Nov. 04 absentee ballot for overseas voters

Senate Dem 52   GOP 46   Ind 1 Ties 1
House Dem 185   GOP 239   Ties 11

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News from the Votemaster            

Bennet Wins in Colorado     Permalink

Sen Michael Bennet (D-CO) pulled off a very narrow victory over tea party candidate Ken Buck (R) in Colorado. Buck defeated former lieutenant governor Jane Norton (R) in a bitter primary. Norton was the clear favorite over Bennet. This new result means that the Democrats will have 52 seats in the Senate, 53 if Sen Patty Murray (D-WA) holds onto her lead there. It also means that the tea party candidates cost the Republicans three seats they would have won had they fielded more conventional politicians, namely Colorado, Nevada, and Delaware.

Bennet's victory in Colorado has another consequence: keeping Ben Nelson and Joe Lieberman inside the corral. If Nelson and Lieberman had any thoughts of joining the Republicans, those thoughts are now all gone because if both of them jumped ship (even assuming Murray loses), the Senate would be divided 50-50, with Vice President Joe Biden actually having a day job--voting in the Senate to break ties.

Murray Still Leading in Washington     Permalink

Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) has a lead of about 25,000 votes over Dino Rossi (R). There are probably still 300,000 votes to be counted in King County, where Murray is getting about 62% of the votes. When they are counted, she could net over 70,000 votes. However there are also votes to be counted in (less populated) Eastern Washington, where Rossi is strong.

Full House Results     Permalink

The results of all House races as of yesterday evening are available as a table here. The data are also available as a .csv file for downloading here. Please check your own congressional district using the above link and at CNN and let me know if there has been an update since last night.

These results are not final, however, as some precincts still had not reported at the time the numbers were entered. Also, some races haven't been decided yet. These include AZ-07, AZ-08, CA-11, CA-20, IL-08, KY-06, NY-25, TX-27, VA-11, and WA-02.

Michele Bachmann to Run for Leadership Position     Permalink

Campaigning is one thing; governing is something quite different. We will find out soon enough what the 60 or so tea party candidates entering the House are made of. They will need leaders to focus their energy and one of them is now emerging: Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) has announced she is running to be chair of the Republican Conference, the #4 slot in the Republican leadership. The current chair, Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN), is vacating the position in preparation for a run for governor of Indiana in 2012. The top two Republicans, soon-to-be Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and soon-to-be majority leader Eric Cantor (R-VA), support Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) for the post. Bachmann is very similar to Sarah Palin and Christine O'Donnell, a good-looking woman who is an extreme right-wing firebrand and who is exceedingly polarizing. People love her or hate her. There is no middle ground. Bachmann has close ties to the tea party and can count on support from many of the new members. Hensarling has a very conservative voting record but he is not a rabble rouser at all and has no ties to the tea party. Boehner and Cantor were happy to take the votes of the tea party activists but certainly have no desire to turn actual power over to them.

The fight over the Conference chair could be the opening round in a long battle between the tea party representatives, who came to Washington to change it, and the establishment, which is happy to talk about changing Washington during campaigns but has no desire to actually rock the boat. So while everyone is talking about the expected fight between the House and President Obama, the initial fight may be within the House Republican caucus, pitting the tea partiers against Boehner, Cantor, and company. As an aside, Cantor, the only Jewish Republican in Congress, as majority leader will soon be the highest-ranking Jew ever in government.

Blue Dogs Halved     Permalink

As expected, the conservative Blue Dog Democrats bore the brunt of the wave Tuesday, losing over half their members. Here is the list of members and what happened to each one.

