It’s eight o’clock — do you know where your candidates are?
This guide, the second Election Night installment, is designed to help you focus on the races to monitor in the eight o’clock hour.
8 p.m. EST
FLORIDA (27 Electoral Votes)
When the polls close in the Panhandle, we will probably still be waiting for the count to come in from the all-important states of Virginia and Ohio. You can stop worrying about those states right away if the networks project an Obama victory in Florida. If that happens, the night is over.
A McCain victory, on the other hand, keeps things going.
There are several interesting House races to watch here. Republicans will try to pick up the seat of Rep. Tim Mahoney (D.), whose adultery problem continues a tradition of scandal in the 16th District. Rep. Mark Foley (R.), who has endorsed Obama, was Mahoney’s predecessor.
Rep. Tom Feeney (R.), a strong conservative leader who was once speaker of the state House, may go down in defeat. Although he was never accused of any wrongdoing, his presence on the infamous Scotland golf trip with Jack Abramoff has haunted him this cycle.
To the south, Reps. Lincoln and Mario Diaz-Balart each face strong challenges and poll within the margin of error. One or both could lose.
On the other hand, Rep. Vern Buchanan (R.), who won one of the closest races in the nation two years ago, appears to be on solid ground against a repeat challenge by Christine Jennings (D.).
PENNSYLVANIA (21 Electoral Votes)
This is the proverbial basket into which John McCain has put all of his eggs. He is counting on legions of bitter, gun-clinging, God-fearing coal miners to support him over the condescending Barack Obama. To win Pennsylvania, McCain must lose Philadelphia by fewer than 300,000 votes, perhaps by as few as 250,000. If McCain does manage to win here despite trailing in every poll, his hopes are still alive.