Election Night, First Thread


7:03: It looks like some news outlets are already calling Kentucky’s U.S. Senate race for right-wing ophthalmologist Rand Paul (R), and Indiana’s U.S. Senate race for corporate lobbyist Dan Coats (R). Neither result is a surprise.

7:05: More U.S. House races called: Indiana’s 5th, Indiana’s 6th, and Kentucky’s 5th. All are safe “red” seats, all have been called for Republicans; and none of this is even remotely surprising.

7:11: Two races to keep an eye on at this early hour are Baron Hill’s (D) race in Indiana’s 9th, and Ben Chandler’s (D) in Kentucky’s 6th. Both are centrist Dems in “red” districts, and if both lose, it may be evidence of a catastrophic night for Democrats. Something to keep an eye on.

7:15: We’ll be hearing plenty about this tonight and tomorrow, but CNN has a report on an interesting tidbit from the exit polls: 43% of today’s voters have a favorable opinion of Democrats, while 41% have a favorable opinion of Republicans. America is poised to replace an unpopular party with an even more unpopular party. Is there any modern precedent for such a result?

7:17: The AP is calling South Carolina’s U.S. Senate race for Jim DeMint (R) and Vermont’s U.S. Senate race for Pat Leahy (D). These are two of the safest incumbents in the country.

7:21: Maybe it’s just me, but I still find it odd that Kentucky would elect to the U.S. Senate an odd, self-accredited ophthalmologist who doesn’t know much about public policy, the state he lives in, or even his own political ideology. Sure, we knew he’d win, but that doesn’t make this any less bizarre.

7:25: Indiana will replace Evan Bayh (D) with an old, wealthy Washington insider, who left Indiana more than a decade ago, and who’s spent several years as a corporate lobbyist. This, of course, is evidence of the public’s desire for a fresh, new perspective in Congress, with senators who can relate to regular people.

7:33: Multiple outlets are calling Ohio’s U.S. Senate race for Rob Portman (R). Another expected result.

7:38: Way back when — say, a year ago — I thought Portman might have real trouble in Ohio. He didn’t just occasionally vote for the Bush agenda that did so much damage to Ohio, Portman’s most recent experience in government was serving as Bush’s budget director. When we consider an era in which the Republicans turned huge surpluses into massive deficits, Portman was at the center of the policymaking process. For that matter, he was Bush’s trade rep, in a state where Bush’s trade policies aren’t exactly popular. Now, he’ll be a U.S. senator. Hmm.

7:47: It looks like Marcy Kaptur (D) won, as expected, in Ohio’s 9th. That’s the race that got interesting when we learned that her Republican opponent spent his weekends dressing up like a Nazi — just for fun.

7:55: Looks like John Yarmuth (D) will hang onto his seat in Kentucky’s 3rd. This was one of those keep-an-eye-on races — if Yarmuth lost, it made the likelihood of a catastrophic, run-for-your-life night much more likely. But according to the AP and others, he’s won re-election.