Oh What a Night
Well, it's looking pretty interesting out there this morning!
The results in the House were largely unsurprising, but there were a few treats to be had. I am particularly delighted in the defeats of JD Hayworth (AZ-5), Richard Pombo (CA-11), Curt Weldon (PA-7) and John Sweeney (NY-20). We lost a fair number of House GOP centrists last night (Hart, Johnson, Bass, for example) and a couple of those seats (i.e. Simmons) remain to be decided. The fact that the seats once held by Bob Ney and Tom DeLay are now in Democratic hands is somehow fitting, and I'm pleased to see that Democrat Michael Arcuri will now represent my home district, NY-24 (after our centrist Republican Sherwood Boehlert retired).
I was surprised to see that things had changed a little in the Senate during the few hours of sleep I got last night. I was very pleased very early to see that we had seen a Santorum defeat (few things could have made me happier, actually), and the GOP losses in RI and OH followed soon after that. As I watched the other results come in I wasn't sure how the Democrats could pull off wins where they needed to, but before I slept Webb had taken a slight lead in VA (which seems to be holding at this point). In Missouri, I'd about given up on a McCaskill win, but just before I went to sleep I heard CNN say that the outstanding precincts were in St. Louis, and remembered Election Night 2000 when Ashcroft's defeat to the (recently deceased) Mel Carnahan played out almost exactly the same way.
As it stands this morning, Democrats must win both VA and MT, and their candidates hold small leads in both states. Presuming those leads hold, it'll be a 51-49 Senate for the Democrats when all is done and counted - and then things get really interesting!
While I regret the losses of so many GOP centrists, I cannot blame the voters in their districts/states for choosing different representation. The Republican Party had lost its way, and in a nationalized election like this midterm became, local concerns or popularity just wasn't enough to carry the day. Now is the time for the Republican Party to realize that playing to the ultra-conservative base was not a winning strategy, and to understand that it is the center that matters, not the extremes. Look at how the independents voted all across the country last night and that becomes more than obvious.
Now it is the turn of the Democrats, and an opportunity for all of us who seek progress to work together and get some things done. I hope that the new Democratic leadership will commit itself to fairness, openness, and a new ethics in Washington. The American people asked for change, let's make sure they get it.