Election Day Dispatches: It's Morning for the Kenyan Obamas

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Callie Shell / Aurora for TIME

Barack Obama takes a photograph with the traveling press corp before boarding his campaign plane for the last time at an airport in Indianapolis

Refresh this page for the latest from TIME's 30 correspondents and reporters covering the election.

It's Morning for the Kenyan Obamas,

11:58 p.m. E.T.

When brother Obama became President Obama, his family was asleep. Uncle Elly was snoring. Half-brother Malki was tucked in his hut and even Uncle Tom had run out of moonshine. This was Kogelo village in western Kenya this morning, a very, very quiet corner of Africa.

Then the cock crowed. CNN — relayed on TV powered by erratic generators — started sounding excited, and then dawn began to break, a ludicrously beautiful African dawn of pink flowers and big wide trees. And then the women came wailing and singing, the dancing started and the drinking began.

And then ... The women got busy lighting fires and hanging washing, and the men discussed the best way to kill a bull and even the journalists eased off and relaxed. President Obama, it turns out, owns four acres in Kogelo. I took a walk on his field. He has a nice maize crop. And a very promisng field of millet. More important, he has a great view. — By Alex Perry / Kogelo

See pictures of TIME's interview with Barack Obama.

Obama Wins: Let the Parties Really Begin!

11 p.m. E.T.

There's a light breeze, it's slightly chilly, and the sky is clear. Throngs of people have descended onto downtown Chicago for the epic presidential election of Barack Obama. One of them is Freddie Arnett, a 51-year-old Chicago maintenance supervisor who, along with his wife, stands on this city's main boulevard, Michigan Avenue, angling to get inside Grant Park, where Obama is scheduled to speak. "I'm just glad to have been alive to be a part of it," Arnett says. His expectations for a possible Obama candidacy are high, but, says Arneet, "I know it's going to take time."

Uyvonne Page, 59, is among the crowd on Michigan Avenue after getting up early to vote. She says she set three alarms for Tuesday, starting at 3 a.m., so she could arrive at her South Side Chicago polling station by 5 a.m. Page, a part-time artist, says she donated $35 to Obama's presidential campaign.

Earlier, when states that Obama won were called out, folks in the condos along Michigan Avenue screamed. And of course, so did people waiting on Michigan Avenue. There was even a McCain supporter in the crowd, Jack Nagle. His daughter is a Democrat and hard-core Obama supporter. "It makes dinner interesting," he says. "But in Chicago, you've just got to take your licks and keep moving. Obama's going to be President, and for that, all I can say is congrats."

(See pictures of Barack Obama's victory celebration in Grant Park.)

The celebrations are going on all over the country, though they are likely not as big as Chicago's. A standing-room crowd went wild and wilder in the ballroom of a Hilton hotel in downtown Cleveland as the number 270 got closer and closer. Meanwhile, about 45 excited students packed into a dormitory lounge on the Drake University campus in Iowa to watch election results roll in on CNN, nibbling on red, white and blue food (red salsa, graham crackers with white frosting and blue — O.K., technically purple — grapes) and drank red and blue Hawaiian punch. "It's just so inspiring to have this as your first election. It's exciting and humbling," says Hope Ashley, 19, who voted early in her bellwether home state of Missouri.

Meanwhile, in Miami, in a carpeted ballroom at the Jungle Island tourist attraction, stoked Obama supporters drank beer and wine and ate flan while watching election results on CNN and MSNBC. After the Ohio win was announced, all hell broke loose. "O-Ba-Ma!" they chanted. It was a diverse crowd: Cuban Americans who had voted Republican until this election, Hillary Clinton supporters who carried buttons for her in their pockets and traditional party liners wearing jeans and drinking beer. Many wore "I Voted for Change" stickers. In a corner, Eloisa Hidalgo dabbed tears as states began coming in for Obama. She and husband Manuel came to the U.S. in 1960 as staunch Republicans, but they were convinced by their children to vote Democratic. "They showed me how much he cared about the underprivileged and middle-class," she says. Nearby, Marlise Radix, an Irish immigrant who, with her family, became a citizen to vote for Obama, took photos of chanting voters while children threw red and blue balloons to one another below the cheering crowd. Outside the ballroom, fans called friends on cell phones: "We won Virginia — can you believe it?" a young caller exclaimed, jumping up and down.