CD PVI Dem candidate Dem GOP% Result
GA-12 D+1 John Barrow* 57% 43% Won
OR-05 D+1 Kurt Schrader* 51% 46% Won
IA-03 D+1 Leonard Boswell* 51% 47% Won
GA-02 D+1 Sanford Bishop* 51% 49% Won
PA-08 D+2 Patrick Murphy* 46% 54% Lost
TN-05 D+3 Jim Cooper* 57% 42% Won
ME-02 D+3 Mike Michaud* 55% 45% Won
CA-18 D+4 Dennis Cardoza* 58% 42% Won
CA-47 D+4 Loretta Sanchez* 51% 42% Won
CA-20 D+5 Jim Costa* 49% 51% Lost
CA-36 D+12 Jane Harman* 60% 35% Won
CA-43 D+13 Joe Baca* 65% 35% Won
CA-01 D+13 Mike Thompson* 63% 32% Won
CA-29 D+14 Adam Schiff* 65% 32% Won
GA-13 D+15 David Scott* 69% 31% Won
TX-28 R+0 Henry Cuellar* 56% 42% Won
OH-06 R+2 Charlie Wilson* 45% 50% Lost
IN-02 R+2 Joe Donnelly* 48% 47% Won
NY-24 R+2 Mike Arcuri* 47% 53% Lost
NY-20 R+2 Scott Murphy* 45% 55% Lost
PA-03 R+3 Kathy Dahlkemper* 44% 56% Lost
KS-03 R+3 Stephene Moore 38% 59% Dennis Moore retired, seat lost
AZ-08 R+4 Gabrielle Giffords* 49% 48% Won
MN-07 R+5 Collin Peterson* 55% 38% Won
VA-02 R+5 Glenn Nye* 42% 53% Lost
AZ-05 R+5 Harry Mitchell* 42% 53% Lost
CO-03 R+5 John Salazar* 46% 50% Lost
NC-07 R+5 Mike McIntyre* 54% 46% Won
FL-02 R+6 Allen Boyd* 41% 54% Lost
IN-09 R+6 Baron Hill* 42% 52% Lost
CA-04 R+6 Betsy Markey* 41% 53% Lost
NC-11 R+6 Heath Shuler* 54% 46% Won
PA-04 R+6 Jason Altmire* 51% 49% Won
TN-08 R+6 Roy Herron 39% 59% John Tanner retired, seat lost
PA-17 R+6 Tim Holden* 56% 44% Won
AR-04 R+7 Mike Ross* 58% 40% Won
OH-18 R+7 Zack Space* 40% 54% Lost
AR-01 R+8 Chad Causey 43% 52% Marion Berry retired, seat lost
PA-10 R+8 Chris Carney* 45% 55% Lost
IN-08 R+8 Trent VanHaaften 38% 57% Brad Ellsworth ran for Senate, seat lost
KY-06 R+9 Ben Chandler* 50% 50% Tie
SD-AL R+9 Stephanie Herseth Sandlin* 46% 48% Lost
ND-AL R+10 Earl Pomeroy* 45% 55% Lost
GA-08 R+10 Jim Marshall* 47% 53% Lost
LA-03 R+12 Ravi Sangisetty 36% 64% Charlie Melancon ran for Senate, seat lost
TN-06 R+13 Brett Carter 29% 87% Bart Gordon retired, seat lost
MD-01 R+13 Frank Kratovil* 42% 55% Lost
TN-04 R+13 Lincoln Davis* 38% 57% Lost
OK-02 R+14 Dan Boren* 57% 43% Won
MS-01 R+14 Travis Childers* 41% 55% Lost
UT-02 R+15 Jim Matheson* 51% 46% Won
AL-02 R+16 Bobby Bright* 49% 51% Lost
ID-01 R+18 Walt Minnick* 41% 51% Lost
MS-04 R+20 Gene Taylor* 47% 52% Lost

Of the 54 Blue Dogs, six retired or ran for other offices. All six seats were won by Republicans. Of the remaining 48 seats where the incumbent Blue Dog was running, 24 of them won and 23 lost. One seat, Ben Chandler in KY-06, is still undecided. The net result of this drubbing is that the Democratic caucus will move to the left since the remaining Democrats are freed of at least 29 pesky Blue Dogs. Of course, the Republican caucus will move sharply to the right due to the addition of many tea party candidates. Everybody is itching for a fight, so despite everybody's pro-forma promise to work together for the good of the country, the 112th House is going to be extremely fractious and is likely to accomplish nothing.

Scott is Elected Governor of Florida     Permalink

Despite his company being convicted of 14 felony counts of defrauding Medicare and being fined half a billion dollars for it, Rick Scott (R) won a narrow victory over Alex Sink and has been elected governor of Florida.

Several other gubernatorial races are still undecided though. These include Oregon (although some sources are predicting that Democrat John Kitzhaber will win), Connecticut, Illinois, and Minnesota. Vermont was also very close, but Democrat Peter Shumlin as apparently one that won. Recounts are likely to be needed in some, or all, of these states. The people of Minnesota are probably not looking forward to the recount process since they have some recent experience with the process.

Lessons Learned     Permalink

Elections are teaching and learning moments. Only not everyone learns the same things. Here are some lessons one could draw from this election.

