Photo by Darren McCollester/Getty Images

Midterms 2014: Live Blog of Ignorance

Live campaign dispatches and everything else you need to know about Election Day 2014.

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Nov 5 2014, 12:42am

Photo by Darren McCollester/Getty Images

The 2014 midterm elections that no one gave a fuck about took place on Tuesday. A new party has taken control the Senate, people in Oregon are free to eat as many weed candies as their fragile bodies can withstand, and Scott Walker's 2016 plans are back on track. Below is our live blog of the results, along with dispatches from VICE writers on the campaign trail: 

11:35 pm:Republican Party takes control of the Senate 

It's over. With Republican Thom Tillis's victory in North Carolina's Senate race tonight, the GOP won a clear majority in the Senate. It's hard to imagine how this night could have gone any worse for Democrats. So far, Republicans have won all but one of the toss-up Senate races in play Tuesday, as well as all of the contested gubernatorial races, including in Massachusetts and Connecticut. 

There are plenty of reasons for the blowout-Obama's low approval ratings, the national political climate, millions of dollars in outside spending-and Democrats will no doubt spend the next six months trying to assign blame. But the bottom line is that, after two years of self-recriminations and internecine battles, the Republican Party is back in a big way. 

11:00 pm: A good night for weed and the minimum wage 

Despite the conservative rout, two progressive ballot issues were surprisingly successful Tuesday night: 

  • ​Initiatives to raise the minimum wage are on the ballot in four states--Alaska, Arkansas, Nebraska, and South Dakota--and it looks like all of the measures are going to pass. Already, voters in Arkansas and Nebraska have approved the wage increases, and early returns show the measure leading in South Dakota. We won't know about Alaska until tomorrow, but polls suggest the wage increase will get strong support there too. 
  • Oregon became the third state to fully legalize marijuana Tuesday, and Alaska could follow once the results of the state's vote are tallied. Meanwhile voters in Washington, D.C. approved a measure to legalize possession and cultivation of weed, and Guam became the first US territory to legalize the use of medical marijuana. 

10:35 pm: Scott Walker is indestructible 

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, who has spent most of his career trying to keep his job, pulled through again Tuesday, narrowly defeating Democratic challenger Mary Burke to survive his third close campaign in almost as many years. It's a startling turnaround from just a few days ago, when polls showed the race in a dead heat, and Walker's liberal critics were already celebrating his imminent demise. Dogged by relentless attacks from progressives, as well as a state campaign finance investigation, even Walker was starting to sound desperate last week, accusing Republican Governor's Association head Chris Christie of trying to sabotage the race to get Walker out of the way for 2016. But instead of losing, Walker rebounded, setting himself back on track for his all-but-declared White House run. 

Christie had a good night as well. Republicans ran the table in toss-up gubernatorial elections Tuesday, with incumbent governors managing to pull through tight reelection races in Kansas, Michigan, Ohio, Maine, and Florida. 

9:45 pm: Florida's medical marijuana initiative loses by just 3 points

An amendment to legalize medical weed in Florida was narrowly defeated Tuesday with about ​57 percent support fro​m voters, falling just shy of the 60 percent needed to pass. The campaign over the issue was one of the most expensive and politicized legalization battles yet, and could reshape the movement's strategy going forward into the 2016 election. Kristen Gwynne has ​more on the story here

9:10 pm: Where will Scott Brown move next? 

Campaign signs in Nashua, New Hampshire today. Photo by Livia Gershon

New Hampshire's Democratic Senator Jeanne Shaheen has defeated Republican Scott Brown in that state's Senate race, 52 percent to 48 percent -- a positive development for Democrats on what has otherwise is shaping up to be a grim night. It's also a positive development for democracy. Politics aside, Brown is pretty shameless, even for someone in politics, only deciding that he wanted to represent the people of New Hampshire after losing his Massachusetts Senate seat to Elizabeth Warren in 2012. Surprisingly, this carpetbagging was never a huge issue in this year's Senate race, but Brown's loss is nevertheless an affirmation that the Senate is not a Miss America pageant, where you can just hop from state to state looking for uglier competition. 

