Morning-After

Not a lot changed during my few hours of sleep after our election night coverage ended. AP has called the Nevada Senate race for incumbent Republican Dean Heller (others haven’t yet); Democrat Heidi Heitkamp remains ahead by just under 3,000 votes in North Dakota with all precincts reporting, though the state’s permissive recount law will now almost certainly kick in. And votes are still out in Montana, with incumbent Democratic Senator Jon Tester clinging to a 17,000 vote lead.

It looks like the House will wind up with a net gain of four seats by Democrats, though thirteen seats have not yet formally been called. Allen West seems to have lost by a margin sufficient for his opponent, Democrat Patrick Murphy, to avoid an automatic runoff. West’s fellow crazy-person, Michelle Bachmann, seems to have won by an eyelash. Utah Democrat Jim Matheson bucked a huge Romney tide and the growing celebrity of his opponent, Mia Love, to win another term. In California, with returns still coming in, three Republican incumbent House members (Dan Lungren, Mary Bono Mack, and Brian Bilbray) are all trailing.

At the presidential level, what can I say? Obama’s popular vote margin has grown to 2.7 million, and he’s right at the level where he may become the first Democratic presidential candidate since FDR to win a majority of the popular vote twice. Florida still hasn’t been officially called, but still looks likely to fall to Obama, but he’s over 300 in the electoral college anyway.

Maine, Maryland and Washington State voters all approved marriage equality initiatives, while Minnesota rejected a state ban on same-sex marriage. “Recreational use of marijuana” initiatives passed in Colorado and Washington. In California, Jerry Brown’s Prop 30 measure breaking a gigantic state budget gridlock seems to have passed narrowly, though a measure repealing the death penalty failed.

As to what it all means–well, we’ll be talking about that later today, and for some time to come.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.