Sean Bielat.

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Holly, in Shelburne, New Hampshire, writes: President Obama has tried to support programmes that help the middle and lower class but the Republican rich are trying to wrest control from him and the Democrats to return the country to the disparity of wealth that grew at such levels under President Bush. It is sad that a country of our size cannot have a health or social security programme that is stable.

David Corn of Mother Jones Magazine tweets: By the way, the guy who beat Feingold - (Ron Johnson is) a climate change denier.

2321 By winning 180 seats, the Republicans have now exceeded their pre-election seat tally in the House. From now on, every seat they win will be an improvement on their 2008 performance.

Lisa Lerer of Bloomberg tweets: The blue dogs will not basically consist of three guys in a room. puppy dogs? in the dog house?

2318 The BBC's Rajesh Mirchandani in Las Vegas says: Tea Party favourite Sharron Angle sent a last-minute e-mail to voters around 3pm local, saying exit polls showed a tie and that her supporters should get out in the last few hours and make the difference in this crucial Senate race.

2317 In New Hampshire, Democratic Representative Carol Shea-Porter has lost her seat to Manchester's Mayor Frank Guinta. Ms Shea-Porter was one of those Democrats who unexpectedly won in the landslide 2006 election. It's not a huge surprise that she lost, but it does break the Democratic monopoly in New England.

2316 The BBC's Laura Trevelyan in New York says: Early returns suggest at least three tight races in upstate and suburban New York, where Republicans hope to oust sitting Democrats. If centrist Republicans make gains here, they would provide a balance in Congress to the radical Tea Party newcomers.

2315 The BBC's Rajesh Mirchandani in Las Vegas says: A power outage at a polling station in Clark County (which contains Las Vegas and is a Democratic stronghold) delayed the closing of polls, as did long lines at some locations.

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CNN's Soledad O'Brien writes: Despite record election achievements by African-Americans in the House, the United States Senate will not have an African-American in its ranks. All three black Senate candidates, Kendrick Meek (D-FL), Alvin Greene (D-SC) and Mike Thurmond (D-GA) are projected to lose tonight. The only incumbent black senator, Roland Burris (Ill.-D), is retiring.

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Newton, in Green Bay, Wisconsin, writes: Wisconsin is a very conservative state. If you have ever been here, you would not be so amazed that Feingold has lost.

2310 Wisconsin is a big loss for the Democrats. Staunch liberal Feingold is famous for spearheading Senate efforts to reform campaign finance rules. He voted against the hugely unpopular 2008 banks bailout, but that couldn't save him. Winner Ron Johnson's first involvement in politics, he's said, was to visit a Tea Party meeting last year. Johnson, who styles himself a "citizen candidate", has attributed climate change to sunspots.

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Ross, in San Francisco, writes: This goes to show that US politics will continue to be swayed by the mobilised fringes - liberal or conservative. With the usual poor voter turnout, Tea Partiers, such as Rand Paul, who has publicly stated a refusal to reach across the aisle, are going to gridlock progress.

Republican elephant
Republicans capture their fourth Senate seat from the Democrats as incumbent Democrat Russ Feingold in Wisconsin loses to polyester magnate Ron Johnson.

2305 Just nine Senate seats remaining. So far Democrats have 48, and Republicans 43. The latest: Oregon for the Democrats and Idaho for the Republicans.

Marc Ambinder of The Atlantic tweets: A Republican points out to me that the GOP establishment won most of its primaries in the Midwest and is cleaning up there.

2302 Republican Senator Bob Bennett, who was ousted at the Utah Republican convention by a Tea Party favourite, told BBC World Service that his "sin" was voting with President Bush and John McCain on the financial rescue package, known as Tarp. "People said you wasted $700bn. I said no we haven't, we'll get the money back, we've averted a financial catastrophe. I was right but that didn't make any difference."

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New Orleans TV Station WWLTV reports that Republican Congressman Joseph Cao has been unseated by Democrat Cedric Richmond. He was the sole Republican in the House to vote in favour of President Obama's healthcare reform legislation.

2258 Polls close in several states, including keenly watched California and Washington, on the hour.

2257 The BBC's Adi Raval asks: So what does the White House think about the results? So far, total silence.

Republican elephant
Representative Joe Wilson - who shouted "you lie!" at President Obama during the latter's healthcare address to Congress - has won his race for re-election in South Carolina's second district.

2253 PS: Nikki Haley replaces Republican Governor Mark Sanford, who was notoriously nabbed going AWOL to tango with a mistress in Argentina.

2251 South Carolina's new governor Nikki Haley, who was endorsed by Sarah Palin, strenuously denied during the campaign having had two extra-martial affairs. Haley is the daughter of Indian Sikh immigrants; a state senator who was supporting one of her opponents in the primary was widely criticised after calling her a "raghead".

Katty Kay
Katty Kay tweets: Looking at the Tea Party, a number of Republicans I've talked to have looked across the pond and said we need inclusive people, like PM Cameron.

Republican elephant
Texas Republican Bill Flores has ousted veteran Democrat Chet Edwards from the Lone Star state's 17th district. As well as Waco, the district includes the town of Crawford, where a certain George W Bush lives on a ranch.

Republican elephant
Republican Nikki Haley becomes South Carolina's first woman governor.

