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A "wave" election means that a lot of good candidates got dragged down in the under tow.

While on Tuesday, a lot of the Democrats who lost were "Blue Dogs," conservative Dems, and/or poor campaigners. But there were plenty of others who lost because of the larger environment, not their personal weaknesses as a candidate, and who progressives should hope come back for another run at office.

2012 may offer a chance for many of them. Obviously much will depend on the economy, the strength of President Obama's re-election bid, and how the Republicans use their control of the House and increased strength in the Senate. In the case of many House candidates, redistricting may work for or against their possible return.

Below the fold, here are a few defeated office-holders and candidates who I hope we'll see again:

Russ Feingold, Wisconsin Senate, lost 52% to 47%

Senator Feingold's loss was extremely painful for many progressives, and the Senate is losing a powerful independent voice.

Word is that Senator Herb Kohl will probably not run for re-election in 2012, providing an opening for Feingold to return to the Senate. In a more favourable environment, Feingold would be an extremely strong Democratic nominee for the seat.

Ann McLane Kuster, New Hampshire 2nd District, lost 48% to 47%

Running for the seat being vacated by Democratic Senate nominee Paul Hodes, against former Representative Charlie Bass, Kuster ran an unabashedly progressive campaign. Kuster strongly defeated the much more conservative Katrina Swett in the primary, and would clearly have beat Bass in a better Democratic year. Bass is re-entered Congress under an ethical cloud for irregularities stemming from his financial disclosures and business dealings, and will be vulnerable in two years. I'd love to see Kuster start laying the groundwork now for a rematch in two years....

Tom Perriello , Virginia 5th district, lost 51% to 47%

First term Representative Tom Perriello gathered a lot of national attention for representing a conservative-leaning district but still being willing to cast tough votes, and defending his record without apology. It almost worked, as he nearly won re-election in a very tough district.

In 2012, it isn't clear yet what his options might be. Some are speculating that Senator Jim Webb won't run for re-election, which would provide a potential opening for Perriello. A young, smart and energetic candidate like Perriello might be the strongest nominee against the probable return of Republican George "Macaca" Allen in that race.

It is less clear what his options for a House run might be. Virginia Republicans will likely attempt to strengthen Robert Hurt (the guy who beat Perriello) through redistricting. In doing so, they might place Perriello's home base of the the Charlottesville area in another district (Eric Cantor's neighouring 7th district is a possibility). Depending on what the new Virginia congressional lines look like, Perriello might shop around for a more Democratic friendly district, although the Republican legislature is unlikely to draw one to his liking.

Chris Deschene , Arizona Secretary of State, lost 58% to 42%

State Representative Chris Deschene ran a strong campaign to be elected statewide in Arizona, but couldn't overcome the Republican tide. A proud member of the Navajo Nation, he would have been one of the highest ranking American Indian elected officials in the country. The loss of incumbent Democrat Ann Kirkpatrick in Arizona's 1st district to wing nut Republican Paul Gosar provides a potential opening for Deschene to run for Congress in 2012. He'd be a great Congressional candidate and provide a long overdue Indian Democratic presence in the House. Also in Arizona, Felecia Rotellini ran a strong race for Attorney General, narrowly losing by a 52% to 48% margin. She has clear potential for another statewide race or possibly a Congressional race following the extensive redistricting that will have to take place in Arizona to reflect the addition of at least one Congressional seat.

Scott McAdams, Senate, Alaska, lost 41% to 34% to 24%

While his 24% vote total may not seem like the strongest basis for a future statewide run, those numbers may be misleading for McAdams. Polls at the end of the bizarre three way Senate race showed McAdams had the highest positive personal ratings of any of the candidates. In the end, desire to keep extremist Joe Miller out of the Senate resulted in many potential McAdams voters migrating to Lisa Murkowski. But the former Sitka mayor built up statewide name recognition and goodwill, and clearly has potential to run for higher office (an open Congressional seat when Don Young steps down, or a state office, at some point in the future.

