Happy election day Virginia! After a lengthy campaign, the most famous purple state in the country is casting their ballots today to decide if they are going a little more red or a little more blue. While the most recent polls from Real Clear Politics show Democrat Terry McAuliffe leading Republican Ken Cuccinelli 46 to 40, the race is still anyone’s game.

BREAKING: DEMOCRAT TERRY MCAULIFFE WINS THE #VAGOV RACE,

95 percent reporting, 47.1 percent for McAuliffe and 46.3 for Cuccinelli, with Sarvis taking 6.7 percent.

Update (9:30 p.m.) The Virginia State Board of Elections has the race at nearly a dead tie with 46.51 percent for Cuccinelli and 46.48 percent for McAuliffe. Still interesting to look at where these two candidate racked up the most votes. The two maps below, from the New York Times show the counties first shaded by lead and then with bubbles denoting the size of the lead.

Update (9:22 p.m.) Cuccinelli is now only leading McAuliffe by 9,000 votes, with 82 percent of precincts reporting. Certainly a close race. (CBS DC)

Also FOX News is the first station to call the race in favor of McAuliffe, citing the remaining votes that have yet to be counted are all from solidly Democratic counties.

Update (9:19 p.m) Twitter isn’t the only social media going crazy watch the results come in from Virginia. Here are some photos posted to Instagram in the last couple of hours that have also been tagged #VAGov.

Update (9:10 p.m.) CNN is reporting that the Cuccinelli campaign headquarters in Richmond “smell like death,” while McAuliffe’s results party in Tyson’s Corner is “fresh and festive.” Everyone is still wondering if these moods will hold or change in the next hour.

Update (9:02 p.m.) The gap is closing up with 77 percent of the precincts reporting, Cuccinelli has 47 percent and McAuliffe has 45. Sarvis has been holding steady all night with 7 percent in the vote. Democrats at McAuliffe’s results party in Tyson’s corner seem to think they have it in the bag.

Update (8:52 p.m.) Earlier today the Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza has identified some of the counties that matter most. Arlington, which McAuliffe needed to win by 74 percent, is currently 71 percent for the Democrat, with 91 percent reporting. Fairfax, which size wise counts for a huge chunk of the state’s votes is 57 percent McAuliffe with 45 percent reporting . Henrico, which is an effective bellwether determiner for the state, has all precincts reporting, with McAuliffe taking 51.5 percent.

Update (8:45 p.m.) President Obama won Virginia in 2012 by a four percent margin. Currently Cuccinelli is leading McAuliffe by 3 percent, 48 to 45 with 62 percent reporting. (The New York Times)

Update (8:38 p.m) The latest from Twitter shows McAuliffe is underperforming most expectations. Using President Obama’s 2012 win in Virginia as a base line, many pundits are saying that McAuliffe’s failure to meet these same targets in many counties may cost him the election.

For more on this, check out Dave Wasserman of the Cook County Political Report’s spreadsheet tracking the percentage of the vote McAuliffe needs to win.

Update (8:28 p.m.) CALLED: DEMOCRAT RALPH NORTHAM WINS LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR RACE, BEATING OUT REPUBLICAN E.W. JACKSON

Update (8:23 p.m.) The Virginia State Board of Elections currently has 1,155 precincts reporting out of 2,541, with Republican Ken Cuccinelli having 50 percent of those votes, Democrat Terry McAuliffe taking 43 percent, and Libertarian Robert Sarvis taking 7 percent. The New York Times is reporting Ken Cuccinelli leading the state with 50.3 percent of the vote.

Update (8:07 p.m.) Exit polls are showing the Cuccinelli is leading among Independents and whites, while McAuliffe has a double digit lead among women. Robert Sarvis has about 18 percent of the self described Independent vote, with the bulk of his supporters being under the age of 30. Please keep in mind that exit polling is unscientific, and not necessarily accurate in predicting election results. (The Washington Post)

Update (7:41 p.m) Terry McAuliffe’s election night party is underway at the Sheraton in Tyson’s Corner. Representative and DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz told reporters that “Virginia is on its way to being reliably blue,” and “that Virginians reject tea party extremism.” She also mentioned the failed GOP efforts to rebrand, saying, “Not only have they not done that, but their governors across the country and gubernatorial candidates have continued to double-down on policies that are harmful to women,” she said. “When Terry is elected tonight, it will be on the shoulders of Virginia women.”

Update (7:15 p.m) The first results are trickling in, with Chesterfield county being called as leaning toward Cuccinelli with 5 percent of precincts reporting. So far Cuccinelli has nearly 60 percent of the vote in those already counted, with Sarvis taking a surprising 10 percent. (The Huffington Post)

Meanwhile Loudoun County officials are saying as of this evening they had a third of the electorate turn out to vote.