2243 Former Republican Senate hopeful Ovide Lamontagne says the message from the people of New Hampshire is "loud and clear - we need limited government, fiscal responsibility, and national security". However he tells the BBC World Service: "Elected officials are going to be under a very tight leash, and if they don't do what they campaigned to do, and that is to fundamentally change course, they are not going to be in office two years from now. This is a citizen rebellion..."

e-mail sent in by reader
Rus Sundholm, in Fort Wayne, Indiana, writes: The biggest issue is the way our government is run. Congress, which is supposed to represent the people, represents those who provide them the most money for their re-election. It doesn't matter if they are Democrats or Republicans, they are out for themselves, not to do the right thing for their constituents.

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Emma, Northfield, Minnesota, writes: The US is generally more conservative than other Western countries, even with a Democrat-controlled government. Compared to many European leaders, President Obama is quite moderate - not the extreme liberal Republicans try to make him out to be.

2234 Senate races in Pennsylvania, Illinois and Colorado are turning out to be very close. Democratic candidates are narrowly ahead in all three races, with some precincts still to report.

2233 Exit polling conducted by ABC News shows that voters are self-identifying as Democrats and Republicans in equal numbers - 36% a piece. Independents remain the big unknown, but in House races, they seem to be opting for Republicans by a very large margin: 15 percentage points. Obama won independents in 2008 by 8 points, and the last time Republicans had an advantage this large was in 1982, when independents broke for Republicans by a 14-point margin.

2230 The BBC's Rome Hartman, executive producer of World News America says: Just predicted on the BBC election TV special - Jerry Brown will be projected as the winner of the race for California governor as soon as the polls close there… in about 30 minutes.

Republican elephant
South Carolina voters elect the first black Republican to Congress from the Deep South since the Civil War's aftermath. Tea Party-backed Tim Scott defeated Democrat Ben Frasier.

2227 PS: When first elected in 2006, Governor Deval Patrick was criticised for spending $11,000 on drapery for his statehouse suite and upgrading his ride to a Cadillac. PPS: During the 2008 presidential campaign, Obama denied claims he'd plagiarised part of a speech by Patrick.

Republican elephant
Republican Tom Corbett defeats Democrat Dan Onorato in Pennsylvania's gubernatorial race. History was on Corbett's side: the governor's mansion in the state has switched parties every eight years since 1954 and the trend continues.

2218 Governor Deval Patrick's win in Massachusetts will cheer Democrats. Sometimes called "mini-Obama", Patrick was the first African-American to take the Bay State governor's mansion. He beat a stiff challenge from Republican Charles Baker, a former health insurance boss.

2218 The BBC's Rajesh Mirchandani in Las Vegas says: A man who voted Sharron Angle told me it was because he wanted to "get rid of the bums in Washington". The next man said, "I listened to Sharron Angle and realised I had to vote... for Harry Reid. Angle's too extreme." It's a bitter-fought race and Nevadans seem to be voting not for who they like most, but the candidate they dislike least.

2217 Dr Carol Swain of Vanderbilt University on the BBC World Service: "Most Americans will describe themselves as conservative and I think the policies of the Obama administration, not just the economy, have been so far to the left... I believe that's why the Republicans have been doing so well. It's a repudiation of the president, and also of his political appointees."

Ed Koppel
BBC contributing analyst Ted Koppel says: Both Reagan and Clinton had popularity numbers that were lower than President Obama right now. It's a mistake to draw too many conclusions from the numbers of a president in an off-year election.

Democratic donkey
Democrat Deval Patrick bucks the anti-incumbent trend to hold on to the Massachusetts governor's mansion.

2213 The BBC's Rome Hartman, executive producer of World News America notes: Senior Republican Eric Cantor, likely to become the next House majority leader, says the party will try to repeal Obama's healthcare reform - in prepared remarks.

2210 CPS:IMAGE ORDER="51">Iowa voters elect Republican Charles Grassley to a sixth Senate term, beating Democratic challenger Roxanne Conlin.<

Mike Memoli from the Chicago Tribune's Washington bureau tweets: SC Gov tight as a tick. (Nikki) Haley lead is just 2,600 out of 742K

Republican elephant
Republican incumbent David Vitter wins the Louisiana Senate race, beating Democrat Charlie Melancon. Vitter survived a barrage of attacks surrounding his involvement with a prostitution ring, conducting a campaign of airwave saturation balanced with virtual public invisibility.

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Kurtis Carlson, in Beloit, Wisconsin, writes: I'm for giving Obama another two years at getting this country back on track from the mess the Republicans and Bush left us in.

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Lisa, in Seattle, writes: I am in a state with a closely-watched Senate campaign and I have been disgusted by the Republican corporate kidnapping of our electoral process. Until America bans corporate sponsors our leaders will be elected by those with the deepest pockets.

2201 Re-elected Texas Governor Rick Perry deployed some political jujitsu to beat a strong challenge from former Houston mayor Bill White. Most newspapers in the Lone Star state endorsed White. But Perry leapt on the anti-incumbent band wagon, even though he himself is an incumbent, and avoided debates with White.

e-mail sent in by reader
Craig, in Beaverton, Oregon, writes: Two years ago we were promised "change" when we voted Obama in. Nothing's changed. I, and many others here in the USA are sick of it. When the government doesn't do what it's supposed to do, we throw them out. Come the next election, if the Republicans don't do their jobs we'll throw them out with the same gusto.

Democratic donkey
Democrat Martin O'Malley keeps the Maryland governor's mansion, beating Republican Robert Ehrlich. Ehrlich, a former governor, once fired an aide for spreading an internet slur that O'Malley was having an extramarital affair.

2154 The BBC's Kevin Connolly in Wheeling, Illinois, says: Still no actual news from the party where Republican Mark Kirk is waiting to find out if he's won Barack Obama's old seat in the Senate. But here's a clue to the deficit-averse, pay-your-own-way America that might emerge from tonight... the drinking fountains beside the ballroom are switched off and bottled water is a thought-provoking $4 a bottle.

