• VA-St. Sen.: Though the race in the pivotal 17th Senate District hasn't been officially called yet, things don't look good for Democrats. A canvas of provisional ballots yesterday turned Republican Bryce Reeves' 86-vote lead on election night into a 224-vote edge, and it's hard to see how Dem Sen. Edd Houck can come back from this. The canvas isn't yet complete (you can follow along here), and the Board of Elections won't certify results until Nov. 28, after which a recount can be sought, but there isn't any reason for optimism.
Assuming Houck loses, that would drop the chamber into a 20-20 tie—and the prospect has already turned Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling into a total rampaging dickface. He's insisting that Republican's won't—simply won't—participate in a power-sharing agreement, apparently based on the claim that he gets to cast the tie-breaking vote when the Senate organizes. Unfortunately, he has some precedent on his side:
The last time an election resulted in a 20-20 split was 1996. Then, Democrats intended to retain control by having Democratic Lt. Gov. Donald Beyer cast the deciding vote in their favor. The parties were forced to share power, apportioning committees evenly and having Democratic and GOP co-chairmen, after Sen. Virgil Goode, then a conservative Democrat, threatened to side with Republicans unless Democrats agreed to share power.
It's not clear whether the GOP will be able to ram legislation through committees if Bolling's vision comes to pass, but he does seem to think that the committee chairs will all be Republicans.
One point worth adding about this whole debacle that a few commentators, including our own jeffmd, have made is it was all avoidable. Why? The Democrats really screwed up in redistricting. Had they shifted just a tiny fraction more of Albermarle County into Edd Houck's 17th district from fellow Dem Sen. Creigh Deeds's neighboring 25th, we wouldn't even be having this conversation. Deeds won handily with 65% and could certainly have spared a friendly precinct or two.
• MA-Sen: Few details so far, but Karl Rove's American Crossroads will reportedly soon go up with TV ads attacking Democrat Elizabeth Warren in the Mass. Senate race. More as we learn it.
• MI-Sen: This strikes me as good news… for Pete Hoekstra. (No, really.) Mike Huckabee's PAC just endorsed Gary Glenn, the head of the American Family Association of Michigan, whom I'd honestly forgotten was running for the GOP Senate nomination. I'd have figured Christian private schools entrepreneur Clark Durant would be the natural fit to hoover up the social-con vote, but if Glenn gets a little traction, that would allow the more business-con Hoekstra to benefit from any split to his (theological) right.
• MN-Sen: SurveyUSA is out with what appears to be their first poll of the Minnesota Senate race this year, and as expected, it shows Dem Sen. Amy Klobuchar absolutely cruising. Click the link for our full post at Daily Kos Elections.
• MS-Sen: Despite a huge win for the good guys on Initiative 26 yesterday, reality is reality in Mississippi, and GOP Sen. Roger Wicker looks set to cruise to re-election next year. PPP finds Wicker leading a variety of Democrats (none of whom have expressed any interest in running) by double digits, virtually unchanged from March.
• OH-Sen: Yow. The 60 Plus Association, a conservative front group that's sort of a bizarro-world AARP, is going after Dem Sen. Sherrod Brown with a $750,000 ad buy. They trot out a creaky-looking Pat Boone to resurrect almost every debunked claim about last year's healthcare reform bill, and all but invoke "death panels." It'll make you feel like it's 2010 all over again. The ad itself is a minute long and throws in so many different arguments that I'm not sure how effective it is. I also wonder whether screaming about "$500 billion cut from Medicare!" and "rationing healthcare!" still has the salience it once did. Anyhow, watch for yourself:• UT-Sen: Democrat Pete Ashdown, founder of Internet service provider XMission, says he'll seek a rematch against Sen. Orrin Hatch. Ashdown ran in 2006 and took 31% of the vote.
