If you are a conservative, last night was not your night. Still, it came out far better than expected in some places — even as it turned out worse in others.
First, the bad news:
1) Apparent losses by Reps. Virgil Goode (R., Va.) and Ric Keller (R., Fla.) come as a surprise.
2) Rep. Paul Kanjorski (D., Pa.) survived, proof that Democrats don’t need ethics to win.
#ad#3) So did Rep. John Murtha (D., Pa.), proof that it doesn’t matter how badly they insult their constituents.
4) Don’t look now, but as of 4 A.M. Eastern Time, Sen. Ted Stevens and Rep. Don Young (both R., Alaska) may have both managed to survive.
Then there were the pleasant surprises — the good news:
1) Stevens will soon go to federal prison, and Young will, one hopes, have the decency to retire. Both can be replaced by someone worthy of office. Lt. Gov. Sean Parnell (R.) comes to mind.
2) Bill Cassidy (R.) took back the Baton Rouge, La., House seat that Republicans had lost earlier this year to Rep. Don Cazayoux (D.).
3) Rep. Tim Mahoney (D., Fla.) lost to conservative Tom Rooney (R., Fla.), making Florida’s long-suffering 16th District better off than it was four years ago (when it was represented by Mark Foley).
4) Despite being abandoned by the NRCC, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R., Minn.) won her race — her second in a row against a tough opponent, in an impossible year. If only more Republican congressmen paid as much attention as Bachmann to raising the money and doing what it takes to win.
5) Democrats also failed to seize retiring Rep. Jim Ramstad’s (R., Minn.) seat.
6) Rep. John Shadegg (R., Ariz.) somehow got the Democrats to spend $4.1 million against him, and then last night he made it look easy. Shadegg did a service for everyone — just imagine if that money had been spent in Louisiana or Minnesota?
7) Tom McClintock (R., Calif.) looks like he’s headed to Congress. If you recall, he is the one who tried to save California from Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2003.
8) Steve Stivers appears to have indeed held on to win an open House seat in Ohio.
9) Rep. Chris Shays (R., Conn.) finally lost.
It’s small consolation, perhaps. But there are still signs of life in the Republican party.
— David Freddoso is a NRO staff reporter.