Matt Frei
The BBC's Matt Frei tweets: If you are a Hispanic American you have every right to be confused tonight about which party is yours.

Republican elephant
Two other governors' mansions that have gone to the Republicans are Kansas (won by Sam Brownback) and South Dakota (Dennis Daugaard).

Ed Koppel
BBC contributing analyst Ted Koppel says: What you have just seen with Marco Rubio is a preview of what may very well be an important figure in the presidential election coming up in 2012.

2149 The BBC's Rajesh Mirchandani in Las Vegas says early votes in Nevada cast for Democrats outnumber early votes for Republicans. If turnout on the day has been low, that could favour Senate majority leader Harry Reid, as he battles the Tea Party's Sharron Angle to keep his seat.

Republican elephant
As expected, the race for governor in Republican-held Alabama is a win for Robert Bentley. Democrat Ron Sparks never really stood a chance.

2147 Former Republican Senator Norm Coleman tells the BBC World Service he doesn't think the results in so far prove the Tea Party has staged an insurrection. "What we've seen is a broad coalition of conservatives, of Tea Party folks, of folks who are concerned about a shared interest here, that is debt, spending, getting this government's economic house in order. This election is a sound rejection of big government, big spending, big healthcare."

Republican elephant
Republican Congresswoman Mary Fallin wins the race to become Oklahoma's first female governor. Fallin was branded a hypocrite for voting against Obama's economic stimulus, which she called a "Big Brother spending programme", but nevertheless asking for funds.

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Riobert Barrett, London, UK writes: The Tea Party movement seems to be a good electoral asset for the Republican Party.

Amy Walter of ABC News tweets: Cap and Trade rebuke? Seven of the House Dems who've lost thus far, voted for cap and trade.

Republican elephant
Republican businessman Rick Snyder has won the race to be Michigan's next governor. Snyder, who's never held office, had an unusual campaign pitch that portrayed him as One Tough Nerd.

e-mail sent in by reader
Louis, in Kings Lynn, UK writes: I believe the Democrats and Obama will be blown away tonight. Conservative Republicans should adopt Obama's slogan of "yes we can"!

Mark Knoller of CBS News tweets: "It's going to be hard for Pres. Obama to dispute that American voters made the midterm election a referendum on his policies" and also "A GOP-controlled House also means the possibility of congressional investigations of Administration actions - with subpoena power."

e-mail sent in by reader
Chris Smillie, in Cairo, Egypt, writes: If Republican Bush was not the answer and now Democrat Obama isn't, why are Americans back to the failed Republicans? A two-party state is a very poor democracy.

Republican elephant
Republican Texas Governor Rick Perry wins a fourth term, beating Democrat Bill White.

2137 Katty Kay tweets: Rubio says all of the right things. He's Cuban American and they love him for that. It broadens out the image of the GOP.
Katty Kay

Erin McPike of Real Clear Politics tweets: Within one hour cables go from Rand Paul to Marco Rubio and next to Rob Portman. Rs won't win Senate, but will have some big names to tout.

2135 The Democratic loser in Florida's eighth, Alan Grayson, ran one of the year's most controversial attack ads, branding his Republican opponent "Taliban Dan Webster" over his views on women. Grayson also once called Dick Cheney a vampire and summed up the Republican healthcare plan as "Don't get sick, and if you do get sick, die quickly".

Republican elephant
Republican Dan Webster has ousted Democrat Alan Grayson from Florida's eighth district.

2133 The Democrats need victories in three more states to retain control in the Senate. In the House, the Republicans are on the rampage. They have already won 94 seats, nine of which were previously held by Democrats. Many more gains are now on the cards.

2130 Many voters in Florida's 24th have been up in arms about excessive government spending, while at the same time bewailing cuts to NASA spending on the Kennedy Space Center in their backyard.

2128 Republican Tea Party favourite Sandy Adams ousted Democrat Suzanne Kosmas from Florida's 24th district. Kosmas had tried to distance herself from Obama's economic stimulus (which she voted for), and cap-and-trade (which she also voted for) and healthcare reform (whose Senate version she backed).

2126 Joe Randanzzo, editor of satirical newspaper the Onion, tells the BBC World Service: "The right-wing media has led this very loud conversation about Barack Obama being the 'root of all evil', and I think that has followed through in the American media, and everybody has been running from Barack Obama as if he is a radioactive suitcase."

Ed Koppel
BBC contributing analyst Ted Koppel says: Tea Party candidates have to make deals with Republicans and ultimately Democrats or otherwise there will be gridlock.

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Jack Joyce, in Charlotte, North Carolina, says: The poor nature of the economy is not the issue; it is the management of its recovery, and healthcare - the objections of the majority of the people - that has caused this absolute rejection of the abuse of federal power.

Reid Wilson of The Hotline tweets: "Here's an interesting note: With 29% reporting, Rob Miller (D) leads Rep. Joe "You Lie" Wilson (R) 52-46"

2119 Barack Obama, the man who gave America an oratorical head massage two years ago, has seen his approval ratings slide into the basement. He seems about as popular as a sub-prime mortgage lender on Skid Row right now. But it's not unusual for the party of a sitting president to lose seats mid-way through his first-term.