• WV-Sen: Dem Sen. Jay Rockefeller has been the subject of retirement rumors for some time, largely due to his age (he's 74), and also the possibility that he might face a stiff challenge from Rep. Shelley Moore Capito when he's next up for re-election in 2014. But he emails local commentator Hoppy Kercheval with a statement that suggests he's not ready to quit just yet:
"The 2014 election is still a good ways off, and we need to stay focused on the work rather than the politics, but let there be no doubt that I intend to ask West Virginians for their continued support when the time comes."
For her part, Capito isn't ruling out a run either.
• NH-Gov: Republican Ted Gatsas just won re-election as mayor of Manchester on Tuesday night—and then immediately refused to say whether he'd serve out his full two-year term. That's a big change from June, when he pledged to do just that, and is leading people to speculate that he might be interested in seeking the GOP gubernatorial nomination.
• IL-14: It seems that when he's not threatening to punch his Republican House colleagues in the face, frosh GOP Rep. Joe Walsh likes to keep busy by literally screaming in the faces of his constituents. Just watch the video (and keep your cursor on the volume control):Almost as amazing as Walsh's behavior is his explanation—that he was "working on an empty stomach"! (James L)
• MN-08: Former state Sen. Tarryl Clark just picked up the endorsement of a local branch of the United Steelworkers, in her bid for the Democratic nomination to take on GOP Rep. Chip Cravaack.
• NC-10: Asheville Mayor Terry Bellamy (the first African-American to hold that post) says she's considering a run against GOP Rep. Patrick McHenry in the redrawn 10th CD. Democratic-leaning Asheville was largely moved into the 10th during redistricting, to try to weaken Dem Rep. Heath Shuler in the adjacent 11th, but it also had the effect of making the new 10th a bit bluer. Still, it's rough going: Now it's a 42-57 Obama district, up from 36-63.
• NY-10: Groan. Crazy man Charles Barron (who also happens to hold a seat on the New York City Council) has been threatening that he might run in the Democratic primary against Rep. Ed Towns for a long time. Now, he's claiming (on Facebook, no less) that he's "exploring a possible RUN FOR CONGRESS" (caps-lock in original). Why do I care? Because Towns is dead weight and could well be dispatched by Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries, who has been ramping up for a likely challenge in recent months. But while Barron probably only rates gadfly status, we all know how clown cars work.
• OR-05, WV-03: The NRCC is trotting out the same ad it's used against Dem Reps. Dave Loebsack and Mike McIntyre, this time targeting Oregon's Kurt Schrader and West Virginia's Nick Rahall. The spot tries to link Obama's jobs bill with the 2009 stimulus, and the buys, of course, are small ($14K and $16K, respectively). I note, though, that this is the second time this year they've run an ad against Schrader, who previously got hit with a spot accusing him of fomenting a "government takeover of healthcare."
• PA-08: Ugh. This is bad news. Doylestown Township Supervisor Cynthia Philo started discussing a possible bid against GOP Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick last month, but as I noted at the time, "first she has to deal with re-election to her current job." Well, she didn't. She lost badly last night, which makes it an open question whether a further run really is in the cards for her. Though honestly, such an egregious failure to take care of business back home doesn't speak well of her skills as a candidate, so maybe it's better we learned this now, while recruitment season is still wide open.
• Everett, MA: The town of Everett, Mass. (pop. 42K) had the unique distinction of being the only city in America with a bicameral city council. Not anymore. Yesterday, residents there voted to eliminate the two-tiered system in favor of a streamlined single body. In my humble opinion, we should do this at the state legislative level, too. And get rid of the U.S. Senate while we're at it.
• Hartford, CT: In an interesting quirk of local election law, no party can hold more than two-thirds of the seats for any at-large municipal body in Connecticut. The city council in ultra-blue Hartford is a good example, where Democrats had long held six of nine seats, with the remaining three going to Republicans by default. But in 2009, the Working Families Party bumped two GOPers off the council, and last night, they knocked off the final member, giving the body a 6D-3WFP makeup.
