Aftermath: The best and worst of The Wave

posted at 12:55 pm on November 3, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

Just a few personal leftover musings from a historic night ….

First off, I always have fun on Election Night, regardless of outcome, because it always reminds me of how blessed we are to have a stable electoral system that (nearly) always reflects the will of the electorate.  No one who sat through the 2006 and 2008 campaigns could seriously doubt that the electorate intended to deliver a spanking to the GOP and succeeded in doing so. The same holds for last night, in the reverse.

However, I’d be lying if I said that 2006 and 2008 were anywhere near as enjoyable as last night, for obvious reasons, and especially 2006.  On that night when Democrats took over both chambers of Congress, I took part in a CNN blogger special at a coffee house in DC filled with bloggers from across the political spectrum.  We had a great time hanging out with each other, and most of them were gracious in victory, but getting hit with a major loss while on national TV isn’t the most pleasant feeling in the world.  Watching your party take control of your state legislature from the confines of GOP HQ?  Better.

That doesn’t mean it was a perfect night, though.  We had some disappointments along with some pleasant surprises in what was a banner night for Republicans nationwide.  Here are my nominations for the best — and worst — of the 2010 Wave.


  • Biggest nailbiter – Pennsylvania.  While Illinois looked better than the first numbers showed, because much of it came out of Chicago, I couldn’t get a handle at all on Pat Toomey’s eventual narrow victory over Joe Sestak.  It looked as though it was slipping away late into the count, but Toomey’s districts finally arrived to carry him over the top.  I believe I actually said, “Whew!” when media outlets began calling it for Toomey.
  • Biggest victory – Mark Kirk beats Alexi Giannoulias in Illinois.  Not only does Kirk take the seat immediately to fill out the remaining term left on interim Senator Roland Burris’ term, but Kirk takes the seat that propelled Barack Obama to the presidency.
  • Most disappointing – Nevada.  I was prepared to lose California and Connecticut as the states are blue anyway, but Republicans had a good shot at winning Nevada.  Reid has lost popularity in the state, and his son went down to a humiliating defeat at the top of the ticket for governor.  Even after the networks called it, I was asking everyone whether the numbers looked right to them.
  • The Here We Go Again Award – Washington, where Dino Rossi may wind up in yet another recount in what we knew was a close, close race.


  • The Schadenfreude Award/Most Satisfying – Alan Grayson gets an 18-point walloping after one of the sleaziest campaigns ever.  Congratulations to Dan Webster.
  • Biggest victory – I’d call this a tie between SC-05 and VA-05, with perhaps a little MO-04 thrown in as well.  Tom Perriello’s defeat in Virginia came after a high-profile intervention by Barack Obama which reinforced the national-referendum aspect of the midterms.  In terms of impact in the House, though, the loss of two major chairs by the Democrats is a hard slap across the face.  Ike Skelton (MO) chairs the Armed Services Committee and John Spratt (SC) the Budget Committee — you know, the one that failed to produce a budget despite a 77-seat majority in the House.  Democratic leadership just took a big kick in the teeth.
  • Biggest victory (personal) – I have gotten to know a few of the candidates over the past month, and I’m thrilled to see Renee Ellmers (NC-02) and Chip Cravaack (MN-08) win upsets over entrenched incumbents.  Ellmers ran against Bob Etheridge, who attained YouTube immortality for putting a cameraman in a headlock while demanding, “Who are you?”  Oberstar gets to live in a district he has only visited over the last 50 years … finally.’
  • The Comet Kohoutek Award for Least-Deserving Hype over Competitiveness – I’ll give this one to MN-06, where Democrats poured money while explaining that Michele Bachmann was vulnerable in this election cycle.  They even sent Bill Clinton into the district more than once to campaign for Tarryl Clark.  Bachmann just barely managed to get by … by thirteen points.  Clark didn’t even get to 40%.
  • Biggest disappointment – Thankfully, we didn’t have many of these.  If I had to pick one, I’d say NY-22’s decision to stick with Maurice Hinchey after he assaulted a reporter, demanded the nationalization of the oil industry, and opposed the natural-gas industry was one of the most bizarre.
  • Biggest disappointment (Minnesota edition) – Teresa Collett ran a note-perfect campaign in MN-04 against an incumbent who told voters that “al-Qaeda no longer poses a threat to the United States” eight days before al-Qaeda launched a parcel-bomb attack against our cargo systems.  The D+13 district gave Betty McCollum a 24-point win over Teresa, who clearly deserved much better.  Too bad the same can’t be said of St. Paul voters.


