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21st July
2015
written by Sean Noble

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On November 1, 1950, the 3d Battalion, 8th Calvary Regiment, 1st Calvary Division fought back a vicious onslaught of Chinese Communist forces in Unsan Korea. Though repelled, the enemy soon surrounded them. Those Americans still able to do so were ordered to evacuate.

Captain Emil Kapaun, a Catholic chaplain who courageously ministered to the men throughout the battle, “elected to stay behind,” reads his Medal of Honor Citation, “fully aware of his certain capture.” After his capture, “Chaplain Kapaun…bravely pushed aside an enemy soldier preparing to execute Sergeant First Class Herbert A. Miller. Not only did Chaplain Kapaun’s gallantry save the life of Sergeant Miller, but also his unparalleled courage and leadership inspired all those present.” Kapaun and the other POWs were marched 80 miles, in the Tiger Death March, to a prison camp.

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(Emil Kapuan)

In the camp, Kapaun continued his selfless service, ministering to the men, stealing food, and lifting spirits. “People had lost a great deal of their civility,” a fellow POW told the Washington Post, “…and here is this one man—in all of this chaos—who has kept his principles.” Kapaun died in captivity on May 23, 1951.

“He’s a war hero because he was captured. I like people that weren’t captured.” Donald Trump recently told an audience in Ames, Iowa. He was referring to Senator John McCain, but his comments could just as easily have applied to Chaplain Kapaun; or Doug Hegdahl, a young POW during Vietnam who convinced his captors that he was stupid and posed no threat, then proceeded to memorize—to the tune of “Old McDonald”——the names of his over 200 fellow POW’s. Granted an early release, which he was ordered to accept by an American officer being held with him, Hegdahl provided to the American government the names of all the POWs held at the camp along with other invaluable information. Trump could have been talking about Jeremiah Denton, who used a televised Vietnamese propaganda press conference to confirm to the US that he and other American prisoners were being tortured by blinking, in Morse Code, T-O-R-T-U-R-E repeatedly. Trumps comments could be applied to Louis Zamperini, the Olympian-turned-bombardier who refused to allow the brutal treatment by his Japanese captors to break him, demonstrating to all the resolve and strength of the American spirit.

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(Louis Zamperini)

We know all of these men, because they were captured. But it is their heroism, their dignity, and their perpetual dedication to our nation, in the face of terrifying, excruciating conditions that we honor when we call them heroes. Mr. Trump’s failure to understand this disqualifies him to serve as Commander-in-Chief.

In the days following his senseless remarks, Trump’s response to the backlash has revealed much about his character: he is an immature, wannabe bully. He doubled down and tried to claim that his comments have been taken out of context. Saying, “People who fought hard and weren’t captured and went through a lot, they get no credit. Nobody even talks about them; they’re, like, forgotten.” Honoring John McCain does not mean that John Basilone, Audie Murphy, Riley Pitts, Dakota Meyers, Michael Murphy, Ross McGinnis, or countless other heroes do not receive appropriate recognition. There is not a finite amount of honor; celebrating one heroic act does not detract from another.

Trump also said, “I used to like [McCain] a lot. I supported him…but I would love to see him do a much better job taking care of the veterans.” After 5 and a half years of unimaginable pain and torture in service to America and her military, John McCain has paid in full. Anything else that he does is above and beyond. And certainly, someone like Donald Trump who, while John McCain languished in prison was, as the Washington Post pointed out, “living large…He ate in New York City’s finest restaurants, rode in his father’s limousines and began hitting the clubs with beautiful women,” is certainly in no position to demand more of the senator.

Trump’s best excuse for this attack on John McCain is that McCain attacked him—basically, Trump is whining “he started it.” Thin skin and a bad attitude is not going to turn Washington around, after all that’s what we’ve had for the past six years. Republican primary voters owe America—and certainly America’s service members—a better candidate than Donald Trump. It’s time for him to go.

 

11th June
2015
written by Sean Noble

Sometimes you read a story in the newspaper (well, on a news website at least) and just shake your head at the profound stupidity of the reporter.

The New York Times first wrote a breathless story about how Senator Marco Rubio and his wife have had a serious problem with driving infractions – 17 total.

On it’s face, you might think, “that dude’s got a lead foot.” The problem is, of the 17 tickets cited in the story, only four of those tickets were given to Senator Rubio. The other 13 were his wife. That’s four in the last 15 years.