• KY-Treas: One somewhat surprising race last night was the Kentucky Treasurer contest, where incumbent Todd Hollenbach held Republican K.C. Crosbie off by just a 49-46 margin. Five percent were saying "Boo-urns" and cast ballots for Libertarian Ken Moellman—which may have been enough to save Hollenbach's hide. The numbers stand out, though, because except for the woeful Bob Farmer (who got killed in the Ag. Commish race), every statewide Dem managed at least 55% (and the extraordinary Alison Lundergan Grimes racked up a monster 61%). Here's at least one possible explanation for the underperformance: Crosbie outraised Hollenbach 2-to-1 and had enough money to run attack ads on TV.
A knowledgeable reader writes in with further thoughts:
1) Hollenbach really didn't raise any money, but the money that he did raise he spent ineffectively on TV. For example, he bought one spot during a primetime college football game as opposed to 10 spots on the evening news.
2) He was a pretty ineffective campaigner—he wanted to go talk to far-right groups as opposed to rallying his Democratic base.
3) Lexington Mayor Jim Gray (one of the first openly gay elected officials in Kentucky) endorsed Republican K.C. Crosbie due to the fact that when wildly anti-gay bigot (and conservative activist) Frank Simon endorsed Hollenbach in 2007 during his first campaign for Treasurer, Hollenbach refused to denounce the endorsement.
4) He relied a lot on his base in Louisville but really didn't reach out much to the rest of the state.
• MS Lege: Though a couple of races are still undecided, Mississippi Republicans are on track to take control of the state House from Democrats with something like a 63-59 majority. They also padded their majority a bit in the state Senate and are likely to control it by a 29-23 or 30-22 margin.
• NJ Lege: It didn't receive a lot of attention in the wider blogosphere because control was never at stake, but Democrats performed well last night in New Jersey's legislative elections, where every seat in both chambers was up. There was no change in the state Senate, and Dems picked up one seat in the Assembly. But it's mostly a black eye for GOP Gov. Chris Christie, since he campaigned and raised money for several Republican challengers, none of whom won. And according to Jersey Dems, the GOP has the fewest state legislators since Watergate.
• OH SB5: Courtesy KingofSpades, an awesome map of last night's results for Issue 2 in Ohio:
• Pennsylvania: Here's about as clear an illustration of the two halves of Pennsylvania, and the different political directions they're heading in, as you'll see. Last night, Westmoreland County (the most populous of Pittsburgh's collar counties, and a one-time union stronghold with a rapidly aging population), elected a Republican majority on its county board of supervisors for the first time since the 1950s. At the same time, Montgomery County (the most populous of Philadelphia's suburban counties, with a once-legendary GOP machine), elected a Democratic majority on its county board for the first time since... well, ever! (David Jarman)
• Princeton, NJ: And here's another example of disappearing government: Voters in Princeton Borough and Princeton Township approved a referendum which would unite their two jurisdictions into one. Apparently such measures have failed in the past, but advocates are hoping to push further consolidations throughout the state, arguing that such moves will lead to cost savings.
• Recalls: You already know about the legislative recalls in Arizona and Michigan (where two Republican legislators were yanked from office), but Joshua Spivak has a complete rundown on all the recalls at every level throughout the nation. The final tally looks like 14 officials removed and 12 sustained, but click through for the full details.
• Election Law: An interesting post by NYU Prof. Richard Pildes, guest-blogging at Rick Hasen's Election Law Blog, makes the argument that the SpeechNow case, rather than the more famous Citizens United, paved the way for the creation of Super PACs—which he also thinks don't really represent a major break from previous vehicles like 527s and 501(c)(4)s. An interesting (and quick) read.
• AZ Redistricting: The Arizona Supreme Court refused to reinstate redistricting commissioner Colleen Mathis yesterday while her suit over her ouster is pending. But this is only a preliminary ruling. The court will hear oral arguments regarding the propriety of Mathis's removal on Nov. 17 and will likely issue a decision soon after.