4:12 a.m.: The night went fast. The College's former Distinguished Lecturer Angus King was crowned Senator as soon as polls closed, catching us and even his camp off-guard; WCSH6 reporter Caroline Cornish tweeted, "Despite the call for Angus King ad winner in Senate race, the room here seems to have no idea. Campaign staff almost in disbelief."
And when word came that Barack Obama was projected to win reelection, several students described the moment as "anticlimactic." The Shannon Room viewers cleared out quickly; the Pub viewers continued enjoying their refreshments, and you could be excused for thinking nothing had changed.
For many, it was Maine's Question 1 was kept things tense the longest. Just past midnight, Maine was declared the first state in U.S. history to approve same-sex marriage by a popular vote.
From there it became a long and ever-quieter wait for the speeches. The jubilation faded, and never reached the peak it did in 2008. Pub viewers, who had given the bar good business all night, moved on in search of more free-flowing libations. Scattered shrieks and shouts on the quad seemed to be looking for a mob, but there was none to be found. And when the speeches came, they were greeted, at least in Jack Magee's, with quiet relief — or resignation.
Thanks for joining us for our frantic all-hands-on-deck scramble. We're not experts at this sort of reporting, but we gave it a shot, had a lot of fun, and learned a lot. And, over the course of the day, tweeted 144 times.
There will be more coverage come Friday's paper, if you can stand it. On to the next one. —TT
3:44 a.m.: Maine results as they stand now:
Barack Obama (D): 56.47%
Mitt Romney (R): 41.07%
Angus King (I): 53.17%
Charles E. Summers (R): 30.59%
Cynthia Ann Dill (D): 75,298 13.14%
Question 1 (same-sex marriage):
Maine House District 66:
Matthea Daughtry (D): 45.62%
Fred Horch (G): 32.55%
Grant Connors (R): 21.84%
1:12 a.m.: There are still about twenty stragglers in the pub waiting to see Obama's speech. When Mitt Romney came on, a lone student (and, reports indicate, a member of an a cappella group) sang the chorus to "America the Beautiful".
12:15 a.m.: Maine becomes first state to approve same-sex marriage by popular vote, 51 percent to 49 percent. A final round of cheers erupts from a crowd of over forty students in the pub, although as of 12:12 a.m. the campaign opposing same-sex marriage had yet to concede the race. Students linger in the crowd waiting for the broadcast of Obama's acceptance speech on CBS News.
11:46 p.m.: The pub empties out after the presidential race is called, and although Question 1 looks like it will pass in Maine the verdict has not yet been called. Confusion amongst the crowd as Pub changes the channel away from NBC to CBS.
~11:30 p.m.: NBC News’ announcement that Barack Obama had won reelection prompted screams from students inside the Shannon Room, but the crowd was otherwise subdued throughout the night. The Government Department hosted the results viewing event, at which a handful of professors spoke.
Professor Franz, on sabbatical with the Wesleyan Media Project, spoke about advertising and during the 2012 election, noting that there were over 1.1 million political ads during the election, a new record. He also said that interest groups and super PACs accounted for 60 percent of spending in the primaries. The previous high was about 15 percent in 2004.
Professor Rudalevige discussed the history of the electoral college, pointing out its nuances. He explained that states determine how their electors are selected, and although every state allows its citizens to vote for electors, it is not required. Rudalevige also described the National Popular Vote bill, which a handful of states have passed as law. These states have pledged to commit their electors to whichever candidate wins the popular vote, provided that enough states have signed the bill to guarantee the winner of the popular vote the 270 electoral votes to secure the presidency.
Just after Rudalevige concluded his remarks, NBC News declared Obama the winner of California. The Shannon Room crowd remained quite. One student said loudly, “Big surprise.” The mood changed when Obama won reelection. Students screamed, cheered and clapped, but the high energy level was not sustained. The crowd dispersed shortly after Obama’s victory.
11:22 p.m.: The pub and Shannon Room erupted in cheers as Obama was declared the winner. But there was a prevailing atmosphere of: that's it? It happened? It's over? Someone walked in a few minutes later: "Wait did they call it?" Calmly: "Yeah, they called it." And then the former screamed. Someone else called the way NBC announced it "anticlimactic". The crowd stayed seated; looking at it now, you can barely tell whether the election has been called.
Here in Maine, Question 1 (on same-sex marriage) has yet to be called; it's leading 51%–49% with 39% of precincts reporting. It's unclear whether that or inertia is keeping people in their seats.