  • High office can be bought. While Meg Whitman spent $150 million of her own money and came up empty, that was largely because she was taken down by her illegal maid in the final weeks of the campaign. Had she not hired an illegal alien, she might well have been able to buy the governorship as Jerry Brown (D) did not run an especially distinguished campaign. The poster child for buying a governorship however, is Rick Scott. Despite a fairly sordid past, perpetrating the biggest Medicare fraud in history, he so thoroughly blanketed the airwaves with ads attacking his opponent that he won. Ron Johnson, another millionaire with no political experience managed to buy himself a Senate seat in Wisconsin. It doesn't always work, though. Millionaires Linda McMahon and John Raese failed in Connecticut and West Virginia, respectively, but surely future millionaires who can part with $50-100 million are going to be encouraged by this election.
  • You Don't Have to Accept Defeat. Lisa Murkowski lost her primary but simply continued her campaign as a write-in candidate. She may win yet as "write-in" got more votes than the Democrat or Republican, but it remains to be seen who was written in. In the future, other losing candidates are likely to refuse to accept the verdict of the voters and keep on campaigning, as Murkowski did.
  • Framing matters. The Republicans managed to cast this election as the country's last ditch effort to stop socialism. The Democrats passed a huge tax cut as part of the stimulus bill but that never brought the subject up. They could have campaigned as the party that cut taxes for the middle class. But they allowed the Republicans to set the frame, which resulted in disaster for them.
  • Sticking together works. In January 2009, the Republicans were down in the dumps. The Democrats had just captured the White House and had huge majorities in both chambers of Congress. Furthermore they had no new ideas to rally the troops. It looked hopeless. But they stuck together, with nary a dissenter, opposing everything Obama did. They operated as a monolithic block just saying no to everything. And it worked. They were rewarded with huge gains in the Senate and House. Compare that to 2000, when the Republicans controlled the White House and had far smaller majorities in the Senate and House. It was every Democrat for himself. As a result, President Bush got pretty much everything he wanted. If the Democrats had filibustered every bill that came up in the Senate, the Bush administration would have been wildly different.

Rasmussen Was Biased     Permalink

Statistician Nate Silver did an analysis of the polls from Rasmussen Reports (and its low-budget subsidiary Pulse) and concluded that 70-75% of the final 21 days' of polls overestimated the Republicans' performance, by an average of 3 to 4 points. Our earlier analysis showed the same thing, which is why we ran an alternative "Rasmussen-free" main page every day, to show what the state of affairs was if all Rasmussen and Pulse polls were ignored.

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Recent Headlines (clickable)

Nov03 4:30 P.M. EDT CNN Calls Colorado for Bennet
Nov03 4:00 P.M. EDT More House Races Added
Nov03 11:55 EDT Several Governors' Races Still Not Determined
Nov03 11:30 EDT CNN Calls Florida Governor's Race for Scott
Nov03 8:33 EDT Tea Party Costs Republicans Control of the Senate
Nov03 Governors' Races
Nov03 Democrats Hold the Senate
Nov03 California Bucks the Trend
Nov03 House Results
Nov03 GOP Sweeps House
Nov03 Republicans Pick Up Governor's Seats
Nov03 6:40 A.M. EDT Democrats Hold the Senate
Nov03 6:40 A.M. EDT Democrats Hold the Senate
Nov03 GOP Takes House, Democrats Hold Senate
Nov02 Real-time Updates will begin around 1 A.M. EDT
Nov02 Poll closing times
Nov02 Seven Senate Races Could Go Either Way
Nov02 Nearly Certain Democratic Losses in the House
Nov02 Probable Democratic Losses in the House
Nov02 Potential Democratic Losses in the House
Nov02 Probably Republican Losses in the House
Nov02 Close Gubernatorial Contests in Half a Dozen States
Nov02 Whither the Tea Party?
Nov02 Can You Buy a Senate Seat or Governor's Post?
Nov02 Some Bellwether Races to Watch
Nov02 Today's Polls: CA CO CT FL IL NC NH NV NY OH PA WA WV
Nov01 Republicans Have a 6- to 10-Point Lead in Generic Ballot Poll
Nov01 Tea Party Candidates Get Big Contributions from Wall Street
Nov01 Guesses about the 17 Unpolled Close races
Nov01 Chaos in Alaska
Nov01 Both Parties Prepare for Recount Battles
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Nov01 Country Split on Obama
Nov01 Today's Polls: AK AR CO GA IL KY NY PA WA WI WV ID-01 NH-01 NH-02 NM-01 NM-02 NM-03 NV-03 UT-01 UT-03
Oct31 Pundits: Dems Keep Senate, GOP Takes House
Oct31 Obama Campaigning in Four States
Oct31 Meek Reconsidered
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