Election surprises: Puerto Rico votes for statehood, NH votes in all-female congressional delegation

Lower turnout despite long lines. Puerto Rico chooses statehood. A podiatrist heads to Capitol Hill. And one state will send only women to Congress.

These are some of the surprises and firsts that have emerged, along with vote tallies, after Tuesday's election.

-- Scenes of voters standing in long lines at polling places around the country were prominent in news coverage of Election Day. But initial counts show that voter turnout this year was actually down from 2008, and, in many states, since 2004. Overall turnout for Tuesday is pegged at about 60 percent -- the same as it was in 2004. In 2008, it was 62 percent.

-- New Hampshire will make history by having an all-female congressional delegation, as well as a female governor to boot. The U.S. senators for the New England state will be Republican Kelly Ayotte and Democrat Jeanne Shaheen. The state's two U.S. House representatives will be Democrats Carol Shea-Porter and Ann Kuster. Ruling the statehouse will be Democrat Maggie Hassan.

Ayotte and Shaheen will join 18 other women U.S. senators -- another record.

-- What ranks as one of the most overlooked developments of the election: Puerto Rico voted to become the 51st state. The decision is nonbinding and would require final approval from Congress, which may be reluctant to grant statehood. (The District of Columbia has been trying for years to win statehood, to no avail.) Puerto Ricans do have a powerful ally in their corner, though. President Barack Obama has said he would support statehood if that is what Puerto Ricans want.

-- Pollsters and pundits no doubt were stunned by the accurate predictions of FiveThirtyEight blogger Nate Silver, who didn't back down from his pre-Election Day assertion that the Obama-Romney race was far from a tossup or neck-and-neck, even after he was besieged by blowback from pundits and accusations of partisan reporting.

The statistics nerd crunched mounts of polling data with an algorithm to make his own prediction on the New York Times-licensed blog, saying it was about the numbers and not his politics.

Turns out Silver was dead on, and he'd have won a $2,000 bet with MSNBC "Morning Joe" host Joe Scarborough, who derided Silver as a joke. But turns out Scarborough didn't take Silver up on the wager, the winnings of which were to go to the Red Cross.

-- Fordham University's Center for Electoral Politics and Democracy compared pre-election polling with the actual results and rated Public Policy Polling as the most accurate, followed by Daily Kos and YouGov. The least accurate: Gallup, National Public Radio, National Journal and AP/GfK.

-- One Capitol Hill couple are both out of jobs. Rep. Mary Bono Mack, a California Republican best known for once being married to pop singer Sonny Bono, and Rep. Connie Mack IV, a Florida Republican best known for being the great-grandson of baseball Hall of Fame manager Connie Mack, both lost their races. The missus was defeated for re-election and the mister lost his bid for the U.S. Senate.

--Other notable losers: Former wrestling executive Linda McMahon, a Republican, lost her second run for the Senate from Connecticut, shelling out about a total of $100 million of her own money for both races. Orthodox Jewish Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, a Republican and author of the best-seller "Kosher Sex," was roundly beaten in his bid for a New Jersey House seat. And 20-term Democratic Rep. Pete Stark, 80, a leading voice on health legislation in Congress, lost his job as dean of the California delegation.

-- A notable winner: Rep. Scott DesJarlais, a Tennessee Republican and pro-life doctor, who made recent headlines for having affairs a dozen years ago with at least two patients and for pressing one of the women to get an abortion. He easily defeated his Democratic opponent by a double-digit margin.

-- While the overall trend in the House was for Republicans to hold onto seats, Democrats did retake a few. In fact, at least seven former House Democrats made successful comebacks to office Tuesday, including five who recovered seats they lost in the last election. Minnesota Democrat Rick Nolan, who defeated freshman Republican Chip Cravaack, has had a remarkable hiatus, however. He last served in Congress 32 years ago.

-- Proposition 37 in California, which, if passed, would have required labeling of all genetically modified foods, was defeated 46.9 percent to 53.1 percent. Chemical companies and major processed-food producers outspent groups focused on sustainable food policies in the battle for public opinion.

-- Montana voters overwhelmingly passed an initiative stating that corporations do not have constitutional rights, in a move to repudiate the U.S. Supreme Court's Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission ruling that opened the door to billions of dollars of campaign donations into the costliest election season of all time.

-- In another historical footnote, Republican Dr. Brad Wenstrup handily won a Cincinnati district to become

the first podiatrist ever to serve in Congress, according to the American Podiatric Medical Association. He's an Army reservist who served as a surgeon in Iraq.

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