Barack Obama has defeated challenger Mitt Romney to win a second term as president of the United States.
The president declared victory in a speech in Chicago at 1:30 a.m. Wednesday, a little more than two hours after the major networks projected him the winner following victories in several key battleground states.
Speaking to supporters, Obama pledged to redouble his efforts to reach across party lines in his second term.
"Tonight, in this election you reminded us that while the journey has been hard, we have fought our way back," Obama told the cheering crowd. "And we know in our hearts that for the United States of America, the best is yet to come."
The president thanked his opponent for a well run race, saying of Romney: "We may have had our differences, but only because we love our country so deeply."
Obama also thanked all those who participated in the election, saying, "Whether you held an Obama sign or a Romney sign, you made your voice heard and you made a difference."
"Whether I earned your vote or not, I have listened to you, I have learned from you, and you've made me a better president," he said. "With your stories and your struggles, I return to the White House more determined and more inspired than ever about the work there is to do and about the future that lies ahead."
Romney conceded the election shortly before 1 a.m. Addressing a crowd in Boston, he congratulated Obama and his family and thanked those who worked on his campaign.
"We have given our all to this campaign," Romney told supporters. "I so wish that I had been able to fulfill your hopes, but the people have chosen a different leader. Ann and I join with you to earnestly pray for him and for the future of America."
In his speech, Romney said the time for partisan politics in America is over.
"The nation, as you know, is at a critical point. At a time like this, we can't risk partisan bickering and political posturing. Our leaders have to reach across the aisle to do the people's work, and we citizens also have to rise to the occasion," Romney said.
Obama's focus on the battleground states helped him earn 303 electoral votes to Romney's 206.
Florida with its 29 electoral votes remains too close to call.
Obama was also leading in the popular vote with 56,043,966 votes, compared to 54,639,718 for Romney.
Obama was projected as the winner in New York by NY1 soon after polls closed at 9 p.m., based on exit poll data.
According to AP numbers as of 4:45 a.m. Wednesday morning, with more than 97 percent of New York State precincts reporting, Obama had 3,843,194 votes (approximately 62.7 percent of the vote), compared to Romney's 2,202,225 votes (approximately 36 percent).
Election Keeps Hill Divided
Come January, the landscape on Capitol Hill will remain largely unchanged as Tuesday's election did not bring about any major shift in party control.
Democrats retained control of the Senate while Republicans will keep their hold on the House of Representatives.
Democrats have control of at least 51 seats in the Senate, while leading in two undecided contests.
The party scored decisive victories in a number of key match-ups including Massachusetts where Elizabeth Warren defeated GOP incumbent Scott Brown.
And the Republican candidates in Indiana and Missouri, both favored in their races before making controversial comments about rape, both lost.
In Missouri, incumbent Claire McCaskill defeated Todd Akin while tea party favorite Richard Mourdock was defeated by Democrat Joe Donnelly in Indiana.
Democrat Tammy Baldwin made history in Wisconsin -- becoming the first openly gay person elected to the Senate.
As for the House, Democrats have a net gain of one seat, winning 190 seats with a dozen still undecided.
But Republicans are still firmly in control, winning 231 seats.
Storm Fails To Shake NYC Voters
With New Yorkers still reeling in the aftermath of Sandy, many New York City polling places were overrun with long lines Tuesday even before the morning rush.
Earlier in the week Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed an executive order allowing any New Yorker registered to vote to cast their ballots for president and local offices at any polling site in the state, leading to an unexpected influx of voters at some polling places.
The Board of Elections also set up "super sites" in hard-hit areas of Brooklyn and Queens, with as many as nine polling places combined into one.
Cuomo said people displaced by the storm should not lose the ability to vote.
Voters were able to fill out an affidavit and cast their ballots, but were only able to vote in the presidential and statewide contests.
Meanwhile, in New York's statewide races, incumbent Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand won election to a full six-year term in the U.S. Senate, defeating challenger Wendy Long.
Two seats in Congress were also in play in the first congressional election, based on newly drawn redistricting lines. Following the 2010 Census, the state lost two seats in the House of Representatives.
Rep. Michael Grimm was re-elected to his seat in Congress, representing Staten Island and parts of Brooklyn. He defeated challenger Mark Murphy.
In Queens, Democrat Grace Meng defeated Republican Dan Halloran for the seat vacated by Gary Ackerman.