11:02 p.m.: Loud applause from the crowd in the pub as Obama wins California and Hawaii. Louder still as NBC News reports “Yes” votes on Question 1 are ahead 53 percent to 48 percent.
10:45 p.m.: Both floors of Jack Magee’s Pub & Grill are packed with students for Bowdoin Student Government’s election viewing party. Cheers resound as Obama wins 10 electoral votes in Minnesota, and a few whoops minutes later as NBC News calls more electoral votes for Romney. Many have their laptops out in an effort to continue with homework as the results roll in, though some are checking NBC’s results against other news sites. Crowd has thinned out slightly as the night has progressed and the pub continues to roll out free food, courtesy of BSG, on the hour.
10:39 p.m.: After the King speech, we spotted an elderly man decked out from head to toe in Bowdoin gear, accompanied by a younger woman. His name was Eric Butler. (In a journalistic lapse, we didn't get hers, nor her relation.) We asked if he was an alumnus, and the woman began telling his story.
He returned from the Pacific Theater and the incoming class at Bowdoin was full. But he met with then-President Sills, who said, "'I'll let you in and you can sleep in the infirmary in the bathtub.' So he graduated in the class of '49—"
"—in the bathtub!" Butler interrupted.
"King is a helluva good man," he said. "They don't come any better. If you can get him, grab him. He is a very adept and able man."
We asked if Butler knew King personally.
"We go way back. How far back do you want to go?"
We said: "How about start at the beginning?"
"You and Mary put on one of Angus's first fundraisers when he ran for governor the first time, didn't you?" said the woman.
"Angus is where he is today because I put him there," said Butler. "And you tell him I said that!"
"You tell him if he doesn't straighten up, I'll throw him out. OK? But tell him I said that!"
9:50 p.m.: The Orient took a detour to Freeport to watch Angus King's victory speech. King thanked one man for giving his campaign a boost: Karl Rove. Much laughter from the audience. A WWII vet shouted "Go get 'em, Angus!" King said (paraphrasing) that the "sturdy people who settled Maine had a motto: 'dirigo'. I lead." King recommended a new motto: "'Dirigamos'. We lead." It figures that even the Professor's soundbite quips are lessons in Latin. He emphasized his positive campaign, saying they had shown that "being fiercely independent doesn't mean you have to be fierce." And he quoted Abraham Lincoln at length on the "better angels of our nature".
Afterwards, the crowd mobbed the stage to get a photo, hug, or just handshake. One man said he travelled from Tennessee just to be there. "You're kidding," said King. Several Bowdoin students were in attendance, including former members of his leadership class.
On the day King announced his candidacy, the Orient asked him about the future of his leadership class. He said he'd finish the semester, but couldn't promise he'd teach it again. Today we reminded him of that question.
"Yeah, I'm afraid I can't—" he began to say.
"Oh I know," (rudely) interrupted this reporter, "but do you have a message for them now?"
Said King: "Read Shackleton, Chamberlain, and Churchill, and they'll be just fine."
8:08 p.m.: Multiple sources are reporting that Angus King has been projected winner of the Maine Senate election. Cheers in the pub. NYTimes.com story.
8:01 p.m.: Polls are closing and our liveblog is opening. Check back over the course of the night for continuing results. Watch the sidebar for our most up-to-date tweets.
According to Orient polling, 76 percent of Bowdoin students intended cast their votes for Barack Obama in today’s presidential election, while 16 percent will vote for Mitt Romney. Support for Obama is down since 2008, when 84 percent of likely voter students intended to vote for him. That year, over 200 students stormed the Quad to celebrate his victory, tiki torches in hand.
Over the course of the day, we've been reporting from around Brunswick. Before 9 a.m., we saw local candidates at the polls at Brunswick High School. At 10:30 a.m., a reporter spotted Uncle Sam at the Polar Bear. Around 11:45 we spotted Romney-Ryan signs in the Moulton circle. At 2:30 p.m., College Democrats reported that they had taken over 250 students to the polls so far. At 3 p.m., we tweeted Fred Horch's (paraphrased) allegation that "People are voting for me. People voting for other candidates might just be voting for a party." And Democrat Mattie Daughtry's (paraphrased) reply: "I am so sick of that line. It's not about the parties. It's about the individuals. And if you look at the Green Party, it is a party."
Now bear with us as we follow the results from viewing sessions in the Pub, in the Shannon Room, and Angus King's headquarters. It'll be fast, messy, and fun.