11:15 p.m. | President Barack Obama has defeated Mitt Romney and won re-election, capping the most expensive and divisive national campaign in memory, according to network news and Associated Press projections.
The president’s victory — built on key swing states including Ohio, Wisconsin and New Hampshire — will give him a second term in a deeply divided nation, and he will be facing a similar lineup in Congress, which has thwarted the bulk of his agenda for the past two years.
Obama’s victory was sealed by the critical state of Ohio — the focus of both candidates for months — where Romney, his running mate Rep. Paul Ryan (Wis.) and Vice President Joseph Biden all made appearances on Election Day.
Updated 10:57 p.m. | At Republican and Democratic election night events in Washington, D.C., Democrats seemed to be having the better time.
With President Barack Obama racking up wins in battleground states and Mitt Romney yet to put one away, the Republican National Committee party at the Ronald Reagan Building seemed to be thinning out after 10 p.m. At one point, a smattering of applause rang through the hall when Fox News announced Romney won Utah.
Attendees seemed to be clinging to any good news after announcements that Democrats won Senate seats in Massachusetts and Indiana. But they soldiered on, holding out hope despite the fact that it’s a cash bar.
At the packed bar outside the main ballroom at the Liaison Hotel, eager Democrats crowded around televisions and burst into large cheers as CNN called Pennsylvania for the president and the Massachusetts Senate race for Elizabeth Warren within moments of each other. Staffers and donors milled anxiously about the main party space, waiting for enough Senate races to be called to be able declare themselves the majority-holders yet again.
Humberto Sanchez and Meredith Shiner contributed to this report.
Updated 10:18 p.m. | President Barack Obama grabbed early leads in key battleground states shortly after 10 p.m., with multiple networks giving him Wisconsin and the Associated Press calling New Hampshire and Pennsylvania for the Democrat.
Obama also was leading narrowly in early returns in Ohio, Florida and Colorado with Mitt Romney holding a narrow lead in Virginia.
9:07 p.m. | None of the presidential battleground states has been called as of 9 p.m., with close races in Florida, Virginia and Ohio — all seen as must-wins for Republican nominee Mitt Romney.
Media exit polls contained better news for President Barack Obama than for Romney. CNN reported Obama having slim leads in exit polls in those states, and a 52 percent to 47 percent advantage in Pennsylvania, where the Romney campaign made a late push.
The auto bailout also appeared to be helping Obama — the bailout was supported 59 percent to 36 percent by Ohio voters, and Obama received three-quarters of those votes, according to exit polls.
Other battleground states still too close to call include North Carolina, a state that had appeared to be leaning in Romney’s direction in recent months and is critical to his chances. Obama has not visited the state since the Democratic National Convention.
The candidates were otherwise racking up victories in blue and red states on the East Coast with no surprises yet.