Supposedly ol’ Mav himself told the AP yesterday that it’s “very likely” he’ll run but I can’t find that quote in the actual video. Fun fact, though: When the clip was first posted last night, some outfits like Yahoo News titled it, “McCain: ‘Very Likely’ Will Run for President in 2016.” I knew it was a mistake, of course, but for one soaring moment I thought I might have something even better than another Mitt Romney candidacy with which to troll the Hot Air faithful. Ah well. The headline’s corrected now.

For now, for the record, he’s merely “leaning towards” running.

“We were talking to our longtime supporters — many of whom have been with us for many years and we’re grateful for their support — about the options, and what we see as the future of the party in Washington and here in Arizona,” McCain said. “We’re getting a lot of their input as to whether I should run for re-election or not. They know that I am seriously considering it, and leaning towards it.”…

“We’ve got to get going early next year,” he said. “We have to prepare, as we always do. Every campaign I’ve been in, I’ve said, ‘Look, this is going to be the toughest.’ You have to assume that. We’ve seen, historically, that people who take anything for granted, then they put that election in jeopardy. I’ve never done that.”

There’s a nonzero chance that he’ll be running with Rand Paul as the party’s presidential nominee at the top of the ballot. Think they’ll campaign together?

Here’s the gray lining in Tuesday night’s otherwise silver cloud: McCain might well have decided to hang it up had the GOP underperformed. If Republicans had won a mere 51-seat majority, say, Democrats would be a lock to take back the Senate in 2016. That means McCain, who’ll spend the next two years as chairman of the influential Armed Services Committee, would start his new term back in the minority and stripped of his gavel. Would an 80-year-old be willing to endure a bruising campaign for that? Now that the GOP’s sitting on 53 seats, though, with number 54 likely next month in Louisiana, they’ve got a roughly 50/50 chance of holding the Senate majority beyond 2016. That’s probably the only extra little incentive Maverick needed to take the plunge again. And not just Maverick. Here’s how another famous RINO celebrated on Tuesday night:

On election night in a hotel ballroom in Anchorage, Alaska, Sen. Lisa Murkowski picked up a chair and waved it over her head.

“I am the chairmaaaaaaaaaaan!” she shouted.

The Republican takeover Tuesday night puts Murkowski in charge of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. That’s great news for Alaska, which is always eager for the feds to allow more oil drilling up here. But what does her chairmanship mean for the other side of that coin — global warming?

If there was any doubt that Murky will run again in 2016, there isn’t anymore.

One more reason for Maverick to hang around is that the Senate’s getting a fresh infusion of hawks next year. Much to the horror of doves, Tom Cotton, Joni Ernst, and Cory Gardner are all expected to be interventionists to greater or lesser degrees and to defend military spending. McCain will be the de facto dean of the hawk caucus. And now that his sidekick Lindsey’s just been handed another six years, he’ll have a close ally to help oversee it. He has every reason to stay. Imagine the fun he’ll have sniping at President Paul.