2117 You can listen to special coverage of the mid-term elections on the BBC World Service.

Mark Mardell
BBC North America editor Mark Mardell says: The fact that the Republicans haven't taken the Delaware, West Virginia or Connecticut Senate seats suggests to me they won't formally take control of the Senate. But there will be plenty of "blue dog" (right-wing) Democrats in the Senate, looking over their shoulder and voting with the Republicans.

e-mail sent in by reader
Bruce Feist, in Herndon, Virginia, writes: I'm primarily concerned with our government's inability to act. Obama had to fight tooth and nail to get healthcare reform passed, and now it's in danger of further attack. I want the government to get back to the people's business, instead of perpetually bickering in preparation for the next election.

2113 West Virginia Democratic Senate winner Joe Manchin vowed independence from President Barack Obama, even showing off a photo of him in the Oval Office with George W Bush and running a campaign ad showing him shooting a bullet through a copy of the cap-and-trade bill.

Democratic donkey
Democrat Joe Manchin wins his West Virginia Senate bid, beating Republican John Raese.

2111 Carl Paladino also offered only a grudging apology for sending racially charged e-mails to friends, including one of Barack and Michelle Obama as a pimp and prostitute. Another, entitled "Proof the Irish discovered Africa", contained a video of monkeys jigging to Lord of the Dance.

2110 New York's gubernatorial loser Carl Paladino did himself no favours by comparing trade unions to pigs; calling for welfare recipients to live in prisons, so they could learn about personal hygiene; and branding gay parades "disgusting".

e-mail sent in by reader
Matt, in Philadelphia, writes: Democrats want to install a European-style socialist state. The only problem is that European politics do not work in the US. Just as Western democracy cannot work in the Middle East.

Felicia Sonmez of the Washington Post tweets: "SC GOV is surprisingly close. With 19 percent in, Sheheen leads by less than 1 percent" - that means Tea Party favourite Nikki Haley, who was endorsed by Sarah Palin, is trailing.

Democratic donkey
Democrat Andrew Cuomo wins the race for New York governor, beating Tea Party-backed Carl Paladino.

Democratic donkey
Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand holds on to Hillary Clinton's old Senate seat in New York. Republicans had dreamt of capturing the totemic prize.

e-mail sent in by reader
Karl Haags, in Placerville, California, says: We are Americans, not Europeans and should not look to any other country as role models for any of our political and social agenda. There is a reason we fought for our independence, and we are starting to remember that.

Republican elephant
Veteran lawmaker Rick Boucher of Virginia's ninth district has lost his seat to Republican Morgan Griffith. Mr Boucher, who represents coal country, was a key negotiator on the climate change bill that passed the House but not the Senate. Climate change is a touchy issue in Mr Boucher's part of the country, and even though he won concessions for the coal industry, he had a hard time explaining his pro cap-and-trade vote to his constituents. This result is a repudiation of Mr Obama's climate change agenda and will make lawmakers very wary to touch the issue again before 2012.

2059 Polls are about to close in Colorado, New York, Wisconsin and a bunch of other states. More juicy results to follow…

Matt Frei
Matt Frei tweets: Tom Perriello, who lost, was one of the few Dems who came out of the closet and ran on his record of voting with Pres Obama.

Republican elephant
Republican Rob Hurt ousts Democrat Tom Perriello from Virginia's 5th district. Perriello beat a six-term incumbent in 2008, in a district even Obama failed to carry during the Democratic landslide of that year. But Perriello's vote for healthcare reform may have cooked his goose.

2056 The BBC's Kevin Connolly in Wheeling, Illinois, says: Still no concrete news from the party of Republican Mark Kirk, who's bidding to take Barack Obama's old seat in the Senate in Illinois. The music hints at the mood and the expensive nature of American politics. "Dancing in the Moonlight" followed by "If I Had a Million Dollars".

Republican elephant
Republican cardiologist Larry Buschon wins the open seat of Indiana's eighth district, held by the Democrats for the past four years. He beats Trent Van Haaften.

e-mail sent in by reader
Joanne Kennedy in Boston, Massachussets, writes: I voted for the first time tonight as a new US citizen. Why vote? Maybe my one vote could make a difference and stop these far right Tea Party people.

2051 Former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge on the BBC World Service: "As a Republican I am quite pleased with some of the preliminary results, but the real challenge will come in January with the new Congress, a whole new group of governors, and the responsibility to try and deal with some of the problems about which they had been critical."

2050 The Connecticut Senate campaign was particularly bitter. Victorious Democrat Richard Blumenthal had to apologise for having "misspoke several times" when he suggested he'd served in Vietnam. Linda McMahon, a former wrestling executive, body slammed him over the claim, branding him a liar. She splurged more than $40m of her own dough on the race.

e-mail sent in by reader
Rikkie, Lakewood, Ohio, writes: The recession has played a dominant role. Pity that the majority of Americans do not understand that it is a global recession and no one leader or nation can be held accountable or indeed be expected to turn it around.

Blog icon
Leading Florida newspaper The Orlando Sentinel has called Florida's 8th Congressional District for Republican challenger Dan Webster. Mr Webster unseats liberal favourite Alan Grayson, who rose to prominence with his ardent support for health care reform. Liberal radio host Nicole Sandler tweeted: "We lose the wonderful @AlanGrayson in the House. I'm sick."

Katty Kay
Katty Kay tweets: What's so great about US elections are these larger than life figures. Linda McMahon was CEO of WWF but in the end she was just too tough.

2045 Arkansas's ousted Senate incumbent Blanche Lincoln was one of the most moderate Democratic senators, but that was no longer enough in a year when Southern Democrats are as endangered as the Yangtze River Dolphin. The Republican winner, John Boozman, wants to abolish the tax-collecting Internal Revenue Service and repeal Obama's healthcare reforms.

