"ThinkFast: November 3, 2010 — Election Edition"
Last night, Republicans gained control of 63 Democratic-held seats giving the GOP a net gain of 60 seats so far. The Republican wave “is bigger than the massive gains Republicans made in 1994,” when they picked up 52 seats.
After delivering a tearful victory speech last night, the presumptive House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) took a midnight phone call from President Obama who said “he was looking forward to working with him and the Republicans to find common ground.” Obama also called current Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), whose leadership will end in January, and Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) who will remain the Senate Minority Leader.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) defeated Tea Party-favorite Sharron Angle last night to help the Democrats maintain control of the Senate. “I’ve had some tight races, but this wasn’t one of them,” Reid said on CBS this morning. The Nevada senator defeated Angle by six points and had “overwhelming support” from minority voters.
It was a rough night for Democrats, but an even rougher night for conservative Blue Dog Democrats, who lost half of their caucus. According to a Huffington Post analysis, 23 of 46 Blue Dog Democrats lost, including Rep. Stephanie Herseth-Sandlin (D-SD), the coalition’s co-chair for administration, and Rep. Baron Hill (D-IN), the co-chair for policy.
Stalwart progressive voices like Reps. Tom Perriello (D-VA), Alan Grayson (D-FL), Patrick Murphy (D-PA), Mary Jo Kilroy (D-OH), and Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI), among others, went down in defeat.
The Republican surge last night also hit state legislatures, as the party took control of 18 chambers across the country. The takeover has serious implications for the makeup of Congress over the next decade, as state legislatures in most states will soon be redrawing Congressional districts.
Republicans won ten governorships last night, including in states that were long Democratic strongholds, like Wisconsin and Michigan. Meanwhile, Democrat Andrew Cuomo easily won the gubernatorial race in New York.
Republican House candidate in Ohio Rich Iott, who was criticized for dressing in a Nazi uniform during World War II re-enactments, lost to Democratic incumbent Marcy Kaptor in Ohio’s 9th District. Kaptor defeated Iott by nearly 20 percentage points.
California voters “rejected a ballot initiative on Tuesday that would have legalized marijuana for recreational use.” The initiative, known as Proposition 19, got 45.3 percent of the vote with 57 percent of precincts reporting.
California’s Proposition 23, which was backed by a variety of energy interests and would’ve disabled the state’s landmark climate change law, was soundly defeated. Voters also passed Proposition 25, which would allow a legislative majority in the state capital to pass budgets with a majority vote.
And finally: MSNBC host Chris Matthews asked Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) last night if she was “hypnotized.” Matthews was pressing her on whether the new GOP majority would use its subpoena power to investigate Democrats for “un-American activities,” but Bachmann refused to give a straight answer and would not “budge from her talking points on jobs and the economy.” “Has someone hypnotized you?” Matthews asked, “Because no matter what I ask you, you give the same answer.”