In other results, Republicans won Senate races in Arkansas and South Dakota, which means they now won three of the six seats they need to win a majority. 

8:30 pm: Voting is hard

Virginia Republican Congressman Scott Rigell has been sounding the alarm all day about  ​rigged voting machines in his Virginia Beach district. Shortly before the polls closed, his campaign announced that they had received ​complaints from voters at 43 polling stations, who said that they had tried to vote for the Republican, but had their votes initially redirected to his Democratic challenge. The State Board of Elections said this evening that they are looking into it, but suggested that they have gotten more calls from Rigell than they have from voters. 

Imagined election fraud aside, several states reported real voting problems and irregularities today. Voter registration systems went down for hours in Texas and Georgia this morning, and in Connecticut, polls were extended until 8:30 after a range of issues kept voters from casting their ballots. (Election officials denied Charlie Crist's campaign a similar extension in Broward County, Florida this evening). 

7:35 pm: Profiles of Ignorance: Las Vegas 

Writer Max Plenke sends us this dispatch: 

Shane Stewart, 36, owner of Grass Roots Juice Bar

VICE: Are you voting in today's election?
I'm not.

Why not?
I mean to say that I'm a firm believer that it's all predetermined anyway and I really don't think our votes go that far. That's my main thing. The last presidential election--even though I'm not an Obama fan or a Mitt Romney fan, I believe everyone plays for the same team--I went with what I thought was the lesser of two evils. But in reality, we can only do the best we can do as an individual, and we can't rely too much on government because they won't make the best decision for anybody.

Do you have any hopes for the outcome?
I hope that there's somebody that can go in and set the stage for running an office with higher integrity than what has happened in the past. Maybe if that happens it'll get more Americans to be involved and feel like they have a say-so instead of feeling like they're being lead along.

Nev Olivari, 27

VICE: Are you going to vote in the election?
No.

Why not?
Because I don't really care about it.

Do you know what this election is about?
Not really.

Any hopes for the outcome?
I'm so out of politics, I don't feel like I have a voice in general. My one vote doesn't matter. I'd rather stay out of debates and arguments with people. I feel like whatever's gonna happen is gonna happen and I just go on with my voice every day. I'm not a millionaire and I don't need tax breaks so what's the point? ​

Noe Hernandez, 49, master barber

VICE: Are you going to vote in today's midterm election?
Potentially.

Potentially?
I'd love to get out of here but who knows with my schedule.

Do you know what this election is about?
Not at all.

What do you hope the outcome is? 
I think everyone wants the opportunity for growth and improvement and the betterment of the fact that we have the lowest educational system in the country. Right now we have a governor that doesn't seem to care that tax dollars are one thing and pushing the Republican agenda is another, but the fact that our kids are the last percentile in the nation is pretty sad, given that our tax structure is such that we let the big casinos profit and run rampant without any taxation while we can't get bussing and can't get our kids to school. Just issues like that. 

7:10 pm: Republican Senator Mitch McConnell wins in Kentucky 

And with that, Election Night 2014 is off to a good start for the GOP. McConnell is now all but guaranteed to become the Senate Majority Leader if the GOP wins a majority tonight. Republicans need to pick up a total of six seats tonight to make that happen-and most election forecasts predict that they'll win by strong margins. 

At least one guy isn't happy about McConnell's win: 

7 pm: Medical weed is legal in Guam

Polls are starting to close on the East Coast with voting officially over in New Hampshire, Virginia, Florida, Kentucky and Georgia-key states that have tight election contests this year. 

But the first results actually came in a few hours ago, from Guam, where voters  ​approved a ballot initiative legalizing medical weed, making it the first US territory to approve pot for medicinal use. It's one of five marijuana-related ballot measures that voters will consider today, including Florida's constitutional amendment on medical marijuana, and measures in Alaska and Oregon that would legalize pot for recreational purposes. 

6:30 pm: Profiles of Ignorance: New York 

VICE's Peter Rugh talks to voters in New York City about what they know about the midterms

Terrell Williams, 39, electrician

Are you voting today?
If I have time. I've got a lot of things to do today.

