Election Day 2012 in North Carolina

North Carolina is a red state once again in 2012. Photo by Ben Haines.

CULLOWHEE, N.C. – President Barack Obama achieved a decisive re-election victory over Republican challenger Mitt Romney on Tuesday, closing the book on a yearlong campaign season that was frequently heated, sometimes bitter, and always uncertain.

By Tuesday night, Obama held 303 Electoral College votes, well ahead of the 270 needed to win, compared to 206 for Romney. As of Wednesday night, Florida’s 29 electoral votes have still not been officially allotted.

Delivering his victory speech before a crowd of elated supporters in Chicago, Obama thanked his campaign volunteers for their efforts and highlighted key policy goals for his second term.

“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,” said the president. “We’ve got more work to do.”

Romney formally conceded the election at a gathering of supporters in Boston late in the evening. The former Massachusetts governor congratulated Obama and his campaign and called for bipartisan cooperation.

“I so wish that I had been able to fulfill your hopes to lead the country in a different direction,” Romney said to his audience of supporters, “but the nation chose another leader, and so Ann and I join with you to earnestly pray for him and for this great nation.”

Both Romney’s concession speech and Obama’s victory speech are viewable on YouTube, courtesy of ABC News.

While early results showed expected gains for each candidate in typically red or blue states, Obama’s victory was sealed in the majority of battleground states. The president secured Wisconsin, New Hampshire, Colorado, Iowa, Nevada, Virginia and, crucially, Ohio.

It wasn’t all bad news for Romney’s campaign. The GOP candidate won Indiana and North Carolina, two states that had gone blue in the 2008 election.

Romney carried North Carolina with 51 percent of the vote. In another departure from 2008, Romney led Jackson County with 8,224 votes compared to Obama’s 8,052.

Voters in the Tar Heel State also elected their first Republican governor since 1993, former Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory. He trumped sitting Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton by a 55 to 43 percent margin.

In North Carolina’s westernmost 11th Congressional District, which had its borders and corresponding demographics altered by the state legislature following the 2010 census, Republican Mark Meadows won the U.S. House of Representatives seat over Hayden Rogers, the former chief of staff to outgoing Rep. Heath Shuler. With the bulk of Asheville’s urban electorate now included in the 10th District, Meadows won with 57 percent of his redefined district’s vote.

Running contrary to the rest of the 11th District, Jackson County voters favored Rogers over Meadows, 8,980 to 7,485 votes.

In the 2010 race for the North Carolina Senate’s 50th District seat, Republican challenger Jim Davis defeated incumbent John Snow. Snow ran to regain his former seat this year but 57 percent of the district’s voters opted to re-elect Davis.

In the N.C. House 119th District contest, Democrat Joe Sam Queen narrowly won Jackson County and the district as a whole, besting Mike Clampitt.

North Carolina State Board of Elections – Unofficial Results

In addition to the presidential, congressional, and gubernatorial contests, voters across the nation decided on a number of high-profile ballot measures, the results of which could have social and political implications throughout the United States.

Same-sex marriage

Voters in Maine, Maryland, and Washington elected to allow same-sex marriage in their states. They join Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Vermont, and the District of Columbia on that front.

Additionally, a slim majority of Minnesota voters struck down a proposed amendment to their state’s constitution that would have banned same-sex marriage.

Tuesday’s ballot results are significant because they mark the first time same-sex marriage has been approved in any state by way of popular vote. The six states that previously legalized it did so through legislation or judicial ruling.

In the past, ballot initiatives to allow same-sex marriage have failed throughout the country, while 38 states have passed statutes or constitutional amendments that explicitly prohibit it. North Carolina voters passed such an amendment to the state’s constitution this past May.

Amendment One passes, Jackson County no longer dry

Proponents of gay rights had more to celebrate Tuesday than the same-sex marriage measures. Wisconsin voters elected longtime Rep. Tammy Baldwin to be their new senator, which will make her the first openly gay person to serve in the U.S. Senate.


In a monumental move that flies directly in the face of federal code, voters in Colorado and Washington made their states the first in the nation to legalize recreational cannabis use.

Fifty-five percent of voters in both states opted to allow the production, distribution, possession, and consumption of marijuana by adults 21 and older.

Fox 31: Colorado passes proposal to legalize marijuana

In Oregon, a similar measure was voted down by a 55 percent majority.

Voters in Arkansas and Massachusetts got to choose whether to allow medical marijuana in their states. While Massachusetts residents overwhelmingly favored it with nearly two-thirds of the vote, the measure in Arkansas was narrowly defeated.

In Montana, where medical marijuana has been legal since 2004, voters opted to uphold a 2011 law severely restricting its availability.


Even as the majority of Americans re-elected President Obama for a second term, voters in three red states made symbolic gestures against the signature legislative item of his first term, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, colloquially known as Obamacare.

Voters in Alabama and Wyoming passed amendments to their state constitutions prohibiting anyone from being compelled to participate in any health care system. Montana voters approved a similar statute.

Though none of these measures change the federal health care reform law or its provision mandating individuals to have health insurance beginning in 2014, they stand as a symbolic message from a substantial number of the act’s opponents.

In Florida, 51 percent of voters decided not to add a similar amendment to their state constitution.


Related stories:
Strong turnout in Cullowhee precinct
Meadows and Rogers face off at WCU
Election season in North Carolina