Those Other Pesky Senate Races

First the good...

OR-Sen I'm told that ultimately Jeff Merkley is likely to pull ahead of Gordon Smith for the win in Oregon. Currently, with 70% reporting, Smith is ahead by fewer than 7,000 votes and the bulk of the outstanding votes (almost 300,000) come from Merkley country: Lane and Multnomah Counties, which so far have gone for Merkley 56-37 and 70-26 respectively. The counting likely won't be done until late tomorrow or Friday.

Next the annoying...

MN-Sen According to MSNBC, Al Franken is behind by 571 690 votes thus triggering an automatic recount (by law, there is a recount if the margin is under .5%; Coleman is ahead by less than .03%.) Norm Coleman, predictably, has declared victory but Franken is not conceding.

"We won't know for a little while who won the race, but at the end of the day we will know the voice of the electorate is clearly heard," Franken said. "This has been a long campaign, but it is going to be a little longer before we have a winner."

Franken said his campaign was already looking into reports of irregularities in Minneapolis where some voters had trouble registering, though he wouldn't elaborate.

The recount won't begin until mid-November and will stretch well into December. This race is not over. Remember the Washington Governor's race when pre-recount, Dino Rossi was ahead of Christine Gregoire by a few hundred votes; Gregoire was just re-elected Governor by an 8% margin.

And finally, the ridiculous...

AK-Sen Yes, Ted Stevens...the convicted Senator from Alaska...is currently ahead of Democrat Mark Begich. With 99% precincts reporting, Begich is behind by around 4,000 votes. So, what happens now?

With all but three of Alaska's 438 precincts reporting, the Republican Stevens held a 1.5 percent vote advantage over Democrat Begich -- 48 percent to 46.5 percent. About 4,000 votes separate the candidates. The thin margin means the Senate race might not be decided for two weeks.

Still to be counted are roughly 40,000 absentee ballots, with more expected to arrive in the mail, as well as 9,000 uncounted early votes and thousands of questioned ballots. The state Elections Division has up to 15 days after the election to tally all the remaining ballots before finalizing the count.

It appears that if Stevens does end up winning, he will either resign from the Senate or be expelled, which will allow Sarah Palin the opportunity to appoint someone as interim Senator (herself, perhaps?) until a special election can be held. Presumably, Mark Begich would run in that election against whomever she appoints. I got the sense that Begich didn't really run AGAINST Stevens, especially his corruption; I hope if he doesn't win this outright that he will be more aggressive in the special, whoever it is he'll be running against.

Overall, it looks like we really let our guard down on these races. I knew Fanken would be tight but I didn't see the tightening in the other two coming. Clearly Alaska is a special case, since Palin was on the ticket, but even here in California, we've had some real downballot disappointment. Obama simply did not have the coattails we expected. It looks like many people who voted for Obama either stopped at the top or split the ticket. Is this a testament to McCain's last minute fear-mongering about single party rule or Obama's failure to more completely discredit the Republican Party and brand the Democratic Party as the party of change? Or perhaps Barack was enough change for people. For all the talk of an anti-incumbent mood, it just didn't happen, or at least it happened to a far lesser extent than most expected. On this morning after, with the elation of an imminent Obama presidency comes some definite disappointments. That said, we should remember that these results are not written in stone quite yet.

Tags: AK-Sen, MN-Sen, OR-Sen (all tags)

Comments

45 Comments

Re: Those Other Pesky Senate Races

Franken's only negative 462 votes as of this post.

Mail-in absentee votes by the elderly may just pull it over to Al.

by lojasmo 2008-11-05 10:23AM | 0 recs
Re: Those Other Pesky Senate Races

Maybe I'm still too happy about Obama winning to play my role as a  democrat -- you know, seeing the downside in everything -- but if we really do pick up Oregon then that's not a terrible result by any stretch.  If Coleman does hold on, I guarantee you that he's going to hew closer to the center than he has in the past.  Same for Snowe, Collins, Spector, etc.  I think we'll actually be just fine in the Senate for the next two years.