So, that’s a bit of a cheap shot by the New York Times.

Then, a couple days later, you had this story with this headline: Marco Rubio’s Career Bedeviled by Financial Struggles.

My first reaction was, this is good for Rubio, a contrast to millionaire Hillary Clinton. And, taken as a whole, the story is about a 44 year-old father of three who has had some ups and downs financially as he has tried to balance a life in politics and raising a family.

One of the more absurd parts of the story was the Times reporting that following him earning an $800,000 advance on his book, “he splurged on an extravagant purchase: $80,000 for a luxury speedboat, state records show. At the time, Mr. Rubio confided to a friend that it was a potentially inadvisable outlay that he could not resist. The 24-foot boat, he said, fulfilled a dream.”

OK, so I’m a kid from Show Low, AZ and not an expert in watercraft. But, I have had friends who owned boats (bass fishing boats, speed boats, deep sea fishing boats) and I’ve been on a couple “luxury” boats.

When I read “$80,000 luxury speedboat” I just chuckled. A 24-ft boat that costs $80,000 is far from “luxury.” You want a “luxury speedboat?” That’s going to put you out a few hundred thousand to start.

For example, this Tiara is used and is for sale for more than $300,000.

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Turns out this is the “luxury speedboat” Marco bought:

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It’s a standard deep sea fishing boat. As I commented to someone, “If a luxury speedboat was a Bentley, this is a Hyundai.”

So the New York Times is getting some criticism. Even Politico thinks they’ve crossed the line. Think about that, when even Politico thinks you’ve gone over the line, you can guarantee you have crossed the line a mile back.

Then last night, Jon Stewart jumped into the mix. It’s pretty amazing TV.

The New York Times has lost even more of what little credibility they have remaining. The Gray Lady weeps…

15th April
2015
written by Sean Noble

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68 years ago today, Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in Major League Baseball when Brooklyn Dodgers General Manager, Branch Rickey, started Robinson at first base. It was one of the most important moments in the MLB and led a nation into the civil rights movement. Robinson and Rickey were ahead of their time when you realize that this happened 16 years before Martin Luther King’s seminal “I have a dream” speech.

Here’s to you, Jackie Robinson.

***

On Monday, Senator Marco Rubio announced his campaign for the Presidency from the iconic Freedom Tower in Miami. It was a rousing and inspirational speech that highlighted his family’s path to attaining the American Dream. Rubio’s message was one of hope in the resurgence of American greatness and a powerful call to action. Rubio is the best communicator in the Republican Party and will be a top tier contender for the GOP nomination.

***

Speaking of top-tier contenders, Hillary Clinton launched her campaign for the White House on Sunday with a web video. As I tweeted that day, say what you will, but it was well done and had the right tone.

While I think she will struggle with coming across authentic, she is going to be a formidable opponent to whomever gets the GOP nomination.

Oh, and one of the most absurd things I have ever seen, happened in Iowa. Click the link below. Talk about a stampede.

 

 

6th February
2015
written by Sean Noble

 

 

 

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(picture courtesy of Dr. Fred Vidal)

A rehash of previous years – and it’s ever more relevant: 

On this day, 102 years ago, God made Ronald Reagan – ok, so He made him before that, but you get the point.  Reagan was a blessing to America, becoming President at the very time that his country needed him.  If there was ever a time we needed another Reagan, it is now.

Reagan embodied a concept of America very different than our current President. In his final address to the nation from the Oval office he spoke of the success of America as an example of freedom.

“I’ve spoken of the shining city all my political life, but I don’t know if I ever quite communicated what I saw when I said it. But in my mind it was a tall, proud city built on rocks stronger than oceans, windswept, God-blessed, and teeming with people of all kinds living in harmony and peace; a city with free ports that hummed with commerce and creativity. And if there had to be city walls, the walls had doors and the doors were open to anyone with the will and the heart to get here. That’s how I saw it, and see it still.”

Happy birthday President Reagan. We miss you, we need you.

 

 

5th February
2015
written by Sean Noble

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Townhall.com published my latest column. Here are some excerpts:

As the new Congress, now controlled by Republicans in both houses, settles in for work in Washington D.C., there will be huge expectations from those on the Right. It will be important for Republicans to balance the “do-something” chorus and President Obama, who believes he can rule by veto-threat.

