The impact of Tuesday’s Senate election in Massachusetts hit California within hours, as Republican office- seekers moved to grab opportunities and nervous Democrats scrambled to assess how vulnerable their party’s largest stronghold may have become.

Until recently, many Democratic strategists believed that incumbent Sen. Barbara Boxer was a prohibitive favorite for reelection in November and that their party’s presumed candidate for governor, Atty. Gen. Jerry Brown, would coast to victory. Now, confidence has faded on both…

Democrats said they have been chastened and have renewed their promises to listen to voters. They were also quick to point out all the reasons why what happened in Massachusetts won’t necessarily be repeated in California.