Update (5:58 p.m.) Preliminary exit polls are out. Some big take aways:

  • Four out of ten voters were Democrats compared to 3 out of ten who were Republican or Independent.
  • Seven out of ten voters so far were white, two out of ten were black, and four percent were Hispanic.
  • College graduates outnumber non-graduates by two to one.
  • All voters were split 50/50 on their opinion towards Obamacare
  • Six out of ten voters said they believed abortion should be legal
  • A quarter of respondents said healthcare was the most important issue in Virginia
These are just preliminary statistics, with an hour still left in polling, and a busy hour at that.

Update (5:42 p.m.) ABC New political director Rick Klein has just tweeted out some interesting observations from the preliminary exit polls which reveal some of what we already suspected: Virginians have strong feelings about abortion, and many Virginians are federal employees.

Update (5:21 p.m) And here’s a look at Ken Cuccinelli’s party space being set up in Richmond.

Update (5:13 p.m.) The Northern Virginia Tea Party has sent out a last minute email to its supporters, including a message from Fairfax County GOP Chair Jay McConville, saying: “Mid-Day numbers are rolling in, and while early, we know one thing for sure. This looks like it will end up being a very close race which means that every little thing you do matters. Tell your neighbors and friends that we need them to get to the polls right away! All of us in Virginia are counting on you to do your part.” (Breitbart)

Update (5:09 p.m.) Folks are setting up McAuliffe’s election night party in Tyson’s corner, starting once the polls close at 7 p.m.

Update (4:56 p.m.) Looks like early in the day technical difficulties haven’t stopped the high voter turnout in Loudoun County. At noon in Purcellville, 600 of 2,945 registered voters had cast ballots by noon, with more expected as work lets out this evening. “At Emerick Elementary, polling officials said that about 800 people had voted by 2 p.m., or about 26 percent of the 3,009 registered voters.” (The Washington Post)

Update (3:53 p.m.) As we head into the final three hours of voting, polls in Virginia close at 7 p.m., the Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza has identified some of the counties that matter most. Arlington, which is solidly Democratic but requires McAuliffe to win by roughly 74 percent in order to win the state. Fairfax, which usually accounts for 14 percent of all of the state’s votes, meaning a big win there is a big win statewide. Henrico, which encompasses the area around Richmond and has been an effective bellwether determiner in the past few elections. Tazewell, which is strictly Republican, and will signify exactly how strong the GOP allure is following the government shutdown.

Update (3:03 p.m.) Communities in Virginia that have seen a growth in their minority population, such as Woodbridge and Prince George, have seen the most noticeable surge in voter turnout, says Luke Russert, speaking on MSNBC. McAuliffe has particularly targeted these neighborhoods for intense get out the vote efforts.

Update (2:55 p.m.) Virginian Senator Tim Kaine has tweeted out his support for Terry McAuliffe today, urging everyone to vote. Senator Mark Warner, who enjoys more bipartisan popularity within the state, hasn’t made any mention on his social media page about the election today.

Update (2:48 p.m.) The non-partisan research organization MapLight has recently launched Voter’s Edge, a platform designed to give citizens a glimpse at the forces at play behind the scene in the Virginia governor’s race.

The most interesting information mapped by this organization show campaign contribution data from the Virginia State Board of Elections. The below infographics display where the two major candidates get their funding as broken down by state, as well as a list of the top five biggest contributors.

Terry McAuliffe

Ken Cuccinelli

Update (2:30 p.m.) Current Governor Bob McDonnell showed up at the Richmond Main Library, Precinct 607, with his wife Maureen to cast their ballots for their replacement in the Governor’s Mansion.

“ I think we’ve got a good get-out-the-vote effort, and I think especially with the smaller turnout, and the energy and enthusiasm of the base Republicans and the Libertarians, it is going to be significant,” McDonnell said. “So I’m still hopeful, despite what some of the polls have said, that we will prevail today.” (The Washington Post)

Update  (2:25 p.m.) Terry McAuliffe sent out a mailer today to Virginians with the headline “An Important Message from Hillary Rodham Clinton.” The memo was signed Hillary Clinton and read,

This is your chance to make your voice heard – to make sure that every child in Virginia can go to a great school, parents can get good jobs with good benefits, families can afford to see doctors, women can control their own bodies, and all our kids have the opportunity to live up to their God-given potential.

Last year, Virginians helped elect President Barack Obama to a second term so that our economic recovery could keep moving forward and America would continue to lead in the world. Now you have the chance to keep Virginia moving forward by getting out and voting for Terry on November 5th. Bill and I were so excited when you and many other Virginia voters turned out to elect President Obama and Senator Tim Kaine. Since you are a regular voter, we know Terry can count on you to go vote this November, too.

