Projected New Senate: 51 Democrats 49 Republicans
News from the Votemaster
At 3 p.m. EST today, Sen. George Allen (R-VA) conceded defeat to former Navy Secretary Jim Webb (D) in the Virginia Senate race. With this final victory, the Democrats have completed a feat that everyone thought beyond the realm of possibility: capturing both houses of Congress. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) will become Speaker of the House, Harry Reid (D-NV) will become majority leader in the Senate, and George Bush will become one very unhappy camper.
For those who don't remember, after the 1994 Republican tidal wave two senators switched from the losing team to the winning team: Richard Shelby (R-AL) and Ben Nighthorse Campbell (R-CO) jumped ship. Could that happen again? Joe Lieberman might jump, but generally rats leave a sinking ship rather than boarding it. Three names come to mind in this context: Arlen Spector (R-PA) and the two ladies from Maine, about whom more later.
Irony Department News: The Sarasota Herald Tribune reports that 18,000 Sarasota County citizens who turned out didn't bother to vote in the FL-13 congressional race to replace Katherine Harris. The race was won by just 368 votes. It smells fishy.
It is now time for the postmortem. The media have devoted a lot of attention to the Senate, so let's look at some of the House races. Today I will do the states A-M; tomorrow N-Z. After that I'll look at how well the various pollsters did.
In Arizona, Rick Renzi (R) (he with the 12 children) beat back a challenge from Ellen Simon in AZ-01 "> AZ-01 , but Harry Mitchell (D) defeated right-wing firebrand J.D. Hayworth in AZ-05 "> AZ-05 by 6%. In AZ-08 "> AZ-08 , which has a long border with Mexico, Gabrielle Giffords (D) beat Randy Graf (R) by 12%, despite the immigration issue. Graf is so conservative that the retiring Republican, Jim Kolbe, refused to endorse him.
In CA-08, Nancy Pelosi (D) won by a landslide, beating her hapless opponent by 69%. Now comes the hard part: herding Democrats is like herding cats. In CA-11 "> CA-11 , Jerry McNerny (D) beat Richard Pombo (R), the guy who took more Abramoff money ($500,000) than anyone else. In CA-50, Brian Bilbray (R) beat Francine Busby (D) again. He beat her in June by 4% in a special election to replace jailed congressman Randy Cunningham (R), but he beat her by even more (17%) this time. If she tries again in 2008, it will probably be a slaughter.
Colorado had several noteworthy races. In CO-04, Marilyn Musgrave (R), the lady who wants to stop all immigration, held onto her seat by 3%. In the seat opened up in CO-07 "> CO-07 by Bob Beauprez (R) who ran for governor and lost, Democrat Ed Perlmutter won quite easily by 13%.
Three races in Connecticut were very contentious. In CT-02 "> CT-02 , Rob Simmons (R) is trailing Joe Courtney (D) by 170 votes, with the provisional ballots yet to be processed. In CT-04 "> CT-04 , Christopher Shays (R), who has been to Iraq 14 times hung on against Diane Farrell by 3%. On the other hand, his colleague, Nancy Johnson in CT-05 "> CT-05 bit the dust by 12%. She is a nice lady and popular in her district, but Republicans are an endangered species in the Northeast.
Florida was the site of several battles. FL-13 "> FL-13 was another very close race, with car dealer Vern Buchanan (R) beating banker Christine Jennings (D) by 368 votes for Katherine Harris' seat in Sarasota. But as noted above, there appear to be massive voting irregularities in this race. Stay tuned. Businessman Tim Mahoney (D) narrowly beat state senator Joe Negron by 2% in Foley's (highly Republican) district. And in FL-22 "> FL-22 , Republican Clay Shaw's 13th run for Congress proved unlucky as Ron Klein beat him by 4%.
Georgia was one of the two states where Republicans had a decent shot of picking off incumbent Democrats. The most endangered were Jim Marshall in GA-08 and John Barrow in GA-12 "> GA-12 , but both narrowly survived due to the power of incumbency.
Late in the game, ID-01 suddenly was on the table, and all the Republican big guns went up there to save this open seat, with Bill Sali (R) beating Larry Grant (D) by 5%.
Illinois was also the site of some key races. In IL-06 "> IL-06 , Iraq war veteran Tammy Duckworth, who lost both legs when the helicopter she was piloting was shot down was beaten by 4% by trial lawyer Peter Roskam in Henry Hyde's (very Republican) district in suburban Chicago. The other endangered Democrat, Melissa Bean in IL-08 "> IL-08 , won surprisingly (by 8%) easily in her conservative district. Finally, Dennis Hastert cruised to reelection in IL-14, where protecting pedophiles is no big deal. I guess everybody does it there. Hastert has announced that he won't seek a leadership role in the 110th Congress (translation: no Republican representative in his right mind would vote for Hastert.
In Indiana, all three endangered Republicans (Chris Chocola in IN-02 "> IN-02 , John Hostettler in IN-08 "> IN-08 , and Mike Sodrel in IN-09 "> IN-09 ) struck out at the same time Sen. Richard Lugar (R-IN) was running unopposed.
Iowa also had a couple of competitive races. In the seat vacated by Jim Nussle (R) in his abortive run for governor, lawyer Bruce Braley (D) decisively defeated hotel owner Mike Whalen (R) by 12%. And in IA-02 "> IA-02 , college professor Dave Loebsack (D), who never ran for public office before, defeated long-term RINO Jim Leach (R), who voted against the Iraq war and against the Bush tax cuts. But the Republican label was his undoing.
What's the matter with Kansas? Beats me, but somehow Nancy Boyda (D) managed to unseat Jim Ryun (R) by 4% in KS-02.
Kentucky had three races that were in the news. Newspaper publisher John Yarmuth (D) squeaked past strong Bush supporter Anne Northup (R) in KY-03 "> KY-03 , but Ron Lewis (R) and Geoff Davis (R) survived in KY-02 and KY-04 "> KY-04 , respectively. Davis, in particular, outspent his opponent by a huge margin.
In Katrina-battered Louisiana, Charlie Melacon (D) beat back a challenge from Craig Romero easily in LA-03 "> LA-03 , in part due to his efforts to secure aid for the state, but in LA-02, nobody won; there will be a runoff in a couple of weeks. In many Southern states, if the winner is under 50%, the top two candidates face off later.
Maine is an interesting case. Demcrats won in landslides in both congressional districts and the Democratic governor, John Baldacci, was reelected. At the same time, Olympia Snowe (R) won a landslide victory. Clearly Maine is not really a Republican state. The two senators, Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins are personally very popular. If either one or both pulled a Jeffords and became independents aligned with the Democrats (like senator-elect Bernie Sanders in neighboring Vermont), their popularity would likely go up rather than down. In all speculation about senators switching parties, they are at the top of the list.
Tomorrow, I'll do states N-Z.
Projected New House*: 230 Democrats 200 Republicans 5 TiesSee complete House polls.
Dem pickups: AZ-05 AZ-08 CA-11 CO-07 CT-05 FL-16 FL-22 IA-01 IA-02 IN-02 IN-08 IN-09 KS-02 KY-03 MN-01 NC-11 NH-01 NH-02 NY-19 NY-20 NY-24 OH-18 PA-04 PA-07 PA-08 PA-10 TX-22 WI-08
See the details of the Senate and House races with photos, maps, links, polls, etc.
If you like this site, please announce it to news groups and blogs and tell your friends about it. If you have your own blog, please click on "For bloggers" above.
-- The Votemaster