President Barack Obama handily defeated Gov. Mitt Romney and won himself a second term Tuesday after a bitter and historically expensive race that was primarily fought in just a handful of battleground states.

The Romney campaign’s last-ditch attempt to put blue-leaning Midwestern swing states in play failed as Obama’s Midwestern firewall sent the president back to the White House for four more years.

Obama needed 270 electoral votes to claim victory. Just before 11 p.m., after winning Ohio, California and a handful of other Western states, Obama was leading in the electoral college vote 262 to Romney’s 203. At 11:23 Obama had reached 273 electoral votes, securing the win for the Democrats.

Obama picked up the swing states of New Hampshire, Michigan, New Mexico, Iowa, Wisconsin, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Minnesota, and Ohio.

One thing was clear throughout the election: the economy was the key issue on voters’ minds as they headed by the millions to the polls on Tuesday. And turnout appeared to be strong.