In addition to rolling back disasters like ObamaCare, Republicans should look at the next two years as a public relations battle, not just a legislative battle. Some on the right have said nothing short of a repeal of ObamaCare is good enough. However, there is a case to be made for small victories.

Financial guru Dave Ramsey often talks about the “Debt Snowball” principle. Rather than using the traditional method of paying off personal debt starting with the card with the highest interest rate, Ramsey suggests that you ignore the interest rates and start with the smallest debt. Then pay off the next smallest card, adding the previous debt’s minimum payment. Ramsey writes:

“The point of the debt snowball is behavior modification. In our example, if you start paying on the student loan first because it’s the largest debt, you won’t see it leave for a while. You’ll see numbers going down on a page, but that’s it. Pretty soon, you’ll lose steam and stop paying extra, but you’ll still have all your debts hanging around.

But when you ditch the small debt first, you see progress.”

This is what the Republican Congress needs: a few small victories to build momentum and show the American people that they can make progress.

As free-market conservatives, we have a lot of big goals, like repealing ObamaCare. However, we can’t let that cloud our appreciation and support for small victories like the Save American Workers Act and other legislation in American Encore’s Blueprint for 2015. These small victories can give us much-needed momentum that shows the American people that Republicans are committed to reform, not just rhetoric.

 

Read the entire piece here.

 

28th January
2015
written by Sean Noble

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29 years ago today, as millions of schoolchildren and other Americans watched live coverage, the space shuttle Challenger exploded during its ascent into space. For those of us who were watching it live, it will be forever seared into our memories.

As we watched, right after the command was given to “throttle up” the TV view went to a tight shot of the shuttle – and then there was an explosion. There were immediate gasps around us as the adults realized what had happened and we kids had yet to understand the tragedy unfolding before our eyes.

The realization of what happened began to sink in and I felt a profound sadness. It was especially profound because there had been significant media coverage and discussion at school about Sharon McAuliffe, the first teacher in space. I didn’t know her, but knowing she was a teacher somehow made it more poignant.

That night was supposed to be the State of the Union address by President Ronald Reagan. Instead, he spoke from the Oval Office comforting a shocked and grieving nation.

The entire speech, written by the unequaled Peggy Noonan, was the perfect balance of sorrow, respect, encouragement, and hope.

Here is the closing paragraph (entire speech below):

 The crew of the Space Shuttle Challenger honored us by the manner in which they lived their lives. We will never forget them, nor the last time we saw them, this morning, as they prepared for their journey and waved goodbye and “slipped the surly bonds of earth” to “touch the face of God.”

It was the perfect imagery to help heal the nation and instill the courage to continue to move forward with the space program.

We still remember the Challenger Seven and the sacrifice they made for our nation.

 

 

Address To The Nation On The Explosion Of The Space Shuttle Challenger

January 28, 1986

 

Ladies and gentlemen, I’d planned to speak to you tonight to report on the state of the Union, but the events of earlier today have led me to change those plans. Today is a day for mourning and remembering. Nancy and I are pained to the core by the tragedy of the shuttle Challenger. We know we share this pain with all of the people of our country. This is truly a national loss.

Nineteen years ago, almost to the day, we lost three astronauts in a terrible accident on the ground. But we’ve never lost an astronaut in flight; we’ve never had a tragedy like this. And perhaps we’ve forgotten the courage it took for the crew of the shuttle. But they, the Challenger Seven, were aware of the dangers, but overcame them and did their jobs brilliantly. We mourn seven heroes: Michael Smith, Dick Scobee, Judith Resnik, Ronald McNair, Ellison Onizuka, Gregory Jarvis, and Christa McAuliffe. We mourn their loss as a nation together.

For the families of the seven, we cannot bear, as you do, the full impact of this tragedy. But we feel the loss, and we’re thinking about you so very much. Your loved ones were daring and brave, and they had that special grace, that special spirit that says, “Give me a challenge, and I’ll meet it with joy.” They had a hunger to explore the universe and discover its truths. They wished to serve, and they did. They served all of us. We’ve grown used to wonders in this century. It’s hard to dazzle us. But for 25 years the United States space program has been doing just that. We’ve grown used to the idea of space, and perhaps we forget that we’ve only just begun. We’re still pioneers. They, the members of the Challenger crew, were pioneers.