Democratic donkey
Democrat Richard Blumenthal wins Connecticut's Senate race, beating Republican challenger Linda McMahon.

2040 Rupert Allman of The Takeaway says: WNYC public radio in New York reports an extension of voting hours in Bridgeport, Connecticut, because of polling problems. Polls should have closed at 2000.

Amy, South Shore, MA tweets: I'm pretty liberal but one Mr Charlie Baker got my vote this year. And now, we wait.

Republican elephant
Republican John Boozman wins the Arkansas Senate race, beating Democratic two-term incumbent Blanche Lincoln.

Republican elephant
Democratic Congresswoman Suzanne Kosmas is toppled by Republican Sandra Adams in Florida's 24th district - the Republicans' first House gain of the night.

Matt Frei
Matt Frei tweets: The campaign starts tomorrow to stop Sarah Palin, the patron saint of the Tea Party, who may or may not be planning a presidential run in 2012.

2030 Florida's victorious Senate candidate, Marco Rubio, surfed the anti-Obama wave to keep the Sunshine State for the Republicans. The race has been a disaster for once-popular Charlie Crist, who took the gamble of quitting as Florida's governor to run for Senate.

2028 The BBC's Rome Hartman, executive producer of World News America, says: Christine O'Donnell may not be headed for the Senate, but she certainly has provided reporters and late-night comics with a lot of material!

2027 LN Rock, who blogs as African American pundit tells the BBC World Service that the Democratic Party didn't get its message out fast enough. "The president has not been able to communicate with the American people, saying what he has accomplished over the past two years. He tackled healthcare reform as his first strategy priority and he didn't communicate to the American people that it was a critical priority and get a wellspring of support in the American populace."

2026 Delaware's defeated Republican House candidate Glen Urquhart once baffled historians by claiming the phrase "separation of church and state" - commonly associated with Thomas Jefferson, the third US president - had actually been coined by Adolf Hitler.

Democratic donkey
In another bright spot for the Democrats, John Carney has beaten Tea-Party backed Republican Glen Urquhart to win Delaware's only House seat.

2023 Rupert Allman of The Takeaway says: New York voters still have just under an hour to vote. Scattered reports of problems at polling places around the city, but nothing compared with those on primary day, when many polling places opened late and there was widespread confusion over the new electronic voting system. Complaints from those who say they missed voting on two ballot initiatives because they were printed on the back of the ballot.

Mark Mardell
BBC North America editor Mark Mardell says: Tea Party supporter Christine O'Donnell's defeat in Delaware will provide evidence to those in the Republican establishment who are wary of the movement. They will say that with a more mainstream candidate, they would have taken the seat. But perhaps the oddest of her views and statements had little to do with conservative Tea Party economics. She just was a bit of a flaky candidate. Still, if it costs Republicans the Senate, the argument will rage on.

2017 Christine O'Donnell also memorably began a campaign ad with the statement "I'm not a witch", possibly the first politician to do so since the 17th Century mayoral race for Salem town hall.

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JD, in Nevada, writes: Obama might be loved in Belgium, but he's loathed in every part of America that is not a large urban city. Europe will not understand the results, because they don't understand the premise. America has been written off many times in the past 200 years, but it's very self-cleansing. Tonight you'll hear a massive flushing sound for the left.

2015 In the Republican primary, Ms O'Donnell beat Mike Castle, a moderate Congressman who was seen as a sure-fire winner for the Republicans. Karl Rove called her "nutty" and unelectable. And so it came to pass. O'Donnell's warnings about the dangers of mouse-people and masturbation practically gift-wrapped the race for Democrat Chris Coons.

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Gabriele, Fort Collins, Colorado, says: It's disappointing to think that the Republicans may gain ground so soon after the elections two years ago. America is very close to voting itself into a third world state.

2013 No surprise that the Democrats held on to Delaware's open Senate seat, which was vacated by Vice-President Joe Biden. But this could be the defeat that prevents the Republicans capturing control of the Senate. And their woefully misjudged pick of Tea Party heroine Christine O'Donnell is to blame.

e-mail sent in by reader
Craig Goldman, in Scottsdale, Arizona, says: The biggest election issue for me is US support for Israel. I feel the administration is sending the wrong message to the Middle East with President Obama's lack of public Israeli support.

Mark Mardell
BBC North America editor Mark Mardell says: House Leader (at the moment) Nancy Pelosi, has just spoken urging people still to get out the vote, saying, "We are not going back to the failed policies of the past," and adding that she believed there would be "a great Democratic victory". Optimism is a wonderful quality.

e-mail sent in by reader
Courtney N, in Vilonia, Arizona, says: I do not identify with one particular party. However, at the moment the Congress and the Senate are grossly out of balance. We need to find our balance again in order to recover and begin to move forward.

Democratic donkey
Democrat Christopher Coons easily wins Delaware's Senate race, beating Tea Party-backed Christine O'Donnell.

e-mail sent in by reader
Bruno Maiolo, in Linden, New Jersey, says: One of the most important things the government must tackle is the uncertainty that everyone feels. From taxes to the new health plan this uncertainty is preventing companies from hiring. This is keeping the unemployment rate high meaning people are being very cautious with their spending. Bottom line is the economy.

Republican elephant
Tea Party-backed Republican Marco Rubio wins Florida's bitterly fought Senate race.

Republican elephant
Republican Kelly Ayotte wins New Hampshire's Senate race.

2001 Rupert Allman of The Takeaway says: WNYC reports a high turnout in West Virginia - possibly around 50%. Result is too close to call. This supports earlier predictions from George Mason University that we could see a record turnout for a mid-term election. Dr Michael McDonald from George Mason predicts 12 states returning turnouts of over 50%.