Joe Sestak, Senate, Pennsylvania, lost 51% to 49%

Sestak gave up a House seat to take on Arlen Specter, who he upset in the Democratic primary, and nearly pulled off a similar upset in the general election, but the anti-Democratic winds proved too hard to overcome. Sadly, there appear to be limited opportunities for him in 2012. If Democratic Senator Bob Casey were to shock everyone by not running again, Sestak would immediately become the Democratic frontrunner for that seat - but that seems highly unlikely. It is unclear how much Republicans will be able to do to his old congressional seat to make it safer for their newly elected member - Pat Meehan, or if Sestak would be interested in returning to the House. He could also look at a run for Governor in 4 years.

Also in Pennsylvania, state Representative Bryan Lentz lost the race to replace Sestak in the Pennsylvania 7th district, by 55% to 44%. Lentz is young and bright, and could easily be seen in a race for Congress or state office in the future. Similarly, second term US Representative Patrick Murphy was defeated for re-election 54% to 46%. Murphy could decide to attempt to return to Congress in the future. Given that the Republicans will control redistricting and will want to protect their 5 new House members as well as other vulnerable incumbents, that Pennsylvania will need to eliminate one Congressional district, and that the state was already working with a Republican gerrymandered map, it is unclear what new Congressional lines will mean for the potential return of any of these candidates.

Virg Bernero, Michigan Governor, lost 58% to 40%.

If there was one good candidate this cycle whose race was doomed by a toxic political environment, it was Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero's run for Governor in Michigan. The economic collapse and the huge unpopularity of incumbent Democratic Governor Jennifer Granholm created a hole no Democrat could climb out of. His chances were completed sealed when the Republicans rejected several extreme right candidates and nominated the more mainstream-seeming Rick Snyder, running as a non-ideological businessman who would straighten out state government and get the economy back on track.

But despite the defeat, Bernero impressed some with his aggressive populist campaigning, and could well be back for another run at something in the future. Personally, I'd love to see him take on Republican Congressman Mike Rogers in the 8th district (depending on what happens with redistricting when Michigan loses a seat).

Vincent Shaheen, South Carolina Governor, lost 51% to 47%.

Shaheen surprised many by nearly defeating Republican rising star Nikki Haley, and has huge potential for a future statewide or Congressional run. Look for him as a potential candidate for Lindsey Graham's Senate seat in 2014, for Governor in 2014, or a Congressional run in 2012 (against Nick Mulvaney who defeated John Spratt in the 5th district, or in a new seat with South Carolina picking up a seat - again, depending on redistricting).

Those are a few of my picks for candidates who should try again. Obviously there are many many more out there from around the country. Who from your state would you want to see put a 2010 loss behind them and come back in 2012 or beyond?

Originally posted to terjeanderson on Sat Nov 06, 2010 at 11:12 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (18+ / 0-)

    Once social change begins,it cannot be reversed. You cannot uneducate the person who has learned to read...You cannot oppress people who are not afraid anymore.

    by terjeanderson on Sat Nov 06, 2010 at 11:12:44 AM PDT

  •  Thank you (3+ / 0-)

    For not putting Grayson on this list.

    I certainly hope Russ Feingold finds another way to serve....perhaps as Governor.

    "Let us give this capital back to the people to whom it belongs."-William Jefferson Clinton

    by The High Command on Sat Nov 06, 2010 at 11:18:02 AM PDT

    •  Absolutely would love to see her run again (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      chimpy, Lujane, Drewid, Aquagranny911

      What is going to happen with redistricting in/around Las Vegas? I assume there will be an attempt to draw a new Latino district when Nevada picks up a seat - will there be enough Democratic territory left to keep Heck's seat marginal, or will the Republicans be able to give him a safe seat?

      Of course there is the question of John Ensign's Senate seat, and Titus has run before statewide.

      Once social change begins,it cannot be reversed. You cannot uneducate the person who has learned to read...You cannot oppress people who are not afraid anymore.

      by terjeanderson on Sat Nov 06, 2010 at 11:25:25 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I worked for Deschene's campaign and cried (6+ / 0-)

    my eyes out when he lost Sec Sate.  He would be a great Rep.  Also we need to really think about who we can put against Kyl in 2012.

    Thanks for this diary.  I've been both mad and down this week.  I am beginning to feel determined to work harder, starting now for 2012.

  •  Rory Reid (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    terjeanderson, Lujane

    His dad dragged him down, and he's simply not as good a campaigner, but I think he would have been a great governor.