What do you make of the New York Governor's race?
Cuomo and this other guy? I don't know.

Did you vote four years ago?
I did, for Cuomo. But I haven't really been into it this time. It actually snuck up on me this year. Cuomo is going to get it again, so what's the point? In my heart of hearts I'm like, it's fixed. His dad was a politician, he's a politician.

Are there any presidential candidates you might be excited about in 2016?
Cory Booker. I think he just got a Senate seat and I'll see what he's going to do. I grew up in Newark. It's a renaissance city. Its coming up and Cory Booker did a lot to change it. But like I said. I'm not really into politics. Politicians are always corrupt. Not all of them at first, but its contagious. We'll just have to wait and see. The bottom of the pot always gets the bad end. 

Amanda Ghanooni, 36, college administrator

Are you voting?
I'm going to vote Green. I decided a long time ago to vote green in all local elections. But I'm still a little scared not to vote Democrat in the big national elections.

What about not voting for a Democrat scares you?
I don't know. But the Democratic Party doesn't quite represent the progressive ideals that I hold. There have been so many let downs, let alone the surveillance and the use of drones. Democrats and Republicans are just so one and the same. The Green Party does offer a little bit of an alternative, even though I know it is still quite small.

Are you worried what will happen if Republicans take control of the Senate?

It could have some very scary conclusions. I don't think the Affordable Care Act was perfect but there were good elements within it and it would be a shame for those to disappear, you know, like not being denied for preconditions. That's such an important law.

Dilan Ray Cheavacci, 29, art student

Are you voting today?
No. I haven't really paid attention. I don't know those people. Never met'em. I plan on getting into politics when I'm like 35.

Do you feel politics today are hollow?
Sorta. I feel like when I read the news it becomes like a game because I'm so separated from it. But I know that's not the right way to think. It's like having a significant other whom you just can't give anytime to and you end up just wasting their time. 

6:15 pm: Profiles of Ignorance: Chicago

VICE contributor Gideon Resnick reports from Chicago: 

Illinois voters will decide on a contentious midterm race today that pits the state's much-maligned Democratic Governor Pat Quinn against the relatively unknown Republican Bruce Rauner, a wealthy businessman. Polls conducted in the final days of the campaign show the race in a virtual dead heat, although election forecasters expect that Quinn will edge out Rauner in the end. Voters in Illinois will also consider a ballot initiative that would raise the minimum wage in the state to $10, as well as a proposal to incorporate coverage for birth control under the auspices of state health insurance plans.

I spoke to voters in Chicago today to get a sense of where everyone's head is at on Election Day: 

Emma Logan, 66, retired factory worker

VICE: Why was it important for you to vote today?
I like Pat Quinn and I like what he stands for. The $10 [minimum wage] raise, in case I come out of retirement. 

So you've approved of Pat Quinn's administration over the past six years?
Yes.

What party currently controls the U.S. Senate?
You know, I have forgot about what all that is. I think the Democrats had it at one time. It should change. If everyone would come out to vote. That was the point, right? To help the President.

Juan Jimenez, 46, owner of Aguas Tortas 

VICE: Why do you think it's important to vote this year? 
I think it's important because every little grain of sand counts. And I want to put my little grain of sand in and see if we can change things around because things are bad. 

Do you know all of the candidates running for governor? 
No. I know Pat Quinn but I don't know the other guy. I heard about it but I forgot his name.

What do you think of Pat Quinn?
I think he really messed up Illinois. But you know what, on the other hand, every time someone comes to power, it's another face. Politicians they are all in it for themselves. Unfortunately, that's how it is. And even if you want to be good and do good, it's hard. Because there are a lot of other people involved who don't want to let you do what you want to do. That's the problem. I don't think there's a candidate that has the mentality to do things and change things. It's hard to try to change things when there are a lot of other hands in it.

Dennis Shea, 70, retired

VICE: Why did you vote today?
The people who are in office, this is where you see them representing you....I've spent most of my life in New York City and in New York, politics are like air. It's the same way here. It's what makes the wheels run, man. I've never been afraid of it and always just gone on the basis of who you think is the right person to vote for. A lot of times, you're not presented with too much. And it comes down to being the lesser of two evils. But not all the time.

