Gainesville Daily Register
Canvassing of Tuesday’s election day votes is set for Monday, Nov. 19, county officials said Wednesday.
Pam Baldwin of the Cooke County clerk’s office said this canvass may include some ballots still pending.
“There are still 70 provisional ballots to go through,” she said Wednesday. “Tax Assessor-Collector Billie Jean Knight will see if they’re registered voters and we’ll decide which ones will be counted and added to the official canvassing.”
According to the unofficial results that Baldwin released early Wednesday, Cooke County voters cast 14,362 ballots — 8,025 of them on election day and 6,337 votes during early voting. This broke down to 7,439 Republican Party votes; 1,225 Democratic Party votes; 63 Libertarian Party votes; and 16 Green Party votes. The voter turnout, according to Baldwin’s unofficial summary report, was 61.36 percent of the county’s 23,408 registered voters who currently reside among 30 precincts.
Incumbent President Barack Obama won re-election after receiving a majority of the electoral and popular votes.
Locally, however, this victory was not reflected; Obama and incumbent Vice-President Joseph Biden received only 2,240 Cooke County votes while chief presidential opponent Mitt Romney received 11,901 of them alongside vice-president hopeful Paul Ryan. Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson received 123 local votes, and Green candidate Jill Stein received 27.
All local candidates were Cooke County Republicans who ran uncontested. District 68 State Rep. Drew Springer received 12,045 local votes; 235th District Judge Janelle Haverkamp received 11,899 local votes; County Attorney Ed Zielinski received 11,883 local votes; Sheriff Terry Gilbert received 12,075 local votes; County Tax Assessor-Collector Billie Jean Knight received 12,248 local votes; County Treasurer Patty Brennan received 11,836 local votes; Precinct 1 County Commissioner Gary Hollowell received 2,797 local votes; Precinct 3 County Commissioner Al Smith received 2,567 local votes; Precinct 1 Constable Chris Watson received 7,916 local votes; and Precinct 4 Constable Russ Harper received 4,035 local votes.
President Barack Obama claimed a second term from an incredibly divided electorate on Tuesday and immediately braced for daunting challenges and progress that comes only in fits and starts.
"We have fought our way back and we know in our hearts that for the United States of America, the best is yet to come," Obama said during his victory speech late Tuesday.
The same voters who gave Obama another four years also elected a divided Congress, re-upping the dynamic that has made it so hard for the president to advance his agenda. Democrats retained control of the Senate; Republicans renewed their majority in the House.
Obama claimed a commanding electoral mandate — at least 303 electoral votes to 206 for Romney — and had a near-sweep of the nine most hotly contested battleground states.
But the close breakdown in the popular vote showed Americans' differences over how best to meet the nation's challenges.
With more than 90 percent of precincts reporting, the popular vote went 50 percent for Obama to 48.4 percent for Romney, the businessman-turned-politician who had argued that Obama had failed to turn around the economy and said it was time for a new approach keyed to lower taxes and a less intrusive government.
Obama's re-election assured certainty on some fronts: His signature health-care overhaul will endure, as will the Wall Street reforms enacted after the economic meltdown. The drawdown of troops in Afghanistan will continue apace. And with an aging Supreme Court, the president is likely to have at least one more nomination to the high court.
The challenges immediately ahead for the 44th president are all too familiar: an economy still baby-stepping its way toward full health, 23 million Americans still out of work or in search of better jobs, civil war in Syria, an ominous standoff over Iran's nuclear program, and more.
Sharp differences with Republicans in Congress on taxes, spending, deficit reduction, immigration and more await.
And even before Obama gets to his second inaugural on Jan. 20, he must grapple with the threatened "fiscal cliff" — a combination of automatic tax increases and steep across-the-board spending cuts that are set to take effect in January if Washington doesn't quickly come up with a workaround budget deal. Economists have warned the economy could tip back into recession absent a deal.
Despite long lines at polls in many places, turnout overall looked to be down from four years ago as the president pieced together a winning coalition of women, young people, minorities and lower-income voters that reflected the country's changing demographics.
Obama's superior ground organization in the battleground states was key to his success.
The president's victory speech — he'd written a concession, too, just in case — reflected the realities of the rough road ahead.
The president said he hoped to meet with Romney and discuss how they can work together.
They may have battled, he said, "but it's only because we love this country deeply."
Obama's re-election was a remarkable achievement given that Americans are anything but enthusiastic about the state they're in: Only about 4 in 10 voters thought the economy is getting better, just one quarter thought they're better off financially than four years ago and a little more than half think the country is on the wrong track, exit polls showed.
But even now, four years after George W. Bush left office, voters were more likely to blame Bush than Obama for the fix they're in.
It wasn't just the president and Congress who were on the ballot. Voters around the country considered ballot measures on a number of divisive social issues, with Maine and Maryland becoming the first states to approve same-sex marriage by popular vote while Washington state and Colorado legalized recreational use of marijuana.
From the beginning, Obama had an easier path than Romney to the 270 electoral votes needed for victory.
The most expensive campaign in history was narrowly targeted at people in nine battleground states that held the key to victory, and the two sides drenched voters there with more than a million ads, the overwhelming share of them negative.
Obama claimed at least seven of the battleground states, most notably Ohio, the Ground Zero of campaign 2012. He also got Iowa, New Hampshire, Colorado, Nevada, Virginia and Wisconsin, and he was ahead in Florida. Romney got North Carolina.
Overall, Obama won 25 states and the District of Columbia and was leading in too-close-to-call Florida. Romney won 24 states.
It was a more measured victory than four years ago, when Obama claimed 365 electoral votes to McCain's 173, winning with 53 percent of the popular vote.
Obama was judged by 53 percent of voters to be more in touch with people like them.
More good news for him: Six in 10 voters said that taxes should be increased. And nearly half of voters said taxes should be increased on income over $250,000, as Obama has called for.
Obama's list of promises to keep includes many holdovers he was unable to deliver on in his first term: rolling back tax cuts for upper-income people, immigration reform, reducing federal deficits, and more.
— The Associated Press contributed to this report.