    They tortured people to get false confessions to fraudulently justify our invading Iraq.

    by Ponder Stibbons on Sat Nov 06, 2010 at 11:41:16 AM PDT

  •  Great idea, but..... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    terjeanderson

    ...raising money is a problem for a candidate who already lost once.  If they can overcome that, and the inevitable primary challenge, then by all means run again.

    •  Plenty of candidates have come back from losing (5+ / 0-)

      Bill Clinton lost a race for Congress and Governor

      Barack Obama lost a race for Congress

      Bernie Sanders lost a ton of races before being elected Mayor of Burlington, and then lost a Congressional race before coming back and being elected 2 years later

      Colleen Hanubasa lost for Congress in a special election this year and came back to win this fall

      Maria Cantwell served one term in the House, was defeated for re-election, but came back to win a Senate seat.

      The list goes on and on and one -- there are countless second acts in American politics.

      Running a credible but losing campaign raises name identification, helps build a campaign organization and donor base, and can build favour among party activists for taking on a tough race. It can be the beginning, not the end, of a successful run in electoral politics.

      Once social change begins,it cannot be reversed. You cannot uneducate the person who has learned to read...You cannot oppress people who are not afraid anymore.

      by terjeanderson on Sat Nov 06, 2010 at 12:05:33 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  minor correction about NH-02 (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Odysseus, chimpy, terjeanderson, kurt, Lujane

      Annie Kuster beat Katrina Swett (not Sweet) in the primary. Katrina Swett's husband used to be the Representative from that district. His name is Dick Swett, which sounds like a better name for a porn star or rapper than congressman. The Swetts were the chairs of the Lieberman for President campaign in 2004 which tells you about which type of Democrats they are. I supported Annie Kuster and would gladly do so again in the future.

      In my home state of CA there were some House challengers who should consider running again including Ami Bera in CA-03 (against Dan Lungren), Steve Pougnet in CA-45 (against Mary Bono Mack, who probably spends more time in her husband's FL district than her CA one), Bill Hedrick in CA-44 (against the embarrassingly bad Ken Calvert), and Russ Warner in CA-26, who keeps running against David Dreier and losing, but might have a better chance in a newly drawn district.

    I'm not a Limousine Liberal; I am a Prius Progressive

    by Zack from the SFV on Sat Nov 06, 2010 at 12:10:08 PM PDT

    •  Thanks, fixed the typo. Agree on CA (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Odysseus, Zack from the SFV, Lujane

      I'm familiar with the Swetts (living next door in Vermont) - was extreme glad to see Kuster absolutely tromp over Swett in the primary.

      Ami Bera and Steve Pougnet both should run again - as first time candidates in a tough year, they showed they've got the stuff. Hedrick and Warner both ran for the 2nd time this year, so they've built up some name ID, but I think they both (but especially Warner) would need better districts and/or prove they're ready to run a better campaign before I'd get excited about them jumping back in.

      Will be interesting to see what redistricting does in California -- a lot of potential as the state keeps staying strongly Democratic, grows more heavily Latino, and a number of Republicans could lose their seats with a less favourable map.

      Once social change begins,it cannot be reversed. You cannot uneducate the person who has learned to read...You cannot oppress people who are not afraid anymore.

      by terjeanderson on Sat Nov 06, 2010 at 12:19:22 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Alexi Giannoulias (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    chimpy, terjeanderson, camlbacker, Lujane

    was an amazingly strong progressive candidate who would have done us here in Illinois proud. Though we came up short (1.9% to be exact), that's a far better performance than anyone expected. Last week, polls had him down four points and just several months ago people were saying he was going to have to drop out. Add to that the fact that for years, people have been saying Kirk is the only GOP candidate that could win statewide, a GOP "wave" year and a likely third party spoiler in LeAlan Jones and you have yourself a slim loss.

    But I think this election gave him tremendous viability and I guarantee you we haven't heard the last of Alexi.

    •  I voted for Alexi; but I think (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      chimpy, terjeanderson, Lujane, cocinero

      he should run for a house seat in a majority DEM district such as IL-10 that we continue to let slip to the GOP.  Alexi could have won if the Green Party had not been on the ballot.

      •  Rumor has it Danny Davis (IL-7) (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        terjeanderson

        will retire to run for Mayor. That's Alexi's home district with a +D35 and will likely be more welcome to him than the home district of his previous opponent.