If we actually still pull out Alaska (perhaps in a special election) or MN, I'd say things went VERY well.  60 was never likely, at least this cycle.  I think we have a good shot in 2010 though.  

by HSTruman 2008-11-05 10:25AM | 0 recs
Yeah, good idea.

Let's start bashing Obama immediately after he won the most stunning victory of my lifetime for not having enough coattails to pull some lackadaisical and some downright abhorrent Democratic candidates along with him.

Let's face it, Obama's a loser. NOT!!!!!!

by edg1 2008-11-05 10:27AM | 0 recs
Re: Those Other Pesky Senate Races

Before we all get too upset, Obama is the first democratic president since LBJ to have any coattails.  Carter lost us seats in his election, and so did Clinton in both of his...

So, we should be happy that we managed to make significant gains, even though we got screwed by these last few weird cases here....

by LordMike 2008-11-05 10:29AM | 0 recs
Self-appointment

I believe Alaska law no longer allows gubernatorial appointments to senate vacancies.

Palin could certainly run for the seat though, should it open.

by jeisrael 2008-11-05 10:30AM | 0 recs
Re: Self-appointment

So how will Alaska fill the seat, assuming Stevens resigns or is expelled?

by KTinOhio 2008-11-05 10:34AM | 0 recs
It goes right to a special

election.

They changed the law after 2002, when the governor appointed his daughter.

by auboy2006 2008-11-05 10:40AM | 0 recs
Re: It goes right to a special

Do you know if the special election law is triggered if Stevens is expelled from Congress, but does not resign?  I.e., does being expelled from the Senate (not allowed to be seated) "create a vacancy" within the meaning of the AK law?  I'm wondering if this could be a weird case, where Stevens is alive, willing to serve, and defiantly refusing to resign - does the statute provide a way to replace him in such a case?

by milton333 2008-11-05 10:43AM | 0 recs
Re: It goes right to a special

Here's all that I can find:

"When a vacancy occurs in the office of United States senator or United States representative, the governor shall, by proclamation, call a special election to be held on a date not less than 60, nor more than 90, days after the date the vacancy occurs."  Alaska Statutes 15.40.140.

"Vacancy" is not defined anywhere in the statute.  Arguably, Stevens's seat would not be "vacant" in the sense that there's no one there to fill it - he is the duly elected senator from AK, alive and well and willing to serve - the problem would be the Senate refusing to seat him.  

Wonder if there's precedent from another jurisdiction on whether being expelled from the Senate is a "vacancy"?

by milton333 2008-11-05 10:52AM | 0 recs
I think it is a clear cut vacancy

The language in the Constitution, after all, is "expell."  "refusing to seat" is not strong enough to describe it.

Each House may determine the rules of its proceedings, punish its members for disorderly behavior, and, with the concurrence of two thirds, expel a member.

http://www.law.cornell.edu/constitution/ constitution.articlei.html#section4

by John DE 2008-11-05 11:00AM | 0 recs
Re: I think it is a clear cut vacancy

The Senate does have the right to expel Senator Stevens but they have no methodology to force Alaska to conduct another election.  If he doesn't resign, he's the Senator until the next election.  It sucks for Alaska but there ya go.

by Demo Dan in Dayton 2008-11-05 11:07AM | 0 recs
If the Senate says you are not

a Senator, then you are not a Senator.  You are expelled from the chamber.  This means they strip you of your title/position of U.S. Senator.

The end result is the same as if he had resigned.  The seat in the Senator is open/vancant.

by auboy2006 2008-11-05 11:16AM | 0 recs
Re: It goes right to a special

More to the point, when does the 90 days start? When Congress reconvenes? Or when they actually vote to expel him?  Didn't we have a recent case where someone resigned under fire but set his effective resignation date pretty far in the future?

by antiHyde 2008-11-05 11:07AM | 0 recs
Re: It goes right to a special

On the other hand, who cares how long the Republicans are short one seat?

by antiHyde 2008-11-05 11:08AM | 0 recs
90 days starts when the

vacancy occurs.