And the night was only beginning ... — By Steven Gray / Chicago, Charu Gupta / Cleveland and Jeanne DeQuine / Miami

Missouri's GOP Lament,

11:30 p.m. E.T.

Missouri's foremost Republican statesman, former Senator John Danforth, sounded blue on the phone. "I am blue — I'm a blue guy who should be red." Missouri's vote was still out, but the national tide was clear. He squarely put the blame on the White House. "A very large part of it is that people are sick of Bush, and they just want to get rid of anything and anyone associated with him."

And Obama had everything going for him, Danforth said: the Bush drag, the unpopularity of the war in Iraq, the economic downturn and opting out of public financing to rake in a mind-boggling cash advantage.

(See pictures of Barack Obama's victory celebration in Grant Park.)

The nation, Danforth warned, is in for a sharp left turn.

"I think he's playing a very, very strong hand. This is a very dramatic veering of direction," he said, adding that both parties have become so ideological, he fears Republicans may be "relegated into complaining."

There's an opening for Republicans, though, he said, if they focus on issues with which they have a common purpose — like taxes, trade and national security — and don't get bogged down on issues like gay marriage.

"We've got a chance to recapture the center, which I think will be eliminated. That's what gives me a little pep, very little." —By Karen Ball / Kansas City

California: Already Getting the Party On,

10:18 p.m. E.T.

The San Fernando Valley headquarters for Barack Obama was already buzzing with celebratory activity this evening, even though the votes were still being counted and California's polls hadn't closed. Volunteers streamed in to man phone banks on the ground floor of the building in Van Nuys. Organizers gathered round a fresh-faced teenager, shouting "Let's hear it for Jeff who made 200 calls!" and handing the boy a poster featuring the presidential contender. Nicole Roberts, a 26-year-old African-American actress from Sherman Oaks, stood waiting for a friend to deliver a cell phone, as hers had run out of juice. "This election to me is my civil rights moment," said Roberts, a "Team Barack" necklace gleaming above her Obama T shirt. "My grandmother was active in the civil rights movement and ridding injustice. She passed away last year, and I'm picking up the torch." A woman suddenly shouted, "Let's hear it for Rachel who made 200 calls!" before handing her a poster of Obama in appreciation.

If the San Fernando contingent is premature, it is nothing like pockets of San Francisco, where there has been a celebratory mood since the weekend, at least among those who attend African-American churches. On Sunday, more than 200 African-American congregation members marched through the hilly streets to city hall to cast early votes. Voters sang songs as they marched, waving banners that implored onlookers "Don't Wait 'Til the Battle's Over — Vote Now" and wearing inspirational T shirts. One of the leaders in this march was the Rev. Amos Brown, pastor of Third Baptist Church in San Francisco. He said his church was founded in 1852, the year Harriet Beecher Stowe's novel Uncle Tom's Cabin was published. "For us to come together in 2008 and lead other churches to city hall to vote after a Sunday worship service was just incredible to witness," he says. "We felt the mood of expectancy, hope and fulfillment of our God-given destiny to witness an African American on the verge of being elected President of this nation that was founded on racist public policies. We are hopeful that through the grace of God and through this overwhelming turnout of voters that Mr. Obama will get the mandate and become our President." — By Alison Stateman / Los Angeles and Kristin Kloberdanz / San Francisco

Obama Wins Ohio and New Mexico — and, Most Likely, the Presidency,

10:10 p.m. E.T.