2000 Polls are closing in Florida and Illinois, two of the most closely watched election battlegrounds, as well as a bunch of other states. Brace for rush hour.

Democratic donkey
Vermont Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy has won a seventh term.

e-mail sent in by reader
Blair Landrews, in Peoria, Illinois, says: I voted and bucked the trend among young people. Obama has been disappointing but I haven't forgotten how much worse Bush was. The third parties, Greens here in Illinois, were the only alternative for me this year.

e-mail sent in by reader
Rose, in Watertown, Massachusetts, says: I'm absolutely astonished that Americans can't understand how much government does in their everyday lives, and continue to expect a quick fix even though Obama and the Democrats have managed significant changes, while dealing with massive economic crises left over from the Bush era.

1955 Alvin Greene, the defeated South Carolina Democrat, baffled everyone by winning the party's Senate nomination earlier this year, despite running no visible campaign whatsoever. One of Greene's ideas to revive the state's economy was to launch an industry making, err, action dolls of himself.

1954 The BBC's Rome Hartman, executive producer of World News America, says: Our analyst Ted Koppel has covered US elections for decades... He helps us take the LONG view!

Ed Koppel
BBC contributing analyst Ted Koppel says: This is going to be a huge win for the Republicans tonight and they will come to regret it in a few years. The problem with winning is that you become responsible for policy.

Mark Mardell
BBC North America editor Mark Mardell says: CNN's first early, raw, exit poll suggests Democratic Governor Joe Manchin will win the Senate race in West Virginia. Good news for Obama if true? Not so much: Manchin campaigned against cap-and-trade and other presidential policies. Even if the Senate doesn't go Republican, there may be one more conservative Democrat there.

1946 US comic Scott Capurro gives BBC World Service his view of the election: "I think the Democrats are going to get wiped out in this election, and I say good, they've wasted so much good will - it's like Eddie Murphy in every movie since Dream Girls."

1945 South Carolina's re-elected Senator Jim DeMint recently said gay people or unmarried women who sleep with their boyfriends should not be allowed to teach in schools. He also once said that if Republicans could derail healthcare reform it would be Obama's Waterloo.

e-mail sent in by reader
Nathan Erkkila, in Salt Lake, Utah, writes: As a liberal, I believe that if a Democrat gets voted out, then it is most likely their doing, but I am more concerned about politics on the state level, such as governor.

1942 Democrats are on full-scale alert for a conservative tsunami. Some commentators predict we're going to witness something special this year: a once-in-a-lifetime Democratic cataclysm - the American political equivalent of seeing Halley's Comet.

e-mail sent in by reader
Jason Goodwin, in Montgomery, Alabama, writes: I really don't expect much of a difference, regardless of who the majority party is. Just about all of them will say whatever they want to say in order to get elected. Then, once they're in office, they serve themselves and not the people they represent.

1939 Democrats spent little money on their candidate, Lee Fisher, in the Ohio Senate race as Republican Rob Portman, a Bush administration trade director, was so far ahead in pre-election polls.

1937 The BBC's Kevin Connolly says: As projected results begin to pour in from elsewhere, in Wheeling, Illinois, where Republican Senate candidate Mark Kirk is waiting to party, an example of American ingenuity - broadcasters have been struggling to cope with the noise made by a man equipped with a spike on a three-metre pole who's been bursting balloons that stray up to the ceiling of the hotel ballroom. He's been issued with a rubber suction device on a pole. Result: silent balloon recovery and rescue.

Republican elephant
No surprises, but South Carolina's incumbent Senator Jim DeMint has cruised to re-election. He's been the patron of many of this year's Tea Party candidates.

Republican elephant
Republican Rob Portman coasts to an easy victory in Ohio's Senate race.

1930 Brad Ellsworth, beaten by Dan Coats to Indiana's Senate seat, is a former sheriff who was voted most beautiful Congressman by congressional newspaper The Hill. Judge for yourself.

1928 Polls are about to close in North Carolina, Ohio and West Virginia, where the din of election battle has been particularly fierce. Stick around for some juicy results.

1927 If Rand Paul hadn't have won Kentucky, Republican hopes for Senate control would've been dashed. The ophthalmologist was lambasted this year for criticising the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which abolished discrimination against African-Americans. Mr Paul has also said he favours changing the US constitution to ensure the children of illegal immigrants do not become US citizens.

Blog icon
The BBC's Rome Hartman, executive producer of World News America, says: Nothing like two race calls in the first few moments of the night… Kentucky Senate and Indiana Senate!

1919 Politico reports: that "A lawyer for Nevada Senate candidate Sharron Angle has filed a complaint with the Justice Department alleging illegal voter intimidation on behalf of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's campaign.

1918 Indiana's Senate seat was a must-win for the Republicans. Little money was spent on the campaign of Dan Coats's Democratic opponent because Coats was so far ahead. PS: Obama was the first Democratic presidential candidate to take Indiana for 44 years back in 2008.

Katie Beck, BBC producer in Philadelphia tweets: Talking to voters in Philly tonight. The single most disgusting thing about the election? The billions candidates are spending on it.

Scott Conroy from Real Clear Politics tweets: (Lisa) Murkowski folks say morning snow has melted and nice afternoon in Anchorage. They say that's good news for them #aksen

The Atlantic's Marc Ambinder tweets: #SC GOV looks like it will be tighter than people expected

Republican elephant
Tea Party-backed Republican Rand Paul wins Kentucky's Senate race; Republican Dan Coats wins Indiana's Senate race.