The MS law about that special election was much more complicated.

by auboy2006 2008-11-05 11:14AM | 0 recs
It's a landslide, dude

What on earth are you talking about? Democrats picked up between 5 and 9 new Senate seats without a loss (after picking up 6 without a loss in 2006) and ~25 seats in House (after 30 in 2006).  Expecting any more than that is preposterous and unrealistic.

by KitBinns 2008-11-05 10:36AM | 0 recs
Re: It's a landslide, dude

This is slowly sinking in for me. Get happy.

by CSears 2008-11-05 01:44PM | 0 recs
Re: downballot disappointment

Here in Florida, I voted the Democratic downballot All.The.Way.

by phoenixdreamz 2008-11-05 10:38AM | 0 recs
This will probably sound a bit negative

Although it's not meant to be.  I am very excited to have a Democrat in the White House, particularly with the critical changes that are likely to happen in the near future with SCOTUS, if not this term, then the next (as incumbency has its powerS).  

Todd, I think the reason you are seeing some of the things that you are disappointed with is that this was an election about politics, and not an election about policy.  I know, this will sound terribly negative, but I thought this was the case way back in 2006, and I think it's the case now.  This isn't to minimize an Obama victory - he certainly ran one of the best campaigns in history.  Rather, it is to say that, while the progressive movement has increased, the country is still more or less split, and the resonating force was a desire to see new "politics" - that is, repudiating Bush.  What this means contextually is that, the focus for many was on the White House rather than the broader picture, thus meaning the downticket impact might not have been as significant.  

I don't have anything to back this up, other than personal opinion based on what I've read and seen.  That said, I will conclude with that

a)  Obama did have more downticket impact for a Democrat in a long time

b)  One step at a time.

I think the latter point needs to be stated.  If there is any fear I have out of this election (outside of uncertainty on Obama's foreign policy team in regards to dealing with China - I feel better about the people there's views on the rest of the world, but I'm concerned on how they deal with China), it is that we push too hard too fast.  It'll be tempting, due to the fact that overall control rests in the Democrats hands, but, without checking my history right now, more than 2 waves in an era where the country is still more or less divided is probably unlikely.  I'd like to maintain the progressive government, but I fear pushing too hard will likely cause us some problems in the future (particularly 2012, as 2010 has, if I'm not mistaken, more Senate Republicans defending than Democrats, and off the top of my head, several Republicans seem really weak, such as Murkowski, Vitter?, maybe Bunting ... I really gotta check a list).

by toonsterwu 2008-11-05 10:45AM | 0 recs
Re: This will probably sound a bit negative

Hmm, decided to take a look at a list, and 2010 Senate prospects look promising.  Outside shot at 60 then?  That could really bode well for Obama, even if the House, in all likelihood, slides down a little bit.  Brownback's seat seems winnable, particularly if Sebelius gets in the game.  I could see McCain call it quits (age after all), so Napolitano?  Alaska and Murkowski should be a good shot for us, along with a few more.  Doesn't seem that many at threat Dems in 2010, but it's early and I admittedly haven't looked too deeply into it, so maybe others know more.

On a side note, and I'm not trying to be a negative Nancy today, as I truly am excited, but I am concerned that the election of Obama may trigger a strong conservative push of a post-racial society, which, if it can gain traction in America, may be damaging for minorities.  Race is a tricky subject to address in our country, but it does exist and racial issues are still prevalent in our society today, a day after this historic election.  I don't have any specific ideas on how Obama's administration can deal with this, other than to say I hope that they challenge the race issue head-on, rather than to try and minimize it.  

by toonsterwu 2008-11-05 11:01AM | 0 recs
Re: This will probably sound a bit negative

