Your election night cheat sheet

BY , and   November 4, 2014 at 9:50 AM EDT

Watch PBS NewsHour’s election coverage all night in our live stream, beginning at 6 p.m. EST and continuing until 1 a.m. Nov. 5.

A voter displays an "I Voted" sticker after casting a ballot in St. Petersburg, Florida, on Nov. 4, 2014. Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

A voter displays an “I Voted” sticker after casting a ballot in St. Petersburg, Florida, on Nov. 4, 2014. Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Today in the Morning Line:

– Tune into PBS NewsHour tonight for more than seven hours of live election coverage.
– Download our 2014 PBS Election Briefing Book
– Final ad spending hits $430 million in 10 key Senate races; Republicans outspent Democrats in nine of them.
– Your hour-by-hour catch up on the election

It’s Election Day — finally: Below is an hour-by-hour Election Night Cheat Sheet. And you can download our 2014 PBS Election Briefing Book.

The Morning LineTune into our live ongoing coverage from 6 p.m. EST until after 1 a.m. EST on air and online. NewsHour’s Election Night coverage will be anchored by Gwen Ifill and Judy Woodruff. Coverage will include interviews with local reporters around the country by Hari Sreenivasan, analysis from syndicated columnist Mark Shields, columnist and former George W. Bush speechwriter Michael Gerson, Stu Rothenberg of the Rothenberg Political Report and Amy Walter of the Cook Political Report, as well as NewsHour political editor and reporter Lisa Desjardins and one of your authors.

We will be live online all night and on air during the 6 p.m., 7 p.m., and 9 p.m. hours as well as special coverage from 11 p.m. until 11:30 p.m. Then tune into our after-hours coverage online.

Political ad spending

Ad spending reaches $430 million in 10 key races: In one update to the book, which is as of mid-October, here is the latest total ad spending between candidates and the outside groups supporting them. A total of $430 million was spent in the 10 most competitive Senate races, per Republican ad-tracking firm SMG Delta. North Carolina saw the most money — $80 million, followed by Colorado ($63 million), Iowa ($58 million), Louisiana ($45 million) and Arkansas ($40 million).

Here’s what’s fascinating – Republicans outspent Democrats in nine of the 10. The one place Democrats had a very slight advantage. North Carolina, where Hagan has had a small lead. One note here, though, while this is a lot of money, the top state here, North Carolina is at least $20 million short of what’s been spent for the governors’ races in Florida and Illinois. Here’s the list, in order of most money spent. Due to rounding, some totals might not add up.

North Carolina: $80.5 million total ($40.6 million pro-D, $39.9 million pro-R)
Colorado: $63 million total ($35.7 million pro-R, $27.4 million pro-D)
Iowa: $58.2 million total ($30 million pro-R, $28.1 million pro-D)
Kentucky: $42 million ($25.3 million pro-R, $16.7 million pro-D)
Arkansas: $40.1 million total ($22.9 million pro-R, 17.2 million pro-D)
Alaska: $28.8 million total ($15.7 million pro-R, $13.1 million pro-D)
Georgia: $27.8 million total ($14.3 million pro-R, $13.5 million pro-D)
New Hampshire: $26.5 million total ($14 million pro-R, $12.6 million pro-D)
Louisiana: $21.4 million total ($23.5 million pro-R, $21.4 million pro-D)
Kansas: $14.5 million total ($9.1 million pro-R, $8.3 million pro-I)
GRAND TOTAL: $429 million ($221.4 million pro-R*, $190.6 million pro-D*)
(*excludes Kansas because there is no Democrat running.)

Here’s what to watch, hour-by-hour:

7 p.m. – Let’s get it started
GEORGIA SENATE: Open Senate race to replace retiring Republican Sen. Saxby Chambliss. If no one gets 50 percent on Election Night, this race goes to a Jan. 6 runoff, three days after the new Congress would be sworn in.
Republican – David Perdue, former CEO of Dollar General and Reebok. This is a tight race, but Perdue has a very slight edge in the polls and has led or been tied in every poll in the last two weeks. A factor in this race has been the high 7.9 percent unemployment in the state, the highest in the country. Perdue has struggled talking about his jobs message.
Democrat – Michelle Nunn, daughter of former Sen. Sam Nunn and non-profit CEO
Libertarian – Amanda Swafford, a paralegal, who isn’t even campaigning but getting 5-8 percent in the polls. She’s important to watch because she could keep the race below 50 percent.

KENTUCKY SENATE: Incumbent Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell would be majority leader if the GOP wins control of the Senate. He’s favored to win reelection. Stu Rothenberg moved this race over the weekend from Lean Republican to Republican Favored.
Challenger: Alison Lundergan Grimes, Kentucky secretary of state. She comes from a well-known Democratic political family. Her father Jerry Lundergan is friends with Bill and Hillary Clinton.

