The 2012 election did come down to the state of Ohio, but it all happened much earlier than some had predicted.
President Obama won reelection over Republican challenger Mitt Romney, winning the battleground states of Ohio, Virginia, New Hampshire, Colorado, Iowa and Nevada. But once the major networks called Ohio for the president, the official reelection call was soon to follow.
While the battleground state of Florida is yet to be called, Obama has amassed 303 electoral votes to Romney’s 203. The popular vote is much closer with Obama leading Romney by less than 300,000 votes.
After a largely negative campaign, Obama’s victory speech was a return to the soaring rhetoric that evoked the Obama of 2008.
“We are an American family, and we rise or fall together as one nation and as one people,” Obama said, addressing a throng of cheering supporters at an election night rally in Chicago. The president thanked all who participated in the election and congratulated his opponent on a spirited campaign.
“We may have battled fiercely, but it’s only because we care about this country deeply,” the president said.
As a show of good faith, he expressed a desire to sit down with Romney to discuss how they could work together to move the country forward. And he vowed to return to the White House “more determined and more inspired than ever.”
“Our economy is recovering. A decade of war is now ending,” said Obama. “A long campaign is now over.”
Before Obama took the stage early Wednesday morning, Romney gave a short concession speech in front of supporters in Boston just before 1 am saying while he had hoped to have the privilege of leading the country, “the nation chose another leader.”
“This is a time of great challenge for America, and I pray that the president will be successful in guiding our nation,” Romney said.
His concession speech was one-half humility, one-half regret; exhaust and defeat were visible. After thanking his running mate, wife and family, Romney encouraged the American people to look to religious leaders and job creators to move the country forward. He also urged Democratic and Republican representatives to “put the people before the politics.”
Before the president spoke in Chicago, his campaign sent a final email to supporters.
“I want you to know that this wasn’t fate, and it wasn’t an accident. You made this happen,” Obama said in the message to supporters. “You organized yourselves block by block. You took ownership of this campaign five and ten dollars at a time. And when it wasn’t easy, you pressed forward.”
As the night wore on Tuesday, Romney’s eleventh-hour focus on Pennsylvania came into question as the president won the state handily. While polls had Obama’s lead in the state slipping just a week before Election Day, the president winning the state by more than five points was the first sign of greater trouble for Romney.
New Hampshire also went handily for Obama and was called early. Obama led in Ohio, Colorado and even Florida, by a fractional margin, throughout the evening with urban counties—breadbaskets of Democratic votes—slow to report. Even Romney’s early lead in Virginia seemed tenuous at best with northern Virginia’s returns outstanding, and Obama slowly overtook him—50 to 48.6 percent.
This story has been updated.