Taking a page from Charles Krauthammer in the Washington Post (though he did his before the election), here’s my election post-mortem:
Luckiest Guy on the Planet: Harry Reid
Last week, Harry Reid was supposed to follow Tom Daschle to the former Senate majority leaders dump-heap, but managed to pull off an upset against Sharron Angle in Nevada. He will most likely continue to be the majority leader in the Senate.
Fastest Rising Star: Marco Rubio
Even before Marco Rubio pulled off a huge victory over a popular governor and a not-so-popular House Democrat, talking heads on Fox were speculating about his being on the 2012 presidential ticket as Vice President, or on the 2010 presidential ticket as the President.
Fastest Falling Star: Barack Obama
Voters decided that they didn’t want to continue with the change that Barack Obama brought in 2008, and decided to give power to multiple parties, ensuring that things will be stable for a while
Irresistable Political Name: John Hickenlooper
If you have a name like “Hickenlooper,” you deserve to be elected governor of Colorado merely because you’ve had to put up with such a name your entire life. He beat two people, one Republican that no one knows, and a spoiler who entered the race after he declined to run in the Republican primary, Tom Tancredo.
Biggest Surprises of the night: Joe Walsh and Kristi Noem and Tim Walberg
Joe Walsh had no party support behind him, he really wasn’t a strong candidate, yet he still beat Melissa Bean, a representative that the Republicans have been trying to unseat since she upset Phil Crane in 2004. Kristi Noem, running for the at large seat in South Dakota, beat a candidate that was very similar to her. Her opponent, Stephanie Herseth-Sandlin, had tried to position herself as a conservative to fit the South Dakota demographic. Sandlin voted against ObamaCare and other Democrat initiatives. Tim Walberg was trying to regain his old seat in Michigan’s 7th congressional district that he lost to Mark Schauer in 2008 during the Democratic wave. In the traditionally Republican district, Tim Walberg faced a tidal wave of negative ads from his opponent, so much so that I even predicted that he would lose (see my earlier Election Predictions post).
Biggest Disappointment of the night: Chris Dudley in Oregon
Chris Dudley was very close to taking over the Oregon governor’s mansion, but after counting a few more votes in Multnomah county on Wednesday, the race went to John Kitzhaber, ensuring the continued rape of Oregonian’s wallets.
Sorest Loser: Dan Seals (Illinois 10th)
In the race to replace Mark Kirk in Illinois’ 10th Congressional District (who was running for Senate), Bob Dold convincingly won the district, and his opponent, Dan Seals, who was running for the third time for the seat, never called Dold to concede. He released a statement the following day.
My favorite race: Randy Hultgren
Those of you who’ve read our blog before know that I worked for Randy Hultgren’s campaign, and my wife and I attended his victory party on Tuesday night. He unseated freshman Democrat Bill Foster from his seat in Illinois’ 14th Congressional District, 51% to 45%. It was a great night for Randy and 14th congressional district Republicans. This was a seat that was held for a long time by former Speaker of the House Denny Hastert.
Most interesting after-election media stunt: Mark Kirk
In his victory speech, Mark Kirk reminded his (recently defeated) opponent, Alexi Giannoulias, that they had promised to have a beer together after the election, thus ensuring that they would. They met the following day at the Billy Goat Tavern, and exchanged email addresses and cell phone numbers. Giannoulias also gave Kirk a book filled with the wisdom of Abraham Lincoln. All to distract from the relentless story about counting the votes for governor.
The Un-ending Counting: Illinois, Minnesota, Alaska, Washington, New York, Arizona, California, Kentucky, Virginia
There are still races being decided, including goveror’s races in Illinois and Minnesota, Senate races in Washington and Alaska, and the following House races: Illinois 8th, New York 25th, Arizona 7th and 8th, California 11th, Kentucky 6th, Virginia 11th, and Washington 2nd.
What do you think? Were there any races that you were watching? Do you have any candidates that you’d like to submit for any of these categories? Any categories that you think should be on this list?