7:30 p.m. – Carolina in my mind

NORTH CAROLINA SENATE: Incumbent Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan is in her first race for reelection. She was first elected in 2008, the year Barack Obama won North Carolina. She’s faring better than all of the Democrats who are running in states Mitt Romney won in 2012, but she’s still in a very tight race.
Challenger: Thom Tillis, R, speaker of the North Carolina state House. The legislature has found itself in controversy over a series of issues, from education to abortion to voting rights. Liberal protests, called Moral Mondays, started here after Republicans took over the state House, Senate and governor’s seat for the first time since Reconstruction in 2012.

WEST VIRGINIA SENATE: Open Senate race to replace retiring Sen. Jay Rockefeller.
Republican – Rep. Shelley Moore Capito is the overwhelming favorite.
Democrat – Natalie Tennant West Virginia Secretary of State. She’s run a solid race, but this is a tough environment and a tough state for Democrats with President Obama’s approval rating here among the worst in the country.

8 p.m. – The governor hour; What can Brown do for you?

CONNECTICUT GOVERNOR: Incumbent Dannel (Dan) Malloy, D. He was first elected in 2010 and is in jeopardy, in part, because of the state’s struggling economy and because he raised taxes to close a budget shortfall.
Challenger: Tom Foley, former U.S. ambassador to Ireland. This is a rematch from 2010 when Foley lost by just 6,400 votes out of the 1.1 million ballots cast.

FLORIDA GOVERNOR: Incumbent Republican Gov. Rick Scott, a wealthy former health care company executive, was swept into office during the 2010 elections with the help of the tea party. This race is tight, but former Gov. Charlie Crist has led in all but one poll since late September. It’s also the most expensive race in the country, with more than $104 million spent on TV ads alone. In the final eight days, Republicans are doubling what Democrats are spending on ads, spending $13 million. Put another way, that is $1,200 for every minute of every day. Scott himself has poured in a whopping $13 million of his own money.
Challenger: Former Republican Gov. Charlie Crist, now running as a Democrat. He switched to independent when he ran for the Senate in 2010 against Marco Rubio, R.

ILLINOIS GOVERNOR: Incumbent Gov. Pat Quinn, D. Quinn is the most vulnerable Democratic governor in the country, but he’s led in the last two polls. This could be one of the tightest races of the night.
Challenger: Bruce Rauner, R, a wealthy venture capitalist with a net worth of nearly $1 billion. This race has shattered Illinois records for money spent, as the candidates are on pace to spend more than $100 million. Rauner, himself, accounts for more than a quarter of that, pouring in $26 million of his own money into the race, more than any self-funder in Illinois history.

MARYLAND GOVERNOR: Open race to replace term-limited Gov. Martin O’Malley. The Cook Political Report put this race into the Toss Up category Friday.
Democrat – Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown. If Brown, D, wins, he would then be the only black governor in the country and just the third ever elected governor in U.S. history.
Republican – Larry Hogan, a land broker and developer. He’s the son of former Congressman Lawrence Hogan Sr.

MASSACHUSETTS GOVERNOR: Open race to replace term-limited Gov. Deval Patrick, D, who is currently the only black governor in the country.
Democrat – Martha Coakley, state Attorney General. Coakley infamously lost her 2010 Senate race against Republican Scott Brown after the death of Sen. Ted Kennedy. If Coakley were to win, she’d be the first woman elected governor ever in Massachusetts. But she is in a tight race, and Democrats are worried they could see a repeat of her loss in 2010.
Republican – Charles (Charlie) Baker former CEO of Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, former state Secretary of Administration and Finance in the 1990s. He ran in 2010 for governor and lost to Patrick, 48-42 percent. He also seriously considered a run in 2006, but did not go through with it.

NEW HAMPSHIRE SENATE: Incumbent Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen is also in her first race for reelection, having first been elected in 2008. She’s the slight favorite.
Challenger: Former Republican Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown. Brown won a special election in 2010 after the death of former Sen. Ted Kennedy. But he lost to Democrat Elizabeth Warren in his bid for election to the seat in 2012.

PENNSYLVANIA GOVERNOR: Incumbent Tom Corbett, R, is the most vulnerable Republican in the country. He was swept in with the 2010 tea party wave and has been seen as governing ideologically. That’s tough to do in a state that hasn’t voted for a Republican at the presidential level since 1988. It has had plenty of Republican governors, but they have been largely seen as moderates.
Challenger: Tom Wolf, D, former Revenue Secretary under former Democratic Gov. Ed Rendell. Wolf owns a kitchen-cabinet-making company. He’s led by double digits in the polls on average since March.