What do you think of Governor Quinn's record?
I'm not that much up on it. But what I would say is there are just some things he's done and some things he hasn't. I think he's fine. 

5:30 pm: We asked voters in New York to draw the current state of the country

Casey, 25 

Jeremy, 28

Benjamin, 49

5 pm: Races to Watch: Michigan 

VICE contributor Allie Gross is on the ground in Michigan today, where Republican incumbent Governor Rick Snyder is in a dead heat with Democratic challenger Mark Schaeur. Snyder won his first election, in 2010, by a landslide, and had even been floated as a possible GOP presidential contender for 2016. So why is he on the ropes this year? Here's what voters in Detroit had to say: 

Sebastian Jackson, barbershop owner 

VICE: Are you voting in today's elections?
Definitely 

How do you feel about Rick Snyder? 
I think Rick Snyder has been doing a pretty good job. You know, he's made some good decisions. Obviously he's had to make some tough decisions that people don't agree with, but I've seen some changes over the last few years so I think he's doing the best job that he can.

Any changes specifically? 
[Detroit's] Emergency Financial Manager [put in place by Snyder to manage the city's bankruptcy]. Maybe I don't agree with everything that he had to cut, but I think that's a tough decision. I think we're in a better place right now as a city. I've seen some positive improvements. I don't necessarily agree with certain changes and certain communities being left out of the change, but we're definitely moving forward as a city. 

Emily Doering-White, Teacher

VICE: Are you voting in today's elections?
Yes.  

How do you feel about Rick Snyder?
As an educator I really dislike Rick Snyder. I feel like he dismantled the public education system in Detroit and brought in a system that was ineffective.  

Who is running for Senate in Michigan? 
I don't know, I threw away my cheat sheet.  

What do you hope happens in the elections today?
I hope we have a new governor.  

Kenneth Mingo, security guard 

VICE: Why did you vote today? 
Because it's a right and we didn't have that right years ago.  

How do you feel about Rick Snyder? 
I don't like him.

What do you hope happens in the elections today? 
I hope the Democrats hold onto their seats [in the Senate] and Snyder is ousted.  

4:15 pm: The Worst Race in the Country

VICE staff writer Allie Conti sends us this report from Miami Beach: 

Unsurprisingly, Florida takes the prize for hosting the year's worst midterm election, a nasty and expensive gubernatorial race between two very tan guys that no one likes: Republican incumbent Rick Scott, who looks like Bat Boy from Weekly World News, and Charlie Crist, a former governor who used to be a Republican but turned into a Democrat when he decided he wanted his old job back. Crist is also very afraid of sweating in public, and so carries around a small black fan wherever he goes, a habit that ​Scott apparently has moral objections to. 

Crist held the lead in final polls going into Election Day, but political analysts say the results could depend on which voters turn out to cast ballots on Amendment 2, a ballot initiative that would make Florida the first state in the South to legalize medical weed. 

Here's what voters in Miami and Miami Beach had to stay about the election today: 

Ben, works in the music industry

VICE: You look like a cool guy. Why are you voting in the midterms?
Charlie Crist is definitely the man. Rick Scott is basically a dictator, I feel like. He hates gay people. He hates public health. I just feel like that's not what Florida needs right now.

Who would make a better governor, someone who has to carry around a tiny fan or someone who has a very hard stance against tiny fans?
I have no idea how to answer that question

In the gubernatorial debate, Charlie Scott insisted on keeping his trademark tiny fan under the podium because he's terrified of sweating. Rick Scott refused to come on stage and debate him unless he removed the fan.
Charlie Crist might be a diva, but Rick Scott was just being petty. He's a pussy, to be honest with you.

Leslie, physician

VICE: Did you vote today?
I actually cast a ballot a few days ago. I've been guilty of not voting in midterm elections in the past and felt guilty about it, so I'm voting from now on.