  • Best news no one was watching – The GOP wins in gubernatorial and state legislature elections positions the party for a decade of ascendance.
  • Best web tools on Election Night – Thanks to very spotty internet connections at the GOP HQ last night, I had to be very particular about what sites I used to update my data.  It may be anathema to write this, but the New York Times had the best tools to follow the races without question.  Easier to load than most, the graphical displays and roll-over data made it easy to keep up with fast-changing results, and their updates appeared constant.

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Those of us in CO have to vicariously celebrate with the rest of you, all we got here was Treasurer, Secretary of State, and the flip to GOP for the State Senate.

The polls completely blew it on Tancredo, Buck lost, and Ryan Frasier, our rep candidate lost handily to Perlmutter, ugh.

We did get rid of Markey and Salazar, so there’s a little consolation.

Californians that ruined their own state have been coming here for years and it’s starting to show. Only 47% of people currently living here were born here.

I’m moving to Wyoming.

Common Sense on November 3, 2010 at 3:43 PM

LOL, it wasn’t that bad. 18 states had GOP gains of more than one House seats, and Colorado was one of them.

Yeah, the Senate seat and Governor was hard to swallow. I had hopes for Tancredo but running on a 3rd party ticket proved too difficult. In retrospect, Buck did not run a good campaign, and Karl Rove blew it with the advertising campaign from Crossroads (very poorly run).

But I am very pleased with Gardner & Tipton. And taking control of the State Senate prevents the Dems from gerrymandering next year. We got very close to taking back the State House as well.

Norwegian on November 3, 2010 at 5:00 PM

New Haven Registrar of Voters Sharon Ferrucci Wednesday afternoon said Malloy got 22,300 votes, including the absentee ballots, while Foley got 3,685. Bysiewicz said unofficially Bridgeport reported Malloy with 19,148 votes to 6,502 for Foley, but it was unclear if the absentee ballots were included.

Apparently that is the total of Bridgeport. CNN is showing that total and saying it’s only 60% of the precincts in Bpt but it’s actually the total. So the Foley lead with 6810 is with Bpt counted. What putting Malloy over the top is New Haven which is the last to report despite having not ballot shortages and no late voting. And what a surprise the vote for New Haven is exactly 22,300 on the nose. Just enough for Malloy to win and keep him from an automatic recount. This will be in the courts for sure. If the Repubs just concede that they might as well just give up on running candidates in CT at all.

Rocks on November 3, 2010 at 5:05 PM

Biggest win was the state governments, because people have clearly decided to buckle down state budgets. That spells long-term change for DC. Bottom-up works. Bottom-down usually doesn’t.

Biggest disappointment was Linda M. in CT. I really wanted her to do better. And Christine O’Donnell didn’t move her polls even a smidge.

Coons is a jerk, in my opinion.

Finally, I’m really disappointed Lisa M. looks like she’ll be rewarded for being corrupt as heck.

AnninCA on November 3, 2010 at 5:07 PM

Oh and by the way both those votes totals for Bpt and New Haven are way over what they got in 2006 which was another midterm and gubernatorial election. Malloy actually did much better than the Destefano (D) did in Bpt and New Haven in 2006. New Haven is particularly surprising as Destefano was the very popular mayor of New Haven at the time.

The Dems stole both this and CT4 with ballot stuffing in Bpt and New Haven.

Rocks on November 3, 2010 at 5:12 PM

Most disappointing: Quinn winning over Brady in IL for governor.

Will IL survive?

Hendo on November 3, 2010 at 2:28 PM

Brady hasn’t conceded. This is FAR from over.

annoyinglittletwerp on November 3, 2010 at 5:15 PM

if the Republicans likewise fail to understand the lessons of this election, Barry will be around ’til 2016.


