In a race that proved somewhat less close than pundits expected, Bain Capital founder Mitt Romney's seven-year bid for the presidency ended in defeat last night with the re-election of President Barack Obama.
Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts, fell short by just over 2.5 million votes, or 2.2%. The president carried all of the highly-watched "swing states" save one, North Carolina, which flipped into the Republican column, along with Indiana; Obama won both states in 2008.
Indeed, despite pessimism about the economy, Americans returned the status quo to Washington by healthy margins. In addition to Obama's re-election, Republicans comfortably held on to the House of Representatives, with a number of seats still undecided. And Democrats improbably increased their lead in the Senate, staging unexpected wins in Indiana, Missouri and North Dakota, and will likely hold on to their seat in Montana, where Sen. Jon Tester remains in the lead with 85% of the vote counted.
Romney conceded defeat just before 1 a.m., about an hour-and-a-half after the networks called Ohio—and with it, the election—for Obama. Obama's Ohio victory was rendered moot when swing states like Colorado, Iowa and Nevada went for him; the final electoral college tally will be a blowout, with the richest swing-state prizes, Florida, Ohio and Virginia, all in the president's column.
The result will no doubt be a bitter pill for Wall Street—and the hedge fund community—to swallow. Hedge funders, many of whom dug deep to secure Obama's election four years ago, switched sides this time around, embittered by Obama's embrace of the Dodd-Frank financial regulation reform law and what they saw as his unfair attacks on their wealth and Wall Street. Many members of the hedge fund elite held what they had hoped would be victory parties last night, including John Paulson, and several others were at Romney's concession speech in Boston, including Julian Robertson, Skybridge Capital's Anthony Scaramucci and possibly Elliott Associates' Elliott Singer, who was invited.
Down-ballot races aren't likely to have made those men any happier. Democrats easily won the open U.S. Senate seat in hedge fund haven Connecticut, with Rep. Chris Murphy outlasting the lavishly self-financed campaign of Republican Linda McMahon. To the north in Massachusetts, Harvard University law professor Elizabeth Warren ousted Republican Sen. Scott Brown; Warren is famed for championing strict consumer financial regulations. And Democrats also held on to Murphy's House seat in northwestern Connecticut in a close race; indeed, Republicans were swept out of the House in Romney's home region of New England: With the defeat of two Republican congressmen in New Hampshire, all of New England's 21-member delegation are Democrats.