Obama wins a second termBy Afrique I. Kilimanjaro
Published: November 11, 2012
The 2012 Presidential Election was a close contest with President Barack Obama winning the pivotal state of Ohio giving the incumbent 303 electoral votes to defeat Republican challenger, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, who finished with 203 electoral votes. Voters in Colorado, Virginia, and in the Midwestern states of Ohio, Michigan and Wisconsin also played a critical role and delivered the lion’s share of electoral votes to the Democratic side. African American and Latino voter turnout set new records in many states. President Obama also narrowly captured the popular vote with an unofficial total of 59,634,109 (50 percent) to 57,005,600 (48 percent) for former Gov. Romney. These totals do not include the state of Florida which is still tallying ballots but now deemed not in play for the total electoral vote count.
This election saw North Carolina and Indiana narrowly revert to red states. North Carolina’s contests for State House and Senate as well as the races for the U.S. House of Representatives saw many wins on the Republican side aided by new redistricting maps which now favor Republican candidates. This time, North Carolina’s Congressional delegation will clearly be majority Republican with Democrats G.K Butterfield, David Price and Mel Watt returning to Congress. Nationally, the Republicans will retain control of the U.S. House of Representatives with 231 representatives to 191 for the Democrats. The U.S. Senate will be retained by the Democrats 51 to 45 with three Independents. Some key Senatorial contests were former Democratic Governor Tim Kaine (D) defeating former Republican Governor George Allen in Virginia’s U.S. Senate race. Massachusetts candidate Elizabeth Warren (D) defeated U.S. Senate incumbent Senator Scott Brown (R) and in Missouri, Claire McCaskill defeated incumbent U.S. Senator Todd Akin 52 to 42 percent.
North Carolina also handily elected former Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory, a Republican to serve as the next governor of the state. McCrory, who grew up in nearby Jamestown, N.C. handily defeated outgoing Lieutenant Governor and public education stalwart, Walter Dalton. Democratic Lieutenant Gubernatorial candidate Linda Coleman narrowly lost her bid to become the state’s first female and African American Lieutenant Governor to Raleigh architect and conservative, Dan Forest.
Efforts to suppress the vote in Florida were reported throughout the early voting process with voters in majority African American and Latino precincts having to wait up to 7-8 hours to cast a ballot. By 10:45 Eastern Time election night, many Floridians were still waiting to cast a ballot in precincts with majority African American and Latino populations such as Broward and Miami Dade Counties.
Voter intimidation incidents were reported in North Carolina prompting National NAACP President Ben Jealous and N.C. NAACP President Rev. Dr. William J. Barber to publicly address such efforts to sway the election. The state NAACP actively led a voter registration campaign to register one million new voters across the state.
In the 2008 Presidential Election, Barack Obama won North Carolina by 14,000 votes. This time the president lost the state by more than 96,000 votes.
It would be the states of Ohio and Colorado that would decisively hand President Obama and Vice President Biden a victory. The tally in Ohio appeared so narrow that the Romney campaign delayed conceding the election. Gov. Romney thanked his supporters, his vice presidential running mate Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan and congratulated the president on having a well-run campaign. He said, “This is a time of great challenges for America and I pray the President will be successful in guiding our nation.” He added, “The nation, as you know, is at a critical point. At a time like this we can’t risk partisan bickering and political posturing. Our leaders have to reach across the aisle to do the people’s work. And we citizens also have to rise to the occasion.”
In his victory speech from Chicago in front of an elated crowd of supporters, President Obama congratulated Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan on a hard-fought campaign. The president said, “The Romney family has chosen to give back to this country in public service and that is the legacy that we honor and applaud tonight.” He added that he looks “forward to sitting down with Governor Romney to talk about where we can work together to move this country forward.”
The president also thanked his running mate, whom he referred to as “the happy warrior,” Joe Biden, Biden’s wife Jill, first lady Michelle Obama and he thanked the best campaign team and volunteers in the history of politics.
President Obama thanked every American who participated in this election whether they voted for the first time or waited in line for hours. Obama added, “By the way, we have to fix that.” He explained, “Democracy in a nation of 300 million can be noisy and messy and complicated. We have our own opinions. Each of us has deeply held beliefs. And when we go through tough times, when we make big decisions as a country, it necessarily stirs passions, stirs up controversy… These arguments we have are a mark of our liberty.”
He continued, “Tonight you voted for action, not politics as usual. You elected us to focus on your jobs, not ours. And in the coming weeks and months, I am looking forward to reaching out and working with leaders of both parties to meet the challenges we can only solve together. Reducing our deficit. Reforming our tax code. Fixing our immigration system. Freeing ourselves from foreign oil. We’ve got more work to do.”