So what's the biggest reason you voted, besides your guilt?
I'm a doctor, so I'm in support of the health care laws but want to make sure they're implemented correctly. While I'm in favor of medical marijuana, I didn't vote for Amendment Two, because I thought it was a little sketchy. I'm in favor of it being used for medical use, but I'm not sure I'm in favor it being used for non-medical uses.

What's your beef with Amendment Two?
I think the wording is sketchy. People think it's only for medical use, but the loophole means you can buy it anytime, anywhere.

Diana, painter

VICE: Have you voted yet?
I didn't even know it was a voting day, or what we're voting for.

Oh, wow. Do you even know who's running for governor?
I've seen a few commercials on TV but I'm not into it.

What was your takeaway from the ads?
I didn't get anything out of them. I don't really like politicians in general, so I prefer not to vote.

How would you feel if there was a candidate running who didn't believe in climate change?
Miami's supposed to be underwater soon. Well, he should be more aware of it and do more funding for green projects and raise awareness. If he's not for that, then he should not run.

Mike, owns a medical office

VICE: I can see your "Just Voted Sticker." Did you steal that from a little old lady, or actually earn it?
I came out to vote yes on [Amendment] Two. I just want to make a difference, hopefully.

Yeah, I know. I saw you come out of the polling booth with sunglasses on. How high are you right now?
[Laughs] I can't say that. Not until it's legal.

So I'm guessing you consider medical marijuana the most important issue on the ballot?
I believe so. Coming from working in a medical office people, I know people get some pretty scary drugs these days just to be able to function, and the studies on medical marijuana have shown it to really help with a lot of things. If we can just get some of these people off these drugs and on marijuana, I'm all for it.

You strike me as a single-issue voter. Who controls the Senate right now?
I'm not too sure, actually.

3:30 pm: Races to Watch: New Hampshire

VICE writer Livia Gershon sends us this dispatch from the Granite State, which is voting in several key races today: 

This year, New Hampshire is living up to its reputation as a purple state where you never know which way voters will swing. One recent poll shows three out of four major races too close to call after a nationwide rightward shift in recent months put some wind in GOP sails.

The state's most-watched race is for the Senate seat currently held by Democrat Jeanne Shaheen. She's being challenged by Republican Scott Brown, who served as a Massachusetts senator for two years before being beaten by Elizabeth Warren and moving north. Polls going into Election Day showed Shaheen and Brown almost neck-in-neck, making the race one of a handful of contests that could determine which party controls the Senate. At this point, it looks like Shaheen will pull out a narrow win, but as Nate Silver argues, if Brown wins, it's a sign that Republicans are doing well across the country, and we can all go home.

In addition to the Senate race, another too-close-to-call race in New Hampshire is for one of the state's two congressional seats, currently held by Democrat Carol Shea-Porter. She's in a dead heat with Republican challenger Frank Guinta in recent polls. In the other district, Democratic incumbent Annie Kuster remains significantly ahead of challenger Marilinda Garcia.

The final close race is for governor, with Republican businessman Walt Haverstein challenging Democratic Governor Maggie Hassan. Hassan has been pretty consistently in the lead, but the race has tightened up in recent weeks. At the state level, the legislature is currently split, with Republicans controlling the Senate by a small margin, while the Democrats are the majority in the House. That balance could easily be upset. The House, which has an enormous membership of 400-the largest of any state legislature-has swung dramatically between parties in recent elections. It's also hard to predict how it will shake out, because with so many races, it's impossible to poll reliably. 

Unlike most Americans, people in New Hampshire take democracy very, very seriously, a byproduct of the state's position as the first primary voting state in presidential contests. 

Francine Davis, Nashua

VICE: Why are you out to vote?
I am sick of the way things are going. I want change-good change. I want a senator that will be for New Hampshire, not for Obama, even though I did vote for Obama.

What's changed your mind about Obama?
He only does stuff his way. He's not-you know-he's got the whole government on his side. I want somebody that will compromise.

Do you vote every year?
Absolutely. I became a citizen to vote.

Dan Poudrette, Merrimack, NH

VICE: What brings you out today?
I want to get the Democrats out of office.

