President Barack Obama won re-election last night in a tight race against Republican challenger Mitt Romney, earning a second term in the White House. The president won the popular vote by more than 1 million ballots, and won nearly 60 percent of the electoral vote.
Millions of Americans were on the edge of their seat on Election Night, waiting in suspense as states, one by one, released election results. The hours slowly rolled by.
8 p.m: Despite Obama’s strong lead in statewide polls leading up to Election Day, early results favored Romney. Nearly an hour after polls closed in some states, Romney was announced the winner of four states: Kentucky, Indiana, Oklahoma and South Carolina. Obama had only won one state—Vermont—by that time. For Obama supporters, the early numbers were unsettling: the president’s three electorial votes paled in comparison to Romney’s 28.
8:30 p.m: Things begin to look up for Obama and his running mate, Vice President Joe Biden. Reports confirm six additional wins for the Democrat candidates: Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Illinois, Delaware and Washington, D.C. Minutes later, more victories are announced for the blue team. Obama wins the majority of northern, eastern and western states; Romney is favored in the South. It seems to be a toss-up between the two candidates in the Midwest until reports confirm Obama has gained several crucial wins—Wisconsin, Iowa and Ohio, among other swing states—later in the evening.
10 p.m.: Several media outlets are calling the election in Obama’s favor. Celebrations begin worldwide.
12 a.m.: The president has officially gained more than 270 electoral votes—the number of votes required to win the U.S. presidency. A few hours later, his electoral vote count at more than 300. Around this time, Romney concedes to the defeat alongside his vice-presidential running mate, U.S. Representative Paul Ryan. Not long after, Romney delivers a speech in Boston.
“I so wish that I had been able to fulfill your hopes … but the nation chose another leader,” Romney said, adding, “I wish all of them well, but particularly the president, the first lady and their daughters. This is a time of great challenges for America, and I pray that the president will be successful in guiding our nation.”
2 a.m. (November 7, 2012): Obama delivers a heartfelt victory speech in Chicago, expressing his gratitude to voters, campaign supporters, friends and family members. His victory celebration is attended by thousands of supporters, including his wife, Michelle Obama, daughters Sasha and Malia, and Vice President Biden and his wife, Jill Biden.
“Tonight in this election, you, the American people, reminded us that while our road has been hard, while our journey has been long, we have picked ourselves up, we have fought our way back,” Obama said. “We know in our hearts that for the United States of America, the best is yet to come.”