Though she was once near the top of the GOP's 2008 target list, Kirsten Gillibrand won her first re-election easily, beating "moderate" Republican multi-millionaire Sandy Treadwell by almost 2-1.
This is close to, if not, the reddest Congressional district in New York, with about 80,000 more registered Republicans than Democrats.
It was drawn to be Miami Mob Leader John Sweeney's district for a decade.
With a vigorous campaign, supported by the Clintons, unions, the netroots, and the votes of lots of nominal Republicans, Gillibrand took Sweeney out with 53 percent of the vote two years ago; Tuesday, with less Clintons and netroots help, she upped that to 62 percent.
For almost two years, Gillibrand worked the district hard, doing exemplary constituent service and holding dozens of Congress at Your Corner meet-ups with constituents on weekends.
I attended several of them, and Gillibrand was simply excellent in explaining her stands on national issues, and in connecting with people.
Most who met her, at these events and others, voted for her, no matter what their registration.
Gillibrand is smart, informed, caring, charming and really impressive in person.
And she's a fund-raising dynamo, raising $3.5 million-plus this year to counter Treadwell's GE trust fund, which dumped $5 million or so into a bunch of Pataki-hack consultants and lousy TV ads that began running in early summer.
The Gillibrand/Treadwell race was, according to the Times Union, the most expensive in the country this year.
Sweeney refused to debate Gillibrand last time, a smart move in retrospect since she easily won the two televised debates with Treadwell this time.
Treadwell spent six or seven figures trying to dirty up Gillibrand because, as a junior associate at a Manhattan law firm, she worked to defend Phillip Morris in the 1990s.
Treadwell funded oppo research by a fellow Pataki hack, which resulted on a front-page Times Union story and launched a website and several TV and radio ads devoted to this "issue."
I asked her about the tobacco thing at a fund-raiser last week, and she said she could either do the work that her superiors assigned, or leave the firm and look for another job.
Obviously, most voters got that.
From a netroots/progressive perspective, Gillibrand is not perfect.
She joined the Blue Dog Caucus, and has voted to fund the Iraq War and for the FISA extension.
But we must have a big tent for our majority party, and netroots types generally understand that representatives of blood-red districts will sometimes vote for bills we dislike.
But the vast majority of the time, Gillibrand is on our side.
FWIW, here are some of Gillibrand's 2007 interest group ratings (0-100 for most, A-F for some), which are so much better than what Sweeney or Treadwell would have gotten:
Grover Norquist's Americans for Tax Reform -- 5
ACLU -- 100
The Club for Growth -- 2
National Education Association -- A
Christian Coalition -- 8
League of Conservation Voters -- 95
James Dobson's Family Research Council -- 5
AFL-CIO -- 96
Drum Major Institute for Public Policy -- A
Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America -- A
National Rifle Association -- A
National Organization for Women -- 100.
I did not follow every vote Gillibrand made in this Congress, but these interest groups followed a lot of them.
And her rankings are, I think, quite good, and would be even for a Member of Congress from a less-blood-red district.
In sum, Gillibrand's re-election is a testament to her hard work, to Obama's popularity, and to the fact that notionally blood-red districts contain a lot of Republicans who will vote for a good Democratic candidate.
In upstate New York, anyway.
P.S. Gillibrand won re-election even though she gave birth to her second son in May, which sidelined her politically for a couple of months.