I think the Dems will keep the senate in 2010. Whether Sibelius wins depends on the economy and unemployment. Whether Napolitano wins depends upon whether McCain runs again although it would be good not to underestimate Jeff Flake. Arlen Specter could retire allowing Rendell to run for Senate. However, Obama could do all the Dems a service by giving Specter a cabinet post allowing Rendell to appoint someone or call an election...a quick way to get an additional seat. Can Bashear unseat Bunning in KY? Can Strickland unseat Voinovich? Can Vilsak unseat Grassley? Would like to see it. Blanche Lincoln is in trouble if Huckabee gets in. Evan Bayh should get in without too much trouble unless the economy really stinks just like it does now. If the economy is reasonable, a gain of two to three seats and a filibuster proof majority is possible. However, the Dems will loose anywhere between ten to twenty seats under normal circumstances and perhaps twenty to thirty seats in the House if the economy really stinks, putting the House on the edge. It is absolutely essentialy that unemployment peaks in September 2009 and a gradual recovery begins taking the unemployment rate to 5.6% by October 2010 for the Dems to keep losses to a minumum.

One thing I can surely predict..Chicago probably now has the inside track to win the 2016 Olympic Games with President Obama.

by Boilermaker 2008-11-05 12:11PM | 0 recs
Expectations

I felt some let down because my expectations were very high, but when you get down to it, this was a pretty impressive race for the Democrats, particularly when you factor in 2006 -- a lot of the low hanging fruit was already gone.

Now we're back to pre-1994 levels, and the Dixiecrats have pretty much finished their migration to the GOP.

So, there's definitely reason for optimism.  

by mhojo 2008-11-05 10:51AM | 0 recs
Re: Expectations

No more Shays.  New England is now Republican Free at the Congressional level.  This is huge.   This is the best counter to Zell Miller's claim of the Democratic Party not being a national party.   The GOP is the party that is no longer national.  

We also took over the New York Senate.   This is very big and should help Governor Patterson.

by gavoter 2008-11-05 10:57AM | 0 recs
Re: Expectations

Next let us try to make GOP an extinct species in New York, New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland.

by Boilermaker 2008-11-05 12:13PM | 0 recs
Re: Those Other Pesky Senate Races

Obama is not a magician. His main contribution to downticket races was to increase base turnout. It was upto the party and the local candidate to mint the increased turnout in their favor. As far as getting him to convince voters to vote downticket in every region of the country was one too many steps to expect.

by Pravin 2008-11-05 11:02AM | 0 recs
Re: Those Other Pesky Senate Races

There were some pretty big Green votes here in Cook County IL. I wouldn't count them against Obama, but more against the continuing Cook County corruption as described in the recent Rezko trial.

by antiHyde 2008-11-05 11:10AM | 0 recs
Re: Those Other Pesky Senate Races

Ugh... 2010 is going to be a circus...   Too bad Blago won't be like Ryan and have the decency to not run again...

I WILL NOT VOTE FOR BLAGO.   I hope there is a strong Primary Challenge where he is defeated.  If not, then I'll vote 3rd party.  That corrupt piece of shit will never get a vote from me again.

by yitbos96bb 2008-11-05 12:01PM | 0 recs
Re: Those Other Pesky Senate Races

I'm still open on Blago, but I agree he should step down. He can't succeed with so many top Dems against him, so he should step down for the good of the Party.

by antiHyde 2008-11-07 03:28PM | 0 recs
It was inconsistent

Some of the losses were tough ones:  Trauner, Debbie Cook, the South Florida Trio, Alaska.  We did win two (hopefully) in Virginia, Sali's seat in Idaho, and hopefully MD's 1st District.  Bittersweet, for sure.

by MDMan 2008-11-05 11:13AM | 0 recs
Re: Those Other Pesky Senate Races

I can't believe all the chirpy comments. You have to be greedy in wave elections. That's why Carville was properly livid in 2006 when he saw about 10-12 House seats left on the table. He identified my district, NV-3, as one of them, Tessa Hafen's senseless narrow defeat. Carville was absolutely right. We prioritized that district from the outside this cycle, and Dina Titus ousted Jon Porter comfortably by 5 or 6%.