Why?
This country's heading in a different path, ideological liberalism, that's going to hurt us. I'm a conservative, right-wing Christian who believes in moral values and it seems to be that that's taken a backseat with a lot of the politicians, primarily the progressives and the liberal ideology. But the other thing is I've always voted Republican.

You always get out to vote?
Yeah, oh yeah.

Is there anything that stands out to you as a particularly big issue in this election?
Yeah, the way the world is now with the terrorism, the ISIS and the way that the world is thumbing their nose at America because they see weakness. The current administration cannot make the right decision. So, consequently, I hope my countrymen wake up today.

Gail Goulet, Nashua, NH

VICE: What do you think of the candidates in New Hampshire this year?
To tell the truth, I'm really disappointed in them.

Who do you hope wins the Senate? 
I'm registered Independent, but I normally have a tendency to vote Republican. But this time I don't really feel the Republican Party offers to people candidates that they can believe in and trust, I really don't. I just think that if they could put up better candidates they'd be a lot better off.

Are you voting for Jeanne Shaheen or Scott Brown?
Jeanne Shaheen.

So you're actually going Democrat even though you usually vote Republican.
Like I said to somebody on the phone, I wouldn't mind having Scott Brown for breakfast, but I'm not going to vote for him.

2:45 pm: Profiles of Ignorance: Brooklyn, New York

Tim, 26 

VICE: What is this election about? 
I think it's straight-up party vs. party and the issues are almost nonexistent. I think it's more about candidate vs. candidate with very little to do with issues in any shape or form. It's almost like a popularity contest.

Even though you're not voting do you have any hopes for what might happen with these elections?
Yes, this is a longterm hope because it'll involve some bad and then some good, but I would like some Republican takeover even though I'm liberal just because of all the hate Obama's been getting. I would like the country to see what it's like when Republicans are in charge again.

What party controls the Senate?
The Democrats... No they don't... The Republicans control the Senate. [The answer is the Democrats, but that might change after tonight]. I hope that stays the same. I want the country to see what Republicans are like. I think their whole campaign and policies are based on attack ads. Their policies are also similar. That's all they've got--attack ads, and putting people down. They don't have anything constructive and they don't understand, in terms of the economy, how ruthless the private sector is. They need to know that regulations aren't hurting things. 

Mike, 26

VICE: Are you voting in today's elections?
Yes, I'm planning on it.

Who's running for governor in New York?
[Andrew] Cuomo and [Rob] Astorino. I'm gonna vote for Cuomo.

What is this election about to you? 
Keeping Democrats in office, that's top priority.

What do you hope happens today?
That. That Democrats keep control of the Senate.

Vince, 23 

VICE: Are you voting today?
No. I haven't ever voted.

How do you feel about this year's election?
I feel nothing about any of it.

Which party controls the Senate?
I don't know.

Do you think you'll vote in 2016 for president?
Yes.

Is there any potential candidate who appeals to you?
No. I'm just all about Obama. I'm down for whoever, as long as he's black. 

2:30 pm: Didn't know it was Election Day?

We've ​got y​ou covered.

1:00 pm: It's finally time: The 2014 midterm elections (which no one gives a fuck about) are taking place today. By this time Wednesday, a new party could control the Senate, people in Alaska and Oregon could be free to eat as many weed candies as their fragile bodies can withstand, and the state of Arkansas could finally start letting people buy liquor (seriously).

Americans' natural right to get shitfaced aside, there's not a whole lot for the average voter to get excited about. This year's campaigns have been even more tedious than usual, and recent pollsshow that interest actually decreased in the days leading up to the election. Maybe that's because no matter who has control of the Senate (the big prize in this political cycle), DC will still be a junkyard of unpassed bills, cynicism, and long-abandoned ambitions of making the country a nicer place to live. Still, elections are happening, goddamnit, and we're going to fucking cover them whether you like it or not.

So we sent VICE's intrepid contributors out on the campaign trail to find out just how little voters know about the election, and harass them about their dereliction of civic duty. We'll have their dispatches here, along with live updates with everything else you need to know about the 2014 midterms. Because despite your indifference, tonight's election is really interesting. We promise.

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