Update (1:45 p.m.) Should Terry McAuliffe win today’s election, it will be the first time since 1973 that the governor of Virginia is from the same political party as the President of United States. Such a change in patterns would be a major win for the White House.

Meanwhile, the city of Alexandra has had a turnout of 28 percent by 1 p.m. today. “I’d be hard pressed to say we will have much more than 45 percent” said Alexandria’s registrar Tom Parkins “I don’t see anything extraordinary.”

Hampton, one of the more diverse counties in the state, also seems to have a strong turnout.

Update (1:40 p.m.) Herndon is having a tremendous voter turnout, with 20 to 25 percent of registered voters having hit the ballot boxes by lunchtime. Voters there are also coming up to have their say in a Fairfax County Public School referendum, which “includes $42 million for new construction, $8.2 million for school expansion, and $276 million for school renovations. Subtracted from that total is $109 million left over from prior bond issues.” (The Herndon Patch)

Update (1:28 p.m.) Ken Cuccinelli has also been making the rounds today.

Also, in case you missed it, here is the video from last night of former Senator Ron Paul endorsing Ken Cuccinelli, calling the Republican candidate a defender of the Constitution.


Update (1:19 p.m) According to Twitter, there have been Terry McAuliffe sightings all over Virginia.

Update (1:01 p.m.) According to Nerd Wallet, Virginia is the 14th most politically active state, with over 74 percent of its citizens registered. In the 2012 elections, over 66 percent turned out to cast their ballots.

Update (12:40 p.m.) According to PWC’s Office of General Elections, over 8 percent of the nearly 249,000 registered voters in Prince William County had voted by 10 a.m. 6,264 of these were absentee ballots.

Meanwhile, Loudoun County continues to experience technical difficulties with their computerized ballots. However, they are expecting a record 40 percent turnout as of noon today.

Update (12:14 p.m) Fairfax county is experiencing similar voter turnout to the 2012 election, meaning a much higher turnout than usually expected in off-year elections. “About 600 voters had come through the Chain Bridge precinct by 10:30 a.m., about the same as last year, said David Lynn Rampy, chief election officer at the precinct.”

“Shortly before noon at the Langley precinct, chief election officer Amanda Romana Bridges said they had seen about 500 voters, similar to last year.” (The Washington Post)

The county is currently expecting a 30 percent voter turnout by the time the polls close at 7 p.m. today.

Update (11:31 a.m.) Computer problems persist at Loudoun County precincts. Poll workers say the electronic voting books are having problems at 25 of the county’s 85 precincts, according to poll workers. “We are working to resolve the networking problems that occurred early this morning with the laptops that we use to check in voters,” said Judy Brown, Loudoun County General Registrar, in a statement. “We want to emphasize that each polling place has at least one computer to check in voters as they arrive.”

Update (10:54 a.m.) Arlington County is experiencing record turnout, with some 15 percent of registered voters having already turned out, plus an absentee ballot rate of 12 percent.

Update (10:43 a.m.)  According to The Washington Post, “Loudoun County registrar Judy Brown said that she was anticipating voter turnout of about 40 percent across the county in Tuesday’s election. At Forest Grove Elementary in Sterling, about 80 of the precinct’s 3,700 voters — just over 2 percent — had cast ballots within the first 45 minutes of the precinct’s opening.”

Loudoun County however, has had persistent problems with the laptops used to check voters in. Reports are showing lines roughly a dozen people long outside Forest Grove Elementary School.

Meanwhile, “The turnout at the River Oaks precinct in Prince William County was 289 out of about 4,000 voters — more than 7 percent — as of 8:15 am, said precinct chief Lauren Henderson.”

Update (10:32 a.m.)

Both Terry McAuliffe and Ken Cuccinelli have cast their votes.

Update (9:45 a.m.) In the last governor election, Republican Bob McDonnell swept the state with over 59 percent of the vote, as the below map from the Washington Post shows. However, leading up to the election, McDonnell had a much greater favorable lead than Terry McAuliffe has coming into election day.

In the 2008 and 2012 Presidential elections, Virginia went blue for Barack Obama, who turned more counties out for the Democrats than gubernatorial contender Creigh Deeds won in 2009, including Loudoun and Fairfax Counties in the north, and Suffolk and Chesapeake counties in the south.

Stay tuned to InTheCapital for live updates regarding exit polls, lines, punditry, and everything in between. Also, if you have something to say about #VAGov, tweet at us @InTheCapitalGov.