And I want to say something to the schoolchildren of America who were watching the live coverage of the shuttle’s takeoff. I know it is hard to understand, but sometimes painful things like this happen. It’s all part of the process of exploration and discovery. It’s all part of taking a chance and expanding man’s horizons. The future doesn’t belong to the fainthearted; it belongs to the brave. The Challenger crew was pulling us into the future, and we’ll continue to follow them.

I’ve always had great faith in and respect for our space program, and what happened today does nothing to diminish it. We don’t hide our space program. We don’t keep secrets and cover things up. We do it all up front and in public. That’s the way freedom is, and we wouldn’t change it for a minute. We’ll continue our quest in space. There will be more shuttle flights and more shuttle crews and, yes, more volunteers, more civilians, more teachers in space. Nothing ends here; our hopes and our journeys continue. I want to add that I wish I could talk to every man and woman who works for NASA or who worked on this mission and tell them: “Your dedication and professionalism have moved and impressed us for decades. And we know of your anguish. We share it.”

There’s a coincidence today. On this day 390 years ago, the great explorer Sir Francis Drake died aboard ship off the coast of Panama. In his lifetime the great frontiers were the oceans, and an historian later said, “He lived by the sea, died on it, and was buried in it.” Well, today we can say of the Challenger crew: Their dedication was, like Drake’s, complete.

The crew of the Space Shuttle Challenger honored us by the manner in which they lived their lives. We will never forget them, nor the last time we saw them, this morning, as they prepared for their journey and waved goodbye and “slipped the surly bonds of earth” to “touch the face of God.”

 

 

27th January
2015
written by Sean Noble

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If you follow Arizona politics, you probably know that Senator John McCain made an appearance at the State Meeting of the Arizona Republican Party last Saturday. It was newsworthy because this is the same state party that censured McCain last year.

It was not without its drama – there were a few folks who booed very loudly and a handful who really showed “who is boss” by keeping their backs turned to McCain throughout his speech. Unfortunately for them, they couldn’t be seen from the stage because they were way, way in the back corner.

McCain gave a passionate speech about the dangers we face in the world (Russia, ISIS, Al Qaeda, etc.) and why the current Obama policy is failing to keep us safe.

At one point, someone yelled, “You’re a war mongrel!” Now, I’m guessing he meant “warmonger,” but, alas, either the adrenaline got to him, or he actually didn’t know what he was yelling.

Think about it: in a Republican meeting of State Committeemen (the very definition of “base Republicans”) someone is so out of touch with Republican principles and policy that they accuse a U.S. Senator, who was tortured for five years as a prisoner of war, of being a warmonger. For a second, I thought I was at an Occupy Wall Street rally.

Thankfully, the vast majority of attendees were cheering and applauding Sen. McCain and his speech – thus demonstrating that the critics of McCain were a distinct minority.

To his credit, State Party Chairman, Robert Graham, got up after McCain’s speech and admonished those who had shown complete disrespect. It was a moment of leadership that has defined the kind of Chairman Graham has been: fair-minded, following the rules, and urging unity. It’s no wonder Graham won a landslide re-election as Chairman, garnering nearly 80% of the vote.

Graham’s landslide victory is also a testament to an Arizona Republican Party that is excelling. Graham raised significant money for the 2014 cycle and made the party relevant again. No one can say that Republicans didn’t elect a strong conservative slate of statewide officers and a conservative legislature.

But let’s get back to McCain.

Despite some national groups calling him their number one target, I don’t believe Senator McCain will face a serious challenge – either in the primary or the general election in 2016. Here’s why:

  • Obama’s foreign policy will continue to be a complete failure. There will be more terrorist attacks (like what happened in France) and some American lives might even be lost. From his post as the Senate Armed Services Chairman, Senator McCain will have ample opportunity to try to hold the Obama administration accountable for their failed foreign policy.
  • Anyone who is thinking about mounting a challenge to McCain remembers what happened to JD Hayworth. It wasn’t pretty.
  • 2016 is likely to be framed in the context of a national security election. If there is one thing that unifies the base of the Republican Party it is that we believe the first (and almost only) function of government is to “provide for the common defense.” If McCain is leading that charge, it will be hard for someone to get traction against him.

