More House Races Settled
A few more close House races have been settled.
In AZ-07, with covers over half the border between Arizona and Mexico and where over half the residents are Latino,
Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) was narrowly reelected.
In AZ-08, which covers the rest of the border, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) won a close race.
In TX-27, Blake Farenthold (R), grandson of Sissy Farenthold (a well-known Texas Democratic politician)
upset Rep. Solomon Ortiz (D-TX).
Races still to be decided are CA-11, CA-20, IL-08, KY-06, NY-25, VA-11, and WA-02.
In addition, there may be recounts in various districts (e.g., NC-02, WV-01).
Minnesota Governor's Race Will Have a Recount
As Yogi Berra put it: "It's deja vu all over again" in Minnesota.
Currently, former senator Mark Dayton (D) is
state representative Tom Emmer (R) by 8,775 votes but Emmer won't concede so a recount is likely.
Dayton has already hired some of the lawyers who represented Al Franken in his recount battle with Norm Coleman in 2009.
Also, Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R-MN) has graciously announced that he is willing to stay on as governor until the new one is
determined. The legality of this kindness is highly questionable since he was elected to a four-year term that ends Jan. 2, 2011.
Any bills (possibly including the state budget) he signs after his term is up might be subject to court challenges.
Malloy Wins in Connecticut
With all the votes finally counted, Dan Malloy (D) has a lead of 5,637 votes over Tom Foley (R).
Based on unofficial totals, the Secretary of State, Susan Bysiewicz, has
Malloy the winner.
Under state law, a recount is only triggered if the margin is under 2,000 votes. However, Foley has refused to concede and it is
not clear yet what he will do next.
Kitzhaber Returns to Governor's Mansion in Oregon
John Kitzhaber, the once and future governor of Oregon,
former NBA basketball player Chris Dudley to become governor of Oregon again, a job he held from 1995 to 2003. It was a close
race but Dudley has now conceded. Apparently there is a lot of nostalgia out on the West Coast as California also elected a
former governor, Jerry Brown (D), to be the next governor as well.
Pelosi to Run for Minority Leader
A peculiarity of the House is about to cause to big fight among House Democrats and also House Republicans.
In the Senate, each party has two top leaders,
the majority or minority leader and the Whip. In the House, both of those positions exist, too, but also the constitutionally
mandated position of Speaker, elected by the entire House. In practice, this means the majority party has three top leaders and
the minority party has two. For the Democrats, this means a game of musical chairs, with Speaker Nancy Pelosi, majority leader
Steny Hoyer, and Whip James Clyburn now competing for only two positions. Pelosi has
to run for minority leader. While the Republicans hate her and used her as a foil in the election, their hatred is largely
due to her being a powerful and effective leader. As such, much of her caucus supports her. Only the Blue Dogs disliked her,
but they have been
so Pelosi is likely to be elected minority leader easily.
That leaves only one top slot over: Whip. The current Whip, Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC), has no intention of quitting the
job, which leaves majority leader Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD) with no place to go. Accordingly, he is planning to challenge
Clyburn for the Whip position. In public, Pelosi has not taken a stance on this election (yet), but her dislike for Hoyer is well known.
Also, by promoting Clyburn, who is black, to the #2 position, the Democrats have another top figure to help turn out the
black vote in 2012.
The Republicans have the reverse problem: instead of two top slots they now have three. Rep. John Boehner (R-OH) will
likely become Speaker and Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA) will become majority leader, but a
is shaping up for the Whip
position because the previous #3, Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) doesn't want to continue in the leadership as he is
planning to run for governor of Indiana in 2012.
Tea party favorite Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) is running for the #3 slot in the House leadership, but Boehner and Cantor are supporting
Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX).
Her run will be the first test of the tea party's clout. If they can elect one of their own to the House leadership, they
will have made a transition from protesting to governing. If they lose this one, Boehner and the other leaders will
continue to pay them lip service, but do nothing to advance their goals except where they happen to coincide with the
Republican establishment's goals.
So both parties are headed for competitive leadership positions in the House. In the Senate, nothing will change,
with Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) remaining as majority leader and Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) staying on as majority Whip.
For the Republicans, the minority leader will continue to be Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY), with Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) staying on
Further down the pecking order, Senate Democrats have one change coming up. The Democratic Policy Committee Chair position
is going to be vacant due to the retirement of Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-ND), so a new one will be needed. This position is #5
on the totem pole. A complete list of the Senate leadership positions can be found
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