All the major networks have now called Ohio, Iowa and New Mexico for Obama, along with upper Midwest blue states like Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota, and trends in Florida are looking pretty good too. The Democrat now has 206 electoral votes in his column, and with West Coast states California, Oregon, Washington and Hawaii almost certainly going his way later tonight, he is well on his way to becoming the next President of the United States.

All Political Dramas Are Local,

10 p.m. E.T.

Florida: Scandal's End? Seeking re-election in a Republican-leaning district was only one of Democratic Representative Tim Mahoney of Florida's obstacles. An ABC News report followed by his own admission of multiple extramarital affairs last month now looks like his undoing. With about 40% of Congressional District 16's voters reported, Mahoney is down more than 20 percentage points to Republican attorney Tom Rooney of the Pittsburgh Steelers ownership family. It's been quite a month for Mahoney — the sex scandal revelations, the subsequent divorce filing by his wife and a likely election loss. — By Hector Florin / West Palm Beach

Texas: Tom DeLay's Legacy It was expected that incumbent Democratic Congressman Nick Lampson, who holds Tom DeLay's old seat, would have a tough fight on his hands. With minutes to go till poll closing in Texas (thanks to a tiny sliver of far western Texas around El Paso running on Mountain time), only a few votes had been counted at the other end of the state southwest of Houston, but the early vote shows Republican challenger Pete Olson hanging on to a slim lead with about 51% of the early vote in two of the four counties reporting to Lampson's 48%. The early-vote count comes from the heart of the district around Sugarland, DeLay's old hometown, while early-vote count from the Houston sliver of the district and Galveston, hit by Hurricane Ike, have not been released. — By Hilary Hylton / Austin

Iowa: Breaking a Glass Ceiling? Will Iowa finally send a woman to Congress? This year, it depends on the outcome of the race in Iowa's fourth district (representing northern Iowa farm towns as well as the college town of Ames and fast-growing Des Moines suburbs), where the well-funded, seven-term Republican incumbent Tom Latham is facing a stiffer-than-usual challenge from Democrat Becky Greenwald, a political newcomer who has earned national attention and is hoping to ride a Democratic wave to victory if Obama wins. Iowa is among only four states that have never sent a woman to Congress (of those four, which include Vermont and Delaware, Iowa and Mississippi have also never elected a female governor.) — By Betsy Rubiner / Des Moines

Democrats Gain in Senate,

9:40 p.m. E.T.

Democrats may not win a 60 seat filibuster-proof senate majority, but they will definitely pick up a few new seats. Former Virginia governor Mark Warner, as widely expected, is already projected to win the commonwealth's seat being vacated by the retiring John Warner (no relation). More significantly, freshman Senator Elizabeth Dole has lost her North Carolina seat to Democratic challenger Kay Hagan; Dole's last-minute attack ad tying Hagan to an atheist PAC appeared to have backfired. The drag of President Bush continued in New Hampshire, where former governor Jeanne Shaheen easily defeated incumbent John Sununu Jr. And as expected, Tom Udall easily won the open seat in New Mexico.

Obama Wins Pennsylvania, but No Red States Yet,

8:45 p.m. E.T.

CNN has now joined other networks like NBC and ABC in projecting that Barack Obama will handily win the Keystone State's 21 electoral votes. The McCain campaign had invested lots of time and resources in the past couple of weeks in trying to turn the blue state red, but the huge Democratic turnout in the Philadelphia area proved too much to overcome. Obama has also, according to CNN, won his home state of Illinois, plus Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island and New Jersey, giving him a total of 102 electoral votes thus far. McCain, for his part, has been projected to win South Carolina, Kentucky, Tennessee and Oklahoma, leaving him with a total of 34 electoral votes thus far. Key battleground states like Ohio, Virginia, North Carolina and Florida remain too close to call, as well as Indiana, a usually reliably red state that Obama has spent a lot of time in during the campaign.

See pictures of the campaign from Barack Obama's point of view.

See pictures of Barack Obama's campaign behind the scenes.

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