There are probably other reasons, but for now, a real challenge doesn’t seem to be shaping up.

 

 

11th December
2014
written by Sean Noble

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The Arizona Republic published a piece I wrote about the Arizona Governor’s race.  Here it is in it’s entirety:

 

Doug Ducey is a blueprint for the GOP

Sean Noble, AZ I See It

 

Sean Noble: Doug Ducey stood FOR something, and voters responded to his agenda.

 

Plenty of those taking office in January got there simply by not being a Democrat in a Republican year. If the GOP is to prevail in 2016, they’ll need more.

 

Doug Ducey’s successful gubernatorial campaign in Arizona provides the blueprint for Republicans going forward.

 

When conservatives pine for “the next Ronald Reagan,” they are really talking about leadership. They want someone who articulates a vision, who can build a broad, diverse coalition, and who fights for conservative principles rather than conservative politics.

 

Arizona has found such a leader in former Cold Stone Creamery CEO Doug Ducey, an energetic, optimistic businessman who was fond of saying, “I built a business, now I want to shrink a government and grow an economy.” Ducey is a man of action; he’ll do what he says he’ll do.

 

And what is that? He’ll make changes to education funding so that more dollars make it to the classroom, rather than bloated administrations.

 

He’ll reduce the waiting lists for high-performing schools so that low-income kids can have access to the best education possible.

He’ll end the practice of government picking winners and losers and lower individual and corporate income taxes so that Arizona attracts new business.

 

And he’ll provide leadership that all Arizonans — and conservatives — can be proud of.

 

Doug Ducey stood for something; voters cast their ballots in support of his agenda rather than against the Democratic agenda. Ducey ran an effective campaign by building a broad coalition, staying on message and clearly articulating a platform of opportunity, which resonated with Arizonans.

 

American Encore commissioned Kellyanne Conway of the Polling Company, Inc. and Women Trend to conduct a post-election poll. Conway’s findings show Ducey won big on substance.

 

Education was a clear priority for voters (35 percent), with the economy next (32 percent) followed by border security (13 percent) and health care/”Obamacare” (12 percent).

 

When it came to education, 65 percent of women and 62 percent of men said it was important to their vote that Ducey supported scholarship programs to give low-income children access to high-performing schools.

 

By making it clear that education mattered to him and delivering a strong message of support for school choice, Ducey neutralized Fred DuVal’s negative messaging that Ducey didn’t care about education. This among other factors led to a remarkable result: Ducey beat DuVal among women.

 

The Democratic “war on women” playbook just fell flat with voters. When asked about the most important issues in casting their vote for governor, 1 percent cited women’s issues and another 1 percent cited abortion.

 

In fact, Fred DuVal is the first Democratic candidate to fumble the abortion issue. He took the extreme position that parents should not have to consent in order for their 14 year-old daughter to get an abortion. Fifty-nine percent of voters cited that position as important to their vote.

 

Other typical liberal rhetoric like class warfare and climate change failed to move Arizona voters. Only 1 percent of voters cited income inequality as important, and less than 1 percent cited climate change.

Oh, and for all the media squawking about “dark money”? Exactly one respondent out of 500 thought it important.

 

Doug Ducey attracted a broad range of support. In addition to winning among women, he won 24 percent of the Hispanic vote and only slightly trailed DuVal among young voters, while enjoying a 25-point advantage with 45- to 54-year-olds and leading big among those 55 and older.

 

Of course, the national environment had some impact on the race: Only 37 percent of voters had a favorable opinion of President Barack Obama, and 57 percent had an unfavorable opinion.

 

But the environment doesn’t explain the 12-point margin of victory for Ducey. On Election Day, Ducey enjoyed a 50 vs. 31 percent favorable/unfavorable rating, compared with DuVal at 38 vs. 35 percent favorable/unfavorable rating. That had a huge impact on late deciding voters — of which there were more than usual. A whopping 23 percent made up their mind in the last two weeks of the election.

 

The late Steve Shadegg, one of the premiere election experts in modern history, said that, ultimately, elections come down to whom you can trust. If you explain your positions eloquently and honestly, as Doug Ducey did, people will trust you — even if they don’t agree with you on every issue. Ducey provided Republicans with the perfect campaign blueprint; next, he’ll show them how to govern.

 

Sean Noble is the president of American Encore.

