The Campaign Spot

A Mostly Delightful, but Sometimes Very Weird Night

I’ve been talking and Tweeting much of the night, as by the time I am ready to post, the information feels out of date. There are a lot of scoreboards out there, but a couple of quick thoughts . . .

It’s the biggest Republican gain in two generations — and yet, because of a few key races, it feels a little disappointing.

Wins to savor tonight: Marco Rubio in Florida, Pat Toomey in Pennsylvania, Bobby Schilling in Illinois. Nikki Haley in South Carolina. Daniel Webster’s defeat of the Devil in Florida’s 8th district. Susana Martinez’s big win in New Mexico. Allen West.

Chip Cravaack beating James Oberstar in Minnesota. Mick Mulvaney beating John Spratt in South Carolina. The big comeback in New York State’s House races.

Right now, GOP gains are at 57 seats in the House, 6 seats in the Senate.

Renee Ellmers finished narrowly ahead of Bob Etheridge in NC-2. Oddly, the other endangered Democrats hung on!

I suspect a major question in the coming days will be understanding why Republicans did phenomenally well in House races, pretty darn well in gubernatorial races (still waiting on a few), and a little disappointing in Senate races (losing NV, WV, CT, DE, CA, and perhaps WA and CO). One theory will be that the Democrats successfully personalized these races.

Or perhaps it will be a question of candidate quality. I ended up loving the tenaciousness of Linda McMahon’s campaign, but her WWE past was less than ideal for a run against a state attorney general. Sharron Angle’s flaws? We can discuss them more later, but we all know they’re there. Ditto Christine O’Donnell. Dan Maes. Carl Paladino. A lot of key races ended up with candidates who were . . . let’s just say easily painted as out of the mainstream. The margin for error, even in a big GOP year, may have been smaller than primary voters expected.

It is a great night for Republicans. But it was an enormous opportunity; many candidates took advantage of it, but a few saw it slip through their fingers.

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