I'll post any info I come across about today's activities and news regarding the special election in the Virginia 1st Congressional District and the Ohio 5th Congressional District.
In case you've been under a rock or been away from the blogs for over a month, the candidates looking to replace to late Jo Ann Davis in VA-01 are: the Podium-endorsed Rob Wittman, Phil Forgit, and Lucky Narain. This district stretches from Prince William and Fauquier Counties in Northern Virginia, and stretches past Fredericksburg, Williamsburg, and ends at the mouth of the James River near Hampton City.
In OH-05, in the race to replace the late Paul Gillmor, Bob Latta (son of former Rep. Del Latta, who served 40 years in the House of Representatives) is running against Robin Weirauch. Weirauch lost to Gillmor by margins of 67%-33% in 2004 and 57%-43% in 2006. This district covers most of the northwestern corner of Ohio.
Both of these districts are considered "leans-conservative" districts, Virginia's district is more likely Republican than Ohio's district. Updates will come as I get them...
1:19 PM (VA-01) - Word from Virginia Virtucon is that turnout is low in Democratic-leaning precincts, but solid-to-surprising in the GOP-leaning precincts, so far. No Democratic Party poll workers or Phil Forgit signs have been spotted in Prince William County, but there are GOP poll workers and Wittman signs up all around PWC precincts.
1:34 PM (VA-01) - Comments section at Not Larry Sabato shows mixed turnout in the various precincts, but generally favors Wittman's chances and quite a few Dems have commented that Wittman should win easily because of the lack of national support for Forgit.
1:39 PM (OH-05) - The most recent polling had Latta up on Weirauch 50%-36%, but that was a few weeks ago and the sense is that the race has tightened fairly dramatically since. Both have name recognition, Weirauch from her previous runs and Latta is a State Representative from that area. The Ohio GOP seems confident in party unity behind Latta, and that they will retain the seat.
2:00 PM (VA-01) - Virginia Dem makes a plea for turnout later today, as turnout is low in Fredericksburg. On a positive note, at least Forgit signs and supporters are visible here.
2:13 PM (OH-05) - From Buckeye State Blog, turnout is predicted to be in the 20-25% range, but rainy spots in the district and generally cold weather may push turnout below 20%. As Ohio Goes reports that Fox News has acknowledged Weirauch as the frontrunner.
3:04 PM (OH-05) - Reading an article on this race at the Wall Street Journal. This is a race based on the economy more than anything. It should be noted that while Gillmor won this district by 14% in 2006, Sherrod Brown carried this district rather easily as well in his successful bid for the U.S. Senate.
3:27 PM (VA-01) - The Dems over at Raising Kaine are putting on their best face, but don't seem overly exciting about Forgit's chances. The tone of the original post is typical gung-ho Dem fare, but the comments are a bit less excited in nature as they had been in the days and weeks leading up to today's election.
4:25 PM (VA-01) - The Shad Plank notes two things about today's election so far. First, at 2 PM, turnout was at 14.5% in James City County, which isn't a high number but is higher than what many expected for today, especially with 5 hours left before the polls close. The other notable point is that turnout seems to be higher in the areas closer to the Chesapeake Bay. Other sites are reporting heavier turnout in GOP-leaning areas like Stafford.
6:35 PM (VA-01) More from the Shad Plank. A surprising amount of high school and college students are voting (at least in York County), and the low turnout should make the hand-counting of ballots a faster process. Also, in Williamsburg they are expecting turnout figures similar to last month's general election, and James City County is also expecting much higher-than-anticipated turnout. We've been seeing a mixed bag of turnout results, but it seems the Williamsburg and Stafford precincts are seeing higher turnout, as well as the precincts in counties closer to the bay.
6:47 PM (VA-01) Ben at Not Larry Sabato calls it for Wittman at 4:53 pm, over 2 hours before the polls close. A few Dems spit some venom, others were expecting this result anyway.
7:00 PM (OH-05) From Cleveland.com, they expect that between distracted Christmas-shoppers voting, more energized Dem grassroots, and a GOP candidate that faced a much more vicious primary challenge, that OH-05 may elect it's first Democrat in over 70 years. However, their 3 scenarios are as follows...Latta wins narrowly, Weirauch wins narrowly, or Latta wins handily. No "wins handily" scenario for the Democrat.