Blog icon
Conservative news site The Daily Caller reports that it has exclusive Senate exit polling indicating: "Republicans are up in the Kentucky, Florida, Illinois, Missouri, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin senate races. But the exits show GOPers down in West Virginia, Connecticut, Colorado, Nevada, California and Washington State."

1901 A recent AP poll suggested as many as one in three US voters was not firmly committed. And as George Bush Snr once said: "It's no exaggeration to say that the undecideds could go one way or another."

1859 Early exit polling in Kentucky suggests that strong anti-Obama sentiment is fuelling votes - around 41% of people claim they are casting their ballot to show opposition to the president. Democrats once harboured hopes of picking up an open Senate seat there, but with numbers like those, the chances of Jack Conway beating Rand Paul are slimmer than ever.

1858 Polling stations are about to close in all of / parts of / the rest of Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Vermont and Virginia.

1856 Republican Dan Burton, who's just romped home in Indiana's fifth district, chaired a House probe during the late 1990s into President Clinton, whom he once labelled a scumbag. The lengthy and expensive investigation was later branded "a circus" by Burton's own party.

1855 We are starting live streaming of BBC election night special coverage in a few minutes. Please refresh your browser now to see the screen.

e-mail sent in by reader
Joon Sae Park, in Walnut Creek, California, says: The importance of this election has been tremendously overstated. Regardless of which seats are won and lost in the House and Senate, the policies of war and corporate exploitation will continue because these policies are supported by both parties. Americans who want real change should not vote for Democrats or Republicans.

1848 The BBC's Kevin Connolly says: In Wheeling, Illinois, a scene being repeated in a thousand towns across America - balloons being inflated and television reporters in a deserted ballroom. Supporters of Senate candidate Mark Kirk are convinced this will be a victory party... if they're right, this will be a footnote to history - he'll be the Republican who took Barack Obama's old seat.

Mark Mardell
BBC North America editor Mark Mardell says: The ABC exit poll will make for gloomy reading in the White House but few politicians will take comfort from it. The poll portrays a country deeply ill-at-ease with its government. Some 62% say the country is seriously on the wrong track, 73% dissatisfied with the federal government, and 53% have a negative view of the Democrats. Oh, and 53% have a negative view of the Republicans. Only 25% approve of the way Congress is doing its job.

1842 As ever, this American political cycle has been a satirist's treasure trove of outrageous gaffes, oddball antics and general meta-weirdness. As the results come in, we'll take a district-by-district look at some of the, ahem, interesting characters who've spawned a blizzard of Twitter hashtags this year.

e-mail sent in by reader
John Grayless, in Kansas City, Missouri, writes: I live in a markedly Democrat neighbourhood with only a few conservative voters. This year the voter turnout has been far less than in the past 10 years. I haven't seen this kind of change in voter turnout since President Carter was up for re-election. It's obvious that Democrats are unsatisfied with the agenda President Obama has given is. The economy, housing, and jobs markets have all suffered from the lack of leadership.

Republican elephant
We've got another result in from Indiana. Republican Dan Burton holds the fifth district with nearly 60% of the vote. The Hoosier State's all-red so far.

Republican elephant
Mike Pence, chair of the Republican caucus in the House, holds his seat in Indiana's sixth district with a whopping 75% of the vote.

e-mail sent in by reader
Robert Graham, in Metairie, Louisiana, writes: The tag line for this election is definitely "it's the economy!" My wife has been out of work for a year-and-a-half and I have no job prospects at all if something happens where I am working. We are literally one paycheck from disaster. Obama has had two years to get things going and he hasn't - all he has done is spend us to the brink of national bankruptcy.

1824 The first result of the night has come in - an easy hold for Republican Congressman Hal Rogers in Kentucky's fifth congressional district.

1822 The candidates have reached the top of the election rollercoaster. Now join us for the fastest part of the ride and remember to duck, just in case the people in the front car ate too much for lunch. One thing's for sure: the next few hours promise some vertical loops, twists and turns even more tortuous than this metaphor.

1819 Early indications suggest… it is far too early to be making any predictions.

1816 As polls close in Kentucky, a few precincts in Kentucky have begun counting their votes.

Steve Goscinski tweets: @BBC_HaveYourSay, We're not where I'd like to be, but we're sure better than we were under the republicans

1800 First polls close in parts of Indiana and Kentucky.

Slate political reporter and MSNBC contributor from Washington Dave Weigel tweets: Tea Party Express ads all over radio, lead by accusing Reid of negative campaign.

1754 ABC News exit polling gives some insight into the minds of the voters. The 88% who think the economy is in a bad shape is a figure only 4% down from what it was in 2008. And, tellingly 73% describe themselves as dissatisfied about the federal government, with 26% saying they are angry.

1748 Robert Reich, former Secretary of Labour in President Bill Clinton's cabinet, told the BBC World Service that although most people don't follow politics all that specifically, "they do they care about their own jobs, their wages, keeping their homes". He says historians will discuss the timing of Obama's healthcare reform.

e-mail sent in by reader
Jaime King, Boise, Idaho, writes: It feels like we have a government more concerned with Wall Street balance sheets than the fact that millions of people are being turned out of their homes, the first waves of the unemployed are running out of benefits, massive cutting into higher education is forcing more than half of our undergrads to take on ruinous loans to pay for post-secondary education, crumbling infrastructure, massive imprisonment and people in general just seem worried, tired and scared because Washington is fiddling while the nation burns.

e-mail sent in by reader
Dennis, Nashville, Tennessee, writes: Too many people here are angry, have no idea why they're angry, nor are they capable of discussing or presenting rational solutions to their problems, whether real or perceived.

e-mail sent in by reader
Robert-Paul LeMay, Albuquerque, New Mexico, writes: Eight years of the Bush disaster and we now intend to blame Obama. About time this country woke up. No matter who runs this sinking ship of state, the glory days are over.