8:30 p.m. – Can Pryor Survive?

ARKANSAS SENATE: Incumbent Sen. Mark Pryor, D, first elected in 2002, son of former Sen. and Gov. David Pryor.
Challenger: Freshman Rep. Tom Cotton, R. The Harvard Law School-trained Cotton was elected to the U.S. House in 2012. He’s also a combat veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan.

9 p.m. – Fast and Furious

COLORADO SENATE: Incumbent Sen. Mark Udall, D, is in his first race for reelection, elected in 2008.
Challenger: Rep. Cory Gardner, R, who was first elected to the U.S. House in the Republican wave year of 2010. Gardner very well may win, but President Obama has won the state twice.

COLORADO GOVERNOR: Incumbent John Hickenlooper, D, is in a tight race for reelection in this presidential swing state. He hopes the state’s improved financial situation — going from 9.1 percent unemployment back in 2010 to just 4.7 percent now — can put him over the top. But he has suffered a series of missteps and the race has continued to be close.
Challenger: Former Rep. Bob Beauprez, R. The more mainstream Republican won out barely in the primary over immigration hardliner Tom Tancredo, a former congressman.

KANSAS SENATE: Incumbent Sen. Pat Roberts, R, was first elected to the Senate in 1996, but he has served in Congress for the past 34 years. He barely squeaked by an underfunded tea party opponent in the primary and now faces a stiff challenge.
Challenger: Independent Greg Orman, venture capitalist. Orman surged to become front runner in the polls back in September when the Democrat in the race dropped out. Since then, Republicans have rallied, trying to save Roberts. This is a tight race.

LOUISIANA SENATE: Incumbent Sen. Mary Landrieu, D. Chairwoman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. This race is likely headed to a Dec. 6 runoff because no candidate is expected to clear the 50 percent threshold. Landrieu was first elected in 1996 and has won close reelection races in each of her two races for reelection. But she’s highly vulnerable in this election, in this state Mitt Romney won by 17 points in 2012. Landrieu comes from a famous political family in the state. Her brother, Mitch, is the current mayor of New Orleans and her father, Moon, is a former New Orleans mayor.
Republican – Rep. Bill Cassidy was elected to the U.S. House in 2008. He leads Landrieu in head-to-head match ups for the Dec. 6 runoff.
Republican – Rob Maness retired Air Force colonel.

MICHIGAN GOVERNOR: Incumbent Gov. Rick Snyder won as “One Tough Nerd” in 2010, but he only leads narrowly in the polls for reelection. Michigan’s unemployment rate has come down significantly, from more than 14 percent in 2009 to 7.2 percent now. But it remains above the national average. Snyder has also faced plenty of backlash from Democrats over his legislative decisions, including signing so-called “right-to-work” legislation that makes union dues voluntary in this state where unions have had a long history.
Challenger: Former Rep. Mark Schauer, D. Schauer served one term as congressman from 2009 to 2011 before losing to Tim Walberg (R) in the GOP wave year of 2010.

SOUTH DAKOTA SENATE: Open Senate race to replace Sen. Tim Johnson, D, who is retiring.
Republican – Former Gov. Mike Rounds is the favorite. He served as South Dakota’s governor until 2010 when he went into private business in an insurance and real-estate agency.
Democrat – Rick Weiland, restaurateur and former aide to ex-Sen. Tom Daschle
Independent – Former Sen. Larry Pressler. Pressler served in the U.S. Senate from 1978-1996 and lives in Washington, DC. He was also the first Vietnam veteran elected to Congress. Despite having been a Republican, he voted for President Obama in both 2008 and 2012.

WISCONSIN GOVERNOR: Incumbent Gov. Scott Walker, R. This is Walker’s third election in four years. He was first elected in 2010 and then won an effort to recall him, 53-47 percent, after protests over his budget and stripping most public workers of their collective-bargaining rights. Walker, who is a possible contender for the White House in 2016 and is used to tight races, has been up single digits in most polls.
Challenger: Madison school board member Mary Burke, D, former state secretary of commerce.

10 p.m. – Decision time

IOWA SENATE: Open race to replace retiring Sen. Tom Harkin, D. Could this be the race that mathematically puts Republicans over the top on Election Night?
Republican – State Sen. Joni Ernst is leading in the polls in this race few believed would be on the radar for Republicans a year ago.
Democrat – Rep. Bruce Braley. He was elected to the U.S. House in 2006, but has struggled on the campaign trail, landing in hot water for dismissing Chuck Grassley, R, the other Iowa senator, as merely a “farmer” from Iowa.