Newsflash: now we're on defense in coming cycles. It was absolutely vital to pick off every last opportunity this time. That's why I stayed up and sweated Franken and Begich and everyone else, and will continue to. It's not unlike a college football team that wins a championship and then falls agonizingly close a year later, like Miami in '02 or USC in '05. A few years removed and you realize the tight defeat was even more devastating than it seemed at the time, since grabbing another title is increasingly elusive.

I'm not particularly surprised at the lower than anticipated House net. On progressive message boards there was curiously little emphasis and spotlight on individual races, other than Bachmann late. I had a feeling that was a hint we wouldn't get the huge chunk that some pundits were estimating.

by Gary Kilbride 2008-11-05 11:22AM | 0 recs
Re: Those Other Pesky Senate Races

I agree with your comments.  Just pointing out that 2010 Senate offers some hope for us to still be on the offensive.

by toonsterwu 2008-11-05 11:27AM | 0 recs
Re: Those Other Pesky Senate Races

See my post below but yeah, 2010 the GOP are defending 19-15...   And I could at least 14 opportunities.

by yitbos96bb 2008-11-05 11:59AM | 0 recs
Re: Those Other Pesky Senate Races

I think its the single party rule...  We had 6 years of that and it REALLY SUCKED...  Most of the close Senate losses were either heavy GOP or Heavy Indie states....  I have to think that a filibuster proof Dem majority scared the shit out of a lot of republicans and motivated them out.

by yitbos96bb 2008-11-05 11:25AM | 0 recs
Re: Those Other Pesky Senate Races

I do not really understand why anyone who fears single party rule would vote for Obama and then vote for Republicans downticket.  I mean, everyone knew the Democrats would control the House and Senate no matter what.  If you wanted divided government, the only option was to vote for McCain.

So let's think about why anyone would vote for Obama and Norm Coleman on the same ballot.  Either they were confused about what one or the other stood for, or else they just weren't all that ideological to begin with.  You know, I've been making the argument for a long time that people don't just intuitively understand that the way you get progressive policies is to vote for Democrats.  You have to spell it out and make it clear that there's a overarching Democratic program and you should elect more of us if you like it.

Barack Obama did a great job in terms of campaigning for and supporting the downticket candidates, but the one thing I always gave him grief for was the refusal to play the "politics of contrast" by explaining what the things are that Democrats support and Republicans oppose.  Instead, voters got a good sense of the things Obama supports, and they voted for him so they must have liked those things.  But in part because he wanted to use this post-partisan message of his, he didn't do much campaigning along the lines of "if you want the things I'm promising, you have to give me as many Democrats in Congress as possible."  It's my belief that you really do have to spell this out.

I still think the combined impact of 2006 and 2008 stacks up favorably against any two-cycle run in history.  Frankly, the fact that the Democrats have won so much just based upon Republican incompetence, without doing anything to establish their own ability to govern the country, is pretty remarkable.  That leads me to believe there's still some untapped potential out there if we do a good job over the next few years.

by Steve M 2008-11-05 11:36AM | 0 recs
Re: Those Other Pesky Senate Races

True..but maybe it was THAT much control... I'm thinking more Indies...

It could also have been the GOPers who supported Obama in the state as well.

by yitbos96bb 2008-11-05 11:58AM | 0 recs
I have a hunch

that Franken is going to pull this one out.

Coleman's pre-emptively arguing against the recount tells me he knows something we don't know.

Here's hoping . . .

by looty 2008-11-05 11:44AM | 0 recs
Re: Those Other Pesky Senate Races

Yeah our optimism was not quite there with Reality... but we won the White House... we PUSHED McConnell the brink... we increased our majority and should get a lot of things passed....

best of all, 2010 Looks like we have several great pickup Opportunities...

Kansas - Brownback is retiring, Sebelius is on term limits... We could see a situation like Virginia this year and Arizona in 2010 as well.

Arizona - McCain will either run again or retire, but Neopolitano is a strong candidate for the seat.

