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PoliticsPA: Live From Sestak HQ — Sestak Concedes

By John McDonald

PoliticsPA Contributor

UPDATE: Sestak emerged from a back hallway to chants of “Joe! Joe! Joe!” from a capacity crowd here at the Radnor Hotel.  The first thing he did was congratulate Pat Toomey on a hard-fought campaign — to the jeers of some and tepid applause at best.

We’re live from the Sestak Election Night headquarters at the Radnor Hotel.  Scroll down to the bottom of this post for the latest updates.  The mood is festive here — a cheer filtered through the room a moment ago as MSNBC projected that Democrat Joe Manchin would defeat Republican John Raese in West Virginia’s U.S. Senate race.

Stay tuned for updates here from the Radnor Hotel.

UPDATE: MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann deemed Pennsylvania’s Senate race “too close to call,” a projection (or lackthereof) that seemed to satisfy the crowd gathering here at the Radnor Hotel.  A fairly enthusiastic cheer rippled through the observers as Olbermann delivered it.

UPDATE: With 16 percent of precincts reporting, Sestak leads Toomey 60 percent to 40 percent.  In Philadelphia, Sestak has slightly more than 130,400 votes thus far, with about 39 percent reported so far.  In 2002 (when Ed Rendell won his first gubernatorial term) and 2006 (when Rendell was re-elected and Bob Casey was elected to the U.S. Senate), statewide Democratic candidates averaged slightly more than 360,000 total votes out of Philadelphia.  Stay tuned to see how Sestak’s Philly pull compares.

UPDATE: With 55 percent of precincts reporting, Toomey seems to have closed the gap — Sestak now leads 52 percent to 48 percent (960,770 to 888,617 overall).  Keep in mind: Chester and Montgomery Counties in suburban Philadelphia have just started reporting.  In Philadelphia, Sestak has amassed more than 204,000 votes (with 60 percent reportage).  In Bucks County, Toomey leads by about 6,000 votes (52 to 48 percent) with nearly 70 percent of precincts reporting.

UPDATE: As the crowd reacts to MSNBC’s latest update – Sestak maintains his 52-48 lead – Michael, one of the bartenders here at the Radnor Hotel, tells PoliticsPA that he worked Election Night 2008 as well.  The crowd that night, he says, was “more passionate” than tonight, though he estimates that there are more attendees here right now.

UPDATE: Two attendees wearing Sestak stickers, Jon Hazelton and Tim McCarthy, may afford some insight as to why that’s the case.  Neither worked on behalf of Sestak in any capacity.  Hazelton says he’s “not a fan of politicians” because they’re all “crooks.”  McCarthy assures PoliticsPA that he voted for Sestak.  When asked how they’re feeling nearly two and a half hours after the polls closed, they say they’re “relaxed.”  Turns out they’re just staying at the Radnor Hotel; they have a presentation here tomorrow morning.

UPDATE: Our colleague Alex Irwin reports from Toomey’s Election Night HQ in Allentown that classic rock has been blasting through the speakers all night.  Not the case here at the Radnor.  Audio from MSNBC’s coverage has been piped out all night here from a series of nearly 10 flat screen televisions set up throughout the main room.  A lone TV featuring CNN’s Election Night coverage was relegated to a side room.  UPDATE: The lone CNN TV has been switched to MSNBC.

UPDATE: With 86 percent of precincts reporting, Sestak’s lead had dwindled to a little less than 29,000 votes.  As of 11pm eastern time, he has won or is winning 8 counties statewide.  In Allegheny County (99 percent precincts reporting), Sestak leads by approximately 40,000 votes (223,497/55% to 182,968/45%).  In the four inner suburban counties surrounding Philadelphia (Bucks, Chester, Delco and Montco), Sestak has amassed a total of 335,435 votes thus far.  In 2002 and 2006, Rendell and Casey averaged 563,800 votes in the same region.

UPDATE: With 96 percent of precincts reporting statewide, Toomey has pulled ahead – 1,841,781 to Sestak’s 1,807,469.  A preliminary report has Sestak winning Greene County in the Southwest by 2 votes out of approximately 10,600 cast.  Sestak appears to have outrun Dan Onorato in Allegheny County by a little less than 20,000 votes.

UPDATE: A colleague sends a photo from Tom Corbett’s Election Night headquarters in Pittsburgh.

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