MONTANA SENATE: Open race to replace Sen. John Walsh, who dropped out of the race after a plagiarism scandal. Walsh was appointed to this seat this year after Sen. Max Baucus was named U.S. Amb. to China.
Republican – Rep. Steve Daines is the favorite.
Democrat – State Rep. Amanda Curtis, a former high-school math teacher.

11 p.m. – Polls Will Have Just Closed in Six States: California, Hawaii, Idaho, North Dakota, Oregon and Washington state. None of the contests in those states are major races that would likely affect control of the Senate. (Oregon is a longshot for Republicans.) The three-way race for Hawaii governor could give Republicans an opening in the president’s home state, but the race is not significant enough to include in this pared down list. There are several ballot initiatives that would be of interest in California, North Dakota, Oregon and Washington. But this hour is when we could have a better idea of whether Republicans take control of the Senate.

1 a.m. – You can see Russia from Little Diomede Island

ALASKA SENATE: Incumbent Mark Begich, D, who is running in his first race for reelection, having been first elected in 2008. He’s the son of former Rep. Nick Begich, who is believed to have died in a plane crash with former House Majority Leader Harold Boggs of Louisiana. Neither man’s remains nor the plane were ever found. He’s in a tough reelection race in this state Mitt Romney won by 14 points.
Challenger: Dan Sullivan, a former state attorney general. He’s also a former Marine, who worked on the National Security Council staff under Condoleezza Rice during George W. Bush’s presidency.

Daily Presidential Trivia: On this day in 2008, President Barack Obama became the first African American elected to the presidency. Five other presidents were elected on this day, after Congress made Election Day the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November in 1845. Who were they? (Hint: three were Republicans and two were Democrats). Be the first to tweet us the correct answer using #PoliticsTrivia and you’ll get a Morning Line shout-out. Congratulations to roy wait ‏(@ind22rxw) for guessing Monday’s trivia: Who served as John Adams’ Vice President? The answer was: Thomas Jefferson.


– Kentucky’s Senate race pits the second most powerful Republican in Washington against a hard-charging 35-year-old Democratic challenger. Five-time incumbent Mitch McConnell stands to become the next majority leader, but he’s also unpopular in his home state. Meanwhile, Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes has had to keep her distance from another unpopular politician, President Obama. Judy Woodruff reports from the Bluegrass State.

– Sen. Kay Hagan closed her campaign with a radio ad featuring President Obama’s endorsement.

– Kansas Independent Greg Orman sent an email to Bob Dole Monday clarifying that he was not calling him — or any of Sen. Pat Roberts’ other GOP surrogates — clowns. On Friday Orman had said, “It sort of seems like a Washington establishment clown car to me. Every day a new person comes out of that car.”

Milton Wolf is back. Sen. Pat Roberts’ tea party primary challenger recorded a robocall for the Kansas incumbent, telling voters to vote Republican “to see Barack Obama cry.”

– “The 2014 midterm elections mark a new level of collaboration between candidates and independent groups, eroding the barrier that is supposed to separate those running for office from their big-money allies,” writes the Washington Post’s Matea Gold.

– Besides big ad spending, what else is candidates’ money going toward? Alison Lundergan Grimes spent $17,000 to fly in Hillary Clinton last month.

– The wealthiest Americans have spent more money than ever before on these midterms, but there are actually fewer big donors. The top five donors to unrestricted super PACs reads like a billionaire boys club.

– Sen. Jeff Sessions and 30 House members are running unopposed today, but that doesn’t mean they haven’t gotten in on the money game.

– Special prosecutors are arguing that Texas Gov. Rick Perry should not be allowed to see a grand jury transcript out of fear that he could retaliate against witnesses.

– On Monday the Supreme Court decided to not hear a challenge to the Senate’s filibuster. The group challenging the constitutionality of the Senate procedure claims the filibuster basically requires 60 votes to pass anything, and has thus led to gridlock in Congress.

– Michelle Obama has been looking more at ease on the trail for what she calls “Barack’s last campaign” than she did in previous cycles. Appearing at more than 40 events for Democrats this year, the first lady, who has an approval rating of 62 percent, has often been welcome where the president is not.

– Several members of Maine’s Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife have received death threats over their objection to a bear hunting referendum that would ban so-called bear baiting. Meanwhile, some polling places are changing in Maine because thousands of people remain without power after a weekend snowstorm.

Keep an eye on the Rundown blog for breaking news throughout the day, our homepage for show segments, and follow @NewsHour for the latest.





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Editor’s note: This story has been corrected. An earlier version incorrectly stated the number of Republican Senators Colorado has had.