Any comments on today's election results are welcome in this thread. Polls closed at 9 pm in Iowa, but returns from the special election in Senate district 18 are coming in slowly. I will update this thread later as the outcome becomes clear. With six out of 40 precincts reporting, Democrat Liz Mathis leads Republican Cindy Golding by 5859 votes to 2474. UPDATE: Looks like a big win for Mathis. With 75 percent of precincts reporting, Mathis leads by 10,651 votes (58 percent) to 7,613 votes (41 percent).
SECOND UPDATE: The Linn County Auditor's office posted unofficial results here (pdf). With all 40 precincts reporting, Mathis received 13,184 votes (55.8 percent), Golding received 10,283 votes (43.5 percent), and Constitution Party candidate Jon Tack received 151 votes (0.64 percent).
Democrats have retained control of the Iowa Senate with a 26-24 majority for the 2012 legislative session. It may even be a "stronger" majority if Mathis turns out to be less conservative than her predecessor, Swati Dandekar. Iowa Senate Republicans won't be in a good mood when they elect a new minority leader on Thursday.
Nationally, Democrats have had good election results in Ohio (repealing a law that restricted collective bargaining rights) and Kentucky (holding the governor's chair). It's not yet clear whether Democrats will retain a Virginia Senate majority. I was surprised to see that Mississippi voters defeated a "personhood" ballot initiative stating that life begins at conception.
What races are you watching tonight? The incumbents on the Des Moines City Council easily won re-election. My two preferred candidates lost the Windsor Heights City Council election. Other Polk County results are here.
THIRD UPDATE: Democrats and allies are celebrating the Mathis victory with statements I've posted after the jump. The Iowa Democratic Party had lots of outside help with early GOTV from labor unions such as the Iowa State Education Association, the LGBT advocacy group One Iowa, the Planned Parenthood Voters of Iowa PAC, and the national 527 group Progressive Kick.
FOURTH UPDATE: An amazing result from Arizona tonight: voters recalled State Senate President Russell Pearce, author of the notorious "show me your papers" immigration law (which is being litigated in federal court). Apparently no state senator has ever been recalled in Arizona before. Pearce had been a leading opponent of the state's "clean elections" public financing system.
FINAL UPDATE: The official canvass showed 13,324 votes for Mathis (56.0 percent), 10,322 votes for Golding (43.4 percent), 151 votes for Tack, and nine write-in votes.