The results of the 2010 midterm elections in the Senate will be as noted for which Republicans did not win as those who did. The results were bad enough, though, for Democrats. When things shake out, the Democrats will have lost seven to nine seats.
The reason the Republicans fell short in a number of Senate races can be ascribed, in many cases, to subpar candidates. For example, in Delaware, Christine O’Donnell may have been telegenic and, when all is said and done, smart and conservative. But O’Donnell was the ultimate example of a political truism. That truism is if you want to have a career in politics, do not say stupid stuff while in front of a TV camera. Bill Maher is one of the happiest liberals in the country as of this writing.
Linda McMahon in Connecticut and Sharron Angle in Nevada were also Republican candidates who fell short because of personal histories that could be spun effectively against them. McMahon could not get away from some of the sordid aspects of her associations with pro wrestling. The people of Nevada evidently concluded that they were more afraid of Angle than they hated Harry Reid, the Senate Majority leader they reelected to another term.
Several other Republicans fell short against formidable or entrenched Democrats. Raese was unable to beat Manchin, a popular governor, in West Virginia. Carly Fiorina fell short against Barbara Boxer, an entrenched incumbent and scrappy campaigner, in California.
Still, the number of Republican victories was impressive. From Rand Paul in Kentucky to Pat Toomey in Pennsylvania to Marco Rubio in Florida, a new crop of Republican senators rode the Tea Party wave to victory. The sweetest victory, as far as the Republicans are concerned, was the Illinois, where Mark Kirk took Barack Obama’s old Senate seat.
As of this writing, three Senate contests, in Colorado, Washington State, and Alaska are yet to be determined and may not be for several days. Since Alaska will be represented by Republican Joe Miller or write-in Republican Lisa Murkowski, the final number of Republican pickups with be no less than seven. Depending on the results in Colorado and Washington State, the number could be eight or even nine. That’s not a bad pickup in any year.
The Senate will officially be controlled by the Democrats, likely with Harry Reid still as majority leader. But next time, in 2012, the Democrats must defend 22 seats, with two independents who caucus with the Democrats. Many of the Democratic senators up in 2012 come from red states such as Virginia and Florida. Having seen what happened to many of their fellow senators in 2010, how many, one wonders, will vote down the line with President Obama?
The next two years will be interesting indeed.
Source: 2010 Election Results – Senate, Politico