Alaska - Murkowski is the epitomy of corrupt nepotism... However, the fact that Stevens may win makes this harder... a lot of factors will come into play.

Florida - Martinez is a douche and will get a strong primary challenge.  He is beatable.

Iowa - Grassley is old and may retire... Vilsack would be a strong opponent.

Kentucky - PAGING BEN CHANDLER, PAGING BEN CHANDLER...   Bunning is ripe to be taken out after 2004 when an unknown nearly knocked him off.  Lunsford may also be an option.

Louisana - This is a longer shot but if they hit Vitter's Hookers hard, we could win.

Missouri - Kit Bond is not liked at all... There are several strong names, including Roger WIlson and the Carnahan kids, who could win this seat.

New Hampshire - Blue State with several nice choices to face Gregg including John Lynch.

North Carolina - A state that Obama won, where Hagen won and is trending bluer each election.   A great pickup chance with the right candidate...

Ohio - Voinovich is a prime target in a state that is trending back our way.

Oklahoma - Brad Henry would be a great candidate to face Coburn

PA - Specter is an institution, but he may change his mind on  re-election.  Even if he does run, there are several strong Dems who could retire him.

South Dakota - Daschle's old seat... There are a few Dems who could win.

I see 14 GOP seats that could potentially be competitive, depending on who runs.  Maybe we should look at some draft movements on some of our stronger people.  

Retirements will play a big part in how many we have to defend... but the totals are 19-15 GOP... this will be the last cycle we have less to defend.

by yitbos96bb 2008-11-05 11:56AM | 0 recs
everyone predited House pickups in the high 20's

"Is this a testament to McCain's last minute fear-mongering about single party rule or Obama's failure to more completely discredit the Republican Party and brand the Democratic Party as the party of change? Or perhaps Barack was enough change for people. For all the talk of an anti-incumbent mood, it just didn't happen, or at least it happened to a far lesser extent than most expected. On this morning after, with the elation of an imminent Obama presidency comes some definite disappointments."

It was felt that there would be House wins in the high 20'a.  Yes this a legitimate disaapointemnt. It could have been avoided.

4 REASONS

1. When McCain chose Sarah Palin, to counteract Obama not choosing Hillary, it didn't help McCain, but it helped Republicans in downticket races because she energized the Republican base exactly in those red states like KY and GA that we lost and in house races we should have gotten but didn't.  ...Only Palin as VP could have done that...no one else in the party could have done that as VP. McCain pidking Romeny would ahve emant another dozen seats for the House.

2. It's important to brand yourself as a Democrat rather than just yourself if you want your popularity to help down ticket Democrats.  Obama was more Obama than a Democrat

3.  For example ...I am sure it happened elsewhere as well. In California there was enormous drop off. Hundreds of thousands Obama voters only, again, only voted for Obama and no other downticket Democrats.  There really wasn't a 50 state strategy but an expanded swing state strategy.

4.  Just as with any presidential year, energy, money, resources go to the presidential campaign..not to more mundane races like House, Senate and local state races.  I made this exact same complaint about Bill Clinton in 1996 when I ran a constituency group for Clinton gore in NY State.  Presidents can be very self centered.  

by debcoop 2008-11-05 02:10PM | 0 recs
Re: Those Other Pesky Senate Races

"North Carolina - A state that Obama won, where Hagen won and is trending bluer each election.   A great pickup chance with the right candidate..."

Actually NC is a great pickup chance with any candidate!  I think we literally COULD run a yellow dog and beat Burr.  

Don't worry, we'll have a strong Democrat on the ballot - Burr is toast -he's very unpopular and is running in a seat that has NEVER been won by a Republican in a non-Presidential year.  

In fact Jesse Helms is the only Republican ever elected to the Senate from North Carolina in a non-Presidential year.  His reelections (all by narrow margins) were due to his outstanding constituent service and not because Tarheels were a bunch of bigots!

