Barack Obama has been projected the winner of the 2008 Presidential Election, making him the first black man elected commander in chief in America's 232-year history.
With the Democratic candidate already sitting at 207 electoral votes, Obama was called the winner in California, Hawaii, Idaho, Oregon and Washington. The additional 81 electoral votes were enough to secure his victory, reported MSNBC.
John McCain dominated the Southeast corner of the map all night, picking up the 6 electoral votes in Mississippi, and added North Dakota to his column as well, but found himself in a deep hole.
McCain had slowed Barack Obama's momentum by picking up Texas and Utah, just moments after Obama had secured what could be a decisive victory in Ohio, being awarded the battleground state's 20 electoral votes.
Obama quickly responded to McCain's two wins by taking Iowa's 7 electoral votes. It was there that Obama's candidacy shifted into high gear with his caucus victory over Hillary Clinton in January.
Obama had earlier followed up his big win in Ohio with his second red state victory in New Mexico, earning 5 more electoral votes. Every candidate who has taken Ohio since Abraham Lincoln has won the election and no Republican has ever won the presidency without the state.
Obama's win in New Mexico was likely helped in part by the endorsement he received from the state's Gov. Bill Richardson, who has been mentioned as a possible Secretary of State in an Obama administration.
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McCain picked up West Virginia's 5 electoral votes shortly past 9:30 p.m. (EST). McCain had earlier won Arkansas' 6 electoral votes. This came moments after his victories Kansas, North Dakota and Wyoming. Meanwhile, Obama picked up Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Rhode Island and New York.
The next round of closures came at 10, with Iowa, Montana, Nevada and Utah shutting it down. An hour later California, Hawaii, Idaho, North Dakota, Oregon and Washington all called it quits, leaving only Alaska in play. Gov. Sarah Palin's home state closes its polls at 1 a.m.
McCain had made an 11th-hour plea to Colorado voters earlier, encouraging them to ignore the pundits and polls that have predicted an inglorious defeat for the Arizona senator.
"America is worth fighting for. Nothing is inevitable here," the GOP nominee told his final rally of a marathon campaign.
Believing he still has a puncher's chance in Colorado and other western states that have shown a recent tightening in the polls, McCain broke his Election Day tradition of going to the movies and instead flew to a raucous airport rally in Grand Junction.
"I feel the momentum. I feel it, you feel it, and we're going to win the election," the former Navy pilot told several thousand supporters.
He then headed to New Mexico for one final campaign stop before returning to Arizona to watch election returns.
While McCain was making his swing through the west, Barack Obama was in Indiana, trying to flip the Republican-leaning state.
"It's going to be tight as a tick here in Indiana," Obama told volunteers at the center with only seven hours to go in the area's balloting. "So the question is who wants it more."
As McCain and Obama made last-minute campaign appearances, the man they seek to replace remained MIA.
Pres. George Bush has done more than most to help propel Obama's candidacy. Since being anointed the Democratic candidate, Obama has been pounding away on McCain, telling voters that the Arizona represents "four more years of the same failed policies."
Ever dutiful, White House press secretary Dana Perino explained her boss' disappearance as a matter of courtesy.
"He realizes this election is not about him," said Perino.
For her part, First Lady Laura Bush has been waiting for the race's conclusion. "I'm really looking forward to Election Day," she said at a Republican campaign event in Kentucky on Monday, "partly because it seems like George has been on the ticket this entire year."
It was clear for some time that McCain's path to victory was a narrow and precarious one. The polling analysts at FiveThirtyEight predict an Obama victory by 349 to 189 in the Electoral College.
But McCain has always been most comfortable on the stump when he's trailing.
"I'm very happy with where we are. We always do best when I'm a bit of an underdog," McCain told "Good Morning America" on ABC in an interview hours before polls opened.
"You can't imagine, you can't imagine the excitement of an individual to be this close to the most important position in the world, and I'll enjoy it. I'll never forget it as long as I live."