1744 So who's been the most interesting candidate as far as the news media is concerned? The Pew Research Center might just have the answer. Excluding Barack Obama, who is not standing, it's Christine O'Donnell. By a fair distance.

From Kuwait Ryan Lobo tweets: @BBC_haveyoursay There was a time just after Obama's election when Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid were acting all high and mighty, now they have to eat humble pie as they have failed to hold on to their majorities

1719 Whichever way voters are going, it seems confidence is low in the economy. The ABC News Consumer Comfort Index is the lowest it's been for 25 years with the exception of 1992 and 2008, both years that saw big changes politically.

1711 Pardon us if you've already seen this, but there's a rather nice real-time political tweet tracker (yes, you did just read that) in the New York Times.

1659 Well, forgetting about the what and the why of the voting, and switching to the how, there are some suggestions of problems in New York, with a double-sided ballot among other things.

BBC News correspondent in LA Peter Bowes tweets: I uploaded a YouTube video - Off to the polling place in California

e-mail sent in by reader
Ashley Wilson, in St Paul, Minnesota, writes: What we really need is people in office who will move forward. There are so many people of the baby boomer generation who are wondering why we are wasting money on public schools, healthcare programs, and taking people's money away.

e-mail sent in by reader
Neahle Madden, in California, writes: Support reform in the financial sector, address global warming and consolidate healthcare reforms, while protecting social security.

Christian DeFeo tweets: @BBC_HaveYourSay I'm an American living abroad. From my perspective it's depressing: it's a competition between the angry.

1634 The elections have an effect in the business world and may help explain shares closing up in the US, and the dollar down, or it could be due to an upcoming Federal Reserve decision.

From Los Angeles C. M. Reinhardt tweets: @BBC_HaveYourSay I voted by mail. Calif. emailed voters with reminders/info weeks before today. Ballot took forever to arrive though.

1625 CNN has been zeroing-in on the battle in Alaska. It's a fascinating one. The Republican candidate Joe Miller could be beaten by the Republican-incumbent-turned-independent Lisa Murkowski. She's a write-in candidate, which means voters have to scribble her name in a blank space. How accurate the rendering of the name is could be the biggest issue of these mid-terms.

e-mail sent in by reader
Onegam, San Diego, California, writes: Illegal migration has been one of the issues. I voted for Meg Whitman this time and am tired of the Democrats. Yes to legal migration and heck no to illegal migration.

e-mail sent in by reader
Celeste Branstetter, San Antonio, Texas, writes: My biggest issue is with the cronyism at the state and federal levels. I am sick and tired of all these politicians taking money from lobbyists and doing for them instead of their constituents. They do not listen to the people who put them in office. Furthermore, in these harsh times, they are blowing money left and right.

1616 Philip Rucker from the Washington Post, who recently followed the president on a mini-tour, notes that one of the trends of the campaign has not just been attack ads, but particularly negative ads about House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

e-mail sent in by reader
Eric Wedig, New Orleans, writes: The most important issue is federal budget deficits, and how to reduce these deficits.

1607 Matthew Dowd, strategist on the Bush 2004 campaign, says on MSNBC that for the Republicans in the Senate "even a seven or eight seat pick-up is a very big night".

1606 We're less than two hours away from polls closing in some parts of Indiana and Kentucky. Reuters has a guide to all the closing times.

Davey D tweets: Are people voting today? What's the prognosis where you'll are at.. It's brisk here in my hood

1552 Away from all the serious coverage, BBC Comedy has taken a light-hearted look at the mid-terms with this video of a mock voxpop.

1544 What all the armchair politics junkies really want to know is not when the polls close, but when the first real indications of results are going to come in. Political pundit Charlie Cook's guide to count speed from 2008 looks useful.

1540 And remember, it's not just House, Senate and governor's mansion races. In many places there is intense focus on ballot measures with California's cannabis legalisation proposition and Oklahoma's Sharia law ban among the most prominent.

BBC News correspondent in LA Peter Bowes tweets: A record high number of voters in California requested postal ballots - they're expected to exceed the number of people that vote in person

Mark Mardell
On the subject of the president's latest radio interviews, and his new internet video, the BBC's North America Editor Mark Mardell writes: "This is, I suspect, about softening the blow of defeat, not about winning."

e-mail sent in by reader
Ursula Henke, in Union City, New Jersey, writes: President Obama had a lucky break yesterday with the UPS package scare and will again look like a protector of US interests. I believe a mid-term win looks promising. Go Obama!

1514 On Fox News, Arizona Senator John McCain is already moving ahead of today's election and on to 2012. He says it is "so much baloney about some big split within the Republican Party if Sarah Palin decides to run". For president, that is.

1509 President Obama's day has been all about last minute efforts to persuade voters to get out there and, well, vote. He's done Ryan Seacrest's music show on LA's KIIS FM, reached out to Hispanic voters in Nevada on radio KVEG, and Big Boy and Luscious Liz on Power 106.

1505 The election is widely seen as a referendum on the first two years of Barack Obama's presidency.

1500 Three hours to go until the first polls close in parts of Kentucky and Indiana. We will be reporting live on developments at least until the last polls close in Alaska seven hours later - and longer if the story continues to move.

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