So Senator Hagan's term as Junior Senator from North Carolina will be short lived.  She'll be the Senior Senator come January, 2011!

by LanceS 2008-11-05 03:02PM | 0 recs
Re: Those Other Pesky Senate Races

It is a great day, but I live in Minnesota and really feel like the party didn't finish the job.  Two House elections went to Republicans (Paulsen in the 3rd and Bachmann in the 6th) and Coleman may escape in the Senate election.  In all three of those national offices, the winner was well below 50%.  Because of Jesse Ventura's win of the governorship 10 years ago, his Independence Pary is considered a major party and votes for Independence candidates have cost Democrats the governorship last year, as well as perhaps a Senate seat this year.

On an unrelated note, if scandals and nepotism can't bring down Republicans in Alaska, nothing will.  If Stevens wins the seat, the Democrats in that state won't take it away in a Special Election.  Hopefully, the early and absentee votes put Begich over the top.  And what does it take to oust Don Young?  Apparently, dead girls or live boys.

by flatblade 2008-11-05 12:05PM | 0 recs
Question: Is there an historical precedence...

...for what we expecting? +9 senate seats without a loss for a supermajority?

Personally, I think Democrats went into safe mode to protect an Obama Presidency, and if they had been a little less conservative the past two weeks, they may have had enough to put OR and MN and AK over the top. But the news cycle shifted away from them, and they played it safe.

People are going to be very wary of granting them a supermajority in the senate.

by iohs2008 2008-11-05 12:17PM | 0 recs
Obama's coattails were good enough!

Let's remember that the Democrats picked up 30 house seats and 6 senate seats in 2006. Given those victories, there just wasn't as much fertile territory available this time.  If the Democrats end up winning 6 senate seats and 23 or so house seats, that's 12 senate seats and 53 house seats over two consecutive elections.  Not bad at all by the standards of recent history!

Sure there are some disappointments.  The Stevens reelection is a disgrace.  Ugh, Bachmann got elected again!  So did McConnell.  Coleman may just not have been unpopular enough to lose very easily to a very different sort of candidate (I'm not comparing Franken to Jesse Ventura but Minnesotans still have some memories and regrets over that vote).  I don't care much for Coleman but I admit that he maintains a reasonable public persona and his shortcomings are not immediately obvious to those who haven't followed him closely.  And, even if Oregon's Smith hangs on, he's not such a bad senator.

Still, some notably bad Republicans went down:

Marilyn Musgrave, CO
Tom Feeney, FL
Robin Hayes, NC
Randy Kuhl, NY
Walberg, MI
Steve Chabot, OH
And, hooray, Bill Sali, ID (can you believe Democrats will have a congressman in Idaho?)

So, chin up.  Wishing for anything more than last night might be construed as being greedy!

by lombard 2008-11-05 12:38PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama's coattails were good enough!

I couldn't agree more!  We've gained as many House seats over the last two elections as the Republicans picked up in 1994, and are better off than they were since they lost seats two years later.

Sure, 60 in the Senate would have been nice, but 57-58 was always the most reasonable goal, and we should achieve that.  Plus, we could pick up another seat or two if Obama were to appoint Snow or Spector to a cabinet or other government position.

Just remember - two years ago we had 45 Senators and 202 Representatives - quite a gain!!  And we've lost 0 Senators in two cycles and only 4 House members in the same time, all of them Freshmen, who are expected to be vulnerable anyway.  We defended 29 of our 33 Freshmen in the House - pretty impressive if you ask me!

by LanceS 2008-11-05 03:12PM | 0 recs
Re: Single Party Rule

I think he definitely had coattails in New Mexico - a complete sweep of the 3 House districts, two of them pickups.  That 15 point win at the top of the ticket certainly didn't hurt.  I also think he played a big role in the pickups in NV and CO.

by LanceS 2008-11-05 03:13PM | 0 recs
Re: Those Other Pesky Senate Races

Wouldn't anti-incumbency work against Dems since they are in charge of Congress?

by MNPundit 2008-11-05 03:27PM | 0 recs

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