        •  IL-7 is a heavily black district (0+ / 0-)

          IL-7 is 62% black, and has had a black representative for all recent memory.

          The black political structure in Chicago would probably not take kindly to giving up African-American representation.

          It remains to be seen what redistricting does to congressional district lines in Cook County - they could produce a district in 2012 that would be friendlier to Alexi than the current 10th is.

          Bottom line, Alexi is young, he doesn't have to jump right back in. A little time away, some time on non-profit boards and working on some issues,  maybe run for a state or county office, and then wait for a good federal opening (possibly including the Senate seat in 2016).

          I think he has a bright political future - he doesn't need to rush.

          Once social change begins,it cannot be reversed. You cannot uneducate the person who has learned to read...You cannot oppress people who are not afraid anymore.

          by terjeanderson on Sat Nov 06, 2010 at 06:37:55 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  True but (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            terjeanderson

            Alexi had the black vote very heavily behind him and his candidacy. Being an ally of the first black president certainly won't hurt. And I don't know that Alexi could run from outside the district in the 10th... that was one of their biggest cracks on Dan Seals.

            I agree he should go for the Senate again in 2016, but he needs to be in some sort of elected office between now and then. Kirk has staying power and needs to be ousted as soon as possible.

            •  He'd piss off black leaders if he did (0+ / 0-)

              Remember, African-Americans in Illinois recently lost having a black Senator, they really wouldn't look too kindly on losing a House seat.

              Having black voters behind him in a statewide race against a white Republican doesn't mean that they would support him to represent an African-American district against a black candidate in a Democratic primary. I can't imagine that Alexi would antagonize an important constituency by attempting such a run.

              There is going to have to be significant redrawing of district lines in and around Chicago before the 2012 election. Since the state will lose a district - the city based districts are going to have to absorb more suburban territory to survive, or someone (Lipinski? Quigley? Dold? Roskam?) could find their district has been dismantled. Alexi could end up with his residence in another district, and might find more promising opportunities there.

              He doesn't need to be in elected office -- there are plenty of other ways to keep a high public profile between now and 2016.

              Once social change begins,it cannot be reversed. You cannot uneducate the person who has learned to read...You cannot oppress people who are not afraid anymore.

              by terjeanderson on Sat Nov 06, 2010 at 09:02:19 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

  •  John Hall, Congress, NY-19 (5+ / 0-)

    One of four Progressive Caucus members who did not get re-elected. Elected in '06, re-elected in '08. Noted locally for support of green technology/jobs (got a green plant built here) and for support of veterans -- was chair of House Veterans' Affairs Committee's Subcommittee on Disability Affairs, supported increases in funding for the VA, Post 9/11 GI Bill, etc.

    Prior to '06 this was historically a Republican district and gerrymandered to remain so. I had hoped that with a mensch like John Hall it would become historically Democratic. Volunteered many hours for his campaign, and was saddened by this loss, but in my eyes he's "still the one."

    Vote John Hall for Congress, NY-19 in 2012

    by NYWheeler on Sat Nov 06, 2010 at 01:07:30 PM PDT

    •  WIth NY losing a seat (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Lujane

      the district lines will get moved around.

      Would be great if somehow they resulted in a seat that looked good for Hall to run in again....

      Once social change begins,it cannot be reversed. You cannot uneducate the person who has learned to read...You cannot oppress people who are not afraid anymore.

      by terjeanderson on Sat Nov 06, 2010 at 01:11:58 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  2012 in Wisconsin (4+ / 0-)

    It would be nice to see Sen. Kohl retire and Russ Feingold returned to the Senate.

  •  Matt Zeller in NY-29 (0+ / 0-)

    He greatly underperformed by getting 44% of the vote there.  

  •  three i'd like to see (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Odysseus, chimpy, terjeanderson, Lujane

    run again:

    Billy Kennedy in NC05 ran an amazing campaign (in disclosure he was a client and i'd be proud to have him as a client again) and were it not for the tidal wave and I believe he could have pulled it off this year

    Manan Trivedi in PA06, an amazing candidate in a rough district... will be interesting so see how PA gets redrawn as it loses a seat

    Lance Enderle in MI08...given enough time to mount a real campaign I think he's a real threat... think about what he was able to accomplish with only 62 days to campaign

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