With so many stupid voters like you around, the left always has a decent shot.

xblade on November 3, 2010 at 5:21 PM

All I have to say is sorry

We gave it a go here in California. Orange County did their best 58% Meg vs 37% Brown, 59% Carly 36% Boxer. Many other counties look the same. Unfortunately we have Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Contra Costa counties to render our votes moot. Same as it ever was….

Ditkaca on November 3, 2010 at 5:24 PM

And the hand-wringing continues. This made me laugh out loud. Kids are flaky??? What???? He’s just not had enough time to spend enough money to get us out of debt!!!

PS. It wasn’t the kids not showing up, the adults were tired of the kids in power.

hoosiermama on November 3, 2010 at 5:30 PM

I’m happy for the GOP victory… But I’m really happy that christine o’donnell lost. What a joke it would have been if she pulled it out

Opinionnation on November 3, 2010 at 5:35 PM

We have the 4th largest English-speaking legislative body in the world, so that is a major accomplishment.

Del Dolemonte on November 3, 2010 at 2:03 PM

So every citizen gets its own state rep? Cool.

angryed on November 3, 2010 at 4:00 PM

LOL, not quite. It works out to one state rep for every 2400 or so citizens.

Del Dolemonte on November 3, 2010 at 5:44 PM

Californians that ruined their own state have been coming here for years and it’s starting to show. Only 47% of people currently living here were born here.

I’m moving to Wyoming.

Common Sense on November 3, 2010 at 3:43 PM

Don’t hate on all us Californians, please. My husband and I are conservatives and Republicans and always (futilely) vote that way. My husband’s real estate-based business has been decimated and we have been underemployed for 3 years now (no unemployment benefits for small business). We’ve now lost our business, our home, and after last night, any hope of California coming to it’s senses. A little hard to get out of bed this morning. And now, if our fellow conservatives don’t want us…

KaliMom on November 3, 2010 at 5:50 PM

Oh, and we voted to give our Legislature the power to raise taxes by a simple majority.Good one. Once Jerry becomes Gov., I’m sure he will use that alot.

sandee on November 3, 2010 at 1:35 PM

Wow. The coast really is toast.
I don’t think I’ll be moving back any time soon.

Count to 10 on November 3, 2010 at 6:29 PM

After telling everyone here for the past three months not to worry about Nevada going to Reid, it did. I’m so sorry. Las Vegas was listed last week as one of the stupidest cities in America. I’m afraid we lived up to the hype. What happens in Vegas…

Mojave Mark on November 3, 2010 at 8:45 PM

I personally like the ring of Senator Teresa Collett. Just sayin…

hoakie on November 3, 2010 at 8:47 PM

I thought Nevada was disappointing as well, but looking at the map, it reflects what happens in most states with large cities. The cities are populated with liberals and they control the fate of the state. Add in the fact that Vegas in particular has been overrun with people fleeing California in the last five years or so, plus Dingy’s GOTV effort and the unions pressuring their casino worker rank and file to get to the polls and I suppose the outcome could have been worse than it was.

Also, let’s not discount the fact that Reid, for as unpopular as he is, is still the Senate Majority Leader and that’s a pretty big feather in a state’s cap. I can see where that might have been the deciding factor for some on-the-fence voters, of which there were many apparently. It would be hard for some to give that up.

NoLeftTurn on November 3, 2010 at 10:02 PM

Californians that ruined their own state have been coming here for years and it’s starting to show. Only 47% of people currently living here were born here.

I’m moving to Wyoming.

Common Sense on November 3, 2010 at 3:43 PM

So then you’ll become one of the people living in Wyoming who weren’t born there?

Your birthplace has almost nothing to do with whether you’re a good fit for the culture of a particular state. I’ve been perennially pissed at the “Colorado Native” snobs, because even though my family moved here when I was nine, and I’ve been a far better Coloradan than a boatload of actual natives, I still get looked down on because I wasn’t born here.

I don’t like the Californication of Colorado any more than you, but you can put your “I’m a native” snobbery in your pipe and smoke it, bub.

VekTor on November 4, 2010 at 3:49 PM