6th November
2014
written by Sean Noble

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A week and a half ago, the Chicago Bears’ Lamarr Houston suffered a season-ending injury as a result of a post-play celebration. Mr. Houston sacked the Patriots’ backup quarterback…while the Bears were losing by 25 points…in the fourth quarter. Aside from looking like an idiot, Houston now cannot do the job for which he is paid millions. In the coming weeks and months, Republicans risk committing the same error: rendering themselves incapable due to unnecessary and unwarranted celebrations.

Yes, Republicans won big this midterm – once all the dust settles they will have picked up at least nine seats in the Senate, adding at least 15 seats to their majority in the House, and will occupy 32 Governor’s seats. It was a blowout – primarily because the nation’s problems are big and our president incompetent. So while we cheer for the wave of wins, the reasons for the wins are not necessarily cause for celebration.

Abroad America’s influence diminishes. We’re weak, we lack resolve; we waffle on issues where we once stood firm. Our foes move in to fill the power vacuum and instability reigns.

At home, “mistakes” in Washington turn to scandals, which result in crises of confidence, giving way to partisan squabbling; rinse and repeat. Solyndra, Fast and Furious, Benghazi, the IRS, the VA, the cycle seems endless. Meanwhile, too many Americans remain out of work, the economy remains feeble, the Affordable Care Act remains unaffordable and uncaring, and the American Dream slips farther out of reach.

Polling in the lead up to Election Day showed that a large majority of Americans think we’re headed in the wrong direction, an ABC/Washington Post poll showed 70% think our country is on the wrong track. And, more than half of Americans, 54% according to Gallup, disapprove of Obama. These voters hope, skeptically perhaps, that the GOP can fix it or at least stem the tide of failure.

In 2012, had voters known what they know today, they would have elected Mitt Romney and I firmly believe our nation would now be on the upswing. Thanks however to a media that seeks to create “a narrative” of the world it wants rather than reporting the facts, Americans went to the polls woefully under-informed about Obama’s true job performance.

In a free society, the truth eventually gets out. No matter what damage control sound bites liberal pundits spin our way— “the opposing party historically tends to win big in midterm elections, especially during a president’s second term,” seems to be the go-to line—Obama’s lies, cover-ups, mismanagement, and failures are the reason the GOP now controls both the House and Senate. Jovial or smug celebrations on our part would demonstrate to voters that Republicans aren’t up to the task of governing either.

So, before we start that victory dance, Republicans must recognize that Americans didn’t vote for us because they think we’re good, but because they think we cannot be worse. Let’s not prove them wrong. Skip the celebration. It’s time to govern.

 

4th November
2014
written by Sean Noble

Election Night 2014 ongoing updates.

(11:00 pm EST) – Networks have reversed their call for New Hampshire as Brown gains ground as votes continue to be counted.

Tillis is growing his lead over Sen. Hagan in North Carolina.

In Arizona – Ducey declared winner for Governor in Arizona.  Republican Mark Brnovich, the cinderella story of Arizona politics this year, is leading Democrat Felicia Rotellini 53-47 in Attorney General race.  Michelle Reagan leads Terry Goddard 52-48 for Secretary of State.

 

(10:00 pm EST) – Gardner has won the Senate race in Colorado.  That is a HUGE win.

 

(9:30 pm EST) – South Dakota has been called for Mike Rounds – another pick up for the GOP march towards a Senate Majority.  While the networks have called New Hampshire for Sen. Shaheen, it’s only a four point spread with 33% of precincts reporting.  A little early.

Colorado has about 50% reporting and Gardner leads Sen. Udall by five.

Virginia continues to look very close – could be the story of the night.

Gov. Rick Scott appears to have overcome the challenge from Charlie Crist in Florida.

 

(8:30 pm EST) – Polls just closed in Arkansas and the race is already called for Tom Cotton – who defeated Sen. Mark Pryor.  The wave continues.

 

(7:45 pm EST) – Polls have closed in Kentucky, Georgia, West Virginia, and North Carolina.  McConnell has been declared the winner in Kentucky, Capito wins West Virginia, Perdue led in the exit polls in Georgia, and exit polls in North Carolina showed the race tied.

Exits showed leads for the GOP in IA, CO, AR, AK, and KS.

If all that holds, GOP Senate majority is a certainty.

 

 

 

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